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Saturday, May 31, 2008

The 70s at 7

That's right, in the 70s, Saturday morning was all about the music and the moves. First, you had American Bandstand with Dick Clark; but if you really wanted to get down and funky, you had to wait for the Don. No, not Don Q, but Don C., as in... Cornelius. The Soul Train dance line was the highlight of the show. And if you've never danced in a Soul Trainesque dance line (either at a school dance, company holiday party, or hell ... even in your own living room) you've missed out on an important part of 70's soul history. But it's never too late... you just need a few friends, some funky soul dance classics, and you're all good.

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Why Lloyd Levine Wants to Be a State Senator

Lloyd's term as an Assemblyman is coming to a close and he needs a job to keep him in Sacramento.


He's getting married to Sacramento news anchor Edie Lambert. You could have followed their entire courtship from first date to engagement on board Southwest Airlines flight 1455 right here on the blog.

Can't blame him, she's a cutie. And unless he wants to have a long distance relationship from the Valley to the State Capitol or start over on the Bachelor, Lloyd needs to go home to Sacramento.

If Lloyd isn't elected to the State Senate, he does have at least one skill to potentially bank on - he did win the Capital Nose Picking Contest against Republican Assemblyman Cameron Smythe.

Problem is the voters are going to overwhelmingly choose Fran Pavely, for right or wrong. But you never know, love may win in the end.

Update. Here is some video of Edie. Maybe some of our readers are right.

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Ass Clown Award nominations for the Month of May

Nominations for the Ass Clown Award for the Month of May.

1. Councilman Ed "Density" Reyes.
2. Councilwoman Janice "Lil Splash" Hahn.
3. Former Assembly Speaker Fabian "The Mexican" Nunez.
4. The "Kennedy Republican".
5. Councilman Richard "Zorro Marxist" Alarcon.
6. Mayor Antonio "Pollovilar" Villaraigosa.
7. LHNC President David "The Trojan Horse" Galaviz.
8. The whole "Clowncil".
9. Ministers associated with Barack "H" Obama.
10. H. David "The Shah of Water and Power" Nahai
11. Councilwoman Jan "The Hat" Perry

Your comments and thoughts greatly appreciated.

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Democratic Showdown: DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee

Photobucket vs. Photobucket

There are still contests in Puerto Rico, Montana and South Dakota in the next few days but the major showdown is at the DNC's Rules and Bylaws Committee meeting (on what to do with the Florida and Michigan delegations) today in D.C. Although both camps said they would not campaign in either state and would forgo the election results, the Clinton campaign reversed its position when they realized they could no longer beat Obama under the mutually agreed-upon rules. (Here's some punditry on her original position of accepting and signing DNC rules barring the two states.)

While presidential nomination contests are won by the number of delegates acquired and not by the accumulated popular vote, it the latter that Team Hillary is hoping for by seating the Michigan and Florida delegations--even though Obama was not even on the ballot in the Wolverine state. Concerns about uncounted caucus voting notwithstanding, the popular vote is the only metric--and perhaps hollow moral victory--that she has left unless we include the you-never-know-what-happens-in-June asides.

FYI. Obama was won more primaries and caucuses (pledged delegates) and Super Delegates (unpledged delegates) than Clinton and is also ahead in the total popular vote. Albeit 368 potential delegates in limbo from Michigan and Florida, Obama is a mere 42 delegates short of the 2,026 needed to clinch the nomination.

Read the full update by the AP's Nedra Pickler.

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Open Thread for Saturday: Judging the Judges

Every election cycle we're presented with long lists of judges we're ask to elect or confirm to various courts. It's safe to say that almost no one, myself included, knows anything about these judges or how to vote.

Typically the local and/or state bar associations will rate potential judges based on their legal training, ability, temperament and experience, without regard to partisan affiliation or ideological stand.

A letter to CityWatch from the billboard wackos however thinks that a judge who followed the law but didn't help them reach their Utopian, dysfunctional dream of banning all billboards should not be returned to the bench.

Judges should be considered on ability not on their decisions in controversial matters. Judges are not politicians and we need them to be free to make decisions based on what they think is right and not what is popular or politically correct.

In the upcoming June 3 Primary Election, incumbent Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Ralph M. Dau at Office No.4 is running for re-election against attorney Sydnee Singer. Both candidates have been rated as qualified by the Los Angeles County Bar Association, and both have statements printed in the Official Sample Ballot. The following information may help you decide how to vote.

In 2007, a citizen’s group went to court in an attempt to stop a lawsuit settlement between the city of Los Angeles and several large billboard companies.

Among other things, this settlement allowed almost 900 conventional billboards to be converted to digital ones and grandfathered in an untold number of illegal billboards. Judge Dau ruled against the citizen's group, on the grounds that it could not show that its members were harmed in any way by terms of the lawsuit settlement, which in reality not only will have far-reaching effects on the city’s visual landscape, but was hammered out behind closed doors without any public notice or debate.
--Ted Wu, President
Coalition to Ban Billboard Blight, Inc.

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Saturday Morning Stuff

I had hoped to be up earlier this morning, but the PTA 31st District Awards dinner held last night at the beautiful Odyssey Restaurant just went on and on and on into the night. Those PTA ladies (and I'm happy to report... there were more than a few gents present, too!) know how to party. So, I'm up a little later than usual, and dealing with the effects of a multi-Cosmo-evening.

District 1 Superintendent Ms. Jean Brown, Julie Korenstein and Alex Padilla were there for a bit of speechifying and presentation of special awards. Congratulations to the following PTA's for winning the "Unit of the Year" Awards last night:

Elementary School PTA of the Year: Beckford Ave. Elementary - Kelly Mattinson, President

Middle School PTA of the Year: Nobel Middle School - Colleen Ross, President

High School PTA of the Year: Granada Hills Charter High School - Marylou Westmoreland, President

Thanks for all your hard work, ladies! Without you, our students, our teachers, staff and school family wouldn't be half as wonderful as they are because of all your efforts. Many times you've put in 40+ hour weeks for no pay, and we're all so grateful.

In other Hawt Lady News: Seems Ms. Condi has a secret KISS Army side.

Secretary of State Condi "Strutter" Rice parties with the boys from KISS

Secretary of State Condeleeza Rice was in Sweden for an international conference on Iraq the same time the rock band KISS was playing in town. The boys in the band invited her over for post-concert fun after her dinner with the Swedish foreign minister. Rice, a classically trained pianist, said she has eclectic musical tastes ranging from Beethoven to Bruce Springsteen. Who knew?

And Democrats will meet today to hash out the Florida and Michigan sitch. Dems are hoping it gets straightened out as soon as possible in order to get the party united by convention.

“We are strong enough to struggle and disagree and to even be angry and disappointed and still come together at the end of the day and be united,” said Howard Dean, chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

A compromise decision is expected to be reach sometime by tonight, early on in the evening.

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Bedtime Music

L.A. International Airport by Susan Raye.

The song was rerecorded with updated lyrics in 2003 by Shirley Myers for the 75th Anniversary of LAX. Raye, who had been retired from the music industry since 1986, made a rare public appearance to sing classic hit at a concert at the celebration and to be on hand when a proclamation was issued to make the song the official song of LAX.

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Friday, May 30, 2008

Caption This...............

The end is near???

At least she has a "DESIGNATED DRIVER".

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"Meathead" raises money for Villar 2009 Campaign

Rob Reiner, aka "MEATHEAD" or "Trujillo's Former Boss, is calling on his Hollywood friends to raise "pesos" for the "TONY VILLAR in 2009" re-election campaign.

Reiner recently hosted a fund raiser that attracted the likes of Haim Saban, Casey Wasserman and surprise, surprise, Magic Johnson.
This early rush for cash is prompted by the rumors of a Rick Caruso campaign for Mayor.
Earlier this week Caruso confirm reports that various "civic interests" had approached him about him running for Mayor.
In an interview this week, Caruso -- the man who brought you the Grove and the
newly opened Americana at Brand in Glendale -- said: "I've been approached to
run by a number of people. I'm considering it. We need some changes in the city
and some strong leadership." If he decides not to run, he says, "I would be
happy to support anyone who would move the city forward."
If Caruso were to jump into the 2009 race, expect record levels of campaign spending for the job with a "third floor view".
.......but there is this in today's "Downtown Garment and Citizen".
VILLARAIGOSA STILL EYEING GUV’S JOB?: That’s the word among wags in Sacramento, who say Hizzoner remains confident that he could top what might be a crowded statewide field. That outlook comes despite Villaraigosa’s recent statement that he plans to seek a second term as mayor, they add. A win there would see him begin a second act in City Hall in a little more than a year. That’s less than a year before the 2010 gubernatorial primary—or right in the middle of the race by current campaign standards. The Sacramento chatter grew louder recently, when the political journal Capitol Weekly listed Villaraigosa as a potential gubernatorial contender, along with Attorney General Jerry Brown, Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi, Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell, and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, among others.

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Mayor Sam's Hotsheet for Friday

Laura Chick plans to release her follow up audit of the LA Fire Department Friday morning. Chick's intital report in January 2006 found the LAFD rife with harassment, hazing and discrimination. The 2006 audit was followed by the Tennie Pierce Dog Food Settlment, a string of multi-million dollar lawsuits against the City and the resignation of the Fire Chief.

Free food y'all! At a special event at the Chapman Market on 6th Avenue AnVil will introduce BongWater Kim as the new General Manager of the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment Friday morning. The public is invited and a light breakfast will be served.

Scientists at the University of Pittsburgh have trained monkeys to control robotic arms with their brain waves. Could they perhaps teach monkeys to run the City?

Mayor Villaraigosa and Chief Bratton have unveiled their gang fighting plans. Part of the effort includes seizing vehicles from gang members and evicting them from their apartments.

Retired LAPD officers can make a decent living doing security for movie shoots. It also benefits film producers who can have seasoned, experienced officers on hand during productions. But you can guess that Big Baby Bill Bratton wants to mess with the officers. The LAPD wants the retired officers to have to go through additional gun training and remove their rank from their uniform. Many fear that the real issue is the LAPD is eying the revenue and may set up its own contract officer bureau similar to other agencies who contract with studios for production security. Sadly it looks like former motorcycle cop turned Clowncilman Dennis Zine is backing the LAPD on this one.

The California State Assembly has passed yet another jobs killing initiative - mandatory sick leave for all employees. The Assembly doesn't get that it's good business for employers who want top employees to offer these and other benefits. Some of the top employers in the state such as Google, Mrs. Gooch and others offer fantastic benefits voluntarily and find they huge numbers of potential employees lining up to apply for open positions. Therefore, they get to pick the cream of the crop. At the same some really small businesses often can't afford to offer these benefits and will either close down or move out of the state or country. Get ready to watch unemployment go up!

And finally, do you want a Zuma Dogg for Mayor t-shirt? Click here and the dee oh double gee will hook you up. Yea yea.

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Bedtime Music

Sly & the Family Stone - Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin), from an episode of The Dick Cavett Show.


Thursday, May 29, 2008

Harvey Korman, 81

A UCLA Medical Center spokeswoman says actor Harvey Korman has died.

Hospital spokeswoman Roxanne Moster said Korman died today but she released no details.

The Emmy-winning star of such TV programs as "The Carol Burnett Show" and films such as "Blazing Saddles," was 81.


Blumenfield/Berman: "Beyond the Envelope"

The controversy continues for Assembly candidate Bob Blumenfield as the issue of a questionable independent expenditure committee set up by his father Michael Blumenfield and employer Congressman Howard Berman.

Linda Sutton, a writer and active supporter of Blumenfield opponent Laurette Healey said "Of course, we have to really IMAGINE that there is no coordination between the campaign and the father across the street and the employer of 18 years. This IS a stretch, but, hey, can we really IMAGINE THIS???"

"the actions of the Blumenfields go far beyond the envelope as it is usually interpreted"

The Sister City had the opportunity to speak with a veteran of several campaigns who knows a thing or two about campaign finance law. Our source told us that "the actions of the Blumenfields go far beyond the envelope as it is usually interpreted. On just about every campaign where it has been an issue, the rules on coordination have been applied to mean that you can barely even have a social conversation with anyone affiliated with an IE. If one Blumenfield said to the other something as simple as 'We aren't getting much support east of the 405', that could be a violation. And if the parents were canvassing, they certainly know where the campaign is investing time and resources."

Is the District Attorney investigating?

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Political Life Imitating Political Art?

Perhaps there is something to be said about that famous Ecclesiastes maxim: "What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun." I read Peter Funt op-ed this week--yes, THAT Peter Funt of Candid Camera fame--and wondered if life was imitating art or simply that politics is more predictable than we think. Decide for yourself.

West Wing

A Race Straight Out of a 'West Wing' Rerun

Peter Funt
Op-Ed - Washington Post
May 26, 2008; A17

How's this for a political plot: Good-looking congressman in his mid-40s, married with two young children, known for his inspirational speeches, comes from far behind to clinch the Democratic nomination and face an older, more experienced centrist Republican. If he wins, he's America's first non-Caucasian president.

It's a drama that plays out each day in the papers and through nonstop cable-TV coverage. But some are beginning to notice that it's a rerun. The whole thing was broadcast a few years back on NBC's "The West Wing."

As one who believes Aaron Sorkin's program belongs on a short list of television's finest dramas, I've been fascinated by similarities between the show's Democratic candidate, Matthew Santos, and the party's apparent real-life counterpart, Barack Obama. With Obama's nomination becoming more certain, "West Wing" references have intensified among bloggers and in the British press.

Apparently even Obama's staff is taking note of the degree to which life is imitating art. (They especially like the ending in which Santos, played by Jimmy Smits, narrowly defeats Alan Alda's character, Arnold Vinick, who bears more than a little resemblance to John McCain.)

Here's Santos on the campaign trail: "In a time of global chaos and instability, where our faiths collide as often as our weapons, hope is real . . . I am sure I will have my share of false starts. But there is no such thing as false hope. There is only hope."

How is this happening? Is politics so predictable, even in what some call the most unpredictable campaign ever? Or were the writers of "The West Wing" just that insightful? Turns out, it's a little of both.

Read the full op-ed.

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Mayor Sam's Hotsheet for Thursday

Joe Mailander opines that AnVil's coming junket to the Holy Land could be aimed at raising his profile among the area's Jews with the prospect of a Zev Yaroslavsky mayoral run looming over the horizon. Despite what the spinners say, there's blood in the water and it will be a crowded field.

More billboard nonsense, this time in Echo Park. The Eastside Chicken Girl takes Eric Garcetti to task for not getting rid of billboards homeowners have put up on their properties. Now it may that these billboards are against zoning and that needs to be rectified. But in a free market world homeowners should be allowed to monetize their property (and yea I expect to hear that Alger nonsense when you buy a house you buy a community. Bullshit you only get the dirt in between the property lines.)

If you need help on deciding on how to vote on Props 98 and 99, who to select for District Attorney, County Supervisor and a number of judgeships, Walter Moore has some recommendations for you.

Elson Trinidad has been writing about LA on the internet for over a decade (just like me; check out a proto version of this blog from the Riordan era). In his latest blog posting Elson chronicles the recent history of the East Hollywood community he's been leading for years and how its starting to get some recognition in the local streetscape.

There's more than just the usual suspects running for Assembly in the 40th Assembly District; blogger Kender does a great profile of Republican candidate Armineh Chelebian. For those five or six Republicans who do live in that District I highly recommend you vote for Armineh and NOT for her opponent Ken Sherman!

Bernard Parks announces that he has received the endorsement of a majority of the members of the Los Angeles City Council in his race for a County Supervisor seat. Bernie has the support of Councilmembers Eric Garcetti, Jan Perry, Tony Cardenas, Janice Hahn, Tom LaBonge, Bill Rosendahl, Herb Wesson and Greig Smith.

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Bedtime Music

Lawson Rollins, a Latin-fusion guitarist performs his improvisational composition "The Fire Cadenza".

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Why Clerks Should Perform Gay Marriages

Following the Supreme Court's ruling that allows same-sex marriages in California, a number of county clerks are balking at performing the marriages or issuing licenses based on their political and/or religious beliefs.

While I can respect the individual views of these individuals and their right to have them, government employees are duty bound to follow the law and to treat all citizens equally. As of now, same-sex marriage is the law. If there are government employees or officials who can not enforce the law then they need to either find a new job or transfer to a position that would not put them in a role where they would be required to perform the marriages.

This is somewhat akin to public college or school officials who want to ban military recruiters from coming on campus. However the law states that schools that receive federal funds must allow the recruiters on campus. If the people who work on the campuses don't agree with that, they need to find another job.

When government employees begin to think they have the authority to shirk the law, we're in trouble.


The Laurette Healey Players

It's always fun to take a look at the junk mail politicians flood your mailbox with this time of year. The brochures seek to make the office seeker look like a real person, out with the peeps and "in touch" with what you need.

One candidate however has decided that a campaign worker can easily "play the part" of at least a few "roles." See our Google Presentation below.

Marcia Davalos is a Democratic activist and a high level official within the campaign for 40th Assembly District Democratic Candidate Laurette Healey. She's good at astro-turfing for the campaign and though she's donated over $4,000 to the Healey campaign she has been paid nearly $35,000 for her services. (See Google Spreadsheet below or click here.)

This isn't the first time people have found Healey to be "creative." It makes you wonder what kind of smoke and mirrors she will use if elected to the Assembly.

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Villaraigosa's Latest Junket

It's been a while since the last Mayor Villaraigosa junket so there's one on the schedule next month. Mayor V's Flight Crew is taking off for...Israel! And paid for by the ratepayers of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power!

The Mayor will accompany Los Angeles City Councilmen Jack Weiss and Dennis Zine, Department of Water and Power General Manager David Naha, Water and Power Commission President Nick Patsaouras, Port of Los Angeles General Manager Geraldine Knatz, Harbor Commissioner Doug Krause, Los Angeles World Airports General Manager Gina Marie Lindsey and Airport Commission President Alan Rothenberg, The Simon Wiesenthal Center's Rabbi Marvin Hier and a number of business and civic leaders to "discuss" homeland security and make the LA River a "sister river" to a river in Tel Aviv. But it's okay, like the LA River the Yarkon River is also polluted.

Of course, there are no figures on how much this trip will cost.

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Mayor Sam's Hotsheet for Wednesday

Mayor Poopy may have a new role. Governor Schrwarzenegger has forwarded former Mayor James Hahn's name to the State Bar Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation as a possible appointee to the Los Angeles Superior Court. Should Hahn be eventually appointed to the Court he'd be the first former Los Angeles Mayor to serve on the Court since Fletcher Bowron.

This has got to be the most ridiculous idea to come before the Council in I don't know how long. Clowncilman Richard Alarcon has got unanimous support from the Council to support Assembly Bill 1819 which would allow 16 and 17 year olds to "pre-register and vote." This is something that will lead to more voter fraud but will add to the bureaucracy to make it happen. The idea is to get young people more involved but the logic is lost on me. What's next? Allowing teens to pre-register for their first kegger or their first age of consent sex?

The Former Fishwrap of Record has endorsed City Councilman Bernard Parks for County Supervisor. The Times says that Bernie has "shown a steady hand chairing the City Council's budget committee, and would bring similar care to the much larger county government."

We reported yesterday that Mayor Villaraigosa appeared in the Canoga Park Memorial Day Parade. A columnist at the Ventura County Star reports that protestors showed up to shame the Mayor for his support of Special Order 40. Speaking of the Canoga Park Parade here are photos of future Mayoral candidate Zev riding in the parade.

Access Hollywood is reporting that Britney Spears could be planning a Vegas comeback special. Spears could be paid $10 million for the special and follow up with a series of concert dates in sin city.

And finally, I had the opportunity to join Rita of Sunland a few months back at the premiere of Doug McIntyre's and Penny Peyser's homage to legendary jazz artist Jack Sheldon, the biographical Trying To Get Good: The Jazz Odyssey of Jack Sheldon. Now if you want to see the film now is your chance. There are a number of screenings scheduled from this Friday the 30th through June 19th at The Westwood Crest Theatre.

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Bedtime Music

Everly Brothers - Mama Tried

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

News Bits

Los Angeles loses iconic filmaker Sydney Pollack. Mr. Pollack died Monday of cancer at his home in Los Angeles. He was 73. Pollack was best known for directing The Way We Were, Out of Africa, Tootsie and Three Days of the Condor, among many other movies. He was also a very popular character actor, as well, having had bit parts in Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut, and Michael Clayton, with George Clooney, just to name a few.

While attending a literary festival in Britain, Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter said on Sunday he expects Democratic superdelegates (himself included) to finally belly-up their choice for presidential nominee after the final primary in June. That's when, he opines, Hillary Clinton will then have to quit the race. Wait a minute... a literary festival? I bet Jimmy hasn't read all the books Dubya and Rove have since 2006.

Well what then for Senator Clinton? Senator Edward Kennedy has some insights as he reminisces on losing the Democratic nomination in August 1980. Clinton, Kennedy says in an interview conducted before his cancer diagnosis, must decide where her heart lies. "She's got great capacity -- she was a good senator before, and she can be a great senator in the future," he said. The question, he said, is "what she does with this experience."

When "Humanitarian Relief" is anything but: Save the Children UK is reporting that humanitarian relief workers and United Nations peacekeepers are sexually abusing small children as young as 6, in war-ravaged and food-poor countries.

Children as young as 6 have been forced to have sex with aid workers and peacekeepers in return for food and money, Save the Children UK said in a report released Tuesday. After interviewing hundreds of children, the charity said it found instances of rape, child prostitution, pornography, indecent sexual assault and trafficking of children for sex.

Save the Children says almost as shocking as the abuse itself, is the "chronic under-reporting" of the abuses. It believes that thousands more children around the world could be suffering in silence. According to the charity, children told researchers they were too frightened to report the abuse, fearful that the abuser would come back to hurt them and that they would stop receiving aid from agencies, or even be punished by their family or community.

"People don't report it because they are worried that the agency will stop working here, and we need them," a teenage boy in southern Sudan told Save the Children. The charity's research was centered on Ivory Coast, southern Sudan and Haiti, but Save the Children said the perpetrators of sexual abuse of children could be found in every type of humanitarian organization at all levels.

While I've come to the conclusion long ago that this world will never ever really be safe for all children, I didn't know humans (in the name of Humanitarianism) could be so truly vile. I guess it takes all kinds.

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A "Magic" Mayor?

No matter what you think of Zuma Dogg; he hears things and no not just the voices in Bill Rosendahl's head. I've been telling you that Richard Riordan and Eli Broad are planning to throw Tony under the bus; looking for that pro-developer mayoral candidate that can get elected as the antidote to the Coming City Superstorm and the force of Hurricane Zev. Everyone from Bob Hertzberg to Rick Caruso has been mentioned. The challenge for Mssrs. Riordan and Broad is that they need someone who 1) they can work with 2) is pro-development and 3) can overcome #1 and #2 enough to dull the pitchforks and torches coming from Sunland-Tujunga, Studio City, West LA, Granada Hills, CD14, et al.

According to Zuma, that someone could very well be the individual that wore a number 32 for 13 years:

ZUMA PREDICT NEXT MAYOR OF LOS ANGELES: AND SPEAKING OF LAKERS...looks like Los Angeles is going to have a former one for mayor in '09.

So while observant blogs play around with current Lakers who allegedly play around, visit Zuma Dogg's LA Daily Blog (and Mayor Sam too!) for more on who will replace Tony in the driver seat on Grandpa Dick's bus.

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So When Is Coordination Not Coordination?

If you support a candidate for office in California you can raise money on their behalf and receive contributions in excess of the maximums allowed for one individual to donate directly to a candidate. You can then campaign on their behalf, print brochures, run TV commercials, make phone calls, etc. provided there is no coordination between your independent expenditure committee (IEC) and the candidate's campaign itself.

Normally IECs are formed by unions, associations or other special interests that want to elect a certain candidate. In this situations it is easy to maintain the "wall of seperation" between the IEC and the candidate.

However one controversial IEC of late is one formed by the father and employer of a candidate. Bob Blumenfield is running for the Democratic nomination for the 40th Assembly District and his father political consultant Michael and employer Congressman Howard Berman have donated over $100,000 to the younger Blumenfield's campaign and claim there is no coordination. Though many wonder how an IEC run by the father and employer of a candidate could truly be considered independent.

More alleged evidence of coordination between the IEC and the Blumenfield campaign surfaced Monday as Blumenfield's parents were reportedly walking precincts for the campaign in an area surrounding the Blumenfield campaign office. A voter in the area received a personally signed campaign brochure from Blumenfield's parents, a scan is below:

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VICA's Useless Mission

It's not a surprise that the Valley Industry and Commerce Association is opposing Proposition 98 though the measure has a very free market mission in preventing local government from taking private property to give to developers. VICA's leadership is rife with developers and other business interests who really are more in favor of a cozy relationship with government than the free market.

In terms of advancing the true business needs of the Valley, it's quite a useless organization. VICA has been around for nearly 60 years and during that time the Valley has degenerated from a vibrant, growing community to a near third world nation. Contrast it's fortunes with that of other nearby regions such as Santa Clarita or Orange County and you'll see how the lack of leadership and vision has really hurt the Valley.

And of course VICA is run by Brendan Huffman, husband of LAUSD School Board member Tamar Galatzan. Brendan, a big time supporter of the Home Depot in Sunland-Tujunga is said to have never met a developer he didn't like.

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Mayor Sam's Hotsheet for Tuesday

Zuma Dogg reports that the LA City Council was bamboozled by an Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes authored law that would remove much of the Council's control over planning decisions. Speculation is that Fuentes was inspired to write the law at the behest of his mentors, City Clowncilmen Richard Alarcon and Tony Cardenas in order to facilitate development at the controversial site of the Verdugo Hills Golf Course. I would imagine if the Clowncil spent less time on public proclamations for Mickey Mouse and cheerleaders and passing nonsense resolutions against the war they'd have more bandwidth to recognize shadiness right under their noses.

The Daily News endorses Assembly Candidate Stuart Waldman and State Senate Candidate Fran Pavley in this morning's paper.

Mayor Villaraigosa gets behind the wheel in the Canoga Park Memorial Day Parade Monday. One blogger forgave the mayor's "ineffectiveness" in handling the City's finances.

KNX reports that City Controller Laura Chick says the city is doing a horrible job in promoting it's tourist attractions. Chick is pushing for the city to have multi-lingual greeters at LAX, neighborhood tours and more publicizing of the various festivals held around the City.

Los Angeles World Airports is working to grow service at it's LA/Palmdale Regional Airport but its finding tough going. Currently United Airlines has two daily flights to San Francisco. The City hopes to expand the number of flights by encouraging the use of more fuel efficient turbo prop airlines, yet some passengers are leary of the planes and prefer jets. At the same time airlines are reluctant to expand into Palmdale until there's more demand; yet demand is driven by availability.

LAist repots that the state's ban on talking on your cell phone while driving finally goes into effect on July 1st. However a loophole in the law technically allows you to still send text messages while driving.

Zev Yaroslavsky has put the wheels in motion for the County to meet the State Supreme Court declared date of June 16 to allow gays to marry and get marriage licenses. To facilitate the crush, the County will open up a special branch license office in WeHo. In the meantime, the Court's ruling will mean a cash bonanza for political consultants on both sides of a coming ballot measure seeking to overturn the Court's decision on the November ballot - donations are pouring in from all over to the yes and no campaigns.

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Bedtime Music

The Pussycat Dolls - Wait a Minute (video shot in the NoHo Station of the Metro Red Line)

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Monday, May 26, 2008

FLASH: Daily News Endorses Waldman, Pavley

Though he has to sit first through a verbal spanking from the MOLDY GREENSHEET OF RECORD, 40th Assembly District Candidate Stuart Waldman garners the endorsement of the Daily News, a significant victory for the former Chief of Staff to Assembly Speaker Bob Hertzberg and current seat holder Lloyd Levine.

Though the News is disgusted by the spat between Waldman and chief opponent Bob Blumenfield over Blumenfield's questionable campaign financing, they gave the nod to Waldman based on his past experience and their hope once in office he'll put all this behind him. The paper also stated that fellow candidates Laurette Healey and Dan McCrory "just aren't viable candidates."

In a related story, the Daily News endorsed Levine's opponent for the Democratic nomination for the 23rd State Senate District, Fran Pavley. The News compared Levine to Blumenfield saying the Assemblyman's "tenure has been more about serving himself than the Valley."

Voters in both races go to the polls June 3rd.

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Nannies at McDonald's

Another victory for the nanny state as the California State Senate passes SB 1420 requiring fast food restaurants to post nutritional information for all items on their menus.

Though studies show that posting this information could cut down on obesity and I'm all for the restaurants providing this information (many do already on a voluntary basis) once again I have to ask do we need government to take care of us?

Oh - and by the way this bill isn't from the usual nanny source of course but Senator Alex Padilla.

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Mayor Sam's Holiday Hotsheet

DWP Chief Operating Officer Raman Raj - who earns $247,000 annually - apparently worked as a consultant for at least three firms with business before joining the utility. The disclosures has raised the ire of several City Council Members as to the "revolving door" of City employees who go back and forth between jobs in the private sector with firms that do business with the City and positions with the City that often decide where contracts go to their former or future employers.

David Markland busts the County Supervisor campaign of Bernard Parks. It appears that the Parks campaign may have lifted the template from Barack Obama's campaign website for it's own.

"Pundit" Sherry "Shirley" Bebitch Jeffe has declared the LA County Supervisor's race between Bernie Parks and Mark Ridley Thomas as "the most important one" on the June ballot. Wow! All the other races might as well just be forgotten.

The City gave mega-raises to municipal employees but there wasn't the money there to afford it. Walter Moore takes Mayor Villaraigosa to task for claiming "I didn't know that!"

A monster 7.7 or greater earthquake is due any day now on the San Andreas Fault. The Discovery Channel details a scenario for such a disaster that could be as much as decades or as little as months away.

Another sex tape is about to hit the market; this time it's Britney Spears. The tape allegedly features Spears fully nude in action with ex-boyfriend Adnan Ghalib while she wears a pink wig throughout. The paparazzi who owns the tape plans to put it up for sale to the highest bidder.

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Bedtime Music

In honor of Memorial Day, saluting all those who have served and given their lives, Jump 5 with God Bless The USA.

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Sunday, May 25, 2008

Bedtime Music

Snoop Dogg - Gin and Juice

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Dick Martin Dead at 86

Dan Rowan & Dick Martin

Dick Martin, the befuddled, stumbling, and hilarious component of the "Rowan & Martin" comedy team has passed at the age of 86.

He is best known for his work on the "Laugh-In" TV series, which he co-hosted with Dan Rowan. The show, considered groundbreaking back in the day, ran on NBC from 1968 to 1973 and helped to launch the careers of Goldie Hawn, Lily Tomlin, Jo Anne Worley, Tiny Tim, and Ruth Buzzi.

The show was a non-stop barrage of one-liners, pop culture humor, bikinis, weird camera angles, and even featured guest appearances by Richard Nixon and John Wayne.

At the time, there was nothing else like it on television.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

The 70s at 7

It's 1975 and you need to buy a car. What are you going do??

Dudes... go see Cal, go see Cal, go see Cal. He will stand upon his head, till his ears are turning red. Go see Cal, go see Cal, go see Cal...

And don't forget his dog, Spot.

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Moms Making a Difference

The fabulous ladies over at MomsRising.org would like to remind you that the Women's Campaign Forum (WCF) has launched the second annual She Should Run campaign.

She Should Run is a comprehensive effort to gather nominations of women leaders who should run for public office. WCF is committed to ensuring these women get essential encouragement they need and to providing them connections to key public life decision making tools and campaign resources.

From MomsRising.org:

Do you know a woman who should run for office? Research shows women are much more likely to run if someone asks them to. Tell a woman she should run for office, share her story, and send her on her way toward becoming the influential public office holder she was always meant to be.

Hey, Abby Diamond -- would you run for office ... pretty please?! I kinda like the way "Mayor Diamond" sounds. :)

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Bedtime Music

If You Can Dream by the Disney Princess

Featuring vocals by:

Susan Stevens Logan as Cinderella
Christie Houser as Princess Aurora
Jodi Benson as Princess Ariel
Paige O'Hara as Belle
Judy Kuhn as Pocahontas
Lea Salonga as Princess Jasmine and Mulan

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Friday, May 23, 2008

The 70s at 7

Before Chuck E. Cheese's; before the lavish, opulent catered affairs for toddlers... if you had a child growing up in the 70's or were a child growing up in the 70's, locally you would have celebrated yours or a friend's birthday at Farrell's Old Fashioned Ice Cream Parlour.

In the Valley, we had two: one in Van Nuys on Van Nuys Blvd., and in Northridge on Reseda Blvd. Man, oh man, those were the days.

Pig Trough, anyone? Or how about The Zoo; the multi-scoop ginormous metal bowl filled with ice cream scoops and rimmed with plastic animals?

I'm suddenly craving ice cream.

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A Little Music For Memorial Day

Have a great weekend everyone!

And now a few moments with Greg Nelson

One of our readers posted this gem:

Sorry Higby, but now what he's the main writer for Citywatch, Greg Nelson has become the "Andy Rooney" commentator on all things City Hall, a doddering, out-of-touch, deposed king among gadflies.

He's using his extra time now to recycle all the inane memos he sent upstairs while working for two mayors, and which all got promptly ash-canned because they were . . . well, inane.

- "Didja ever notice that 'Public Works' can be a noun and a complete sentence?"

- "Why is it that the notices from the city's EARLY Notification System, always come out in the LATE afternoon?"

- "BONC would be much better suited to do what DONE does, and have DONE do what BONC does now. I don't know why, it just looked pretty when I diagrammed it in crayon on my placemat at Denny's this morning."

- Neighorhood councils were created to teach stakeholders how to blow bubbles without getting soap on their shirts. Look it up; it's in the revised city charter."

- "They have neighborhood councils in Butte, Montana, you know, and their board members get to park their cars on sidewalks without getting tickets. We should try that."

Ignore him. Not like in "ignore him and he'll go away" - because he has nowhere to go, but you'll be less frustrated if you do.

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Around The Sister City

The folks over at Cinespia.org begin their 2008 season of cemetery screenings this Saturday night with the acclaimed Billy Wilder film, Ace in the Hole.

In their 8th year of presenting an eclectic variety of offerings to LA cinema buffs under (and over) the stars at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, the film preservation society runs out the gate with Ace in the Hole this Saturday; The Party on May 31; The Hunger on June 7. Gates open at 7:30 pm and the film screens at 9:00 pm. Tickets are $10 at the gate; parking inside the grounds will cost you $5.

Sign up for email notices of upcoming screenings.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Cinespia will once again give Angelenos the chance (as they have for the last two years) to put on their tallest white platforms shoes and dance along to "Tequila" with Pee-Wee Herman at the "Pee-Wee's Big Adventure" screening.

I'll be there... just look for the Dork Girl with the Radio Flyer red wagon (loaded down with beach chairs, cooler, pillows, blankets, etc.), votive citronella candles, a pitcher of martinis and the pièce de résistance: an original Pee-Wee Herman pull-string doll sitting atop an original Chairy puppet chair. Find me after a few cocktails and maybe I'll let you pull his string.

Cemetery Screenings, Yelped.

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Stupid Ass of the Week

Stupid Ass of the Week -- Fabian Núñez
"Everyone's done it like this," Núñez said of previous legislative leaders. "The difference is there are some in politics who want to judge me in a certain manner.

"Because of the fact I am Mexican, they think I have to sleep under a cactus and eat from taco stands."

Hey Stupid Ass, you may get away playing the racial card with the Gringos, Bro, but not with me. You know full well no one expects you to sleep under a cactus and eat at a taco truck, although the latter sounds like a damn fine option to me, but then... I'm not used to $$$$$$ meals at the French Laundry.

Nice way to race bait, tho'.

"The only thing that really results out of this is that groups that don't like Latinos use this as a weapon to inflame anti-Mexican, anti-Latino politics," he said.

Say, Whaaaat?

What the hell are you talking about? You get called out for your spending--money that was entrusted to you by the people of California [ed. my bad, I meant CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS]-- and right away you go crying like a little boy, hiding behind your abuelitas skirts... blaming the White Man for beating you down?

Grow up, Fabian. Be a man and own up to the fact that you blew it. Plain and simple. Pendejo. Sin Vergüenza!

Hector Barajas, communications director of the California Republican Party, called Núñez's racial comments disgraceful and disheartening.

"Questioning someone's expenses, especially when they're in public
office, is something the public should do," he said.

Kevin Spillane, a GOP strategist who ran the campaign against Proposition 93, noted that the campaign also accused President Pro Tem Don Perata, who is white, of political corruption.

"Political corruption is colorblind," Spillane said.
Yeah, Fabian Núñez. Stupid Ass.

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Mayor Sam's Hotsheet for Friday

Did anyone read Greg Nelson's last post on CityWatch? I am not really sure what he was talking about; something to the effect of attracting better candidates for the City's Neighborhood Councils having something to do with whether or not the City provides public funding for sports stadiums. If you figure it out; let me know.

The New York Observer is reporting that New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is holding a fund-raiser for Mayor Villaraigosa in the Big Apple next month. No truth to the rumor that Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley is planning a benefit for Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky's mayoral campaign.

We mentioned Bitter Bernie's telephone campaign on behalf of postage stamps; one blogger asks a great question: why didn't Bernie call his constituents before the price of stamps went up? In the meantime, while Bernie was busy telling stakeholders their comments to the Council were not necessary, he received the endorsement of Magic Johnson.

Interesting article in the LA Weekly about the recent State Supreme Court decision permitting gays to marry in California. At the time the case was about to go through "tolerant" Democrats squirmed and wanted to stick it back in the closet. But it was Republican judges that made the difference.

And finally, we teased a new writer here on the blog Thursday. We won't torture you anymore; we're pleased to announce that Jamiel Shaw, Sr. - father of murdered teenager Jamiel Shaw, II - will be joining the blog as a contributor to share his thoughts on a number of issues. Stay tuned for Jamiel's first post very soon.

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Bedtime Music

R.E.M. with Man on the Moon.

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Valley Readies for Hot, Violent Summer

After a particularly violent night on Tuesday, police have stepped up their patrols in North Hollywood and the Northeast Valley, where a total of six shootings took place.

And how do our council memebers react to the escalation in violence? Why, by asking the mayor for more money to fund their gang intervention programs, that's how.

From the horse's mouth via the DN:

"We are anticipating a hot summer, and things happen when it gets above 100 degrees," said Councilman Richard Alarcon, whose district includes Pacoima, where two shootings Tuesday left three wounded. Alarcon said he is pushing Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to speed up the funding of intervention programs in the area before summer. Both Alarcon and Councilwoman Wendy Greuel, who represents North Hollywood, are doubling efforts to build Neighborhood Watch programs.

The brazen gun attacks started in Northridge about 6 p.m Tuesday, when a gray SUV with four men inside pulled alongside a 16-year-old boy walking near Wilbur Avenue and Parthenia Street. The boy told police he struggled with one of the men, who stepped out of the car and pointed a pistol at him, while another person emerged from the car and shot him with a shotgun.

An hour later, a fight broke out among nearly a dozen Armenian men outside a restaurant at Whitsett Avenue and Oxnard Street. The men appeared to have been arguing, police said, when a number of them pulled out guns and fired off more than 20 shots. An Armenian male identified as Artak Karamyan, 28, died at the scene. Police said a car-to-car gunbattle ensued, and the body of Paylak Harutyunyan, 29, was dumped at Coldwater Canyon Avenue and Vanowen Street.

The DN has a map and a timeline of the violence that errupted Tuesday night in North Hollywood, Northridge, Sylmar and Arleta.

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LA Democracy - Gone in Sixty Seconds

Damn. It's tough to be an idealist in this town.

Last Friday's Clowncil session was another new low in the suppression of public input. This city's budget is a big topic, and an important topic to those lucky/unlucky enough to live in the City of Angels. Last Friday, a lot of concerned Angelenos -- concerned constituents -- showed up dutifully to give their input before the full Clowncil's deliberations on the Mayor's budget. Folks from the Harbor area, folks from the Valley, folks from Northeast took time from their jobs to hustle themselves downtown and engage City government. Democracy in action - WhooHoo!
Said same commonfolks were then forced to sit through 2.5 hours of glee club presentations because there is no way of knowing just how long this weekly waste of time will last. Around 12:30pm, when all the glee was finally wrung from chambers, actual City business began.
With Dennis Zine presiding, general comments on non-agenda items went first. Speakers including Clowncil institution Zuma Dogg were given the standard 2 minutes to expound. Zuma used his democratic right to go after Clowncil fee waivers (go get'em Zuma!) while the Channel 35/36 cameraman was obviously highly amused by The Dogg's showmanship.
The next item was the public hearing on the City budget - probably the most important item on the entire agenda. Zine then unceremoniously ordered public comment reduced to 1 minute.
There's a big difference between one and two minutes in public comment. If you have anything to say other than "Thank you sir! May I have another?", one minute doesn't cut it.
Before comment was allowed to begin, Bitter Bernie actually stood up and 'splained to the public that if they were there to talk about Park Rangers, they shouldn't bother because it had been handled. His attitude was that of a school teacher talking down to little children; his tone and body language implied threat. (really? yes.)
As the public attempted to make their many varied points about a variety of topics in sixty seconds or less, City Clowncil-kiddies ate lunch, chatted with parties unknown, left the room altogether, text'd parties unknown, or exchanged goofy faces with one another. A scene reminiscent of squirming school children just before recess that left no doubt Bitter Bernie had been talking down to the wrong group.

So that's it. The pretense of City Democracy disappearing into the ether in sixty seconds. I know... I know. "SO WHAT'S NEW !!?!"

Nothing, and that's the sad part.

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Stay Tuned for a Major Announcement

A new blogger and a new voice is joining the Mayor Sam team. Formal announcement tomorrow morning. Want to guess who it is? Blog away!


Breaking News

CNN is reporting that the Texas 3rd District Court of Appeals has ruled that the State should not have removed the more than 460 children it took from a polygamist sect's ranch. The Court found in favor of 38 women who had appealed the removals, as well as a decision last month by a district judge that the children will remain in state custody.

"The existence of the FLDS belief system as described by the department's witnesses, by itself, does not put children of FLDS parents in physical danger," the three-judge panel said.

The state's Department of Family and Protective Services "did not present any evidence of danger to the physical health or safety of any male children or any female children who had not reached puberty," the judges ruled.

The mothers of the children argued the State should have proved that the children's health or safety was in danger; that there was "an urgent need for protection" that required immediately separating the children from their parents; and that the State made "reasonable efforts" to avoid removing the children.

Because the State failed to provide such proof, the mothers further argued, the District Court -- which backed the department's seizure of the children -- "was required to return the children to their parents and abused its discretion by failing to do so."

You can read the ruling here. (warning: pdf file)

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