Whistleblower hotline: (213) 785-6098

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Mayor Sam's Hotsheet for Sunday

The LA Times reports that District Attorney Steve Cooley's office is investigating former City Councilmember turned lobbyist Richard Alartorre on ethics issues.  Though officials are not talking much about the investigation the inquiry centers around alleged lobbying of City Council members and other officials Alatorre may have done though he was not properly registered as a lobbyist.  Alatorre has been involved with consulting work on the controversial development project Las Lomas, a 5000+ home planned community in the Newhall Pass andvarious airport related contracts.

If you had forgotten that State Senator Mark Ridley-Thomas was elected to the County Board of Supervisors, he has a plan to make sure to remind you.  Ridley-Thomas will be sworn in Monday at the County Hall of Administration with a ceremony befitting a Presidential inaguration.  Marching bands, chors, military color guards, singers, TV anchors and stars galore will be on hand for the festivities

Every time in history that the railroad has come to town it's changed the area around it.  And now the same thing is happening in Eastside communities like Boyle Heights as the MTA's Gold Line heads eastward with an extension of the rail line that runs from Pasadena to Downtown.  Interesting story in the LA Times chats with residents looking for upscale retail that has evaded them for decades are divided among those who feel the community could lose it's primarily Latino, working class feel.  That being said change is already come to the area and completion of the rail line will only do the same.

Everyone from the guys who own Google to Hollywood actors are lining up to buy one but Chris Paine, director of the film  Who Killed The Electric Car?, already has one of the much anticiapted Tesla Roadsters, an electric vehicle which gets the equivalent of 120 miles to the gallon and can do zero to sixty in 3.9 seconds.  Paine writes at the Revenge of the Electric Car blog that curious Sheriff's officers on Ventura Boulevard pulled Paine over and that Paine has also given a ride to Council President Eric Garcetti.  Besides being such a fabulous piece of engineering that is great for the environment, the Tesla is a testament to free enterprise as the company, headquartered here in California, was built with private investment (mostly from Silcon Valley sources) and not the government (nor government bailouts).

MSNBC talking head Chris Matthews says he isn't but reports are that he's lining up a campaign staff for a run at  Arlen Specter's Pennsylvania US Senate seat.  Initial polls show Matthews running well behind the 80 year old liberal Republican but that's apparently because voters don't know him well enough.  No truth to the rumors that Anderson Cooper and Greta VanSusteren are eyeing Senate runs.

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving Photo Opps Continue

Nothing like the holidays to bring out celebrities and politicians to get some photo opps feeding the homeless.  Council Members Dennis Zine, Jan Perry and Tom LeBong were ready for the cameras as the LA Mission served their annual Thanksgiving meal, as seen on the pages of the excellent blog, Downtown Los Angeles Central City East

Indeed, it's a wonderful thing to make the holiday as best as can be for those who are down on their luck.  All of us have got the call from a friend "We're going downtown to feed the homeless before we go over to Grandma's!" have been inspired to help.  The truth is however, as nice and as well intentioned as these acts are I believe they serve only to assuage a certain amount of guilt that we've yet to find real solutions to these social ills, let alone get past the fraud, waste and abuse of government that at least contributes to if is not the cause of these roadblocks to human welfare. 

I am certain by chanllenging these random acts of kindness it puts me in the "hater" category but I can't easily accept some of the inherent phoniness around it when on the days that are not Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc. bad things are ignored and allowed.

Postscript: Two years ago Joel John Roberts, CEO of PATH Partners, wrote an excellent post on this topic.  It still is true.

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Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday

Shop, Baby, Shop.


Longbardi Questions Roderick's Latest Award

ERS News blogger Eric Longbardi is incredelous over a recent award won by West LA based blogger Kevin Roderick, chief correspondent at LAObserved.

You might remember the story that Longbardi has been pushing, originally reported by blogger Luke Ford, that Roderick is allegedly falsely claiming credit for Pulitizer Prize awards won by his former employer The Los Angeles Times in recognition of stories that Roderick did not write but was a member of the team that produced them.

Longbardi is aghast that Roderick recently won recognition from the Society of Professional Journalists for his efforts by a journalist “who uses the new media’s unique characteristics and capabilities while striving to uphold traditional journalism’s highest standards of honesty, accuracy, responsibility and accountability.”

The ERS blogger holds that given his view that Roderick has been less than honest in the Pulitzer issue the LAObserved editor is not deserving of the SPJ award.

In the Thanksgiving Day post, Longbardi recaps the original charges against Roderick including deconstructing an interview by David Markland and former LA Voice blogger and Roderick's colleague at The Times at the same time Mack Reed's opinion that though he had a similar role in the stories and received the same "trophy" from the LA Times as Roderick, Reed does not consider that he himself "won" a Pulitzer.

Whether you agree with Longbardi or you support Roderick, all in all it presents an interesting story that perhaps journalists and some bloggers are way too obsessed with awards and that perhaps there are so many awards they are not as meaningful as they once were. It should be noted that many of these awards may be self-nominated and many of them require the payment of a fee or joining an organization in order to be considered.

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Mayor Sam's Hotsheet for Friday

Explosive charges from Zuma Dogg that longtime political operative Ace Smith is allegedly "posting FAKE posts on other blogs in an attempt to rowl some people up against one of the other City Attorney candidates."  Smith, who has helmed campaigns for Antonio Villaraigosa and many others heads up the effort to get City Council Member Jack Weiss elected City Attorney. Zuma also alludes to accusations against Weiss that he allegedly may have deeper than previously reported involvment in controversial billboard permits.

Speaking of billboards, the anti-sign nuts are all up in arms that the City and property owners want to have a certain number of super-sized, media related billboards in the entertainment district of Hollywood.  If laws were not followed and permits issued improperly that's one thing.  But I don't see an issue with giant entertainment related billboards on Hollywood or Sunset Boulevards similar to Times Square, Tokyo, European cities, etc.

Councilman Tom LeBong, fresh from making maps, still thinks he owns Griffith Park.  Cyclists are up in arms that he has banned them from riding in existing bike lanes in the park for the DWP's annual "Festival of Lights."  By the way, the festival is great, but why the hell is the DWP paying for it? Let private industry do it.

Tim Rutten writing in the LA Times does an excellent analysis of the political shadiness behind the Mayor's solar initiative.  It's yet another way for City unions to grab more taxpayer money and political power while at the same time giving the Mayor something to run.  Though most voters will react emotionally and think that solar power sounds like a wonderful deal it's unlikely they will comprehend that this measure will raise electric rates let alone the fraud behind it.

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Zuma Dogg Marathon Finale: Zuma Dogg for Mayor

"Zuma Dogg For Mayor" to the tune of Ramones "I Wanna Be Sedated." by Los Angeles Mayoral Candiate Zuma Dogg and "Guitar Player" Gil. [Mayor09.com]

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Zuma Dogg Marathon: Zuma Busts LA City Water Wasting

Zuma Dogg catches the City wasting water in Venice (warning - tad of profanity at the end but it's worth it.)

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Zuma Dogg Marathon: Zuma and Gavin Newsom

Zuma chats with San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom:

Then Zuma Dogg catches Mayor Newsom with his SUV parked in the fire lane:

Bonus Clip:
Zuma Dogg wants to know if it's a law that you have to be quiet in the library.

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Zuma Dogg Marathon: Zuma Discusses the Bailout with KNBC

Zuma Dogg discusses the economy back when John McCain suspended his campaign in September. Zuma looks like he was right.

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Zuma Dogg Marathon: Zuma Interviews Ron Kaye & Carmen Trutanich

Zuma Dogg Interviews Ron Kaye About DWP and LA City Attorney Candidate Carmen Trutanich

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Zuma Dogg Marathon: Zuma as Gene Simmons

Bernie isn't amused.

Bonus clip: "Oh no not Parks!" (The mic in Van Nuys was left hot after public comment.)

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Zuma Dogg Marathon: Zuma Knows The Brown Act

Zuma Dogg knows his rights but Tom LeBong still shows us why he's Tom LeBong. Also in the clip, Melrose Larry Green looking like an idiot.

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Zuma Dogg Marathon: Zuma vs The Clowncil

This contains the classic "Lights on a statue" featuring the legendary remark "I got way more time LeBong!"

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Zuma Dogg Marathon: Zuma Chats With Larry

Zuma is interviewed by a famous interviewer.

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Zuma Dogg Marathon: Zuma Sings Journey

Joe B.'s favorite, Zuma Dogg sings "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey.

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Zuma Dogg Participates in Huizar's Turkey Giveaway!

This holliday Council Member Jose Huizar provided hundreds of turkeys (yes, the kind you eat for Thanksgiving) to families in Council District 14.

But the newest resident to CD 14 - Zuma Dogg - didn't get his turkey so a Huizar staffer was nice enough to drive out to Casa Princesa and present Zuma with his official turkey.

Zuma Dogg says he doesn't eat turkey so he's donated the turkey to a low income family.

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Open Thread: What Are You Thankful For?

How To Be Thankful from WikiHow

1. Pay attention to the people around you. You will find that everybody has something to worry or complain about, not just you. It's easy to focus on those who seem to have it all, but you never know what's going on inside. They might look happy, but they might be miserable as well. Don't look at others and think "I should have it like they do." Look at those who aren't as fortunate as you are and take note of how blessed you are. Count your blessings. If it helps, consider volunteering or start a friendship with someone who is not as fortunate and find small or gradual ways to help them.

2. Practice acceptance. Stop dwelling on how things should be, what could've been, and what you don't have. Recognize what you do have--whether you like it or not, it's yours to keep or to change. Accepting your lot in life is not about resigning yourself to unhappiness. It's about not wasting time wishing for what you don't have. You could try writing a list of things you want, and things you have. Consider the thought that many less fortunate people will want some of the basic things that you have.

3. Become a problem solver. Use your lemons to make lemonade. Get in the habit of asking yourself how you can turn the negative into a positive. The most successful people in life, and those who have the most to be grateful for, are also those who've endured tremendous trials and managed to persevere and turn it all around.

4. Learn to see hardship as a chance to develop character. Imagine yourself looking back ten years from now and recounting your difficult circumstances, and being proud of how you handled it and worked through it.

5. Develop a gratitude journal. It's pretty simple. At the end of every day, write down five things that have made you happy or appreciative that day; not necessarily big things, even small ones count.
* For example: 1) nice weather, 2) being thanked by a customer at work, 3) my pet, 4) having people who love me, 5) a funny joke or a song you like.

6. Take joy in the small things. Blow bubbles. Walk the dog. Get lost in the park. Goof off or watch a funny movie and have a good laugh. Life's treasures are the small pleasures; give thanks for each small gift you receive!

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Better Than Turkey! The Side Dishes!

From Wikipedia:
Many other foods are served alongside the main dish—so many that, because of the amount of food, the Thanksgiving meal is sometimes served midday or early afternoon to make time for all the eating, and preparation may begin at dawn or on days prior.

Traditional Thanksgiving foods are sometimes specific to the day, and although some of the foods might be seen at any semi-formal meal in the United States, the meal often has something of a ritual or traditional quality. Many Americans would say it's "incomplete" without cranberry sauce, stuffing or dressing, and gravy. Other commonly served dishes include sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes or rice (in the South), dumplings, corn on the cob or hominy, deviled eggs, green beans or green bean casserole, peas and carrots, wheat flour bread rolls, cornbread (in the south), or biscuits, rutabagas or turnips, and a Waldorf salad. For dessert, various pies are often served, particularly apple pie, mincemeat pie, sweet potato pie, pumpkin pie, chocolate meringue pie and pecan pie, with the last four being particularly American.
Traditional Thanksgiving meal in New England

There are also nontraditional regional differences as to the stuffing or dressing traditionally served with the turkey. Southerners generally make their dressing from cornbread, while those in other parts of the country make stuffing from white or wheat bread as the base. One or several of the following may be added to the dressing/stuffing: oysters, apples, chestnuts, raisins, celery and/or other vegetables, sausages or the turkey's giblets. The traditional Canadian version has bread cubes, sage, onion and celery. Rice is also sometimes used instead of bread in Canada.

Other nontraditional dishes reflect the region or cultural background of those who have come together for the meal. For example, many African Americans and Southerners serve baked macaroni and cheese and collard greens, while some Italian-Americans often have lasagna on the table and Ashkenazi Jews may serve noodle kugel, a sweet dessert pudding. It is not unheard of for Mexican Americans to serve their turkey with mole and roasted corn. In Puerto Rico , the Thanksgiving meal is completed with: Arroz con gandules (Rice with pigeon peas) , pumpkin flan , roasted white sweet potatoes and spanish sparkling hard cider. Vegetarians or vegans have been known to serve alternative entree centerpieces such as a large vegetable pie or a stuffed and baked pumpkin or tofurkey. Many Midwesterners (such as Minnesotans) of Norwegian or Scandanavian descent set the table with lefse and green bean hotdish.


Is The Turkey Done?

Learn how to tell if the Thanksgiving turkey is done cooking in this video.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Why your car insurance rates just went up.

And why you should pray a truck never touches you. Case in point: the Interstate 5 pileup in a tunnel near Santa Clarita in October 2007, which killed 3 people and 33 trucks and a car. (33 trucks in a row? Remind me never to drive there.) The crashes turned the nearby tunnel into a fiery inferno, melting cars and people. Fatalities included a little boy who was burned alive in his father’s truck.

The Times article says:

CHP investigators determined that Jose Reyes, 29, was driving at least 65 mph along the rain-slicked freeway when his truck veered left and crashed into a concrete median wall after driving through the tunnel, according to the prosecutor’s memo obtained by The Times…

But as traffic slowed, other trucks collided near the tunnel exit, leading to the fatal accidents about four to five minutes after Reyes’ crash. Flames shot through the 550-foot tunnel, trapping motorists and melting vehicles as temperatures inside soared to about 1,500 degrees.

A spokeswoman for Georgia-based Saia Motor Freight Line Inc., issued a statement Tuesday saying that the company’s vehicle had been regularly maintained and met state and federal safety requirements. The fatalities in the tunnel, she said, were unrelated to Reyes’ accident.

The company went on to say that there really was no tunnel, it was just a big barbeque pit, and the driver, Reyes, enjoyed a fine cup of coffee afterwards, on their dime.

Los Angeles County Deputy Dist. Atty. Courtney Armendariz wrote up the investigation and report. Courtney seems to be a very intuitive attorney: she argued both sides of the case, just guessing what Reyes and Saia would say in court, without, actually, you know, going to court.

She said the driver would say it’s the truck’s fault, and the lawyers would do tests to show he was driving much slower, and the company would say their trucks were in perfect condition and it’s the tunnel’s fault. Oh, and the drivers behind him, damn them. (Oh, did I mention that CHP had to shut down that tunnel and route for an entire month? Everyone loves a good road closure, and time and gas lost.)

Courtney’s conclusion was: why bother, if we might not win? NO CHARGES AT ALL WILL BE FILED. The dead people, drivers, city, county, and state can just suck it. Saved the county some work, I guess. And saved both Reyes and Saia millions of dollars in legal fees. Los Angeles liberal? Nah.

I looked up Saia Truckers. They bring in over $976 million (MILLION) annually, with over 11,000 trucks. Yeah, they’re on top of every detail. They’re intrastate and go everywhere. I’ve investigated intrastate trucking before, and the FMCA has almost no power over them. And the state only has jurisdiction when the company is located in that state. This is how and why moving companies are able to literally HIJACK their customers’ goods, quite often, as it happens. (Happened to me with my car.)

I just got my new car insurance bill yesterday. Car is older, but insurance is up. Now we know why, and what I’m paying for: scuzzy truckers and evil truck insurance companies.

It’s obvious Saia isn’t interested in what happens in California. They will probably blame every accident they have here, or have had here, on our deserts, or mountains, or tunnels, or those damn lemon trees. Death and destruction? Not their problem. I suggest that the State of California ban Saia Truckers from ever doing business here again. That way, they don’t have to be concerned with our people or topography. And they can go make barbeques elsewhere. Win-win.

Hat tip to LA Observed. He scans the news so I don’t have to.

Photo by the AP via Popular Mechanics.

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Pass the Turkey, Pass the Dressing, Pass the Jamiel's Law Petition!

I wish we could bring Jas back!!!! I wish getting Jamiel's Law passed was as easy as passing the turkey and the dressing. I wish our family didn't have to go through this pain. I don't even wish it was yours or any family!! That's why we're doing our part. If you haven't done your part and you want to help, here are 4 ways you can help this Country be a better place. Pick one or more.

1. PRAY - For all those who believe in prayer, pray! Pray that the City of Los Angeles will support Jamiel's Law and everyone with any sense will sign the Petition. Or you can pray the way you like : )

2. PETITION - If you live in the City of Los Angeles and you
haven't signed the Jamiel's Law Petition, why not download it, sign it and take it with you for the next few days? I'm sure your family and friends will sign it too. That is, if they live in the City of Los Angeles. www.Jamielslaw.com

3. PayPal - The due date to get Jamiel's Law on the May 19, 2009 election is December 5, 2008. We are going to hire a Professional Signature Gatherer Company to help us get these last signatures. If you want to help, go to www.Jamielslaw.com and click on "The Committee to Pass Jamiel's Law".

4. Phone - If you want to help us collect signatures on Friday and/or Saturday, call 323.806.9918 and leave a message. We'll call you back and give you the information to where you can meet us.

Or you can do nothing and hope these evil people don't murder you or someone you love.

God Bless You and Your Family!

Ethel Bradley, 89

Ethel Bradley, who was the longest-reigning first lady of Los Angeles as the wife of the city's first black mayor, Tom Bradley, has died. She was 89.

Bradley, whose husband held office from 1973 to 1993, died Tuesday at Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles Medical Center.

Our prayers are with the Bradley Family.

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Thanksgiving Day Zuma Dogg Marathon

Some TV stations show marathons of The Twilight Zone, I Love Lucy and National Geographic Specials on Thanksgiving.

Here at Mayor Sam it's the first annual Zuma Dogg Thanksgiving Day Marathon.  Classic and current Zuma Dogg videos every hour on the hour starting and 12:00 noon and going until 9:00 p.m.  All your favorites including "Lights On a Statue" to "Zuma Dogg Sings Journey" to "Oh No Not Parks" as well as interviews and discussions with Zuma Dogg and political leaders famous and not-so-famous.

Tune in to Mayor Sam Thanksgiving for a little turkey, pumpkin pie and Zuma Dogg.  And from now through the end of the holiday weekend, signing in for comments is turned off (though comments will still be moderated so chill).

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Mayor Sam's Hotsheet for Wednesday

CurbedLA reports that Council Member Tom LaBonge unveiled a slick new map that shows all of Los Angeles' Sister Cities (I don't think this blog is on that map).  One of Curbed's readers dares to ask "This is what LaBonge wastes his time with?" No, LaBonge finds plenty of other things to waste his time on.

Mayor Villaraigosa and members of the City Clowncil finally announced their major solar intitiative this week.  What isn't mentioned is how they're planning a major tax and spend scam for the March ballot that you will pass for this big boondoggle.  We're not opposed to alternative energy at all but the Mayor's advisors have found that the one positive he can try to run on is as the "Green Mayor." Since he never got around to those 1000 more cops.

Speaking of those cops, a line in the sand may be drawn between the Mayor and the City Council on budget matters.  The Clowncil wants to consider a hiring freeze for LAPD and LAFD but the Mayor is committed to his public safety agenda.  Mayoral spokesflack Matt Szabo told the LA Times "The easiest way in the world to balance the budget is to cut police and fire, but we're not paid to do what's easy. We're paid to do what's right."

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Butcher Headed to Norway, No, It Isn't Permanently

SEIU 721 head and public employee union big cheese Julie Butcher is headed off to an international conference in Oslo, Norway focused on " fighting the privatization of municipal services by improving quality."

When you consider it takes the City sometimes as much as two weeks (or more) to clean-up trash dumped on the street (UNLESS it happens while the Mayor is out of the country) it looks like LA's municipal services could really use some quality improvement.

With the current economic mess, rising City budget deficit and the lack of quality services, outsourcing a lot of non-public safety related functions to private industry (which could be contractually obligated to provide quality service and rewarded for doing so) would save a ton of money and likely improve services.

It will never happen in LA.  Our Mayor, City Attorney, City Controller and all fifteen City Council members are paid for lock, stock and barrell by the public employee unions.  Not only would they not outsource but they continue to offer these workers increases in wages that they would not receive in the private sector.  That's what's breaking the bank.

At a labor contract meeting over the weekend, Butcher had the following epiphany "Every city worker faces the same issues: dwindling resources against real increasing need; demand for services smack up against real pride in the delivery of good, reliable, fair municipal services, at best coupled with a unique connection to the public we serve."

 Maybe while she's there Julie can organize the Vikings.

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Alarcon circle-jerks Sayre fire victims, Sylmar NC for votes.

Under the convenient cover of fire relief efforts, Richard 'Zorro Marxist' Alarcon will preside over the first joint City council committee-neighborhood council meeting today at 3pm.

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.

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Mayor Sam's Hotsheet for Tuesday

Oh no! Digital billboards featuring Ellen Degeneres are igniting fires of discontent, giving a Raison d'être to the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council for the first time since Jason Lyon stirred the pot.  In the meantime a cash-strapped City of Los Angeles has figured out how to make a buck off the situation.

David Horowitz' Front Page Magazine has a piece on Jamiel and Anita Shaw and their mission to pass Jamiel's law.  Another 23,000 signatures are needed by December 5th.  Your help is urgently needed to help make the goal.

All the votes are yet to be counted but Measure R is still inching towards passage.  LAist has a rundown of the wish list of public transit projects that politicians would like to build with the increased sales tax.  Question: what happens when the bad economy and rises in other taxes fails to bring in the expected revnue?

Goofy old liberal Bill Boyarsky - among those waiting for the New Deal and the second coming of Franklin Delano Roosevelt - thinks the election of Obama and the passage of big boondoggle taxpayer government works projects will be the water that lifts all boats. Problem is Bill, this isn't 1932 and the economy works a lot differently than when Duke Ellington sang It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing).

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Monday, November 24, 2008

Zeitgeist: Addendum

The 2nd installment in the series from Peter Joseph. Released in Oct, 2008.

The initial offering can be viewed HERE.

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LA Doesn't Need To Build An Elephant Sanctuary

Leave it to politicians to jump on high emotion, high profile issues where they seen an opening to pull a scam.

Council Member Tony Cardenas is on the right track when he says that construction on the LA Zoo's wrongheaded multi-million dollar elephant pen needs to be halted.  He's also correct that the Zoo's last elephant (after killing nearly 15 of them over 30 years), Billy, needs to be moved to a sanctuary where he will have the space to roam and companionship of several other elephants.

However Cardenas and his partner-in-crime Council Member Richard Alarcon are absolutely wrong to pursue the City of Los Angeles going into the animal sanctuary business.

Cardenas and Alarcon seem to think that if we halt the elephant pen at the Zoo, then they get to build an animal sanctuary in their Districts.

When the City is in fiscal crisis, folks are losing their homes and a boatload of City employees are about to be laid off, this is the last thing the City needs to do.  As the Daily Breeze said "Rome is burning here, and this is no time for fiddling about over elephants."

Most everyone who has a heart, except for Councilmember Tom LeBong who thinks he owns the zoo, Zoo officials who want to keep their jobs and a cadre of LA Zoo fanatics who think it's okay to keep majestic animals in cages, agrees that Billy needs to go to a new home.  Numerous elephant preserves exist throughout the US that would be more than happy to take Billy.  Citizens including retired game show host Bob Barker have offered to cover the costs of Billy's move.  Those who want Billy out of the zoo and are not up to speed on how LA politics really work need to resist the siren song of the Northeast Valley Boyz and not support the LA sanctuary.

"Rome is burning here, and this is no time for fiddling about over elephants."
Daily Breeze

Los Angeles is not a proper place for such a preserve as much as we would like to perhaps have one nearby.  Assembly Lloyd Levine, who is in favor of moving Billy to a sanctuary and closing down the Zoo exhibit, does not see the need for an LA based sanctuary.  As he said sure, we'd like to see elephants in LA.  But we might also might like to see glaciers.  But we're not going to haul one down from Alaska and park in the LA Harbor.

As PetraFried in the City so well put it, Alarcon and Cardenas are looking to benefit rich developers in their district and have yet another "legacy" to their administrations.  That's the kind of thinking that moved the Children's Museum from Downtown to Lake View Terrace, miles from most kids in LA, which has become a boondoggle of it's own.

Those who care about both Billy and LA need to advocate to immediately send Billy to an established sanctuary and at the same time shut down both the LA Zoo's elephant exhibit and Cardena's boondoggle preserve.

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Mayor Sam's Hotsheet for Monday

There probably isn't a City Council member wo engenders more animosity from the citizenry than Jack Weiss. Now he wants to be City Attorney. Weiss told Ron Kaye "Ron, I have to tell you how happy I am just to be sitting around the horseshoe." The problem is - as noted by Kaye and by Zuma Dogg quite some time ago - Weiss is rarely in his seat during Council meetings and has avoided about as many votes as Barack Obama. Weiss was politically smart to hitch his wagon to the Antonio Villaraigosa political machine as he seeks to follow Rocky Delgadillo but it won't be without a fight. Former Deputy District Attorney Carmen Trutanich and Deputy City Attorney Michael Amerian are planning full bore challenges against Weiss.

Following the resignation by Nick Patsouras to run for City Controller, San Fernando Valley attorney and activist Lee Kanon Alpert has been named as President of the Board of Department of Water and Power Commissioners. Alpert told the San Fernando Valley Business Journal “I do enjoy it. You feel like you are participating when you can be heard on issues that are vital to the survival of the city.” Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will fill the seat left open by Patsouras' departure.

Council Member Dennis Zine is pushing a law that would restrict access of paparazzi photographers to celebrities in public but one former attorney turned tabloid television show producer/host is calling Zine's efforts ridiculous. Harvey Levin of the program and website TMZ said "It's ridiculous. Cops don't walk around with tape measures. Laws already exist that need to be enforced."

When the San Fernando Valley opted out of building subway or light rail beyond the Red Line in North Hollywood local politicians came up with the Orange Line busway as an alternative. Now a number of Valley denizens are calling on the MTA to look at the option of converting the bus road to a light rail line. However in addition to cost there is opposition from local politicians such as Zev Yaroslavsky.

Don't forget the fundraising BBQ today benefiting LAPD Officer Taybren Lee who lost his home and all his belongings in the recent Sylmar fire. Click here for more information.

Pot smokers voted for Barack Obama in large numbers but they might be having buyer's remorse. Capitol Weekly reports that Obama's assumed appointments of Eric Holder for attorney general, and Donald Vereen as transitional co-chair of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) have medical marijuana advocates concerned as both Holder and Vereen have been historically opposed to medical marijuana.

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Mayor Sam's Hotsheet for Sunday

Mayor Villaraigosa supposedly has a plan to deal with the City's multi-million dollar budget deficit. The rotten economy has caused a severe reduction in the receipt of sales and other taxes by the City. Significant layoffs of City workers are expected.  Of course if the Mayor would stop raising taxes he might actually see an increase in revenues.  Funny how things work that way.

Yet another Metrolink train has hit a freight train where it shares tracks.  This time in Rialto an eastbound Metrolink train hit the end of a westbound Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway train that was pulling onto a siding from the main track just west of the Rialto station.  The voters passed a mega-billion dollar bond that will build a high-speed train from Fresno to LA that will share right-of-way with the beleagured Metrolink. God help us.

Zuma Dogg caught Gavin Newsom driving his state-of-the art SUV and parking in a fire lane in Malibu this past summer.  Now the San Francisco Mayor is taking heat back home for the SUV use and for having what appears to be an excessive use of security personnel.  KGO television takes the Mayor to task and even quotes the Dogg in their report.

Speaking of Zuma Dogg, the Mayoral candidate reports that he's received his 500th petition signature to get his name on the ballot.  Every petition circulator however knows it is wise to get several hundred more signatures than necessary because not everyone who signs is actually a registered voter or a City resident.  Zuma reports on some of the events he's attended to get signatures showing grass roots politics in action.

Members of the City's system of Neighborhood Councils want the ability to initiate "Council files" which could eventually force City Council action on issues of importance to the local panels. However, a number of City Council members feel that in exchange for this "power" Neighborhood Council members should be required to submit some form of financial disclosure form.  Former Department of Neighborhood Empowerment Manager Greg Nelson opines at LA CityWatch that the price for this "privilege" may be "too high."

And finally the struggling economy may find more folks going homeless and forced to live in their cars.  Though many of LA's residents have truly "mobile homes" it's technically against the law to sleep in your car in Los Angeles.  Council Member Bill Rosendahl is looking to change that.

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Is Public Access Worth Saving?

When cable TV first came to the masses there was no internet, no CNN, no MSNBC, no Fox News, no 500 channels and most folks got their news from either the local paper or one of the three (assuming their community had three television stations) networks.

A unique and interesting move was for local and federal government to require that cable operators set aside a few channels to be used for educational, government and public access.

Most notable, public access TV allowed anyone from the general public to produce their own television show, focusing on local news, issues and topics of interests.

Though many of the publicly produced programs on public access TV did just that, many of the programs ranged from odd to bizarre to offensive.

Time went on and more news outlets were born - thanks to cable - and the internet began to blossom.  Particularly with the latter more folks could communicate more of their thoughts to the masses than ever before.

Then, in 2006, a revolution occurred.  The video sharing site, You Tube hit the internet.  Today, YouTube hosts tens of millions of videos and tens of thousands are added each day.  More people watch YouTube in a day than likely watch all of America's public access stations in a year. 

As the revolution in technology changes the cable industry, many are questioning if public access is still a worthy venture.  Here in Los Angeles, the City is making an effort to seize access channels on local cable operators.  While that's a concerning issue in itself, it's time to ask the question do we need to beg for the mercy of the cable companies and/or the City government to get the word out? Or are we better off to focus on the new technologies that activists are already making effective use of to get the word out about important issues.  It wasn't public access or even regular TV that helped to turn out tens of thousands of protestors when voters outlawed same-sex marriage. It was YouTube and social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook that got the word out.  Indeed, it was these very technologies that Barack Obama used to turn out citizens to his rallies and voters to the polls.

I turned to public access and saw a show where a comely young woman in a red dress was having suggestive phone conversations with young men, encouraging them to come to an "event" she was hosting locally.  Another offering on public access is a guy who paints while exercising.  I think it's time we move on.

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

LAPD Officer Needs Your Help

An LAPD Northeast area officer lost his home in the recent Sayre Fire. You can help by participating in a BBQ fundraiser or making a donation.

Northeast LAPD Officer Taybren Lee lost his home and all his belongings in the recent Sylmar fire. A BBQ has been scheduled for this upcoming Monday to assist Officer Lee and his 8-year-old son in overcoming this tragic event. The BBQ will take place at Northeast station on Monday November 24, 2008 between 11:00-7:00 pm hours.

Northeast Station, 3353 San Fernando Rd. Los Angeles, CA 90065

All donations are greatly appreciated!

For details, contact Sergeant Carrasco or Area Office at (213) 485-2549

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A Very Cool Video

Benny Goodman's "All the Cats Join In" animated by Walt Disney, 1946.

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Friday, November 21, 2008

Smitten to C'est la vie

Los Angeles has done its part to offer some post-election therapy for the political junkies among us and those suffering from PEWS. The Pat Brown Institute had their full-day program last week and the USC Unruh Institute of Politics has their 2-day conference today and tomorrow (Joel Fox, Joe Mathews and Tom Elias are seated in front of me as I write this while Jim VanderHei of POLITICO moderates a panel of eight). Nevertheless, the hoi polloi have gone from smitten to c'est la vie.

Politics 1

Post-Election, The Audience Drifts Away

Paul Farhi
Staff Writer - Washington Post
Friday, November 21, 2008; C01

Americans became smitten with the high drama of the presidential election, but the transition of power is proving less than sexy.

Ratings for cable TV news and the number of visits to news Web sites built for weeks and then peaked on Election Day, giving the electronic media some of their biggest audiences in years. But since then, TV ratings and online traffic have fallen -- in many cases precipitously -- indicating that viewers and visitors have largely quenched their thirst for political news.

The ratings rise and fall suggest that the suspense and conflict of the campaign's closing days made for a far better story than the aftermath of President-elect Barack Obama's victory and the beginnings of his administration. The lone exception was broadcast news, which has held relatively steady through November.

The most pronounced declines were in traffic at popular news Web sites, which saw a steady increase for months. The tide crested as Americans went to the polls; MSNBC.com, which has been the most popular news site for several months, had 25.1 million unique visitors during the week of the election (it also reported 471 million page views on Election Day -- a record for the site).

Since then, millions of visitors have gone elsewhere, according to Nielsen Online. MSNBC.com's traffic declined by 25 percent, or by 6.4 million unique visitors, from its election week peak. Yahoo News lost 5.2 million unique visitors (21 percent). CNN.com, which scored the most traffic during the week of the election, deflated most of all, losing one-third of its 26.9 million visitors in the post-election week.

The story was similar for the cable news networks, which for months devoted huge swaths of their airtime to politics. Viewing of Fox News, CNN and MSNBC peaked during the week of the election. Fox News, in fact, became the most popular cable network of any kind in prime time for two weeks running, beating not just its cable news rivals but also the cable entertainment networks USA and TNT.

Read more. (emphasis added)

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Na Na Hey Hey Senator Stevens

No remorse for those who abuse the public trust. Maybe he can read about his disgrace on those series of tubes he calls the internet and dream of that "Bridge of Nowhere." Or not, not, not. ;)

Senior Moment

Dana Milbank
Washington Post
Friday, November 21, 2008; A03

There, for a final time at his Senate desk, stood Ted Stevens: longest-serving Republican senator in U.S. history, shepherd of Alaska statehood, convicted felon.

"I don't have any rearview mirror," the diminutive -- and much diminished -- figure told colleagues yesterday in his farewell address. "I look only forward. And I still see the day when I can remove the cloud that currently surrounds me."

In hours of tributes on the Senate floor, the exact nature of that cloud was never described: the penny-ante corruption, the gifts and free home renovations that brought the career of this legislative legend to an ignominious end. After his conviction last month, Stevens's electoral defeat became official on Tuesday, his 85th birthday.

By the time he finished, even a few of the Democratic lawmakers and staffers were dabbing their eyes.

Few will shed tears for the irritable Stevens himself. Nor are they likely to lament the end of his politics of greedily funneling federal money to his home state. But the scene had poignancy for another reason: As the old men on both sides of the aisle rose to bid adieu to Stevens, they seemed also to be saying farewell to their era, a time when the Senate was, for better or worse, a gentlemen's club.

Read more. (emphasis added)

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Gathering Signature's For Jamiel's Law At Children's Day Parade

This Saturday, November 22, 2008, the Office of Community Beautification & LAPD/Coalition on Gangs, will be having their First Annual San Fernando Valley 2008,Children's Day Parade. Bring your grandchildren, children, nieces, nephews or just kids in the nieghborhood and I promise you, they will love you even more!! Or just come and Volunteer!

Starting time is 9:00AM until 4:00PM, located at Woodley Park, 6350 Woodley Avenue, Van Nuys, CA 91436. Come out for a few hours or stay all day. But, before you leave, please stop at the Jamiel's Law table and sign the Petition to put Jamiel's Law on the ballot for May 19, 2009. For more information about this event visit http://www.childrensday2008.com/.

If your child was murdered and you decided to fight for what is right, would you want people to help you? Well, help us and maybe by helping us, you will be helping your family from ever experiencing hurt like this. Why not, Sign the Petition and/or Volunteer a couple of hours tomorrow and help us gather signatures? Thirty thousand kids are expected to be at this event. That means another thirty-thousand parents will be there. We could use some volunteers!!

Remember, Jamiel's Law targets documented gangbanging criminals, living in the Country illegally! Can't we all agree that they, don't belong here in the United States of American? And, isn't Jamiel's Law a good place to start, if you really want to get organized in fighting crime? Afterall, there is something called, "Organized Crime".


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Public memorial service set for George Putnam

A public memorial service for pioneering television news anchorman George Putnam, who died Sept. 12 at age 94, will be held at 1 p.m. Dec. 6 at the Jeffers' estate, 1823 Foothill Blvd., La Cañada Flintridge.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Open Mouth, Insert 2x4!

Now we know where Home Depot got their arrogance from!

Bernie Marcus, one of the founders of Home Depot, had this to say yesterday about the recent elections and the Employee Free Choice Act:

"If a retailer has not gotten involved with this, if he has not spent money on this election, if he has not sent money to Norm Coleman and these other guys," Mr. Marcus said, apparently referring to Republican senators facing tough re-election fights, then those retailers "should be shot; should be thrown out of their goddamn jobs."

Nice work there, Bernie!

You're doing wonders for the Home Depot brand!

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The People Of The State Of California v.

The one charged with the murder of my nephew Jamiel A. Shaw, II, aka "Jas", was in court today. If you weren't there, you didn't miss much. There was another postponement until January 28, 2009. The District Attorney needs more time to gather information and decide if they will seek the death penalty.

Will you be in town this weekend? Do you have time to help gather signatures for Jamiel's Law? If so, email us at vote4jamielslaw@live.com and find out where you can work with us this weekend or go to http://www.jamielslaw.com/. Come out for a hour or stay all day. We have three weeks left to get the remaining signatures. We can do this! Especially if you help!!

Elephant-Zoo vote: It's about $$$ and stealing public land, folks.

Today the City Clowncil votes on whether they feel they can get away with stealing more public $$ and land without anyone noticing.

Under the guise of animal rights, last month Tony 'Guido' Cardenas proffered two council motions aimed at the LA Zoo, one (#08-2850) to halt construction of the Zoo's new $40 million dollar elephant exhibit and outlaw elephant-keeping completely at the Zoo, and the other (#08-2849) to create a task force to study stealing 60 acres of rare public park land in the park-poor San Fernando Valley for an elephant "sanctuary".

Guido originally voted for the new $40 mill elephant exhibit and its hard to imagine that a change of heart is the only thing driving these motions. So what's this all about, then?

In the eyes of the public, this is all about Billy --the Zoo's remaining elephant. Emotions run high with animal activists falling on both sides of the fence. Both sides have their experts lined up for a battle of 'our experts verses your experts'. Public comment will be full of emotional pleas on Billy's behalf.

The real fight, however, is what is in the eyes of the greedy Clowncilmen involved: LeBong, Guido, and the Zorro Marxist, Alar'con'. These motions are all about opportunity. LeBong's been looking for an excuse to steal more of Griffith Park land to expand the Zoo, and Guido conveniently provided the excuse. On the other side, Guido and Zorro want part of that $40 mill, most of which cannot be re-allocated to projects outside the Zoo. So why not have the City go into the Elephant Retirement Home business with the Zoo as the puppet department in charge? Odds are Guido and the Zorro Marxist both have a healthy financial stake and a campaign donor or two in mind for the project.

What is the real bottom line here?

If it's ultimately decided that Billy needs a much larger enclosure, he can be retired to an existing elephant sanctuary somewhere at minimal cost compared to the new exhibit cost. No new sanctuary is needed; no public lands need be taken; and the City does not need to spend our tax dollars on going into the Elephant Retirement Home biz.
...Hell, these clowns can't even provide fundamental services to taxpayers or balance a budget. Now they want to run a circus?

As for the partially-complete exhibit? It could be re-purposed for other animals, again at minimal expense compared to the cost of the new exhibit. In other words: NO STEALING OF PUBLIC LANDS AND MONEY NECESSARY.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Mayor Sam's Hotsheet for Tuesday

500 homes were lost over the weekend in the Sayre Fire at the Oakridge Mobile Home Park in Sylmar making hundreds of families homeless.  The owners of the park, Fullerton based Oakridge, Ltd. plans to rebuild the park as quickly as possible; though individual homeowners will be required to replace their own homes through their insurance.  Both Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky called on new regulations for the manufactured housing industry with respect to better use of fire retardent materials.

When it comes to what's going to happen with the Democratic race for Governor, it all depends on if Senator Dianne Feinstein runs or not.  However there's both good and bad news for wannabe Governor Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.  He runs behind both Feinstein as well as Attorney General Jerry Brown.  However the Mayor is ahead of fellow contenders San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and Lt. Governor John Garamendi.  Question though - if John McCain was too old to be President at 72 isn't DiFi too old to be Governor at age 77?

General Motors and Chrysler have both decided to forgo this year's Los Angeles Auto Show which starts this Friday at the LA Convention Center, leaving Ford as the only American automaker with a presence at the event.  Both GM and Chyrsler are fighting to stay alive and hoping for a federal bail-out.  In the meantime, foreign automakers - who are building cars people want to buy and many which are built in the US - are showing up in force and are doing quite well, thank you.  Providing a taxpayer funded bail-out to America's failed auto companies and their incompetent executives would be a huge mistake.

As gas prices rose earlier this year, ridership on LA's buses and trains went up.  Now as gas prices settle back down to a normal level, transit use is dropping off.  That's called market economics folks! In the meantime, MTA is offering increased service on the Red Line for holiday shoppers .

The next court date in the case of the murder of Jamiel Shaw is this coming Wednesday, November 17 at 8:30 p.m.  The Shaw Family invites you to attend if you're interested.  For more information please click here.

Blogger Leo Mar navigates the waters of buying tickets for events at the Walt Disney Concert Hall at the Music Center.  Going to the venue is time consuming and doesn't guarantee you tickets.  That being said Mar says your best bet is to go through ticket broker A Cheap Seat.

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Monday, November 17, 2008

But Can Walter Moore or Antonio Villaraigosa Sing?

Zuma Dogg's first campaign commercial features "Zuma Dogg For Mayor" to the tune of The Ramones "I Wanna Be Sedated" performed by Zuma Dogg and accompanied on the guitar by Gil.

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Moore Appears Petty with Comments about Press, Zuma Dogg

Mayoral candidate Walter Moore has worked hard in an effort to reach the upper stratosphere of seekers to the throne of Mayor Villaraigosa but recent comments by Moore show that he may not be that gracious about it.

In an article in the Daily News reviewing the (mostly) eccentric lot of folks who've signed up to run for Mayor, Moore dismisses them as "People who should be wearing foil hats, and probably are."  Of particular note was a statement by Moore directed towards local activist/artist/blogger Zuma Dogg.  Complaining about press coverage of his campaign Moore claimed that local journalists "lump me together with some guy who thinks he's an exorcist or some homeless guy who wears a ski cap and sunglasses. We are not in the same league." 

Following the Daily News article Zuma Dogg shot back at his blog accusing Moore of being a one-note candidate, saying "I decided to run for mayor after my experience at city hall as an advocate. He decided to run for mayor because he lost the past eight other times."

In the last year since Moore began his campaign for Mayor he's achieved quite a bit for a grass roots candidate, raising nearly $200,000 in individual contributions and has built a relatively respectable foundation for a campaign organization.  However Moore appears petty when he complains about his press coverage and makes snippy remarks about other candidates.

If Walter Moore is serious about his campaign for Mayor he needs to concentrate on appearing more distinguished, focus his criticism on Villaraigosa (not the press nor Zuma Dogg) and lay out a series of initiatives to address the issues that are important to Angelenos.  Anything less and he's just playing games.

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Mayor Sam's Hotsheet for Monday

Fox11 reports that nearly 2,000 firefighters continue to battle the Sayre Fire in Sylmar.  The fire, which covers some 10,000 acres, is said to be about 40% contained after two days.  A number of backfires have been lit by firefighters to halt the spread of the blaze and most evacuated areas have been reopened to residents.  The massive blaze has raised questions about the wisdom of the Las Lomas housing development in Newhall Pass.

Mayor Villaraigosa has kicked off his re-election campaign, according to Rick Orlov, with a "strong defense of his accomplishments."  Villaraigosa as quoted by Orlov says  "Whether you like me or don't and think I'm in front of a camera or whatever it is, you have to look at what we've done these last three years," he said. Is that the total of the three years or just the 11% he spent on city business?

Lost in the news of the massive wildfires across California were that about 12,000 protesters assembled in front of Los Angeles City Hall to continue their outrage over the passage of Proposition 8, which bans same-sex marriage in California.  The mostly peaceful protest saw, according to the LA Times, picketers carrying signs such as "No More Mr. Nice Gay" and "No on Hate."

Some goofball blogger over at the Chicken Corner section of (Anglo)LAObserved seems to think that Countrywide evicting tenants from a property it owns or T-Mobile renting space on apartment buildings were "evil plans." I don't think you know what evil really is.

And finally if you want to attend a special MTV screening starring Britney Spears, you better be looking fine.  An entertainment blog reports that the online sign-up for tickets requires users to answer questions about their height, weight, eye color, hair color and then tells them they are required to dress trendy.

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

The First Interview

In case you missed it, here is a portion of the 60 Minutes interview with the President-Elect and First Lady.

In a shocking revelation, Obama admits that "washing dishes" is "Zen-like"! And it is no small coincidence that "Zen" almost rhymes with "Sin". Brace yourself America! Blissed Out, Dish Washing Socialists will soon flood our streets!

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Marijuana and the will of the voters.

Say what you will about marijuana. Call it the 'devil's weed.' Bring up 'reefer madness.' Tell me you didn't vote for Prop 215. Spout off whatever propaganda you like, but remember this: the initiative that California voters approved is 12 years old already. So why are dispensaries still illegal in most of Orange County? I'll tell you why: the will of the voters - on the City Councils that is.

Alan Bock over at Orange Punch posted a few days ago that Seal Beach just became another community which has unilaterally banned safe access to many patients' much-needed medicine. He says:
One of the purposes of Prop. 215, which voters passed 12 (!) years ago, was to allow a small “white” market in medical marijuana to emerge, thereby weakening the black market. Banning dispensaries discourages this healthy development.

Read more »

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Sylmar Fires: Best Argument Against Las Lomas?

You know that the old, dead Republican Mayor has a libertarian soul that yearns for private property rights. At the same time it would be really stupid for me to build a Saturn rocket launch pad in my backyard.

The Las Lomas housing development would place thousands of homes in a crack between the hills at the juncture of I5 and Highway 14, smack right in the middle of Sylmar and the City of Santa Clarita.

Considering the tragic loss of homes and property in fires this month and last weekend in nearby Sylmar, can we ask the question if it defies insanity to build homes in these hillside regions? As it is, our foothills are probably overbuilt, would Las Lomas make a bad situation even worse?

One of the biggest mistakes the region has made was to allow the over development of Santa Clarita with only one road and one way to get in and out. If Las Lomas were to catch fire say at 4:30 p.m. on a Wednesday afternoon, can you imagine the inability of first responders to get in there with a massively jammed I-5?

Something to think about.

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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Meet David Hernandez, Candidate for Mayor!

If a candidate's official photo decided elections, David would be a shoe-in.
But since they don't, here is his record:

"David Hernandez has been a Civic Community Leader for over 20 years. For 25 years he worked as an insurance adjuster which trained him in investigating and analyzing issues, strengths that have helped him in reaching out to the community and solving problems.

David and his wife, Debi, reside in Valley Village, California and have been together for twenty years.

David served in the United States Navy for four years and is a Combat Vietnam Veteran.

Working with his Neighborhood Council, David was successful in having the City of Los Angeles officially adopt March 30th as “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day”. He is currently engaged in forming coalition groups in preparation for the 2009 event in Los Angeles.

David has been engaged in the struggle with other veterans to restore the West Los Angeles VA facility to its intended use through the removal of all existing non Veteran related businesses from the property. He is an advocate for re-establishing and funding the faculties to provide shelter, training and treatment to all veterans.

David is the Executive Director of the San Fernando Chamber of Commerce where he actively assists business, both small and large, in addressing the many challenges that threaten their success.

David has been engaged in a two-year legal challenge against the 2006 version of Measure R, the Los Angeles City Council Term Limit extension and Ethics Reform Ballot Measure which extended the terms of city council members beyond the two terms voted on previously to three terms totaling 12 years. He was successful in bringing the issue all the way to the State Appellate Court level.

David led the countywide four-year battle to retain the Original Los Angeles County Seal. This effort was instrumental in helping pass legislation in the US House of Representatives regarding the protection of religious expression.

David attended Los Angeles Valley College and realizing the importance of community colleges serves as President of the Foundation Board of Los Angeles Mission College in Sylmar, California. In 2008 the Foundation awarded students $33,000 in local scholarships.

David has served on the board of the Youth Service Network for four years. The organization has three group homes for abused boys ages 10 to 18. He has been instrumental in sustaining the ability of the organization to provide an environment where boys are able to live, learn and thrive.

David is Chairman of the Board of Justiceville Homeless/USA, the non-profit which for fourteen years successfully operated Dome Village in Los Angeles, California. The organization has provided housing, training and hope for hundreds of Los Angeles homeless men and women as well as developing the Homies and the Popz cricket team working to provide structure and guidance to young men.

David became public access producer at Adelphia Cable in Van Nuys, California. His show Re-Claim LA covered many local issues such as land use, animal rights, homelessness and education. He is now leading the effort to preserve access to public broadcasting for producers throughout Los Angeles.

As a candidate for Mayor in the San Fernando Valley’s independence movement, David saw the need for local control and empowerment. To accomplish this he took a proactive role in the formation and governing of many Neighborhood Councils. He has served on the boards of the North Hollywood-Northeast, Sun Valley, and Glassell Park Councils and he took and active role in supporting the Van Nuys Neighborhood Council.

As an advocate for the environment, David has taken an active role in preserving and improving the rural equestrian communities in the Northeast Valley.

As an advocate for “those with no voice,” David has been an outspoken advocate of No Kill Animal Shelters. He has attended numerous meetings and rallies where he promoted the No Kill system as demonstrated and proven to be viable by Mr. Nathan J. Winograd. David has shown a light on the dark and little known process of using euthanized animals from local animal shelters in rendering and the production of rendered protein. Such practices put our shelters at risk for financial liabilities.

Working with the Los Angeles Alliance for Elephants, David took part in the successful effort to have Ruby the LA Zoo elephant moved to the Paws’ Elephant Sanctuary. He continues to advocate for the transfer of Billy from his confinement at the Zoo to the Paws Sanctuary.

David established the first Los Angeles Animal Humanitarian Awards recognizing the efforts of those who advocate for “those with no voice.”

David is a strong advocate for real transportation solutions. He was an outspoken opponent of the failed “Bus Only Lanes” along Wilshire Boulevard in West Los Angeles. He learned first hand from small business owners the challenges this ill thought out experiment placed on them causing them to loose business when customers could not park in front of their shops and businesses.

David has been a long time opponent of the “Subway to the Sea” that is promoted by so many special interests groups. He has been a strong advocate for a Maglev/Monorail System that would allow real transportation solutions. He has been in communication with maglev companies with a proven record of success in providing urban maglev systems.

David is opposed to other transportation schemes such as the toll lanes purposed for the 110 Freeway and stands in opposition to the Diamond Lane/Car Pool Lanes that have proven to be lacking in real solutions while at the same time draining resources from other proven projects.

David has been an outspoken opponent of the current Los Angeles city policies which allow low income communities to be used to qualify for Federal HUD Grants for street lights and sidewalks and then spending the funds elsewhere in the city."

This is not an endorsement of David Hernandez by the MS Blog! If other candidates would like to share their record and/or platform, I would be happy to post it. Photo required, and I think David just set the bar!

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