Dear Angelenos,

Yesterday, I made the announcement that City Hall must layoff or transfer 1,000 employees. This is not a decision that I take lightly, however the gravity of the situation we face requires swift action and decisive leadership.

I want to share with you this budget calculator that we created to help people understand the tough choices we face as we try to balance our budget, get our fiscal house in order, and create a sustainable financial future for the City of Los Angeles.

In my mind, when the option is between fully funding our Police and Fire departments or operating golf courses and managing parking structures, there is really no choice to be made – public safety comes first. Most of these decisions are not as straightforward and easy to make, but I refuse to defer them simply because they are difficult. Funding cuts, layoffs and transfers may be unpopular, but we cannot afford to pass on these decisions just because it would be safer politically to do so.

Every day we that put off making a decision, the city loses another $300,000. With a $212 million budget gap to close by the end of this fiscal year, we cannot afford to be driven further into the hole.

I am confident that we can work together to restore fiscal health to our system. It won’t be easy, but it is the right thing to do.

[Take the LA Budget Challenge]

Antonio Villariagosa