Talk about casting against type — failed comedian Herb Wesson as the Great Dictator of City Hall? Ingenious!
Who but the invisible hand of power driving a failed political machine could have come up with such an audacious joke that has the insiders laughing all the way to the bank?
First, Herb punishes the few voices that have ever dared to call for fiscal responsibility or question the greedy demands of union bosses like Brian D’Arcy and elevates his most intellectually and morally bankrupt colleagues to positions of authority.
Then, he puts his top aide in charge of a Redistricting Commission that is largely made up of stooges and puppets who owe their livelihoods to the City Hall cash cow with a few exceptions like Helen Kim and David Roberts (not to be confused with worn-out old pol David Roberti who went along for the ride like it was still the good old days).
And now comes the piece de resistance — the showpiece of Herb’s dictatorship intended to break all public resistance — upping by 30 and 40 percent how much money candidates for city offices can extort from people wanting favors and a piece of the action if the kind of 10 to 1 money advantages and Super-PAC support insider candidates already have over honest citizens isn’t enough.
True to form as if we are too stupid to see through his deceit, Herb originally asked the City (Un)Ethics Commission to more than double the limits on campaign donations so we might be grateful for the lower figures.
Only one commissioner, former LAUSD Board President Marlene Canter, even offered tepid objection, noting such a major change that advantages incumbents and their anointed successors was being done without giving the public much of a chance to even know what was going on.
Among the few who tried to stop this power grab is City Controller candidate Cary Brazeman, the successful businessman who founded LA Neighbors United and is challenging the double-dipping $300,000 a year City Councilman and retired traffic cop Dennis Zine — a man totally without any qualifications for the job of managing the city’s finances or auditing the operations of its departments.
Calling it “a sad day in LA,” Brazeman vigorously protested the commission’s action, threatened to file a lawsuit and sent out this email blast that says in part:
“The Commission acted unlawfully, in violation of City law that does not allow campaign finance changes to be made in the middle of an election. These changes will disproportionately benefit incumbent officeholders running for the same or higher offices, and unduly disadvantage election challengers, including me.
Worse still is that the Commission left open the door to changing the rules yet again before the election, including potentially eliminating public matching funds for candidates in run-offs. This is quite unbelievable, actually, and will affect every challenger who is running for every office in the City.
But don’t despair. My campaign is considering all available legal actions to halt implementation of these changes, which also were opposed by California Common Cause and the California Clean Money Campaign.
Most likely, we will pursue a civil rights action against the City in Federal Court . . .
The sadness of the day is amplified by the failure of the City Attorney to stand with the people in the face of unlawful activity that would subvert clean, fair elections. What a disappointment . . .
In life and in politics, you have to pick your fights. You can’t fight every fight, and you certainly can’t win them all. But the City crossed a pretty significant line today: This is a fight we will fight. And not just for my campaign or for the others that join with us, but for all of us who aspire to live in a city that’s guided by better angels.
Clearly, there are no angels in City Hall. The Commissars in charge no longer can tolerate even the pretense of fair elections.