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Villaraigosa's parking garage revenue plan called unrealistic by budget committee members

April 27, 2010 |  5:51 pm

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s proposed 2010-2011 budget took a pummeling Tuesday, with members of a City Council committee complaining that it relied on overly optimistic financial projections.

Councilman Bernard C. Parks, who heads the Budget and Finance Committee, called on the city’s budget analysts to stop assuming that the city will secure $53 million from a plan to lease parking structures and borrow against future parking meter proceeds. If that money did not materialize, the council would have to impose deeper cuts in January, Parks said.

Councilman Dennis Zine offered a similar message, describing the mayor’s budget as unrealistic and full of holes. “I know that medical marijuana is permissible with a prescription . . . but hopefully no one was doing that” when the budget was being compiled, he said.

Deputy Mayor Ben Ceja and City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana, the top budget adviser to Villaraigsoa and the council, defended the budget and their financial projections. While Santana agreed that council members have the power to change the budget, he warned that removal of the parking revenue would force the city to make deeper cuts to its workforce.

“It would be hard to find $53 million without coming up with additional [job] positions that would have to be eliminated,” he said.

-- David Zahniser at Los Angeles City Hall