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Sunday, August 20, 2006

REQUIRED READING: "Money Flows To Council Coffers"

The other day, I asked rhetorically, "Where are the Woodwards and Bernsteins of the 21st Century?"

Today I got my answer: there's one named Kerry Cavanaugh at the L.A. Daily News.

Read Cavanaugh's article, "Money Flows To Council Coffers" to see how local career politicians take "contributions" from special interests in "officeholder accounts."

How much? "Since 2004, City Council members, the mayor, city attorney and city controller collectively have raised more than $1.6 million in the accounts . . . ."

So we're clear: these are accounts separate and apart from campaign fund contributions, and are used to accept money even when there's no election pending or even on the horizon.

Graft is graft, whether the money goes into a refrigerator freezer or an "officeholder account." Public officials have no legitimate reason to take money from special interests in the absence of an election campaign.

Here's the page: http://www.dailynews.com/ci_4209553

14 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said:

THANK THANK YOU...

THIS IS WHY EVERYONE IS BOYCOTTING THE LA "SLIMES" WHO KISS BUTT TO ANTONIO AND ALL THE CLOWNCIL MEMBERS AND ATTACK OUR COPS

I GIVE A LOT OF CREDIT TO DAILY NEWS FOR ALWAYS PRINTING GOOD STORIES LIKE THIS. THE LIST KEEPS GROWNING WHY WE NEED TO VOTE THEM OUT

August 20, 2006 9:05 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Councilman Jack Weiss recently ranked among the biggest spenders, but much of that money was raised and spent on $48,000 in legal expenses stemming from ethics violations for failing to file campaign literature during his 2001 campaign and failing to report some 2002 officeholder account expenditures to the city.

Weiss paid a $4,800 fine himself but sought contributions to a legal defense fund within his officeholder account to cover fees to the firm of Manatt, Phelps and Phillips.

August 20, 2006 9:31 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Walter,

You made the wrong call on this one, this time. Cavanaugh too.

You can't imagine what it is like to be an elected official. Everyone thinks you are very wealthy. And most often, the opposite is true.

You get hit up for donations for EVERY non-profit. The SFV MADD wants $500 for money for T-Shirts. The Hollywood YMCA wants $200 to take an ad out to offer services to runaways. The local police charitable arm wants money to pay for the funeral of a fallen officer...

If you said no to every request, you'd be a major a-hole. If you said yes, you'd be bankrupt very shortly.

There is nothing wrong with Councilmembers raising $70k or so annually (and that is all it is) to pay for these things.

After all, would we all not be giving them major grief if they used taxpayer funds to do these things???

August 20, 2006 10:01 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Daily News 7-23-06 by Beth Barrett

It could be called Los Angeles City Council members' ``$1 million term.''

That's at least how much each member would get -- in everything from escalating salaries and perks to increased funding for their districts -- under a fast-tracked proposal of ethics reforms that would tack four more years onto their eight-year tenures.

Using ethics reform to enhance their pay has worked in the past for the council. That's how the council got its pay tied to those of Superior Court judges back in the early 1990s, making them America's highest-paid municipal officials.

``One of our concerns is these political fiefdoms will become more entrenched. These are already the best-paid, best-compensated local officials in the nation,'' said Kris Vosburgh, the Los Angeles-based executive director of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.

Under the ethics reform package approved by voters in 1990, council members' salaries were tied to those of judges -- a measure that has sent their salaries soaring as judges have commanded increasingly high pay in order to retain them at a time when lawyers are earning huge incomes.

Under that law, council members are up for a 1.03 percent retroactive raise from February, and an 8.5 percent increase Jan. 1.

With the boosts, they will be paid $163,373 a year -- up 80 percent from just 13 years ago and far outpacing the region's cost of living.

And then there are the perks that include a car of choice, free gas, a free cell phone and excellent health benefits.

Beyond what they get personally, council members also have vast sums of public money to spend at their discretion -- funds that allow them to look after key constituencies and fend off re-election challenges.

Key to that is the $1 million or so that each council member has for his or her staff and office expenses. Under the fiscal 2007 city budget, the council's overall allocation rose 8.6 percent to $22.7 million -- or $1.5 million each.

And council members also have pots of money worth millions of dollars reserved for them scattered throughout the budget.

August 20, 2006 10:39 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

10:01

Only a partial...

What the "real" clowns of city politics, like Wannabee "Wacko" Walter never seem to realize is that this is just one major symptom of hard and fast term limits, like they want to keep status quo.

When you KNOW you can only last 8 years, max., in one job, and you're going to have to claw your way into another job on your own, setting up an apparatus to move along, long before anyone can contribute to that next campaign, you have no choice but to create these side funds.

Keep pushing those TERM LIMITS down throats, lying to the public that it's GOOD for them to have to change out pols every 5-6 years on average even at the hands-on, low level like City Council, and they'll ALWAYS need these officeholder accounts just to make sure they can move to the next horse on this god-awful merry-go-round.

There's no "severance" for the termed-out. They have to create their own. Any and all of you would do the same!

Terms limits: the "cure" is worse than the disease at the city level.

August 20, 2006 11:24 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

10:01am you're seeking sympathy from the wrong people. Regular people who have full times jobs donate to these and many more non profits, charities etc. but we don't have other people to GIVE US THE MONEY. This is bullshit reasoning and a clear indication that there is definitely bullshit going on with the clowncil members. Yup, the e-mails on flying on this and yesterdays. Hope someone is keeping tabs so when we go out and campaign against all their butts keeping their jobs we can tell people "look what these clowns have done for themselves and the hell with all of us. VOTE NO ON TERM LIMIT EXTENSION.

August 20, 2006 12:15 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

These clowncil members are the highest paid in the nation, yet they expect other people to give them money for what?????? SHAMELESS

August 20, 2006 12:16 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Clowncil members allocate $1.4 million even after study stated gang programs not working and city is wasting $86 million on them. This story o council coffers makes them really look bad. Then they bypass NC's to put term extensions on ballot for themselves. Then they put housing bond on ballot. Then they have behave sneaky less than 24 hour notice to people to vote on higher pay raises for city employees, then they completely ignore voice of people and vote against NC's having a say on motion because they're afraid they may just show them up and start doing their job, the list keeps growing

August 20, 2006 12:22 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

A trash recycling and transfer station in Huizar's district has accumulated $768,752 that Huizar can use -- with council approval -- for community services.

August 20, 2006 12:46 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

There are State Senators and Assembly members who rake in over $200K in donations in non-election years in to "Friends of" accounts. They use it to buy office supplies, lunches, airfare, club memberships, shopping at Ann Taylor? etc. Go check it out. The are many web sites that if you drill down enough, you'll see how much representation money can buy you.

August 20, 2006 1:26 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

SUMMARY INFORMATION - NUNEZ 2006, FRIENDS OF FABIAN (ID# 1271581)

TOTAL CONTRIBUTIONS 1/1/2006 - 06/30/2006 $464,070.55

ENDING CASH $1,104,832.07

August 20, 2006 6:37 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Why did Huizar have to move money from that recycling money to help with the Boyle Heights Tech center? I thought the center already had money allocated. He's always using that money for paybacks to organizations that helped him get elected.

August 20, 2006 7:37 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Bravo (slowly claps)!

Wacko Walter and his legion of minions have finally discovered what an Officeholder Account is. Oh, wait, they didn't discover it on their own, they had to read about it in the paper.

Give me a break Wacko. You truly are pathetic, Sir. Your political dimwitted-ness (is that even a word, you Ivy-League scum?) will get you nowhere, but the guest op-ed of the Valley's tabloid, that is.

August 22, 2006 11:08 AM  

Anonymous moore is unraveling said:

REQUIRED READING, PART 2: dis boat for sale, bitches. Slime on the boat is better than slime in teh Clowncil, beotch.

August 24, 2006 10:45 PM  

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