Whistleblower hotline: (213) 785-6098

Monday, July 31, 2006

Seven Reasons To Reject The "Affordable Housing" Bond

Before your mind is taken over by $3 million in advertising that the proponents of the billion-dollar bond plan to spend, you may want to read my essay entitled, "Seven Reasons To Reject The 'Affordable Housing' Bond."

At the risk of shocking some of you, I never mention the you-know-what issue.

Speaking of aliens, and, in particular, the Borg -- as in "Borg McIntyre -- the character in the picture is named "Seven of Nine," but her friends call her "Seven" for short.

Mayor Sam's Hotsheet for Monday

Mayor Villaraigosa, Los Angeles Marathon President Bill Burke and Councilmen Tom LaBonge and Bernard Parks will take part in a press opportunity Monday morning at Universal Studios to announce a new route for the Los Angeles Marathon.

Full Disclosure Network has a program featuring a number of past and present law enforcment officials discussing Special Order 40. Former Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl Gates recounts ow illegal aliens shot and killed police officers while the Department waited for Federal authorities to enforce immigration law at the border and on the streets of Los Angeles."

The California Coalition of Law Enforcement Associations, which represents more than 80,000 law enforcement officers across California, today announced their endorsement of Jerry Brown for Attorney General. The California Coalition of Law Enforcement Associations (CCLEA) was formed to provide an umbrella organization to represent the needs of all law enforcement associations in the state.

Martini Republic's Joe Mailander has an op-ed piece in Sunday's LA Times, "Downtown's Bipolar Housing Policy." Mailander argues for essentially a free market approach as a way to generating more "affordable housing" downtown.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides will speak at a California Teachers Association's conference Monday.

Monday evening, Mayor Villaraigosa will host a reception for British Prime Minister Tony Blair who is on a trade mission to Los Angeles.

Openly gay Republican 42nd Assembly candidate, Steven Sion, joins the blogging team at West LA Online.

City of LA Meetings for Monday

9:00AM - CERS: Corporate Governance Committee/Special Meeting Board of Administration
9:30AM - BPW: Board of Public Works
10:00AM - COUNCIL: Public Safety Committee Meeting - Canceled
1:00PM - COUNCIL: Budget & Finance Committee Meeting

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Villaraigosa And Nunez Cut And Run - Video Report

Villaraigosa and Nunez scheduled a public meeting to discuss their LAUSD takeover plan.

Alas, Villaraigosa's aides, in violation of their marching orders memo, actually invited real members of the public.

What the heck were they thinking?! I bet the bottled water wasn't room temp, either.

Well, naturally, the Mayor hadn't planned on anything but effusive praise, so when the first public speaker questioned the wisdom of the proposed legislation, the Mayor bolted.

When Nunez realized he was playing the role of Custer, he, too, had an urgent engagement elsewhere to attend. (In fairness to Nunez, there was, in fact, a new episode of "Two And A Half Men" airing at about the same time; he may have needed to rush home to see it.)

KTLA's report is available for your viewing pleasure at YouTube.com. The report doesn't actually show the Mayor leaving -- apparently it never occurred to the cameraman that he might do so -- but it does recount the event, and you do get to see Nunez punch the "Easy" button to eject.

* * *
Post-Script: One of the bloggers has suggested a new nickname for the Mayor: "Pollo-Raigosa."

The Sidewalk Standard

Eighty-three years.

If the City keeps working at its current pace, that's how long it will take to repair the sidewalks that are currently broken, according to an article in today's L.A. Times.

Here's the math: 5000 miles need repairs, and it costs $240,000 per mile to repair the sidewalk.

The total cost to repair the 5000 miles, therefore, would be $1.2 billion (= 5000 x $240,000).

As you know from previous posts, the City's revenues this year are over $700 miliion greater than last year. Hence, if we spent less than half of the increased revenues on sidewalks -- just $300 million of the $700 million -- we could fix every single sidewalk in just four years (i.e., one term of an elected City official).

Repeat: by spending less than half of the increase in annual revenues on sidewalks, we could repair them all in four years, rather than 83 years.

Now, don't you think that's more important than having City Council Members and the Mayor fly all over the world "working" on matters like visiting Sister Cities, and giving speeches to other policiticans? And shouldn't the Mayor and City Council Members have to show that they can handle basic property management before we promote them to more challenging tasks, like, say, running a school system for 729,000 students?

Do the math.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

What's Wrong With This Picture?

The Daily Breeze reports that Mayor Villaraigosa has raised over $1 million for his effort to take over the LAUSD.


It takes a million dollars for an elected official to convince other elected officials to enact legislation?

How do you think that money will be spent? Will we be seeing lots of ads on TV featuring our beloved leader, surrounded by "the children," to illustrate his deep concern for their well-being -- and his availability to serve as governor next time around?

Show Me The Money, Roy

According to David Muhlausen, Senior Policy Analyst at the Heritage Foundation, the federal government gave the LAUSD $239 million over a two-year period for tutoring and "school choice" for kids at those schools that failed to meet statutory progress requirements. But, he says, just 218 students used those programs one year, and 315 the next.

Now, according to my limited math skills, that work out to $450,943 per child. (Divide $239 million by 530 students, and you get that figure.)

As Muhlausen puts it, "Either students in Los Angeles are attending tutoring sessions in gold-plated salons and riding to their new schools in limousines, or the money isn’t being spent as intended."

So use that eight-pound human head and show me the money, Roy.

Rocky Assails City Council's Term-Limit Ballot Measure

City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo issued a legal opinion stating that the so-called "City Government Responsibility, Lobbying and Ethics Reform Act" is improper because it does not just regulate lobbyists, but also amends term limits to let politicians stay in office an additional four years. (We noted the misleading nature of the measure in a prior posting here, which presumably alerted an astute member of Delgadillo's staff.)

The L.A. Times explained Rocky's rationale as follows:

"The reason, Delgadillo wrote, is that the term limits provision — permitting council members to serve a maximum of three terms instead of two — requires voters to amend the City Charter. But the ethics provisions would be more appropriate for the council to directly enact, which it could do at any time."

Query whether he would have issued the same opinion if the measure had included extending his potential term from eight years to 12. Maybe he feels . . . left out?

Anyway, I say good for him! This should make it harder for City Council to dupe inattentive voters into missing the measure's real mission. Go, Rocky, go!


Friday, July 28, 2006

City Council Committee On Mayor's LAUSD Plan

ABC Channel 7 reports that the City Council's Intergovernmental Relations Committe voted to take no position on the Mayor's LAUSD takeover plan -- neither supporting or opposing it.

Special Order 40 In BIG Trouble

Judicial Watch has won a HUGE victory in its lawsuit against the City of L.A. to invalidate Special Order 40 -- the rule that stops the LAPD from investigating and prosecuting violations of federal immigration law.

The City filed a motion called a "demurrer," which says, basically, "Judge, even if the plaintiff proved every fact alleged in the complaint, the plaintiff would not be entitled to any relief." That kind of motion is VERY important in a case like this, because it requires the judge to rule on the fundamental legal issues involved in the case. Here, for example, it means the judge had to decide whether, as a matter of law, a City can "opt out" of enforcing federal immigration law.

Well, guess what? The judge overruled the demurrer, i.e., he ruled that, if Judicial Watch can prove the facts it alleged re Special Order 40, then Judicial Watch is entitled to relief from the court.

That is HUGE, people!

Kudos to Judicial Watch. I have to confess, I did not think this lawsuit would survive a demurrer, but it has, and that means Judicial Watch might very well succeed in invalidating Special Order 40. Of course, by that time, the federal government may have granted amnesty to everyone already here illegally. . . .

The gist of the lawsuit, as I understand it, is that Special Order 40 prevents the police from reporting violations to the federal government, and that this constitutes an improper expenditure of funds. I gather the judge accepts the premise that prohibiting police from asking about immigration status is tantamount to prohibiting them from reporting same to the feds, and accepts the premise that this policy entails an expenditure of funds. Those points aren't as obvious to me, but hey, in a tie, the guy wearing the robe wins!

You can read the judge's ruling yourself: ruling.

And, so you know, the judge wasn't Ito.

Friday Open Thread

Circumstantial evidence indicates Mayor Sam is stuck in Ad-hell-phia limbo, so I'll try to fill in.

Favorite story of the morning: "6 + 4 = 1 Tenuous Existence," on the front page of the L.A. Times. Long story short: an illegal alien woman comes here from Mexico, marries and has her first child; divorces, remarries again (an illegal alien), and has her second child; gets a tubal ligation; a few years later, she has the surgery undone, because husband wants a son; unable to get pregnant, she had a friend bring back fertility drugs from Mexico; the drugs work, and she has triplets, one of whom was born with hydrocephalus, and has had three brain surgeries so far; then she had quadruplets. The family lives in a one-bedroom apartment, and the dad makes $400 a week as a carpet installer.

The story, written by Sam Quinones, includes the following interesting facts:

"Neither Magdaleno nor her husband speaks English, though she has been in the United States 22 years and he 28. Even her teenage daughters speak mostly Spanish; their English vocabulary is limited."

"Yet all of Magdaleno's 10 children are U.S. citizens. The triplets receive subsidized school lunches. All the youngsters have had their healthcare bills covered by Medi-Cal, the state and federal healthcare program for the poor."

"Alfredo Jr. had been hospitalized all his life until recently. He's had three state-funded brain operations and will require several more, the family said. The couple receive $700 in monthly Social Security payments to help with his medical needs."

Please note: this story does NOT mean that all illegal aliens reproduce like this woman, having far more children than she can possibly support. On the contrary, the woman had sisters who came here and used birth control to limit the sizes of their families to a more affordable scale. So this isolated case, in my opinion, doesn't really prove anything social or cultural. Rather, I see it more as a cautionary tale about personal choices.

Anyhow, maybe mom and dad should sell the rights to their story for a TV show. "The Magadleno Bunch?" Or maybe just a reality show.

Other interesting stories: NBC Channel 4 reports that Playa Vista spent $600,000 on lobbying City Council and City agencies; the Daily News reports that the L.A. Planning Commission has conditioned its approval of a condo conversion on the owners selling and/or renting some of the units at below-market prices; and Santa Monica has essentially banned smoking everywhere in public.

Blog 'em if you got 'em.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Team America Update: Weiss Flying To Israel

City Councilman Jack Weiss announced that he's flying to Israel to, you know, help with the whole rocket thing.

Does anyone out there know the clinical term for that? "Delusion of grandeur," perhaps? Or maybe it's just standard political cynicism?

Hey, you know where he could go after he brokers peace in the Mideast? Los Angeles. Yeah, apparently there are gangs roaming around in that city killing each other, along with innocent bystanders -- like the three teenagers killed near a school in Weiss's district a week or two ago.

Nyah. That would be a waste of his Kissinger-like, cusp-of-the-Nobel superpowers. After all, as an elected City Councilman, his primary duty is to travel to international hotspots to help people.

* * * * * * * *
It turns out Weiss's trip is actually just one of the new challenges he faces as a contestant on Stan Lee's "Who Wants To Be A Superhero," which aired tonight. Here's the link: http://www.whowantstobeasuperhero.tv/.

City Council Misleading Voters Re Term Limit Ballot

Have you seen the formal name of the ballot measure to let City Council Members hold office for 12 years rather than eight?

It's called the "City Government Responsibility, Lobbying and Ethics Reform Act.”

And what an apt name, after all, because it's all about government responsibility, lobbying and ethics, isn't it? Sure, it effectively repeals term limits, but that's hardly worth mentioning.

Then again, if a business labeled its products in this fashion, consumers would sue for fraud.

The goal, obviously, is to mislead the harried voter into thinking he's supporting ethics reform. Caveat emptor.

What do you suppose they'll call the proposed $1 billion subsidy for developers? Probably the "Infant Protection, and Canes for the Blind Act."

Alger for CD12?

We received an anonymous tip from one of our readers that Northridge West Neighborhood Council President and LA Neighborhood Council Congress Vice Chair, Jim Alger, is considering running against Councilman Greig Smith for his CD 12 seat next spring.

The tipster claims to have been told this by a Democratic operative at a local political event. He cites the fact that Alger has yet to disband his campaign committee from his failed State Assembly bid as well as recent attacks on this blog and others by Alger's foes as reasons that the convention wisdom is Alger's in the CD 12 race.

The Sister City reached Alger by telephone and he told us that his position since the June election has been that he was taking the new couple of months to consider his future options and that he would make an announcement, probably in August, as to what he plans to do.

So, stay tuned!

Fishwrap Media?

I must have missed this when I was having network challenges, but is Kevin Roderick, the venerable Westside white guy of LA Observed fame attempting to become the next Roger Simon?

LA Observed has recruited a dozen or so would be bloggers (is Sherry Bebitch Jeffee blogging?) to create a multi-plex of blogs (LA) observing a number of topics.

Martni Republic held a contest, offering a martini to the first reader to (LA) observe the new blog(s). Andrew at Here in Van Nuys shed crocodile tears at not being invited to join the new crew. I hear ya Andrew. This old, dead Republican Mayor was actually dumb enough to turn down the offer (with a signing bonus too!) to join Pajamas Media. Boy we were fools!

Mayor Sam's Hotsheet for Thursday

Our internet connection appears to be back to normal. Lets keep our fingers crossed.

Mayor Villaraigosa traveled to Atlanta Wednesday evening where he is scheduled to speak at the National Urban League Conference. Former President Bill Clinton is among the conference's other scheduled speakers. In recent months, the Mayor has stepped foot in Memphis, Philadelphia, Washington, Dallas, Las Vegas, Chicago and Sacramento, among other locales.

Part of the promise of some of the big transit developments the MTA has brought us over the years is the potential for business and commerce to thrive around rail and bus stations. Indeed - as reported by Here in Van Nuys - the new Orange Line Busway has done just that in Van Nuys. Hookers are reportedly doing a brisk business at the new Sepulveda station.

The Los Angeles City Council has graciously cut down the amount of time you may address the Council during public comment to one minute. However, if you're a fellow elected windbag like "Hurricane" Jackie Goldberg, they will waive the rule and allow you to speak as long as you like. Jackie took up five minutes of the Council's time telling them why we need to severly water down three strikes laws or society is going to become unwrapped.

EAA, the union that covers city employed architects, engineers, attorneys, among others has fired their latest missive at Mayor Villaraigosa. In addition to the usual policy dispute, this time the EAA has played the "Aztlan" card. Check it out at Mayor Sam 2.

City of LA heat wave information and services, click here.

City of LA Meetings for Thursday

8:30AM - PLN: City Planning Commission Meeting
9:00AM - PER: Board of Civil Service Commission
10:00AM - LADOT: Department of Transportation Commissioners
10:00AM - LADOT: Board of Transportation Commissioners
10:00AM - CAO: Zoo Capital Program Oversight Committee
11:15AM - CAO: Proposition K: L.A. for Kids Steering Committee Meeting
12:00PM - LAHD: Internal Review Committee, Cancelled
12:00PM - LAHD: Affordable Housing Commission Meeting
12:30PM - ITA: Municipal Access Policy Board
3:00PM - COUNCIL: Energy and the Environment Committee - SPECIAL MEETING - CANCELLED
3:30PM - CAO: Proposition O Administrative Oversight Committee
6:00PM - COUNCIL: Ad Hoc Committee on Homelessness, Special Meeting
7:00PM - ENSNC: SLNC History Collective

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Farmers Lose Lawsuit

The judge upheld the City's sale of the land for $5 million back to the man from whom the City had taken it in the first place. So reports NBC Channel 4 (http://www.nbc4.tv/news/9579521/detail.html).


We are still down with Adelphia and my latest phone call says the next available customer service appointment is next TUESDAY! What kind of crap is that?

Thanks to Walter Moore, Joe B. and Councilman John for taking up the slack.

Adelphia sucks.

The Adelphia Cable SUCKS Open Thread for Wednesday

If you happen to know anyone in the carpet bussiness, Mayor Sam is in the market for a nice, plush red carpet to go with the bottle of champagne he has sitting on ice anxiously awaiting the arrival of Time Warner Cable.

In the meantime we are taking up a collection to run an extra long Ethernet cable from civilization, to Mayor Sam's house. It seems that Adelphia Cable can not get there act together and has denied the Mayor access to the internet yet again. Now, Sam tends to be polite when dealing with these morons but I'll say it, they suck.

If this keeps up Sam may have to turn on his dial-up connection via AOHell. Heck, at this point a shoestring tied to a power-pole would provide a more stable connection then these overpaid incompetent fools at Adelphia. Maybe if they didn't spend so much time looting the corporate treasury they would figure out that they have split the line at the mayors house so many times that they need to install a return amp. But that would involve knowledge of how high speed internet works, and these guys have already called U-Haul.

Anyway, I once again wasn't planning on writing anything today as of yet so this will be your open thread. For an interesting topic let me start with this question:

If you could change one thing about the way City Hall operates, what would it be?

Blog away dum dums.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Wendy Greuel Steps Up!

As a follow-up to yesterdays "Black Monday in Sunland-Tujunga" post, here is the text of the letter Councilmember Wendy Greuel has sent to the City Attorney;

From: Wendy Greuel , Councilmember 2nd District
To: Jeri Burge, Assistant City Attorney

Re: Proposed Sunland Home Depot Store
Dear Ms. Burge:
This morning, the Department of Building and Safety issued building permits for the
property at 8040 Foothill Blvd. in the Sunland part of my district. The permits allow the remodeling of a former K-Mart store for use as a Home Depot store. In order for these permits to be issued, City staff was required to make two specific findings: 1) that the Home Depot use is substantially the same as the K-Mart use, thereby avoiding a Change of Use process and 2) that the proposed tenant improvements did not constitute a "Project" as defined in the Foothill Blvd. Corridor Specific Plan, thereby avoiding a Project Permit Compliance process.
I have received comments from my constituents to the effect that Home Depot's
operations are sufficiently different from K-Mart's operations so as to constitute a
Change of Use. I have also received comments which contend that the proposed tenant
improvements are sufficient to constitute a "Project" as defined in the Specific Plan.
Accordingly, I would appreciate it if you would review these two findings and advise me as to whether you believe the staffs interpretations of City regulations were consistent with applicable law.

Very Truly Yours,
Wendy Greuel

You can read the .pdf version here

Our thanks to Wendy and a personal thanks to Mayor Sam for indulging me in this matter!

NC's Getting a tad miffed

Apparently some 4th floor residents missed my education on section 907 of the City Charter.

Monday morning the City Attorney released a brief summary of a $1-billion issue to pay for low income housing. As shown in Walter Moore's Article, the issue is being called on a special agenda of the City Council today.

While there are many reasons to be concerned about this, the question being asked, (again) is what part of section 907 does the City Council not understand?

"These Special Agendas are a convenient way to bypass public comment as well as Neighborhood Council Review, " said LANCC Senator Jim Alger in an email earlier today, "for the life of me I don't think they get it."

Alger isn't the only one.

LANCC Senator and Chair Brady Westwater asked "Will they ever learn?" While Mid City West Neighborhood council member and editor of the publication "CityWatch" Ken Draper, issued a "Citywatch Alert" to the Neighborhood Councils stating "City Watch is calling your attention to (the special agenda item) because it appears that Neighborhood Councils have been left out of the process, required by the City Charter.

To repeat Senator Westwaters question... Will they EVER learn?

Mayor Sam's Hotsheet for Tuesday

Light blogging here, working with wounded internet.

Tuesday Mayor Villaraigosa will introduce his new deputy mayor of education, youth and families, Former Los Angeles Unified Superintendent Ray Cortines. Wonder when there will be a deputy mayor of single people? Oh! I forgot. We do it for THE CHILDREN and OUR FAMILIES. Fuck you if you're a selfish, childless, single creep.

Later in the day, the Mayor will attend the California Labor Federation/AFL-CIO's 26th Biennial Convention and do his weekly Univision Channel 34 segment.

LA Voice has a piece about reports that LA's middle class is nearly extinct. Good luck getting your bonds paid for. See the thing is by letting in hordes of illegal aliens, creating a climate hostile to business and new home development, you chase out all the things the middle class - which comes in all colors for those of you who didn't know - needs to stay here. They're finding it in Las Vegas, San Bernardino, Phoenix, and in some cases, even Mexico.

The Long Beach Police Officers Association, today announced their unanimous endorsement of Jerry Brown for Attorney General. They join about 50 other law enforcement organizations across California to endorse Brown.

City Meetings for Tuesday

8:30AM - COUNCIL: Housing, Community, and Economic Development Committee
9:00AM - COUNCIL: Education & Neighborhoods Committee Meeting, CANCELED
9:00AM - CERS: Private Investments Committee/Special Meeting Board of Administration
9:30AM - LAPD: Board of Police Commissioners CANCELED
9:30AM - LADBS: BBSC Meeting
10:00AM - ZOO: Commission
10:00AM - COUNCIL: Los Angeles City Council
10:00AM - CERS: Board of Administration
10:30AM - COUNCIL: Los Angeles City Council Special Meeting
1:30PM - DWP: Board of Water and Power Commissioners Special Meeting - Van Nuys City Hall
2:00PM - COUNCIL: Planning & Land Use Management Committee Meeting
2:00PM - COUNCIL: Information Technology and General Services Committee Meeting
3:00PM - LAFD: Fire Commission HRDC Meeting
4:30PM - PLN: Central Area Planning Commission Meeting - City Hall, 10th Floor
7:00PM - ENSNC: SLNC Art & Culture

Monday, July 24, 2006

Pay-To-Play 2006? Twenty Cents Per Square Foot

The City Council has posted a "supplemental agenda" for Tuesday on "items for which public hearings have not been held."

Item No. 52 thereon is a motion by Reyes, Cardenas and Garcetti to rent some of YOUR land to Mr. Onnik A. Mehrabian for just TWENTY CENTS PER SQUARE FOOT!

That's right: these taxpayer advocates want to rent 48,608 square feet of YOUR land to Mr. Mehrabian for 20 cents per square foot -- a total of $9721.60 per month. He apparently wants to park some cars on it.

Oh, and I'm sure it was just a series of innocent typos, but good luck to you, Joe Public, figuring out where the property is from the agenda. The address is given as "2110-30 West San Fernando Road (APN’s 5457-00 1 and 902)." However, there is no such address, and no such APN. Rather, the actual address is "2110 North San Fernando Road," and the APN is "5457-001-901." The land, as you can see from Google Maps, complete with a satellite photo, is near the intersection of the Glendale Freeway and the Golden State Freeway.

Excuse me for asking, but is this the highest and best use of City land -- to rent it out at 20 cents per square foot? Also, is this the best method for managing property -- having three City Councilmen strike a deal, rather than, say, having some agency seek the highest bidder to buy it?

Oh, and by the way, Peter Mehrabian, listed at the City Ethics Commission's website as the owner of Auto Mart, in Glendale, contributed $500 to Cardenas' campaign.

The Commission's website also shows that "Peter Mehrabian Auto Mart" donated $500 to Reyes's campaign. Onnik Mehribian donated $500. And Peter Mehribian, as an individual, donated $500.

But I am confident that these financial contributions in no way influenced three City Councilmen to lease your land for just 20 cents per square feet. It's totally a coincidence.

And while we're on the subject of vacant land, weren't there some people just fighting about vacant land? Something about a farm? Do you think you could get people to pay 20 cents per square foot per month to farm on this plot? That would be just $20 for 100 square feet....

And get this: the Reyes-Cardenas-Garcetti deal isn't the only proposed real estate transaction in play on Tuesday.

Item 49 on the regular agenda is a motion by City Councilmen Labonge and Garcetti to buy a luxury house, currently on the tax roles for $3.895 million based on a sale in 2005. The address is 2450 North Solar Drive, Los Angeles, 90046 (APN 5571-032-005). The house covers 7686 square feet; the lot covers 17 acres. Hey, maybe that would make a nice farm! Or maybe "affordable housing" for some lucky family.

It gets worse. The Councilmen want to pay for $2.5 million through a bond -- which means they'll use the City's equivalent of the big credit card, and you and I will pay the interest.

Will somebody out there PLEASE run for City Council in the upcoming March 2007 elections? Half the seats -- those for the even-numbered districts -- are up for grabs.

Bond On City Council Agenda Tuesday Morning

Today -- Monday, July 24, 2006 -- the City Attorney sent the City Council a letter saying that, in order to get the billion-dollar-boondoggle bond on the ballot, ten Council Members must (falsely) certify that the public interest and necessity require submission of the bond to the voters.

The Council has accordingly scheduled a SPECIAL session for tomorrow morning at 10:30 a.m., or as soon thereafter as possible, to vote on one, and only one, item, namely, whether to pass the (false) resolution of public interest and necessity.

Man, they move fast when there's money at stake, as opposed to mere lives, huh? And don't you love all that public notice? Me, too. It really provides for input from the citizens.

You can read the City Attorney's letter here: http://clkrep.lacity.org/councilfiles/06-1800-s3_rpt_atty_7-24-06.pdf .
You can see the City Council's agenda here: http://lacity.org/clk/councilagendas/clkcouncilagendas339405_07252006.pdf

#@$&! Adelphia!

This old, dead Republican Mayor has had his troubles with Adelphia internet service before.

Starting Sunday morning, the damn thing went from not working, to working while I was
on hold with customer service (though running like molasses in Nova Scotia in December) to not working at all in the middle of placing an online shopping order. (Vons, not porn in case you dum dums were wondering).

Thanks to Councilman John for filling in.

Now, it seems to be working. Lets keep our fingers crossed and hope that its a combination of the heat whacking up their equipment and more than the usual number of cool seeking folks staying home to net surf. By the way, the dimwits at Adelphia "customer service" couldn't offer up a repairman until Thursday between 1-5pm. Now how convenient is that.

Adelphia is a shitty company. Not only is it a shitty company, but its a crooked company. Greedy, shitty, crooked companies who don't serve their customers, let down their investors and allegedly cook their books eventually get theirs. The family that founded and owned Adelphia got theirs.

I understand that very soon in this portion of the City of Los Angle-leez that Adelphia
will be pushed aside for the folks at Time Warner Cable (DISCLOSURE: Mayor Sam owns about one share of stock of TWC). Through my business, I've had excellent experience with Time Warner's Road Runner product in other markets, and look forward to using it over Adelphia's crappy Power-Klink service.

It couldn't happen fast enough!

Black Monday in Sunland-Tujunga!

Today, Sunland-Tujunga awoke to its Worst Nightmare.

The beleagured Dept of Building & Safety and LA City Planning have issued permits for Home Depot to begin "Tenant Improvements" on the site of the former K-Mart in Sunland-Tujunga. After being presented with a mountain of evidence that the proposed Home Depot was indeed a "Project" deserving of environmental scrutiny, LA City Planning rejected the evidence and signed off on the plans allowing Home Depot to proceed.

Daniel Scott, the Principal LA City Planner who reports directly to Gail Goldberg
( LA City Planning Director) was the primary decision maker and the community now demands an explanation as to how he could possibly arrive at such a decision.

If you will recall, "Tenant Improvements" are normally just cosmetic upgrades to a building and as such, a business is not required to undergo environmental scrutiny.
In this case, Home Depot plans call for ripping out the entire floor, replacing it with reenforced concrete, and for major structural work to the roof, among other things.

A highly regarded structural engineer submitted overwelming evidence that this proposed project was anything but "Tenant Improvements" and yet Daniel Scott disregarded the facts and ruled in favor of Home Depot.

The community is obviously disappointed but the flood of e-mails to the No Home Depot
Campaign are also expressing extreme anger and outrage! A Public Demonstration is planned in front of the proposed location later this week.
The No Home Depot Campaign will also file an appeal with the Board of Commissioners
for the Department of Building & Safety.

If this is a sample of the direction in which Gail Goldberg wants to lead Los Angeles then
there are celebrations being held at the offices of developers around the city tonight!
For the rest of Los Angeles, we have our work cut out for us.

And just now, I have received a message from Councilmember Wendy Greuel;

Statement of Councilmember Wendy Greuel:

"I have vigorously opposed a Home Depot store in Sunland-Tujunga from
the beginning, and I will continue to work with Sunland-Tujunga
residents to find a solution that benefits the entire community.

"Toward that end, I have asked the City Attorney to review the decision
to issue building permits which would allow Home Depot to move into the
K-Mart building."

Mayor Sam's MIA open thread for Monday

Perhaps Mayor Sam has been abducted by UFO's, kidnapped by irate City Council staffers, or moved out of Los Angeles in the cover of darkness and forgot to tell us.

Or, more likely than not those incompetent screw-ups at Adelphia have been at it again.

Either way the Mayor appears to be Missing In Action this morning so this would leave the inmates in charge of the asylum.

Here are a few topics from the weekend that may be of interest to you:

Arab-Israeli Protests In L.A.

City Hall's Welfare For The Rich: A Case Study

Court Confirms Rights for Bloggers

Try not to hurt yourselves. Blog away dum dums.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Arab-Israeli Protests In L.A.

Dateline: Miracle Mile, L.A., Sunday, July 23, 2006, 5:30 p.m.

Israelis and Lebanese -- and those supporting them -- protested en masse today. The two groups rallied near the corner of Wilshire and San Vicente, just east of Beverly Hills.

According to my expert estimates, I would say there were . . . a LOT of people -- and that's just the LAPD officers.

An LAPD helicopter has been orbiting since about 3:30. There are police in cars, on motorcycles, on bicycles and on foot.

Happily, everything is very peaceful, so far. There was a pro-Israel rally starting at 4:00 p.m.

Diversity and the First Amendment -- you gotta love it.

I just hope the heat doesn't overcome anyone. It's hot, hot, hot.

Updates to follow

Update: 6:45 p.m.
The police have told everyone to go home now. "If you are not moving, you are not cooperating." Aside from some shouting, and a few tossed water bottles, and -- wait a minute -- about 50 police just went running down the street. There's word someone got beat up. Hey, police can move FAST when they need to!

Censorship Continues

Following the abrupt cancellation of the public affairs talk show, "Full Disclosure" from the City of LA channel by Councilman Bernard Parks, phone calls are racking up at the offices of the Information Technology Agency, so much that the agency is now referring callers directly to Parks' office directly.

Our sources tell us that the Councilman is preparing a response of his own for sometime this week, in the meantime, the folks at Full Disclosure have prepared a short video about the cancellation, including previous commendatory remarks by Parks about the program.

If you wish to protest this censorship, call Bernard Parks at 213-473-7008.

City Hall's Welfare For The Rich: A Case Study

Let's say you own 30 acres of land downtown. How big is that? It's roughly equivalent to 217 residential lots. (Thirty acres is about 1.3 million square feet, which would cover about 217 lots measuring 6000 square feet each.)

Next, let's say I come to you, in my capacity as a real estate broker, with a proposed deal. My client wants to buy your land on the following terms. You deed the 217 lots to my client, plus you hand him another $52 million cash, and he signs a loan to repay you $58 million at below-interest rates.

Did you get that? He gets your land and $52 million of your money. You receive your money back, at some point, with a little interest, plus an additional $6 million for your 217 lots.

Do you know what that works out to as the price for each of the residential-sized lots downtown? Just $27,649! (Six million divided by 217 = $27,649.) A person could spend more to buy a car in this town -- a domestic car, even!

Now, if I came to you with that deal in the real world, how many seconds would it take you to call Security and have me thrown out of your office? Not many.

But, as reported deep within an L.A. Times story Sunday, that is the deal that a billionaire developer got from L.A.'s City Hall for the land underlying the Staples Center. According to the story, "Anschutz took control of 30 nearby acres," and "paid more than $18 million for the land," but he "obtained $58 million from city bonds — to be repaid with interest — and $12 million in redevelopment grants."

So if you do the math, he puts in $18 million, but immediately gets back $12 million plus $58 million, so he's netting $52 million right off the bat, and then promises to repay the $58 million. So his net payment to City Hall is just $6 million, plus some below-market interest. A sweet deal for 30 acres of downtown land, don't you think?

And remember: that land, my friend, DID, in fact, belong to you. It belonged to you, to me, and to the rest of us taxpaying citizens. But your friends at City Hall sold it for the equivalent of around $27,649 for every 6000 square feet.

It gets worse. He came back for more: now he's building a hotel across the street, and "last year . . . the Los Angeles City Council approved up to $290 million in rebates of hotel taxes during the next 25 years." In other words, they just handed him another $290 million of your money. Your trash tax isn't going to pay for police; it's going to pick up the tab for this guy's hotel.

Do you still think that "affordable housing" and the other developer subsidy programs are supposed to help the poor?

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Saturday Update

1. Quotation Du Jour:

"In 2002, then-Mayor James K. Hahn traveled to China with hopes of securing pandas for the zoo. Instead, the city was later given the right to lease golden monkeys."

--Steve Hymon, L.A. Times reporter, in his story about the next item.

2. Boondoggle Du Ju Jour:

How much do you think it should cost to tear down -- not build, mind you, but just tear down -- the elephant pen at the L.A. Zoo? Let's see, you'll need a backhoe or a bulldozer, and a truck to haul away debris, and a couple of guys with shovels and brooms.... Twenty grand? Thirty? Try $2.1 million!!! Steve Hymon reports that the City's Board of Public Works approved spending $2.1 million to tear it down.

Has anyone heard of competitive bidding? Better yet, I bet you could charge people for the right to tear it down. Animal rights activists would pay good money to blow up an elephant pen, I'm guessing.

3. Statistic Du Jour:

Glass-half-full version: 86% of LAUSD's seniors passed the exit exam. Glass-half-empty / Daily News version: 14% failed. The state-wide figures were 91% and 9%.

Hey, if a kid passes it in the 10th grade -- which is the first time you can take it -- shouldn't he get to graduate early or something? Let's provide some incentives here. Imagine how hard kids might study if they could get out of a year or three of high school. Plus, it might help with the crowding problem. Maybe "free tuition" at the City College for each year you finish early?

4. Speaking of Elephants and Monkeys:
The circus is coming to town. The real circus. Protests to follow.

Court Confirms Rights for Bloggers

The Politics and Technology Blog (an excellent blog published by Kari Chisolm of Blue Oregon) reports that a California appeals court has ruled that bloggers do indeed have the same rights as "traditional" print and broadcast journalists, including the California shield law which prevents journalists from being forced to disclose their sources.

This should be a shot in the arm to blogs which provide a much necessary service of presenting often raw and unfiltered news from the streets and often have the same or even better access to newsmakers than traditional media. Know that bloggers won't be forced to reveal sources, confidential informants can rest assured passing on important information that needs to see the light of sunshine.

And the blogger is really no different than the journalist of the early days of printing, when anyone who could get a hold of a press could get their ideas and information out to the masses. Thanks to modern technology, important details can get out to the public without censorship by a corporate media hierarchy and without anywhere near the capital investment one would need to make to come even close to starting a newspaper, radio station, television network, etc.

We've learned here the blogging world isn't always pretty and doesn't always get it right. Neither does the elite media. Blogging is just yet another tool for citizens to exercise in our quest for democracy.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Gone In 60 Seconds: $75 Million

As a result of channel surfing, I somehow wound up spending half an hour on Friday night watching the L.A. City Council in action. I had just finished watching an old "Twilight Zone" -- the one with the three-eyed Venutian and the three-armed Martian -- and the Council Meeting seemed like a natural sequel.

Now, bear in mind that the City is taking in over $700 MILLION more this year than last. Under those circumstances, you might think the last thing the City needs to do is incur further debt. But no, there was some bureaucrat whose name I didn't catch, speaking on behalf of the City issuing $75 million of "G.O. bonds" -- general obligation bonds -- which, according to her, is paid by an assessment on property owners.

Zine asked her how much it would cost per house. She started to give figures for a $350,000 house. Zine interrupted her, "Where in L.A. can you get a house for $350,000?" So they agreed to double her numbers, to provide figures for a $700,000 house. The cost? Two hundred eight dollars per year for . . . how many years? She didn't know.

Nor did she know the total amount per year of all the other the various bonds homeowners are already carrying.

Oh, and how much will the total be, when you include the interest? She didn't know.

No matter. It's only homeowners and other property owners being taxed after all. The Council voted 10-0 (or maybe 11-0) to take out the credit card and leave homeowners with the tab for the $75 million bond. The whole thing took 60 seconds, maybe 120.

Are these City Council Members the same people who say they're going to provide "affordable housing" --politicians who heap one debt after another onto homeowners as a tax that only they pay?

The City Council Members deserve every agonizing second of Zuma Dogg they get.

Understanding Section 907

Since it is Friday, and the presentations shall run long in City Council it is easy to understand how some can forget or misunderstand the laws that govern them. So, as a public service today I have decided to provide a refresher course to our esteemed residents of the 4th floor of Section 907 of the Los Angeles City Charter.

Sec. 907. Early Warning System.

The Regulations shall establish procedures for receiving input from neighborhood councils prior to decisions by the City Council, City Council Committees and boards and commissions. The procedures shall include, but need not be limited to, notice to neighborhood councils as soon as practical, and a reasonable opportunity to provide input before decisions are made. Notices to be provided include matters to be considered by the City Council, City Council Committees, and City boards or commissions.

For those of you who seem to have difficulty with this, this does not mean you come up with a hair brained motion on Friday for Tuesdays council meeting and then wonder why Neighborhood Councils are honked off. Since the City has ruled that Neighborhood Councils are covered under the Brown Act (an act the City Council has had difficulty in following) that means that there is no legal mechanism for a Neighborhood Council to respond to a short noticed motion, and absolutely no way to respond to a "Special Meeting" notice.

So is it a coincidence that so many motions before City Council are "time limit files" where they are heard on the last day to act? And how would the City Council allow time for every item before it to have input from Neighborhood Councils as the Charter states? Remember, the Charter makes no exceptions.

The bigger question is, what part of open government does this City Council not understand and what, if anything, are the Neighborhood Councils and/or the NC Congress going to do about it?

Your thoughts?

Mayor Sam's Hotsheet for Friday

The Engineers and Architects Association has been at war with Mayor Villaraigosa and the City over pay raises. Now they accuse the city of some funny bookkeeping as a way to keep some city employees from getting cost of living adjustments under union negotiated contracts. The EAA alleges that the City transfered dollars from one account to another "under the cover 0f darkness" in order to avoid requirements for renegotiating COLAs.

Mayor Villaraigosa's plan to take over the schools could have lost another friend. LA Voice reports on an LA Weekly piece that the Mayor may have lost the support of one of his oldest friends, developer Eli Broad. In the meantime, LA Unified Supertindent Roy Romer accused the Mayor of using propaganda in his efforts to take control, remarks that got Romer in trouble for comparing Villaraigosa's "propoganda" to that of anti-Japanese rhetoric during World War II.

Mayor Villaraigosa is proposing to let Angelenos ride MTA buses and trains for one week for free. This is based on a similar plan in San Francisco. The Mayor asked transit officials to determine the costs of such a program.

Boi from Troy reports that the conventional wisdom is that Phil Angelides' gubernatorial campaign is in big trouble. Comparisons are being made to previous challengers such as Republicans Evelle Younger and Bill Simon and Democrat Kathleen Brown who stumbled early in the summer and never gained traction in the fall.

Bitter Bernie is having issues again. MTA officials want to name the Mid City/Exposition light rail project the "Aqua Line." He also rejects the MTA's other alternative, "Purple" as the Bitterman doesn't think either "resonates." What color does Bernie like? Rose. Read all about it at Franklin Avenue.

At Friday's Los Angeles City Council meeting, Members will consider a a proposal to place a time limit on commendatory presentations during council meetings. Anyone have the over/under on the passage of that?

The Burbank City Council will submit to voluntary drug tests. This follows the conviction of former council member Stacey Murphy for drug possession. This old, dead Republican Mayor wonders if the LA City Council should enact a similar plan. Anti-MTA gadfly Jon Walsh has been attempting to collect board member's urine samples for years, so perhaps the time has come.

Mayor Villaraigosa will participate in a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the 30th annual Home Remodeling and Decorating Show at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

And finally, In The Oaks has a piece about the ghetto that exists in the frontier of the border between Bel Air and Sherman Oaks. Apparently all kinds of nefarious activities all in the shadow of multi-million dollar homes.

City of LA Meetings for Friday

8:30AM - COUNCIL: Ad Hoc Committee on Public Debt, Bonds and Financing Special Meeting
9:30AM - BPW: Board of Public Works
10:00AM - COUNCIL: Los Angeles City Council
11:30AM - CAD: CAC Meeting

Open Thread for Friday

Two views on the Bratton/Council dust-up from Daily News readers.

Bratton is right

Re "Garcetti demands Bratton apology" (July 18):

All this because Chief Bratton wants to hire men who admitted to experimenting with drugs as teens? Way to go, Chief Bratton. Experimenting with drugs as a teen should not be held against them. If they are upstanding citizens now I have no problem with them protecting and serving me.

Garcetti, Zine, and Parks want zero tolerance? We've had a president who experimented with marijuana ... although he "didn't inhale," and one who was an alcoholic. And I seem to recall a certain councilman who was caught soliciting drugs a few years ago, and who kept his position on the council for the rest of his term; thank goodness for term limits.

Lavina Suarez Sylmar

Amazing hubris
Re "Garcetti demands Bratton apology" (July 18):

Three cheers for Chief William Bratton, who decided to stand up to the meddling City Council. "Mind your own business" is exactly what Eric Garcetti, et al, need to hear. But boo-hoo - they want an apology.

Pulluhleese! And now these puffed-up politicians have the gall to ask voters to give them another term. What amazing hubris.
John Lynch Studio City

Thursday, July 20, 2006

"Affordable" Compared To What?

The next time someone bemoans the high cost of housing in L.A., ask him: "High compared to what?"

It's more expensive to live in big cities than in little ones. That is normal. That is life. Is L.A. more expensive than other comparable cities?

Survey says . . . "NO!"

In June 2006, Mercer Human Resources Consulting reported the results of its cost-of-livng survey, which "covers 144 cities across six continents and measures the comparative cost of over 200 items in each location, including housing, transport, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment."

Moscow was the most expensive big city, with a score of 123.9; New York was No. 10, with a score of 100. Where did L.A. fit in? It was behind Tokyo, London, Paris, Singapore, Hong Kong, Zurich, Milan, Rome, Beijin, Tel Aviv, Helsinki, Vienna, Sidney, Taipei -- you get the idea. Los Angeles was No. 25 on the list, with a score of 86.7.

Still want to whine about the cost of housing? Still think we have a "crisis" that justifies raising our taxes? When you compare apples to apples, you get a different picture, huh?

Schwarzenegger Shuns Bush and Funds Stem Cell Research

A day after President Bush vetoed expanded federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger authorized a $150 million loan to fund California's stem cell institute, which has been stalled by lawsuits.

Schwarzenegger, a Republican who has been trying to put distance between himself and the unpopular president as he seeks re-election this year, said the state cannot afford to wait to fund the critical science associated with stem cells.

The state's voters created the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine in 2004 when they passed a ballot measure that authorized $3 billion over 10 years for stem cell research.
Lawyers with ties to anti-abortion and anti-tax groups have sued, arguing that the institute is unconstitutional.

On April 21, a Superior Court judge ruled the institute was a legitimate state agency.

Embryonic stem cells are building blocks that turn into different types of tissue. Scientists hope to use them someday to regenerate damaged organs or other body parts and cure diseases. Some oppose such research because it entails the destruction of human embryos.

(From AP)

Now I know we aren't supposed to talk national politics, but for Bush to use his first veto ever to stop scientific research was a jackass move. Of course what should we expect from a guy who thinks the world is only a few thousand years old and the jury is still out on evolution.

Your thoughts?

"I Wouldn't Be Caught Dead In A . . . "

You probably know that Haley Joel Osment -- the "I see dead people" boy from "The Sixth Sense" -- was hospitalized early Thursday after he apparently lost control of his car while heading to his Los Angeles area home around 1:00 a.m.

Here's the really shocking part of the story: HE WAS DRIVING A 1995 SATURN!!! A 1995 SATURN!!! Oh, the Humanity!

A 1995 Saturn? What's up with that? Did his parents take all the money from the movie?

Well, at least he wasn't in a mini-van.

And now you know THE REST OF THE STORY, as Paul Harvey would say.

Mayor Sam's Hotsheet for Thursday

Chief Bratton may be refusing to apologize for remarks he made about some Los Angeles City Council members, but at least one of his targets may be letting bygones be bygones. Wednesday, during a City Council meeting in MacArthur Park, Councilman Dennis Zine embraced the police chief. "I've got to give you a hug, for all the skeptics out there.'' Zine told the Chief.

Gloria Molina takes over as the new Chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, assuming the role from Mayor Villaraigosa. Some are not looking forward to the change. "Gloria has a big mountain to climb if she is going to keep up with Antonio," said Bart Reed, executive director of the grass-roots Transit Coalition. "She has a lot of challenges and we don't know if she has the same level of vision."

The Daily News has some stern words for the Council and its proposal it will put before voters to extend their term limits. Particularly, that the measure only applies to Council Members and not the three citywide elected positions, Mayor, Controller and City Attorney. The News figures that Mayor Villaraigosa doesn't have an issue with this as he probably doesn't plan to stick around City Hall that long.

The LA Times reports on coming DWP rate hikes. The proposal calls for a rate hike averaging 2.75% overall, but most residential users would see their bills rise by 1.6% this year and by 2.2% next year. Businesses would pay more, and those that use a lot of water, such as hotels, would see their rates increase 11.5%. Jim Alger and Brady Westwater better start firing up those Neighborhood Councils.

A growing number of business, parent and community groups are lining up to oppose Mayor Villaraigosa's LAUSD takeover plan. Even though a number of high powered groups are against AB 1381, the LA Times points out that the Mayor has lined up some pretty powerful Sacramento heavyweights in favor of his plan. Thursday evening the Mayor will host another town hall meeting to discuss the plan, this time in Westwood.

City of LA Meetings for Thursday

8:00AM - CERS: Ad Hoc Office Space Planning Committee/Special Meeting Board of Administration
8:00AM - FPPEN: Joint Meeting - Ad Hoc Space Planning Committee
9:00AM - LADOT: Board of Taxicab Cancelled
9:00AM - FPPEN: Board of Fire and Police Pension Commissioners
9:30AM - EAD: Environmental Affairs Commission
10:00AM - PLN: Cultural Heritage Commission
10:00AM - CYF: Regular Commission Meeting
11:00AM - LAHD: Rent Adjustment Commission
12:00PM - LACC: Los Angeles Convention Center Dept
4:30PM - PLN: North Valley APC Meeting - Marvin Braude Constituent Service Center

Open Thread for Thursday

On July 20, 1969, at 10:56 p.m. EDT, American astronaut Neil Armstrong, 240,000 miles from Earth, speaks these words to more than a billion people listening at home: "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." Stepping off the lunar landing module Eagle, Armstrong became the first human to walk on the surface of the moon.

Closer to home, the Here In Van Nuys Blog asks why Van Nuys Blvd. "Isn't Prime Real Estate?" Blogger Andrew notes that actor Brad Pitt is in New Orleans leading efforts to revitalize that city, he wonders why Hollywood celebrities couldn't do the same close to home?

Feel free to discuss other issues as well.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Pacoima Steps Up!

Tonight, the Pacoima Neighborhood Council came out in support of Sunland-Tujunga's
battle to keep Home Depot from opening in their community.
This is the 4th NC to openly side with S-T in support of their
right to be the best judge of what serves the communitys interest.
The question now becomes whether this act of unprecedented alliance means anything to the L.A. City Council and to the L.A. City gov't at large.
Can a united position from several NC's be enough to influence the decisions made in a
seemingly far-away Downtown? Is the self-determination that neighborhoods seek attainable, or will the developers, the deep pockets of corporations and their high priced attorneys continue to rule the roost?
The No Home Depot Campaign in Sunland-Tujunga has just submitted their analysis of Home Depots latest plans (their last set plans were determined by the City to be "Vague and Incomplete"). This community is seeking a "Project" determination by L.A. City Planning.
A "Project" determination will allow the City to require full environmental scrutiny,
including traffic, air quality, and noise level studies before Home Depot can proceed.
To Sunland-Tujunga, this is not too much to ask of a company whose potential presence will affect the area for decades to come.

Molina On Wheels

If you liked her as an L.A. County Supervisor, you'll love her in her new role as head of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Gloria Molina.

As reported in the Daily News, now that Villaraigosa has milked all the photo-ops he can out of the subway and busses, he has handed the position over to Molina -- just in time for the October hearing on the consent decree in the lawsuit filed by the Bus Riders' Union. Kind of like, "the baby's stinky -- here, you take it."

Molina endeared herself to most of us by spending millions our hard-earned tax dollars on a Mexican-American cultural heritage area.

I can't wait to see what she does with the MTA's $3 billion annual budget. I'm guessing she's going to give the Bus Riders' Union whatever they want, which is more busses, more often. After all, you have a right to affordable housing, affordable transportation, and free urban farm land. Plus, thanks to San Francisco, you have a right to free medical care.

Another Reason They Need Four More Years...

"Parks was out of the city Tuesday as part of a delegation to China." So reported the Daily News on Wednesday.

Hey, Marco Polo (pictured), Nixon and even Forrest Gump had to make the trip. I can see why Parks would need to visit, too. It's not like we have a State Department or anything. He's probably got to straighten out that whole Korean missile thing. Maybe he'll even bring back a panda -- which was what Hahn was supposed to do, before he fell for the "we're-fresh-out-of-pandas-but-we-can-rent-you-some-monkeys" trick. (You DO remember the million-dollar rental monkeys and the multi-million-dollar monkey house, right?)

Zine and Garcetti, you will also recall, were in Lebanon until July 4. Bratton's been in London, strictly for business, you understand. The Mayor, of course, has needed to spend most of his time outside our city in order to serve it.

Hey, somebody out there do us all a favor: send a public records request for the travel records of the Mayor, the City Council, the Controller, the Police Chief and the City Attorney from the beginning of their terms to the present. I bet they have more frequent flyer miles -- at our expense -- than the average NFL team.

Term Limits? Two Pictures Worth 2000 Words

If ONLY our City Council Members had 12 years instead of eight, they could do so much for our city! They're far too pressed for time right now to accomplish their lofty goals.

Yet, today's print edition of the L.A. Times has a picture of Jack Weiss and Wendy Gruel in a cherry-picker with Mayor Villaraigosa changing light-bulbs in a traffic light. Zine and Garcetti apparently couldn't attend, because they just got back from their urgent mission to make Beirut a Sister City. And Hahn was apparently still working on her "pilot" for the city's cable TV channel, where she goes around to her favorite restaurants as we serfs watch at home.

Picture 2: Come to the Home Show at the Convention Center, and Antonio Villaraigosa will greet you at the door! His photo appeared in an ad to the side of the cherry-picker picture. He would have appeared at the boat show, but they already booked Suzanne Somers.

With busy schedules like these, no wonder our statesman-like leaders need 12 years in office. Sure, George Washington got by with eight, but these people face much more complex problems -- like coming up with new ways to charge us for the services our taxes already cover.

This topic is already addressed in the "Open Thread," below, so feel free to post comments there. I did, however, want you to see these pictures. They indicate to me the contempt these people have for voters' IQ.

Mayor Sam's Hotsheet for Wednesday

The powerful San Fernando Valley business lobbying group, the Valley Industry and Commerce Association voted to oppose AB 1381, state legislation sought by Mayor Villaraigosa to take over the school district.

The Orange County Board of Supervisors voted to direct election officials to investigate possible mistakes made in the failed qualification of a petition to begin a recall against seven members of the Capistrano school district. One of the sticking points is that Orange County officials allegedly allowed district officials access to recall documents that are supposed to be confidential under state law.

LA County Supervisors have approved two agreements to allow Sheriff Lee Baca to proceed with the production of two reality shows based on his department. Supervisor Gloria Molina was the lone opponent to the plan.

Mayor Villaraigosa will appear on Univision Channel 34 for his weekly "A Su Lado'' segment Wednesday evening, then host a town hall meeting to discuss his reform plan for the Los Angeles Unified School District at VictoryBaptist Church in South Central LA.

The City Council will hold Wednesday's meeting this evening in MacArthur Park.

City of Los Angeles Meetings for Wednesday

9:00AM - COUNCIL: Energy and the Environment Committee Meeting
9:30AM - BPW: Board of Public Works
2:00PM - CAO: Proposition O Citizens Oversight Committee
2:00PM - COUNCIL: Personnel Committee Meeting
2:30PM - LAPD: Police Permit Review Panel
4:30PM - PLN: West Los Angeles Area Plannning Commission Meeting
6:00PM - COUNCIL: Los Angeles City Council
6:00PM - PORTOFLA: Agenda for the July 19 Special Board Meeting

Open Thread for Wednesday

Los Angeles voters will decide in November whether term limits for City Council members should be extended, allowing them to serve four more years in office. The City Council voted today to put the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce and the League of Women Voters devised measure on the ballot.

What do you think?

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Hard to Say You're Sorry

Council President Eric Garcetti has joined with other members who are asking Police Chief Bill Bratton to apologize for remarks he made about Council Members Dennis Zine and Bernie Parks.

It seems as if the former motorcycle cop and the bitter man are upset that they no longer run the LAPD. The remarks stem from criticism of both Zine and Parks that the department intends to hire some recruits who admit to drug use as teens. Bratton's response was that the two cops turned Councilmen should mind their own business.

To be sure, Bratton probably could have taken a less strident tone, but its no different than when he told a voter if they didn't like the LAPD's policy on illegal immigration, they could leave the state.

Despite being a pompous ass at times, Bratton nonetheless has made some significant progress as Chief, far ahead of what any recent chiefs have accomplished.

Maybe Bernie and Denny should leave the state.

Mayor Sam's Hotsheet for Tuesday

The old, dead, Republican Mayor is back from his trip to beautiful Klamath in Del Norte County in Northern California. Thanks to Walter Moore for holding down the fort while I was gone.

City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo has lost another battle. The Frisky Kitty strip club in Tarzana can continue to operate, a judge ruled today. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Dzintra Janavs denied a motion by the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office to issue a preliminary injunction against the club at 18454 Oxnard St. and its owner, Jamal Haddad.

Local activist David Hernandez continues on in his efforts to get Governor Schwarzenegger to veto AB 1381, legislation that would allow Mayor Villaraigosa to take over the LA schools. His "Republicans for Rational Reform" have set up a blog, click here.

The folks at the Palms-Village Sun are all for a local condo conversion, except they're a bit miffed at the buildings switch to a gray paint scheme and that the developer is telling folks the project is in Culver City, when its actually in Palms.

Fresh off being booted from LA Cityview by Councilman Bernie Parks, the Full Disclosure cable television program has a two part interview with controversial Maricopa County (Arizona) Sheriff, Joe Arpaio.

Gary Toebben, writing in the LA Chamber of Commerce's Business Perspective, has a report that the Automobile Club is making an adjustment as to how drivers' insurance rates are set, creating a net decrease in many motorists' insurance policies.

We need to rethink our love affair with the front lawn, according to a new report by the Public Policy Institute of California. Inland area homes in particular require two to three times more water for landscaping purposes than their coastal counterparts. Why are we so obsessed with the empty front lawn with all the mowing, watering and weeding necessary for its upkeep? And, with the increased strain on water resources, what, if anything, can be done to change our mindset about lush lawns? The topic will be discussed Tuesday on Patt Morrison's radio program on KPCC, 2:00 p.m.

While we were gone, Martini Republic set up a new blog. Big Apple Martini, penned by TS, is an already a well-known NYC blogger. His blog Tristram Shandy has been recently noted by the Columbia Journalism Review and on several prominent progressive blogs around the country.

City of LA Meetings for Tuesday

8:00AM - LAFD: Fire Commission EMS Committee
8:30AM - COUNCIL: Housing, Community, and Economic Development Committee
9:30AM - LAPD: Board of Police Commissioners
9:30AM - ETH: Ethics Commission Meeting
10:00AM - ZOO: Commission Notice - Moved from July 18 to July 25
10:00AM - COUNCIL: Los Angeles City Council
1:30PM - DWP: Board of Water and Power Commissioners
2:00PM - COUNCIL: Information Technology and General Services Committee Meeting, CANCELED
2:00PM - COUNCIL: Planning & Land Use Management Committee Meeting
3:00PM - LAFD: Board of Fire Commissioners
4:30PM - PLN: Harbor Area Planning Commission Meeting - Canceled
5:30PM - PORT OF LA: Port Community Advisory Committee Meeting
6:30PM - DONE: Board of Neighborhood Commissioners Meeting Agenda
LA County Meetings for Tuesday

9:30AM - LA County Board of Supervisors