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Saturday, September 30, 2006

Mr. Mayor, Don't Pee On My Leg And Tell Me It's Raining

"Don't Pee On My Leg And Tell Me It's Raining" is the title of a book by Judge Judy, but it would make a fitting battle cry for L.A.'s taxpayers.

Today's case in point is reported in the L.A. Times. Mayor Villaraigosa, Councilmen Weiss Zine and Huizar, and assorted staff members are going on an all-expense paid -- by you -- 16-day tour to China, South Korea and Japan.

That's right, travelling to Asia right now is the highest and best use of their time, as opposed to doing anything here in the city whose taxpayers pay their salary. Public funds spent on this rip-off: $500,000 -- not including their salary, of course. Repeat: the trip is costing $500,000.

That's the "pee on my leg" part. Here comes the "and tell me it's raining" part, namely, the "reasons" we're supposed to believe this trip will serve the public interest:

1. Reassure Airlines.
Villaraigosa "will try to reassure Asian air carriers that Los Angeles International Airport will be ready to accommodate the A-380 super jumbo jet." Well thank God he has the good sense to do that! After all, we can't have Asian air carriers worrying about whether they can land their giant new French airplanes at LAX on time!

Plus, to reassure an Asian air carrier, you can't just pick up a phone or send pictures of your construction progress. Heck, no. Only a batallion of civil servants and elected officials can take care of a crisis like that.

Mr. Mayor, the Asian airline that placed the first order for the A-380, and that will take the first delivery, is Singapore airlines, which is scheduled to take delivery in December. But Singapore isn't even on your itinerary. (What's that I smell? Could it be urine?) China Southern airline is number 31 on the list to take delivery, around 2009, and Korean Air is number 35.

Maybe the next time you make up a story to justify an all-expense paid vacation, you could have your public relations team fabricate a better lie. I'm sure your Brain Trust can justify a trip to Paris, because Air France has also ordered the plane.

2. Chinese Tourism.
"Villaraigosa will . . . open a tourism office in Beijing." Well, that's clearly a vital use of the time of the Mayor of the second-largest city in America. After all, isn't that how all of us decide where to go on vacation? You go to the place whose mayor opens an office. You don't base your decision on, say, climate, museums, attractions, etc. Let's just be glad we have a mayor who was smart enough not to send, say, a movie star to do this. Heck, no one in China would turn out to see a movie star!

Oh, and another thing: how many people are actually allowed to leave China each year to go on vacation, and how much money do they spend on those vacations? I'm guessing the correct answers are "not many" and "not much."

But whatever the numbers, Mr. Mayor, how about you leave the tourism industry to, say, the tourism industry, and you could do something else, like, say, administer our City's many departments, and enforce a few of our laws?

3. Loans for Developers.
"Villaraigosa will . . . attempt to secure banking commitments for new real estate developments in downtown and Koreatown." Perhaps that is why he "will be accompanied by a delegation of investment bankers [e.g.,, Goldman Sachs, American Express, Bear Stearns], real estate executives . . . and attorneys from some of the city's most influential law firms [e.g., Latham & Watkins]."

Excuse me, Mr. Mayor, but since the multi-millionaires working in those industries already have an army of highly paid professionals representing them, perhaps you could spend your time more productively staying home and doing something on behalf of people less able to protect their own interests -- like the children who are routinely gunned down in our city? Maybe the rich don't need quite so much of your time as, say, the poor? Or the middle class taxpayers straining under the ever-increasing weight of taxes and bonds?

Nor should we give the Clowncilmen a pass on this boondoggle. Their claim that they need 12 years rather than 8 to accomplish anything loses all credibility when they squander our hard-earned tax dollars like this.

Pardon my French, but it's time for L.A.'s voters to stop being peed on, and start being pissed off.


Anonymous Anonymous said:

Just more of the same from this do-nothing mayor. He has accomplished nada during his tenure, will accomplish nada during his tenure, knows this and has obviously decided to substitute motion for meaningful results. And he may as well have fun on the taxpayer dime while he's at it.

September 30, 2006 9:33 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

I thought the Mayor was going to apply himself to improving our schools.

We know that the regular ol' job of overseeing city government wasn't enough to keep him busy.

Now we know that solving LAUSD's problems are a snap!

Antonio can run the city and transform the schools while he sleeps.

What a guy!

September 30, 2006 9:55 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

How were the clowncilman chosen to go?

September 30, 2006 10:01 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Maybe he'll come back with panda. BTW, the tourism office is to entice the Chinese to come to LA, not the other way around.

September 30, 2006 10:26 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

"Peter Woo, an executive of importer Megatoys, will join Villaraigosa, just as he did on similar trade missions with former Mayors James K. Hahn and Richard Riordan."

How much u wanna bet they don't tour any of the Woos' factories or suppliers. Pathetically paid Chinese kids making toys for rich American kids makes for a really bad photo op.

September 30, 2006 10:32 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Uh, did they read the news on Sept. 21? The Asian air carriers aren't worried about whether the runway will be ready, they're worried they won't have a plane to fly to the runway!

"Airbus still can't get its wires untangled. On Sept. 21, the plane maker's parent, European Aeronautic Defence & Space confirmed what had been rumored for weeks: The A380 megaplane faces yet another round of production delays. While Singapore Airlines will probably get the first of the double-decker airliners as promised by the end of this year, carriers such as Emirates and Qantas that were expecting already-postponed deliveries in 2007 and 2008 will have to wait even longer."

By the way, this is the third delay of the plane.

Boy, I sure feel good knowing we're spending $500 large on reassuring those Asian air carriers! How many books do you suppose we could buy for our school kids instead of this junket?

September 30, 2006 10:33 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Gee, do you think those bankers are possible campaign contributors for MAV's future campaigns? Nah, I'm just being too cynical. Never mind.

September 30, 2006 10:35 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

AV is keeping his promise to us all to keep money out of his politiics. No one can do business with the city or serve on a city commission if they are a contributor. Tom Jefferson said ito the effect: "In a democracy voters get exactly the quality of leadership we deserve"

September 30, 2006 6:43 PM  

Blogger Walter Moore said:

Yeah, sure he is. It's just a coincidence that all his policies favor corporations and developers that contribute to his various causes. He's pure as the driven slush.

Jefferson was right, though, and L.A.'s voters pay an increasingly high price every day for their apathy.

September 30, 2006 7:05 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Maybe, they can come back with some more Sister Cities.

Come to think of it, just exactly why do we have Sister Cities?

Can we recall the Mayor?

October 01, 2006 12:35 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Believe it or not, I don't think you'll find anyone who wants to recall the mayor. He is untouchable right now and until/unless he has a major, major fuck up, he is going to stay that way. He is loved and adored by all of the white republicans in the city. How can he be part of some plot to give the state back to Mexico when he is supported by so many white republicans?

Don't be paranoid. But do be proactive.

October 01, 2006 1:39 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

White republicans love him....you gotta be kidding!!!! Ask people in the valley what they think of our midget mayor. they hate him and can hardly wait for him to leave office. The newspapers reported that over 1/2 of the people going with Antonio were his campaign donors. Helllloooooo This mayor has no shame and has been a total embarrassement to this city. There are tons of organizations who refuse to invite him to their events even though his staffers are calling pressuring and begging.

October 01, 2006 7:50 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:


I think you're right that MAV is untouchable, but I'm not sure it's because of "white Republicans."

Aren't white Republicans the ones sending toilet brushes to MAV at the urging of Jon & Ken?

Besides, how many white Republicans are there in this city?
Believe me, the elections would be competitive if there were more of them here.

October 01, 2006 8:54 PM  

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