The Radicalization of Councilman-elect Englander: Power to the People, Reform the City Charter, Throwing Officials Under Buses
It’s hard to believe this is the same Mitch Englander who got elected to succeed his boss Greig Smith just a short time ago.
There he was last week at a joint meeting of the Northridge and Porter Ranch Neighborhood Councils playing to an angry overflow crowd of residents angered by the city’s re-striping of Wilbur Avenue between Nordhoff and Chatsworth to turn four lanes into two for a left-hand turn lane and a bike lane.
Damien Newton at Streetsblog.com covered the event in great detail as the crowd of 450 — two-thirds in favor of restoring the past, a third pro-bike — as Englander scoffed at the idea of actually riding a bike himself to work and home, pleaded innocent to how it happened without the knowledge of the Councilman or his staff and complained about their inability to change the Department of Transportation decision.
What made the event even more noteworthy was Englander’s “jokes” about throwing retired and highly respected DOT General Manager Rita Robinson, and maybe even, the mayor “under the bus.”
He said he would work to strip the mayor to hire and fire general managers and return it to the City Council which was the city’s “governing body” prior to Charter reform a decade ago. For good measure, he promised Neighborhood Councils would never the slighted again on city actions affecting their turf.
You can listen to the crowd-pleasing Englander’s performance here (M Englander, under the bus speech 1, 03-15-11.mp3) and here (M Englander, under the bus speech 2, 03-15-11.mp3).
A Dysfunctional, Broken System: California Department of Corrections Parole Operation
By Robin Sax, co-authored by Caroline Aguirre, retired parole agent, Women In Crime Ink
In late August 2009, the arrest of parolee Phillip Garrido exposed just how broken and dysfunctional the California Department of Corrections (CDCR) has become. Investigative findings, as published by California State Inspector General David Shaw and the State Attorney’s General’ office, concluded that a number of parole agents over a period of nine years had failed to do their jobs properly surrounding the parole supervision of Phillip Garrido. A registered sex offender, Garrido has been charged with the kidnapping and rape of Jaycee Dugard. To date, the state of California has paid out a sum of $20 million dollars to Jaycee Dugard. Numerous other law suits are pending in which CDCR is named as defendants.
Then there was John Albert Gardner, also a registered sex offender, who admitted earlier this year to the horrific rape and murder of both Chelsea King and Amber Dubois.
As noted in the Investigative report findings by State Inspector General David Shaw:
“This report concludes that during the department’s parole supervision of Gardner, it did not identify Gardner’s aberrant behavior, including unlawfully entering the grounds of a state prison, a felony as well as numerous parole violations. Had the department identified Gardner criminal act and parole violations, it could have referred them to the District Attorney’s or the Board Of Prison Hearings for appropriate actions. Successful prosecution of Gardner could have sent Gardner back to prison , making it impossible for him to have murdered Amber Dubois and Chelsea King.”
Right after the arrest of Phillip Garrido, Matthew Cate, Scot Kernan and Robert Ambroselli, top administrators for the CDCR, openly stated to numerous news media outlets that parole agents had done a good job.
DWP Ratepayers Vote with Their Wallets
By JACK HUMPHREVILLE, LA Watchdog at CityWatchLA
Ron Nichols, the General Manager of our Department of Water and Power since January 24, is charged with orchestrating a massive turnaround and restructuring of the nation’s largest municipally owned utility. Over time, DWP has been victimized by, among other things, the failure to invest in its infrastructure; political meddling; a self serving, politically powerful Union Bo$$; promotions based on who you know, not merit; and serving as a dumping ground for over 1,600 unqualified City employees.
To implement the necessary changes, Nichols must establish a quality management team with the necessary management and technical skills that will direct the reorganization and transformation of the DWP.
To establish his authority, on February 4, having been at the helm for less than two weeks, Nichols ordered the dismissal of the politically appointed Raman Raj as the Chief Operating Officer. Raj, often referred to as the Chief Political Officer, was unceremoniously escorted from DWP’s Hope Street headquarters after he decided not to accept a six figure “Martinez” severance package.
Over the next ten years, the DWP, its management, and its many professional employees will be charged with implementing a $60 billion strategic plan that is responsive to the needs of the existing infrastructure and the significantly increased regulatory requirements. At the same time, DWP must provide Angelenos with reliable water and power at affordable prices.