Whistleblower hotline: (213) 785-6098

Monday, October 31, 2005

Villaraigosa Is Everywhere!

You can either frame this as yet another adventure of Mayor Photo-Op OR contrast it to former Mayor Poopy (Hahn for those of you who have forgot) who worked 10-2 everyday and was either at City Hall or home.

Mayor Villaraigosa spent the morning shaking hands of riders as they boarded the new MTA Orange Line buses in North Hollywood this morning.

I can write it off as glad-handing, cynical and ego on behalf of the Mayor. And maybe all that is true.

On the other hand, the man is getting out there to the people. Even if he's insincere, its good for people to see the Mayor, whomever he or she is.

And its way more than Poopy ever did. Again, if Antonio is bogus, so be it. But if his prancing around town encourages folks to get involved, then its a good thing.

CD 14 Weekend Activities

On Saturday, Nick Pacheco organized 60 people with about 25 trash cans and marched to Huizar's campaign office to hand Mayor Villaraigosa the letter below. (click image to enlarge)

They waited from 9:00 AM to 11:45 AM because the Huizar flyer's pimping the Mayor's appearance mentioned he would be there at 9:00 AM.

Basically, Pacheco wants the Mayor to publicly guarantee to the seniors and low-income families that a trash pick-up fee will not be used to balance the budget.

No word on wether they tracked him down, but I'm guessing no.

In other news, the LA Times ran two pieces, Pacheco Aims to Reclaim His Lost Job and Huizar Has the Cash and Key Backers. Rick Orlov in the Daily News Tip-Off coulmn writes about new mailers in CD 14, and the LA Downtown News editorializes with the following article, Two Distinct Choices in 14th Council District Race

Press Events For Monday

9:00 AM -- Funeral services for former Congressman Edward Roybal. Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, 555 W. Temple St.

9:30 AM -- Los Angeles Board of Public Works meeting. City Hall, Room 350, 200 N. Spring St.

11:00 AM -- City Controller Chick will release an audit of the Los Angeles Department of Planning. City Hall East, Suite 300, 200 N. Main St.

2:30 PM -- LACity Council's Public Safety Committee meeting. City Hall, Room 1010, 200 N. Spring St.

For additional events on MS2, click here...

From the Daily News -- Neighborhood Meetings (Updated 10/31):

Here is a list of upcoming neighborhood council meetings:

West Hills Neighborhood Council will hold a candidates' forum at 7 p.m. Wednesday and elections on 7 p.m. Nov. 10 at Justice Elementary School, 23350 Justice St., West Hills. Call (818) 348-2873.

Chatsworth Neighborhood Council, 7 p.m. Wednesday at Lawrence Middle School, 10100 Variel Ave., Chatsworth. Call (818) 464-3511.

North Hills West Neighborhood Council, 7 p.m. Wednesday in Building 22 at the Sepulveda VA, 16111 Plummer St., North Hills. Call (818) 893-8613.

Mission Hills Neighborhood Council will hold a board (interim) meeting at 6 p.m. Nov. 7 and a general meeting at 7 p.m. in the auditorium at San Jose Street Elementary School, 14928 Clymer St., Mission Hills. Commissioner Yolanda Fuentes, Los Angeles City Board of Public Works, is the scheduled speaker. Call (818) 472-1017.

North Hills East Neighborhood Council (forming), 7 p.m. Nov. 7 at Sepulveda Middle School, 15330 Plummer St., North Hills. Call (818) 891-0060.

Reseda Neighborhood Council will hold a board meeting at 7 p.m. Nov. 7 at Magnolia Science Academy, 18238 Sherman Way, Reseda. Call (818) 756-7330 or see www.resedacouncil.org.

North Hollywood North East Neighborhood Council will hold a candidates' forum during the monthly meeting at 7 p.m. Nov. 10 in the recreation room at the Park Plaza Apartments, 6755 Rhodes Ave., North Hollywood. Call (818) 982-2174.

Panorama City Neighborhood Council (forming), 6:30 p.m. Nov. 17 in the second floor meeting room at the Mission Hills Community Hospital medical building, 14860 Roscoe Blvd., Panorama City. Call (818) 785-5624.

Open Thread For Monday

Today is Halloween. Enough said. Blog Away.

It's Alito

President Bush has nominated conservative judge Samuel Alito to replace moderate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Fire McCourt

It is time for Frank McCourt to relinquish control of the Los Angeles Dodgers. McCourt (the man pictured above in the suit and no socks) should sell the team to someone who understands the LA market, and doesn't need to finance the purchase almost entirely off loans. Hopefully a group led by Eli Broad, and my son Peter will surface.

I am convinced of this in the wake of McCourt's sudden firing of Paul DePodesta. Since McCourt has taken over the team, he has fired 11 top-ranking executives, and proved that he has absolutely no idea how to run a baseball team. He clearly did not lay out a proper blueprint for the franchise, and has spent his entire 21-month tenure fixing self-inflicted mistakes.

Most of McCourt's blunders have been in public relations. In fact, he's on his fourth PR executive since he started, hiring a Gore campaign hack in Camille Johnston. For some reason, McCourt didn't think people would be skeptical of a person buying the Dodgers almost entirely off loans, and basing the whole sale on collateral from one Boston parking lot. This led the press to believe that McCourt wouldn't spend enough to make the team competitive, and that he really wanted to turn Chavez Ravine into condos.

Well, he actually has basically spent enough to be competitive (don't listen to idiot talk radio hosts, who will tell you otherwise), and he has shown a commitment to keeping Dodger Stadium alive and well, but he's created more problems in doing so. In order to pay off his loans, he reduced the foul ground of Dodger Stadium to build more premium seats. I built Dodger Stadium as a pitcher's park, and reducing the foul ground was insulting and stupid. I believe it hurt out pitching this year. He also raised ticket prices, parking prices, concession prices, and all other prices at a time when the team in Orange County was lowering all of them. Clearly he doesn't get competition. When I owned the Dodgers, I kept prices low, and in-stadium advertising to minimum, because I wanted to create a fan-friendly atmosphere where people were focused on the game, not distracted by hair loss ads. I understand the realities of today's marketplace have changed, but you don't compromise the stadium experience, or the park's dimensions because you owe Bank of America $125 million.

One of McCourt's first acts was to fire an excellent GM in Dan Evans. People forget that Dan Evans never lost a trade. He led drafts that were consistently ranked among the best in baseball. He may not have signed too many free agents, but he took over a team with a bloated $110 million payroll, and was ordered not to raise it. McCourt never gave Evans a chance, humiliating him into interviewing for his own job, before unceremoniously dumping him and hiring Paul DePodesta four days before spring training in 2004.

I was actually thrilled with the DePodesta hire. To me, DePodesta symbolizes much of the Dodger way. He's willing to take risks, to apply new tools, and implement new ideas to the game of baseball. But DePodesta knew that his methods would take time to show results, so he required a five-year contract.

McCourt would go on to make idiotic personnel moves. He fired Derrick Hall, because he wanted his own guy, without realizing how valuable Hall had proven in pacifying and shutting up Bill Plaschke. He hired Lon Rosen, who made about 600 marketing mistakes, the worst of which was firing Ross Porter for no reason. Porter had loyally served the Dodger organization for 28 years, and was always a pleasure to listen to. He then fired half of the front office, including Rosen, and made his 23-year old son the interim marketing director, a title he still holds. He also made his wife the team president. And his stadium renovations turned out to be a disaster, because the premium seats had no rise, so he fired the person who oversaw the renovations.

On the baseball side, Paul DePodesta made numerous radical moves that Bill Plaschke and other fans didn't understand. They helped the team win the division in 2004. And DePodesta might have been vindicated in 2005, but a ridiculous barrage of injuries set the team back. Additionally, manager Jim Tracy defied DePodesta, and didn't play all of his acquisitions.

If McCourt really wanted to fire DePodesta, he should have done so after the season. Instead, he signed off on DePodesta's firing of Tracy. Now the team is without a manager, after the old GM had conducted a thorough managerial search for the past month. They're without a GM, as the free agent signing period beginning very soon. And they're stuck paying DePodesta for three more years.

In truth, DePodesta did make some mistakes, which made his biggest supporters cringe a little. The Dodgers this year lacked basic fundamentals, which hurt them throughout 2005. He should have known that Antonio Perez could not play out of position. He should have known that the defense outside of Cesar Izturis was suspect. He should have found a better defensive metric. There seemed to be a lack of completeness to the Dodgers players this year. But that aside, DePodesta did not understand the PR duties of being a GM. He was introverted, and did not seek out advice from enough of his staff. He failed to delegate, and kept many of his theories to himself. He was a lousy communicator. While DePodesta is brilliant, perhaps he was too young at 31 to be a real staff leader.

The problem with baseball is that is that it always resists change. I saw this first-hand when I dragged the owners kicking and screaming into radical ideas like expansion. DePodesta was part of a group of young and talented individuals who discovered that numerous old methods of talent evaluation and player development were embarrassingly inefficient. He discovered skills that were being dramatically undervalued in the marketplace, and other skills that were dramatically overvalued. He realized that certain myths which had perpetuated certain habits in the game, were total bunk.

But the old baseball establishment views these ideas in complete vitriol. Rather than embracing new tools to help their jobs, they view them as a threat. It's ironic that I can read a Sports Illustrated article about "Moneyball" so-to-speak becoming popular in the NBA, as teams like the Spurs are open and embracing new metrics to better analyze the game, while the old baseball guard openly shuns computers. It speaks volumes about our sport that the NBA is open to these new ideas, and doesn't freak out about them, but baseball winds up forcing two separate philosophical teams, when in reality the best philosophy is a combination of both scouting methods and innovative statistical analysis.

But the result of this, is that there are few experienced veteran baseball leaders available who will actually take into account this whole other school of thought. So the only open-minded baseball people are all under 35. Their names are Theo Epstein, Josh Byrnes, Jon Daniels, Mark Shapiro, and Paul DePodesta. Eventually that will change, as more of these open-minded guys grow up, but that's the reality of the business today. And while some of them are smart enough to run a team, not all of them are ready. Theo Epstein was ready. Paul DePodesta may or may not have been. We'll never know though, because McCourt went back on his five-year commitment after a mere two years.

Why on earth did McCourt fire DePodesta now of all times? I think it was PR-related. McCourt has hired his fourth PR executive since he took over the team. This Camille Johnston woman, taking over after McCourt's crisis managers (in all my years owning the Dodgers, I never once hired crisis managers), probably saw the vitriol Plaschke and the LA sports talk hosts had for DePodesta. Well they have it for the whole franchise, but McCourt wasn't going anywhere. You can always pacify them on the baseball side though, and after a manager search that lacked big names, DePodesta was a slightly larger target. In this round of Plaschke vs. McCourt, Plashke won.

In all of my years owning the Dodgers, I never made big decisions based on public relations. I always did what was best for the Dodgers, even if that meant moving them out of Brooklyn. Frank McCourt however is easily swayed, and he's going to pay Paul DePodesta $2.2 million for three years because of his fickleness. While there were compelling reasons to fire DePodesta, it was not justified.

Looking forward, the hot name now is Pat Gillick. I like Pat Gillick, but I don't think he's the right fit. Sure, he was great in Toronto, Baltimore, and Seattle. But, he's 68 years old. He's retired three times. He's obviously going to tire out again working 18-hour days. Gillick has a reputation as a shrewd talent evaluator, but he also is knocked for not being creative, and earned the nickname "Stand Pat" for not making moves at the trade deadline in Seattle. Supposedly, he will bring in Orel Hershiser as assistant GM and Gillick's apprentice. I like Orel, so I have no qualms bringing him on board. He's obviously not going to be the manager, after Tommy Lasorda told TJ Simers that Orel was unqualified to be manager. And while Lasorda's comments were uncalled for, he's right that Hershiser hasn't done enough in the coaching ranks to earn such a prestigious job. Rumor has it the Bobby Valentine will become the manager, which is a move I endorsed last week.

My personal recommendation right now is to promote Kim Ng the GM. Yes, the Dodgers should break new ground, and hire a female General Manager. Ng has worked in key positions for the White Sox, Yankees, Dodgers, and MLB office. She's extremely smart. She's worked in stat-heavy and scout-heavy front offices. She kicks everyone's ass in arbitration. I'm convinced that she would have been a GM 3 years ago if she were male. And I think that the press would be much softer on someone like Ng. Pat Gillick is a name hire. He's the type of person you bring in to satisfy the media in a big market, and sometimes worries more about PR than being a GM (ex. Steve Phillips). But Kim Ng is the kind of bold hire that can lead you to championships.

Another option would be to hire Plaschke himself as GM. I think the Dodgers could use a GM who fails to understand complexity, flip-flops every other week, and doesn't always have his facts straight.

In the meantime, Frank McCourt has proven that his plan to run the Dodgers was inept, and now it has officially failed. The people of Los Angeles and the Dodger organization deserves better. It's time for Frank McCourt to push the final panic button he'll ever push, and fire himself for incompetence and impatience. Sell, Frank. Sell. We know you need the money. You can't even afford socks.

Antonio's Billion Dollar Gamble

Mayor Villaraigosa has proposed a stunning, $1 Billion bond issue for "affordable housing." Watch your wallet!

Housing affordability in Los Angeles is an issue. The issue is, if you can't afford to buy or rent a home in Los Angeles, you can't afford to live in Los Angeles.

I would like to live in New York, but I can't afford it. Therefore, I live in LA.

There is no constitutional guarantee to equal affordability of a given community. Does LA cost too much for you? You might have to live in Palmdale, or Vegas or Arizona. Make yourself more valuable and you can earn the money needed to live in a major city.

Among the reasons for a lack of housing at lower prices in Los Angles are the government regulations and bureaucracy that stand in the way. Its very difficult to create new housing in Los Angeles. Along with the cost of land, with the expense that comes from the excessive regulations, developers can only recoup their costs by building primarily high-end housing.

The free market can solve this problem if it is allowed to. With schemes like affordable housing trust funds, inclusionary zoning and mandating builders to set aside housing for sale at below market/below cost pricing, fewer people will risk their money investing in new housing.

It has always amazed me that we place controls on the buying and selling of housing that we don't on other items - like cars, furniture, vacations, etc. Imagine if the City told GM that 1 out of every 10 Cadillacs sold would have to be sold for 20% of their value. Ridiculous, huh?

In addition to onerous government regulation on the housing industry, the other concerning aspect to this is the addition of more bond debt. Where does the Mayor think the money will come from to pay off $1 billion? With every bond we pass, we wind up paying double the amount of the bond. We've been adding bond debt like crazy every election, homeowners taxes to pay off these bonds keep going up, up, up. With an ever shrinking middle class, who is going to pay the bills for the goodies politicians are giving out to the underclass? The rich? Don't think so, not enough of them to start with and they're moving out of the state at an alarming rate. Industry and business? Same thing, they'll move where its cheaper to do business.

However, a few rich folks like Babs Streisand, David Geffen and presumed gubenatorial candidate Rob "Meathead" Reiner (lets not get started on his tax scheme he plans to run) probably won't give up their Malibu digs to re-located to Mesa, Arizona, so I guess they will get stuck with the bill.

Mayor Sam's Sunday Funnies

We've documented the activities of former child star Pam Ferdin and her group of animal wackos here recently, and the latest escapades leave us with a chuckle. The Daily News reports that today members of the Animal Defense League took their latest protest to Mayor Villaraigosa's Mt. Washignton home. Problem is the Mayor wasn't home. Why - cause he moved to Getty House weeks ago.

Now we had a heads up that the animal wackos were headed to CD14, but we waited until now to say anything about it. For one, even though the Mayor has kind of been making us mad lately, we don't think even elected officials desever wackos protesting outside their homes. As well, we figured it was best for all to let the ADL goof and keep them out of Hancock Park.

In other news of wacko, shit for brains activist, teachers' union organizers are displaying exactly why the LAUSD needs major reform. Boi from Troy has a great piece including pictures that shows they can't even spell a simple word like "bus." Maybe they were thinking of Laker owner, Jerry Buss, I don't know. Sam Yorty's America and other blogs also have the story about how union thugs nearly beat the crap out of a lone, female Arnold supporter at the same rally where the misspelled sign was at.

Speaking of Sam Yorty's America, our national blog, here are a few stories you might be interested in reading:

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Open Thread for the Weekend

This weekend in history: Black Tuesday hits Wall Street as investors trade 16,410,030 shares on the New York Stock Exchange in a single day. Billions of dollars were lost, wiping out thousands of investors, and stock tickers ran hours behind because the machinery could not handle the tremendous volume of trading. In the aftermath of Black Tuesday, America and the rest of the industrialized world spiraled downward into the Great Depression

A year ago on Mayor Sam:

Clippers Stay Put, CLA Cindy?, Santa Clarita Dumps Homeless On LA, CRA Tricks and Treats

Orange Line Squeezed

Today, the MTA finally opens its latest "mass transit" project, the 14 mile long Metro Orange Line busway. I've never been a fan of this project, seeing it as an absolutely ineffective and poor alternative to either extending the Metro Red Line or at least installing light rail. However, I do think the stations, landscaping and the bus that will be used itself are all very pretty.

Besides its obvious limitations compared to rail, many Orange Line critics also cite the issue of safety. Along its course which is primiarly a former railroad right of way, the bus path crosses numerous intersections at grade, but with no crossing gates like a railroad. As well, the approach across some of the intersections required different angles than the old railroad did. For example at the intersection of Fulton and Burbank in Van Nuys, the busway's path slices through the intersection at a 45 degree angle. Already, before the line even opened, a collision between an Orange Line bus and a vehichle has already occurred.

On Friday, a special sneak preview was held for politicians to get all the photo ops they could have. Oddly, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa tried to make some comparison between the opening of the busway and the recent death of civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks.

Grand Opening celebrations will begin in a few hours with music, glad handing by the local pols and free rides. I hope that the Orange Line can achieve its goal of reducing gridlock, but I am not optimistic. In the meantime, for your reading pleasure, the Transit Coalition has put together a tounge in cheek ode to the latest MTA project.
We love the Orange Line, here’s why…

The “bus that acts like a train”…err, it doesn’t have the capacity of a train, Or the speed of a train Or as smooth a ride as a train Or as quiet a ride as a train Or the lower labor costs of a train

But hey…This is (North) Hollywood! Image matters, not substance.

It’s so Convenient!!!
It’s only a half-mile to a mile walk to jobs and shopping in Warner Center!
It’s only fill in distance to bus stops on cross-streets!
It’s only a half-hour wait for most connecting routes to Ventura Boulevard.
It’s only a three-bus trip with two transfers to get to Ventura Boulevard.
It’s only a day or two wait if you want to use the Woodley Flyaway Bus on Sat.
It’s only a minimum three-bus conectionif you want to get there from the Northeast Valley.

It’s Sooo FAST!!!! 14 miles in 42 minutes (20 miles per hour)!!!

It goes EVERYWHERE that I want to go….
Except it totally misses Ventura Blvd., the commercial spine and downtown business district of the San Fernando Valley.
Except it doesn’t actually connect to the Red Line Station.
Except it doesn’t actually serve ANY destinations at Warner Center.

In honor of the Orange Line opening, we have some photos of different transit systems over at MS2.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Illegal Covert Campaign by Huizar Supporters

Here's the newest installment of nonsense in CD 14.

From: Robert Urteaga [mailto:robert_urteaga@sbcglobal.net]
Sent: Friday, October 28, 2005 12:52 PM
To: 'ddemerji@lacountyda.org'
Cc: 'eric.robles2005@sbcglobal.net'; 'ricardo.monroy2005@sbcglobal.net'; 'monicacg777@yahoo.com'; 'frank.aguirre@sbcglobal.net'
Subject: Illegal Covert Campaign by Huizar Supporters

Dear Mr. Demerjian,

I am forwarding you this information so that you can investigate the legalities of a covert campaign that is being waged against Councilman Nick Pacheco.

Because the packets lack the legally required disclosure information, we do not know:

- who is paying for these pieces
- who is designing and distributing these pieces
- who is being paid to hand these out
- who is part of the group in charge

All we do know is that Huizar supporter (and publicly recognized by the Huizar website) "Alvin Parra" left the Councilman a voicemail admitting his role in the conspiracy.

Attached is the "Alvin Parra voice-mail" and our press release with the text of the voicemail.

Look forward to the results of your investigation and the names of those that met at Mr. Parra's house.

Thank you.

Robert Urteaga.

Robert Urteaga
Campaign Manager
Nick Pacheco For City Council
4414 York Bl.
Los Angeles, CA 90041
Office: 323-259-5354

Click here for copies of hit piece, cover letter, and text of voicemail on MS2

Scooter Indicted

WASHINGTON (AP) Vice President Dick Cheney's top adviser, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, indicted on obstruction of justice, false statment and perjury charges.

Fundraising in CD 14

Here's your meat for the day via the LA Times. Blog away!

Huizar Has Fundraising Lead in Council Race
From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Jose Huizar has opened a significant fundraising lead in the 14th District City Council race, according to totals reported Thursday to the city Ethics Commission.

Huizar, a member of the Los Angeles Unified School District board, has raised $352,968, while his main opponent in the Nov. 8 election, former Councilman Nick Pacheco, has raised $156,907.

Supporters of Huizar have also spent $97,338 independently to help him.

LAUSD Spending Tax Dollars on Ballot Measure?

The cash sucking machine that is the Los Angeles Unified School District is now coming back to the trough begging voters to approve Measure Y and another $4 billion in debt, on top of the billions of dollars the district has already borrowed to ostensibly build new schools and fund other "needs."

Come on - its for the children!

The sad thing is that despite spending increasing and increasing amounts of money each year, the public schools are showing lesser results. Indeed, a major issue in the Mayor's race earlier this year was that over 50% of LAUSD students do not graduate high school.

The Daily News is right when they say that LA Unified does not need more taxpayer financed debt, but a breather.

But more than just bringing a really financially bad idea to the voters, LAUSD may be using the taxpayers' dollars to sell a yes vote on Measure Y.

Just today, I received a mailer from the LAUSD selling the merits of Measure Y. As well, the District's website has extensive info on the measure, but no opposition viewpoints.

While they do not come out and specifically say "Vote for Measure Y," I find these activities inappropriate. Its something that really should be looked into.

And if anything, if the District is going to distribute information about the Measure at taxpayer expense, then they have the moral obligation to inculde opposing views.

But for the district politicians and teacher union leaders who have become addicted to bond money like a junkie to crack, this may seem like a ludicrous idea. Hopefully, the voters will see the truth.

Bratton Backs School Change

From the Daily News yesterday:

Bratton backs school change

Chief endorses control by mayor
By Dan Laidman, Staff Writer
LA Daily News

LAPD Chief William Bratton voiced support Wednesday for Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's plan to gain authority over Los Angeles schools, saying mayoral control of education would benefit public safety.

High drop-out rates and poor student achievement impede the city's growth while encouraging crime, Bratton said in an interview.

"That's why the mayors of Chicago and New York and Boston fought for, and successfully attained, control of the schools," he said.
During the mayoral campaign earlier this year, both Villaraigosa and his predecessor, James Hahn, called for the mayor to have a more active role in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Once elected, though, Villaraigosa distanced himself from state legislation pushing such reforms. Amid opposition to mayoral control by some in the school district and the teachers union, the mayor said he wanted to build public support first.

Piling On - MSM Cluing In

This time it is the Economist.

Governing Los Angeles
Oct 27th 2005
From The Economist print edition

HE IS just about everywhere in Los Angeles: talking to the derelicts and junkies on Skid Row, riding a new bus line, visiting strife-torn high schools, mediating in labour disputes, operating construction machinery, planting trees, hobnobbing with senators, even appearing in a TV sitcom. If success is defined by visibility, Antonio Villaraigosa, four months into his four-year term as mayor of America's second city, has already won hands-down.

An impressive start, but eventually LA's mayor will have to do something.

Press Events for Friday

9:30 AM -- Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton will hold a news conference to announce the department's academy training program will be lengthened to include the deployment of recruits on community foot-patrol operations. Red Line Rail Station, Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street.

9:30 AM -- United Riders of Los Angeles (URLA) will stage a protest at the opening of the Metro Orange Line to demand stronger safety measures. Balboa Metro Orange Line Station, Balboa and Victory boulevards.

10:00 AM -- Dedication ceremony for Metro Orange Line. Balboa Metro Orange Line station at Balboa and Victory boulevards in Encino.

For additional events on MS2, click here...

From the Daily News -- Neighborhood Meetings (Updated 10/24):

Here is a list of upcoming neighborhood council meetings:

West Hills Neighborhood Council, 7 p.m. Nov. 2 at the 911 Communication Center, 23001 Roscoe Blvd., Northridge. Call (818) 719-8656 or see www.westhillsnc.org.

North Hills East Neighborhood Council (forming), 7 p.m. Nov. 7 at Sepulveda Middle School, 15330 Plummer St., North Hills. Call (818) 891-0060.

Open Thread for Friday

On this day in 1868, Thomas Edison applied for his first patent, the electric vote recorder. 137 years later, we still can't seem to get it working properly to everyone's satisfaction.

A year ago today we blogged about Deaton moving to DWP, Press for Mayor Sam, Antonio in turmoil, and a photo of Sam and Parker.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

No (LA) Observations?

It may be a glitch or perhaps a hi-jack or maybe even the Mayor is blocking my access, but when I went for my late night dose of LA Observed, it wasn't there. If anyone knows where it went, let us know or call Kevin Roderick. I'll keep looking.

UPDATE: Roderick posts via Mack Reed at LA Voice that their server is down for a while. In the meantime, if you need an LA Observed fix, click here.

What Antonio Does Not Want his Staff to Read

Well, simply put, it would be us. Mayor Sam's Sister City

The rumors started picking up steam here. Until then, we wrote it off as banter. But upon viewing the hit counts for the day, there was a definite drop that coincidentally coincided with the alledged block in place.

So, we investigated. Look what we found...

After contacting 5 staffers in the Mayor's office, 2 in CD 14 offices, and multiple e-mails from various non-anonymous sources, we have come to find out that there is a block to Mayor Sam's Sister City put in place by ITA in those offices. ITA would not do this randomly. They would have to do this at the direction of the office itself. It all started on or about September 8. My guess is they screwed up that action for those two offices and blocked all of city hall by mistake, causing the flurry of comments and e-mails to us. Eventually they figured it out and got only those specific offices blocked.

Are other offices blocked as well? I'm guessing Weiss probably has the order in place as well, as god knows he can't take a shit without seeing what Antonio is up too, and most likely copied the order. The other offices actually seem receptive to the positive press their pet projects receive on occasion.

As for the action itself, we have to wonder. Let's think... CD 14... Mayor's Office.... I think you get the hint. So for all of you who think I have my head up AV's ass (Archie Bunker - this goes for you in particular), note that we are actually getting censored by the man himself. He hates this blog more so than just about anyone.

Next Steps? We aren't sure yet. But at least I have a smile on my face knowing that we are getting through to the intended audience. When faced with the tough realities of a situation, some people take the challenge head on, fix their errors, and move on. Others bury their head in the sand. I think we know our Mayor's tendency based on his response.

Wacko Jacko Strikes Again

Anybody catch Wednesday's Council Session? Seems that some members are getting a bit testy. One in particular is the target today. He goes by Jack Weiss.

Tuesday's meeting brought on a full on pissing match between him and Janice Hahn. They were discussing LAPD overtime at the airport
and Weiss said something about how the LAPD should take over, that it's a proven fact they are the only ones who could appropriatley respond to an attack "when" it happens. He was going off about that issue - which is his favorite - and then Janice Hahn took the mic.

"You know Jack, I don't know why you have to keep harping on this issue. You lost when this issue came to council, and you lost when this issue went before the voters. It's been proven that the airport police are the most qualified so it's time to move on..."

Then Weiss got back on the mic. "Yes Ms. Hahn - and that's what I'll call her - Ms. HAHN - you need to not take things so personal. I'm not concerned about feelings, I'm concerned about public safety" blah blah blah

To which Hahn gets back on stating, "Jack - you know what with ME it is PERSONAL, it's all personal" blah blah blah

Then, there was the Reyes/Smith exchange....They were honoring LaBonge's COS Kathy Irish when Ed Reyes pushes his button. He stands up and says "I know that some of my colleauges want to take away presentations, but I think it's important to honor people such as yourself who have served the city for so long..."

Then Greig Smith presses his button, stands up and says "Umm yes, I think that Mr. Reyes is refering to me, and usually I wouldn't stand up, but this time I feel compelled to say something"

Then Weiss and Smith start talking to each other as Padilla is asking what items the councilmembers would like called special. Weiss is so busy talking that he misses his item.

Then Weiss starts yelling "did everyone see what Padilla tried to do? He tried to pull a fast one so that I couldn't call my motion special!!!"

Jack -- Get a fucking clue. Pay attention. Do your job. Shut your trap. And pull your head out of the Mayor's ass.

Herb Wesson Election Night

You’re invited to join us for a victory party on election night for

Herb Wesson

Tuesday, November 8th
after the polls close at 8 p.m.

Radisson Hotel
3515 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90010

Thank you for all your support during our campaign to elect Herb to the Los Angeles City Council.

We hope to see you there!

The Radisson Hotel phone number (213) 381-7411.

Press Events for Thursday

9:30 AM -- Los Angeles County Child Support Advisory
Board meeting. Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration, 500 W. Temple St. Room 372.

9:30 AM -- Metropolitan Transportation Authority meeting. Metropolitan Transportation Authority, One Gateway Plaza, Third Floor Boardroom.

10:00 AM -- Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education's Augmented School Safety, Student Health and Human Services and Human Relations Committee meeting. Board room, LAUSD headquarters, 333 S. Beaudry Ave.

12:00 PM -- Councilman Eric Garcetti will attend a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the community-designed Silver Lake Sunset Triangle Park. Sunset Avenue and Edgecliffe Drive. Contact:

12:00 PM -- Los Angeles Housing Department's Affordable Housing Commission meeting. The Garland Building, Conference room 912, ninth floor, 1200 W. Seventh St.

1:00 PM -- Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education's Educational Equity Committee meeting. Board room, LAUSD headquarters, 333 S. Beaudry Ave.

2:00 PM -- Police Chief William Bratton will hold a news conference to discuss 11 unsolved homicides in the 77th Division. 77th Community Police Station courtyard, 7600 S. Broadway.

6:30 PM -- Panorama City Neighborhood Council (forming), in the second-floor meeting room at the Mission Hills Community Hospital medical building, 14860 Roscoe Blvd., Panorama City. Call (818) 756-9422.

For additional events on MS2, click here...

From the Daily News -- Neighborhood Meetings (Updated 10/24):

Here is a list of upcoming neighborhood council meetings:

West Hills Neighborhood Council, 7 p.m. Nov. 2 at the 911 Communication Center, 23001 Roscoe Blvd., Northridge. Call (818) 719-8656 or see www.westhillsnc.org.

North Hills East Neighborhood Council (forming), 7 p.m. Nov. 7 at Sepulveda Middle School, 15330 Plummer St., North Hills. Call (818) 891-0060.

Open Thread For Thursday

On this day in 1810, the United States annexed the former Spanish colony of West Florida. A hurricane soon followed and FEMA was late in responding. OK, I made up the FEMA part, but the annexation part did take place.

A year ago we were blogging about Pay to Play with the City Pension and Career Coach Chick

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Mix & Meet Away

In addition to background on our articles, agendas, meeting notices and other fun stuff, over at MS2 we will be posting notices of mixers and other networking events around town that may be of interest to our readers. If you wish to promote your event, send it to us and we'll most likely post it (we reserve the right to post and/or edit any item).

Uh Oh Delgadillo

Headlines like this are not good during an election...

Alleged Slumlords Donated to Delgadillo
After settling a suit at a big savings, they gave to the L.A. city attorney. He denies being influenced.

Not good. Here's the whole story in the LA Times for you.

CD 14 Meat for Wednesday

Team Pacheco has upgraded their website. Bunch of new features and slicker design.

Huizar blasts more spam. Entire text on MS2. He also appears to be ducking controversial votes...

Crystal Arceo jumps in the mix as well with a newly discovered website.

Most of the comments lately are all about polls, yet neither camps wants to pump out anything official. We'll wait to wade into that swamp once on of the camps does. Martini Republic notes that the unvaunted "undecided" is actually winning the battle of wannabes...

Or of course, you can continue the war here in a fresh thread...

Valley College Cafeteria Broke

The campus cafeteria at Valley College is $600,000 in the red according to a report in the campus newspaper, The Valley Star.

Despite lots of hungry students - and using an outside contractor - the LA Community College District managed to lose over a half million dollars on what should be a profit center for the college.


The usual liberal mantra of "living wages" that were paid to the employees could not be maintained by offering food at prices the students could afford. The college had an agreement with a contractor who provided the food and supplies, but did not manage the employees. The cafeteria staff was still employed by the District, and some of whom were earning $15 an hour.

Why don't liberals get it? You can't pay people more than what your business earns. There was no way the contractor could be succesful if the employees were union members who reported to the district. There was no direct accountability of the employees to the contractor and no incentive for them to perform.

There is no constitutional right to earn $15 an hour as a food service worker. This is an entry level position, one in which a person starts out making $7-$8 an hour and then works to improve their skills, education and value with the hope of moving up and making more. This was the same issue we saw in the supermarket strike. These are not career positions. They don't require much skill.

If the college wants to actually earn some money that could benefit their operation, they need to outsource the entire operation to a succesful operator. Yes, these workers will probably make $8 an hour. But after work, they could take a night class at the college and begin to work their way up.

One day, one of them could even own a company that serves food to college students themselves.

Not a Villaraigosa Fan

I'm guessing this site is not a big fan of our new mayor. But then again, maybe he is just staking out a position in his race for Secretary of State in 2040...

It does sound a lot like what other people including brave MSM reporters are starting to say as well though...

Miguel Contreras Memorial Precinct Walk

Sent: Tuesday, October 25, 2005 3:26:01 PM
Subject: Miguel Contreras Memorial Precinct Walk

Join us for the Miguel Contreras Memorial Precinct Walk Saturday, Oct. 29

To commemorate a true labor hero, join Maria Elena Durazo and her family along with elected
officials as we walk in honor of Miguel. Let's show them what labor's made of! Si se puede!

RSVP to Norma Lopez (213) 381-5611 x49 or email at nlopez@launionafl cio.org

LA County Federation of Labor 2130 James M. Wood Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90006 9 am - 1 pm

Press Events for Wednesday

8:30 AM --LA City Council's Housing, Community and Economic
Development Committee meeting. City Hall, Room 1010, 200 N. Spring St.

10:00 AM -- LA City Council meeting. City Hall, Council chamber, third floor, 200 N. Spring St.

2:00 PM -- LA City Council's Education and Neighborhood
Committee meeting. City Hall, Room 1060,200 N. Spring St.

3:00 PM -- LA City Council's Transportation Committee meeting. City Hall, Room 1050, 200 N. Spring St.

4:00 PM -- LA City Council's Commerce, Energy and Natural Resources Committee meeting. City Hall, Room 1010, 200 N. Spring St.

6:30 PM -- Neighborhood Council Valley Village will hold a board meeting at Colfax Elementary School, 11724 Addison St., Valley Village. Call (818) 766-2932.

For additional events on MS2, click here...

From the Daily News -- Neighborhood Meetings (Updated 10/24):

Here is a list of upcoming neighborhood council meetings:

Panorama City Neighborhood Council (forming), 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the second-floor meeting room at the Mission Hills Community Hospital medical building, 14860 Roscoe Blvd., Panorama City. Call (818) 756-9422.

West Hills Neighborhood Council, 7 p.m. Nov. 2 at the 911 Communication Center, 23001 Roscoe Blvd., Northridge. Call (818) 719-8656 or see www.westhillsnc.org.

North Hills East Neighborhood Council (forming), 7 p.m. Nov. 7 at Sepulveda Middle School, 15330 Plummer St., North Hills. Call (818) 891-0060.

Open Thread for Wednesday

On this day in 1947, Hillary Rodham Clinton, First Lady of the United States and Senator from New York was born.

A year ago today we blogged about Dennis Zine Flip-Flopping and speaking about LAPD ambushes

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Time for a Change

The BCS formula spitted out a stunner yesterday, ranking USC No. 2 in the country. I can't figure out whether the Trojans were penalized for beating Washington 51-24, or if the computers downgrade a team for winning 29 games in a row.

Whatever it was, it's long past time that college football end this ridiculous charade and institute a playoff. To put it simply, you cannot have a two-team playoff, when there are more than two teams deserving of a shot at the national title. USC, Texas, Virginia Tech, and Georgia could all feasibly go undefeated this season, and then what do you? How will Bruin fans feel if UCLA beats USC, goes undefeated, and winds up playing West Virginia in the Fiesta Bowl? You also can't simply average eight highly flawed polls that all use different formulas.

The bowl system has long outlived its usefulness, and has lost almost all of the tradition it once had. The Cotton Bowl tradition died when it was jipped out of the Bowl Alliance and when the Southwest Conference went extinct. The Orange Bowl tradition died when it left the Orange Bowl stadium. The Sugar Bowl died with the city of New Orleans. The Fiesta Bowl was never anything special. The Rose Bowl still has some significance, being the Grandaddy of Them All, but even that has lost some luster with the BCS taking away guaranteed Big Ten-Pac Ten games. And let's face it, most bowl games are pretty pathetic. (Unless you're a fan of the EV1.net Houston Bowl.)

So here's Walter O'Malley's step-by-step plan to save college football:

1.) Put Notre Dame in the Big Ten. Put BYU and Utah in the Pac 10 (or any two quality Mountain West/WAC teams. Could be Fresno State and Hawaii). This would give the five major conferences all 12 teams each, and allow them all to have conference championship games. (The Big East is not a major conference)

2.) Have an eight team playoff. The five major conference champions (Pac 10, Big 10, Big 12, ACC, and SEC) all get automatic berths into the tournament. There are three wild card spots, but one is reserved for a mid-major. The wild cards are picked by a selection committee (similar to the basketball tournament committee). There may be some fights over the last spot, but at least undefeated teams won't be screwed out of spots.

3.) The first round of the playoffs would take place on the second Saturday in December (the weekend after the conference championship games). This year, that is Saturday, December 10. The first round games would take place at the home of the higher seeded team.

4.) The semi-final round takes place the following weekend (Dec. 17 this year) at a neutral site. This should be one of the old BCS Bowl sites. One game could be in Miami and the other in New Orleans or Arizona.

5.) The championship game takes place every year on New Year's Day at the Rose Bowl. The Rose parade continues like normal. I love that parade.

6.) All other bowls (Holiday, Gator, Humanitarian, etc.) still exist. They are the equivalent to what the NIT is for college basketball. Most of these bowls don't get top-8 teams anyways, so it's not much of a loss.

As you can probably imagine, this plan would be way more exciting for fans, and generate tons more money too. The problem is, this is too simple and logical to ever happen.

Mayor Sam After Dark

Various musings from a dead mayor...

I'm getting really tired of the white gloved traffic officers at various crossings in the San Fernando Valley. This was a Mayor Poopy era scheme to fight secession. My suspicion, as this article somewhat notes, is this is a way to deploy traffic officers to write more tickets and earn more revenue for the City. I find the traffic officers annoying and their actions leading to blocking traffic rather than reducing it.

I guess Burger King doesn't really want to let you "Have it your way." A recent article states the company was making a big push towards allowing customers to customize their sandwiches, but that wasn't my experience this evening. I wanted to get a mushroom and swiss cheese burger, but given that I am not currently eating meat, I wanted it prepared with the vegetarian patty BK offers on another sandwich. "No we CAN NOT do that," I was told by the less than impressive burger clerk. So, I rolled on and wished them a happy day. Burger King lost a sale there.

In another area of customer service, when is there going to be a dry cleaners with reasonable price and good service. For some time I had been using the Drive In Cleaners in Sherman Oaks. In the last three years I have been using them, they've had about three or four owners. For a while, they had been doing right, but know they have new owners. Yup, the price has gone up and the service seems to have slipped. If someone could figure out how to solve the dry cleaning problem, they could make a mint.

Finally, some kudos are in order...

Veteran media and political strategist Sheri Sadler Wolf has opened up her own shop, Sadler Strategic Media (read more at MS2).

Councilmember LaBonge's Chief of Staff Kathy Jones Irish is moving on to bigger and better things. For information on her going away party, visit MS2.

Ed Roybal, 89

Ed Roybal, the first Mexican-American elected to the Los Angeles City Council and the first Hispanic from California elected to Congress has died of pneumonia at the age of 89.

He served 13 years on the City Council and another 30 years in Congress. He remained in Congress until 1992, when he his daughter Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Los Angeles was elected.

Bratton Endorses Alex Padilla

LAPD Chief William Bratton has endorsed Council President Alex Padilla in his battle against Assemblywoman Cindy Montanez in the Democratic race for the 20th State Senate seat currently occupied by termed out Richard Alarcon.

Blog away dum dums.

Tardiness and Wasted Time

West LA Online posts regarding the spar between Westside Councilmembers Weiss and Rosendahl reported by Rick Orlov in the Daily News.

The rub? Weiss' stance against time wasted vs. Rosendahl's note of Weiss' tardiness.

Adding to the chaos, Orlov follows up with this gem regarding Padilla's problems of allowing ceremonies for the groundbreaking of the Children's Museum at the same time as a scheduled Council Meeting. Padilla stated in the article:
"We had no choice," Padilla said. "We were trying to accommodate a lot of officials from all over the country who rearranged their schedule to come here. Besides, the council was able to meet and I arrived a little late ..."

And Padilla said he also felt the event was worth it.

"This is a $20 million project that we have been waiting for a long time to see get started," Padilla said. "
Or as we point out the obvious, it also makes for a great campaign photo op.

Random Headlines

VALLEY GLEN (CNS) - With the opening of the Metro Orange Line just five days away, city and county officials warned today that drivers and pedestrians who ignore traffic and trespassing laws along the route will face stiff fines.

In the last six months, Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies have written 500 traffic citations, arrested 17 people and solved cases involving more than $200,000 in vandalism along the Orange Line's route, Sheriff Lee Baca said.


LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A team of city representatives will attend the NFL owners' meeting this week in Kansas City in hopes of building support for bringing a professional football team back to Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Although Los Angeles isn't a topic on the NFL owners' agenda, Councilman Bernard Parks says he hopes to show that the city is "politically, economically and structurally ready for an NFL team."


LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A federal judge agreed today to a four-month postponement of the trial of two former Fleishman-Hillard executives accused of overbilling the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

Douglas Dowie and John Stodder had been scheduled to go on trial in U.S. District Judge Gary Feess' courtroom on Nov. 15.

Press Events For Tuesday

8:15 AM -- City Controller Chick will discuss the mayor and doing business at City Hall at the Los Angeles Current Affairs Forum during breakfast. City Club, 333 S. Grand Ave., 54th floor.

8:30 AM -- City Council's Arts, Parks, Health and Aging Committee meeting. City Hall, Room 1060, 200 N. Spring St.

9:30 AM -- LA Police Commission meeting. Parker Center, Room 150, 150 N. Los Angeles St.

10:00 AM -- LA City Council meeting. City Hall, Council Chamber, 200 N. Spring St.

10:00 AM -- LA Unified School District Board of Education Closed-Session meeting, LAUSD
headquarters, Room 24-173 and board room, 333 S. Beaudry Ave.

1:00 PM -- LA Unified School District Board of Education Open-Session meeting, LAUSD
headquarters, Room 24-173 and board room, 333 S. Beaudry Ave.

6:30 PM -- Sun Valley Area Neighborhood Council, Second floor at Industrial Metal Supply, 8300 San Fernando Road, Sun Valley. Call (818) 768-8342.

7:00 PM -- Northridge West Neighborhood Council, Beckford Elementary School, 19130 Tulsa St., Northridge. Call (818) 359-7256.

For additional events on MS2, click here...

From the Daily News -- Neighborhood Meetings (Updated 10/24):

Here is a list of upcoming neighborhood council meetings:

Neighborhood Council Valley Village will hold a board meeting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Colfax Elementary School, 11724 Addison St., Valley Village. Call (818) 766-2932.

Panorama City Neighborhood Council (forming), 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the second-floor meeting room at the Mission Hills Community Hospital medical building, 14860 Roscoe Blvd., Panorama City. Call (818) 756-9422.

West Hills Neighborhood Council, 7 p.m. Nov. 2 at the 911 Communication Center, 23001 Roscoe Blvd., Northridge. Call (818) 719-8656 or see www.westhillsnc.org.

North Hills East Neighborhood Council (forming), 7 p.m. Nov. 7 at Sepulveda Middle School, 15330 Plummer St., North Hills. Call (818) 891-0060.

Open Thread for Tuesday

On this day in 1986, the New York Mets defeat the Boston Red Sox due to Bill Buckner's famous error in Game 6 of the World Series and went on to win the championship two days later.

A year ago today we were blogging about Pat McOsker, civil service employees, and E-Hugs.