Los Angeles City Councilmen Tony Cardenas and Greig Smith couldn’t have picked a worse time to announce their plans for a property-tax hike to fund road repairs. On the very day the San Fernando Valley councilmen put their bond proposal forward, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was out selling his plan to raise garbage fees to pay for more cops. That made two proposed tax hikes in one day, both to fund services that L.A. residents thought they were already paying for. Coming together, these two plans will make the city’s voters less likely to support either one. Lost on no one in L.A. – except, apparently, the politicians – is that property- and sales-tax revenues have skyrocketed in recent years. So why does City Hall need new funds to fulfill its fundamental responsibilities: maintaining the streets and keeping them safe? The answer lies not in the taxpayers but in themselves. Clean up City Hall’s ethics, get a grip on employee salaries and benefits, eliminate wasteful and ineffective programs, and restore credibility to municipal government. Then we can talk.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREOregon Ducks football players get stuck on Disney ride during Rose Bowl eventThe answer is simple: The reason we don’t have adequate roads today – or, for that matter, enough cops – is because city leaders have long preferred to shower taxpayer money on themselves, their friends, their supporters and public-employee unions. The mayor and council members now say they’re changing, and they’re shocked and dismayed to find out the city is in terrible shape: bad roads, communities controlled by gangs, homeless lining the sidewalks, poor schools, a 19th century trash policy and even elephants at the zoo living in squalor. Just one measure of the impact of neglect is the condition of the roads. At current funding levels, it would take until 2086 to fix L.A.’s crumbling streets and cavernous potholes – by which time, of course, they would be in terrible shape again. Cardenas and Smith have good intentions in wanting to fix the streets. But they come to taxpayers asking to help pay for their own lack of leadership, without having repaired City Hall first. Their money-grubbing raises an important question: If they need new taxes to pay for the basics, then what, exactly, are our taxes paying for now?