LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — With Los Angeles voters just weeks away from heading to the polls, some City Council members are vowing to take a pay cut if elected.
Former Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina, who hopes to unseat City Councilman Jose Huizar, has pledged to reduce her pay by as much as two-thirds if voted into office.
Another candidate, Tomas O’Grady, said he would slash his salary in half if voters choose him to replace Councilman Tom LaBonge in Council District 4.
City Council members receive a salary of nearly $185,000 per year, among the highest City Council salaries in the nation. By contrast, most members of the U.S. Congress earn an annual salary of $174,000.
Claremont College Professor Jack Pitney told KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO the tactic is somewhat of a throwback to the 1970s, when members of Congress vowed not to accept pay raises if elected, only to later change the law to make pay raises automatic.
“Therefore members don’t have to go on record voting for a pay raise, and they still get it,” Pitney said. “They have their cake and eat it too.”
But according to Pitney, the strategy could resonate with L.A. voters who have seen their wages depressed over the last few years – and that could help candidates stand out from the crowd.
“After all, most voters don’t really know that much about the candidate, if that’s the one thing that you know about the candidate, that might tip you in the direction of going to the polls and voting for that person.”
While the debate has gained some traction as the March 3 vote draws near, other City Council candidates have downplayed the salary issue, calling instead for the city to reign in soaring pension costs.