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Friday, May 29, 2009

Jack Weiss' Golden Parachute: Collateral Damage at LAWA?

UPDATE: I'll be discussing this issue with John Phillips sitting in for Al Rantel tonight at 6:30 p.m. on KABC Radio, AM 790 or online at www.kabc.com.

Link to clip from radio show: http://mayorsam.podOmatic.com/entry/2009-05-30T00_29_00-07_00

Used to be that when a politician was termed, voted out or retired from office they'd take a cushy job in private industry or a lobbyist or once in a while return to a previous or family business. If they were a purist they might go into academics.

That's not necessary anymore when the politicians in office have found all kinds of ways to spend money to appoint former elected officials to cushy government jobs and commission seats that pay wages they could not get in private industry, legally anyway. From Cindy Montanez to Richard Katz to Mike Hernandez out of office politicians can be assured job security by their friends who still control the pursestrings.

The latest, greatest and shadiest of this may be the chatter we're hearing that Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is planning to appoint termed out Council Member and defeated City Attorney candidate Jack Weiss to the $200,000 a year position of Deputy Mayor of Homeland Security for the City of Los Angeles. According to our source, the position is a hidden line item in Mayor Villaraigosa's 2009-2010 budget that creates the position with airport funds and houses it at LAX.

Even more disturbing that recycling the most hated and defeated politician in recent Los Angeles history are allegations that the City plans to lay-off 24 existing LAWA employees and replace them with the entire CD5 Jack Weiss staff (assuming that some of them wouldn't rather seek employment with Paul Koretz).

We asked a source in the Mayor's camp to confirm or deny the story but our source claimed ignorance. That's usually spinnish for "We aren't denying it." Our source also noted a number of potential shakeups typical of a Mayor entering his second term, such as the recent departure of Fire Chief Douglas Barry. I was told to expect more "shakeups" including at the Police Commission and "many, many" others.

Assuming the move of Weiss to the Mayor's staff is true - as well as the wholesale firing of LAWA employees to give their jobs to Weiss loyalists - no doubt LA's SLAP-happy pitchfork and torches crowd will be up in arms.

Stay tuned.

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32 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said:

I just checked the calendar, it's not April 1, otherwise I would be laughing at this.

I guess the Mayor is testing out his 'political capital,' either that or Weiss has something on the Mayor (Pensiongate?) that is so huge that Weiss can force Villar to do this.

Giving Weiss any position now makes about as much sense as Obama appointing Hillary... Ow FUCK! It's true.

May 29, 2009 3:15 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

If the 24 or so LAWA employees have civil service protection, I very much doubt that our pisant of a mayor is stupid enough to lay them off and replace them with Jack Weiss staff who are no more (and probably less) qualified to fill the applicable positions.

The waste of City time trying to justify such a boneheaded move, the resultant legal costs (including damages), and the public skewering Villatramposa would take should convince that midget not to embark on that path.

May 29, 2009 3:36 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

If Mayor Tony actually ends up carrying Jack Weiss over with him into the next term, it means Tony is still a control freak, needing to put in "yes" men (and women- and the "yes" there probably is not as interesting as in the pre-Mirthala era). The other thing it means is that Weiss is filling a spot where somebody else could have taken, and probably more capably, but Tony V. cares about satistying his quirky style (a bad one at that) instead of trying to surround himself with talent to compensate for his lack of expertise- o.k., "to compensate for his own lack of talent.

If there is anyone looking for a "lost-and-found" for former politicians, check the city council websites for their staff member rosters. Besides sinfully high salaries for council members, their staff can clean up on pay days, too.

Jack should have been jettisoned by Tony if Tony really wanted to try to get squeaky-clean for a Governor's race campaign; he tossed out his commission appointees who were tainted.

What's next before term two starts?

May 29, 2009 3:44 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

He's lucky to have people who still want to be associated with him as Mayor. This is all bullshit and corruption at the highest level. We need to use the power of the internet like it was used to defeat Measure B and start talking RECALL. There's enough shit and so many people throughout the entire city that have had the bullshit from this Mayor they are ready to sign, seal and deliver.

May 29, 2009 3:44 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Did anyone start by looking at the budget?

May 29, 2009 4:16 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Paul Koretz just gained another 23 votes (out of 500 newly counted)

With the Registrar saying there were between 500-1000 votes left before this count...that leaves 0-500 votes left against a 725 vote lead!

KORETZ WINS

May 29, 2009 4:42 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

The Mayor's budget is a fake phasod. Do you really think he's going to be on the up and up? You're dreaming and forgetting this is a all time gang banger cholo who is a thug. He does things just like a crook. Watch who he gives that $19 million in stimulus money to. Why is CD 14 giving money to gang prevention programs OUTSIDE OF CITY LIMITS? Didn't Cardenas say he didn't trust the Mayor with the $29 million gang money. Wake the hell up Cardenas and see where its going.

May 29, 2009 4:47 PM  

Blogger Michael Higby said:

It's hard to tell from the budget, there are some line items on page 322 that could be it.

AV's previous guy went to work for Obama so the spot is open.

May 29, 2009 4:49 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

4:16.

If you know what a "hidden line item" is please help the readers of this blog.

If not you, could someone else provide some guidance in this area.

I can only guess at the meaning of the phrase.

In the future I will try to remember to refer to our current mayor as "The Dishonorable Midget Villatramposa."

May 29, 2009 4:50 PM  

Blogger Michael Higby said:

Hidden means buried deep in the detail. There is a summary then each area is broken out further but the line items don't go deep enough to show a smoking gun.

May 29, 2009 4:53 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

somehow I don't think this decision will be made by a bunch of oddballs on this blog. that is an area where the guy has achieved respect across a broad spectrum, and a bunch of resentful losers wouldn't know that.

The idea that a bunch of buffoons think their crude, ignorant "pitchfork democracy" is what we've got to kowtow to is at an end. The barbarians may feel they've swarmed the gates but it has only awakened the other side.

It will be fun to watch the Adventure of Nuch, but it's not nearly as big a deal as you think it is.

May 29, 2009 6:06 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Anonymous, 6:06

Thanks for introducing the term, "barbarians," into the discussion.

The problem hasn't been the barbarians outside the gates. The problem has been the irresponsible, incompetent (and perhaps criminal) barbarians INSIDE the gates.

The barbarians who have run this City into a 500 plus million deficit.

The barbarians who tried to foist the highly flawed and extremely wasteful Measure B on City residents.

The barbarians who have developed a misguided sense of entitlement, believing that City residents who pay their salaries will put up with their nonsense forever.

May 29, 2009 6:49 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Constructive ideas should always be welcomed, but when the critics do nothing but say no to everything and attack everything, bringing that confrontational tone and expecting a positive outcome, it's tiresome and unconstructive. I'd like to see NC's and other groups approach the council and mayor's office with truly constructive ideas and see what happens, we may be pleasantly surprised.

I say this just as a general rule for facilitating negotiations, not because I think the characters on council have done such a good job so far.

It's certainly a spectacle to see them go this way and that on every issue until they finally get their tires stuck in the mud or maybe finally set off in one direction, Billy the Elephant being only one example, only to retreat twice as fast. Reminds me of the joke about how many speeds do Italian tanks have in a war? 3 in reverse and one to go forward, in case they're attacked from the rear.

Sums up the council. Any of them however well intentioned getting anything done to further a vision or plan even if by chance it happens to be a good one has the odds way against them. So most of them just push their buttons every chance they get and make speeches with an eye toward their next election, and hope nobody notices.

May 29, 2009 7:20 PM  

Blogger Walter Moore said:

I got the same e-mail report this morning, but discounted it because:

1. It would be patently illegal to use LAWA funds to pay for a Deputy Mayor and staff; and

2. The City budget would not include expenditures by LAWA in any event. They are separate budgets.

So it didn't seem credible to me.

But who knows? It's not like Villaraigosa obeys the law, after all.

May 29, 2009 7:39 PM  

Blogger Joe B. said:

Nice job MS on KABC!

May 29, 2009 7:43 PM  

Blogger Walter Moore said:

BTW: Lakers 73, Denver 57.

May 29, 2009 7:47 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Joe B = Mike Higby

May 29, 2009 8:15 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

I hope Walter's analysis is correct, but multiple sources are saying the fix is in.

Higby did not get an outright denial from the Mayor's office, which speaks volumes.

The notion that Weiss, who still an investigation into the Kelly Candaele illegal fundraiser to deal with, and who has not returned any money therefrom (or the felon fundraiser), could be trusted with Homeland Security is offensive.

My guess is that Villar is running this up the old flag pole to honor some back room deal with Weiss, who obviously is threatening to sing like a canary in front of the Grand Jury unless he's 'taken care of.'

Obvious Unger/Jacobsen posts can be ignored. Their flutterings are entertaining when there's not much else going on, but as always they add nothing to the debate - just like their puppet master.

May 29, 2009 9:44 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

This rumor may not be true but it wouldn't be the first time that something like this happened.

When Mayor Bradley aide Phil Depoian lost in his bid to be picked as a GM, a position was created for him at the Airport.

Federal law doesn't not allow Airport funds to be used for anything that isn't airport related. But that can be an arguable point.

It may be possible to create a Homeland Security post within the Airport department, and appoint Weiss to it. There is a nexus between Homeland Security matters and the airport.

Whatever the official title is, the person could use whichever working title he or she wanted.

There are only three official titles used by City Council staff: Chief of Staff, Assistant Chief of Staff, and Councilmanic Aide. But you will never find anyone using Councilmanic Aide to describe themselves. Everyone makes up titles that either better describes what they do, or that exaggerates what they do.

If this rumor is true, an attorney like Walter Moore could file suit to stop it.

May 29, 2009 9:47 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Tony's got staff funded by other Departments. On paper it looks like the position works for adepartment and then the position is loaned to the Mayor's staff. Hence, the number of Mayor's staff is reduced. It happens with all elected official. When they leave they place their flunkies in high paying vacant positions (even though they don't qualify)

May 29, 2009 9:53 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Whether Weiss returned funds related to the Candaele may not be clear at this point.

Some who say he didn't apparently are basing that position on the fact that campaign reports required by the Ethics Commission don't reflect returns of $20,000 (approximately).

Applicable rules/reg/laws may not require return disclosures if the returns were executed within a short timeframe after the Candaele fundraiser.

I doubt that a position in the Villatramposa administration going to influence Weiss one way or another regarding singing b4 a grand jury or cutting a deal with prosecutors. His license to practice law a big enough incentive. If Weiss has anything to hide, burrowing closer in bed with Villatramposa would probably bite him even harder eventually.

If Weiss takes a position in the Villatramposa administration, Weiss better understand that the absenteeism that characterized his City Council tenure won't fly in his new position. If Weiss thinks otherwise, some City employee will likely so inform the media, which, hopefully, will set Weiss straight.

May 29, 2009 11:26 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

If there's still anything resembling a real media in this town, this blog is a pimple on an elephant's ass -- and I don't meam Billy. Wassup with him anyway? Staying at the zoo or?

May 30, 2009 12:41 AM  

Anonymous Maria Lopez Jesus said:

"Failure"

; )

May 30, 2009 2:17 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

I say let the Mayor appoint Weiss as head of homeland security. Weiss will have to go before the full city council to get confirmed and this will be the test of leadership and balls to see which council members are still the lapdogs to the Mayor. Everyone should be in council chambers to protest against this bullshit

May 30, 2009 6:08 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

"...it wouldn't be the first time that something like this happened."

"It happens with all elected official."

These are the phrases cowardly politicians use to keep the corruption moving forward.

We no longer want to hear "this type of thing happens all the time" as though that is an excuse to carry on in the corrupt mafiosa tradition.

Sorry Chumps, that era is over, as I think you are finding out the hard way. Hope you don't also find out the hard "time" way.

So just to be clear, the people have had enough of the illogical spin tactic that, "Hey, that's just the way it is in politics."

SORRY, not anymore, as Jack and Antonio have found out. So don't holler that shit lieutenant.

If you defense is, "That's just how it is" you should stick that spin up Antonio's jackass.

May 30, 2009 7:59 AM  

Blogger Foxy LA Lady said:

Anyone who's seen Weiss and Trutanich in a debate should be able to figure out that Jack Weiss is not a sweet little pussycat that will go away quietly.

Anyone who knows a little about Chief Bratton, should know that he knows how to keep his brashness and arrogance in check with the people by abusing the power of his position. Bratton who endorsed Weiss, against the mandates of the Federal consent decree was also one of the applicants for head of the Department of Homeland Security, which he was not selected for. (Source: CNN)

It’s all part of the mayor’s “machine” losing it’s power. The dysfunctional maneuvers have only begun. Now the mayor is no longer loved and popular. It’s becoming clear that he now has to force his way around government, where it used to come so easy for him because he was so popular. No more cakewalk for Antonio and he knows it.

The people don’t want scary government that intimidates and abuses power. Jack Weiss is wounded and power hungry. Let’s hope he sees his next move clearly, not through the eyes of the mayor who himself is falling apart. Weiss should take the path of least resistance, rather than go down with the ship.

May 30, 2009 9:44 AM  

Anonymous San Pedro Liberal said:

Walter Moore has the same need for attention disease as Stinky Saltsberg. That leads Walter to come to Mayor Sam and shit all over the place because he didn't break this story.

I do have one question that maybe someone will take on. I thought Walter was leaving the state if he didn't get elected Mayor. That's one reason I voted for Villaraigosa. Despite that I see Walter commenting on Mayor Sam all the too but unless I missed it Higby never comments on Walter's blog. Higby do you ever read or comment on Walter's blog?

May 30, 2009 10:46 AM  

Blogger Walter Moore said:

So we're clear, it would not surprise me in the least if Villaraigosa makes Weiss a Deputy Mayor of Homeland Security, and lets him re-hire his staff. THAT I find totally credible.

The parts I do not buy are: i) the position would be funded through the LAWA budget; and ii) the position is somehow "hidden" in the City budget.

The City budget authorizes all kinds of money to the Mayor's staff of 93. He could simply move some of his homies to LAWA and the DWP, and move Weiss in.

As for the inquiry about my fleeing the City, hey, put your money where your mouth is and buy my house, and we'll be out of here. Unfortunately, my departure is being delayed by Villaraigosa's having killed off the local economy to a greater extent than the recession has killed the national economy.

When the housing market picks up -- and it will -- I will be only too happy to bid you adieu.

May 30, 2009 11:07 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Weiss lost the election. Leave him alone already. He is not going to work for the Mayor or the Airport. This is just another reckless, stupid rumor thrown out on MS to stir the up the nutjobs. How many times does this blog have to put out false "breaking news" reports before people start to question the source?

May 30, 2009 11:35 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

What a repulsive post by someone with no creds other than access to a keyboard that attracts other jealous rumormongers who'd never have the guts to run for and hold office and put themselves through the scrutiny.

And that Higby went on air to rant about this with that brainless a.m. screamer so they can both air their ignorant rants for ratings is just par for the course here.

I don't fault Higby for doing this since he's a nobody who can't even get listened to at his own NC Board meetings, and this has gotten him a few bucks and enough attention that he's featured on these rabble-rousing programs that serve to further miseducate the under-educated masses.

But any of the MSM who dignify garbage like this just prove again that they've long lost their reason for existing as anything more than fishwrap to put the Sunday grocery, Macy's coupons and ads into.

May 31, 2009 8:53 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Why hasn't anyone who checks their sources as a matter of practice written about this?

May 31, 2009 10:07 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Weiss helped mini mayor bring down Jim Hahn so now it is time for payback....Weiss and some of his staff are the most hated in history. They are a waste of tax payers money.
Please just go away and take mini mayor with you!

June 01, 2009 7:41 AM  

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