Cleaning out the Friday Stables
It's Friday and below are the e-mails i've received in the last 24 hours. 1 from the Hahn campaign, 1 from the concerned citizen bashing MEAT and another one from the Villaraigosa Campaign.
From the Hahn campaign:
To: Interested Parties
From: Julie Wong
Re: What's the Deal?
What deal did Antonio Villaraigosa make with Bernard Parks to securehis endorsement? It's no secret that Bernard Parks has waged acampaign against Mayor Hahn since he brought new leadership to theLAPD.Still, prior to endorsing Antonio Villaraigosa this week, BernardParks presented Mayor Hahn and Antonio Villaraigosa with a "MayoralEndorsement Checklist," asking both candidates to commit toimplementing several policies as mayor to win his endorsement.Mayor Hahn would not make a deal to score political points and ignoredthe checklist. The question is: what deal did Antonio Villaraigosamake?Antonio Villaraigosa told voters in Granada Hills that Bernard Parkswas not the "right person for the job" of LAPD chief and then toldvoters in South Los Angeles that he supported Chief Parks. What didAntonio Villaraigosa tell Bernard Parks he would do as mayor? And howdoes this compare to what he's been telling others?Did Antonio Villaraigosa, who has said he is 100 percent behindinclusionary zoning, agree to Bernard Parks' demand that he opposeinclusionary zoning?Did Antonio Villaraigosa, who says he's a friend of labor, agree tonot appoint labor representatives to city commissions?Bernard Parks' said that "specific answers are essential ...."What specific answers did Antonio Villaraigosa give to Bernard Parks?
From a Concerned Citizen:
Dear Mayor Sam,
I have been forwarded several emails regarding several posts on the blog, (latest one from MEAT) that denounce Neighborhood Councils, and the system as a whole.
I wish to address this, although I haven't been able to find the original posts your site is quite extensive. Anyone, and I mean anyone, who needs to know what Neighborhood Councils can do need to look no further than their DWP bill which is considerably lower because 42 Neighborhood Councils stood up and opposed the 18% rate increase last year. An increase the Mayor, and most City Council members believed was justified, but we showed them it was not. Neighborhood Councils then stood up and demanded that the DWP be audited prior to any future rate actions, that motion passed city Council, but wait... there is more. Then we began a negotiation with the DWP on a Memorandum of Understanding that was just approved by the DWP Commissioners this past Tuesday, between Neighborhood Councils and the DWP. That document reigns in and opens up the historically secretive department and holds them accountable to their owners, the people of Los Angeles. Sure, you can find examples of Neighborhood Councils being dysfunctional, but more and more Neighborhood Councils are beginning to live up to their promise. From Granada Hills North, where they are doing more than just opposing the Sunshine Canyon Landfill but also coming up with solutions to land-filling, to Westchester where they are working on a solution to the LAX issues, to South Centrals fight against the influx of liquor stores to Northridge where they are working to prevent a second Wal Mart in 5 miles fro m being built while simultaneously looking for an alternative development. Neighborhood Councils are in the City Charter for a reason, to give the power back to the people. This threatens many people in the current power structure. From City Councilmembers who attempt to "shake down" developers prior to approving a project, to the behind the scenes people who aren't used to the people of this city having the final say. It may be a slow process, but this city is slowly being returned to the people, lessening the relevance of the elected leaders to a degree, while forcing them to work with the people... who after all are the ultimate "special interest group". Does that make Neighborhood Council members "amateurs"? Well, if by that you mean we represent the people over big powerful interest groups then sure. Are they perfect? Of course not... democracy isn't always pretty... or perfect. But for a country that absolutely loves to wrap itself in the flag in order to achieve some higher moral ground, let's remember that the flag stand for a government of the people, by the people and for the people... and last time I checked Neighborhood Councils are a group of people, chosen by their communities, to represent them and that, should never be ridiculed for to do so is to ridicule all that this country holds up to the rest of the world as sacred... Democracy.
From the Villaraigosa campaign
Will Hahn Support a Review of No-Bid Airport Contracts?
LOS ANGELES – According to campaign finance reports filed yesterday afternoon, Mayor Jim Hahn accepted contributions from lobbyists representing airport contractors, including a lobbyist subpoenaed to testify in ongoing corruption investigations.
Earlier this week, the Airport Commission voted to extend no-bid contracts with concessionaires without formal debate.
City Hall lobbyists also made a big showing. Those who contributed $1,000 to Hahn include: Butterfield Communications, Darlene Kuba, Rudy Svorinich Jr. and Ek & Ek.
The last firm was co-host at a fundraiser for Hahn last week. The Airport Commission, whose members are appointed by the mayor, voted Monday to extend a contract for McDonald's restaurants at LAX. Lobbyist John Ek represents McDonald's outlets at the airport.
Hahn fundraiser Annette Castro and her husband, lobbyist Julio Ramirez Jr., each contributed $1,000. Ramirez represents the Hudson Group, whose contract to run bookstores and newsstands at LAX was also extended Monday by the Airport Commission.
(Los Angeles Times, April 8, 2005)
On Tuesday, Councilmember Jack Weiss introduced a motion to reconsider the airport contracts before the City Council.
Will Mayor Hahn support the motion to reevaluate no-bid, no-discussion airport contracts?
If this is just an “appearance problem,” will he do something about it?
Did he know that lobbyists contributing to his campaign had business before the Airport Commission?
John Ek, a prominent airport lobbyist whose clients include McDonald's, said after the vote that he had co-hosted a $1,000-per-person fundraiser for Hahn last Wednesday in San Pedro and that he helped raise money for the mayor last year.
Ek confirmed that he had appeared a year ago before a grand jury investigating pay-to-play allegations that campaign contributions may have influenced decisions on city contracts.
Julio Ramirez, another lobbyist and Hahn contributor, represents the Hudson Group, which operates bookstores and newsstands at LAX.
Ramirez is the husband of Annette Castro, one of Hahn's chief fundraisers. The Hahn campaign paid Castro more than $200,000 for her fundraising and campaign consulting activities in recent years, according to Hahn's campaign finance statements.
The New Jersey-based Hudson Group acquired the North American airport retail business of W.H. Smith in December 2003. Atlanta-area executives of W.H. Smith contributed $22,000 to Hahn's mayoral campaign in 2000. The company's LAX concession contract was extended without competitive bidding after Hahn was elected.
W.H. Smith also gave $50,000 to Hahn's L.A. United campaign to defeat the secession of the San Fernando Valley.
The Hudson Group contract was extended to May 31, 2006, with the option for another one-year extension.
The contract with DFS Group to operate the airport's Duty Free Shops was extended until Nov. 30, 2007. DFS executive Joseph Lyons and two lobbyists, Richard Lichtenstein and attorney Ellen Berkowitz, were at the commission meeting.
On the same 6-0 vote, the commission extended the concession contract of attorney Andy M. Camacho, who operates two Mexican restaurants at the airport. Camacho has contributed to both of Hahn's mayoral campaigns. He also gave $1,000 to the mayor's legal defense fund last month.
(Los Angeles Times, April 5, 2005)