Alarcon circle-jerks Sayre fire victims, Sylmar NC for votes.
Sad as it is to say, the high-profile Sayre Fire has come at a very convenient time for the old Zorro Marxist. Guillermo Huesca, philanthropist and popular Spanish-language television personality, is also running for CD-7. Huesca may be the first CD-7 candidate in ages who has enough face recognition to knock Zorro off.
Today's landmark meeting is ostensibly about fire recovery services for the people of Sylmar. A parade of citizens who've lost everything -- people from Sylmar -- will be trotted out to fill the room with empathy, while first responders will be trotted out to fill the room with pride. All with Chairman Alarcon presiding. 'How deeply must Richard Alarcon care for his constituents!' we think upon reading this. 'Vote Alarcon!'
...but how quickly we've forgotten.
Alarcon and his political offspring (Padilla) have been in command of CD-7 for an awfully long time. Complaints of water pressure issues, shoddy and plain old illegal construction, and fire code violations at and around mobile home parks and regular single-family homes have been coming into his office for decades while the quality of life for CD-7 residents has gone steadily downhill. The current slum lord conditions in CD-7 have all come to pass on Alarcon's watch.
Alarcon's let them eat cake attitude goes far deeper than this. In the past five years, mercenary developers have been victimizing mobile home park residents all over the state through immoral and cruel practices in the quest for build-able land. These practices include hiking space rental fees beyond the price of an average single-family home mortgage and charging utilities fees that are factors of ten higher than the actual utility bill. When the resident can no longer pay the fees, they're often forced to completely abandon their mobile or pre-manufactured home. Many, if not all of these residents are lower income and/or the elderly.
Three mobile home parks were seriously damaged between the Marek and Sayre fires. At least two of these parks have been under siege by the practices described above in the past five years. One of them, Blue Star, had many homes damaged in the Marek fire. Blue Star land lies half in the County of Los Angeles, half in CD-7 where some measure of City rent control has actually mitigated the owner's attempts to bankrupt and drive out those residents.
Alex Padilla may be the only City councilman to both take notice of the plight of these victims and actually take action. When Padilla left CD-7 for Sacramento, he had already spent a year working to protect all of Blue Star's weary residents by annexing the rest of land into Los Angeles City. All Richard Alarcon had to do upon taking office for a third time was to complete a few technical steps and the annexation of Blue Star would be complete. Residents would finally be free of the ongoing nightmare.
Yet today, Blue Star remains split between City and County. When asked why the annexation wasn't finished, Alarcon's response was: "... the property owner was against it."
The property owner was against it? Go figure.
Although CD-7 is composed mainly of Sylmar and Pacoima residents, half of Lake View Terrace, approximately 10,000 people, reside in CD-7 too. However, when the Marek Fire hit Lake View Terrace just a few weeks earlier, the council office was basically MIA. Alarcon didn't even phone it in, bypassing the major emergency relief information meetings organized by the State and County to hold his own emergency relief meetings for a selected few without any real outreach or even bothering to contact the neighborhood council in that area.
The Sayre Fire impacted portions of Lake View Terrace a second time. Alarcon's outreach to the NC whose boundaries include Lake View Terrace was to send his cousin and field deputy, John de la Rosa, to turn on the crocodile tears for almost 10 minutes of nothing at their last board meeting. 'How deeply Alarcon's cousin must care for the people,' they're supposed to think. 'Vote Alarcon!'
Reality-check. Alarcon -- who is the president of the council committee which oversees neighborhood councils and who should be their biggest ally -- has been historically antagonistic with the neighborhood council in that particular area. De la Rosa was the deputy who accused the NC board of racism and of purposefully pitting 'neighborhood against neighborhood' when the board protested Alarcon's theft of funds from an environmental center to pay for his union-backed truck driving academy. The academy will pave over 22 acres of the Lopez Canyon Landfill that is slated to become open space and park land per the landfill's approved closure plan.
Ladies and gentlemen of the voting public: CD-7 Kool-aid is being served at 3pm today. It's unfortunate that the Sylmar Neighborhood Council and fire victims find themselves first in line to partake.
Labels: blue star mobile home park, foothill trails district neighborhood council, Lake View Terrace, Lopez Cayon landfill, Marek Fire, Richard Alarcon, sayre fire, sylmar fire, Sylmar Neighborhood Council