On April 20, 2015, Mayor Eric Garcetti unveiled his budget for next year.
After a “speech” at a Valley Industry Commerce Association, the Mayor formally presented his budget at City Hall.
What can I say?!! It was underwhelming.
In fact, it was embarrassing for the City of Los Angeles.
The majority of the $8.4 billion goes to pay for employees and their benefits.
Some of the other highlights or low lights include some important issues, with pathetic responses.
In regard to housing for the homeless, the Mayor responded: “Going the distance to end veteran homelessness with an additional $2.9 million in services to put a roof over those who’ve served our nation.”
When I heard the number of $2.9 million, I thought that I had made that I needed to get my ears checked. No, I did not make a mistake. At $500,000 all-in cost per unit, $2.9 million would provide a total of six units for the homeless. This is a joke. Surely, the Mayor made a mistake. Why would he call attention to such a paltry response to such a major problem?
The Mayor claims that the City is half to solving the housing for homeless vets, because 3,375 homeless veterans were provided housing in 2014. Well, after this year, the City will only need to provide housing for 3,369 homeless veterans in order to meet the Mayor’s goal.
In terms of affordable housing, the Mayor announced that the City would “Rebuild the Affordable Housing Trust Fund with a down payment of $10 million as part of a larger effort to meet this pressing need.” At $500,000 per unit, this will lead to 25 units.
On November 14, 2015, the Mayor announced that he had a goal to build 100,000 affordable housing units by 2021. By providing funding for 25 units, it means there would be 99,975 units that would need to be funded and built to meet the Mayor’s goal. With five years remaining to meet the goal, the Mayor would need to fund and have built 19,995 units per year. In reality, the City of Los Angeles has never permitted more than 13,000 total units in a year in more than fifteen years.
Why do politicians make things sound like they are doing something profound, when they are not? I do not know.
Do they think we are too dumb to do the math?
Do they think that no one will challenge them?
Do they think we will accept “I have budgetary constraints. I am doing the best that I can.”
Fine! Then do not set bold goals that there is no way that you can attain. The Mayor should not mislead the citizens and raise their expectations.
More importantly, the Mayor needs to address the number one issue in the City of Los Angeles, which is that way too much of the city budget goes to the salary and benefits of city employees.
This budget highlights that we do not have the money to address our problems. Our money is being used just to meet the needs of the employees, rather than the needs of the citizens.
Hopefully, in the future, the City of Los Angeles will have a Mayor that will deal with the issue of employee cost and the results that they do or do not produce, so that we can truly begin to approach our problems.
Statewide, there is a deficit of over one million affordable housing units. Since 2000, the median rental rate increased by 20 percent, while the median income decreased by 8 percent.
This huge need and weak response also points to the fact that Governor Brown’s killing of redevelopment and on-going vetoes of affordable housing bills is so misguided.
Next to the drought crisis, the housing crisis for all the citizens that cannot find affordable housing is real. As citizens, we need to demand that our leaders lead and come up with realistic solutions to these problems. When there were redevelopment funds available, there were affordable housing units being developed throughout the state. Now, the development of affordable housing is in a drought. Affordable housing needs the same bold leadership that is now being provided to deal with the drought.