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Villaraigosa Threatens More Layoffs, Up to 2,000 More

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Photo by polaroid-girl via LAist Featured Photos on Flickr

Photo by polaroid-girl via LAist Featured Photos on Flickr
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is not willing to risk the city's insolvency so he's becoming more aggressive with fixing the more-than $200 million budget problem, saying he's willing to triple the number of proposed layoffs, up to 2,000 more on top of the current 1,000 already on a list for cuts. "I can control layoffs," he told the LA Times editorial board. "I can't control that the council will pass anything. I don't have a vote on the council," he said referring to the L.A. City Council, which has postponed layoffs for 30 days last week.

Each day of postponement means four more jobs that must be cut if other budget-saving options are not found. Some say that the City Council has failed to act on balancing the budget, but Council President Eric Garcetti defended the group on Wednesday. "We did not slow down one day on layoffs," he told the public. "What we said: for 30 days... layoffs weren't going to be happening... there was no indecision, there was no failure to act."

For Villaraigosa, however, it's about his mantra: public safety. "Public safety is the first obligation of government," he told a group of business leaders at an L.A. Chamber of Commerce town hall yesterday. "When you don't have safe streets, everything falls
apart. People become isolated. Kids turn into prisoners. Jobs evaporate. Families struggle just to survive. Public safety is the foundation of everything we are trying to build here in the City of Angels."

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He doesn't want to see the police force drop in size, but Councilmembers are calling him out on that. "I don't think you can have that discussion without talking about equitable cuts in the Police Department," said Richard Alarcon to the Times. In Wednesday's Council meeting, Jose Huizar said social services programs, which are slated to be cut, also help stop crime.

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