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Forget Ethics Reform:Video Cameras, Bugs and Wiretaps Are the Way to Clean Up City Hall

Sometimes a great notion comes from unexpected places like the answer to rampant pay-to-play dealing in City Hall comes from inside City Hall itself.

In an effort to prevent Metrolink train engineers from text messaging on their cell phones when they should be watching the signals and the track, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s point man to clean up the mess wants to have video cameras installed in the locomotive cabs so we can keep an eye on what’s going on.

“We’re talking about the ability to look into a [locomotive] cab in
real time and see what’s happening,” said Metrolink board member
Richard Katz, who Villaraigosa put on the
panel after the deadly Sept. 12 crash in Chatsworth.

I’m all for saving lives and for saving the city, too.

Think of how much better off we’d all be if video cameras were installed in the back rooms at City Hall where all the deals are cooked, where the City Council members get their marching orders on how to best serve the people who matter: Lobbyists, consultants, contractors, public employee unions.

Why before long, we’d be seeing the ambitious if listless Jack Weiss turning straight to the camera and saying, “No, I won’t do you favors no matter how much cash you contribute to my campaign for City Attorney.”

Or we might see the mayor himself declaring: “Sorry, it sounds like a fabulous party with fine wines, great food and beautiful women but I’m busy reading Jane Usher’s 14-point program for planning a great city for the people who live and work here. Policy is more important than politics partying.”

And just to make sure they don’t stray off camera we could try what worked in Illinois to catch the governor selling Barack Obama’s Senate seat and wiretap and bug their offices.

Saving the lives of Metrolink passengers is important but so is saving the quality of life in the city.

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6 Responses to Forget Ethics Reform:Video Cameras, Bugs and Wiretaps Are the Way to Clean Up City Hall

  1. Anonymous says:

    Candid Camera for Channel 35?
    Can you imagine how much money could be raised if they sold tapes or CDs, or it was Saturday night “pay-per-view”?
    Rosendahl is always looking for gold in the gutter. Maybe he’ll be the host?

  2. Anonymous says:

    L.A.’s New Mayor, Tony Villar
    Patrick Mallon
    Wednesday, June 8, 2005
    Who Is the New Mayor?
    For starters, Mr. Villaraigosa’s real name is Tony Villar. He was born Antonio Villar; the name is a combination of his birth name and that of his second wife, Connie Raigosa. No big deal; many people change their names. But a routine search of Tony Villar illustrates that almost no mainstream media source has dared touch an apparently sensitive body of accumulated history.
    According to the Los Angeles Times, which endorsed Villaraigosa: “A Mexican American child of City Terrace, a largely immigrant community on Los Angeles’ Eastside, Villaraigosa was raised by his mother after his father abandoned the family. He grew up in poverty and has said he saw his father beating his mother.
    “After bouncing in and out of high school, he went on to graduate from UCLA and earn a law degree at People’s College of Law.”
    While the report creates a positive impression, it’s also grossly misleading. He bounced in and out of UCLA too, arriving in 1972 from East L.A. Community College and leaving in 1975, without graduating until 1977.
    Villaraigosa is not an attorney. He failed the bar exam four times. Nor does the Times explain that the People’s College of Law, a communistic institution, is not accredited with the California Bar, and applicants are required to have completed only two years of college education or to have passed a college-level examination. And of the LSAT, a standard entrance test to any law school, the college states that “PCL recognizes the cultural and sociological limitations of tests such as the LSAT.”
    Villaraigosa became a teachers union organizer, later won a state Assembly seat in 1994, and then was speaker of the state Assembly. He was termed out in 2000, ran for mayor in 2001, losing to James Hahn. He then won a seat on the L.A. City Council, assuming office in 2003, and now has been vindicated in his pursuit of the L.A. mayoralty, beating Hahn in a rematch.
    As with most liberal politicians who are mouthpieces for teachers unions and against vouchers or school choice, his kids attended private schools.
    The new mayor has a colorful track record. He still bears the tattoo “Born to Raise Hell.” While at UCLA he took pride in being an affirmative action admit, later stating to students, “Some people have said I got in through the back door, but I left through the front.”
    He also has a radical background as the leader of the UCLA chapter of Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan (MEChA). In fact, he would be forced to renounce his association with MEChA on May 12, 2005, after pressure from the UCLA Bruin Alumni Association.
    MEChA is pure and simple a separatist organization. It doesn’t negotiate. Its founding document, El Plan Espiritual de Aztlan, states, “We do not recognize capricious frontiers on the bronze continent,” and declares that “For the very young there will no longer be acts of juvenile delinquency, but revolutionary acts,” and introduced the motto “Por la raza, todo. Fuera de la raza, nada.” (For those of the [Hispanic] race, everything. For those not of the [Hispanic] race, nothing.)
    He was a leading speaker at the January 1995 Latino Summit Response to Prop. 187 at U.C. Riverside, where Latino politicians, professors and activists gave racist, seditious speeches to about 500 attendees pledging noncompliance with the controversial law that would have denied public education, social services and health care to residents in the state illegally.
    Mr. Villaraigosa is charismatic, handsome, and a great speaker. He can work a crowd, knows how to be humble in the right circumstances, and has effectively been able to keep a wider public unaware of his incendiary past.

  3. anonymous says:

    “Mr. Villaraigosa is charismatic, handsome, and a great speaker.”
    Is the writer serious or is he joking?

  4. AnonymouslyYours says:

    Is Anonymous 11:41 p.m., who said the “charismatic, handsome and great speaker, Mr. Villaraigosa” one of the paid toadies on the mayor’s 93-member personal assistant staff?
    Must be, because he/she spelled Tonio’s name correctly.

  5. AnonymouslyYours says:

    Ah, yes. T’would have been nice to have been a camera on the wall during the private, closed-door meeting among V., Dennis Zine and another councilman just prior to the council vote to put the Phony Phone Tax on the ballot.
    You see, both Zine and the other traitor were all set to vote NO, and suddenly, miraculously by the time the short meeting was over, their NO votes became YES votes.
    Were they threatened?
    Were they bribed?
    Were they blackmailed?
    We’ll never know unless one of them makes a death bed confession.
    All they did was allow us to allow them to screw us over with their lies that the new tax would be lower than the old tax, and we’d get more police bang for our bucks.
    Didn’t happen. All we got was higher taxes, a bankrupt city and not a single new cop, and folks — more of the same is on the way unless you guys wise up, start paying attention to what they’re doing and stop voting for them.

  6. The problem is at every level of government! I just read Dan Walters piece “Musical Chairs in Capitol” about the closed and dysfunctional system also in Sacramento!
    These are all a result of failures to address changes in scale of government and systems of citizen participation.
    There are possible remedies which in theory act as “proximity substitutes” for earlier social conditions more conducive to good representation.
    Political MicroDonation (under $1) and Electoral/Geographic Networking Facilitation (e.g. Its easier to connect with skateboarding fans in New Guinea than it is your neighbor on the next block)…
    Along with various live-feedback elements and the platform it catalyzes for both political and charitable activity…
    Can form the backbone of a revitalized LOCAL public square…connecting to state and national levels
    All under an economic model for the re-vitalization of LOCAL newsgathering and reporting functions (NEWSPAPERS) and not dependent on government for support.
    Prototype and FAQ:
    We’d LOVE to try this in Los Angeles!
    Just finishing up business plan.
    What politician could POSSIBLY be opposed to greater citizen participation! (or at least say so out loud…)

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