The cops led by Commander Andy Smith — hero of the Occupy LA eviction — were out in full force Tuesday to protect the Animal Services Commission, specifically president Melanie Ramsayer and vice president Ruthanne Secunda, from Daniel Guss, a animal rights advocate who has accused them of abusing their positions.
Guss may be a lot of things like a middle-aged guy with a bad back and an excess of passion for what he believes in but a threat to the physical safety of anyone, he’s not. He is at worst a gadfly who has appealed for 12 years without incident at City Council and commission meetings for responsible policies for animals and even humans, a guy who helped drive incompetent Animal Services general managers from their jobs by exposing their failings.
For months now, he has crusaded far and wide against Secunda, a gal pal of Ramsayer who just happens to best friends with a woman named Lu Parker, who just happens to be the First Lady of the City of Angels, sort of, which is why the city’s first man, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, named her to head the Animal Rights Commission.
Believing (presumably) that their lives are endangered by Dan Guss, they made sure that Commander Smith and three other armed cops were on hand Tuesday for 3 1/2 hours, stationed in the back of the near empty meeting room even before Guss arrived. The cops stood around but Smith was able to sit down and play with his cell phone the whole time proving that rank still has its privileges.
You might leap to the conclusion that the mayor and his obedient police chief are now applying their doctrine of “constitutional policing” to anyone who dares to exercise their rights as American to criticize their government. We probably should be grateful that it’s not like the old days when they just would have beaten Guss half to death and fed him to a pack of stray pit bulls to get rid of the evidence.
The kind of tactic Secunda, Ramsayer, the mayor and police chief used in this case is merely intimidation to chill Guss from denouncing Secunda for using her position to make her problems go away over her failure to comply with the city’s animal regulations she is supposed to be enforcing.
Specifically, Secunda got cited for violating the leash law (Secunda – Leash Citation.pdf)
and Guss asserts tried to get the officer to back off without issuing the citation and then to get GM Brenda Barnette to make it go away.
And then she voted to reduce or eliminate
the penalties for these very same infractions
You and I might find this amusing in a sick kind of way like most of our reactions to the venality and stupidity that goes on in our name at City Hall but Jim Bickhart, the mayoral aide assigned to dog the Animal Services Commissioners and make sure they do his bidding, found it all so boring he fell asleep on the job.
For that we should probably be grateful. A sleeping dog tells no lies and does no harm.