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1,000 City Hall Layoffs Delayed at the Cost of Millions As Other Solutions Sought

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At Monday's Budget & Finance Committee | Photo by Alex Thompson/Westside Bikeside
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By the end of Wednesday's marathon session of the Los Angeles City Council, where the budget crisis was being attacked head on, elected officials had taken action on several items, saving the city $6 million of the $218 million deficit. A small but good amount of money, but insignificant as the group also added $10 million in costs, reported the LA Times.

"We're becoming Sacramento south," noted an astute Councilman Greig Smith. "We're sticking our heads in the sand and hoping it goes away." He's right, it won't go away, but the council voted to delay any action on layoffs for 30 days as other solutions are sought. That's despite warnings from the city's top budget officer who had warned last week that each day of delay is equivalent of four more jobs that will need to be eliminated.

A handful of controversial cost-saving measures were also addressed, mostly to the approval of the public. Cultural Affairs grants were saved, as well as neighborhood council funds. Decisions to eliminate the Department on Disability, the Environmental Affairs Department and the Human Services Department were postponed. Some 300 jobs were approved to be transferred quickly to other departments that will not have job cuts.

Also put on the table yesterday was the untouchables--budget items previously said to be off limits from cuts. Slashes to police, fire, the offices of the Mayor and council and even the council's sacred off-budget discretionary funds were looked at.

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This crisis has been years in the making and at least one Councilman was ready to aim blame. "We should have been working on this for years," Tony Cardenas said. "The ball was dropped by all of us."