The Story of Bruno: When Bad Dogs Happen to Good People

By DIANE HAITHMAN and HEIDI, Studio City Patch

Not every dog rescue is a fairy tale like Heidi’s story, from Texas
storm drain to Hollywood. Meet Bruno, the rescue dog from hell.


Actually, Bruno is not from hell–he’s from Woodland Hills.  At least,
that’s where our friends Deborah and Ron Kaye found him in 2005,
lurking in the bushes in front of their house.  Deborah admits to being
scared of the stocky creature, a pit bull-Shar-pei mix whose stripy
velvet coat was marred with mange and whose lopsided grin was studded
with teeth as crooked and broken as an old graveyard.

“Ron said: ‘Maybe you should feed him, he might be more dangerous if
he’s hungry,’ ” Deborah recalled over lunch with Heidi and me on
Wednesday at Ramen Jinya in Studio City.  (The covered patio makes it a great place to eat outside on a rainy day with a pooch).

From there, the beast was only a trip to the vet away from moving
into the house and Deborah’s big heart. But Deborah, former parent of a
sweet purebred Corgi named Georgia, was unprepared for this rough-edged
adoptee, a blend of two different brands of fighting dog who’d
apparently not had a home of his own for a long time, if ever. He became
so attached to his house and his new mom that he became a whirling
dervish of possessiveness, attacking anything that threatened his new

Every time I hear news of Bruno, he’s done a bad, bad thing. His rap
sheet includes breaking the front window three times in an attempt to
get at the postman; biting the pool man; terrifying visitors and causing
Deborah to suffer various falls, lacerations and broken glasses during
walks because even the dog’s heavy choke chain couldn’t prevent him from
dragging her along when he decided she needed his protection from
another passing dog.  Due to some puppyhood trauma, he flips out when he
sees vans on the street, especially vans driven by short men.

“He eats grass, and you just know if he goes into the bushes and does too much sniffing, he’s going to come out with a hamburger,”
Deborah says, wrinkling her nose at this scavenger habit. “He’s always
looking for old meat.  You just know someone threw this dog out.  I know
this dog was thrown out of a van by a bunch of short men.”  We were
laughing, but that just might be true. Thrown out of a van driven from
hell to Woodland Hills.


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Durkee, Dems & Other People’s Money: How They Lost Track of Millions, Billions and Trillions

My old dog Bruno has been howling his head off for the past week or so at the unkindest cut his Democratic favorites have suffered at the hands of the “Bernie Madoff of campaign treasurers,” Kinde Durkee.

Here are those know-it-all Democrats trying to find away around the know-nothing Republicans no-more-taxes-not-now-not ever pledge by pretending to be what these days is called “fiscally responsible,” formerly known as watching where every penny goes, even when it’s other people’s money.
Now we find out they not only can’t keep track of taxpayers’ money, they can’t keep track of all those millions that special interests from the business and labor communities pour into their campaign war chests in the expectation that they will get  “access” that will provide favors worth hundreds of times their donations.
Durkee is the well-seasoned queen of California Democratic politicians from local to state to Congress who is free on $200,000 bail after a lengthy federal investigation led to her being arrested and charged with fraud involving $670,000 dollars missing from various campaign accounts among the hundreds she managed.
Poor Sen. Dianne Feinstein, she appears to be the biggest loser with a $5 million campaign fund that was looted. “I was wiped out,” Feinstein told Politico, with losses possibly running into the millions.”She did my ’92 campaign, my ’94 campaign, my 2000, my 2006 … my gubernatorial campaign. I trusted her implicitly.”
Feinstein’s lack of concern for the money was so great she turned over sole access to her account to Durkee so she doesn’t even know how much is missing or whether all of it is gone. Rep. Loretta Sanchez says she’s out $379,000, LA County Democrats $200,000, Assemblyman Jose Solorio $677,000, Rep. Susan Davis $250,000 who sent a letter to contributors over the weekend declaring:
“We have been robbed!”

A similar sentiment was expressed by state Sen. Lou Correa when the Orange County Register first reported the story.

“This is clearly a sense of betrayal of someone I have trusted for a number of years,” said Correa, who has used Durkee as his campaign treasurer since 1995. “This is a punch straight to the gut.”

The Register identified at least 113 state-level campaign committees that used Durkee including . Assemblymen Gilbert Cedillo, an; State Sens. Ted Lieu and Curren Price, and LA Councilman Paul Krekorian.

How so many politicians could pay so little attention to their campaign funds — the mother’s milk of politics — after all and jeopardize their future employment in the endless of political musical chairs may shed some light on how LA officials never noticed they were spending hundreds of millions of dollars more than they were taking in, and how state legislators failed to observe they were overspending by billion of dollars and how Congress was piling up trillions of dollars in debt.

Then again, you have to wonder if all the politicians who were taken to the cleaners by Durkee, allegedly, are innocent dupes and opes who were robbed and betrayed. Maybe, just maybe, there was some money laundering going on and Durkee wasn’t the only to put campaign contributions into her own pocket, allegedly.

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Bruno, LA’s Watchdog: Loving L.A. — A Great Place for Stray Dogs and Fat Cats


Forgive my pal Ron, he
doesn’t know any better. He’s only human.

He complains all the time
about how LA is all messed up but that’s exactly why I love LA. I wouldn’t be
here today  if this place was run right. I wouldn’t be enjoying the
good dog life that I have. I wouldn’t even be alive.

Here’s the story:  As some of you may know, I showed up
at Ron’s house a long time ago and hid  in the bushes as much as I could
except when I was hungry. People would scream
and run away when they saw me scrounging for food and I heard that they kept
calling the dogcatcher.

But no one came, thank God. I’d have been a
goner if they did their job right  It was my lucky day when Saint Deb took pity
on me and made me part of the family.

Ron complains about almost everything but I like that
the street trees don’t get trimmed, who needs those guys with their noisy
machines..I like that the sidewalks are
crumbling. People trip and fall and drop food on the ground for me. More garbage on the streets, less maintenance
– a dog’s mantra.
Saint Deb walks me every
morning – we see a lot of things. She
doesn’t think its right that our neighbors leave their garbage cans out on the
street all week. What if everybody did that? But she gets even by throwing all my good
smelling stuff in them. I wish she’d leave it on the grass so the other dogs
would know who’s boss around here.
There’s always something
going on in our neighborhood. 
First, we got the Orange Line (more people, more waste, more people
tripping on the sidewalks). Now, they’re widening Winnetka bridge and building
a park for me along the L.A. river. Neighbors keep telling Saint Deb how much
they hate people walking by their backyards all of a sudden. All I know is
it’s a place to let loose and run when nobody’s around before the sun comes
up. Dennis Zine and Jerry Brown are great guys for putting up those signs for
me to mark with my scent.
Life is so good here you’d
think an old guy like Ron would get it. He’s been a bum like me. No gratitude
for the small things in life. All I
hear is how things are going to the dogs. He just doesn’t get it: The worse
things get around here, the better things are for me.

I’m one lucky dog, alright, just
like Eli Broad and all those fat cats Ron gives a hard time to. If somebody
wants to throw me a bone, I take it. I don’t know why everybody can’t be like
me and go outside, find some garbage on the streets, ask for handouts, have
some fun and then take a nap.

This is LA, kids, a place where a dog can
be free!

Bruno, LA’s Watchdog: Antonio’s Incredible Job Opportunity, Apply Now!

Like every bum who has every been homeless, Bruno’s got friends in low places.Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image

You know hiding in the bushes, under freeway overpasses, dark corners of parks — friends who keep their eyes and ears on alert for scraps of food, even food for thought,

It was one of those old watchdogs that came across this nugget in the garbage of one of that army of paid workers in Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign who are lucky enough to have their own very private website to keep in touch and share job opportunities, like this one posted Tuesday by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s press spokesman Sarah Hamilton.

More than just the Messenger
Job Opening – New Media Director, Office of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (Los Angeles)
The Office of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is hiring a New Media Director
Job Description Below:

  • Work with Deputy Mayor and Lead Spokesperson to design and implement online communications strategy.
  • Manage and update online content.
  • Work with Mayor’s policy teams to get accurate, up-to-date information online.
  • Manage day-to-day updating of Mayor’s website and social networks, including Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, Flickr and YouTube.
  • Manage all photo, video, and design production within Mayor’s office.
  • Manage Mayor’s email list, and develop strategy to grow and cultivate the list.
  • Develop long-term strategy for using new-media tools to organize residents support the overall communications strategy.

A dream job for Bruno if he was looking for a work, exactly what I do. I bark the alarm if the mailman or anyone else comes within `100 feet of the house and decide who gets in and who gets mauled. Every dog in the neighborhood spreads the word.

There’s a lot of dogs I know who knew all about social networking.

“Gardeners are here, noisy bastards, I’d like to kill them.”

The word spreads just like that.

If Bruno wasn’t semi-retired, he’d jump at it — got to be worth a lot
more than 2,000 $50 bags of Eukanuba, food for a dog’s whole life.

There must be thousands, tens of thousands who could do that kind of work right here in LA where it seems like nearly everybody is out of work or having a hard time putting chow on the table or wherever they put it..

Trouble is nobody knows about this great opportunity except the privileged few who Sarah Hamilton told about it on the private site for Clinton campaign alumni.

That’s something to bark about.

There’s gotta be some young pup or mangy old dog out there who does how do this stuff and needs a cushy job with the mayor himself.

Just write I tried but haven’t heard back. I even tried calling but she just stepped away and didn’t return my call.

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Bruno, LA’s Watchdog: A Dark Shadow on the Moon

If you are like this star-crossed dog, you know a thing or two about omens and from what I heard around the breakfast table this morning as Saint Deb was packing up her batches of Christmas cookies for her office pals, auspicious events are happening tonight.Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for keeper.jpg

Auspicious is her word for it but I’m suspicious.

It seems that about midnight tonight something really scary is going to happen, a bunch of astronomical and astrological events all happening at the same time..

This old stray dog has seen a lot of scary things happen out on the streets around the midnight hour but nothing like this.

I’m never quite sure what Ron believes or whether he’s got his facts straight but for what it’s worth he says it’s only happened once in 2,000 years, back on December 21 in 1638.

He claims that within weeks Europeans were killing in each in wars and revolutions and the American colonialists started price fixing tobacco, subsidizing munitions plants, printing their first newspaper full of lies and propaganda for the rich and founding that bastion of miseducation called Harvard.lunar-eclipse4.jpg

Talk about a dark shadow on the moon, you can’t beat him.

But it is a dark shadow on the moon we’re talking about, the shadow of the Earth turning the full moon a coppery red right at midnight at the start of the shortest day of the year, the winter solstice.

It doesn’t get any stranger than that.

I’m not sure what to believe but I’m not taking any chances. I’m sleeping on Deb’s side of the bed tonight and covering my eyes with my paws and hoping she’s right about this and it’s going to be the happiest Christmas ever with crumbs of cookies falling from the table and happy times for everyone.

Bruno, LA’s Watchdog: Welcome Back Jimmy Blackman, We Sorely Missed You

in July, Jimmy Blackman, in one of the most bizarre resignation letters in the
history of resigning, described his 13 years as an aide to Antonio Villaraigosa
as a “Iong and incredible journey.”
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He ain’t seen nuthin yet!

This dog has confirmed a rumor that Blackman is in salary
negotiations with City Councilman Dennis Zine to return to City Hall as the
umpteenth chief of staff to the Z Man, as he likes to refer to himself, or
Super Z, as he likes others to refer to him

Word is that Z Man (God, it’s dumb!) wants to be City
Controller, which is as laughable as calling yourself Z Man.  I guess Blackman wants a job – and any job
will do, even as an aide to some guy who thinks he’s some kind of super hero
when he’s more often being cast as a super villain, as growing numbers of
malcontents disturbed by his double dealing describe him.

Blackman, you might remember, handled the chores for Antonio
that some found a tad unsavory, like making sure his boss’s office holder
account was full and that political favors got repaid.

And, of course, Blackman quit at the height of the furor over
Antonio taking tens of thousands of dollars in free tickets, leading cynics to
jump to the conclusion the bag man had become fall guy.  His long and somewhat insane goodbye letter now being used in suicide prevention clinics.

Although he denied he was involved in the ticket scandal, we
still don’t know that for certain because the Ethics Commission and FPPC still
haven’t announced just how big the fines will be for his former employer’s
contempt for the law.

But it looks like Jimmy’s ready to venture back into the building
and join his old friends.

Who knows?  Maybe the Z
Man wants to sit courtside at the Lakers, or at least get a closer look at the
Lakers Girls.

Adding to the complete weirdness of this story is how it
surfaced, which says a lot about how “news” works nowadays.

Emma Schaefer, a fixture in City Hall for decades, who is best
known for conducting networking lunches featuring “news makers,” first reported
the “rumor” in an email.

Emma Schaefer is no Maureen Dowd, so when her previously unknown
newsletter — reported the Blackman “rumor,” good old Kevin Roderick at
wasted no time to get the word out to a somewhat larger audience.

Not that anything was safe with Ron around, anyway.

Ain’t the Internet grand! Rumormongers spread the word without
qualms and it takes a rumor-mongrel like Bruno to actually confirm it.



Alarcon, CRA and DWP: Who’s Kidding Whom?

Councilman Richard Alarcon and his family and friends apparently have something
in common with Bruno:  We all use the
backyard for, well, more than just outdoor recreation.

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I’ve got
  I wonder who cleans up after them?

And given
the general condition of the Alarcon home in question – and there are a couple
— no one scoops the poop so the yard must stink as bad as the CRA, which,
coincidently, took a giant dump on LA taxpayers last week.

(And Ron
didn’t think I could weave these stories together!)

Evidence of
the disturbing possibility that Alarcon is either not using his sanitary facilities was revealed when The Dog Trainer (this is just too
easy) published grand jury testimony from the DWP (another stinker) that the councilman’s bills show he doesn’t use enough water at his “official” residence to fill Bruno’s water bowl.

remember, of course, that Alarcon and his wife pleaded not guilty to 24 felony
charges that accuse them of voter fraud and perjury in making false statements about where they live on
voting forms, drivers’ licenses and other documents.


becoming more and more apparent that he his, well, full of it, which should surprise no one.

the CRA did its usually dirty work when when it used a lot of taxpayer money to buy a Hollywood hamburger stand for $1.1 million so it could give even more of
it away in a deal with a guy who business deals always smell.

Ron details
the obscenities in the posts below. The
Dog Trainer’s comedy writer Bob Pool handled the story. But even a cursory look at what flew around
online about the CRA lately and the comments to Ron’s pieces indicate a lot of
angry folks now have the CRA in their crosshairs.

That must
make the DWP very, very happy. But any relief it might enjoy will only be
temporary. The City Council wiped out a water rate hike last week in hopes of flushing out the truth where all those billions of dollars in the public’s money have been going.


Bruno, LA’s Watchdog: MTA Can Build the Subway to the Sea, All Right, But Which Sea?

The more
Bruno reads about the MTA, the more he’s convinced the Subway to the Sea might
just end up at the Atlantic – if it gets built
at all.
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The Dog
Trainer this morning had an uncharacteristically cogent editorial about the
MTA’s very screwed up pass system. 


The lede
was so good I suspect they’ve got a new intern whose brain hasn’t turned into
mush …. yet:


Simple. Secure.’ That’s the slogan the Metropolitan Transportation Authority
has adopted for its new Transit
Access Pass

system, but at this stage of its development, a more apt description would be
“Dumb. Complicated. Insecure.”


editorial goes on to explain in detail that the pass system appears to have
been designed by a bunch of drunken monkeys.
The poor and the elderly get screwed the worst, of course, which
sometimes seems like an official MTA policy.


But a Green
Sheet story earlier in the week really had Bruno growling:


spending more than $154 million for a system of locking turnstiles and
electronic payment cards for the county transit system, officials are
discovering that at least a third of the money may have been wasted because
they can’t use the new devices as planned.


Metropolitan Transportation Authority placed the locking turnstiles at subway
and light-rail stations to stop fare scofflaws and end what had previously been
an honor-based system.


under a $46 million contract, the turnstiles were predicted to save $13 a
million a year in lost revenue and reduced fare inspector costs.


“But the
turnstiles can’t be configured to lock until Metro fully converts to a new
electronic Transit
Access Pass

system – and that is proving nearly impossible.”




And I might
think in dog years, but there is some history to this idiocy.


In 2008,
the LAWeekly, detailed the lead up to installing the turnstiles.


One guy
thought it was a really bad idea.


board member Richard Katz, who voted against the locking turnstile contract,
felt from the beginning it was not worth the expense.


didn’t think it would pencil out, which appears to still be true,” said
Katz, a former assemblyman for the San Fernando Valley.
“They were trying to solve a problem that may not have existed, or is not
nearly as great as the money spent for the solution.”


He added
that he doubts the system has lost enough money from fare evasions to make the
expense worth it even if the turnstiles were operating.”


Katz, who
has ended up looking pretty smart, was the only board member to vote against
the proposal.  The Weekly did a


“Katz is
either a stubborn fool or the smartest guy in the room. He believes the
agency’s long history of bad assumptions is repeating itself. He’s unconvinced
that the tiny percentage of riders who don’t pay fares ever will. They could
merely disappear.


“I can
count the number of times on one hand that MTA has been right about
construction costs, operating costs — that doesn’t even include technological
costs,” he says. “Any more money spent should go to Sheriff’s [deputies] — more
eyes and ears on the platforms.”


Katz might
be alone on the MTA board, but he has company in many big cities around the
world, where open rail systems — like L.A.’s — are popular and the low
percentage of scofflaws are considered a small price to pay.”


Katz is
still on the MTA board – and the boards of Metrolink and The California High
Speed Rail Commission.  He’s become quite
a train guy. He is also quarterbacking
the mayor’s 30-10 plan to spend all that Measure R money while most of us are
still alive.


Let’s hope
if he buys the planners a compass so the sea it reaches is the Pacific, not the Atlantic..



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Bruno, LA’s Watchdog: Send Cardenas to the Doghouse for his ‘All in the Family’ Ripoffs

horseshoe is beginning to smell like horseshit.


Only a
couple weeks ago, Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarcon — and his wife –
were indicted for voter fraud and lying about where they lived. 

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And since
I’ve already used the somewhat offensive word, I’ll say it: Alarcon swears he lives in that shithole of a
house in his district, rather than the nicer home in Paul Kerkorian’s district.


Bruno has
seen pictures of the house Alarcon doesn’t live in and heard his neighbors’
complaints that it’s an eyesore. Bruno thinks Alarcon is full
of it.


OK, enough
of that.  Ronnie will cut my kibble


Walter Moore has a terrific piece on his blog about Los Angeles City Councilman
Tony Cardenas – and his sister!


I won’t
repeat all of Walter’s terrific post here — but it seems Cardenas has spent an incredible amount of
campaign funds for stationary at sis’s store, while at the same time the city
has directed tens of thousands of dollars to the same rather small


Maybe I
should suggest to Ron he use the headline “All in the Family.”


My pal
Wally has been less than successful in his bids for elected office.



Of course,
Wally shot pretty high. His first attempts
were for mayor of the nation’s second largest city. He ran twice and didn’t do bad last time —
running second and coming within 4 percentage points of forcing a runoff with the mayor — but of course he was helped by the fact
Antonio isn’t exactly beloved by those who decided to trudge to the polls.


I think
Wally missed his calling (he’s a lawyer by trade) and should become an
investigative reporter — especially since there are so few left at the Dog Trainer
and Green Sheet.


I’ll make
room for him in my doghouse.


I’ll even send him a free “Bruno LA’s Watchdog” coffee mug if Ronnie ever gets off his butt and decides to sell them like he promised. After all, who do you love more him or me?