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Friday, February 20, 2015

TGIF Briefs on the Los Angeles Political Machine

After multitudes of interviews with the double-digit amount of candidates seeking to replace termed-out CD 4 City Councilman Tom LaBonge, the Los Angeles Times endorses former Councilman LaBonge Staffer, turned Small Business Owner Sheila Irani.
The LA Times Endorses Sheila Irani for City Council District Four.
CD 4 Candidate Steve Veres, staffer of self-crowning, California State Senate President Pro Tem "Kevin de Leon the First", did not even merit "creditable mention" in the Time's CD 4 Editorial.
Here is some papers that CD 4 City Council Candidate Sheila Irani wouldn't mind being served with.
In the much awaited LA Times Endorsement for the City Council District Four Open Seat, the Editorial Board sat through multiple interviews before bestowing its coveted support for the former Councilman LaBonge staffer, turned Small Business Owner.
The Times states of Irani ........., "Irani is intelligent, quick on her feet and has a background in business, real estate investment, city government and volunteer community work, all of which would serve her well on the council. Armed with an MBA from UCLA, she launched a small marketing business that helped public-sector clients across the country promote congestion-easing transportation initiatives. She has a sense of the hurdles faced by small-business owners in L.A. Like most of the candidates in the race, she favors business tax relief, although she's not willing to drain the city budget to do it".
Surprising in the Times Editorial is the lack of "creditable status" given to the top two money candidates David Ryu and especially in the case of Steve Veres, the Staffer to self-crowning political royalty California State Senate President Pro Tem "Kevin de Leon the First".
Apparently, the Establishment Machine's Candidate Veres, did not impress the Editorial Board with his creative scheme of securing free help from "Private Citizen/Volunteer Campaign Consultant" John Shallman before wife Lani's "West Coast Public Affairs" started during work for the IE Campaign (with undisclosed benefactors), supporting his campaign.
** CD 14 City Councilman Jose Huizar took time out of his b-u-s-y campaign schedule to host his first El Sereno Townhall Meeting in recent times at Farmdale Elementary. With the usual assortment of cronies such as Hugo "Comandante" Garcia, Eddie "paid for Honorary Mayor" Santillan, Joe "noted Corner Store imbiber" Cano and Tammy "Maytag" Membreno in attendance, roughly 60-75 Stakeholders (with about 20 Huizar staffers filling the seats), spent about 90 minutes discussing community issues (well ...., mostly Cal Trans related). 

Partially-filled Farmdale Elementary School Auditorium with Councilman Huizar.
** CD 14 isn't the only Council District with a Discretionary Fund Controversy. esteem City Hall/DWP Watchdog and CD 4 Resident Jack Humphreville keyboards that district residents have issues with Councilman LaBonge's lack of transparency in disclosing past usage of his own accounts as excerpted ........, "Residents of Tom LaBonge’s Council District are frustrated by his failure to provide information on a timely basis regarding the millions in disbursements that he has authorized from his discretionary accounts over the last five years.  Rather than honoring legitimate requests made pursuant to the California Public Records Act, LaBonge has dodged these requests, claiming that there are “unusual circumstances” because of the need “to search for, collect, and appropriately examine a voluminous amount of separate and distinct records.” 
Proving Jack's point, MayorSam blogger Scott Johnson has found the 'smoking gun' of discretionary fund abuse in one of embattled Councilman Jose Huizar's discretionary funds. In this case, the fund in question is called CLARTS, which stands for Central Los Angeles Refuge Transfer Station, and it essentially siphons off city funds from that Station's fees into an "amenities fund" controlled by the Council office.  Huizar can then quietly move portions of this money into his Discretionary Account, and then use it as a personal slush fund to repay political favors. 
Johnson's revelations are of personal interest to me, since back in the day when Mr. Huizar was running for re-election, this fund was the subject of much controversy at a number of El Sereno Neighborhood Council meetings.  A community activist and really nice guy named Carlos Morales had filed a public records request for information on the CLARTS fund, and was rewarded for his efforts by being treated really really badly by the Council office.  Watching these machinations and their equivalents in Lincoln Heights & Boyle Heights were a large part of my personal journey into community activism -- and not pleasant to watch. 
Further, I got to see Huizar's Chief of Staff, Ana Cubas, lie through her teeth at the Neighborhood Council meetings as she stonewalled the community and blew off the public records requests.  I say lie because it is preposterous to think that the Councilman's  very own Chief of Staff would know nothing about how he moved money around & took care of 'friends'. Ms. Cubas, some may remember, was later rewarded for her efforts  as she miraculously carpetbagged her way into Jan Perry's CD 9 in an unsuccessful bid to add another safe (as in Huizar controlled) Latino into what had been historically an African-American District.  Fortunately, it didn't work.
Will former CD 14 Chief of Staff Ana Cubas boss Councilman Huizar, pay the same political price as his former underling for exercising "unusual circumstances" in diverting CLARTS Funds to grant excessive pay raises for ..........

..., his supposed, occasional, consenting "Other Woman"?
Your thoughts ..............
Scott Johnson in CD 14

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Anonymous Anonymous said:

I love your mention of the name Tammy "Maytag" Membreno. That's a blast from the past. She was a BONC Commissioner back in the very early days. I use to attend many NC certification hearings in those days to prep our NC for certification. Tammy was famous for one thing. If a proposed NC could not demonstrate that it specifically targeted lots of outreach to Latinos only (and Tammy meant it as this was the only group she cared about), Tammy would vote no for certification. That was her only criteria and it frustrated other board members even other Latinos.

February 21, 2015 1:52 PM  

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