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