Let's see if I can capture a moment in time and blog out the thoughts I have rolling around my head almost every waking moment about the City of Los Angeles, it's budget crisis and how "alternative pension investments" have dragged the city down to an all time low, and we are only at the end of the beginning and it will be much worse next year.
SUMMARY: Although City and County of Los Angeles, in co-operation with such beneficial philanthropists to the city, like Eli "The Broadfather" Broad and Tim "AEG" Lewikie (Jan's Pimp) PLANNED for an all upscale luxury mecca downtown; they rolled the entire city's dice from across the 15 districts at a time when the trend is toward WaMart, 99cent store and food trucks. (Not the boutique shops and upscale dining Grand Ave Project once boasted.) Now the term, "Whether the main Project is ever built, or not," is used when describing the entire caviar dream at council meetings.
And one must remember, Grand Ave Project boasts, I mean boasted of luxury condos downtown, in an era when increasing homelessness and people moving from homes to cars is more the trend.
Factor in that AEG rolled it's entire enchilada on LA LIVE & Ritz-Carlton Towers at the WORST time imaginable. And AEG took a MUCH BIGGER BATH in the '08 market crash that they are willing to admit.
Maybe things have picked up, but if there isn't a major event, the times ZD strolled through the area, it was as an "escape" to get away from the crowded L.A. in a nice quiet patch of downtown. (IS THAT WHAT WAS INTENDED?)
And the reason the rest of the city (other 14 districts) were screwed, is because they used all the CRA tax increment money that could have been used across all the districts to redevelop areas throughout the city -- but Jan Perry and Board of Stupidvisors HI-JACKED the money and gave it to Eli and he FUMBLED.
You should have seen Eli's memo on how this Grand Ave Project was going to be a regional and international attraction that was going to revitalize downtown and pull all of L.A. out of it's economic woes. And now it's, "Whether it gets built, or not!" LOL! HERE IT IS! AND, HERE'S THE ONE ABOUT AGE/LIVE. Both, my FINEST comedy writing. But read it after you read the rest of THIS post, first. )
Also keep in mind, many prime downtown buildings once owned by Muerello-Maddux are in Federal receivership being settled on for pennies on the dollar. Buildings like 9th & Flower. (Remember what a BIG DEAL it was when it opened? Does anyone realize it's in FEDERAL RECEIVERSHIP, along with others?)
AMERICAN APPAREL is DONE as an economic generator, downtown, as it's stock tanks amidst several lawsuits relating to head-honcho's sexual harassment. AND, the fact that they are less than non-liquid, but completely dehydrated.
SO JAN PERRY FUMBLED, WITH THE MAYOR, AND DOWNTOWN IS DEAD AS THE ECONOMIC GENERATOR AND CITY-SAVER THEY WERE BANKING ON.
AND SPEAKING OF "BANKS," now let's get to the pension money.
First of all, it was announced during the council meeting that the budget accounts for an 8% GAIN in pension investments on Wall Street, even though they not only lost $2 BILLION, last year, but was announced at a council meeting recently that the city ain't doin' so HOT, this year on the investments.
DWP lost BIG TIME on Wall Street with the pension money as reported at the last meeting on the topic, recently. (I posted how much, will go back and check....several millions.)
AND IT WAS EXPLAINED TO ME BY AN INSIDER IN THE CAO'S OFFICE..AS GOES WALL STREET, GOES THE GENERAL FUND.
2 years ago, no one was thinking that much that the pension money losses on Wall Street are covered out of the GENERAL FUND. (Must be nice. Wish I could gamble in Vegas with someone to bail me out of any risky gambles.)
AND, RISKY GAMBLES are what they are. HERE IS THE REPORT FROM NY AG Andrew Cuomo's report on all the shady angles Wetherly Capital, Elliott Broidy and all those shady bastards used to get themselves busted FOR LIFE! (It reads like a Martin Scorcese script for a follow-up to "Goodfellas.")
It was announced during a council meeting, after explaining why the city lost so much, that they mayor had too much pension packing power by appointing four commissioners, the Henry Cisneros project was mentioned SPECIFICALLY as a problem (Henry is Eric Garcetti's pal who swore Eric in for his final term, last year) -- AND...OVERLY RISKY "ALTERNATIVE INVESTMENTS" ON WALL STREET.
WE ARE NOT SUFFERING LOSS OF HAZMAT, LIBRARIES, PARKS, STREET SERVICES AND ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES OVER "STRUCTURAL PENSION" ISSUES THAT HAVE NOT ARRIVED, YET!
And, yes, the CalPERS shady trips and commissions are a piece of this shady corruption picture. But still only small potatoes compared to what was lost on Wall Street in "alternative investments" that Zuma Dogg says is nothing more that pension commissioners handing money over to the biggest of U.S. bigshots who back the politicians that keep them in office.
POINT OF ALL OF THIS IS: The city's budget is bad enough...but then you realize they accounted for parking lease revenues that aren't here, yet -- and it won't be so easy to get that deal done and money into the general fund in time, if at all. ALSO, they are accounting for an 8% GAIN in Wall Street investments, after losing billions, last year -- also admitting things are off, this year. And it was also noted that city current revenue is about equal to that of Zuma Dogg's.
AND as Riordan has noted, they thought Wall Street was going to go up forever, didn't plan on a major dive on Wall Street....were STILL overly optimistic in their budget projections (even though I don't think THEY were very optimistic, personally).
AND IF YOU DON'T THINK YOU SHOULD BE CONCERNED ABOUT "ALTERNATIVE INVESTMENTS" here's how shady and inappropriate it is for a city municipality to be so heavy on these types of overly risky (shady) investments (that ended up with the people involved pleading guilty and being put out of business for life or in prison):
At a meeting recently, a complaint that the Fire pension head had, regarding an audit report over the pension fund was, "the report assumed the city didn't have any alternative investments in it's portfolio, and actually we have quite a bit of alternative investments."
THAT'S A RED FLAG, FOLKS!!! SO INAPPROPRIATE, THE AUDITING FIRM NATURALLY ASSUMED THESE TYPE OF SHELL GAME SHENANIGANS WOULD NOT BE GOING ON WITH PENSION MONEY...Aka: THE CITY TREASURY.
ANALYSIS: The city of L.A. planned for an all-upscale international city at a time when people are not only moving from homes into cars (or out of the state), but the fake budget (as explained above) means the city is actually MUCH, MUCH worse than people realize; at the same time pension commissioners are lettin' it all roll on a turbulent, volatile and shady Wall Street. (IT AIN'T COMIN' BACK...MAKE ADJUSTMENTS TO ACCOMMODATE FOR THE TRUE DIRECTION THIS CITY IS HEADED, YOU FUCKING DUMMIES!)
COMING NEXTt: Studio City Neighborhood Council to discuss advertising on bus benches. Yes or No?