.Editor’s Note: Please observe how the two-minute warning clock doesn’t run when Tim Leiweke is speaking but it does when John Walsh is mocking him and the the City Council.
Unable to get on with the job of fixing the city they have broken, the LA City Council kowtowed Friday to AEG’s Tim Leiweke’s bullying, repudiated the elected City Attorney Carmen Trutanich for his efforts to clean up the billboard mess they created over seven years, and then repudiated him for being a bully.
What a day it was! Only regular viewers can fully appreciate the ironies and absurdities:
* Leiweke who’s made billions off of the city subsidies of Staples Center and LA Live threatening to sue LA for hundreds of millions of dollars if he had to wait a week for a judge to rule on whether giving him six more giant billboards at the new Regal Cinema complex on top of the 16 already up would make the 2-month-old billboard ban illegal;
* The Central City Assn. and Chamber of Commerce lined up with ironworkers and IBEW electricians to demand the Council live up to their commitments to make AEG even richer because nobody else is creating jobs, union and living wage, and Leiweke gives generously to politicians and their favorite charities;
* One Council member after another, even best pal Dennis Zine, taking off the kid gloves and punching Trutanich’s chief deputy Bill Carter, accusing Nuch of violating their bond of trust by fighting for what’s right and legal;
* After spending most of three hours crucifying Trutanich before voting unanimously — a foregone conclusion — to reject Carter’s entreaties to let the federal court decide whether giving AEG all those billboards would make the ban unconstitutional, the council needed 10 minutes to agree to stop hiring cops, temporaily unless it becomes permanent;
* And finally for something entirely different, the agreed to throw a crumb to the populace by letting a couple of Westside farmer’s markets off the hook for newly imposed fees for two more weeks because the Chief Legislative Analyst couldn’t get around to sorting out the details of how the onerous new system is supposed to work before the law takes effect Monday.
There’s a lot of ways to look at this but the one of my choice is Trutanich is a dangerous man and must be stopped.
At least that’s the view of the City Hall power structure which is not used to anybody having power not being owned by those who have power and money.
They accused him of threatening them with prosecution if they committed crimes, of failing to tell them the total ban on new billboards might queer their endless commitments to AEG, of engaging unprotected legal advice, of contradicting theadvice of his predecessor in the City Attorney’s office who went along with anything they wanted.
It was a feeding frenzy and many of the Council members were foaming at the mouth.
But no one rose to the occasion more than Leiweke himself who strode to the public comment lectern without being called like ordinary citizens as if he owned not just the Council Chamber but the whole of City Hall and laid down the law as if God, him or herself, was speaking through him
You made commitments, you will honor those commitments, you will cost me hundreds of millions of dollars and ruin my financing based on all the corporations paying fortunes to advertise on LA Live’s digital billboard, you will pay dearly.
There was no doubt who was boss in this town.
Yet, Leiweke didn’t merit a mention in the LA Times online story headlined “L.A. Council ignores Trutanich warning, backs signs for theater at L.A. Live.”
Instead, the focuse was on Building and Safety interim general manager Raymond Chan saying he plans to issue the permits despite Trutanich’s warning in great part because he believes the ban passed in August does not
cover projects already approved and substantially underway, including
the AEG’s theater at L.A. Live.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa also supports issuing the permits, said Jeff Carr, the mayor’s chief of staff.
The Times said that once it receives the permits, AEG will put up four giant movie posters, including at least one for the Michael Jackson documentary “This Is It,” which premieres Tuesday, which Carter repeatedly said already were legal as onsite signs, and signs for two of L.A. Live’s sponsors, Coca-Cola and Toyota. Even the Coke ad would be legal since it’s sold on premises.
Christine Pelisek at the LA Weekly’s blog picked up on Councilwoman Jan Perry saying had been threatened
with criminal charges by Trutanich and arguing that AEG has had exclusive developments
agreements with members of the Los Angeles Sports and Entertainment
District, including AEG, since 2001.
“I am not comfortable about being represented by a guy who might get
me turfed over to the District Attorney’s Office. I am doing my job.”
She also quoted Trutanich’s interview in the Daily News where he said:
“I’m just enforcing the laws. Right now there is a ban on digital off-site billboards. Where I grew up (San Pedro), when you said ‘no more,’ it means ‘no more.’ Up here in the central city, I guess it means something else.”