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Thursday, October 21, 2021

How Mike Feuer Illegally Enabled A Nury Martinez Lynch Mob That Came For Mark Ridley-Thomas

By Daniel Guss

@TheGussReport - Two concepts take center stage in today's column: Presumption of Innocence and Due Process.

Momentarily set aside your thoughts on the 20-count federal corruption indictment announced just a few days ago against L.A. City Councilmember Mark Ridley-Thomas, MRT.  This column has its views about it and they are not favorable for the long-time L.A. political icon.  

Mark Ridley-Thomas, Sebastian Ridley-Thomas

Photo Credit: ABC-7

But this column is in rare in agreement with L.A. City Councilmembers Curren Price, Mike Bonin and Marqueece Harris-Dawson, the only names on the 15-member LA City Council who voted to not (at this point) suspend MRT and withhold his salary and health insurance.  

While suspending MRT or putting an overseer in-place to monitor his work and expenditures makes sense, withholding his salary and health insurance (which LA City Controller Ron Galperin stated he would unilaterally do even before Council voted or MRT entered a plea) does not.

MRT is entitled to the Presumption of Innocence and Due Process as is every other American, whether we are Mark Zuckerberg, an addict sleeping on the sidewalk or those of us who exist somewhere in-between them.

But MRT was deprived of both yesterday as a figurative L.A. City Council lynch mob came for him for something which is not yet proven, for which neither they nor he saw the evidence and which he denies.

Way to treat Ridley-Thomas like Emmett Till, L.A. City Council, but especially you Council president Nury Martinez, City Attorney Mike Feuer and Ron Galperin.  To be clear, we are not saying MRT is innocent; we do not know and we are skeptical of his claims of innocence.  Put restrictions in-place to ensure Council District 10 can keep functioning with its chosen representative while the legal process plays out, but don't jump to MRT's penalty phase before he even had a chance to enter a plea, let alone tell his side of the story.

Emmett Till

The severe crimes which Ridley-Thomas stands accused of committing:

  1. Have nothing to do with his earlier time on City Council nor his recent return to it; and
  2. Do not appear to have personally enriched him; and
  3. Are denied by him. 

Martinez, enabled by Feuer's proxy, illegally silenced some who tried to comment during the meeting that Ridley-Thomas should be limited, but that his salary and health insurance should not be withheld.  Further, they ignored multiple "cure and correct" orders received via email, opened and read.  Those are Brown Act violations and further proof of their rigged proceeding. 

Talk about having your thumb weighing down the scale of justice!

Did these Councilmembers or their predecessors breathlessly race to suspend and withhold paychecks and health insurance from then-L.A. City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo who admitted his wife Michelle had an accident while improperly driving his city-funded S.U.V. and hid that fact when they had it repaired at taxpayer expense?  According to the L.A. Times, "(Delgadillo) also acknowledged that he did not realize that he himself had driven as an uninsured motorist for about a year, while his wife had driven without insurance for more than two years."

Does that sound like an admission of insurance fraud and mail or wire fraud, as well as violations of the California Vehicle Code?

How did City Council treat then-Chief Administrative Officer Miguel Santana when busted for D.U.I.?

Has City Council taken measures to restrict Councilmember John Lee, who seems to fit the description of "Staffer B" in the ongoing Jose Huizar investigation?  What about Councilmember Herb Wesson, Huizar's self-described "best friend" whose Chief of Staff Deron Williams appears to be prominently represented in the Huizar indictment?  

While City Council did suspend Huizar shortly after his indictment, it was not an apples-to-apples comparison with the Ridley-Thomas situation.  Among other things, Huizar is accused of crimes that violated his oath to serve on City Council.  Ridley-Thomas is accused of serious crimes in his prior office.

Did Martinez and friends hold any hearings on why Wesson, a swirl of corrupt nepotism himself, suddenly started recusing himself from votes when he hadn't done so in the years beforehand?  Since Wesson was Council president at the time and Williams his right-hand man, he obviously wasn't going to suspend himself yet not-a-one of these officials suggested that they should even be restricted.  

Where was the discussion about whether Feuer should have checks and balances placed on him when the FBI raided his office in 2019 in the still-ongoing LADWP scandal?  Why hasn't it held a discussion about the alleged current investigation by the State Bar of California into his activities?

Where was the hearing, outcry and suspension of pay for Mayor Eric Garcetti for claiming under oath and in the media that he didn't see any sexual harassment by his right-hand pal Rick Jacobs despite photographic evidence of it taking place right under his nose?

Rick Jacobs (left), Eric Garcetti ("thumbs up")

Martinez, Feuer and Galperin may have personal motives for their rush to judgment and it may be born out of a different flavor of their own rigged political proclivities.

In my next column, I dig into what I believe motivates them to treat Mark Ridley-Thomas differently.

Stay tuned.

(Daniel Guss, MBA, was runner-up for the 2020 Los Angeles Press Club journalism award for Best Online Political Commentary and has contributed to CityWatch, KFI AM-640, iHeartMedia, 790-KABC, Cumulus Media, Huffington Post, Los Angeles Daily News, Los Angeles Magazine, Movieline Magazine, Emmy Magazine, Los Angeles Business Journal, Pasadena Star-News, Los Angeles Downtown News, and the Los Angeles Times in its Sports, Opinion and Entertainment sections and Sunday Magazine, and other publishers.)

Presently using mi amigo Scott's sign-in until tech matters are ironed out.

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