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Friday, November 30, 2007

After the Rain

JM, Townsend Avenue, EagleRock, 11.30.07

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Why So Bitter Bernie?

We reported yesterday that Clowncilman Bernard Parks has managed to get his colleague Jan Perry to join in his protracted battle against the Los Angeles Police Department's 3/12 work schedule in which officers are able to work three 12 hour shifts a week.

The plan is highly popular among officers who can not afford housing within Los Angeles and live in cheaper environs far away such as Santa Clarita, San Bernardino, Simi Valley, etc. Its a lot easier to do a two hour commute three times a week instead of five. And it gives them time to connect with their families, relax and refresh for their time on duty.

This time Bitter Bernie® finds himself bitch-slapped by none other than the LAPD Wife. The Bitterman is still so hurt that he was fired by Mayor Hahn - even though Hahn was booted as Mayor and Bernie's now on the Council - he seems hellbent on a mission to destroy the LAPD fueled by his resentment of current Chief William Bratton and his hatred of the Police Protective League. As the wife writes:

"At times it's hard to remember that Bernard Parks was once the chief of the LAPD and a career officer himself. Now a city council member, he is often at the front in criticizing, lambasting and blaming the department for any number of woes as well as proposing cuts to finances, recruitment and other ideas for improving the department or dept morale."

Jan Perry you already have people laughing at you for trying to ban fast food when you have too much junk in your trunk. Don't make people think you're a total fool by joining this malcontent and his vendetta.

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Usually the Los Angeles City Council is preoccupied with things like condemning the war in Iraq and banning offensive words.

Interestingly however they managed to find some time to address an issue that many folks would consider right in the Clowncil's bailiwick - declaring gang violence a top threat.

"We made a promise to the taxpayers that we will have accountability at every level. We need to develop programs that convince young people to do more than say no to drugs. They need to say no to gangs."
Councilman Tony Cardenas

Many of the Council Members said the type of things you would hope they would. Its just that we'd like to able to believe them.

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Mayor Sam's Hotsheet for Friday

Well known Silver Lake activist Jason Lyon was booted from the local neighborhood council when city arbiter Michael de la Rocha ruled that Lyon had allegedly violated election rules by using a neighborhood council email list to campaign for office. At the same time the arbiter strongly urged DONE to develop stricter rules around the use and maintenance of such lists.

The next time you hear a politician saying we need money for government services and we need to raise taxes, remember this bit of news: A county agency spent $1.2 million on printer toner in one month - enough toner to last for four years, except the toner only has a shelf life of two.

Here's the latest on the Coliseum-USC battle: 1) The Mayor throws the Coliseum under the bus, 2) The LA Times is worried the stadium will become a relic and 3) County Supervisor Don Knabe may be worried he's not going to get free SC home games tix anymore.

Some goofy liberals think that building major housing developments without parking will get people to ride buses. Other goofy liberals think that same plan is part of some conspiracy to make driving and parking only for the rich.

Skid Row has been a seething urine-soaked cesspool for decades. Now, artists, developers and others are coming in to clean up the place and make it livable. For some reason that's considered evil. What's really evil is that the homeless - of whom 90% are mentally ill and in need of institutionalization - are allowed to be homeless and are enabled in their socially and personally destructive behaivors by the liberal elites in this city.

Fresh off his street sweeping performance, Clown Prince of the City Clowncil Tom LeBong is the latest elected after your wallet. Once content with only putting lights on statues in dangerous parks, LeBong wants a parcel tax for transit.

Thanks to the amazing efforts of several companies of Los Angeles Fire Department firefighters, a building in the Fashion District was save major damage when hit by a recent blaze.

Once again in the news, Rodney King was apparently shot in the face with some type of gun in San Bernardino. King's injuries were minor and he was sent home following treatment.

CurbedLA wonders if the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in Downtown LA is cool or not. As a kid when the hotel was new, I remember getting a big kick out of riding the vacuum tube looking glass elevators than run on the outside of the building.

We cried foul when Tom LeBong got the City to pony up a few hundred grand for the Hollywood Santa Parade at the same time funding was cut for the pedal boats at MacArthur and Echo Parks, something enjoyed by low-income families. A Christmas Miracle has happened because once again the City figured how to bring the boats back.

No, it has nothing to do with his recent breakup with his soncha, but Mayor Villraigosa is getting an AIDS test. Yea, its another photo op but maybe it will do some good to encourage testing. Though I can't imagine too many people are sitting around saying "Well I should have an AIDS test but I wasn't going to hassle with it. But I'm going to get one now that Mayor Villaraigosa got one!"

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Uno de cada ocho

As far as I could tell, La Opinión was the only local quotidien pescados-wrap today to put the big national immigration study on the primera pagina.

Según estudio, uno de cada ocho residentes en Estados Unidos es inmigrante, la cantidad más elevada de los últimos 80 años...

The Center for Immigration Studies, a right-leaning DC thinktank, painted a fairly dystopic view. To the two of you sweethearts still hanging on to your fearless national leader, it can't be good for you that both immigration and illegal immigration has climbed over these past seven years to heights unseen in modern times.

USA Today's predictably droll version is here. It says that the study concludes that undereducated immigrants hurt the country. What sounds reactionary in Los Angeles sounds believable elsewhere.

The nation's lone remaining serious fishwrap of record says that:

Immigration over the past seven years was the highest for any seven-year period in American history, bringing 10.3 million new immigrants, more than half of them without legal status, according to an analysis of census data released today by the Center for Immigration Studies in Washington.

One in eight people living in the United States is an immigrant, the survey found, for a total of 37.9 million people — the highest level since the 1920s.

Boldface mine. If this is considered a "problem" for most of the rest of the country---wouldn't it stand to figure that it's a matter of considerable interest for LA? Just wondering out loud.

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Caption this!!! Brought to you by the L.A. Times

It seems that the scribes at the "OLD GREY HAG ON SPRING STREET" have lately been engage in a internal quest to print photographs of the "POLITICO FORMERLY KNOWN AS MAYOR ANTONIO VILLARAIGOSA, tony villar", in less than Mayoral pose.
Some of these recent photos reinforce a perception that we elected a "OFFICIAL COURT JESTER", not the Mayor of the second largest city in the United States.
Here is the Times latest offering, you provide the caption.

Enjoy your lunch.
For more, go to the "John and Ken" link and click on to the "HALL OF VILLAR".

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Mayor Sam's Hotsheet for Thursday

Red Spot had it here yesterday - USC sick of the crap they're getting from the Coliseum Commission in negotiations for a new lease to play football in the stadium may bolt for the Rose Bowl. The Trojans are proposing a 10 year $100 million deal to repair the Coliseum themselves and take over its management. The Commission is holding to some pipe dream that NFL football is coming and only want to rent to USC for home games only. The idiots on the Commission need to wake up and realize what a major loss it would be for USC to leave LA and reward them for their decades long loyalty. Fight on!

Ten years later and Bernie is still bitter about the LAPD's "3-12" schedule that allows officers to work three days a week if they work 12 hour shifts. The plan is popular with officers. Many officers can not afford to live within city limits and live far from where they work. Fighting traffic three times a week instead of five is less stressful. Giving them four days to rest extends their usefulness. This time though Bitter Bernie managed to drag Jan Perry away from banning fast food long enough to mess with the cops.

Most readers know the old, dead Republican Mayor is the first to pounce on Clowncil members when they do or say anything remotely stupid. However writing about Wendy Greuel's "transportation mission statement" Boi From Troy was a bit over the top in comparing her comments to "something the pointy-haired boss would think up in a Dilbert cartoon." Actually in calling for the outline of plan with measurable goals and metrics Greuel is actually quite businesslike. Still busted up about Lloyd Levine getting hitched Scott?

Saturday is the 52nd anniversary of Rosa Parks' bold stand for civil rights when she fought segregation in the South. The County of Los Angeles has declared it 'Rosa Parks Day" but so far the Los Angeles City Council has not yet done the same. With only one more Council meeting left before the day they better get around to it soon. They can fine time to condemn our country and vote against the war but seem to have a hard time honoring a real American hero.

Roy Disney has a major share in the family business, The Walt Disney Company who counts among it's many subsidiaries ABC. No wonder he's opposed to NBC Universal's plan to build a new facility at the Universal City Metro station. How old is this guy anyway? Why does he care about traffic that's 5-10 years away?

What's this? Mayor V - National Chairman of Hillary Rodham Clinton's Presidential Campaign - showing up in a Barack Obama press release?

Ann Cottrell - congratulations you've just become the 10,000th passenger to fly out of LA/Palmdale Regional Airport - what are you going to do now? Shake Mayor Villaraigosa's hand!

A Green Party blogger finds Mayor Villaraigosa's Million Trees program a "bone headed idea."

And finally - no jokes please; Gloria Molina is spending hundreds of thousands of tax dollars to build designated County "fitness zones."

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Photo of the Day: Tom LaBonge Gets A New Job

Not really. Here Zuma Dogg's favorite Clowncilman stages a photo op at the opening of the NoHo Business Improvement District's office.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Studio City vs. Iowa vs. Sunland Tujunga

Anonymous said...

Seems dyslexia and illiteracy are spreading with greater contagion than obesity in the hood or at the bargain buffets at the cheap hotels in Vegas. Or Iowa. (Hey, Sam, are people fatter there?)

Mayor Sam said...

In general people in Iowa are fatter than people in Silverlake, West Hollywood or Studio City, but thinner than people in Granada Hills, Sunland Tujunga or Santa Clarita.


Management diminishes writer's strike impact

Alert the media! Management prof diminishes union strike impact!

No, you can't make it up. Variety gives the full force of its trade voice today to a...school of...management...prof...who (worthlessly) guesses that the economic impact of the strike is likely to be a mere third of current estimates.

Any union voices in that article? Any purpose whatsoever to comparing the length of the strike in 1988 to the (unknown) length of the strike 2007, other than to shortchange the striker's side?

I sure hope those striking writers let Variety know how they feel about such fair and balanced articles.

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Wednesday Hotsheet at 3 a.m.

When I first heard about the Glendale tree-trimming fiasco, it was from a friend, and I simply presumed she had her facts wrong. She didn't, and today Steve Lopez writes it up.

But it's not so very different from what goes on in the City of Los Angeles every day via its kleptocratic business tax program.

Many citizens of LA have been blindsided by the LA "business" tax in which the City Clerk fails to distinguish very well between an enterpreneur and an employee. If you have a desk in someone else's office and work for them, you're probably an employee, but if they pay you via 1099 the City presumes you're a "business owner" and liable to pay business tax.

Of course, the City doesn't bother to review your case or your claim if you simply dutifully pay your bill. So before you pay your bill, and even before you plead your case to the City, get some advice from an accountant about it.

Did you read that on the City's page linked above? "Revenue generated by this program will be used to fund future business tax reform and affordable housing." The money, in short, goes to perpetuate the kleptocratic program itself, and the rest of it goes to the same damn developers who sponsor your City Councilpeople and Mayor.

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LAUSD has hired two image consultants. Strangely, one of them will receive almost the exact same salary a City Councilperson receives: $178,000 for a year's work.

Supe David Brewer blames the expenditure on quotidien fishwraps; they "love to focus on all the negative going on in the district" he says.

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Transpo Committee Chair Wendy Greuel says that we need to get people out of their cars, and el Alcalde fully supports that, the Daily News says. And? Next steps, anyone? There aren't any, so it looks like they're going in for another big round of paperwork, probably driving in their cars to dozens of meetings and photo-ops to put a strategic plan together.

Remember, with the City, it's not actually doing something, it's creating the illusion of doing something that matters.

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The old NBC Burbank site is indeed being bought by M. David Paul and Associates, the biggest player in Burbank.

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I've never seen my name floated before for anything, so this was fun. But I could imagine Council voting up or down on yours truly.

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Nine for DONE General Manager Post

Following the sad passing of DONE General Manager Dr. Carol Baker Tharp, speculation has turned to who will assume her role at the Department. Assistant DONE General Manager BongHwan Kim has been appointed Interim General Manager by Mayor Villaraigosa, however several leaders throughout Los Angeles have expressed concern that Baker Tharp's successor have the mettle to continue the work she had just barley got started. Rather than yet another faceless bureaucrat or a divisive manager such as predecessor Lisa Sarno, a good, solid, bold pick must be made to fill the top post at DONE.

In creating a list of possible candidates, I've separated the group into safe but solid picks, big and bold choices and a short list of dark horse possibilities. They are as follows:

Dr. Raphael J. Sonenshein - professor of political science at Cal State Fullerton, the Princeton-Yale educated Sonenshein was the executive director of the Appointed Charter Reform Commission which eventually birthed Neighborhood Councils. Gentlemanly and wise, Sonenshein literally wrote the book on charter reform and it's attendant issues, The City at Stake: Secession, Reform, and the Battle for Los Angeles.

Joe Hicks - Vice President of Community Advocates, Inc. and KFI talk radio host, Hicks was the Executive Director of the Los Angeles City Human Relations Commission, where he served from 1997 to 2001 under Mayor Richard Riordan. In the early 1990s, Hicks was Executive Director of the Greater Los Angeles chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). Thoughtful with an evolving philosophy, Hicks' roots in LA are deep and could be the right guy for the job.

Linda Griego - President/CEO of Griego Enterprises Inc. which develops television programming through Zapgo Entertainment Group. Griego has had stints as the interim president and chief executive officer of the Los Angeles Community Development Bank, president and chief executive officer of Rebuild LA and a deputy mayor of Los Angeles. In 1993, Griego was the first major female candidate for Mayor of Los Angeles. As well, she serves on a number of major corporate boards such as CBS and City National Bank. Griego has developed strong ties in the corporate, government and non-profit worlds which could help take DONE and the Neighborhood Councils to the next level.

Dr. Denise Fairchild - Executive director of the Community Development Technologies Center, she has more than 30 years experience in the private, nonprofit and public sector. Previously Fairchild was Director of the Los Angeles Local Initiatives Support Corporation. Fairchild even considered running against Herb Wesson for the City Council but withdrew from the race to join the Mayor Villaraigosa's transition team. Recognized nationally as an expert in community development, Fairchild is a natural heir to Dr. Tharp.

If the Mayor didn't want to go with one of the safe picks noted above, he could go a different direction and pick a big name (and in this case big men) to really shake things up at DONE.

Huell Howser - The KCET host and television producer knows LA and its people inside out. For over twenty-five years Tennessee native Howser has prowled LA and has met its people of every stripe and station, first for CBS-TV and later for public television. As seen on his prolific library of television programs, Howser has an unshakable love for Los Angeles and those who live here. With a degree in history from the University of Tennessee (where he served as student body president), Howell worked for US Senator Howard Baker and has held posts on many boards and commissions over the years. Uber friendly with a slightly goofy side, the super smart Howser could be a great face for citizen leadership.

Bob Hertzberg - The former State Assembly Speaker and Valley based candidate for Mayor is a serious policy wonk and probably knows the City Charter more than just about anyone. His idea for a borough system for Los Angeles could be the next step for Neighborhood Councils. A successful attorney and entrepreneur, the job would represent a serious cut in pay for the man who likes to hug, but the challenge nonetheless would be attractive to him. Charismatic and unflappable Hertzberg could also be a great spokesman for DONE.

Finally, if the Mayor felt like going in a completely different direction and bring in someone unknown to the public but still well known to local leaders, he could select one of the following:

Joseph Mailander - Our fellow "blogging burro," is a native Angeleno who has quite frankly seen and done it almost all. Writer, artist, bank executive, owner of publishing imprint St. Genevieve Press, Mailander is beyond thoughtful; one would not be incorrect to call him a genius. Frequently sought by local blogs and publications for his reasoned insight about life in LA, Joseph leans to the left but doesn't lock step when he feels the orthodoxy has to be challenged. Mailander would be a quiet revolutionary who could bring the discussion at Neighborhood Councils to a new level.

Edward Headington - Principal of Headington Media Group and longtime friend to the Sister City, Headington has a breadth of experience in the public and private sector with significant leadership and communications expertise. Educated at USC and George Washington University, Headington has worked for elected officials such as former Mayor Richard Riordan, Councilmember Cindy Miscikowski and State Senator Gilbert Cedillo. Headington was the Public Affairs Manager for the National Small Business Association in Washington, DC. He's served up political opinion for MSNBC, NPR, the Daily News and several other media outlets. For some time, Edward has had an association with Coro Southern California, the public affairs organization, where he worked with Baker Tharp during her days as their Executive Director. Currently Headington is working on a book that looks at the nexus between politics, communications and image management. Diplomatic with a sense of humor, Headington represents the best of the leadership of Generation X and could potentially engage young professionals who are often not represented at the table.

Kim Thompson - Referred to as the North Valley's version of Erin Brockovich, Kim Thompson started out as a mom and housewife that stepped up when she saw something happening that she didn't like. Fighting against the Sunshine Canyon Landfill and more recently the Las Lomas mega-development and a proposed addition to Providence Holy Cross Hospital, Thompson is a quick study who can quote the details from EIRs and MNDs like there's no tomorrow. A feisty fighter who doesn't give up - and with extensive Neighborhood Council experience of her own - Thompson could be the "everywoman" leader of DONE who could speak the language of most NC members better than anyone.

It's likely the Mayor will choose none of these, but we challenge him and his staff to study each of these individuals and consider pressing them into service.

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Bachelor to Marry; May Soon Need Nanny

We had it here when they went on one of their first dates at Spataro; but now its official: a local pol is marrying a television journalist.

No, not this politician nor this (now former) journalist, but none other than our favorite backstabbing patron saint of the nanny state and soon to be former bachelor, Assemblyman Lloyd Levine and his lady friend Sacramento TV news reporter Edie Lambert.

With a failing campaign to overtake Fran Pavely for a Democratic State Senate nomination, the boy had to do something quick. Getting engaged to a pretty young girl is a good story.

What I don't get is why Boi from Troy is implying that Levine was considered to perhaps be playing for another team. What does Scott know and when (or who) did he know it?

By the way reports say that romantic Lloyd asked Edie to marry him on a flight back home over Thanksgiving.

Will the wedding be carbon neutral and the bride wear a recycled wedding gown? Time will tell.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

USC considering a move to the Rose Bowl ?

Allow for this thought, would the University of Southern California, aka USC, leave the Coliseum for the Rose Bowl ?

Before you dismiss outright this question, consider the fact that USC and one of the historically inept public commission, the Coliseum Commission, have been deadlock on a future lease agreement for USC Football.
This impasse has the University engaging Pasadena about playing future home games in the Rose Bowl as early as Fall of 2008. The deadlock between the University and the Coliseum Commission centers around the lease proposal by USC to be the "feature tenant" in exchange for a 10 year lease deal that would see USC commit $100 million dollars toward stadium renovations. The University also wants the exclusive rights to market the Coliseum for events such as concerts and other special events.
The Coliseum Commission for their part are clinging to some forlorn hope that the NFL will listen to the likes of Councilman Bernard Parks and relocate a team to the historic stadium. Thus do not want to give USC the "feature role" at this time.
It is this type of "myopic vision and foresight" that chased the formerly "Los Angeles Rams" to Anaheim in 1979. UCLA then lefted for Pasadena soon after. Then after luring Nate Holden's favorite team , the Oakland Raiders south in 1982, cause Al Davis to take $9 Million to look at some Gravel Pit in Irwindale and scamper back to the Bay area in 1995.
If USC were to leave the Coliseum for Pasadena, this would deal a potentially fatal blow to the revitalization of the "Figueroa Corridor".
So for all sports fans and especially the "Trojan Family", will USC "fight on" in the Coliseum ? Or will the Coliseum Commission solidify itself as the "Champion of Ineptness" ?
I think that "Gravel Pit" in Irwindale is still avalible

Afternoon Update: USC- Rose Bowl Talks involve 1-year deal

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Mayor Sam's Hotsheet for Tuesday

Duke Helfand writing in the Former Fishwrap of Record says that Mayor Villaraigosa "faces a steep climb to California's top job." A number of self inflicted wounds have proably derailed his efforts to seek the Governor's seat in 2010 and greased the skids for others such as former Governor and current Attorney General Jerry Brown. Of course, I told you that months ago.

Mayor Villaraigosa and Wacko Jacko announced a plan to make Pico and Olympic virtually one way streets in opposite directions in an attempt to deal with traffic. Riddle me this Batman, if the same number of cars more or less travel in different directions on each street, isn't this like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic? The cars have to go one place or another. The answer isn't changing direction but reducing the number of cars, one way or another. Stakeholders in the area claim that the Mayor and Jacko have done little to consult the community on the plan.

Walter Moore asks "Has Mayor Villaraigosa really reduced crime?" Good question, as the Mayor and Chief Bratton blow each other's horns falling crime rates are really based on a long term demographic shift and efforts taken back during the Clinton Administration. Nice try boys.

Not only is Sunland-Tujunga unfriendly to business, but formerly Republican Orange County has also caught NIMBY fever. Its so virulent that while folks in Huntington Beach are fighting a Costco in their city, BANANAs in neighboring Westminister are joining the fight. Perhaps some CAVEs from the Valley might want to join in.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson writes about a growing resentment among African Americans that Latino politicians are eerily silent on Hispanic gangs that have targeted Blacks with violence.

Urban legends to the contrary, public officials in both cities say that Los Angeles is not paying low income residents from housing projects such as Nickerson Gardens to move to Moreno Valley in the Inland Empire.

In celebration of the Dodger's 50th anniversary in Los Angeles, the baseball team will play an exhibition game versus the World Champion Boston Red Sox at the Los Angeles Coliseum, the team's home before Dodger Stadium was built.

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Monday, November 26, 2007

Valley VOTE on Private Property Rights

According to a Wall Street Journal editorial and Valley VOTE treasurer Vic Viereck, individual property rights are the basis for the great economic success of the United States of America. The consequence of when groups try to deprive individuals of their property rights is lack of availability of resources provided by industrious people. Due to the City of Los Angeles' rental housing policies, the city's scarcity of housing has been severely aggravated.

Locally, the opposition to condo conversions effectively demonstrates that problem. Another local example of promoting group over individual rights is a campaign against the Weddington Golf and Tennis property in Studio City. Since 1955 the Weddington family has provided the Studio City community the opportunity to play golf and tennis there. With the May 31, 2007 expiration of the lease on the property the owners have plans to update the existing driving range, rebuild the 17 tennis courts, install a new golf putting green, and provide a new club house on 70% of the land. On only the remaining 30% of the property a 272-unit first class senior citizen condo development is planned. But the Studio City Resident's Association seems to forget that it is not their land, but privately owned land. They want to deprive the property owners of the American right to improve their own property for the golfers and tennis players, provide comfortable living accommodations for local seniors, and significantly improve the tax base and revenue.

Says Viereck: When initiatives are on the ballot, such as those that profess to prevent eminent domain abuses, it's necessary to determine which one protects the rights of all property owners

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DONE GM, Carol Baker Tharp dead at 55

City of Los Angeles Department of Neighborhood Enpowerment General Manager, Carol Baker Tharp, lost her battle with cancer Sunday at the age of 55.

Just hired in Febuary, Tharp went on Medical Leave soon after with a reccurence of cancer.

Mayor Villaraigosa has decreed that city flags be flown at "half-staff" in her honor.
Before accepting the DONE position, Tharp was a professor at USC. Our prayers go out to her family.

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Monday Late Morning Media Wrap

Just when you thought you've seen everything: the Times blows the cover off of senior nooky.

Oh, well. At least they are writing more directly to readership.

[And apologies to Albert Brooks in BroadcastNews.]

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BTW, MayorSam's Hotsheet for Monday is here, in case you missed it. He bottlecapped it with a few of his own posts, including one about that damn parade the City "saved" at your expense because it affords yet another tv and print photoop for otherwise unknown City pols. Tom LaBonge, Rip Torn---that's about right.

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Tony Castro had a good piece this morning on something we discussed here in (rather snippy) comments a few days ago: the Democratizing of the Valley. Coincidence? Valley Dems organizers are part Deaniac alums, part peaceniks, part union, part the burgeoning Latino population, and certainly a force all around. I still don't believe that the English-speaking Valley is Democratic, but at this point that's just anecdotal conjecture. One thing for sure: activist Chad Jones' spin "We don't know how things are supposed to be" is very recruit-savvy.

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Conversely---what's wrong with this former fishwrap of record piece on Antonio no longer being a frontrunner for Governor? What isn't? It's twenty inches devoted to speculation about speculation about something that may or may not happen in 2010.

So never believe it when a Times news editor says, "Oh, we don't have the space to cover that." They don't have the space to cover yesterday's local horse races in any meaningful way, but they'll cover the 2010 Governor's race---for which nobody has declared a thing, other than their boredom with it---in 2007.

Jeezo pizo. Even when trying to be critical, the awestruck Times scribes continue to get spun out of their shorts by Team Tony.

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Santa Parade Attendance Falls Short

As predicted here on the Sister City by Joseph Mailander the parade attracted nowhere near the quarter of a million spectators the city said it would. Attendance was tripled over last year for the rebranded Hollywood Santa Parade (formerly known as the Hollywood Christmas Parade), now a city funded project.

The parade, formerly sponsored by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, had once seen crowds of 500,000. The Chamber dropped the parade when attendance dwindled down to 15,000 and it became a money loser.

Production of the parade was continued by the same firm - Pageantry Productions - some Chamber insiders said was part of the cause for the fiscal woes of the parade. The firm is owned by Bill Lomas, reportedly a close associate of Parade booster Councilman Tom LaBonge.

Now don't get me wrong, the old, dead Republican Mayor loves parades and wish there were more of them. But its not the function of the City to organize or pay for them.

Some of the boosters of the parade think this parade could be on the same level as the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York or the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena. It actually once was many years ago, but LA has changed since.

But its just not going to happen. LA is not New York. We have no central gathering places like Broadway and 34th Street. The New York parade has the support of a major corporation. The Rose Parade is produced by the amazing Tournament of Roses organization that has decades of experience - and its tied into one of the most significiant television sporting events - the Rose Bowl football game.

Both parades take place in towns that have strong civic pride. LA does not. Also both parades occur on a holiday when people are home and watching TV. The LA parade takes place on a Sunday when people are wrapping up a long holiday weekend and getting ready for work the next day.

The ideal thing for the parade would be for the Hollywood studios to take over as promoters (similar to Macy's) and host it on another date.

In the meantime how about if LaBonge focuses on more important things in his district like traffic, crime, etc.

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Like Bustamante, Jan Perry Could Lead by Dieting

It's no surprise that a dietitian from that hot bed of nanny-state socialism, UC Berkeley, has a screed in Sunday's Daily News supporting Goofy Jan Perry's plan to ban fast food in South Central. Juliet Sims says that "South L.A. residents bear the burden of a toxic-food environment while nearby communities have access to better food." Sims seems to think its the work of a racist cabal that seeks to foist high fat, mega-caloric food on minorities.

Like Perry, Sims doesn't get the fact that its simply a function of the market. Where there is demand, product is sold. For whatever reason, a large percentage of people who live in South Central don't want to purchase what could be considered healthy food. When fast food outlets offer "healthier" choices they find sales of these items are very low.

Here is a collection of various views on Perry's proposal.

Forcing people to get thin by government fiat is not going to be successful. I speak from personal experience; I was able to change my eating habits and enjoy significant success without municipal assistance. Our leaders need to lead by example and educate the citizenry to make better choices. Indeed, Cruz Bustamante did that very thing. Perhaps Perry should be dieting rather than going on a legislative binge.

By the way if you want tips on how to eat healthy at a fast food place, click here.

Perry would be far better off working to ban crime, violence and irresponsible behavior in her district. But that doesn't get you on CNN.

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Mayor Sam's Hotsheet for Monday

City Planner Jack Chiang - following a bonehead call to an opponent of a development project in Valley Village - has been taken off the project, pending the development of a "code of conduct" by the City Planning Department. In the meantime, writing at LAist Zach Behrens picks up on spin on the matter from the City Attorney's office.

Writer Earl Ofari Hutchinson takes the City Council to task for the current budget mess. Hutchinson says the city has been on a "runaway train" when it comes to spending, one "jampacked with big salary increases for city officials and managers, out-of-control spending on construction projects, and ballooning workers' comp and pension payouts."

Zuma Dogg and friends offer Sister City readers a new service, stock picks and investment strategy. Chat it up here.

Capitol Weekly calls into question the tribal legitimacy of the Santa Ynez Chumash Indians, owners of the Chumash Casino near Solvang. As well, they make the claim that Tribal Chairman Vincent Armenta has a minimal amount of Native American blood and can't even trace his roots back to the tribe.

Yet another dream transit map over at LAist.

The Long Beach Press Telegram editorializes in favor of the Long Beach City Council cutting back on public comment. Among the moves taken by the Council; removing the ability of citizen comments to take items separately much like the filing of public comment cards call an item "special" in Los Angeles.

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Sunday, November 25, 2007

NEW Website Resource Page For Stock Investors & Global Economic Trends

To: All Mayor Sam Readers
Fr: Zuma Dogg
Re: Financial Markets/Global Economic Trends/Your Portfolio
Dt: 11/25/07

I know a lot of people reading are investors in the stock and other financial markets. And, I know a lot of investors subscribe to a "buy and hold" strategy, because they are in it for the "long-run".

However, I think the time is now to start monitoring the markets and your portfolio with a little more frequency than in previous times. Zuma Dogg is elevating the "investors alert" level a couple notches. StrategyUpdate.com was created to allow you to more closely monitor the markets, and provide basic, fundamental (yet somehow innovative) investment strategies to help you avoid the financial land mines in this volatile market.

(I have a feeling even the harshest of ZD critics will be able to appreciate this site. No need to thank me. I simply put it together for myself, so I could have all the links I use each day, in one place.)

Make sure you check out all the videos from Jim Cramer, Fast Money, TheStreet.com, Dr. Deming and of course...ah hem...Big ZD. (And the site was even designed so haters can easily avoid the ZD videos!)

It's one simple page you can go to for links to videos, live TV streams, news wires, updates and analysis. A one-stop resource page for financial investors in a global economy. (Laugh all you want anti-zd spinners, you will be addicted to the page in no time. I wish I could block yo azzes off the site!)



Click here for StrategyUpdate.com.



Sunday Morning Mimosa

JM, Birds on a wire, Rowena and Hyperion, 11.19.07

Malibu Corral Fire could be up to 50% contained today, AP reports. Forty-nine homes have been destroyed.

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Gated community? Playa Capital Company (which you know as Playa Vista) suddenly erected a six-foot fence on its south side, to keep Cabora Road hikers out. The development cites leashless dogs as the reason. But most dogs can't get over a three-foot fence---why six feet, one hiker wonders.

At the go-to Westchester blog, "Westchester Parents," a commenter says, "I just got back from a walk, and laid eyes on this fence for the first time. I nearly gagged. I had to temper my reaction because my kids were there… but this is COMPLETELY outrageous...." The blog says the fence purportedly went up because of the persistent complaints of a single person, a professor at LMU.

You're inclined to wonder: the City's leash law is not enforced in Pacific Palisades, in Woodland Hills, even on the sidewalks of Los Feliz---why should it be so strictly enforced on the bluffs of Westchester?

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That guy at the Westchester blog is also a bit of a water wonk.

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LAOpera: La Boheme opens today at the Dorothy Chandler, 2 p.m. curtain, for a run that will extend through December 16. Don Giovanni opened last night and runs through December 15.

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The Los Angeles Times ed and op-ed page will not dramatically change with the departure of Matt Welch. But the editorial department will be diminished by the fact that there is one less editorial voice at the paper who cares about local issues.

Before Matt's arrival, it wasn't unusual to see an entire Sunday paper devoid of local editorial commentary. That changed when Matt got there, and the City was a bit better off because of it.

Senor Welch from his libertarian POV also was one distinct editorial voice willing to look at the proceedings of the Mayor's office with a circumspect eye. Expect fewer qualms over supporting new costly city bonds issues from the Mattless Times.

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Finally, here's a retraction and a regret: I have implied in the past few days that the Daily News might be looking for a City editor. That's not true at all. By all accounts and every measure, Judi Erickson has been doing an enormously great job as City editor at the Daily News since her promotion in September; word even came that she was in on her day off yesterday to handle the Corral Fire story. I regret implying anything contrary to the fact that Everyone Loves Judi.

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Saturday, November 24, 2007

Not Again!

From CNS

A wind-driven brushfire that started near the top of Corral Canyon overnight destroyed about 35 multimillion-dollar homes in the Malibu Bowl area today as the fire moved south and west.

The fire broke out about 3:30 a.m. near the top of Corral Canyon about 3:30 a.m., when winds out of the north and northeast were gusting up to about 60 mph.

Due to the high winds, spot fires started jumping well ahead of the main front, and soon several large homes along Newell Road in the Malibu Bowl area were in flames. Some homes in Latigo Canyon also burned.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky says nearly 10,000 Malibu residents have been evacuated from Corral Canyon to Point Dume.

Coastal evacuees should go north to Channel Island High School, he says. Inland and canyon residents should go to Agoura Hills High School.

County fire Chief Michael Freeman says firefighters are working to keep the fire from crossing Kanan Dume Road.

He says power lines have fallen due to the fire, but the cause is unknown.

Arson investigators are working near the origin of the fire -- off the paved road at Corral Canyon Road and Castro Mountainway.

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I don't normally go in for this stuff but last month "psychic" Evelyn Paglini appeared on Coast to Coast AM recapping her accurate predictions of the major conflagrations we experienced last month that she made on the show earlier this year. At that time she "predicted" more fires in Southern California at the end of November, beginning of December - and she saw fires in the Hollywood Hills. Whether she's a quack or not, its not a bad idea to really adhere to those red flag days and other tips from the LAFD to prevent fires.

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Saturday Hotsheet at 3 a.m.

JM, Che da Man, 11.21.07

There used to be an immigration-experience mural on the Coronado palisade on Sunset Boulevard's south side in Silver Lake (around Benton); now there is a less WPAish, more intriguing anime-inspired mural, including the above detail. More of it here.

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Zahniser says the smouldering Mayor/Mirthala affair has been estinguished. But it's strange that you need anonymous sourcing to confirm as much; why do you have to whisper about the end of an affair?

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Son of Hugo's Plating: Downtown News has a great story this week about a guy on Lucas Avenue who never sold. He's 93 and has been there 52 years. The Downtown News also says that LA is back to booking major conventions at last, and there's a convenient, barebones downtown restaurant guide for your office manager's or mother-in-law's holiday planning (ours is at Taix, where in my opinion they do banquets best).

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Wait until voter-watchdog Bradblog gets ahold of this one: Sec of State Bowen's office has found a weak link in LA County voting system. It seems the ballot boxes can be opened and closed without detection.

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It's too bad nobody leapt forward to advance the name of MayorSam for Daily News City editor; between Sam and Orlov, there would certainly be some real discussions; even the interview process alone might afford a good meeting of minds---for both sides. I think our Dead Republican Mayor owes it to his City to apply.

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Friday, November 23, 2007

We Have Very Smart People Leading Our City


A Los Angeles City Council member apologized Wednesday to a handful of San Fernando Valley residents, saying a phone message left by a Planning Department employee -- suggesting the fix was in for a controversial Valley Village condominium project -- was not "business as usual" at City Hall.


Councilman Ed Reyes offered his "deepest apologies" one day after he heard a recording of a city planner who, thinking that he had called the 78-unit project's developer, promised it would be approved "no matter what."

Good way to stir up NIMBYs right before they slobber turkey and stuffing all over themselves.

City planner Jack Chiang mistakenly made the call last month to Van Nuys resident Marcelle Duncan, who filed a challenge to the Planning Commission's approval of the condominium project. Duncan said developer Gary Schaffel had failed to address traffic and relocation payments to evicted tenants.

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Friday Hotsheet, Open 4 a.m.

Photo: JM, Yellow Submarine, Echo Park , 11.20.07

What's the big deal about opening at 4 a.m.? I've been up at that hour for years.

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I keep wondering what's going to happen to Angelino Heights once they open up those streets they're currently laying down. That community is yuppie or worse at the top of the hill and tenement or worse at the bottom. And with traffic coming out of downtown what it is, you have to think that it's going to occur to more than one commuter to take a shortcut across those newly-connected old streets once they open up.

Calling Cap'n Jack: Still, the neighborhood's not without its enticements---the other day walking on Patton I saw what appeared to be a wrapped-up yellow submarine (above). Maybe Captain Jack Sparrow can tell us what gives here.

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I overheard the other night that Richard Meruelo wants to develop a 12-storey condo tower in Boyle Heights someplace near the coming Metro stop. With the eminent domain decision on Taylor Yard going against him, it wasn't a good week for the Meruelo hegemony. So good luck with that, and let us know how it works out for you.

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I'm admiring the Daily News local news coverage more all the time---and it started off high---but they should continue to question every single line of email that is sent to them by a City publicist/Council office. Or do they really think that 250,000 people are going to watch the Hollywood Santa Parade? Here's what 250,000 people in LA look like, and you just aren't going to see that in Hollywood.

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Oh, and here's an idea I heard: Alan Mittlestaedt for Daily News City editor. How does that work for you? I think he's too libertarian (and not moderate Republican enough) for general Valley tastes, but...read his 10 questions for Ace Smith if you doubt he's up to it.

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Are You Sure You Want to Fry That Turkey?

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

He's already got a bobblehead doll---what's next?

Best wishes to all this holiday weekend.


Pay Raise Score Card

The City is going broke but many of our elected officials feel it's justified to take a 4.16% pay raise, placing their salaries well above many local private executives. One even - Councilman Richard Alarcon - is brazenly declaring that he deserves the raise for how hard he works (see this story so you can say bullshit Richard). However a fairly politically astute group of local city leaders are forgoing the increase. And a few others are taking the half-ass measure of donating the raise to "charity."

Some time ago, the law was changed to tie Council Members' pay to judges, whose salary is set by the state, in order to prevent the Clowncil from giving themselves pay raises. Quote of the day once again goes to ex-motorcycle cop Denny "What Was He Thinking" Zine who told the Daily News "The real issue here is why are judges being paid so much?" Yea.

Here's a score card so you know who's who:

Declining the Raise: Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, City Controller Laura Chick; Council Members Wendy Greuel, Janice Hahn, Jack Weiss and Council President Eric Garcetti

Taking the Money and Running: City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo; Council Members Ed Reyes, Tom LaBonge, Bill Rosendahl, Jan Perry, Herb Wesson, Richard Alarcon and Tony Cardenas

"I work very hard for my district, seven days a week, every single holiday and most nights of the week."
Clowncilman Richard Alarcon

Half-Measure Not-Heroes (keeping the raise but giving to charity): Councilmen Dennis Zine, Jose Huizar

"The real issue here is why are judges being paid so much?"
Ex-Motorcycle Cop CM Denny Zine

AWOL: Councilmen Bernard Parks, Greig Smith

("Simpsonized" City Clowncil is the amazing work of David Markland of Metroblogging LA.)

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A Few Good Council Members

While I was on my "hiatus" several members of the City Council did something remarkable. They stood up to a hallelujah chorus of NIMBYs, CAVE People and BANANAs as well as the unions to support something the community needs - expanding the Providence Holy Cross Hospital in Mission Hills. At a time when hospitals are closing, emergency rooms are packed and health care is in a crisis - especially in the North Valley - Councilmembers Tony Cardenas, Wendy Greuel, Bernard C. Parks, Jan Perry and Greig Smith actually followed their convictions and blocked a stalling tactic by Councilman Richard Alarcon, who was seeking the block the hospital in his own district, one that doesn't have the health care options of tonier parts of Los Angeles.

They should be complimented. And Alarcon should be ashamed of himself for putting special interests ahead of his community.

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Mayor Sam's Hot Sheet for Wednesday

Cirque Du Soleil has signed a multi-year agreement to stage a new Hollywood themed show at the Kodak Theater. This agreement makes the exotic Canadian circus troupe the only other tenant at the struggling venue along with the Academy Awards. No event waivers though please. Of course Mayor V showed up at the photo op today; take a look at a weird ass photo of the Mayor and a "friend" from the LA Times via Franklin Avenue.

If you're part of the NIMBY, CAVE and/or BANANA movements this place sounds like utopia for granola loving liberals like you - a blogger lives in some unnamed city where Wal-Mart (mis-spelled Wallmart) is illegal, there's a Trader Joe's where one can sign petitions and developers who would build low-income housing are just not welcome.

If a department store put out a sign that said "No Wetback Documents Allowed" when it came to applying for credit there would be a firestorm. So why is it no one is disturbed by the actions of a furniture store near Washington, D.C. that is advertising "Credito sin papeles de gringo?" Racism is racism and both comments are equally offensive.

If you're thinking of deep frying your turkey, the LAFD suggests you think twice. Not only is it not that healthy, unless you have the right equipment, enough open space and know what you're doing its really dangerous. Every year we hear stories of someone who burns down their garage trying to cook their holiday bird in a vat of boiling oil. By the way, I like the way the LAFD is going about this - warning and educating people rather than the usual nanny state tactic of banning it.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Mayor Sam's Hotsheet for Tuesday

Corporate Welfare Report: The Dodgers and the Chicago White Sox are getting a free spring training facility courtesy of Arizona taxpayers. This ends decades that the Dodgers trained in Vero Beach, Florida at a facility they owned and had to pay taxes at.

Mickey Mouse has joined the NIMBY/CAVE/BANANA movement! That's right Disney is fighting mad that someone wants to build condos and apartments across the street from the Magic Kingdom in Anaheim - all because Disney was too punch drunk from their 50th anniversary celebration and stupidly brought in clueless executives from other parts of the company to run the park, one who had no idea how the politics in Orange County work. So what is Disney doing? Like the best of NIMBYs, they're seeking a political/legal solution.

The Daily News reports that fees paid by developers don't cover the cost of reviewing applications, effectively sticking taxpayers with the bill. However, if there wasn't so much waste, abuse and anti-business regulation surrounding development, this wouldn't be an issue.

Fellow Mirthala Banger Fabian Nunez has lost the support of the prison guards' union for his employment extension act, better known as Propostion 93, a term limits scam being hoisted on voters. Now this is because the prison guards are pissed about not getting the pay raise they wanted. However, it certainly doesn't hurt to have one of the most powerful public employee unions on the right side of an issue.

Post-Script: Special kudos to Joseph Mailander for providing as always insightful, interesting and often amusing contributions to the blog - and especially for stepping up when the old, dead Republican Mayor has been slacking off.

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Get A Mayor V Bobblehead!

Okay, I think I am just going to say nothing. But if you want to know more you can visit Friendly Fire or LaPolitica.

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Monday, November 19, 2007

Villaraigosa's One Second Appearance on American Music Awards Cost Los Angeles Taxpayers $20,000

Did you see Mayor Antonio Viagraosa on Dick Clark's American Music Awards, last night? I hope so. Because even though the City has declared a financial emergency, it was still able to pick up the $20,000 "special event waiver fee" for Disney/ABC. I wonder how much the American Music Awards broadcast made for Disney/ABC? I know how much it cost the City of Los Angeles to have them cut to Mayor Puppetonio for one second for a crowd shot...$20,000! IS A NATIONAL BROADCAST OF A COMMERCIAL EVENT THE REASON WE HAVE SPECIAL EVENT FEE WAIVERS? Was the event free and open to the public in the community's best interest? That's what defines a "special event fee waiver".

"Approval of this request will mean that an estimated $20,000 in fees and salary costs will be absorbed by the City. "

[Wonder what the ACTUAL cost was, not just some shady city hall estimation.]


Holiday Week Hotsheet for Monday

If you're going to Sacto or somewhere, know that Bob Hope Airport is shut down in the fog.

"Developer bills go to taxpayers" says the Daily News. But it still doesn't quite get it right. The real issue is why the Departments of Buiding and Safety and the Planning Department are so overstretched at this time. The overdevelopment of Los Angeles is the kind of story homeowner groups have been trying to get the likes of Times news scribes to bite on all through the Antonio hegemony; but this take paints City Departments as simply beleaguered. They could ease their workload by saying no more often.

This is why so many homeowners who supported Antonio turned on him so soon after 2005---they quickly saw that he was a shill for developers, determined to turn the City into another overcrowded Pacific Rim dystopia. And it's homeowners who get to subsidize their own undoing. In print, it's still a largely unwritten story.

An incidental follow-up to Zuma's weekend item on Jan Perry's proposed moratorium on fast food in South LA: a County study links obesity to poverty and also to available public space. The Daily Breeze has the story.

The Times follows some others on Project 50, which would triage 50 at-top-risk homeless on Skid Row into apartments. Upside: it does something. Downside: it does something at a maximized per-capita cost; it's another turn-it-into-a-lottery approach, leaving 69,950 more homeless in the County to deal with.

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Sunday, November 18, 2007

Sunday Morning Mimosa

Our expectation as citizens is that the City operate better on less money. But do the math and the City has been trending in the opposite direction, the Daily News says this morning.

Since 2000, Los Angeles workers' costs have surged 53 percent - to $4 billion a year - rising an average 7.5 percent every year.

General fund revenues also grew strongly but only at an average 5.7 percent a year.

The result is a swing of almost $1 billion, pushing the city from a surplus to an anticipated shortfall of $300 million next year.

The article blames the influence on unions. But don't you get the feeling that unions are digging in deeper because of the missing rungs in LA's housing ladder---something every City Council member and especially the Mayor's office and Planning Department shares blame for? If we were incentivizing the construction of more workforce housing for cops rather than million dollar condos for out-of-towners, the unions might be able to loosen their death-grip on the City a little.

Don't give the City an affordable housing bond. You already give it enough money. Give it better leadership.

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Uniquely tone-deaf to such matters, the former fishwrap of record brings you an unsigned left rail ed this morning stating that the City's pay-raise system works.

For real. Almost wickedly insane, here's part of the ed's lamentable laughingstock of a conclusion:

Every penny of these new pay raises, whether they are accepted or not, must buy a recommitment by City Hall watchdogs and L.A. residents to break the system that too often keeps elected officials focused on fundraising and political advancement rather than the best interests of the city.

Oh, sure. The seven percent of City voters who voted in the last school board election aren't just committed, they're anxious to recommit.

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Zuma last night took on Jan Perry's fast food restaruant moratorium proposal for South LA. So did Tony Pierce at LAist. But fast food zoning has already hit tonier parts of the country (York County, Maine, and Calistoga, for a couple) and a more Republican incarnation of the debate (liability) hit the House of Representatives in 2004.

As fast and fatty food has been abundantly available South LA for more than two generations, it seems more logical to blame sedentary lifestyles (Internet, dvd, etc.) and an ironic health trend---far less smoking---than diet for spiking obesity trends. If something must be blamed---other than human frailty---at all.

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Saturday, November 17, 2007

CNN Video: Jan Perry & LA City Council To Ban New Fast Food Restaurants

If one-third (1/3) of your constituents suffer from obesity -- the problem must be with those predatory fast-food restaurants that force people to eat their food, not with the people who are walking into (or pulling over and driving through) the restaurants. Those poor, helpless people who are at the mercy of these restaurants that are grabbing people off the street; restraining them; then forcing them to eat the food.

Here's the story as it appears this weekend on CNN:

How about an education campaign with a programs running on City TV 35, billboard campaign, run a program on public access, do media interviews for TV, radio and newspapers, work with LAUSD on an education campaign, etc.

***** UPDATE *****

You know, after watching the video report again, I do admit, it's a shame that in a free market society, in that area, all you have is fast-food restaurants. That IS a lousy option. I know what happens to Big ZD when he eats too many McD or BK fish sandwiches...he becomes Bigger ZD! So I at least would like to say I commend Jan Perry on being concerned for the people who do not have any grocery stores in the area. (I don't care about sit down restaurants...just grocery stores.) Problem is, not a big fan of the moratorium idea. How come there are no grocery stores in the area? I'm not saying the big chains have to go in there...but not even Jon's or smaller store? What's up wit it? On the realest...how could it area be all fast-food and nothing else? How could the City help attract the right food establishments in the area? But the FIRST step is to make these people who live on this food CARE about why they shouldn't be eating too much of it. It will take social pressure to "out healthly each other" (pride) before they stop the junk food, anyway.

click here for Tony Pierce Laist.com coverage of ZD's Mayor Sam coverage! BLOG POWER, Y'ALL!

more zd videos