Editorial: Tired of City Hall scandals? This is the moment to reform Los Angeles city government
A few weeks ago, this writer wrote: “This is as bad a fiscal crisis as has ever hit Los Angeles in my 40 years on the front lines of LA politics.”
The LA Times editorial board then went on to call the council’s mismanagement of City Hall a “constitutional crisis,” and asked voters to fix it by passing a ballot measure.
Last week it came to a head. This week voters will decide whether the council has gotten it right, or been just plain wrong.
You can imagine that the outcome would be instructive to the council.
The measure doesn’t really do much more than require the council to produce a new city spending plan every year and present it to voters for approval.
But the measure has an extra bonus. If it passes this time around, it’s likely to be the first time voters have the chance to see how the council has responded to the financial crisis.
So if the measure passes, it can show us how the council has responded to the crisis.
But the measure is more than just a referendum on the council’s mismanagement: This is also a referendum on the council’s governing philosophy.
Because while the council hasn’t yet done anything to solve the city’s deep fiscal needs, there is a very good chance it will try to.
The ballot question will force the council to demonstrate that it understands and wants to solve the deep fiscal crisis.
Voters should hope they will reject the council’s current governing philosophy as a dead end.
Voters have heard enough from the council to know how desperate the council has been for the past nine months to fix the deep fiscal crisis in their city.
So they will be looking more closely at the council’s current governing philosophy.
The ballot measure asks what kind of city the council wants to be. As a result, this is a test of whether voters will want a reform agenda.
The ballot measure will ask voters to answer a simple question: Is the council trying to find a way out of bankruptcy, or is it just going to keep piling on more debt while doing nothing to raise real revenues?