Is it just me or is the behavior of what passes for the political aristocracy of L.A. beginning to look a like it did during the last days of the French royalty and the Russian tsars?
Take for example the mayor and his entourage heading off to Israel on the dime — quite a few dimes at that — of the customers of the Department of Water and Power who have just been slugged with yet another big rate hike supposedly to rebuild the infrastructure that was allowed to rot while contractors and employees got rich on sweetheart deals.
Or how about Councilman Greig Smith — who has fought so hard to get a sane and modern garbage policy — skimming a quarter of a million dollars of revenue from the much-despised Sunshine Canyon Landfill to go globetrotting with City Council staffers in Europe where a Coke costs $15 or so in U.S. currency.
I’m not trash-talking in bringing these things up. They’re just pieces in a mosaic of arrogant conduct and wanton disregard for the people of the city — people mind you that are seeing their federal income tax rebates gobbled up by city tax hikes, who can’t afford $4 a gallon in gas to sit in gridlocked traffic trying to get to work, and are living in fear of losing their jobs and their homes.
It’s like everywhere you look there are signs of privilege and self-indulgence.
The new L.A. airport director subverts the contracting procedures to reward old pals with a lucrative deal, but skates because nothing is in writing and nobody involved is hauled before a grand jury to testify under oath about exactly what went down.
Even city watchdog Controller Laura Chick whitewashed the deal while finding the process was a lot less than wholesome. Obviously, she’s in a good mood since she also hailed the great strides made in cleaning up the adolescent, illegal and costly misconduct in the Fire Department.
And the man who would be the people’s lawyer, lackluster Councilman Jack Weiss, has taken a noblesse oblige attitude about consorting with felons as long as he can raise a lot of money for his campaign for City Attorney next year.
Weiss shows no shame about well-connected public relations operative Steve Sugerman holding a $500 a person fundraising event June 10 in Santa Monica even though Sugerman admitted to felony misconduct in the DWP/Fleishman-Hillard billing case. Of course, Weiss isn’t alone in seeing nothing wrong with the involvement of Sugerman who operates freely in City Hall despite having confessed to bilking the city.
Then, there’s the report by Thom Senzee published here that District Attorney Steve Cooley has enough empathy for sexual predators that he won’t use the full force of the law against them like other prosecutors across the state.
I could go and on but I’m in Philadelphia having a good time with friends and family and my outrage meter isn’t running as high as normal.
Hopefully, yours is and you’re working up a lather and will start taking note of these kinds of rotten excesses and get off your duffs and do something about it.