Whistleblower hotline: (213) 785-6098

Friday, June 30, 2006

LAUSD "Alternative" to Antonio's Takeover Plan

Mayor Villaraigosa is working hard on his plan to take control of the LAUSD, community activist David Hernandez is working up the Republican grass-roots to urge Arnold to give up support for the plan and veto it.

This old, dead Republican mayor has not decided if he's in favor of the mayor's plan or not, but in the meantime, its time to have a little fun looking at the LAUSD's lame alternative to Antonio-care.

LAUSD Reform #1 Pay School Board Members More!
During public testimony to the Joint Commission on School Governance (December 1, 2005) Julie Korenstein a veteran of the school board for 19 years, argued that board members should get paid more money.

“Ms. Korenstein feels that a larger salary will attract better candidates…LAUSD should be a full-time job and be paid a commensurate salary.”
President’s Joint Commission on School Governance, December 1, 2005

LAUSD Reform #2 Keep Our School Board Part-Time!
Right after Ms. Korenstein gave her views on how to best reform the district, School Board Member Mike Lansing got up and argued differently.

“Full-time politicians spend much of their time to get their next “elected” position and will use the school board as their next “stepping stone” to their next job.”
President’s Joint Commission on School Governance, December 1, 2005

LAUSD Reform #3 It’s Our Dog
In front of the Senate Education Committee Bill Ring, a parent advocating for the status quo had these remarks regarding reform.

“LAUSD is an easy dog to kick, but it’s our dog. We want the right to work on it.”
California Senate Education Committee, June 28, 2006

LAUSD Reform #4 Secede!
Jeff Prang a city official in West Hollywood was asked by the LAUSD to give his comments on the school reform legislation. Having been invited by the LAUSD to speak in their defense from a municipality within the school district boundaries he defended their honor by saying that the district should be broken up.

“The city of LA should secede from the district”
California Senate Education Committee, June 28, 2006

LAUSD Reform #5 No Reform Necessary, Everything is Great!
Michael Casterly the executive director of the Council of Great Schools gave the most ardent defense of the school district. Roy Romer and Marguerite LaMotte happen to sit on the Board of Directors of this Council and are effectively Michael’s boss, but why let facts like that stop us from hearing his unbiased testimony.

“The LAUSD is not broken… These reforms are among the most substantial and promising reforms of any school district in the country.”
California Senate Education Committee, June 28, 2006

Its going to be a fun summer.

Mayor Sam's Hotsheet for Friday

Writing in the LA Weekly, David Zahniser parses the latest in the efforts of Mayor Villaraigosa to take over the school district, with a brief mention of this site and fomer Sister City blogger, Mike Trujillo, who is now a point man for the Mayor's plan. Despite predictions to the contrary a few weeks ago, the plan sailed through the Assembly Education committee Wednesday, though a few Republicans abstained. In the meantime, local community activist David Hernandez is focusing Republican grass roots efforts on convincing Governor Schwarzenegger to veto the measure.

The only openly-gay male Republican running for Congress in the United States, Peter Hankwitz, praised Governor Schwarzenegger for attending Wednesday night's Log Cabin Republicans dinner at the Hollywood Rennaisance. Hankwitz is the Republican nominee for the 27th Congressional District currently held by Democrat Brad Sherman.

Assemblyman Keith Richman has sent out a heartfelt message to his supporters on the heels of his loss for the Republican nomination for State Treasurer. Richman, who gave up his Assembly seat to run for the Treasurer position, will return to private life for now. Richman will be followed in the 38th District Assembly seat by Santa Clarita City Councilman, Cameron Smythe, once a pesky little informality called the November elections is over. Richman, a thoughtful, moderate Republican legislator California could use more of, will be missed.

With eminent domain lording over anyone who owns property in Southern California, and the growth of anti-private property shadow governments, landowers are facing an uncertain future. We found a great website anyone who owns property should look at, that of Protecting the Rights of Owners in Hillsides - Los Angeles (PROH-LA). This is an excellent resource of news and information keeping tabs on the NIMBYs, environmentalist wackos and other kooks who are waging war on property ownership.

City of LA Meetings for Friday

8:30AM - COUNCIL: Ad Hoc Committee on Gang Violence & Youth Development, Special Meeting
9:00AM - CERS: Audit and Strategic Planning Committee/Special Meeting Board of Administration
9:30AM - CERS: Corporate Governance Committee/Special Meeting Board of Administration
9:30AM - BPW: Board of Public Works
10:00AM - COUNCIL: Los Angeles City Council
7:30PM - ENSNC: Special Board Mtg 063006

Thursday, June 29, 2006

L.A. County Taxpayers Defrauded Of $500 Million Per Year

A Los Angeles grand jury has discovered that the county's taxpayers are being defrauded of about $500 million per year. "CalWORKs, which provides funding and child care to eligible welfare recipients, is losing as much as 50 percent of its $1 billion budget every year because of fraud and a lack of oversight by employees with the Department of Public Social Services," according to a report by the North County Times wire service.

Someone needs to do some serious jailtime -- not that "90% off" stuff Baca doles out.

Amber Alert

Alliaha Norwood was reported abducted from Palmdale, Ca in California. The victim was last seen on June 28, 2006 at 0800 AM Alliaha Norwood is a 3 year old Female , height: 2' 6", with Black hair, Black eyes. Contact: Palmdale Sheriff , 661-272-2525.

Let The Lawsuits Begin!

Some genius filed a lawsuit today in Woodland Hills against Oakwood Apartments because -- you guessed it! -- the landlord allows other tenants to smoke, which, of course, has imperiled the life of the plaintiff tenant's child. KABC Channel 7 reported on the lawsuit during the 6:00 p.m. news.

Thank you, Surgeon General, on behalf of the legal profession.


Coming up soon: tenants who get evicted for smoking will sue their landlords, saying that smoking is an addiction, which is a disease, which requires a reasonable accomodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Watch Out Santa Clarita! Here Comes Joe Edmiston!

We've detailed before the shadow government that is the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority, the odd stepchild of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy. Doug McIntyre of KABC Radio has an excellent treatise not only on how this un-elected, seemingly un-accountable agency works, but on a near bogus election they conducted to tax property owners from Griffith Park to Calabasas.

Key to the functioning of the MRCA is the Joint Powers Act, that allows obscure government agencies to partner, giving them the power to tax, aquire land (including through eminent domain) and all kinds of fun stuff in the name of the very worthy goal of "open space preservation." One of the less than stellar projects of SMMC was to receive as a "gift" the former estate of Barbra Streisand, and giving her a tax break of a far greater amount than the market value of the property (which had sat unsold at that price).

Joe Edmiston is the Executive Director of both the MCRA and its parent body, the SMMC. Joe has his own police force, carries a gun, dresses like Mr. Ranger Sir and can take your house if you look at him wrong. As we reported before, Santa Clarita, Joe is coming to your town.

This morning, Edmiston - with an oak savannah as his backdrop - will join with County Supervisor Mike "I'm supposed to be a Republican" Antonovich and local Santa Clarita leaders to announce the formation of the Newhall Ranch High Country Recreation and Conservation Authority, a joint powers authority between the County of Los Angeles, the City of Santa Clarita and the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (since when is Santa Clarita in the Santa Monica Mountains?). This will give Edmiston, county bureaucrats and Santa Clarita city officials (note: the area is OUTSIDE the borders of the City) wide ranging authority over the new community of Newhall Ranch.

The land "aquired" by the NRHCRCA will be "managed" by the Center for Natural Lands Management, funded by a small "assessment" on Newhall Ranch homeowners.

Watch your wallet!


Open Thread for Thursday

When sexism claims are a real hoot
By John Stossel
Jewish World Review

You've probably heard of Hooters - the restaurant chain known for attracting male customers by hiring waitresses who are well-endowed and dressed to show it.

The firm now employs more than 30,000 people. Some would consider this a success story, but our government didn't. Not because Hooters is using sex to sell - but because its waitresses are - get ready - women!

"Discrimination!" cried the federal government's Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

The business of Hooters is food, said the government, and "no physical trait unique to women is required to serve food." EEOC lawyers demanded Hooters produce all its hiring data, and then grilled Hooters for four years. Mike McNeil, Hooters' vice president of marketing, told "20/20" the EEOC bureaucrats demanded to look at reams of paperwork. "Employee manuals, training manuals, marketing manuals - virtually everything that's involved in how we run our business . . . "

The EEOC then issued a set of demands. First, it defined a class of disappointed males who had not been hired by the company. The EEOC said, according to McNeil: "We want you to establish a $22-million fund for this mythical 'class' of dissuaded male applicants. We want you to conduct sensitivity training studies to teach all of your employees to be more sensitive to the needs of men."

I suspect Hooters' customers are mostly men who think the firm is quite sensitive to their needs, thank you - and that there would indeed be a class of disappointed males if the government insisted men do the jobs of Hooters girls.

Typically, companies assaulted by EEOC lawyers just pay up to avoid ruinous legal fees, but Hooters fought back, cleverly, not just in court, but in the court of public opinion. Hooters waitresses marched on Washington, chanting, "Save our jobs." A burly Hooters manager dressed as a Hooters waitress posed for cameras, beard and all, demonstrating what a "Hooters Guy" might look like.

That was a hoot, and it may have worked. Lawyers representing male applicants accepted an out-of-court settlement of $3.75 million, a fraction of the $22 million that had been demanded. The EEOC dropped its demands for sensitivity training; Hooters agreed to create more jobs like busboys and managers, which didn't have to be performed by women.

Sears found itself in the EEOC's cross hairs because more men than women held jobs selling things like lawn mowers and appliances. The disparate numbers themselves were proof, said the government, that Sears discriminated against women.

Sears denied discriminatiing: "We asked women to do those jobs. It's just that few women want to sell things like lawn mowers."

Is that too politically incorrect a concept for government lawyers to get? Men and women do have different interests. Go to any Wal-Mart and you'll see women looking at clothes, men in the hardware department. There are exceptions, of course, but the sexes do tend to have different interests.

More men selling lawn mowers and more women selling cosmetics does not imply evil discrimination that requires armies of lawyers from the State. Show me women who want to sell lawn mowers but are being required to sell cosmetics instead - or men who want to sell cosmetics but have to sell lawn mowers - and we have grounds for discussion. But if the women choose the cosmetics counter, any discrimination is their own.

The EEOC was unable to produce any women who would complain that they'd been discriminated against, so Sears finally won the suit. The $20 million the litigation cost was passed on to us customers.

Have these and other EEOC excesses embarrassed the government into shrinking the EEOC? Of course not. It now has 2,400 employees, and spent $326.8 million in 2005 - millions more than the year before. Government keeps growing, and as it grows, it feeds on our money, erodes our freedom and defies our common sense.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

If You Liked The Trash Tax, You'll LOVE This

"Members of the Los Angeles City Council said on Wednesday they aim to put a pair of $1 billion bond measures on the November ballot to fund local housing and street repair projects." So says Reuters.

Are they freakin' insane? The more they get, the more they want.

Time to supplement your income by selling plasma and getting that paper route.

Two Bonds -- get it? Hey, YOU come up with an illustration for this story!

"The Producers" As Public Policy

Let's say a guy in a plaid sports coat and Coke-bottle glasses approaches you with a business proposition: you give him $5.65 million, he'll build a community theater, and, over the course of the next 25 years, if he makes enough profit, you'll get back $4.35 million of your money, without interest.

Sounds GREAT, right? Sure it does, if you work for the City of L.A., and the money you're "investing" was earned by the city's taxpayers.

The City's Community Redevelopment Agency bought a dilapidated theater in Reseda two years ago for $1.3 million, courtesy of you, The Taxpayer. Now the agency is putting in another $4.35 million of your money, AND deeding the property to the CIM Group. If, and only if, the venture is "profitable" -- remember Art Buchwald and "Coming to America"? -- then CIM Group will repay the $4.35 million over the course of 25 years.

Hey, wouldn't you like a deal like that? Someone gives you $5.65 million in cash and property, and you pay back only part of it, over 25 years, IF your venture is profitable?

But hey: this does serve a very important public policy purpose. After all, people throughout this town are crying out for more community theater productions of "Waiting for Godot." Isn't that worth more money than you'll make in 10 years?

You can read all about it in the Daily News of June 28, 2006.

Mayor Sam's Hotsheet for Wednesday

It wasn't going to last long, and it didn't. "Hooters-gate" (here and here and here) has come to an end. City Department of Animal Services General Manager - Ed Boks - has declined to take donations from a swimsuit contest at the Kodak Theatre, organized by the T&A eatery chain, Hooters. A number of city officials were flabbergasted not only by the event, but by racy fliers created for it. The best quote was from 5th District Councilman who said "I'm not the sort of person who notices the scantily clad woman, but I am the kind of person who notices that the animal services agency can't spell the word 'adopt'." Awesome.

Tuesday LA County Chief Administrative Officer David Janssen told the County Board of Supervisors he will be retiring next January. Janssen has been on the job since 1996, prior to that he served 13 years with San Diego County.

A 92 year old widow in Woodland Hills has created a stir because she wants to sell her property for condo development. Of course, the local neighbors are against it. The woman's family says that maintenance has just got too expensive and the property is the woman's only asset. Of course, they're trying to get the DWP to sell adjacent land to be used as parkland, hoping that will put restrictions or perhaps derail the development. Our favorite motorcycle cop turned policeman, Dennis Zine is involved, pushing the DWP to sell the land to the dreaded Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy. Dennis, you're supposed to be a Republican, don't go there. Support private property rights and let the old lady sell her house.

LA Voice is reporting (with ride video) that Disneyland has once again made over the legendary "Pirates of the Carribbean" ride, this time to include Johnny Depp and elements from the popular film franchise loosely based on the ride. I hate to see the classics messed with, but we hear this is much better than Disney's politically correct rehab back in 1997.

Wednesday night Mayor Villaraigosa will make his weekly TV news appearances, en Espanol on Univision Channel 34 and later in English on KCAL 9.

City of LA Meetings for Wednesday

7:00AM - ENSNC: Transportation
8:30AM - COUNCIL: Arts, Parks, Health & Aging Committee Meeting - CANCELLED
8:45AM - COUNCIL: Trade, Commerce and Tourism Committee Meeting
9:30AM - BPW: Board of Public Works
10:00AM - COUNCIL: Los Angeles City Council
1:30PM - COUNCIL: Energy and the Environment Committee Meeting
2:00PM - COUNCIL: Transportation Committee Meeting - CANCELLED
4:30PM - PLN: East Los Angeles Area Planning Commission Meeting Agenda CANCELLED - Ramona Hall
6:00PM - 8:30PM - LARIVER: Los Angeles River Revitalization Master Plan Community Outreach Meeting

Open Thread for Wednesday

We ran a piece the other day, "City Without Ethics" which highlighted a Daily News report that a number of city contractors found to have violated campaign laws by the Ethics Commission, were still being allowed to bid on city projects.

Here's a great letter from one of the Daily News readers. Feel free to blog away, dum dums.
Re "L.A.'s ethical void" (June 25):

It is no surprise that there is a scandalous ethical void in the Ethics Commission when those persons who manage it claim ignorance of the rules that they are mandated to enforce such as money laundering.

But according to Commissioner Bill Boyarsky, bidders for city contracts should not be burdened with the stigma of a prior criminal conviction like money laundering.

Clyde Feldman
Sherman Oaks

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Prediction: City Hall Will Attack Smokers

Second-hand smoke, according to the Surgeon General's report of June 27, will kill everyone in America in the next seven minutes or so, especially smokers' children, trapped as they are in nicotine-filled mini-vans, rather than breathing the pure exhaust of the hybrid cars surrounding them.

So here's my prediction: within a week, some civic-minded City Council Member will introduce a bill "to protect the children" by, among other things, prohibiting parents and anyone else from smoking near children, including in their own homes and cars. Five years later, to stop the epidemic of childhood obesity, parents and others will also be prohibited from feeding fat kids anything but tofu, water and rice cakes.

Oh, and the S.G.'s actual words did not, technically include the seven minutes thing. Rather, he said, "Nonsmokers exposed to secondhand smoke at home or work increase their risk of developing heart disease by 25 to 30 percent and lung cancer by 20 to 30 percent." Now, for that to have any meaning, it would be nice to know what the existing risk is. For example, does second-hand smoke increase your risk from 1 in 100 million to 1.25 or 1.30 in 100 million? If so, I think I'll pick something else to fret about today.

More Hooters

Here's the latest. In our last post, we showed you the flyer that is floating around Animal Services, however, here are more of the "official" flyers for Ed Boks' Hooters event. I suppose if I was a city employee and hung these up in the breakroom, I could easily be written up for sexual harrassment.

City of Hooters?

We mentioned in today's Hot Sheet that allegedly the LA Department of Animal Services was doing some sort of fundraiser with Hooters. I have no problem with Hooters, but is the right venue for a city event? Not sure. Lets get Gloria Allred on the phone, hee hee. What's next? LA's Best Silent Auction at Chippendale's? Better call Rocky Delgadillo - we might wind up with something at a strip club soon!


Mayor Sam's Hotsheet for Tuesday

Stuart Waldman has once again announced he is running for his current and former bosses' 40th Assembly Seat in 2008. You may remember we covered this before, this time Stuart has announced he has already raised $125,000 for his quest ($100,000 of which is a loan from Stuart himself). Stuart's campaign consultant is John Shallman, who ran Bob Hertzberg's campaign for Mayor. Sister City readers may remember that Shallman was often accused of being Mayor Sam, before this old, dead Republican mayor was "outed."

KABC's Doug McIntyre reports his experience as a co-host of the Los Angeles Press Club's marathon awards show Saturday night. Among the highlights, McIntyre believes only he and Mayor Villaraigosa were the only ones wearing tuxedos, when introduced, both McIntyre and the mention of his station received hissing and boos from the NPR table, and that there was little visible sympathy or outrage from fellow journalists of the attack on reporter Sandy Wells at La Academia. Obviously political correctness has reared its ugly head.

Community activist David Hernandez is calling on Governor Schwarzenegger to veto Mayor Villaraigosa's plan to takeover the LAUSD. Not likely to happen though, Arnold is a bigger supporter of the plan than most of Antonio's fellow Democrats.

If you're interested in how much money the County Board of Supervisors is spending, and where they are quietly increasing your taxes, click here. The County Board of Supervisors also completed budget deliberations approving a $20.03 billion budget for the 2006-07 fiscal yearMonday, you may wish to peruse that as well.

Greenlight Financial Services is inviting consumers to write about why it's "Good To Live Green" as it relates to protecting the environment in the home, office, school or auto. The winner will receive $2,500 cash.

Animal activist and former Sister City blogger Dan Guss has a Daily News op-ed piece about Mayor Villaraigosa's animal record. Guss is also reporting that his favorite foe, LA Department of Animal Services General Manager Ed Boks, is allegedly planning some type of fundraiser at the legendary T&A eatery, Hooters. Guss is promising to post the flyer soon, as soon as he does, we'll bring it to you.

Tuesday morning Mayor Villaraigosa, chef Wolfgang Puck and children from LA's Best afterschool program will hold a pizza-cutting ceremony to mark the opening of Puck's first downtown restaurant.

City of LA Meetings for Tuesday

8:30AM - COUNCIL: Housing, Community, and Economic Development Committee
9:00AM - COUNCIL: Education & Neighborhoods Committee Meeting, CANCELED
9:00AM - CERS: Benefits Administration Committee/Special Meeting Board of Administration
9:30AM - LAPD: Board of Police Commissioners CANCELED
10:00AM - COUNCIL: Los Angeles City Council Notice
10:00AM - CERS: Board of Administration
2:00PM - COUNCIL: Information Technology and General Services Committee Meeting, CANCELED
2:00PM - COUNCIL: Planning & Land Use Management Committee Meeting
3:00PM - LAFD: Fire Commission HRDC Committee Meeting
3:00PM - LAPD: Board of Police Commissioners Special Meeting Agenda
6:00PM - 8:30PM - LARIVER: Los Angeles River Revitalization Master Plan

County of LA Meetings for Tuesday

9:30AM - Board of Supervisors

Antonio Found Dead in Tank

No, not that Antonio. This was a little goldfish being kept in an aquarium filled with official LA River water. Along with another goldfish, Little Ed, the two fishies were named for two of the river's biggest supporters, Mayor Villaraigosa and Councilman Ed Reyes.

The tank resided for a while in City Hall, until it was transferred to the offices of the Los Angeles Times where they could be viewed on a webcam.
Upon hearing the news of Little Antonio's death, Councilman Reyes said, "I'm really bummed that Little Antonio died. His mere presence brought an international splash to our efforts to renew the city's famous waterway — the Los Angeles River. I only hope Little Ed can swim through his grief long enough to see the results of what he and Little Antonio have worked so hard to create — the L.A. River Revitalization Master Plan."
The two little carp even had their own MySpace page. A memorial to Little Antonio has already been posted.

Little Antonio and Ed had developed some type of skin condition, but later recovered. Little Antonio managed to survive 111 days in the Cypress Park vintage of LA River water that was their home.

Open Thread for Tuesday

Our old friend Jon Regardie, at the LA Downtown News has a tongue-in-cheek piece, writing as Mayor Villaraigosa analyzing his plans to takeover the LAUSD and his related Sacramento lobbying trip last week.
There was a lot of talk last week about my trip to Sacramento. Believe me, Los Angeles, you city of the 21st century you, that this journey was not undertaken to scope out the real estate market four years from now. And it was not, as some of the trolls in the media reported, to salvage my proposal to run our school district. I rescue, I do not need rescuing
The article follows in the line of several others Regardie has penned including "My First 116 Days."

Monday, June 26, 2006

912 Commission Appointments

Hot off the press, here are the appointments to the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment's 912 Commission:

Mayor Villaraigosa's appointments from pool of recommendations submitted by Neighborhood Councils (NC)

South Planning Area
Julian Rogers, Empowerment Congress Southeast NC

East Planning Area
Jason Lyon, Silverlake NC

West Planning Area
Paul Resnik, West Los Angeles NC

South Valley Planning Area
Charlotte Laws, Greater Valley Glen NC

North Valley Planning Area
Cindy Cleghorn, Sunland-Tujunga NC

Harbor Planning Area
Esther Cepeda, Harbor City NC

Central Planning Area
Jeff Jacobberger, Mid City West NC

Mayor Villaraigosa appointments

Jackie DuPont Walker
President of Ward EDC and former member of elected Charter Commission

Linda Wong
Vice President, Civic Engagement at the California Community Foundation

Bong Hwan Kim
Executive Director, Pasadena Neighborhood Housing Services and Former Executive Director of the Multi cultural Collaborative and Korean Youth & Community Center

Dora Leong Gallo
Chief Executive Director with A Community of Friends

Corrine Sanchez
President/CEO of El Proyector del Barrio

Christine Chavez
Political Director for United Farm Workers

Jan Breidenbach
Served as Executive Director of the Southern California Association of Non-Profit Housing

City Council Appointments

Council District 1
Evelyn Montes

Council District 2
Jonathan Zasloff
Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy

Council District 3
Leonard Shaffer
Tarzana NC

Council District 4
Mark Siegel
Founder of CityWatch

Council District 5
Dr. Irving Lebovics
Mid City West

Council District 6
Dennis O'Sullivan
Sun Valley NC

Council District 7
Javier Angullo
NALEO Education Fund & Lincoln Heights NC,

Council District 8
Frank Prater
Empowerment Congress Central

Council District 9
Sandra Bryant

Council District 10
Guy Leemhuis
United Neighborhoods of Historic Arlington Heights

Council District 11
Tom Ponton
Mar Vista NC

Council District 12
Joe Vitti
Granada Hills NC

Council District 13
Rev. Attagracia Perez
Episcopalian Minister

Council District 14
Jessica Wethington McLean
Eagle Rock NC

Council District 15
Wilmington NC

City Without Ethics

The Daily News ran an article Sunday entiteld, "LA's Ethical Void. " The article makes the claim that the City Ethics Commission is not doing its job to notify the city that bidders for some city contracts have been sanctioned by the commission for campaing contribution violations, and thus ineligible to get lucrative city deals.

City Controller Laura Chick told the Daily News, "That's wrong, stupid and going against all the work I've put in on trying to make the city's process of both awarding contracts and having those contracts be impeccable."

The Daily News further reports that LeeAnn Pelham, executive director of the Ethics Commission, said the notification rule "fell off the radar" but will be corrected soon. "Sure we knew it was in the law. But you look at all the priority projects and some things fall to the bottom. We should be doing it."

Three Strikes Law Exempts Illegal Criminals

In a seven-minute news video blog the Full Disclosure Network™ presents L. A. County District Attorney Steve Cooley, Supervisor Michael Antonovich and Sheriff Leroy Baca describing how criminal aliens are NOT prosecuted under California’s Three Strikes Law. This shocking and revealing video can be viewed at the URL: http://www.fulldisclosure.net/flash/VideoBlogs/VideoBlog22.php

When criminal aliens have been convicted of a crime in California, they serve their time in prison and then are deported out of the country. But according to law enforcement and elected officials, many if not most, of them come back to California six to ten times, each time they return, they are committing a felony, but are not prosecuted under the Three Strikes Law or by the Federal Government.

D A Steve Cooley told Full Disclosure Network™ host Leslie Dutton, “Our Three Strikes Law does not take into consideration a person’s (illegal) status.” Sheriff Baca tells Dutton in the video blog that the Three Strikes Law applies to serious felonies such as assault, murder, or robbery.

When asked why criminal aliens were not subject to the Three Strikes Law, Supervisor Michael Antonovich described the process as “it’s kind of like ‘Kings X sometimes’.

In this video news blog Sheriff Baca states that there are 40,000 illegal criminals in California State prisons right now and that criminal aliens occupy 23 percent of all the L. A. County jails. Without mentioning the failure to prosecute the repeated felonies by these criminal aliens, he went on to say the federal government should be paying for cost and care of these criminals in our jails. Baca also said it is costing California $170 million per year to house the criminal aliens and the Federal government is only re-imbursing $13 to $14 million per year.

Over the past thirteen years Full Disclosure™ programs have been billed as “the news behind the news” and are featured on 43 cable systems and the Internet at http://www.fulldisclosure.net/. The programs have explored police policies, politics, corruption and reform, interviewing all the LAPD Chiefs from Ed Davis to William Bratton as well as the Southern California County Sheriffs and most U.S. Attorneys General and Special Prosecutors involved in Presidential investigations. Cable channels are listed by community and air times on the website.

A Conversation with Some LAT Bloggers

We've mentioned the Los Angeles Times' "School Me" blog on a few occasions. The blog has had a lot of fun with Mayor Villaraigosa's attempts to takeover the Los Angeles Unified School District, especially during his now legendary trip to Sacramento.

We thought it might be fun to take a few moments to chat with the people behind "School Me," Bob Sipchen and Janine Kahn. They were kind enough to submit to a Sister City interview.

How did the "School Me" blog get started?

Bob: I’d been thinking about a column on education, written on a laptop from the field, for years. Janet Clayton, who runs the California section, asked me to do it and the web component fell into place naturally.

Whose idea was the predict-o-meter?

Janine: Bob's the brains of that operation. But the bouncing arrows and bipolar mayor pictures are mine.

Bob: I love those bouncing arrows! Sometimes I get mesmerized and stare at them for hours. Oddly, I often hear a little voice saying: “Send Janine your credit card numbers.”

What's the most pressing issue facing education in Los Angeles?

Bob: I don’t want to segregate a single issue from the complex knot of interrelated issues. The obvious big question is, how do we make sure all Southern California’s (and America’s ) young people have the knowledge and skills to create successful, productive lives at a time when the rest of the world’s getting smarter and smarter.

School Me isn’t just about LAUSD or even public schools, and I think it would be a mistake to ignore the issues facing privileged kids at Westridge or Harvard Westlake to focus solely on the poor, disadvantaged students who are dropping out at tragic rates from certain public schools. We do, however, need to make sure the bad schools get good fast.

Do you think the average citizen has a realistic view of LA's education system and its current state?

Janine: The average citizen has probably encountered LA's education system firsthand, so I'm guessing they have an idea or two.

Bob: How do we define average? If you mean ‘majority,’ then I agree with Janine. I think the bigger question is: “Do the region’s elites, the people who get things done and who, by and large send their kids to private schools, understand their vital stake in the children who can’t afford that option?

Who is the most interesting character in Los Angeles politics today?

Janine: Probably the mayor. He has his fingers in so many pies and a highly caffeinated schedule.

Bob: My restraining order limits me to scrutinizing matters of education. Fortunately, that’s where all the great politics is going on right now. Shakespeare couldn’t ask for a better cast. The mayor-who-would-be-governor, the former governor who butts heads with the mayor, the cocky union boss, the board members the union-elected-and-then-betrayed, the billionaire buttinskys. It’s wonderful.

What's the hippest place in LA to hang out?

Janine: No idea. Last I checked, rookie webhead journalists weren’t exactly “hip.”

Bob: Hang out at School Me. It’s not all that hip, but if you stare at those bouncing arrows long enough you’ll understand the secrets of the universe.

Open Thread for Monday

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has declined to grant a Bush administration request to send more National Guard troops to the border. His office issued the following statement:

"The governor declined to send additional National Guard troops because California has already committed 1,000 troops to our border. The request was to send 1,500 more out of state. Because of potential disasters here in California and wanting to ensure we are prepared, the governor would not send troops out of state. Other states need to send troops, and the White House needs to get more governors to buy into its proposal."

Sunday, June 25, 2006

There Is No American Culture

One definition of "culture" is "a set of learned beliefs, values and behaviors the way of life shared by the members of a society."

California's Department of Education has a long list of books approved for use in schools' literature classes, and the Department has divided those books into groups based on what culture they represent. For example, some books represent "Black/African American Culture;" some represent "Latino/Latino American" culture; and some, "Middle Eastern."

Conspicuous by its absence from the list, however, is "American culture." See for yourself at the California Department of Education website.

Are our children to believe there is no such thing as a distinctly American culture? Is America instead an empty vessel that does nothing more than hold the cultures of groups from around the world?

What about Mark Twain? F. Scott Fitzgerald? Kurt Vonnegut? Tom Wolfe? Plug their names into the list's search engine, and you'll see they do not represent any particular culture; that field is blank for those authors.

Forgive me for saying so, but respecting other cultures should not entail denying the existence of our own.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Baghdad Roy?

Superintendent Roy Romer sounds and looks more and more like Former Iraqi Information Officer Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf (better known as Baghdad Bob).

Let’s Compare Quotes:
"The Americans are going to surrender or be burned in their tanks. They will surrender, it is they who will surrender."

Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, Iraqi Information Officer

“It's just not a failing district; it's an improving district,'' Romer said. ''To represent it otherwise is not telling the facts.''

Roy Romer, LAUSD Superintendent
Clearly Iraq was dead wrong about their spin. Just as Baghdad Roy is about his.
Study Estimate
Urban Institute - 45.4% Graduation Rate
Manhattan Institute - 54% Graduation Rate
Harvard Civil Rights Study - 48% Minorities Graduation Rate
Ed Week - 44% Graduation Rate
LAUSD cooked numbers - 75.5% Graduation Rate
Baghdad Roy should learn some lessons from his old friend Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf and not spin so hard.

The Estates at Magic Mountain?

The owners of Six Flags Magic Mountain and Hurricane Harbor in Valencia are considering selling the park, including dismantling the rides and offering the land for real estate development.

This may not be a bad idea. In recent years, the park has become a haven for gangbangers and doesn't attract the family element that spends money on more than just admission. Six Flags new ownership is looking to re-orient the brand to a more Disney-esque family friendly one, and in order to pay off some of the company's debt, a number of stinker parks will be put up on the chopping block.

The 250 acre property could be re-developed in a mix use commercial, retail and residential project. My one suggestion would be to keep the park's trademark observation tower and develop it as a restaurant. It would nice to leave it as an icon for Santa Clarita.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Trash Tax: Of Welshing And Gyps

For some historical background on why the new trash tax is a gyp, along with an explanation of how City Council is using it to circumvent the super-majority voting requirement for new taxes, here's a link to an article by John Coupal in the Daily News.

The reason trash pick up has been "free" till now is that voters agreed, long ago, to higher property taxes to pay for it. By charging separately for trash pick up now, without reducing property taxes correspondingly, the City is Welshing on the original deal and effectively raising taxes without voter approval.

Also, don't you just love the expressions "gyp" and "Welshing?" I mean, what a way to convey a concept while gratuitously slamming entire groups of people who never engaged the in the behavior in question! How did those terms arise, anyway?

Where Does L.A. Get Its Planners?!

As per a story story in the L.A. Times, L.A.'s genius city planners want to amend the municipal code to allow homeowners to post signs in their front yards for their home-based businesses. Yeah, that's EXACTLY what I want to see when I come home from work each day: a bunch of "pop-up" ads in the lawns in my neighborhood.

Homeowners have risen up in protest, of course, and the City is "re-thinking" the proposal.

So the question is, where are we getting these planners? Are they all renters who live in urban areas? Have they never seen grass, lawns and real houses?

Pedophiles and Illegal Aliens

Unable to keep children - legal, illegal, black, brown white and everything else - safe from pedophile priests, the Los Angeles and Orange County Roman Catholic dioceses are at it again. This time they're giving in to political children, at the expense of the well being of their own children.

In order to root out pedophiles from those volunteers who work with children, the dioceses planned to do background checks. But the problem is, even with a Matricular Consular card, its not easy to vet the records of illegal aliens. And most of them are quite undestandily squeamish about things like being fingerprinted, showing ID, etc. So rather that upset and lose their services (apparently to the do the things American Catholics won't do), the church is quietly scrapping the background check plan.

Its absolutely shameful the church is doing this. Its not just the Catholics who have faced issues of child abuse in the church, but these two local dioceses are the ones in the news right now having made this horrible decision. Organizations like churches, mosques, synagogues, YMCAs, Boys and Girls Club, etc. that have children working near adults should do their due diligence. Those who prey on children are drawn to these opportunities to be near potential victims. Why open the door any more than necessary?

Open Thread for Friday

Its the end of the week, its going to be hot, and Antonio is on his way to taking over the LAUSD? Well maybe, and maybe not. He didn't get the deal he wanted, and a day or two out from announcing a compromise in principle, as the LA Times "School Me" says, there's a "strong smell in the corners." Are the unions going to have enough wiggle room to keep bad teachers in the classroom? Will "Hurricane" Jackie Goldberg become the Superintendent making reform a joke? Is the plan really just changing deck chairs on the Titanic? Is the Mayor selling us a bill of goods, or was he sold one himself? And is anyone going to address the impact of unchecked illegal immigration on our schools?

Stay tuned!

Brown Calls on Poochigian to Apologize for Attack on Fresno Police

Jerry Brown today called on Chuck Poochigian to apologize for his attacks on the Fresno police saying, “I believe that Poochigian owes an immediate apology to the brave men and women of the Fresno Police Officers Association. Every day they put their lives on the line and patrol the streets of Fresno. That’s far different from Poochigian, who talks about crime from a well guarded chair in the California State Senate.”

Yesterday Poochigian bitterly attacked the Fresno Police Officers Association because they recently endorsed Jerry Brown. While being interviewed on KMJ 580 Radio, Poochigian falsely accused Fresno Police Officers of deception and “backtracking” during an interview with talk show host Ray Appleton. Listen to the attack here: http://jerrybrown.org/node/207

The Fresno Police Officers Association announced their endorsement on June 7, when Brown hosted a series of statewide meetings with key law enforcement groups. In addition to the Fresno Police Officers Association, the Kern County Law Enforcement Association, the San Diego Deputy Sheriffs and PORAC all endorsed Brown for Attorney General.

Bitter about the outcome of the endorsement, Poochigian accused the Fresno police of deception and “backtracking” saying “it is human nature to try and cover your tracks but its very disappointing that a law enforcement organization, that the leadership would, you know, suggest something that’s totally untrue to try to defend their actions.”

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Lax LAX Security

NBC Channel 4's Chuck Henry presented a disturbing report Thursday night, the gist of which is that there is no security near the LAX jet fuel tanks. If you can climb a dumpster, you can step over the chain-link fence. Alternatively, you can wait for the fence to open for a delivery truck, and drive your truck in right behind it. Great journalism; lousy security. Maybe the Mayor would care to do something about it, especially insofar as he spends more time at the airport than in his office?

Skybots, Fembots and Ripoffs

You may recall from a prior post ("Deputy Drone") that the L.A. County Sheriff planned to conduct surveillance via remote-control drone airplanes.

You may also have noticed a story in Thursday's L.A. Times saying that the FAA has nixed that idea for the time being; apparently we have enough action in the skies without a squadron of Radio Shack mini-me planes buzzing about.

But did you notice the following line in the story? "The drones are still in the testing stages. But if they prove effective, the department planned to buy 20 SkySeers at a cost of $20,000 to $30,000 each."

Twenty grand for a remote-control airplane with a little camera?! Times 20, for the squadron, means $400,000 -- batteries not included.

Here's the thing: these units should cost a few hundred dollars each. Do your own search, and you'll find remote-control airplanes and helicopters, complete with wireless video, for well under $1000 -- more like $199 each. For example: airplane link, helicopter link, and mini-blimp link.

Does something smell funny? Does something smell scam-like?

For $400,000, we should at least get a few Fembots, don't you think? Yeah, Baby!

Mayor Sam's Hotsheet for Thursday

Mayor Villaraigosa finally struck some paydirt on his attempt to take over the LAUSD, when he made a compromise deal with the unions in Sacramento. The Mayor didn't get everything he wanted, but enough for the LAUDS to condemn the deal as a "power grab" that would undermine the district. The Mayor didn't have to follow through on threats to stay in Sacramento all week, so he'll be chairing the MetropolitanTransportation Authority board meeting tomorrow morning and deliver opening remarks at the Los Angeles Film Festival.

The LA Times "School Me" blog had a lot of fun with the Mayor's efforts including their "Predict-O-Meter" scale that ended Villaraigosa's Sacramento trip with an 83 rating, however, with a "Barry Bonds" asterisk.

Martini Republic has a good piece on the Anderson School at USC's latest real estate forcast. Bottom line is things aren't going to get terrible, but some rough spots are ahead.

Here in Van Nuys chronicles Burbank Boulevard in Burbank east of Buena Vista, which is nearly frozen in time.

City of LA Meetings for Thursday

9:00AM - PER: Board of Civil Service Commission
10:00AM - LADOT: Board of Transportation Cancelled
12:00PM - LAHD: Internal Review Committee
12:00PM - LAHD: Affordable Housing Commission Meeting Cancelled
4:00PM - LAUSD: Presidents' Joint Commission on LAUSD Governance Meeting
4:30PM - PLN: South Valley APC - Commission Agenda

Getting Screwed by the DWP

I know what your thinking, "so what else is new" right?

Well maybe but this is one thing that just burnt my toast and I figure if Mayor Sam can complain about Adelphia, I get to rant about being ripped off.

It started yesterday morning when I had to cash a check at the DWP Credit Union. Yes, I could have deposited it into my own account but then it wouldn't have cleared for days and well, I have bills to pay.

The check was for $3,000.00 and seeming how my bills equaled $2,994 bucks this seemed like a logical and convenient move. So imagine my surprise when the woman behind the counter tells me that they charge to cash a check, at a BANK! Cashing this check was going to cost me 30 bucks. Now I know that some banks are claiming to be customer friendly by offering "free" this or that but c'mon, charging people to cash a check? That just crosses a line. Which one I am not sure but a line has definitely been crossed.

As if banks aren't making enough money as it is now they have the nerve to charge people to cash a check. That just isn't right. That's ok though, I performed a little civil disobedience.

See, one of the bills that was due was, you guessed it, my DWP bill. So instead of them getting 274 bucks they had to deal with $244.00. Yea, I know, the victory will be short lived as they try and charge me a $30.00 late fee next month but damn it, I had to do something.

Beginning Of The Reconquista?

Some might call this video "inflammatory." Fair enough. We can all agree to disagree. But elements of it are disturbing, and it does show some of our current politicans in action well before we all knew their name.

From the poster:
This video was filmed at a 1994 rally in Los Angeles. Nunez is seen introducing Juan Jose Gutierrez (of the SEIU) to make a speech to the crowd. To the right stands a Mexican trumpet band. Behind the stage is a large 13-starred colonial-era American flag (signifying the U.S. minus "Aztlan"). After Gutierrez's speech, the band mockingly plays the American national anthem while Nunez, Gutierrez and Kevin de Leon mill around the stage talking to each other. After the U.S. anthem is finished, the band begins an enthusiastic rendition of the Mexican national anthem - and then Nunez, de Leon and Gutierriez all snap to attention and salute their country.


Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Antonio's Ninth Place Ribbon

The San Francisco Chronicle reports L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has reached a "compromise" with legislators and the teachers' union regarding his plan to take over the LAUSD -- "compromise" in the sense of "didn't get jack."

The key points are as follows:

1. "The city's elected school board will retain final spending authority, and, through that, ultimate control over its education priorities." REPEAT: the school board retains control over spending and priorities.

2. Villaraigosa "will be allowed to lead a mayors' council with veto power over selecting a new superintendent." (Can you say, "big deal?" Sure you can.)

3. Villaraigosa "will assume a direct role" -- whatever THAT means -- "in managing the city's 36 worst-performing schools." TRANSLATION: "Congratulatiions! We're giving you the bottom five percent. Enjoy. And thanks for boosting our stats immediately just by taking them off our hands."

What grade would you give Antonio Villaraigosa for this outcome? Or, if you're more pedagogical, state the rubric that best describes his performance.

Free Tutors for 270,000 Students

CBS Channel 2 reports that "about 270,000 students in the LAUSD may be eligible for math and reading tutoring from Supplemental Educational Services, according to the district." The deadline to apply for tutoring is June 30 at 5:00 p.m. The cost to taxpayers is about $1500 a pop.

How many people will apply, do you think? About nine?

Recalling Smith - Some facts

Mayor Sam was feeling under the weather and asked me to post something for today. Well he sure did stir up the hornets nest yesterday with his post on an attempt to recall Councilman Greig Smith. (and I just think that photo is so cool I had to find a reason to post it again)

Indeed Smith has had some pretty high profile run-ins up in CD 12. Whether they warrant his removal from office is a decision for the voters to decide however, here at the Sister City I thought it appropriate to discuss the process that would need to occur.

First and foremost is the clock. It is running out. California Government Code Section 11007 states that a recall petition may not be commenced if the term of the target of the recall expires within 6 months. In Short, a petition to recall Smith would need to be filed by early fall.

The notice to recall would need to be served on Councilman Smith and he has 7 days to reply. Then the fun begins.

The mountain to climb is getting valid signatures. The law states that 10% of all registered voters sign the petition. In CD12 that is roughly 20,000 people. These are verified signatures, so more would need to be gathered to cushion any rejected signatures. This is the point when most recall petitions go down in flames.

It simply isn't easy to get that many signatures. Candidates running for county committee have found it difficult to get 40 signatures, getting 25-30,000 will take an army. The deadline for filing the signatures is 160 days.

So, pulling out the calendar, here is the timeline:

- A petition to recall Councilman Smith (or any other even numbered Council District for that matter) must be filed no later than September 5, 2oo6 or it would presumably be dismissed.

- Assuming the signatures were gathered in 160 days as required that would put the filing deadline for turning in the signatures somewhere around the 15 or so of February, 2007. The election officials would then have 30 days to count signatures, or until March 15, 2007.

- The Los Angeles Municipal Election is March 6, 2007.

So you can already see what the problem would be here.

Presumably the recall election would take place after the General election, and you would still need to find a candidate to run. With a special election in April or May of 2007. It would seem to this old dead Councilman to be easier to simply run an opponent in the 2007 election. But then again, the folks up there in the North Valley have done stranger.

Now this could change of course. If the process began tomorrow with paid signature gatherers hitting the streets next weekend we could see a special election late fall or early winter. But my money is on this one going the way of the Dodo Bird.

Your thoughts?

Wednesday Hotsheet: Code Blues

Issue 1: Code Enforcement
The Daily News has an article on how a "San Fernando Valley contractor has shaken Sun Valley for 13 months with what city officials say is an illegal mining operation used to excavate, crush, sort and sell rock." In other words, FOR OVER A YEAR, this guy was operating a "D-9 Caterpillar and diesel rock-crusher . . . in a crater next to" the homes of L.A. residents. The paper reports that "city officials said the contractor dug a 15-foot crater to excavate river rock with a series of belching Caterpillars, crushers, sorters and heavy trucks." Why did it take so very long to shut this down?

Issue 2: Code Enforcement - The Sequel

The City of L.A. now refuses to enforce its own sign ordinances. Want to put up a sign in your yard offering to sell Tarot Card readings? No problem! The City has gone absolutely gutless, and will not lift a finger, saying that the First Amendment allows people to put up whatever signs they want. This is wrong -- courts have always upheld reasonable restrictions on time, place and manner, especially with regard to commercial speech -- and is a cop-out. Perhaps it's time for a City Attorney willing to spend less time campaigning and more time litigating?

Issue 3: Code Enforcement - What City Council Is Doing Instead

Rather than ensuring that our absentee Mayor enforces the City's laws, City Council Members are pretending that they, too, are needed in Sacramento. So, reports the Daily News, "the Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday backed state legislation that would require motorists to use hands-free cell phones." Excuse me, fellahs, but instead of passing meaningless resolutions on bills before other governmental bodies, could you instead please take a few minutes to run our City? You know, the City that pays your salary?

Issue 4: Gita-Gate?
The San Jose Mercury News reports, "Federal authorities should investigate the treatment and death of a 48-year-old Asian elephant at the Los Angeles Zoo, animal rights activists said Tuesday." A group called "In Defense of Animals" wants the U.S. Department of Agriculture to investigate, saying they believe the zoo violated the Animal Welfare Act.

Issue 5: Real Estate Watch . . .

The L.A. Times reports, "Southern California home sales declined to their lowest point in seven years in May, while the median home price was virtually flat for the third month in a row, data released today showed." Prices are always "sticky downwards," as you'll recall from Econ 101. However, excess supply means actual prices -- as opposed to asking prices -- will flatten if not fall. So don't count on a continued massive growth in property tax revenues to bail out the big spenders at City Hall and in Sacramento.

Issue 6: The Photo

It's actually an Indonesian coal mine, not the one in Sun Valley. Think of it as an "artist's conception."

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

LAUSD Graduation Rates

The L.A. Times reports that, according to a "new" study -- based on four-year-old data -- just over 44% of LAUSD high school students graduate in four years.

Now, before you deem that an indictment of the LAUSD, and an endorsement of the Mayor's program, consider two more facts: i) the LAUSD has a higher percentage of "English Learners" (i.e., children who don't speak English) than any other city; and ii) the graduation rate in New York, which Villaraigosa holds up as his model, is 39% (i.e., five percentage points LOWER than LAUSD).

In a related story, the San Francisco Chronicle includes an article by Stanford researchers who report, "At Stanford University's School of Education, we analyzed California's policy for assessing students learning English. We found that 1 out of every 4 students learning English did not pass California's exit exam and will not be able to graduate." Ouch!

Total Recall, CD 12 Style

Along the way, Councilman Greig Smith of the 12 District has upset some folks in his district, and now he may find himself facing the political battle of his life.

Chatsworth resident Dennis Schwartz is beginning a nascent campaign to recall the Councilman. The issue of the Sierra Canyon private school was the one that set off Schwartz and his neighbors. Schwartz is not only opposed to the school because of its proximity to the freeway, but that when the community came to speak at City Council hear, the residents were cut off and not allowed to speak. (Walter Moore covered the story when Smith sought to use the city's credit to help raise funds to build the private school.)

A host of other Smith actions has Schwartz upset. According to Schwartz, Smith has stated he does not believe homes should be within 500 feet of a freeway due to enviornmental concerns. Schwartz says Smith wants to seize and tear down a number of such homes, but not out of altruism, but to allow a warehouse to be built on the land. Schwartz says that Council members will often rubber stamp what a fellow member wants in their District. If that's the case, Schwartz wonders, why hasn't Smith been able to get the votes to close down the Sunshine Canyon dump. That is, if Smith really wants to. Schwartz says that Smith "Doesn't know when he's telling the truth or telling a lie." Given that - and the fact that the Council generally does not oppose what a fellow member wants - Schwartz feels Smith is unfit to represent the District.

Schwartz and his group aim to collect 30,000 signatures in the 12th District to force a recall election. They are looking for volunteers to work with their committee. You can contact Schwartz at anderme@sbcglobal.net.

Mayor Sam's Hotsheet for Tuesday

Walter Moore posted it Monday night, but here's a reminder to check out Vic Viereck's excellent dissertation on the so called "billion dollar housing" fund and how rent control, amogst other government regulation, is responsible for the housing shortage.

Plans are underway to try to transform LA into New York. That's like trying to turn a milkshake into roast beef. Its just not going to happen. Still, some folks want some of the goodies being a hip, new urban city can bring - the Starbucks, the walking to the cafe for a mimosa and tapas on Sunday with the Calendar section under your arm, etc. That's great - but lets not make the government pay for it nor let their thugs chase out legitimate, tax-paying businesses.

Did Councilman Jack Weiss kill a park improvement at Robertson Recreation Center? A reader of West LA Online thinks so.

Mayor Villaraigosa took off Monday for a trip to Sacramento to save his LAUSD takeover plan. A parents group opposed to the Mayor's plan were ready to picket him at Bob Hope Airport in Burbank. Problem was, he left from LAX.

Apparently Mission College in Sylmar is in trouble, and a big part of the problem allegedly stems from rancor over the establishment of a Chicano Studies department.

City of LA Meetings for Tuesday

8:30AM - COUNCIL: Housing, Community, and Economic Development Committee
9:00AM - COUNCIL: Education & Neighborhoods Committee, SPECIAL MEETING
9:30AM - ETH: Ethics Commission Meeting (06/20/2006)
9:30AM - LAPD: Board of Police Commissioners
9:30AM - LADBS: BBSC Meeting
10:00AM - ZOO: Commission Agenda - June 20, 2006
10:00AM - COUNCIL: Los Angeles City Council
1:30PM - DWP: Board of Water and Power Commissioners
2:00PM - COUNCIL: Planning & Land Use Management Committee Meeting
2:00PM - COUNCIL: Information Technology and General Services Committee Meeting, CANCELED
3:00PM - LAFD: Board of Fire Commissioners
4:30PM - PLN: South Los Angeles Area Planning Commission Meeting
4:30PM - PLN: South Los Angeles Area Planning Commission Meeting - Canceled
5:30PM - PORTOFLA: Port Community Advisory Committee Meeting

George W. Bush's Record: Worse than Academia's?

Well worse than Bill Clinton's anyway.

As the debate over illegal immigration continues to rage, its interesting to note some statistics. Despite Republican tough talking, President George W. Bush has completely rolled over on the issue of enforcing the border.

When it comes to national security, the President has sided with big business and special interest groups, over the safety and well being of the average American, including immigrants who have come legally.

Writing in the National Review, John O'Sullivan notes that Bill Clinton had a far better record in border enforcement than George Bush's, whose record is indeed, laughable.
For instance, in the years 1995, 1996, and 1997, there were between 10,000 and 18,000 worksite arrests of illegals annually. In the same years about 1,000 employers were served notices of fines for employing them. Under the Bush administration, worksite arrests fell to 159 in 2004 when there was also the princely total of three notices of intent to fine served on employers.
As The Carpetbagger blog opines, that has to be a hard pill for Republicans to swallow!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Billion-Dollar Housing Fund

For an analysis by a certified public accountant of the proposed billion-dollar "affordable housing" bond, hop over to Mayor Sam's Back Yard. Victor N. Viereck has some interesting things to say.

Deputy Drone

Fox News.com reports that the L.A. County Sheriff's office plans to deploy remote-control drones to keep an eye on you. Sing it with me: "Every breath you take . . . I'll be watching you."

Is this a good idea -- a good way to leverage the existing force? Or is it too "1984"?

Special Order 40-C -- For "Cannabis"

The People's Daily Online reports, "Officials of a Los Angeles community [West Hollywood] are expected to consider Monday a resolution that instructs local police not to target adults in possession of small amounts of marijuana or smoking the herb in private."

Hmmmm..... I'm seeing a pattern here. Legislature passes a law. Executive doesn't like it. Executive declines to enforce it. Law is a sham. Repeal via nonenforcement.

Antonio vs. Roy

The San Jose Mercury News reports that Villaraigosa and Romer were making the rounds in Sacramento today, debating the merits of a non-existent bill to transfer power over education from the latter to the former.

Romer asserted that the drop out rate is 25%, not 50%, and is improving. Meanwhile, Villaraigosa tried to work out a deal with the teachers' union. And the governor sent the Legislature a "YOU HAVE BEEN PRE-APPROVED" message, without bothering to wait to see what the yet-to-be drafted bill actually says. Why? To show voters that he is pro-education, and can work with the Legislature.

Predictions? Will the teachers' union trade nominal control for class-size limits? Will the mayor trade control for "reforms" that will allow him to claim he improved the system? Show us all how politically savvy you are; predict the future of the LAUSD.

P.S. Does anyone actually believe Villaraigosa's endorsement would make any difference whatsoever in the outcome of the coming gubernatorial election? My theory: Villaraigosa knows Angelides can't win, and, by refraining from endorsing him, hopes to give the illusion of having affected the outcome.

An Illegal Rose By Any Other Name

At Leslie Dutton's request, here is a corrected link to her video report on the Feds' latest exercise in catch-and-release and gamesmanship in labeling with respect to illegal aliens caught at the Los Angeles International Airport.