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LA WATCHDOG--Mayor Eric Garcetti’s proposed budget for next year shows a significant increase in revenues which eliminates the previously projected $160 million deficit and funds the raises for the City’s civilian employees.

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LA WATCHDOG--On Wednesday afternoon, April 17, Mayor Eric Garcetti will deliver his sixth State of the City Address at Abraham Lincoln High School in Montecito Heights.  

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LA WATCHDOG--United Teachers Los Angeles, the union that represents over 30,000 teachers, is spending millions to seize control of the Los Angeles Unified School District.  If UTLA is successful, the union will use its influence to eviscerate charter and magnet schools, adversely impacting approximately 200,000 students. 

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LA WATCHDOG--County Supervisor Janice Hahn is bent out of shape because the University of Southern California wants to change the name of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to the United Airlines Memorial Coliseum.

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LA WATCHDOG--So many shenanigans, so little time.  Here is a brief preview of some of the stunts where the our elected politicians are trying to bamboozle us. And trust me, there are more, starting with the Mayor’s budget proposal that is scheduled to be presented to the City Council on April 22. 

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LA WATCHDOG--When Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson announced in December that he was entering the race to succeed termed out County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, he was considered to be the “instant front runner” because of his name recognition, political connections, and ability to raise campaign funds, especially from real estate developers and public sector unions. 

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LA WATCHDOG--We always knew that City Hall was dirty: a rat-infested nest where money trumped our best interests, especially when it involved pay-to-play real estate developers. This fact was hammered home when the FBI raided the home and offices of Councilman Jose Huizar, the chair of the powerful, favor granting Planning and Land Use Management Committee of the City Council. 

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LA WATCHDOG--QUALITY TEACHER, CLASS SIZE REDUCTION, AND LOCAL SCHOOL SAFETY MEASURE

To retain/attract quality teachers; reduce class sizes; provide counseling/nursing/library services, arts, music, science, math, preschool, vocational/career education, safe/well-maintained schools, adequate instructional materials/supplies; support disadvantaged/homeless students; shall Los Angeles Unified School District levy $0.16 per square foot of building improvements annually, exempting seniors/certain disability recipients, providing approximately $500,000,000 annually for 12 years, requiring annual audits, oversight, and funding local schools? 

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LA WATCHDOG--On February 21, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that the City of Los Angeles, the Department of Water and Power, and the Bureau of Sanitation would embark on an $8 billion plan to recycle 100% of its wastewater by 2035.  This ambitious sixteen-year plan will involve recycling over 200 million gallons a day of wastewater into around 195,000 acre feet of potable water a year.  

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LA WATCHDOG--“The Great Recession is over.  We now have a balanced budget and we have eliminated over 85% of our Structural Deficit.” City Councilman Paul Krekorian, Chair of the Los Angeles City Council’s Budget & Finance Committee, February 27, 2019 

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LA SPORTS WATCHDOG--Once again, we are hoping for the Dodgers to end its 30-year World Series drought.  And in that quest, many believed that the team should have signed Bryce Harper, a 26-year old wunderkind who was the 2012 NL Rookie of the Year and the 2015 NL MVP. 

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LA WATCHDOG--Ten years ago, on March 3, 2009, just over 50% of the voters of the City of Los Angeles rejected Measure B, Mayor Villaraigosa’s solar initiative to have the Department of Water and Power install 400 megawatts of solar power within the City limits. 

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LA WATCHDOG--The blue wave has caused politicians throughout the State to believe that money grows on trees in our back yards.  Many are planning tax, rate, and fee increases, including LAUSD, DWP, Metro, the City, and the State.  But at the same time, all are experiencing record revenues.      

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LA WATCHDOG--Our trust and confidence in the City’s elected officials and institutions has sunk to new lows as revelations about City Hall’s pay-to-play culture have been front page news ever since Councilman Jose Huizar’s offices and home were raided by the FBI in November.  

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LA WATCHDOG--Mayor Eric Garcetti’s hastily called press conference (photo above)  on Tuesday morning, February 12, was essentially a pep rally for the Los Angeles New Green Deal team where he announced the depowering / phase out of the Department of Water and Power’s three coastal natural gas power plants that are a major source of reliable electricity for the City of Los Angeles. 

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LA WATCHDOG--The recent reports of rats, fleas, and vermin in City Hall have gone viral, eliciting comments from around the world.  This includes an appropriately titled, front page article in The Wall Street Journal, “Politics is a Dirty Business – Starting with the Rats at Los Angeles City Hall.” 

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LA WATCHDOG--The process for developing and approving the City’s annual budget is not transparent because it does not allow Angelenos to have any meaningful input on how the City will spend our hard-earned money. Nor does it allow us time to review, analyze, and comment on the operational, financial, and policy issues that are contained in over 1,500 pages of mind-numbing figures.  

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LA WATCHDOG--“This is the eradication of congestion.” Phillip A. Washington, Metro Chief Executive. 

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is considering congestion pricing which, if approved by the voters, would charge motorists to drive on our freeways and streets.  This new tax is intended ease traffic on our roadways and reduce the County’s carbon foot print by cutting down on the emission of greenhouse gases that fuel climate change.

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LA WATCHDOG--The Editorial Board of the Los Angeles Times believes that Mayor Eric Garcetti made the right decision in not running for President of the United States, stating that “Los Angeles is a big, complicated [see below] city with serious challenges and tremendous opportunities. It’s a city that needs a full-time, fully invested mayor.

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LA WATCHDOG--More money will not solve the problems of the Los Angeles Unified School District because Angelenos do not trust the system to properly educate their children. 

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LA WATCHDOG--The management of the Los Angeles Unified School District and the representatives of the striking United Teachers Los Angeles have been meeting behind closed doors for almost a week, trying to come to an agreement over salaries, class size, fully staffed schools (librarians nurses, counselors), the reorganization of the District into 32 districts, and a limit on charter and magnet schools. 

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LA WATCHDOG--United Teachers Los Angeles and its President, Alex Caputo-Pearl, are asking the Los Angeles Unified School District for salary increases for its members, smaller class sizes, and fully staffed schools.

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LA WATCHDOG--The Los Angeles Unified School District is closed for business because United Teachers Los Angeles and its over 30,000 members are striking for higher wages, fully staffed schools, and the curtailment, if not the elimination, of charter and magnet schools.

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LA WATCHDOG--One of the consequences of the strike action against the Los Angeles Unified School by United Teachers Los Angeles will be the demand for a tax increase to finance the District’s inefficient operations. 

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LA WATCHDOG--The Los Angeles Times 2019 Wish List for 2019 listed 25 changes they would like see, of which only one involved City Hall. 

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LA WATCHDOG--Despite a booming economy and record revenues, our City’s finances are a mess.  

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LA WATCHDOG--In 2001, the voters of Los Angeles overwhelmingly approved Charter Amendment 2, the Modification to Fire and Police Plans.  

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LA WATCHDOG-The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) reported that its investment portfolio lost 1.9% for the first five months of its fiscal year (July to November). 

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LA WATCHDOG--You would think that the Budget and Finance Committee of the Los Angeles City Council would be doing everything possible to eliminate the projected $84 million budget deficit that was discussed in the Second Financial Status Report issued on December 6 by the City Administrative Officer. 

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LA WATCHDOG--The Second Financial Status Report issued on December 6 by the City Administrative Officer (“CAO”) said that the “currently projected expenditure imbalance of $83.9 million is still at a significant level.”  

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LA WATCHDOG--For true blue Dodger fans, the off season is one of great anticipation. The team is building its roster for the upcoming season to make another run at the elusive goal of winning the World Series. 

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LA WATCHDOG--The $8.1 million Silver Lake Reservoir Stormwater Capture Project is designed to capture 159 acre feet of stormwater (52 million gallons) from 171 acres surrounding the lake and to divert the cleaned up (but not drinkable) water into the out of service Silver Lake and Ivanhoe Reservoirs. 

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LA WATCHDOG--On Monday, about to be termed out City Council President Herb Wesson announced that he is entering the race to succeed Mark Ridley-Thomas, a long time County Supervisor who is also termed out in 2020. 

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LA WATCHDOG--On Saturday, the Los Angeles Neighborhood Council Coalition (“LANCC”) passed the following motion demanding that embattled Councilman Jose Huizar resign from the City Council. 

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LA WATCHDOG--Over the past two years, our DWP bills have soared beyond anyone’s expectations, significantly higher than was projected in the 2016 rate case. 

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LA WATCHDOG--Where there is smoke, there is fire, especially when it involves City Councilman Jose Huizar. 

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LA WATCHDOG--On March 3, 2020, a little more than 15 months away, in 67 weeks from now, and in 469 days from Tuesday, we will once again go to the polls as California will hold its Presidential Primary.  

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LA WATCHDOG--The City’s two pension plans had a 9.75% return on its investment portfolio of $36 billion for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2018 according to the recently released actuarial reports.  This is 2.5% higher than the targeted rate of return of 7.25%. 

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LA WATCHDOG--Charter Amendment B: Shall the City Charter be amended to allow the City to establish a municipal financial institution or bank?  

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LA WATCHDOG--While Eric Garcetti has been prancing around the country promoting his presidential pedigree, the City of Los Angeles is experiencing “over expenditures” of almost $100 million for the first two months of its fiscal year, blowing a hole in the City’s supposedly balanced budget. 

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LA WATCHDOG--When you oppose a new tax such as the State’s Gas Tax or the County’s Rain Tax, the all-knowing political establishment, the leaders of the campaign funding public sector unions, and many other bottom feeders go ballistic, claiming that you are clueless, ill informed, and mean spirited, and do not understand the big picture and the nuances of the budget and government finance. 

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LA WATCHDOG--We are being bombarded by so many political ads that we are having a difficult time sifting through all the clutter, trying to separate fact from fiction, so that we can make a rational decision on how to vote on eleven State propositions, one County measure, and three City charter amendments. 

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LA WATCHDOG--Charter Amendment B: Shall the City Charter be amended to allow the City to establish a municipal financial institution or bank? 

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LA WATCHDOG--Despite record revenues, the State of California is asking us to approve $14 billion in bonds (Propositions 1, 3, and 4) while the County of Los Angeles wants the voters to bless the $300 million Rain Tax (Measure W).

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LA WATCHDOG--The City, the County, and the State are hauling in record revenues totaling almost $250 billion, including over $40 billion from the four million residents of the City of Los Angeles. But it is never enough as the State has placed on the ballot measures to authorize $14 billion in bonds while the County is asking us to approve the $300 million Rain Tax to fund stormwater projects (measure W). 

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