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L.A. City Unions Coalition questions Villaraigosa's authority to shut down services two days a week

The financial dominoes are continuing to topple at Los Angeles City Hall, with a Wall Street rating agency issuing a new downgrade of the city's credit, largely because of the Department of Water and Power's refusal to transfer $73.5 million to the city's struggling general fund.

Moody's Investors Service downgraded its rating of the city's general obligation debt from Aa2 to Aa3, saying the DWP's decision to abandon the transfer could leave the city's reserves "materially weaker" than expected at the end of the year. The utility reneged on its promise to provide the money after the council refused to support its particular plan for increasing electric rates.

A lower bond rating increases the interest rate paid by the city to borrow money. A more detailed report on Moody's message can be found on The Times' business blog Money & Company. 

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa called Tuesday for non-essential services, such as libraries, parks and senior centers, to be shut down twice a week, saying the loss of $73.5 million had forced his hand. The Coalition of L.A. City Unions, which represents roughly 22,000 city workers, questioned whether the mayor has the authority to carry out the plan and complained that its members -- and the public -- had become "collateral damage" in a political fight over electric rates.

"This is playing brinkmanship and city residents will pay the price," the coalition said in a statement. "This is not a game."

Villaraigosa plans to hit the airwaves with his budget message throughout the day, appearing on CNN and other outlets. Councilman Bernard C. Parks, who has criticized the DWP over its refusal to transfer the money, had his own series of media appearances scheduled, according to City News Service.

-- David Zahniser at Los Angeles City Hall

Comments () | Archives (8)

SCREWED, we will be.

The mayor is failing at an accelerated rate. Villaraigosa simply lacks vision. The LADWP board he appointed rejected a city council compromise that would have provided the department needed financial resources. Instead, the mayor tried to circumvent the council only to be taught a lesson about the city charter - that the council holds the power.

Now the LADWP and mayor are punishing LA ratepayers and voters for not giving them the money they demanded. It's pure extortion!

The mayor is playing politics with the city and its voters. His inability to lead during crisis is cause for Angelenos to truly consider a RECALL.

Villaraigosa is another polical thug like Pelosi. California needs to remove these gangsters from office and pay very close attention who it is you are voting for!!! Tony is going to manipulate this any way he can to get your hard earned money from your pockets. He will it out that there isn't any to servive

Legally, if the employees can't be paid (per the Controller's assessment of the L.A. City finances), then they can't be allowed to work beyond the hours that the city is capable of reimbursing them.

So, yeah, he has the authority to shut down services two days each week.

I think it's safe to say that Villaraigosa's political career is toast. And this is coming from someone who not only had faith in him, but also worked on several of his campaigns.

What a disappointment -- he started out with so much promise.


hey UNION "leaders", NO MONEY, NO WORK.can you digest that?

The Mayor has brought this mess on himself by not being the Mayor in his first term. He was out of the city too much, and let his incompetent deputy mayors run the city. He was elected to be the mayor LA not his incompetent deputy mayors. He was going to be the educational mayor, and do other things that he does not have the ability to do. The Mayor never learned ECON 101, and he was not a good student either. He never learned to take responsibility for his actions, and it is always someone else fault. He should have been elected for ability, and not race. When you hire or elect for race you always have problems.


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