Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Riordan says L.A. could run out of money for parks, libraries

Former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan said Saturday that rising pension costs could cause the city to run out of money to pay for parks, libraries and other services within two years.

The former mayor made his comments at a gathering of activists from across the political spectrum who are looking to push out the six City Council members who are running for reelection in March.

The group, known as L.A. Clean Sweep, held a launch party Saturday at the Mayflower Club in North Hollywood to recruit candidate and raise money for challenges to council members Paul Krekorian, Tom LaBonge, Tony Cardenas, Bernard Parks, Herb Wesson and Jose Huizar.

Riordan, who left office in 2001, said he hadn't made up his mind on whether he wants to get rid of the council members. But he told the crowd that the mayor and council have done little to address the spiraling cost of the city's retirement system.

“If they don’t do anything … in the next year or two, they’re going to have to close down the parks, close down the libraries, stop fixing streets,” he said.

A Villaraigosa aide said Riordan’s dire predictions were outlandish.

“It’s an absurd notion that the city would plan to close its parks and libraries before reforming pensions,” said Villaraigosa’s Deputy Chief of Staff Matt Szabo, who handles budget issues. “Parks and libraries are core public services and will always be provided to the public by the city.”

Some already see signs that city services are being dismantled. To close a budget gap, Villaraigosa and the council reduced library hours and laid off 98 library employees this month. Some child care workers at city parks also received pink slips.

Riordan was not the only controversial voice at Saturday’s event. An appearance by attorney and two-time mayoral candidate Walter Moore, who is known for his opposition to illegal immigration, sparked an angry e-mail from Michael Trujillo, a political consultant who recently worked on Councilwoman Janice Hahn’s failed bid for statewide office. 

Trujillo criticized L.A. Clean Sweep organizer Ron Kaye for allowing Moore to speak and questioned whether the group’s agenda is to ensure that there are “no more Latinos in Los Angeles.”

Kaye disputed that accusation, saying that his group wants Latinos, among others, to run for office against incumbent council members. “We’re trying to get Latinos into office who are responsive to the public and are not beholden to unions, developers and [city] contractors,” Kaye said. “If that’s racist, then it’s an absurd charge.”

Moore said his views on immigration policy are not racist. He accused Trujillo, who also has worked for Villaraigosa, of trying to turn the topic away from the city’s budget woes. “You have a bunch of people so fed up with the tragicomedy at City Hall that those who are entrenched in power just try to smear us as racists,” he said.

Other speakers at Saturday’s event included Kevin James, host of a talk show on KRLA-AM 870, and Tezozomoc, an activist with South Central Farmers, which fought unsuccessfully to preserve 14 acres in South Los Angeles as a community garden

-- David Zahniser in North Hollywood

Comments () | Archives (14)

Let's go Walter Moore! Can YOU run for Mayor?

This year I will not vote on party lines but vote the incumbent OUT. Hope more of you join me and clean sweep the do nothing crooks in office now.

This from the man who wanted to close libraries to trim his budget when he was first elected.

How soon we forget...

Riordan added 3000 police officers at $150,000 each per year without adding revenue. He sponsored a successful campaign to give LAPD and LAFD retirement systems a huge large allowing a 90% of salary payout.

The pension system of LAFD and LAFD plus their huge overtime budget is Riordan's legacy.

Let's have the Teabaggers, W. Moore and Riordan take on the Unions, that is the LAPD and LAFD unions, who threaten us with people will die if their generous salaries and OT budgets are cut.

Almost 80% of the City's budget is Police and Fire. If every civilian employee is fired LA will still have budget defecit.

Public services need to go the way of the dinosaur, LA can no longer afford any of the freebies.

As illegals keep coming here, and are not turned back to mexico, more of our parks and libraries have to close or face cuts, what a shame

Riordan was on point about the cut-backs to libraries and parks. This year they took a 30% reduction, and said that they could be facing the same next year. Further, whether or not Riordan is "responsible" for the growing pension deficit isn't relevant (i.e., why point fingers? It isn't gonna change our reality now.). What's relevant now to consider is if you want more of the same coming from downtown. I know I don't. Los Angeles is falling apart and it is obvious that those in office now do not have the capacity to solve its problems - fiscally and socially.

And don't forget that Riordan has been meeting with the unions in an attempt to get them to come to the table to open talks in order to keep the City from going bankrupt (contrary to whatever spin Czabo generates).

Go to www.ronkayela.com and go to the link from the meeting and listen for yourself what Riordan said too.

How come we still paying all these high fees and taxes?

How about money for emergency services for the illegals...I guess they have plenty of money for that never ending need....

Dick Riordan is proposing making life miserable for longtime employees and taking away their retirement and medical benefits. Typical Republican. Can't accept he's not mayor anymore. Electing him mayor in the first place was a mistake.

Funny. Actually, tragic. Seems to me it is Riordan as mayor who jacked up the pensions so unbelievably high, 90% of highest pay level for many, such as all the police officers!

Look at Mexico! A country that has been a corrupt cesspool since it's inception!

That is what you have in Los Angeles and in every American city these Mexicans are allowed to invade.
A Rotten Mess!
This Rogue Government has allowed this to happen to destroy the once
wonderful United States.
You heard me right this ROGUE GOVERNMENT.

Until now, I have strongly advocated for reducing pension formulas for FUTURE years of service for CURRENT (as well as new) workers...... a VERY unpopular position in the eyes of those riding the Civil Servant gravy train.

I'm about to become even more unpopular with this group, as I now believe the likelihood of this happening (soon enough and with sufficient formula reductions) is so low that a much better direction, and perhaps the ONLY way to avoid the financial disaster bearing down on communities throughout the nation is to OUTSOURCE 90+ of all Civil Servant positions

Pension is the key phrase here.Its a untapped fund they are after to further destroy the middle class of America.Period..Wakeup you fools.All for 3rd world vermin!

I believe that the beautiful library located at Fifth and Flower, formerly Central Library, is now called the Riordan Library. Isn't that enough to keep him relevant?


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...


About L.A. Now
L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
Have a story tip for L.A. Now?
Please send to newstips@latimes.com
Can I call someone with news?
Yes. The city desk number is (213) 237-7847.


Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: