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False Mayoral Summit in Westwood

Note to scribes around town:

I hope your papers had a reporter with eyes at the travesty that Antonio’s Housing Summit was today.

The “Summit” was a five hour pitch on behalf of the City’s Affordable Housing Bond—Prop H on the November ballot. Yes, five hours. There was nothing else on the agenda. Nothing at all, in fact, except, Vote yes for Prop H. We even got bags and teeshirts.

The “panels” were so tightly scripted that the “moderator” of each panel asked each speaker to speak for three minutes to a scripted question, and that was that. In some cases—especially with City of LA Housing GM Mercedes Márquez—the presentations were shorter than the glowing, hyperattenuated introductions.

Speaking of madame, everyone kissed Mercedes Márquez’s behind as though she were the most powerful manager to hit a City since Robert Moses. She may have 600 employees and not one of them can tell you how many rentals there are in the City—but because she’ll oversee the AHB, they’re all blowing her nonstop kisses.

[Please, if you don’t believe me, try your own luck. We have, fifteen times. Ask the City’s Department of Housing the relatively rudimentary question: how many rentals are there in the City? Can’t 600 employees find a way to count them all? Shouldn’t that kind of a figure be easily accessible by all, and known throughout the Department?]

Antonio Himself—characteristically late—got two standing ovations and, emboldened by his rock-star status, slimed the press two times for writing criticism about him.

No dissent allowed. Not one detractor from Prop H on any panel.

This is a summit? It was really more like a politburo meeting—”How about a nice round of applause for…” at least fifty times, no dissent, no joke.

We went in skeptical about the Bond, but our minds were made up when a principal from the scenery-chewing development of Las Lomas presented, touting the affordable housing component of a god-awful development out Newhall way that carves up a hillside for the sake of plunking 15,000 more commuters out in the tules, where they can presumably lead Columbine-styled dystopic lives, but also while living among firefighters and librarians.

If the proponents of the AHB will even go so far as to include a naked suburban ultra-decimator on their panels for the sake of further bond-touting, how can we possibly trust them to bring us lean and green City housing for a nice price?

Who among you will dare to tell it the way it was? It was not a summit, it was a campaign rally, no dissent entertained, no dissent permitted.