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It Takes a Revolution to Save This Village — Citizen Activist Joyce Dillard Stands Up to AEG and the City

Joyce Dillard may never get her day in court to fight against the injustices and corruption she sees but she got two hours last night in formal mediation with AEG and the City of Los Angeles to make her case that the Farmers Field/Convention Center deal is a threat to the public health and safety.

For years now, Joyce has spent endless hours day after day going through ancient city archives to dig out vital information about how we have gotten to where we are and attending meetings of agencies that affect the health of our city and county that few go to. She is a researching dynamo.

She filed a protest comment challenging the 10,000-page environmental impact report that AEG spent millions of dollars on and millions more buying the state legislature to cripple the environmental review and legal processes through SB 292.

And then Joyce Dillard did what no other ordinary citizen among the four million residents of Los Angeles did: She demanded formal mediation under the CEQA-weakening SB 292.

Unlike the various non-profits with their hands out or the Dodgers new ownership looking for its own advantages, Joyce Dillard wanted nothing more than to see all laws upheld and the public protected.

Her hand was not out seeking something for herself any more than it has been in the hundreds, thousands, of protests she has filed demanding that city and county follow the law and put the public safety first ahead of all other considerations.

As a friend I went with her to a pre-interview with the professional mediators Denise Madigan and Peter Robinson who drew out and organized Joyce’s concerns from the impact on the fragile watershed, to the project’s cumulative impact on dwindling water and energy resources, deteriorating waste management systems, methane and earthquake dangers and ultimately serious questions about ownership of the property involved and the city’s right to serve as the legal agent to authorize and oversee this mammoth project.

It was a helpful and positive session that led to her getting a two-hour mediation session last week with representatives of the city and AEG.

But then Joyce submitted the list of people who would be joining her, ordinary citizens like her who are very smart and very concerned about the environment and the direction the city is heading. I was on her list as well.

AEG said, “No! No, because you were the only one who signed your protest comment and the law SB 292 only allows the person who signed the comment to participate in mediation.”

In plain language, the only citizen to protest was going to be denied her basic right to be heard while the Dodgers were allowed to change their lobbyist from Allen Madkins to Latham Watkins and the poverty and environmental non-profits could bring anyone they wanted to the table. But not citizen Joyce Dillard.

All I did was to tell people who mattered, people who I respected as people despite what some of the things they did for a living. that what they were party to was wrong.

“No Way to Treat a Lady” – that was my headline, that was the story I was ready to tell.

Much as I wanted to wash my hands of this and write a brutal indictment of this process and the contempt AEG – and the city – were showing a honorable and decent private person, I reached out to the only person I thought might help, Special Assistant City Attorney Jane Usher, who is working from dawn until late at night to humanely disinfect Skid Row of its rats, hypodermic needles and filth and to Bill Delvac, the lobbyist for AEG’s outrageous Farmers Field stadium deal.

Somehow they came together and overcame all the obstacles to give Joyce Dillard her chance to make her case, her chance to be heard.

I can’t talk about what was said last night because it was a confidential mediation seeking to find solutions in a free and open discussion. But I can tell you that Joyce Dillard did a remarkable presentation of what is wrong with this deal, what is wrong with every deal the cynical politicians and gutless politicians cut with developers, unions and all the other greedy interests that are the cancer of our collective lives.

I’m not sure anything that matters came out of our session other than Joyce Dillard got two hours to present her research and that AEG’s representative Bill Delvac took her seriously and left the door open for Joyce and her activist cohorts to present concrete solutions to the issues that concern them.

Joyce Dillard for this moment was the voice of the people of Los Angeles and that Delvac and Assistant City Attorney Tim McWilliams took seriously what she had to say and respected her as we all deserve to be respected.

For me, Joyce Dillard is a citizen hero. She works hard day after day, digging into records and attending meetings, and providing hard facts to help us make sense of the failure of our officials to serve us – we ought to build a statue to her on the new front lawn of City Hall, or better come in the thousands and occupy that space until we bring our officials to their knees.

If more of us had the courage and tenacity of Joyce Dillard and the hundreds of others citizen activists in all parts of the city to stand up for what we believe in, to come to a meeting room at City Hall late at night on a Tuesday in late June to make them listen to us, we would have a better city..

It doesn’t take a village. It takes a revolution to save the village.

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9 Responses to It Takes a Revolution to Save This Village — Citizen Activist Joyce Dillard Stands Up to AEG and the City

  1. Lucille Saunders says:

    Our greatest thanks, Joyce. Please know you are truly a hero in this and your many efforts, though you are certainly not alone.

    We stand with you!! Joyce. How may we help?

    Lucille Saunders
    La Brea Willoughby Coalition

  2. Wayne from Corruptopia and why I say TO HELL WITH L.A. says:

    I’m NEVER setting foot in Dodger Stadium, Staples Center, or this Football Stadium! I no longer support any team that begins with “L.A.” Screw em’ all! In the end, that’s the only way to stop these greedy crooks. They hide behind the teams and the players then sneak around in the dark and make deals that would make the Devil himself ashamed! Ex-Chief Bratton had a famous moment on A.M. Talk radio when he replied to a comment from a caller: “…IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT, THEN LEAVE THE STATE!”
    It sounded completely absurd then, but HE WAS CORRECT! That is the goal everyone in Corruptopia must set their sights on.

  3. Joyce Dillard has done quality representation for L.A.’s citizens.
    Now others must join her in her efforts to “build the army” to
    fight environmental issues to safeguard the SECOND LARGEST
    CITY IN THE COUNTRY for a better future for it’s citizens.
    Join Joyce Dillard in her fight to get you to participate and
    understand the issues which are promoted in your interest by
    politicians and special interest groups and not in your interest
    or your family’s and future generations with destruction of the
    city’s environment.

  4. Vote blindly, then complain says:

    Joyce has shown that when people LEARN about the real issues and gather FACTS, they can make a difference.

    AB 2531 — the attempt to Kelo eminent domain was vetoed because people got involved and took effective action

    The CRA’s were abolished for the same reason. People like Ron and CityWatch and LA weekly created the public opinion which allowed voters to support the end of the CRA’s. Without activists to LEARN the FACTS and then find away to use the facts, the corruption continues unabated.

    AEG shows how much the 1% have bought the State of California. AEG paid legislators to say, “Let’s decimate the law so that we can have more traffic, more air pollution, and fix only the roads that bring $$ to Phil Asshutz.” They plan to use that law to allow any project worth over $100 Million evade environmental guidelines. Those mega projects are the ones that need the environmental controls the most, so LA ills those regulation.

    Look at the vilely corrupt Hollywood Plan which the City Council just passed. It is basically a scam to transfer tax dollars to corrupt developers. The death of the CRA’s has slowed down the corruption, but the fraudsters have other ways to cheat the public. They just gave $67 Million in tax dollars to a hotel.

  5. Geneviève says:

    Margaret Mead was right! Kudo’s to Joyce for pulling back the curtain on this issue!

  6. George Buzzetti says:

    I have inown Joyce and Ron for a long time. Joyce has always provided the best documented information. She really knows what is going on in both the current and past historical sense. This gives her something special and that is knowledge and perspective. Ron has worked tirelessly to try to make a better city and society. I totally admire both of these people. I also do investigation and exposing of those harming our society. We need more people to become involved. If Joyce Dillard says something one thing for sure, It will be for real. How else did she just do this?

  7. Robaire M. Viloria says:

    Aloha! Well, first of all vote out all those politician who give those developers the public lands. And, elect a person for the people. Let me give you a good example…Ron Paul. Here is a man that is a person for the people. Did he have the backing to get elected President? NO! The public would rather have a man in Magic Underwear (Richie Rich). Yes, Paul is a Republican but there is a Democrat that falls in the same catagory…Denis Kuchinish. Did I write that name correctly? By the way lets go after the Board of Supervisor…for example Zev that caused the Wilshire Blvd high rise canyon from BH to Westwood. Once you find out who these back stabbers are Recall them NOW!

  8. Robaire M. Viloria says:

    P.S. One more thing… We do not!! We do not need a NFL football team in Los Angeles with a new stadium.. What we do need since we have such a large Latino population is a Soccer team and stadium. We will get better attendance and the sport can be played all year round. Which means the stadium will make money all year round.

  9. Manny Aldana says:

    Thanks to Joyce for looking out for us against those that belittle us and think we are too stupid to know the law.
    Her committment, passion, and perseverance need to be commended. She’s not interested in the red carpet
    or her star on the Walk Of Fame at L.A. Live. City Council Candidates in CD9 better pay attention. I am.

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