Report calls Los Angeles a city in decline, warns of crisis in leadership

la-me-ln-report-los-angeles-budget-20140107Los Angeles is a city in decline, strangled by traffic, weighed down by poverty and suffering from “a crisis of leadership and direction,” according to a report released Wednesday by a 13-member citizen panel. The Los Angeles 2020 Commission, convened by City Council President Herb Wesson to examine the city’s economic woes, offered a harsh assessment of civic decision-making, warning that Los Angeles is heading to a future where local government can no longer afford to provide public services. The panel, chaired by former U.S. Commerce Secretary Mickey Kantor, said Los Angeles lacks a coherent approach to economic development and trails other major cities in job growth. City government spending is growing faster than revenue and the pension benefits of city employees are at risk, said the report, titled “A Time For Truth.”  “The city where the future once came to happen has been living in the past and leaving tomorrow to sort itself out,” the report said. Wesson, who is scheduled to appear with commission members at 9 a.m. to discuss the report, asked Kantor to convene the panel and choose its members nearly a year ago. “He and others felt there was value in having an independent look at the city’s problems,” said Wesson spokesman Ed Johnson. The panel plans to offer recommendations for solving the problems it has identified later this year.  Mayor Eric Garcetti, who took office partway through the group’s deliberations, offered a statement on the report that did not directly address its assertions. More
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