Read This and Weep: The City of L.A. Is Worse Than a Slumlord

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, through his in-house attorney, accused the federal  housing authorities of a “capricious” and politically-motivated decision to end a contract with the city that helped provide healthcare centers at housing projects, summer job programs for at-risk youths and housing and services for poor people.

“The hasty decision to implement this dramatic policy change in the last days of a presidential administration raises serious questions about the motivation behind the change,” said Thomas Saenz, counsel to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. He added that given the city’s current financial circumstances, it would be “extremely hard if not impossible” to make up the nearly $8 million in lost funds.

So the city filed a lawsuit Monday.

That in any case is how the L.A. Times tells the story, noting at the end that “also on Monday, in an unrelated move, HUD’s inspector general released a report that said nearly two-thirds of the apartment units inspected by auditors in its Section 8 program did not meet minimum standards.”

In fact, the city isn’t suing to make sure the poor get badly needed services. The $8 million was for administrative overhead and the city is seeking a temporary restraining order because HACLA, the Housing Authority of the City of L.A., desperately needs the money because it’s in such a mess financially.

And worse, much worse, the Inspector General report is as damning a document as you’ll every read with photos, charts and tables showing just what kind of slum housing conditions the city is responsible for.

To see if HACLA boss Rudy Montiel — undoubtedly America’s highest paid public servant with an income from serving the poor of more than $400,000 — had improved after two bad years of audits, HUD came back and looked at 68 statistically selected units and found 43 did not meet minimum federal housing standards.

And they weren’t just a little below standard. The 43 units had 318 deficiencies — one with 39 deficiencies alone. And there’s aren’t small things. They are the stuff of slums and slumlords, filthy and unsafe conditions, plumbing in disrepair, lack of security and on and on.

In all 134 of those deficiencies existed before HACLA inspectors did their last inspections which were so poor they found only four of the 134 deficiencies.

HUD warns that the city stands to lose $65 million unless it brings these units up to standard and fixing its inspection program. Just a couple of months ago, HUD demanded the HACLA pay back more than $27 million for its incompetence.

Montiel dismisses the HUD findings without really engaging them but he seems to have the mayor’s ear. 

Instead of being sickened to find out that HACLA allows landlords to get away with slum conditions, Villaraigosa goes into court with accusations that HUD’s attack on this long controversial agency and its controversial leader is a Republican dirty trick.

Does he think President-elect Barack Obama will tolerate slum conditions on property owned, operated or overseen by the City of Los Angeles when a Republican administration won’t?

Does he actually know what’s going on in the housing agency he is responsible for or what the conditions are in these units or what the report says or where the nearly $400 million HUD funnels through HACLA every year goes?

All over Los Angeles, residents complain about the city’s failure to enforce housing laws, how it tolerates slum conditions and overcrowding and substandard conditions and how there aren’t anywhere near enough Building and Safety inspectors to make a dent in the problem.

That’s a terrible thing but it’s nothing compared to the city housing programs themselves, funded by the taxpayers to help the poor, providing nothing but slum conditions in two-thirds of the units.

I’m not sure which is worse: The mayor not knowing what a poor job HACLA is doing when he talks so much about helping the poor or that he does know and chooses for whatever reasons to cover up HACLA’s failures.

What I do know for sure is that a city that allows these conditions to persist year after year is worse than a slumlord. And if the mayor and the leadership of the city won’t do anything about it, then maybe it’s up to the feds to start digging into who’s profiting on these federal dollars at the expense of the poor.

100 Days to Change L.A. — The Jack Weiss Story

March 3 City Primary

100  Days and Counting

You got to feel for poor Jack Weiss. He gave up an undistinguished career as a government lawyer and somehow beat the famous carpetbagger ex-radical Tom Hayden in a race for the City Council.

And barely a week after being sworn into 656456456.jpgpublic office as one of the lucky 15 highest paid city council members in all of America, he admitted he didn’t really know why he was there, saying, “Ron, I have to tell you how happy I am just to be sitting around the horseshoe.”

Trouble was he often found himself not sitting around the horseshoe when city business was being and chalked up what must be a record for missed votes. To his credit, he hasn’t just skipped out on controversial votes that might upset his constituents, he missed hundreds of routine and insignificant ones as well.

Given the advantage of incumbency — the odds of unseating a sitting member are something like 50 to 1 — he easily won re-election four years ago.

But he was smart. He jumped aboard Antonio Villaraigosa’s bandwagon early on and curried favor that now has him the front-runner to become the City Attorney with a handsome campaign warchest of more than $1.5 million donated by the many friends of City Hall politics.

Of course, his constituents took a shot at recalling him from office for his many failures to serve them or look after their interests and it’s likely that voters in Fifth District on the Westside and Sherman Oaks would make him the 1 in 50 if he tried to seek a third term in office.

The reasons for constituency discontent are many: Neglect of his duties, staff arrogance, developer interests ahead of neighborhood interests.

Right now, they’re furious.over Weiss’ plan to raid $250,000 from their street furniture fund to pay for DNA rape testing kits. This is money that’s supposed to go for neighborhood improvements to compensate for the annoyance of all that advertising but Weiss desperately needs the money to cover up the fact that he hasn’t been able to get city funds for something this important despite years of trying.

Still, you got to give hm credit. Weiss is right about this issue and some others and probably should make that his campaign slogan: Weiss Is Right.

Weiss is the only council member to stand up to the billboard companies and their dirty deal with the city that let’s put up 1,000 digital monstrosities all over town and he’s stood alone week after week holding hearings to get money for DNA testing of rape samples.

Trouble is Weiss doesn’t get anything done even when he’s right. He’s got no clout with his colleagues and even his sucking up the mayor doesn’t help.

So his well-qualified challengers Carmen Trutanich and Michael Amerian might come up with the slogan: Jack Can’t Hack It .

Still, nothing is going to stop Weiss from pursuing his ambition. He took his campaign on the road Wednesday for his annual visit with his constituents in the San Fernando Valley.

Here’s a report on evening with the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association by Ellen Vukovich, a writer and leader of SOHA:

“My City Council Member, Jack Weiss, made his yearly visit to the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association.  Anticipating a briefing on all things Sherman Oaks from our Council Member, the large room was filled with interested community members and various candidates running for city offices.

“Weiss opened with a quick stump speech subtly reminding us that he is running for City Attorney.

“Figuring this was just the warm-up, I was stunned when Weiss then asked for questions.  Why didn’t he have more to say? 

“Then my “a ha” moment came.  Weiss couldn’t say more because he realized the level of hostility in the room was so high there was no point in continuing.  Now, the audience wasn’t shouting, heckling or booing. They communicated by nodding their heads in disagreement, by crossing their arms at their chests, and by looking over to others with a look in their eyes that said: “Is this guy kidding or what?”

“And the funny thing is no matter what he had to say in response to the questions (and some of it was okay), the people were conveying the same message.  “You represent a failed local government and we no longer believe what you say.”

“Today, I have chatted with a few fellow activists about last night’s interesting meeting, Turns out we think this meeting really wasn’t about Jack Weiss. It was about sitting in a room with a bunch of people who are clearly tired of business as usual downtown and let their feelings be known to their elected official.

“I must confess this has stirred a dormant hope.  Dare I believe that people will hold on to that anger and vote out all incumbents in March’s city election?

“Clearly, we have work ahead by spreading the word and making sure our friends, neighbors  understand what’s at stake next March – the City Attorney, Controller and eight City Council seats. eight makes a quorum in City Council. And with eight new Council Members we will have hope again in Los Angeles, not just in Washington D.C.”

Personally, I love Ellen’s enthusiasm and we do need hope. We need to change L.A. I don’t honestly know if we can win eight seats on the council.

But I do know if we let Antonio’s political machine control the offices of Mayor, City Attorney and Controller and the City Council we might as well turn out the lights and start packing.

Vote for Change. Just Say No to Antonio’s political machine on March 3.

DWP Commission gets a new head in time for a March ballot fight over solar energy plan

San Fernando Valley attorney and civic leader Lee Kanon Alpert was appointed by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to be president of the Department of Water and Power Board of Commissioners, the Valley Business Journal reported.

Alpert takes over for Nick Patsaouras who resigned to alpert_sm.jpgrun for City Controller after attempting to create a Ratepayer Advocate office within the massive publicly-owned utility — an effort that ran into stiff opposition from the mayor and others in City Hall and was rejected by a majority of the commission.

Councilman Jose Huizar has proposed a similar watchdog position. Community groups organized by Soledad Garcia, head of the DWP’s Neighborhood Council Committee and the ad hoc DWP oversight committee, strongly support the Ratepayer Advocate as needed to restore the DWP’s credibility and protect the public..

Alpert, a partner in Alpert, Barr &
Grant in Encino and member of the regional governing board of
Providence Health Systems, is a long-time civic leader in the Valley and winner of the Fernando Award for volunteerism.

“You feel like you are participating when you can be heard on issues that are vital to the survival of the city,” Alpert said.

Long-time public discontent about sweetheart deals with the IBEW, the union representing all but the top management of the utility, and lax contracting practices were exacerbated in recent years by a series of water and power hikes at the same time that power outages and other breakdowns in the aging infrastructure were occurring.

The DWP now is the battleground in the March 3 primary election because of a so-called “solar energy and job creation” ballot measure that would put virtually the entire city effort to expand the use of solar energy in the hands of the utility.

Critics point out DWP workers are paid far more and have costlier benefits than those in private sector and the measure was rushed to the ballot for political reasons without study, cost estimates and clear details.

Breaking Point: Taxes, Cuts or Bankruptcy

All across California, cities and counties are
frantically scrambling to find new sources of revenue even as they look
at ways of cutting public spending.– and bankruptcy looms as the best
alternative for some overburdened by debt.

state government, paralyzed by political and philosophical conflict,
remains at loggerheads over whether to triple vehicle license fees and
increase the sales tax by nearly 20 percent or slash spending on public

Even as President-elect
Barack Obama has inspired much of the nation with hope for real change,
the federal government is bailing out banks, insurers and others with
$700 billion and looking at spending a whole lot more to save the auto
industry and stimulate the economy with massive public works spending,
aid to states and local government and tax cuts to ordinary folks.

It’s a case of irreconcilable differences, a zero sum game that defies all logic.

Go to NBC Los Angeles for the rest of the story.

Why Can’t Antonio Be More Like … Mayor Bloomberg

Two weeks ago, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg bloomberg.jpgannounced a plan for $1.5 billion in budget cuts to help the city deal with its soaring deficit that could reach $4 billion over the next two years..

Today in L.A., the task was left to Ray Ciranna, the interim City Administrative Officer, to outline a plan to cut spending on libraries, the zoo, tree trimming, new police cars, left-hand turn signals and hiring in the City Attorney’s and Controller’s office.

Those cuts would only save $55 million, half the current deficit, and not make a dent in the $400 million shortfail for next year — both low-ball estimates of how serious the  city’s money problems really are.

So you ask why was this left to acting budget numbers guy? Where was Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa? Isn’t this a crisis that calls for bold leadership?

It’s not like Villaraigosa isn’t aware of the problem. He was briefed on the crisis and did issue a statement which said “immediate and dramatic budget adjustments” are needed but it’s not his job to take the heat..

“The revenue picture for the city is grim, and it is nearly certain to get worse before it gets better,” Villaraigosa said..

In contrast, Bloomberg stuck his neck out and is feeling political heat because he wants to cancel a promised $400 rebate to taxpayers, cut 1,000 police positions and raise the city income tax by as much as 15 percent.

In L.A. the solution to a dire budget crisis is to stop buying library books to save $1.45 million out of a $79 million library budget and $800,000 from tree trimming.

Here’s more items from the LATimes report:
* $1 million from the crossing guards program — a 20 percent reduction.
* $650,000 less for installing left-turn arrow signals.
* $1.92 million from the LAPD’s plan to older squad cars. The city had budgeted $4.3 million to replace 118 black-and-whites but 53 older cars will stay in service.
* Transferring $1.14 million from a Los Angeles Zoo trust fund — money set aside for the long-delayed Golden Monkey exhibit.

I know the detailed savings don’t come close to adding up to $55 million but you get the gist of the penny-pinching proposals that do nothing about the overspending problem.

There’s also that favorite cash cow, the Department of Water and Power which is overflowing with cash from all its rate increases so you be sure those funds will be raided and the infrastructure allowed to continue to rot.

It will be amusing to see the council grapple with this and to see if they actually pay attention to the details supply an overall vision for the city’s economic future.

That would entail bringing up the problem which is the payroll and benfits costs of the city are out of whack with the city’s financial reality. Police and Fire unions already are demanding the same 5.9 percent raises DWP workers just got and the city still is paying for every type of community event even though they said they would stop.

L.A. doesn’t have a revenue problem. It has a spending problem. Taxes, rates and fees have gone up and up to the point that there’s nothing left to tax. You can see City Hall can’t find anything else to cut much.

So that leaves the one place where spending has gotten out of control: Wage and benefit costs. But to stand up to the unions would take political courage and require the mayor to take a stand where he’s the Mayor of City Hall or the Mayor of Los  Angeles.

Bloomberg took a stand in New York. He ordered the heat turned down in city buildings to save fuel costs and when criticized for it, responded: “Wear a sweater if you’re chilly.”

Council members accuse Boomberg of taking a “let them eat cake” attitude. But his taken a stand in public and facing the criticism.

In L.A., it’s just the opposite. City Hall’s attitude to the people is “let them eat cake” and the mayor is invisible on the subject of what must be done.

Captive City: The Charade of Democracy in L.A. — Put That Up on a Digital Billboard

In the amazing debate over what to do about poor Billy the Elephant, one Council member after another got up and admitted they didn’t know what they were doing two years ago when they approved spending $40 million or so on a new pachyderm exhibit at the L.A. Zoo.

And even more incredibly, they were still in the billboard3.jpgdark after all these years of plans and reports and discussions what their  options are so they put off a decision for another day.

We’re talking here about the nation’s highest paid municipal officials at more than $170,000 a year with vast staffs of 20 which puts them in a class with the chairs of major congressional committees and they stand up in public and admit they don’t know what they’re doing.

If only it was about one elephant. But it’s the truth about everything they do. They don’t know, they don’t care. They take orders from unions, lobbyists and special interests and all their efforts are focused on manipulating the politics of every situation to their own advantage.

And that usually means keeping the public as ignorant as possible and as fragmented as possible because when the people actually know what’s going and unite, the council crumbles and runs for cover to avoid accountability.

Christine Pelisek
in the LA Weekly puts one of a hundred issues like this under the microscope in a long and devastating dissection of how the city came to be taken over by digital billboards — an assault on our visual sense of place that is only exceeded by the foolhardy rush to trash every neighborhood with more and taller buildings as if densification will improve the quality of life for anyone other than those who profit from it.

She traces how the city won its case in courtagainst the billboard companies and how City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo worked out a settlement that allowed these scofflaws to remove some of their illegal billboards — a fraction of the 4,000 they put up without permits — in exchange for putting up nearly 1,000 giant electronic signs that flash new messages every few seconds. The council approved the deal — no questions asked — within days unanimously.

“Each new sign is capable of pulling in $735,000 in annual gross ad revenue, with a top monthly intake of $128,000 for a single heavily booked, LED display,” Pelisek reports.

?Thanks to the Council’s action, signed several days later without any challenge by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the huge billboard firms stand to reap a windfall of up to $1 billion in ad revenue each year from the 800-plus digital displays, according to L.A. Weekly calculations.

“City Hall’s take for granting this crass new form of clutter: about $100 per billboard…elected leaders paint a picture of confusion and ignorance that led to their 2006 unanimous vote to grant broad new rights to the digital-ad companies. Some City Council members, seven of whom, along with Villaraigosa, are seeking re-election March 3, say they have no recollection of why they agreed to the dramatic digital makeover of the city’s streets.”

Here’s what Councilman Tom LaBonge has to say: “I am looking at my daily calendar for that day. I don’t recall it being a lengthy discussion at all…We just took it, and obviously many of us regret it. It seems like this city has never had a successful strategy with billboards.”

And Councilman Dennis Zine: “I can’t recall back that far. When we discussed digital, I don’t think anyone had a clear idea of what it was about. It was new to me…I don’t know if any of us saw how bright they would be. It’s a whole new world. I had never seen it before, so I don’t know how we would have known what it is. I thought it would be one advertisement on the board.”

And Council President Eric Garcetti:  “It was probably a mistake…It was a really bad decision…There is no massive conspiracy of billboard companies owning Council members…I don’t want to make too many excuses…you have to rely on your lawyers.”

Amnesia, ignorance, bad legal advice — but nobody is making excuses.

It isn’t just Billy or billboards. It’s the open slather policy on development with the full intent of denying a say to residents of the city that’s just like this. It’s the solar energy plan that enriches the IBEW and their own campaign coffers that was approved without examining the implications of a policy that will cost the public a fortune and slow expansion of green energy and the development of a major industry in L.A.

It’s everywhere you look. Call it incompetence, call it criminal.

The point is the same: They spent special interest money to trick the public into giving them a third term when they have forfeited their right to be our leaders. And they have locked up their re-election in March with the same dirty money — thousands of times more than their challengers can raise.

We are held captive by them even as they sell out the public interest to special interests. We can elect agents for change to City Attorney and the Controller offices. We can reject every measure they put on the ballot. We can organize and mobilize into a unified force and change the system and hold them accountable.

Or we can sit back in our apathy and defeatism and let the amnesiacs and ignoramuses and crooks decide the future of our city.

Photos by Ted Soqui in the LA Weekly.

Sign of the Times: Art Bubble Bursts, Broad Goes His Own Way, NYT gets scoop

The art world isn’t my beat, the news is so I couldn’t help but notice the NYTimes had a lengthy story on the front of its culture section today on Eli Broad deciding he’ll build his own museum in Beverly Hills to display his vast collection. The LA Times had a short story on page 8 of its culture section atop a bunch of movie listings.

That doesn’t reflect the LAT’s not seeing the broad.jpgsignificance of this story among the culturati. It simply was beaten on the story and was catching up late in the day and had no place better to put it — except on the paper’s front page in place of the story about the transgender mayor of a small Oregon town.

No brainer. There’s lots of signs the Times they are a changin’ whether it’s the demoralizing impact of one round of layoffs after or another, the new leadership team or  confusion/resistance to demands from owner Sam Zell for change.

The story earlier in the week by the Dave Zahniser, normally a terrific and tough reporter, is a case in point. It heaped unending praise on Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa for his Oscar-worthy performances in front of the TV cameras during the recent spate of catastrophes as if such symbolic roles was all that is expected of him like the Queen of England.

There’s lots of other examples of hackneyed journalism these days in the LAT.

No doubt papers get scooped all the time but the LAT has long owned the Eli Broad beat. He is the richest, most influential, most civic-minded philanthropist in town and except for one piece mocking his art collection as mediocre, the paper has always treated him and his interests in a flattering and largely uncritical manner.

In the art world of L.A. where MOCA is in serious financial trouble and LACMA losing support because of the impact on the wealthy of the nation’s economic crisis, the news that Broad has finally made up his mind about building his own museum is a big story.

The NYT got the story by getting hold a letter Broad’s lawyer sent last month to Beverly Hills officials. The story probably was on the Internet already when the LAT started to play catchup by calling the head of the Broad Art Foundation, Joanne Heyler, who confirmed that the top site is at the busy corner where Santa Monica and Wilshire Boulevards meet.

For once, my point isn’t to pick on the LATimes, which didn’t bother to mention the NYTimes had the story first. It goes to the transformation of the world of news and information.

To the consumers of news and information, it doesn’t matter at all where they find out what’s going on.

The NBC Los Angeles website I blog for is built around that idea, using items of interest to L.A. no matter where the story comes from whether it’s corporate media, its own content, blogs or whatever. Its goal is to be a one-stop site for L.A. news.

I’m developing a site called OURLA.ORG as a non-profit website for community and political news and conversation for the entire city — a sort of Valley News meets Facebook meets Huffington Post.

The business model and form of corporate journalism is broken and the industry hasn’t come close to figuring out a new way of  doing business.

The result is a creative opportunity for Internet startups to fill the void left by the shrinking corporate meda. There will  be an explosion of such effort in the next few years and for the activist community of L.A. to come together and set the agenda for news and information and community connection.

L.A. Zoo Story: Save Billy the Elephant, Save L.A.

With time on my hands and laid up with a heavy cold, I spent four hours listening to dozens of honest citizens make their case why elephants belong in the wide open spaces of a sanctuary and not in zoo — and others who believe the $42 million elephant exhibit will be a wonderful habitat and enhance the L.A Zoo as a public asset.

They had their own experts and advocates.billy.jpg They each offered a compelling logic to their view. They all shared their concern for poor lonely Billy the Elephant who spends a quarter of the day neurotically nodding his head.

I don’t have an elephant in this race. I don’t know enough about it. I see validity in both sides’ positions.

What I do know is that the City Council of this city doesn’t know a whole lot more than I do despite having listened to this debate for years and having approved the elephant project two years ago. And here they were spending four hours listening to the public and debating each before sending the whole controversy to Bernard Parks’ Budget and Finance Committee to find out a few basic facts.

Not that they don’t already know that $12 million is already spent on the zoo project and the rest of the money will pretty much all have to spent for another exhibit even if the let Billy go to some far off place. And then there’s the cost of what some council members feel is a desperately needed 100-acre elephant sanctuary within the city limits or seeing live elephants will be the privilege of the affluent few.

Frankly, most of what the council members said was pure nonsense, posturing by Tony Cardenas for the “Free Billy” people and by Tom LaBonge for the L.A. Zoo lovers.

Only Herb Wesson made any sense at all, wondering about whether his colleagues or the impassioned public care as much about what happens to all the Billy the kids of the city, too many of whom are running wild on the streets and end up imprisoned like Billy the Elephant.

He noted that he and his colleagues didn’t spend anywhere near four hours debating the gang tax or gang policy for that matter. He could have added how they approved a boondoggle of a solar energy plan for the March ballot without knowing anything about it except that it would enrich the DWP union and their own campaign coffers.

You can go through all the major policies of this city — planning and development, traffic congestion community empowerment and most of all how the spectacular increase in city revenue in the past five years turned into a massive deficit — and you would see the same thing.

It’s all politics, a sleazy game of self-advantage and self-aggrandizement,  a deception of the public.

And the result is they find Billy the Elephant the kind of issue to spend their time on even as a generation of children are lost to gangs, neighborhoods are overwhelmed by over-development, congestion gets worse, basic laws on housing go unenforced, roads and sidewalks are broken and the infrastructure is aging.

All the while the public is gouged for higher rates, taxes and fees.

Maybe those who think Billy the Elephant belongs in a sanctuary far away have got it right. Surely, the tens of thousands Billy the Grownups who have left the city over the last two decades to find sanctuary in Oregon, Washington, Nevada and Arizona think so.

UPDATE: Mobile Home Park Safety

Which Way, L.A.? on KCRW at 7 p.m. tonight
Fire Safety and Mobile Homes
WED NOV 19, 2008
Host:    * Warren Olney

People in mobile-home parks have complained for years they are second-class citizens unprotected by the same codes and regulations as other residents of California. After the loss of hundreds of mobile homes this week, officials from the Governor on down are promising to find out what needs to be done and what authority they have to do it. On Reporter’s Notebook, has the Governor’s Global Climate Summit produced concrete results?

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for glennbell.jpg
    * Glenn Bell: President, Neighborhood Friends
    * Zev Yaroslavsky: Los Angeles County Supervisor
    * Chris Anderson: Director for Field Operation, California Department of Housing

UPDATE: Chick vs. Delgadillo

Councilman Tom LaBonge introduced a motion Tuesday to revive the question of putting the issue of the City Controller’s authority to conduct performance audits of elected officials on May ballot — seven weeks when the official tally won’t be complete until a few weeks before they Controller Laura Chick and City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo leave office.

That did not sit well with Chick who issued this statement:

“They have got to be kidding.  I pulled my performance audit of the City
Attorney’s workers compensation program  in good faith in August because of the
Council’s promise to put this before the voters in March.  The Council sat on
the issue for three months and at the last minute decided not to give the voters
the opportunity to clarify this important issue.  The time for inaction and game
playing has passed.   I will do everything in my power to pursue  this
performance audit and a resolution on the City Controller’s ability to 
scrutinize the use of  hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars and to push for
greater transparency.

“I have no confidence, given this second chance, that the City Council will act
to put this issue before the voters.  What the City Attorney and Council are
actually doing is finding every way to stall and run the clock till I’m out of
office on July 1st.

“This is now a fight between the people of Los Angeles and their government.  I
will not back away from this fight, This is a battle that must be won for the
taxpayer bringing full transparency and accountability to government.”