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Newton hypes LAANE, Janis yet again


Jobless on the grass, alas.


Just last week, Times op-ed alum Tim Cavenaugh, lately of Reason, called former news schlub Jim Newton out on his lonstanding fetish for hyping the work of a group no ordinary citizen knows: Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy. Cavenaugh even went so far to say that LAANE's leader Madeline Janis is "one of the least honest people I have ever encountered."

Newton today responds in the former fishwrap of record with yet more love for LAANE and his it-girl, CRA commisioner Janis. Newton reviews the org's public correspondence chron file--something one usually does in preparation for a story, rather than to allow to stand as one--and determines:
What these documents portray is a scrappy group of dedicated activists, none of them in it for the money, pressing a controversial agenda with energy, creativity and verve. Yes, it rubs some people the wrong way, but it wouldn't be much of a cause if it didn't.
Which could describe the email chron file of, say, any blog in America. And there's really not much more here than this. But frankly, Janis has not rubbed many the wrong way as an inconsequential poverty pump-primer at LAANE. The organization can boast of getting SEIU wages off the minimum, and that nobody really goes nuts about, either way.

But rather, it's Janis's dual role as lobbyist and CRA commisioner that should raise an eye. The City's track record in job creation is abysmal, and Janis in her dual role at not one but two job-creation agencies would therefore appear to be a complete de facto failure in that regard. The arrangement, orchestrated by Mayor Villaraigosa, invites developers and LA's elite to donate to one for the sake of receiving favor at the other.

As real unemployment in the City approaches 20%, and in a position of power on two top jobs-driven organizations, you have to wonder how Janis can justify any previous economic "success" at all at this point. Just last week, in fact, LAANE went around urging a boycott of Amazon for not volunteering to pay more taxes than they do. You may think that if any company is part of "new economy", it must certainly be Amazon, right? But LAANE only sees the modern bookseller as a ruthless tax scofflaw for not paying taxes that aren't codified anywhere.