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My Sunday Column: Ara Najarian Ouster speaks of modern politics — Money, Power and the Cabal at the MTA

he way that Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich and the cabalists of the San Gabriel Valley cities treated Glendale Councilman Ara Najarian over his Metropolitan Transportation Authority board appointment because he opposes the 710 Freeway tunnel project is symptomatic of a dangerous trend in our political culture.

We are seeing this kind of political thuggery in the name of righteousness in Washington, in Sacramento and in Los Angeles, where widely respected former Mayor Richard Riordan recently was humiliated publicly by the pipsqueak City Council President Herb Wesson for having the temerity to suggest real pension reform is needed to avoid bankruptcy.

Things have come to a pretty pass when we would rather cannibalize each other than respect each other, rather vilify our opponents than work out some kind of deal that balances our competing interests and values.

What happened to Najarian on the day before Pearl HarborDay was a well-orchestrated sneak attack by Alhambra Mayor Barbara Messina and Duarte Mayor John Fasana. It marked an escalation of a destructive war that started last summer when Antonovich summarily threw Najarian off the Metrolink board of directors over his anti-710 extension stance and replaced him with his strange bedfellow ally, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, whose South L.A. district has zero commuter rail service.

Ringleaders Fasana and Messina lined up opposition to Najarian across enough of the county to narrowly deny him the 50% support needed for his appointment based on a population-weighted vote.

“There’s just no compromising with some people — it’s just like what is going on in Washington now between theRepublicans and the Democrats,” Messina said. “We have been compromising for 28 years on this project. This vote was our opportunity to send a message to Najarian over his consistent attacks on the 710: ‘You’re sitting on a board representing all 87 cities, not just your sub-region, and you’re trying to sabotage this.’

“That’s not acceptable to us.”

Frustrated as she is by the widespread and long-standing opposition to the 710 extension from Alhambra to Pasadena, Messina insists the project is needed to meet air quality standards and get federal money.

“People don’t understand the significance of this. That’s the truly sad and unfortunate part. They have a not-in-my-backyard mind-set, a tunnel vision view, and it’s so not correct. We are really tired of it.”

Najarian — who has represented the region from Glendale north to the Antelope Valley and west to Agoura Hills and Malibu for six years and who won the unanimous support from those dozen cities for another term — had no idea about the plot when he arrived at the Dec. 6 meeting of the City Selection Committee that includes all 87 cities other than L.A. For years, the committee has approved the nominees from each region without question.

Each of the four sectors of the county gets one seat on the 13-member MTA board, the policy-making and contract-awarding body for tens of billions of dollars in transit and highway projects. The five supervisors and four L.A. city representatives make up the rest of the board.

“It’s such a pro forma, rubber-stamp thing that for the other cities to dictate this is just wrong,” Najarian said, noting his past support for light-rail extensions to Azusa and Claremont. “It’s just a power grab by the San Gabriel cities on a single issue that they don’t want to fight on its merits.”

(READ FULL ARTICLE)

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27 Responses to My Sunday Column: Ara Najarian Ouster speaks of modern politics — Money, Power and the Cabal at the MTA

  1. anonymous says:

    Sick, sick, sick, mentally Greuel is. She had the audacity to send a mass mailer stating how “heart broken ” she is, because of the recent national tragedy. How low is she willing to reach in order to be elected Mayor? Wendy has never learned the bounds of political ambition. This last action has convinced me that Wendy should not represent the City of Angels. As a result, I`m going to do anything in my power to retire her from politics. We desperately need men and women with decency and integrity to lead us out of the mess we find ourseves in. As a mother, I beg all other mothers to vote for the future of our children, and not to elect “the first woman Mayor”. Enough with firsts. First gay, first African American , first Latino, first woman etc. Well we elected the first Latino and he is leading the City into bankruptcy.

  2. Teddy says:

    It so ludicrous. Pasadena is a distinguished address for businesses, lawyers, for
    example. But, in order to get to their offices conveniently each day, they need the 710 to be extended so they can be served. Pasadena, on the other hand is an old and successful city and its businesses and residents do not see why they should be thrown
    out in order that Long Beach, Burbank, etc., people can be more comfortable. They can either move or havc their business in their own city.

    This issue is actually rediculous. The people who want to work in Pasadena should
    move to Pasadena and pay their taxes to Pasadena.

  3. anonymous says:

    Teddy, I agree with you. What’s sad about Pasadena is the traffic is starting to get really bad–not because of the business, but the developments. There are condos popping up all over. Take the Del Mar exit from the 210 and make a left. Or, take Cordova to the far west and turn onto Arroyo. Those are two congested areas and it’s happening all over. I hope their city planners stop while they’re ahead–or behind–’cause it really is a nice town. Kudos to the people of Pasadena and So Pas for fighting the 710 extension.

    • Sierra says:

      You raise an important point that elected officials in California don’t get – the excuse to increase density which hurts those living directly in the area and outside the area.

      Locally, the lie that everyone buying condos or living in hi rise apartments won’t use their cars has proven to be false. And sometime if enough people buy and move into those residences, it will hurt all Cities because of decreasing amounts of water supply.

  4. Sierra says:

    Whenever anyone uses the expression “not in my back yard (NIMBY)” in their attack on a group opposing a project, that should raise a big red flag that the proponents of the project don’t have much to hang their hat on – It is foolish and ignorant argument.

    I don’t live any where near Pasadena, but I have used the 710 freeway and “contributed” to the tax funds levied for the project. And yet I see the arguments of those opposing the extension including the tunnel extension to preserve this unique beautiful neighborhood.

    And if you claimed to be a transportation and/or environmental advocate, you would be opposed to investing in freeways.

    I’m not advocating that position, but I use it to show the hypocrisy of Alhambra Mayor Barbara Messina.

  5. Anonymous says:

    “Wendy has never learned the bounds of political ambition. This last action has convinced me that Wendy should not represent the City of Angels. As a result, I`m going to do anything in my power to retire her from politics”.

    A vote against Wendy is not a vote for Kevin but for the crook Garcetti.

    • Sierra says:

      Somehow a small group made up of Ron Kaye, Jack Humphreville, Stephen Box, Noel Weiss, and many, many local grass roots people defeated a massively funded ripoff called Measure B a few years ago.

      Measure B was a city-wide measure.

      With your help, perhaps the same group can get the following City-wide candidates elected:

      Kevin James – Mayor

      Cary Brazeman (or anybody but Zine) for City Controller

      Noel Weiss for City Attorney (he helped Measure B opponents get their truthful opposition opinion on the ballot statements). Here is a 2009 interview with Mr. Weiss: http://www.nbclosangeles.com/on-air/shows/City_Attorney_Race_Noel_Weiss_Los_Angeles.html

      Get the word out!

  6. anonymous says:

    And let us not forget that Wendy was the architect of Measure B!

  7. anonymous says:

    Sierra, you are an ignoramous. Google Measure B in LA Times and you will be enlightened. Anyway, your lady will never be Mayor. If, and that`s a big if, survives the primary, she will be ready for the kill. Just leave it to Bill Carrick. Which is good for Angelenos, We should not elect a corrupt, ruthless , ass kisser ., who loves eeeeeeeeeeeverybody , as Mayor.

    • Sierra says:

      Ask Ron Kaye – IBEW was the architect of Measure B. Eric Garcetti was a strong supporter and Wendy Greuel is in bed with IBEW, but hardly the “architect” of the plan.

      In fact Wendy Greuel never started something on her own. She is a follower. Just look at the audits she does after the fact. She rehashed Laura Chick’s audit from years ago. Then after the corrupt deals at the Coliseum were exposed in the LA Times and after an investigation was done, she decided on an audit.

      If you want to know that facts, ask those who fought Measure B such as Ron Kaye, Jack Humphreville, Stephen Box, or Noel Weiss.

  8. anonymous says:

    Oh,Sierra. I forgot to add to Wendy`s character, hypocrite. Just read today`s Times and you`ll get the drift

  9. anonymous says:

    Does someone have a voting record list on Garcetti, Gruel and Perry? I want to know what rate increases and laws they voted for and against.

  10. Anonymous says:

    @10:25 a.m. Watched the debate and read the LA Times article. It should be clear who their candidate is–disaster boy Garcetti who has royally screwed the city and who will ramp up density everywhere in LA in support of his labor buddies. Kevin James would be my choice but we know the reality in LA. If Riordan chickened out when faced by labor, Kevin can’t perform miracles. As for Bill Carrick, he sure got his candidate Carly Fiorina elected? Jan Perry who has lighted up our city with billboards and brought the taxpayer funded white elephant AEG stadium should not even be running. Gruel is a reasonable candidate considering the opposition, though she needs a better campaign manager.

    • Sierra says:

      So regarding Riordan – Is he going to sit this one out? Why hasn’t he endorsed Kevin James, the only candidate that supported Riordan’s plan before Riordan dropped out.

      Commenters on this blog didn’t appreciate Herb Wesson’s attacks and Riordan (and yes they were right on principal), but Billionaire Riordan makes no sense in not channeling his wealthy and reputation behind Kevin James.

      What good is Riordan if he can’t back James?

      I hope that I am wrong.

      But as I said before, if the Solar 8 could work against huge odds and defeat Measure B, why can’t this coalition give a win to Kevin James?

  11. Anonymous says:

    Via LA Weekly-”The other candidates usually ignore James — who routinely accuses them of being corrupt — but Greuel decided it was high time to go after him.
    No one has been talking about the GOP elephant in the room,” Shallman said. “Kevin James is a Tea Party, right-wing radical who is a shock-jock radio guy. The issue with Kevin James is his recklessness. If you’re running for mayor, you want to know that the person who has his hand on the wheel is in firm control of the facts and can handle a crisis without doing crazy things.”

    Shallman should be fired. Bad manager. He made her look bad.

    • Sierra says:

      This turn in the race does show that Greuel is worried about James. It is positive feedback for James. She can’t attack James on the issues instead she needs to paint him as a right-wing nut.

  12. anonymous says:

    Shallman, and Wendy is? Hahahahahahahaha. Are we supposed to believe her ” entertainment executive experience b.s? Or her owning a business, that is cleaning her mother`s store while in H S? Biggest B. Ser who has walked in City Hall. But no problema. Shallman will help her join Trutanich………..in the unemployment lines.

    • Wendy did not manage anything related to operations at Dreamworks. Her work was mostly government relations, PR. Calling that business experience is like a team equipment manager calling himself an athlete.

  13. anonymous says:

    Guys, remember the right wing nut who became President?
    That`s what the liberals like to paint anyone with bold,new ideas. Wendy is in trouble and they know it. You don`t attack and give free press to an unknown. That`s campaign lesson 101. Hast la vista Wendy . Keep collecting these useless endorsements and solidify your status. “INSIDER”

  14. anonymous says:

    Oooooooooooh, it`s getting to be fun. Thought we would wait till 2nd week of Jan for the shit to hit the fan. But I guess there is an urgency in some quarters…….

  15. anonymous says:

    The unions will be defeated this time. The citizens will wake up when they start reading and hearing what Riordan has been talking for months. BANKRUPTCY.

    • anonymous says:

      That may not happen soon enough. Remember, word is the unions bussed in people to the polls. Who knows what they are promising. I also was told that they erected a “no on 32″ billboard that was completely misleading. It said something like “no tax break for billionaires”–like that proposition had anything to do with billionaires. They will do anything to get their people in.

  16. Wayne the Independent-Liberal on the James insurgency says:

    Page AA-1, L.A. Slimes the other day—Kevin was mentioned as battling with Gruel in 1rst televised mayoral debate! Now will Kevin’s camp endorse Brazeman over Zine? And will Kevin denounce the sellout Dumbtanich? If he does, then he’ll either finish 4th in the primary or a very close 2nd and a run-off in May. As for Riordouche—he is backing Gruel, but now would like to get away from this early endorsement now that a primary runoff looks very likely.
    Kevin, however will have a radio gig awaiting should he not be King of Spring St come July 1rst. AM Talk really SUCKS right now and even Wendy in her debate called Kevin’s Show “A Right-Wing” show. (In other words, Wendy spent many a night listening into KRLA from 9pm to 1am and surely heard me call in along with Humphreyville, Noel Weiss, and of course Zine (when he tried to do some good.) What a COMPLIMENT—A LEFT WING FANATIC/UNION PAID WHORE/CITY HALL INSIDER-TRAITOR WENDY GRUEL giving KEVIN his rightful due! KEVIN DID MAKE A DIFFERENCE ON THE AM TALK WAVES…

  17. KS says:

    Not a lot of comments on Ara Najarian. Politicians have such a limited set of dirty little tricks. This one is no different. I remember 20 years ago hiking through 2′ of snow to attend a council meeting in the City of Brier, WA (pop 5,000) because I had a funny feeling something was up. I found a voting majority of the council there, and absolutely no one else, voting to remove a female mayor who stood up to the bullies in town. Same small town MO as this bullshit action. Not an original thought among the lot.

    I hope Najarian survives and remains on the MTA board and continue to represent the actual will of the people as opposed to the will of those standing to make billion$ on a project that will destroy entire neighborhoods and lives.

    Kick ass and take names, Ara Najarian.

  18. Wayne the Independent-Liberal says Ron is baaack removing my posts awaiting moderation says:

    I simply said, in reply to Rita of Sunland’s post that after some of these dumb kids get a lobotomy (assuming it’s brought back) that they should be then be dropped off in Northern Canada so the Liberals to the North could pick up the expense of caring for these fools.
    Ron should attend Friday’s Clownhall meeting–seems Doug of KABC (also who I’ve called names) pointed out well that Richard Alarcon is trying to take millions to open some dumb-shit museum in his CD7 district near Hansen Dam.
    Has Ron covered that? Nope, he’s too busy being Mr. Obama’s West Coast media rep or some kind of thing like that.
    It’s Okay, Ron. If you want anti-gun, pro-tax the rich posts, I’ll just post mindless shit like that. I can leave L.A. City any time I SO CHOOSE. I’m an EMANCIPATED SLAVE—I can sell, lose the money that will be needed to lose (which is quite a sum) BUT after seeing LINCOLN I realize just being able to pay a price to escape the L.A. Plantation run by Slave Owner King Herb I. is really a blessing, rather than something to bitch about.
    They’ve turned YOUR city, Ron, into a virtual SLAVE COLONY! But you don’t really get it, or more likely you can’t really admit it.
    Old People stuck in L.A. City are going to be ejected from their homes because of all these taxes THEY CAN’T AFFORD TO PAY. Doesn’t that bother you Ron? I don’t like seeing 80 year old people turning off the heat on a night like this because THEY CAN’T AFFORD THE UTILITY BILL, RON! People are freezing to death, Ron, on this night, because WE HAVE NO OPPOSITION TO THIS lunacy.
    I’ll finish with the greatest quote ever heard on AM talk radio. It came from a Black man whose neighborhood was decimated by City Hall long before they destroyed the Valley. It was from the Late Terry Anderson on KRLA who said how he dealt with utilities in the face of rolling blackouts and water rationing:
    “I run my water all day and night on the lawn, I leave a sink running in the bathroom, and leave the air on 24/7 so I can use so much more water and electric and gas so so little is left over for the illegals to use…”
    BLESS THE MEMORY OF THE TERRY ANDERSON, TO HIS FAMILY, AND FANS…YOU WERE THE MAN!!!!!!!

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