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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tony Butka's Part Three Post on Elephant Hill Controversy: "Enter Jose Huizar"

 Another dubious deal for Councilman Huizar.
"The $9.1 Million Dollars Elephant Hill"
** Blogger Notes: As we noted earlier today, Northeast Los Angeles Blogger Tony Butka has a series of blog posts at his nelalives.com blog that chronicles the evolution of the Elephant Hill Controversy from its initial development proposals, to its $9.1 Million Dollars purchase by the City of Los Angeles. In Part Three of his series "Enter Jose Huizar", Butka highlights the questionable actions of Councilman Huizar, Ed Reyes (and Jack Weiss) via their role on the Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) Committee, which led to this inflated purchase via barrow money. Excerpts below---Scott Johnson
Councilman Huizar's role in "exempting" Elephant Hill from Interim Control Ordinance (ICO) on Hillside Development: Moving throughout 2006, the City political machine mostly blew off all protests over the Interim Control Ordinance.  In retrospect, two interesting events occurred almost without notice; first, the appointment by Councilman Huizar of Jessica Wethington Mclean from the Mt. Washington activists group to a staff position in CD 14 clearly signaled the Councilman & Mayor’s intent to steamroller the Interim Control Ordinance through, and two, in the fine print of the Ordinance as adopted in November 2006, the Elephant Hill project was exempted.  You got it, exempted — Section 4 (Exceptions):
“The prohibition specified in Section 2 of this ordinance shall not apply to any vesting tract subdivision, the application for which was deemed complete prior to the effective date of this ordinance.”
Councilman Huizar forces Monterey Hills Investors to submit another EIR after exempting their project from ICO: On the other hand, in a master stroke of duplicity that can only happen with career politicians, on November 28th, just days before the December 10th effective date of the new ordinance, Councilman Huizar introduced a motion to stick it to Monterey Hills Investors and require a new Environmental Impact Report.
Councilman Huizar's response to city staff concerns about supplemental EIR: Wow!   Even City Hall bureaucrats who are pretty hardened to the subterranean nature of Council politics, were shocked.  In a May 27, 2007 memo to the PLUM Committee, the Planning Department essentially told Councilman Huizar that he couldn’t do what he wanted to do, and that it was a ministerial act. And in a virtually unprecedented move, the Planning Department attached a May 22, 2007 Memo to CD14’s Jessica Wethington Mclean (remember her?) listing the questions that Council Office had been sticking to the Department, together with their response saying that they were wrong.  Wow indeed.
Politics and and money playing a role in this saga: As a back story, there is another, really wonderful conspiracy theorist dream take on all  of this litigation.  The lawsuit on behalf of Monterey Hills Investors was filed by none other that big time LA City Lobbyist Benjamin Reznik!  And good guy that he is, Ben fund raised for all three members of the PLUM Committee — Ed Reyes, Jose Huizar, and Jack Weiss.
Next in Part Four: In the final Part 4 of this article, we’ll see the other shoe drop and discover how our taxpayers dollars were once again recycled by the City and the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, as Elephant Hills lives on.
Your thoughts..............
Scott Johnson in CD 14

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