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PUBLIC FORUM : READERS PRAISE, DENOUNCE PAY HIKE FOR CITY WORKERS.

As a proud retired city of Los Angeles employee for 39 years, I have in most cases agreed with your editorials. However, I take sharp disagreement with you about the raises just agreed upon with the city of Los Angeles.

Prior to my retirement in 1995, I and the employees working for me, had gone six years with only a 1.6 percent raise. I did not notice you or the good citizens making a fuss about the lack of raises at that time.

On the contrary, we understood that the city was going through hard times financially and were willing to share part of the burden. This was done without any griping on the part of the city employees. Our expenses went up just like everyone else's. But that is old news.

I know it's not popular to talk about disasters, but the city employees were - and, I'm sure, are today - ready to answer the call, as they did in the Northridge Earthquake and, prior to that, the Sylmar Quake. The city cannot contract out and receive the caliber of services and loyalty of the city employees willing to give in covering these emergencies.

It is only reasonable for the city to pay prevailing wages for its employees. They are entitled to an equitable salary. If not, then is it any wonder why we have such a mobile society today?

- Don Benjamin

Burbank

Today's city workers get bigger and better benefits with more days off with pay than workers in the private sector. Working for the city, you're not subject to downsizing.

If you become work efficient, make waves or rock the boat, your department head will ask for your resignation or get you dismissed. Your lawyer can then take your case to the idle City Council. With the mayor's helping intervention, those wimps will bargain for a buyout if you promise not to sue the city in return.

To become eligible for the mayor's new bonus, you'll have to be outstanding in getting brownie points, issuing the daily lip service and misdirecting phone calls. In City Hall lingo that's called going the ``extra mile and beyond.''

Can the city afford the added $120 million price tag for bonuses and raises? You're asking the wrong person. I'm just a peasant who's being stuck with the city's bills.

- Benjamin R. Laufer

Sherman Oaks

I believe that the entire City Council has lost its mind. After a $1.5 million increase for its staff and its own increases last year, there is a 16 percent increase for the rank and file and 11 percent performance bonuses doled out by the mayor. Where's all this extra cash coming from? Well let's see: How about decreasing the number of building inspectors? Fewer inspectors equals more building violations.

Don't forget the lives lost in the illegally converted garages. But the council members are social engineers and not interested in the public health, safety and welfare of their constituents and, besides, the money has to come from somewhere.

Lay off some planners? The constituents are repaid with longer lines and higher fees.

Potholes? Forget it. That crew was cut to the bare bones years ago.

Clean parks? Forget that, too. Maintenance personnel were cut when the street crews were laid off.

So what do we have? The fat cats and their cronies get fatter and we pay and pay and get less and less.

- Darene Sutherland

Reseda

As a Valley resident since 1968 and Los Angeles city employee since 1985, I am dismayed by your recent series of attack ads, thinly disguised as objective news stories, on my fellow citizens and employees. You heard right, citizens and employees and I will also add, taxpayers.

The Daily News appears to take the position that Los Angeles employees are exempt from taxes and are not part of the community. We are your neighbors, friends and family. In addition to our jobs, you find us coaching Little TLeague, participating in after-school activities with our children and sitting beside you in your church, mosque or synagogue.

We were helping you survive the 1994 Northridge Earthquake, having to abandon our own families to do so and despite our own homes being destroyed.

With absolutely nothing to support its allegation, the Daily News (``The collapse of L.A.; labor gets a fast payback; taxpayers get zilch''; Editorials, June 5) has asserted that the cost-of-living increases in our recently negotiated contract exceed those given private sector employees.

Further, you offer no evidence of how you reached your conclusion that the average, assuming there is such a thing, city employee will earn $42,000.

The Daily News appears to want public slaves instead of public servants.

- James M. Grant

Van Nuys

I can't speak for all city employees, but I can tell you this: A majority of the field personnel earn the money they get every day by being on call whenever you think you might have a problem.

This means on every major holiday, every weekend and all night, when you are at home relaxing, there's a city worker out there making sure your sewers aren't backing into your house, your trash is not in plain sight and that parks are clean enough so your kids can play.

I wonder who's really stuck, the taxpayer, the politicians or the municipal employee.

You are right about one thing: We can't say anything to the taxpayer, but we can't say anything to the politician either.

So tell me: Where do we go to vent our frustration? We don't. We bite the bullet and keep doing our job. So, yes, I do get a little upset when something goes our way and people like you jump all over it, like we're getting paid for doing nothing.

- Martin Murillo

Sylmar

Councilwoman Jackie Goldberg says the 16 percent increase is an ``excellent package.'' When are we going to wise up and get rid of the ``Goldberg spending machine?''

The first thing that she did after being eleTcted was to make sure unmarried city employees get the same benefits as those who are married. Since then she has come up with scheme after scheme to pay more to our so-called civil servants. We have the fox minding the chicken coop.

- Frank Carlisi

Calabasas

I used to wonder why a wealthy man would offer to run for public office for only $1 a year. And then run for a second term as well. Now I know.

Isn't it wonderful that the mayor can give pay raises to whomever he pleases, and other city bosses can give similar pay raises to their employees regardless of performance? And all the while they poor-mouth that the city has no money.

Well, folks, our bosses - the politicians - can do whatever they wish. After all, once they are in office, it is their money to do with as they please. The public be damned.

- Frank Barron

Van Nuys

As an L.A. city employee, I would like to assure Daily News editors and taxpayers of our great city that I am a very good value. I will continue to work hard and efficiently.

I would like to point out that at the top of our ladder we do not have a CEO commanding the kind of a million-dollar-guaranteed contract that seems to be all too common in the private, and maybe even a little corrupt, sector.

- Christopher Reibsamen

Chatsworth

Every time you turn around, our glorious politicians are finding new ways to spend our money. Lately, we have entered an age of bonds, where we are told we can't survive without this service or that service if we don't vote for multibillion-dollar snookering.

Then pay raises that are automatically passed for city workers are so generous you'd think money grows on trees.

The elected public servants should remember who pays the bills around here, and give the taxpayers a pay raise by cutting taxes and the fat.

- Josh Peaslee

Tarzana

No wonder our city is known for deep pockets. The ones dishing it out are not picking up the tab. Will we, who pay, receive true value - 16 pTercent better performance?

- John E. Cooper

Woodland Hills

I think this pay raise is extravagant. The city's wringing more and more money out of us. If it were for a worthy cause such as toward public schools, I would understand - but municipal employees?

- Waylan Wong

North Hollywood
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Jun 14, 1997
Words:1401
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