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COUNCIL MEMBER'S BARBS ARE INAPPROPRIATE; TAX REFORM PLAN PASSES; THREE-FOURTHS OF AREA BUSINESSES WILL RECEIVE TAX CUTS.

Byline: Lee Kanon Alpert Local View

THE recent antics by some Los Angeles City Council members over business tax reform leave one wondering how much lower local politics can go.

Once again, we saw a classic case of an ``us vs. them'' (i.e. some City Council members vs. the mayor) mentality that ended up disparaging some of the most civic-minded business and community leaders in Los Angeles.

Councilwoman Jackie Goldberg, a constant critic of Mayor Richard Riordan's plan for charter reform, the city business tax proposal and almost anything else he does for the city, made the unfortunate and outrageous decision to direct her political slings and arrows at those outside City Hall.

Her attempt to link a $50,000 donation received by the charter reform effort from Bert Boeckmann, owner of Galpin Motors, to a supposed 17 percent tax break under the mayor's business tax plan was inexcusable and was political rhetoric at its worst.

Part of the mayor's job is to take heat from other elected officials. Those business people and community leaders who donate their time and money to make Los Angeles a better place to live should not be subjected to political potshots by officials who have their own tired agendas.

Goldberg pointed to Bert Boeckmann, Saban Entertainment, Ticketmaster of Southern California and BankAmerica Corp., all financial contributors to the charter reform process. She cited some mysterious ``research'' that led her to proclaim that because these businesses had made contributions to the mayor's charter reform plan, they would receive special quid pro quo tax cuts under the mayor's business tax proposal. She had no facts, and her numbers were proven wrong. Since tax rates for individual businesses are confidential, Goldberg's assertions are even more perplexing.

Thankfully, with serious compromise, a business tax reform plan was passed by the City Council, and three-quarters of Los Angeles' businesses will receive a tax cut under the new plan. This means more business retention, more business attraction and more jobs. What's left is the bad aftertaste of an elected official hurling false, hurtful innuendos at the private sector so she can maintain her political posture.

Goldberg's comments should be put into perspective. The mayor has personally given millions of dollars to charities - to causes that could not possibly benefit him personally. He receives no salary for his work as mayor. Yet Goldberg is implying that a secret agenda existed in which Riordan's business tax plan would be some kind of backdoor payback to charter reform supporters. The inference is insulting.

These mean-spirited comments are without logic or fact and can dampen enthusiasm for volunteerism by those who have the financial resources and time to do good for the community. Let's hope this is not the case. We desperately need such business leaders to be active and supportive of their community.

One such San Fernando Valley leader is Bert Boeckmann, a named target in Goldberg's unfounded rhetoric. His family is known as the ``first family of the San Fernando Valley.'' He worked his way up through the ranks at Galpin Motors until he finally bought the company. It is now the largest Ford dealership in the United States. He and his equally community-minded wife, Jane, started their own family foundation that gives away many thousands of dollars a year to worthy causes.

The last thing Bert Boeckmann would be concerned about is the small benefit of the business tax break as a payback for his donation to the charter reform effort.

Councilwoman Goldberg is a bright, intelligent, dedicated and committed elected official, but in this instance, she is just dead wrong. If politicians are unhappy with a proposal under review, they should provide meaningful alternative solutions. They should stick to the real issues and not use their public platform to unconscionably damage others in their zeal to make a political point.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Mar 16, 1999
Words:641
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