Whistleblower hotline: (213) 785-6098

Friday, December 31, 2004

Sad To See It Go

Billingsley's Restaurant in Van Nuys is closing after 36 years in service, next to the golf course at Van Nuys Airport.

This legendary Valley establishment served all kinds of people over the years. I even had some poached eggs there in 1973. Many of the regulars knew the place was owned and operated by the sons of "June Cleaver," actress Barbara Billingsley.

The last few years this place has been harrassed by the city including almost going under due to that damn living wage ordinance. Further batterment by all the damn onerous regulations government puts on honest businesspeople and you just can't make it work if you're a mom and pop business.

What the socialists that run this city don't understand is the best way to get a "living wage" is to get a job, work hard and continue to educate/improve yourself so you become more and more valuable to employers. As well, the surest way out of poverty is to allow people to start small businesses and work their way up. As the owner of Billingsley's - Drew Billingsley - noted in the Daily News article, only the large corporations can afford to run individual restaurants with all the restrictions these days. Imagine a Larry Cano of El Torito trying to start his chain in this environment - you just can't do it. I guess if you want to start some Melrose, crap, small portion, shi shi restaurant where half a twig costs $45, you can afford to do that - but if you want to feed middle class families - forget it!

It's a real shame how things are going in this country these days.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Happy New Year

New YearUntil LA sobers up following New Years, not much is going to be happening in terms of activity around the city. Here are some random thoughts:

How bored was the LA Times to out of the blue jump with a slamitorial against Bob Hertzberg?

The US is being called stingy for its response to tsunami relief, but everyday Americans as usual are showing their generosity, proving there is not a government solution to everything.

No one has guessed who Meat is.
Finally, to keep you busy over the weekend, feel free to post your New Year's resolutions for all six of our Mayoral candidates.

Happy New Year!

PS: Today Mayor Sam got it's 10,000th hit! Congrats guys!

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

The James Hahn World Wide Wait

hahnDecember 28th and Jim Hahn has still not launched his website. Or maybe this is it. Anything else going on?

Howe Sad!

HoweBeleagured and criticized Los Angeles Planning Director Con Howe is going to retire his $240k a year post, announced just two days before Christmas, under the radar of most.

The Planning Department had been under attack from numerous quarters, however earlier in the year Howe insisted he had no plans to retire. Though the buzz is Mayor Hahn was eager to see Howe go, spokes-flacks for both Howe and the Mayor denied he was pushed. The LA Times notes that Howe is the 12th department head to resign this year. Howe is only 55 but his 12 years of service allows him to retire with full benefits and having served in similar posts in other cities, allows him to pop up somewhere else, double dipping, should he choose to go that route.

A nationwide search is underway (more consultant dollars - maybe they can swing by the Mayor's office and give resume tips) for a replacement. Howe will serve until one is chosen, assuming Hahn doesn't already have someone in mind. Apparently few are sad to see him go, even this letter writer to the Daily News:

What a thoughtful and wonderful Christmas, oops, holiday, present City Planning Director Con Howe has given Los Angeles with his retirement announcement. It's also time for some of the old guard in the Planning Department to consider joining him, especially those who have fought the concept of neighborhood-development specific plans and neighborhood council empowerment for neighborhood land-use decision making.

Along with selecting a replacement, the issue of neighborhood council land-use planning and land-use decision-making empowerment should go on the City Council table. Given this news, and with upcoming Los Angeles city elections, the time and the opportunity to pursue real neighborhood empowerment may never be better.

--Tom Paterson
Valley Village

Since I know we have some of you planning folks out there, feel free to share your thoughts. Overall this is a boring news story, but yet another sympton of the sickness that is City Hall.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Sticks and Steins

SteinThe latest buzz is that the skids are allegedly being greased to slide longtime commissioner Ellen Stein off the Board of Public Works in order to deflect criticism of Mayor Hahn's recent controversial removal of board member Cynthia Ruiz (an allegeged Hahn opponent Antonio Villaraigosa supporter) from the panel. Hahn dumped Ruiz and replaced her with City Councilman Tony Cardenas' longtime aide Yolanda Fuentes, to allegedly garner East Valley Latino support of Hahn's re-election. The post is quite a plum as its the City's only full time commission and members are paid $100,000 per year (the same cost as one police officer).

We took a look at this issue as well as a look at the amount of money the commissioners have donated to various elected officials here. By the way, nearly two weeks after Fuentes was confirmed by City Council, Cynthia Ruiz remains on the Board's website. You got to love how fast ITA moves! Maybe they only have dial-up.

As noted before as well, Stein is the wife of longtime playmaker and developer Ted Stein, who has surfaced in play to pay allegations while serving as an member of the Airport Commission. A contractor who lost an airport bid claims that Stein allegedly shook them down for a donation to Mayor Poopy's anti-Valley independence campaign. Vendors that were considered for the contract donated nearly $150,000 to the anti-Valley fund. The firm that refused to donate was supposedly shown the door.

Stein is also the mother of Hahn staffer, Jennifer Stein, who serves a liasion to both the Valley and the Jewish community for the Mayor. All in all, one heck of a connected family.

So the question on the table is - if Mrs. Stein is ready to take the sacrificial plunge for Poopy - where does she go and will she return to the BPW should the Poopster pull of the comeback play of all time and actually get re-elected?

SteinIf you like this story, you might like this product!
Mayor Sam's Official LA Pay to Play Stein
Only $19.99 at Mayor Sam's Place, the official gift shop of the Sister City

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Who Is Meat?

meatOne of the more colorful posters here on Mayor Sam's blog goes by the name of Meat. Meat has been very active posting, particularly on issues related to candidate Antonio Villaraigosa.

In order to have a little fun - and to make sure that no one who is not Meat doesn't get blamed for his antics - Meat's agreed to join us in a little contest. We are leaving it you to pull back his mask, and out Meat. Who is Meat? What is his name?
If you are correct, Meat will out himself. If no one guesses correctly, Meat will remain anonymous.

What we know about Meat is that:
  • He knows a lot about LA politics.
  • He doesn't seem to care for Mayor Hahn.
  • He is prone to wearing hats.
If you are correct, Meat will out himself.
To sweeten it a bit, the correct poster (who must somehow identify themselves to Mayor Sam) will get a free banned LA County Seal button. Determing the winner is the sole discretion of Mayor Sam.

Blog away, dum dums.

Et Tu Miguel OR Labor Backstabs Antonio?

ContrerasIn 2001, labor boss Miguel Contreras put his efforts behind former California Assembly Speaker as he sought to defeat then City Attorney James Hahn for the Mayor's seat. Significant labor money and resources went to Villaraigosa because, as Miguel said, "Antonio would understand our issues on a gut level."

What a difference four years makes.

Both Hahn and Villaraigosa are running for Mayor again, but this time Hahn is the incumbent and Villaraigosa is a City Councilman challenging Hahn. And in the name of political expediency, Contreras has done an about face and thrown labor's support to Hahn. "An old labor saying reminds us that labor rewards our friends," Contreras was quoted as saying when announcing the endorsement of Hahn.

To be sure, Jim Hahn has been a good friend to labor. He has raised salaries, given the police union what they wanted in firing Bernard Parks and giving them four days a week off. He's proposed the $11 billion LAX expansion boondoggle (with the work going to union only crews) that includes a $500 million payout to labor groups, among others.
"An old labor saying reminds us that labor rewards our friends."
But don't cry for Antonio. Yes, he won't get the ready made door knockers, phone canvassers and money Contreras can give him that will now go to Hahn. But he also won't be stuck with the union albatross around his neck should he be one of the two finishers in the Mayor's race. Like only Nixon could go to China, perhaps Antonio could be the one to break the union's hold on the city and let us move forward.

Presents an interesting opportunity for Antonio.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Tony Villar On The Air (Again), Slams Hahn Big Time

Brian WhitmanAntonio Villaraigosa guested with Brian Whitman on KABC this morning "for the full hour" (Whitman is subbing for the vacationing Doug McIntyre during the holidays - I can relate). This was approxiamately a week after a phone interview with McIntyre.

Among his comments:
  • Mayor Hahn was AWOL during 9/11 and stayed in Washington D.C. for four days, making no effort to return home until a candlelighting ceremony was held.
  • Hahn does not seem to be enjoying being the Mayor.
  • Hahn's administration is the most corrupt since Frank Shaw 70 years ago with investigations by the City Attorney, District Attorney, US Department of Justice, federal and county grand juries and the Ethics Commission.
  • Mayor Hahn has no energy, no drive.
  • Stopped short of calling him boring when prompted by Whitman.
  • Slammed Hahn's airport plan calling for investment in Palmdale and Ontario.
Cause I was chasing the kids around and getting ready to head to the office, I didn't hear the full interview, so feel free to post any additional tidbits.

What If They Gave A Debate And No One Watched?

debateThere was apparently some miscommunication as many of us thought that both Channel 7 and Channel 36 were airing last night's Mayoral Debate hosted by an environmental group. They must not have been willing to pop for the microwave time cause apparently the two stations only taped the debate for later broadcast.

However, LA Voice's intrepid Mack Reed burned the midnight oil blogging a late night delayed broadcast of the gabfest. After 90 minutes of drama, Reed was unable to declare a winner.

Rather than re-hash it here, go directly to the debate blog and then come back and tell us what you think. Reed also lists the future rebroadcast of the debate on both Channel 7 and Channel 36 (which airs on both cable and internet).

(photo from LA Observed)

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

County Seal: Divine Intervention?

old sealWord from LA County Seal activist David Hernandez is that something akin to a Christmas miracle may be happening in the Los Angeles County Hall of Administration.

new sealLast Friday, at the cost of $1800 in taxpayer funds, the old seals hung since 1957 in the meeting place of the County Supes were covered up by the new design. County Supervisors Zev Yarovslasky, Gloria Molina and Yvonne Brathwaite Burke took up a request from the American Civil Liberties Union that the existing seal designed by Mayor Poopy's Dad Kenny Hahn did not pass the seperation of church and state "smell test" because of the inclusion of a small Spanish cross on the seal.

However today it was noticed that the cross from the old seal is shining through the new seal and is hovering just above the non descript California Mission building the County Supes inserted into the new seal. Channel 4 confirms this tonight and word is a story is coming in tomorrow's Daily News.

Befuddled and fearful of more atheist lawsuits, the three liberal County supes have ordered further work to obliterate the old cross. Representing the Republican minority, Supervisors Don Knabe and Mike Antonovich have demanded no further public funds be spent on covering up the seal.

In the meantime, Hernandez is also making the claim County workers are refusing to change the seal in various places - and that items with the seal are showing up on Ebay. Of course, you need not go to Ebay, but right to Mayor Sam's Place where we have a few seal items that seem to be selling. (Yes, shameless plug but someone has to keep the lights on here.)


Monday, December 20, 2004

Kennedy/Shriver 21st Century Political Plan

"Go West"

2003 Recall Gray Davis/Elect Arnold Schwarzenegger as Governor
2004 Elect Bobby Shriver to Santa Monica City Council
2005 Elect Bill Rosendahl to 11th District Los Angeles City
Council seat (Bobby Kennedy protégé)
2006 Re-elect Arnold, elect Bobby to 41st State Assembly seat
2007 Amend the U.S. Constitution to allow Arnold to run for
President of the United States
2008 Elect Arnold as President, re-elect Bobby to Assembly
2009 Re-elect Bill Rosendahl
2010 Elect Bobby as California Attorney General
2012 Re-elect Arnold as President

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Candidates Spin Mostly Weak Webs

The LA Downtown News had two experts look at the websites created by the five Mayoral contenders and concluded that Bob Hertzberg's content rich and high octane site was the best, though gave the site few points for aesthetics. They noted that Hertzberg is the only candidate who offers a Spanish translation of his site. Richard Alarcon's site is pretty but features probably unnecessary bells and whistles and is light on content. Bernard Parks design is called flat. Antonio Villaraigosa's site contains "outdated and uncompleted elements."

Hahn SiteMayor Hahn's still unbuilt site baffles the consultants. The experts say that Hahn is "squandering an opportunity to both trumpet his accomplishments and rally his supporters." The lack of a Hahn site led them to feel that the Mayor either "doesn't understand" or "doesn't care about" the value of reaching out to voters via his website.

And yes, the Downtown News and their panel of experts failed to review the website of also ran Walter Moore, so we'll do it here. Moore's site has the basic information needed, but is amateurish at best. His photo on the front page is not the greatest (a far more flattering photo of Moore appears on the "Why Moore Will Win" page. Its obvious Moore's site is a home built job, but couldn't have Walter at least used a Front Page template? That would lend had some flair to the site and show he was serious. Since Walter's loaned himself $100,000 for his campaign, perhaps he could drop a couple of grand to get at least somewhat of a decent site.

Hahn Guaranteed Re-Election

HahnsWell Janice Hahn that is. When her only declared opponent, John Fer, failed to gather enough signatures to get on the ballot by Friday's deadline, she was given an early Christmas present, reports the Daily Breeze.

So now we have Mayor Sam off to his holiday shindig at his Arizona spread and City Hall near empty leading up to Christmas. I am sure the Sister City will be a little quiet, but don't worry, I'll be filling in for Mayor Sam with my ear to the ground.

To keep those of you home for the holidays busy until Christmas - what would you buy any of our mayoral candidates as a holiday gift?

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Maybe It Is Bratton

brattonWe hear the very latest buzz out of DC is that LAPD Chief William Bratton is in serious contention to replace Tom Ridge as Secretary of Homeland Security. With Senator Joe Lieberman having taken himself out of consideration, the word is the President needs someone who can sail through the Senate. Likely heir apparent Asa Hutchison is more from Bush's world, but his confirmation could be problematic as Democrats remember he was the lead accuser in the impeachment of President Clinton. Bratton would very easily appeal to both Democrats and Republicans in the Senate and most likely would be championed by Senator Dianne Feinstein. It may have been considered glad handing the hometown boys, but yesterday in an appearance in LA Ridge gave a thumbs up to both Bratton and Sheriff Lee Baca as potential candidates.

In the meantime, speculation abounds on how the withdrawal of the Bernard Kerik nomination and its aftermath may have inflicted a serious body politic blow to former Mayor Rudy Giuliani and any hopes he had for higher office. Indeed, in attempting damage control, Rudy has "spanked" Bernie (no not Bitter Bernie). Back home in New York, the local press makes the case for Bratton.

Conventional wisdom says that a Bratton appointment serves Bush in three ways. One - Bratton is well regarded and certainly has the qualifications to take the job and do it well. Second - as we mentioned - his confirmation should sail through the Senate easily eliminating the need for Bush to spend any of his hard earned political "capital" and save that for other fights. Lastly, and a lovely side benefit for the President is through a Bratton appointment he gets to spank Rudy for putting him in the position he did. No doubtBratton would love the poetic justice of swiping a plum from the Giuliaini protege who followed Bratton after Rudy fired him.

Yes, Bratton is saying he does not want the position. But that statement does not preclude him from receiving the offer, and if anything positions him as not angling for the post. You don't want to be seen as too eager or lobbying for the job. After the treatment he and John Miller have received here in LA, they may very well want to go to D.C.

Stay tuned.

Pay To Play Media?

Moore Second tier Mayoral candidate Walter Moore makes a potentially explosive charge in a recent email missive to supporters - that the editorial director of a local newspaper implied to Moore that if he bought advertising in their paper, he would receive more editorial coverage. The newspaper official mentioned ads purchased by fellow candidates Bob Hertzberg and Richard Alacron. It must be noted that Moore is not referring to the LA Times, Daily News or other major newspaper, but the neighborhood publisher, Arroyo Seco News Group. Still, Moore's charges are disturbing when you consider the potential implications.
When NBC's Channel 4 excluded me from the so-called mayoral debate --
the "debate" the League of Women Voters denied sponsoring -- one of my
colleagues said the media only want to cover candidates with enough
money to buy advertising from them. I thought he was kidding.
However, now that I've deposited $100,000 into my campaign fund, I'm
learning that he was right! Case in point: today I got an e-mail from
the "Editorial Director" of the "Arroyo Seco News Group." Not the
sales manager, mind you, but the "Editorial Director." As some of you
know, I became the first person to file to run against Hahn back in
August 2003, but the first time I heard from this guy was today -- just
days after two papers published stories on my six-figure war chest. So
this "Editorial Director" writes to me, not to ask about my platform,
but to urge me to buy advertising in his newspaper. And it gets
better! Rather than simply telling me his rates or circulation
figures, he implied that if I bought advertising, his paper would start
covering me: "Our last issue featured a look at the major mayoral
candidates, but we are interested in including your candidacy in our
coverage." He also mentioned that Alarcon and Hertzberg had both
bought ads in his paper. So "pay to play" isn't just for crooked
politicians anymore! Now the media are hinting that they're willing to
do their job (i.e., report the news) -- provided you're willing to buy
advertising. Very nice. Doesn't that just give you a warm feeling
about the Fourth Estate and journalistic professionalism? Me, too.
Hey, I wonder how much it costs to get an endorsement?


Ask Tony Villar

tonyMayoral candidate Antonio Villaraigosa will be on Doug McIntyre's morning drive radio program on KABC tomorow (Friday, December 17th) morning.

Since we have heard that McIntyre reads this site, here's your chance to post questions that perhaps Doug will pick up and ask Tony Villar. As Meat says "Blog away dum dums."

Bratton, Bushes & Bureaus

treeAssorted happenings around the City on a fine Thursday morning:

Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge was in town to announce $65 million in federal security funding for LA County. On hand were two men both being touted as potential replacements for the outgoing Ridge, Sheriff Lee Baca and LAPD Chief William Bratton. Ridge gave his stamp of approval to both men. Baca however indicated he is flattered by the attention, but Bratton signaled possible interest.
"If the president comes knocking on your door, you naturally have to take him seriously," Bratton said.
Daily News
In the meantime, Poopy lapped up the Federal dollars while Councilman Jack Weiss called it a Bush Administration publicity stunt. Read all about it in the Daily News.

The Metropolitan Transit Authority will unveil its landscaping plan for the under construction San Fernando Valley Orange Line busway. On deck is a promise of over 900,000 bushes and trees along the route. Get the details here.

And finally, to give Forkush more to talk about, Councilwoman Wendy Greuel is asking the LA Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Southern California Association of Governments to create special programs and resources to market the San Fernando Valley as a tourist destination.

Maybe the nearly million bush march on the Orange Line could be one of the tourist stops. Or Forkush's bridge.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Its so good to have friends!

HernandezFresh off his Congressional campaign and efforts to save the County Seal, community activist David Hernandez has taken up a new cause - that of the "second tier" Mayoral candidate who won't go away, Walter Moore.

Following an email from Noah Modisett, of the Citywide Alliance of Neighborhood Councils regarding Neighborhood Council participation in upcoming Mayoral debates, Hernandez protested the exclusion of Moore. The Neighborhood Councils are gearing up for two KCAL/KCBS sponsored debates to be held in February, at which select groups from each of the city's Neighborhood Councils will be invited to attend.

Hernandez, who garnered national attention with his campaign to save the seal is a frequent guest on various local talkradio programs and has gained quite a high profile in the community. So far on Moore's behalf, he has sent out two e-mail missives to his massive list.

"As a member of the North Hollywood Northeast Neighborhood Council I would like to ask what makes a candidate for Mayor viable enough to be included in the debates sponsored by the Neighborhood Councils?," Hernandez began his email. "Walter Moore has the support, money and knowledge to be considered a viable candidate. I am submitting a formal request and protest to the Alliance of Neighborhood Councils as well as the Ethics Commission...If the Alliance is a sponsor then city funding is involved. As a board member I demand a fair, honest and inclusive debate." Hernandez later sent out the city requirements for Mayoral candidates to receive city matching funds, most of which Moore has met.

Hernandez is known for rallying the troops on hot button topics. Moore should count himself lucky he's taken up this cause. Now if Hernandez can rally LA's Republican establishment to back up Moore - that would be a feather in his cap! But don't count on those sell-outs to do anything.

Bratton to Homeland Security?

Homeland SecuritySpeculation continues to focus on both Sheriff Lee Baca and LAPD Chief William Bratton as potential candidates for the Secretary of Homeland Security position, particularly since Bratton's successor Bernard Kerik's withdrawl has brought about more questions than answers. In fact, the Providence (Rhode Island) Journal is now plugging for Bratton as is the Dallas Morning News.

The alleged scandals revolving around Kerik range from hiring an illegal alien maid, not paying taxes on her income to selling stock options in a firm doing business with NYPD and more. Some of the more titiliating details involve an alleged affair with conservative book publisher Judith Regan. However, a report on Matt Drudge's website takes those details a step further:
An apartment near the World Trade Center site that former Police Commissioner Bernard B. Kerik used to engage in an extramarital affair with publisher Judith Regan, was originally donated for the use of weary police and rescue workers who were helping after 9-11! One bedroom faced the pit of ground zero... Regan would visit it while Kerik was police commissioner, meaning between Sept. 11 and Dec. 31, 2001. Kerik refused to answer any questions Tuesday regarding the apt... NYT planning coverage... Developing...
In addition to Bratton and Baca, several other interesting possibilities are being floated such as South Bay Congresswoman Jane Harman.

The latest speculation is focusing around former Vice Presidential Candidate and Connecticut Senator, Joe Lieberman as well as current undersecretary Asa Hutchinson. Its more likely that at this point Bush will go with a known quantity, already vetted, such as Liberman or Hutchinson as opposed to an outsider like Bratton, Baca or Harmon. Though Bratton doesn't seem to be as tainted as Kerik or his mentor former Mayor Rudy Giuliaini, he may suffer from guilt by association. Baca and Harmon are not likely to be chosen either.

Bush would have no problem getting Lieberman through the confirmation process as a conservative Democrat respected on both sides of the aisle, but does the Senator want the job? There is really little upside for him as he is slated for an easy re-election in 2006. Hutchinson on the other hand would get strong GOP support, but as one of President Clinton's chief accusers during the impeachment trial, Democrats may want to make hay. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004


hahnLA Voice reports that Mayor Hahn's website, long a dead link, has made some movement as of the last few days. They've managed to create a logo and toss up some old school internet links (telephone numbers).

Maybe by March he'll have a blog!

Walter Drops A Dime

LA Observed points to a story in the Daily News that scrappy Mayoral candidate Walter Moore is lending his campaign $100,000 to attempt to get him closer to the big boys. This is the maximum Moore can loan himself without opting out of matching funds. The move also has the additional effect of allowing the other candidates to go back to their contributors for an additional $7000 each until they each match Moore's $100K.

I guess Walter really wants to get his ticket to the dance!

Railroad Racism?

RedlineThe Daily News reports that Tom La Bonge's plan to extend the Red Line subway up through Wilshire Blvd. to the Westside is meeting charges of racism because the heavily Latino Eastside is getting light rail instead of subway. The LA Times also covered the story here.

We've heard this crap before from wackos like the Bus Riders Union who go even further to claim that all rail is racist and that minorities only like to ride buses.

Apparently none of these people have been on a train either here in LA or any other metorpolitan area.

So what do you call the San Fernando Valley Busway? Racist? Elitist? Homophobic? Or just plain dumb?

Road (Repair) Rage

Street Services
The Daily News follows the story of Arleta resident Carmella DeNicolo who has been trying to get her street paved since 1986, when former Councilman Ernani Benardi was her Councilman. Successive terms of Richard Alarcon, Alex Padilla and now Tony Cardenas have yet to help this old lady out.

DeNicolo has lived in her home since 1957, when the street was last paved. That's even before I was Mayor, when that swill Norris Poulson ruled the roost. As the Daily News points out, that's when Ike was President. In fact at least 4-5 of our current City Council members weren't even born yet and the rest of them were elementary school age or younger. Mayor Poopy himself was just barely out of his training pants!

There really is something wrong with a city that can't pave its own God damned streets for decades or provide police officers but has money for BS like airport payoffs and PR schemes.

If you're interested in finding out if your street is due for resurfacing, click here.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Poopy Plays Scrooge?

Getty HouseLA Observed is reporting on an LA Business Journal report that Mayor Poopy is forgoing the annual holiday party at Getty House, the official residence of the Mayor of Los Angeles (like his predecessor Dick Riordan, Poopy does not live at Getty House. Tom Bradley was the first and last mayor to actually take up residence there). Speculation is that Poopy did not want to gather with the local media in light of his cozy relationship with the embattled Fleishman-Hillard public relations agency. Of course, the Mayor's staff says its one of those fabulous scheduling conflicts again.

We have not yet received confirmationat this time if candidate Walter Moore has been invited to any holiday parties.

Air Alarcon?

Scenic Air
Mayoral Candidate Richard Alcaron is introducing a bill this week to create a countywide authority to create a new international aiport in North Los Angeles County in order to relieve congestion at LAX. The Daily News reports that Alarcon states this could include an expansion of the current airport in Palmdale owned by the City of Los Angeles (my idea by the way when I was Mayor) . Alarcon's feeling is that other regional airports such as Burbank, John Wayne, Long Beach and Ontario are not sufficient enough to carry the ever expanding air traffic in Southern California.

The airport in Palmdale was purchased by the city during my administration in1971 and saw on again and off again traffic, however it has been shuttered since 1998. Recent efforts to revive use of the airport include the development of a new airline "Air Palmdale" by Westchester area businessman and anti-LAX expansion activist, Robert Acherman, and the coming this month of regional service to Las Vegas by tour operator Scenic Airlines.

When you consider that the City already owns much of the land in Palmdale and has the facilities necessary - the option of Palmdale makes so much more sense than LAX expansion. To top it off, the residents in Palmdale are looking to the airport to service them and provide much needed economic development. Of the $11 billion to spent on LAX, you could build out Palmdale, build a rail line from there to LAX and still have a good chunk of change left over.

But lets not leave it politicians to do what makes sense. That plan doesn't compensate the unions and the special interests as well as Hahn's $11 billion boondoggle.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Mecha and Tony Villar

tonyAt the risk of getting our favorite poster MEAT too excited, we here at the Sister City need to point out some things about comments made concering Tony Villar (old school for Antonio Villaraigosa) and his connections to a Latino group known as Mecha.

A posting here on the Sister City prior to the December 2nd debate echoed a post on Lone Wacko that further echoed comments from gadfly Hal Netkin's site "MayorNo" (originally set up in 2001 to oppose Tony, but has now been expanded to oppose all candidates except Walter Moore). This was concerning a question asked of Villaraigosa during the 2001 debate by Frank Mottek of KNX Radio.
It has been reported Mr. Villaraigosa that when you were at UCLA you were active in a Latino rights group which among other things says in its constitution that it is in favor of forming a separate republic in the Southwest United States. Do you hold the beliefs of that organization as your own and do you still support the group and what do you tell kids that see this kind of stuff on the Internet?
Antonio gave some sort of rambling message about the Museum of Tolerance and typical for most politicians in most debates, he did not directly answer the question. Though Mottek did not mention Mecha by name, most consider this was the group he was referring to and indeed Villaraigosa (like numerous young Latinos in college) belonged to Mecha.

As well, the notion of Mecha being an anti-semitic and anti-gay organization has been propogated by, among other sources, Netkin himself. Key to this argument is linking Mecha to another radical group, La Voz De Aztlan. This group seems to hate everyone from Jews to Gays to the ACLU to Spanish language daily La Opinion to even Antonio himself! They do seem to like Mayor Poopy.
La Voz De Aztlan Speaks Out On Antonio Villaraigosa:

Villaraigosa was perceived as a candidate being shoved down our throats by principally Jewish interests from the westside of Los Angeles. (Click here for more)

The U.S. Zionists and specially those in Alta California were contented when they could easily manipulate their Chicano lackeys in the Democratic Party as they were successfully doing with politicians like Tony Villar. (Click here for more)
By the way, La Voz De Aztlan even goes as far to claim that Cesar Chavez was a puppet of the Jews and that Latino dominated labor unions are actually run by Jews.

Even the Anti Defamation League has come out to say that Mecha is not an anti-semitic group and should not be confused with La Voz De Aztlan.

Mecha has also put out a statement debunking many of the perceived myths about the organization.

Now I don't go in much for Mecha's socialist politics, and I am sure that there are folks within Mecha who are as radical as the folks at La Voz De Atzlan, but I think its unfair to link Tony Villar with as radical an agenda as this. His agenda is radical enough in my view.

Richard Alarcon: The Prince of Fresh Air?

Throughout the rancor of the mayoral campaign, one candidate is emerging as the cool, calm statesman of the pack, State Senator Richard Alarcon.

James Hahn, rightfully so - but of his own doing - is on the defensive. Bernard Parks and Antonio Villaraigosa seem to have scores to settle with the Mayor. Bob Hertzberg is an idea a minute and a boundless source of energy, but has gone tete-a-tete with Hahn, particularly so during the debate on December 2nd.

Alarcon, a longtime city figure, was considered an extreme long shot when he announced for Mayor and may still be. But he has cut a distinguished profile for himself in his campaign so far.

Most notably was during the debate. Like all the candidates, Alarcon started off slow, but quickly presented himself as being comfortable, avoiding the fray the other candidates were jumping into and clearly articulated solid ideas. Indeed, we have a recordthanks to LA Voice where you can see where Alarcon did not jump into to the bloodbath and clearly articulated his record. Even the LA Weekly who had all but written off Richard credited him with a quality performance in the debate.

Richard has proposed an interesting solution to public safety and homeland security to bill the costs of 1000 additional police officers to the harbor, airport and DWP. While Mayor Hahn and others have quickly poo-pooed Alarcon's plan, posters on the Sister City have suggested this is workable.

To be sure, Alarcon has some weaknesses. For one, he is not well known outside the Valley. He is competing with Antonio Villariagosa for Latino votes and with Bob Hertzberg for Valley votes (though Alarcon is the only Valley native in the race). And though he has earned high marks with his constituents, including the Valley business community during his tenure as a City Councilman and State Senator, the specter of his 1998 Democratic nomination battle against former Assemblyman Richard Katz could come back to haunt him. Indeed, he has once engaged his longtime campaign guru, Richie Ross, who was the chief architect of the 1998 campaign. Alarcon won the nomination by 29 votes in a race marred by accusations of anti-semitism and dirty campaigning. Nonetheless, it appears Ross is so far on his best behavior - and Alarcon has seemingly mended fences since the 98 campaign.

Now the Sister City is not endorsing Alarcon, nor anyone else at this point. But when you think about how fatigued the voters are about politics as usual, how divisive the Presidential elections were, its possible Alarcon could strike the right note and catch some real attention.

Stay tuned.

Is The Bus Too Wide?

One of the more controversial transit projects is what is now referred to as the "Metro Orange Line" or the San Fernando Valley Rapid Transitway. This project is a dedicated busway that runs on a former Southern Pacific right of way that extends from the Metro Red Line Subway Station in North Hollywood to Warner Center.

This project, critcized by transit advocates and the focus of NIMBY lawsuits was a bone thrown to San Fernando Valley residents when the money ran out to complete the Metro Red Line across the Valley.

The latest wrinkle to come for the project was detailed in a Daily News article. Residents and onlookers watching the curently under construction project wonder if the special roadway is actually wide enough for two buses to pass each other. We do too.

In the Daily News story, the MTA says the roadway is 26 feet wide, that the buses are 8 feet wide and need a 10 foot, four inch path when you count in the driver side mirror and the 12 inch distance from the curb the bus needs to travel in. That leaves about five feet of space inbetween the buses as they pass.

But in checking out the specs of the model of the bus to be used - which is an articulated double length bus longer than any bus currently in use in LA - it appears the actual width is about 8' 5", which cuts the space inbetween the buses as they pass each other to just about four feet.

Is that too close for comfort? Will such a long bus crossing major roadways at odd locations and in some cases at strange angles going to have an impact on the Valley's already clogged street traffic, regardless of how many passengers leave their cards behind to use this system? We wonder.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Vote Boi From Troy!

Boi Yes the idea of Sam Yorty even mentioning the word gay let alone supporting something related to "gayness" does seem a little ironic, but after 7o years in politics, the last six of them being dead, there is a first for everything right? That is why I am endorsing the Boi From Troy as the Best Gay Blog in the Weblog 2004 Awards.

This blog is head and shoulders above it's nearest competitor - which I have never read because I am not gay and never heard of it - The Gay Patriot (catchy title though). Boi From Troi has far better design, the best around and his coverage of issues on multiple fronts is quite good. And even though one of the bloggers from the Gay Patriot is from LA, the main blogger is from Washington, D.C. Boi From Troy is a local operation, one of us, even though I am a Bruin.

Go to his page about the election and from there you can click to the vote. Oh and they don't allow ballot stuffing.

Public Works, Poopy and More

City HallOne of our readers asked us to take a look at the Board of Public Works in light of the controversial removal of Commissioner Cynthia Ruiz and replacement by Yolanda Fuentes, a longtime aide to Councilman Anthony Cardenas. Several City Council Members and even the Daily News noted the blatant political motive behind Ruiz's ouster. The reader particularly wanted to know how much money the commissioners and their spouses have donated to local elected officials and how long the commissioners have served.

So we are presenting some highlights here and may detail more as time goes on.

Los Angeles Board of Public Works

ShawValerie Lynne Shaw, President, has served since 2000. Her contributions include $500 to Poopy's election campaign, $500 to Laura Chick's controller campaign and $150 to Bitter Bernie's council campaign. For more details click here.

SteinEllen Stein, Vice President has served since 1994. She is far more generous than Valerie having donated $18,000 over the years. At least a grand each to Mayor Poopy, Alex Padilla and Laura Chick, $500 to Denny Zine, amongst some now retired pols such as Hal Bernson. Add in her legendary developer and politically connected husband, Ted Stein and you get nearly another $22,000. Man, that's a lot of mother's milk! To see it all click here and here. (Also - you can buy an official Mayor Sam "Pay to Play" Stein HERE!)

WoodJanice Wood has served since 2001. Her background has been years in organized labor, so she probably doesn't have a lot of money, having donated $500 to Woody Fleming (remember him?) and $100 to Tony Cardenas (so she will probably get along with Yolanda). I'll link to her contributions, but I just gave them all to you.

LowRonald Low has served since 2001. He's an attorney who's only coughed up $2100 in donations, but again could get along with Yolanda as he's given nearly half of that to Cardenas. What there is, is all here.

RuizCynthia Ruiz's photo and bio are still up on the Commission website so look now while you can (but knowing how ITA works it could be a while before Yolanda gets on there). She was appointed by Poopster in 2003. To be fair, she has forked over about $900, most of it to Tony V. Read it here. And one of tipsters asks me to point out she too is hotter than Yolanda.

Yolanda Fuentes comes on board after serving stints with Tony Cardenas while he was in the Assembly and now that he is on the Council. She was Tony's hand picked successor, but was trounced by Cindy Montanez, (it wasn't even close) the impressive, young former Mayor of San Fernando. Before even joining the Commission, she has made $1200 in contributions, most of it to boss Cardenas and ally Alex Padilla.

Well there you go. We've only scratched the surface. For some of you, this is old hat, inconsequential and not a problem. What do the citizens of this city think?

Poopy In Deep Doo Doo?

Mayor PoopyThe Daily News reports that FH may have billed the expense of a Nick Pacheco fundraiser linked to Mayor Poopy to the DWP. About $4000 of public funds may have benefited the re-election efforts of Pacheco as he ran against, and ultimatley lost to Mayor Poopy's one time and once again challenger, Antonio Villaraigosa. The Daily Breeze also had a story on the matter as well.
"It's a smoking gun. I mean, it's a smoking Uzi."
City Controller Laura Chick
Could this be the begining of the end? What did Poopy know and when did he know it? Which City Council Member is going to be Bob Dole going to Richard Nixon and go tell Poopy its time to resign?

Its going to get interesting!

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Mayor Sam's Zero Tolerance: Leave Kids Alone

Mayor SamMy Chief of Staff asked to let him post this, but as the Mayor of this God damn place, I am laying down the law:

No posting crap on here about people's families, especially their under age children. That is the surest way to get booted from the Sister City. We have deleted a post referring to nasty stuff about a candidate and his under age children.

Here at Mayor Sam we allow this to be free wheeling. We allow you to post anonymously because we know we wouldn't get important information without it. Feel free to call Bernie Bitter, Mayor Poopy a jerk or whatever you want. You can say Hugsberg is fat, Tony Villar is a crook or whatever. Make fun of Alarcon's mustache. Though I would hope that the bulk of what post is issue oriented cause 1) we are all adults and 2) that is the real reason we are here.

Just don't involve little kids. Hell, I don't even care if you call Bobbie Parks the Theresa Heinz of LA. And yes, Parks has one of his kids working for him, so he's game too. Just don't mess with little kids.

Those who do will face the wrath of Mayor Sam and it will not be pretty.


Hahn Writing Off the Valley

SFV We learn from LA Observed that Mayor Poopy is a "no-show" in the Valley:
11:50 a.m. update: Mayor Hahn's office advises he won't be giving the State of the Valley speech at lunch today in Van Nuys after all. No immediate explanation was given.
Sounds like brilliant campaign strategy to me!

And They're Off

Ballot Box The Mayor's race is now down to 12. Yesterday's filing deadline forced some of the lesser challengers to bow out. Amongst the remaining are: Mayor Hahn, Bernard Parks, Richard Alarcon, Antonio Villaraigosa, Bob Hertzberg, Walter Moore, Addie Miller, Bill Wyatt, Ted Crisell, Wendy Lyons, Bruce Darian, and Martin Luther King Aubrey Sr.. Stories in the Daily Breeze, Daily News, and LA Times .

The LA Times also reported that Etan Lorant dropped out of the race against City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo, securing Delgadillo a free pass towards re-election.

The Controllers race is between current Controller Laura Chick and businessman Mervin Leon Evans.

In City Council races, Alex Padilla and Eric Garcetti are unopposed for new terms.

In CD 11, Paul Whitehead is dropping out of the race and is endorsing Bill Rosendahl, leaving Bill Rosendahl, Flora Gil Krisiloff, and Angela J. Reddock.

Dennis Zine is facing Jeff Bornstein.

Janice Hahn is facing John Fer.

Jack Weiss is facing Gregory Martayan and David Vahedi.

Ed Reyes is facing Ernest Sanchez, Carlos Cetina, Jesus "Jesse" Rosas, and Sylvia Luna.

Jan Perry faces Peter Torres, Bella De Soto, and Omar Cassim Spry.

All three of the LAUSD Board members are running unopposed: Jose Huizar, Marlene Canter and Julie Korenstein

And last but not least, the Los Angeles Community College Board of Trustees incumbent Nancy Pearlman is facing Maria Grunwald-Agazaryan and incumbent Kelly Candaele faces Mark Gonzaga. Michael Waxman will face Elizabeth Saldivar.


Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Here We Go Again!

LAUSD There are two stories in the Daily News which should cause everyone pause.

The first deals with the 'ol bait and switch play that the LAUSD and their fearless leader Gov. Romer are attempting to pull on everyone.

The second is an opinion on the Citizens Bond Oversight Committee for LAUSD which has already attempted to pull the wool over everyone's eyes.

Maybe they need to prove that they can swindle the tax paying community of LA better than Mayor Poopy. Maybe they are secretly supporting Hugsberg's bid to dismantle them. Whatever their reasons, they are off of their gords if they think anyone will ever pass a bond for them again when this is the level of respect they treat us with.

Do they just not get it?

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Airport Plan Passed, County to Sue

LAXBy a 12-3 vote, the Los Angeles City Council voted to move forward with airport expansion including a $500 million payoff to local cities and groups as hush money. Unfortuanately, our local LA papers couldn't seem to get the latest on the vote on their websites by this evening, so we've had to go to the San Jose Mercury News to get you the story. You can also read Poopy's spin here (Wonder if a consultant was paid to put this press release out on this web service?)


Prior to the vote, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted to sue the City if the plan is approved. Rightly, they view this illogical plan as having a possible negative effect on efforts to seek a regional airport solution in the Southland.

CindyShepherding the measure for Poopy through the Council was Cindy Miscowski who later appeared on Warren Olney's excellent Which Way, LA? program on KCRW. (You can listen to the six minute interview with Cindy here, requires Real Player.)

Is it just me, or when you listen to Cindy does she sound inherently full of herself and phony? In the interview, she dismisses the County's vote and implies they are not serious. She makes the point that the City could essentially settle with the County as they have with Lennox, Inglewood and the labor groups - for the right price the County's silence might be bought.

One would hope not. The County is the only player in this - other than the FAA who must give final approval - who has the resources and power to go against the City.

Let's Spice Up Dullsville: aka CD 11

CD11Missed in the holiday news void was a piece I have been meaning to comment on, but haven't had the opportunity. With the "wanna-be's" dominating the local political scene, let's take a trip back to CD 11, the ugly step-child in March's local election.

It seems that Adelphia Cable agreed to cut cable rates and cut "an infrastructure surcharge by $68 million over 12 years". Patrick McGreevy's pre-Thanksgiving Day article in the LA Times quotes Jack Weiss as saying that "Adelphia customers have put up with poor service and excessive charges for too long."

So here's a few questions: Does this overcharging and poor service scandal bite Rosendahl in the ass since it clearly happened under his tenure? Does his role as Adelphia's executive vice president of government affairs (that is, the corp's lobbyist) resonate with voters in light of all that happened at Adelphia? Is Krisiloff keen enough to take advantage of it? (Probably not since it has been a week and a half since it went to committee)

**Special thanks to my tipster for the heads up**

Airport Payoff Plan Set For Vote

LAXThe Council has scheduled a key vote today on Mayor Poopy's LAX modernization plan. Part of this is a $500 million payoff to local cities and organizations including labor unions that we reported on a few days ago.

Though the $500 million payoff is couched in terms of providing relief to neighboring cities, a good chunk of it is going to labor groups and others in exchange for a "no sue" pledge. Essentially, we give you some dough and you leave us alone so we can ramrod an $11 billion Sears acquisition size airport expansion boondoogle down the citys' throat. It is not clear where this proposal benefits City of Los Angeles residents near the airport. These are the things most people don't know about that you have to read between the lines in news reports.
The community benefits agreement, which also needs approval from the Federal Aviation Administration, was negotiated over the past nine months between representatives of the two cities and the LAX Coalition for Economic, Environmental and Educational Justice. The coalition includes representatives of 22 organizations.
Daily News
This LAX coalition is esentially the same labor unions that continue to hold city government hostage - you can read more about them here.

But to the rescue comes two unlikely sources. One, Bitter Bernie who actually makes some good points about the $500 million and two, fresh off banning the county seal (lovely parting gifts available here by the way) those rascaly LA County Supes. The Supes are planning to file a lawsuit against the city contending that LAX expansion hurts prospects of a regional airport plan (good point).

Rick Orlov scoops the LA Times in reporting on today's vote, however the Times has an interesting article about the political chemistry that got Cindy Misicowski to come on board to Poopy's plan, or perhaps, how she got him to come on board her plan.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Yes Virginia, we can find money for more cops

more cops
Boi from Troy serves up some excellent thoughts on a Daily News article about city sanitation workers running up $7000 a month cell phone bills. That's got to be almost salary, benefits and burden for one police officer.

Are we starting to get the picture?

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Is Bernie That Bitter? Police Schedules In The Spotlight

Bitter Bernie
The Daily News has a story about the number of police officers who now have second jobs or run side businesses as a result of the new 4/10 and 3/12 police schedules. Unless you have been living under a rock, you know these are schedules where officers can work either 4 days at 10 hours each or 3 days at 12 hours each as opposed to the old 5 days and 40 hour a week schedule. You also know that Bitter Bernie cancelled this program started under Chief Willie "Buffett" Williams much to the chagrin of the officers.
More than 3,000 officers -- or one-third of the 9,100-member force -- hold a permit to work another job, everything from teachers to bodyguards, martial arts instructors to CPAs and entrepreneurs.
-Daily News
Bitter Bernie upon his firing and later ascension to the LA City Council has not given up on deep sixing the 4/10 and 3/12 despite the fact that it seems the officers are happier and that crime is way down (to be fair - the drop in crime can be attributed to many factors but certainly officer morale helps). Parks continues to press the issue in his campaign for mayor and according to the Daily News report, Bernie has even gone as far to file a public records request as to all data on studies of the schedule program.

Bernie's bitterness on this issue really calls in his fitness to serve as Mayor of this city. His authoritarian "my way or the highway" attitude doesn't really sit well with being a leader who has to reach accords with various aspects of the city to get things done. To be sure, we do want a leader who does lead and take unpopular stances (unlike Poopy) but Bernie is seemingly just too inflexible. In addition to his displeasure with the staffing plan, we also recall his elimination of the Senior Lead Officer program and the very successful community policing programs begun under Chief Williams. This is echoed in the Daily News article by North Hollywood Neighborhood Watch activist Sandra Munz who lead the succesful effort to bring the SLOs back. I think you would be hard pressed to find very many police officers or neighborhood watch leaders supporting Bernie's campaign for mayor.

We also remember Parks draconian officer discipline policies. Even liberals hated Bitter Bernie's reign as Chief and were happy to see him go.

Bitter Bernie no doubt has some very good ideas. His pro-business views are refereshing for a Democrat. Nonetheless, his arrogance and inflexibility have most likely eliminiated any chance of moving beyond his City Council seat. He has just alienated too many people.

LAX Hush Money???

An anonymous poster asked us to look into a deal reached by Mayor Poopy and various sorts around LAX to buy their silence when it comes to his K-Mart sized $11 billion airport expansion. According to the LA Times, $500 million will be paid to various churches, school districts and labor groups in exchange for their agreement not to sue over airport expansion.

The poster made that the claim that Poopy, or "Jackal Jim" as the poster calls him was taking credit for efforts started in the Riordan administration. We did find evidence of a Riordan era LAWA agreement with the City of Inglewood, but it doesn't seem to be as far reaching as this current agreement. So split the difference, give some credit to Mayor Dick, some to Poopy.

More importantly though is the city paying "hush money" to ramrod through this most ridiculous of boondoggles. Where are they getting the $500 million? Who is going to get it? How is it going to be accounted for that some well connnected folks aren't going to make out like bandits? Think of how many police officers this could buy. This calls for an investigation.

F*ck Santa Clarita

SCV BusPardon our language, but The City of Beige is really starting to get under our nerves here at The Sister City.

Steve Lopez sums it up in a recent column in the LA Times quite well. A while back, we detailed plans by Santa Clarita to bus their homeless to Los Angeles. Lopez gives even more infuriating details than we originally had.

I'd like to find a church in Santa Clarita who believes its the good Lord's work to bring folks from the City of Angels to enjoy some time in the City of Beige. Who knows, they might like to shop at Bed, Bath and Beyond and have a cheeseburger at the Route 66 Cafe.

More Police Means More Taxes?

Tomorrow morning, Police Commissioner Rick Caruso will appear on Doug McIntyre's radio program on KABC.

Here is a question that Doug should ask Rick:

How do you square your support for a significant sales tax increase in the City of Los Angeles with the fact you are developing major shopping malls OUTSIDE the city in communities where Los Angeles is already losing significant shopping activity.

Of course, Caruso will come back and say that he has interests within the city such as The Grove. But most of them are outside LA, in border cities such as Glendale, Westlake, etc. where the well heeled who aren't well heeled enough to escape LA altogether can go for an afternoon and pretend.

By my estimates, adding a 1000 more police officers is going to gost $100,000,000. Its in the budget and I know we could root it out if the political will is there. For example, the DWP paid $24 million for PR. We all know how pointless that is. But think of the PR the DWP could get by donating that money to the City of LA for more police officers. It would be massive! More importantly that's 240 officers thanks to DWP. Another $9 - $10 million can be achieved by getting rid of the completely useless and unneeded Department of Cultural Affairs. Absolutely we need arts and culture in this town - but we have more artists and creative types than anywhere. There is no reason the private sector could not support the arts. Right there we have $35 million. Lets spend a little more time - cut the waste in the Mayor's office, the City Council.

Now right there some of you are jumping off your chairs - hey that's my job! Well for crissakes you're most likely smart enough you could make way more in the private sector and if you're not, we don't owe you a job. I know it ain't politically correct to say so, but lets be serious here folks - we are in a crisis situation.

I'd like to run a little contest here - post the ways YOU KNOW we could trim the budget, add more police and make the city run a little more efficiently. Who knows the best one might win some kind of prize.

More importantly, we owe it to the city.