Whistleblower hotline: (213) 785-6098

Monday, January 31, 2005

What's Up With Bitter Bernie?

Bitter BernieHere at the Sister City we've been spending so much time on Mayor Poopy, Tony Villar and Hugsberg (even Wacko Walter too) that we've forgotten about Bitter Bernie for the most part. At best, he's gotten passing references in posts about other candidates.

Back in the day, any post about Bitter Bernie was good for some buzz here, but he just doesn't get the ink anymore. The most recent news item that reference Bernard Parks is a mention of his endorsement of candidate Bill Rosendahl on Westside Today.

So if any of you have any news about Bitter Bernie, feel free to post it here. With his candidate days numbered, you may not have more opportunities.

Grim Grinning Jim

HahnAs reported by both LA Voice and Chief Parker, the latest campaign cash filings are out. Though Mayor Hahn has more money in the bank than his rivals, a major chunk of his spending is going towards legal fees.

But another interesting fact has surfaced. That is during the last period of January 1 to 22, the Mayor only outpaced longshot candidate Richard Alarcon and the also rans led by Walter Moore. Even Bitter Bernie whose campaign was declared DOA a week or two back by the Times has raised more dough than Jimmy Hahn (in fact Bernie was way out in front in the donation sweepstakes for the period).

As one of our posters said, that can not be a good sign for the Mayor. The talk that has gone back and forth for months that Hahn may not even make the runoff may not be as far fetched as once thought. With a decrease in fundraising, increasing ethics related challenges that are diverting campaign resources and a lack of support from the base that elected him, the Mayor seems to be in too deep of trouble too late in the game. He could pull it out, but signs are getting grimmer and grimmer for James Hahn.

Venetian Intrigue?

VeniceActivists in Venice are claiming the discovery of an alleged conspiracy against the Venice Neighborhood Council of near Watergate proportions. Read their latest press release below:

For Immediate Release:

Contact: Suzanne Thompson, 310-664-1142; Jim Smith, 310-399-8685

Leaders of the Grass Roots Venice Neighborhood Council (GRVNC) have learned, through the release of public records, that several Los Angeles city departments were secretly monitoring their activities. Ultimately, members of a working group within the city government succeeded in overturning the neighborhood council’s election and rendering the GRVNC unable to function.

“Venice has gone rouge...” declared a Dept. of Neighborhood Empowerment (DONE) staff member while asking the League of Women Voters not to assist in the GRVNC election (Exhibit A). A Human Relations Commission member warned against allowing neighborhood councils too much latitude: “Expecting the NC’s to develop their own procedures, or to develop a city-wide procedure is too risky...” (Exhibit F2)

The documents, obtained through a public records request by Venice resident John Davis in December, reveal that DONE convinced the GRVNC Board to submit a challenge of its June 2004 election to an arbitrator that DONE knew was biased against the council. In addition, one email (Exhibit G) is from a DONE official to the arbitrator, suggesting to him how he should frame his decision. GRVNC was offered no such access to the arbitrator.

Davis requested the public records after he and eight other elected GRVNC Board members were put out of office in November. Davis said he was surprised by the number of people and city departments that had been involved in monitoring GRVNC: “Even the Mayor’s office and the local city council office (CD11) appear on the email list discussing what to do to the certified neighborhood council. Why they never contacted GRVNC is still a mystery,”

Other community leaders displaced by the arbitrator’s decision, which was held by DONE for a week before being released on Nov. 16, include: DeDe McCrary, Bridget Graham, Emily Winters, Dr. Alice Stek, Zoe Garaway, Deborah Krall, Michael McGuffin and Dennis Hathaway. DONE, acting on its own, also refused to recognize four additional Board appointees – Francisco Letelier, Inge Mueller, Kristen Weirick and Don Geagan. By eliminating the four, who had been functioning for several months, DONE rendered the Board unable to achieve a quorum.

The documents also show that the arbitrator, Gary de la Rosa of the Human Relations Commission (HRC), was deeply involved in GRVNC affairs even before the June election. He and others apparently believed allegations by anti-GRVNC activists in Venice that the Board was fostering an atmosphere of racism against whites. There was no attempt by DONE or any other city officials to contact any officers of the GRVNC about the allegations. GRVNC was unaware that it was the topic of discussion and derision by the city officials, whose email list included LAPD officers; deputy city attorneys; an aide to Councilmember Cindy Miscikowski; and a Venice resident, Rick Feibusch, a resident who was hostile to the GRVNC; in addition to DONE and HRC.

The neighborhood council is prohibited from functioning officially due to the arbitration, but GRVNC officers are calling for the arbitrator’s decision to be thrown out because of bias, and are appealing to the Board of Neighborhood Commissioners (BONC) about the interference of the DONE staff which are under its jurisdiction.

In the past year, the GRVNC Board had taken strong positions against Playa Vista and LAX expansion; joined with artists in opposing a new Ocean Front Walk ordinance promoted by the city; and advocated for 24-hour restrooms on the beach that could be used by the homeless and others.

Documents referenced above are posted at: www.freevenice.org/Public_Records.pdf

Phase II - The Ground War

With the war of words and accusations flying out of the candidates mouths, phase two of the campaigns have begun in earnest. The Ground Wars - When the flacks attack!

Saturday brought us Parks and Villaraigosa. Sunday brought us Bob Hertzberg. Look for a volunteer knocking on your door soon!

And as the Daily News points out , the airwaves are sure to be clogged in the coming weeks as well.

Friday, January 28, 2005

KROQ-ing the Campaign

KROQ2Mayor Hahn appeared this morning on the popular 106.7 KROQ morning show (Kevin and Bean) to tout his latest accomplishment. Kevin and Bean enlisted their listeners’ support to help one of their loyal fans finish construction on her family’s home. Fans donated their time and materials to the construction firm that lead the project.

Begs the question: What did the Mayor contribute and why did he appear on the show? Jimmy pushed the construction paperwork through the City Hall approval process. He appeared on the show to let other people pat him on the back.

That’s as dire as things are in the Hahn re-election campaign? He’s been reduced to tooting his own horn for helping one (albeit VERY deserving of the help and EXTREMELY appreciative of the outpouring of support) family? Kevin (or Bean, I can’t tell them apart) did the hard work for us and pointedly asked the Mayor: if the young woman and her family weren’t constituents, and if he wasn’t running for re-election, would he have been so willing to help them?

How many constituents contact Jimmy’s office every day seeking help or support? Do they get their permits pushed through? Only if their last name is "Abrams" and they contribute to his campaign accounts. How many of the requests does his office ignore? I’m happy he helped a deserving family, but his act would seem more altruistic if he didn’t turn it into a shameless and tactless (although desperately needed) publicity stunt to boost his flailing campaign.

Great for KROQ. As for Jimmy, think with something other than election returns next time.

State of the Valley -- The Reaction

San Fernando Valley

Now that the Mayor finally delivered the State of the Valley address to VICA, let's digest the reaction:

Comments on Mayor Sam - To all the above posters, the Mayor did show up to VICA. His speech was uninspiring and very old. The response was tepid, the number that showed up in the audience to hear him was DISMAL. The worst turn out for a Mayor in VICA history !!! Maybe 75-100 people, including Richard Alarcon and all those that Hahn brought with him. He talked about past successes(trivial at best)and provided no vision of the future. It was uninspiring. Going through the motions.

Boi From Troy posts - All of which reminds me of an old song from the soundtrack to "My Best Friend's Wedding"..."Wishing, and hoping and thinking and praying; crying and dreaming each night of his charms; that won't get you into his arms!" I think the Valley feels that way about City Hall...The time for "trying" and "hoping" has passed; it's time for action.

The Daily News reports - VICA President Martin Cooper said he was pleased to see the mayor appear before his group -- even on a delayed basis and despite differences on issues....Cooper said he understood Hahn's desire to stress what he had accomplished, but would have preferred to hear more on what the mayor would like to see done for the Valley in the coming years.

The Daily News Opinion Section - Realizing that support in the San Fernando Valley is what got him elected mayor of Los Angeles -- and the loss of it could cost him re-election -- James Hahn is trying to mend fences he broke unnecessarily. Too bad he's trying to do it by taking credit for other people's accomplishments.

The LA Times: Hahn was supposed to deliver the "State of the Valley" speech last Dec. 9 at the Sheraton Universal during the Valley association's annual membership meeting but canceled, citing illness. Cooper said that the business tax reform was a "positive step" but that overall, the state of the Valley was mixed. "It's slowly and marginally better," Cooper said. "We still need more public safety personnel and attention to infrastructure."

Other mayoral candidates offered dissenting views in the times articles:

"The promises made during the anti-secession campaign have gone largely unfulfilled," said Alarcon, who attended the speech. "The Valley still has far too few police officers on the streets. The high school dropout rate is abysmal. Valley communities are having trouble getting city services."

"If the mayor was giving an accurate speech it would be called 'State of the Valley: Neglected,' " Ace Smith (Villaraigosa) said.

Hertzberg accused Hahn of paying "lip service" to the Valley without improving services. "The state of the Valley is that the Valley needs a new mayor," he said. They also posted on their blog today...Jim Hahn gave a State of the Valley speech this week -- and the results are crystal clear. We need new leadership, not failed leadership.

Fundraising Notes

Hahn and ParksTwo points caught my eye this morning regarding the latest filings from our mayoral wannabe's...

Parks raised a bunch of cash which no one in LA expected, and Jim Hahn spent nearly two-thirds of the money he raised this period on legal fees (he raised just over $36,000 and spent $22,695 on attorneys Manatt, Phelps & Phillips L.L.C.). Hahn's legal defense fund is over $16,500 in the hole. Seems like all those special interests that usually jump to his defense aren’t willing to save him this time.

I'm sure we'll get the usual dogfight of spin out of the various camps this morning, but these were my first takes..

Stories in the Daily News and LA Times

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Villaraigosa Stealing Credit?

TonyHere at the Sister City, we got a press release from Tony Villar claiming credit for the "Smith-Villaraigosa" plan to add more police officers. However a Times report states it was a Greig Smith proposal with no mention of Villaraigosa other than his opposition to the sales tax increase for more cops.

Is Antonio stealing credit or is the Times not giving it to him? Interesting. (Hat tip to LA Observed)

Contact: Nathan James


LA City Council Passes Smith – Villaraigosa Police Plan

Funding for New Officers Approved Unanimously

Los Angeles – In a unanimous vote, the Los Angeles City Council yesterday approved a plan to hire up to 300 new police officers as early as this summer using revenue from a statewide initiative.

After initially rejecting the plan as “Sacramento-style economics,” Mayor Jim Hahn flip-flopped last week and endorsed the popular police funding proposal.

Yusef K. Robb, a spokesman for Hahn's re-election campaign, said the plan relies too much on gimmicks and uncertain revenue sources.

``We're open to plans here and there, but we're not open to Sacramento- style economics,'' Robb said. ``This is the sort of plan that drowned the state budget in red ink.''

(“Hahn Ripped for Not Borrowing to Boost Force,” LA Daily News, January 4, 2005)

The funding plan, backed by Councilmembers Greig Smith and Antonio Villaraigosa, was endorsed by the Chief Legislative Analyst, the Chief Administrative Officer, and received unanimous support from the Budget, Finance, and Public Safety Committee of the City Council

Details on Villaraigosa’s plan to hire 1,600 new police officers are available at: http://www.antonio2005.com/vision?id=0002

Recall Villaraigosa?

TonyPerhaps responding to MEAT's baiting, the Recall Villaraigosa team sent us over their latest press release. Their hope - to get Tony Villar to drop out of the Mayor's race OR resign from his council seat. Is this just the rantings of a few disgruntled bar owners as MEAT says or is a grass roots movement brewing? Nonetheless, I am sure this is one more headache Tony didn't want. And it at least gives Jim Hahn something to smile about.



Los Angeles, January 26, 2005

Recall Group to Villaraigosa: “How Much is Your Pledge Worth?”

“While we are not taking any side in the race for mayor and our focus is solely on recalling Antonio Villaraigosa from office as the 14th district council member, the voters of the city of Los Angeles should be very wary of any promise made by Mr. Villaraigosa in this campaign,” said Recall Committee chair Eliseo Villanueva.

“Stating that ‘Honesty and ethics in City Hall start at the top’, this week Councilman Antonio Villaraigosa released his ethics pledge to the people of Los Angeles. But I want to remind the people of Los Angeles that we in the 14th council district are only too aware of Mr. Villaraigosa’s pledges,” said Villanueva. “In 2003, in his race against the sitting councilman, Mr. Villaraigosa made a pledge to the voters of the 14th district over and over again that he would serve a full 4-year term and not run for mayor. He broke that pledge less than 18 months in office.” Worse still, continued Villanueva, anybody who reminds the Councilman of his pledge immediately becomes the target of a smear campaign.”

One of the pledges Mr. Villaraigosa makes is that he will take personal responsibility for his own actions. We urge the Councilman to abide by his ethics pledge now. There is no reason wait. Mr. Villaraigosa can take personal responsibility for his actions and pledge of 2003 now.

Therefore the Recall Committee reminds Councilman Villaraigosa of his pledge to stay in office as the Council Member for the 14th district for the full 4-year terms and urges him to either:

  • Pull out of the race for Mayor, or
  • Resign immediately from the office of Council Member serving the people of the 14th district.

Mr. Villaraigosa, if your pledges are to be believed by the people of Los Angeles act now. If the recall is forced to continue it will be a sure sign that your “pledges” are worth as much as your pledge to the 14th district in 2003. It will be a sure sign that your “pledges” are nothing more than political theater. And it will be the surest sign that you do not deserve the votes of the people of Los Angels in the upcoming mayoral election.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Villaraigosa Down In The Dumps?

AntonioPerhaps leading to Jim Hahn's recent full barrell assaults on Bob Hertzberg is the general feeling that Antonio Villaraigosa's campaign just isn't going anywhere. Many are saying that Antonio just doesn't have the fire in the belly he displayed four years ago. Seeing Hertzberg as his potential runoff opponent (given the lack of traction Richard Alarcon's and Bernie Parks' campaigns seem to have), the Mayor is now focusing on the former Speaker as the other former Speaker and current Councilman is slowly sinking.

Crowds are smaller, he's lost endorsements of four years ago and friends say he just isn't himself. He doesn't seem to have the same coalition of supporters he was able to cobble together four years ago.

Two articles lay this point out, one by Howard Fine in the LA Business Journal (which also indirectly explains why Mayor Sam calls the Councilman "Tony Villar") and another by Jessica Garrison in the LA Times. An interesting point that Fine makes is that fellow candidate Richard Alarcon displays the same passion as the Antonio of old.

There may still be time for Villaraigosa to fire up the base, but its possible the clock may have run out on his hoped for re-match with James Hahn.

Walter to Councils: "See you in court!"

Walter Moore has filed a lawsuit protesting his exclusion from debates sponsored by the Neighborhood Councils. Despite an opinion from the City Attorney that all candidates must be allowed to participate, the Councils are not inviting Walter.

Here is his latest screed:
Today I filed a lawsuit in L.A. County Superior Court regarding my exclusion from the upcoming televised debates.

As many of you know, the two 90-minute televised mayoral debates are scheduled for February 7 and 28, 2005. One of the sponsors is "the Alliance of Neighborhood Councils." The City Attorney has issued a formal opinion letter, based on federal and state constitutional law, stating that Neighborhood Councils holding a debate must invite all candidates, not just some of them. Despite the letter and the law, "the Alliance of Neighborhood Councils" has invited some of the candidates -- five, to be exact -- and excluded me, Walter Moore.

"The Alliance of Neighborhood Councils" explained its decision to exclude me by claiming, among other things, the following: "The Ethics Commission defines a 'viable' candidate for Mayor as someone who has raised $150,000 in contributions from individuals in amounts of less than $500." In fact, the Ethics Commission does not have a definition of "viable." Rather, "viable" is a matter of opinion, not law.

Through the lawsuit, I am asking the Court, among other things, either to put me in the debate, or to require the sponsors of the debate to disclose on TV: i) that the so-called "Alliance of Neighborhood Councils" is not an alliance of Neighborhood Councils at all, and, indeed, does not include a single Neighborhood Council; ii) that the five candidates participating were selected because they each raised $150,000 from contributors; and iii) that a sixth candidate, Walter Moore, deposited $100,000 of his own money into his campaign, but was excluded because he did not raise $150,000 from third parties.

You should, of course, not jump to any conclusions based on the foregoing information or the filing of a lawsuit. The defendants are entitled to explain their side of the story, and to try to justify their decision to exclude me from the debates. We'll leave it to the Court to decide who's right. In the meantime, however, I wanted you to know that I am taking action to protect my rights as a candidate, and your rights as voters, to a full and fair debate, not a debate limited to candidates who have raised $150,000 from donors.

And, though some of you will doubtless have many questions about the litigation, please don't bombard me with them. I generally never comment on pending litigation. I only made an exception for this e-mail because this particular lawsuit involves the public interest, and because I want you to know I am fighting for what I believe is right. I will keep you posted on the lawsuit as events develop.

Big Hits For Mayor Sam

bloggerIt took from October 21st to December 30th for Mayor Sam to achieve 10,000 hits. It only took from December 30th to about January 24 to go over 20,000.

And Jim Hahn's people say no one reads our site anymore!

Gay Democrats Go Villaraigosa

Tony Villar got himself an endorsement this time. Apparently Hahn staffers worked the room but to no avail.

By the way, we have heard rumors that some Democratic club somewhere endorsed Jimmy. But as much as the Mayor's staff loves to spend our tax dollars surfing this blog, they have not been kind enough to send us a press release to post as we offered. So we are not going to do their work for them since the other campaigns have no problems sending us stuff. If one of you morons know how to send an email to us, we'll post it.

By the way - aside to Fly on the Wall - any more screaming on the third floor lately?

Here is the word out of the Villaraigosa camp. They do know how to work with us.

Stonewall Democrats Endorse Villaraigosa

West Hollywood – The Los Angeles Stonewall Democratic Club voted to endorse Antonio Villaraigosa at their general membership meeting Monday night.

Supporters of Mayor Hahn, including City staff (driving their own cars this time), worked the room during the vote. In a move eerily reminiscent of Republican strong-arm tactics in the U.S. House, Hahn partisans repeatedly reopened the rolls to pressure members and line-up more supporters to attend the meeting.

In the end, Villaraigosa received 36 votes, three more than the required 60% threshold.

Villaraigosa expressed his gratitude at receiving the endorsement. “I am proud to have the Stonewall Democrats at my side in this race,” Villaraigosa said. “When I am Mayor, we are going to have an administration that looks like Los Angeles because I believe that diversity is our greatest asset.”

The Los Angeles Stonewall Democratic Club is a chapter of the national Stonewall Democratic Club, which supports gay and lesbian rights and endorses Democratic candidates. Villaraigosa also received the Los Angeles Club’s endorsement in 2001.

A Somber Moment **


This mornings train derailment is sure to touch the lives of all of us, whether it be a family member, friend, or co-worker. I'm hesitant to post details due to the fast changing climate and breaking details every other media outlet is carrying, but the Sister City sends our love and prayers out to everyone who is affected by this tragedy.

We'll follow-up later with more details once we have some confirmed information...

**5:30 PM Update (info from 5:00 press conference):
  • 10 Confirmed Fatalities (9 Males and 1 Female)
  • May be more people missing
  • 30 Critical Injuries
  • 123 People sent to 15 different local hospitals
  • 41 People treated on-site
  • Over 180 Injured
  • 3 Trains Involved: Northbound Metrolink Train 901, Southbound Metrolink Train 101, and a parked Union Pacific freight engine
  • 1 Car Involved: green Jeep Grand Cherokee left on the tracks intentionally
  • Derailment occurred near San Fernando Road and Chevy Chase Drive
  • No Terrorist Attack involved - Criminal Homicide Investigation Only - Started by suicidal individual in Grand Cherokee - Individual held by authorities is Juan Manuel Alvarez - 26 year old male
  • Three identified casualties: Sheriff Deputy James Tutino, a 23 year LA County Sheriff veteran, Manuel Alcala, 13 year veteran of LA County Sheriff's Department, and Julie Bennett (sp?), LA City Fire Department
Numbers to Call:
  • (818) 548-6464, Chevy Chase Park Relocation Center - FAMILIES ONLY
  • (877) 883-0364, Passenger Information
  • Busses will be used between Glendale and Burbank for afternoon transportation throughout investigation

State of the Valley -- Part II**

VICAREMINDER - Mayor Hahn will attempt to keep his true feelings for the Valley in check and not get violently ill during a trip to Airtel Plaza for VICA's Eleventh Annual Membership Committee Fair on Wednesday, Jan. 26, from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m, according to a press release distributed on Tuesday. If he successfully completes the voyage, he will be delivering his annual “State of the Valley” address we so eagerly were awaiting.

The event is open to the public and admission is free. Seating is limited. Reservations are required. For more information or to reserve a space at the VICA Membership Committee Fair, call 818.817.0545.

Nine VICA committees will participate in the Fair, highlighting local, state and federal legislation and issues featured in VICA’s 2005 ten-point “Plan of Work.” These include:

- Seeking solutions for a healthcare system that is sicker than those it is designed to help, including a still dysfunctional workers’ comp program;

- Focusing on Los Angeles’ infrastructure, including the flawed LAX plan, critical water issues, insufficient policing, and others;

- Creating a taxation committee to advocate for reduction and elimination of business-related taxes at all levels of government, as VICA and the coalition successfully accomplished with the reform of Los Angeles’ business tax; and

- Demanding honesty, accountability and real solutions for elected officials at all levels of government.

And for those of you who aren't still laughing and think I'm bashing on the Mayor with the agenda listed above, I can honestly tell you I lifted the above straight from VICA's press release. Sounds like he will have his hands full.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

New Blog on the Block

The Daily News reports on the newest blog site to catch the eyes of political insiders, the Engineers and Architect Association’s Blog City Hall. Robert Aquino, the 9,000 member Association’s leader said via press release he wanted the new site to provide a stronger voice for rank-and-file city employees.

Maybe, maybe not. The EAA is currently a division of the AFL/CIO, and that’s just the way Aquino wants it. Numerous sources have reported to us that a few years ago, SEIU local 347 attempted to re-organize the union under their direction, as they proved more adept at providing their members better benefits, but Aquino quickly attached himself to a Virginia police officers’ union to stop the re-organization. The association prevented the AFL/CIO from getting involved, as the SEIU and the police officers union are both under its direction, one union is not allowed to raid another.

The consequences of Mr. Aquino’s power-hungry moves are dangerous and far-reaching. The EAA is run by an ‘agency shop’ forcing members to pay dues whether they want to join the union or not. Also, they’ve been attacking L.A. City Employees Retirement System Board Commissioner Shelley Smith for an alleged ‘conflict of interest.’ Funnily enough, no such conflict exists, and Smith’s credentials are impeccable. Aquino’s attacks on a well-meaning and well-intentioned civil servant proves his grip on the union is about as strong as his grip on reality is weak (sort of reminds me of the man he supports in the Mayor’s race, Villaraigosa, except his grip on the union and reality are weak). Most importantly, he’s not giving the rank-and-file city employees he wants to help the opportunity to choose their own union.

And now he’s entered the blog foray. I, for one, welcome him. But seeing as how he neglected to post any of this information on his own website, and many of his union members have taken the time to forward information to me, I feel compelled to do it for him, making sure the anonymity is kept and their stronger voice is heard. He can thank me later.

Word of advice to the new blog on the block: If you want to expose wrongdoing in City Hall without fear of retribution, you should start with your own organization.


Memo to Kevin Roderick

City HallKevin Roderick at LA Observed is interested in how we came to the conclusion that the Times isn't keen on Hertzberg and how his election is a threat to their social order.

Let us just say before we go further that we're big fans of LA Observed and especially Roderick's Valley history work (in fact, I wish he had the time to give us more). His blog is really very high quality that a tattler rag like the Sister City could never dream of reaching (though to be fair to ourselves we serve a very different purpose and can co-exist quite well).

But to explain ourselves, its quite simple. The Times exists - and has for many decades - in a downtown centric, conservative in style (if not always politics), staid world of the LA social order. Populated by the Times, the DWP, the Gas Company and whatever corporate interests rule downtown at the time, they seek that the city government do their bidding irrespective of what is though in San Pedro, Pico-Union, Chatsworth, North Hollywood, etc.

A populist mayor from the San Fernando Valley who literally wants to turn government upside down - and who is challenging many of their sacred cows - could make life somewhat miserable for the Times staffers who drink of the downtown chalice. So what if Hertzberg is a Democrat - he is not part of the establishment.

Its kind of like when Jimmy Carter came to town and everyone started wearing jeans in DC.

PS: The main thrust of the story however was that in reporting on Julie Ewong's slams against Hertzberg, they failed to give equal time and give us examples of Szabo's fine counterpunches.

Advantage Hertzberg

WaldmanOnce again both Jim Hahn has failed to get the endorsement of a local Democratic club. But this time instead of an abstention, the San Fernando Valley Young Democrats went with local boy Bob Hertzberg.

Now it should be noted that one of the founders of the SFVYD is Stuart Waldman (pictured left), a former Hertzberg staffer, but two other founders are Tony Cardenas (is he too old for the group now?) and Alex Padilla, hardly Hertzberg supporters.

In the interest of fairness - since we posted Tony Villar's press release - here is Hertzberg's. If Jim Hahn can manage to get a Democratic (or Republican or Green or Libertarian or Reform or Peace & Freedom or anyone) club to endorse him, we'll post his press release here too.

Valley Young Democrats Endorse Bob Hertzberg

Former Assembly Speaker gets rare Dem endorsement among candidates in Mayoral primary

Encino, January 21, 2005: Los Angeles Mayoral Candidate Bob Hertzberg got a major campaign boost Thursday night, receiving the endorsement of the San Fernando Valley Young Democrats (SFVYD), an organization for 18-35 year old Democratic activists in the Valley. In a week when the L.A. County Democratic Party and the L.A. County Young Democrats (LACYD) were unable to unite behind a single candidate, SFVYD overwhelmingly voted to endorse Sherman Oaks businessman and former State Assembly Speaker Bob Hertzberg.

The decision to endorse, made at a meeting of its members at the Encino Women’s Club, followed interviews of all five leading candidates conducted over the last five months, and a Young Professionals Mayoral Debate co-sponsored by SFVYD, LACYD and KPCC 89.3 FM on Monday, January 17 at the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood. SFVYD President David Phelps said, “Mr. Hertzberg is a candidate with rock solid ties to the San Fernando Valley, a bold progressive leadership style, and a passionate vision for the City of Los Angeles. During his interview, and over the course of the campaign, we have found Mr. Hertzberg to be a creative thinker with practical and achievable ideas for the City of Los Angeles and all its inhabitants.”

SFVYD Political Director Adrin Nazarian explained the club’s willingness to back the insurgent candidate. “Mr. Hertzberg is the candidate to change L.A. and has offered a convincing strategy on how he will be putting forth a coalition to get into and win in the run-off.” Mr. Nazarian went on to say that, “While Mr. Hertzberg is not currently leading in the polls, our organization believes his campaign has the resources and emerging support needed to make it to the run-off and elect him the next Mayor of Los Angeles.”

SFVYD, which has a $13,000 annual operating budget and a history of youth activism across the state, will mobilize young voters to volunteer and vote for Mr. Hertzberg in the March 8 primary election. Mr. Phelps said, “This is an organization that gets things done. Bob Hertzberg is a leader known for those same attributes. His campaign is taking off, and we believe SFVYD can lend an able hand to its success.”

In response to Thursday’s announcement, Hertzberg conveyed his gratitude for the endorsement on behalf of young voters. “To have the support of the young democrats is a great honor,” said Hertzberg. “Their confidence in me is a testament to the way I will approach my time at City Hall; one of a boundless optimism for the future of Los Angeles.”

Founded in 1994, by Los Angeles City Council President Alex Padilla, Los Angeles Councilmember Tony Cardenas, and Stuart Waldman, Chief of Staff to Assemblymember Lloyd Levine, the San Fernando Valley Young Democrats serves as the premiere democratic organization for young professionals north of Mulholland Dr . For more information, visit www.sfvyd.org.

Where to get the best dirt, news and recipes

SamOkay forget the recipes part, but Mayor Sam's Sister City is increasingly becoming one of the top blogs in Los Angeles to get the most information about the circus that is the City of Los Angeles. We know James Hahn's staffers read us daily and we know that JH is pissed off to all hell about the Sister City. We know our hits have gone way up lately.

We all remember the legendary Fourth Floor and miss it. But we've done very well to continue forward. And once again, we are mentioned in the Daily News.

Another great site to get city drama is LA Voice. Mack Read is one of the best blog writers out there and always have something interesting. If you can wade through half naked photos of young men and don't mind mixing sports with your politics, Boi from Troy is a good read too.

And the granddaddy of them all is LA Observed, the PBS of the LA blogs. Nowhere near the rough and tumble of the Sister City, this blog reminds me of the old LA Times View section where it covers not only the local political scene, but delves into things such as sunsets over the Death Valley and serious critiques of the LA Times and other publications.

Other blogs have tried to do what the Sister City does best but they have come and gone. The latest entry is one from the city engineers union, Blog City Hall. Just a few posts and that same old lousy squarespace format.

By the way, we have our first paid Adbrite sponsor, West LA Online. We're not allowed to talk about our Google sponsors, but we can publicly thank our Adbrite sponsors and encourage you to click on the link to the left and visit their site.

Exciting times at the Sister City.

Tuesday Water-Cooler Chit-Chat

TrojanYou know the race is getting ugly when even the Daily Trojan Sports section starts taking shots at the local electeds. Both Mayor Hahn and Councilman Bernard Parks attended the Trojan Championship Rally, because "you can't have a championship rally without an overzealous politician about to run for office." While at the rally, Parks referred to Pete Carroll as Pete "Carrot" and Mayor Hahn "looked like a dad coaching his 6-year-old daughter's tee-ball team" NICE!

In additional Hahn news, the LA Times notes that Hahn who repeatedly denounces three of his opponents as Sacramento politicians, is flying to the state capital today to raise money with the help of state legislators and one of the state's most influential lobbyists. This wouldn't be newsworthy normally except for the fact that the only term Hahn utters more than "Sacramento Politicians" is "Chief Bratton." Talk about the pot calling the kettle black...

Speaking of Chief Bratton, What happened to the sales tax hike that Hahn has been so ardently ramming down the throats of Neighborhood Councils? Turns out he should have been focused on the "ACTUAL" City Council, where he is now one vote short of the promised land of ballothood. Kudo's to the 6 Councilmembers for listening to the people and realizing that another half-assed attempt to ram this through without proper thought would likely not go over very well. We NEED cops. We get it. But do it without fleecing us.

On the much-maligned city department front, the port of LA is the one in the hot seat today as news surfaces of a possible conflict of interest. The LA Times reports that a city employee union complained Monday that the Port of Los Angeles has donated $30,000 to the San Pedro City Ballet during the last three years, calling it a conflict of interest because Mayor James K. Hahn's wife is on the dance company's board of directors.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Villaraigosa’s Wife Stomps Mayor?

VillaraigosaThe folks over at Tony Villar's campaign are going after Jimmy Hahn's manhood I guess. The dum dum as Meat would say gambled he could flake on the politically potent Sherman Oaks Homeowner's Association latest meeting in order to sneak over into Antonio territory (while Antonio was in Sherman Oaks with the other candidates) to wrest the Northeast Democratic Club endorsement. Instead he found himself face to face with Tony's wife Corina (who must be the one who contributed the "Raigosa" to his stage name) who did an excellent job of getting the Democrats to endorse Tony.

Well he didn't manage to get the endorsement and he managed to piss off the Sherman Oaks folks to no end. I suppose they're going for their fellow SO resident Hertzberg anyway. Jimmy Hahn got elected with the support of the Black community and the Valley. Seems as if he will have neither this year. You better hope Contreras can pull some magic out of his hat for you Poopy.

Maybe Poopy should have sent his wife to Northeast, oh never mind, forgot. (The preceding was an effort to follow Mickey Kaus' advice on how to spice up LA politics.)

In the meantime, lets give the Tony Villar folks some spotlight since they were nice enough to send this press release to us:

Los Angeles – Jim Hahn must have thought he could pull a fast one on his opponents last week in the race for Los Angeles Mayor.

Last Wednesday Hahn ditched yet another debate in the San Fernando Valley, this time standing up the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association.

Instead, he made a personal appearance at the Northeast Democratic Club’s endorsement meeting. But while hiding from his opponents, he ran into a more formidable foe – Corina Villaraigosa.

Speaking on behalf of her husband, Corina outlined plans to provide leadership for Los Angeles and restore trust in City government. After the speeches, 72% of northeast Democrats voted to endorse Villaraigosa.

When he heard about the endorsement, Antonio Villaraigosa was humbled. “I’m honored to receive the endorsement of the Northeast Democratic Club,” Villaraigosa said. “Corina is the best spokesperson I could have – if she were running against Jim Hahn, he wouldn’t have a chance.”

In The Public Interest

HertzbergThe LA Times preference for Jim Hahn is so stated, we must give you additional information that was not contained in one of the latest Hahn puff pieces the Times ran on Saturday.
After Hertzberg unveiled a 10-point transportation plan last week that he dubbed his "Commuters' Bill of Rights," the Hahn campaign quickly accused the Sherman Oaks Democrat of failing as Assembly speaker to fund local transportation projects.

Hahn campaign manager Julie Wong also noted that while Hertzberg was in the Legislature, lawmakers passed a proposition to require that gas taxes be used for transportation projects, but included a loophole that allows Sacramento to divert the money in tough budgetary times.
Of course the Times did not include any mention of a brilliantly crafted response by Hertzberg staffer Matt Szabo to the little Ewok that completely and clearly rebuted her and made her look like a bigger fool than she was even trying to be. Indeed, in the public interest, the Sister City has both Julie's mis-screed and Szabo's response that sets the record straight.

The Times also makes hay and once again quotes the Ewok for linking Hertzberg to Fleishman-Hillard. Apparently Hertzberg was hired by them to do some work, but he wasn't involved in using tax money for political campaigns. Yes, the Times fails to mention that.

I guess the Times is less interested in serving the public interest, than it is in preserving the social order in which it operates. A mayor like Hertzberg represents a big threat to the Times.

By the way, are we supposed to be paying Julie Wong with taxpayer dollars to flack for the Mayor's campaign? Just curious.

I hate to flack for Hertzberg here as I have yet to endorse a candidate, but in the public interest we have to help the Times do their job.

Mayoral Campaign Comix - An Outsider Looks In

ComixFor those of you who missed the LA Times in print this weekend, the entire front page of the opinion section is a comic strip by Mark Alan Stamaty entitled "Mayoral Campaign Comix - An Outsider Looks In"

Through PressDisplay you can view an online version, but you must subscribe for a free 7 day trial for the viewer.

It is quite a riot, including Bob Hertzberg the Supermensch, Alarcon the Amicable, Bernie Do-Right, Villaraigosa the Charmer, and Mayor Hahn, who doesn't get a nickname but gets to fly the "Hahn Glider" through the clouds of scandal while Laura Chick attacks him. The strip ends with "To Be Continued." I can't wait!

Sunday, January 23, 2005

More Heat in the Hahn Kitchen

HahnSo much for a quiet weekend of entertainment and weather gossip. Mayor Hahn's staffers must have been feeling the need for a little more heat in the kitchen and blessed the Daily News with two wonderful headlines: "Hahn staffer facing discipline" and "More city PR bills padded - Account involves Hahn press aide." The LA Times also brings us "As Race Heats Up, Hahn Aims Some Heavy Fire at Hertzberg."

The Daily News "staffer discipline" story occurred Thursday evening at the LA County Young Democrats endorsement meetings. It turns out that Hahn's camp, feeling scorned for his dismal performance at the LA County Democratic Party endorsements earlier in the week, felt the need to stack the meeting and hijack the endorsement. This is nothing new in most political circles. The interesting part is how they went about it.

First, a city hall mayoral staffer sent an e-mail to fellow co-workers asking them to attend the meeting and vote for Hahn. (See Boi From Troy's excellent scoop on details). While she did use a private account, the e-mail was sent at 3:56 PM. Now, either A) she wasn't at work during what most of us would consider normal business hours and was off campaigning for her boss, or B) she used a city hall PC to send the e-mail. Either way, a spade is a spade, and this doesn't look right.

Second, many of these staffers who received the e-mail turned around and drove city vehicles to the event. Another no-no of the city code. (Technical difficulties prevent me from posting the pictures of these cars, but trust me they do exist, as multiple angry LACYD members sent them to us out of anger for Hahn taking them for granted the last four years and then stacking the room to block their endorsement, which was recommended by their endorsement committee to go to both Villaraigosa and Hertzberg as a dual endorsement).

To add a bit of color commentary, I love this quote by Kam Kuwata, Hahn's campaign guru in the Daily News story: "Hahn campaign spokesman Kam Kuwata accused Villaraigosa and Hertzberg of showing a lack of respect for the democratic process. "(Supporters) were not asked by Jim Hahn to go," Kuwata said. "We all have constitutional rights to vote. I'm surprised that Bob Hertzberg and Antonio Villaraigosa would take away people's rights to vote." Funny. That's not how I see it.


The Daily News "padded bills" story stokes more flames on the fire of the Fleishman debacle.

Public relations bills submitted to the Port of Los Angeles by a Fleishman-Hillard executive who is now Mayor James Hahn's press secretary were marked up by more than $1,700 in 2003 without documentation that extra work was done, according to records and interviews.

Shannon Murphy, who left the firm less than two months later to replace Matt Middlebrook, who joined Fleishman-Hillard, declined to be interviewed but said in a statement that the handwritten additions to her billing statements were "outrageous."
Outrageous is right. Normally, I'd give her the benefit of the doubt, but with indictments swirling and the controversy in the Mayor's office growing larger every day, it's getting tougher to believe a word any of them say.

The LA Times story re Hahn and Hertzberg shows just how heated this race is becoming. The part that caught my eye was not the main focus of the story, but something I found as a bit of irony. Note the second paragraph:
Hahn and his campaign aides have blamed Hertzberg for the state's crumbling highways, derided him as a "Sacramento politician" and tried to tar him as a consultant to a public relations firm accused of fleecing the city.
As the Daily News points out today (Hahn's Traffic Jam), Hahn is hardly the transportation guru. For someone deriding "Sacramento Politicians", why is he bragging about their endorsements (California State Senator Gil Cedillo, California State Senator Jack Scott, California State Assemblymember Betty Karnette, California State Assemblymember Rudy Bermudez)? Wasn't Hahn's administration the one 's actually fleecing the city with the PR help the were provided under the DWP contract?

Just some thoughts for a Sunday morning when I was hoping to see comments on what people were gossiping about.

Friday, January 21, 2005

What's the Haps, Man?

weatherAnyone that's a regular Mayor Sam reader knows the Los Angeles Times is running an experimental column inviting critics to take their best shot at the city "self styled" heaviest newspaper. Mickey Kaus believes the Times should print more gossip, thereby making politics more entertaining and politicians more human to voters. The Mayor has kept me busy writing this week, with his housing proposal meant to benefit police without actually providing the city more of them, his legal defense fund to fight allegedly, supposedly false corruption charges, his turn as a pothole filler, and his loss of the county D.N.C's endorsement. Antonio has also maintained a busy schedule, fighting with his colleague Tony Cardenas over which one of them wants to turn El Toro Marine Airport into a commercial airport more, also losing the county D.N.C. endorsement, and proposing a housing initiative I still can't decipher. I'm tired of writing about shady dealings and lame proposals, I need a break.

Let's take a tip from Mickey, but write about actual gossip. Anyone have the inside tip as to why Brad and Jen split up? Anyone have good gossip from the Golden Globes? On a lighter, but more substantive note, anyone have a good movie tip? What's the best place to see and be seen this weekend? Anyone know of any good concerts, shows, museum exhibits, or free events? What's the best way to enjoy the weather this weekend?

Thursday, January 20, 2005

The Legal Defense Fund

HahnDetails are still being learned, but our fine Mayor appears to have created a legal defense fund to defend himself against the allegedly false allegations of corruption against him and his administration.

When asked about this disclosure on Thursday in an interview by John Schwada of Fox 11 News (not online, seen on Thursday 10:00 PM newscast) Mayor Hahn responded, "I didn't think I wanted to have to spend campaign funds on legal fees. This is a common practice."

WHAT THE F@#$! Common Practice? For whom is this common practice? Every example I have been able to come up with so far is other scandal plagued administrations and I can't think of a single one that came out well for the administration being defended.

Who would donate to such a fund? You guessed it. PRIVATE CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTORS. Now before I jump the gun, as the official filings won't be available until next week, who wants to guess who the donors are and what their ties are to Mayor Hahn?

For his sake, I hope none of them have contracts with or business pending with the city, because that is the very problem that got him into this mess! I think I'm getting ill just typing this...

Hertzberg takes on John and Ken

KFIListening in this evening on the drive home, I caught Hertzberg on KFI with John and Ken. While very dangerous turf for most pols, he was in studio taking them head on.

It started with Bob's traffic plan. Went over well. They moved on to the budget proposals he has been harping. Again, went over well. Next up, the Economic Development plan released yesterday. Kudos for immediately owning up to the fact that he was chair of the group. This to went over well.

The summary closed with multiple examples of things done and a challenge for them to hold his feet to the fire. The others have been invited. Can they survive?

Little Pink Houses for You and Me

HousingThe pace of home sales slowed during the past year, as the price of homes continued to rise. Mayor Hahn unveiled his solution to help homebuyers finance their dream: tax them more.

The Mayor proposed putting a $500 million housing bond before voters sometime in 2006. In addition to the bond, the proposal includes a $10 million no-interest loan program to help moderate income first-time homebuyers. If the bond passed, it would work in concert with the city’s $100 million housing trust fund, and cost current homeowners $34 a year more in property tax.

Los Angeles’ current homeownership rate is the nation’s lowest at 39%. The bond would underwrite home ownership for low to moderate income individuals, including teachers, nurses, firefighters, and police officers, providing them an incentive to buy a home and invest in their community.

Speaking of police officers, as both Hahn and Antonio Villaraigosa failed in their attempts to pass Measure A, the half-cent sales tax increase to fund a bigger police force, the Mayor hopes the bond will coax the 80% of officers that currently live in the suburbs to move to the city. Hey, if he can’t pay for more officers, he’d better try to keep the ones he’s got happy.

This is all supposition, of course, as conventional wisdom has the bond going the way of A: meaning the Mayor won’t be able to come up with the required two-thirds majority to pass it.

Antonio also offered his proposal to voters today. His solution to the widespread housing problem? Well, he didn’t offer a new program or a new idea, he wants to fully fund the $100 million housing trust fund THAT ALREADY EXISTS. Oh yeah, he wants to create some ‘partnerships’ (I’m sure his ambiguity is intentional). Yeah, that’ll build better, cheaper houses and make better neighborhoods. Partnerships between unnamed partners. He must have used his thinking cap to come up with that idea.

*Note the pic is from the first time Hahn promised the trust fund...

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

LAX Expansion Stakeholder Group Meeting

For those of you who are all to vocal about the recent developments regarding LAX, I bring you a snippet from Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski's January E-News 2005 (to her credit, I applaud her for making this meeting known to the public in advance. Certainly not what we have learned to expect from most of the antics in City Hall):

LAX UPDATE- Mark Your Calendars - On February 3rd at 6 pm, the first meeting of the Stakeholder Group for the LAX Master Plan will take place. It will be led by Bob Gilbert, the interim Stakeholder Liaison. In this first meeting, Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) will explain the LAX Master Plan implementation process and engage all stakeholders in an ongoing dialogue regarding LAX Master Plan decisions. Presentations will be given on the LAX Master Plan stakeholder liaison duties and responsibilities; how stakeholders are included in the LAX Master Plan implementation process, and status of the LAX Master Plan approval process and the LAX Master Plan advanced planning process.

My staff and I will attend and participate in the Stakeholder meeting. Additionally, representatives of the Mayor's office and members of the LAX Master Plan Advanced Planning Team will also be present. The meeting will take place at the Westin Los Angeles Airport Hotel. The hotel is located at 5400 West Century Blvd., Los Angeles. Parking will be validated. If you have additional questions about the Stakeholder Group or LAX in general, please contact David Kissinger of my staff at (310)568-8772. I look forward to seeing you there!
If there were ever an opportunity to be heard, this sounds like a good one!

A Last Wish - A Great Civic Park

Great ParkWhen the Cultural Affairs Committee meets on Thursday, the voice of a late, local civic leader and activist is to be distributed to the members in attendance. The voice I refer to is that of Ira Yellin. His widow, Adele Yellin, has prepared a set of documents for the Committee laying out a vision for a great civic park across from City Hall, the current selected site of the new LAPD station. While I will be the first one to stand up and say we need a state of the art police station (and the man power to also staff it), we also need to think about the ramifications of this planning decision and how it will so drastically change the landscape of downtown. Let's hope she is at least shown respect, unlike others who have ventured into the hearing rooms of our city government, and people take the opportunity to hear her plea. As blogdowtown posted, the NC arts committee heard the presentation last evening, and it is at least worth exploring and hearing out.

To help her amplify that voice, I post the letter below:

Attention: Members of the Cultural Affairs Commission

On Monday of this week, I was informed that Thursday, Jan. 20 the Police Headquarters Project would be an agenda item before Cultural Affairs. Unfortunately, I am out of town for the weekend and cannot attend the meeting.

Please note my strong objection to the Police Headquarters Project on this site.

Let me explain. My late husband, Ira Yellin helped develop a downtown civic plan that included a public square as its center piece. He was committed to building Los Angeles’ sense of community.

Indeed, Ira was a proponent of a Civic Park, a public green space, opposite City Hall as proposed in the Diamond plan. He was certain that a Civic Square opposite City Hall was important as a gateway between the revitalizing Historic Core and the halls of city government. At the very end of his life (the last two weeks) he encouraged me and others to make sure the park was created. Ira envisioned the park as a central, gathering place for this city-without-a-center: a place to hold a city gathering for the New Year; a place to protest, a place to celebrate.

Moreover, Ira dreamed of instituting a program in the park similar to the summer program at the Serpentine Gallery in Hyde Park, London. There, each year a famous contemporary architect builds a pavilion for the public to view. This program has been credited with educating the British public on the beauty and creativity of contemporary architecture. While a program such as this could be installed on any site in the city Ira felt this site at the heart of the city was the ideal location.

The problem: The city has decided to build a 500,000 sq. ft. building on the site to house the police headquarters. Parker Center is decrepit and I am committed to making sure the police have a state of the art building for their headquarters. In my view sitting the building on this land opposite City Hall is a planning mistake that will be with us into the next century. Not only does it become a physical barrier to the historic core, it is a psychic barrier as well. The message of a heavily fortified police headquarters opposite city hall and next to the LA Times will feel more like a government under siege rather than an open democracy where people can voice their support and/or their objections to one issue or another. I am convinced this is not the message Los Angeles wants to convey to the community and world.

There are a number of other locations that would be ideal for a new LAPD headquarters. The headquarters does not need to occupy the only natural site for a civic square and the gateway to downtown Los Angeles’ historic core. Let me be clear, the placement of the police headquarters building next to the new CalTrans building will create a wall, effectively blocking off the Civic Center from the revitalizing downtown.

I have tried to carry on Ira’s vision. To that end I enlisted the help of the J. Paul Getty Trust; they underwrote a design plan for civic square. I believe this park will make Los Angeles a stronger city. I am attaching the Civic Square concept developed by Campbell and Campbell last year. Look at the importance of this open space to anchor, and animate the area; this site is the hinge that connects the civic center with the historic core.

I urge you to object, indeed, to stop this unfortunate planning/building decision. Preserve this unique site for a Civic Park!
Should you wish additional materials on the park site I am happy to present them to your commission at a later date.

Thank you for your consideration of my views.

Best regards,
Adele Yellin

Yes, We Have Money For More Cops

CopsThe Chief posted a link to Hertzberg's analysis, but I think its significant enough to post the executive summary. (You can read his full report here):

An analysis of the city’s general fund revenues and expenditures over the past four fiscal years reveals several key findings, among them:

  • The city’s general fund budget expanded by 14%, growing from $3.2 billion in FY 2001-02 to $3.7
    billion in 04-05.
  • At the same time the general fund budget grew by 14%, the Los Angeles Police Department expanded the number of deployed officers by less than 2%.
  • The hiring of new officers accounts for only 3% of NEW general fund revenue since 2001-02. Fully 97% of new revenue was spent on other priorities.
  • Seventy-five percent of all new revenue since 2001-02 was dedicated to salary increases.
  • As of FY 2004-05, the city had spent less than 0.2% of its $5.4 billion budget on hiring more police officers.
This is significant. If there was one reason not to vote for Jim Hahn, this is it. If Hertzberg has the ability to frame the facts in this manner and actually understands that the City has the money (as we at Mayor Sam have been saying for months) to hire more officers without raising taxes, then he may very well deserve to be the next Mayor.

Like School Boys Fighting on the Playground

El ToroAs the Mayor’'s $11 billion dollar plan to expand LAX airport isn'’t sufficient to service more than 78 million passengers a year, the City Council battled yesterday over the fate of the El Toro Marine Air Station in Orange County.

Both Tony Cardenas and Villaraigosa support the proposal to make the Marine station a commercial airport. Here'’s where things get ugly: Cardenas, who endorsed the Mayor in the 2001 election but remains neutral in the upcoming race, is upset his colleague is using the opportunity of the airport proposal to attack the Mayor for not doing more to push the idea earlier and further his own faltering campaign (he has to do something, lacking his two former bases of support .

Cardenas says: “I love this city and we'’re trying to deal with public policy. I don’t think we need to bring any of that other stuff into this chamber.”

Villaraigosa says: “The Mayor held a news conference two years ago and did nothing to follow up on it.”

Really? This is what members argue about in the chamber? Even if it was a stupid debate (which it is), it’s a moot point. Federal officials are opposed to any aviation uses at the site, and O.C. officials have stated they will fight to overturn the residents’ vote to turn the base into a commercial airport.

Tony and Tony, back to your corners. Instead of fighting about a federally owned airport based in ANOTHER COUNTY, the Council should be trying to devise a decent LAX expansion plan. If they did that, they could stay out of other counties’ business. Either way, our city faces dire straits; we need accountability in City Hall, a school system that graduates the majority of its students, more police on the streets, a solution to the horrible traffic, and an end to the salacious scandals plaguing our city. Tony and Tony, I suggest you retract your claws and work on that.

Mayoral Endorsements** - They Both Lose

endorsementOne of the more sought after endorsements in LA politics after the County Federation of Labor is the County Democratic Party, and tonight we learn it's decision.

The top two players in this saga play-out a rematch from four years ago. In that fight, Villaraigosa out-campaigned Hahn to win the party endorsement. Hahn has had non-stop problems with his democratic party relationship since. He was shunned by Davis and the state party in that battle as well. As payback, you will note that he held off support for Davis through his travails and has continued to infuriate the party players in other vindictive schemes over his grudge. Regardless, this battle is different, and he has no choice but to play nice. The only other blip on the radar is Hertzberg, who has done his due diligence and made his calls, but has never had the grassroots support in his corner, and it is unlikely he could ever garner the needed 60% needed of the parties most active and faithful.

This time Hahn has the unions which Villaraigosa had four years ago. This time Hahn is an incumbent who has bent over to every other group who can help him stay afloat, so I'm sure he has done the same yet again in his personal pleas to party delegates this go around.

What's at stake? For Hahn it is yet another feather in his cap against Villaraigosa. For Villaraigosa, it is one of his only last big shots to counter the labor endorsement. For Hertzberg, can he disrupt enough to help play spoiler. In this battle, every vote counts. Can anyone get the needed 60% to land it? That is the question answered tonight. Who has the muscle to grassroots organize the party faithful?

***The vote went down last night and the winner is..... NO ENDORSEMENT ***

Both Hahn and Villaraigosa end up losers, as this is devastating to both. How can an incumbent leader and highest elected democrat in the city not get the party endorsement? How can Villaraigosa the self-professed king of grass roots organizing let Hahn block him. The only winner I see is Hertzberg by default, since he is the only one who didn't get damaged last night. See LA Times and Daily News for more info on the fallout.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Giving Away the Store

HertzbergBefore I get slammed for being pro-this candidate, pro-that candidate, or even a child molester, I figured I would bring this post to you in Hertzberg's own words. His points are somewhat salient and quite an eye-opener. You decide? Looks like some very poor decisions were made if you ask me.

Hahn's Latino Support

HahnSince he doesn't have a blog of his own, here is Mayor Hahn's most recent press release touting endorsements: Congresswoman Grace Napolitano (Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus), State Senator Gil Cedillo, Assemblyman Rudy Bermudez and other Latino community members today endorsed Mayor Jim Hahn's re-election.

Hahn Under Fire in Corruption Probe says Villaraigosa

VillaraigosaStaying fair and balanced, here is Villaraigosa's lead blog story...again in his own words: Hahn under fire in corruption probe.

He's also pushing the LA Independent poll here.

Updates on Parks and Alarcon

Parks and AlarconWith the Alablog DOA and Parks against the ropes, we don't have much news to report, but if I don't put something up I'm sure I would never hear the end of it. Feel free to sound off on recent rumors you've heard, because these two camps aren't putting out much on their own.

Moore says 'Pay-to-play' politics is ruining Los Angeles

MooreAnd last but not least, Walter Moore is staying the course, and happy that he is beginning to be included in some of the debates. No doubt he would like more coverage, but some is always better than none.
To his credit, at least he has his own text up which is somewhat current. His item of the moment is everyones favorite: "Pay-to-play" politics is ruining Los Angeles

Low-Brow Commentary

GossipMickey Kaus, best known for writing the kausfiles blog for slate.com, took the Los Angeles Times up on their offer to take their best shot in the new experimental column its running. He offers a unique solution widespread Los Angeles voter apathy. He believes the Los Angeles Times should shed their image as “Southern California’s heaviest newspaper” and traffic in gossip.

His argument is circular, but Kaus think it’s a virtuous circle. He believes if the Times wrote about sex, crime, bad behavior, and turmoil in high places, it would remind our citizenry the city’s leaders are only human. Additionally, he thinks the reason a shockingly high number of Angelenos couldn’t pick Hahn out of a line-up or name their county supervisor is because they don’t care about politics and are thereby bombarded with information they can’t possibly process two or three weeks before an election. The unstated implication of his argument is that if reading about politics was more fun and entertaining, maybe city residents wouldn’t mistake Hahn for the worker filling a pothole.

Kaus’s biggest concern is about the Times not writing about the Mayor’s marital separation? The majority are too apathetic to exercise their civic duties, thereby allowing special interests and civil bureaucrats to reign supreme at City Hall.

Seeing as how the Times has always shied away from trafficking in gossip, I don’t think they’re going to adopt Kaus’s reforms anytime soon.

Fortunately, we here at the Sister City suffer no such pretentions. We are city politics gossip central, and proud of it.

Wendy Buys Five More Cops

WendyFirst off, yes I am back, but don't cry for me Alhambra. Mayor Sam is in his busy season, so between me and the Chief, I think we can keep things up and running. Now if that damn Frank Shaw or the Insider would get off their asses, we might be able to crank out some blog fodder.

Anyway, "Everyone Knows It Wendy" Greuel has so far come up with enough dough to hire only five police officers in her grand savings scheme, reports today's Daily News. Its not that the idea is a bad one, in fact, its the best way. Cut the damn fat and you'll have plenty of clams to hire more coppers. She just needs to work a little harder. She has offered up a few ideas like selling ads on city vehicles (okay by me) and streamling some various tasks, but you got to go further and you will have to piss some people (yes, unions) off in the process.

Here are Mayor Sam's ways we could achieve the dough (or at least get on the right track):
  • Outsource the DOT including more of their bus drivers, the meter collectors, etc. Put some of the enforcement positions back into the Police Department where those people could also help with public safety.
  • Eliminate the Department of Cultural Affairs, Human Relations, Immigrant Affairs, etc. These are all functions that non-profit organizations can handle. You might only save enough here for 25 to 50 cops, but hell that's an excellent step in the right direction.
  • Implement Richard Alarcon's plan to bill the harbor, LAX and DWP for security.
  • Outsource the Department of Aging completely to the wonderful non-profit organizations such as Valley Interfaith Council, Jewish Family Service, etc. who already do most of their heavy lifting for them.
  • Cut each council office budget by $200,000 as a token effort to provide at least two more officers per CD.
Those are just some. I will enjoy reading your freak-outs.

At Least He’s Doing Something

potholesWhen Mayor Hahn isn’t professing shock regarding the public relations firm he channeled millions of dollars to, he’s working to fix one of twelve hundred potholes the recent rains opened up.

He donned a yellow construction vest and steel-toed boots for his news conference to show people he’s doing everything he can to fix the problem of the potholes. Noting his father, Ken Hahn, was the “pothole killer,” the Mayor explained fixing potholes “is one of those ways to let people know what government is doing.” A slick publicity stunt combined with a mention of his well-liked and well-respected father…Can anyone say ‘shameless pandering?’

Publicity stunt aside, the government really isn’t doing everything it can. How do I know? The government told me. The Los Angeles Times quotes the city’s assistant director of street services, Nazario Sauceda, “We’re not going to fix all the potholes in the city; we’re just trying to fix the potholes reported by residents.” Riiiiight. Fixing all of the potholes wouldn’t leave the Mayor with any time to profess his shock at the rampant scandals in his administration.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Three Day Weekend

Pending no indictments being dropped this afternoon, I'm looking forward to a calm three day weekend. Blogging will be lite, unless Yorty manages to make it back from his tour of the mid-west and needs to vent his pent up rants on us.

In the mean time, let me suggest a little reading material for the weekend. It seems all to appropriate!

Great Quotes from the Debate

QuotesQuotesThe Daily News has some great quotes from the debate:

"This is a sad day for Los Angeles," Alarcon said. "This indictment has created a pall at City Hall, a pall that says we can point fingers at individuals or we can step forward and change Los Angeles, change the rules."

Parks echoed Alarcon, saying, "This is why the whole city of Los Angeles needs to be looking to clean up our government."

Villaraigosa said the indictments confirm his views on the problems in the city, and showed the need for a change.

"All of us have raised money, but I know the difference between right and wrong," Villaraigosa said. "You can't have a city government where decisions are linked to contracts."

Hertzberg said the problem is pervasive in the city and has had a chilling effect.

"I've been out of government for some time now and I can't tell you how many people I call who say hey have a contract with the city and are concerned about making a contribution," Hertzberg said. "We need new leadership in the city."

And last but not least:

"I have a 20-year career here of unquestioned honesty and integrity," Hahn said during the debate at Temple Beth Amat in West Los Angeles before more than 300 people. "I have said we will not tolerate anyone ripping off the city and they should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law."

Thursday, January 13, 2005

The First Domino Falls**

Jail Stripes
Via the LA Times:
PR Firm Executive Indicted in DWP Fraud Case
L.A. indictment alleges that John Stodder Jr., who ran the firm's local public affairs practice, participated with "others known and unknown" to routinely submit inflated billings.

By Ralph Frammolino and Ted Rohrlich, Times Staff Writers

A Los Angeles federal grand jury today indicted a former high-ranking executive of the Fleishman-Hillard public relations firm for his part in a scheme that defrauded the Dept. of Water and Power of at least $250,000 and cheated private clients by lesser amounts.

**The newest rumor running rampant around water coolers this evening is that besides the expected Doug Dowie and Troy Edwards indictments, Leland Wong may be in the mix.

One Way to Get Headlines

AlarconWhen I posted this morning about getting headlines, this was a tad extreme.

AP is reporting that a sport utility vehicle with weapons inside was abandoned and still running outside the eastside mayoral campaign headquarters of state Sen. Richard Alarcon when employees arrived Thursday, the senator and police said.

I don't have much info yet, but this certainly will change the dynamic a bit..The good news is that everyone is safe and it appears to be a coincidence.

No Means No

taxesWith re-invigorated energy stemming from successes of beating back recent attempted rate hikes, the Neighborhood Councils are once again standing up to the city and telling them NO means NO!

This time it is Mayor Hahn's efforts to get the Neighborhood Council's to support his May ballot measure to hike the sales tax to pay for more cops. Many councils are complaining of heavy-handed tactics (Daily News). Most of the presentations don't allow for equal time on both sides of the issue and the all important survey they are running around with is as bogus as most online polls. It doesn't even provide the opportunity to oppose the tax in it's entirety.

As we have already posted, there are other alternatives.

The message they are sending is clear. We empowered you. Now do what we say. So much for autonomy of the councils. Ain't democracy grand?