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NAKED CITY, a daily news report

Who the hell do you people think you are questioning the mayor of Los Angeles…this isn’t some small town out in the desert somewhere

An interesting study by UCLA Law Professor Gary Blasi casts doubt about whether the mayor’s highly-touted plan to blanket skid row with cops was worth it in terms of crime reduction.

“Importantly, our study shows there was no
statistically significant effect on serious, violent crime in Skid Row,
with the exception of a
Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for nakedcity.jpg very small effect as to the crime of robbery,”
Biasi tell the Daily News.

What he found was that the 50 extra cops pulled off patrol from all around the city has resulted in roughly 50 less robberies — one per cop — and that crime in other categories was down to the same degree it is everywhere in the city He also suggests that more people actually living in homes downtown and “walking on the streets…serves to deter crime” among the homeless.

Fair enough but that kind of talk gets under Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s skin and doesn’t help him in his one-issue quest for a coronation instead of an election in March.

“The Blasi report plays games with the numbers
in order to achieve a desired outcome and totally ignores the real
progress made on the streets,” Szabo said. “A 60 percent drop in
homicides might not be ‘significant’ to some in the academic world, but
it’s a life-and-death issue for the residents of Skid Row.

“The mayor makes no apologies whatsoever for slashing violent crime in a neighborhood which had been neglected for decades.”

Speaking of getting under people’s skin…I don’t know why former Mayor Jim Hahn gets so angry whenever I say something

So there I was downtown at City Hall Thursday morning participating in a panel on charter reform, part of the L.A. Chamber of Commerce’s L.A. Access program that attracted about 500 people.

George Kieffer, the attorney and former Chamber head who somehow got charter reform through a political thicket a decade ago, moderated the discussion with UC Irvine Law School Dean Erwin Chemerinsky, SEIU leader Julie Butcher, City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo, Neighborhood Empowerment GM BongHwan Kim, Hahn and myself.

The others had a generally positive take on charter reform while acknowledging some problems depending on their point of view. Not being able to control myself as usual, I called it “a disaster” but said it was worth the price because it sparked a grassroots democracy movement for the first time in L.A. history.

Suddenly, the man sitting next to me, Hahn, exploded. I don’t know why I seem to get under his skin. Perhaps, it was the occasional criticisms I offered in the Daily News of his lackluster leadership as mayor and the fact it had something to do with his achieving the impossible — losing a re-election bid.

Here’s how Dave Zahniser in the Times saw it: 

“Always more of a politician than Hahn, Kaye worked the populist themes
that he had embraced for years, describing city government as
systemically corrupt…’The city has never had democratic institutions in its whole history. It’s been ruled by narrow elites from Day One.’

“That was too much for Hahn, who rolled his eyes and audibly groaned. ‘We haven’t had democratic institutions in the city of Los Angeles?’ he
asked, incredulous.

“After staying quiet a few more minutes, Hahn spoke up: ‘I think I’m
a living example of how democracy works. I was denied a second term. If we didn’t have democracy, I probably wouldn’t be on this
panel.’”

I could have made a crack about how having a father named Kenny Hahn who was L.A.’s most popular and well-connected politician for 40 years helped but I’m too much of a gentleman.

An hour later I was at the Justice Armand Arabian public service awards banquet where I was being honored along with such truly deserving people as Gerald Turpanjian, Jayne Shapiro, Greg Baker, Greig Smith, Tommy Lasorda and Daryl Gates.

Now, if there’s anyone in L.A. public life who has reason to be unforgiving of my wicked ways, it’s the former police chief. My attacks on his chief-for-life status and the excesses of the old LAPD started back in the early 80s at the Herald-Examiner and kept up to the day he was forced from office.

But time can heal all wounds and we shook hands and chatted a while as if we were old friends.

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5 Responses to NAKED CITY, a daily news report

  1. Anonymous says:

    Great story! And it sounds like you had fun, too! I appreciate you!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Los Angeles to get $50 million in federal foreclosure relief (Los Angeles Times, 9/26/2008)
    Plans call for using the money to buy foreclosed homes and turn them into affordable housing.
    By Jessica Garrison, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
    10:11 AM PDT, September 26, 2008
    The city and county of Los Angeles will receive about $50 million, and possibly more, in foreclosure relief from the federal government, officials announced today.
    The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has set aside nearly $4 billion for such relief, and the state of California will receive more than $500 million of the total, said HUD Secretary Steve Preston.
    The city plans to use the money to buy foreclosed homes, fix them up (in some cases adding bedrooms and bathrooms) and turn them into affordable housing, officials said.
    jessica.garrison@latimes.com

  3. Anonymous says:

    Ms Garrison – How does this affect the zoning laws which when first decided upon organized neighborhoods so that their dream home would be surrounded by mechanic’s shops, beer joints, Home Depots, stone quarrys, etc,? That was a big change in attitudes for those days and was a big fight. It turned out to be a successful idea and did help beautify the city. By the way, it was advanced thinking and was adapted across the country. City planners not councils had the say. Where are today’s city planners?
    No. This cannot be. If a massive change like is to be made at least ask the citizens what they think. This is our city, remember?????
    But thank you for trying “to set me straight” but no thanks. I am not buying your explanation of what is a good idea because it is definitely very poor.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Sorry – soning laws prevented dream homes FROM being surrouded by gas stations etc., anyone who owned property could do what they wished with it.
    Zoning by City Planners was a big fight but it finally took place and is a good thing. The city looks better, people are able to enjoy real neighbors instead of some business or other. Gang members stand out and therefore stay away, so the area is safer.
    Just buying homes anywhere and turning them into tenement style housing is not something that I think people want and this just happens to be OUR CITY. The Pols are not to be dictators. Believe me, you might just be glad for a safe place to rear a family without moving to the mid-west. Noone is deliberately made to be homeless or poor, but there is welfare already to help them out. But upper-poor people who are able to keep a job and pay their bills which they keep manageable should be congratulated on not being a burden on anyone else.

  5. a cd-14 person says:

    Other than the first post, the others don’t address the thread, or there is some deep “between the lines” interpretation going on.
    The panelists you mentioned have their own interests involved and good old Tony will thrive on statistics that support him or that he can construct to look that way. However, bring the statistics to erode his position and conclusions and then they suddenly are incorrectly used.
    The truth here is that Tony V. has put a lot of money into the LAPD plan to reach 1,000 officers during his term- hence the lightspeed acceleration of the step-ups on trash fees to maximum- and they he has ONE significant claim to show when he enters the governor’s race. His deployment of police through the subordinate and ever-cooperative Chief HAS to accomplish what he says it does. But get out the accountant, Tony, and tell us the cost of this experiment on Skid Row.
    By the way, Special Order 40 if fine for Tony. He said there is no reason to change it. Not even Jamiel’s Law rates an evaluation as having a crime fighting impact. Would that save lives as he talks about that aspect in his Skid Row police presence? And would that impact last somewhat longer than the time spent by that deployment he is so proud of?
    Jim Hahn is not happy with your criticism? Hahn is seriously out of touch with things, and that was pretty much how he acted while in office, kind of like on a tape-delay in his reaction to things going on in the city. Tony V. does things way different, getting to stories nearly before they happen by creating stunt photo opps, and ready to go before the cameras arrive. All is show for Tony. He lacks substance, good character and even the appearance of honesty.
    The current city council members, most of them at least, remind me of the Randy Cunningham situation, but without the actual menu for services.
    The whole thing is effectively a closed shop where only those with monied interests backing them care to run for office. Might makes right in L.A., not the other way around.
    That is due for a change. A little work at coordinating the scattered souls interested in this can make it happen.

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