LA Mayor to City Council: Cough-Up Your Cars!

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
la mayor to city council cough up your cars

According to the LA Times, "Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa wants to eliminate most of the 229 vehicles in the city's executive motor pool, as well as cars from other fleets, to help close a $155-million shortfall." The Mayor's proposal would take 93 of the City Council's 108 cars off the public payroll. Redefining chutzpah and violating the borders of plausibility, Council members say the move would hurt LA's air quality; their city-financed wheels are low emissions vehicles, while their personal wheels are gas-guzzling SUVs and suchlike. So it's all for the children? Well… City Controller Laura Chick, a former council member, said elected leaders use the cars to entice talented deputies who are in demand around City Hall. "It's become a traditional perk," said Chick, who would get to keep her 2004 Toyota Prius Hybrid under the mayor's plan. The Times says the Mayor and the Council will reach a compromise on the matter. Meanwhile, the LA Police run 1,105 take-home cars. A debate for another time? Count on it.

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  • William C Montgomery William C Montgomery on Feb 04, 2008

    Good to see that a government agency is (finally) getting with the times. Most (villainous) private corporations purged themselves of their executive motor pools a decade ago. If counsel members are so concerned about harming air quality following the dismissal of their low-emissions perks, perhaps they should do what they expect the electorate to do: begin using public transportation.

  • David C. Holzman David C. Holzman on Feb 04, 2008

    Good on the mayor for this. But California could probably do far more for the state's budget (yes I know this is about the city's not the state's budget) and clean air by passing a state version of the federal SAVE Act, proposed by NC Dem Rep Heath Shuler, to require employers to e-verify all prospective employees, to avoid hiring illegals.

  • Blautens Blautens on Feb 04, 2008

    Take home cars for police officers aren't quite the same as other fleet vehicles assigned to individuals - it's easy to do the math with the fleet and find out that if you don't finance or lease (and most large agencies don't), properly administered take home car programs don't actually cost any more than rotating cars 3 shifts a day (AKA line cars) - they last much longer, since besides the actual mileage difference the individual officer tends to take much better care of "his or "her" assigned car than some line car flogged by every member of the department. Add the intangible value of the perception of a larger police presence because of a larger marked fleet, the benefit of having them parked in neighborhoods, and the fact you can use it as an incentive in lieu of actual pay - it's not hard to see why many departments do it.

  • on Feb 04, 2008

    The reported answer to the call for the abolition of the City's executive motor pool is so ludicrous it could only have come from a politician. Why aren't the council members already driving fuel efficient vehicles, carpooling, and using public transportation? If it's such a wonderful idea for all of us little people, why not for them as well? Of course, as far as I'm concerned, they should drive whatever they want, as long as they are paying for it, not me.

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