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Will L.A. Go Bankrupt? Villaraigosa Fights Former Mayor Back

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Richard Riordan

Richard Riordan
On Wednesday, former Mayor Richard Riordan released a scathing op-ed in the Wall Street Journal explaining why Los Angeles was on the brink of bankruptcy and what the city should do to fix it. The problem with L.A., Riordan said, was pension reform and new employee hires. Riordan claimed that 5,000 new employees had been added during Villaraigosa's administration. But a point-by-point analysis of the op-ed showed that "the total authorized city staffing when Mayor Villaraigosa took office on July 1, 2005, was 35,394," Chief Administrative Officer Miguel Santana wrote. "The 2010-11 proposed budget has an authorized staffing level of 32,802. During Mayor Riordan's administration, city-authorized staffing increased by nearly 8.5 percent from 32,690 to 35,459 positions" (but what about the most employees under Villaraigosa at any point?).

Regarding pension reform, Santana said Riordan's assertion that it will increase to $2.5 billion was false. By 2014, it should be around $556 million.

Villaraigosa vows that the city will not go bankrupt under his watch. Riordan, who has advised the Villaraigosa in the past, was mayor in the 90s. He's a millionaire who owns The Pantry in downtown.

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