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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

"The Mayor Misspoke"

Separated at birth
Mayoral Spokeholes Matt Szabo and Janelle Erickson

That's what Villaraigosa spokeshole Matt "I can't believe I took this job" Szabo told Patrick Range McDonald of the LA Weekly when the paper challenged statements made by the Mayor in response to McDonald's September article that in-depth probed the Mayor's schedule over a period of time; that discovered the Mayor spends most of his time on campaign events, photo opportunties, press events and social occasions with little relation to actual city business and that about only 11% of the Mayor's working day was actually spent on Mayoral duties.

"The Mayor mispoke."
Matt Szabo

It took a while for the Mayor to respond to the Weekly's story, since he was busy with Dr. Seuess events, dancing at the Conga Room and holding press conferences in Men's Rooms, but a few days ago Villaraigosa told the Daily News' Rick Orlov of "It didn't really go anywhere because it wasn't true. They were upset because we only gave them my public calendar."

Of course inherent in that statement that the Mayor - who said that much of his City work is conducted in "private" meetings - was keeping two calendars. One for public view and one for his own. If true, that would be a big no-no under California's public records laws. Not so however, according to Szabo who backpeddled from the Mayor's previous statments and who told McDonald that there is only one calendar and the Weekly has it. That being said, McDonald's calculation stands, and the Mayor is only clocking in at 11%.

The most delicious part of Villaraigosa's whine to Orlov was the example he gave to show how hard he does work. "Everyone who knows me, knows I work hard," the Mayor protested, "That's why both Senators Clinton and Obama wanted me to campaign for them." Funny Antonio, I wasn't aware that was a Mayoral duty.

The Weekly scribe McDonald conculded following his analysis of the Mayor's schedule was that it had "revealed a mayoralty unlike anything Los Angeles has seen in the modern era." No doubt when the Mayor spends his time taking Hillary Clinton to King Taco, installing waterless urinals and appearing in parades with Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Tommy Lasorda.

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Mayor Sam Radio Alert

I'll be on with John Phillips on KABC Radio AM 790 Wednesday morning, December 31st, to discuss "Antonio Villaraigosa Year in Review." Should be around 6:00 a.m.

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Our Official Predictions for 2009

At the end of each year we offer up predictions as to what will happen n the coming new year and often with little accuracy. However so far we've wrapped up the disaster of our 2008 predictions, logged your predictions for 2009 and now present our official prognostications for next year:
  1. Dianne Feinstein will announce her campaign for California Governor in early 2010; Antonio Villaraigosa will announce prior to the March primary he has chosen not to run for Governor. Some will suspect a Villaraigosa-Feinstein deal; if he gets out and she wins, Feinstein will appoint Villaraigosa to her Senate seat.

  2. The LAUSD will teeter seriously close to bankruptcy; the number of charter school starts will increase. Both the LAUSD and the UTLA will play even harder ball to block as many charters as possible.

  3. California's budget and credit crisis will ultimately lead to the loan foreclosure of some major LA Community Redevelopment Agency projects. This will seriously strain agency receipts of tax increment financing leading to a near financial meltdown for the CRA.

  4. The California Supreme Court will declare Proposition 8 unconstitutional; it will eventually get to the US Supreme Court but not until 2010 or 2011.

  5. Racial gang violence in South LA will increase in the new year causing several nights of rioting and warfare, leading President Obama himself to come to LA to negotiate the peace. During the visit he will offer what many perceive as a major snub to Mayor Villaraigosa.

  6. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will announce he is running for the US Senate Seat occupied by Barbara Boxer.

  7. Zuma Dogg will receive more votes than Walter Moore in the March primary.

  8. Obama's Attorney General Eric Holder will announce his office is seeking major indictments against SEIU, starting with Local 721 as the result of a serious investigation into labor union corruption.

  9. Nick Patsaouras will defeat Wendy Greuel for City Controller.

  10. Home Depot facing significant revenue losses will install new corporate management who will freeze store expansion plans ultimately putting an end to the retailer's effort to build a store in Sunland-Tujunga by the end of the year.

  11. Former KABC talkshow host Larry Elder will be selected to take over the radio program of the retiring Bill O'Reilly, ironically eventually returning him to the station as his Los Angeles affiliate.

  12. Patrick Range McDonald of the LA Weekly will win a Pulitzer Prize for his investigative reporting of Mayor Villaraigosa.

  13. Alaska Governor Sarah Palin will announce she will challenge incumbent US Senator Lisa Murkowski in the 2010 Republican Primary.

  14. District Attorney Steve Cooley will announce a felony indictment of a major Los Angeles elected official on criminal but not corruption charges.

  15. Educator Louis Pugliese will narrowly defeat San Fernando Mayor Nury Martinez for Board of Education.

  16. Former Presidential candidate John McCain and his wife Cindy will be selected to host a daytime talk show.

  17. The Los Angeles Dodgers will defeat the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the World Series, game 6.

  18. The US Department of Transportation will place Metrolink into receivership and take over day to day operations following a major investigation that shows serious mismanagement and corruption at the agency.

  19. Ron Kaye and the SLAP movement will announce the formation of another effort to lead the San Fernando Valley to secede from the San Fernando Valley, however this time it will be a highly coordinated effort with similar communities in the Harbor, Westside and CD14.

  20. The race for the 5th Council District will culminate in a runoff between candidates Paul Koretz and David T. Vahedi and will be so close the election won't be certified for as much as two months after the polling is complete.


Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Barack the Magic Negro

Big furor over a video making the rounds, Barack the Magic Negro, a parody of Puff the Magic Dragon. The tune satirically takes makes the case from the point of view of Reverend Al Sharpton that Barack Obama is an "acceptable Black man" compared to himself.

Though the piece was initially distributed as part of what was thought to be a joke by some dinosaur Republicans down South, it's actually based on an essay about Obama in the LA Times almost two years ago.

The story by David Ehrenstein paints the President-Elect and then underdog candidate in the archetype of what's referred to as "the magical negro," which Wikipedia describes as a "mystical stock character in fiction who, by use of special insight or powers, helps the white protagonist get out of trouble." Indeed as Ehrenstein points out Obama as a real life "magical Negro" is "there to assuage white "guilt" (i.e., the minimal discomfort they feel) over the role of slavery and racial segregation in American history, while replacing stereotypes of a dangerous, highly sexualized black man with a benign figure for whom interracial sexual congress holds no interest." Certainly Whites can feel comfortable voting for Obama over previous candidates such as Sharpton or Reverend Jesse Jackson who have darker skin and unlike Obama's cosmopolitan upbringing had a more typical African American upbringing in "the hood" scare Whites, regardless of their degree of simpatico with their politics and can't bring themselves to vote for them.

This is a tough pill to swallow but Barack the Magic Negro - even if it was unintentional on the creator's part - brings up these uncomfortable realities about race relations. That even in a post-racial word many Whites are indeed drawn to the "magic negro" that they can warm to and hope erases any innate bias they may still have.

The good news is that as society becomes even more diverse old stereotypes will fall away and distinctions will blur. And to a degree, the election of Barack Obama helps to that end helping to erase the racism of some whom opposed him and the guilt of some of who supported him.

By the way Ehrenstein isn't thrilled with Barack Obama these days, primarily over his selection of Pastor Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at Obama's inauguration.

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Mayor Sam's Hotsheet for Tuesday

If you want to make a contribution to Wendy Greuel's campaign for Controller she's asking that you do it during the curent reporting period which ends Wednesday. Opponents to Proposition B might want to take note of Wendy's kick-off picnic on January 10 in Sherman Oaks Park as their chance to ask Wendy what she thinks of this shady measure.

The Daily Breeze takes notes of Mayor Villaraigosa's online budget survey that is not so much telling for what it asks but for what it doesn't ask. Nowhere in the survey is there room for taxpayers to offer cuts to general administration expenses, Council or Mayor salaries, staffs, perks, CRA developer subsidies or other areas of bloat. But you can be a good citizen and step up to volunteer to have police, fire or tree trimming services cut.

The Mayor must think everyone but he himself are stupid. The latest secret plan hatched out of City Hall is an effort to privatize some services, including selling the naming rights of certain City Buildings (such as the Downtown Central Riordan Library to Phillip Morris) to sponsors. Laura Chick blew the lid on the plan which, as noted by Rick Orlov, won't win her any friends in the Mayor's office. Laura Chick was status quo as a Council Member but she's really done a great job as Controller shaking up the system.

Via David Markland's KNBC blog we learn that a Russian college professor predicts that California and the west will eventually be part of China. That flies in the face of some political candidates who seem to think we're becoming part of Mexico.

Zocalo, the public affairs non-profit that gets big sponsorships from Bank of America, The Gas Company s and even the Westside White Guy, has a very compelling interview with Council President Eric Garcetti. In the piece we learn that Garcetti finds beauty in well designed websites, that it's always springtime in Los Angeles and that he'd like to have a beer and go hunting with Teddy Roosevelt. On the other hand we learn nothing about why he put the lid on a report showing that Proposition B is shady and unworkable.

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Monday, December 29, 2008

Hernandez Issues Call to Support for the Solar 8

Mayoral candidate David Hernandez has issued a challenge to his fellow candidates to support Ron Kaye and the Solar 8 in the lawsuit against them by the supporters tied to Mayor Villaraigosa over the group's ballot argument against Proposition B, a controversial solar energy measure.  

No word yet if any other candidates are joining with Hernandez in his pledge to donate $1000 to the Solar 8's legal fund but I don't anticipate participation from candidate Walter Moore based on comments he posted on the Sister City Sunday evening.  Moore's view appears to be that the plaintiff's case against the Solar 8 may have merit and that the focus should be on the measure itself.

Below is Hernandez's message sent to supporters:

Greeting my friends and supporters,

My opponent in the March 3rd 2009 election has set his political attack dogs on these dedicated community leaders. Individuals like Ron Kaye, Jack Humphreville and Soledad Garcia and the others have been strong voices and supporters of our efforts to fight Prop R and yes the Los Angeles County Seal.

"As a candidate for Mayor of Los Angeles, I have pledged one thousand dollars to their legal battle. I have also issued a challenge to all other Mayoral Candidates to step forward and do the same."
David Hernandez

The attorney behind this attack is the Treasurer of the Mayors Re-election committee. He is also the attorney who represented the League of Women Voters and LA Area Chamber of Commerce against us in the Prop R Appeal.

As I began my campaign on December 12th, the day I qualified to be on the ballot, my funds are limited and I am very particular where they are invested. I do however see the fight facing the Solar 8 to be one which must be supported. We can talk and blog all we want but it must come right down to the basics. Unless they have the funds in order to put up a viable fight, we all lose.

As a candidate for Mayor of Los Angeles, I have pledged one thousand dollars to their legal battle. I have also issued a challenge to all other Mayoral Candidates to step forward and do the same. Put your money where your mouth is! Talk is cheap, but money talks loud and clear, so does the lack of it.

If you would like to join me in this effort, please respond to this e-mail with your contact info and we will see you in court on January 8th.

David Hernandez
Candidate for Mayor of Los Angeles

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Losing Control on Prop B? Then Resort to Intimidation.

In a clear attempt at intimidation under the guise of law, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and his team of lobbyists, strategists and pay-to-play cronies have sued the eight people who signed the No. on Prop. B ballot argument.

This measure isn't about solar energy and has nothing to do with the largest solar energy initiative ever undertaken. The City Council and mayor could initiate that by their own actions. This is solely about paying blackmail to the DWP and its IBEW union which have blocked solar projects for a decade and would have exclusivity on large-scale projects under this measure.

The Solar Eight -- Jack Humphreville, Soledad Garcia, Humberto Camacho, Kristine Lee, Nick Patsaouras, Joe Pulido, James O'Sullivan and me -- will not be silenced by this tactic. But our lives have made difficult as we need to respond in court on Tuesday to the allegations that are ballot argument is false and misleading. We were unable to find a lawyer knowledgeable in city election law because this was dropped on us during Christmas week but Noel Weiss, candidate for City Attorney, has now volunteered to provide us help in putting together our pleading. The next hearing in court is Jan. 8.

Stephen Kaufman's law firm, which represents the mayor, eight City Council members and a host of other political figures, is handling the case for the City Hall political machine for the named plaintiff, Mitchell Schwartz, a high-powered environmental lobbyist.

This isn't just an attempt to squelch the Solar Eight or the debate over this phony ballot measure but a direct assault on everyone's right to freedom of speech and to participate in the political and electoral process.

We need support from Neighborhood Councils, homeowner and resident groups, service clubs, churches and every individual who cares about L.A. This is a defining moment. We need to come together and stop the political machine that is destroying the city. If we won't fight as one against these tactics and this dirty deal, I don't know that we ever will.

The March 3 primary gives us the chance to change L.A., to elect candidates to the City Controller's and City Attorney's offices who can stand for the community. Villaraigosa, Wendy Greuel and Jack Weiss along with the 15 obedient council members will have nothing in their way if they prevail in this election.

Support the Solar Eight. Support the efforts to make this a great city and get rid of Chicago-style corruption.

-Ron Kaye

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Antonio Villaraigosa: The Hardest Working Man in Politics? Yea, right.

One of the most delicious stories of 2008 was that of the LA Weekly's Patrick Range McDonald's excellent investigation into the schedule of Mayor Villaraigosa and the revelation that he only spends about 11% of his reported 16-18 hour days actually on any city related business.  The rest of the time is either related to fundraising for himself or other candidates, campaigning for candidates, appearing at photo opps and time spent traveling between all these non city-business related events. (One of the best items from McDonald's report: Villaraigosa's "sitting" for his wax dummy to be placed in Madame Tussaud's museum.)

"Everyone who knows me, knows I work hard. That's why both Sen. Clinton and Obama wanted me to campaign for them."
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa

Apparently Villaraigosa didn't really appreciate McDonald making it known how little work he actually does and threw a zinger against the Weekly in Rick Orlov's Daily News column telling Orlov "It didn't really go anywhere because it wasn't true. They were upset because we only gave them my public calendar. They didn't get to see what I was doing privately, with meetings here (at City Hall) or in other places. Everyone who knows me, knows I work hard. That's why both Sen. Clinton and Obama wanted me to campaign for them."

Yet if you look at the copy of Villaraigosa's schedule the Weekly posted online, you can see that the "private" (blacked out) portions really only account for a small portion of the Mayor's schedule and really don't add up to hours of "working hard."

The truth is the Mayor is an attention addicted photo opp junkie who makes himself look silly whether it's hanging out with Dr. Seuss characters  or playing the conga drums with celebrities  at a taxpayer financed hotspot.

I have a feeling the Mayor could come to regret his statements to Orlov.  Stay tuned.

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Mayor Sam's Hotsheet for Monday

The shadiness that is the City's Measure B solar boondoggle continues to grow.  In addition to the general fraud that is the measure that claims to bring "green" energy to LA but is really a backdoor way to increase DWP rates and payoff politically connected special interests a series of "something rotten in Denmark" events have popped up over the last week or so. First off was the LA Times David Zahniser's report that a "secret" internal report highly critical of the measure was allgedly suppressed by Council President Eric Garcetti.  Now, it's the Mayor and supporters of the measure in an Orwellian move hauling opponents of the measure including former Daily News editor Ron Kaye into court for being bold enough to shed light on the fraud being foisted on voters.  Stay tuned.

In a business busting move to suck a few more dollars out of City residents, Los Angeles has imposed massive increases on parking meters Citywide - some as much as $4 an hour - and increased the hours in the day the meters run.  While merchants from Highland Park to Chatsworth are up in arms, nowhere is anger greater than in the fledging NoHo Arts District.  Theatre owners are aghast that formerly free nighttime parking is no longer available and are finding impratical for patrons to step out of a production to feed the meter.  An aide to Councilman Tom LaBonge has told NoHo theatre owners their office is "looking into it" but local business owners hold out little hope for relief.

Residents along a section of the MTA's Expo light rail line near where it runs close to two schools have asked the state Public Utilities Commission to require either a rail or pedestrian bridge rather than the MTA's proposed at-grade crossings.  The PUC will make a final decision at the end of January; it is estimated that if the pedestrian bridges are required it could delay opening of the line by three years. I find that tough to be believe but even if true, in the light of LA's deadly record of rail accidents I'd rather wait three years if it means safety for schoolchildren and others.

The City wants to establish an "Inspector General" position for the Los Angeles Fire Department primarily as part of reforms following the Tennie Pierce "Dog Food" multi-million dollar lawsuit.  The thinking is that such an individual could root out issues of harrassment, hazing, etc. before they get to the lawsuit stage and hence have placed Measure A on the ballot to create the spot. Yet, an insider who has copied us on a note to Walter Moore supporting his opposition to Measure A notes that for nearly decade the LAFD has employed two individuals responsible for this function each receiving salaries upwards if not more of $100,000 per year.  The writer makes the claim that it is an open secret within the LAFD that neither of these individuals are "doing their job" yet will be rewarded with this soon to be created Charter position (and presumedly greatly increased salaries).

Lots of hand wringing about the slowly dying dinosaur also known as THE OLD GRAY HAG ON SPRING STREET but the Detroit Free Press and Detroit News are instead trying some innovative ideas to move the paper into the current century.  Among the changes enhanced digital content channels online, limiting at home delivery to the most popular days only and providing subscribers with exact online copies of the day's print edition.

Not sure if this is the kind of endorsment Britney Spears was looking for but fellow pop tart Lindsay Lohan "praises" Spears for getting her life back on track. In the meantime Spears is denying that she is dating ‘Good Charlotte’ rocker Benji Madden.

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Sunday, December 28, 2008

City Hall Seeks to Silence Critics

It's amazing to me that this story has yet to show up in any of the local media when one considers the civil liberties implications of the Mayor of a major city taking opponents of a controversial measure to court to silence their dissent. In searching the net, the activist blogs are on the beat but our favorite nannypoo local status quo loving West Los Angeles suburban crank Kevin "Westside White Guy" Roderick poo poos Ron Kaye's story.

First some background to get you up to speed. Last month the Council rushed to place a measure on the March City Primary ballot which would effectively raise DWP rates 12% (on top of an already approved 24%) to fund an initiative for solar energy. The plan calls for the DWP to use taxpayer funds to place solar panels on the roofs of public and private buildings using only DWP employees who are members of the politically connected International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) union whose various arms and committees have donated thousands of dollars to LA's elected officials in recent years, including chief plan proponents Council President Eric Garcetti, Council Member and City Controller candidate Wendy Greuel and Mayor Villaraigosa. The speed with which the Council moved to place the measure on the ballot led the LA Times to remark that it had the "scent of a swindle."

"This rush to the ballot has the scent of swindle about it."
LA Times

The next turn in the story of a swindle was excellent reporting by the only reporter apparently awake at the LA Times, David Zahniser discovered a "secret" analysis by a City hired consulting firm found the plan "extremely risky' and considerably more expensive than was being portrayed by the Department of Water and Power.'" The key findings of the analysis inlclude that the DWP, in the consultants analysis, does not have the infrastructure in place to carry out the program and that it would cost at least $2 billion more than DWP General Manager H. David Nahai claims it will.

Amazingly, according to Zahniser's report, when Garcetti received the consultant's findings he allegedly not only kept them from the public but his fellow members of the Council. After the sunlight shone by the Times' story, Garcetti released the report to Council members (of course well after they voted to place the measure on the ballot).

But here's where it gets worse. Former Daily News editor turned blogger and activist Ron Kaye joined with several other community activists in composing the ballot argument against the plan. However the straightforward argument, mild in tone, was apparently too much for the Mayor and the Council. Earlier last week Villaraigosa hired an attorney and drug Kaye and his co-writers - including City Controller candidate and former DWP Commissioner Nick Patsaouras - into court to challenge their argument, calling it full of lies and mistruths (read the argument and do your own research - Kaye's argument is backed up by the facts). Amazingly, in addition to asking the court to throw out the opponents' ballot argument, the Mayor and his toadies are asking Kaye et al to come up with the court costs.

"They have made our Christmas week tough, trying to find a lawyer, raise money, understand the law and the risks we face."
Ron Kaye

Kaye and his associates are faced with going up against high powered and high paid attorneys including a well funded plaintiff in the case - high powered lobbyist Mitchell Schwartz - particulary during the holidays when attorneys and resources are in limited supply. Kaye reports that attorney and longtime activist Noel Weiss - himself a candidate for City Attorney - has joined The Solar Eight -- Jack Humphreville, Soledad Garcia, Humberto Camacho, Kristine Lee, Nick Patsaouras, Joe Pulido, James O'Sullivan and Kaye - as their legal advisor in the fight.

The case's next hearing is January 8 where the group will answer the Mayor's toadies' charges. That is a significant date for civil liberties, transparency and good government in Los Angeles. We will be watching.

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Same-Sex Marriage Issue Should not be Divisive

Democrats are trying to make hay over Republican (some) support for Proposition 8, which outlawed same-sex marriage in California.  Yet it wasn't that long ago (and conveniently forgotten) that Democratic legislators were squeamish about supporting efforts for allowing gay marriage in California which ultimately led proponents to court.  From our Hotsheet on May 23rd of this year:

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.

Indeed, Republican jurists of the California court appointed by Republican governors were in the majority of the decision that affirmed same-sex marriage albeit for a short time.

At the same time Democrats are showing intolerance on the issue, Republicans need to drop it.  I understand how hard this is for some of you on the right and I've heard many times your tired old claim that giving gays and lesbians equal marriage rights is "re-defining marriage." (An argument I just don't get; I have yet to see how one gay marriage has impacted anyone's heterosexual marriage.)  If the Republicans want to win they need to take this energy and focus it on tax cuts, government and corporate accountability and economic opportunity for Americans (and getting the government out of the way of it). If you want the economy to continue to get worse, for taxes to go up and to give full control of the government to liberal Democrats like Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Antonio Villaraigosa and others keep hating on the gays.

In a related story, in light of opposition to President-Elect Obama's choice of Pastor Rick Warren, an opponent of gay marriage, to lead the invocation at his inauguration, a liberal, bisexual blogger sides with Obama.  "Evilgrrl" states she is not supportive of Warren himself but takes the position that Obama has a right to choose whom he wants and that he's the most qualified to make this decison.  Though I too am in opposition to Warren's view on same-sex marriage (as well as other political views of Warren I would characterize as liberal, something more common around the new-age evangelical movement) I would agree.

That being said, Evilgrrl makes the comment "It's hard for me to like someone who is so opposed to a lot of the things I believe in."  That's sort of a recent development of late; something I think has come out of the divisiveness and hate that came out of certain elements of both Presidential campaigns this year.  We can't base our personal affection for individuals based on idelogy; if we did, we would have no friends.

America has to learn to be mature enough to agree to disagree.  Otherwise we're going to find ourselves on the opposite ends of a divided and torn nation not unlike what happened during the Civil War.  Let's talk through the issues, hear each other out and try to stay friendly.

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Saturday, December 27, 2008

A Mayor Sam Classic: Garcetti vs. Zuma Dogg

An oldie but a goodie. Mayor Sam interviews Zuma Dogg.

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Friday, December 26, 2008

Readers Predict 2009

So far so good - here's what you've predicted in all it's ugliness, humor, bad jokes and potentially accurate prognostication:


Thursday, December 25, 2008

"LA Xmas" - LAX Christmas Song

Stuck in the LAX airport and I won't reach home in time for Christmas. "There's too much snow in Denver, And Chicago's got it too. They said if New York City is the place you're going to - then you won't be home tonight. L.A. don't look like Christmas and LAX, don't look like home."

Performed by Brad Stubbs

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Revolution by Newsrack

If the revolution that takes down LA's kleptocracy happens in 2009 it will no doubt be due in part to the excellent reportage of David Zahniser in the LA Times and the folks at the LA Weekly namely, Jill Stewart, Daniel Heimpel and Patrick Range McDonald.

Indeed, Weekly helmstress Stewart offers up thanks for her former colleague David Z., one of a few honest reporters at the Times not enamored with the 11% mayor, who recently broke the story of a secret report critical of the City's solar energy boondoggle, Measure B, which has us asking the question "What did Eric Garcetti know and when did he know it." Heimpel's excellent reportage has been dishing out the outrageous details of Jeff Carr's secret panel of "deciders" who dole out millions of taxpayer dollars for mysterious "anti- gang" programs.

Rounding out the foursome with their finger on the reality of what's happening on Spring Street is McDonald whose expository composition on the phenomenon that is Zuma Dogg was an excellent introduction to the deeper story of the shadniness around fellow Mirthala banger Fabian Nunez and his giveaway legislation benefitting cable television providers. A piece that well past his prime "blogger" Kevin Roderick dismissed as a "puff piece."

With "Mayors" like Villaraigosa and "journalists" like Roderick thank God we have Stewart, Heimpel, McDonald and Zahniser to squeeze the truth out of those who are full of something else.

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Mayor Sam's Hotsheet for Christmas Eve

If you haven't been following Daniel Heimpel's excellent series at the LA Weekly's Blog about the secrecy drenched Mayor Villaraigosa's $24 million anti-gang program, be sure to read it here and here. According to Heimpel a "secret" panel doles out the tax money to various "anti-gang" programs; a group of people anti-gang czar Jeff Carr apparently can not identify. Apparently the program is so secret that City Council members don't even know what's going on. A US Department of Justice official tells Heimpel she's never seen anything like this.

This morning LAUSD Board of Education candidate Louis Pugliese will attempt to convince a judge that his opponent, San Fernando Mayor Nury Martinez has placed a misleading designation on the ballot. Martinez, whose day job is heading up the non-profit Pacoima Beautiful claims that qualifies her as an "educator" though Martinez does not work as a schoolteacher. Martinez' role with the organization appears to be primarily administrative. The City Clerk refused to address Pugliese's challenge hence the move to Superior Court.

I got my latest copy of The Businesss Perspective, the usual claptrap from the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce which is far more interested in protecting and promoting the Downtown power structure than what is best for Los Angeles as a whole or even just what's good for the economy business as a whole in Los Angeles. The meandering rubbish was something about "leadership" in 2009 yet has the Chamber or the business community produced leadership to take over this City from the anti-business kleptocracy that is in power now? Nope, they embrace it hoping for a few goodies for themselves and the chance to hobnob with the likes of the George Soros of Los Angeles, Eli Broad. Come back folks when you have some ideas.

Lou Grant was the gruff, old school news director on Mary Tyler Moore but in real life Ed Asner is a committed, life-long left wing liberal. So it's no surprise that Ed's behind efforts that amount to essentially a government appropriation of private industry, that is forcing cable providers to supply psychics, charlatans and goofballs with television airtime and equipment. The surprising thing is that conservatives like Leslie Dutton and a man who I have the utmost fondess for, David Hernandez, are pushing this agenda which flies in the face of capitalism.

All of us here at the Sister City want to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and wonderful holiday season. No vacations here so stay tuned to your favorite blog!

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

And Justice for Some

If you're a 19 year old charged with a heinous murder how can you get your bail reduced and be released from jail?

Hope that your father is a well connected former Speaker of the California Assembly and that his powerful friends write letters on your behalf to the judge.

That's what happened, according to the LA Times Hector Tobar who said that Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, labor leader Maria Elena Durazo, Assembly Republican leader Mike Villines and Assemblyman Kevin DeLeon were among those who wrote letters to Judge David Szumowski urging the jurist to go easy on Esteban Nunez, son of recently deposed Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez.

Nunez was arrested earlier this month on suspicion of the murder of a San Diego college student back in October.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, labor leader Maria Elena Durazo, Assembly Republican leader Mike Villines and Assemblyman Kevin DeLeon were among those who wrote letters to Judge David Szumowski seeking special treatment for Esteban.

In the testimonial Mayor Villaraigosa wrote for the younger Nunez on City letterhead he told the judge "In my heart, I know Esteban Nuñez as a young man of good and upright character." Amazingly Vlines apparently doesn't even know the younger Nunez and based his vouchment on his own perception of the former Speaker's character.

Tobar posits that without the high powered help Esteban could have sat for up to a year in County Jail while his trial was prepared to go to court.

And who says we don't have two systems of justice?

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Jack Weiss Tries to do Britney Spears

Controversial City Council Member Jack Weiss is more concerned with getting elected City Attorney than he is in actually debating the issues.

Indeed, it appears the Clowncilman who had to be called out by Zuma Dogg for not being in Chambers often during Council meetings is taking a page from the John McCain playbook.

The latest missive out of the West LA based lawyer Weiss' camp is to take a potshot at opponent and Deputy City Attorney Michael Amerian for his unsuccessful prosecution of Britney Spears in a hit and run case.

In making Spears a campaign issue against Amerian, Jack Weiss is taking a page from the John McCain playbook.

Gosh Jack I don't think LA's problems inlude a pop diva's bad behaivor or even a grandstanding prosecutor trying to make an example.  No Jack lets talk about the shady developers and special interests who buy politicians and Council Members like you who don't listen to their constituents.  Then tell us why you should be City Attorney.

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Mayor Sam's Hotsheet for Tuesday

Score one for Antonio Villaraigosa and Eli Broad and one against Zev Yaroslavsky and the taxpayers.  Tom Christie writes at the LA Weekly blog that Tuesday Villaraigosa and Broad will join to announce the selection of a new CEO for LA's Museum of Contemporary Art and that the troubled MOCA has rejected a proposed merger offer with the more solid LA County Museum of Art, a plan supported by the County Supervisor as well as art lovers concerned about a potential Broad takeover of MOCA. Also figure on more CRA subsidies for the free-spending MOCA.

Two Mayoral candidates have unveiled websites encouraging voters to take positions they are supporting.  Zuma Dogg has created LAVotersforChange.com offering up endorsments of candidates for other offices and information on various issues.  Meanwhile, Walter Moore has launched VoteNoLA.com expressing opposition to three measures on the March primary ballot.

LAPD Police Chief William Bratton, the United Teachers of LA and even the City Council of Carson and others support the naming of a new high school for slain LAPD Officer Randal Simmons who was an active volunteer within the community but now one Council member and Carson's Mayor Jim Dear have reversed their earlier decisions and want the school named after late labor leader Cesar Chavez.  Though supporters of the Chavez name deny it, some are suggesting that racial politics are at play; that many residents of the heavily Latino neighborhood opposed the naming for Simmons who was African-American.

If anyone thought that former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin was going away anytime soon they were sadly mistaken.  A recently launched social networking site dedicated to the Alaska Governor has garnered nearly 70,000 members.  Back from the dead Republican Senator of Georgia Saxby Chambliss says he owes his come from behind victory in this month's special election to Palin's campaigning. And local columnist Sandra Tsing-Loh says a pit bull with lipstick PTA mom like Palin is exactly who the LAUSD needs for it's new superintendent (instead of recently deposed Admiral David Brewer or recently coronated Villaraigosa toadie Ray Cortines).

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Monday, December 22, 2008

What About Being For Something?

In his latest piece at CityWatch publisher Ken Draper catalogs a number of grass roots "victories" across the City; that a sleeping giant has been woken from a slumber to take charge of it's destiny here in Los Angeles.

Yet almost all of the victories Draper celebrates are about being against something; not really anything about creating a larger vision for LA's future; more so about hanging on to a past that doesn't exist anymore.

For sure, some of the things Draper discusses such as recent victories by residents of Sunland-Tujunga over Home Depot and some early victories over DWP shadiness are good things.

Yet is LA just about maintaining the status quo or will it be about reinventing itself into a first class city?

Our efforts should be about renovating our neighborhoods, providing economic opportunity and empowering shut out residents like immigrants (from other countries as well as other US states) and young adults who will ultimately be in the charge of the place a lot longer than Mayor V or any of the various community leaders around town.

Though there's a lot more noise on the neighborhood circuit these days and more folks are talking to each other than before, there is still a serious disconnect. Both the politicians and the people are tuned out, many of us live in communities where we have absentee Council members and few people vote; those who do re-elect the same shady politicians and continue to pass bond measures and new taxes without much thought to what they're doing.

We have a lot more to do to engage LA's silent majority and perhaps, doing something other than being against Wal-Mart and homes with great rooms might be one way to pique their interest.

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2008 Predictions Recap

Last year we made a series of predictions for 2008 (actually I was busy so I outsourced them; I won't do that again).  For the most part, we were completely wrong.  So it's time to review our annual set of predictions just before we make our series of prognostications for 2009.

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

A silly prediction and it didn't happen. However the Los Angeles Harbor Commission, the agency that oversees the Red Car line received a report in November of this year that, among other things, proposes extending the Trolley to Downtown San Pedro.

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

Don't know. But LCF paid LA County about $70K for various infrastructure related activities in 2008.

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

Well that sure didn't happen - Steel was chosen as a Republican National Committeeeman by a landslide victory.

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

Not hard to predict and it came true; more importantly Boyd's long reign of terror over the local Republican party came to an end just a few weeks ago.

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

Nope. But developer/rainmaker Rick Caruso decided not to run for Mayor of Los Angeles but got appointed by Governor Schwarzenegger to the body that manages the Coliseum.

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

Uh, yea, oops. Hey at least Bernie's on the Coliseum Commission!

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

Whose idea was this?

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

Though the economy got even worse than expected, voters opened the floodgates of public money to pay for more choo-choos.

Voters will overwhelmingly reject the universal health care plan.

It didn't even get to voters; the legislature sacked it early in the year.  But wait, health care DMV style could still be coming your way.

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

The most significant opposition to the four companion ballot measures that benefited a coalition of tribes that run casinos came from smaller gaming tribes, labor unions and Hollywood Park and Bay Meadows racetracks.  Voters approved all four measures in the February primary election.

Now here's your chance to be a prognosticator.  Use the form below to make your own predictions about local politics, politicians, celebrities or anything else of interest to Mayor Sam readers. Your responses can be anonymous.  The best ones will be used in an upcoming article.


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Metrolink: Death, Drinking and Cover-Up?

The Metrolink train crash in Chatsworth back in September was one of the worst rail disasters in US history and yet it's only one of scores of accidents the Southern California transit agency has experienced.

On the heels of a report that 64% of the rail deaths in the US in the last six years involved Metrolink trains, we here at the Sister City have received an explosive charge from an anonymous source.

Our source claims that a key Metrolink staff member allegedly "was known to be having a drinking problem" and was allegedly relieved of duty two days after the Chatsworth crash because the individual "kept showing up to staff meetings incoherent."

The source further alleges that staff and management at Metrolink Operations Center in Pomona were apparently aware of this individual's alcohol problem however an agency "code of silence" was behind the alleged cover-up.

Our source says a local media outlet will break this story later this week. We must emphasize that this story comes from an anonymous source and has not been verified however we feel it is important to at least discuss it in light of a significant number of poor leadership and management decisions that many feel are behind the agency's abysmal safety record.

Stay tuned.


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Mayor Sam On The Air

In a few moments; on the John Phillips Show, on KABC AM 790.

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Friday, December 19, 2008

BREAKING NEWS: Mayor Attempts to Censor Prop B Facts

The Mayor is dragging community activists and neighborhood council DWP Committee members to court today in an attempt to censor the facts associated with Prop B, the IBEW's $3.6 billion money-making March 3 ballot scam disguised as a "solar energy bond".

From Ron Kaye:

...Please be aware that the mayor's lawyer has dragged Jack Humphreville, me and others who sign the "No on Prop. B" ballot argument into to court today, challenging our statements. This is being done even as the L.A. Times reveals today that a critical report exposing this solar energy plan as costly and "extremely risky" was being kept secret from City Council members and the public even as the measure was being rushed to the ballot. The mayor's lawyer, Stephen Kaufman, representing Mitchell Schwarz of the League of Conservation Voters, is demanding opponents pay court costs and legal fees when we don't even have a lawyer. Stay tuned.

Here's the Times article link

And my blog posting link http://www.ronkayela.com/

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

One Jumbo Jack for Jan Perry Please!

Goofy City Council Member Jan Perry became nationally known for her leftist efforts to ban fast food in South Central.

Yet when it comes to shaking down a major fast food restaurant chain to support an event guaranteed to provide Hamburger Jan and 11% Tony with plenty of photo opps, deep fry vats were once again her friend.

Thanks to our reader Heather for providing the following details:

Newton Area Christmas Peace March

The LAPD and Community Members come together for a Holiday Peace March

Thursday, December 18, 2008
3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

The march will begin at the S/W/C of 41st and Compton Ave across the street from Ross Snyder Park
1501 East 41st Street
Los Angeles 90011

…and will end at Newton Station
N/E/C of 35th Street and South Central Avenue
3400 South Central Avenue
Los Angeles 90011

Honorable Mayor of the City of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaragoisa
Councilmember Jan Perry
Los Angeles Police Department Newton Division Officers
Community Members
Representatives from the following sponsors:

* Jack in the Box
* Ralph's Market
* K-Mart
* Home Depot

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Hotsheet for Thursday?

Nope, I've been working on the annual NoHo Jaycees Operation Santa Project (with special outreach to the children in Sylmar this year) this evening and I'm going to bed.  So consider this your open thread.

But first, a couple of morsels for you. Ben Austin is promising a major revolution to be announced soon at his website.  Riddle me this Ben-Man, if you can't get your own damn signatures or at least hire a decent signature gatherer why the hell would we trust you to lead a "revolution?"

Secondly - in case you wanted to see Mayor Villaraigosa spending the 89% of his time he is getting paid by you but not working for you, here's video of the Mayor as a Dr. Seuss character.

Blog away dum dums!

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Austin Mess: Bigger, Stinkier, Curiouser

Round one: Ben Austin, charter school leader, parent advocate and presumed favorite son of Mayor Villaraigosa fails to get sufficient signatures to qualify for the ballot to run for the school board seat being vacated by Marlene Canter. Austin claims that his political consultant, Sue Burnside, screwed the pooch including pulling over 300 signatures from the neighboring district of board member Marguerite Pointdexter LaMotte, hence not eligible to sign Austin's petition.

Round two: Sue Burnside issues a statement that she had nothing to do with Austin's ballot FUBAR; that she was out of town, unawares and that some mysterious figure misrepresented himself as her employee and bamboozled Austin. The Sister City identified this "mysterious figure" as allegedly Montebello Councilmember Robert Urteaga who at one time was listed as a member of Burnside's staff on her website.

"I was told that Burnside and Associates would take me as a client and gather signatures for our campaign. Robert Urteaga gathered our signatures on behalf of the firm."
Ben Austin

Round three: Via his website, Austin issues a statement calling Burnside's statement nothing but bunk saying "I called Burnside and Associates. I was told that Burnside and Associates would take me as a client and gather signatures for our campaign. Robert Urteaga gathered our signatures on behalf of the firm, told us that they had collected and validated the requisite amount of signatures -- until I later discovered that they had gathered signatures in the wrong district, and used the wrong list to validate the signatures."

In the meantime: Mayor Sam readers blast Burnside and smell something stinky, whether it was, at best, incompetence on Burnside and Urteaga's part or at worst, dirty tricks allegedly on the part of the two given their reported ties to the teachers' union, United Teachers Los Angeles and former Councilman Nick Pacheco, both not fans of the Mayor.

Sidenote: Back before the Mayor Sam bloggers outed themselves, Ben Austin was one of the many our readers thought was behind this blog. I deny any such charges.

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Mayor Sam's Hotsheet for Wednesday

While Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa spends only 11% of his time on City business and would prefer spending his evenings with celebrities at trendy LA nightspots, South El Monte Mayor Blanca Figueroa is working well past midnight some evenings in her City Hall office, so much so that the South El Monte City Council slapped an 11:00 p.m. curfew on the Mayor.  While the Council members say that its neither safe nor healthy for the Mayor to work alone so late, Figueroa claims the move was part of the petty politics that are part and parcel of the frivolity that is the politics of LA County's many small, independent cities.  Some members of the Council have suggested going as far as confiscating Figueroa's keys to City Hall.

In the meantime, the Daily News prints a list of the salaries of the nearly 100 people who work for Mayor Villaraigosa; all on your dime.  Mayoral flack and spin jokcey Matt Szabo is pulling down an easy 100Gs; chief Villar handler Jimmy Blackman is getting about 1.5 times that.  And, if you will, Lisa "Do Nothing" Sarno is making a good $125K per year to plant trees. 

Zuma Dogg is interviewed by Talk Radio One host Marc Germain about his campaign for Mayor.  Unlike some other local talkradio hosts, Germain does not appear to be impressed by candidate Walter Moore, calling Moore's candidacy "one note."

What is it about museum mergers in LA? The Los Angeles County Museum of Art wants to merge with the soon to be bankrupt Museum of Contemporary Art.  Sounds like a good plan to me and local leaders such as Zev Yaroslavsky agree.  However LA's honorary grandpa Eli Broad and City Clowncil President Eric Garcetti are worried the stronger museum will plunder the weaker museum's collection.  Wait a minute! Haven't we been told that never happens?

City Controller candidate Nick Patasouras unveiled his slick new website featuring high powered endorsements from Sheriff Lee Baca, Supervisor Gloria Molina and former Assembly Speaker Bob Hertzberg. Some of the transit geeks who read our blog might enjoy some of the photos in Nick's gallery from his days as head of the RTD and later MTA's board of directors.

If you want to help out victims of the fires in Sylmar to have a happier holiday, here is an opportunity for you to contribute.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Austin Mess Gets Deeper

You may remember that Ben Austin, an official with the Green Dot charter school chain and the rumored pick of Mayor Villaraigosa for the Westside school board seat currently held by the retiring Marlene Canter, failed to collect enough signatures to qualify for the March ballot.

In an LA Times interview, Austin told reporter David Zahniser that political consultant Sue Burnside mistakenly collected over 300 petition signatures from a neighboring district represented by Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte.

However in an email sent to several blogs and local writers, Burnside claims that Austin is not her client saying that "Burnside & Associates is not and has never been under contract to him or his Campaign. I have never met Mr. Austin."  Burnside later states than an unnamed independent contractor "misrepresented himself – without my knowledge or approval – as an employee of Burnside & Associates when he agreed to collect the signatures for Mr. Austin."

Insiders are telling us that that this "indepenedent contractor" is allegedly City of Montebello Councilmember Robert Urteaga who did work at one point for Burnside's firm at least according to this cached version of Burnside's company website (the current website does not list Urteaga's name).

In the meantime Austin's web site is still up despite the fact he will not be on the ballot. Perhaps he will run a write-in campaign.  

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Mayor Sam's Hotsheet for Tuesday

A judge has thrown out a lawsuit that would have forced the City to reopen an examination of the controversial Las Lomas development project, effectively killing the planned community of nearly 5000 homes in the hillside above the interserction of the 5 and 14 freeways. 12th District Councilman Greig Smith said “This victory is a great holiday gift for the community.”

If you were curious as to the types of things Mayor Villaraigosa does with the 89% of his time that he isn't working on City business - in addition to playing drums at the Conga Room - the Mayor will appear in a parade with Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and former Dodger skipper Tommy Lasorda.  Villaraigosa will be Grand Marshall of Coca-Cola's 'Live Positively Holiday Parade.'  In the meantime, Villaraigosa has to figure out how to erase an $86 million City budget deficit without laying off City workers.

With cable public access in Los Angeles about to come to an end, public affairs television host Leslie Dutton of the Full Disclosure program appears to be accusing the city funded LA36 television channel of suspiciously having "technical problems" during broadcasts of her program. In a related story, Dutton says that Vin DiBona, producer of programs such as America's Funniest Home Videos has extended support to LA's public access producers.

Jed Wallace, Chief Operating Officer at High Tech High charter school in San Diego was selected by The California Charter Schools Association to serve as its President and Chief Executive Officer.  Wallace will assume the duties as head of the state’s charter schools association from former leader Caprice Young, who stepped down from her position in September.

Actor Sean Penn has quickly become a hero to some gays for his brilliant portrayal of late, openly gay San Francisco County Supervisor Harvey Milk in the bio-pic, MilkBut at least one writer in the gay fishwrap The Advocate is taking Penn to task for his advocacy of dictators who have abysmal records on human rights for homosexuals such as the Castro brothers in Cuba and Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez.

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Monday, December 15, 2008

Zuma Dogg Gets the 'Big Mo'

Zuma Dogg for Mayor Sign - Ink Studios Gallery, NoHo Arts District - Photo by Mayor Sam

Mayoral candidate Zuma Dogg senses growing momentum for his campaign and challenges the notion that Walter Moore, with support from talkradio hosts and about $200,000 in campaign funds, is the leading challenger to Mayor Villaraigosa.

The formerly Malibu based artist, advocate and former radio executive says that "interesting groups from within some very diverse communities" have contacted him as of late "to express their willingness to endorse and support Zuma Dogg for Mayor based on what they have seen, heard and read" in a number of published commentaries and analyses, blog posts, radio and television interviews and newspaper articles reviewing his role the last two and a half years as a sometimes racuous community advocate who appears regularly before the City Council and other bodies.

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I'm Not Prepared to Throw the Shaws Under the Bus

Much has been written and said about the reported disqualification of the Jamiel's Law petition by the City of Los Angeles.

The City Clerk's office reports that only about 18,000 signatures were turned in; about a quarter of those required to even consider placing an initiative on the ballot.  At the same time, on this blog, Althea Shaw, the aunt of Jamiel Shaw, the murdered 17 year old athlete the effort centers around, claims she was certain the family and their supporters had upwards of 76,000 signatures.  Still too close for comfort but at least enough to get you in the door.

Claims made by Shaw that perhaps some petitions were allegedly lost, misplaced or otherwise misappropriated by City personnel have stunned and surprised many. 

I don't presume to believe that some type of "grand conspiracy" is in play here; however the entire incident leads to questions that should be at least answered.
  1. What was the chain of custody of the signed petitions from the time they were turned into the City Clerk by the Shaws until they were returned to Ms. Shaw.
  2. How are these documents secured? What are the security measures in the facility where the documents are stored? Who has access to these facilities and are these individuals supervised or monitored at all times?
  3. What advice did Mayoral candidate Walter Moore give to the Shaws? Did they follow it? Why wouldn't Moore - as the instigator of the movement and an educated, successful attorney - make sure procedures were in place such as asking the Shaws to copy their signed petitions and otherwise document them?
  4. If Moore himself did not have the time nor desire to manage the drive himself, considering that the Shaws had little if any political experience prior to losing their son, why didn't the candidate recruit someone to consult and provide technical support to the Shaws considering that he has been banking a major part of his campaign on the Jamiel's Law issue?
  5. And finally, with all due respect to the Shaws, if the City's position is accurate, how could they make such an inaccurate estimate - not only when the petitions were turned in but in the progress reports that were given along the way?
 I believe that it is possible that the Shaws - who were motivated by grief and a legitimate demand for justice - did not have the complete set of political tools at their hands and could very well have made a series of unintended mistakes in the effort.  That being said however I feel that they were sincere and honest in their efforts and may have been further victimized by various politicial agendas in this town.

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Jamiel's Law Lives On...

According to the LA County Registrar, there is a Special Election scheduled on March 24, 2009, for the 26th District seat. Per the LA County Registrar, an initiative can be placed on this Special Election.

Below you will find numbers to call some of the Politicians that have the power to put Jamiel's Law on this Special Election. If you have questions regarding this Special Election call the Los Angeles County Registrar @ 562.466.1310.

In order to get Jamiel's Law on an election anytime soon, we must move pass the City of Los Angeles for now! The City is not interested in Jamiel's Law. This City needs reform and reform takes time.

We believe the City Elections should have counted the petitions in our presence and they should never have stored the Petitions in a warehouse basement where they were not safe, not secure and not protected!!

In the future, at least two proponents should be allowed to observe the counting process from beginning to end. All Proponents would be required to turn their Petitions in during morning hours so they could watch the process. Even if it takes more then one day, it should be done during working hours.

There should be transparency with the whole election process. This needs to be address in the near future. One thing for sure, the way the City of Los Angeles handled this was criminal!

But for now, please join us in calling the Board of Supervisors this week and asking if they would put Jamiel's Law on this Special Election for March 24, 2009 or on the November, 2009 LA County Election. Let's see if they are willing to openly discuss Jamiel's Law with the Public.

The Governor's Office scheduled the Special Election for Ex-Senator and now Supervisor, Mark Ridley-Thomas' seat for the 26th District, on March 24, 2009. The Mayoral election is March 3, 2009 and now the Special Election is March 24, 2009.

The Board of Supervisors have the power to put Jamiel's Law on this Special Election for March 24, 2009. They also have the power to put Jamiel's Law on the November, 2009, Los Angeles County Election. If they put Jamiel's Law on the ballot, we wouldn't need to gather 275,000 signatures for the LA County November, 2009 election.

If the Supervisors refuse to put Jamiel's Law on the election for November, 2009, we will raise money before we start getting signatures and we'll learn from all the experience we gained.

All we need is three of the five Supervisors to sponsor Jamiel's Law or vote to put Jamiel's Law on the ballot for March 24, 2009 or for November, 2009.

The City Council and the Mayor can also put Jamiel's Law on the ballot. They have until January 14, 2009 to put it on the March 3, 2009 election. It's not likely they'll do anything.

Let's not forget Arnold; he has the power to put Jamiel's Law on this Special March 24, 2009 Election also.

Governor Schwarzeneggar
(916) 445-2841

District 2
Supervisor, Mark Ridley-Thomas
(213) 974-2222

District 3
Supervisor, Zev Yaroslavsky
(213) 974-3333

District 4
Supervisor, Don Knabe - Chairman of the Board
(213) 974-4444

You can also email Supervisor Knabe @ www.Knabe.com. On his website he says that he will respond to emails within 2 days and he wants to hear your questions.

District 5
Supervisor Michael Antonovich
(213) 974-5555

Supervisor Antonovich informs the Community on how much illegal immigration is costing this City.

Please take the time to call the Supervisors this week. It will help keep Jamiel's Law alive!

Whatever happens, we will get Jamiel's Law on the November, 2009 election or the next state election. We also have a chance to get it on the March 24, 2009 election. We're learning from every obstacle! Our goal is to make something good come from this senseless murder of Jas.

Thank you and know for sure, we will NEVER give up!

God Bless!

Parting Shots


Manners: refreshingly present at times, lacking in others.

I met my friend's new boyfriend for the first time the other day celebrating another friend's birthday. The following night, he came with my friend (obviously as her date) equipped with 4 bottles of wine to make a good impression. And, to top it off, he wrote a thank-you-for-having-me note within 24 hours. Not only is he Mr. Perfect for my dear friend. He is respectable, sociable, and is engaging. While writing a thank-you note is often rare among us college students and 20-somethings (ok I'll join the gang of 20 somethings come April), it makes one wonder when such niceties ceased to exist when given evidence that manners and grace evidently are still there. This is what my social circle's new addition wrote:

Your party was very fun for me. I enjoyed meeting your friends and the food was scrumptious. I was talking with ___ about how you and your friends are refreshingly more sophisticated than my friends. My friends tend to talk about video games, girls in an immature way, and only the near future i.e. later that week. I hope this is the beginning a worthwhile friendship between us all. Thanks again.

I was pleasantly surprised to receive this message and passed it on to some mutual friends, showing them what 'grace' means. Also there have been instances where had graciousness been introduced, situations would have gone more smoothly. Everyday occurrences such as splitting the dinner bill between 4+ people, organizing potlucks--and making it obvious but not too obvious, striving to be the best hostess and making everybody feel at home, including everyone in conversation, when to know when to change topics of conversation--can be quite challenging. I will include a few examples:
1. Dinner Bill: This has always been a challenge. During the summer, when most meals were shared between 9+ people--it was hard to keep track of who owed whom so splitting evenly is often the best choice even though it could mean Anne who only orders tomato salads subsidizes Mary's hamburger fetishes. Also, if Friend 1 owes Friend 3 dinner and Friend 3 owes Friend 2 dinner...it can become a tangled web. It thus has been become a rule of thumb that in groups of 3+ the bill is split.
2. Potlucks/Dinner Parties: When someone invites you to your home, it is an unwritten rule that unless you are very very close friends with the host/hostess, you usually bring something. Even if it is something as small as candy, or 2 buck chuck from Trader Joes--it is implicit that when someone invites you into their home for dinner, and cooks and cleans after you: you show your appreciation by bringing them a mere token. I have had friends seldom/never bring anything for whatever reason. In most cases however, friends bring wine. Wine is simple, can be less than 4 dollars, and complements food. Potlucks mean potlucks. Not everybody has to bring food, but offering to is at least respectful.
3. When there is an eerie silence, it usually means it is time to break it up, or to change the topic of conversation. Also, you can bullshit (TM) a topic. Last night for example, when someone asked about my pepper spray, I jokingly replied "Oh at least it is not chocolate spray! Chocolate spray can be very dangerous!" I then ran with my corny joke and explained the benefits of chocolate into a new inside joke. It can be hard to know when to stop...and can get you into trouble. Topic-wise, it is best to avoid politics.

This my first and possibly last attempt to write on manners. And my mother was quite the expert according to Nancy.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Sarah Palin and Ugly Straight Weddings

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin
It's been a while since we've mentioned Sarah Palin.  A few interesting items relating the former Republican  Vice Presidential candidate.  The blog that began pushing a Sarah Palin VP nomination more than a year before John McCain selected her has been selected to be archived as part of the Smithsonian Institution's collection on the 2008 election.

In the meantime, the gay couple that hung an effigy of Palin in West Hollywood prior to the election is now calling on gay designers to boycott working for heterosexual weddings.  An LA Weekly writer says that if Chad Michael Morisette and Mito Aviles are succesful with their drive, there'll be "a whole lot of ugly" at straight weddings. This is of course is part of the protest against Proposition 8 which outlawed same-sex marriages in California.

You all know that I was a strong opponent of Proposition 8.  I hope it's overturned in the near future.  That being said I find these types of protests and attitudes silly; more so I find the reverse bigotry by some of the Prop 8 opponents to be disturbing.  We don't fight intolerance with more intolerance.  Anger breeds anger.  There are other ways to win hearts and change minds.

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Mayor Sam's Hotsheet for Friday

Jane Usher has resigned her post as President of the City's Planning Commission. The outspoken advocate who dared to take on City leaders as well as downtown interests on development issues was a growing thorn in the side to Mayor Villaraigosa who appoined Usher to the post.  Though Usher has said she needs to give up the volunteer post to get a job, insiders say she was pushed.  Local neighborhood activists who found an ally in Usher expressed regret at her departure;  Mike Eveloff, president of the Tract 7260 Homeowners Association told the LA Times,."She was someone who seemed to have an understanding that development was getting a little out of control." 

LA Weekly's blog profiles City Controller candidate Nick Patsouras, whose surprise challenge to Council President Wendy Greuel has shaken up local politics a bit.  Various factions are lining up behind each while both are virtual unknowns to most of the City. Should be an interesting race.

The City Council has decided against a plan to provide additional security measures for security at LAX for celebrities.  Stars who wish extra protection from the paps will have to provide their own.  Council Member Janice Hahn told the Daily News "Our airport police are there to protect everyone, and I feel that everyone who comes to LAX should be treated as a celebrity."

A gossip blog reports that Mayor Villaraigosa was the "hit" of the opening of the new Conga Room at LA Live Wednesday night.  Showing how well he spends 89% of his time on activities unrelated to governing the City, the Mayor took a Desi Arnaz turn at the conga drums while hob-nobbing with celebrities Paul Rodriguez, Jessica Alba and Eva Longoria.  Sadly, photos are available.

We really have issues with Council President Eric Garcetti referring to his live in girlfriend, Amy Wakeland, as "his partner."  One wonders if Eric ever makes it to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue if Ms. Wakeland would be referred to as the First Partner.  Well, before that happens, the Garcetti-Wakeland Partnership, LLC is looking for a scarecrow for their organic garden at their Elysian Park home.  Isn't the yuppie life challenging? Hey Eric - how about getting me a scarecrow for a Councilman over here - that would be a huge improvement over our Griffith Park destroying, high school loving Clowncilman.
 We got an email Thursday that the Mayor's office is looking to hire a finance manager for it's Minority Business Opportunity Center, however the deadline for applications for the post was four days ago.  However, assuming the Mayor is still looking, the position pays as much as $77,000 a year.

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