By Irving Leemon
The City’s governing body and mayor talk about making the City more business friendly. The problem is they keep raising the sewer treatment and other fees on DWP’s bills, thus creating a dichotomy. The council is saying one thing and doing another. How can the City be made more business friendly when it keeps getting more expensive to live and work in the City? I suggest that the Council and mayor take a long hard look at what they are doing.
A few years ago they allowed LADWP to give their employees and other City workers large raises because they were afraid of LADWP’s employees going on strike. As a result, fees and ratepayers’ costs have gone up, and at the same time, retirement envy by the taxpayers of L.A. has also surfaced. Now the council, after a few generations, has decided to make business and homeowners responsible for the legal ramifications and the maintenance of the sidewalks and trees in the park ways in front of their property again, while still requiring those owners to pay for permits to do necessary work on them.
I suppose that next the Council will require property owners to maintain the streets in front of their property. This might not be such a bad idea as lately the City has done such a bad job of it. An example is the “re-paving” of the street in front of my residential street. A couple of years ago it was lightly scraped and a thin coating of tar was laid on top. The coating has begun to wear off and the older, greyer, layer underneath is showing through.
This shows the short-sightedness of the council and the shoddy work that they permit their contractors to do. I can guess at the higher quality, and thus more costly work, they would demand if the property owners had to pay for the job directly out of our pockets instead of our tax money paying for it. Another example, more then ten years ago, was the removal of a dying tree in the parkway in front of my house. At the time, street tree division showed up unannounced and removed the tree.
I was subsequently asked if I would like them to replace the tree with a similar one. I said yes, and these many years later I’m still the only one on the block without a tree in the parkway in front of my house. The City is not lowering property and other taxes and fees even though the City council is placing more financial and legal responsibility directly on property owners. Another part of the problem is the constant giving away of tax money to building contractors and businesses.
Two recent examples of this are the new sports stadium and the existing redevelopment districts. The stadium has been granted the waiver of some of the usual fees in addition to the City’s removal of part of the existing structure. An apparently popular restaurant could not get a bank loan to-redo its property. The City Council decided to loan the business the money. If the owner cannot repay the loan, guess whose out the money? The taxpayer. Agree, Disagree?