The Attorney General of the State of California and the District Attorney of the County of Los Angeles both want your votes June 8 to move them forward on the road to higher service, to greater opportunity for public service.
But do wannabe governor again Jerry Brown and wannabe state attorney general Steve Cooley deserve your vote on the basis of their vigorous efforts to end the the blatant corruption that infects every agency from City Hall to the County Board of Supervisors to the schools and community colleges?
The answer is as plain as the higher taxes you’re paying one way or another and the shrinking of services you are facing.
City Hall is my beat and I’ll stick to that for the moment and the issue of freebies, gifts that our elected officials take as if born to royalty with all its special privileges. They all take all sorts of gifts and freebies from expensive meals with fine wines at the Pacific Dining Car and Mozza to name a few to trips to Super Bowls and tickets to Lakers games.
If they are aren’t on the take, it’s because they are so irrelevant nobody would even buy them. Corruption in LA politics is that pervasive.
The king of takers is Antonio Villaraigosa. As ineffective and out-of-touch as he is, he is still the mayor and certainly not irrelevant.
Phil Willon in the LA Times, despite being scooped on the story by TV reporter John Schwada, examines years of records and offers several examples of blatantly illegal gifts the mayor has taken like tickets to the Oscars, Dodgers and Lakers games and others.
“(He) has sat courtside next to movie mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg at three Lakers games at Staples Center. He has cheered alongside Tommy Lasorda and Dodgers owner Frank McCourt in the owner’s box at Dodger Stadium. Rarely has he missed an awards show: the Academy Awards, the Grammys, the Emmys and the BET Awards –anywhere there was a red carpet in Los Angeles, odds were Villaraigosa was photographed standing on it.
It’s no surprise that the mayor attends many of the city’s premier sporting and cultural events. But Villaraigosa acknowledged this week that he goes to some of them free of charge. He said he considers those appearances to be part of his official duty to promote and represent Los Angeles.”
Read what I bold-faced again: “He considers these appearances to be part of his official duty to promote and represent Los Anegles.”
Has there ever been a clearer expression of regal privilege than that?
The mayor believes that everything he does from going to the bathroom
to making love, to imbibing the finest foods and wines and taking
courtside seats worth thousands of dollars is part of his official
duties as mayor.
Thus, he doesn’t have to ever report he took
gifts which should lead to heavy fines if ethics enforcement agencies
were doing their jobs or broader local and state investigations if those
who bestowed such costly gifts were also getting favors from the royal
Do the endless tax breaks and other favorable treatment
awarded to Hollywood or to developers or others who get handsome
benefits from city actions that have the mayor’s signature not
constitute bribery if he has taken advantage of their personal freebies
Truth be told, they are all in on the take to one
degree or another. The system itself is corrupt, so corrupt, that
taking bribes by local and state officials is seen as normal and to a
great extent been legalized by them.
Inside the bubble of
consciousness in political circles, honesty and integrity are words in a
foreign language they do not understand.
It’s gone on a long
time but never to the degree it has reached today, which explains to a
great degree why the city and state are in such dire financial straits,
why we are seeing hopes for the future dashed as our jobs disappear, our
businesses decline, our taxes rise and our schools and infrastructure
We are in trouble.
But we are not crooks.
They are, and King Antonio is the biggest crook in town.