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Friday, May 25, 2007

Mayor Sam's Hotsheet for Friday

I thought the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce was a business advocacy organization? Nope. They're too busy hob-nobbing with the local pols and going on junkets, they've lost all credibility when it comes to promoting themselves as a captitalist organization. When the LA City Council passed its highly confiscatory extension of rent control, the Chamber did not oppose it but begged for "exemptions."

For more click read more!

The City Clowncil got busted once again. This time the courts have ruled that their cell phone tax violated Proposition 218, the voter passed initiative that requires government to get permission of the voters before instituting taxes. The Clowncil tries to get around this by calling their taxes fees and most of the time that works. Lets hope that future cases address all the other illegal tax raises the Clowncil is putting on the people who can least afford to pay them.

The Council has directed the City Clerk to investigate the possibility of instituting "instant runoff elections" in Los Angeles. Though this is an intriguing idea, in the end I doubt it will be implemented. Getting rid of runoff elections will cause a huge drop in campaign contributions and consultant fees. I don't see the elite in LA going for that.

Blogdowntown reports that new pedestrian lighting is finally going up on 7th Street between Spring and Hill.

Good news for you if you're an information technology professional. The State of California is making a major commitment to upgrading its IT infrastructure and has plans for 1000 new IT hires.

Want to have a Downtown skyscraper condo? You can get a condo in the new development LA Liveanywhere from $1.8 million to $5 million.

The City of West Hollywood has met the enemy and it's Pinkberry. The frozen yogurt chain is hoping WeHo will remove restrictions placed on the store to counter the craziness caused by celebrity snackers and the paparazzi who follow them.

Palms area blogger George Garrigues has announced he is running for the Palms Neighborhood Council presidency.


Anonymous Anonymous said:

HUH? Looks to me like the Chambers visit to DC was very productive.

May 24, 2007 11:16 PM  

Blogger Zuma Dogg said:

oh no...now antonio has to launch this new "green" initiative (million trees la part 2" cause bill clinton put him up to it. that's what that suck-up trip was about.

May 24, 2007 11:32 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

New Yorker Does Hatchet Job on L.A. Mayor Villaraigosa
by Randy Shaw‚ May. 24‚ 2007

The May 21 New Yorker features a lengthy profile of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Unlike the magazine’s puff piece they did three years ago on San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, reporter Connie Bruck wrote an article that is best described as a political hit on California’s most powerful Latino politician.

Bruck’s account reads like a FOX News “fair and balanced” report on Barack Obama, and would be akin to the Newsom profile being dominated by quotes from his arch-enemy, Supervisor Chris Daly. The New Yorker profile is disturbing due to the magazine’s widespread credibility, and raises questions as to why its top editors sacrificed this credibility by approving publication of Bruck’s deeply-flawed political attack.

When New Yorker reporter Tad Friend wrote the magazine’s profile of Gavin Newsom, he allowed San Francisco’s Mayor to be defined by his political allies. Friend included barely any quotes from Newsom’s adversaries, and certainly did not give mayoral opponents like Chris Daly a soapbox for blasting the Mayor. Not surprisingly, this resulted in an extremely favorable portrait of San Francisco’s Mayor.

Similarly, the recent New Yorker profile of Barack Obama devoted pages and pages to quotes from longtime friends and supporters of the Illinois Senator. This too resulted in a very sympathetic account of Obama’s core character.

But Connie Bruck’s profile of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa took a starkly different approach. Bruck allowed quotes from the Mayor’s political rivals to dominate her depiction of him. Rather than use the warm and fuzzy approach the magazine used to profile Newsom, Obama and most politicians, Bruck took out the long knives in portraying Villaraigosa as disloyal, untrustworthy, manipulative, and unworthy of support.

Considering that Villaraigosa’s political career owes an enormous debt to organized labor, a profile of the mayor would logically include quotes from multiple people involved in the city’s burgeoning union movement. But no Los Angeles labor representative is quoted at all, so the constituency most responsible for Villaraigosa’s election is not even given a voice in building Bruck’s profile of the Mayor.

Instead of quoting labor officials, or community activists, Bruck emphasized quotes from Tom Hayden. Bruck’s reason for highlighting Hayden’s opinion became clear when the longtime activist said that he had known Villaraigosa for nearly twenty years, and that “Antonio’s pattern is to leave people in the dust.”

Hayden explains this claim by describing Villaraigosa’s refusal to promptly endorse Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides, and his friendly relationship with Governor Schwarzenegger during the campaign. Hayden interprets this as Antonio “squashing Phil,” and tells Bruck “you don’t do that. The people he leaves behind and the damage to relationships may come back like karma.”

A more objective reporter might have told readers that Angelides’ campaign was a train-wreck from the start, and describing Villaraigosa’s approach to Schwarzenegger as demonstrating his savvy in positioning Los Angeles to benefit from the Governor’s certain re-election.

A more informed reporter than Bruck would have also thought twice before associating those particular comments about “leaving people in the dust” and “leaving people behind and damaging relationships” to an activist whose own history is replete with such conduct.

Ask anyone who worked with Tom Hayden in the 1960’s and 1970’s about his own “leaving people in the dust.” Hayden has mellowed in the past twenty years, but his jealousy of Villaraigosa’s success is obvious, as Bruck and her editors should have figured out from another Hayden quote in the article.

Referring to a two-billion dollar environmental bond that Villaraigosa sponsored in the State Assembly while Hayden was the State Senate sponsor, Hayden told Bruck, “Antonio took it and named it the Villaraigosa bill, got credit for the whole thing, and ran for mayor on it.”

Those are the words of a jealous, and even bitter, man. And this should be obvious to a first-year journalism student, not to mention a New Yorker reporter. The idea that Villaraigosa’s 2005 mayoral campaign – which saw the biggest Latino voter turnout the city had ever seen in a mayor’s race – was driven by his support for a state environmental bond is so bizarre and so contrary to the historical record that flashing lights should have gone off on the computers of New Yorker editors.

A professional journalist would bear in mind that Hayden ran for Mayor in 1997 and lost by a landslide, allowing Villaraigosa to become the Left’s new standard bearer. Hayden is jealous that he never became Mayor like Villaraigosa – something that the New Yorker should have considered when reviewing his statements.

But these editors printed Hayden’s analysis. This reveals either the profound ignorance that New York City-based writers have about West Coast politics, and/or a conscious decision to bash Antonio regardless of the facts.

The New Yorker typically conveys an attitude of “we know how the world works and understand that you cannot make omelets without breaking a few eggs.” The magazine’s sophistication about human nature, and the world, is what has long set it apart in the marketplace.

But Bruck seems shocked to learn that the Mayor of Los Angeles has long been incredibly ambitious. She also finds it particularly illuminating that a politician who has risen to the level of Los Angeles Mayor has left some of his former allies feeling “left in the dust” and excluded from access to power.

Sorry if this sounds harsh, but that’s the nature of politics. Bruck would be hard-pressed to find any national figure of Villaraigosa’s stature that has not left people behind in their march to the top.

Politicians make new allies and friends as they climb up the political ladder. And while some of their early supporters become embittered when their calls are no longer returned, or they do not get the patronage job they were seeking, this is a function of politics, not personal disloyalty.

But Bruck primarily defines Villaraigosa as someone who “has alienated old supporters.” To pound this point home, the article even puts the mayor’s longtime wife in this category, referring to one of his affairs and his not wearing a wedding ring at a public event.

In 2001, mayoral candidate Antonio Villaraigosa inspired one of the great grassroots campaigns anywhere in America over the past decades. In 2005, he defied all of the media critics who said he could not win for mayor, easily defeating incumbent James Hahn.

Since becoming Mayor, Villaraigosa has been largely loyal to the progressive base that elected him. He had not betrayed labor, he has not betrayed tenants, and he has not betrayed his Latino base.

Villaraigosa’s loyalty to the constituencies that elected him would have made a great article. But Bruck and New Yorker editors had a different agenda.

Randy Shaw is the Editor of Beyond Chron. Send feedback to rshaw@beyondchron.org

May 25, 2007 12:51 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Randy Shaw seems very enamored of our mayor. I suppose Mr. Shaw is not seeing past his personal feelings at all of the constituents around the city who have been left in the dust, the former long time supporters who have been left in the dust, the unions he used to represent have been left in the dust. We could name more forever. Normal politicians can't afford to leave that many people in the dust.

Perhaps the New Yorker article, which I have not read, is what many groups of us feel - what those who live in Los Angeles and are not Villaraigosa fans feel and what the rest of the country who have no reason to be enamored of Villaraigosa feels.

Everybody can't love him. He has his good traits and his bad.

May 25, 2007 1:37 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Seems Randy Shaw is hurt his idol is being trashed by the New Yorker with the truth and doesn't like everyone knowing Antonio's baggage. Randy should come to LA and hear what the Latinos in this city think of the Cholo Mayor. The mayoral election was the worst turnout in the history of LA. Antonio hasn't done shit for his own people and supports illegals who are breaking the law instead of the law abiding citizens who pay taxes in this city. He's a media whore who has embarrass LA to the entire nation. He hasn't accomplished anything and in fact even yesterday got shot down by the MTA board with his ridiculous proposal. Antonio is proving to the nation he's nothing but a talker not a doer. He has failed LA and continues to embarrass himself being uneducated. All anyone has to do is listen to his speech at the MacArthur Park rally in spanish. His Mecha Boy mentality came out.

May 25, 2007 8:25 AM  

Blogger Walter Moore said:

Per my platform, we need instant run-offs, and we need to move city elections to November, to take place at the same time as all the other elections. This would save millions and boost turnout.

May 25, 2007 8:35 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:


You'd still lose...

May 25, 2007 9:47 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

I was suprised too by the Chamber of Commerce's position. But, it was better to negotiate a couple exemptions since the Clowncil was going to pass the stupid ordinance to begin with.

May 25, 2007 11:50 AM  

Blogger Mayor Sam said:

I guess. But its shameful how both business and the Republicans have rolled over when they really don't have to.

The LA Chamber and LA County Republican party are no more principled than the ACLU or any other leftist group.

And when you have Republicans taking money from Democrats in exchange for endorsements you know its over.

Next thing is the Chamber will start representing labor unions.

May 25, 2007 12:24 PM  

Blogger Mayor Sam said:

Zuma Dogg -

Can you have your BAT COMPUTER send over a request to Tamar Galatzan to clean up her election signs that are still attached to the 405 offramps and other properties in Sherman Oaks, as well as picking up the half torn up signs from the ground where they're littering the sidewalks?

May 25, 2007 12:25 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

I know Randy Shaw as well as he knows Antonio Villaraigosa. Who is Randy Shaw?

May 25, 2007 3:01 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

The Palms Neighborhood Council uses instant runoff voting in its elections.

May 25, 2007 5:51 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

You knew the Chamber was useless when thier chairman Rusty Hammer actively campaigned against Valley cityhood. You'd think he'd represent the portion of his membership in the Valley burdened by the gross receipts tax and nonexistent city services.

But no, they were just a bunch of tools, doing whatever the downtown liberal establishment told them to do.

And people wonder why businesses leave CA for Arizona, Nevada, et al.

May 25, 2007 10:26 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Instant runoff voting, www.instantrunoff.com, has gotten past the consultants and big campaign finance contributors in Oakland and San Francisco, and it can do it in Los Angeles. Sometimes a good idea is too hard to keep down!

May 27, 2007 8:12 AM  

Blogger Bob Richard said:

A committee of the Los Angeles City Council will talk about instant runoff voting (and other proposals to increase turnout) on June 13 at 3:00pm. Supporters of IRV need to turn out in force for this hearing. See Californians for Electoral Reform for details.

June 08, 2007 7:22 AM  

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