I thought I was getting an unusual amount of traffic overnight. Aha. Tim Cavenaugh of Reason has written a piece on LA's CRA commissioner and LAANE head Madeline Janis that explores another highly contrived, scapegoat-driven economic argument of Janis's, this one about the failed Bay area company Solyndra.
Janis and LAANE have long been local interests of mine. If you wonder why LA hovers around twenty percent real unemployment, the agency is in large part why.
Cavenaugh calls Janis as "crooked-as-the-Kickapoo activist" and "head honcho of the poverty-pimping L.A. Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE)." He says that she's "one of about a half-dozen people who most deserve thanks for the fact that L.A.'s gross metropolitan product was in serious secular decline even before the recession hit."
I'd agree with all that. There's no economic model, neither from left nor right, that Janis's work as an activist supports. He says of her contorted defense of Solyndra:
I believe Janis to be one of the least honest people I have ever encountered, but I think she is being sincere here. She truly doesn’t comprehend the difference between a government’s duty to exercise caution before spending taxpayer dollars and your being forced into a hell of permitting delays, land seizure and “user” fees for the crime of doing business with another willing adult. She’s has been stealing money so long she thinks she’s earned it.I would say, "least intellectually honest," but I agree with much of this too. Caution should prevail every time government tries to dabble in a business venture, certainly. Even a tax-averse liberal like me agrees with that.
But he also lets out this intriguing nugget:
She and my boss were, for reasons I don’t care to explore, tight as ticks. I called her one day for questioning about the CRA’s long-stalled Vermont/Manchester Project (soon to celebrate 20 years as a vacant lot!). A few minutes into the conversation it clearly dawned on her that I was not asking friendly questions, and the change in her tone – from breezy and glib to vicious and vituperative – was something to witness. (I have a hunch this was the first hostile interview she’d ever faced from anybody at the L.A. Times.) Shortly after hanging up, I got called into my boss’s office for a stern talking-to, but it was worth it.
A previous piece of mine on Madeline Janis and Jim Newton is here--and it's linked in Cavenaugh's piece.
I might add that, as I suggested last week, Eric Garcetti is also among those "tight as ticks" with Janis and LAANE.