The Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council was treated to a bit of a scoop Monday night at their board meeting when Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s press secretary shared a letter that was schedule to be released Tuesday to the council.
In the letter, Teddy Davis said the mayor outlined the steps he would like to see in order to support a proposed half-cent sales tax increase that the City Council is considering for the March 5 ballot.
“This is always one of my favorite Neighborhood Councils to come to visit because I had Neal Roden for 8th grade anthropology,” Davis quipped, pointing to one of the SONC board members who is now the principal of The Buckley School Middle School in Sherman Oaks.
Davis said he wanted to share with the Neighborhood Council the letter that will be shared with the City Council at 10 a.m. Tuesday. The Los Angeles Times and the Daily News were to release the letter on Tuesday, too.
“The sales tax increase could be on the ballot the same time as the city considers the new mayor,” Davis said.
There is some concern that if the sales tax is not increased from 8.75 percent to 9.25 percent then the Los Angeles Police could lose 500 officers because the city faces a $216 million deficit.
"If we are going to ask the people of Los Angeles to vote for higher taxes, we must continue to cut spending, spur job creation, protect public safety and maintain fiscal discipline," Villaraigosa wrote in the letter.
"Thus far the City of Los Angeles has relied primarily on permanent and one-time spending cuts rather than new revenue to balance the budget.
"We have drastically reduced the size of the General Fund civilian workforce by one-third through the elimination of over 5,000 positions.”
The mayor is calling on the city council to move forward with:
* New operating model for the Los Angeles Zoo,
* Alternative management for the Convention Center,
* Position cuts,
* Police hiring,
* Department consolidations
and other requests.
City Hall was closed on Veteran’s Day, so the Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council said they appreciated Davis’s appearance at their meeting.
SONC president Jill Banks Barad said, “Los Angeles has been known not to be friendly to the business community, and I’m talking as a business person.”
She said she was concerned that the sales tax would hurt Los Angeles. Davis said that the impact would have to be considered, and that the City Council could make the tax temporary.
See the video above of Davis reading portions of the letter.