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Director’s Commentary on the ‘Temple of Democracy’

EDITOR’S NOTE: It was self-indulgent but I thought the movie I made from Friday’s City Council session which featured a long debate that depended on what the meaning of the word ‘local’ is — the city or the county — was important since he showed just how hypocritical, incompetent or stupid they are. You can decide which applies. The issue was giving an 8 percent ‘local preference’ premium to city contractors supposedly to create jobs There was no evidence, no study that suggested that the money would actually create jobs or any more jobs than would be created if applied only to the city rather than the county as written to meet the definition of ‘local’ written into the City Charter in 1999. Here is my director’s commentary for each scene:

A temple of democracy like a place of worship”

the opening scene during Friday’s usual folderol of flatteries and presentations, Council
President Eric Garcetti — without a hint of irony – invokes the spiritual
purity of City Hall in welcoming Aram I, head of the Armenian Apostolic Church,
to L.A.

might wonder what God that Garcetti & Co. pray to — the God of the Holy Dollar and Self-service — given the state of the
city, the corrupting impact of special interest money and the indifference to
the concerns of residents.

$1 billion in city purchases, 85 percent to outsiders

Krekorian argues for approval of the “local preference” ordinance he proposed
fully a year ago to give businesses located in the county up to 8 percent bid bonus that will cost taxpayers more for purchases of goods and

might wonder whether this is a good use of public money, where the cost benefit
analysis is and if it is an economic positive in a city with one of the nation’s
highest poverty and underemployment rates why it took a year to enact.

“A sense of urgency
to put people to work”

years after the economy crashed and a year after holding up Krekorian’s local
preference ordinance, wannabe mayor Garcetti suddenly feels the measure must be
urgently passed to create jobs.

might wonder where he’s been the last three years while he was giving replacing
a Valley bus bench company with a giant national company based in Florida.

“Pushing the envelope a bit”

aware that the City Charter allows local preference in contracting only for the
county or state, Paul Koretz doesn’t give a damn. Screw the Constitution; he
wants to invoke a provision of the administrative code to make the preference only
apply to city businesses.

might wonder what his qualifications are to hold public office when he has
repeatedly sworn as a West Hollywood councilman, state Assemblyman and L.A.
councilman to faithfully uphold the Constitution of the United States,
Constitution of California and the City Charter.

“If you’re so parochial”

LaBonge, of all the people in all the world, understands the basic concept that
what is good for businesses throughout the county is good for the city,
generating jobs and economic activity. That’s why city’s like Minneapolis,
Chicago and Dallas are doing better than most in these tough times – they operate
as metropolitan regional economies working together.

might wonder how it’s possible the dumbest Council member turns out to be the
only one with a brain.

“We’re hampered greatly by our Charter”

Alarcon and Antonio Villaraigosa understand that if Charter is in the way of
you giving deals to friends and family with a premium of
taxpayer money, you got to change the Charter to make it easier to rip off the

might wonder what it says about everybody else at City Hall when an indicted
felon and admitted ethics law cheat respect the legal requirements more than
their colleagues.

“It’s $3 billion in good and service”

it to Mitch Englander to point out that with the Airport, Harbor and DWP, the
Council overseas $3 billion in purchases that if managed properly with a city
local preference ordinance could make their friends and families part of the
super-rich 1 percent.

might wonder how City Hall, as corrupt as it is, could have left so much money
on the table.

If we go too parochial, we miss opportunity to be the region

he goes again, Tom LaBonge talking common sense that surely would win support
from every economist in town, the L.A. Chamber and the L.A. Economic
Development Corp.

might wonder how city leaders who like to boast what a world class city L.A. is
can think so much smaller than Tom LaBonge.

“What the word ‘local’ means”

Englander acts more and more like he has taken up residence under the same rock
that his predecessor Hal Bernson used to live under and is cohabitating there
with Koretz. Following the Council’s tried and true path for getting around laws
they don’t like, Englander and Koretz are demanding that staff find a loophole
so that “local” is redefined to mean L.A. city only.

might wonder whether he is truly stupid as he seems or whether he thinks we are
so dumb we can’t see what he’s really up to.

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“We’d like if
it can be done via ordinance”

Poor Chief Legislative Analyst Gerry Miller forced to
dissemble in public about something that is utterly clear or lose his job – the
same condition of employment every manager at City Hall faces working in an
environment that is poisonously politicized. Miller knows full well a vote of
the people is needed to change the Charter to redefine what local means but
he’s afraid to expose the Council’s dishonesty in public.

Some might wonder what Miller and other managers would say if
had to take an oath to tell the truth, the whole truth, every time they spoke
at Council meetings.

“What are we doing here”

Garcetti makes an interesting
point: What are they doing there? Serving themselves, their friends and family?  Talking out of both sides of
mouth, he acknowledges L.A. is part of a regional economy and the local
preference ordinance for county businesses will make an impact yet he also
wants to exclude the rest of the county by changing the Charter.

Some might wonder what the real
reason is for redefining local.

“If we have another City Attorney up here we could have
another opinion”

The audacity of
Englander, the deliberate misinterpretation of Miller’s bland remark, the
contempt he shows an intelligent and honorable public servant like City
Attorney Pete Echeverria, the snicker when Echeverria pushes his way into the
conversation without being explicitly invited, the glance to his left toward
co-conspirator Koretz, the complete ignorance of the law -this is what we get
from a Councilman who has spent his life engaged in city politics.

Some might wonder how he got
elected but then everybody knows special interest money buys our elections.
Others might wonder why not a single Council member dares to denounce this kind
of conduct but then everybody knows they are all bought by the special

“We’d have to give some thought to how to make those reports

Gerry Miller responds to Bernard
Parks’ request for six-month reports on how the local preference policy is
working by saying no thought has been given to tracking the impact despite how
long the proposal has been around. He suggests the real question is whether the
extra cost to taxpayers actually produces any jobs whatsoever
—something that hasn’t been studied and isn’t actually required.

Some might wonder whether the local
preference premium will just enrich the rich.

“I hope we will not have to go the voters”

Koretz, a politician who has always
shown more respect for pets than people, sees no reason to put the local
preference issue to voters as a Charter amendment since he’s certain that they
amount of money that can be thrown into the campaign by special interests will
surely convince them to support it. Unlike Miller, Echeverria responds clearly
that the Charter doesn’t grant politicians authority, it limits their
authority, in this case to a county local preference. Koretz is flabbergasted
to learn from Echeverria that Charter reformers in 1999 fully recognized that
L.A. is “the center of a region and a regional economy” that rises and falls

Some might wonder how Koretz every
got elected but then …

 ”A great police officer, a great Angeleno”

After the county local preference
is unanimously approved with instructions to replace with a city only
ordinance, Garcetti  offers
well-earned praise for LAPD Captain Joseph Mariani who is retiring as the
department’s recruitment officer after a distinguished 38-year career.

Some might wonder why the movie
ends with honors for Joseph Mariani. It’s simple: He’s not local, not an
Angeleno by the Council’s definitions – he’s a long-time resident of the San
Gabriel Valley.


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15 Responses to Director’s Commentary on the ‘Temple of Democracy’

  1. fletcher bowron's ghost says:

    Bet on truly stupid.
    Harvey is the brains; Mitch is the muppet.

  2. Anonymous says:

    How can they discuss changing the charter
    themselves. Does not seem that is correct.
    Isn’t the charter the set of rules for conducting
    our city business? It affects everyone in the city. The residents as well as officials.
    These people talk about making things right for
    for themselves.
    Where can I get a copy of this document, contents as well as history? We are ignorant
    and that is not as it should be.

  3. Anonymous says:

    @October 16, 2011 4:48 PM
    The issue of the Charter came up because the City Council members wanted to enact this legislation now by their own vote. They didn’t want to hear the truth from the City Attorney even though he was right.
    They wanted to make changes through an ordinance.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Ron Kaye has done an excellent job of getting the facts and keeping us informed.
    Now, the hard question: What are we going to do about this malfunctioning and corruption?
    We have no leadership to get something done. Kevin James is running for Mayor, any other candidates? If noone cares, we might as well close up shop and go back from where we came. Why arent we filing a suit ?

  5. Anonymous says:

    It reminds me of the Bush Tax Cut and how they would create jobs. I think what it created was a better “bottom line”. LOL.
    Operations: If my service for payment is sufficient to meet my contractual obligation, the 8% is a bonus.
    This incentive is good for each district and constituents, but in reality let’s call what profit is, “profit”. No requirement to hire at all. Give me 8% for nothing is GREAT.
    Jobs is the most important component to generating revenue. A job would make the sun shine again. Living on the verg of homelessness it very difficult. The unemployed have rent increases (SCEP & Registration too) and LADWP rate hikes to look forward to. That is the unfairness: not having a job and the cost of living goes up meanwhile local businesses get an extra 8% of taxpayer money; some advantage. Where is the jobs commission? The business community walks into City Hall last week. The want to help the homeless, create jobs and they want a fair tax rate structure because they say, elsewhere rates are more competative. In the past, developers and owners negotiated tax credits; bringing less and less $$ Revenue to the City, to provide basic services. At some point and time when Revenue is so low that you have to borrow your pension costs upfront, at this rate. So the key to the Revenue problem is the creation of NEW JOBS, for people who live HERE in the City. What is up with money to make the “face of the business” pretty? That’s tax money. Hey Barney, tell fred we got some free money to put that bench near the window so the girls can sit and eat tacos. How DO YOU CREATE NEW JOBS, LA City Hall? Villaraigosa? You have not created one job. NET! Garcetti gives more tax credits that have come home to hurt the City not help it meets the cost of basic services. He (Garcetti) is opposed to sharing with the public, budget variance reports; his lack of transparency is not conducive to being a trustworthy Mayor.

  6. david J barron says:

    Hey, I wonder if indicted Alarcon decided to run somewhere else again, from council to assembly to another office this week…..would it be possible for some folks to have cut a deal, that would allow him to plead guilty, pay a fine….as long as he could run for another office, then change his mind, and again run for another district? Confusing? I’m not saying, I’m just saying.

  7. anonymous says:

    Like every violation of local and state codes Council commits, nothing will come of it unless a citizen files with the courts. Even then, what’s in place to enforce a court injunction?

  8. Wayne fron Encino says:

    Wonder why the letters: “O C C U P Y” havent shown up next to the HOLLYWOOD SIGN to spell
    OCCUPY HOLLYWOOD? Shouldn’t the elites in Hollywood show their true LIBERAL RADICALISM and get the permit from AEG to put it up? Each person by the way who voted in that Mini-Me ratfink Mitchell Midget SHOULD BE CONVICTED OF A MISDEMEANOR AND SENTENCED TO 1 YEAR IN CD7!!! What an absolute SCUMBAG!

  9. Anonymous says:

    “A temple of democracy like a place of worship” Like the little rascals, the Holy Men on the High Throne.
    Garcetti said,the people come to the Temple to request something be done, or just yell and tell us what we are doing wrong and, all we (City Council) can do is take it. For example, when they are told they are corrupt or hear from people they don’t like, they have a bad habit of turning down the volumn so the people at home can’t hear what the speaker is saying.
    What Garcetti was saying was, that City Hall is a Temple. What is so wrong with the Temple is, it goes straight up unlike a real Temple that has a dome, the Penis Style Structure represents Power but, when you have to borrow money from your OWNER, the REAL OWNERS of this land, you take it up the ASS Garcetti.

  10. Anonymous says:

    OMG!!! Ron, as always you are right on target and thanks for time and again calling out these bafoons city council members. They are beyond corrupt and hypocritical. Case in point as many of us criticized them for boycotting Arizona without knowing all the facts. Now, the corrupt Mexican Mafia gang led by Ed Reyes and 8 others want to put aside the ban on Arizona so they can attend a conference in Phoenix. Talk about a bunch of low life, classless, leaderless, gutless clowns. What is shocking to many of us is these morons don’t even care or have a conscience of how badly they represent Los Angeles to the rest of the nation. But then the kiss ass media allows them free reign without reporting the corruption. Glad they are all going down the toliet with them in newspapers and viewers

  11. anonymous says:

    Given that, in the span of several years, leases have been lost, businesses have folded and others have left LA, does anyone know why Council feels this is urgent? What is Mitch’s and Koretz’s agenda that they would so blatantly and publicly seek ways to violate the Charter? How does it serve them?
    The irony: wasn’t it just last week that they supported the US Constitution?

  12. Anonymous says:

    Orlov of the Daily News this morning gives Council salaries as higher than the Assembly.
    No wonder those people are running for city council. $177,790 a year plus goodies.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I know we could all use a good laugh and this quote from the Mayor will certainly do that.
    Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, trying to get the crowd roused, commented that the men of West Hollywood were “hot.”

  14. August Vollmer's ghost says:

    I wonder if Officer/Councilman Friendly has anything to say about this latest exhibition of LAPD “professionalism”?,0,3752873.story

  15. Wayne from Encino says:

    “the Penis Style Structure represents Power but, when you have to borrow money from your OWNER, the REAL OWNERS of this land, you take it up the ASS Garcetti.”
    YEP==SOMEONE SEEMS TO GET WHY I CALL THE CITY HALL BUILDING “THE PRICK.” Back in the ’20′s when the built it, it was going to stand for screwing everyone OUTSIDE of it. It should of been torn down after the 1994 quake. It should of been replaced with a large GUTTER so the GUTTER TRASH that runs the City would truly FEEL RIGHT AT HOME.

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