Bruno, the LA Watchdog and true public servant, has obtained two hot tips from his Antonio Gifts Hotline that can help District Attorney Steve Cooley launch an investigation into the mayor’s flagrant abuse of ethics and tax laws: Check out whose credit card he uses to charge meals at Drago and whether he or County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky reported sitting in a suite at Staples Center for the 2006 PAC 10 Basketball Championship game. Report abuses to the Antonio Gifts Hotline by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Racketeers all have a bagman, a delivery boy who picks up the money generated by their various negarious activities.
So do crooked politicians, with a twist: The bagman not only picks up the money from contributors but makes sure the favors they want are delivered.Bruno’s Antonio Gifts Hotline suggests that the starting point for District Attorney Steve Cooley’s investigation of the mayor is to ask a simple question: Who is Jimmy Blackman?
Of course, that presumes Cooley wants to show he deserves to be California Attorney General and is prepared to live up to his long-standing boast that he is committed to weeding out public corruption — a boast that in his three terms as DA he has fulfilled by nailing a few small town, small time officials.
LA is the big time and City Hall is corrupt down to its core.
Big contributors, lobbyists who can bundle contributions, unions that can heavily fund campaigns get a lot of what they want. There’s nothing new in that. Jimmy Hahn’s bagman was Troy Edwards who was put in charge of the DWP, Airports and Harbor — the juice departments that dole out billions of dollars in contracts and attract a lot of money for political campaigns.
The result was Hahn’s “pay-to-play” scandal that allowed Antonio Villaraigosa to pound away that the Hahn Administration was the “most investigated” since Frank Shaw in the 1930s.
That was child’s play compared to what Villaraigosa has done in his five years as mayor with his systematic use of a “play, the pay” scheme that has helped him raise millions of dollars and take hundreds of thousands of dollars in “gifts” while giving away hundreds of millions of dollars of the public’s money to developers, contractors, unions and consultants.
The bagman for most, if not all, is Jimmy Blackman.
Except for a brief stint when Villaraigosa was out of office and Blackman served as chief of staff to Richard Alarcon, the 38-year-old political operative virtually throughout ‘s career as an Assemblyman, Speaker, Councilman and now mayor.
In Antonio’s long list of personal betrayals, Blackman may be the only one who has remained loyal even when the mayor broke his promise to appoint him chief of staff when Robin Kramer resigned last year.
Rev. Jeff Carr, the gang czar, got the job and has proven to be a hard-boiled henchman given to browbeating department heads and commissioners into submission to the mayor’s will — efforts that have totally politicized the bureaucracy and the system of civilian oversight even as the mayor has been reduced to a weak lame duck without clout over the City Council.
Blackman remained as a deputy chief of staff, the go-between the money coming in and the favors going out.
If anybody knows about all the gifts of valuable tickets, meals and fine wines that the mayor has failed to report or keep records about, it’s Jimmy Blackman. He’s the bagman, the man the mayor truly trusts to connect what contributors want with the bureaucrats who have to deliver the subsidies, appointments, favors.
All Cooley needs to do to uncover what’s really going on behind the scenes in Antonio’s world is to subpoena Blackman’s memos, emails, phone logs, calendar and records and then bring him before a grand jury.
Jimmy Blackman is the key to cleaning up City Hall at the top. It’s not too much too ask of DA Steve Cooley to do the job he promised to do, to stake out the one compelling reason why he should be elected Attorney General of the State of California.
If Cooley won’t clean up corruption in LA, he isn’t up to the job of cleaning up the corruption in Sacramento.