Whistleblower hotline: (213) 785-6098

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Some Light Reading Material


For those of you wanting a piece of light reading before bed, the "No Net Increase" Air Quality Task Force has released it's final report (603 Pages) for your perusal.

According to their press release:

The 603-page report identifies 68 control measures that could be pursued over the next 20 years as part of a massive effort to control port-related air emissions from the ships, harbor craft, rail operations, cargo terminal equipment and trucks that operate in the Port and throughout the region, which is a major Pacific trade gateway and one of the nation's most critical goods movement corridors.

"Reviewing this report, I have a great sense of accomplishment," said Mayor Jim Hahn. "No other Port in the world has put this much collaborative effort and energy into seeking ways to reduce the air emissions associated with its operations. This is truly a breakthrough document. My No Net Increase policy will leave the Port communities, and the entire Los Angeles region, breathing easier -- a legacy I am very proud of."

A "legacy I am very proud of?" While the report took nine months and thousands of hours to compile, if started in say, the beginning of your four year term as opposed to the end of your term in a desperate throw to win an election, your "legacy" might just have been extended.

Oh well. Here's to hoping our new crop of leadership has the guts to actually implement this study, and not just let it collect dust like many of it's predecessors.

Tokofsky the Money and Run

TokofskyOne of the more offbeat politicians in Los Angeles is School Board member David Tokofsky. A longtime member of the board, he's a former teacher, fairly liberal but was part of former Mayor Riordan's attempt in 1999 to take over the school board.

As a liberal, David's probably never met a tax increase he didn't like. And here he goes again.

David is proposing an increase in the parcel tax which will add another $150 a year to the hundreds of dollars homeowners are already paying in school bond measures, let alone just basic property taxes.

HowardRemember, when folks like David want to tax homeowners, we're not just talking about David Geffen or Aaron Spelling and their mega-mansions, but in reality hundreds of thousands of people in places like Silverlake, Pico-Union, North Hollywood, South Central, etc. who own little four room houses and many of whom are senior citizens living on fixed incomes. It wasn't that long ago that huge property tax increases drove old folks from their homes and it was Proposition 13 that provided some relief. ("Father" of Prop 13, Howard Jarvis, pictured right)
"We made some drastic cuts, but before I ask voters for additional funding, the district needs to budget its money more wisely and efficiently," he said. "That puts us in a difficult position to ask for more local funding when the district has a long way to go to improve its budget process."
School Board President Jose Huizar
As we said just the other day, the LAUSD needs to get its fiscal house in order. In California, $1 out of every $2 collected in taxes goes to education. The schools have plenty of money, they just honestly waste it.

And perhaps, The Sister City is getting through. Our favorite School Board President Jose "Weezy" Huizar is making noise that he may not support Tokofsky's taxing proposal. Now we know that could just be that he's getting ready to run for Antonio Villaraigosa's very soon to be vacated Council seat, but its possible he's getting religion. We shall see.

Tokofsky's proposal has not been greenlighted by the School Board yet, and if so would most likely show up on the November ballot (along with a construction bond measure already adopted by the board). The good thing is that the tax proposal requires a 66% vote, but that doesn't mean it will fail with the higher percentage of renters that vote these days.

Mayor Sam to David: Listen to your President. He's onto something.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

The “Other” Council Race

As all you political hacks know, there are two council seats currently up for grabs. But it seems that – for the most part – the months long behind the scenes politicking for the position of Council President and the election for Assistant President Pro Tem (APPT) has been off the radar screen.

Word is that Councilman Alex Padilla is a shoe-in for a second term as Council President, but the Sister City received a tip that the APPT spot will go to Councilwoman Wendy Greuel.

While this story can’t be confirmed until the final vote takes place this Friday morning at 9:00 a.m., seeing Greuel replace Garcetti would not surprise council watchers. Garcetti may have burned bridges when he sought to take the presidency away from Padilla by courting other members for their votes. I guess we will know if Wendy out-maneuvered her colleague soon enough!

Let us know what you hearing.

Having it Both Ways

Double TalkLast Thursday I posted a quote from Cindy Miscikowski regarding the lease termination of Amerigas down in the port:
The truest quote I've read about this situation had to be delivered by Cindy Miscikowski to the Daily Breeze: "I don't know what the urgency was, and as we do know, there are a lot of changes a-coming."
Today I read this:
The Airport Commission voted Tuesday to approve a $750,000 payment to two outside law firms hired to defend legal challenges to the current LAX expansion plan. Today's 5-0 vote has to be approved by the City Council to take effect. A special session of the council is scheduled Wednesday to take up the matter. Most items approved by the airport panel take several days at least to become scheduled items on the City Council's agenda. Tomorrow's special session appears to have been set to allow outgoing Westside Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski -- who will be replaced on Friday by Councilman-elect Bill Rosendahl -- to cast a vote on airport legal fees. She is expected to approve the expenditure.
Aren't there are a lot of changes a-coming? So much for going out in style...

County Seal Cross Connected To A Little Marital Booty Call?

JudgeThis is 9th Circuit Federal Judge Stephen Reinhardt. He was appointed to the Federal bench by former President Jimmy Carter and is responsible for trying to remove "under God" from the salute to our flag. In fact, one group is trying to impeach him, though that probably won't go anywhere.

Had the LA County Dupes (AKA Board of Supervisors) not knuckled under to the threats of an ACLU lawsuit and removed the small mission cross from the LA County Seal, its possible that Steve himself could have heard this case. He's known for being real friendly to most of the leftist causes of the ACLU.

RamonaThis is Ramona Ripston, Executive Director of the ACLU. We detailed her last antics to prevent public safety efforts in the City of LA here. Ramona has been known for years as the institgator of all kinds of liberal antics by the ACLU, and the left loves her.

Ramona is married to Stephen Reinhardt.

I think you're getting the picture.

Piling On

Following the mantra of piling it on the third floor while we still have the opportunity, I think I read something about a possible job opening down in the San Pedro area.

The headline from the Daily Breeze reads:

Goats to start work in San Pedro's Peck Park next week

Sam the Goat

I know, to steal Matt Szabo's words we are "slamming the door on the mayor's coffin and doing the Ickey Shuffle on top," but how can we resist a headline like that!

Go ahead, call me an ass, but you have to admit it's funny. And note that the pictured goat is named Sam, showing that we all can take a joke, right Yorty!

A Few Loose Ends

NAME OF PICTUREFollowing up on a few stories, The Daily News op-ed pages view Smith's trash plan with skepticism.


The Daily Breeze follows up on their hometown squabble over
Amerigas, noting that before leaving office, Miscikowski will ask for a review of the propane company's lease termination.


The zealots over at "
Save Our Seal" send the following missive with the Supreme's ruling:

The 2nd Supreme Court decision today, dealing with the religious symbols on public property is a plus for our cause. The Texas case dealt with a symbol having historical significance and is part of a group, it was found constitutional.

Unfortunately, the opposition will only distort and dismiss the ruling as it relates to our cause. That is why we must be successful in getting our LA County Seal on the ballot. Once it is challenged, we can begin our trip to the US Supreme Court and eliminate the gray area.

At the present time we have 13,000 personally addressed letters with petitions in envelopes at the bulk mailing house. Volunteers have been working very had getting ready for the first mailing. Our goal was to get them in the hands of prior petition supporters by the fourth of July weekend.

Now it is up to you. We are not in a position to pay the $3,400.00 to complete the mailing... Our drive will continue with or without the mailing, but if you want these petitions in the hands of your fellow supporters by the 4th, than you must act now!

You can go to the Web site http://savetheseal.net/donate.html and contribute online via paypal, or mail a check to Committee to Support the LA County Seal P.O. Box 1958, North Hollywood, California 91609 or call me and I will have the check picked up.

We now have collected over 16,000 signatures and have distributed more than 16,000 petitions and have printed 31,000.

If it is to be, its up to thee.

David Hernandez

Committee to Support the LA County Seal


Also spotted is a story regarding the
Carpenters union joining many unions who are challenging the AFL-CIO, making Ludlow's new potential job that much more fun

The Hahn Farewell

As I write this on my laptop in Council Chambers i am watching the farewell to Mayor Hahn.

Reyes talked about Hahn's energy in the Eastside.

Smith talked about calling him Jimmy.

Garcetti talked about some guy at an airport -- and inhaling/exhaling the City's air.

Greuel talked about when she was 22 mtg him for the first time and the crush she had on him.

Weiss talked about how Hahn should be an example to young attorneys to get into public service.

Janice Hahn spoke about her brother keeping all of his campaign promises. She also gave an emotional tribute to her brother and about how her father would be and is proud of him.

Zine spoke about his trip to Hawaii and being able to see the Hahns (Janice and Jim) in speedos. About the "lovely" time he had with them, but not like "that". He also jabbed Greuel for not seeing Jim in speedos. He also thanked Jim for his time in office.

Padilla talked about thanking him for his leadership.

Villaraigosa recounted on a question he was asked about Hahn 4 years ago by Rick Orlov. He also told everyone in the room that he had big shoes to fill.

Hahn thanked everyone for their service and his ability to serve with them. He spoke about his father and his chance to make a difference.

Kudos to the advance team getting Randy Newman's "I Love LA" on the webcast version. I say this because Hahn's last words to his speech were "I Love LA."

Thats it from City Hall.


Kevin from LA Observed commented on our posting.

Here Comes Laura Again

LAXCity Controller Laura Chick is holding another press conference tomorrow. Chick will release the much anticipated follow-up to her 2003 audit of the Los Angeles Department of Airports.

The December 2003 audit uncovered serious problems with the contracting practices at the Airport. The situation was so serious that Chick handed over the results of a preliminary investigation she conducted to the United States Attorney and Los Angeles District Attorney.

Looks like soon to be ex-Mayor Poopy is getting out of Dodge just in time!

UPDATE: Matt Szabo blogs and throws us props. Thanks Matt!

AD 53 - Sad News and What's Next

GordonAssembly District 53 received horrible news on Saturday that their Assemblyman Mike Gordon had passed away from a brain tumor. While we here at the Sister City love to tussle in the weeds, we stayed away from this topic out of respect for the family. As the days go forward however, we will need to start covering the news in his district, as his leadership is already going to be missed and he would have expected no less from us.

On a somber note, according to the Capitol Morning Report, the office of the late Asm. Mike Gordon requests condolence notes be sent to Rm. 2137 in the Capitol or to the district office in El Segundo.

In lieu of flowers, the office says the family suggested three charities:

National Brian Tumor Foundation
22 Battery Street, Suite 612
San Francisco, CA 94111-5520
(800) 934-2873

American Heart Assn. LA Chapter
816 S. Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, CA 90017
(213) 291-7000

American Diabetes Assn. LA Chapter
6300 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 100
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(323) 966-2890.

A memorial service is scheduled for July 6 at El Segundo High School and a funeral service follows July 8 in Hollywood Hills.

Contact: Janelle Beland (916) 319-2053.

According to the Capitol Basement Roundup, the election to replace Mike Gordon will likely to be consolidated with the November 8 statewide special election, AP's Steve Lawrence writes that the race to fill the seat will be competitive, but money may be scarce with so many competing issues on the ballot.

AP also scans the field for potential candidates. "The race for Assembly District 53 could attract several candidates. Two Republicans formed campaign committees before Gordon's death to run for the seat next year: Gordon's opponent from 2004, former Redondo Beach Mayor Greg Hill; and Torrance Councilman Paul Nowatka.

Two Democrats also are considering running, Torrance Councilman Ted Lieu and Manhattan Beach Councilman Jim Aldinger."

If no candidate receives 50 percent in the first round of voting, the top vote getter in each party will head to a runoff.

In other Gordon news, the Daily Breeze reports that Gordon filed a lawsuit June 17 that alleges an opportunistic business partner took advantage of his ultimately fatal medical condition to seize control of two companies the pair jointly owned. The lawsuit accuses Treasurer-Secretary Kristen Schwenkmeyer, a longtime business partner and former top state Democratic Party official, of fraud, deceit and mismanagement.

The suit seeks the involuntary dissolution of Gordon & Schwenkmeyer Inc., the well-known political fund-raising company the two have operated together since the mid-1980s.

And for those of you wondering why I'm spending this much time talking about him, here's another timely article in today's Daily Breeze that shows where his involvement and activism touched each and every one of us. His little "pet project" was fighting for the local communities surrounding LAX and Hahn's boondoggle of funds. There isn't anyone involved in this process that hasn't heard from Gordon, and his voiced will be sorely missed.

For the most recent information, El Segundo.net is by far the most up to speed on the comings and goings in AD 53 regarding both the special election and funeral information for the late Assemblyman

Monday, June 27, 2005

Ask Betts

A loyal Mayor Sam reader e-mailed me a very interesting question touching on the roll of ethics in the world of blogging. I thought I would share it with all of you. The reader wonders, "What should be done when a blogger has sticky fingers?"

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, June 27, 2005 11:25 AM
Subject: sticky fingers?

Dear Mrs. Yorty:
Since you seem to be the only woman writer on this blog, I wanted to suggest that you start your own advice column. I think it would be a great idea since I have yet to come across a political/blogging advice column.

On that same note, I have a question of my own. I am not a real big blog reader, but I do check out Mayor Sam and LA Observed on occasionn. On Saturday morning I noticed that you mentioned Howard Fine's reassignment off his Los Angeles Business Journal political beat. Seeing as how I am a businesss woman who reads the Journal, I am sad to see him move on to other things. Anyway, on Sunday I noticed that Kevin Roderick from LA Observed jammed your story in with some other junk. While it was nice of him to mention Mayor Sam, I am confused as to why he would recreate his own post on the topic this morning (Monday) sort of making it appear like something new. It seems a little backhanded that he would just regurgitate your tip as his own. What are the rules? Are you offended?


Bugged Blogger

Dear Bugged:

Thanks for suggesting the advice column. If I receive enough questions, I think it would be a great idea.

Moving on to your question about LA Observed, I must say that I am not a certified mental health professional so I am unable to accurately comment on Mr. Roderick's thought process. What I can say, is that Mayor Sam is always flattered when we are mentioned on Mr. Roderick's blog. However, we admit that we are concerned when we see that Kevin takes our tip, sends an e-mail to the Business Journal confirming our story, and then turns it into his own.

I understand that the blogging world is competitive, but the Mayor Sam site gives credit where credit is due. Mayor Sam and staff also believe in exercising patience and understanding for individuals who lack creativity and originality.

You know what they say, imitation is the highest form of flattery!

Do you have a question or a tip? Email mrsbettsyorty@yahoo.com

(LA)Observing Things Around Town

dishRight here at the Sister City - we're on top of the things you want to know and talk about. In the last few days we were the first to tell you about:

-The return of Wacko Walter Moore
-Goodbye, Rick Caruso
-The bon voyage of Howard Fine (with a grudging acknowledgement by LA Observed) from the City Hall beat
-CD14 Polls

Conversely, what's going on at that other site that thinks it's in the know but lately just isn't? They're talking about a group of self-titled morons who spend their time talking about Brad Pitt and Jennifer Anniston.

If you want LA's version of a high school gossip newspaper, you can (LA)Observe that other places. But remember - if you do - they won't let you comment on their posts. If you want to know what's going on at City Hall, its our lovalble old coot Mayor Sam and his team.

We'll even let you tell us we're full of shit!

Parking It At LAUSD

ParkingOnce again the Los Angeles Unified School District wants to build a swanky new $50 million parking garage for its top administrators.

This is at a time when the District is performing so well (not) and has so much money (not) that they can well afford to do such a thing.

Of course, the District folks say they need this parking, it costs too much to lease parking, shuttle folks, blah blah blah.

I would suggest they do something different and evaluate not the need for the parking, but the need for the administrators. We know that LAUSD has way too many administrators and is not spending enough in the classroom.

As well, LAUSD could look at spreading some of these departments out to the communities, co-locate them on school sites where there is parking and they're close to the parents & students. A number of these positions could even telecommute.

School Board President Jose Huizar wants to step up and run for Los Angeles City Council. If he wants to play with the big boys, perhaps he should show some leadership and vision and try something outside the box, as opposed to just throwing more money at the issue.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Pacheco 'Still' Ahead in Early Polling

Pacheco and MEAVDay and Huizar

Here we go again. Poll Number 2 has been released from the Pacheco camp, and the results are similar to the last one.

Targeted Communication Poll Results:

If the race were held today who would you vote for?
Responses %Q_Resp
Pacheco 39.3
Huizar 12.1
Other 9.1
Not Voting 11.2
Undecided 28.4

Targeted Communications indicates that the results reported have an estimated margin of error of +/- 4% with a 95% level of confidence.

Grove Insight Poll Results:

If the race were held today who would you vote for?
Responses %Q_Resp
Pacheco 45
Huizar 14
Other 6
Undecided 35

For additional information on these polls, you can watch Pacheco Campaign Manager Robert Urteaga on KJLA/LA TV (Ch. 57 locally) Sunday, June 26 at 8:00 pm go over the Targeted Communication Poll results

(Also spotted at MattSzabo.com )

As far as the first poll, Huizar gives his response via the LA Downtown News:

Huizar, however, was unimpressed with the findings, saying they reflect only current name recognition. "I'm not the least bit worried about this poll," said Huizar, noting that the election is four months away. "I'll quickly surpass any base Pacheco has." Huizar also said Parke Skelton and Sue Burnside have joined his campaign team. Burnside will handle field operations while Skelton, who engineered Villaraigosa's recent victorious mayoral campaign, will be a consultant.

Friday, June 24, 2005

The Economy is “Fine”

Tonight I received an e-mail from a city hall insider claiming that the Los Angeles Business Journal has decided to move well-known political reporter Howard Fine off his political beat. After seven years covering local politics, Fine will now cover the economy.

The BJ has apparently decided to forgo coverage of local politics, and will not be replacing Fine. The Sister City team will miss Howard, especially since we know he is a fan of our blog. Sources say that Howard even co-wrote his article on Rick Caruso’s resignation based on information posted on Mayor Sam.

Apparently, Fine’s reassignment comes as no surprise since the BJ is undergoing a redesign in an attempt to distinguish itself from daily publications like the Los Angeles Times. In addition to Fine’s reassignment, topical columns by reporters James Nash and Hillary Potkewitz are also being added.

Finally, if any journalists are looking for a gig covering the entertainment beat, I hear the BJ is looking to expand their coverage to compete with entertainment publications like the Hollywood Reporter and Variety.

If you have a tip e-mail mrsbettsyorty@yahoo.com

How to Ass Kiss -- SEIU Style

SEIUSEIU Local 347 Update -- Clips from the news letter:

Paragraph 1 - On Tuesday, May 17, Los Angeles voters elected Antonio Villaraigosa Mayor with 59% of the vote, and the leaders, members and staff of SEIU Local 347 congratulate him on this inspiring victory. No matter that the union supported Jim Hahn, Mayor Villaraigosa won fair and square, and Local 347 will do everything it can to help him succeed as Mayor. Ed Note - Great Start

Paragraph 2 - Antonio Villaraigosa takes office having won the votes of virtually every group of voters represented in the City, with a clear mandate focused on the fu­ture, and support for change– in the city and in the schools. And while the Union supported Jim Hahn in this election, Antonio Villaraigosa cares about workers and we are confident that we will work with the new Mayor as we share common goals for the future of our City. Ed Note - Still looking good

Paragraph 3 - While we congratulate Mayor-elect Villaraigosa, I am proud of the decisions the members of SEIU Local 347 made to support Mayor Hahn in 2001 and again this year. Labor stands behind an in­cumbent politician who does the right thing in office. I sure hope that loyalty is not going out of fashion! Ed Note - Prepare yourself, while it's starting to turn, it gets better

Paragraph 4 - Jim Hahn was there for city workers for the past 24 years,” Butcher continues. ...blah blah blah.... Ed Note - And here we go

Paragraph 5 - Here's what Union President Bob Schoonover wrote immediately after the May 17 election: The loss is not only his and ours but the city'’s as well because, in my opinion, Hahn was the most effective (not the most charismatic) Mayor we'’ve had in my lifetime. What he did in four years was more than impressive: he kept the city whole; restored morale, perform­ance, and leadership to the LAPD; found a way to hire a few more cops; kept city services growing and improving with shrinking income; put paramedics in every fire station -- in fact, turned around Riordan'’s gutting of the City's Fire Department -- and led the fight to keep the City's funds rightfully funding lo­cal government when our state legislators stole funds from cities and counties to solve the state'’s budget problems. Imagine what he would have done with some money.” Ed Note - Aren't we supposed to be congratulating MEAV?

The closing line slams Riordan, attacked state legislators, and criticized lack of money from council. Hmmm... What the F? No wonder their boy lost, if this is how they congratulate people.


Rick Caruso - Don't let the door hit you in the ...

CarusoAccording to the press release just distributed from Caruso Affiliated, Rick Caruso (Owner of the Grove) sent a letter to MEAV announcing his resignation from the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners. Citing his confidence in the current LAPD command staff, and his need to spend more time managing his company, Caruso said his resignation will be effective July 1, 2005 or upon the confirmation of his replacement.

Some nuggets from the release:

"As a member and former President of the Police Commission for the past four years, it has been a privilege and honor to serve both the people of this city as well as the proud men and women of the Los Angeles Police Department. As I know you are aware, no one deserves our respect and strong support more than the men and women who work day in and day out to keep Los Angeles safe," Caruso said in his letter.

"Although more is left to do, the turn-around is complete and I feel I can step down while leaving the Department in the capable hands of our current senior command," Caruso said.

Translation - I backed the wrong horse, and rather than face the music, I'll claim complete credit for the good, pretend like the bad never happened, and hide behind the brave men and women who actually put their butts on the line defending us if you try to say anything bad about me, and run for the hills since my sweetheart deals are up.

To the men and women in blue, WE LOVE YOU. To Mr. Caruso, don't let the door hit you in the...

Wacko Walter Is Back!

Wacko WalterRemember Walter Moore? The citizen turned mayoral candidate who warmed the hearts of the Hal Netkin set, spent tremendous on-air time with Doug McIntyre and even got to guest host a show one night on KABC. Some even say Bob Hertzberg would have been Mayor Elect Antonio Villaraigosa's opponent in the general election had it not been for Wacko Walter siphoning off conservative votes.

Well Wacko's back, and this time he wants to play kingmaker. Yes, Wacko Walter is looking for two good men or women to run for the soon to be vacated 10th and 14th Council seats.

Want to be a Council member? Wacko Walter will make it happen for you! Just visit here for more details!

Renew LA - One dump at a time

Councilman Smith unveiled his 200 page plan for dealing with the city's waste management problem on the eve of the Council's vote to extend the contract at Sunshine Canyon.

While the plan admits defeat regarding Sunshine Canyon, as they are permitted and will continue to accept trash, even if not from LA, the ideas are promising.

The major points include:
  1. Expanding recycling programs
  2. Development of seven waste conversion plants, one in each region of the city, which will convert waste into energy
  3. Paying tax incentives for businesses using trash in manufacturing
The expected outrage will obviously come from NIMBY's, but shockingly there are also environmental groups concerned about the byproducts.

The test will be this. Do any of our elected officials have the guts to make this a reality. No one wants a dump in their backyard. We understand that. But we have to do something before we bury ourselves in it. I applaud the effort. Let's hope he can get the council behind it as well.

Only time will tell.

Reports in the Daily News, LA Times and Daily Breeze

Tutmania - The Curse


Brad Dickson's guest column in the Daily News expounds today that:
Los Angeles is in the midst of a mania. I speak not of the housing market, but of Tutapalooza.

As the King Tut exhibit makes its sophomore appearance at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, elitist East Coast critics hover over the preserved artifacts dating to around 1323 B.C., stunned by the thought, "Los Angeles County has a museum?"

Forgetting Tut for just a second, I wanted to focus on some of the sarcasm weaved throughout the column to provide you all with a laugh on your Friday morning. Here's a few of the better ones:

  1. Every couple of decades, the Egyptians send Tut on tour, making him their Cher.
  2. From L.A., the exhibit moves to Fort Lauderdale in November, where Tut would have caused a sensation as one of the state's younger people.
  3. Maybe we're enthralled by a civilization able to erect gigantic pyramids, Los Angeles being a civilization whose elected officials are unable to repair a pothole.
  4. We're also possibly intrigued by the fact it took Egypt roughly the same amount of time to build a Great Pyramid as it did for us to complete four feet of subway.
  5. Some psychoanalysts assert that Tut represents implied immortality, a life that never ends -- something many L.A. inhabitants crave, but only a select few (Robert Evans and Dyan Cannon) achieve.
  6. The exact cause of his death is unexplained, which helps account for his popularity in L.A. Tutankhamun is one long "CSI" episode.
  7. The publicity blitz peaked when the charismatic Tut proposed to Katie Holmes atop the Eiff -- wait, wrong P.R. blitz.

But the icing on the cake must be the following -

Ironically, all the ado surrounding Tutankhamun flies in the face of historians largely branding him one of the least important pharaohs. Tut was a leader of little consequence in his lifetime. The analogous situation would be if 3,000 years from now, multitudes of people were to line up to view the preserved remains of Mayor James K. Hahn (which are eerily similar to the actual James K. Hahn.) Or if some day society turns out en mass to witness the antiquities belonging to, say, City Councilman Dennis Zine.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

A Drink?

A certain individual who can't be credited with the story has tipped the Sister City Team to a Happy Hour occurring tonight.

After my short but fruitful vacation getting a tall stiff drink is exactly what this old cop needs. So tonight after telling the old deadbeats at Parker Center whats wrong with them, i am going to walk right down the street to Weilands. (free drink for the plug dammit)

The odds of me attending are about 50-50 -- but for you City Hall tinheads the fact that i may attend should be enough to get the gossip juices flowing through your blood. Don't worry i don't plan on mingling with you types, I am going to bring a friend sit right down in a booth and laugh at the fact that you wouldn't even recognize me even if i served your drink.

Gossip Away!


I've received several e-mails today -- City hall staffers that weren't invited to the event -- but had plans to be at Weilands with others have cancelled those plans. Due to the possibility that they may be innocently identified as the Chief.

At the same time, i've received several city hall, federal and state staffers wanting to be included on the next happy hour so they can plan ahead. Do I smell a Sister City Fan Club brewing?

Gas Troubles in the Harbor

AmeriGasAt least they are going out with a BANG!

Since the audit issue wasn't causing enough headaches for the beleaguered Harbor Commission, yesterday they refused to delay a vote to give AmeriGas more time to look for another facility to solve the pipeline permit issue which has been festering for months.

Here's the long and short of it.

Currently, the AmeriGas pipeline runs from storage tanks on North Gaffey Street under the 110 Freeway to Berth 120. The pipeline exports excess butane to Latin America and China. Needless to say, the community of San Pedro is worried about their safety and have even cited terrorist concerns.

The permit is up for renewal. Amerigas has been searching for alternative locations, but has yet to find one. The Harbor Commission was being urged to delay a vote to give Amerigas more time, but since the commissioners don't have much time left either, they promptly denied the permit.

What is San Pedro left with? They still have the tank. They still have the boats at Berth 120. And now they have thousands of trucks ferrying the same gas between the two.

So they gained what, thousands of accidents waiting to happen as opposed to one.


The truest quote I've read about this situation had to be delivered by Cindy Miscikowski to the Daily Breeze: "I don't know what the urgency was, and as we do know, there are a lot of changes a-coming."

There sure are, due to bonehead votes like this.

Chick Releases Follow Up To Harbor Audit

boat/Citing an "open disdain for good government," City Controller Laura Chick today released her follow-up audit of the Port of Los Angeles and criticized the Board of Harbor Commissioners for failing to implement the major reform of her 2003 audit.

"My report finds good news in that the Port staff have made many steps toward improvement. The progress that has been made, however, fades quickly when compared with the stunning fact that for more than two years the Board of Harbor Commissioners has refused to adopt a sound overall policy for awarding shipping leases. The Port staff drafted a policy over a year ago, which still sits in the Commission's in-box collecting dust," wrote Chick in a letter to Mayor Jim Hahn, City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo, and all fifteen members of the Los Angeles City Council.

Chick's June 18, 2003 audit of Port leasing practices found:

* Long-term agreements with shipping lines are based primarily on flexibility of rules, confidentiality and relationships.
* The Port's practices in negotiating, selecting, and analyzing long-term property leases are not openly competitive or standardized, and lack support.
* The Port must write, adopt, and implement a sound leasing policy.

"The Harbor Commission has basically thumbed their nose, not only at the City's elected leadership, they also disregarded the people of Los Angeles. The larger question to be answered is why did the Commission refuse to implement this needed policy? Who is benefitting by not having these rules in place?" said Chick.


Mayor Sam Wonders

Random thoughts this morning at Mayor Sam's sprawling Southern California research center:
  1. What is Jim Hahn going to do after July 1st?
  2. If an 11 year old kid can handle himself in the woods, why can't an 18 year old woman handle herself in Aruba?
  3. How come no one has asked us to do a "Who are the hottest staffers on the 4th Floor" contest lately?
  4. Why is Herb Wesson automatically annointed as the new CD10 Councilman when he has no plans to stay in the office and not skip to the County Supes?
  5. Why is Weezy even thinking about jumping to the City Council when he can't keep the LAUSD on track?
  6. How horrible working for Arianna Huffington must be for Andrew Breitbart to go running back to the arms of Matt Drudge, as reported by Luke Ford.
  7. What is the latest in the soap opera of Sergio, Emma and the kids at the Federal Building? Does Emma really wait to see Sergio coming out of the bathroom?
  8. How will MEAV cut the city budget? I'm glad he's looking at it!
  9. Will Stuart Waldman give me a bumper sticker for his next Assembly run?
  10. Can Boi from Troy keep out of trouble this weekend in Baghdad by the bay?
  11. Will Snapple try to build a giant popsicle in LA since their attempt in New York failed miserably?
Its going to be a warm day in LA today - have a good one!

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Heads Hung Low

pink slipDo you have a friend on the third floor who wants to keep their job?

Well, if they seem a bit down there is a reason. The mighty axe fell today, and the word came down as to who stays and who needs to visit monster.com.

At first glance, it appears that the actual cogs in the machine that do the real work get to stay. The wonks, jocks, appointees, and freeloaders got the ol' pink slip and a pat on the back. Turns out they jumped on the wrong ship.

While I hate to see LA's unemployment figures rise, I have to say, they had to know this was coming.

Chick Goes To The POOP Deck

shipAntonio Villaraigosa is going to be Mayor soon, and boy will he have a lot of messes to clean up.

We don't talk much about Poopy these days, but it looks like Jim Hahn's pay to play legacy continues on at the Port of Los Angeles.

City Controller Laura Chick is about to report:
  • Long term agreements with shipping lines are based primarily on flexibility of rules, confidentiality and relationships.
  • The Port's practices in negotiating, selecting and analyzing long term property leases are not openly competitive or standardized, and lack support.
  • The Port must write, adopt and implement a sound leasing policy.
See you on the POOP-deck!

In other Chick related news: The Controller has appointed DeWitt Roberts as her new Chief of Staff replacing Marcus Allen (not the former Raider) who is headed over to serve MEAV. Roberts served previously as Director of Financial Reporting, a position that longtime staffer Bill Lamb is postponing retirement to take once again.

Want Not, Waste Not


Sing Along (Over the river and through the woods)!

Over the hills and into the dump
to Sunshine Canyon we go.
5 more years until 2011
Pissing off NIMBYS more

Councilman Smith says he has a plan
And he will share it tomorrow
But he could not stop the other three
Who see no other choice

Over the hills to Browning Ferris
They say they disagree
They have a permit, they won't stop
So it is time to move on

Back over the Hill, to City Hall
We have been promised before
No more trash, no more trucks
But alas we are lied to once more

While not as poetic, the Daily News and LA Times also cover the beat!

LAUSD Sticking It To The Little League?

baseball!The Los Angeles Unified School District has tabled for now a proposal to charge community groups for usage of sports fields and other facilities for after school programs.

For now, they intend to seek out sponsors to cover their costs. I would also suggest involving local community and service groups in running programs, raising funds and even volunteer to do some of the maintenance (Uh oh! The unions just crapped their pants here).

What better way for a government agency to be of service to the community than to provide recreational and other facilities, primarily for youth who need them? We pay taxes for Christ's sake and these blowhards are coming after us every single election for more money.
"The decision comes months after the district proposed charging $78 for a permit and up to $48 per hour for the use of facilities, igniting a firestorm of criticism from community and nonprofit organizations that said it would force them to cancel activities."
Daily News
We all know about the audits that have been done that show how much money the LAUSD horrifically wastes. They have plenty of other options to get their financial house in order than trying to stick it to the local little league.

Weezy are you listening? All those moms and dads in CD14 who take their kids to Little League, soccer and Boy & Girl Scouts meetings in those schools will be watching. Are you going to bankrupt these wonderful organizations because you can't find a solution to the minimal expense it incurs to let our children use our publicly owned facilities?

We'll be watching too.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

I'm Ready For My Close-Up Mr. DeMille!

Norma DesmondOur friends at the American Civil Liberties Union - or as talkradio host Dennis Prager calls them - "the left wing Taliban" - are at it again.

Councilmember Wendy Greuel is spearheading a plan to consolidate the city's various security officers under a new Office of Public Safety. This is a good idea to make the city more efficient and provide more safety to our residents at parks, libraries, the Zoo and Convention Center.

But wouldn't you know, the ACLU and its "Grand Dame," Executive Director Ramona Ripston (pictured above) (who by the way is looking more and more like Norma Desmond in Sunset Blvd.) has to oppose this move because they are worried a few of these guards might actually do their job and whoop upside the head of a few thugs.

It amazes me how leftist organizations such as the ACLU have no practical, common sense. Its a good thing to have security guards who are armed and trained to patrol parks or libraries where innocent kids (mostly minority ones too but the ACLU doesn't care) be roughed up by local hooligans. Or have property damaged. Or have children molested. The ACLU doesn't give a damn about any of these kids until one of them does commit a crime and then they love them.

There are for sure a few bad apples in any public safety organization. We have procedures in place to screen those out and deal with them when they go bad. The ACLU on the other hand wants to coddle criminals and spend their time outlawing religion.


Smell Good Plumbers?

JosephineA few days back, we posted some juicy nuggets about a few plum City Commission appointments Mayor Elect Antonio Villaraigosa plans to make in the next few weeks. However, we didn't expect sharing a little bit of prognostication about the coming administration would set up such a firestorm!

A few of our sources tell us that this "leak" was unexpected and caught some of the MEAV transtion team folks by surprise. And now they all look at each other with suspicious eyes!

Its possible that - like the Watergate Plumbers of old - some folks on the transition team may wish to call in the Mike Diamond Smell Good Plumbers (fragrance free of course as not to offend anyone) to plug up the leaks. We're hearing that the working groups may not continue to meet or change their strategy to keep that damn Mayor Sam from getting any info.

Interestingly, some have pointed the finger at former candidate and transition team chair Bob "Can I have a hug" Hertzberg as the source of the leaks. Mayor Sam can assure all my gentle readers and fellow tinhorns that there was no clandestine meeting at Art's Deli where the Hugster slipped me a file. So perhaps - and I truly hope so - that Hertzberg flack Brian Hay will stop pounding my email box for the details - Hugsaberg was not the source of my information.

What I can say is that Mayor Sam only got a few chunks of info at a time and then the trail went cold. I didn't even get to hook up with someone at 1:00 a.m. at King Taco in Montebello for Christ Sake! As always, I guarantee my sources 100% confidentiality and in this case, I am not exactly entirely sure who my "Deep Throat" is, but its certainly not Mark Felt, Pat Buchanan or even George H.W. Bush. That's good, cause I don't have a balcony to put a plant on.

Understatement of the Day

HuizarThese gems are brought to us by no other than Weezy Huizy, my favorite School Board prez!

From the Daily News:
School board President Jose Huizar believes the district has a responsibility to be better prepared to prevent large-scale fights.

Ethnic tensions have always existed, but not at this intensity and frequency, Huizar said -- a problem that could spill into the community if left unchecked.

"The bigger question is: Is this a prelude to what the city of Los Angeles will be facing in the next five to 10 years -- these same types of issues on the city streets?" Huizar said. "We need to help them deal with the issues at schools or the city has to prepare itself."
Ya think? Here's my bigger question. Forget what we are facing in five to ten years, we are facing it now. What are we doing NOW, other than glad handing around CD 14 thumping on your chest. Roll up your sleeves and start solving the problems at the schools, which is more impactful upon the future that you are so concerned about.

I'll step off my soapbox now...

BREAKING NEWS - Ethics Commission Fines Councilmembers!

MoneyOK, maybe not breaking news.

Some of this is old, some is new, but it is all worth mentioning. The LA City Ethics commission struck again yesterday accusing councilmembers Zine, Weiss, Greuel, and Smith, City Attorney Delgadillo, and failed mayoral candidate Kathleen Connell of various infractions regarding donations to various campaigns.

While Zine led the list with a possible $115,000 fine for charges related to using a city phone to make campaign calls, the others are more fun to chat about because the include the "L" word - LAUNDERING

Quoting the LA Times:

Pelham also issued accusations in two political money-laundering cases Monday, including an allegation that Acosta & Co. and owner Steve Acosta, a CPA, reimbursed political contributions made by others to the 2001 campaigns of council members Jack Weiss, Wendy Greuel and Greig Smith, and of City Atty. Rocky Delgadillo.

In the other case, Pelham alleged that Design Masonry and its owner, Randall Carpenter, were involved in laundering $3,000 in contributions to the campaigns of Weiss and 2001 mayoral candidate Kathleen Connell.

Acosta and Carpenter were among 14 subcontractors to Alan Casden's development firm who pleaded no contest in October to criminal charges of participating in a political money-laundering scheme at City Hall, along with a vice president of the Casden company.

And people wonder why MEAV won the election based on his stance against corruption. Hmmm...I think I have an idea!


Is the Race for CD 10 Still Happening?

LudlowSo, I posted over the weekend that our dear Councilman Ludlow found himself in a pickle over lobbying restrictions if he replaces Miguel Contreras over at the County Fed. Yesterday I posted about Wesson, who is readying his press conference outside of City Hall as I draft this post running to replace Ludlow. Then I read the Daily News and this AP story. WOW!

Turns out their may not be a race after all, or will there. Quoting Rick Orlov:
City Councilman Martin Ludlow's bid to head the Los County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, ran into trouble late Monday when union delegates nominated two more candidates to challenge him for the leadership post.

During a union meeting in Hollywood, the delegates nominated Ivan C. Chavez, vice president for political action with the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees, AFSCME local 2626; and Kevin M. Norte, treasurer of AFSCME local 910, as candidates, said union spokeswoman Hilda Delgado.

As a result, an election will be held July 18 to choose the new leader of one of the nation's most powerful county labor forces, with more than 800,000 members. Ludlow will take over as interim secretary-treasurer July 1 until the election.

Ludlow is expected to still resign his city council seat and become interim director in the meantime. However, this is politics, and if the chips aren't in place, Ludlow is more than adept enough to return to his council post, leaving Wesson running for a seat that is still occupied.

Want more drama? What about that little investigation regarding Ludlow's dealings on the MTA? It is quite possible that Ludlow could resign his council seat, not be elected County fed leader, face an investigation and be left out on the street. Far fetched? Maybe not.

I personally like Ludlow, so I hope for his sake that the move to the County Fed is just delayed. As for those lawyers I refered to on Sunday, they may just be making a little more money.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Speakers Invade City Hall?

First we had Villaraigosa in '01, and the rerun in '05. '05 also featured Hertzberg. Now we have Wesson making it official tomorrow morning outside of City Hall announcing he is running for CD10.

We also know Cardenas wanted to be Speaker, Ludlow worked for two of the previously mentioned Speakers (MEAV and Wesson), and Huggybear is still active chairing MEAV's transition. Hertzberg is known to be an ally of Wesson and most assuredly will be involved in his campaign as well. As this all happens in Fabian Nunez's backyard, one should rest assured he should be throwing his endorsement into the ring at some point.

In other news, MEAV has proposed a Hertzberg-esque plan where the City of LA Mayor would appoint the entire school board, much as he appoints various city commissions. This is an interesting idea and should be explored. Mayor Riordan tried to stack the school board with people he felt would be sympathetic to reform - and did succeed with his slate - but he got bored later and the teachers' unions steam rollered his candidates when they came up for re-election.

The most tragic loss of which was former School Board President Caprice Young, who has to be one of the most thoughtful, passionate and intelligent elected officials ever in Los Angeles history. This woman was an asset to the LAUSD - and what the unions and a select group of NIMBYS in cahoots with a fellow board member was a tragic shame. The guy we wound up with instead of Caprice is an all out loser.

Pacheco Ahead in Early Polling

An e-mail received last evening boasts:
Pacheco Holds Large Lead Across the Board in Race to Fill Villaraigosa'’s Council Vacancy

Los Angeles, CA: A poll conducted June 14 to 16 revealed that former Councilman Nick Pacheco holds a commanding lead in the race to fill the soon to be vacant 14th Council District seat because of Councilman Antonio Villaraigosa assuming the duties of Mayor on July 1.
Pacheco'’s base of support appeared on every question (Name Identification, Favorable-Unfavorable and Strict "Head-to-Head"), and held firm in every part of the district and among all ethnic groups.

Matt Szabo and Downtown Central City East Blogger beat us to the punch this time. (I'm not quite sure why they are up until 2:00 in the morning, but that is another post) With Parker out on vacation, we'll have to see if his minion of followers stick up for his boy Huizy, but it looks good early on for Pacheco! Here's the full text of the release below:

Councilman Nick Pacheco for City Council
4414 York Boulevard, Los Angeles CA 90041

19 June 2005

Contact: Robert Urteaga

Pacheco Holds Large Lead – Across the Board – in Race to Fill Villaraigosa's Council Vacancy

Los Angeles, CA: A poll conducted June 14 to 16 revealed that former Councilman Nick Pacheco holds a commanding lead in the race to fill the soon to be vacant 14th Council District seat because of Councilman Antonio Villaraigosa assuming the duties of Mayor on July 1.

Pacheco's base of support appeared on every question (Name Identification, Favorable-Unfavorable and Strict "“Head-to-Head"), and held firm in every part of the district and among all ethnic groups. "Naturally, I am very pleased with the results of this survey,"” Pacheco said Sunday. "“I am honored by the fact that the voters of the 14th Council District want me back as their Councilman."” Predictably, the poll showed Pacheco enjoys much higher name recognition than any other declared candidate -- 76% of district residents are familiar with him. No other candidate, including elected officials, had name recognition percentages above 35%.

Sixty percent (60%) of the district has a favorable impression of Councilman Pacheco, while a low 16% hold an unfavorable view. This 3.8 to 1 ratio surpasses the typical elected favorable-to-unfavorable ratio of 2 to 1. "“As a resident of the 14th Council District, I knew the survey would have these results,"” said Campaign Manager Robert Urteaga. "These results show Nick'’s strong reputation in the District of being an effective and honorable public servant, but they also tell me that his opponents have little chance of catching up without a dirty campaign against Nick. We'’re prepared to handle those attacks."

Even more importantly, the poll showed;– without any "“push"– that if the election were held today, Pacheco would win the primary by a large margin. On this question, Pacheco scored 45% of the vote, compared to just 14% for LAUSD School Board President Jose Huizar, and 3% for El Sereno Neighborhood Council President Alvin Parra. With just 35% of the likely electorate undecided, this means Pacheco’s opponents would have to convince almost every undecided voter to vote for them just to be competitive.

On a question factoring in education, which will likely be a key issue of the campaign, Pacheco outdistanced his nearest competitor by a margin of 54% to 19%. With 23% undecided and a margin of error of 5.7% -- again, the poll figures indicate the race would not even be close. The poll was conducted in both Spanish and English by Grove Insight, a Portland based, highly-respected, independent polling firm that has done work for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Grove Insight worked with Burbank-based Political Data, Inc. to select 300 of the most likely municipal voters. Last Friday, the City Council selected November 8 for the primary election.

Pacheco, 41, a former Deputy District Attorney, Charter Reform Commissioner and City Councilman, lives in Eagle Rock with his wife Marisela and his stepdaughter.
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