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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Morning Briefs on the Los Angeles Political Machine for Monday

When did $62 Million become $84 Million in proposed taxes to pay for City Councilman Jose Huizar's "Downtown Streetcar Legacy Project"?
"Whats an extra $22 Millions dollars in taxes gonna cost you in paying for my Downtown Streetcar Legacy Project"?

Since speculation is part of our bloggin format here at Mayor Sam, then maybe we should ponder whether CD 14 City Councilman Jose Huizar's recent vehicular follies, was predicated on "speeding away" from an inconvenient truth regarding his proposed tax to partially-finance the Downtown Streetcar Project. 
For the last couple of years since the return of a Downtown Streetcar was first broached, the Princeton Graduate Land-Use Attorney, has explored multiple ways of financing what has become his signature project. But as the Downtown News discloses, Councilman Huizar's proclivity for not being open and transparent, may endanger passage of his "Legacy Choo Choo".

When ballots are mailed to registered voters on Nov. 13, however, they will be asked to approve a much higher amount. In fact, $62.5 million does not appear on the ballot that must be returned to the City Clerk by Dec. 3.Instead, the ballot says area residents will be voting to tax local landowners up to $85 million. That is $22.5 million, or 36% more than what has been the focus of the campaign for the project. The higher figure is surprising some Downtown stakeholders who will be asked to pay for the streetcar.They include Greg Martin, vice president of Downtown Management, a company led by Australian businessman Joseph Hellen. “So they’re cheating again. It’s just more deception,” he said.Martin and Hellen, who have a history of tangling with Huizar, have previously criticized the project’s approval process, in which only renters or condo owners who live within approximately three blocks of the tracks will be able to vote. Property owners — including those who control large buildings — who don’t reside in the area are not allowed to vote, even though they will be responsible for paying the tax over 30 years. Martin said he wasn’t aware that the special election would call for a tax assessment of up to $85 million. Instead, he thought it was the $62.5 million that has been the focus of the campaign.“I’m actually not that surprised because I think the whole thing has been fraught with subterfuge, misleading promises, and this is par for the course,” he said.Huizar strongly rejects the notion that the campaign to woo voters has been in any way deceptive or misleading. He and other project supporters instead point out that the proposed assessments have been calculated based on assumptions of $85 million. That amount is what he says would be needed in a “worst-case scenario.” Huizar and others maintain that if less public money is needed, the assessments for Downtowners will decrease. “I don’t think it’s that big of an issue,” he said.   

Hmmmm, and not disclosing if you were at a "Happy Hour Birthday Party", is not that big of an issue when involve in an auto accident while driving a city-owned vehicle.

** Surprise, surprise, thanks to LA Times David Zahniser, we learn that the likes of CD 1 City Councilman Ed "Billboard Density" Reyes and his CD 2 colleague Councilman Paul "Digital Pandering" Krekorian, have gone the, soon to be Horseshoe colleague and current Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes route, in allowing a Clear Channel Lobbyist to write pending council legislation, to preserve hundreds of electronic billboards city-wide.

** We hope that California Governor "Moonbeam the II" took time this weekend to admonish his "Inner Bitter Jerry" for the borderline "assault and battery" on Channel 2/9 Investigated Reporter David Goldstein. This after Goldstein exposed the misuse of rented vehicle by CalTrans staff. Gov. Moonbeam II outburst is surprising considering that Mayor Antonio Villar has been confronted by Goldstein on numerous occasions and has yet exhibited his alleged "Inner Venice Room Temperament".

** You must give some credit to the government-financed consultants behind the efforts to extend the half cent sale tax for Los Angeles County transit projects, when they realize that T.V. ads featuring a certain "City Terrace Native", might not be in the best interest in garnering voter support.

** We chanced upon this accidental bit of objective journalism from the Daily News regarding Callifornia Governor Moonbeam the II's Prop 30.
This newspaper's review of state budget figures found:

  • The estimated $6 billion in extra revenue annually from Proposition 30 quickly would put the state on track to return to peak spending levels before the Great Recession.
  • The inflation-adjusted tax burden of Californians is now about the same as the average over the past two decades -- and will remain so even if Proposition 30 passes. But that tax burden is still among the highest in the nation.

  •  Thus a tax to sustain the free-spending ways of the big governmental beast. 

  • ** Lastly on a lighter note, California State University Biology Professor and Whistleblower (in outing the ban of California residents from CSU graduate programs) Maria Nieto, has published a novel called "The Pig behind the Bear" which is worth a read and is garnering rave reviews.
    Maria Nieto has managed to write a charming story that tackles huge cultural issues such as the assassination of Ruben Salazar. Part LA noir mystery, part family drama, part magic realism, Nieto takes us on a ride through Los Angeles touching the cultural milestones and heart of Chicano/LA history past and present.    Herbert Siguenza, founding member of Culture Clash  

    For the record, Nieto is the daughter of Northeast LA Activist and retire Parole Officer Caroline Aguirre.

    Your thoughts ...............
    Scott Johnson in CD 14

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