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Are you better off after eight years of these people? Is L.A. better off?

garcetti2.jpgalarcon.jpg
d_zine.jpgIf the power structure of Los Angeles had not foisted Measure R on gullible voters, these six City Council members — Zine, Alarcon, Garcetti, Weiss, Perry and Hahn — would be termed out of office and we would be having a real election next March.

Instead, we face a rigged election
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Thumbnail image for weiss.jpg
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The same powerful, self-serving interests that have been running the city badly for too long preserved their control of City Hall by spending millions to sell as ethics reform extending  from two to three terms the limits on council service. They will spend whatever it takes to keep these political hacks in office and to bamboozle you into paying higher taxes for worse public services.

Against all odds, David Hernandez and other opponents of Measure R have kept alive a legal challenge and are scheduled for an appeals court hearing in August that could find it unconstitutional. This would open the possibility of restoring a measure of democracy to L.A. by throwing open the March elections to all challengers.

I support what Hernandez is doing and am speaking tonight at a fund-raiser for the legal challenge (information about the event is on my calendar and information about how to contribute after the jump).

Win or lose in court, those who care about democracy and good government need to mount a political campaign that will challenge these wannabe third-termers, which five of them are. The sixth, Jack Weiss, far and away the least popular in his own district, hopes to ride the coattails of the mayor into the City Attorney’s Office — a prospect that many people find frightening given his lackluster record.

These people know how to charm and song-and-dance many activists within their own communities, to hold out hope for them of some progress on their narrow agenda.

But their collective efforts in leading the city are disastrous. Taxes, fees and rates of every type have soared in the last eight years. Poverty has risen dramatically. Gangs still terrorize many neighborhoods and City Hall lacks the will to get tough even with illegal immigrant criminals. Desperate for cash to feed the sweetheart contracts they approved with unions and contractors, city leaders will do anything for money and that’s why the L.A. is being overdeveloped without the roads, public transit, parks, water or other needed infrastructure.

For the lack of any other alternative, I floated the idea of the Saving L.A. Project (SLAP) as an umbrella coalition of community groups of all types. Activists from all over the city have joined in and are trying to turn the idea into an organization that can challenge City Hall, fight for local issues, develop a citywide agenda and back candidates for city offices who will turn L.A. around.

We staged a rally on Bastille Day at City Hall and we’re holding an organizing Town Hall meeting Saturday in Glassell Park. Don’t accept failure. Don’t hide behind apathy and defeatism. Stand up and be counted. Get involved in your neighborhood council, residents group, service clubs, schools or wherever you can make a difference. Join SLAP and fight back.

By  David  Hernandez

 

Chinatown” 2008

 

Do
any of you recall the classic 1974 movie about the back room deals and
shady politicians in Los Angeles of the 1930s? It was such a classic
that the phrase
Chinatown became a generic buzzword for questionable political dealings.

 

The
saga of Proposition R is a classic example of what the phrase has come
to represent. From its inception as a measure written by lobbyists for
lobbyists and its immediate and direct benefit to the politicians who
were elected to represent the people, shades of the Jack Nicholson
movie are daunting.

 

As we move forward, it is good to reflect on the genesis of Prop R.

 

>The
Lobbyist doing business at LA City Hall (approx 200) formed a group
titled “Los Angeles Lobbyist and Public Affairs Assn.” The group hired
Sutton & Partners to lobby government officials on the industry’s
behalf. The Sutton is attorney James Sutton.

 

>In
March of 2006 attorney James Sutton formed “Citizens for Reform,” ID #
1284556,  with James Sutton listed as the Treasurer. Sutton wrote
Measure R!

 

> In July of 2006 Sutton changed Citizens for Reform to “Committee to Reform LA-Yes on Prop R.” They kept the same ID number. This was to be a sponsored committee and to add creditability he had the League of Women Voters and the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce sign on as sponsors. The Treasurer was changed to Kaufman & Associates.

 

As
the legal challenge heads back to open court in August of 2008 the fate
of six Los Angeles City Council members and their third term in office
hangs precariously in the balance and the smell of backroom smoke fills
the air.

 

Two
weeks ago the two organizations that the lobbyist enlisted to sponsor
the original measure resurfaced and became part of the legal process on
behalf of the City Council and City of
Los Angeles. Here is a link to the documents filed.

 

http://www.eric-grant.com/oT1ckJVM/21%20%20League%20application%20and%20amicus%20brief.pdf

 

It is no surprise the League of Women Voters 

http://www.lwvlosangeles.org/index.html are back on the scene along with the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce http://www.lachamber.com/.

 

What is giving me that Chinatown feeling is the attorney representing them. As you can see from the documents filed, their attorney is Stephen J. Kaufman of Kaufman & Associates.

 

Does that name look familiar?

 

 

Antonio  Villaraigosa

Villaraigosa for Mayor 2009 (ID:1305101)
c/o Kaufman Downing LLP
777 S. Figueroa Street, Ste. 4050
Los Angeles, CA 90017
Telephone: (213) 452-6565
DOI:
03/11/08
 

Treasurer: Stephen J.  Kaufman
777 S. Figueroa Street, Suite 4050
Los Angeles, CA 90017
Telephone: (213) 452-6565
Fax: (213) 452-6575

 

 

I
do not know what to make of this, but one thing is for sure. If there
ever was a David vs. Goliath battle it pales in comparison to what is
taking place in
Los Angeles.

 

When
will a media outlet (be it print, radio or television) with enough
courage step forward and engage in real investigative reporting?

 

David Hernandez

Prop R Legal Challenge

www.termedout.com

 

 

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6 Responses to Are you better off after eight years of these people? Is L.A. better off?

  1. Walter Moore says:

    We, the people, can and MUST take control of City Hall in March 2009.
    I’m running for Mayor. If seven of you out there will run for City Council, we can take control of City Hall.
    Imagine: if we win, we will not only control the executive branch, but will have the ability to block any dumb new legislative moves, like, say banning fast-food restaurants, hiking trash fees, and providing sanctuary to illegal alien gang bangers.
    And if you yourself don’t want to run, find someone who will, and support ALL of us.
    What’s the worst that can happen? The worst that can happen is that you spend some time and money trying to improve your City, and it doesn’t work. Is that so bad? No.
    So don’t just sit around complaining. And don’t waste your time trying beg crooked politicians to do the right thing. Let’s show the career politicians who’s the boss. The ones we replace will no longer be a problem. And the ones remaining will, I suspect, suddenly be much more interested in what we, the people, want done.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Kaye: Don’t you live in CD 12. Let’s commence your campaign to represent that District. No better time than to start campaigning now. Surely, you do not want that slug Englander to inherit the spot.
    LCStone

  3. Robert says:

    Yesterday’s council meeting was so bad for the residents of the city that I had to send off an email to CM Smith one of the more vigorous supporters of the trash fee hike, with a cc to CM Huizar (my CM), Reyes and Cardenas (also vocal on the issue, even chastising the public) to let them know my views, as well. Even if they don’t act other than to push “delete” on their email, they can be put on notice that more are learning about what they are really doing and sharing the information.
    “July 29, 2008
    Council Member Gregg Smith:
    I disagree with your support for increase in trash charges specifically.
    The service was never “free” it was just NOT a “separately stated charge,” but service was a cost included in a city budget, and taxes already were being collected to address the budget. Now you are just pulling out this service as a separate component in order to say it is chargeable because other cities consider it a separate item. It is something that WAS included because the budget WAS managed before, not like it is now with spending done on a runaway basis, part of why more revenue is being sought.
    To say it was a “free” service and that charges have been always been imposed by other cities for trash collection doesn’t validate this. Just because it was not separated doesn’t mean it was NOT included in the budget considerations for city expenses for services. Shaping the terms as you want to, essentially shifting blame for creation of this separate fee is simply disingenuous. We were not “spoiled,” you council members and your predecessors, responsible as the fiscal caretakers, and although done over time, it was not handled well, to the detriment of the public.
    The metered trash concept is with its own problems, maybe different ones. You will have people dumping trash in other’s containers or in street trash containers as some small businesses do when they don’t want to pay fees on their own to anyone.
    (The recycle bins don’t receive compliance with contents deposited because some people don’t understand written English or Spanish, even if they speak it, and among all the residents, some just don’t care anyway. The passing scavengers, if a violation for illegal conduct is to be enforced, need to be given warnings and then cited fairly and consistently if there is any money to be gained by recycling for the city.)
    If council would act honestly, the reception might be different. The stacking of charges is happening too fast for lots of people, impacting heavily on people like retirees and handicapped and other very low-income people. The needs of the city don’t EVER consider the NEGATIVE impact of unbridled immigration that enticement by city policies foster, and so you don’t even enforce housing code violations caused by over-occupancy, among other things affecting infrastructure. I suspect if cash could be found in high enough numbers, enforcement would follow and at an expedited rate.
    Please listen to the people who take time to travel to City Hall for only 2 minutes of time, while council shows them rudeness in behavior and then runs the measures through anyway. The presentations by council to justify imposition of the increases were simply taking advantage of their superior position to the public. There is no rebuttal offered due to public’s inability to challenge assumptions, theories and conclusions drawn by the council. In the end, the outcome just looks like a predetermined outcome.”
    I always put my name on the emails and actually, it’s only CM Smith who makes any effort to acknowledge me, though be it by form letters.
    All of these fees they enact are irrelevant to their personal economy, as each enjoys the $75,000+/yr. salary, and don’t forget the car and fuel tabs that the CM and staff generate, so any real pinch they might feel is purely fictional.

  4. Robert says:

    Correction on my 8:28 am posting: A small but signicant item in the last paragraph- “$75,000+/yr. salary” should have been “$175,000+/yr. salary”, even though the first number SHOULD be their salary, should public service be truly that, and an even lower figure for them if the salary was “performance-based.”

  5. Sandy Sand says:

    Anyone who says he’s better off today than he was eight years ago is in the employ of the city as an elected official, union member or active gang member pretending not to be and working on anti-gang programs.

  6. The actor Will Smith – what else could you say? Real celebrity; fantastic actor; and great, highly credible communication & presentation skills. And congatulations on the latest role. Awaiting the future picture.

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