Monday, February 22, 2010

Villaraigosa Trusts Non-CPA To Balance Budget

Miguel Santana, the City Administrative Officer, the man who Mayor Villaraigosa has charged with balancing the budget, has no formal financial qualifications, as revealed by the Los Angeles Times.

Grim-faced Miguel Santana looks at Mayor Villaraigosa
(Photo credit Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times / February 19, 2010)

Today's LA Times carries an article by David Zahniser headlined "The man behind L.A. City Council's job cuts vote."

Zahniser's investigation into Santana's education and work experience reveals the following:
  • Graduated Whittier College, unknown degree.
  • 1993 Hired by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund "in response to Los Angeles riots."
  • 1994 aide to Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina, he stayed 13 years, acquiring much of his policy experience.
  • 2004 Molina's chief of staff.
  • Santana took a break from Molina's office, getting his master's degree in public administration from Harvard University. 
  • In 2007 he became a top executive in county government, overseeing social services.
What is clear from Zahiser's investigation, is that Santana is not a CPA, or even an MBA. His work experience appears to be that of a political aide, a 'Yes' man for whoever or whatever politician will pay his salary to carry out their policy.

At a time when the City of Los Angeles is facing its toughest financial crisis since the Depression, Mayor Villaraigosa appears to have shunned financial expertise in favor of political expedience.
Villaraigosa has steered the City to the brink of bankruptcy with his extravagant playboy lifestyle and drunken sailor squandering of taxpayer money on boondoggles like a $340,000 contract to teach kids how to ride bicycles

Now that the Mayor's financial irresponsibility has brought the City to its knees, his choice of financial adviser is a not a CPA, not an MBA, but a guy who has been a hatchet man for elected officials his entire career.

Exactly what Santan's qualifications were for MALDEF to have hired him "in response to the Los Angeles riots" is unclear, but it is unlikely to have been financial accumen. Equally, as Gloria Molina's aide and later chief deputy, Santana was not a 'numbers guy'  either. He was a 'fixer.' But he didn't fix financial woes, he made his political employers look good.

So it was no surprise when Santana's numbers were challenged by City Attorney Carmen Trutanich, that they were found to be wrong. 

It was even more of a 'no brainer' that Santana could not answer questions posed by various Councilmembers after Villaraigosa's incoherent rant in the Council Chambers. He did not know the answers to questions about the City's finances and the effects of alternate measures, because he's not a numbers man.

While credit reporting agencies continue to downgrade the Municipal Corporation of the City of Los Angeles, Villaraigosa and Santana seem to think that they can fool Wall Street by their shell game of make-believe "layoffs," just wait until they read the LA Times article and find out what is really going on.

Santana may have experience "in response to riots,"  and that may prove of value when Wall Street and the voters find out that the Mayor's agenda is not fiscal responsibility, but a short-term, short-sighted sell-off of irreplaceable City assets at fire-sale prices to save the Mayor of Failure's political career, and cover up a few favors to political supporters who are circling the Convention Center like buzzards.

1 comment:

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