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Even Whitewash Can’t Hide the Truth: How County Supervisors Improperly Influence Planning Decisions

The charges leveled by fired LA County Planning chief Bruce McClendon a year ago got credence from a just completed outside consultant’s audit of alleged improper influence in decisions on development by Supervisors and their staffs.

It’s how politics works in the insiders’ game of public policy in both the city and county.

Yet, the report largely whitewashes what went in, citing the fact county employees were not under oath, feared for the loss of their jobs and McClendon didn’t record private conversations.

Those reasons for the failure of the report to come to a clear conclusion ought to justify a Grand Jury investigation — which is what should have happened from the beginning.

Here’s the link to the Times report and you can read the report yourself at OurLA.org.’



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9 Responses to Even Whitewash Can’t Hide the Truth: How County Supervisors Improperly Influence Planning Decisions

  1. Anonymous says:

    “Witness statements were not made under oath and threat of perjury was one issue. Fear of retaliation and loss of their jobs might also have affected county employees statements. Finally, McClendon’s allegations are mainly based on one-on-one conversations and were not recorded.”
    Why waste taxpayers money on such meaningless and worthless investigations. Whether it is internal or by a consultant, the end result will always be the same; in favor of the check writer.

  2. Anonymous says:

    “Witness statements were not made under oath and threat of perjury was one issue. Fear of retaliation and loss of their jobs might also have affected county employees statements. Finally, McClendon’s allegations are mainly based on one-on-one conversations and were not recorded.”
    Why waste taxpayers money on such meaningless and worthless investigations. Whether it is internal or by a consultant, the end result will always be the same; in favor of the check writer.

  3. anonymous says:

    Ron,
    I’m with you. A Grand Jury investigation is in order.

  4. Anonymous says:

    A Grand Jury investigation should include the LA Planning Department which is improperly influenced by the Mayor, Council offices and CRA on most development projects.

  5. Anonymous says:

    According to the LA Times article “Director Bruce McClendon’s claim that he told her that they were not qualified to go with all expenses paid and that their attendance would amount to a “junket.”
    The “junket” in question is an American Planning Association (APA) conference held at least thrice a year; local, state, and national level. Gail Goldberg, the LA Planning Director thrives on these taxpayer funded junkets. They are fun.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Example of just how sleazy some of the County Supervisors and their little planning czars like Novak, Englund, and Boelke can be:
    Joe Edmiston of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy agreed to name lands acquired north of the 118 Freeway as the “Michael D. Antonovich Regional Park.” Antonovich allocated a significant chunk of county park money to help the Conservancy buy the land and stroke his own ego and sad “legacy”.
    Antonovich is very very invested in helping acquire other private lands that lie next to the zigsaw configuration of his namesake park. Joe Edmiston and his deputies warn Antonovich and Antonovich’s Planning Deputy Paul Novak whenever a private landowner in the area is trying to do something with their property. (Like real estate development is a crime or something.)
    The next thing that happens is a caravan of code enforcement people and County Sheriffs swoop in and lay a bunch of bogus “criminal” and “civil code” enforcement violations on the adjoining landowners. The game is to use the criminal and civil powers of the County to screw the adjoining landowners to the point that they relent and sell their land to Joe Edminston and his thugs for a very reduced song and a dance price.
    Everyone sings hosanna when the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy acquires more open space but underneath that slimy rock are worms like Edmiston, Antonovich, Novak, and other minions of the County unconstitutionally depriving private owners of their land by hook or crooked actions involving land use, planning, and bogus code enforcement.
    Tammany Hall lives at the Kenneth Hahn Administration building, eighth floor. Right Mike?

  7. El Quixotian says:

    Amazing 5:55…
    You say Antonovich is now the one putting the brakes on development and actually increasing open space?
    Had the Las Virgnes area folks only thought to rename SMMNRA land for Antonovich 30 years ago, they’d have several less small (redundant, but locally controlled) cities, and they wouldn’t have been so much partying going on when redistricting brought Edelman.
    He must have found religion!
    Figures he knows every trick in the book for nailing landowners, since he…er, his friends managed to dodge zoning controls and eminent domain attempts for decades!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Antonovich’s Planning Deputy, Paul Novak, is also a Hearing Officer in the City of Pasadena. Busy man. The man hired to replace Bruce McClendon is the Pasadena Planning Director. Small world.

  9. I read the Rose & Ass. report. I saw it was a whitewash. I looked for Signs Of Sophistry, SOS. One of them is the following: McClendon claims he was fired because he told the County’s CEO that Board of Supervisor’s staff were interfering with the Regional Planning staff. This conversation was never discussed in the Rose & Ass’s report. Perhaps the Times was wrong in its report of the firing, or maybe the McClendon’s statement never reached Rose&Ass. At any rate the CEO’s response to this statement should have been plainly given. There are conversations that the CEO doesn’t remember having, but the subjects of these conversations was not described. A successful Waldo in that it was never found, at least by me. But Bruce McClendon should be able to find it.
    The Waldo I found concerned Marina del Rey. I was interviewed by the Controller Auditor Department on allegations that plainly stated rules in the County Code and the LCP were being ignored by the developers and the County. I figured that some of the reasons had to do with interference with the County’s staff. But Marina del Rey was not mentioned in the summaries of the 8 items they investigated. However, Knabe’s deputy was reported by Rose&Ass as telling staff they should meet with the Marina del Rey “Property Owners” so that the new green codes would not apply to them. R&A said this was not one of the things that they were supposed to be investigating (hence it was never in the summaries), but it came up. These “Property Owners” deserved exemptions because their projects were “in the Pipeline”. But there are no “Property Owners” in the ordinary use of the term since the County owns all the land. And the County interprets “in the pipeline” before the “Property Owners” have even decided on what kind of project they want to put on the available Parcel to lease. The “property owners” are very effective in meetings with regulatory groups. They met with State Bar top officials and had the attorney opposing them disbarred and eventually jailed for coercive contempt. It is actually encouraging that the “Property Owners” went to the trouble of getting the Planning staff to Coconut Road an special exemption for them into the Green Building Code, instead of merely ignoring it.

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