Saturday, November 17, 2007

What Can I Do For Me
Certainly Not You

It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly Native American criminal class except Congress [and, especially local politicians].
Mark Twain (1835–1910), author

This is an outrage. The Los Angeles Times has been reporting the past two days that Los Angeles City Council members will receive their fourth pay raise in two years. Other than CEOs or fired CEOs who else can expect such increases?

According to the article:
Municipal lawmakers in Los Angeles already are the highest paid in the nation. The new pay raise is the fourth they've received in the last 2 1/2 years, bringing the annual salary for council members to $178,789, and $232,426 for the mayor. Each has received a raise of at least $35,000 during that period -- a sum that is more than half the median household income for a family of four in Los Angeles County.

One day after elected officials in Los Angeles learned they were getting their fourth pay raise since 2005, six of the 18 said they would turn it down, while the remainder said they'd take it or did not comment.

This is the “let them eat cake” haughtiness of Councilman Tom LaBonge: he said he already works hard for his salary and will work even harder at his higher pay grade.
"I hope the people in the city who know me realize that the work I do -- and have done for 34 years -- is good work for the people of Los Angeles," he said.

I would like to see his constituents demand a new job description for his higher pay grade. After 34 years, I doubt he is still effective.

Council members who have accepted the pay increase:
Richard Alarcon, Councilman Yes**
Jose Huizar, Councilman Yes*
Jan Perry, Councilwoman Yes
Greig Smith, Councilman Yes**
Tony Cardenas, Councilman Yes**
Tom LaBonge, Councilman Yes
Ed Reyes, Councilman Yes
Herb Wesson, Councilman Yes
Rocky Delgadillo, City Attorney Yes
*Will give it to charity. **Had not commented by Thursday. Alarcon, Cardenas and Smith were out of town.

Where do these local politicians rank compared to national political leaders:

The annual salary of the president of the United States was increased to $400,000 per year, including a $50,000 expense allowance, effective January 1, 2001.

Vice President's Salary -- The salary of the vice president (for 2004) $202,900

Congress: Rank-and-File Members' Salary
The salary (2006) for rank-and-file members of the House and Senate is $165,200 per year.

Senate Leadership earn a bit more for being the boss
Majority Leader - $183,500
Minority Leader - $183,500
House Leadership
Speaker of the House - $212,100
Majority Leader - $183,500
Minority Leader - $183,500


Anonymous said...

Oh, yes, and speaking of raises, when did cost-of-living increases come to be classified as "merit" raises? I get that 3 or 4 percent every year or two not because the cost of living has increased twice or three times that amount, I'm told, but because I'm being rewarded for exemplary work. In middle-class America, the merit raise has vanished, such that the only way one can earn appreciably more is to take a new position. Continuing to perform a job I enjoy and excel in—as LaBonge notes he has done for 34 years now—is permissible, but not deemed worthy of significant reward in the corporate dynamic. Maybe that would change if I, too, were given the power to vote for my own salary increase.

The Misanthrope said...

Hi Teresa, The LA City Council members, including the mayor are over paid, especially compared to members of congress, who are also over paid consider how much time they put in. They get two weeks off for Thanksgiving and come back to work for another couple of weeks for taking off until after the New Year. If people even mentioned it on their blogs it might embarrass them enough to make a change.