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Power — and the Abuse of Power — at City Hall

“There’s no such thing as too much power…you have to have the leverage” — Herb Wesson, the next President of the LA City Council.

Leave
it to a lightweight like Herb Wesson, congenial and fond of animals,
kids and fishin’ as he is, to speak the truth about exactly what’s wrong
with City Hall and with the state legislature where he used the levers
of power available to him as Assembly Speaker to contribute to the
policy disasters that led to the first recall election of a governor in
California history.

Wesson somehow was untouched by the
disastrous decisions that brought Grey Davis down and soon was helping
to destroy the financial situation of the City of Los Angeles with the
same kind of unsustainable giveaways to the rich and powerful whether
they be unions or corporations that were the hallmark of his time in
Sacramento.

Now, good old boy Herb is ready to assume a new
leadership role as President of the City Council succeeding Eric
Garcetti who is stepping aside to devote himself full time to dialing
for dollars from the many friends he’s made exercising the power he has
held to help those who can help him rise to higher office.

Wesson
is running unopposed for this powerful office and for good reason:
Organized labor, named uber-union boss Maria Elena Durazo warned
would-be challengers that they would be punished if they stood in the
way of her man Herb doing everything she wants.

Make no mistake about it: City Hall is a closed system.

City
Attorney Carmen Trutanich found out how you toe the line or you get
punished. Paul Krrekorian figured out you go along to get along or you
go nowhere unless you lend your ample skills as lawyer to rationalize
the unjustified and justify the irrational. Both Trutanich and
Krekorian, like a handful of others before them, owed their elections to
grassroots community support but found you can’t get anything done
trying to do the right thing.

Like Wesson, Villaraigosa is a
former Speaker who wielded the enormous power of that position for
political advantage without regard to whether his actions were for the
public benefit or private benefits.

As mayor, he and his staff
have bullied and abused every top manager who dared to suggest that what
they were doing was not serving the public interest. Obedience became
the only real quality that was considered important.

Now he’s
turning his power on members of the pension boards as he previously did
the presidents of the commissions overseeing Planning and the Department
of Water — namely Jane Usher and Nick Patsaouras who told him to go to
hell — and every other commission whose members have been more quietly
compliant.

Villaraigosa sacked civilian pension board president Roberta Conroy

in advance of today’s decision to lower the expected rate of return
from 8 to 7.75 percent in light of the poor investment performance and
economic troubles, a move state pension boards already have made and are
still finding it should be even lower.

The trouble the mayor has
with even a modicum of sane fiscal policy is it requires the city to
pay $27 million more to LACERS next year, adding to the expected deficit
which is rising rapidly.

His answer is the same as it has been
throughout the economic crisis: Take out more credit cards, put off
payments until he’s out office. It is nothing but a cover up of the
fundamental economic problems

Three days before she was replaced,
Conroy said she was called on the carpet and asked how she was going to
vote on lowering the pension fund’s rate of returned. “I indicated that
it would be difficult” to ignore the agency’s
actuarial firm, which concluded an 8% annual return was unrealistic, she
said. That firm warned the board that the figure may have to drop to 7.5% next year.

The mayor’s response: “This
(delay) request is completely reasonable … given our own financial situation.”

Another
pension board member, Rick Rogers, said the mayor was hinting to other
board members what he wanted. “The message is, you follow my direction
or you’re off the board,” he said.

This has been going on throughout the Villaraigosa Administration’s time in office.

The abuse of power when power is held as closely as it it at City Hall is despotic and tyrannical.

For
all the good intentions of tens of thousands of engaged people in the
city, nothing will change until there is a balance of power that
restrains the greed and self-service that have become all that City Hall
is.

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

11 Responses to Power — and the Abuse of Power — at City Hall

  1. Anonymous says:

    Ron, why are you surprised? You just realized Maria Elena Durazo, the corrupt union boss, runs the City with the blessing of the charlatan?

  2. Anonymous says:

    I don’t think Ron is one bit surprised, his
    expertise is as reporter and retired editor. His
    job is to inform us as to what is going on. Good
    job!!!~
    Our job: share the information with co-wworkers, neighnors, good buddies and families
    so that when election day arrives, they go to the polls and vote.
    As for Villar – he is proud of his power. OK.
    I think he has abused it sso badly that he should
    be indicted.

  3. Antonio from Hancock Park says:

    I LOOOOVVEEEE YOU KRLA!!!!!!!!!!! Now it’ll be easier to get CD15 filled with a more “desirable” person. I like talk radio stations that have no live call in shows covering my, err, their corruption. No more Ron on Wed nights, another gift in the gift basket. Thanks guys for all the help!

  4. Anonymous says:

    I hate jobs where you can’t make real change; you are not empowered in L.A.

  5. Anonymous says:

    This is the same durazo whose low-life husband cantreras was found dead after while being serviced by a teenage prostitute. If Ron has any friends who are so-called journalists, maybe they could do some investigative work to show what happened.
    Also scum Wesson didn’t just get where he’s himself. Somebody has voted for him.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Ron unfortunately speaks a truth that the pathetic Los Angeles Times will not tell the voters. (Oh, we would not want to rock the boat over at City Hall, would we? oh, no. The LA Times continues to cover up the corruption of Antonio Villaraigosa and his miserable coterie of incompetent labor criminals.)
    Ron speaks the truth but the 99% continue to manipulate the media outlets so a broader audience does not get the message or see the connections.
    I fear for this City. I truly do.

  7. Dhstudio says:

    Powerful piece of Truth, Ron. It shows how completely dysfunctional our govt. is, from local to Washington, DC. I’m sharing it!
    p.s. Please add Twitter and Facebook links to your articles! :)

  8. Dhstudio says:

    Powerful piece of Truth, Ron. It shows how completely dysfunctional our govt. is, from local to Washington, DC. I’m sharing it!
    p.s. Please add Twitter and Facebook links to your articles! :)

  9. Anonymous says:

    Wesson is an ignoramus. While we know he is a power hungry sleaze ball (and that’s the nicest term for him), he is also a fool. Educated people (a category which exclude Wesson) know of Lord Acton, who wrote in 1887: “Power tends to corrupt and absolutely power corrupts absolutely.”
    Thus, Wesson has just identified himself to be a corrupt power-monger, but then look at whom he replacing — Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumber

  10. Anonymous says:

    Ron,
    On behalf of the people who do try to do the right thing in this town, THANK YOU.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I am waiting for the day that someone will do an investigative report on Maria Elena Durazo. She has a bunch of skeletons in her closet and it is time that they come out.

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