Villaraigosa says he will lay off more city workers if parking garage deal is abandoned
LA Times blog
Jan 10, 2011
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa sent a letter Monday urging the City Council to move ahead with his plan to get budget revenue by leasing nine parking garages to a private company, saying he will lay off more employees if the deal is abandoned.
Villaraigosa’s letter was issued two days before the council heads behind closed doors to discuss the parking proposal, which would give a private company the opportunity to run the garages for up to 50 years.
Business groups in Hollywood, Westwood and downtown have criticized the plan, fearing that a private company would hike rates and drive away customers. Villaraigosa said in his letter the city can no longer afford to manage parking garages and insisted that “the era of free parking in Los Angeles is over.”
“We must accept this economic reality, and move on to the business of providing the services our residents require,” he wrote.
Villaraigosa’s letter was sent while the council’s Budget and Finance Committee was weighing a plan to impose an array of new cuts, including 10 additional furlough days on certain civilian employees. For some workers, that would bring the total to 36 for the year. During that meeting, several residents and business groups spoke out against the garage plan.
David Ewing, who resides in Venice, said the city’s plan was part of a larger nationwide trend in which public assets are snapped up by investment banks. “They’re coming around, picking up assets at bargain basement prices,” he told the panel.