(This article was first published in the July edition of Nina Royal’s North Valley Reporter)
Inside the bubble of consciousness of City Hall, Antonio’s “Ticket-gate” problems seem like a small matter – after all, everybody does it.
Public corruption is like that. It grows incrementally over long periods of time so that even people who take pride in being ethical no longer can see how little acts of dishonesty grow into rampant corruption that betrays the public trust.
Corruption is insidious. It usually starts at the top and spreads, infecting nearly everyone in ways large and small. It allows the mayor to claim tickets to sports and entertainment events worth thousands of dollars, and lavish dinners with $1,000 bottles of wine which aren’t gifts at all, but part of his official duties, since everything he does is ceremonial. It allows DWP workers to justify going to strip clubs and drink on the job because it seems like their right when the bosses are living so high and doing so little.
The seeds of City Hall corruption have been growing for long time and the failure of federal and local authorities to net more than a few peripheral players in the Hahn Administration’s “pay-to-play” investigation was taken as permission that they can get away with just about anything.
Public employee unions, contractors, developers, and other special interests have taken over
City Hall and every other level of government to the point that they have lost nearly all credibility.
Not even one in ten voters approve of the job the California Legislature is doing. Barely one in five approve of Congress. The popularity of the governor and the president has tumbled. Our mayor is so badly tarnished he couldn’t get elected to anything.From small towns to large cities, public officials’ moral, ethical, and criminal failings are coming to light.
Only the most devoted any longer believe in the integrity of our public officials or political parties to serve the public interest.
This is a serious matter that affects us all and threatens our future as individuals and as a nation. Apathy, indifference, and ignorance are no longer sane responses to what is going on. It isn’t just a question of the difference between right and wrong but an issue of what is good for you, your family, your neighbors, and your community.
I don’t know what we can do about Washington or even Sacramento but I do know we can change Los Angeles and reform our city government to serve us and operate in an open and ethical manner.
We can elect a new generation of leaders starting with the City Council elections next March when the seven even-numbered seats are on the ballot: Tony Cardenas, Jose Huizar, Paul Krekorian, Tom LaBonge, Bernard Parks, Herb Wesson, and Greig Smith’s open
If any of them can make the case that they are truly servants of the
public, so be it. But few, if any, can do that and need to be replaced
by people of independence and integrity who are outside the system and
can see just how broken it is.
The LA Clean Sweep Campaign
(lacleansweep.com) is spearheading the effort to elect new leaders with
new ideas and a commitment to public service.
The principles are
simple: Financial responsibility, good planning for the city’s future,
open and honest government, and safe communities with modern
To achieve those goals we need leadership that
will put an end to backroom deals, corruption, waste and inefficiency,
and sweetheart contracts – leaders who respect all segments of the
community and will bring them all to the table of power to resurrect Los
from the brink of bankruptcy and decay.
It can be
done. Only 7 to 13 percent of registered voters cast ballots in Council
elections so a few thousand people working on phone banks, talking to
neighbors, and contributing small sums of money can make a difference.
don’t need to agree on everything except for the need for dramatic
changes and a full and open public conversation about how to move
forward. Or we can sit on the sidelines and pretend what goes on at City
Hall doesn’t impact us, or that there’s nothing we can do about it.
choice is clear: You are either part of the problem, or part of the
(The LA Clean Sweep Campaign will formally launch July
17. For more information on how to get involved or contribute got to