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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

LA Chamber Wimps Out on Measure S

Proving itself yet again to be less of a business advocacy organziation and more of a "we like playing with the big boys and getting free drinks/eats club," the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce has broken ranks with other business minded organizations who are opposing Mayor Villaraigosa's fradulent phone tax measure on the February 5th ballot.

The Chamber - which wants so bad to hobnod with the Mayor, other elected officials and the developers and unions who feed them - probably knew it also could no longer remain to be seen as a legitimate protector of it's members' interests if it were to go all the way with the Mayor on this patently deceptive measure. Therefore, they have declared themselves:

NEUTRAL on Measure S
Measure S is the city of Los Angeles’ proposed 9 percent communications user tax which will apply to landline and cell phones as well as Voice over Internet Protocol communications. The city currently has a 10 percent communications user tax on telephone services, which generates $270 million per year and has been challenged in court because it was enacted administratively rather than through a vote of the people.

City Hall declared a “state of fiscal emergency” to lower the voter approval threshold
from two-thirds to 55 percent. The tax rate was reduced from 10 percent to 9
percent but the new tax would apply to a broader range of communications than
the current tax.

City Hall is correct to be concerned about the potential loss of $270 million. And taxpayers are correct to be concerned about the lack of public discussion about the current state of fiscal affairs and options moving forward.

The Chamber would also be correct if they were concerned about the tremendous waste of public funds and that - as noted by Daily News Editor Ron Kaye - "Every year, LA's general fund revenues grow at an average rate of 5.7%. The problem is that since 2000 Los Angeles' employee costs have risen 7.5% a year, a 53% increase."

Therefore there is no need to be concerned about taxpayers keeping an extra $270 million in their pocket, that is unless you're an elected official who needs to keep feeding the beast.

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38 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said:

You are so correct. I have lived in several cities outside of CA and been active in chambers. I approached this chamber 2 yrs ago in the hopes of having a network of support for my business against high taxes and corrupt city staff bilking business'. I have never been in a major city where the large business universities have been so inept and incompetent standing up for business community and Anti-business enviornment. This is the basis why I predict LA and CA will soon be declaring bankruptcy.

January 23, 2008 11:19 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Too many people want this to pass for the Chamber to go on record against it. That would be tantamount to burning some important bridges.....

January 23, 2008 11:26 AM  

Blogger Mayor Sam said:

You are right 11:26 and at the same time they have a reasonably significant constituency opposing S that they don't want to piss off either.

Hence, taking the easy route.

January 23, 2008 12:14 PM  

Blogger Mayor Sam said:

Remember that overall the LA Chamber generally supports a lot of tax hikes and business killers like living wage, etc. They really represent downtown interests - primarily unions and developers and not the general business community as a whole.

Honestly the local chambers around LA should shit can their LA Chamber membership and start a new LA Regional Chamber of Commerce that truly advocates for business.

January 23, 2008 12:16 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Mayor Sam: Where's the source of your quotes from the Chamber?

January 23, 2008 12:28 PM  

Blogger Mayor Sam said:

Their press release

January 23, 2008 1:01 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Los Angeles should have a chamber of commerce for illegal street vendors. The new chamber could be funded by street-taxes. The mexican street-gangs already tax the illegal street vendors, and kill if taxes are not paid.

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-shooter23jan23,1,6811206.story?

January 23, 2008 1:33 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

The LA Chamber needs to change its name to Villaraigosa's lapdog. They have gotten involved in political crap that no other chamber would touch. They are an embarrassement to its members and need to be pulled back. Didn't they also support the sneaky, lying, deceitful term limits prop? The LA Chamber came out against the NC's on the file motion issue. They are nothing more then a group of insecure wannabes and do as they're told. No thoughts of their own.

January 23, 2008 2:00 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Another Latino embarrassment the Metro Sexual needs to come out of the closed Fabian.

...Complaint accuses Nuñez of misusing charity..In a filing with the ethics panel, a foundation says the Assembly speaker used funds given to a nonprofit for political purposes. He denies the claim. SACRAMENTO -- A complaint filed with state ethics officials Tuesday accused Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez of using a charity to illegally funnel donations into political activities.

The complaint cites more than $270,000 that Nuñez solicited in 2005 and 2006 from corporations, utilities and other interests with a stake in legislation to pay for toy giveaways, scholarships, youth summits and other events that featured Nuñez and were arranged by his staff. The donations were the subject of a Times investigation in November, which showed how a small charity -- Collective Space -- in Nuñez's downtown Los Angeles district wrote checks at the direction of the speaker's staff for events that benefited his constituents.

January 23, 2008 2:06 PM  

Blogger Jack Hoff said:

Wow, the Chamber seems downright befuddled!

Oh well, at least School Board Member Tamar Galatzan (the one our "green" mayor spent $2M to get elected) voted against the LAUSD kids with asthma. It appears she isn't interested in reading reports already done by USC and UCLA on underdeveloped lungs in our schoolchildren due to particulate matter from freeways and diesel trucks; preferring instead "a full financial analysis" on school locations near freeways before siding with the kids with inhalers.

I guess "school safety" is in the eye of the beholder.

January 23, 2008 2:14 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

to those who wondered where Laura chick has been: she's been fighting breast cancer and earlier this month, had a mastectomy and reconstruction.

She says the cancer's gone now. Hoe so and good wishes, Laura.

Then get back to work and find waste.

But with her hundreds of staff, someone's working on it, right?

January 23, 2008 2:32 PM  

Blogger Joseph Mailander said:

Mr. Hoff, it was nice meeting you at the Cowabunga---please email me.

joseph.mailander@gmail.com

January 23, 2008 2:45 PM  

Blogger Mayor Sam said:

Jack I had thought that Tamar wanted to run for Wendy's seat but she's creating trouble for herself. She's alienated the Sunland-Tujunga people by supporting Home Depot and this won't help her in places like Studio City. With someone like Cindy Montanez running against her, its going to be tough.

January 23, 2008 2:58 PM  

Blogger Jack Hoff said:

Will do, Mr. M.!

And Mayor Sam, Ms. Galatzan spent a tremendous amount of money to convince the LAUSD voters that she was a mom with the best interests of the kids at heart. Her latest vote, and the reasoning behind it, is unconscionable.

At least Montanez passed a school toxics bill in the Assembly.

January 23, 2008 3:17 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

What about her just thinking that after LAUSD spend so many millions on plans to build these schools, scrapping them because they suddenly realized WHERE they were to be built, was more waste?

She also voted against the cafeteria workers who work part time, getting full healthcare benefits, costing us another $40 million a year. Having a person on the Board who thinks for herself and doesn't immediately cave to the unions and business as usual, is not a bad thing.

She's a mom, but also probably the sharpest of the bunch.

Not that I agree with her on everything, and she's too much an advocate only for her area of the Valley.

But she's not some anti-kid monster. Chill, dudes.

January 23, 2008 3:56 PM  

Blogger Jack Hoff said:

Millions spent on "plans"?

Surely you jest.

What about the $$MILLIONS$$ in child health care costs, lost days of school, lost days of worker productivity, all due to childhood asthma?

Ya think we're saving any money in those areas?

Particulate matter (from freeways, especially) scars children's lungs. What happens when scar tissue builds up? Yes, lung capacity is decreased. Read it again, Decreased -- in a child, you fool.

And you think we should chill?

She may be a mom, but she's acting like an uneducated bureaucrat. There's no excuse.

January 23, 2008 4:11 PM  

Blogger Mayor Sam said:

Hey Mr. Jack Hoff looks like you just had a run in with one of the MEATiest of the third floor spinners himself. I won't say his name but lets just say it might rhyme with Blue-Meo.

Anywaz - most folks feel that Ms. Galatzan serves two masters, one the one who brung her to the dance and two the one she has to go home to at night.

She's really yet to distinguish herself on any issue outside of those of the Mayor or her husband's interests.

Hey Jack Hoff! Why don't you run for CD2!

January 23, 2008 4:20 PM  

Blogger Walter Moore said:

They didn't even get their basic facts straight!
Under Prop 218 -- which is now part of the California Constitution -- it takes a majority (50% + 1 vote) to impose a general tax (i.e., one which allows funds to be used for any purpose) and a two-thirds vote for a special tax (i.e., one where the funds are earmarked for a particular purpose).

The "fiscal emergency" has nothing to do with the majority required to impose a new tax. Rather, the unanimous vote declaring a "fiscal emergency" was required under Prop 218 to hold a SPECIAL ELECTION, rather than putting it to a vote during the regularly scheduled elections (March 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009).

Villaraigosa could have put this to a vote in, say, 2003 (when they hiked the cell phone tax), 2005 (after a lawsuit was filed to void same), 2007 (after the city lost the lawsuit, and after the CAO warned that a change in federal law had also rendered the land-line tax invalid).

Instead, they chose to push it through at a time when voters would presumably focus on the presidential primary.

Too bad the Chamber of Commerce didn't bother to invite the guy who wrote the official ballot argument against Prop S to explain this stuff to them.

January 23, 2008 4:28 PM  

Blogger Walter Moore said:

P.S. Yes, I know he wasn't the Mayor in 2003, but he was on the City Council.

January 23, 2008 4:30 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

The brain trust in charge of the Prop. S campaign thinks it will fare well among black voters, Latinos, Democrats and Republican women.

Campaign mailers submitted to the city Ethics Commission were accompanied by a cover letter stating that four fliers were each tailored to appeal to one of the groups. Proposition S political consultant Steve Barkan said the letter should have stated that the campaign is also targeting Republican men.

Each of the mailers has the same front, with pictures of firefighters and 911 operators dutifully taking calls. But things look different on the final page. The mailer to Republicans featured the smiling mug of former Mayor Richard Riordan -- Get it? He's a Republican! -- and a photo of Police Chief William J. Bratton.

The version for Latinos is written partly in Spanish and has a picture of Villaraigosa, L.A.'s top Latino pol, as he chats up -- surprise! -- a police officer. Black voters received images of a half dozen politicians, including African American council members Bernard Parks, Jan Perry and Herb Wesson.

And Democrats? They got large photos of Bratton and Fire Chief Douglas Barry. Bo-ring!

January 23, 2008 4:30 PM  

Blogger Jack Hoff said:

CD2?

Okay -- as soon as they convert the P.O. Boxes into affordable condos over there, we'll move.

January 23, 2008 4:32 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Hey Walter Moore I heard you on the radio!

The purpose of this tax is to cover the big subsidy AEG will get for LA Live. That's why Riordan's in as he owns property near there including the Pantry.

January 23, 2008 4:34 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

These idiot council members keep giving money to gang bangers and gang programs that don't work but they want OUR TAX dollars cause they screw up wasting millions on crap like this. LA Weekly has great story on this fool

Anti-gang Founder Marroquin Gets Prison...NO Guns” leader peddled guns while City Hall paid him to fight gangs...Hector Marroquin founder of the gang intervention group No Guns, was sentenced today to eight years in prison after pleading no contest to weapon charges. Charged alongside 51-year-old Marroquin was his 25-year-old girlfriend Sylvia Arellano, who is expected to be sentenced to four years in prison for weapons charges - including possessing a silencer.

The couple entered pleas before Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Steven Van Sicklen on three counts involving the manufacture, distribution and transport for sale of an unlawful assault weapon. Marroquin was sentenced to eight years for each count, with the sentences to run concurrently.

Nicknamed “Big Weasel,” Marroquin, a one-time 18th Street gang member, was embraced by Los Angeles City Hall after he claimed to have gone straight as a result of being shot while defending his son from gang members.

He founded No Guns in 1996, purportedly to help kids stay out of gang life, and over the years received $1.5 million from the Los Angeles City Council’s much-ballyhooed L.A. Bridges gang intervention program. L.A. Bridges, now the subject of much controversy for its poor accountability and failure to document whether it diverts children from gang life, is a city-funded program that the 15 elected council members had hailed as the best way to prevent gangs from luring children at a young age. With the blessing of supporters like former state Senator Tom Hayden, Marroquin, his wife, son and daughter got hired under a subcontract, together earning more than $200,000 a year in salaries.

January 23, 2008 5:17 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

^^^^^^^^
Typical mexican politics now thriving in Los Angeles of Mexico.

January 23, 2008 5:21 PM  

Blogger Valley Doll said:

Walter Moore = teh total hotness!

me-ow!

I LOVE him! Thanks Walter for braving the rain to come to our little provincial valley last night. We were so happy to have you and enjoyed you so much! Please come back and visit us anytime!

Walter Moore for Mayor! :)

xoxo

January 23, 2008 6:40 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

"Los Angeles should have a chamber of commerce for illegal street vendors. The new chamber could be funded by street-taxes."

Now that Neighborhood Councils may introduce legislation through a council file, maybe someone should introduce this to call attention to the problem.

Oh my, did I get a kick out of your comment.

January 23, 2008 7:14 PM  

Anonymous not in my valley said:

Who let Meat off his short leash?
Does Hillary know he is blogging here?

Tamar Galatzan is about as sharp as a Pet Rock.

Now go away before you bring more attention Tamar's way. The more attention she gets, the worse she looks.

January 23, 2008 7:20 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

"She's a mom, but also probably the sharpest of the bunch."

Can someone please clarify the meaning of this?

January 23, 2008 8:06 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

As a business owner who is involved in the Chamber I believe it was foolish and irresponsible to not take a strong stand against Prop S.

They have been bending too much to the wishes of the Mayor which has not been good for business in LA or LA in general.

Have been rethinking my involvement in the Chamber as I know others have too.

January 23, 2008 8:57 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

The LA Chamber is such a tool!!!!

It was a lapdog when Rusty Powell was in charge during the Valley cityhood election, and it hasn't changed at all.

If there are businesses with any balls out there in LA, they'll form their own chamber.

January 23, 2008 10:03 PM  

Blogger Jack Hoff said:

8:06p, I believe I can clarify.

He's saying she's not so bright and he's not so bright.

January 23, 2008 11:15 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

When every HOA, NC, even PTA, votes no on every single tax, do you think maybe their impact will become nil?

The most constructive criticism of Prop S is that it's written just to go into the General Fund, with a side agreement made to the public that the money will actually go to public safety like cops and fire -- but that's how the trash tax was written, and Bernie Parks took advantage of the wording to try to swipe it into the general fund.

Asking this would put the pols on notice not to try that again.

But just saying no, no, no, no to everything gets written off.

January 23, 2008 11:27 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

7:14; Yes, I believe that is a most excellent proposition, that some NC's demand opening a Council File to set up a Chamber of Commerce for Street Vendors. However, of course they'll have to file a 700 to ensure they're not putting a competing street vendor out of business, for example. Maybe zuma could do this through his Venice NC since he does not have a street vending business or income, so his 700 form would be very short. And he's been opposed to street vendors of food, ahead of your comment by years, as usual.

January 23, 2008 11:32 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

If MEAT wants to blog here then you should give him some real topics to keep him busy.

Where's the story on Vignali? I forgot about it, but with the return of the Meathead, it reminded me about this whole mess.

Someone like Zuma or Higby should look into it if you want a real story.

Silly Meathead, don't you know this blog is vegetarian? Gonna chew you up and spit you out!

Don't get cocky Mr. Carnale, I do what you do, except you are no match.

Now you have just dragged the Clinton clan into it. And we all know they have a lot to keep covered up.

Where's my flashlight?

January 24, 2008 2:54 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Mr. Jack Hoff,

(Tips hat and extends hand for a shake.) Nice to meat you. Let chew some up and spit him out and make him regret the day his finger touched a keypad. His superiors will be flabbergasted at the cart they attached their horse to.

By the way Jack, have you heard that Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's speech writers now have to write his speeches in short, three or four word phrases?

Something about his brain being short circuited lately, for some reason.

What causes that?

January 24, 2008 3:02 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

3:02am
The short circuiting probably comes from too many lies. He is constantly trying to remember what he promised.

January 24, 2008 8:45 AM  

Anonymous matt dowd's comment team said:

thanks Jack-off 2.14

"...It appears she isn't interested in reading reports already done by USC and UCLA on underdeveloped lungs in our schoolchildren due to particulate matter from freeways and diesel trucks; ..."

Matt talked about this months ago, it doesn't need a report to tell you.
But we said this before too, its the speed limit that needs to change. German tests prove that 60 mph is the most efficient speed for a freeway. Above that, you're blowing out 20% or more of UNBURNT FUEL. That's straight petroleum gas. You don't want your kids to sniff glue, but you want them to sniff gas all day long....

we think the unburnt one is actually more toxic than the burnt combusted gas.

but don't wait for the government to tell you, enjoy your right to choose, and take responsibility by yourself. slow down to 60.

January 24, 2008 8:57 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

"Si Se Puede! "

(English translation:
"Yes, we can!")

Vote No on Proposition S

Vote No on Proposition 93.

January 26, 2008 12:42 PM  

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