LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has refuted claims the city could be headed for bankruptcy on the heels of Detroit’s recent filing.

Dan Pellissier, president of the advocacy group California Pension Reform, contends L.A. may be just a few years away from becoming unable to repay its debts if costs aren’t kept down.

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“We’re in serious trouble. They’ve been running deficits for the last several years,” Pellissier told KNX1070’s Claudia Peschuitta.

“In the way they spend money and the way they fund their retirements… they can just find themselves in the same place as Detroit in probably the same amount of time. Two, three, four years,” he said.

Mayor Garcetti balked at the comparison. He said he’s determined to keep raises, pension and health care costs down.

“We’re nowhere close to being Detroit.

“We have a population growth, where we saw their population drop in half.

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“We’ve got robust industries, they rely on one or two. We have arguably ten or 12 primary industries here.

“And we’ve done the hard work with pension reform that Detroit didn’t,” he said.

Garcetti conceded there is more work to be done.

“While we backed away from the cliff, the cliff isn’t out of sight. And it’s going to be very important to me that we hold down those raises, pensions and health care plans that in the past have driven expenses in this city. I’ve said that during the campaign. I will continue to do that at the negotiating table as mayor,” he said.

Pellissier said he’s not counting on those promises until he sees further action taken at City Hall.

“The real questions is if Mayor Garcetti wants to bite the bullet and make the tough decisions, or is he just going to preside over the decline of his city, because, you know, they’re in serious trouble,” he contended.

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