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MTA Secrecy and the 710 Fiasco — Eric & Zev, LA’s New BFFs

The No on 710 coalition of groups that cuts across community and demographic lines from the Eastside of Los Angeles to the affluent hillsides of La Canada-Flintridge posted this statement with a 35-minute video of last Thursday’s meeting of the Metropolitan Transit Authority Board:

“Mike Anotonvich tries to sabotage Ara Najarian’s motion by having the county attorney claim ‘client attorney privilege regarding who make the final decision on the SR710 tunnel. The public has right to know & not let this backroom BS continue.”

Hard to beat the poetic force of those words.

Najarian, the Glendale Councilman and stalwart opponent of digging twin multi-billion tunnels more than four miles from Alhambra to Pasadena, submitted a motion and an amendment back in April demanding a full explanation of what’s going on with regards to the 710 extension that has been stymied for 60 years.

He wanted to know whether Caltrans or the MTA is in charge and whether there is a contractual relationship justifying the expenditures of tens of millions of dollars for an environmental impact study and massive community outreach program.

As I watched the video of the meeting provided by Joe from El Sereno for the No on 710 activists, I was struck by what was going on in the background.

Every time I looked up, there was the aging Zev Yaroslavsky — the man who coulda and shoulda been mayor of Los Angeles six or seven times over in the last 30 years — and the young newly-elected mayor Eric Garcetti in an intense mostly one-sided conversation.

As a guy whose support might have been more valuable than a former President, woman Senator or the fabulously rich or fabulously powerful like the unions, Yaroslavsky chose to avoid the hardships of battle as he has done for so long in so many ways.

“I have remained neutral in this election in thought, word and deed.”

But now that the election is over and an easily manipulated mayor is in place, Yaroslavsky appears in this video excerpted at various points in the 35-minute banter discussion of  why the nature of the relationship between Caltrans and the MTA is top secret, too hot for the public to handle, like spying on our phone calls and emails and snail mail and bank accounts and credit card charges and …National security is all that matters in a nation of frightened little people who protect themselves pretending they are zombies — or maybe they are.

It would seem the termed out Yaroslavsky has found his calling as a mentor to Garcetti, who was attending his first meeting of the MTA, as important a political body as there is because that’s where the money is.

But I digress: The questions before the MTA board posed by Najarian (710- Montion April 25, 2013.)three months ago simply sought what would seem like simple answer: What’s the deal and why after all this time isn’t it clear with regards to the 710 extension?

Brilliantly — if you enjoy the tactics employed by dictatorial governments around the world, at least those that need to pretend they have some legalistic legitimacy — was the ruse chosen by the MTA to avoid public discussion of knowledge of what’s up.

They had their lawyer Charles Safer, who is actually the county’s lawyer rather than the MTA’s, respond to Najarian in writing so they could invoke the attorney-client privilege exemption under the California Public Records Act and keep their misfeasance and possible malfeasance from the public.

It is a specious assertion they made, one I challenged on Friday with emails demanding in emails to all board members and top MTA officials that they release the document in question under the CPRA as a matter of urgency. I haven’t heard back from any of them.

But I’ll bet you umpteen millions of dollars of Measure R taxpayer money that the money does its best to justify the lack of a legal relationship between the MTA and the state and to offer hollow arguments why illegality in the name of expediency is the only way they can move forward and trample on the rights and interests of hundreds of thousands of people.

You can read the transcript of what transpired during the MTA meeting on the subject (710 Transcript – Regular Board July – Item 60) or watch the start of the segment where a flabbergasted Najarian struggles to remain professional in the face of the indifference of others who dare to call themselves public servants.

Note the number of times they had a good laugh.


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24 Responses to MTA Secrecy and the 710 Fiasco — Eric & Zev, LA’s New BFFs

  1. Wayne soon to be from Santa Clarita says:

    2JobsBob today offered up a city-wide free internet bill! That way, everyone in L.A. can apply for EBT online and all the non-citizens/felons/pets can vote online for free!
    Gotta hand it to 2JB!!!

  2. anonymous says:

    love your double-entendre phrasing…
    “…Yaroslavsky has found his calling as a mentor to Garcetti,
    who was attending his first meeting of the MTA, as important
    a political body as there is because that’s where the money is.”
    Zev always followed the money…

  3. Sierra says:

    Garcetti doesn’t need any mentoring – This Rhodes Scholar is a brilliant mastermind of many crooked deals involving the gifting of public funds and large tax breaks to wealthy developers who pay back their gifts with campaign contributions and tax deductible gifts to politically connected money laundering non-profits..

  4. Sierra says:

    Please note that Ara Najarian is an attorney and can waive his attorney-client privilege.

    • Scott Zwartz says:

      Attorneys cannot waive the attorney client privilege. The client is the holder and only the privilege holder can waive the privilege.

      While an attorney may also need and attorney and hence be the “client” in a particular situation, his right to waive the privilege is not based on his being an attorney, but on his status as the Client.

      If a person is a member of a council or board which has an attorney, then the council or board is probably the holder of the privilege and an individual member of the council or board cnnot waive the privilege. It would take a majority of the council or board. However, if a member of a council or board started speaking in public about attorney client matters and invited others to join him in the public discussion and none of the other members of the council and board objected, then there would be a waiver of the attorney client privilege. A client can “waive” the privilege by voluntarily disclosing a confidential communication or by not objecting when some one else discloses a confidential matter when the other holder(s) are present.

      All communications between a client and attorney are not necessarily privileged. Someone cannot make something privileged, just by declaring it to be privileged.

  5. Sierra says:

    Najarian or any Board member interesting in transparency should release any written document to the press or read it into the record. Otherwise they are part of the coverup.

  6. JEAN FLEMING says:

    What would we do without you? Tranparency…what’s that? I also agree with you regarding Zev.

  7. Wayne soon to be from Santa Clarita says:

    Brief History lesson: 1779–Benedict Arnold then,
    2013–Kevin James. Discuss…

    • MissAnthrope says:

      Go along to get along? even if it corrupts your principles.

    • Scott Zwartz says:

      Your title says it all.

      When we cannot even trust a Gay GOP to have integrity, I lose all hope.

      • anonymous says:

        Wise up…
        long ago we learned to never trust any
        political representatives, operatives, consultants
        bureaucratic officials, agents, deputies
        “community” advocates, organizations, “leaders” etc
        …especially in LA…all are the plague…

    • Arnold was a hero. Without his victory at Saratoga we would have been toast and speaking in a bloody British accent today.

      James did what he had to do so he could be the first truly sensible voice on the BPW.

  8. Pingback: Answer to Najarian’s MTA Motion Only in Closed Memo: Two Media Outlets Demand LA County Counsel

  9. Wayne soon to be from Santa Clarita says:

    Today the fool of Venice, Clownmember Bone-In, decided to take an “emergency motion” to INSTALL BARRIERS, STREET LIGHTS, AND PLANTERS “WITH FLOWERS” TO BLOCK TRAFFIC TOWARDS VENICE BOARDWALK. Hmmmm…..Doesn’t that sound like BLOCKING ACCESS TO THE BEACH AND CHANGING ZONING RESTRICTIONS TOWARDS MORE DEVELOPMENT??? People pay millions for the tiny houses that line the small streets that have the UNOBSTRUCTED VIEWS AND ACCESS TO THE BEACH! “We need to start treating Venice LIKE A WORLD CLASS RESORT FACILITY RATHER THAN A PARK” said this Paid-Off HACK! He refers of course to OCEAN WALK BLVD and SPeedway—the prime real estate that DEVELOPERS would love to start putting up those large hotels and cond0 projects. Yes, of course the Clowncil will use any tragedy, excuse, or reason to grab land where the developers want to do their thing.
    Then the kicker—the Digital Billboards ARE BAAAACKKK!!!! With the newly Paid-Off and Much more corrupt Clowncil (and surely helped with Kommisar Feuer) CBS and Clearchannel are trying to turn back on the billboards and a Judge is thinking of ordering them to be bulldozed! Who do YOU think will win–the 99.999999% of us all who despise these piece of crap jumbotrons or the .000001% who want them on blinding all of us? I’ll pick the .000001%
    Then if that wasn’t enough of today’s Clownfest—King Herb I. gave a gift to the newly annointed Clown of CD6, Nury Martinez—A PAIR OF “WEIRD” SOCKS! His Majesty then said the whole council will show up wearing “Crazy Socks” one day! The KING is MAD!

    • MissAnthrope says:

      Thank you, Soon to be from Santa Clarita…

      I’ve been trying to think of the name Speedway for days. My aunt owned one of those “little houses” you mentioned at 46 Wave Crest…except they weren’t so little; they were long and narrow — almost like a railroad flat. It had three-and-a-half bedrooms — the 1/2 room being the enclosed sunporch, which my yukkie cousin made his bedroom that could only be entered through the window in the living room, and 1-1/2 baths, if you could dignify the 1/2-bath with the title “bath” : a toilet in a closed on the service porch next to the service sink.

      It did have a one-room guest house out in the back with one of those old-fashioned pull-chain, tanks over your head toilets. Many houses in Greece still have those toilets. I’m waiting for them to come back here as retro chic!

      Tres chic except when you pull the chain and the tank falls on your head as it did to an artist friend of mine when she visited Greece.

      They paid $6 or $8K for it way back when & I’ve often wondered what it looks like now and how much it would go for.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Ron, your buddy, 2jobBob was on KPCC promoting a 55% majority vote for all Bond measures. He knows he’ll be a millionaire after his 12 years stint in City Council while we are all stuck with exorbitant property taxes. Come back Ron to local matters. We need you to expose the new corrupt and worst City Council in LA’s history.

    • Rita-of-Sunland says:

      Yeah, I caught that bullshit on Ch. 35. I tried sending Kevin James a message on FB about it, but strangely enough, my question to him was IMMEDIATELY DELETED. We ALL gotta side-step our former idols and their short-comings and get proactive— I’d say don’t let anyone vote unless they own property. “Oh, Rita! What a horrible, discriminatory thing to say!!” Tough titties. I believe it. To hell with losers who don’t own land.

      • Sierra says:

        Kevin James sold his supporters a bill of goods when he talked about his experience as a Federal Prosector and said that he would use that experience to root out corruption at City Hall.

        Kevin James is a total sell out. His endorsement was paid for with public funds with one of the very few commission seats that is a paid position (6-figure).

        The very thing – corruption – that James campaigned against. He will be a yes man to Garcetti and not go against him.

    • LA Moderator says:

      They were trying to run that through before he left Sacramento…I’ll have to check if one of rhe special elections to replace he or Curren might still have a chance to decide whether they slam this through both houses…

      • ex valley says:

        You people will vote for a republican ? Sure like the hell will freeze over. Another ruling party member to get elected and to vote the party line in Sac.
        Yup your taxes will most definitely go up. But don’t worry it is all for the best causes.

        • LA Moderator says:

          We’ll see if Kolski was saving it for Special Election all along…

          Haven’t checked out the Sherman/Berman also-ran (besides Reed), but they only have five or six ex AM/CD staffers to run agains….

          Anybody know about the Senate race?

  11. JEAN FLEMING says:

    Ron, what would we do without you? As usual you hit the nail on the head. Thank you!

  12. Wayne from Encino says:

    Ex-Valley ONCE again says it: VOTING FOOOOLLLLSSS!!!!

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