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Where Else But in Chinatown Would the Depths of LA Political Corruption and Dishonesty Be Exposed

It is hard to believe that Herb Wesson’s City Council could sink any lower but the president’s No. 2 man Ed Reyes — with an assist from wannabe Mayor Eric Garcetti — led his colleagues to the bottom of a sea of moral corruption and intellectual bankruptcy on Friday.

Two decades ago, the Community Redevelopment Agency took millions of dollars of taxpayer money and built a 33,000-square-foot supermarket below four floors of affordable housing at Grand Avenue and Cesar Chavez in Chinatown.

Trouble was Albertson’s pulled out of the deal and 20 years later, the city was incapable of a finding another tenant so the supermarket sat empty and Chinatown remained one of LA’s many food deserts where fresh fruits and vegetables at reasonable prices were not readily available.

Enter Wal-Mart, the bogeyman of union kingpin Maria Elena Durazo and her pals, takes over the property. The nation’s No. 1 retailer, as early as last November, starts to pull permits from Building and Safety to make tenant improvements like installing refrigeration, shelves and whatever it takes to get their grocery store operating in a building that was built and zoned for the purpose so the entitlements were already in place.

Durazo and company have long thwarted the retail giant from opening 100,000-plus-square-foot superstores but this one is just for groceries and it’s still unacceptable because Wal-Mart’s is adamantly anti-union — putting its employees in the same situation as LA’s sweatshop workers and 85 percent of the city’s work force.

Suddenly, on March 16, with only the last permits to be pulled, Reyes — who as city planner and Councilman boasts he has been engaged in Chinatown development issues for all these 20 years — awakened from his soporific Rip Van Winkle sleep and discovered the evil Wal-Mart was coming to Chinatown.

So without public input or any kind of hearings, the man who has sat on the Planning and Land Use Committee for a decade put in a motion, seconded by Garcetti, demands for an interim control ordinance to try to stop Wal-Mart from opening the store and adds an amendment that his measure exempts existing businesses and those with under 20,000 square feet.

In other words, it only applies to Wal-Mart as the unions and their front group, the L.A. Alliance for the New Economy, demanded and got because they put guys like Reyes into office and keep them there to do their bidding.

The only trouble was that just before closing for business on Thursday, Wal-Mart pulled the last permit it needed to start construction so what Reyes was trying to do was irrelevant.

It was hardly that Wal-Mart “outwitted” the Council as the LA Times reported; the company had  help getting its permits from officials in very high places to head off what was as an explosive anti-business controversy that the mayor could hardly afford to endure when he’s President Obama’s “Latino voters” star attraction and on a roll in the national press.

Reyes knew what had happened so did the rest of the Council when they took up this matter on Friday.

Building and Safety General Manager Robert “Bud” Ovrom was waiting in the wings to be called to testify as soon as they were done with public comment — most of it in support of Wal-Mart with Chamber of Commerce head Gary Toebben “vehemently’ opposed to the ordinance and Central City Association leader Carol Schatz imperiously warning “don’t do this.”

Just because what he was up to no longer mattered meant nothing to Reyes who plunged forward,  lying through his teeth about what this was about. I stopped counting when I got past 20 lies. (Watch the upcoming video and count them yourselves).

An elderly person once was hit by a bus in Chinatown. There’s $1 billion worth of new high schools filled with teenagers in the area so traffic and sidewalk improvements are desperately needed. The CRA is gone. The character of Chinatown must be preserved as if the bland, modern building in question fits into the look of the community.

It was all hot air and lies, not a single word about Wal-Mart or the union demands.

Reyes deserved to be rebuked by every member of the Council. Instead, they wiggled and dissembled and voted unanimously as if it were nothing more than a local planning issue to order the Planning Department — which they noted was overworked with 40 percent of its staff cut — to waste hundreds of hours drafting the interim control ordinance and holding hearings.

Trust me, it will be a cold day in Chinatown before that comes back to the Council.

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3 Responses to Where Else But in Chinatown Would the Depths of LA Political Corruption and Dishonesty Be Exposed

  1. Anonymous says:

    “Instead, they wiggled and dissembled and voted unanimously as if it were nothing more than a local planning issue to order the Planning Department — which they noted was overworked with 40 percent of its staff cut — to waste hundreds of hours drafting the interim control ordinance and holding hearings”.

    The biggest lie is that the Planning Department has a 40% staff cut. LOL. Liars, all of them.

  2. Teddy says:

    They do not deserve to get paid. We need to lay them all off.

    I am retired, but my bosses would not have let me have a job
    if I did it the way these people do. Somehow, it is a game to them
    and it is too bad. I call them and their staffs “The City Hall Gang”.

    Enough already.

  3. Wayne from Encino says:

    I agree the Reyes motion will never return for a Clown-review! I do think, however, that the Clowncil is stupid enough to have NOT BELIEVED that Walmart got the RIGHT permits TO MOVE FULL SPEED AHEAD. Thus Friday’s meeting is a positive sign—They might be evil, rotten, and dangerous, but the Clowncil can be defeated IF THE GAME DEPENDS ON WHO OUTSMARTS WHO! They use brute force, threats, intimidation, shakedowns, and economic terrorism as some of their more popular tools of ruling over a city of 3 million helpless victims. They are seriously WORRIED about Friday. The CAMPAIGN DONORS are VERY VERY AFRAID of what happend Friday! Alot of really WEALTHY Chinese SHOWED UP AND SPOKE OUT, THIS WASN’T PREDICTED AT ALL! This joins with alot of WEALTHY KOREANS who are also getting real sick of this Clowncil. AEG better put on some kind of benefit for the Asian Community REAL FAST—because if these new PLAYERS join FORCES and fight King Herb I. and his Phony-Court of Fools, we might have some non-Herb allies winning some elections real soon.
    There are roughly 75 campaign donors who control all the power in L.A. County. The jerks you see like Reyes and His Royal Majesty Herb Wesson are just puppets. It would be nice to assemble these 75 major campaign donors for a public Q and A session instead of listening to the phony “debates” we always see.
    For Example, AEG should be asked “can YOU get Reyes to pave and fix the sidewalks and mudslides on Sunset Blvd in Angelino Heights?
    Or ask the SEUI: “Can you tell Carmen Trutanich NOT to run for D.A. since he’s such a God Damned FOOL.”
    Or how about to Eli Broad “Your a nice man underneath it all, can you DONATE back to the BANKRUPT CITY THAT $75,000,000 OF taxpayer money for your parking garage so we can save the LAFD>>”
    Then we could vote WITH DIRECT AND HONEST PROMISES that would be lived up to, instead of getting these promises FROM THE USELESS PUPPETS we “vote” for.

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