Sometimes you have to do some work, like watching videos showing what the people you put into office do and say when confronted by their failure.
Somtimes you have to read between the lines, see through the posturing of their public performances and think for yourselves about what it all means.
This is one of those times. It is that important if you want to understand how far and wide the HACLA scandal runs, how pervasive the corruption goes. how complete the incompetence of your elected officials is.
Hauling Housing Authority figures before them to answer questions about the scandal-plagued poverty agency, the City Council members did their best to deny and deflect all responsibility.
It was a sorry show that shed little light and left unasked one of the biggest questions of all: How did HACLA go from the doghouse of receivership in the eyes of federal housing authorities to its highest performer virtually from the President Obama took office and appointed L.A. official to high posts in the Housing and Urban Development Deparmtent?
Here’s a rundown of the lengthy hearing:
THE HERO: ARNIE CORLIN WATCH VIDEO
Arnie Corlin is an apartment owner, manager of Section 8 buildings and a community activist who works closely with the police and the Watts Task Force and low-income tenants in HACLA units. He has campaigned through the apartment owners association AAGLA for reforms of the agency, writing numerous articles exposing what was going on.
It was Corlin who alerted me to just how widespread the mismanagement of HACLA was four years ago,prompting me to meet with current and former officials, write about the scandal and talk to various professional journalists about what I thought was the city’s worst outrage because it victimized the most vulnerable people and sentenced them to live in slum conditions.
WANNABE MAYOR GREUEL PLAYS CATCH-UP WATCH VIDEO
Controller Wendy Greuel, a wannabe mayor who took a beating in writing last week from her highly respected predecessor Laura Chick and on Which Way LA? on Monday, released her audit of HACLA expense accounts on Tuesday, confirming what was already public knowledge for 11 days thanks to the brilliant reporting by KCET’s So-Cal Connected. You can also listen to her new self-serving video promo on her city website
Greuel did her best to dance around questions posed by Chick about why she didn’t do anything about HACLA during the past three years but faced not a single hard question from the City Council which accepted her feeble presentation just as her public relations advisers scripted it.
THE FALL GUY: HACLA’S KEN SIMMONS WATCH VIDEO
Kenneth Simmons, HACLA chief operating officer during most of Rudy Montiel’s reign of self-service and extravagance, served as interim CEO since March until Tuesday when he was replaced by the mayor by the head of the troubled city Housing Department, Doug Guthrie.
Simmons claims he told Montiel that hundreds of thousands of dollars in expensive lunches by staff, costly and unneeded travel, double dipping and expensive “incentives” to staff was wrong but felt his job was on the line so he shut up and signed the bills. He’s innocent, he says, and was smart enough to blow the whistle to law enforcement in the last nine months since Montiel was fired — a move that insures he is entitled to a handsome severance just like his former boss got with the same gambit.
THE KNOW-NOTHINGS; IGNORANCE OF THE COUNCIL WATCH VIDEO
During the lengthy hearing, various Council members displayed their total ignorance of what HACLA is, how it worked, where it’s money came from and all these scandals involving it over the years. Those were know-nothings hiding behind feigned — or worse — true ignorance.
WANNABE MAYOR PERRY PLAYS SOFTBALL WATCH VIDEO
The smart ones kept their mouths shut.Then, there was wannabe mayor Jan Perry who seemed really pleased with Simmons and HACLA except for the small matter that the Council has no direct authority over who benefits from the $800 million at its disposal every year. Perry, back up by Eric Garcetti, admitted she has been sitting on a protocol for two years that would have made HACLA accountable to the Council beyond just approving the mayor’s appointments to the HACLA oversight commission, itself active participants in the self-indu
lgent corruption for years.
lgent corruption for years.
THE SEVERANCE DEAL — HUSH MONEY FOR RUDY WATCH VIDEO
So why was Montiel paid off so handsomely to the tune of $1.2 million when his agency was in total disarray and scandal-plagued? Reluctantly, the City Attorney’s office and a private attorney offered an array of explanations: He had a contract; he was a whistleblower against the crooks on the commission’ he was wrongfully dismissed; it would have cost more to fight him. the city couldn’t defend its neglect and incompetence. Or maybe it was hush money. Take your pick.
THE SAVIOR — HACLA COMMISSION HEAD MITCH KAMIN WATCH VIDEO