The deep local budget cuts made over the past few years are starting to take a toll on local services, although . Los Angeles fire chief was called to the carpet to explain slow response times in Los Angeles (only 61% of emergency calls meet national standards for response times), and he put the issue squarely back in the city council’s lap:

“The simple answer is money,” Cummings told the council. “The way we improve response times is by putting more resources in the field.”Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the council cut the LAFDs annual budget by $88 million–from $561 million in 2008 to $473 million in 2011–after the economic downturn.

Read: L.A. fire chief says more money needed to speed up 911 responses (