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What’s in a Name? City Hall By Any Other Name Would Still Be Just as Corrupt

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was written for Nina Royal’s North Valley Reporter.

In days of yore, public buildings were named for the dead, people who had lived distinguished lives and deserved in some small way to be remembered and honored.

These days, public buildings are bearing the names of the living however forgettable or forgotten they are. It’s as if these two-bit politicians did something great for the public and not just served their time and gone along for the ride.

It irks me every time I drive past the Council District 3 community/constituent center in my neighborhood and see the name Dennis P. Zine chiseled into the wall in large letters. Isn’t it enough that he’s got a six-figure pension for writing traffic tickets plus a $180,000 salary as Councilman that could entitle him to a second six-figure pension as a civilian?

We’re grateful for his long commitment to self-service and occasional public service but it’s we the taxpayers who pay for this indulgence of the needy ego of a man who has yet to do anything that distinguishes him from a lot of other hack politicians – or traffic cops for that matter.

This comes to mind with the unanimous decision recently of the City Council to rename City Hall East, a truly mediocre building where nobody wants their office located, after James K. Hahn. Among his claims to fame and honor, according to the colleagues who bestowed this honor on him, are that he is the son of the beloved pothole king, the late Supervisor and Councilman Kenny Hahn and is the only politician who served in all three citywide offices – one term as controller, four as city attorney, one as mayor.

One after another, Council members stood to praise Jimmy Hahn for his modesty and quiet sense of humor that went mostly unnoticed by the public who saw a dour man, uncomfortable in the public fishbowl.

One after another, they stood to praise him for dumping their absent and ailing colleague Bernard Parks as police chief and hiring Bill Bratton.

But most of all, they praised him for defeating Valley secession with a 10 to 1 funding advantage and the safeguard of passage requiring not just a majority in the Valley – which it got – but a majority of voters citywide which it never could have gotten in a million years.

This was a view shared by the underserved Valley’s own Council members, including Paul Krekorian, without anybody mentioning the various pay-to-play scandals that occurred during Hahn’s time as mayor as City Hall corruption turned viral or the passivity of his leadership which allowed the Council to remain the city’s governing body despite Charter reform and kept Neighborhood Councils from becoming effective instruments of local control.

For all I care, they could name City Hall itself after Antonio Villaraigosa and chisel it stone on the front entrance. They could call the $500 million police headquarters after the narrow-minded drunk William Parker like they did the old police headquarters.

What’s in a name after all: City Hall and City Hall East would still be as corrupt to their cores no matter what moniker they are given.

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8 Responses to What’s in a Name? City Hall By Any Other Name Would Still Be Just as Corrupt

  1. Teddy says:

    I did find an honest man today in the Target store. A cashier, I gave him an extra $20
    bill, returned it to me and I turned to the customer who was next and said “Eureka”,

    We both love him. He is a student at CSUN.

  2. Ricardo says:

    Friends were shocked when they found out Tony Cardenas named a rec center after his parents. There’s another building with Greg Smith’s name on it. OF course no community input on this stuff. There should be a list of all the politicans who have their name on buildings throughout LA. Let’s hope Tony Villar will never ever get a name on any building. They are sneaky and naming schools after people without telling the taxpayers either.

  3. anonymous says:

    New elementary school, 6900 block of Calhoun Avenue in Van Nuys,
    also named after Cardenas’ family. Yes, the children, such easy prey.

  4. Wayne from Encino says:

    Re: Ricardo:
    I have an even worse story to this—The City Redistricting Commission MOVED the area by that building named after his parents from CD 2 to CD 6 because “It was named after Councilman Cardenas’ Parents and must remain IN HIS HOME DISTRICT AS A MATTER OF HONOR!!!”
    As for the Smith and Zine buildings—If I ever become Mayor the first thing I’ll do is BULLDOZE BOTH BUILDINGS and turn them into PARKS! Nothing should ever be named after those two human-wastes.
    As for the City Hall East building—I lost out—I tried to get it named CORRUPTION CENTER EAST. I was sure it was fitting and proper that we should do that. I’m still holding out hope that we’ll name the main building CITI-HALL and have CITIbank pay for naming rights to the main corruption hall.

  5. anonymous says:

    Who will get the Hyperion Sewage Treatment Plant honors? Shall we take a vote?

  6. frank says:

    The acting principal of Fairfax High School is having the new football stadium named after him.I am sure there are more worthy names in the commnity that we can name the new stadium after…how about Canters field,at least they would have financed the construction.

  7. anonymous says:

    to 02/27/12 Ricardo: So true.
    Cardenas also named new elementary school, 6900 block Calhoun Avenue in Van Nuys, after his family. Yes, the children, such easy prey

  8. maria de los angeles says:

    02/27/12 Ricardo, you are correct.
    The new elementary school 6900 Calhoun Avenue, Van Nuys, was also baptized
    to honor Cardenas’ family name.
    The children….such easy prey.

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