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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Open Thread for New Year's Eve

The forgotten ass clown of 2009

Recap.  Spin.  Bloviate.  Predict.  Vomit.  How was 2009?

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

City of Los Angeles Political Ass Clown Awards of 2009

"Honorary Ass Clown Grand Marshall Ulisess Sanchez"
In the spirit of inclusiveness, the me, myself and I, of the Ass Clown Award Committee, has decided to expand our award to multiple categories, this to highlight the numerous dubious follies of our local political community.

Thus with no further delay, we bring you the 2009 City of Los Angeles Political Ass Clowns for 2009. This year’s awards are dedicated to former Mayor Sam blogger “Mayor Frank”, who we hope is doing well going into 2010.

Political Ass Clown in an “Acting Role”:
Councilwoman Jan Perry for her role as “Acting Mayor” and AEG stooge, during the non-permitted, AEG/ Michael Jackson Memorial. City Attorney Carmen Trutanich may have another award for Perry, in form of a criminal indictment.

Political Ass Clown Consultant of the Year:
We have co-winners in this category.

First, for consulting a candidate into to the poor house, we select John Shallman. Here is wishing that some bored lawmaker in Sacramento creates some consulting malpractice legislation and make it retroactive to the start of the CD 2 campaign.

Second, for spinning and consulting a measure to an unexpected death at the polls, we pick none other than Michael Trujillo. This for his exploits and waste of IBEW money, on the behalf of Measure B.

High-Maintenance Political Ass Clown of 2009:
County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas for his attempt to spend $700,000 dollars of taxpayer money on his “extremely expensive make over” of his office.

Bloggin Ass Bottle Capper of 2009:
None other than Phil Jennerduh, who also gets a pacifier with his award.

Political Ass Clown Candidate of 2009:
City Attorney candidate Jack Weiss, question is whether anyone misses him on the City Council.

Political Density Ass of 2009:
CD 1 Councilman Ed “Density” Reyes, for his multi-year quest to legalize marijuana, errrrr, find a solution the Medical Marijuana issue.
General Manager Ass Clowns of 2009:
H. David Nahai and S. David Freeman of the Department of Water and Power. Need we have to elaborate on the follies of this duo?

Part-Time Political Ass of 2009:
None other than “Mayor to the World” (89 % of the time) and Mayor of Los Angeles (11% of the time), Antonio Ramon Villar.

** Los Angeles Political Ass Clown Award for 2009:

We pick the duo of IBEW’s “Boss Brian D’Arcy and AEG’s Tim LIEweke.

D’Arcy and LIEweke symbolize the current state of priorities on Spring Street, which put the Special Interests ahead of the average citizen.

LIEweke and his employer AEG is the largest recipient of “municipal welfare” in Los Angeles. In return for their tax breaks, AEG has reciprocated thousands in campaign contributions to the politicos within the “Horseshoe on Spring Street”

D’Arcy is a flat out thug who takes thousands of dollars of his member’s dues and attempts to influences city policy for the exclusive benefit of his members.

Your thoughts……………….


Outtakes from CD 14: "Year End Review and Awards"

Hola and Happy New Year from the "cut and paste capital" of "Ciudad de Los Angeles".
But first, a bloggin disclaimer:
Those who may find humor in the follies of "ME", better known as CD 14 Councilman Jose Huizar, may face the following; banishment from future "Huevos with Huizzy" in 2010, internet surveillance from various cybertrolls, no return phone calls on your community concerns and the horror, non stop e-mails on the doings of your "all-time favorite councilman" as he approaches re-election time in 2011.
Disclaimer aside, can we list the major stories in CD 14 for 2009? Which community leaders and groups deserve merit? What groups and leaders deserve ridicule? Who may want to run against Councilman Huizar in 2011? Will anyone in CD 14 be indicted in 2010? Where has the CLART Fund gone? How will Huizar engage community issues in the New Year? When will the Southwest Museum saga ever end?
Top ten stories in CD 14 for 2009:
10. Huizar misses key MTA Board meeting.
9. Huizar announces $75,000 reward for information on double murder near Oscar's Bar.
8. Vernon Power Plant is denied permit.
7. New Hollenbeck Police Station opens.
6. MTA Gold Line extension opens through CD 14.
5. "Huevos with Huizzy Tour".
4. $9 million dollar proposal for Elephant Hill.
3. Councilman Huizar cleared of wrong doing in the Miguel Contreras V.I.P. scheme.
2. National Night Out incident involving Councilman Huizar, with ex. staffers Henry Casas and Celina Mancia.
1. Southwest Museum saga.
Best CD 14 Community Organizations:
"Friends of the Southwest Museum".
"Resurrection Church" for their stance against the Vernon Power Plant.
"Concern Neighbors of El Sereno" on 710 Freeway Tunnel Proposal.
Best CD 14 Neighborhood Council:
Arroyo Seco Neighborhood Council
Best CD 14 ex. staffer "extreme makeover":
Celina Mancia. Link here to see.
Possible CD 14 candidates for City Council:
Gil Cedillo.
Emanuel Pleitez.
Cynthia Ruiz.
Johnny Jay Jimenez.
Worst CD 14 C.B.O.'s:
Southwest Society.
Legacy LA.
Non-Profit in Estrada Courts.
El Centro de Ayudo.
CD 14 Mystery Award:
What ever happen to the CLARTS Fund? ** Link here to view You Tube on CLARTS Fund with former CD 14 Councilman Nick Pacheco.
Is Councilman Huizar facing an IRS probe?
When will Ascot Hill Park get completed?
Who is "Parque Esqueleto"?
What will be done with Elephant Hill?
Why was Hazard Park put in redevelopment zone?
...and something about 80 Fake Neighborhood Watches.
Best CD 14 newspapers:
Los Angeles Garment and Citizen.
The Voice.
Boulevard Sentinel.
Blog comment that make you go hmmm:
Sources just confirmed that Jose Huizar is frantically try to find out who is Red Spot and whom might be blogging bad about him. He has aquired the help of two I.T. Specialist named Uli and one Mr. Lucero. Apperently they have been talking to men people about their assignment. I hope they know this is illegal and the Feds are probably monitoring Huizar moves. Wouldn't want to get you gentalmen mixed up in all this.
August 07, 2009 7:29 PM
Maybe this has to do with a number of CD 14 and other city activists getting spam e-mails on Viagra and other crap. All this will achieve is greater scrutiny on the actions of Councilman Huizar in 2010.
Your thoughts.........................


BREAKING NEWS: Source: Cooley Eyeing AG Run

Sources in the know say that Los Angeles District Attorney is reportedly considering jumping into the race for the Republican nomination for California Attorney General.  Developing.

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Los Angeles Politics Hotsheet for Wednesday

Another Station Fire Casualty

Okay, my first hotsheet, so be nice.

-The Irrelevant Mayor, Tony Villaraigosa, made an appearance on Pat Morrison's KPCC show yesterday where he feigned sympathy for the 14% of Los Angeles that are currently unemployed. I couldn't listen any further than his opening monologue, but you can give it your best shot HERE.

-Stephen Box, the "Should be Commissioner of All Things Bicycle" along with his beautiful wife Enci, were interviewed on KPFK's new show "Bike Talk" last night.

-Griffith Park Wayist, the hot new blog on the block, has their "Top Ten LA Political Stories of 2009" now up. The LA Weekly has already picked up on the post and I highly recommend it to all of you.

-OurLA names Carmen Trutanich "Man Of The Year". One of the first comments on Ron Kaye's blog is, "and the "Woman of the Year is?". Looks like the pressure is on.

-Paul Krekorian is set to be sworn into office as Council Rep for CD2 sometime in early January. So how does Paul, a guy that has yet to assume office, spend his time today? He spends it in Sunland-Tujunga assessing the Station Fire damage and potential debris flows with local, highly respected activist, Elaine Brown. Very impressive!

-Finally, a Very Happy Birthday to my amazing & beautiful daughter Stormy! She turned the big 14 on Tuesday!

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Los Angeles Politics Hotsheet for Tuesday

How much will they loan Zev for the Hollywood Bowl?
The Cast of Pawn Stars

Members of the Community Redevelopment Authority board are debating whether or not to give two buildings in South LA free to a real estate developer. Of course their beef isn't over the socialist notion of a public government agency taking private property and giving it to other private parties but whether or not the proposed use (clothes manufacturing) is a "green" industry or not. And you ask why LA is so screwed up!

Local boondoggle of the decade award: the ill-fated attempt to move the Los Angeles Children's Museum to LakeView Terrace (on the site of the legendary Corral country music nightclub).

The City of LA may need to give up operation of the Zoo, Convention Center and even it's animal shelters. For the first time in we don't how long a City official got it absolutely right when City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana told the Daily News "We have to look at what the core mission of the city is." Here's an answer Miguel: pretty much anything that is NOT police, fire, safety or keeping the streets in good condition.

Don't worry that American Idol, The Simpsons or Glenn Beck will not be served up to you via Time Warner Cable. They're getting closer and well before the time Dick Clark airs Thursday a deal will be reached. See? Didn't I tell you?

Local boondoggle of the next decade award: The County of LA Stupidvisors making a risky multi-million dollar loan to LA Opera using a note secured by the Dorothy Chandler Pavillion itself as collateral. What's next? Will they pawn the LaBrea Tar Pits? Kudos to Mike Antonovich for at least having the balls to say no.

Mayor Villaraigosa will talk about his great year on Patt Morrison's KPCC radio show Tuesday.

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Monday, December 28, 2009

Happy Birthday Michael Trujillo

One of our ex-bloggers has his special day today.  Happy Birthday Mike!


Los Angeles Politics Hotsheet for Monday

Janice Hahn and Tom LaBonge | Photo by Jim Winstead; used under Creative Commons license.

Deputy Mayor Diego Alvarez will take on a new position one that is charged with bringing light rail closer to LA's airports.  First step will be for Alvarez to get the Green Line a few blocks closer to LAX via the new Expo Line however the City Council has asked for a study to bring either the Green or Expo lines actually into the airport.  The other task will be to work with the MTA to bring the Gold Line to Ontario Airport. 

CurbedLA notes an LA Times report that notes a significant drop in violent and property crimes in LA.  Does anyone find this coincidental with the increase in medical marijuana dispensaries in the City? Imagine if we out and out legalized the stuff.  I'm just sayin'.

Betty Pleasant not taking a holiday break from running her mouth tries to spin away on her beloved Mark Ridley Thomas' near million dollar office renovation scandal.  Ms. Pleasant says the offices are as raggedy as when Kenneth Hahn left them back in 1992.  Isn't there an after-Christmas sale Betty can hang out at?

Speaking of the Hahns, here's a fun website for you to check out.

Doug McIntyre pens a good piece for the Daily News.  Mayor Villaraigosa said he had a great year.  Too bad it sucked for the rest of Los Angeles.

It appears a new end of the year tradition is Time Warner's annual spat (remember last year with Viacom or 2006 and 2007 versus the NFL?) with some provider of programming and threats from both sides that the channels will go dark.  Each side attempts to enlist TV viewers as soldiers in the war for one or the otherThis year it's TW vs Fox as the two media behemoths tussle over fees as the current agreement expires.  As in every year a last minute resolution will occur as TW needs the programming and Fox needs the eyeballs.  In the meantime cable companies and television stations will become less and less relevant thanks to broadband based programming sources such as YouTube, uStream, Roku, Hulu and others.

Good tip from our friend Brian Humphrey at the LA Fire Department.  Don't be stupid and burn Christmas wrappings nor your Christmas tree in the fire place.  Now that the gifts are open it's time to take that tree down.  Put it out on your curb (if it won't fit in your green bin) on your regular trash pickup day and the City will collect it for recycling.  Or you can take it to any number of drop-off points.

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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Seriously This Guy for Mayor?


Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Los Angeles Politics Hotsheet for Christmas Eve

Wendy Greuel and her Mini-Mitch

Paul Hatfield has a conversation with City Controller Wendy Greuel.  Besides discussing more mundane and technical matters within the Controller's office, Hatfield chatted with Greuel about the recent race to replace her in the District 2 Council Seat.  Notably, Greuel attempts to distance herself from Chris Essel, essentially throwing the former movie executive she endorsed under the bus.  Nothing stinks like losing.

Rick Orlov is reporting despite cuts made to the City's budget and expenses - including a controversial early retirement program for city workers - Los Angeles is still exceeding it's payroll budget by $85 million.  In a letter to the Mayor and City Council Controller Wendy Greuel stated "...salary expenditures continue to exceed the budgeted amount."

One area where the City is doing well is in revenues from red light cameras.  According to the LA Times Los Angeles' income from catching red light runners from these cameras has doubled since 2007 and is outpacing other local agencies.

We've heard about who the Ass Clown of the Year should be; who would LA's Grinch of the Year be? Go vote at Metblogs.

If you're harried about what to do for your holiday celebrating, the bloggers at the Cooking With Trader Joe's blog have some lost minute entertaining tips.

All of us at Mayor Sam wish each of you a very happy holiday and Merry Christmas.  We appreciate your patronage throughout the year.

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Los Angeles Politics Hotsheet for Wednesday

Stupidvisor Mark Ridley Thomas working on his office renovation.

Getting closer to Christmas. The Clowncil is on extended recess. Next few days of Hotsheets may not be 100% political. Deal with it.

Mayor Villaraigosa appoints former Burbank City Manager and ex-CRA chief Bud Ovrom as head of the Department of Building and Safety. This is a good appointment. Perhaps with Ovrom in charge and ex-Burbank elected Paul Krekorian on the Council we can bring some of the successful methods of that City to make LA more business friendly. Sidenote: San Fernando Valley business leaders are optimistic about Krekorian's victory.

Tom LeBong joins the nanny state and wants to ban outdoor smoking patios in LA. I HATE cigarette smoke but I also believe in freedom of choice. If a restaurant allowed smoking I would not go there. But I think its up to them and the market. In any case Tom LeBong is a greater danger to his District than second hand smoke is. Just ask anyone who lives there!

Stupidvisor Mark "Curly" Ridley Thomas will hold off on his mega-dollar office renovation. The County Stupes took a vote that sends the project to an auditor for review but inside sources told KFI's Eric Leonard that Curly will now do the project ala Johnny Cash and build it "one piece at a time" under the radar after the smoke clears. Let's keep an eye on that if we can!

David Markland at LA MetBlogs catches onto something MayorSam and Griffith Park Wayist have had on their radar lately: LA's politicians have had a near obsessive relationship with The Grinch this holiday season. What's next? Green Eggs and Ham with Jan Perry?

Paul Hatfield pens a brilliant Christmas poem for Mayor V.

Forget about TV 35 and trying to save public access TV. That's so not 2010. Apple Computer is on the verge of deploying the killer app that is going to do to cable TV what blogs have done to fishwraps and add to that services like Roku, YouTube and Hulu. Anyone can be a TV producer these days.

Mulholland Terrace reports via a cached version of a story removed by a ball-less Chicago Tribune website that "Sam Zell is leaving control of Tribune Company in the hands of a former shock jock who used to reportedly roam the offices of a past employer with a rubber penis tied around his neck." Randy Michaels, who takes the CEO reins from Zell who remains Chairman, "made a name for himself back in the '70s and '80s farting on the air, cracking jokes about gays and tantalizing listeners with descriptions of 'incredibly horny, wet and ready' naked in-studio guests." And you were worried about the fishwraps!

Simon Cowell will step down from his role as the chief judge on Fox's popular "American Idol" television program. We suggest Jack Weiss be his replacement. He still needs a job so why not?

FBI files on Michael Jackson that were to be released Monday and then were delayed have finally been put on public view. However much of the information has been redacted and a lot of it is miscellaneous and sheds no light on his alleged child molestation activities nor his mysterious death. It is not certain if these files were scrubbed but what is clear is that its the files of the LA and Santa Barbara County District Attorneys that will be more revealing. No word on when or if those documents will come forward.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Los Angeles Politics Hotsheet for Tuesday

"I think this is one of the best years we've had. I love my job and I have it three more years." 
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa

As we get closer to Christmas not much is going on in LA politics but here are a few assorted tidbits.

Nina Royal will be happy.  Developer Dan Palmer's Las Lomas development is officially dead.  The California Supreme Court denied the appeal of the developer in their case against the City of Los Angeles.  I doubt Palmer can take this to Clarence Thomas and the Wise Latina but he I guess he can try.

Brady Westwater reports on a business improvement district gone bad in Downtown LA.  The Toy District BID was not renewed by property owners and only has enough dough to empty trash though the end of December.  After the new year the place becomes a dump.  Westwater says however that with the demise of toy trading as the central focus of the area other growing sections of downtown will consume the geography, repurpose it and bring it under their BIDs.

Would this have happened if Measure B passed? A fund manager who received an invitation to a Manhattan meeting held by First Solar was told he was not invited upon arrival and then promptly took a cab back to his office. Andrew Kaplan - who holds a short position in the company and apparently First Solar's cause for ire - then sent First Solar the bill for the $9 cab ride.  No word if he's been reimbursed yet.

Apparently Tom LeBong is bound and determined to turn America's largest City park and Los Angeles' greatest open space into Disneyland.  The good news is that the Griffith Park Wayist blog is on the case and keeping a constant eye on LeBong.

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Open Letter to City of Los Angeles Employees

** Disclaimer: This is political satire at its truthful best.

Dear City Employees,

Due to the current financial situation caused by the slowdown in the economy, the City of Los Angeles has decided to implement a scheme to put workers of 50 years of age and above on early retirement.

This scheme will be known as RAPE (Retire Aged People Early).

Persons selected to be RAPED can apply to the City to be considered for the SHAFT program (Special Help After Forced Termination).

Persons who have been RAPED and SHAFTED will be reviewed under the SCREW program (Scheme Covering Retired-Early Workers).

A person may be RAPED once, SHAFTED twice and SCREWED as many times as the City deems appropriate.

Persons who have been RAPED could get AIDS (Additional Income for Dependants & Spouse) or HERPES (Half Earnings for Retired Personnel Early Severance).

Obviously persons who have AIDS or HERPES will not be SHAFTED or SCREWED any further by the City.

Persons who are not RAPED and are staying on will receive as much SHIT (Special High Intensity Training) as possible.

The City has always prided themselves on the amount of SHIT they give our citizens.

Should you feel that you do not receive enough SHIT, please bring this to the attention of Antonio Villaraigosa (assuming he is in Los Angeles), who has been trained to give you all the SHIT you can handle.


The Committee for Economic Value of Individual Lives (E.V.I.L.)

PS - - Due to recent budget cuts and the rising cost of DWP electricity, as well as current market conditions, the Light at the End of the Tunnel has been turned off.

Your thoughts as I LOL!..........................

Paul Hatfield: Reforming the City Controller's Office

By Paul Hatfield, Special to Mayor Sam's Sister City

I was engaged in an interesting thread on Mayor Sam last weekend. It concerned the role of the City Controller. I would like to close the loop on that with this article. It is only appropriate that this gets posted first on Mayor Sam, since that’s where the discussion started. I’ll post it to Village to Village later.

The Office of the City Controller is the most least understood position in the city.

The position title itself obscures the primary mission of the job – auditing the books and processes used throughout the many departments. Yes, there are other duties assigned to the Office emblematic of what a traditional controller performs. For now, let’s focus on the auditing responsibility.

In the outside world, auditing has nothing to do with controllership, and for good reason. There must be independence between the operations of a business and the responsibility of auditing. It is difficult to perform an objective audit when both sides are intertwined as they are in Los Angeles.

Somehow, the framers of the City Charter thought it would be a great idea to have the Controller’s Office wear two hats. They mistakenly concluded that by paying the city’s bills the City Controller could audit while performing the mechanical operation of staging, funding and cutting the checks.

Well, that amounts to auditing your own work to a degree. I realize other departments originate the demand warrants and assemble the documentation, but one can easily overlook a problem when neck deep in processing transactions. Having a fresh set of eyes, unencumbered by ancillary operational tasks, is essential to ferreting out irregularities.

The current process also insulates the departments from the responsibility of due diligence.

Wendy’s recent audit citing poor cash management practices that lead to lost short term investment opportunities provides some insight into this problem.

For starters, this is not the first time this finding has been raised. Laura Chick flagged it as well.

The fact that departments are not staging their invoices so they can be paid as late as possible (without jeopardizing early payment discounts) is indicative of callous indifference at high levels. I hate to say it, but the Controller needs to publicly ridicule the management responsible for such basic shortcomings. These people do not qualify as adults and should be treated accordingly. It is really sad.

However, I am not heartened when I see the Controller focusing on an issue such as this at a time of crisis. Although managing the flow of payments is desirable, it is less important to delay invoices when short term rates are insignificant as they are today. Where is the prioritization?

More attention needs to be directed at auditing the largest and most sensitive transactions and programs. In other words, the City Controller must clearly delineate audit priorities for the staff – it is part of risk assessment. I’m sure a certain amount of that goes on, but I have not detected a general trend in that direction. I get the sense every audit is a one off affair instead of part of a concerted strategic plan to address overall waste and mismanagement.

I can assure you there are probably much bigger fish to fry in the city then what we’ve seen the Controller address so far. The DWP alone has an abundance of fertile ground to cultivate. Of course, Wendy’s independence would be subject to question were she to involve herself in that particular audit.

Lack of professionalism in the Office hurts as well.

Let’s look at a case close to home.

Even Laura Chick, as good as she was at sniffing out problems, overlooked the obvious implications of what was transpiring at DONE.

While a certain former NC member was spending thousands at casinos, and others were using their purchasing cards as gift rewards, DONE was asking me why I spent $29.95 at Trader Joe’s for snacks to feed our members and guests at NCVV Board meetings. The DONE staff claimed it was a requirement of the City Controller’s Office. Talk about not seeing the forest for the trees.

Turn the clock back a little more. DONE was audited by Chick’s staff a few years ago and serious deficiencies were found when it came to controlling the use of funds. There was no timely follow up by the auditors even when all the elements for fostering fraud were present. No recommendations were made to eliminate the problem. Good auditors make specific recommendations and see them through.

The loss from this form of embezzlement may have been relatively low compared to other transgressions, but it could have been avoided by some simple controls.

How many other DONE style disasters are waiting to explode because city auditors have not bothered to perform basic reviews of internal controls? For that matter, I suspect that weak controls in the Controller’s department itself may have contributed to the $6 million NSF problem a few months ago. I am basing that on my personal knowledge of systems used to manage payments.

How do we transform the Controller’s Office into a financial SWAT team and assure we have the right person at the helm and the right people in the trenches?

I wish I could say it were easy. The best way, and most difficult, would be through a Charter amendment. Specifically, the amendment would require the following:

1. The candidate for the office must not have served as an elected or appointed official within the five years prior to running.
2. The candidate must have X years of financial management or audit experience in a large organization with revenues of at least $X-billion.
3. Only public funding not to exceed $X per registered voter would be permitted for each candidate.
4. All professional staff employees reporting directly or indirectly to the Controller, and who are involved in audits or financial management, must maintain an active CPA license. Note: There are many CPAs that let their licenses lapse. Starting next year, the California Board of Accountancy will require members without an active license to disclose their status. It is very important that members stay abreast of technical developments and take measures to enhance their skills.
5. Peer review of the work performed by the Controller’s staff would be conducted by an outside CPA firm. The results would become public information
6. All processing tasks currently performed by the City Controller must be transferred to X department reporting to the (Mayor, Treasurer, CAO - whatever is most appropriate)
7. The position will be renamed City Auditor.

Points 4 and 5 are to assure the taxpayers of the city that only the most qualified accountants and auditors are in positions requiring professional judgment.

Point 6 is to eliminate the conflict of duties that exist in the Controller’s Office.

I think the most important points are 1 and 3. They relate to independence.

The requirements may sound intimidating, but they are not. There are many talented professionals who would gladly serve in order to protect the taxpayers of our city.

If we want an independent Controller to represent us, this is the route we must take. We can no longer elect people on the basis of how effective they were at fixing potholes, getting the streets repaved on our blocks or adding an extra police patrol in the neighborhood.

If you need a plumber, you don’t hire an electrician. It is as simple as that.

At a minimum, we need to elect new council members who are truly receptive to transparency and oversight before this concept can be launched. Even then, some compromises are to be expected. CD2 gave us a good start on December 8th. Half the Council will be up for reelection before you know it. It is time to make this an issue for the candidates to address.

More importantly, we need to get a healthy dialog going and unite behind any reasonable approach to assure independence and competence in the Office of Controller.

Paul Hatfield runs the Village to Village Blog, is a certified public account with an MBA from Pepperdine University and undergraduate degrees in economics from the University of Richmond and George Washington University.

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Los Angeles Politics Hotsheet for Monday

 Over at Village to Village Paul Hatfield recounts the tale of how Planning Department head Gail "Can I get one of the new Google phones with the free GPS?" Goldberg is playing games with the stakeholders.  The State Legislature has passed legislation around so-called "Granny Flats" but unlike cities such as Pasadena and others Los Angeles has failed to introduce an implementation ordinance to keep the matter in check.  Goldberg, who is alleged to like a good brew, has a good excuse: too many staffers have retired to even write a bill.  Rich.

Some employees of the Los Angeles Department of World Airports may be in big trouble. A Los Angeles Times investigation alleges that several staffers may have accepted lavish free trips abroad paid for by LAX Terminal Equity Corp., a company that represents various foreign carriers at LAX.  According to an anonymous source the trips were reported by a staffer disgruntled that they were not selected to go on the trips.

Paul Krekorian was elected to the 2nd District Council Seat in a huge landslide nearly three weeks ago but he's going to have to wait until after the Rose Bowl game is played to be sworn in.  The Los Angeles City Council couldn't get around to certifying Krekorian's election before they left town for their annual Christmas break.  Krekorian, trying to get a jump on things and open up for business, found that he couldn't even get his name on the office door until the Clowncil gets back.  Welcome to the dysfunctional world of City Hall, Paul!

Is this a sign of things to come from the administration of City Attorney Carmen Trutanich? Blogger Mulholland Terrace at one of LA's hottest new blogs, Griffith Park Wayist, was threatened by Trutanich pitbull Jane Usher because Mulholland refered to an LA Times commenter who speculated that the City Attorney's recent serious medical troubles were the result of binge drinking.  If Usher and Trutanich are seeking to threaten bloggers they don't like they better guess again.  That will not go down without a fight.  They know better; particularly in light of the fact that the John Shallman run Trutanich campaign was none too happy to use local blogs in their efforts to attack Jack Weiss when he ran against Trutanich.

Some light may be shed on child molestation allegations made against deceased pop star Michael Jackson when over 300 previously classified files on Jackson's cases from 1993 to 2004 will be released Monday.  It is not known if the files contain any evidence previously unknown however some of the material will relate to the case of Jordy Chandler, who Jackson was accused of sleeping with on at least 60 occasions and whom refused to testify in the case against Jackson following a $25 million settlement with the Chandler family.  Then District Attorney Gil Garcetti, not having the participation of the alleged victim, chose not to prosecute but was willing to re-consider had further evidence come forward. 

Some stories you may have missed over the weekend while you were guzzling egg nog or shopping for gifts.  LA's new bike czar may be in trouble for half-assed work but more so for making what some folks perceive to be racially tinged comments.  Council President Eric Garcetti is looking for The Grinch.  And Mayor Sam's own Red Spot is looking to name the Ass Clown of the Year for 2009.

And finally for your consideration please vote for Mayor Sam as the best political blog at the LA Weekly's 2009 Web Awards.  There are other categories you may wish to vote in such as best Twitterer (I voted for LAist's Zach Behrens) or LA's most shameless self promoter (so many choices there!).

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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Eric Garcetti Hot on the Tail of the Grinch

This time The Grinch hasn't stolen Christmas but an important trophy. Eric Garcetti is pulling out all the stops to catch this dastardly green bastard and bring him to justice. We may have a tip - the Grinch was last seen hanging out with one of his henchmen.

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Nominations for the Los Angeles Political Ass Clown Award of 2009

"Who is the biggest political ass clown for Los Angeles, in 2009?"
Call this accountability in blogging.
In seeking to preserve the tradition of former blogger "Mayor Frank's" award for dubious political undertakings. This blogger pledges that beginning with this year-end honor for the biggest political ass clown of 2009, the anointing of those who play loose with the public trust, will be a monthly endeavor in 2010.
That said, here are the nominations for the Los Angeles Political Ass Clown of 2009.
1. "Mayor to the World, 89% of the time" Antonio Ramon Villar.
2. "Bargain basement" Campaign Consultant John Shallman.
3. Councilwoman Jan "AEG" Perry.
4. City Attorney Carmen Trutanich (known as "Carmen the Clown" to an certain blogger).
5. Former City Councilman Jack Weiss.
6. AEG's Tim "Boss LIEweke".
7. Los Angeles Times Editorial Board for endorsing Chris Essel.
8. Chris Essel and "political sancho" Phil Jennerjahn.
9. Councilman Ed "Ganga Legalize for All!" Reyes.
10. IBEW's "BOSS D'Arcy" to you peons.
11. Former LAPD Chief and "CAO" Bill Bratton.
12. KABC 790 AM for firing Doug McIntyre.
13. "Department of Wasteful Patronage" (DWP)
14. "The Mayor's Posse" of Keith Brackpool, Richard Katz, Fabian Nunez, Ari Swiller and "comadre" Maria Elena Durazo.
15. LAUSD School Board.
16. DWP's "Rate Raiser Advocate" S. David Freeman.
17. The "Gang of Fourteen" within the "Horseshoe on Spring Street" (** Paul Krekorian gets a pass).
18. "Phony Economists".
19. County Supervisor Mark "High-Maintenance" Ridley Thomas.
21. Mike Trujillo for his stellar shilling of Prop B.
22. UTLA's A.J. Duffy.
23. All "connected non-profits".
24. The "Villar Family Political DNA".
25. Latham & Watkins
26. The "Vendidos and Vendidas" of the Southwest Society of the Southwest Museum.
27. Those involved with "Pensiongate 09".
28. Westside former Times scribes/bloggers.
29. Obsessive, jilted (Scary ....) posters.
30. ......and the "CD 14 East (ie. Montebello) Troika" of Robert Urteaga, John Edwards and Nick Pacheco.
** Evening additions:
31. City Controller Wendy Greuel.
32. Phil Jennerduh.
33. H. David Nahai.
34. Los Angeles Police Commission.
35. Police Protective League.
36. Former Mayor Richard Riordan's "Posse" of Steve Soboroff, Bill Wardlaw and Eli Broad.
37. USC lobbyist David Galaviz.
38. Cybertrolls.
39. Coalition of City Unions.
40. The "Kennedy Republican".
Your nominations and thoughts, as always, are appreciated.


Saturday, December 19, 2009

Prediction: Bicycle Czar Job Opening at LADOT

 Michelle Mowrey serving LADOT's target LA bike rider. | Photo from Streetsblog LA

LADOT Bike Coordinator Michelle Mowrey rationalizes LA's half-assed bike plan compared to other cities is that LA must not be as "very white and very progressive" as Portland, Oregon.  Here are comments from a recent exchange between Mowrey and Bill Rosendahl during a Transportation Committee meeting.

BILL ROSENDAHL: Alta Planning is reportedly one of the finest consulting groups in the world for bike planning. How is it that the City of Los Angeles kicked off the Draft Bike Plan process with Alta but did not incorporate the robust Bike Plan process that Portland used/is using to develop their own Bike Plan? For example in Portland Alta maintained eleven working groups, and they used community bike rides to engage and survey.

MICHELLE MOWERY: With all due respect the City of Portland is 450,000 people. It’s a homogeneous community that is very white, and very progressive with respect to transportation. They have a trolley system that works very well, as well as their transit overall. We are a very diverse, disjointed city of 4 million people. They are 30 years ahead of us in the development of their, well, they’re not quite 30, they’re more like 20 years ahead of us in the development of their bikeway. So we’re a step behind Portland in what we’re trying to do. Granted, several of us would like to see a lot of changes in the city happen very quickly, but again we have a very diverse city with a lot of needs.

As Streetsblog LA points out the likely reason the plan is so-so is that the City didn't spend enough money.  Probably but also LA's city government is so dysfunctional and staffed with morons compared to most other cities on these type of issues it was impossible for our City to step up to the level of more functional cities like Portland.  Or, as Streets says, even equally large and diverse cities such as Chicago and New York.

Anyone want to start the countdown clock on when Mowrey gets the pink slip?

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Los Angeles Politics Hotsheet for Saturday

The Grown Ups Now In Charge of CD2 | Photo by Mayor Sam

Members of the Police Protective League are baffled why their leadership spent nearly a half million dollars to elect Chris Essel to the City Council when eventual victor Paul Krekorian had a good record of supporting those in uniform.  Perhaps the PPL bosses listened to Phil Jennerjahn when the former mayoral candidate blogged that Krekorian wanted to be a gang member.

Is Michelle Mowrey, who heads up bicycle programs for the LA Department of Transportation saying that Los Angeles isn't white enough to be a bicycle friendly city? Metroblogs notes some racially tinged remarks by the official when comparing Los Angeles to Portland, Oregon in response to a question by Clowncilman Bill Rosendahl saying "With all due respect the City of Portland is 450,000 people. It’s a homogeneous community that is very white, and very progressive with respect to transportation."

Friday Team Krekorian began their first day of fumigating the CD 2 offices. It's nice to see the grown-ups in charge again in the Second District.

CurbedLA reports a developer in Santa Monica is causing NIMBY outrage for proposing a 71 foot high building near the new Expo Line on Olympic Boulevard.  As a Curbed reader  notes if the developer really wanted a 71 foot tall building they should have proposed one 142 feet.

Franklin Avenue blogs some cool old local television commercials from back in the day including those for stores who are no longer here such as Gemco and May Company.

And finally the Walt Disney Company proves it's family friendly mettle by resurrecting an homage to a now deceased alleged child molestor.

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Friday, December 18, 2009

Los Angeles Politics Hotsheet for Friday

 The Successful Model

Is Eric Garcetti flip-flopping on where medical marijuana dispensaries should or shouldn't be? The LA Weekly reports the Council President previously took a hardline on restrictions on location but is now taking a view that previously csidered restrictions could be onerous for patients. How about losing the pretense and get behind legalization. I am sure we could find a better use for Nuch's time.

Ron Kaye is calling for candidates to run for the City Clowncil spots currently held by folks like Tom LeBong, Jan Perry, Greig Smith, etc. What say you? Who can run and be competitive against these special interest funded candidates? The succesful model is not vanity candidates like Walter Moore but solid citizens who are willing to run a campaign such as Louis Pugliese.  Who are these people in all the even numbered districts?

Since when is an opera in financial trouble an emergency? Ask the LA County Board of Stupidvisors who agreed to give $14 million of your money to the LA Opera which is struggling.  We're closing hospitals and other city services but Westside cranks will still get to drink chablis and listen to toy-ho-ho-ho. I am sure I'll get called a cretin for that but you know I'm right.

New Year's Eve 2010 party train to Vegas? I'm there.

Here in Van Nuys reports a 99 unit condo property on Sherman Way was sold for $6.2 million or about $62K per unit.  Such a deal!

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Noontime Briefs and Outtakes for Thursday

Autry's deceitful behavior at the Southwest Museum"
If Jackie Autry, Autry National Center CEO John Grey and her local stable of "connected vendidos and vendidas" (ie. the Southwest Society), can't loot their way to expansion at Griffith Park, then screw you activists, who want access and improvements to Los Angeles oldest museum.
In breaking news from the slopes of Mt. Washington, Autry National Center announced that public access to the Southwest Museum would be greatly curtail in 2010, as noted by longtime SWM docent Michael Wyman.
I have been both a member and a volunteer/docent with the SouthwestMuseum since 1985. Last Saturday, 12/12/2009, the docents had their annual holiday gathering at the museum. John Gray made a surprise appearance, and announced to our group that the Southwest Museum site at Mt. Washington would be closing to the general public. The reasonhe gave was that they needed space for artifact restoration and conservation. He said that after 12/31/2009, the bookstore area will be closed and used to do work on the bead-work portion of the collection. Any public events now taking place at the museum will cease. Museum access will be given only to museum members--for example, the monthly tours of the building. It was unclear whether the NELA art openings would be open to the public or members only (the next show is 1/23/2010). No public annoucement would be made regarding either the closing of the store or the site itself.
Further, it was disclosed by the "Friends of the Southwest Museum", that the Autry has return State of California grant money for improvements at the Southwest Museum. For his part, CD 14 Councilman Jose Huizar, has requested a meeting with Autry officials to discuss funding options to reopen the museum.
In recent months, Councilman Huizar has shown positive leadership, in changing his stance on maintaining the Southwest Museum. But Huizar and museums supporters must sit down and craft the "end game" or else a priceless part of our cultural history, will be lost for future generations.
** Ex. LAPD Chief Bill Bratton's accounting skills, or should we call it "financial oversight?", is likely to impact the legacy of LA's former top cop.
** We found this little gem in the latest Los Angeles Garment and Citizen's "Dot, Dot, Dish Column".
COCA PUFFS: The new slang term for any cheap shots sent along anonymously to the local blogosphere by Rick Coca, who handles communications for Huizar…AD HOMINEM: That’s Latin for cheap shots that attack the messenger rather than answering questions with facts…
It seems that Coca doesn't return many calls on subject matters affecting Councilman Huizar, but he allegedly has time to blog his comments.
** The never-ending Medical Marijuana saga has a new twist this early afternoon. City Clowncil Ringmaster/ President Eric Garcetti, is "flip-flopping" according to the LA Weekly, on the issue of dispensary locations.
** No more "payday Wednesdays drinkfest" at the Police Academy.
** Record low poll numbers for Governor "Kennedy Republican".
** Saying "no" to billboard modernization, now official city policy.
Your thoughts.......................

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Open Thread for the Rest of Wednesday

The City of LA forced to return $21 million it stole from LAX.  Blog away dum dums.

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Los Angeles Politics Hotsheet for Tuesday

"Snow" by Anika Malone.
 Huizar's Winter Wonderland

Looks like former LAPD Chief William Bratton got out of town just in time - an audit showing under his watch the LAPD mismanaged millions of dollars in purchasing and contracting. The violations include contracts being issued without going out for competitive bidding and purchases lacking receipts.  The Daily News reports the fraud, waste and abuse potentially represents millions of taxpayer dollars.  The audit was completed last summer however the details were held until after Bratton's exit.

Legendary pro-marijuana activist-attorney Bruce Margolin thinks that elected officials concerns about the practicality and expense of enforcing regulations on medical marijuana lead to an eventual mood to legalize the drug.  In an op-ed piece in the Daily News Margolin, a local West Hollywood based attorney and real estate investor who literally wrote the book on marijuana laws, says beleagured state and local government could "benefit from the tax dollars brought in by above-board cannabis shops paying millions in sales tax, plus payroll and other taxes." Legal pot just might coming sooner than expected - activitsts are prepping a measure for the November 2010 ballot.

Even though the IBEW got a big fat raise for it's DWP members, we're still having lots of DWP problems. Nearly 3000 customers in Sherman Oaks were without power over the weekend.

Yet another dumb idea from Jose Huizar - a downtown trolley car - has captured some taxpayer money.  Whatever happened to HUIZAR'S WINTER WONDERLAND?

Good recap on the CD2 elections by Suzanne Lauer at the Village to Village Blog.  Despite the fact that a well past his prime, former Mayoral candidate turned also ran blogger (no not that one, nor that one, yes THAT ONE) was urging people not to vote, more people turned out to vote, during the holidays and in awful weather for the run-off than during the primary.  Lauer sees a positive and nascent movement locally against apathy that might have been further stoked by the hybrid grass roots victory of Paul Krekorian.  Let's hope she turns out to be right!

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Monday, December 14, 2009

Let The AD43 Games Begin!

LOS ANGELES—Andrew J. Westall, a City Council Senior Deputy and Adjunct Professor at Pasadena City College, has announced his candidacy for the 43rd Assembly District being vacated by Paul Krekorian who was recently elected to the Los Angeles City Council.

Mayor Sam notes: Consultant is the legendary Richie Ross.

Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

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Los Angeles Politics Hotsheet for Monday

With a partial payment contributed by AEG for some of the expenses of the Michael Jackson funeral the company is poised to contribute more if City Attorney Carmen Trutanich will "prove it or drop it" when it comes to criminal charges Trutanich claims could stem from the event.  Friday, the City Council instructed the City Attorney to find a quick resolution.  In the meantime blogger Phil Jennerjahn is reporting that Trutanich's recent hospitalization may have been more serious than initially reported.  Sources tell Jennerjahn that the City Attorney "could have died and that his vital signs while at the hospital were all over the place."

Now that the City Council isn't going to have the "Queen of Runaway" production on board looks like there may be efforts underway to promote filming in Los Angeles.  Councilman Richard Alarcon is proposing the City establish a film commission similar to those of other local municipalities. Alarcon tells the Daily News' Rick Orlov "We don't really have anyone speaking up for the city and who can explain why this is so important for us." Great idea but what took so long?

The Mayor is out of town again.  This guy puts the real Mayor Sam to shame.

Various items of note when it comes to local transit.  Beleagured Metrolink CEO David Solow has stepped down and ironically assigned to a new position overseeing safety issues.  In the meantime the commuter rail agency is proposing cutting 50 lines.

On the MTA side of the house the MTA has chosen light rail for Crenshaw Blvd. and its yet another line that gets within spitting distance of LAX but not close enough for folks to really take transit to the airport. In the meantime Metro moves closer to extending the Green Line a few miles into Torrance but it would not be complete until 2035. Lastly the agency has added an additional express line from the North Hollywood Metro Station to the Van Nuys Orange Line station.  This is partially because the Orange Line does not connect directly to the North Hollywood station forcing riders to cross Lankershim Boulevard to connect. Wow, didn't someone think of that before?

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Open Thread for Sunday

From the Daily Breeze:

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was leaving Saturday on a three-nation trip that includes attending the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.

Villaraigosa's first stop on his fourth foreign trip since being sworn in for a second term is Berlin. He is expected to arrive today and attend a Sister City dinner.

Blog away dum dums.

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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Open Thread for Saturday

Rick Orlov:

City Controller Wendy Greuel thinks the city should delay paying its bills and earn more interest on its money.

Blog away dum dums.

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Friday, December 11, 2009

Los Angeles Politics Hotsheet for Friday

Dénouement | Photo by Video Louis | From the Downtown NoHo Blog

So what's Mayor Villaraiogsa going to do now that he's a lame duck? Run for US Senate in 2012, at least that's what the LA Weekly is reporting pundit Charles Feldman is positing.  It's a good landing place and helps the Mayor keep his track record of never finishing one job before running for another.  And I think Betty LuParker would make a great DC social hostess! (But keep her away from Tiger Woods!)

Phil Jennerhan handicaps the 2013 Mayoral race. Phil doesn't include himself or Walter Moore but gives odds-on favorite to City Council President Eric Garcetti. That's correct, for now Garcetti is the front runner until something better comes along.

Betty Pleasant, who always stays classy, is at it again.  She has a disease called PDS which stands for Parks Derangement Syndrome. She is obsessed with Bernard Parks and is already accusing him of abusing new LAPD Chief Charlie Beck.

Sandy Sand writing in the LA Daily News hits local pols for excessive travel.  Just after getting back from a trip to a city sponsored book fair in Mexico, Mayor Villaraigosa was off to Coppenhagen for the phony Climate Change Conference (complete with free hookers).  Councilmember Dennis Zine wants to put the squeeze on such travel however Dennis is known for his own junkets such as a recent trip to Israel to "study" water conservation.

In case you were keeping track we had another water main break. Put a pin in the map in Baldwin Hills.

Not that I'm against medical marijuana but while the City of Los Angeles seems paralyzed on how to deal with the issue other agencies have no problems.  The County moved fast to shut down an illegal dispensary in Whittier Thursday.

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A Blast from the Past

Please indulge me for a moment MS readers. Long lost musical recordings from a previous life have begun to surface on the internet and I just wanted to share them. This is from our 1986 album, when the last thing on my mind was LA politics. I'm the big haired guy on the left in the picture, and the lead singer of this band. Enjoy the craziness that was LA in the 80's!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Something Much Nicer to Look at Than All These Photos of John Perez

A Santa Monica City Councilman is seeking, like Dennis Zine, to create paparazzi free zones in the city; particularly at a nursery school attended by the daughter of actors Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner.

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Caption this.....................

"Who is that behind Assembly Speaker Karen Bass ??"
Your thoughts, as always, appreciated.


Assemblyman John Perez likely Speaker after Kevin De Leon withdraws Consideration

" Likely Assembly Speaker John Perez"
Assemblyman John Perez of the 45th Assembly District, is the likely successor to current Speaker Karen Bass, the Sacramento Bee reports.
Assemblyman John A. Perez's final opponent has bowed out, setting the stage for the first-term Democrat to be selected Assembly speaker today -- the first openly gay man to hold the post.
After behind-closed-door talks this week with Perez and other political leaders, Assemblyman Kevin de Leon agreed to bow out and is expected to nominate Perez in an Assembly Democratic Caucus today, Capitol sources said.

With De Leon bowing out of the Speakership battle, this sets the stage for the openly gay, first-cousin of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to make history in Sacramento.

But as this battle ends, another may be looming for Perez. State Senator Gilbert "Gil" Cedillo has told anyone who would listen. in political circles, that he is definitely running for the 45th Assembly Seat.

This would set up a bruising and expensive inter-party battle between Perez and Cedillo, with possible state-wide implications.

For De Leon, this must be a bittersweet moment, after being the front-runner for Speaker, only to see his "ambitions and linkage" to former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, kill his chances to replicate the political ascention of his political mentor/soulmate.

Behind the scenes, the race appeared over shortly before Thanksgiving, when Villaraigosa hosted a private meeting of Perez, de Leon and former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, de Leon's childhood buddy and lifelong friend, Capitol officials said.

The session ended over a bottle of wine, officials said, with de Leon expected to become speaker and Perez targeted to run with no major Democratic opposition for the Senate seat of Cedillo, who has long coveted a move to the Assembly once he is termed out next year.

But De Leon's "ambitious drive" might of undone this Getty House conclave.

Many of his own Democratic colleagues felt that de Leon, chairman of the powerful Assembly Appropriations Committee, had not led committees focused on major policy issues and was not "up to the job" of speaker.

"Too many people believe that he didn't earn his stripes, that Fabian Nunez did all the heavy lifting for him," [Assemblyman] Torrico said.

For De Leon, he will most likely win re-election to his last term as the 46th District Assemblyman, while Perez faces the wrath of Gil Cedillo.

Thus, in time both De Leon and Perez may see their political aspirations denied, due to their respective political linkage/ baggage.

Your thoughts................

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Los Angeles Politics Hotsheet for Thursday

The LA City Council has yet again put off a vote on medical marijuana dispensaries.  At issue is the debate over the limit on where the collectives could be located.  A restriction limiting medical pot shops within 1000 feet of residential areas could effectively put them out of reach of many patients citywide.  Staff has to go back to the drawing board to see what impact the registration may have.

The first benefit of the election of Paul Krekorian over Chris Essel to the City Council may have already been realized: the Council Wednesday delayed a vote on controversial DWP raises.  Mindful of the message sent by voters, and the crushing blow to the IBEW in the bitter defeat of their candidate Essel, Council members are likely looking to tread lightly.

The economy is putting the bite on financing for the shady Downtown Grand Avenue project AKA monument to Eli Broad.  Hamburger Jan Perry is fighting with the developer over altering the project while an LA County planner says the entire boondoggle should be scrapped.  Paul Novak, a deputy to County Supervisor Mike Antonovich, told the LA Business Journal "We need to rethink what goes on that land and how the county and city can maximize their returns."

Following the gala Michael Jackson funeral at the Staples Center newly elected City Attorney Carmen Trutanich told the City Council he had evidence of "criminal" wrongdoing related to the event. Yet five months later the City Attorney has not come forward with any charges or even the slightest detail as to what the hell we was talking about.  In the meantime Trutanich's lack of action is standing in the way of the City receiving a donation from funeral producers AEG. Makes sense, AEG doesn't want to cough up funds to cover the city's cost if it thinks its going to be prosecuted for something.  Trutanich's silence has even caused supporters such as Dennis Zine to call on the City Attorney to put up or shut up.  The Council has called Trutanich to come forward and splain himelf; it appears Nuch has told them to take a hike.

And finally an interesting report in the LatinoLA blog.  San Fernando Valley realtor Trish Bautista chronicles the evolution of how real property is sold to Latinos in Los Angeles. Thirty years ago, nearly impossible for Latino immigrants to realize the dream of home ownership, realtor George B. Izquierdo set out to connect Latinos to real estate services and founded Las Casas Realty based in Highland Park.  Since then Izquierdo has become a leader in providing home buying, mortgage and related services.  The secret behind his succcess? Izquierdo says "We can afford to be kind."

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