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LA pays housing officials better than WH Cabinet members as homeless problem continues to explode

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So much for humble public servants, as six-figure salaries are increasingly a common thing in many local governments. But when facing a projected $675 million deficit, as Los Angeles is, these plush salaries add up quickly.

Not only are 20,000 city employees across all departments making over $150,000, according to Open Books, but a housing department official in Los Angeles was paid more than former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, according to Fox News.



Rushmore Cervantes, who resigned in July as Housing and Community Investment director, earned a salary of $254,937, compared to Carson’s $199,700 Cabinet salary.

Many Democrat-run cities are overrun with homeless people, especially in California, where officials spend hundreds of millions of dollars to address the issue, yet the more they spend to take the edge off being homeless, the more the population grows.

Los Angeles paid 737 people at the Housing and Community Investment Department $55 million in 2020 to help people in poverty, administering Section 8 federal grants, rent stabilization policies, the housing code, and services to the homeless population, Fox News reported.

In addition to Cervantes’ salary, four assistant general managers in the department earned more than $200,000, according to the network.

While homelessness appears to be a boon for these municipal employees, efforts by the city seem to subsidize the problem.

Citing the city census, Fox News said there were 40,000 homeless within city limits in 2020, up 14.2% from 2019 — the Los Angeles metro area is home to around 1 million illegal immigrants. The city blames the surging population on an influx of vagrants.

The article noted that encampment complaints average 4,500 per month, growing to almost 100,000 between Jan. 2019 and August 2020 — tent cities are common in Los Angeles, as are rats and filth in downtown streets. The city battles typhus outbreaks, which is spread by infected fleas on rats.

In the vein of Ronald Reagan saying the more the plans fail, the more the planners plan, Fox News said voters approved a $1.2 billion bond issue in 2016 to have 10,000 new apartments built for the homeless.

But the actual number of units is projected to be around 7,600 as consultant fees and construction overruns pushed the average cost per unit to $559,000.

A LA Homeless Services Authority report showed that it placed nearly 23,000 people in homes in 2019.

“If we were in any other jurisdiction, we’d be celebrating the fact that we take that many people out of homelessness,” said LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, according to NPR.  “We’ve got to find ways to stem the inflow.”

For the record, Ridley-Thomas reportedly is paid an annual salary of $331,043.

As for the budget deficit, the city began cutting hundreds of jobs in December, which was well short of a reported goal of slashing 1,900 city workers.

No surprise, given the Democratic leadership, most of the jobs being eliminated were with the Los Angeles Police Department.

“City Council members identified 843 positions– three-fourths of them with the LAPD– for possible elimination if other cost-cutting measures cannot be agreed to,” Fox News reported. “The package of budget-balancing measures passed with a 13-2 vote would cut 628 jobs from the LAPD– 355 officers and 273 civilians.”

Tom Tillison

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