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The Betrayal of Los Angeles: Who’s To Blame?

Welcome back, Ted Stein — City Hall surely missed you these last six years.

Stein resigned in a self-righteous huff as Airport Commission president back in 2004 at the height of the pay-to-play scandals that plagued the Hahn Administration.

“I’m hoping that this is the end of this kind of
conduct,” Villaraigosa said when Stein quit. “But if it’s not, we need to
ferret it out wherever there’s any appearance of impropriety.”

Controller Laura Chick has raised questions about Stein’s role in awarding LAX contracts and helping raise political money from the same contractors — questions that were seized on in the press and by Councilman Antonio Villaraigosa as he laid the groundwork for his mayoral campaign accusing Jimmy Hahn of leading the most corruption administration in decades.

“The tactics employed by the controller — including publicly
implying that the (Airport) Commission may have engaged in wrongdoing


wrongdo
….. Click the link for more information. yet refusing to produce any evidence to support her claim – represent
the worst traits in government,” Stein said in his bitter letter of resignation.

“I have been subjected to an array of false, defamatory and
unsubstantiated accusations suggesting that I engaged in or orchestrated
a plan to force URS (an airport contractor) to make political
contributions in order to continue doing business at Los Angeles International Airport — what has been dubbed ‘pay to play.’ ”

Well, time heals all wounds and it should be clear to one and all that the standards of ethical conduct move with the times as the corruption rampant in the Villaraigosa Administration makes the Hahn era misdeeds seem like child’s play.

On Thursday, Villaraigosa named Stein to be one of the 26 members of his  “Blue Ribbon panel to conduct a comprehensive security review of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and recommend improvements.”(LAX-Panel.doc)

It is a distinguished panel of judges, federal prosecutors, experts in
terrorism and emergency operations — and Stein, a San Fernando Valley
developer who focused on projects in Council District 12 where his
long-time friend Hal Bernson and his Chief of Staff Greig Smith held
court.

Smith, who succeeded Bernson and is doing his best to pass the torch of
power to his own chief of staff, Mitch Englander, is himself a member of
the blue ribbon panel as chairman of the Council Public Safety
Committee and nominated Stein to be a member as Villaraigosa’s press
release pointedly makes clear.

It is a small, small world this world of City Hall insiders and players and Stein has been part of it for a long, long time.

He was president of the Planning Commission when Tom Bradley was mayor and over-development first surfaced as a major issue.

He was a key player in the administration of Mayor Richard Riordan, serving as a special adviser, then president of  the Airport Commission and later the Harbor Commission while his wife served on the highly-paid Public Works Commission.

There’s never been another city commissioner quite like Ted Stein.

Intense, one-pointed, domineering, he always was a lightning rod for criticism and controversy as he went far beyond oversight to virtually run departments,often running roughshod over general managers and their executive teams.

That’s what made him so valuable to mayors who actually wanted to get things done — and kept getting Stein in trouble.

When Riordan was thwarted by the FAA to raise landing fees for airlines at LAX, Stein 
“took the lead …  and he hired (Webster) Hubbell, who had just been fired by the
Clinton White House as the Whitewater scandal worsened, to try to get
$50 million in federal funds,” Rick Orlov wrote in the Daily News in reviewing Stein’s career  in 2004.

Hubbell was under investigation for
overcharging clients from his work at a law firm with Hillary
Rodham

  • Hillary Rodham Clinton, 2008 presidential candidate and current junior U.S.

….. Click the link for more information. Clinton and it led to a federal investigation and criminal charges. Stein, a potential target of the investigation, was subpoenaed to appear before a federal grand jury in Arkansas, but was not charged in that case or in the later pay-to-play scandal in the Hahn Administration.

It was during that time period that Stein cultivated a friendship with me as managing editor of the Daily News — a friendship that ended shortly after Hahn took office, named Stein again to head the Airport Commission and I published a story raising questions about the propriety of the appointment in light of Stein’s past controversial role in that post. .

From that moment on, Hahn ignored the Daily News, refusing to even come to editorial board meetings and treating the paper as an enemy — which, of course, made it easy to take a critical view of his actions since there was no relationship and so much to criticize.

I bring this all up in the name of full disclosure and because it provides a small window into the small world of City Hall politics — a world in which the inter-connected self-interest of insiders has so ill-served the public interest for so long and caused so much harm to the city.

Laura Chick made an important point in her one-sentence response to Stein’s attack when he resigned in 2004, saying: “This is not about one airport commissioner or about a blue-ribbon commission’s report, it is about leadership from the
top.”

That was true then, and it’s just as true today.

The problem with city government in Los Angeles was never people like Stein or the circle of lobbyists, contractors, developers, unions, political operatives and all the rest of those who feed at the trough of the city treasury.

The problem is the leadership at the top, the mayor and City Council members who take a sworn oath to serve the people but routinely betray that oath and the trust of the people.Enhanced by Zemanta

This entry was posted in City Hall, Hot Topics, Los Angeles and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to The Betrayal of Los Angeles: Who’s To Blame?

  1. Your institutional memory and the ability to connect the dots is not going to win you any popularity contests at City Hall.
    Have you hired a taster? Do you have a body guard? Do you have a target on your back? And just imagine all the invitations that are NOT coming your way.
    As for this Blue Ribbon Panel formed to review security at LAX, it needs to focus on the facts and not rely on junk science.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Oh come now, the problem also includes commissioners whose main claim to power is their reliable kowtowing to their appointing power. The city is full of commissioners who get moved from one commission to another, thus keeping the circle closed. Sure the mayor’s is the desk where the buck stops, but the commissioners themselves are far from innocent.

  3. Anonymous says:

    WTF? A complete waste of time. The reason why there hasn’t been any terrorists hits at LAX cause without the Mayor and his goons or this dumb blue ribbon panel, LAX Police and LAPD with the FBI coordinate just fine. Now the Failure of a Mayor wants to pretend he actually cares and creates another panel to do nothing but sit and bs.
    This has to be a joke right??? How much are the taxpayers paying for this trip since we’re almost sinking here in LA like the Titanic cause of the budget? “Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is scheduled to leave for Mexico City today to speak at the World Mayors Summit on Climate.
    The summit is a follow-up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference held in Copenhagen, Denmark almost a year ago, where Villaraigosa also spoke”

  4. Brad Smith says:

    The panel sounds a useful as any study committee, but as others have pointed out, the FBI, LAPD, and LADOA PD share responsibilities for these duties, and have been aware of the threat of suicide type attacks for a decade now.
    I’d be curious to hear what a city-level study group is going to find that should not already be apparent to any of the federal and local professionals currently working at the airport.
    Having said that, Ron’s points about Mr. Stein are well-taken; Mr. Stein’s ability to make friends in CD 12 is legendary, as anyone in Northridge – especially Northridge East – can tell you.
    According to the last Ethics Commission filing (page 160 of 185), Mr. Stein gave Mr. Englander $500 on Nov. 9; he lists his law office in Northridge as his address.
    As a side note, Mr, Stein is joined on that page by donors from San Pedro, Sherman Oaks, Thousand Oaks, and New York, New York – all of whom are, I am sure, very aware of the concerns of homeowners and residents of the district.
    All the best,
    Brad Smith
    smithforcouncil.org

  5. Anonymous says:

    This “panel” is simply about supporting the Obama administrations TSA search policies. The conclusions or their report are easy to predict. The Mayor’s strings are being pulled from D.C.

  6. Natalie says:

    Did Stein stepped forward with Justin Manor as a replacement deal?

    Thanks,
    Natalie – friendship bracelets

  7. dubbs says:

    plain and simple- a SCARE tactic! Its designed to win the support of LAPD management and loyalty by the mayor, and a grab at the ever shrinking federal money by “robbing peter to pay paul”. They’d neituer Airport security and try to divert it to the rest of the city, since Mayor Tony V has done such a crappy job already at maintaining the LAPD strength levels. and with BASELESS and “Vague” allegations of poor performance from “unknown” and “happily anonymous” sources, it is a smear campaign of Police personnel, who have labored in teh shadows for over 59 yrs, relatively SCANDAL free( when’s the last time LAXPD cost the city $$$$$ in lawsuits????)
    Face it- the airport is NOT a military base- you CANNOT guard it with barb wire and machine gun nests! Regardless of whether LAPD or LAXPD solely patrols the Airport ,it is a facility designed to bring in tourists, and is woefully open to attack because of its very design. LAXPD does a decent job of providing “security” and Law enforcement already. LAPD assists and provides additional EXPERTISE….

  8. LOL says:

    Hi there, Thanks a lot for that great post! Cheers,

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The Betrayal of Los Angeles: Who’s To Blame?

Welcome back, Ted Stein — City Hall surely missed you these last six years.

Stein resigned in a self-righteous huff as Airport Commission president back in 2004 at the height of the pay-to-play scandals that plagued the Hahn Administration.

“I’m hoping that this is the end of this kind of
conduct,” Villaraigosa said when Stein quit. “But if it’s not, we need to
ferret it out wherever there’s any appearance of impropriety.”

Controller Laura Chick has raised questions about Stein’s role in awarding LAX contracts and helping raise political money from the same contractors — questions that were seized on in the press and by Councilman Antonio Villaraigosa as he laid the groundwork for his mayoral campaign accusing Jimmy Hahn of leading the most corruption administration in decades.

“The tactics employed by the controller — including publicly
implying that the (Airport) Commission may have engaged in wrongdoing


wrongdo
….. Click the link for more information. yet refusing to produce any evidence to support her claim – represent
the worst traits in government,” Stein said in his bitter letter of resignation.

“I have been subjected to an array of false, defamatory and
unsubstantiated accusations suggesting that I engaged in or orchestrated
a plan to force URS (an airport contractor) to make political
contributions in order to continue doing business at Los Angeles International Airport — what has been dubbed ‘pay to play.’ ”

Well, time heals all wounds and it should be clear to one and all that the standards of ethical conduct move with the times as the corruption rampant in the Villaraigosa Administration makes the Hahn era misdeeds seem like child’s play.

On Thursday, Villaraigosa named Stein to be one of the 26 members of his  “Blue Ribbon panel to conduct a comprehensive security review of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and recommend improvements.”(LAX-Panel.doc)

It is a distinguished panel of judges, federal prosecutors, experts in
terrorism and emergency operations — and Stein, a San Fernando Valley
developer who focused on projects in Council District 12 where his
long-time friend Hal Bernson and his Chief of Staff Greig Smith held
court.

Smith, who succeeded Bernson and is doing his best to pass the torch of
power to his own chief of staff, Mitch Englander, is himself a member of
the blue ribbon panel as chairman of the Council Public Safety
Committee and nominated Stein to be a member as Villaraigosa’s press
release pointedly makes clear.

It is a small, small world this world of City Hall insiders and players and Stein has been part of it for a long, long time.

He was president of the Planning Commission when Tom Bradley was mayor and over-development first surfaced as a major issue.

He was a key player in the administration of Mayor Richard Riordan, serving as a special adviser, then president of  the Airport Commission and later the Harbor Commission while his wife served on the highly-paid Public Works Commission.

There’s never been another city commissioner quite like Ted Stein.

Intense, one-pointed, domineering, he always was a lightning rod for criticism and controversy as he went far beyond oversight to virtually run departments,often running roughshod over general managers and their executive teams.

That’s what made him so valuable to mayors who actually wanted to get things done — and kept getting Stein in trouble.

When Riordan was thwarted by the FAA to raise landing fees for airlines at LAX, Stein 
“took the lead …  and he hired (Webster) Hubbell, who had just been fired by the
Clinton White House as the Whitewater scandal worsened, to try to get
$50 million in federal funds,” Rick Orlov wrote in the Daily News in reviewing Stein’s career  in 2004.

Hubbell was under investigation for
overcharging clients from his work at a law firm with Hillary
Rodham

  • Hillary Rodham Clinton, 2008 presidential candidate and current junior U.S.

….. Click the link for more information. Clinton and it led to a federal investigation and criminal charges. Stein, a potential target of the investigation, was subpoenaed to appear before a federal grand jury in Arkansas, but was not charged in that case or in the later pay-to-play scandal in the Hahn Administration.

It was during that time period that Stein cultivated a friendship with me as managing editor of the Daily News — a friendship that ended shortly after Hahn took office, named Stein again to head the Airport Commission and I published a story raising questions about the propriety of the appointment in light of Stein’s past controversial role in that post. .

From that moment on, Hahn ignored the Daily News, refusing to even come to editorial board meetings and treating the paper as an enemy — which, of course, made it easy to take a critical view of his actions since there was no relationship and so much to criticize.

I bring this all up in the name of full disclosure and because it provides a small window into the small world of City Hall politics — a world in which the inter-connected self-interest of insiders has so ill-served the public interest for so long and caused so much harm to the city.

Laura Chick made an important point in her one-sentence response to Stein’s attack when he resigned in 2004, saying: “This is not about one airport commissioner or about a blue-ribbon commission’s report, it is about leadership from the
top.”

That was true then, and it’s just as true today.

The problem with city government in Los Angeles was never people like Stein or the circle of lobbyists, contractors, developers, unions, political operatives and all the rest of those who feed at the trough of the city treasury.

The problem is the leadership at the top, the mayor and City Council members who take a sworn oath to serve the people but routinely betray that oath and the trust of the people.Enhanced by Zemanta

This entry was posted in City Hall, Hot Topics, Los Angeles and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to The Betrayal of Los Angeles: Who’s To Blame?

  1. Anonymous says:

    We all know by now that Antonio reinvents himself every so often with new names, surnames, women, issues, hobbies like yoga, going from Corona to $400/bottle wine, tacos to fois gras and oh yes, new friends, the latest being Stein.

  2. Brad Smith says:

    The panel sounds a useful as any study committee, but as others have pointed out, the FBI, LAPD, and LADOA PD share responsibilities for these duties, and have been aware of the threat of suicide type attacks for a decade now.
    I’d be curious to hear what a city-level study group is going to find that should not already be apparent to any of the federal and local professionals currently working at the airport.
    Having said that, Ron’s points about Mr. Stein are well-taken; Mr. Stein’s ability to make friends in CD 12 is legendary, as anyone in Northridge – especially Northridge East – can tell you.
    According to the last Ethics Commission filing (page 160 of 185), Mr. Stein gave Mr. Englander $500 on Nov. 9; he lists his law office in Northridge as his address.
    As a side note, Mr, Stein is joined on that page by donors from San Pedro, Sherman Oaks, Thousand Oaks, and New York, New York – all of whom are, I am sure, very aware of the concerns of homeowners and residents of the district.
    All the best,
    Brad Smith
    smithforcouncil.org

  3. Anonymous says:

    Once you’ve earned your Badge of honor/shame in the corruption game, you will always be welcome in City Hall. Are you going to trust the honest ones?

  4. Eating pizza and studying some history says:

    I really love reading this blog. There is nowhere in LA where this type of material is otherwise available. If the LA Times had any sense of mission left, it would offer excerpts.
    But who is responsible for the institutional failure of LA? Start with the people that passively watched as our manufacturers were driven out of California. Manufacturers were a crucial counterweight to the urban planners and corrupt officials and we only see that now that they’re gone.
    The squads of lawyers, accountants and developers are no counterweight at all. The manufacturers lived here and didn’t want to despoil it and leave. They contributed money to taxes and charities. The defense plant workers, the US Steel fabricators, the GM assembly workers, they were a grounded group. They never would have allowed a lightweight like TV to be Mayor. They would never would have supported a raid on the City’s treasury by city unions.
    It took the lawyers, ethnic politicians, urban planners who “knew” that a service economy was better, and army of unemployed and low wage voters to do that.
    None of the remaining power groups bring value to LA. They just take from the dwindling number of people that do.
    TV and his cronies are managing the decline with the accounting gimmicks and photo op policies familiar to anyone over 45. we’ve seen it all before.

  5. Natalie says:

    Did Stein stepped forward with Justin Manor as a replacement deal?

    Thanks,
    Natalie – friendship bracelets

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