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They break the law with impunity, they are cowards and bullies, they treat the public with contempt…Who are they?

EDITOR’S NOTE: As honorary chairman of the Saving L.A. Project, I am going down to City Hall on Wednesday to object to the City Council going behind closed doors to discuss in private what is nothiing but a political fight between Controller Laura Chick and City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo. I hope others will join me in the council chambers to protest this unlawful closed door meeting that is a slap in the public’s face.

Who are they? Your Los Angeles City Council, who else fits that description?

OK, they could be anybody elected to city office in a system that’s so rigged an honest person doesn’t stand a chance and, if they did by some miracle fluke into office, they wouldn’t be able to stay honest very long.

laura.jpg

Here’s the story of the best
political catfight in L.A. in ages — call it “The Tigress vs. The
Rock.” Here’s a City Council that prefers to do business in the dark under
rocks and act like a pussycat in public and this is a story they want to suppress:

City Controller Laura Chick who’s earned a reputation as a maverick crusader
without quite trampling on the tulips of City Hall’s corruption keeps on
demanding City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo get out of her way and let her audit
how he has handled worker compensation cases.

Calling herself “a tigress,” Chick “insinuated that Delgadillo
was trying to block the audit because he feared auditors might find that the
workers’ compensation division, including the hiring or outside attorneys, is
inefficient and wasting taxpayer dollars,” as the Times
put it.

Not to be outdone, Rocky claims she’s intruding illegally on his authority and is up to the kind of “political mischief” she’s
engaged in before. She has nothing but a “personal politically-motivated
purpose” in seeking to conduct the audit, he says..

She said, he said…it started back in March when pro-gang Councilman Tony
Cardenas wanted to derail the mayor’s efforts to take over the city’s failed
gang intervention programs by questioning whether Chick would have the
authority to ever audit the programs success.

Which is funny when you think about it because one of the criticisms of her is
she refused to audit the L.A. Bridges anti-gang program — an audit many
believe would contain explosive revelations.

Rocky quickly issued a legal opinion that controller does not have the
authority to audit programs run by other elected officials because it’s not
explicitly given in the city charter.
That same day, Chick allegedly questioned the legal opinion at an anti-gang
group meeting and followed up by declaring she wanted to audit the workers
compensation program — something that is well-know to be out of control.

Flash forward to Aug. 11, when faced with renewed pressure from Chick, Rocky
filed a complaint in Superior Court seeking a court order backing his position.




Chick
told the Metropolitan News-Enterprise: “What is he afraid of? What doesn’t
he want the public to see?”

Enter
the Council. The very next day Councilman Jack Weiss — the wannabe City
Attorney who has a hard time actually getting to council meetings and casting
votes –  intervened by proposing an emergency motion that has led to
Wednesday’s closed door session intended to make this political quarrel go away
while keeping the public as ignorant as possible.

Weiss, as usual, wasn’t actually at the meeting to introduce his motion or even
vote for it but the courteous Greig Smith did his job for him while Eric
Garcetti and Wendy Greuel, who loathe any public quarreling as much as the mediocrity of their colleagues, felt uncomfortable with the public knowing
what’s going on so they co-sponsored Weiss’ phony effort to play the absentee peacemaker.

The heart of the motion
says: “There appears to be significant confusion as to the intent of both
commissions and the meaning of the language that was ultimately submitted to
the voters in this regard. Legal action between two City elected officials is
an extreme avenue to resolve disputes and spending taxpayer money, including
the hiring of outside counsel for the Controller that would be required if this
litigation proceeds, should be a last resort, All other avenues for resolving
this issue should be explored. It is imperative that the Council receive a
complete briefing from both the City Attorney and Controller and explore
options for resolving this issue in a manner that best serves the public.”

 

Despite some talk about
letting voters decide in the March primary, Councilman Dennis Zine couldn’t
keep his mouth shut about what was really up — headlines that let the public
know just how messed up city government really is. That kind of thing could destroy the whole dirty political machine, bankrupt developers, force workers to earn no more than their worth and lead to actual public servants replacing the self-servers who now hold public office.

 

“It’s fodder for talk
shows, but does it accomplish anything? I don’t think accomplished
anything,” Zine declared.

 

Which brings us to Item 15
on Wednesday’s calendar. The council, refreshed from two weeks of vacation
that included party time in
Denver
for many of them takes up the motion behind closed doors about how to make this
political issue go away by pretending it’s a legal issue.

 

There is no excuse for a
closed door meeting except for the cowardice of the council to stand up in
public and say what they mean.

 

This is a council that
engineers unanimous votes with back room deals, routinely squelches debate on
public controversies, inflicts rules for public meetings on neighborhood
councils that they don’t obey themselves and refuses to listen to the
public’s concerns while pandering to special interests who keep them in jobs that
are better than anything they could earn in the public sector.

 

That’s why I’m going down to
City Hall on Wednesday to challenge the legality of going behind closed doors.

 

Let Delgadillo and Chick
make their case in public.


Let the council debate and discuss it in public.


Let
the public be informed about who — if any of these people — is serving the
public interest and who are tools of a corrupt system that must be reformed.

 

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17 Responses to They break the law with impunity, they are cowards and bullies, they treat the public with contempt…Who are they?

  1. Anonymous says:

    hello

  2. Anonymous says:

    From the Los Angeles City Charter:
    Los Angeles Administrative Code
    Charter
    Volume I Governance
    CONTROLLER
    Sec. 260. Auditor and General Accountant.
    The Controller shall be the auditor and general accountant of the City and shall exercise a general supervision over the accounts of all offices, departments, boards and employees of the City charged in any manner with the receipt, collection or disbursement of the money of the City. The Controller shall be elected as provided in Section 202.
    Sec. 261. Powers and Duties.
    The Controller shall:
    (a) appoint assistants, deputies, clerks and other persons as the Council shall prescribe by ordinance;
    (b) prescribe the method of keeping all accounts of the offices, departments, boards or employees of the City in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, except that any change of the system of accounting shall first be authorized by the Council;
    (c) regularly review the accounting practices of offices and departments and upon finding serious failings in accounting practices, be empowered to take charge of the accounting function, and thereafter assist the office or department in implementing appropriate accounting standards and practices;
    (d) maintain a complete set of accounts which shall be deemed the official books and accounts of the City, which shall show at all times the financial condition of the City, the state of each fund, including funds of departments responsible for managing their own funds, the source from which all money was derived and for what purposes all money has been expended;
    (e) in compliance with generally accepted government auditing standards, audit all departments and offices of the City, including proprietary departments, where any City funds are either received or expended; be entitled to obtain access to all department records and personnel in order to carry out this function; establish an auditing cycle to ensure that the performance, programs and activities of every department are audited on a regular basis, and promptly provide completed audit reports to the Mayor, Council, and City Attorney and make those reports available to the public;
    (f) maintain a reconciliation between the accounts in all offices and departments with the accounts in the Controller’s office, and from time to time, verify the condition of all City funds in the City Treasury, and report to the Mayor and Council thereon;
    (g) allocate among the several respective funds all public money at any time in the City Treasury not otherwise specifically allocated and appropriated by law or ordinance, and promptly notify the Treasurer of the allocation or appropriation;
    (h) report to the Mayor and Council, at times established by law, the condition of each fund, and make other reports as the Mayor or Council requests;
    (i) maintain each fund on a parity with its obligations at all times by transferring from the Reserve Fund as a loan to any fund which may become depleted through tardy receipt of revenues, and upon receipt of revenues sufficient to make an allocation as will restore each fund to parity, retransfer the amount of the loan to the Reserve Fund;
    (j) monitor the level of debt incurred by the City and report periodically to the Mayor and Council on City debt; and
    (k) conduct performance audits of all departments and may conduct performance audits of City programs, including suggesting plans for the improvement and management of the revenues and expenditures of the City. Nothing in this subsection shall preclude the Mayor or Council from conducting management studies or other review of departmental operations.
    Sec. 262. Approval of Demands on Treasury.
    (a) The Controller shall, prior to approval of any demand, make inspection as to the quality, quantity and condition of services, labor, materials, supplies or equipment received by any office or department of the City, and approve before payment all demands drawn upon the Treasury if the Controller has adequate evidence that:
    (1) the demand has been approved by every board, officer or employee whose approval is required by the Charter or ordinance;
    (2) the goods or services have been provided, except that advance payment may be authorized by ordinance for specified categories of goods and services;
    (3) the payment is lawful;
    (4) the appropriation for the goods or services has been made;
    (5) the prices charged are reasonable;
    (6) the quantity, quality and prices correspond with the original specifications, orders or contracts; and
    (7) any additional criteria established by ordinance have been satisfied.
    (b) Notwithstanding subsection (a), the Controller shall delegate to the various offices and departments the duties of inspection of goods and services and approval of demands, in accordance with methods for inspection and approval established by the Controller, but the Controller may suspend the authority delegated pursuant to this subsection upon a finding of abuse of that authority or on a determination that the office or department lacks adequate controls to exercise that authority properly. In the event of suspension of the authority delegated pursuant to this subsection, the Controller shall assist the office or department to achieve adequate controls and standards prior to reinstatement of that authority to the office or department.
    (c) The Controller shall withhold approval of any demand, in whole or in part, if there is a question as to whether it is improper, illegal, or unauthorized, and immediately file a report with the Mayor and Council stating the objections to the demand. The Council shall promptly consider the report and may overrule or sustain the objections of the Controller.
    (d) The Controller shall keep a record of all demands on the Treasury approved by the Controller and of all demands to which objections have been made and overruled.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Laura Chick is grandstanding, is a political hack, pure political posturing for political exposure. IT’S HER JOB TO AUDIT ANY CITY AGENCY THAT RELIES ON THE CITY TREASURY. IF CITY ATTORNEY ISN’T LETTING HER, THE CITY CONTROLLER, TO DO HER JOB THEN TAKE IT TO COURT AND STOP WHINING ABOUT IT.

  4. Anonymous says:

    The City Council certainly has NO BUSINESS IN THIS. MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS, GARCETTI, GREUEL, and WEISS.

  5. Anonymous says:

    First, let’s remember that the City Controller is an officer of the City and whose legal counsel is the City Attorney. Who is she supposed to use to sue the City Attorney who is her attorney?
    Second, Council File 00-0057 will begin to give you an idea of the possible fraud and criminal wrongdoing that outsiders uncovered within the City Attorney’s office and its role in the workers comp program.
    Third, if there’s nothing wrong with the program, the City Attorney should be inviting the whole to look into it.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Wrong, the City Attorney is THE CITY’S ATTORNEY, NOT THE CITY CONTROLLER’S ATTORNEY.
    And, IT’S A CRIMINAL MATTER IF THE CITY ATTORNEY IS INTERFERING WITH AN ELECTED OFFICIAL’S DUTIES. THE CASE WOULD BE HEARD AT THE STATE LEVEL.

  7. Anonymous says:

    And beside, Garcetti, as City Council President, shouldn’t get involved in this. There is an implied influence peddling in this situation regarding Chick’s potential election to Council District 2. It’s common knowledge that Chick is electioneering, and has gone to nearly every Neighborhood Council in CD2. She may run for CD2 and if she wins, anything that is agreed upon, that limited the City Controller’s ability to do her job, is subject to an ethics scrutiny and is subject to perceived corruption.

  8. Anonymous says:

    The NO leadership Council should allow an independent auditor to audit all elected officials on a yearly basis. Angelenos money will be well spent money to keep transparency as transparency is being abused.

  9. Anonymous says:

    “The NO leadership Council should allow an independent auditor to audit all elected officials on a yearly basis. Angelenos money will be well spent money to keep transparency as transparency is being abused.”
    No, definitely NO. If you know anything about audits, you know that they can be as worthless as the requester so desires it to be. An “independent” audit, hired by the City, will result in another one NOT IN ACCORDANCE WITH GENERALLY ACCEPTED FIDUCIARY ACCOUNTING PRINCIPLES. Even if “generally accepted accounting principles are upheld, much can be hidden.
    You need to have a City Controller who is responsible to the constituents, with all the powers to look at and expose any City Agency expenditure. So, all audit duties of the City Controller must be allowed. Undoubtedly, GARCETTI WITH HIS GANG OF CROOKS, are going to try to neuter the authority of the City Controller, and thereby lessen the City’s monitoring of the use of it’s money.

  10. In Eagle Rock says:

    I think too many people are hiding too many things that may be significant. Beyond arguments about “the principle” of audits by the controller, why are there not ALREADY more disclosures ALREADY within the city govenment. If something turns up- as to anyone or any audit- everyone takes cover and points to someone or something else as the culprit.
    Rocky is a sinking ship and there may not be anything out of the ordinary that he may want to keep hidden, but his track record makes me think that’s not the case.
    Even if Chick is going to run for council member, right now she’s the controller. You already know Rocky will get picked up by a firm that he’s had dealings with and his future is financially secure- but the city’s is not.
    Council needs to get on with this and not itself be participants in the non-disclosure activities.
    All part of politics and part of why many new members need to replace them.

  11. Nancy Norris says:

    The City Council uses a false concern over legal fees or the cost of defending a lawsuit very selectively: it seems that on a regular basis many departments of the city have large outlays for outside law firms and attorneys even though the legal services should be provided by the city attorney’s office. This is an issue that needs to be clarified and the cost of counsel for both parties is justified so that this issue is clarified once and for all. In this case, City Council needs to do the right thing, and provide Laura Chick with competent and independent legal counsel so as to clarify the dictates of the City Charter. It is a conflict of interest for Rocky Delgadillo to be counsel of record for the City Attorney’s office, so he needs independent counsel as well. City Council would love to resolve this matter behind closed doors, so that no light is shed on the true intent of the city charter language (as to whether the controller has authority to audit the performance of the worker’s compensation file handling by the city attorneys office.) It is in the best interest of the residents of the city to get a court to answer the question so that this kind of conflict does not arise again–and so if the controllers powers are limited in this regard, residents can take steps to change the charter. Good ethics requires the utmost appearance of avoiding an conflict, and that is why it is inappropriate for city counsel to decide this issue. I know what they are afaid of: that the clear language of the statue will be interpreted to allow the audit and more dirty laundry (probably even greater payouts than expected to outside law firms to do the job the city attorneys office should be doing.)

  12. Anonymous says:

    NN, how is it “fake concern” for the City Council to disapprove of the City Attorney wasting taxpayer money suing another official? Your pointing out that Rocky seems to waste money hiring outside counsel would only support the Council’s concern that he’s fiscally irresponsible — it’s his decision, not theirs, to use outside counsel. In fact, some Councilmembers have suggested he hire more in-house lawyers since that’s a lot cheaper in the long run, but he prefers to do things his way.
    I, for one, think that since Council and Supervisors and the State are all so intent on raising our taxes and issuing billions in bonds (another property tax, in essence), these officials should just sit down and figure out the City Charter — something you’d have thought they’d have done decades ago. Sounds like the Controller has the right to audit all depts., but Rocky’s claiming he’s not a city dept. or some such quibble, so then the language needs to be modified. HOWEVER, people have pointed out that Laura Chick herself hires outside auditors, sometimes to confirm the obvious, so who’s auditing her dept.? That’s where an outside auditor should come into play, maybe bi-annually?

  13. Anonymous says:

    Anonymous 5:43 – You don’t like the phrase “fake concern” in this context? Well, then try “red herring”? How about “bogus argument”? You think it’s a “waste of taxpayer’s money” when one public official sues another to expose the City Attorney’s misuse of funds, while the City Attorney whines and moans about malicious intent? Do think the CIty Controller doesn’t have the obligation to ensure that it’s responsibilities are upheld to the fullest, as the City Controller fully understands it?
    If Laura Chick, the City Controller, is so spineless that she waits for the City Council to decide if she should do her job then she shouldn’t be in office. She’s no tigress, but a lemming.
    BTW, the duplicitious, two-faced ones at the City Council have no need to “figure out the City Charter”, as you say. They are thieves that lie, cheat the public, and pocket the substantial amount of change that falls to the ground, all the while changing the laws of the City, the City Charter, to obscure it’s double dealings.

  14. Anonymous says:

    7:54, it’s the City Atty who’s suing the Controller, not Chick who initiated the suit, so you have it backwards. But since he IS the city’s attorney, Delgadillo has to hire outside counsel and yes, that’s a huge waste of money since then, Chick has to hire outside counsel to rep her — but WE would foot the bill. I get your general anger and mistrust of everyone in the city, but railing at them for trying to save us money for once seems misplaced. To actually urge the both of them to sue each other at our expense because they can’t resolve the conflict otherwise is just illogical.

  15. Anonymous says:

    The following was aired on CSPAN on Sunday, August 31 from the presidential candidate Sen. John McCain and his running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin, campaign in O’Fallon, MO.
    All politicians should implement the below success story from VP nominee Gov. Sarah Palin as a “Best Practice.”
    This was what Gov. Sarah Palin said:
    “In reform, keep the Government focus on the things that matter most. In Alaska what we have done is undertaken a thorough review of the operations of our Government. The guiding principal of reform can simply be stated we want a Government that is COMPETENT and DEPENDABLE and FREE of CORRUPTION and SELF DEALING. We don’t want bigger Government. We want a Government that does a few big things and does them right. And that’s why as Governor of the great State of Alaska I stood up to the old politics as usual and took a special interest to the lobbyists, to the big oil influence, and to the good old boy network. As Senator John McCain noted I came into office causing major ethics reform. I pledge to end the culture of corruption in and around the capitol and to put the people first in the affairs of our Government. And today that ethics reform is now the law in the state of Alaska.”

  16. Anonymous says:

    Anonymous 8:21 AM:
    “7:54, it’s the City Atty who’s suing the Controller, not Chick who initiated the suit, so you have it backwards. But since he IS the city’s attorney, Delgadillo has to hire outside counsel and yes, that’s a huge waste of money since then, Chick has to hire outside counsel to rep her — but WE would foot the bill. I get your general anger and mistrust of everyone in the city, but railing at them for trying to save us money for once seems misplaced. To actually urge the both of them to sue each other at our expense because they can’t resolve the conflict otherwise is just illogical.”
    Actually 8:21: No, I don’t think that you’re getting anything right. Laura Chick is obligated to direct herself and her staff as City Controller without disruption by the City Attorney. If the City Attorney does not comply to her auditor requests, it’s a criminal matter against the City Attorney. The City Controller needs to request that the State Attorney General file a criminal lawsuit against the the City Attorney.
    Do you believe criminal behavior should be condoned and ignored? Do you still believe that the City Attorney needs to act as the defendant and prosecutor when it is he that would be charged with a crime? Or maybe you’re slowly, beginning to understand.

  17. gregory says:

    I thought Laura Chich was planning to run for Jack Weiss’s CD 5 seat on the City Council, that’s assuming that the Prop R review doesn’t go well. If she isn’t going for the 5th, who will be the favorite?

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