IT isn’t cheap to run the second-largest city in the country in the style it’s become accustomed to. It takes billions to keep the lights on, the trash collected, the airports open, the police patrolling – so much money it’s easy to forget who’s paying the bills. So it should come as no surprise that tucked inside the nearly $7 billion spending plan adopted by the City Council last week are many feel-good items that do nothing for the quality of life of those who pay the bills. Taken alone, the half a million for a crew of calligraphers is nothing. One hundred thousand here and there for cultural and arts events also seems like nothing next to $7 billion. But these incidentals add up to millions of dollars. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! During fat revenue times, those sorts of petty-cash items are generally overlooked by the public, especially since they promote the city. But at a time when City Hall is squeezing residents with increased fees and reduced basic services, those feel-good items aren’t so petty. As stewards of the city’s treasury, elected officials ought to be questioning these expenses, not justifying them. But then L.A.’s politicians think they own the city, and that taxpayers are nothing but cash cows who can easily be led to slaughter.