Whistleblower hotline: (213) 785-6098

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Mayor Villaraigosa & Family Watch Bush Speech

At Getty House

Open Thread for Your State of the Union Reaction

Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a fallen soldier in Iraq who reinvigorated the anti-war movement, was taken into custody by police in the House gallery Tuesday night just before President Bush's State of the Union address.

Police escorted Sheehan from the visitors' gallery above the House chamber after causing a disruption, said a Capitol Police official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because details of the incident were sketchy. (Photo left shows Capitol Police escorting Sheehan out of the Chamber.)

CNN reported that Sheehan unleashed an anti-war banner in the House gallery.

Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif., had invited Sheehan to the address as her guest.

"I'm proud that Cindy's my guest tonight," Woolsey said in an interview before the speech. "She has made a difference in the debate to bring our troops home from Iraq."

Woolsey offered Sheehan a ticket to the speech - Gallery 5, seat 7, row A - earlier Tuesday while Sheehan was attending an "alternative state of the union" press conference by CODEPINK, a group promoting the end of the Iraq war.

Its Official

WASHINGTON (AP) Samuel Anthony Alito Jr. has been confirmed by the Senate as a Supreme Court justice.

Coretta Scott King, 78

ATLANTA (AP) - Coretta Scott King, who turned a life shattered by her husband's assassination into one devoted to enshrining his legacy of human rights and equality, has died. She was 78. Markel Hutchins, a close family friend of the Kings, told The Associated Press he spoke early this morning with Bernice King, who confirmed her mother's passing.

Cindy's Response to Alex's Poll Spin

A couple of weeks ago, we posted an internal memo regarding intial polling into the 20th Senate District Democratic primary battle between Assembly Member Cindy Montanez and LA City Councilman Alex Padilla. Here is the response from Montanez putting Padilla's spin into perspective.

In a confusing, contorted and ultimately misleading release and memo, the Padilla campaign claims an internally commissioned poll shows that Councilmember Alex Padilla starts the race with a lead because he is “better liked” throughout the district than Senate opponent Assemblymember Cindy Montañez. The numbers cited are clearly out of context and ultimately reveal nothing other than the candidates’ name identification.

To put name identification measurements in perspective: in the recent election in Los Angeles to fill Antonio Villaraigosa’s vacated City Council seat, candidate Nick Pacheco held a more than 2-1 lead in name ID over his opponent Jose Huizar.

Jose Huizar defeated Pacecho by a margin of more than 28% of the vote.

So while "better liked" may be a meaningful measure of voter sentiment in the Junior Class President election at San Fernando High, it is essentially meaningless in this race for the State Senate. What is important, however, is the informed vote.

Below you will find the two paragraphs read to voters during a poll conducted in December by the respected polling firm of Goodwin Simon Strategic Research. With just this information about Montañez and Padilla, the race is a statistical dead heat.

[ ] Alex Padilla [pa-DEE-ah] is an L.A. City Councilman representing the San Fernando Valley. Raised in Pacoima to working class immigrant parents, he worked hard and graduated from a top Ivy League university. In 1999, he became one of the youngest people ever elected to the City Council. As Council President, Padilla provided critical leadership to the city after nine-eleven and in the hiring of Police Chief Bill Bratton. He brought a new police division headquarters to serve the San Fernando Valley, as well as the Children’s Museum in Hansen Dam. He is endorsed for the Senate by Chief Bratton for his work to fight crime, and is also endorsed by U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein.

[ ] Cindy Montanez [mon-ten-YEZ] is a state assemblywoman who represents much of the San Fernando Valley and is former mayor of the city of San Fernando. Despite growing up in poverty, her long history of volunteerism and her commitment to improving our community helped her become one of the most effective legislators in Sacramento. She’s written more bills to help people than almost any other state lawmaker. She helped create local parks, clean up the environment, expand access to health care, improve our schools, and protect consumers from fraud and identify theft, including the landmark Car Buyers’ Bill of Rights. That’s why she is endorsed by city firefighters, Nurses, and by City Controller Laura Chick.

Additionally, after voters are reminded of Padilla’s straightforward and well-publicized negatives, such as “he received the largest ethics fine in Los Angeles City history,” his vote collapses, and Montanez finishes with a significant lead.

This is why the Padilla campaign is panicked, and why they are scrambling to spew out confusing numbers – because their poll shows precisely these same results. Results they are understandably unwilling to release.

What's Up In CD 15?

Janice Hahn was elected as Councilwoman of the 15th District of the City of Los Angeles in June of 2001. The 15th District encompasses the communities of Harbor City, Harbor Gateway, San Pedro, Watts and Wilmington.

Councilwoman Hahn serves as the Chair of the Committee on Education & Neighborhoods where she works closely with the newly created citywide network of neighborhood councils to ensure that community stakeholders have a say in local issues. The Councilwoman also serves as Vice Chair of the Commerce, Energy & Natural Resources Committee, overseeing the Port of Los Angeles, LAX and the Department of Water & Power; as Vice Chair of the Board of Referred Powers; and as a member of the Audits & Government Efficiency Committee.

From 1997-99, Councilwoman Hahn served the 15th District as its elected representative on the Charter Reform Commission. Included in the new Charter are many elements championed by Councilwoman Hahn, including neighborhood councils, Area Planning Commissions, regular mandatory financial audits of all City departments and permanent local representation on the Harbor and Airport Commissions.

Councilwoman Janice Hahn is the daughter of the late Los Angeles County Supervisor Kenneth Hahn and the sister of former Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn. She is a lifelong resident of Los Angeles and lives in San Pedro. She has two sons Danny and Mark; and a daughter Katy who is married to John Yates. John and Katy recently gave the Councilwoman her second granddaughter, Brooklyn Kay, who joins her sister, McKenna Elise, who was born in June of 2003.

So what's up In CD 15?

Open Thread for Tuesday

On this day in 1995, President Bill Clinton authorizes a $20 billion loan to Mexico.

As the value of the peso hit an all-time low, Clinton sidestepped Congress’ rejection of an earlier $50 billion loan proposal and exercised his executive power. Claiming that he was acting in the national interest and that national security was at stake, he authorized the Treasury Department to issue a loan through the Exchange Stabilization Fund. This was the first time the fund had been used to help stabilize a foreign currency. Clinton justified his decision by arguing that if the peso continued to fall, Mexico’s economy would crash and in turn negatively impact the United States. He warned that an insolvent Mexico might result in an influx of illegal immigration into the U.S., threatening American jobs and border security. Furthermore, he predicted that U.S. exports to Mexico would dwindle, disrupting the U.S. economy.

Press Events for Tuesday

5:38 a.m.: Nominations for the 78th annual Academy Awards will be announced by Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Sid Ganis and Oscar-winning actress Mira Sorvino. AMPAS' Samuel Goldwyn Theater, 8949 Wilshire Blvd. (See our Oscar nomination predictions here.)

8:20 a.m.: Mayor Villaraigosa will speak at the quarterly breakfast of the Rotary Club's District 5280. Crowne Plaza hotel, 5985 W. Century Blvd. Then at 11:00 a.m., the Mayor will participate in a news conference to announce the opening of a new maintenance hangar for Qantas Airlines. 7001 World Way West.

9:30 a.m.: Los Angeles Police Commission meeting. The commission is expected to go into closed session, then announce a decision on whether to discipline the officer who fatally shot 13-year-old Devin Brown last Feb. 6. Chief Bratton will attend the meeting. Room 150, Parker Center, 150 N. Los Angeles St.

10:00 a.m.: LA City Council meeting. Agenda items include consideration of a 12-week, $50,000 contract to fired Animal Services director Guerdon StuckeyCouncil chamber, City Hall, 200 N. Spring St.

7:00 p.m.: Mayor Villaraigosa will deliver the Spanish-language Democratic response to President Bush's State of the Union address. He will hold a press conference following. Getty House, 605 S. Irving Blvd.

Neighborhood council meetings from the LA Daily News

West Hills Neighborhood Council, 7 p.m. Wednesday at the 911 Communication Center, 23001 Roscoe Blvd., West Hills. Call (818) 719-8656 or see www.westhillsnc.org.

Chatsworth Neighborhood Council, 7 p.m. Wednesday at Lawrence Middle School, 10100 Variel Ave., Chatsworth. Call (818) 464-3511.

North Hills West Neighborhood Council, 7 p.m. Wednesday in Building 22 at the Sepulveda VA, 16111 Plummer St., North Hills. Call (818) 893-8613 or see www.northhillswest.org.

West Van Nuys-Lake Balboa Neighborhood Council, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Lake Balboa Studios, 7412 Balboa Blvd., Van Nuys. A candidate orientation meeting will be held during the meeting. Call (818) 782-6987.

North Hills East Neighborhood Council (forming), 7 p.m. Feb. 6 in the library at Sepulveda Middle School, 15330 Plummer St., North Hills. Call (818) 891-0060.
Porter Ranch Neighborhood Council, 7 p.m. Feb. 7 in Room 131 at Shepherd of the Hills Church, 19700 Rinaldi St., Porter Ranch. Call (818) 831-2330 or see www.PRNC.org. Call (818) 831-2330.

Woodland Hills-Warner Center Neighborhood Council, 6:30 p.m. Feb. 8 at Parkman Middle School, 20800 Burbank Blvd., Woodland Hills. Call (818) 713-8600 or see www.WoodlandHillsCouncil.org.

Van Nuys Neighborhood Council, 7 p.m. Feb. 8 in Room 1B at the Marvin Braude Constituent Center, 6262 Van Nuys Blvd., Van Nuys. Call (818) 908-1840.

Sunland-Tujunga Neighborhood Council, 7 p.m. Feb. 8 at Mount Gleason Middle School, 10965 Mount Gleason Ave., Sunland. Call (818) 951-7411.

Winnetka Neighborhood Council, 6:30 p.m. Feb. 15 at Valley Village School, 20830 Sherman Way, Winnetka. Call (818) 648-6219 or see www.winnetkanc.com.

Reseda Neighborhood Council, 7 p.m. Feb. 21 at Canoas Banquet Hall (use rear entrance), 18136 Sherman Way, Reseda. Call (818) 832-7540 or see www.resedacouncil.org.

Panorama City Neighborhood Council (forming), 6:30 p.m. Feb. 23 in the second-floor meeting room at the Mission Community Hospital medical building, 14860 Roscoe Blvd., Panorama City. Call (818) 374-9895.

Tarzana Neighborhood Council, 7 p.m. Feb. 24 at Tarzana Elementary School, 5726 Topeka Drive, Tarzana. Call (818) 345-1966 or see www.tarzananc.org.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Mayor Sam's Oscar Nominee Predictions

Tomorrow morning, at the ungodly hour of 5:30 a.m., the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences will announce their nominations for the annual Academy Awards. The winners will be announced at the 78th Annual Academy Awards held Sunday, March 5th at the Kodak Theatre. This year's host for the awards is John Stewart. Will Mayor V. be there?

Here are my own predictions for the nominations.

Best Picture

Brokeback Mountain
Good Night, and Good Luck
Walk the Line
The Constant Gardener

Best Actor
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Capote
Heath Ledger, Brokeback Mountain
Joaquin Phoenix, Walk the Line
David Strathairn, Good Night, and Good Luck
Jeff Daniels, The Squid and the Whale

Best Actress
Reese Witherspoon, Walk the Line
Felicity Huffman, Transamerica
Charlize Theron, North Country
Judi Dench, Mrs. Henderson Presents
Ziyi Zhang, Memoirs of a Geisha

Best Supporting Actor
Paul Giamatti, Cinderella Man
William Hurt, A History of Violence
Jake Gyllenhaal, Brokeback Mountain
Don Cheadle, Crash
Will Ferrell, The Producers

Best Supporting Actress
Michelle Williams, Brokeback Mountain
Amy Adams, Junebug
Catherine Keener, Capote
Frances McDormand, North Country
Shirley MacLaine, In Her Shoes

Best Director
Ang Lee, Brokeback Mountain
George Clooney, Good Night, and Good Luck
Bennett Miller, Capote
Paul Haggis, Crash
Fernando Meirelles, The Constant Gardener

Screenplay - Original
Paul Haggis, Robert Moresco, Crash
Grant Heslov, George Clooney, Good Night, and Good Luck
Noah Baumbach, The Squid and the Whale
Stephen Gaghan, Syriana
Akiva Goldsman, Cliff Hollingsworth, Cinderella Man

Screenplay - Adapted
Larry McMurtry, Diana Ossana, Brokeback Mountain
Dan Futterman, Capote
Josh Olson, A History of Violence
Jeffrey Caine, The Constant Gardener
Tony Kushner & Eric Roth, Munich

Animated Feature
Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
Chicken Little
The Corpse Bride
Howl's Moving Castle

Documentary Feature
March of the Penguins
Favela Rising
Mad, Hot Ballroom
Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room

Art Direction
King Kong
Chronicles of Narnia
Memoirs of a Geisha
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith

Visual Effects
Chronicles of Narnia
King Kong
Harry Potter: Goblet of Fire
Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Chronicles of Narnia
Memoirs of a Geisha
Harry Potter: Goblet of Fire
Pride and Prejudice
Good Night, and Good Luck

The Chronicles of Narnia
Cinderella Man
A History of Violence
The Libertine
The New World

Walk the Line
History of Violence
Pride & Prejudice

Brokeback Mountain
Good Night, and Good Luck
King Kong
Memoirs of a Geisha

Original Score
John Williams, Memoirs of a Geisha
Gustavo Santaollala, Brokeback Mountain
Henry Gregson-Williams, Chronicles of Narnia
Alexandre Desplat, Syriana
John Williams, Munich

A Love That Will Never Grow Old, Emmy Lou Harris, Brokeback Mountain
Hustle and Flow, Terence Howard, Hustle and Flow
Travelin' Thru, Dolly Parton, Transamerica
There's Nothing Like a Show on Broadway, Mel Brooks, The Producers
Wunkerkind, Alannis Morissette, Chronicles of Narnia

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Saturday Times: Steal this Camry

Over at the blog Franklin Avenue, Michael points to some inopportune inside info found yesterday in the LATimes, in a story by Cynthia Cho about stealing cars mid-Wilshire:
Their secret? Los Angeles Police Det. Frank Carrillo said they used "shaved keys" — plain car keys, which can be bought at a hardware store or junkyard, that are filed down — to pick door and ignition locks.

"If you shave the girth of a key, most often it will unlock a car," Carrillo said. When Contreras and Gonzales were arrested this week, they possessed more than 20 shaved keys, he said.

Here's a link directly to the Times story.
I'll bet the Mayor's glad he didn't go for a Camry.

As an aside here, I remember working for the City's libraries a few decades ago and there being nice debates about some branches ordering new books with titles like "How to Pick a Lock." It always seemed to Central like the branches in everyone's favorite Council District were the first to request these books...

But never mind that---please---back to the instant matter. Was this a good journalism practice, or no? Does the public's right to know what cars are easy to pick with shaved keys override the info spilled here? Should we make Ms. Cho an Honorary MayorSam Dum-Dum? I'll see ya in comments.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

While the cats are away...

Whilst one Mayor pounds the streets of the San Fernando Valley with his new Explorer and the other Mayor checks his cable connection, I thought I might sneak in here and draw some attention to this story that the Daily News posted Saturday:
A North Hollywood neighborhood council has become the first to move formally toward breaking into smaller groups - a development that could encourage similar efforts elsewhere in the city.

That has potentially intriguing ramifications. The idea that an NC can up and divide, amoeba-like, if the new parts find the blessings of DONE commissioners must come as a shock to some of the City's communities that have never been comfortable with its representation, such as the City's east downtown art district. Also, there are a few unchartered community associations floating around town---can such groups petition for secession from their current para-community representation? Can groups potentially even sue the City for better bifurcation, citing this precedent if it comes to fruition? This surprising move at bottom would seem to create more management headaches for Greg Nelson, a man of many headaches already.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Happy Friday

I was out a little late picking up my new Ford Explorer (yes an American SUV for the masses!) whilst Mayor Frank is continuing to have wind related DSL troubles. Hence, posting for today will be light until later on. But its getaway day, Mayor V will shortly return home from the Conference of Mayors where he was appointed to head up a task force on poverty.

Speaking of computer issues, have any of you noticed Adelphia's cable modem service to get even crappier than normal? Since they have lost their franchise and are being taken over by Time Warner, I assume they're just doing the minimum to keep the lights on.

Consider the rest of this post open thread for you for today. Blog away dum dums.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Ask the Mayor

Highlighted question of the evening from KCAL 9's "Ask the Mayor" segment:

"Your opponent Bob Hertzberg said during the campaign that if a candidate can't synchronize the traffic signals in LA, he doesn't deserve to be Mayor. This doesn't require cutting-edge equipment or huge expenditures...only the political will to put it in place." -- A.L. Hern

The Mayor's response:

"Well actually, nothing could be farther from the truth. It's going to be a price tag of about 240 million dollars to sychronize or lights. I'm committed to doing that. I put a plan together to do that. Now we got to get the money and so we are going to work with the state and federal government, work to look within our own budget, for the money. I've said that I want to sychronize those lights by the end of my four year term, but it is going to cost a great deal of money and it is not just political will. One of the promises that Mr. Hertzberg committed to and that I made and delivered on was to stop construction on the rush hour. That didn't cost us any money, so I did it within my first six months. Sychronizing the lights costs a great deal of money."

Given the many other tough e-mail questions he was receiving, he answered this one well. The clock is now ticking though. When he comes up for re-election in 2008, are your lights going to be sychronized?

For those of you who would like to ask him questions next week, click here to submit them.

Meetings Are Running Right Off Schedule

Steve Hymon over at the LA Times provides us his humor column for the week. This week's targets:
  1. Q: How long did the council's newfound discipline last? Answer: Six whole days!
  2. Q: What in tarnation is "Alger gear?" Answer: To help finance his state Assembly campaign, Jim Alger is selling 32 types of "Alger gear" on his website, http://www.votealger.com , to raise money for his campaign.
  3. Q: How did Los Angeles' float fare in the Rose Parade? Answer: Not so well. But at least it didn't break down.
  4. Q: Will the San Diego Chargers be moving to L.A. anytime soon? Answer: The Chargers announced last week that they wouldn't put a proposal for a new stadium on the November ballot because they couldn't find a development partner for a new ballpark.
  5. Q: If you are standing on the curb at Terminal One at LAX, what are the chances that 30 minutes will pass before a shuttle bus to Parking Lot C arrives? Answer: In a 30-minute span at midday on Dec. 19, the airport parking and terminal shuttles appeared in the following order: B, B, A, B, G, A, B and A.
  6. Q: Where does Councilman Dennis Zine like to strap on the feedbag in his district? Answer: One of the problems with working all the time in City Hall is that it's easy to sometimes forget there is a city outside.
How often do you get to use the term "feedbag" and "Councilman" in the same sentence?

What's up in District 1?

Ed P. Reyes has served on the Los Angeles City Council since April 2001. A native of Northeast Los Angeles, Reyes represents many of the neighborhoods he grew up in including Lincoln Heights and Cypress Park. Reyes was recently re-elected to serve a second Council term, capturing 75 percent of the votes.

Councilmember Reyes is vice-chair of the Council's Public Safety Committee and Chair of the City Council's Planning and Land Use Management committee. He also served as chair of the Metro Gold Line Authority.

Councilmember Reyes attended UCLA where he earned a bachelor's degree in English and a master's degree from UCLA's Graduate School of Architecture and Urban Planning. Councilmember Ed P. Reyes lives in the northeast Los Angeles community of Mount Washington with his wife of nineteen years, Martha, and his four children Natalie, Eddie Jr., Adan and Angel.

So what's up in District 1?

Mayor Sam's Morning Update

Martini Republic reports that Mayor Villaraigosa will be given the Spanish language Democratic response to President Bush's State of the Union address next Tuesday. I tell you folks, this guy is going to run for Governor. The Democrats are starting to panic that Angelides and Westley are not catching on. Antonio to the rescue!

Radio talk show host Al Rantel explained to his listeners tonight why he resigned from the Advisory Board of the Bruin Alumni Association, an organization that sought to expose bias and abuse by liberal professors on the UCLA campus. Rantel says his dedication to the cause is unshaken, but after further involvement with founder Andrew Jones he found the 25 year old Jones to be "incompetent" and "not ready" to run an effort as envisioned by the group. Rantel said he became privy to a number of internal memos written to other board members that made it quickly clear the organization was in trouble. Rantel says he remains committed to other conservative student groups at UCLA and will continue on. Rantel also stated that news reports of his resignation may give the impression he no longer supports the cause, but nothing could be less so says Rantel.

Lores Rizkalla - publisher of the Just A Woman blog has announced she will be hosting a weekly, overnight weekend radio show on KRLA, AM 870. Rizkalla's show will air midnight on Sunday nights (Monday mornings). First broadcast is February 5th, Superbowl Sunday.

The Lone Wacko blog is reporting that orange growers in the Central Valley are finding it harder and harder to find field hands as illegal aliens are being drawn to work in the construction boom that has hit the quickly suburbanizing farm belt. Their solution? Import workers from Thailand.

Senior Deputy to Councilman Herb Wesson, Andrew Westall, has announced he is running for the Los Angeles Community College District Board of Trustees. Previously Westall worked for former Assembly Speaker Bob Hertzberg and current Speaker Fabian Nunez. He also teaches political science at Pasadena City College.

Press Events for Thursday

7:30 AM -- The Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) will hold its ninth annual Regional Economic Forecast Conference to examine the short-term economic outlook for the six-county Southern California region. Santa Anita Park, 285 W. Huntington Drive.

9:30 AM -- LA City Councilmen Eric Garcetti and Tom LaBonge will join police officers and firefighters in a memorial service commemorating the one-year anniversary of a fatal crash involving two Metrolink trains and Union Pacific freight train in Atwater Village. Costco rear parking lot, 2901 Los Feliz Ave.

9:30 AM -- LA County Child Support Advisory Board meeting. Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration, 500 W. Temple St., Room 372.

9:30 AM -- The Metropolitan Transportation Authority board meeting. MTA Building, One Gateway Plaza, third-floor board room.

10:00 AM -- Funeral services are scheduled for Louis White, the longtime chief of staff for former Los Angeles City Councilman Nate Holden. Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church, 1955 W. Jefferson Blvd. Burial will follow at Holy Cross Cemetery, 5835 W. Slauson Ave.

10:00 AM -- A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held for Harvard New Elementary School. 330 N. Harvard Blvd.

11:00 AM -- LA Unified School District board will hold a special meeting order of business. Room East 1, Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, 350 S. Bixel St.

11:00 AM -- LA City Controller Laura Chick will release a management audit of the Los Angeles Fire Department. Room 300, City Hall East, 200 N. Main St.

11:30 AM -- LA City Council President Eric Garcetti will discuss housing, healthcare, public safety, tourism, production facilities, job-training programs and the launch of the "Holly Trolley'' at the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce's 14th annual "State of Hollywood'' luncheon. Hollywood Roosevelt hotel, 7000 Hollywood Blvd.

3:00 PM -- LA Unified School District board's Select Committee on the Chanda Smith Consent Degree will meet. Board room, LAUSD headquarters, 333 S. Beaudry Ave.

4:00 PM -- The Presidents' Joint Commission on LAUSD Governance will meet. Metropolitan Water District Headquarters, board room, 700 N. Alameda.

4:00 PM -- LA City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo will hold a news conference to discuss a civil lawsuit against the publisher of the Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas video game, for allegedly knowingly embedding pornographic content into the game and not properly disclosing this information to the public. City Attorney Press Conference Room, City Hall East, eighth floor, 200 N. Main St.


Open Thread For Thursday

On this day in 2005, three trains crashed, killing 11 and injuring 200 in Glendale due to a Jeep Grand Cherokee abandoned on the tracks by Juan Manuel Alvarez.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Blogger Outage

We'll be taking Blogger down on Wednesday the 25th at 4pm PST to fix a bit of a switch that's gone wonky on us. The outage should last about 15 minutes. Blogger.com and Blog*Spot blogs will be inaccessible during this time.

This repair will fix the problem that caused the brief outage last Friday night. We're also using this down time as an opportunity to tune our databases for more efficient spam catching and deletion.

Fire Department Audit

City Controller Laura Chick will release an audit of the Fire Department's management practices at a news conference at 11:00 a.m., Thursday, January 26th in her Office in City Hall East, 200 North Main Street, Room 300, Los Angeles.

Chick began the audit of the Fire Department's management last year after receiving credible whistleblower information of incidents of hazing, harassment and discrimination. This followed the disciplining of 11 LAFD employees as well as further press reports on the overall problem.

The Los Angeles Fire Department has 3,600 firefighters within its ranks with an annual budget of $445.5 million.

Just Say NO

The Daily News headline says it all...

LAUSD rejects Meruelo's Glassell Park offer

While we certainly have not been fans of the LAUSD, this is a decision I can get behind. Granted this decision may have just been made out of spite to screw Mayor Villaraigosa's supporters due to the Mayor's ongoing war with LAUSD, but the net result is positive, even if accidental.

The LAUSD will now negotiate to purchase 23 acres of the Meruelo property to build a 2,300-student high school. The school is scheduled to open in 2010.

Now we get a chance to see Mr. Meruelo's true colors. Does the mighty dollar mean more than the kids? Can Villaraigosa influence him to do what is right, and right the wrong Meruelo originally committed when he swiped the land out from under the LAUSD to begin with? Only time will tell. We'll keep our eyes peeled

What's Up In CD 13?

A fourth-generation Angeleno, Eric Garcetti grew up in Los Angeles and was elected to the Los Angeles City Council in 2001, becoming one of the youngest city councilmembers elected in the city's history. He represents the neighborhoods of the Thirteenth District, the heart of Los Angeles that stretches between Hollywood and Downtown and across the Los Angeles River. Councilmember Garcetti chairs the Housing, Community, and Economic Development Committee, and is the Vice-Chair of the Personnel Committee and the Ad Hoc River Committee. He also serves on the Arts and Parks Committee, the Ad Hoc Stadium Committee, and the Ad Hoc Committee for the Selection of a Chief Legislative Analyst. He was unopposed for re-election and began his second term in office in July 2005.

In 2006, Garcetti took over the reins from Alex Padilla as President of the Council.

Prior to his election, Garcetti taught public policy, diplomacy and world affairs at Occidental College and the University of Southern California. In 1998, the Rockefeller Foundation selected him as a Next Generation Leadership Fellow. Garcetti studied urban planning and political science at Columbia University, where he received his B.A. and M.A. in International Relations. He studied as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University and the London School of Economics. He is an avid photographer, jazz pianist and composer. He lives in Echo Park with his partner of ten years, Amy Elaine Wakeland.

So, what's Up In CD 13?

Waiting Out Stuckey?

According to CNS, the Los Angeles City Council once again delayed a decision yesterday on whether to reinstate Guerdon H. Stuckey as general manager of the Animal Services Department.

The council is scheduled to discuss the matter again today. Under city charter rules, the council can take up to 10 meetings -- through Feb. 1 -- to consider whether to overrule Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's decision last month to fire Stuckey, who made a plea for reinstatement on Jan.

Today marked the council's sixth meeting in which a decision was held over.

If no decision is made, it would be the equivalent of denying Stuckey's appeal, according to the City Attorney's Office.

It would take 10 votes on the 15-member council to overturn the firing of a general manager, but only eight to approve a severance payment. Stuckey was fired Dec. 15 and replaced with Ed Boks, who held a similar job in New York City and favors a no-kill policy regarding pets which cannot be adopted.

LAPD In The News

The LAPD had a busy news day yesterday. Here is a recap of the top stories...

Starting Thursday, summaries of the LAPD's use-of-force investigations are going to be posted online on LAPD's website to provide "greater transparency" according to Police Commission President John Mack. Click on "Abridged Summaries of Use of Force Reports" once the feature goes live later this week.

Chief Bratton appeared before the city council looking for support for his plan to put video cameras in LAPD squad cars. The hang-up is the cost (approx $25 million) to equip the cars. When you think about it, that is about 2 settlements LA might face when the LAPD can't prove they didn't act honorably, so one would think these cameras would pay themselves off prety quick.

Speaking of settlements, the Police Commission ruling on the Devin Brown shooting is expected at next week's Police Commission meeting. A jury trial is set to begin in April.

And finally, in an act of "clarification,", the LAPD announced today that the LAPD can turn "felony deportees'' over to federal agents under Special Order 40. Those people who are arrested for violent felonies can be turned over to federal agents. "This is not an alteration to Special Order 40, which has always been supported by this police department,'' Gascon said. "This is just a clarification of procedure.''

Press Events for Wednesday

10:00 AM -- LA City Council meeting. Council chamber, City Hall, 200 N. Spring St.

3:00 PM -- LA City Council's Transportation Committee meeting. Room 1050, City Hall, 200 N. Spring St.

3:45 PM -- LA City Councilwoman Janice Hahn will honor Rickey Thenarse, a Jordan High School student who was recently awarded a football scholarship to Nebraska State University. Jordan High School gymnasium, 2265 E. 103rd St.

4:00 PM -- LA City Council's Commerce, Energy and Natural Resources Committee meeting. Room 1010, City Hall, 200 N. Spring St.

7:00 PM -- The Greater Los Angeles Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and the USC Annenberg School for Communication will hold a panel discussion titled "Mistakes, Rumors and Responsibility: Covering Breaking News.'' ASC, room 207, 3502 Watt Way.

Open Thread for Wednesday

On this date in 1961, John F. Kennedy delivers the first live presidential television news conference.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Chris Penn, 40

The younger brother of controversial actor Sean Penn - Chris Penn - was found dead in his Santa Monica apartment this evening. Police said there was no indications of foul play, but an immediate cause of death was not known.

Penn has appeared in films such as "Reservoir Dogs," "Mulholland Falls" and "Starsky & Hutch.'' He also appeared on television shows such as "Everwood,'' and "Law & Order: Criminal Intent.''

San Fernando High Yearbook, 1980

Digging out the old "Orange Blossom," from 1980, we found some interesting photos:

Tony Cardenas, Los Angeles City Council 6th District (Class of 81)

Former KNBC News Anchorwoman, Diane Diaz (Class of 82)

Mayor Sam (Class of 82)

New Car Blues

Mayor Sam is going to head over to Galpin Motors to look into buying a new car. Unlike Boi from Troy, I'm not looking at joining the crowd and getting a BMW.

So, what of a car is respectable enough for an old, dead Mayor to tool around in?

Let the Fun Begin..Or Continue in This Case

From Tuesday's Daily News:

Developer Richard Meruelo, the largest individual donor to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's election campaign, will make a final push today for a 23-acre Glassell Park site he purchased last year that LAUSD officials want for a 2,300-student high school.

Although Meruelo's $600 million Riversedge Village plan also includes a high school, Los Angeles Unified officials are leery about the deal, and the cost and timing of getting the campus built. The school board is set to decide whether to push ahead with its own plan for the high school or to partner with Meruelo on his mixed-used project.

Umm yeah, leery would be one word to describe it. "Pay to play" might be another...

LAX Plans For Future

Los Angeles World Airports released a 24 year plan that calls for improved roadways and transportation to and from the department's Palmdale and Ontario Airport and decentralizing operations at LAX. This in anticipation of future growth and the need to reduce traffic at LAX.

Mark Pisano, executive director of the Southern California Association of Governments, told the Airport Commission today. ``We've been working on to provide high speed access to the airport, and the immediate, short term plans could be several billion dollars,'' Pisano said. ``But the longer term systems to improve Interstate 10 to Ontario and Highway 14 to Palmdale could cost upward to $15 billion.''

More immediate efforts include adding carpool lanes on the 405 Freeway and off-ramp improvements on the 105. Additionally, LAWA approvved plans today to begin service of its popular FlyAway bus service from Union Station in Downtown LA to LAX.

(Related Information: LAWA has scheduled a Master Plan Forum for February 2nd. Click here for more details.)

Mayor Sam's Morning Update

Blogger Matt Welch has been hired by the LA Times as Assistant Opinion Editor. Welch most recently has been known for his work in Reason Magazine and his efforts with Mayor Riordan to start a new paper in LA, however he has a long journalistic pedigree and a solid blog background. He should make an excellent addition to The Times. The Times has also hired LA Weekly scribe Robert Greene as it continues its makeover.

West LA Online is now number one when you do a Google search for West Los Angeles news. If you Google "Los Angeles politics" we come in at #7 which ain't bad because for the longest time we wound up on the second or third page of such a search. For fun, I Googled "martini" and Martini Republic came up eigth. Not bad.

The LA Fire Department Blog has tips on how to get by and stay safe in these high winds we're having.

Ethel Lund Pattison, who has served as a tour guide and historian at LAX, is being honored by Los Angeles World Airports for 50 years of service with the naming of the airport's rose garden in her honor. Pattison has the most years on the job of any active employee with LAWA. Robert Acherman, a member of the Neighborhood Council of Westchester-Playa Del Rey and board member of the Flight Path Learning Center told the Sister City, "LAWA is fortuanate to have many dedicated long term employees and Ethel, with whom I have had the pleasure to serve on the Flight Path Learning Center Board for the past eight years, is not only the airport's historian, but she is a treasure. The naming of the rose garden for Ethel is wholly appropriate and a well deserved honor." A ceremony to mark the occasion will be held at LAX on Wednesday.

Press Events For Tuesday

8:30 AM -- LAUSD Board member Jon Lauritzen will hold a news conference to discuss the findings of a review by the Council of the Great City Schools, a coalition of the nation's largest urban public school systems. Los Angeles Valley College, Cafeteria conference room, 5800 Fulton Ave.

9:30 AM -- LA County Board of Supervisors meeting. Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration, 500 W. Temple St.

9:30 AM -- LA Police Commission meeting. Room 150, Parker Center, 150 N. Los Angeles St.

10:00 AM -- LA City Council meeting. Council chamber, City Hall, 200 N. Spring St.

12:00 PM -- Town Hall Los Angeles will host a luncheon and "A Celebration of Mexican Democracy'' debate. Representatives from several Mexican political parties are expected to participate, including PAN (National Action Party), PRD (Party of the Democratic Revolution) and PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party). Omni Hotel, 251 S. Olive St.

1:00 PM -- LA City Council's Planning and Land Use Management Committee meeting. Room 350, City Hall, 200 N. Spring St.

6:00 PM -- The second in a series of public workshops will be held to receive community input on the Los Angeles River Revitalization Master Plan, including neighborhoods, the environment, recreation and open space. Exposition Park Intergenerational Community Center, 3890 S. Menlo Ave.

7:00 PM -- The West Hills Neighborhood Council's Ad Hoc Committee on Dayton Canyon will hold a meeting to discuss high concentrations of a toxic substance that may have been washed from a luxury-home development site into the Los Angeles River. West Valley Christian Church, room 210, 22540 Sherman Way.

Open Thread for Tuesday

On this date in 2003, the United States Department of Homeland Security officially began operations.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Citadel pulls ahead on ABC Radio deal: sources

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - Citadel Broadcasting Corp., after trumping two rivals in a bid for Walt Disney Co.'s ABC Radio unit, is now in exclusive negotiations with Disney on a deal that could reach nearly $3 billion, according to sources close to the talks.

Locally the deal would impact stations KABC AM 790, KLOS FM 95.5, Radio Disney AM 1150 and ESPN Radio AM 710. ABC's television operations would not be part of the deal.

Citadel, a radio broadcaster largely owned by private equity firm Forstmann Little & Co., has been an active but publicly quiet presence in the ABC Radio negotiations for months, sources said.

Radio rival Entercom Communications Corp. and private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. were thought to be strong contenders for the assets until recent days, when sources said Citadel began maneuvering to push aside its rivals.

Citadel and Disney will negotiate details on a deal over the next few weeks.

Smith Wal-Mart Issue: Spinners and The Muckraker

Hoping the brouhaha regarding his battles with the Northridge Neighborhood Council and Wal-Mart would die out quickly, Councilman Greig Smith is looking to spin other issues to take the spotlight off accusations of flip-flops, alleged bribes and claims of credit-stealing. Still, despite a beautiful weekend, time was found by Sister City readers to discuss the issue further and even Martini Republic joined in on the fun.

Rushing to the next news cycle, Smith gets involved in the opening of a new day labor center at Home Depot in Van Nuys (similar to one in Burbank which this weekend drew a couple hundred protestors and counter-protestors). He's also quickly fired off another one his e-newlsetters (which we have graciously posted in toto on Mayor Sam 2) about what he is doing to make the life of business people in LA, easier.

The job of the handlers of any politician who gets embroiled in a brouhaha is to quickly divert the focus to other areas. In this case, Smith's staff is doing their job. On the other hand, the job of an arrogant, self-important, muckraking blogger is to try to refocus attention on the original, more important issue.

Happy Birthday Mayor V!

Today is Mayor Villaraigosa's 53rd birthday. Nothing on the schedule for today, heck, even the Mayor deserves to take his birthday off!

Mayor Sam's Morning Update

The Daily News is not convinced that the City Council needed to take as much time saluting outgoing President Alex Padilla as it did when Padilla handed over the reins to successor Eric Garcetti. Though Garcetti was successful (as promised) in getting the meeting started on time, more than two hours was taken on a number of "ego-flattering presentations" including Councilman Dennis Zine's honorary membership in a ladies club and then a hour of the Council struggling to honor Padilla as his term as the youngest Council President in history. All this was going on, as the Daily News points out, while business and constituents wishing to address the Council continued to pile up. As well, the Daily News is similarly not as convinced as the City Council is, that Padilla will defeat his opponent, Cindy Montanez, for the Democratic nomination for the 20th Senate District seat. Stay tuned.

Attorney turned Mayoral candidate turned realtor Walter Moore has some interesting points on the housing market. Though 2005 prices were up over 2004, they've been flat for over six months now. This may have some impact on schemes to bring about massive amounts of "affordable housing." The market may provide the answer after all. Read Walter's piece at Mayor Sam 2.

High winds are attacking the Southland and more are coming. There exists the potential for property damage and its risky for anyone driving a high profile vehicle. Winds of nearly 60 - 70 MPH may hit the San Fernando Valley and mountain regions. Red Flag warnings have been issued, if you're in a Red Flag area you may want to check signage where you park your car.

Franklin Avenue is going ahead with hosting a "wake" for the now demolished Ambassador Hotel, in partnership with the L.A. Conservancy. Joe Mailander isn't going to be there - and is glad the Ambassador is gone - but you're welcome to attend if you RSVP. Details: February 2nd, 2006 at 7:00 p.m., HMS Bounty, 3355 Wilshire Blvd. RSVP to 310-858-2224.

And finally, a rare and interesting happening in Los Angeles - LA Observed's Kevin Roderick, Martini Republic's Joe Mailander and LA City Councilman Tom LaBonge in the same place at the same time. You can read more about it here.

What's Up In CD9?

Prior to being elected to serve as the representative of the Ninth District, Jan Perry had a long history of public service with the City of Los Angeles. During the five years she spent as Chief of Staff for the Ninth District, she became intimately involved with the concerns of the community. In 1998, she was appointed by Mayor Richard Riordan as the Executive Director of the Census 2000 Outreach Project for the City of Los Angeles.

Perry made Los Angeles her home in 1974 and attended the University of Southern California earning a Bachelors Degree in Journalism, Cum Laude. She received her B.A. in 1977, followed by a Masters in Public Administration in 1981. In addition, she earned a Certificate in Litigation from the University of California, Los Angeles Extension in 1979.

So, what's up in CD9?

Press Events for Monday

9:00 a.m.: Los Angeles City Councilmen Tom LaBonge and Eric Garcetti will join Paramount studio executives in a news conference to turn on a new traffic signal. Intersection of Bronson and Melrose avenues.

10:00 a.m.: The City Council Audits & Governmental Efficiency Committee will hold a special meeting. Among the items on the agenda is an Information Technology Agency report relative to physical observation of undeployed motor vehicles and computer components. Room 1050, City Hall, 200 North Spring Street.

10:00 a.m.: The City Council Public Safety Committee will meet. Among the items on the agenda will be represenatives from the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), Mayor’s Office, Los Angeles Police Protective League, and Advancement Project Co-Director Constance Rice discussing issues relating to in-car video use in policing. Room 1050, City Hall, 200 North Spring Street.

1:00 p.m.: The Los Angeles Airport Commission will meet. Agenda items include discussion of a contract with Professional Building Contractors Inc. for soundproofing work; and naming the LAX Rose Garden in honor of Ethel Lund Pattison, who has worked at LAX for 50 years. Board room, Clifton Moore Administration Building, LAX, 1 World Way.

Sun Valley Area Neighborhood Council will hold a board meeting, 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the assembly room at the Villa Scalabrini Retirement Center, 10631 Vinedale Ave., Sun Valley. Call (818) 768-8342.

Neighborhood Council Valley Village, 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Colfax Elementary School, 11724 Addison St., Valley Village. Call (818) 766-2932.

Panorama City Neighborhood Council (forming), 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the second-floor meeting room, Mission Community Hospital medical building, 14860 Roscoe Blvd., Panorama City. Call (818) 374-9895.

Granada Hills North Neighborhood Council, 6:30 p.m. Jan. 30 at Van Gogh Elementary School, 17160 Van Gogh St., Granada Hills. Call (818) 360-4346 or see www.ghnnc.org.

West Hills Neighborhood Council, 7 p.m. Feb. 1 at the 911 Communication Center, 23001 Roscoe Blvd., West Hills. Call (818) 719-8656 or see www.westhillsnc.org.

Chatsworth Neighborhood Council, 7 p.m. Feb. 1 at Lawrence Middle School, 10100 Variel Ave., Chatsworth. Call (818) 464-3511.

West Van Nuys-Lake Balboa Neighborhood Council will hold a meeting and a candidate orientation meeting, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 1 at Lake Balboa Studios, 7412 Balboa Blvd., Van Nuys. Call (818) 782-6987.

North Hills East Neighborhood Council (forming), 7 p.m. Feb. 6 in the library at Sepulveda Middle School, 15330 Plummer St., North Hills. Call (818) 891-0060.

Porter Ranch Neighborhood Council, 7 p.m. Feb. 7 in Room 131 at Shepherd of the Hills Church, 19700 Rinaldi St., Porter Ranch. Call (818) 831-2330 or see www.PRNC.org. Call (818) 831-2330.

Van Nuys Neighborhood Council, 7 p.m. Feb. 8 in Room 1B at the Marvin Braude Constituent Center, 6262 Van Nuys Blvd., Van Nuys. Call (818) 908-1840.

Winnetka Neighborhood Council, 6:30 p.m. Feb. 15 at Valley Village School, 20830 Sherman Way, Winnetka. Call (818) 648-6219 or see www.winnetkanc.com.

Tarzana Neighborhood Council, 7 p.m. Feb. 24 at Tarzana Elementary School, 5726 Topeka Drive, Tarzana. Call (818) 345-1966 or see www.tarzananc.org

Open Thread for Monday

On this day in 1775, London merchants petition Parliament for relief from the financial hardship put upon them by the curtailment of trade with the North American colonies.

In the petition, the merchants provided their own history of the dispute between the colonies and Parliament, beginning with the Stamp Act of 1765. Most critical to the merchants’ concerns were the £2 million sterling in outstanding debts owed to them by their North American counterparts.
(From the History Channel)

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Open Thread for The Weekend

Rather than post some historic milestone for today, our fodder for open thread is a collection of some of the funnier comments from our readers on our story yesterday regarding the Greig Smith WalMart debacle. Blog away dum dums!

Anonymous said...
As soon as Mitchell finishes his jelly donut, he'll be posting.

Anonymous said...
you are right... and Fridays usually suck.

I'm going to get the popcorn because every time Smith or Englander go up against Alger, it ends up being like a one legged man in an ass kicking contest.

Smith usually ends up in the papers looking like a bumbling fool.

Let the games begin.

Anonymous said...
Northridge got a taste of what CD14 has had and will continue to have for a couple of years. Council members HATE to be upstaged by community members.


Friday, January 20, 2006

Some Nerve!**

Following the concession of Wal-Mart in their battle to build a Northridge store, the war of words is heating up in the 12th Councilmanic District.

The latest revolves around an email blast sent by Councilman Greig Smith that essentially credits himself with forcing Wal-Mart to give in.

You can imagine, this e-mail, has Assembly Candidate and Northridge West Neighborhood Council leader, Jim Alger, hopping mad. He's fired off a memo to his fellow Council members and copied Smith deputy John Bwarie on it.

There's no doubt that running Wal-Mart out of town on a rail was a group effort that not only involved Alger and the Neighborhood Council, but the local Chamber of Commerce, union types, the Wake Up Wal-Mart campaign, NIMBYs and more.

And there is no doubt that the Councilman has SOME NERVE claiming credit and not giving Jim Alger his due props for pushing the ball over the goal line. Jim even traveled to Washington, D.C. meeting with anti-Wal-Mart activists and appeared on numerous television programs discussing the campaign. The outcome is significant (and remember Mayor Sam was always in favor of Wal-Mart, but that's a different story) in that Alger and his crew defeated the first "by right" Wal-Mart in the United States. At least twice on the blog, Smith was slammed

To add insult to inury, at one point Smith supported construction of the store contingent upon a payment of over $150,000 by Wal-Mart into a special fund administered by Smith's office. Where I come from, we call that "pay to play." Say what you want, but Alger was consistent all along. At least twice Smith was slammed on this blog for his alleged flip-flops, once by me, then by Chief Parker on the issue.

We have no overall beef with Smith, but this stinks.

  • Reacting to Smith's assigning credit for the mitigation fund to the Neighborhood Council, Jim Alger tells us "That is just absurd. He isn't even trying to tell the truth."
  • Wal-Mart has pulled out of another site, this time in Escondido. At least this time it wasn't because of government, NIMBY or union pressure. A Ralphs market, the anchor tenant in the shopping center, objected to the owners of the property. The City Council had already approved the site and Wal-Mart says its will look for another property in the area.
  • The Albertson's supermarket chain is looking at a buyout from the Supervalu chain, partially due to competition pressure from Wal-Mart and other lower cost grocery options such as Costco.

Open Thread for Friday

Following the death of Indian Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, Indira Gandhi becomes head of the Congress Party and thus prime minister of India. She was India's first female head of government and by the time of her assassination in 1984 was one of its most controversial.

Press Events for Friday

10:00 a.m.: The Los Angeles City Council will meet. Agenda includes continued consideration of whether to overturn the mayor's firing of Guerdon Stuckey as general manager of the Animal Services Department. Council chamber, City Hall, 200 N. Spring St.

10:20 a.m. : Mayor Villaraigosa will hold a news conference with Gov. Schwarzenegger to discussed proposed state spending on transportation infrastructure. Union Station, 800 N. Alameda St.

7:00 p.m.: Villaraigosa will speak at the 30th annual United Chambers of Commerce Installation and Recognition Dinner to honor local businesses and individuals for commitment and service to the San Fernando Valley. Beverly Garland's Holiday Inn hotel, 4222 Vineland Ave.

West Hills Neighborhood Council, 7 p.m. Feb. 1 at the 911 Communication Center, 23001 Roscoe Blvd., West Hills. Call (818) 719-8656

West Van Nuys-Lake Balboa Neighborhood Council will hold a meeting and a candidate orientation meeting, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 1 at the Lake Balboa Studios, 7412 Balboa Blvd., Van Nuys. Call (818) 782-6987.

Van Nuys Neighborhood Council, 7 p.m. Feb. 8 in Room 1B at the Marvin Braude Constituent Center, 6262 Van Nuys Blvd., Van Nuys. Call (818) 908-1840.

Tarzana Neighborhood Council, 7 p.m. Feb. 24 at Tarzana Elementary School, 5726 Topeka Drive, Tarzana. Call (818) 345-1966 or see www.tarzananc.org.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

20th SD Polling Memo

I was going to come back on Monday and rejoin the dum dums blogging away in City Hall until I received the following memo on our ex-presidente Padilla's chances of going to the big white rotunda up in Sacramento. News like this needs to be passed along in the hopes of spreading my somber mood on to Padilla's henchmen. (Can you tell I came back a few days too early?) Anyways, read along and enjoy the memo...the long and the short of it is that Padilla's negatives kill him, and once those negatives are tested and made public, he is, in a word, toast. Butter anyone?


January 16, 2006


Goodwin Simon Strategic Research

RE: Polling in the 20th Senate District

A recent poll we conducted in the 20th State Senate District shows Councilman Alex Padilla with an initial lead over Assemblywoman Cindy Montanez (35% to 23%). The lead, based largely on Padilla’s initially higher name ID, dries up quickly once voters hear just a few words about Montanez .That lead is blown away once they hear about Padilla’s abundant negatives.
  • After voters learn a small amount about both candidates, Montanez takes a lead with 44%, compared to 39% for Padilla. Montanez moves well ahead of Padilla once voters learn about his voting record, ethics violations, and links to scandal-ridden developers. In fact, Montanez closes the poll with a 21 point lead.
  • Padilla’s share of the vote essentially does not change even when voters learn positive information about him, while Montanez’s vote surges as voters learn more about her.
  • Voters find Montanez’s record and background very appealing, with unusually intense positive responses to her record on protecting education, children’s health, and the environment.
One of the interesting and important findings from the poll is that the more reliable and numerous voters in the western part of the district – who are currently less familiar with the candidates – will be the strongest supporters of Montanez. Thus we see that in Congressman Berman’s 28th CD, Padilla starts with a sizable 15 point lead. But in Congressman Sherman’s 27th CD – including most of Sherman Oaks, Encino, Granada Hills, Northridge, and the west San Fernando Valley flats -- the Padilla lead is just 7 points. After voters hear balanced positive information about both candidates, Montanez takes a wide lead in CD 27, which comprises about 55% of SD 20.

In short, Montanez moves quickly ahead in this poll because the voters in the western parts of the district, where both candidates are largely unknown, are much more likely to support Montanez.

This survey of 400 likely June 2006 Democratic and DTS voters was conducted between December 9 and 14, 2005. The margin of error for the study is plus or minus five percent.

Mayor Sam's Morning Update

The Franklin Avenue and Ambassador's Last Stand blogs had a wake for the soon to be officially demolished Ambassador Hotel planned for next Tuesday afternoon, but word later came that the Los Angeles Conservancy is planning a similar event, so they've decided to combine forces. When a date and time is set (place is the HMS Bounty pub across the street) , we'll pass it along.

Anticipating a flu wave as great or greater than the pandemic of 1918, as avian flu spreads around the world, the state's new health officer, Dr. Mark Horton, has worked with state officials to draft a response plan. Currently, officials want to stress education and awareness by local officials as well as the general public. The plan is available for viewing on the state's website here (PDF file).

Assembly Candidate and Neighborhood Council leader Jim Alger, fresh off defeating Wal-Mart, is calling on current Assemblyman Keith Richman and Alger's presumptive Republican opponent Cameron Smythe to support AB583, "The Clean Money Campaign." Alger and Smythe - currently a member of the Santa Clarita Valley City Council - are both seeking to succeed the termed out Richman. Referring to the current campaign funding system as akin to "legalized bribery," Alger believes AB583 would bring some much needed reform to the system. The full text of Alger's press release is on MS2.

The Sierra Club has endorsed Cindy Montanez over Alex Padilla in the bid for the Democratic Nomination for retiring State Senator Richard Alarcon's 20th District seat. (Hat tip to Bart Reed who Blackberried us from the meeting.)

The latest edition of The Transit Coalition's weekly e-newsletter is up at MS2.

And finally, if you can stomach it, the San Fernando Valley Young Democrats are holding their annual "Robert Kennedy Awards" Thursday night and, among others, will be Rob "Meathead" Reiner and his soak the rich tax initiative. Ironically, last weekend cable channel TVLand aired a weekend long marathon of Reiner's old show, All In The Family, in honor of the program's 35th Anniversary. Watching the show, you see how Reiner's character, Archie Bunker's son-in-lawMichael Stivic, is such an anachronism. Reiner didn't have to act much for that show, Stivic wasn't far afield from Reiner politically. The rub is that 35 years later, Reiner still holds many of the same outdated, liberal views.

Open Thread for Thursday

On this day in 1977, President Gerald R. Ford pardons “Tokyo Rose.” Although the nickname originally referred to several Japanese women who broadcast Axis propaganda over the radio to Allied troops during World War II, it eventually became synonymous with a Japanese-American woman named Iva Toguri. On the orders of the Japanese government, Toguri and other women broadcast sentimental American music and phony announcements regarding U.S. troop losses in a vain attempt to destroy the morale of Allied soldiers.

An American citizen born in Los Angeles, Toguri was in Japan at the time the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. She graduated from UCLA in 1940 and hoped to become a doctor, but when an elderly aunt living in Japan became ill, Toguri’s family sent Toguri to take care of her. She left the United States in July 1941 carrying an identification card, but no passport. When rumblings of war between Japan and the U.S. reached a crescendo later that year, she tried to return to the U.S. but was denied because she did not have proof of citizenship.

(Source: The History Channel)

Press Events for Thursday

7:15 a.m.: Mayor Villaraigosa will be interviewed on KJLH Radio 102.3 FM's morning show, then he will speak at the City of Los Angeles March of Dimes 2006 Kick-Off Breakfast. Bradley Tower, 26th floor, City Hall, 200 N. Spring St.

9:00 a.m.: Los Angeles schools Superintendent Roy Romer and Bob Collins, chief instructional officer of secondary instruction for the LAUSD, will hold a news conference to announce the latest results of the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE). Garfield High School, 5101 E. Sixth St.

10:00 a.m.: The Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency will meet. Agenda includes discussion of approving a 55-unit affordable senior housing development in South Los Angeles. Board room, fourth floor, 354 S. Spring St.

11:00 a.m.: The City of Los Angeles Rent Adjustment Commission will meet. On the agenda is planning for the Commission's annual retreat for 2006. Hearing Room, 1200 West 7th Street, Suite 100.

12:00 p.m.: Mayor Villaraigosa and Sen. Jackie Speier, D-Hillsborough, will join Southern California law enforcement officials to announce Speier's proposed plan to require all high-risk sexual predators to be monitored by global positioning system technology. Parker Center, 150 N. Los Angeles St.

Foothill District Neighborhood Council, 7 p.m. Thursday at Stonehurst Recreation Center, 9901 Dronfield Ave., Sun Valley. Call (818) 607-8536 or see www.foothilltrails.org.

West Hills Neighborhood Council, 7 p.m. Feb. 1 at the 911 Communication Center, 23001 Roscoe Blvd., West Hills. Call (818) 719-8656

West Van Nuys-Lake Balboa Neighborhood Council will hold a meeting and a candidate orientation meeting, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 1 at the Lake Balboa Studios, 7412 Balboa Blvd., Van Nuys. Call (818) 782-6987.

Van Nuys Neighborhood Council, 7 p.m. Feb. 8 in Room 1B at the Marvin Braude Constituent Center, 6262 Van Nuys Blvd., Van Nuys. Call (818) 908-1840.

Tarzana Neighborhood Council, 7 p.m. Feb. 24 at Tarzana Elementary School, 5726 Topeka Drive, Tarzana. Call (818) 345-1966 or see www.tarzananc.org.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Bernie Takes On The Times

Councilman Bernard Parks is hopping mad that the LA Times has come out against a furniture store in his district when he points out that the Times supported the same exact plan just two years ago.

Bernard Parks, Jr. - the Councilman's son and Chief of Staff shot us over the following email with his dad's letter to Times publisher Dean Baquet attached.

* * *

Subject: Councilmember Parks Uncovers a Big Goof by the LA Times
FROM: Bernard.Parks.Jr@lacity.org
DATE: January 18th, 2006
TO: mayorsamyorty@aol.com

Councilmember Bernard C. Parks is sending the below letter to the Los AngelesTimes today, after the paper wrote an article opposing a proposed furniture store on Western Avenue, despite favoring the same furniture store just slightly more than two years earlier. This mistake is just the latest form of carelessness by the Times, who could have avoided this mistake by simply having credible editors on staff to make sure that they don't support two different sides of the same article.

January 18, 2006

Mr. Dean Baquet
Los Angeles Times
Times Mirror Square
Los Angeles, CA 90053

Dear Mr. Baquet,

Congratulations! Your paper’s Saturday article entitled: “Land Seized for Animal Shelter May be Sold to Developer-Doner” actually defied science by proving that you can be in two places at one time.

I don’t know if you remember, but this is the second time the Times has weighed in on the proposed animal shelter on South Western Avenue. The problem is: the first time you reported the story, you favored a furniture store instead of an animal shelter. However, this Saturday– just over two years after the original story– you apparently opposed it. So, I ask, once and for all, where does the Times stand on this issue? And, why all the flip-flopping?

Throughout my career as a public servant, I have found it impossible to adequately serve the residents of this great city by playing on both sides of the issue. I would suggest that you adopt this philosophy because, despite your sagging circulation, your paper is still responsible to the relatively small audience it attempts to inform.

In Michael Hiltzik’s 2003 article “City Putting a Pound in the Way of Progress”, he asks the question: “Why didn’t anyone from City Hall stop by and say something along the lines of: Cisco, this is a spectacular and courageous development you’ve undertaken in the heart of South-Central. Is there anything we can do for you?”.

But, the Patrick McGreevy piece from this past weekend is obviously slanted in the opposite direction. He accuses city officials of having to do “fancy legal footwork” to ensure the animal shelter is kept off of the site. There are also unnecessary details about campaign contributions given by the owners of the furniture store. Given my history and reputation for integrity, I am extremely offended that your paper would even raise the possibility that my vote is for sell– and for a mere $1,000! In the future, just for fairness, why don’t you allow your reporters to report in their articles the many times votes go against contributors. This would probably be foreign as it would represent balance. By putting this policy into effect, you would be able to avoid articles like the one published Saturday, where the only consistency was its many contradictions with the previous article.

Unfortunately, this is just the latest instance of your paper’s bad fact pattern in stories that seem to involve me. I could recite the seemingly endless stream of complaints to and retractions from the Times, but instead I’ll just ask that you examine the enclosed Hiltzik and McGreevy articles and see if at the very least you can introduce the two gentleman and see what happens from there.



MORE: Full text of both LA Times articles Parks refers to posted at Mayor Sam 2.