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Another Terrace Morning

Tasha, Tilda; Tilda, Tasha...

Now that we've seen a month of this year, I can say that my least favorite word of 2011, maybe of any year, is kumbayah.

Put Jerry Brown's tax extensions on a ballot and let him make the case. I would think Republicans would welcome the opportunity to make their own case against.

Let me see: I'm a City Councilman, and I'm fixing up a modest house I own to lease to my former chief of staff. How should I go about this? Wait, I know!--by using the exact same overpay-the-contractor scam one of my predecessors used and was busted for! That's the hopeful conclusion that the fantasy-league Republicans at MayorSam want you to take away from a bizarre fudge-filled report by David Zahniser in today's Times.

Offhand, from the facts presented by Zahniser, I'd say it is far more likely that someone hostile to Councilman Jose Huizar saw that the Councilman was in need of a roof, remembered the old Alatorre story, called the FBI, and tried to scream, "Oh my God, it's happening again!" (Would that someone be Martinez himself--the contractor in this matter, as well as the candidate who hopes to benefit from the report?) That's just another guess, and I'm not wed to anything but guesses. But it's a guess that seems far more likely to me, especially when the would-be kick-backer in the story is not only the story's only source, but also the challenging candidate himself.

What is indeed happening with certitude again is that the Times' Zahniser has served up challenger fudge rather than hard facts, which is not journalism so much as gossip. Basically, he took what a candidate handed him and confirmed nothing on his own, so he was obliged to go to the other side's political consultant for an opinion. This is how races disintegrate into the ether of hysteria. Zahniser also resorted to the scribe's cheapest drama stunt of all, adding that the FBI could "neither confirm nor deny" the report that Jose Huizar was presently being investigated.

Thinking aloud...I wonder if Zahniser could confirm or deny a report that a law enforcement agency has opened a file on Rudy Martinez campaign financier Nick Pacheco regarding the Carlos Lira matter?

Here's Zahniser's record on this campaign trail to date. Rather than report issues or visions offered at a candidate forum, he featured Martinez bizarrely referring to his own police record. Then he "broke" the Huizar listkeeping story, a story from no more recently than a year ago, sourced by Martinez's mother. Now, he takes a Martinez accusation, takes it to a law enforcement agency, can't confirm anything, and prints it all anyway.

Does anyone know what the issues are in CD 14, anyway? We do. We let both candidates, Councilman Huizar and Rudy Martinez, speak for themselves on them. It's not a wonder that one of those interviews is presently the top-viewed item at this site.

Five more weeks of this. Can we take it?

Elsewhere: you have to click over to the Santa Barbara Independent, sigh, to find out KCET's side of the PBS kerfluffle that ended up canceling half of the station's content. LA media is too busy being pissed off about not being able to steal anything good from Frontline anymore to give any doubt benefits. Regarding the story itself, I definitely buy the fact that PBS made programming too expensive. Myself, I wouldn't pay two cents for the Jim Lehrer News Hour, let alone a premium.

In the past news cycle, the UTLA not only withdrew two candidate endorsements, but pressured the candidates to withdraw from their races, which they did. How is it that UTLA has such trouble screening candidates it's going to endorse? I'll tell you how: AJ Duffy is too busy, too distracted until it's too late. Duffy remains very skittish about candidate bios ever since he got burned with Chris Arellano in 2006. (Perhaps justifiably so, as scribes west and east can be depended on to do the Mayor's bidding at the eleventh hour in school board races).

After this story broke, the LA Weekly, to whom Duffy is both antichrist and scapegoat for everything wrong with LAUSD, chatted up the rap-sheeted former candidates right away. What for, we wonder? To make a case later on how people with priors should be on the School Board? No, to vilify Duffy even further. We thought the Weekly was against they keep reminding us every two minutes. The only astonishing is fact here is that people with priors actually expected to retain the support of a teachers' union after their police records were pulled.

Finally, Mondette writer Tasha met Julian Assange lookalike Tilda Swinton at Swinton's launch of her fragrance Like This last week. You might like to read Mondette as Valentine's Day approaches for gift ideas.