Whistleblower hotline: (213) 785-6098

Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!

Video: New Year's Eve 1978, Check out the cheesy computer graphics.


Political Hit Piece of 2007, "HOMER ALVIN", and other dubious honors

Best hit piece to come out of the "BLUE MUD BOWL" between Jose Huizar and Alvin Parra was this mailer.

Some in the political community still debate whether the likeness depicted on the mailer resembles Huizar Chief of Staff Joe Avila or Alvin, you decide.

Some year end awards for CD 14.

"Huizar's Winter Wonderland"

"Academia Semillas del Pueblo"

"Victor Griego"

"Ully Sanchez" aka "DONE DUM"


"Southwest Society"

"Bill Rumble and Carol Jacques of the Northeast Democrats"

"Friends of the Southwest Museum"

"Councilman Jose Huizar's Victory Letter on the Southwest Museum"

"Montebello Councilman Robert Urteaga"

"Still waiting Councilman Huizar"

"Cesar Chavez and Soto"

****HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!****

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Mayor Sam Awards Winners

The votes are in and the results are final. Thanks to everyone who voted in this year's awards and congrats to the winners! Without further ado, here they are!

Local Elected Politician of the Year

Eric Garcetti - 43%

Local Elected Politician's Staffer of the Year
Jennifer Cohen - 30%

Hottest Politician's Wife, Husband, Boyfriend or Girlfriend
Corina Raigosa - 71%

Sexiest City Government Employee - Female
Young-Gi Kim - 46%

Sexiest City Government Employee - Male
Bernard Parks - 33%

Cutest Couple
Janice Hahn and Reggie the Alligator - 48%

Dumbest Politician of the Year
Rocky Delgadillo - 51%

Dumbest Staffer of the Year
Mitch Englander - 34%

Crook of the Year
Mike Carona - 34%

Dumbest Idea, Program or Cause
Jan Perry's Fast Food Ban - 32%

Model of Efficiency Award (someone in City government who actually got something right)
Bill Robertson, Director of LA's Street Services Bureau - 50%
Brian Humphrey, LAFD - 50%

Biggest Mistake
Villaraigosa holding a news conference to announce his affair and then complaining that the media was prying into his personal life - 38%
Prop R - 38%

Best Place to Drink After A City Council Meeting
the water fountain on the fourth floor - 60%

Worst Public Official or Government Employee Driving Skills
Michelle Delgadillo - 80%

Most Corrupt Special Interest (organization or individual)
SEIU - 80%

Special Waiver Award (anyone you want to nominate for any reason - state both and why)
Zuma Dogg because I like big balls - 100%

Local Journalist of the Year
David Zahniser - 71%

Media Outlet of the Year (blogs, newspapers, radio or television stations)
Daily News - 71%

Sexiest Local Journalist
Mariel Garza - 40%

Person of the Year (the person who had the biggest impact locally - good or bad)
William Bratton - 38%

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Monday Hotsheet at 1:02 a.m.

JM, After the Wind; Palm Fronds on Talmadge, 12.30.07

Joseph Mailander
a guy in laelsewhereemail

Actually 3 a.m., but I didn't want to bottlecap the Sammy awards, so I posted down here. Our readers are wise: I'm happy with the awards, btw, more than I thought I'd be, even if I did get drubbed by David Zahniser, which I am pleased to have been. So next year, let's have a best civic photography award, so I can get drubbed by Gary Leonard too.

It's a good list; check it out again.

° ° ° ° °

Remember about twenty years ago---especially on buildings along Spring and Main where lots of hi-rises had windows you could open---when they used to throw the pages of those desk calendars out of buildings downtown on the last day of the year? Do they still do that? You would find those pages around downtown all through January.

° ° ° ° °

Someone in the Mayor's office keeps riding me about my on-the-cheap, first-yurt-then-build homeless housing concept, but Santa Barbara is already halfway there with their Safe Parking program. Steve Chawkins reports for the former fishwrap of record. About 250 people are "housed" through the low-maintenence program that costs the City, County, and private funds a scant $105,000. Remember, the next affordable housing bond will aspire to spend about $100,000,000---almost thousand times more to affect the lives of only five times more people.

Of course, with the Santa Barbara program, the developers don't make anything. So City of LA pols aren't interested---though people in Venice are.

° ° ° ° °

Nearly everything City Council does with ballot measures is fraudulent to some degree, and it has been now for some time. Orlov runs down the list of tax measures City Council has on tap for you this year. After S, Hahn wants a gang program tax, and LaBonge wants a parcel tax for transportation funding. If S is in the name of "modernization", try to imagine the duplicitious names they will come up with for those.

Declaring an emergency status for Measure S so that it only needs 50%+1 vote to pass (rather than the 66% usually warranted by a City tax) after giving City workers a raise was like calling the fire department after deliberately setting your neighbor's couch on fire.

No, it's not wrong to call the fire department, but you should also call the police department, too, because you don't just have a fire on your hands, you also have arson.

Similarly, S should be challeneged in the courts if it passes.

° ° ° ° °

Tony Castro files a report in the Press-Telegram on the dark side of the Getty, including the family stuff. Yours truly is quoted.

° ° ° ° °

Relax about your teen online, says a CSUDH prof. Worry instead about Captain Jack...

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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Lloyd Levine Bests Cameron Smyth at Nose Picking

Looks like our Boy Assemblymen Republican Cameron Smyth of Santa Clarita and Democrat Lloyd Levine of Van Nuys can find nothing better to do during important policy debates on the Assembly Floor than pick their noses and send text messages. Still, looks like Lloyd's technique is more developed than Cammy's.

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Sunday Morning Mimosa

JM, Sunset, Hermosa, 9.12.07

Joseph Mailander
a guy in laelsewhereemail

Orlov sets up El Alcalde to be the comeback kid reincarnated with a Daily News leader that's purportedly about Antonio's problems in 2007 but really a front-page commercial for Measure S in 2008.

The scribe sets it up as though Antonio has his work cut out for him. In fact, it's the Measure's opponents who have their work cut out for them: no budget, no big-name Democrats in opposition, a spendy, Bernardi-less City Council that makes $178,000 a year and that always says "Let them eat cake" when it comes to a tax measure.

With the vote coming the day of the primary, Democratic turnout will be immense. And you see the legacy of Parke Skelton's Democrat-pandering fingerprints all over Antonio's civil service memes: "It will affect every city service - police, fire, parks, libraries. We have to make the case to the public about what this means and trust them to come through again," Antonio says.

Skelton likes to turn everything into a bond, and mention all the civil services that get Democrats excited. But what's really being said here is this:

"We're politicians! We always spend too much! Be a pal and bail us out again."

° ° ° ° °

Neglected here earlier: some actual debate was seen in Council earlier this month, as El Alcalde re-appointed Joan Ling to the CRA Board. Prior to her CRA appointment of 2005, Ms. Ling had spent much of her career shilling for affordable housing interests in Santa Monica, and got to be so good at it over the years that she was awarded a $90,000 gift from Fannie Mae in 2003. And of course, you can observe yourself how her 900 units over fourteen years in Santa Monica solved the problems of homelessness and affordability on the west side.

City Council's two biggest boomtowners, Perry and Parks, wanted to block Ling from the board because they thought Ling overreached with various inclusionary zoning projects, requiring developers to stitch low-income housing into residential developments. But Matt Szabo went to bat for her before Council, and she sailed through.

When the CRA gets a media rep who can answer questions about the hundreds of millions it's licensed to spend, please let me know. Until then, I guess I'll just call Matt.

° ° ° ° °

Life and Times, the KCET show that gave us the Orange Curtain abomination known as Hugh Hewitt, as well as Los Illegals' sideman Ruben Martinez, is now off the air after a good run. Last show was Friday. Something far less interesting but frequently as irritating---the Tavis Smiley show---fills the slot.

Here's something: the show's blog asks for online reminiscing. So: blog away, dum dums!

° ° ° ° °

Your adulterous tax-drunk Mayor also wrote a piece for CityWatch on Friday. But there was nothing to take credit for regarding the DWP, so he said that in 2007, he put "an environmentalist" in charge of the DWP. He forgot to mention that H. David Nahai is also an attorney, a lobbyist, a fundraiser, and a wannabe commentator on the middle east.

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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Reticent Mayors, Then and Now

from Los Angeles's Weekly News, April 23, 1866 - a dig at (French speaking) Mayor Joseph Mascarel; from Pioneers and Entrepeneurs; French Immigrants in the Making of L.A., 1827-1927 (click image to enlarge)

You would think el Alcalde, man of the people, would have something to say about the Letterman show's side-settlement with its writers. The bold logjam-breaker follows what Carson did during the 1988 strike and enables a dozen or so New York scribes to get back to work even while the other Hollywood scribes remain on the dole.

It's in the power of every independent production company to attempt to go this route; which makes it a special shame that the Mayor of Los Angeles isn't publically applauding the move. If the Mayor were to start jawboning the local industry to explore the possibility of following suit, some small but key part of LA's creative-based econony could get rolling again even while the mostly elsewhere-owned studios are taunting, Khrushchev-like, "We will bury you" and shut down tinseltown.

° ° ° ° °

The top excerpt is from the book Pioneers and Entrepeneurs; French Immigrants in the Making of L.A., 1827-1927. The book is an exhibition catalog; the exhibit is at Pico House, 424 North Main Street, through January 13, 2008.

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Friday, December 28, 2007

Shady "Dirty Burnell" Project Shut Down After Local Advocacy Alliance

If I were to re-cap the most triumphant victory I have seen against shady corruption this past year as a public advocate, the winner may have just snuck in under the wire in time for year's end.

Mayor Sam readers have been following Zuma Dogg's exclusive coverage of the fraudulent permits issued at "Dirt Burnell" in LA Councilmember Jose Huizar's district.

Previous ZD stories on Dirt Burnell

Got pretty uncomfortable for Big ZD in council chambers during all the time I was blasting away about it on TV 35.

ZD picked up on the story based on the brilliant work of Dan Wright of the Mt. Washington Homeowners Alliance. Some of you may also know Dan from his hard work regarding the Southwest Museum community battle.

So today, I was pleasantly surprised when my Batcomputer sent me this email:

Mt. Wash. Homeowners Alliance Advocacy Results In Developer Stop Work Order

More than one year after City officials unlawfully issued building permits to the developer of 1657 Burnell Drive, the Mount Washington Homeowners Alliance announces that the office of
Jose Huizar confirmed today that the developer was issued Stop Work Orders last Friday, December 21, 2007.

On December 24, 2007, the developer's workers secured the building site and shut down construction of the unlawful house.

As previously reported to NELA list, on December 12, 2007, the East Los Angeles Planning
Commission granted the appeal of the Mount Washington Homeowners Alliance and revoked all
planning approvals and building permits for the house being constructed at 1657 Burnell Drive.

Dirt Burnell has been the subject of a controversy over how a speculation developer manipulated land titles and six house project applications to conceal or omit key environmental
information from City planners in an effort to obtain planning approvals for the houses without
any environmental review.

Excerpt by Daniel Wright, President
Mount Washington Homeowners Alliance


The community and democratic process owes a debt of gratitude to Daniel Wright for proving that one person can make a difference. Daniel was quick to contact ZD to remind me, "Lots of other people from the community worked on this."

So, ZD would also like to send out
kudos to the dedication of the Board of the Mount Washington Homeowners Alliance, neighbors of the project who gathered evidence in the case, and Paul Habib of Councimember Huizar's office, "who strongly reminded the East LA Planning Commission of its power to revoke unlawfully obtained planning approvals", according to Wright.

(So let's just say Dan was the "A" student who helped everyone else in the group with his excellent legalese.)

My guess is that without Dan and these people's work on this, hammers would be pounding as we speak.


Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamn, Captain Jack was never more on the money!



The Final Mayor Sam Hotsheet for 2007

After today, I'll be headed for a year-end fact finding mission somewhere near Palm Springs and won't return to NoHo until New Year's Day. So let me the first to wish you a very Happy New Year holiday and say "Go Trojans!"

A state appellate court handed a victory to socialism in overturning an appeal against the city's "living wage" ordinance at LAX hotels. You may remember that the city backed down on the law when hotel owners had enough signatures to trigger a referendum. So the city did a switcheroo after the hotel owners figured they won and didn't submit their paperwork and passed a new, nearly identical law. A State Superior Court ruled the city was in the wrong and invalidated the law. Hotel owners may appeal to the State Supreme Court. Whether you support the living wage law or not, the move by the city and the resulting appellate decision could have a chilling effect on the referendum process, handing even more power to special interests - be they unions, developers or NIMBYs.

Don Garza has declared Mayor Villaraigosa the "Most Influential Person" in Central City East for 2007. I like Don. I won't say anything more.

Big concern in Pico-Robertson over the Mayor's plan to eliminate parking and reverse traffic flow on Pico and Olympic. Businesses fear the lack of parking will drive customers away. The observant Jewish community who walk to services, shopping, etc. fear it will change the character of their neighborhood. All this so Zev and observing Westsiders can get to the Disney in time for curtain.

LAVoice is alive! At least long enough to post a picture of some old white guy protesting Cardinal Mahony.

Remember today is your last day to vote in the Mayor Sam Awards! Who will win?

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Nanny State Expansion Set for 1/1/08

Many new laws take effect on January 1st. One of them is a law that outlaws smoking in cars if minors are present.

Now I know I am not going to earn many points arguing for people to have the right to smoke around kids - and indeed I completely agree that people should not smoke around others, especially children.

I lost my stepfather to lung cancer and absolutely hate cigarettes. But I think this is something we have to do because its the right thing to do. Not because the government forces us. Sure, its easy and popular to use the Nanny state to beat up on smokers and I'm not going to put much energy into it myself. But at what point do we say no to the Nanny state before it gets too late? When are they coming after what YOU like to do?

By the way, should county press releases contain only one point of view on a controversial issue?

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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Another Mayor Sam Party: The Cowabunga in Sunland-Tujunga

For months, the old, dead Republican mayor, Michael "Mayor Sam" Higby has tortured the citizenry of Sunland-Tujunga for their opposition to the opening of a Home Depot store in their community. Ever willing to be the lone voice of capitalism and free enterprise, the Mayor has steadfast held to private property rights as the ST residents seek to get the City to block the store's construction and opening.

For all these months, the Mayor has unleashed a written barrage, and the loyal troops in Sunland-Tujunga have said "Mayor Sam! You've got to come and see how these mega-corporation is trying to shoehorn a behemoth of a super hardware store into our tiny, rural community. Then tell us you're in favor of Home Depot!"

So the hammer has been thrown down and Mayor Sam has accepted. Following a personal, private tour by hometown hero and head Home Depot hater Joe Barrett, the No2Home Depot people, Michael, neighbors and bloggy friends alike will gather for libations and fine Mexican repast at Joselitos, the very same cantina where the alleged and legendary "Do-It Center" scheme was hatched.

At that time the old, dead Republican Mayor himself declare - yay or nay on Home Depot. And a good time will be had by all.

Everyone is invited - we hope to see you there!

Sunday, January 13th, 2008
4:00 p.m.

Joselitos Mexican Restaurant
7308 Foothill Blvd, Tujunga, CA 91042 (click for map)

Add yourself to the Evite and RSVP

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You Love a Parade

JM, Christmas: Unpleasant Guy on Stilts on Pleasant Residential Street near Hollywood & Highland, 12.25.07 / click to enlarge

Joseph Mailander
a guy in laelsewhereemail

If you're wondering about Stephanie Edwards: No.

Two-thousand-six in the rain was her last year working the Rose Parade for KTLA. Dour Bob and Bubbly Michaela will be working the Rose Parade for KTLA next Tuesday. No more Steph on New Year's no more. Life just hasn't been the same for any of us since Lucky's became Albertson's anyway. It's small consolation to be able to watch Cal Poly building its float at the station's website.

And why hasn't the DooDah Parade registered yet? Because this year, it's on January 20. Please recommend to the non-authorities that Zuma Dogg be Grand Marshal. Maybe he's not available or willing, but to me it seems a natural.

BTW, this year the DooDah parade disorganizers promise that all the participants must submit to drug tests, and must test positive.

Speaking of doo dahs on parade, a few of you wondered who this guy Jonathan, who I photographed standing by his trusty Kawasaki in front of Jan's on Beverly, was. It's Jonathan Shaw, counterculture writer / schlock-artist / metaphysician. His myspace page is here. No doubt he's male, but I really doubt he's been 20 for a while.

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Into 2008, Weakly

Joseph Mailander a guy in laelsewhereemail

The LA Weekly's city desk has been coming up with some backdrafting countertakes on LAUSD matters of late. The latest cover appears to be an instance of payback journalism where an earlier article went too far for the Mayor's office taste.

Remember this article in the Weekly from summer? A fairly responsible article, that. In it, large parts of Monica Garcia's so-called reform package were found to have been drafted by the Mayor's office. The accidental disclosure was a major mistake, a major embarrassment to the Mayor, and Weekly scribe Patrick Range McDonald called them on it. Monica shrugged, McDonald dug deeper and found that the Mayor's reformers had little experience at school reform.

That was then. One can only imagine the subsequent dialog that produced this week's extreme curtseying makeover of a cover story, a 5,000 word hatchet job on the LAUSD's Super Dave Brewer makes it look as though it's the Admiral who has dragged anchor for a year in transforming the District.

Although 50% of the Admiral's distractions, easily, are caused by the Mayor, and the Mayor's office and their crones have spent two years ramping up and cramming through their own agenda for the District, the Mayor's various broadsides are scarcely mentioned. Nor are the daily headaches of managing an inheirited building campaign that's $6 billion dollars more bloated than Boston's Big Dig, nor the original source of the daily conundrum of the enormous payroll problem.

All these problems were contracted during the Romer/Huizar years, when current prez Monica Garcia was Jose's Chief of Staff at the District, and presumably ushered most of these various problem contractors with a big smile into Jose's office, so Jose could make the recommendations to the Board necessary to seal their deals.

Nonetheless, the Weekly makes Monica out to be a whipcracker and Brewer a slacker. But to me, blaming the District's woes on one year of Brewer is a lot like blaming a player for not winning a bad chess position inheirited from a friend of the opponent, in which the ceaselessly bullying opponent keeps knocking pieces off the board all the while.

Brewer may be a little slow to move, but who wouldn't be, given the various scopes of the Herculean problems? Would you move to fix the payroll system if the Board were giving you bids that cost more than the whole damn Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels to buy? In blowing the Brewer story out to a 5,000 word cover, the Weekly got pwned by Team Antonio.

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Isn’t it ironic?

scribeskidrow, IMGA0142, 7th October, 2007 (via Flickr)
Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo today announced his office has secured a jail sentence and fines against the owner of a bus company found illegally transporting children without proper liability insurance and in vehicles not yet inspected for safety by the California Highway Patrol.

Don’t cha think?

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Zuma Music Video: "Prop S Punk" (Vote "NO on Prop S" Music Video)

On American Top 40, I'm Casey Kasem, and we're up to our long distance dedication:

It's the song about the "S" is for "shady" phone and internet tax, "Proposition S". The loophole, curve ball that Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is trying to blow past voters under the guise of a "reduction"...(Sympathetic Casey Dedication Voice)...even though it's a brand new tax .

Here's Zuma Dogg, kickin' it Sex Pistols-style with his Johnny Rotten delivery of "Prop S Punk"...on American Top 40.


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Is The Mayor Serious on Public Transit?

Allen Mittelstaedt writing at CityBeat de-constructs Mayor V's press conference (the one where he accused the LA Times' Steve Hymon of raining on his parade) about extending the Purple Line Subway to Santa Monica.

Mittelstaedt takes Villaraigosa to task for not staging the photo op at least at the terminus of the Purple Line at Wilshire and Western, for not working simultaneously with Zev Yarovslasky to end his subway funding ban (while getting Henry Waxman to remove his construction ban) and for not collaborating with the leaders of other cities on the line's route, such as former Santa Monica Mayor Denny Zane (no relation to Dennis Zine).

What was Allen thinking? That the Mayor actually had a plan and wasn't looking to get his picture taken?

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Mayor Sam's Hotsheet for Thursday

A rambling screed on some blog I never heard of says NFL Football is coming to LA. Really? Not at the Coliseum since the Mayor declared it dead in an effort to keep USC at the historic stadium, despite them being treated shabbily by Bitter Bernie Parks' Coliseum Commission. Anyway, economics dictate a team will land in LA someday, but at a privately built stadium either Downtown in South Park or at Dodger Stadium (or even more likely somewhere outside LA like Carson).

President Bush delivered a crushing blow to plans to develop the West Los Angeles Veterans' Administration property near the 405 and Wilshire when he signed budget legislation that essentially prohibits the VA from doing any kind of development deal on the property. You know that the old, dead Republican Mayor is pretty strict when it comes private property rights and development. However, when the land is owned by the taxpayers, a little NIMBY/CAVE/BANANA action is warranted considering, well, it's our land.

Government programs and the bureaucrats who run them seem to go on like the Energizer bunny even when the masses the presume to be helping choose not to take advantage of the program. In this case, the Los Angeles Unified School District is set to lose millions of dollars in Federal funding for school lunches because, well, students are not participating in the program. School Board President Monica Garcia - who's never met a free lunch she didn't like - is aghast and is coming with all kinds of explanations as to why the kids and their parents don't take up the free food program. Everything from long lines (wouldn't that be a deterrent to the paying customers as well?) to embarrassment to too short lunch periods are the scapegoat. As we noted yesterday most of these government programs throw billions at a social cause for decades and nothing changes.

And finally, as Tammy Bruce noted, at a recent event, actress Sharon Stone didn't put it in a box, but she had a holiday present for her male fans.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Stu Nahan, 81

A television veteran since the 1950s, Stu Nahan (1926 - December 26, 2007) is best remembered for his role as a boxing commentator in all of the Rocky films as well as being a longtime sportscaster in the Los Angeles market. He received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on May 25, 2007. Nahan had battled lymphoma, a form of cancer, since being diagnosed in January 2006.

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A Guy in LA

JM, One Less Car: Jonathan at Jan's, Beverly Blvd., 12.24.07

Joseph Mailander a guy in laelsewhereemail

Note to all the dum dudes: County Sheriffs are setting up more DUI checkpoints real soon. Sheriff checkpoints: that has Rosecrans written all over it. Call a taxi, and not just next Monday night.

Checkpoints aren't a worry for Will Campbell, who dutifully chronicles every bike ride he takes. Total mileage for the year 2007: 3007. Thus far.

Noted: The Big Dig, officially wrapping up this week as the most notoriously bloated construction deal in US history, cost $14.8 billion; the LAUSD capital building campaign, wrapping up maybe in 2012, when there will be far fewer students in LAUSD than there are now, will cost $20 billion.

Further noted...The LA Weekly reported two weeks ago that gangs were "more brutal than ever", but other fishwraps report that homicides are down in 2007, and on track for a forty-year low.

You may have missed it yesterday, but as MayorSam says below, the Feds are giving LA homeless money that they had denied to them earlier. The Mayor's office, of course, spins it as a "watershed moment" in ending homelessness, even though it doesn't pencil out to putting a 1/100th dent in it. I guess he means it the way there's a "watershed moment" in a football game when a quarterback falls on his own fumble.

Party like it's 1985: the 22-3 Celtics are for real, but are the Lakers? Now 18-10, a scant two games off the top spot in their conference, J.A. Andade says yes.

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The Ten Dumbest Moves of 2007

We made this list last year; so its time once again to list the Dumbest Moves of the Year. Here, in not necessarily any particular order is the top ten:
  1. Home Depot's lame, half assed astro-turfing in Sunland-Tujunga.
  2. Jan Perry trying to ban fast food in South Central.
  3. Rocky Delgadillo and his wife's reported inability to register and insure their cars, show up on warrants and use staffers for personal errands.
  4. Politicians wasting water.
  5. The Tennie Pierce settlement.
  6. Antonio banging Mithala.
  7. Mayor Sam falling for trick by AV spinners on story of Antonio, Jr. drinking on the beach.
  8. Pomona City Attorney Arnold Alavarez-Glassman sending a cease and desist letter to The Foothill Cities Blog.
  9. Jamie Lynn Spears getting herself knocked up at the age of 16.
  10. Dennis Zine showing up the Gay Parade in full leather attire.

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Christmas Brings More of the Same for the Homeless

What do Mayor Villaraigosa, Dennis Zine, Janice Hahn, Eric Garcetti and Jennifer Love Hewitt have in common? They showed up to get their pictures taken serving the homeless on Christmas. As the old, dead Republican Mayor has said before, one day photo op projects do little to address social problems. The key is joining and lifting up community based organizations and doing development projects all year round.

Mayor Villaraigosa took the occasion of the Christmas Skid Row photo op to announce the receipt of $72 million in Federal funds to address homelessness. Despite the major cash infusion, it will serve the purpose of providing just 200 additional units of housing for the homeless. That comes to about $36o,000 a unit. That won't even make a dent in the tens of thousands of homeless in Los Angeles.

These programs are very well intentioned and most of those who come out to get their picture taken are good people. The problem is the programs are so wasteful and inefficient they do little to address the real need.

You could take the same amount of money - as Joe Mailander has suggested - and build nearly 10,000 yurts while reserving a portion of the fund as a permanent endowment to fund - without any further tax outlays - ongoing maintenance, security and services for the residents.

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Mayor Sam's Hotsheet for Wednesday

Don't forget to Vote for Your Choices in the Mayor Sam Awards

Why is it so important for Mayor Villaraigosa and other elected officials to pass the Mayor's shady phone tax increase, Measure S? In order to pay for a 23% pay increase for non-emergency city workers. Pass the word, when was the last time you got a 23% pay raise? By the way in case you missed it, you absolutely have to catch Zuma Dogg's Measure S themed holiday parody.

When Steve Hymon asked where the funds to build a "subway to the sea," Mayor Villaraigosa accused the LA Times Columnist of "raining on his parade." That's a great way to avoid a simple yet serious question on a taxpayer funded project. Of course the Mayor loves nothing more than riding in parades and having his photo taken.

Daily News columnist Sandy Sand gets it half right when she finds foolish Goofy Jan Perry's plan to ban fast food in South Los Angeles. Decrying the nanny state, Sandy says its education and capitalism that will address the issue of obesity. So far so good - but then she heads right over to government sponsored universal "Arnold-Care" as the other answer. Sigh.

The Daily News supports the move by the City Clerk's office to take over the elections for Neighborhood Councils. Though it's going to cost a little more, it may lead to further participation and at least cleaner elections. With foolishness like this going on, the Councils need all the help they can get.

A new monorail is about to be pressed into service - at Disneyland.

The City Council is going to cut back cablecasting of it's meetings to one per month - that's the Santa Ana City Council. This is the same Clowncil that bans City Commissioners from blogging. Sounds like they have some issues with openness and transparency down there in Orange County.

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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas from all of us at Mayor Sam


Monday, December 24, 2007

Mayor Sam Awards Nominations

The nominations are in! To vote for the 2007 Mayor Sam Awards, "The Sammies," please click here.

You have until midnight on the 30th to vote, we'll announce the winners on the 31st.

Local Elected Politician of the Year
Assemblyman Paul Krekorian
Eric Garcetti
Janice Hahn
Michael Ten of South Pasadena
Sheriff Lee Baca

Local Elected Politician's Staffer of the Year
Stuart Waldman
Michael Tou
Young Gi Kim
Josh Kamensky
Jennifer Cohen

Hottest Politician's Wife, Husband, Boyfriend or Girlfriend
Corina Raigosa
Long Beach City Councilmember Suja Lowenthal's husband Daniel
Tony Cardenas' wife

Sexiest City Government Employee - Female
Kellie Hawkins, Exec. Dir, Comm on Status of Women
Young-Gi Kim
Janelle Erickson
Kieren in Perry's office

Sexiest City Government Employee - Male
Antonio Villaraigosa
Jimmy Blackman
Matt Szabo
Bernard Parks

Cutest Couple
Janice Hahn and Reggie the Alligator
Mirthala and Antonio
Mr. and Mrs. Kefflebaum
Janice Hahn and Noel Weiss

Dumbest Politician of the Year
Lloyd Levine
Rocky Delgadillo
Tom LaBonge
Ed Reyes
Fabian Nunez

Dumbest Staffer of the Year
Manny Figueras
Lisa Sarno
Mitch Englander
Uli Sanchez
Bob Blumenfeld

Crook of the Year
Mike Carona
Richard Alatorre
Governor Schwarzeneger
Fabian Nunez
Rocky Delgadillo

Dumbest Idea, Program or Cause
Jan Perry's Fast Food Ban
mayoral school "takeover"
Alatorre and Roos becoming lobbyists for developers

Model of Efficiency Award (someone in City government who actually got something right)
Bill Robertson, Director of LA's Street Services Bureau
Michele Siqueiros
Brian Humphrey, LAFD

Biggest Mistake
Lloyd Levine dumping Stuart Waldman
Rocky not registering his car
Villaraigosa holding a news conference to announce his affair and then complaining that the media was prying into his personal life
Prop R
Funding Gang Prevention programs.

Best Place to Drink After A City Council Meeting
The water fountain on the fourth floor
The Redwood
Little Tokyo

Worst Public Official or Government Employee Driving Skills
Michelle Delgadillo
Lance from Tom LaBonge’s office

Most Corrupt Special Interest (organization or individual)
Eli Broad
Richard Muerelo
California Correctional Peace Officers Association
Rivers and Mountains Conservancy

Special Waiver Award (anyone you want to nominate for any reason - state both and why)
Zuma Dogg because I like big balls
Red Spot for his brilliant social commentary, grammatical errors notwithstanding.
Ted Hayes bitch slapping Maxine Waters
Michael Hunt for dressing like a Klansman

Local Journalist of the Year
Kevin Roderick
Jon Regardie
Joseph Mailander
David Zahniser
Joseph Chapman

Media Outlet of the Year (blogs, newspapers, radio or television stations)
Daily News
Channel 4 News

Sexiest Local Journalist
Sharon Tay
David Zahniser
Mariel Garza
Sioux-Z Jessup
Lisa Hernandez

Person of the Year (the person who had the biggest impact locally - good or bad)
William Bratton
Laura Chick
David Hernandez
Antonio Villaraigosa
Zuma Dogg

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Zuma Dogg Sings "Proposition S Is Going Down" To The Tune of "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" (Holiday Family Carol)

Holiday Greetings from Zuma Dogg! Everything's chill for the holidays, but although it's Christmas Eve, that doesn't mean you shouldn't be thinking about "Voting 'No' on Proposition S".

So here's a little ZD Christmas Carol, "Proposition S Is Going Down", sung to the tune of "Santa Clause Is Coming To Town".

Send this as a YouTube Holiday Greeting Card

NEW 12/25: Streaming Audio or download "Prop S Going Down" to your iPod.

Zuma's Community Carol


Mayor Sam's Christmas Eve Open Thread

The old, dead Republican Mayor will spend most of the afternoon and evening this Christmas Eve helping the Jaycees answer low income kids' letters to Santa and deliver toys directly to their homes. Information if you want to help, click here.

All the photos and stories from our first ever Reader Holiday Party can be found here.

And the reason for the season - as explained by that great philosopher, Linus vanPelt.

Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas holiday. And for you those of who choose not to celebrate Christmas, hope you have a great day off!

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Mayor Sam Awards Voting

To vote in the Mayor Sam Awards, click on the following links:

Part One

Part Two

Have fun voting!

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Sunday, December 23, 2007

More Party Pics

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Mayor Sam and the Valley Doll

She's not what you guys thought huh?

Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

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Another Party Pic

Mayor Sam and Ms Hannah, another one of those "Valley moms."

Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

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Images from the Party

Mayor Sam with Abby and Nina of No 2 Home Depot.

Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

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Sunday Morning Mimosa

JM, Blame the homeless: Splattering Hyperion Bridge, Atwater, 12.21.07 (see earlier items)

Joseph Mailander a guy in laelsewhereemail

I love this term from this Downtown News headliner on yet another to-be-shelved CRA report on what to do with industrial downtown: "Employment Protection Districts." You want to make all of LA an "employment protection district"? Just stop filling the ballots with fraudulent tax measures like S!

Maybe coming from Estolano-Goldberg in the future: "Employment Preservation Overlay Zones"...

° ° ° ° °

The median price of a home sale in southern Cal has fallen over ten percent from November 2006---and in LA County it's fallen 12 percent, the Daily News says. What that means: more leasing of recently-built spec condos meant to be sold. More rentals in a town that badly needs more homeowners. What else it means: the homeowner-to-renter ratio, already the worst in the nation among big cities, will get even worse.

° ° ° ° °

Steve Lopez takes the opportunity of the new Zellian climate as an open platform for his personal-vendetta hostility towards the Catholic Church. It's bad enough when former fishwrap of record scribes don't do any investigative journalism around the City; it's twice as bad when you blow a bunch of space doing so tongue-in-cheek. He should apologize to his editors, if he won't to the Church or the readers who expect good-faith content.

° ° ° ° °

Rumor has it that the Sam Zell Times' subscriber base average age skews into the fiftysomethings, even as it has likely dropped into the 600,000s, but it might be getting even older, if stories like this become the norm. Maybe the former fishwrap of record is more for people who remember what a newspaper actually used to be?

° ° ° ° °

Only the City of Gardena could turn a skate park into a long, drawn-out community crisis. Funds were encumbered from the County in 2002, and still no skate park, five years later. But now it looks like one is finally coming at last.

° ° ° ° °

Your Venti Java Chip Frappe, or else...In a scene that must have seemed straight out of Pulp Fiction, three men from my dear old home town of Hawthorne robbed 13 people at a South Bay Starbucks Wednesday night. They sped away at speeds of up to 100 per but were caught the same night. At least when Starbucks robs you, they don't do it at gunpoint.

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Closin' Down the Bar

Mayor Sam, Kim Thompson, Valley Doll, friend Hannah and Jim from Old Granada Hills managed to make it to last call and shut down NoBar. Thanks to all the folks who came, it was a great party. If you weren't there you're a bloggin' dum dum.

Most asked about blogger who wasn't there of the night: Joseph Mailander.

No Shows of the Night: Rep Spot and Video Louis. Bad boys!
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

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Saturday, December 22, 2007

Party Update

We've discovered SS Sam Taylor is a Tom Leykis fan.

In the house: School Board Candidate Louis Pugliese.

Moment of Detente: Old, dead Republican Mayor shares a cocktail with Joe B and the No 2 Home Depot People.
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Bloggy Party News

Stone Fox Kim Thompson and the babealicious Valley Doll are here. Edward Headington regals us with stories of Gil Cedillo and Tom LeBong campaigning for Mayor Hahn.
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Bloggy Party Topics

Now how the hell did we wind up talking about Kevin Roderick and The LA Times?
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Here we are

First blogger to show up: Edward from the LA Pressman's Blog.
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Test Twitter

This is a test micro blog. How are you?
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Saturday Open Thread Conspiracy Edition

Are we being hacked? Is the FBI watching? I guess we will find out!

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Friday, December 21, 2007

Under Hyperion

JM, Under Hyperion, 12.21.07 / click image to enlarge

Joseph Mailander a guy in laelsewhereemail

While some shills for affordable housing developers (and the City Councilpeople they own) claim that constructing yurts would strip the homeless of dignity, the fact is that many homeless already live in makeshift yurts---by choice. Here's one, a glorified tent, under the Hyperion Bridge on Riverside in Atwater.

Note the ironic juxtaposition against the SUVs parked on the street. Note the shopping cart---the homeless' storage facility and transportation vehicle.

Right up the street, Tom LaBonge (this is his District) leaned on the DWP to provide round the clock security for---an ugly fountain.

In 2008, the City will offer voters another "Affordable Housing Bond"---a Bond for developers, which will perpetuate homelessness, and make sure that the money from the City's Affordable Housing Trust goes mostly to developers and contractors, even while turning affordable housing into a very hard-to-win lottery for homeless such as these.

EARLIER: Second Street Tunnel.

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Estolano Grinches CRA's Xmas

Joseph Mailander a guy in laelsewhereemail

After the City Council voted City rank-and-file workers a pay raise earlier this week, CRA CEO Cecilia Estolano invalidated the pay raises for CRA employees, MayorSam has learned.

CEO Estolano also took the extra measure of sending CRA employees a union-rustling memo yesterday reminding union workers not to add any hours devoted to union activities to their time cards.

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Mayor Sam's Hotsheet for Friday: One Sentence Edition

Young-Gi Kim is one nominee so far for sexiest City Hall staffer in the Sammie Awards - is she single?

The Coliseum Commission just can't stop hatin' on USC.

Bitter Bernie says the Minnesota Vikings are coming to LA.

Reyes wants bike paths
but no one is using them.

An old, crabby white guy is upset that someone has the money to build the home of their dreams.

After 20 years blowhard Congressman Henry Waxman gets out of the way of a subway.

We have lots of hot air in City government so wind power might work.

The City has no money and wants to raise taxes but they can boost salaries.

Antonio Villaraigosa your shot at love has ended.

In the meantime, Tila Tequila picked the boy over the girl.

The City of LA thinks poor people are too stupid to make proper food choices.

Is Eric Garcetti dating Britney Spears?

Ed Edelman is actually still alive.

Republicans are going for Barack Obama in Nevada.

LAUSD facilities should be available to the public - after all we paid for them.

Some in the Santa Clarita Valley want to be their own City - take a lesson from the Valley do it!

Former Laura Chick aide Ruben Gonzalez has become a partner in Harvey Englander's powerful lobbying firm.

Dick Riordan is opening a version of The Pantry in Pacific Palisades.

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Some Predictions for 2008

The historic San Pedro Red Car line will be extended to downtown Los Angeles.

The City of La Canada-Flintridge will find that Los Angeles County is holding a $255,088 check for them.

Former California GOP Chairman Shawn Steel will fall flat on his face in his election bid for the Republican National Committee.

For the third election cycle in a row, LA County GOP Chairman Linda Boyd will fail to keep her promise to field a Republican candidate in every Legislative and Congressional district in Los Angeles County.

Alan Rothenberg will get his wish fulfilled of being appointed to the Coliseum Commission.

Bernard Parks will be elected to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. Parks' strong opposition to LAX expansion will be a key component to his victory.

Businesswoman Noel Irwin Hentschel will run for Mayor of Los Angeles in 2009.

Due to the state budget crisis, the California High Speed Rail Bond Act will be deferred from the ballot for the third consecutive election cycle.

Voters will overwhelmingly reject the universal health care plan.

Opposition to Indian gaming Propositions 94, 95, 96 and 97 will come from an unlikely source- Indians who have been disenrolled from gaming tribes. Opposition funding will come from out-of-state casinos.

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Burbank, Anyone?

Nice upbeat story just in time for your holiday travel. Money quote from the San Jose Mercury News:

National Air Traffic Contollers Association local president Michael Foote says tired LAX tower controllers could miss close calls on runways.

Foote told the City Council's Trade, Commerce and Tourism Committee that "the biggest safety concern at the airport is the lack of experienced controllers working at LAX tower."

Traffic controller error is a big risk at LAX, the small but critical union says. There are lots of trainees there, too.

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Thursday Hotsheet at 3 a.m.

JM, Bicycle Bridge, Los Feliz, 12.19.07

Joseph Mailander a guy in laelsewhereemail

The year is, mercifully, almost done. And it turns out that we're not growing as fast as the politicians keep telling us we are, the Daily News says.

All through 2005 and 2006, and for most of 2007, City Councilpeople and the Mayor validated any new project, from affordable housing to forty-unit spec condos, by telling us that "growth was a fact of life." But the truth is, to paraphrase Yogi Berra, that it's getting so crowded that nobody lives here anymore.

This is perfectly consistent with the LAUSD overbuilding at a time the District was losing pupils. And in some cases, the perps are one in the same.

° ° ° ° °

The Daily News has another great stocking-stuffer: two schools don't have sufficient majorities to join the Mayor's mini-District. So the Mayor's office backpedals: "'And although an overwhelming majority of the Jordan High School community demonstrated clear support for the partnership, without a broader desire from teachers for change, reforms would have been unlikely to succeed,' said Janelle Erickson, a spokeswoman for the mayor."

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But who is the Mayor of Los Angeles anyway? H. David Nahai or Tom LaBonge?

The DWP is paying for its own security at the Mulholland Fountain. Even though they can't keep the lights on in Los Feliz in adverse weather -- and for the DWP, any weather is adverse weather -- they're staffing security guards at the Mulholland Fountain round the clock, to protect it from taggers. Word is, LaBonge called the DWP and told them to do it, as he considers the fountain worthy of protection.

Couldn't they just park an empty cop car in front of it?

In LaBonge's district, Atwater Bridge and the Shakespeare Bridge, both of which are far more beautiful (and far more useful) than the monument to Fuzzy Bill get tagged all the time.

In that same precinct: so bicyclists yammered for a decade about building a bridge over Los Feliz Boulevard (top photo), and it got done. How often do you see someone actually using it?

° ° ° ° °

Finally, the Former Fishwrap of Record struts its new stuff: in the first official day of the Sam Zell Times, a coupla scribes attack Fabian Nuñez for legislating while Democrat and call it news.

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2007 Predictions Recap

Last year we all made predictions for 2007. Suffice it to say most of us have even less psychic ability than Miss Cleo (who by the way came out as gay last year) but hey, we can have fun trying.

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

Not quite. But Mayor Villaraigosa instituted a sort of new "pay to play" program in his efforts to take over the LAUSD. In the end, it was a bad bargain as instead of the whole school District, Mayor V got control of three schools, a new washer and dryer, a case of Z Brick and a gift certificate for the Spiegel Catalog, Chicago 60609

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

There certainly was a lot of fun this year around Neighborhood Councils, and certainly one in particular, so who knows maybe this prediction will come true in 2008.

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

This one we nailed. And a reader teased the name of the new Executive Director here a good month before she was named.

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

This didn't quite happen but Boyd is allegedly no longer getting that salary and she and her husband Doug Boyd were bitch slapped by the State Republican Party.

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

Nope, Burke is retiring. But we were right that the two leading contenders to replace her would be Assemblyman Mark Ridley Thomas and Bitter Bernie.

And the predictions from readers (and some bloggers):

1. Zuma Dogg: City Council "Special Election" when one or more Counclimembers are forced to step down from their seat.

Nope, didn't happen.

2. Anonymous: Another (longshot) prediction: Richard Alarcon gets bitch slapped by Monica Rodriguez

Unfortunately this did not come true.

3. CD 14 folks will continue complaining about Huizar, but still vote for him.

Yes, and yes.

Recapping Captain Jack's predictions woud be a whole other post of it's own. But as far as I can recall, none of them came true.

Red Spot was almost Norstradamus-esque with the following, "'BLUE BLOOD' of political dirt will turn CD 14 into a 'SUPERFUND SITE' of negative politics." I'm not really sure how to parse that. Next.

And finally it was really more a dream than a prediction: "Big Surprise in 2007. Get champagne & celebrate new Republican office in CD14. Catfights from democrats give Republicans an opportunity to spread and recruit."

Feel free to post your predictions for 2008.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

LA, Shanghaied

Republicans, Libertarians, Planning-Report-types, policy wonks, homeowners, and even some plain ol' City folk are probably not going to like many of the things that USC School of Architecture's Dean Quinyun Ma recently told the excellent architecture website archinect in a multi-part interview.

Ma on American v. Chinese economics:

But I think it’s hardly free-market here. It’s market driven, but driven by only a few. That almost has no difference from a top down political system, whatever you call it. It could be Communism, Socialism, It’s not too much different. Of course the top down, authoritarian or totalitarian, political system is not perfect for the market economy either, but, what I am saying is, not perfect or not good for free-market, but it’s still a market. So the problems are similar and the difficulties are similar as well. But China still has, I hope, a chance to modify it, to improve it, where the U.S. is more difficult to improve.

Ma on American mobility:

Here you just have an open horizon, if you don’t like it you can just move away and find a new spot.

Sure. Ma on Angeleno mobility:

But, I will live in Pasadena, I love to be able to go to the Westside all the time. But I don’t think that freedom is healthy.

Ma on different kinds of urban solutions:

The other thing that I have been constantly thinking about is what I call ‘urban swap’, where we borrow a problem from Paris and inject it into Los Angeles based on the hypothesis that a bacteria in one biological body could be a vaccine in the other body. Which means that cities start to trade problems, not treasures. Because poison can be extremely good.

Ma on immigration as solution:

So I would do experiments. Los Angeles has a lot of areas that are really unoccupied. If you would just introduce Asians, have them come in, give them a limited time permit, have them live there, you would enliven it. I’m sure.

Ma on revitalization through immigration:

We can start to create reversed colonies in areas here that are not so desirable and start to invite immigrants, in an organized way, not illegal, but a temporary concession. I would introduce the concession ideas of Shanghai to L.A.

This is the Dean of USC, not of Sci-Arc. As they say at the political blogs, read the whole thing.

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