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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Is John Walker Committing an Ethics Violation?

I am receiving complaints from political activists around the city that are pointing me to questionable behavior from Studio City Neighborhood Council Vice President John Walker. I won't reveal the details of the emails, as they were not originally sent to me, but they involve Walker inviting people to a special event for Paul Krekorian at CBS Radford Studios on Sunday, November 15th. In fact, the emails even go so far as to ask people to make donations to Krekorians campaign. The emails clearly are identifiable as coming from John Walkers Studio City Neighborhood Council email address.

The problem here is that elected Neighborhood Council members are not supposed to be doing this.

I guess John Walker must have skipped his ethics training session downtown.

(I have a funny story coming about Paul Krekorian wanting to avoid ethics training...more on this later...)

This is probably another event where they will want to keep the softball questions coming one after another.
They will want to keep out the riff-raff and have uninvited guests aggressively removed from the premises.
But who ...who can be called upon to organize security like that at an event like this?

Hmmm... one name comes to mind.

I have a feeling that John Walker and Judy Price are already familiar with each other...

...being as how they appear together on a Paul Krekorian mailer, shamelessly hyping him to uninformed Valley voters.

Memo to John Walker: Give Judy a call.

UPDATE: John Walker emailed Mayor Sam and explained that he had made a mistake:

In his own words...

It really was just a mistake on my part. I have two different accounts - one for CSSC and one for the SCNC and I simply confused them. Within two minutes, after I opened my copy of the email, at the bottom of the page I realized that I had sent it out from the wrong account and immediately sent out a disclaimer and an apology.


Anonymous Anonymous said:

I support Paul, but this is way out of line.

October 21, 2009 2:01 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Excellent. I'm glad they both support him. They both should have the ability to bring more Krekorian voters out to vote.

I don't know about the neighborhood council stuff. I would have to see it up close.

That wouldn't be good, but I didn't read the mailers myself.

October 21, 2009 3:14 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Walker should resign his position. This is a violation of DONE rules. We need to hold these NC people accountable. And Krekorian should have known better as well. Just proves the kind of low life career politician he is.
Paul go back up to Sacramento and do the job we already elected you to do. Our states not doing to well these days. Or have you been to busy bailing on the position to notice?I was torn before, but Essel has my vote now!

October 21, 2009 6:04 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Phil did John Shallman write this for you?

October 21, 2009 7:44 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Phil this is a stupid duty trick you are trying to scare people from being activists in their communities, but it is not going to work. It is going to give people more of a reason to fight.

I would have called out the community people that support Edsel but there are none. If you recall her community support flier had 4 faces, 3 not from the district (and all were actors who worked for Paramount) and one an illegal immigrant from Australia (who was here to take good paying American jobs) that had overstayed his visa.

October 21, 2009 8:18 AM  

Blogger Michael Higby said:

Phil do you have proof that Walker used his NC email address?

This is another sign that Chris Essel plans to go to war with the NCs if elected!

October 21, 2009 8:31 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

you are a scum bag piece of shit. you are worse then matt szabo and michael trujillo.

you know damn well that john walker sent a retraction e-mail within 30 seconds of the original, apologizing for accidently sending it with the NC accoutn, yet you fail to mention it.

YOU ARE WORSE THEN EVERYTHING YOU CLAIM TO BE FIGHTING AGAINST and the sad part is you convince yourself that you are doing the right thing. I feel sorry for you Phil.

October 21, 2009 8:48 AM  

Blogger Michael Higby said:

Hey Phil is that true? Did John send a retraction? You should follow that up.

Its an easy mistake to make not everyone is tech savvy and its easy to forget which email address you're using when you have multiple ones.

Check it out Phil!

October 21, 2009 8:52 AM  

Blogger Phil Jennerjahn said:

I don't know about any retraction.
It is possible.

I was forwarded the original email, from some community activists who clearly saw what was wrong there.

If anyone wants to forward the retraction to Higby or myself, I'm willing to report on that, too.

October 21, 2009 9:25 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

When you want skirt the law it is always eaiser to ask forgiveness than permission. Sending out an apology may fool some, but we have had enough of the wink and nod antics coming from those folks who place the integrity of the Neighborhood Councils second to their own agenda. It is antics like this that give Council members like Greg Smith the amunition he need to derail the entire NC System.

Walker was running for CD2. He is not some novice who is only used to an IBM Selectric. Good try on the Spin Michael but no cigar.

October 21, 2009 9:27 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Phil why don't you post the emails, since they are FACTUAL and let us decide?

Talk about being a pussy!

October 21, 2009 9:30 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

If there was a retraction then logic mandates there was an violation.

Oops does not make it all better.

October 21, 2009 9:31 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Once again, Phil didn't do his homework before opening his mouth.

October 21, 2009 10:42 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Essel at her CCA fundraiser this week was apparently pushing her anti NC position.

Can't believe here people would be stupid enough to think that will be helpful to her campaign.

Phil you have become nothing but a stool pigeon for the Essel campaign.

ST Activist

October 21, 2009 10:44 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

There is nothing wrong with NC officers endorsing in City Council races as long as no NC resources as being used (the use of an NC email address may likely be a problem) or it is not represented that the NC is endorsing.

Vahedi, Galprin and Koretz all sent out mailers listing NC supporters in the CD 5 race.

October 21, 2009 10:49 AM  

Anonymous Nina Royal said:

Phil, do you verify your information with the opposing party equally before printing any information you receive as fact?

October 21, 2009 11:34 AM  

Blogger Mulholland Terrorist said:

Whether this was a mistake, and has been retracted, or not, if Walker skipped the City's ethics exam, he's among the vast majority of neighborhood council members.

Two out of every three NC board members -- who collectively have access to spend more the $4 million in City taxpayer funds, and are supposed to be given a front seat to officially advice City leaders -- have never taken the exam, and probably never will.

There are an estimated 1500 elected NC board members in L.A. According to the City's site, less than 500 have current completion certificates.


The City's department moved to an online-only training and test years ago, citing budget and staffing (yet it wasn't the department's staff who actually did the training). In past years, group sessions were held around the city, and attendance was taken to ensure compliance.

Just imagine how many people would hold valid driver's licenses in L.A. if the ONLY way to take the written exam was on the Internet). Then imagine how many of them would actually know the rules of the road, if allowed to basically take an "open book" exam, online, at home, with no one looking.

That's the state of "ethics" undertanding among this increasingly influential group.

Here's just some more silliness surrounding this issue.

-Elected NC members are given 12 months after election to take the exam, which is good for two year, but the City has no means for keeping track of who's elected, when they're past due, or whether they ever re-take the exam.

-Until recent changes were enacted, many NCs elected people every year. Hundreds of members of NC boards were, and some still are, only serving a 1-year term, and so "twelve months to comply" becomes a joke. "What will they do to punish me if my terms ends and I haven't take it -- dock my pay?"

-With a number of NCs, not a single board member has taken the ethics exam during the current year, and for the previous two years, the number of completed exams was less than 200 each year, even though more than half of the NCs elected new boards each of those years.

-The actual test has little to do with with the realities of serving on an NC. Most of the study material applies to elected City Council or appointed commission members, and several questions even contradict the so-called "correct" answer on the test itself.

For nearly a year now the City department and its commission have had agenda items surrounding ways to "enforce" compliance with taking the exam, and still there's no actual plan for that, other than veiled threats of decertification. The City would have to begin decertifying the majority of its NCs, hold one or more hearings for each, and then only after having taking "exhaustive measures" to correct the situation (i.e., most current boards would be pushing up daisies by that time).

October 21, 2009 11:42 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

In the reported Daily News endorsement for CD2, they cited the backing of more community activists and neighborhood council officers as being a good clue as to who would best serve the district.

Trivia question A. Which candidate in the mayoral primary in 2005, the first City elections where this was actually a possible factor, received the vast majority of NC board member endorsements?

Answer: Bob Hertzberg

Trivia question B. Which candidate in the mayoral runoff later that same year received the vast majority of NC board member endorsements?

Answer: James Hahn

(Who won the election? None of the above).

Final answer: The DN don't know SQUAT about L.A. politics.

October 21, 2009 11:47 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Higby this is it! You need to either fire this asshole Jennerjahn or force him to post an UNEQUIVOCAL APOLOGY.

Phil needs to apologize for fucking this up, and then delete the original post so it's not there to confuse people in the future.

Phil's apology should have absolutely no pitch for Ess-hole. This is a total fuckup. He needs to post a full apology without a hint of bias. Then fire his fucking ass. Believe me, he knows about the retraction. That's why he didn't post the original. He just told us about it.

October 21, 2009 11:52 AM  

Blogger Michael Higby said:

I've asked Phil to contact John and correct the story.

I've told John I believe he made an honest mistake.

October 21, 2009 1:24 PM  

Blogger Michael Higby said:

The ethics training is an insult and a joke. Whose ethics are they? NC members are not paid.

I haven't taken it yet cause I really don't have time for the nonsense but I will do it.

DONE really has to get off the patriarchal kick.

October 21, 2009 1:26 PM  

Blogger Phil Jennerjahn said:

John has emailed me saying it was a mistake. I will amend the story a little later today when Im at my computer. Using my iPhone is too complcated to edit Mayor Sam

October 21, 2009 3:04 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

As I said, this type of action gives fuel to those who strongly believe the NCs are a waste of vital and ever dimishing tax payer dollars.

NCs Board members are required to take the Ethics Training. John very well may of taken it and this was a stupid mistake. Just like the supporters who wear their NC Badges in Campaign mailers.

You folks are not stupid. You can not keep claiming ignorance. What to support a candidate in public, great! Just stop using our resources to do it.

All these attacks against Phil by the folks using crude and childish language, keep it up. You only show your limitations in furthering your point.

October 21, 2009 3:11 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:


Yeah, NO RUSH, to be correct, Phil. Take your SWEET time cleaning up your mess, while others keep accidentally falling into it.

(You were WAY too overrated as a mayoral candidate.)

October 21, 2009 3:56 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

10:49, your using the CD5 race as an example undermines your argument. Some of those NC people are lobbyists and should have registered as such, as Robyn Ritter Simon said.

They are the same ones who make their political positions and activism known on HOA boards, then join NC's with that SAME agenda and use the "public comments" section to then put on their alleged "citizen hats" to campaign for and against, then jump back to their Board seats. Some also used their board positions to campaign in the community, like to UCLA students, on behalf of Trutanich. They should have been docked.

There are at least a half-dozen in CD5 who crossed the line and Essel and Smith are right - pandering to the NC's to where they have NO real oversight allows them to become lobbyist groups that don't register with the Ethics Commission like they should, also, we've seen how easy it is for some to misappropriate funds and vote on things they have an interest in. While claiming that ANY financial disclosure is wrong.

The Judy Price/ Walker controversies are NOTHING to what has REALLY been going on with full intent of the participants. They have abused the system and some adjustments are necessary.

October 21, 2009 3:59 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

SO, let me get this straight, the blog owner here - a neighborhood council board member who has never taken the required City ethics training - allows a contributor to post a thread bashing a member of another NC for "skipping" the ethics training.

Hmmm. Okay, I guess that's perfectly fine and above board, by blog standards.

Sorry to have interrupted.

Remind me next time the cop pulls me over to just say "speed limits an a INSULT AND A JOKE".

October 21, 2009 4:23 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

John Walker = Kelly Candaele

Illegal fundraising is illegal fundraising. He must resign as Candaele did and deal with the consequences. Neighborhood Councilmembers were elected to serve our neighborhoods--not the politicians.

October 21, 2009 9:36 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

There is also the issue of whether Mr. Walker used his NC's email list for his own pruposes. That is the biggest ethical violation - I recall Jason Lyon, the head of the Silverlake NC was tossed out because he used the NC's email list for his own purposes.

October 22, 2009 2:07 PM  

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