!. Do you support or oppose the giveaway of more than $4 million in the public’s money for the questionable office project by a questionable developer at 1601 N. Vine St. in Hollywood?
2. Do you support or oppose the use of eminent domain to confiscate private property by the Community Redevelopment Agency to turn over to private interests for development?
3. Do you support or oppose the Planning Department’s efforts to short-circuit public involvement in decisions on new developments that impact the qualify of life in neighborhoods?
Those three inter-connected questions are being sent today to all 15 City Council members as LA Clean Sweep expands its campaign to help bring responsive and responsible government to Los Angeles.
They grow out of numerous articles on community blogs and and long email chains that involved dozens of people who see the Vine Street project as one example among dozens of abuses by the CRA, city planners and City Hall’s leadership.
Inspired by an article by “Richard Lee Abrams” on City Watch LA, Clean Sweep is going to mobilize to ask the questions the press never asks of our elected officials and their challengers about the issues that matter most, including where their campaign contributions come from and what favors are being sought from the city.
“LA Clean Sweep has the opportunity to stop the lunacy by asking all
candidates to publish campaign donations and to reveal their Known
Associates, often called a Kitchen Cabinet,” Abrams wrote recently..
“LA Clean Sweep’s request for full disclosure, at this time long before
we vote, will unmask each candidate who is too embarrassed to show the
money and too corrupt to admit who is behind his/her candidacy.”
As we have seen with the US Chamber of Commerce, foreign influence can
be easily concealed from the public. Let’s be clear, while the Supreme
Court allows corporate influence to remain secret, no law stops any
candidate from disclosing who supports his/her candidacy.
“Although LA Clean Sweep cannot compel disclosure of the people and
corporations behind candidates, it has the right to ask for full
Among the questions he wants asked are these:
1. Each person who has contributed money. This list would provide the
same data the election commission requires, and the cumulative list
should be updated monthly on the candidate’s website. Candidates who
already hold public office or who have run for office should provide the
same data for the last two elections.
2. Identify each person who is a Known Associate and/or a Kitchen
Cabinet member, i.e. anyone involved in any decision making role for the
campaign. The list should be updated monthly on the candidate’s web
3. The background of each person who is involved in decision making for
the campaign (Known Associates and Kitchen Cabinets). The information
should be updated monthly on the candidate’s web page.
True ethics reform would require that every political contributor clearly identify who they are and their connections to any business or organization that has recent, pending or expected business involving the city.
And reporting would have to be done in a timely matter on a weekly basis so voters could understand exactly what is going on and make informed decisions on candidates and the policies they are proposing or acting on.
As things stand now, searching campaign finance reports is like looking for a needle in a haystack — you have to know exactly what you’re looking for to have any chance of finding the connections.
We are already seeing on a daily basis how citizen journalists breaking important news by penetrating City Hall’s efforts to obscure what is going.
The Internet is the most revolutionary
According to a recent Public Policy Institute of California survey, there has been a dramatic increase in how many people get their political news from the Internet.
“A plurality of residents (37%) get most of their information about
politics from television, a 10-point drop since 2007. Nearly a quarter
(24%) get most of their information from the Internet, 15 percent from
newspapers, and 10 percent from radio,” the survey found.
“Those who mainly get information
online are divided among those who read newspaper websites (47%) and
those who go to other types of websites (50%).”
You can volunteer to become an LA Clean Sweep:”Fact Finder” and help demand answers from our public officials. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to join the
Here’s links to articles about the CRA deal with Hal Katersky’s Pacifica Ventures, a development company that has profited by runaway film production even as it has been hit with bankruptcies and lawsuits:
Demand for a Criminal Investigation of the CRA Deal
The Art of the Deal: CRA, Molly’s Burgers, Hal
Still Rancid on Vine
To Get Rid of the Stench, FLUSH KATERSKY
The Stench on Vine
The Unpleasant Aroma of a CRA Deal
Lawsuits, Failed Ventures Mark Developer’s Past
Sweetheart Deals and Opportunists: How to Destroy a
1601 North Vine (08-3458)
Environmental Impact Report (08-3458-S1)
Settlement Agreement (08-3458-S2)