Closing libraries, raising fees, bleeding the fund for capital improvements dry — those are just some of the money-saving proposals that have come up at City Hall during the weeks of preliminary budget talks.
In the coming days, the City Council will get out its budget scissors and start snipping away, cringing in pain while holding up an ongoing hiring freeze for most vacant city positions as a shared sacrifice.
But it’s hard to buy into that, absent a major public political push to address the real budget issue: public pensions and salaries. In Los Angeles, elected officials have been in a back-and-forth with employee unions there for months as they haggle over pay concessions to reduce a debilitating budget deficit. That conversation has kept the issue in the public arena to become a self-feeding pressure cooker to achieve meaningful results.