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L.A. mayor to unveil budget plan but may be upstaged by top deputy [Updated]

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, left, and First Deputy Mayor Austin Beutner during a recent news conference for the proposed new downtown football stadium.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa unveils his yearly budget plan Wednesday, calling for the restoration of key services while closing a $457-million budget gap.

But that event may be quickly upstaged by one of his top deputies, who is holding his own 2013 campaign event the same morning.

While Villaraigosa appears in one part of downtown to discuss his financial proposal, First Deputy Mayor Austin Beutner will head to another to announce that his mayoral bid has secured the endorsement of former Mayor Richard Riordan, who held the job from 1993 to 2001.

[Updated at 8:45 a.m.: Beutner's team said it has decided to push back the Riordan news conference from 10:30 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. to avoid conflicting with the mayor's budget speech at 9:45 a.m.]

After leaving office, Riordan endorsed Villaraigosa three times -- in 2001, 2005 and 2009. This time around, he picked Beutner and will appear with the candidate to tour a produce market on 6th Street, according to a statement from Villaraigosa's speechwriter and former deputy mayor, Sean Clegg.

Riordan has been a harbinger of bad news for City Hall, warning that the city is near bankruptcy over pension costs, even though he successfully campaigned in 2001 for a measure that allowed police and firefighters to retire with yearly pensions equivalent to up to 90% of their annual salaries.

In 2009, Riordan suggested to mayoral aides that Beutner would be a strong candidate to become Villaraigosa's "jobs czar."

Villaraigosa has not said who he would support in the 2013 mayoral race.

[Updated at 8:14 a.m.: Contacted by The Times, a high-level mayoral aide responsible for preparing Villaraigosa's budget said he did not know about the Beutner event.

"You're informing me of something I did not have any clue about," said Deputy Chief of Staff Matt Szabo.]

His budget is not expected to offer many surprises because he unveiled many of the major points over the last few weeks.

He plans to continue hiring police officers in a major recession. And he wants to fill more potholes, add more library hours and expand Fire Department staffing -- all while demanding city employee unions take a reduction in pay.

That money would go toward employees' retirement health plans.


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-- David Zahniser at Los Angeles City Hall

Photo: Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, left, and First Deputy Mayor Austin Beutner during a recent news conference for the proposed new downtown football stadium. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (9)

Keep spending you fool and help push the city into the ocean!

Riordan needs to retire for good and leave Los Angeles alone. After all he gave us our worst mayor in history and now he wants to push his billionaire friend who has no clue how to run a city. Do not be fooled by the billionaire boys club. They are only out for their own interests & rich friends. Little tony only got there because he served people like this and we have all seen what a disaster he has been. We need: people like, Zev or Jan Perry or Rick Caruso for mayor!

Why are the Governor and the Mayor asking senior citizens on Social Security to pay double the car tax so public employees can retire 15 years younger than they could and at 5 to 10 times the pension?

Why are the Governor and the Mayor asking young working families getting by on $40,000 a year to pay 16.5 % higher sales tax on everything from diapers to gasoline so public agencies don't have to cut pay and benefits?

When politicians push higher taxes they need to think about how is paying and who is getting beyond just who donates to their campaigns. If the Mayor and the Governor wanted fairness in the economic debate they would be asking the poor to pay more to protect the elite.

@Jack...the thing is, that most of the employees of the city DON'T want him to keep spending on this stuff, but he absolutely insists on doing things HIS way.... because his way has worked oh-so-well so far....uh huh! The employees see where there is immense waste (all the vehicles provided to the City council, the overly large staff for the Council members and Mayor's office, take home vehicles for lots of city "executives", city provided cell phones, the multi-million dollar per year cost for the Mayor's office "Gang Intervention Task Force", etc, etc). The definition of "insanity" is doing the same thing the same way, over and over again, all the while expecting a different result... sound familiar?

Its the same game out of Washington that they hit the States, County, City with. Always at the expense of the tax-payer, especially those who fall in the lower bracket of the salary-gap. They have no qualms about asking the already depleated tax-payer to give more when there is not more to give. Until this world exsist no more, the greedy will continue to victimized the little guy. The many may suffer now, but the day will come when those who have lied, cheated, deprived, manipulated, decieved, will have to give an account.

I am a city employee who does not like what the mayor is doing. I think that he, along with the city council, are out of touch with reality. They continue to spend when they should not. They continue to hire police officers when a cheaper way would be to hire civilian positions and put the officers who are working station jobs back in the street. Why does he continue to fund his beloved gang intervention, who mostly hire gang members, and not require them to be accountable for the money they receive. Why does the city council continue to receive discretionary funding monies at the levels that they do and still have all of the perks. Why can't they pay for their own cell phones, gas, vehicle payments and, like most other city worker and just write them off on taxes like regular people.

Need to stand up and remove all the leaders in this city all the way down to the city council...Put an everyday person who knows how to work and how to budget in their places...

Can't wait to see the budget I am sure it will be so different, lots of changes to their spending.

Beutner is only the latest in a long line of super rich business executives who think they can buy their way into elected office. Not only that but they almost always have a thin (at most) resume of experience in public service - Beutner again. Hopefully, LA is smart enough to know that our city is better led by individuals with a wealth of experience in public service and community affairs.


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