AS Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and his staff prepare the argument in favor of the phone-tax initiative on the February ballot, we have an important request of him: Please, Mr. Mayor, tell the truth. So far, no one in City Hall has been honest about this tax initiative. The city gets about $270 million a year from a 10 percent tax on phone usage, but a court is likely to soon rule the tax illegal. When the tax is struck down, Los Angeles will lose a source of revenue it has counted on as it ramped up its policies of giving away the treasury to employees and developers. This is when the truth started getting trampled. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.The biggest lie is that the situation is a “fiscal emergency.” There can’t be an emergency until the current law is actually struck down, but the false claim of a crisis allowed the politicians to put it on the Feb. 5 presidential primary ballot. The second big lie, and one that the public is likely to be bludgeoned with over the next few months, is that this is a tax cut. To make the tax more attractive, the mayor and his team cynically cooked up the idea of a 9 percent replacement phone tax so that the campaign could say that the new phone tax was actually a cut. But the new tax is broader than the original one, and could end up costing Angelenos more. This is a watershed moment in Villaraigosa’s career. He has the choice to be honest about the tax and tell people how he’s going to spend the $270 million – out of his $7 billion budget – for their benefit. Or he can be dishonest and claim it’s a “cut,” and if he doesn’t get it, he will fire cops and firefighters and stop trimming trees, paving streets or doing anything else that provides broad public benefit. Already City Hall is gearing up a campaign of lies and gross distortions. Villaraigosa can do better. He can admit the money will fulfill the overly generous new contracts for city workers, the free cars for city employees and politicians’ staffs, the junkets, the subsidies to luxury hotels. Better still, he could promise to clean up City Hall, to bring salaries and benefits in line with the private sector, and free up far more than $270 million to spend for public benefit. Please, Mr. Mayor, level with the people. Honesty really is the best policy.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!