Patch Blog: Tell the Mayor What You Think!

At a time when the City of Los Angeles faces its worst financial crisis since World War II, here are some tips for telling our mayor how to balance the budget.

Tough times call for tough answers. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa needs the help of all Angelenos in making one of the toughest decisions before any City leader: How to use L.A.’s 2012-13 revenues to maintain city services.

For the past four years, the City has faced the most daunting budget challenge since World War II. According to the mayor, in order to have a balanced budget we will need to cut spending across all departments.

This is where you come in.

The mayor needs you to tell him what—and where—these cuts should be.

Budget Primer

You can find general budget information at the City’s official website—in the upper right-hand corner, next to the photograph of the smiling mayor, click on the “City Budget” tab.

The mayor's 2012 Community Budget Survey can be viewed by clicking this link. (General comments can be accepted on the survey in the spaces provided.)

Also take a look at the attached PDF for information about the budget.

What’s important to remember as you go about making your voice heard is that there will be structural changes in the way the City is run. These may relate to such matters as curbside trash collection twice a month—or perhaps citations when residents fail to clean the street curb in front of their homes. (The same may apply to curbside trees that remain untrimmed.)

It’s also important to be aware to ever more City programs concerning seniors and youth or pertaining to gangs may not only be curtailed but could be eliminated entirely if non-city institutions, residents and businesses do not adopt them instead. 

In mid-March, so-called budget advocates from all the Neighborhood Councils in the city will meet with the mayor to present their suggestions for how the mayor should deal with the financial crisis that is prompting budget cuts.

Budget Background

In October, the mayor sent the customary mayor's budget letter, asking all the City departments to propose a department budget that reflects both a 6-percent and a 12-percent reduction in expenses. All City department were asked to turn in their proposed budgets by Dec. 9, 2011.

Currently, Neighborhood Council Budget Advocates have been meeting with City departments to find out if there is any room for more cuts or any opportunity to increase revenues. By mid February, a draft position document will be created and circulated among Neighborhood Council Budget Representatives in the Northeast area. Comments on the budget suggestions document will be accepted until the end of February.

Tentatively scheduled for the second Saturday in March, Regional Budget Day will provide more input into the document. Further, at the Regional Budget Day, the results of the survey will be presented and compared to each region, including the East Area Region. Within 10 days of the Budget Day event, it is anticipated that the Neighborhood Council Budget Advocates will meet the mayor and relate to him the final position document, based on department meetings and survey results.

Visit the Neighborhood Council Budget Advocates website to read the draft minutes of meetings and the draft position document, as it is being proposed.

Have an idea or suggestion? Email it to Heinrich Keifer at HKeifer101@sbcglobal.net

Finally, if you want to learn about the City Budget, come to the Budget Forum! The next Regional Budget Forum is scheduled for Monday, January 30, at  6 p.m. at the Glassell Park Senior /Community Center, 3750 Verdugo Rd., 90065 (corner of Eagle Rock Boulevard and Verdugo Road, next to the Public Storage Building.)

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

XAVIER February 28, 2013 at 11:04 PM


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