Whistleblower hotline: (213) 785-6098

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Set Your Alarm Clock Now, Go To Bed Early And Tune To KABC 790 At 6:50 A.M.

On Thursday, February 1 at around 6:50 a.m., yours truly will appear on McIntyre in the Morning to address a serious public policy problem confronting our city: the affordable plastic surgery crisis.

Don't miss it. And here's my essay on the subject: MooreIsBetter.com.

Guess Who's Paying For The Pay Raise At Airport Hotels?

Hint: it's the same person whom Time magazine named person of the year.

Give up?

It's YOU!

The "compromise" solution is, as usual, to soak you, the middle-class taxpayer.

The City Clowncil, knowing that voters would reject its illegal attempt to hike wages for one industry in one part of town, decided to compromise by cutting taxes for the hotels in exchange for the hotels using the savings to pay higher wages.

So everyone's happy, except you, of course, will need to make up the difference by paying higher taxes. But they'll wait to announce that part.

Here's the Daily News article.

SFO Anonyblogger Outed as Mayoral Flack

Here in Los Angeles most third floor cutting and pasting anonyblogger trolls who post on behalf of the Mayor in our forum are smart enough not to get caught. A spokes-hole for San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom is not so smart. (Don't forget our story about Gavin's underage drinking teenaged girlfriend here.)

ABC7 (they call it the same thing up there in Bagdad by the Bay but there it's KGO not KABC) is reporting that Newsom's press secretary Peter Ragone "apparently has been using phony names to post comments on popular blogs," including KGO's own news blog.

Jon Shurkin is a blogger at Sfist.com (yup the same folks who do LAist here) checked Ragone's IP address and found several postings under different names. According to KGO "It appeared that Ragone was using aliases to make more aggressive comments. "
"It smacks of kind of Nixonian political trickery, and it's just not leaving a good taste really in anybody's mouth."
Aaron Peskin, Chairman, San Francisco Board of Supervisors
The whole affair has news media and political types throughout the People's Republic of San Francisco wagging their tongues. Even former Mayor and California Speaker Willie Brown had something to say. "It raises serious questions about (Peter Ragone's) credibility and effectiveness. ... As a journalist, how can you believe what he says?"
"It raises serious questions about (Peter Ragone's) credibility and effectiveness. ... As a journalist, how can you believe what he says?"
Willie Brown, former Mayor of San Francisco
Many of the comments come from someone by the name of "John Nelson." When posts by Nelson were tracked to Ragone's home computer, Ragone responded, "John Nelson is my best friend, and yes, he does stay at my house all the time. Our sons are best friends also. I think we have the same viewpoints on most things." However when KGO got a hold of all the John Nelsons they could find in the city, each of them denied knowing Ragone. Ragone will also not allow the media to contact Nelson directly.

Chairman of the San Francisco City/County Board of Supervisors Aaron Peskin told KGO that "It smacks of kind of Nixonian political trickery, and it's just not leaving a good taste really in anybody's mouth."

How Many Politicans Does it Take to Change a Lightbulb?

Once again a California politician is using a non-issue to gain publicity by telling us we need him to protect us from a horrible scourge.

Here locally it's trans-fats. But local Assemblyman Lloyd "The Bachelor" Levine after trying to ban grocery bags and dating televison anchors has now moved on to making illegal the incandescant light bulb. When lightbulbs are outlawed, only outlaws will have lightbulbs.

The San Fernando Valley based lawmaker is seeking to ban the Edison invention in California by the year 2012. Newer technology fluorscent lightbulbs are far more efficient and save more electricty and energy.
When lightbulbs are outlawed, only outlaws will have lightbulbs.
That being said, why do we need government to get us to make the switch? The market can easily persuade consumers to use the bulbs because it makes good financial sense. In fact, Wal-Mart is one of the major retailers encouraging its customers to buy and use the energy saving bulbs.

Someone needs to alert the Bachelor that the market can handle a matter like this quite effectively and we don't need government to make the choice for us.

Fun and Frivolity in School Board Race

Yesterday Zuma Dogg reported that former Sister City blogger Mike Trujillo has joined the campaign of school board candidate Tamar Galatzan's campaign as manager. Galatzan, a neighborhood prosecutor for the LA City Attorney, is seeking to unseat 3rd District board member Jon Lauritzen (who used lots of teacher's union money four years ago to take out Mayor Sam's favorite politician ever, Caprice Young).

Now we've heard that the LA Daily News may be investigating Lauritzen. Allegedly, Lauritzen told attendees at a Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce Political Action Committee meeting that he is a big fan of the LAUSD's community involvment program for high school students. Reportedly, Lauritzen told the Chamber members that when he talks to the kids he gets them to sign up and work 15 hours a week on his campaign, for which they receive school credit.

Like many of the students of his district, Lauritzen may be guilty of playing hooky. The board member was supposed to show up to a United Chambers of Commerce candidates debate. He allegedly called in sick. Lauritzen's chief of staff showed up and was reported as saying that Lauritzen was away on official business. A City Hall staffer, though, was said to have claimed that Laurentzen was, in fact, at a meeting of the Chatsworth Coordinating Council.

All good news for Galatzan one would imagine.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

County Supervisors Still Lack Prom Date

Their first choice said "thanks, but no thanks." She'd rather endure Minnesota winters than move here. (So why did she apply for the job in the first place? For the joy of saying "no?" Seek counseling!)

Their second choice said, "I accept" -- but then got a better deal from his current employer.

Before the L.A. County's Supervisors announce that their third choice has accepted their offer to become "Chief Administrative Officer," they may want to get it in writing. Just a suggestion, fellahs. No charge this time.

Speaking of money, the job pays $270,000 a year. (I wonder if they mentioned that on Craig's List or Monster.com.)

Here's the story from the Daily News: link-o-rama.

And now, some tangentially related dialogue from a great movie:

Napoleon Dynamite: [referring to the dance] Who are you gonna ask?
Pedro: That girl over there.
Napoleon Dynamite: Summer Wheatly? How the heck are you gonna do that?
Pedro: Build her a cake or something.

New Spin-Mates To Check In At Graybar Hotel

Fleischman-Hilliard is a public relations firm that the Hahn administration hired, using your tax dollars, ostensibly to provide services to the City -- including $3 million per year in services for the City-owned utilities monopoly, the DWP. People at the PR firm, through a funny coincidence, chose to "donate" much of their time to help various politicians's campaigns.

Prosecutors convinced a jury, beyond a reasonable doubt, that executives at the company were defrauding the City, by billing the DWP for time they did not actually spend working on DWP matters. Today, they were sentenced to prison.

"'I maintain my innocence, your honor,' [Douglas] Dowie said in a three-minute speech before he was sentenced. It was the first time Dowie had spoken about the case in court." Apparently he didn't have a PowerPoint presentation ready, or a jingle, or anything PR-ish. The judge sentenced him to 42 months, which is the legal term for "three-and-a-half years."

To me, this is losing the forest for the trees. The bigger, better issue is: why in the @#$% is a City paying tax dollars to a public relations firm AT ALL, and especially paying the firm in connection with a City MONOPOLY (i.e., the DWP)? Campaigns require public relations; cities do not.

Here's the article.

Case Study: Costa Mesa Catches Illegal Aliens

The next time someone at City Hall tells you that illegal immigration is a "federal problem," your mission is to utter two words.

No, not those two words, though you're allowed to think them. And no, not "federal schmederal." Your mission is to say, "Costa Mesa."

Click here to read, at my website, how Costa Mesa proves cities can easily and effectively fight illegal immigration.

Things heating up in CD 6 race - Cardenas facing depleting support

Last week the Engineers and Architects Union endorsed an opponent of the CD6 incumbent and shortly afterwards another opponents' campaign sputtered to life... Could Tony Cardenas be in trouble?

If all you factor is money, Tony should walk away with this one but their is something to be said for a City Councilman who has managed to rack up 5 challengers, many from the Neighborhood Council who meets down the street from his field office. There is a disconnect that extends beyond the ambitions of a few individuals and the loss of the EAA endorsement is a blow to the traditionally union backed Cardenas.

Less then a day after the EAA announced its endorsement of Lisa Palmer, CD 6 candidate Jaime Corderos' campaign took on new life, in the way of paid staff. Cordero has hired a campaign manager, Marc Victoria of AV Campaigns a D.C. based firm that specializes in "underdog" candidates. Victoria is in no way a Parke Skelton, but his firm has worked on many campaigns including a few congressional races that swept the Democrats into victory in 2006.

We'll have to see how this all shakes out but one release that has gone out already demonstrates that Cordero if gunning straight for Cardenes... It defines Cardenes as "Phony Tony, the invisible Councilman." Ouch.

Let the games commence.

Villaraigosas Headed for Splitsville?

We don't know if its true or not but blogger Luke Ford states that all is not happy in Getty House. In fact Ford claims that the mayor's wife, Connie Villaraigosa no longer lives in the mayor's mansion. Ford alleges the Villaraigosas haven't been seen together in public in nearly 10 months and the Mayor is no longer wearing his wedding ring. In fact, Ford says that an unnamed journalist makes the claim the Mayor is allegedly dating a member of his staff. Inquiring minds want to know.

Mayor Sam's Hotsheet for Tuesday

The Daily News takes a look at Neighborhood Councils and has at least one example where the Councils have become somewhat "Clowncil-ish:" The Encino Neighborhood Council limited the public comment of an attorney who was involved in creating the councils. The attorney came back to elect a slate of candidates who turned out the incumbents. Also mentioned is the growing demands of Councils that they have an input on development in their neighborhoods. Mayor Villaraigosa does not agree with this and this old, dead Republican mayor concurs. Emotional NIMBYism doesn't make for good business and its best to leave land use decisions up to the people who own the land. Most of these NIMBY council members would shriek and holler (and they often do) if someone told them how to use their property.

City Controller Laura Chick who once represented and lived in the West San Fernando Valley, then moved to Silverlake when she was elected citywide is now considering moving to the Westside. Why? So she can run to succeed the termed out Jack Weiss and rejoin the City Council. All thanks to Proposition R. Eric Garcetti did you intend for these ghosts to come back and haunt the Clowncil? What's next Nate Holden moving to Chatsworth to follow Greig Smith? (Though the Clowncil would be fun again with good old Marina Del Rey Nate back in the horseshoe.)

Eat a potato chip - go to jail. The MTA is considering setting up its own court to prosecute those who break MTA laws - including eating potato chips on buses and trains. Watch out - the next reality show will be "Transit Court!" Give me a break. Of course you know the true purpose behind this - to make more money from fines.

WorldChanging Los Angeles profiles one of LA's youngest and most dedicated Neighborhood Council members - Sherman Oaks' Zach Behrnes - who is also the editor of the In The Oaks blog and a contributor to LAist. As a thoughtful and deliberative council member - as one of his "constituents" - I am quite impressed with this young man. Behrens has takes the time to travel his district and review the problems facing his district. Its possible that Zach and I may not agree on land use issues, but Zach is no emotional NIMBY. He comes to his conclusions after reasoned review. MetroRiderLA covers Zach's recent test of MTA's new "12 minute map." Behrens also reports that the company that provides bus benches to the City of LA isn't always doing its job removing graffiti from the buses.

Patt Morrison's guest for Tuesday on her KPCC radio show is Cle “Bone” Sloan, now a non-violent Blood gang member, who found out that most of his bangers had no idea how their gang had started when he was released from jail ten years ago. Sloan set out to educate them and himself with the production of his documentary, Bastards of the Party. With interviews from gang members to an FBI agent to a former Black Panther Party leader, Sloan chronicles the development of black gangs in a politically charged atmosphere in Los Angeles during the 1940s through the brief truce between the Crips and Bloods gangs after the Rodney King riots in 1992. He speaks with Patt about the path that has led him to the premiere of his documentary tonight.

A number of North Valley based Neighborhood Councils are hosting a candidates' debate amongst those running for the 7th District Council seat vacated by Alex Padilla. For more information click here.

Dr. Charlotte Laws is holding a public hearing of the Neighborhood Council Review Commission. For more information please click here.

Joseph Mailander calls on us to make full disclosure with our pledge break. We agree. I've responded somewhat to Joe here. But in the meantime, help a blogger out and please consider supporting the Sister City.


Board of Supervisors Appoints Thomas G. Mauk as New CAO

The Board of Supervisors voted Monday to offer the job of Chief Administrative Officer of Los Angeles County to Thomas G. Mauk. Mr. Mauk has accepted the position and will assume his duties on March 12.

Mr. Mauk, 63, of Whittier has served in a similar position as County Executive Officer of Orange County, since 2004. He also has extensive experience in city government and is one of the most respected and distinguished government administrators in California. In all, he is a 35 year veteran of public policy and public administration.

“We believe that Tom Mauk is the right man to lead Los Angeles County government into the next decade, “said Board of Supervisors Chairman Zev Yaroslavsky. “He is fiscally responsible while keenly mindful of the County’s mission to help those in need. Our County faces several daunting challenges in the years ahead, and we are fortunate to have a man of Tom’s experience and achievement at the helm.”

While serving in Orange County, Mr. Mauk grappled successfully with many of the same issues facing Los Angeles County, overseeing the refinancing of over a billion dollars of debt and negotiating an agreement with labor unions to address the growing liability of retiree medical benefits.

“I was impressed with Tom’s problem solving abilities,” said Chair Pro Tem Yvonne Burke. “He has tackled some complex problems in Orange County and elsewhere and has proven himself to be a creative thinker and effective problem solver.”

Mauk is also credited with encouraging an atmosphere of openness and transparency amongst the Orange County bureaucracy’s 21 departments and more than 15,000 employees. In Los Angeles County he will manage 39 departments with nearly 100,000 employees. “Tom believes that county government should be an open, transparent and responsive institution,” said Supervisor Gloria Molina. “All of our citizens will benefit from his approach.”

Before taking the position in Orange County, Mauk served as Assistant City Manager and City Manager in various Southern California cities. He also worked in the private sector on municipal finance issues. He was City Manager of Whittier from 1980 to 1999, a period that included the 1987 Whittier Narrows Earthquake that severely damaged that community’s downtown area. Supervisor Don Knabe said, “I’ve known Tom Mauk since his days as City Manager of Whittier. He is a straight shooter who has earned the confidence of his colleagues in government and the taxpaying public as well.”

Board members pointed out that Mr. Mauk shares the Board’s long-held philosophy of prudent fiscal management and living within the county’s means. He is a solid, experienced administrator who has earned the respect of supervisors and city council members, labor union leaders and community organizations. He will replace David Janssen, who retired on January 16 after more than ten years as Los Angeles County CAO.

“Tom is an experienced administrator with a strong track record of supporting public safety and vital services,” said Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich. “I look forward to working with him.”

Monday, January 29, 2007

L.A. Anti-Terror Academy Entrance Exam

Chief Bratton and Sheriff Baca are in D.C. on a road trip asking for money to build an anti-terror academy here in L.A.

I have drafted a proposed, one-question entrance exam. Mayor Villaraigosa and the City Clowncil haven taken but failed the test.

Click here to see if you can pass it. You may be the next Jack Bauer.

P.S. "24" is the greatest TV show ever. You must rent the DVD's of all prior seasons, and start watching right away.

Oak Park Stops Religious Group From Stringing Fishing Wire All Over Neighborhood

Holy Fishing Wire, Batman!

A religious group wanted to hang fishing wire all over Oak Park, the way they have elsewhere in L.A. They call it an "eruv," and it apparently kills birds, such as hawks, that don't expect to dive-bomb into an invisible wire. Anyway, the neighborhood said "no." For the full story, read the Daily News article.

The two funniest quotations are as follows:

"Is it me or am I the only one that finds this strange?" Carlos Bernal of Oak Park wrote in an e-mail to local officials. "Why don't we install a crucifix at every stoplight? Or the picture of Muhammad at every pedestrian crossing?"

* * *

"It is not some biblical thing that says, `Hang some fishing line.' It's an arbitrary man-made work-a-round," said Susan Flores, a Reform Jew who,like most, does not keep Sabbath. "While you are making stuff up, why don't you make up something that is a little less obtrusive."

Mayor Sam's Hotsheet for Monday

Councilman Dennis Zine and a number of Neighborhood Council members want the following question answered: Why is the Department of Neighborhood Improvement spending so much on the upcoming Congress of Neighborhoods and in fact, spending significantly more than last year. Perhaps some of you bright folks out there can drill down to whom the actual vendors are that are getting these fat contracts and to whom they have donated.

Martini Republic and Don Garza are dubious of local politicians' plans to have the homless in Los Angeles do a census of, well, themselves. At stake is not only an assessment of where the city is at with its homeless population but potentially funding for a number of programs.

One of the points the Sunland-Tujunga anti-Home Depot NIMBYs make as a reason to ban the hardware chain is that Home Depot puts small local stores out of business. We posted the other day that this doesn't have to be the case - a local 100 year old hardware store has managed to thrive despite a nearby Home Depot because the store chose to innovate. Less than performing stores would rather have the government preserve their panopoly than get off their ass and compete. However, we have yet another example of a company that has managed to compete against Home Depot and do well - Ace Hardware Stores. The nationwide chain is actually a co-op of locally owned independent hardware stores. Executives at Ace have gained an edge "by emphasizing convenience and by continuing to upgrade the aesthetics of the stores." At a time when Home Depot is struggling in many aspects of its business now is a prime opportunity for other stores to find innovative ways to serve their customers and thrive.

The WWG surveyed his readers to find out their favorite sites, blogs, etc. He was forced to mention that a number of his readers do a lot of (LA)Observing of The Sister City (remember LAObserved is the top blog that refers to us) but in order to make himself feel better, WWG calls us a "gossip" site. Whatever.

And finally, the folks at "Save the 76 Ball" have had a major victory. Conoco-Phillips, the new owners of the Union 76 stations will install a limited number of the balls at some stations and is sending a chunk of them to museums.

Blow the Whistle!

Are you a City Hall or other government insider with a story to tell? You can contact Mayor Sam's Whistleblower Program and we promise we will keep your identity secret. You don't even have to tell us who you are. You can email tips, rumors, gossip and stories of shady, corrupt happenings to mayorsamyorty@aol.com or call us and leave a voice mail message at (213) 258-4521. If your information is important and checks out, we'll post it on Mayor Sam.

Pledge Break Y'All

Writing, editing and publishing a blog as significant as the Sister City takes quite some time. At present the blog is an avocation for the writers that we pursue in our spare time.

Moves are underfoot to make some major changes to the blog to increase and improve content and provide our readers with even more of what they have come to expect and enjoy here with Mayor Sam and the gang. We also wish to spread the word of the blog around the blog-LA-sphere so that more readers can just make for a better blog.

In order to achieve all these things - and to give our bloggers some recompense for their work - we'd like to ask our readers to make a contribution. That is if you enjoy reading and participating in this blog, please drop us some cash. If anything, I'd like to cover Zuma Dogg's trips to City Hall as that provides a valuable public service.

Please consider a donation of whatever size you can make. You can do it online, its fast and easy. And unlike other blogs, we won't spam you or make fun of public radio personalities.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Take The Money And Run: Why L.A.'s Middle Class Is Leaving

Why is L.A.'s middle class leaving?

Joel Kotkin asserts today, in an essay in the L.A. Times, that "Working and middle-class families are moving out — and failing to move in — because they cannot afford a house here."

He does not, however, cite any kind of survey of people who have fled the city about their reasons for doing so. Rather, he notes merely that: i) middle class people cannot afford to buy homes here; and ii) middle class people are leaving. Therefore, he concludes, the former caused the latter: middle class people are leaving L.A. because they cannot afford to buy a home here.

This "reasoning" is what we in the logic trade call a "cum hoc ergo propter hoc" fallacy. Simply stated: just because two things happen at the same time doesn't mean one caused the other. Just because L.A.'s middle class cannot afford to buy a house here does not mean that's why they're leaving.

Consider another explanation for the massive flight of American citizens from L.A. and California, from a person with one foot out the door:

As a result of hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens having swarmed into Los Angeles -- maybe 1 million? -- it is no longer a nice place to live. On the contrary, increased population density, perpetually gridlocked traffic, abysmal schools, hundreds of murders annually, and a third-world ambience have transformed L.A. into a terrible place to live.

Nor is there any hope of improvement, because entrenched career politicians at the local, state and national level will clearly do nothing to stop the problem. Increased population density and decreased interest rates, moreover, have driven the price of real estate sky-high.

So if you're an American citizen who's owned real esate in L.A. for over six years, you have two choices: stay here and watch the city deteriorate even more, or "cash out" for a premium and move somewhere nice.

Think about it. If you bought a home for $500,000 in 2000 by, say, putting $100,000 down, and borrowing $400,000, you can make a small fortune by selling now that your house is worth $1 million. Indeed, by selling, you wouldn't just double your money, you would make a five-fold profit (i.e., your original $100,000 plus the $500,000 you net after paying off your $400,000 loan).

After you sell your property, you can't make any money by buying another home to live in here -- all prices having risen -- so you either stay and rent, or escape the unbearable city once and for all by moving away. That's what people are doing: voting with their feet. In other words, "TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN!"

Plus, if you have children, you'll probably save another $20,000 annually per child because you'll be able to send them to public schools wherever you move. Here in L.A., by contrast, parents who can afford private school tuition pay it to spare their children the nightmare known as "LAUSD."

State statistics show that hundreds of thousands of American citizens have been fleeing California each year for several years. Businesses, too, open factories not in California, but in states that welcome them.

So before any of you fall for the same "cum hoc ergo propter hoc" fallacy that Mr. Kotkin did, think about whether there is an alternative explanation.

When I, for one, flee this city, it won't be because I can't afford to live here, it will be because I can't stand to live here.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

The fur flies in CD 12

If anyone thought that the action this election cycle was going to be in CD14, they may have only been half right.

The Northridge West Neighborhood Council election isn't until April 21st and already the shots are being fired not just at the Council President Jim Alger and Vice President Sherry Ramstead but against the entire board.

The charges are being leveled by former NWNC Boardmember Dennis DeYoung, who resigned after a failed attempt to oust Alger as President in May 2006. Now, in his first campaign piece DeYoung sends out a desperate plea for challengers to Alger and announces his intentions to run once again for the council. He then launches into an attack on Alger, Council Vice President Sherry Ramstead and the entire Neighborhood Council for "spending money without the appropriate documentation", and claims the Neighborhood Council is currently trying to "give away its' annual $50,000 allocation from the City Council to (LAPD) Devonshire PALS - a project not even located within the boundaries of the district and already fully funded by a $1 million grant secured by Councilmember Greig Smith."

Must be a pretty cheap youth center to be built, equipped and staffed for $1 Million in an area where the average cost of a home is nearly $750,000.00. Apparently the Devonshire PALS don't agree with DeYoungs' assessment that they don't need anymore funding as their capital campaign continues. In fact, the idea to approach Neighborhood Councils to assist in funding Devonshire PALS came from Mitch Englander, Chief of Staff for City Councilman Grieg Smith who also serves on the Devonshire PALS board.

Alger, who also serves as a Senator to the LANCC has responded. "It is stunning to me that a man who claims to support the community would oppose funding a youth center that while physically located just beyond the current boundaries of the council, would serve our community, keep our children safe, out of gangs and off the streets. The Northridge West Neighborhood Council has held many public meetings on this issue and has made no final decision as to what funding it will provide. Mr. De Young has never once attended a single NC meeting since his resignation. In fact, the only time he appears is when he is running for office only to resign when he doesn't get his way."

DeYoung obviously hopes the local community will have a short memory when he claims that "the community has suffered ever since (Alger was elected in 2005)."

Alger certainly has his detractors and his supporters who spin in both directions but he and his NC are best known for taking on Wal Mart and preventing them from building a store across from the Northridge Mall. Before that he spearheaded the successfully campaign to stop an 18% water rate hike. Additionally, the Neighborhood Council has co-sponsored several "Community Clean-ups" as well as a massive Emergency Preparedness event.

The entire attack on Alger may end up being academic. For his part, Alger has not even committed to running for re-election. "Between the Neighborhood Council, the Senate, work and a new baby my schedule has really packed up. I need to consider all of this before I commit to the responsibility of another two year term."

Considering DeYoung says he wants the voters to give him another shot at the seat he quit after just 2 meetings, having someone take into consideration all aspects of the job sure is refreshing. Too bad other politicians didn't do that.

To the good folks up there in Northridge, we here at the Sister City say keep up the good work. When people attack you, it usually means you're doing something right.



The good news is, California law allows the state, but not county and city governments, to regulate things like how much trans-fat you eat.

The bad news is, your elected officials are working to change that.

According to the L.A. Times -- is it just me, or are they on a roll today? -- "Supervisor Yvonne Brathwaite Burke, who is spearheading the campaign to ban trans fat, said she was supporting efforts by Assemblyman Mervyn Dymally (D-Compton) to pass legislation that would allow cities and counties some jurisdiction."

Also, while we're on the subject of insanity in Sacramento, here's a story from the Washington Post showing how spanking can lead immediately to violence -- especially if a mother-in-law criticizes a son-in-law for spanking. Grandma got tasered.

Proof That More Police Equals Less Crime

To make L.A.'s streets safe, should we need a 24th anti-gang program, or should we simply deploy more police?

Well, let's look at the evidence.

Adding the first anti-gang program didn't solve the problem. Nor did adding the second. Nor the third. Nor the fourth. You see where this is going? It goes to the 24th and even the nth program.

Adding police to skid row, however, immediately resulted in crime there plummeting. So reports the L.A. Times.

So how about we add police to the rest of this City, and see if gang bangers are stupid enough to commit crimes when they know there's a patrol car down the block.

Department of Redundancy Department

Dear Mayor Villaraigosa:

You have proposed a national plan to provide funding to help students pay for college. You also say that, rather spending your time here in L.A. doing your job, you're going to spend time in traveling to other cities to promote your proposal.

Please explain why the following existing programs to help students pay for college are supposedly inadequate, and why we need yet another. While you're at it, please explain why your city budget provides funding for 23 "gang programs," as opposed to, say, one or none. And where are you getting the money for the road show?

Pell Grants

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants

Federal Work-Study

Academic Competitiveness Grants

National Science & Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant

Institutional Grants

Federal Perkins Loans

Stafford Loans (Federal Family Education Loans and Direct Loans)

PLUS Loans

Cal Grants

California Chafee Grant Program

Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarship Program

Please note, moreover, that the foregoing programs do not include the below-cost, subsidized tuitions charged at state schools. Nor does the list include private scholarships, such as the U.S. News & World Report Scholarship that yours truly received.

Indeed, where is the evidence that ANY children qualified to attend college are unable to attend it due to finances?


Friday, January 26, 2007

Villaraigosa Reinvents Wheel With Education Plan

So here's the Mayor's brilliant, $104 billion plan to educate the nation and end poverty: "Villaraigosa on Thursday unveiled a $100 billion plan to guarantee a college education to future generations of American children."

Wow! Guaranteeing a college education! How revolutionary -- not.

Excuse me, but exactly how many high school graduates with, say, at least a "B" average are unable to go to college right now because it's too expensive?

The correct answer is "none."

We already have federal college loan programs, grants, work-study, heavily subsidized state schools with artificially low tuition, private scholarships, etc. Do you think yours truly came from a family that could simply write out a check for tuition at Princeton and Georgetown Law? Hay-ell no. I had loans galore, and repaid every one.

But no one in the press will call Villaraigosa on any of this -- much less the fact that children in his city get shot just trying to go to school, and, once there, do not even graduate from high school, much less college.

Why are we trying to push everyone into college? What's wrong with trade schools? How about we turn out some qualified contractors, mechanics, HVAC technicians, electricians, etc.?

The real reason for Villaraigosa's proposal, of course, is that he hopes to be Hillary's VP. Hence his urgent need to leave L.A. -- you know, the city he supposedly runs? -- behind so he can criss-cross the country to push his revolutionary education plan. Expect to see less and less of him here: "Over the next several months, Villaraigosa said, he and other task force members will travel to Miami and Detroit to seek support for the package."

By the way, who pays for all these trips? Perhaps someone who gets paid to write about City Hall -- you know, the press release "journalists" -- could spend five minutes to write a public records request. No, I guess they're too busy addressing more important matters, like picking on the governor for having a body that looks diffferent at age 60 than it did at age 20.

Click here to read the Daily News article on Villaraigosa, and here to see the L.A. Times waste ink "reporting" that the governor is -- gasp -- aging!

Mayor Sam's Hotsheet for Friday

An article in Thursday's Daily News examines the clout gained in the city by San Fernando Valley leaders in recent years and sheds light on the hopes by some - including Downtown LA interests - that this puts any hope of Valley secession to bed for some time to come. Think twice folks. Simply getting a few local fatcats plum positions or access to the Democrat in Chief Arnold Schwarzenegger or Mayor Pollaraigosa is not going to be enough to make sure the Valley gets it fair share. With further tax increases, a lack of action on illegal immigration and rising crime, a whole new generation of Valley residents of all colors could very well come back to the conclusion that it really makes sense that the San Fernando Valley be its own city (or even several cities).

Bigger restrictions are coming to public comment at the LA City Council, but in El Segundo they're going the other direction. Now that Mayor Mike Gordon - a sensitive soul who did not want to be criticized and put Garcetti-esque restrictions on public comment at Council meetings in Fred Sanford's favorite city - is history, the Council is making it easier for residents to address their Council.

Some education about economics may be in order. According to one poll, a significant number of Californians actually support Arnold's "Hilary-esque" health care scam. However in a setback to the Kennedy Republican, they overwhelmingly reject the notion of proving government health care to illegal aliens.

Mission College in Sylmar is the little college that could. Its been around since the 60s but its only had a permanent campus for the last 20 years or so. And as it is, the compact campus is far smaller that any other local community college certainly only a smidgen of the sprawling Valley and Pierce Colleges. That being said, the Board of Trustees of the Los Angeles Community College District are looking to expand the campus. Thursday, the Trustees approved a master plan and a final environmental impact report for the project. One controversial aspect of the project is for the district to aquire a neigboring parcel of land slated for single family home construction by eminent domain. This would be a mistake. Most would suspect that this old, dead Republican mayor is generally opposed to eminent domain and you would be right. More importantly when there is a shortage of homes its not a good idea to abandon the opportunity to build additional single family homes. The board should go back to the drawing board and examine opportunties for the campus to expand up and take advantage of infill development in nearby San Fernando.

LA Voice reports that elections for the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council are coming up in March. Now is the time for anyone considering serving to investigate the opportunity.

And finally, Here in Van Nuys reports on home based psychics who are attaching bigger and bigger electric signs for their businesses to their dwellings. I wonder if they saw him coming?

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Villaraigosa Now Plans To Run Entire Nation's Schools

Villaraigosa, having successfully boosted grades, SAT scores and graduation rates at LAUSD schools, has unveiled a national education plan, so that the rest of the country can benefit from his expertise and experience.

Okay, I made up the first part, but the second part is true. Can you believe this? Is the nation -- and the national press -- going to be stupid enough to take his "proposal" seriously? Do you think anyone will bother to report that this nutty wannabe professor has had zero experience running schools? Or that during the time he's been in California and L.A., the schools have become abysmal?

Anyway, the plan would supposedly cost $104 billion -- just 10 times the price of remodelling the airport, or building a stretch of subway. The name of the plan is the "'Hillary! Over here! Hillary! Pick me to be your V-P!' Educational Plan"

My advice to you: start applying for that passport, pick out an alternative country, and, if necessary, start learning the language they speak there. The Beverly Hills Lingual Institute has terrific teachers, and they're all native speakers.

Here's the Daily News article.

Case Study: Repealing Rent Control Can Reduce Gridlock

Read the story in today's L.A. Times about how the high price of gas has inspired people to move closer to their jobs, thereby reducing their commute (and the associated gridlock): click here.

Now just imagine how many people could live closer to work if all the rent-controlled apartments -- how many are there? 80,000? 800,000? -- were suddenly open to the highest bidder.

A single legislative act by the City Clowncil, namely, ending price controls on housing, could simultaneously reduce traffic, reduce pollution, reduce dependence on foreign oil, and reduce the average market price of rental housing in the City, and it wouldn't require City Hall to spend a dime.

Oh, I forgot: in the City Clowncil's manual, the ONLY way to solve a problem is to raise taxes and give more money to special interest constituencies. My bad.
The number of units we could free up for commuters is on the order of 550,000.

I base this on a recent article in the L.A. Times, which stated: "Of the city's 780,000 rental units, Housing Department figures show, the 1979 Rent Stabilization Ordinance covers 550,000 that had a certificate of occupancy issued on or before Oct. 1, 1978."

Even assuming each unit housed only two commuters, that could be a million people walking to work instead of driving to work. Don't they consider a subway or bus a success if it gets 20,000 people out of their cars?

If You Love Mayor Sam's Blog, And You Drive In The Morning . . .

. . . then you MUST set your radio to 790 AM, and listen to "McIntyre in the Morning."

Doug McIntyre and Rob Marinko are the only ones in local media who consistently report on the antics at City Hall. More importantly, they are hilarious. (My new favorite is the impersonation of Arnold equating our state with Sparta and Athens.)

They have reported, commented and taken calls on, among other things: the proposed gang tax, dog food guy, Bitter Bernie, Rocky's proposed dress code, illegal aliens in gangs, the Mayor's road trips, the Mayor's school "expertise" -- everything.

This is NOT a paid announcement, and yes, I'm grateful that they covered my campaign. But the fact they covered my campaign shows you how committed to covering local politics they are. And the fact they supported me over Villaraigosa tells you how smart they are.

If you don't already listen, give it a try. They're on 5:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. But I must warn you: once you get used to their show, you can't listen to other talk radio shows, because those are shows are pathetic by contrast, the proverbial sound and fury signifying nothing.

Lesson for Sunland-Tujunga Home Depot Opponents: Innovate and Thrive

People ask me "Mayor Sam - why do you give the good folks of Sunland-Tujunga such a bad time about Home Depot?"

My answer is I have no beef with the people in Sunland-Tujunga. I just believe a private business owner has the right to operate without government interference. I also have a big issue with self-appointed NIMBYs especially when those NIMBYs are allegedly bought and paid for by the one of the competitors of Home Depot.

Incidentally the hypocritical mouth-waggers of the No2HomeDepot campaign attempt to suggest that both Mayor Villaraigosa and this old, dead Republican mayor are being paid off by Home Depot. I can't speak for Antonio, but I have not received a dime from Home Depot. However they find no fault allegedly accepting contributions from the Do It Center Hardware Store and are quite brazen about it.

Click here for a list of the Sunland-Tujunga hardware related businesses that are opposing Home Depot surely for their own profit.

But anyway, I digress. One of the arguments against the opening of the Home Depot store in Sunland-Tujunga is the following:
The proposed Home Depot, with its' predatory pricing, will drive many of our Mom & Pop Hardware and In Home Services stores out of business.
However at least one hardware store not too far from Sunland-Tujunga and in close proximity to another Home Depot location has found that it can not just co-exist with the big box retailer but thrive as well.

The LA Times reports today that 101 year old Virgil's Glendale Hardware has managed to prosper despite the presence of Home Depot.

Indeed Virgil's at first had trouble when Home Depot came to town. However new ownership took control of the store and begin to make significant changes. The product mix was changed, hard to find items not available at Home Depot were added and customer service was enhanced. To top it off, the store got a makeover to make it more appealing to female customers who know make up over half the customers. Profits have never been better and the owners have considered opening additional stores.

If the stores in Sunland-Tujunga are afraid that Home Depot will chew into their sales, its on them to improve their service and offerings. Its not up to the local government to protect them from the free market.

Poll: Alarcon May Be Vulnerable

In a poll released last week by Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, & Associates, Los Angeles City Council candidate Monica Rodriguez leads Assemblymember Richard Alarcon in the race for the 7th Council District 32% to 25% after positive statements about both candidates were read.

"This poll confirms what voters have been telling me for months: our community deserves a councilmember who will work on their behalf to secure the Valley's fair share," Rodriguez said. "We don't need a career politician who is running for his fourth office in four years."

The poll hints that 7th Council District voters may be looking for change. A majority of those surveyed prefer a "fresh face" (54%) over a "familiar face" (29%). Furthermore, 48% of voters feel Alarcon's candidacy is motivated by the higher salary he would potentially receive as a council member.

Rodriguez, a lifelong resident of the Northeast San Fernando Valley, administers the California Association of Realtors workforce housing trust fund and previously worked as Community Affairs Manager for Mayor Richard Riordan and Chief Deputy to School Board President Caprice Young.

The 7th City Council District includes the communities of Sylmar, Pacoima, Mission Hills, North Hills, and Panorama City.

A Reader Writes: You Don't Need a Bullhorn to be Heard by God

Divine Savior Church in Cypress Park put up an amplied sound system. Now, they blast a tape recording of their organ music, bells and chimes from 4 bullhorns on top of the church. They blast it 7-10 times a day, 7:55 am, 8:00, 9:00, 12:00 pm, 3:00 and 6:00 and sometimes in between for funerals and weddings. It is very loud and annoying. One of the tape recordings sounds like some one slamming their hands on an off key piano.

Father Marco refuses to lower the volume or the amount of times that thing goes off. He feels a need to broadcast it for the neighborhood. The church members love it, but they do not live across the street and do not have to live with it every single day.

I asked Ed Reyes to change the noise code, Chapter 11, Article 5, Section 115.02b but he said, "No, I will do nothing." And that is what he has done, nothing. So, I am stuck hearing these annoying bullhorns all day.

Please, please help me, Stop The Bullhorns!!

A Public Shame

Do you want to be a Border Patrol agent and do your job to prevent illegal immigrants from entering the country? Do you want to prevent drug smugglers from bringing drugs across the border?

If you do your job diligently there is a good chance you may wind up in jail. That’s what has happened to Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean.

In February 2005, the agents tried to stop a van driven by drug smuggler Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila near the Mexico border. After a scuffle with Compean, Aldrete-Davila fled on foot. Ramos says he believes that he saw a gun — which the smuggler denies. Both agents fired at Aldrete-Davila, who fell, then continued his escape across the border. After he got away, Ramos and Compean filed a report on the 743 pounds of marijuana they found in the van, but not on the gunfire. As it turns out, Ramos had shot Aldrete-Davila in the butt.

Returning to Mexico, Aldrete-Davila related his misfortunes to his mother, who contacted the mother-in-law of Border Patrol agent Rene Sanchez. Sanchez in turn tipped off a member of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, who went to Mexico to offer immunity if Osbaldo would act as a state’s witness against Ramos and Compean: the feds wanted to prosecute the agents shooting the alien narcotics supplier.

To sweeten the immunity deal, the feds paid for Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila’s medical treatment of his ailing backside – a taxpayer-funded recuperation at William Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso, Texas. He showed his gratitude by breaking his immunity agreement in October 2005, when officers say he attempted to smuggle 1,000 pounds of marijuana into America. The prosecution further extended its immunity to this felony and sealed the indictment from jurors. Aldrete-Davila repaid this new shower of grace by suing the federal government for $5 million, alleging the shooting violated his civil rights. However, he agreed to help in their criminal prosecution, as well, and the feds are apparently happy to collaborate with the pusher as long as he helped put effective lawmen behind bars.

U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton, a Bush appointee, prosecuted the agents. In March, a jury found them guilty of assault with a dangerous weapon, discharge of a firearm during a violent crime, obstructing justice, lying about the incident and willfully violating Aldrete-Davila’s Fourth Amendment right to be free from illegal seizure.

Because there was gunfire, the mandatory-minimum prison sentence the agents will serve is 10 years. As for Aldrete-Davila, he faces no charges for the 743 pounds of pot. That leaves him free to carry out his plan to sue the Border Patrol — that is, U.S. taxpayers — for $5 million because his civil rights were violated. What a country.

Ramos, who was nominated Border Patrol Agent of the year in 2005, told the San Bernardino County Sun, “There’s murderers and child rapists that are looking at less time than me.”

At the heart of the prosecution is a vehicle-pursuit policy that makes absolutely no sense. As Assistant U.S. Attorney Debra Kanof explained to the Sun, “It is a violation of Border Patrol regulations to go after someone who is fleeing.” It’s like a no-arrest policy.

No surprise, Border Patrol agents routinely ignore the regs. As Ramos responded to Kanof: “How are we supposed to follow the Border Patrol strategy of apprehending terrorists or drug smugglers if we are not supposed to pursue fleeing people? Everybody who’s breaking the law flees from us. What are we supposed to do? Do they want us to catch them or not?”

I will answer that question. No, they do not want you to catch them. It is one of the things I do not understand about this Administration. There is no will to enforce the border, protect our sovereignty and prevent the admission of illegal immigrants or substances.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., called for a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the case, as she fears this prosecution may represent “a serious miscarriage of justice.” It definitely does.

Sutton’s office cannot comment on the case until sentencing, but referred me to a statement, that explains, “They were prosecuted because they had fired their weapons at a man who had attempted to surrender, but, while his open hands were held in the air, Agent Compean attempted to hit the man with the butt of his shotgun.” Later, the agents picked up shell casings and failed to file a gunfire report.

Sutton’s best point: A jury found the two agents guilty of all charges except attempted murder. As Bonner sees it, the most punishment the agents deserve is a five-day suspension for not reporting the shooting. Say, for argument’s sake, that the agents were wrong to shoot at Aldrete-Davila. They were wrong to not file a report. Discipline them. Fire them, even. But don’t send them to prison for decades for a bad split-second decision and failure to file a report.

If they were crooks, they would serve shorter time. Last month, a Border Patrol agent, who admitted to smuggling 100 illegal immigrants while he served on the Border Patrol, got five years. (Prosecutors had recommended three years, but in San Diego, U.S. District Judge John Houston hiked the sentence, telling the man: “You violated the sacred trust of your comrades. As a link in the chain, they depended on you.”)

Compean’s attorney, Maria Ramirez said that her client, a first-generation American, served honorably in the U.S. Navy, then worked for the Border Patrol. He had a home, now sold, a wife and two children. Another child is on the way. But in the 15 minutes after the agents saw that van, after one split-second judgment call, his life melted away: “In 15 minutes it’s gone, just gone.”

The two U.S. Border Patrol agents were sentenced to prison terms of 11 years and 12 years for shooting a drug-smuggling suspect in the buttocks as he fled across the U.S.-Mexico border.

U.S. District Court Judge Kathleen Cardone in El Paso, Texas, sentenced Jose Alonso Compean to 12 years in prison and Ignacio Ramos to 11 years and one day despite a plea by their attorney for a new trial after three jurors said they were coerced into voting guilty in the case, the Washington Times reported.

The two agents started 11- and 12-year prison terms, respectively, on January 17, for the crime of putting one bullet in the buttocks of the admitted drug smuggler, Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila, and failing to report the discharge of their firearms. The non-fatal bullet didn’t stop the smuggler from running to escape in a van waiting for him on the Mexican side of the border.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher called the two agents heroes. “Because of their actions, more than a million dollars in illegal drugs were stopped from being sold to our children. Bringing felony charges against them is a travesty of justice beyond description.”

The White House and the U.S. Department of Justice are stonewalling requests for a presidential pardon from 55 Members of Congress and U.S. citizens who have sent at least 160,000 petitions and 15,000 faxes. When the Bush Administration deigns to respond at all, the official line is that the Border Patrol agents got a fair trial.

But that’s not true; they didn’t get a fair trial. They were convicted because the Justice Department sent investigators into Mexico, tracked down the drug smuggler, and gave him immunity from all prosecution for his drug smuggling crimes if he would please come back and testify against Ramos and Compean.

It was massively unfair to give immunity to an illegal alien narcotics trafficker while destroying the lives and families of two Border Patrol agents who risked their lives to stop him. Ramos and Compean were convicted mainly on the testimony of the immunity-sheltered drug smuggler, whose integrity should have been called into question, but Ramos and Compean were forbidden to do that during the trial.

Ramos and Compean were doing what they thought was their job – preventing a drug dealer from illegally crossing the border with illegal substances. Yes, they failed to report the fact that they fired their weapon. Yes, they gave chase to the illegal, which they were told they shouldn’t do. Ok, they broke some rules. Give them six months in jail – but to sentence them to 11 and 12 years is a gross miscarriage of justice.

I understand the the judge had no choice because the mandatory Federal sentence for this is 10 years. Fine, but where is the Presidential pardon?

According to Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) in House Resolution 1030:

To say that Ramos and Compean have been treated unjustly and unfairly is an understatement. Adding insult to injury, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has granted immunity to the Mexican drug dealer, the smuggler who these two officers intercepted. This criminal alien was caught with 743 pounds of marijuana, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office has treated this criminal as if he were a victim.

At the same time, the book was thrown at our border patrol agents. I will submit for the RECORD, Mr. Speaker, my letter to the Attorney General regarding this outrageous case. The brutal treatment of the two border guards has demoralized our Border Patrol agents. I hope as we sing our praises today, that we understand that we are, yes, grateful to all of these people who protect us at the border, including the two Border Patrol agents that are now under attack.

In the meantime, let the case of Border Patrol agents Ramos and Compean be revisited and the outrageous criminal charges against them dropped.

The Washington Times on January 10, 2007 reports,

Republican House members yesterday asked President Bush to keep two U.S. Border Patrol agents out of prison pending their appeal of convictions for shooting a suspected drug smuggler in the buttocks as he fled into Mexico.

“Several discrepancies in the government’s case strongly question whether justice has been served, and permitting these men to be incarcerated in the interim puts their lives at risk,” Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of California said at a Capitol Hill press conference.

“We’re going to find out whose side you’re on, the American people or the side of our enemies,” Mr. Rohrabacher said in a reference to Mr. Bush. “If you let these two men go to jail for defending us, then we’ll know you’re on the side of our enemies.”

He was joined by Reps. Duncan Hunter of California, Ted Poe of Texas, Walter B. Jones of North Carolina, Joe Wilson of South Carolina and Tom Tancredo of Colorado.

In lieu of a pardon, a letter petitioning Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales was presented during the press conference asking the Justice Department to direct federal prosecutors not to oppose a motion filed in a Texas court to keep the agents free on bond during the appeals process.

This is an outrageous miscarriage of justice. These men were protecting their country and doing what they were hired to do. I suggest that everyone who agrees with that statement do two things that will make a difference:

1) Phone the White House and let them know how you feel. The phone number is: (202) 456-1111.

2) Write to President Bush asking him to pardon Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean. A letter sent by U.S. mail is more effective than a fax, an email or any other form of communication.

**UPDATE - We received this post in an email not knowing at the time it originally came from Gary Aminoff's blog which you can read by clicking here.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

LAist Does DONE! In-depth Interview!

You guys on the cut-and-paste pep squads will love this one, I promise! Just click...


Great job at LAist by increasingly local pol scenester Zach Behrens, for asking all the right questions.


BTW, Walter and Zuma, as we used to say at Hawthorne High, "I LOVE YOU GUYS, MAAANNNN..." but hey, can you please please please please learn to use the link button so that the fine people here can click through without having to cut and paste ugly URLs? The people need to click, man!

Open Letter To City Council Re Gang Tax: One Percent

January 24, 2007

Dear City Council:

You tell us the "gang problem" is so dreadful that we must raise taxes by $50 million a year -- payable only by the city's homeowners, of course.

However, the City's annual tax revenues are $6.67 billion per year. (That's "billion" with a "b.")

Well, that means the amount of the proposed tax hike is less than 1% of the money you now spend. (Specifically, it works out to .749%.)

So here's the question for you: Do you SERIOUSLY expect us to believe that you can't take 1% -- less than 1% actually -- from the City's other spending to pay for this "Marshall Plan" that's supposedly so vital to the city's survival?

Don't talk to us about our paying $5 more per month. Tell us instead why you can't find a fraction of a percent elsewhere in the budget.

Walter Moore

City And County To Regulate What You Eat

I predicted this one, too, as soon as i heard that New York City banned transfats; the City and County of Los Angeles, having solved all other problems, are now considering getting into the regulation of foods. In particular, they believe that they, not you, should decide what you eat.

No word whether they plan tol appoint Richard Simmons as the Fat Czar.

I don't think even Chairman Mao or Stalin ever went that far. Death camps, sure, but did they ever decide what you should eat?

Here's the story, so you can read it and start packing for your move to a new city, where they don't elect crazy people to public office: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-fat24jan24,1,4432364,full.story?coll=la-headlines-california .

"Gang Czar" Tax On Homeowners Headed For Ballot

The City Clowncil is preparing yet another ballot measure to raise taxes.

The Clowncil will try to pit renters against homeowners to achieve the two-thirds vote needed for a tax hike, by calling for the tax hike to apply ONLY to real property owners. The Clowncil vote to draft the measure was 13-0. Not one Clowncil Member stood up for you, the taxpayer. Not one.

As you will recall from my previous posts, which you presumably print and pin to your bulletin board, renters comprise just under 66% of the population. At least, they did last time anyone did the computation. By now, however, they may constitute more than 66%, the magic threshold for a tax hike. (Click here to see my beautiful pie charts in my report to Clowncil Member Perry explaining why Measure H failed.)

As you will also recall from my previous posts, I saw this tax cut coming the moment I heard "Marshall Plan."

And just so we're clear: we don't need a tax hike; we don't need new programs; we need more police; we have more than enough money to hire plenty of police; and we had plenty of money long before the City illegally imposed the trash tax (by calling it a "fee"), ostensibly to hire more police.

The City, by the way, already has "23 scattered anti-gang programs it currently funds to the tune of $82 million a year." Did you get that? Each year, another $82 million disappears into these programs, yet we have a gang problem. So why in God's name would the "solution" be to pour another $50 million per year into these programs? Answer: because the City Clowncil's solution to EVERYTHING is always, "raise taxes, spend more." That way, they can give more of YOUR money to the people who REALLY get them elected: special interests that donate to their campaign funds.

Apparently the Clowncil is too chicken to put the tax hike on the May ballot, and is aiming for the next election thereafter. So gangs are a huge crisis, and we supposedly can't afford to stop them without a tax, but we'll wait a year or so to see about the necessary tax hike. Classic Clowncil.

Here's the L.A. Times article: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-gangs24jan24,0,485173.story?coll=la-home-headlines

Daily News version: http://www.dailynews.com/ci_5073135

Mayor Sam on the Air with Special Guest Zuma Dogg

The No Term Limits Work Out

Mayor Sam's buddy Jack Witt is one of LA's leading personal fitness trainers who counts among his clients some of the top business and community leaders in Los Angeles. He's also a super community minded guy who currently serves as President of the Universal City-North Hollywood Jaycees - the Valley's top leadership organization for young professionals - on the board of the Universal City-North Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, has been honored as the small businessman of the year by the United Chambers of the San Fernando Valley as well the Rotary Clubs of North Hollywood, Burbank, Studio City and Sherman Oaks.

This not a blog-o-mercial but a free service Jack is offering to all Mayor Sam's Sister City readers - the No Term Limits Workout. This workout was specifically designed for all of you folks couped in City Hall and elsewhere running the City everyday.

Los Angeles Fitness and Wellness Coach Jack Witt brings you Online Fitness Training. Free for Mayor Sam blog readers! Click here for your "No Term Limits Workout" of the week. Your Username is "mayorsam" and your Password is "results".

Public Comment for Wednesday

There's another school out there that is seeking to teach and preserve an ancient culture that lost its homeland and is fighting to keep its language, arts and tradition alive.

Unlike the shady victocrats at Academia Semillas de Pueblo, the operators of the Assyrian American Christian School are not asking the taxpayers to fund this. They are operating a private school that has big ambitions.

Public schools should focus on the basics of reading, 'riting and 'rithmetic - the base skills that will teach children how to learn further and survive in the world.

Culture, values, language and religion should be taught in the home and in private institutions like this.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Buy Zuma Dogg's Silence

If it's CD14, you know it's fun. The names change but the games stay the same. LA's wackiest Clowncil District continues on providing the same entertainment to the city it always has, back to the days of Richard Alatorre, to Arthur Snyder and perhaps even all the way back to Issac Colton Ash.

The latest fun surrounds accusations against current Councilman Jose Huizar who is seeking re-election, by his former staffer turned election opponent, Alvin Parra. The accusations, made in both a local publication and a flyer that was distributed which include claims that Huizar refused to act on staff recommendations to take action on a convicted child molestor in the District, among other claims of, as Zuma would say, "shadiness and corruption." Central to the view of many in Huizar's District - and claims from anonymous staff members - the Councilman is generally dis-engaged from his constituents and allegedly even went as far to ask his staff that he not meet with consituents other than high level local VIPs.

The information in the flyer and article were apparently so alarming to Huizar's Chief of Staff, Joe Avila, Zuma Dogg claims Avila called him Saturday evening to discuss and rebut the charges.

In the meantime, the usual cutting and pasting and dum dum blogging continued in the comments section of ZD's post and the Doggster went to battle with a good portion of the dum dums.

Then the following comment showed up:
Zuma dog (sic) be very very careful. You are playing in the big leagues and those of us who know when you go against Antonio and his boys they come down very hard on you. You won't see it coming but then all of a sudden BAM!!! They know you don't have a job so it won't surprise me if they try to pay you off to keep quiet. But know that there are some out there waiting for you to slip up. You are treading in dangerous waters. Don't be naive. Listen to the Capt. Everything on this has been said so if I were you I would move away from it.
Since Zuma Dogg doesn't get paid for his role as a citizen watchdog and needs money, we thought we better take up any offer to pay ZD off to be quiet. And this old, dead Republican mayor who spends quite a bit of his precious time blogging with hardly any recompense is looking to share in any funds earned from selling Zuma's silence.

To better facilitate this once in a lifetime transaction, we are now selling Zuma Dogg's silence on Ebay. The auction will only last for the next week (or before Ebay pulls it) but hey this is capitalism at it's finest.

Home Depot: For Sunland and Beyond?

According to a report by KNBC, Home Depot not only plans to build in Sunland-Tujunga but all over Los Angeles. In fact, Home Depot is prepared to double the number of stores they have in the city. Given that, its unlikely the retailer is going to take the attacks from the NIMBYs in S-T sitting down and will go "balls to the wall" to win the day.

In the meantime, proponents of the Home Depot store are alleging that the "No on Home Depot" campaign is funded by a local "Do It" center store, a competitor to the hardware chain. There seems to be some indication that the competitive chain may very well be providing resources to the anti-Home Depot campaign.

The anti-Home Depot website asks for donations and has a PayPal button. Will the leaders of this campaign open up their books and confirm or deny the reports of contributions from Home Depot's competitors?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Mayor Sam's Hotsheet for Tuesday

Mayor Villaraigosa and Chief Bratton were heckled and booed by a handful of homelessness advocates during the groundbreaking ceremony for the $231 million LAPD headquarters project Monday afternoon.

Tuesday Mayor Villaraigosa will be attending the National Summit of Mayors Against Illegal Guns and then will sit in the gallery during President Bush's State of the Union address.

Candidates in the 6th Council District race will debate each other on a televised candidates' forum this Friday, January 26, 2007 from 6:30 pm to 7:00 pm. The program will be aired on Time Warner Cable public access, Channel 25, in the East San Fernando Valley.

Los Angeles - along with Chicago - have both sumbitted bids to host the 2016 Olympics. LA is banking on its succesful experience hosting both the 1932 and 1984 games and the fact that practically all of the facilities needed for the games are already built. LA Voice - which has typically not been keen on LA hosting the games - is dubious of efforts to do the Olympics on the cheap. However, the final decision won't be made by the International Olympic Committee until 2009.

Zach Behrens - author of the In The (Sherman) Oaks Blog - also serves on his local neighborhood council. As a dedicated member and respresentative of his community Behrens drove the neigborhood to get a first hand view of the state of the community. When I went through community economic development training at the Local Initiatives Support Corporation one of the tools we learned was a "dashboard survey." Kudos to Zach!

Plans are underway to possibly convert the 42 story former AT&T Building in Downtown LA to condos, marking the tallest such project in city history. LA Voice asks the question "How many condos can Downtown support?" The answer: As many as people will buy.

Steve Hymon asks if voters are willing to okay a tax to pay for extending the Red Line from downtown to Santa Monica. Though the Red Line extension is a good idea to help build out the system and make it worthwhile for a chunk of folks to use, we already passed a tax for mass transit back in the 80s but Zev Yarovslasky stole it in the 90s to pay for indigent health care. Lets get that back if we want to build a subway.

Zuma Dogg has the hots for City Controller Laura Chick?

Franklin Avenue reports that Conoco-Phillips will save some of the classic orange "Union 76" balls after all.