Renovated at a cost to taxpayers of more than $300 million just a few years ago, City Hall is an LA landmark that would bring a handsome price on the open market with all its gold leaf adornments and self-cleaning executive toilets.
What is so pathetic is how the politicians and the puppets they appoint to commissions that are supposed to protect the interests of the public sell out City Hall so cheaply.
Take next month’s 15th annual LA Political Roast organized by lobbyists Arnie Berghoff and Harvey Englander along with their own private Councilman, Harvey’s nephew Mitch.
With individual tickets to the banquet at the Beverly Hilton running $500, Fat Cat tables $5,000 and Power Broker tables $10,000, it is going to be SRO with 1,200 guests — just about everyone in town who one way or another makes a buck off taxpayers backs will be there.
Sponsors boast it’s a hot ticket because the economy is improving. It’s a sign of the times alright but it has nothing to do with the state of the economy with unemployment and poverty in LA at historically high levels.
It has everything to do with who is the roastee — Herb Wesson, the comedic peddleer put in charge of the City Council to smite anyone who might get in the way of the feeding frenzy under to way to cash in on what’s left of the public wealth before the bills come due on the watch of the next mayor who will inherit the mess Antonio’s leaving behind.
The cover story of this event — the largest political event of the year in LA — is the profits go to the American Diabetes Assn., as worthy a cause as the organizers are unworthy.
Wesson is the architect of the cynical redistricting plot now being carried out to make it absolutely certain that every candidate for city office anointed by the special interests who own the City Hall machine will be 100 to 1 favorites to beat any honest citizen who actually thinks holding public office is about public service — not self-service.
As president of the Council, Wesson not only robbed his two fellow black Council members — Jan Perry and Bernard Parks – of critical parts of their districts but the key chairmanships where she tried to protect ratepayers from being robbed by the DWP and he carried out a lonely war for fiscal responsibility.
To close the deal, Wesson has pushed the Ethics Commission to approve on Thursday lifting the limits on campaign contributions by more than 100 percent — from $500 to $1,100 for city council candidates, and from $1,000 to $2,200 for citywide campaigns
The phony excuse to do this is the US Supreme Court ruling that open the floodgates to Super PACs funded by corporations and super-PACs so higher limits in local elections will keep them competitive.
It’s hard to think of a bigger lie than that but you can bet Wesson will tell one soon enough. Clearly, he’s a guy who should be on truth serum day and night because city elections are as competitive as those in the old Soviet Union — outsiders hardly stand a chance because nearly all the money from developers, contractors, unions and the clients of lawyers, lobbyists and all the other operatives living off City Hall business go to the candidates anointed by the political machine.
With its leftist perspective, the Daily Kos warned raising contribution limits “will further dilute the ability of young, minority female and progressive candidates to run for office.”
The same can be said of just about everybody else as the Ethics Commission declared four years ago — before it was totally corrupted like every oversight body: “Raising contribution limits seems to disproportionately benefit incumbents, who already raise and spend more on campaigns than non-incumbent candidates.”
For all its hollow talk and empty promises about democracy and concern for the poor and its condemnation of the rich, City Hall has done more to widen the gap between rich and poor in this town than just about any government body in this country.