Whistleblower hotline: (213) 785-6098

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Hasta la vista Saddam!

Friday, December 29, 2006

A New Year's Message From Zuma Dogg

A New Year's message from Zuma Dogg brought to you by www.ganjagrocer.com for all your Prop. 215 and Senate Bill 420 needs.

(Not actually a paid sponsor, y'all...just thought I would help out with this listing of dispensaries and doctors since there are so many medical marijuana dispensaries throughout the City of Los Angeles. And, after all, Sherrif Lee Baca PUBLICLY SUPPORTS medical marijuana dispensaries and will chastize those who criticize. But this YouTube moment ain't about dispensaries, y'all...It's about much more fraudulant and shady things...Check it out.)

"NCs at a Crossroad; Neighborhood Councils are Here to Stay; Now to be Truly Empowered" by Janice Hahn

First, I witnessed Councilmember Janice Hahn pummel Sarno at a committee meeting, regarding the exention of her term as interim NC GM. And since ZD has been doing all the typing lately, it was nice to see a Councilmember not only think, but actually go public with a position in a newsletter/have a spine. This is from www.CityWatchLA.com. Janice Hahn...You Go Girl! (Pictured: Cute little baby, The Mayor of Los Angeles and Councilmember Hahn, behind left mouse ear.)

2007 - NCs at a Crossroad; Neighborhood Councils are Here to Stay; Now to be Truly Empowered
By Janice Hahn

2006 has been a trying year for those of us who support the Neighborhood Council system. It seems like every week has brought a new attack, too often coming from those who should be supporting Neighborhood Councils.

But, regardless of the recent rhetoric, I am excited about the potential that 2007 brings for real empowerment of our communities as well as our Neighborhood Councils. The 912 Commission will be center stage as they begin their draft report, to be released in late May. I urge all of our Neighborhood Councils to get involved and pay attention to the work of the Commission. They will be making big decisions that will impact the future of our entire Neighborhood Council system.

I look forward to working closely with the Commission as the new Chair of the Education and Neighborhoods Committee, which I will be in charge of until the Council District 7 race is resolved in March or May. As chair I will ensure that no major policy changes are implemented prior to 912 Commission review.

One of the issues that I plan on advancing as Chair is the “Community Initiative Statements,” which supporters are now referring to as Neighborhood Council Files, in recognition of the fact that this proposal calls for Neighborhood Councils to have the ability to generate new Council files. The last time this matter was heard by the City Council, on August 16, it became clear that there are several different perspectives about the entire Neighborhood Council system and that not all of my Council colleagues support the Neighborhood Council File idea.

I recently introduced a motion meant to address the concerns raised by several of my colleagues, including some who are generally supportive of Neighborhood Councils. Many are concerned that Neighborhood Councils do not have enough ethical checks to ensure that their recommendations are not tainted or influenced by outside factors.

While I personally believe that between state and city law there are plenty of safeguards in place, I chose to call for additional measures to allay the fears of my colleagues and help them to focus back on the issue of how we can move forward with empowering our Neighborhood Councils and allowing them to introduce council files.

Above all, I look forward to having a new General Manager in place by the beginning of February, one who will be the greatest advocate in City Hall for the Neighborhood Councils and not an obstacle to real empowerment. As always, I and my staff will remain vigilant to keep your interests in mind.

Neighborhood Councils are here to stay. My wish for 2007 is that they become truly empowered to help shape City government for the better. (Janice Hahn is Councilwoman for the 15th Council District and Chair of the Education and Neighborhoods Committee.)

[Hoooooody hooooooooooo! Janice, I would send you a free Zuma Dogg shirt, but with stricter campaign reform laws, now in effect, I can't send you gifts. Sorry. But, at least I wanted to.]

Mayor Sam's Hotsheet for Friday

David Z writing in the LA Weekly says it clearly: Mayor Villaraigosa was "bitch slapped" by our favorite "hanging judge" Dzintra Janavs who threw out his school takeover plan as unconsitutional. Judge Dzintra may get to do some more bitch slapping next month when the City Council's term limits extension scheme, Measure R, shows up in her courtroom.

Business leaders are expected Friday to file 100,000 signatures of Los Angeles registered voters to force a vote on a living wage ordinance affecting 3,500 employees at 13 airport-area hotels.

Of the 15,000 Los Angeles Department of Water and Power customers who lost power in wind-related outages, about 5,300 had their electricity restored Thursday afternoon, utility officials said. Power was restored to customers in Park La Brea, North Hollywood and Hollywood, according to the utility.

LA City Nerd has published his top ten list of significant events in 2006 over at LAist.

And finally, the WWG has re-published (in his excellent Valley history blog) an LA Times story from 1885 that hints there may be "gold in them thar hills" in Pacoima. We don't know if anyone ever mined it, but doing a little armchair research of my own, I think the location may very well be here (Be sure to click on the hybrid or satellite button to get an aerial view). Now, don't get your pick axes, shovels, pans and mules out yet - this is probably private property and it wouldn't be a good idea to jump their claim.


Top Predictions for 2007 in L.A.

1. Additional prosecutions in the "Pay to Play" cases.

2. Neighborhood Council board members to face Ethics Commission charges on conflict of interest violations.

3. Major shake up in top management at Los Angeles World Airports.

4. Linda Boyd to be drummed out as Chairperson of LA Republican Party over her $5,000 per month salary.

5. LA County Supervisor Yvonne Burke to re-consider running for one final term in 2008.

Please add your own.


Top 10 2007 New Year's Resolutions for the City of Los Angeles

1. 80 neighborhood watches for CD14.

2. 1,000 LAPD officers.

3. Dog food banned from the LAFD menu.

4. A Department of Neighborhood Empowerment (DONE) that finally knows what it's doing.

5. Measure R overturned.

6. LAX downsized. Ontario upsized. Palmdale supersized.

7. Subway to the Sea.

8. Trash dump mining and recycling.

9. Street and sidewalk repaving WITHOUT a tax increase.

10. Traffic signal synchronization.


Thursday, December 28, 2006

Mayor Sam's Hotsheet for Thursday

A man who lives in a Skid Row hotel sued the city of Los Angeles and police Chief William Bratton today, claiming he is a victim of what he says are increased police searches of residents in the area. John Quarles seeks unspecified damages and a court finding that "past, present and threatened future" actions by Los Angeles police violate Skid Row residents' rights. The suit also seeks a court order barring the city and police from interfering with constitutionally protected activities by the potential class of plaintiffs.

Andrew at Here in Van Nuys recalls a 1999 encounter with recently passed former President Gerald R. Ford. Andrew was working on a television interview program that featured Ford.

LA County officials are recommending people should stay away from the ocean through the weekend because rainfall may have increased bacteria levels in the water.

A recent UCLA graduate by the name of Gina Elise has started an interesting project to help hospitalized veterans. "Pin Ups for Vets" is a calendar featuring poses of Elise in what she calls "cheesecake" photos reminiscient of World War II era pin up queens such as Betty Grable. The funds raised by the project will benefit veteran hospital programs; as well calendars will be given to the men as gifts. For more information please click here.

The Automobile Club of Southern California will offer its free Tipsy Tow service to drivers during the New Year's weekend. Drivers can call the Auto Club for a free tow home beginning at 6 p.m. on Friday through the end of the day on Monday.

Commuters in Canoga Park can now catch the Metro Orange Line thanks to a station and parking lot unveiled Wednesday by transit officials. The Metro Orange Line Canoga station at Victory Boulevard and Canoga Avenue is part of a one-third-mile extension of the busway. The station includes 611 free parking spaces and pedestrian and bicycle paths.

This is not an event I plan to attend as an old, Republican mayor, but for the rest of you commies out there the San Fernando Valley Young Democrats are hosting their annual Robert F. Kennedy Awards program on Thursday, January 25th. Winners announced Wednesday include newly elected State Controller John Chiang, incoming State Assemblyman Mike Feuer and the daughter of failed Democratic gubenatorial candidate Phil Angelides, Megan Garcia (you might remember the Angelides campaign commercials she appeared in with her sisters that set many a young man's hear aflutter here on the Sister City.)

Resentment is rising at the replacement of longtime KTLA Rose Parade co-host Stephanie Edwards with the younger Michaela Pereira. If the sentiments of readers at Martini Republic are any indication some folks will not be tuning into the CW. Hey at least they're not sticking us with Sam Rubin and Mark Kriski! By the way if you want to boycott KTLA, you have other choices to watch the show. Also airing the parade is ABC, NBC, HGTV, Univision, Telemundo, Travel Channel, Discovery HD Theater and Sky Link TV.

And finally, we see that the Westside White Guy has set up a blog to publish reader emails. How cute. No need for the middleman here at the Sister City. You can blog away dum dums on your own.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Greetings, LA!

Holiday greetings! Holiday cheer!
(Be happy it happens but once every year!)
Your'e high on tamales, you're topped out with eggnog
And couldn't care less about stuff at our weblog.
But now that you're woozy, hey, what could be worse
than bidding year-end love to our foils in verse?

I wish I had hundreds for seats at the Lakers;
Instead, here's two cents for all of you shakers!


The best to the Mayor (who was once known as Villar)
And to all the flacks who churn out his PR,
And with New Years a-coming, prepare the confetti
For Pro Tem Greuel and Eric Garcetti
We hope that Parke Skelton takes down time at home,
(he runs everything, you know---even this poem!)
And peace to those fabled ol' gunslingers, bless 'em:
Councilman Smith & Councilman Wesson.

Good new year to Orlov and Kathleen Nye Flynn,
That ZeeGuy named David, and my very own Lynn,
And Matt Welch, who sorts out some big fishwrap messes
And hi, Tony Castro (stay clear of those dresses!)
And LA's celebs, too many to mention,
And Rich Alarcon (does he need more pension?)
Best wishes to Huizar and his cut-and-paste crew,
And the Westside White Guy and Eastside Guy too!

To Janice Hahn, and Dave Tokofsky
and Eli Broad, Zev Yaroslavsky
Jon Regardie and Richard Katz,
O'Malley Miller and Carol Schatz,
Another big year for Kirkie Kerkorian,
And lots of campaigns for Eric Hacopian
And dear Nick Pacheco, may your personal saga
stay somehow entwined with Bob Urteaga.

And blessed be our readers---they click from afar
(Skid Row, Camarillo, and Pete's Topless Bar)---
Here's wishing good '7 to reader Matt Dowd
And all of the hard working EAA crowd,
We hope that Dockweiller Mutt will thrive
As well as Soccer-ball-on-the-605
and Capn' Jack Sparrow (who's doffing his cap)
And Parque Esquelto (when he wakes from his nap).
Let's say "Hear ye, hear ye!" for the London attire
of Big Don Garza, our City's Town Crier!
(But where are those 80 FAKE NEIGHBORHOOD WATCHES?
And MEAT--is he working--or flat on his haunches?)
Hey, good luck to that woman so smart and refined:
Anonymous---more prolific than all fools combined.

Lastly and leastly, throw a log on the fire
For big MayorSam, and W. Moore, Esq.,
and Jennifer Solis, and ZumaDogg too
and a whole bunch of others (if you only knew!)
Great health in 07 to Jim Alger--the best!
and Councilman John, and all of the rest.

And from one certain scribe, a notorious meany
who's sipping his year's last perfect martini,
and who took far too much of your breaktime to say:
may '07 be joyous for all in LA!

Mayor Sam's Hotsheet for Wednesday

Chief Bratton will appear on Patt Morrison's radio program on KPCC Wednesday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. Among the topics to be discussed are the 2006 LA Police Commission evaluation, new tasers, 2006 crime statistics and LAPD recruiting efforts. Patt is encouraging you to call in with your questions.

What is up with the Orange Line's pavement? Its crumbling like the ruins of ancient Rome. MTA blames the contractor that built it; the contractor is blaming the MTA. In the meantime work continues on a section between the North Hollywood Metro Station and Valley College in Van Nuys. For the last few weeks, the express buses have had to run on city streets instead of its dedicated roadway. Coincidentally, Wednesday Mayor Villaraigosa will take part in a ceremony kicking off an extension of the busway from Warner Center to Canoga Park. In related news, LAist has the latest update to the Metro map from MTA.

For the first part of 2007, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County stays open late for its monthly First Fridays series of evening events featuring engaging original discussion, film, live performance and curator-led tours. For more information, please click here.

Don't forget to vote in our poll for the Sister City Citizen of the Year. This is our award for the person who had the most impact in Los Angeles in 2006 (regardless of whether it was positive or negative). You have until Saturday to vote.

And finally following our previous inquiry, Sherman Oaks has come to life. Unfortuanately it took a robbery at Maria's Italian Kitchen to get the quiet burb on the radar. The other big news is that a take-out version of California Pizza Kitchen is coming to the Sherman Oaks Fashion Square. Hat tip to Zach Behrens at In The Oaks for the news.

Measure R Goes to Hanging Judge

As reported by Zuma Dogg earlier, the case against the City Clowncil's term limit extension scheme - Measure R - is going to court next month before the same judge who tossed out Mayor Villaraigosa's school takeover legislation, AB 1381. Judge Dzintra Janavs, a Republican, is known as a no-nonsense law and order jurist who interprets the constitution strictly. Given how the City Attorney and other legal experts have stated that Measure R clearly violates the state constitution, viewed through the prism of Janavs' ruling on AB 1381 its easy to anticipate Janavs will likely toss out Measure R.

Here is some background on Janavs. She served nearly 25 years in the US Attorney's office and was first appointed to the bench by former Governor George Deukmejian. Interestingly enough, earlier this year when she was up for re-election after 20 years on the bench she lost to a Manhattan Beach bagel shop owner. Some view that voters may have had an issue with Janavs Latvian name. Governor Schwarzenegger later re-appointed Janavs to a vacant seat on the bench.


Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Gerald Ford, 93

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Gerald R. Ford, who picked up the pieces of Richard Nixon's scandal-shattered White House as the 38th and only unelected president in America's history, has died, his wife, Betty, said Tuesday. He was 93.

"My family joins me in sharing the difficult news that Gerald Ford, our beloved husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather has passed away at 93 years of age," Mrs. Ford said in a brief statement issued from her husband's office in Rancho Mirage. "His life was filled with love of God, his family and his country."

The statement did not say where Ford died or list a cause of death. Ford had battled pneumonia in January 2006 and underwent two heart treatments — including an angioplasty — in August at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

He was the longest living president, followed by Ronald Reagan, who also died at 93. Ford had been living at his desert home in Rancho Mirage, Calif., about 130 miles east of Los Angeles.

Home Depot and the Mayor, etc.

In a very unusual move by the City of Los Angeles, a public hearing has been scheduled for Jan 19th over the issuance of building permits to the proposed Home Depot in Sunland-Tujunga. Normally, public hearings are only held when a proposed project is technically designated a "Project". In this case, Home Depot's plans were designated mere "Tenant Improvements" by the City and were supposed to be exempt from public input.

Apparently, this controversial project has registered so high on the Richter scale at
both LA City Planning and the LA Dept of Building and Safety that the LA City Planning Director herself, Gail Goldberg, wants input from the community before making a ruling.

We applaud Ms Goldberg for this bold move! Ms Goldberg has said that neighborhoods know best what works for their communities, and she appears to be an advocate for more local control over what gets developed where.

Home Depot, on the other hand, has lobbied heavily with the Mayor's office, including
sponsoring his "Mayor's Day Of Service", and even sending two of their attorneys with him on his recent trip to Asia.
Home Depot was also a major sponsor of Prop R, the City Council term extensions measure.

Whenever our campaign has approached the Mayor asking for intervention, we have been told by his Valley rep, Norma Vega, that "We are working closely with Council District 2 on this problem".

When we contacted Dale Thrush, the Council District 2 Planning Deputy for Council member Wendy Greuel, he told us that "....he has not spoken to the Mayors office in over a year regarding Home Depot"

How comforting!

For all the latest updates:


ZD's AB 1381 Homie, Judge Janavs, To Hear Shady, Unconstitutional Prop. R on January 25th


December 26, 2006 for Immediate Release

Proposition R back to court -- hearing date set.

From: David Hernandez SFV Community Advocate--Ted Hayes City of Los Angeles Homeless Advocate.

Los Angeles,

Prop R, the controversial proposition which extended the term limits for Los Angeles City Council members, returns to court for constitutional review.

The Proposition described by some as Ethics Reform written for Lobbyists by Lobbyists will once again undergo judicial scrutiny to determine if the measure presented to the voters violated the California Constitution. The combining of two issues in one measure is prohibited by the State Constitution. Prop R combined the extension of City Council Term limits with Ethics Reform.

The January 25, 2007 hearing will be in Department 85 and will be heard by Judge Dzintra Janavs.

Judge Janavs is no stranger to high profile cases and recently ruled on the constitutionality of AB 1381, the bill which transferred power over LAUSD from the LA School Board to the Mayor of Los Angeles. Judge Janavs ruled AB 1381 did violate the California Constitution.

Judge Janavs has served on the bench for over twenty years. Further information available at www.termedout.com.


Mayor Sam's Hotsheet for Tuesday

We hope all of you had a great holiday!

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has appointed City Controller Laura Chick to the California State Bar Association’s Board of Governors. The State Bar is governed by a 23-member Board of Governors. Fifteen are lawyers elected by members of the State Bar. A 16th lawyer is elected by the California Young Lawyers Association (CYLA) Board of Directors. Since 1977, the State Bar has operated with increased involvement by the public. Beginning that year, six "public" or non-lawyer members were appointed to the Board of Governors - four by California's governor, one by the state Senate Committee on Rules and one by the Speaker of the Assembly.

Home prices are in the news. While Martini Republic picks up on the news that the median price for homes on the Westside has dropped nearly $150K in the last year, the San Fernando Valley Business Journal says on the other hand most communities in the San Fernando Valley are seeing an increase in prices in the last month alone. Finally, some people who can't afford homes on the Westside or the Valley are heading out to the Victor Valley where gleaming new homes go for at least half the price of most homes in LA. That is, much to the chagrin of the locals who've been there for a while.

Govenor Schwarzenegger broke his leg in a skiing accident in Idaho and checked into a Los Angeles hospital Monday where he will undergo surgery. Schwarzenegger broke his right femur, or thighbone and will undergo non-emergency surgery.

LA City Nerd reports that there may be buried treasure in City Hall. When the building was first constructed in 1927 a time capsule was included in the corner stone. Included in the items placed in the capsule were three nuggets of gold. However, when the building was restored in 2001, city officials say no time capsule nor any gold was found. Where could it be? Sounds like a case for Captain Jack Sparrow.

Last Friday was the final day of business for Tower Records at the Sherman Oaks Galleria. Rumor has it some type of upscale furniture store is taking the space. Click here to see the Galleria's online tribute to the legendary store.

And finally, to make the case that blogging has truly empowered the citizen-journalist to report on things the news media would never pick up - Here In Van Nuys reports on a neighborhood holiday party in the central San Fernando Valley 'burb.

Zuma Dogg for City Council... It actually could happen!

Some people love him, some people hate him. Some think he shakes up the system, others think he was shaken too much as a child. Whatever your thoughts on Dave Elliott aka Zuma Dogg, an interesting confluence of events could leave Zuma Dogg actually winning the seat for LA City Council District 7.

With 8 other candidates it would still be a tough fight but follow the bouncing ball.

CD7, AD39, and SD20 have been playing a game of musical chairs. Problem is that when the music stopped one contestant was sitting on two chairs and Cindy Montenez was left standing.

Former City Councilman and now Senator Richard Alarcon was termed out of his Senate seat, Cindy Montanez still had time on her Assembly seat but since Alarcon was going to be forced to either run for AD 39 or retire the plan was hatched for Cindy and Richard to swap Senate and Assembly seats. Someone forgot to clue in Alex Padilla who beat Cindy for the Senate seat. No problem, Cindy could now run for Alex's vacated City Council seat right? Wrong.

Formerly termed out City Councilman/State Senator and now newly elected Assemblyman Richard Alarcon was given a new higher-paying path with the passage of Proposition R. Alarcon, who demands loyalty from everyone else but doesn't seem to believe the word applies to him decided he would challenge Cindy for the City Council seat throwing Cindy under the proverbial bus. When Alarcon got in the race, all serious opposition got out leaving an interesting predicament.

What happens if David Hernandez wins his lawsuit against Prop R? You guessed it, Alarcon would be out and well... Can you say Councilman Dogg?

You have to admit, it would be hysterical to watch.


The Sister City Citizen of the Year

Like Time Magazine's Person of the Year, we here at the Sister City will be giving out a dubious honor at the end of this year. The Sister City Citizen of the Year will go to the person who has had the most impact on Los Angeles in 2006, regardless of whether its negative of positive.

This old, dead Republican mayor has taken the liberty of selecting several "nominees" based on who were some of the most discussed individuals on the blog this year. You will have the opportunity to vote for one of those named. The person with the most votes is the winner of this high honor.

Click here to cast your vote.

You have until Saturday to vote and we'll announce the winner on New Year's Eve. Vote away dum dums.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas!

From all of us to all of you,


(Thanks to our friend Jim Alger for this photo of 9 week old John Robert Alger)

Here is an open thread for today... Send Christmas wishes, ask Santa for a present... most of all, ENJOY!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

A Holiday message...

A clever jingle floating around the NC circuit...

Happy Holidays from all of us at Mayor Sam!

Friday, December 22, 2006

SARNO WARS: The NC's Strike Back -- Lame Duck Sarno grilled on racist comments

If Lame Duck Interim General Manager Lisa "if you will" Sarno thought her boldface attack on Neighborhood Councils was going to be taken lying down, boy did she discover differently last night.

In South Los Angeles NC Members packed the room of a community center to capacity not just to rail against the Sarno political hit job, but to demonstrate what good their own Neighborhood Council had accomplished.

It was at public comment when the first sign of trouble began to become apparent.

Neighborhood Council members took exception with BONC Commissioner Dianne Middleton's statement that the City "hasn't gotten much of a return on its investment in Neighborhood Councils." That sent NC Member and LANCC Senator Jim Alger off the reservation as he reminded Middleton of a litany of accomplishments from the stopped DWP increase to Sylmars highlight of Sexual Predators. His parting shot directly at Lisa Sarno proved to be an opening salvo that became almost embarrassing to watch. "Neighborhood Councils have suffered more bad press since Ms. Sarno became GM then they have since they started, I don't believe that is just a coincidence."

Sarno gave a brief presentation where she repeatedly described "fractions" on the boards. The word she was probably searching for was "factions" but she continued to repeat her word of the day no less than 6 times. This combined with her use of "if you will" provided for some humor for the evening although to her credit, she only used "if you will" 3 times in 5 minutes.

But the stunner of the evening was when BONC Commissioner Rev. Logan called Sarno to the carpet for what he described as "playing to the stereotype of race." This led to a testy exchange between Sarno, who should know better than to interrupt when she is being schooled by a Reverend, and Logan who took exception to Sarno's references to race in selected parts of her report. She never did get it and in the end looked quite pitiful attempting to defend herself. 3 other commissioners chimed in that they too shared the Reverend's concerns.

Then the fit hit the shan so to speak as NC member after NC member began to rip the report to proverbial shreds. Calling it a one sided, uninvestigated political hit piece speaker after speaker attacked the so-called report, many locating their own NC in the report.

Downtown NC Boardmember and LANCC Chair Brady Westwater let the cannons rip. "Ms. Sarno has made no attempt to determine the veracity of these charges; she instead slanders people in this official document."

Alger went a step further. "To answer your question Reverend, Sarno injected the race issues because it was incendiary and would grab headlines. Anyone who thinks this report is fair or balanced is out to lunch."

Many agreed with the HRC report which suggested that while there were problem in the NC system, the NC's and not DONE should be empowered to fix them.

There is sure to be more fallout from all of this but if last night was any indication, the NC's have no intention of taking the attacks any longer.

Arnold, abandonning reform, capitulates to states "prison industrial complex"

When Schwarzenegger ran against Davis in the recall, he talked of prison reform. He vowed to take on the prison guard union. He vowed to cut prison populations.

But this kind of headline looks just like the way Davis used to do it:

Gov. calls for prison growth

"Schwarzenegger's $10.9-billion plan would add 78,000 beds to state prisons and county jails."

Despite the fact that the prison guard union deeply distrusted Arnold, and even amassed a $10 million war chest in the last election for prospective campaign ads, there has been a lot of front-door and back-door dealing between the Governor's office and reps from the prison "business." Read this Washington Post article from last June to see where things stood then, and how they came to be where they are today: with Arnold completely capitulating to the state's prison "industrial complex."

California's prison system already costs taxpayers here $8 billion a year---as much as it spends on higher education. Our state also has one of the most powerful prison guard unions anywhere, and one of the best-organized prison lobbies.

The voters expect the talk of population cuts, correction, and real reform fulfilled. They do not expect more debt, more costly stimulus projects that line the pockets of the few.

California already has the largest penal colony in the world commensurate to population. Do we really have the most criminal population on the planet? Or do we simply have the most buyable politicians?

Thursday, December 21, 2006

LAUSD Wins First Legal Round Against Mayor

By Jennifer Solis

“It is hereby ordered, adjudged and decreed that … a peremptory writ of mandate shall issue under the seal of this court compelling respondents/defendants, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, State Board of Education, State Controller Steve Westly, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Los Angeles County School Superintendent Darline Robles, and those public officers and employees acting by and through their authority to refrain from enforcing or implementing AB 1381 in the execution of the course and scope of their official duties.”

Such was the order of Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Dzintra I. Janava this afternoon as she blocked the entire menu of mayoral takeover plans for the LAUSD. Villaraigosa immediately called a press conference to announce that L.A. taxpayers will foot the bill for an appeal, directly to the state supreme court.

At issue is whether the legislation violates the state constitution by taking away the authority of the elected school board and giving unprecedented powers to the city’s mayor. AB 1381 was steamrollered through the legislature late this past summer, without benefit of hearings by either education committee. It is expected to be fast tracked as well before the state’s highest court.

Known as the “Romero Educational Reform Act of 2006,” the legislation was challenged on the basis of “total and fatal conflict” with the California Constitution. The judge referred to three precedent cases, Pacific Legal Foundation vs. Brown (1981), California Teachers Assn vs. Hayes (1992) and Wilson vs. State Board of Education (1999).

The ruling declared that AB 1381 violates Article 9, sections 5, 6 and 8. Section 5 states that the Legislature shall provide for a system of common schools by which free schools shall be kept up and supported in each district at least six months in every year, under the supervision of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction (currently an elected office), and administered locally by an elected or appointed governing board.

Judge Dzintra’s order states that a mayor, or a council of mayors, do not qualify as “authorities” under this definition. “The 1946 amendment [to the state constitution] specifically removed municipal authority over school districts and appears to reflect the people’s determination to separate municipal functions from school functions due to the variety of conflicts that arise between their respective interests.”

Section 6 states, in part, that “No school or college or any other part of the Public School System shall be, directly or indirectly, transferred from the Public School System or placed under the jurisdiction of any authority other than one included within the Public School System.”

Section 8 of Article 9 states “No public money shall ever be appropriated for the support of … any school not under the exclusive control of the officers of the public schools …” The court rejected the mayor’s argument that these constitutional provisions only prohibit a school district from transferring management and control to persons outside the school system, and do not constitute a restriction on the Legislature itself.

The court also found AB 1381 in violation of section 14 of Article 9 by creating “a special law that addresses solely the organization of the LAUSD … and singles out the LAUSD for separate and different organizational treatment without articulating any rational classification scheme.”

The judge’s order today also “concludes that there is a genuine conflict between AB 1381 and the Los Angeles City Charter. Section 230 of the city charter requires the Mayor of Los Angeles to ‘devote his or her entire time to the duties’ as the Chief Executive Officer of the City of Los Angeles. AB 1381, by contrast, requires the Mayor to spend a substantial portion of his time directing the Mayor’s [educational] partnership and controlling the Council of Mayors.

The proposed takeover by the Mayor of three local school clusters from the LAUSD was ruled a violation of Article 2, section 2, and Article 1, section 7 because the Mayor’s Partnership would be appointed/chosen in some currently undefined manner. As a result, “the residents within the demonstration project[s] have been deprived of a meaningful right to vote for their school board representative … who is statutorily disabled from exercising any authority over [these] schools …”

The final paragraph of Judge Janavs’ order directs the respondents (the Mayor and state) to pay all the legal costs to the petitioners (the LAUSD and parent groups). I wonder if this will end up going to a collection agency?


Judge strikes down LAUSD takeover plan
Article Last Updated:12/21/2006 04:09:38 PM PST

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's bill allowing him to take partial control of the city's public schools in unconstitutional, a judge ruled today, dealing a blow to the mayor's education-reform effort.

Assembly Bill 1381 would have taken effect on Jan. 1, giving the mayor direct control over three clusters of the district's lowest-performing schools and shifting significant power from the elected school board to the superintendent.

Both Villaraigosa and the district have scheduled news conferences for this afternoon to discuss the ruling, which is likely to be appealed.

NC'S under fire: Sarno leads the charge

If you happen to be in the vicinity of 8101 S Vermont around 6pm, and you are a Neighborhood Council member, better be wearing Kevlar. Insiders tell the Sister City that Lisa "if you will" Sarno plans to "vigorously defend" her attack against Neighborhood Councils and possibly even launch a second volley.

For those who don't remember, the Sister City reported last month that Sarno was preparing a list of "egregious behavior" and "enemies of DONE" on the part of Neighborhood Councils at the behest of City Councilman and our favorite Ass-Clown Jack Weiss. 4 days later she released the report and we promptly called for her to be fired. Not only should she be fired, but she should be barred from even remotely being involved with Neighborhood Councils after the attack she has launched against these civilian volunteers.

Tonight will be the first time the Board of Neighborhood Commissioners will be viewing this so-called report and Sarno is expected to continue her rant against the entire system. Many have noted that Sarno has not once, ever, said anything good about the Neighborhood Councils since taking over as Interim General Manager earlier in the year. The Commissioners may have some difficulty however, as the report is littered withgrammaticall errors, misspellings and in some cases incoherent statements.

"The City Charter, thePlan for a system of Neighborhood Councils and their very own Bylaws and at times crossing into non-compliance, conflict of interest, discord, disruptions and even violence." That is not even a friggen sentence!!!

The grammatical destruction of the English language aside, Lisa "if you will" Sarno has been the poster-child of what a general Manager should NOT be. She has created more negative headlines for the NC System in 6 months than existed since the NC's inception. These negative headlines do nothing more than push people away from participating. Of course, then she can say there has been no outreach.

On a personal note, Lisa... if you're reading this...First, hire a proof-reader. It is embarrassing. And knock off the "if you will" crap! It is annoying, and you insert the phrase so often it makes me wonder if you have Tourettes. I get it, you're trying to sound more intelligent...Well you don't.

If you had even a morsel of intelligence, you would know that a good General Manager doesn't set the building on fire and then wonder why people are screaming.

Mayor Sam's Hotsheet for Thursday

Its getting closer to Christmas and not a whole lot going on. Martini Republic notes the general boredom pervading local blogs.

Over at the LA Times they take a look at the differences on each side of the 405 in the San Fernando Valley. Bottom line? The east is more liberal, the west more conservative, the south is more in favor of LA and most of the north isn't. We also learn that Tom LeBong met his wife at the legendary Palomino Club and that the Westside White Guy thinks that the East Valley is "filling in," though it developed first and has also had a larger population than the West Valley.

In the meantime the front page news at the Daily News is a round-up of donut shops in the Valley. That was one topic the LA Times forgot to cover in their report.

Oh and in real news the Engineers and Architects Association seems to be closer to a contract agreement with the city.

Anything else going on?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Open Thread for Wednesday

The city is eliminating palm trees in Los Angeles. What other items would you like to eliminate from LA?

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Mayor Sam's Hotsheet for Tuesday

In an effort to reduce holiday gridlock, traffic officers will direct motorists at 55 intersections surrounding some of the busiest shopping centers in Los Angeles beginning today, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced. Traffic officers will be deployed from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily up to Christmas Eve in an effort to reduce street congestion at malls anticipating high numbers of last-minute shoppers. Most of the time I've seen several of these officers at an intersection where one is working and the others are eating or talking on cell phones. Its mostly a show that was invented by James Hahn.

After previously being dropped, the Pacoima enterprise zone has been revived following action by Governor Schwarzenegger. The enterprise zone opens up tax breaks and other goodies for businesses located within its boundaries.

Zuma Dogg's run for City Council is getting noticed by some bloggers. Martini Republic has endorsed the D-O to the double G man; LA Voice calls it a longshot but recognizes anything could happen.

Mack Reed at LA Voice takes a ride-along with a senior lead LAPD officer in Skid Row who is determined to clean up his territory. Following the broken window theory Officer Deon Joseph starts off with busting pot smokers and re-claiming a park for the neighborhood. Eliminating the small crime brings the community back and eliminates the gateways to major crime is the theory - its one this old, dead Republican mayor agrees with.

Here at The Sister City we often get the latest copy of Councilman Bernard Parks' eblast. If it were prepared in an easier to read format, we'd present the information more often. However the most recent edition - sent out under the name of Parks' son and Chief of Staff Bernard Jr - had what we thought was a very odd opening paragraph (by the way the all capital letters is their doing not ours):

For those of you policy and ethics rules wonks who read this blog, is the Bitter man's namesake correct? Does Bernie have to take a vow of silence during the campaign? Can he not send out emails to his district during the campaign? Inquiring minds wants to know.

Exporting Event Waivers?

A reader brought this to our attention and it caught our interest.

Is the City Council providing a $34K event waiver for an event outside of the city limits?

In certain parts of the city, boundaries are a bit crazy and sometimes there's overlap. But as far as we can tell the Culver City Farmers' Market is located in Culver City and not the City of Los Angeles.

The following item is on Wednesday's Council Agenda:
CD 10 f. MOTION (ZINE for WESSON - ROSENDAHL) relative to declaring the Culver City Farmers’ Market on Tuesdays from January 1, 2007 to December 31, 2007 a Special Event (fees and costs absorbed by the City = $34,320).
If you know more, please enlighten us.

Trader Joe's Part Deux

Yesterday we mused on about Trader Joe's, the place to go for cut rate brie and chablis sold to you by friendly folks in Hawaiian shirts. I didn't know that the blog Recentering El Pueblo had published their take on the topic a week or two back. The blog notes that the 300 store chain which operates in 18 states has two stores in West Hollywood and three in Pasadena. However there is not one Trader Joe's anywhere in CDs 8, 9 or 10 - an area with a population larger than many major cities in the US and much larger than most Southern California cities with branches of the stores.

Adam writing for the blog says that he prefers Mercado Numero Uno on Jefferson not too far from USC. He enjoys the traditional Mexican dishes prepared at the in-store branch of Gallo Giro, a panaderia and the aguas fresca bar. Sounds delicious! Can we trade one Trader Joe's from the Valley for a Mercado Numero Uno?

Monday, December 18, 2006

Danny Bonaduce is a Republican!

Mayor Sam's Hotsheet for Monday

The Los Angeles Times reports that veteran teacher Bennett Kayser was the only candidate to submit the needed voter signatures in time to run for the school board seat being vacated by David Tokofsky. Kayser who helped rewrite the Los Angeles City Charter will go up against face Yolie Flores Aguilar, chief executive of the Los Angeles County Children's Planning Council, in the March primary. Kayser has been endorsed by the retiring Tokofsky.

The LA City Council - especially our favorite ex-motorcycle cop - endorsed the ridiculous Declaration of Los Angeles which sets old white people who rail on about illegal immigration as being far more dangerous and subversive than criminal alien gangs who prey on mostly poor immigrant peoples. With turnabout being fair play, KABC Radio has developed The Declaration of Concerned American Citizens which reiterates that its okay to hold our government accountable for enforcing it's immigration laws.

Local Democratic activists are wagging their tongues about possible candidates to replace newly elected Assemblyman Richard Alarcon should he be elected to his former Los Angeles City Council seat thanks to Proposition R. Among those who could be eyeing the 39th Assembly seat are fomer council staffer Felipe Fuentes, former Assemblywoman Cindy Montanez and current President of the Northridge West Neighborhood Council Jim Alger.

LA City Nerd has an interesting story about regional City Halls in Los Angeles. The next phase of looniness is that the City wants to establish a 10th branch city hall only two miles from the current City Hall. Please explain why we need to spend millions of dollars to do this?

Clark Baker has street cred when it comes to finding the causes and potential solutions for crime in our city. Not only did the former marine serve as an LAPD officer for years in the inner city, he grew up in the hood himself as the child of an undocumented alien in Pacoima. As politically incorrect as it sounds, Baker says that its not racism or injustice but liberal social engineering policies - going back to the days of Mayor Tom Bradley - that have made it difficult for police officers to protect mostly poor and minortiy populations from the thugs that prey upon them.

Anyone who has seen the film Working Girl knows about the boatloads of secretaries and other workers who have no choice but to take ferries to get from their homes in the New York City borough of Staten Island to their jobs in Manhattan. MetroRider LA is proposing a similar mode of transportation from Long Beach to Santa Monica. Local government apparently isn't interested it - and as one reader points out you've got a bit of trek around Palos Verdes Pennisula - but it is an interesting idea. If you could get the right type of boat, enough of them, and solid transporation connections at each terminal it could be an interesting commuting alternative.

I know I don't live there anymore but I didn't think my departure would that much of an impact. Apparently nothing is going on in Sherman Oaks these days. Both of the two excellent blogs that cover news in the former hometown of Liberace have not had anything to say since November 11th and November 24th respectively. Come on guys something must be going on out there.

Looks like the future of Starbucks is secure. Franklin Avenue reports on a whole spat of recent yuppie baby births. Get those play dates booked now!

And finally this old, dead Republican mayor has come to know that his father has entered the digital world and is now a daily reader of this blog. Welcome to the Sister City Dad - see you on Christmas!


Ever Shop At Trader Joe's?

No this is not a blogomercial but the old dead Republican mayor sharing some personal experience.

I enjoy shopping at Trader Joe's for a lot of reasons. They have a great selection of products at prices that beat your local mega-lo-mart supermarkets. The stores are clean & bright and the customer service is excellent.

There is just one thing I hate about Trader Joe's. Their customers.

All the Trader Joe's I shop at are in well to do tonier sections of town such as Sherman Oaks, Toluca Lake, Studio City, etc. The clientele is almost all upper class limousine liberal hoity toity uptight white people (I only point out their race to demonstrate the lack of diversity at these stores).

These people are rude and annoying. Try to review a shelf of items for more than two seconds and invariably some Viagra chewing soon to be booted out past his prime movie executive is climbing all over you. Scan the produce section for your favorite vegetable and some old million dollar biddy is yapping away on her cell phone about how awful George Bush is and is just standing there in your way. It doesn't seem to matter what time you visit, the place is always packed.

Most of the Trader Joe's stores are far smaller than most grocery stores and aren't a whole lot bigger than a 7-11. So that may be part of the problem. But the other part is the snooty rich people who shop there.

But it may be a small price to pay to get great wine for $2 or those awesome wasabi covered soybeans.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

As The Woodshed Turns

We've reported here and here on the situation with Kulak's Woodshed a "performance venue" in North Hollywood that has allegedly run into zoning and other violations with the city and with their very prominent neighbor, former porn star Jeff Stryker AKA Charles Peyton.

The owner of the venue, Paul Kulak, has engaged the support of Councilwoman Wendy Greuel and has appealed to the artists and audiences who frequent the place to give him financial, moral and political support.

However one artist is speaking up and telling Kulak that his problems are of his own making and that he is attempting to use his supporters to bail him out of his current situation.

The Sister City has obtained that email to Kulak by musician Heather Waters. Waters' comments are insightful and give yet another perspective on the Woodshed issue.
From: Heather Waters
Subject: Re: New Woodshed Information
To: Paul Kulak

Hi Paul -

I've read your letters over the years and have been keeping up with the current state of things. I've also been chatting with Charles Peyton as well. I know the two of you have a very contemptuous relationship, but I've found him to be very articulate and polite. It's a shame that this whole situation couldn't have been worked out to everyone's benefit.

After considering both sides of the issue, I think there are too many unanswered questions regarding building repairs, soundproofing, how money is spent (as a member, I should know where MY money is going), why a 501 c 3 application was never filed, etc. Long before I ever knew about Charles, I wondered how a business could continue to pay rent, make necessary repairs, and pay musicians without a viable revenue stream. I'm still wondering.

Years ago when I first learned about your situation and the calls for donations went out... I have to admit, I was turned off. It is YOUR business after all. As such, it behooves you to have a viable business plan and be on top of these sorts of things. It shouldn't be up to the community, especially one made up of musicians who struggle as it is, to bail you out. If you were a nonprofit I would have an entirely different opinion, but that's not the case.

I have two very dear friends who have been operating a successfully listening room/music store outside of Chicago for over a decade. There were some very, very lean years, but they made it work and they never once asked the community for help. They adhered to building and safety codes. They even managed to compromise and come to a meeting of the minds with their grumpy neighbor who called the police regularly to complain about noise levels. In addition to manging this business, they're also raising 5 children. They are not wealthy people; in fact, quite the contrary. They are, however, resourceful, proactive and prepared. I bring this up, because like Kulak's they are an income generating business. They have employees, a handful of volunteers and they pay EVERY musician who plays there. They get a cut of ticket sales, but the artists still get paid. EVERY artist. I'm not talking about $50 throw-away gigs either.

To me, there is a huge disparity between what I've seen at Front Porch and what I'm seeing with The Woodshed. I don't see the dots connecting. I love music. I love that other people love it enough to want to open places like Kulak's and Front Porch and similar listening rooms. I don't think, however, that a love of music supersedes the law, respect for your neighbors, or having your shit together.
Forgive my bluntness, but if I'm going to help out, whether its with money or time spent writing letters, I want all the cards on the table. I have the distinct impression that the wool is being pulled over my eyes AND I don't like it.

I have nothing to gain by not lending my support. As a musician, I want as many places to play as possible. But I don't see how sticking by you when you continue to fail to hold up YOUR end of the bargain makes any sense.


Heather Waters

Friday, December 15, 2006

Same Old Clowncil To Come Back

The filings for City Council are complete this afternoon. All but two of the incumbents are running unopposed.

Four more years of Tom LeBong, Bitter Bernie, Sleeping Greig Smith and the rest here on Villaraigosa's Island. Lots more lame ass declarations and multi-million dollar court settlements.

The two candidates who are opposed are Tony Cardenas in the 6th and Jose Huizar in the 14th.

Cardenas will be opposed by Lisa Matrtellaro-Palmer, Eric Rothenay, longtime activist and Zuma Dogg hero Candido Marez and the candidate who threw Cardenas into a run-off with Wendy Greuel four years ago, businessman and neighborhood council president Jamie Cordaro. Cordaro's support surely helped Greuel best Cardenas in a run-off to succeed Joel Wachs who resigned to take a job in New York. Later, Ruth Galanter's sixth district was packed up in a U-Haul and moved to the central San Fernando Valley to be handed over to the well coiffed Cardenas once the Ruthster termed out a few months later.

This old, dead Republican Mayor is endorsing Jamie Cordaro, but more on that later.

Down in our favorite part of the Sister City, CD Catorce (thanks Mailader) yet another battle royale this time between freshman Councilman Jose Huizar and long time eastside operative Alvin Parra. Man get ready for the cutting and pasting! We just might start selling CD14 "80 Fake Neighborhood" Watches.

There are some contested races for the school board and the college board, but ho hum. Who cares. Filing for David Tokofsky's school board seat is still open due to his late withdrawl from the race as well as for that of Alex Padilla's former council seat in the north Valley.

There's still time for you Zuma Dogg.

California's Lethal Injection Declared Unconstitutional

But of course! Why not? Makes perfect sense, doesn't it?
Clearly the Founding Fathers, who used the rope method, would consider it cruel and unusual to put murderers to sleep with a shot.
The only method left is to subject them to "easy listening" music until they envy the dead.

Read the latest sign of the collapse of Western Civilization here: http://www.nbc4.tv/news/10548112/detail.html?treets=la&tml=la_break&ts=T&tmi=la_break_1_04140112152006

Mayor Sam's Hotsheet for Friday

Alex Padilla has recovered from brain surgery and has returned home. The former Councilman turned State Senator underwent a procedure to remove a malformation of the brain on Saturday at a hospital in Anaheim. Padilla is expected to have a full recovery and return to the Senate in January. We here at the Sister City wish him the very best.

United Teachers Los Angeles has backed incumbent school board member John Laurtizen for re-election to his San Fernando Valley district. Lauritzen will most likely go against an Antonio Villaraigosa sponsored challenger in the upcoming elections.

In other school board race news, LA Voice reports that outgoing member David Tokofsky is backing longtime activist Bennet Kayser. We reported previously that Kayser would be getting into the race.

A lawsuit filed by opponents of Mayor Villaraigosa's school takeover plan goes to trial Friday morning. A coalition of district parents, students, administrators and the League of Women Voters -- maintains the legislation is unconstitutional and infringes on the rights of voters. The plaintiffs want a judge to overturn Assembly Bill 1381, which was signed into law by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in September and gave the mayor the authority he wanted over the district.

Martini Republic points to an excellent David Zahnhiser piece in the current LA Weekly and finds that newly minted Councilman Jose Huizar "is scooping up cash from all the usual suspects." MR takes the view that Huizar has accomplished little for his district though the Councilman takes credit for establishing a bulky item pickup program in Eagle Rock.

McIntyre Rips Dennis Zine

Some time back, a motorcycle cop turned union leader spoke before a community group expressing deep concern about the role of illegal aliens who become gang criminals. He even spoke to his opposition to Special Order 40, a police policy which forbids the questioning of immigration status in criminal investigations.

Later on, that motorcycle cop became a City Councilman and all of a sudden was in favor of Special Order 40, he even went to Washington D.C. to speak in favor of it to the Congress. That is when he wasn't packing heat in the Council chambers or scaring the crap out of farmers late at night.

The former motorcycle cop then gained the respect of talkradio hosts and other critics of the usual foolishness that comes out of the City Clowncil when he was the only Council member to oppose a ridiculous $2.7 million settlement to a fire fighter who says his co-workers put dog food in his spaghetti. Eventually, the Mayor vetoed the settlement and enough Clowncil members changed their vote to side with the motorcycle cop and overturn the settlement (at least for now).

But the cycle cop is right back to his usual foolishness and is supporting some ridiculous document entitled "The Declaration of Los Angeles." This is a pro-illegal alien stateament - that does not have the force of law - hobbled together by the usual left wing suspects and "blessed" by the Los Angeles City Council. The purpose of this document is to "condemn" elderly white people in lawn chairs (as so eloquently put by Doug McIntyre) who exercise their first amendment rights begging their government to enforce its own immigration laws.

The motorcycle cop appeared on McIntyre's KABC morning radio program Thursday and had the host's blood boiling. At a time when criminals (many of whom are illegal aliens) are terrorizing people of all colors in the cop's own Clowncil district, he feels that the old people in lawn chairs are the greatest threat.


Another View on the Woodshed

We reported back a while ago on the battle that former porn star Jeff Stryker (whose real name is Charles Peyton) was having with the owner of a boho NoHo performance space.

The battle has been framed as the bohemian artists against the gay porn star (actually Peyton was known for doing straight as well as gay porn). However another local business owner who neighbors the performance venue has spoken up and though he's not a huge fan of Peyton's tactics his view of the venue (which has allegedely been in violation of city codes for some time) are fairly close.

Here is what the business owner submitted to us:

Re: Kulaks Woodshed

Just to give you another perspective on this controversy. This battle has been going on for over 3 years and Paul has constantly made this out to be a battle between himself and his neighbor to the south of him because he can portray it as a battle of Porn vs. Music which generates good press and sympathy from his fan club. Mr. Peyton also makes himself an easy target because he is quite outspoken, doesn't mince words, and has a short fuse. Paul also has attacked him with lies and false charges which I know on 2 accounts to be completely false because I was with Mr. Peyton at the time 2 of these incidents supposedly occurred and one of his patrons came forward and testified that he had asked her to falsely lie that she witnessed an attack. You should also realize his work has been disrupted the most due to the fact that he routinely works 7 nights a week at his place of business and his work requires a certain amount of solitude. He has been a neighbor for ten years and his nightly presence and his surveillance cameras have curtailed a lot of the graffiti and trash dumping in the alley that went on before he arrived. But enough defending him.

I am the neighbor on the north side and I have spent a considerable amount of time fighting this operation over the last 3 years. I, and others in the neighborhood, have testified at Neighborhood Council meetings (who voted against the variance), sub-committee meetings, variance hearings, appeal hearings, and City Council as to the detrimental effect it has on my business. The Woodshed started out as a small place (1/2 the space it is now) where after hours a few musician friends would stop by a couple of nights a week with their guitars and sing. Nice quiet music. Paul's own e-mail states "that he went to the city for permits to open the Woodshed but they told him that the area was not zoned for this type of operation but he decided to do it anyway, opening only nights and weekends in order to stay under the city radar". In a short time realizing the money making possibilities of having musicians playing for free he expanded it into the adjoining space, illegally knocking down walls and remodeling without the necessary permits. The Woodshed became an overnight success, suddenly operating seven nights a week and daytime Saturday's and Sunday's. And instead of just acoustical guitars it suddenly had amplifiers, sound boards, drums, pianos, bongos, electrical instruments, tubas, etc. It used every opportunity to hold fund raising events and attract bigger crowds. Patrons and musicians who take up all the parking on both sides of the street and into the adjoining neighborhood. I cringe when a patron states that "parking is never a problem" of course not, they come gradually until every spot is taken and stay for hours while my customer who arrives after has no place to park.

I often make evening appointments for my customers who work during the day and want to shop after regular hours. In addition I often come back to the office to work on blueprints and bids that I haven't finished during the day and if you look in my window you will see the work table I use three feet away from our common wall and maybe realize how hard it is to concentrate with all that thumping going on. In addition, my son, who was working part time while finishing college finally graduated and became full time. Our plans were that we would begin staying open evenings a few nights a week, as my competitors do, which we did during July and August 2006. It was a failure due to no parking and we have currently put our plans on the back burner.

In the meantime, a couple of years ago, the city found out about the Woodshed and has cited him numerous times for building, safety and fire violations. He has ignored them and twice been found guilty in court, ordered by the Judge to not operate, and put on probation. In spite of this he continues. Due to the support of Councilwoman Wendy Greuel the variance was granted over a year ago even though it was full of lies and deceit and went against the written Variance Law. Thanks to the Neighborhood Council and other testimony there were several conditions placed on the variance. Every single condition of the variance has been violated by Kulak and it has now been voided. I think it's ridiculous that Kulak has convinced some that the porn guy is responsible and all the city personnel involved are doing his bidding.

Although it's a lot of tedious reading and not all of it in the best of taste I suggest if your searching for the truth look at the 3 years of documentation at http://www.charlespeyton.com .

I think there are many fine musicians and patrons of the Woodshed but I also think that they have had the wool pulled over their eyes so that their donations keep on coming. The Woodshed never should have been here in the first place and it has long since outgrown it. Instead of donating to "SAVE THE WOODSHED VARIANCE" how about a "MOVE THE WOODSHED (to a legal location) " fundraiser. There are sure a lot of other venues in this city that seem to have done it. As one Neighborhood Council Member said " It’s not the building that makes Kulaks Woodshed but the musicians and the patrons".


Jim Britten

Thursday, December 14, 2006

City Council's Latest Lawsuit Settlement: $92.7 Million

It's a dispute over property in the port of Los Angeles.

The City is:
1. Giving up the City's claim for $46 million in unpaid rent.
2. Giving up its stake in the operation, for which it paid $19 million.
3. Paying $27.7 million of your money to the plaintiff.

Total: $46 million + $19 million + $27.7 million = $92.7 million.

Can you say "signs of massive mismanagement?"

Maybe the Clowncil Diplomats should focus on avoiding fiascos like this instead of passing U.N. resolutions like the "Declaration of Los Angeles." Just a thought.

P.S. "The claims filed against the city alleged that [Councilwoman Janice] Hahn led efforts to close the terminal and block alternative proposals while receiving $8,000 in political contributions from executives and advisors of a firm that operated a competing terminal."

Lawsuit: http://www.dailybreeze.com/news/articles/4913581.html?showAll=y&c=y
and http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-settle14dec14,0,973784.story?coll=la-home-headlines

Declaration of L.A.: http://clkrep.lacity.org/councilfiles/06-0002-s82_reso.pdf

Email From A Friend: Democratic and Republican Holiday Greetings

For My Democratic Friends:

"Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, our best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all.

We also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the of the generally accepted calendar year 2007, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great.

Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in theWestern Hemisphere. And without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishes.

By accepting these greetings you are accepting these terms. This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for herself or himself or others, and is void where prohibited by law and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher."

For My Republican Friends:

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Mayor Sam's Hotsheet for Wednesday

Assemblyman Lloyd "The Bachelor" Levine will conduct a town hall meeting Wednesday on keeping elephants in captivity. Soon to retire "The Price is Right'' host Bob Barker is expected to announce a $300,000 pledge to help move the Los Angeles Zoo's African elephant to a sanctuary. This is an issue that the Sister City agrees with the Bachelor on for a change. We've stated before that elephants need acres and acres to roam and no matter how much Tom LeBong wants it, its just not a good idea to have elephants at the zoo. With today's technology a virtual elephant exhibit could be developed that could just as easily educate as the real thing.

Wednesday afternoon Councilwoman Jan Perry will hold a news conference to announce the reopening of the Triforium at Fletcher Bowron Square. This is the disco era moog playing light show sculpture that cost over a million dollars some thirty years ago and has been shuttered most of the time since. The late great LA Times writer Jack Smith once referred to the artwork as "three wishbones in search of a turkey."

Patt Morrison's radio show on Wednesday will cover the Mayor's LAUSD takeover and some of the political fallout since. Yet to be named pro and con speakers will debate followed by an interview by collateral damage school board member, David Tokofsky. 2:00 p.m. on KPCC 89.3 FM.

Green Dot Public Schools, a private operator of public schools in Los Angeles announced today that Marco Petruzzi will join their senior executive staff as President and COO. Petruzzi will be succeeding current President and COO Marshall Tuck who is joining Mayor Villaraigosa’s new education leadership team. With all the money flowing into these efforts and the Mayor's takeover of the LAUSD I believe Congressional hearings should investigate all this activity just to make sure its all kosher. Nancy Pelosi are you listening?

Endless Loop Department: We're passing kudos to Martini Republic for covering a piece by their own Joe Mailander here on Mayor Sam. All about the District 14 cut and paste crew. It might just be me, but I found it quite amusing.

Los Angeles City Nerd covers the obscure topic of crosswalk push buttons here in Los Angeles. Just like an elevator, you only have to push the button once to get the desired result. Pushing it over and over again - even though it makes us feel like we're doing something - is a complete exercise in futility.

This morning as I drove to the office I noticed one of those articulated gray Metro Line Orange Line buses heading west on Chandler and not in its special former railway right of way track. Turns out a one-mile stretch of the busway between Valley College and North Hollywood is being repaved. Construction is expected to take two weeks.

And finally the Westside White Guy is going gaga over Mayor Villaraigosa, in the meantime his Eastside counterpart is ecstatic he shook hands with the worst president in US history - James Earl "Jimmah" Carter at a recent book signing. The EWG was kind enough too extend his blessings to the 39th President. How sweet.

Panning the Empty Chamber

Some time ago the City set up a video-link for public commenters to speak to the City Council from Van Nuys so citizens did not have to travel all the way downtown to make their views heard.

At first the video link was done from a room where the speakers stood in front of a backdrop featuring an aerial view of the Van Nuys Civic Center. This can be seen in this now classic video of Zuma Dogg appearing as Gene Simmmons via the Van Nuys video link.

At some point, the City Council or whoever is in charge decided that this close up image of the speaker with the pretty backdrop may have created too authoritative an image of the speakers. Therefore speakers on the video link now appear in the Council Chambers at Van Nuys City Hall before hundreds of empty chairs in a cavernous room and with an extreme long shot of the speaker. This seeks to diminish the speaker visually and is reminscient of when legendary Democratic Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill would order C-SPAN cameras to pan an empty chamber when Republican members of the House were speaking (though it was common practice for legislators of both parties to speak when most members were engaged in activities in other parts of Capitol Hill).

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

I Hope LAUSD Brewer Didn't Get Suckered by LAUSD

Imagine being hired as a new head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers! Then being told, "Oh, by the way we already have all the team players signed up to lucrative two year contracts, so you are stuck with this team, and can't make any changes/hiring of your own staff.

Well that's what ZD has discovered happened to new LAUSD School Superintendant, David Brewer. I wonder if he knew that LAUSD (quietly, if not secretly) locked down the new school super's entire staff to two year contracts, this past July, and now the LAUSD assembled team, is now Brewer's staff, that he had zero say so in hiring. Suppose he wanted to hire someone he actually knows to work with him at his new job at LAUSD. Sorry, here's the starting line-up...YOUR LAUSD staff, David Brewer.

I wonder why no other media outlet in the City of Los Angeles worked so hard, day and night, to compile this list? So when you see it everywhere else now, remeber, they stole it from Zuma Dogg's post on Mayor Sam. Now, will some of these staffers please go to www.ZumaDogg.com and hit me up with a paypal credit card donation for all my hard investigative work. You're all making waaaaaay to much money.

Contract Renewals:
Richard Alonzo Local District Superintendent 4 2 years $161546
Angelo Bellorno Dir of Environmental Health and Safety 2 years $157827
Mort Bernstein Relocation Program Manager 2 years $111865
John Erik Blum New Construction Manager 2 years $132510
Jean Brown Local District Superintendent 1 2 years $154003
Kathleen Collins Associate General Counsel II 2 years $175105
Robert Collins Chief Instructional Officer, Secondary 2 years $169125
Sharon Curry Assistant Superintendent, Student Integration Services 2 years $129325
Donald Davis Chief of Staff, Office of General Counsel 2 years $182065
Richard Deeb Associate General Counsel II 2 years $175105
Ronn Ephraim Chief Instructional Officer, Elementary 2 years $169125
Barbara Gutierraz Assistant Superintendent, Early Childhood Education 2 years $129325
Mark Hovatter Director of Facilities Contracts 2 years 146039
Santiago Jackson Assistant Superintendent, Adult and Career Education 2 years $135981
Donnalyn Jaque-Anton Assistant Superintendent, Special Education 2 years $142961
Thomas Kileen Executive Officer Human Resources 2 years $164000
Michelle B. King Assistant Superintendent, Student Health and Human Services 2 years $129325
Gregory McNair Executive Director of Charter Schools 2 years $169794
Rochelle Montgomery Associate General Counsel II 2 years $169794
James O'Reilly New Construction Manager 2 years $132510
Diane Pappas Associate General Counsel II 2 years $175105
Rita M. Payan Caldera Assistant Super, Specially Funded and Parent / Community Programs Division 2 years $129325
Alma Pena Sanchez Assistant Superintendent, Elementary Instruction and School Support Services 2 years $129325
Kevin S. Reed General Counsel 3 years $234091
Myma Rivera Local District Superintendent 8 2 years $161546
Antonio Rodriguez Director of Transportation 2 years $132510
Carmen N. Schroeder Local District Superintendent 5 2 years $161548
Liza G. Scruggs Assistant Superintendent Secondary Education and School Support Services 2 years $129325
Georgina Verdugo Associate General Counsel II 2 years $175105
Marla Wale Assistant Superintendent, Instructional Support Services 2 years $129325
Esther Wong Assistant Superintendent, Planning Assessment and Research 2 years $129325
Susie Wong Director of Materiel Management 2 years $132510

New Contracts
Sarah Bradshaw Special Assistant to the Superintendent, Legislation 6 mos $97510 ($97, 510 FOR SIX MONTHS, Y'ALL!)
James Cowell Deputy Chief Executive, School Building Planning 2 years $195058
Linda Del Cuelo Assistant Superintendent, Staff Relations 2 years $129325
Martin Galindo Local District Superintendent 6 2 years $148473
James Morris Local District Superintendent 2 2 years $161546

Extension of Current Contract
Charles Burnbridge Chief Financial Officer to 6/30/08 $199875
Betty Ng Controller to 6/30/08 $157226
Roger Rasmussen Budget Director to 6/30/08 $135289

Total $6,080,672