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Ron Kaye: LaBonge should retire

LaBonge supporter, Jan. 2009

Citizen activist Ron Kaye makes the case why CD 4 Councilman Tom Labonge should retire.

His colleagues snicker when he rises to speak, smirk when he strings together the disjointed thoughts that pour out of him, the remembrances of the good old days when Tom Bradley was mayor and John Ferraro stood like a tall protective oak over City Hall and Gil Lindsay did his business under that canopy of shade.

Two younger men --Stephen Box and Tomas O'Grady -- are both far more capable than Tom of representing Council District 4 and standing up for the whole city...

&c. Kaye's organization Clean Sweep, suddenly looking more formidable than it was even a week ago, has endorsed Box in the race. Tomas O'Grady, who we have to admit has impressed us even more than Box in our sit-down with the candidate, has made considerable inroads in LaBonge's own home turf of Los Feliz.

Meanwhile, LaBonge appeals to the kind of people whose biggest concern in life is keeping Billy the Elephant penned up in unnatural, depression-inducing captivity at the LA Zoo, spending $42 million to do so in the runup to the City's financial crisis.

Whether the Times says so or not, it is indeed a race, and to me, this is the most likely one to produce a runoff.

One of the reasons we are not optimistic about Box's candidacy--though believe it is playing a key factor in the dynamics of the three-way race--is that the candidate has not yet found a way to reach homeowners, who still rule the roost in CD 4. O'Grady, who knows school issues and community relations far better than Box--the cyclist-insurgent--has broader appeal to homeowners.

But in a three-way, anything is possible--even including Box and O'Grady finishing 1-2 for a runoff, leaving the Councilman opting for an early retirement.

CodePink declares victory as Terror Alert color codes phase out

Almost ten years ago, Code Pink, the lefty go-girl agitprop somewhat lavender mob answer to EarthFirst! and ActUp, took its name to mock the Bush Administration's color coded terror alert system.

That system will be phased out of existence in April, and Code Pink declares victory.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is scheduled to announce the demise of the already dead and rotting colored threats on Thursday in what she is calling the “first annual State of America’s Homeland Security address.” I sincerely hope that Code Pink holds a first annual state of the fatherland’s insecurity dress contest or something of the sort. Because, the fear mongering is not going to end, and whatever the color codes are replaced with could be subtler but more effective; and therefore Code Pink cannot end either — even if its name has served its purpose.
Aside from assembling scribes for a blog that often borders on cognitive dissonance, Code Pink has over 100 chapters of peace-lovin' girlfriends nationwide.

Another Terrace Morning

Hah ha.

The Tea Party wags the dog. Oh, also Their Own Private Europe. These kinds of op-ed are why the NY Times is the national paper of record and our local op-ed page makes for the former fishwrap of record. A real opinion page columnist is the newspaper's aristocracy, not the newspaper's former citydesk schlub.

Arnold on his own: the former Governor makes two enormous gaffes in Canada--he is glad for the country's participation in the war in Iraq (it doesn't participate) and he suggests Montreal is the nation's capital (it's Ottawa).

Daily News endorses Tamar Galatzan, fine, but it comes down on the corporate-cuddling side when they talk about Louis Pugliese. "His expressed hesitance with regard to the Public School Choice Program currently in Round 2 of bidding, and the pending use of the parent trigger law in LAUSD makes us worry that he will waver during crucial votes on reform. He's a gamble at a time when the district can ill afford it." That's pure Eli Broad and Dick Riordan, who want all candidates to swear allegiance to Beverly Hill's attorney Ben Austin and his corporate-cuddling Parent Revolution. They are welcome to their endorsement of Tamar, but it's the wrong thing to say about Pugliese. Again we refer you to Kathy Emery's Why Is Corporate America Bashing our Public Schools? inviting you to find out what the faux-reform billionaire movement in American education truly wants to accomplish.

An hilarious account, hopefully not spurious, at the goofyfootin' blog LA Dragnet in which Carmen the Clown interrupts the proceedings at an event honoring Deputy DA Mario Trujillo.

"Wait! Wait! Wait!" screamed Trutanich as he forged his way to the podium and grabbed center stage. Trutanich, who had arrived at the awards dinner late and was not listed as a speaker, had been confined to a table in the far corner of the room as the capacity crowd were already seated. He had been observed craning his neck around the room, perhaps looking for a better seating position.

Suddenly Trutanich was on his feet armed with an fistful of calligraphic scrolls, and was not going to be stopped. In what appeared to many as something of a "Kayne West - Taylor Swift" moment, Trutanich proceeded to give his own impromptu speech recognizing the achievements of not only Mario Trujillo, but the other honorees who had not yet even been introduced.

Judging by reports of the audience's reaction, this was not a welcome interruption, and Trutanich's excuse that he had interrupt because he had leave early to catch a plane to DC, was singularly unimpressive. He could have been flying to Idaho for all anyone seemed to care, "and the sooner the better" was how one of the guests summed up this fiasco.

It is important to remember: every CD race is for a Council seat the size of Pittsburgh in population. Next month, a series of debates--note I didn't say "candidate fora"--will take place in CD 4, including one at the Wilshire Ebell, featuring Tom LaBonge, Stephen Box, and Tomas O'Grady. Democracy is breaking out again in CD 4, even if the newspapers won't acknowledge as much.

The AOL Cabbage Patch Kids are following candidates around. They probably should be following writers with actual readers around.

Sunday Terrace Weekend

Visionaries all?

When Walter Moore and the others were running for Mayor a scant two years ago, one of the reasons the media denied them coverage was that Moore and many of the challenger candidates had this insane idea about axing the CRA. Now Jerry Brown is Governor, and one of the Times columnists who wouldn't give any media oxygen to Moore and the others suddenly believes the idea is worthy of consideration.

FTW on the CRA though, the Stephen Box astroturf blog Griffith Park Wayist simply prints a Box presser wholesale, which you should read with awe, and it's entitled "Box Joins Governor in CRA Opposition." You know, Brown and Box were chatting the other day, and...&c. Yeah. I have to say, Stephen Box is turning out to very un-nuanced as a candidate, as not only me but former mayoral candidate Phil Jennerjahn has been demonstrating for a while now. But if you want to vote for him, you should anyway, because either Box or Tomas O'Grady making Tom LaBonge run for his life would be a welcome CD 4 event.

But also note this Box of rain: he turns out a rally today in the wet:

That's our experience too: better in person than on pixel.

It was a big weekend for this site, and we thank you. If you need a recap:

Here's an analysis of the Louis Pugliese/Tamar Galatzan LAUSD race from the perspective of Pugliese the challenger. It may be the only race in LA in which neither candidate has a diacritical mark in his or her name. Yes, West Valley. Debbie Lopez and yours truly sat down with the candidate two weeks ago.

Here's our conjectural exposé on the way the LA Times may determine which candidates for office to cover, and which ones not to.

Here's a snippet from Jon Regardie's piece on the Rudy Martinez push polling effort. Hell, here's Regardie's piece itself.

Oh, this. When I was a freshman in college--and that was back when the Himalayas were still at sea level--esteemed sports scribe Robert Lipsyte came to speak at our journalism awards dinner. Here it is, thirty-six years later, and lo and behold--the Times has found a new op-ed contributor. Guess who? And not only that, but to complete the memory, it turns out that his op-ed on the Super Bowl is indeed straight outta 1977.

Much more tomorrow a.m. Stay tuned!

"Rather than a School Board"

Louis Pugliese finds a soundbite in LAUSD 3

There are few soundbites that say anything real about public schooling. Issues like charter schools, teacher evaluation, and decentralized budgets defy snappy packaging. Worse for school board candidates, they talk almost exclusively to people deeply involved with schools, even though their would-be voters are more often than not ordinary citizens who barely give a second thought about that car-magnet around the corner with all the kids and blaring klaxons.

Even so, the two candidates in LAUSD District 3 have now had a chance to try a couple of sound bites out last week.

"We have to make this board a Board of Education rather than a School Board." With this succinct statement, Louis Pugliese (photo, left, by Debbie Lopez) has got his defining sound bite down at last.

Pugliese favors curriculum oversight and a return to emphasis on classroom instruction for the LAUSD. A former classroom teacher himself who became involved in curriculum development at CSUN later, Pugliese thinks the District spends too much energy and money on physical plant and turf battles, and not enough on history, biology, and math.

He's running against incumbent Tamar Galatzan, who is telling audiences that she got "$85,000 for Non-Title I" schools in her district, the LAUSD's District 3. As a soundbite, though clunky, it's memorable to those who know what a Non Title I school is--parents/teachers/staff--and the dollars mentioned sound like real achievement to those who don't--everyone else. I don't know that the bite is really boast material, or even accurate, but it may impress voters on either side of the divide.

Galatzan's unglamorous "$85,000 for Non-Title I schools" is a very slippery claim, tough to refute, tough to question, tough to explain in the middle of a debate.

Two years ago, Superintendent Ramon Cortines was talking about budget "flexibility" and awarding $75,000 per school to take care of expenditures from nursing to art supplies. This money is not extra money--it's money taken from a central budget. Cortines, who wished to decentralize the LAUSD a decade ago and two years ago as well, thought that giving principals more control of more money was one way to do it. So the District's talented CFO, Megan Reilly, a $212K per appointee of former Superintendent David Brewer, created a flexibility fund for schools at Cortines' request.

But decentralization produced some clumsy results. Galatzan was told a year ago by teachers in her district, for instance, that schools were under-reporting special needs students as a consequence, because they needed to cut their school nurse budget, now budgeted by a principal rather than contracted by the district. It turned out that in permitting "$85,000 for Non-Title I schools" in District 3, the district lost all economy of scale when purchasing services like nursing.

It also found that principals have not had any training in rolling budgets. The average stay of a principal at a school in the LAUSD is barely over three years--which means that one-third of the time budgeting at school is done by a school rookie, and another third of the time by a sophomore. That's two-thirds of budgeting done by people with not only no experience with budgets but with inadequate experience at their own schools. With everything else on a principal's plate, it's barely enough time to learn a school's unique issues, let alone to know how to best spend money fixing them.

Charter schools are also a hot topic in the north half of the Pugliese/Galatzan district, which is also very Republican: Porter Ranch typically sends Republicans to City Council. Galatzan has consistently come down in favor of privatizing, charters, and soft-pedaling the Republican charter-speak code even while appeasing the southern, Democratic part of her district with suggestions of privilege for Non-Title I schools.

Pugliese told us at a lunch two weeks ago at a lunch that Tamar's team was even portraying him, Louis Pugliese, as a Republican. "Honest to God, imagine that," he says, laughing, acknowledging that it probably doesn't hurt him much in the north part of the district.

While Galatzan has retained the services of Eric Hacopian to steer her campaign, Pugliese is his own consultant. He almost received the endorsement of the powerful UTLA by remaining noncommittal to charters. But the UTLA yanked its would-be endorsement of Pugliese at the last minute when Galatzan's track record convinced the union that she would remain equally as demonstrably noncommittal to charters in the south half of her district as Pugliese might. (Her Galatzan Gazette had featured a moderately union-hostile LA Times story in October, when teacher measurement was in the public eye). The beleaguered but still strong union, ironically, which sources tell us was at one point poised to spend a lot on this race, became willing to sacrifice whatever happens at Granada Hills Charter II (currently in full fiasco mode) for the sake of spending the money on races elsewhere, where the choices are more stark.

Galatzan has been fairly artful at posing as a reformer of the District in which she is so deeply entrenched. We were bemused by her participation at the "Lemonade Initiative" in May 2009 at which midlife screwball Sandra Tsing Loh appeared wearing a Che beret and handed out flyers promoting an upcoming stage performance. Recent revelations about how Galatzan's present campaign is being financed--by the Mayor's top developer friends--have brought her reformer status into question among a wider circle as the call for reform itself becomes the insider status quo.

But Galatzan also dramatically underperformed in her last election bid, in a Council race against Paul Krekorian. Without big developer backing, finishing a very distant third behind not only Krekorian but political novice Chris Essel, the School Board member teared up on election night. Meanwhile, Louis Pugliese, in his last race, overperformed, nearly beating the Mayor's hopeful, Nury Martinez in a heartbreaker for many in the Pugliese camp.

This race is Pugliese's toughest yet, but the candidate has a happy-go-lucky attitude. "I've never had more fun in a race," Pugliese told us towards the end of our lunch, a glint in his eye suggesting that he was indeed having a good time.

Times tips its hand re candidate coverage

One of several stealth candidates, Tomas O'Grady.

Since the last mayor's race and the cone of media silence descended on those who opposed Antonio Villaraigosa, many political consultants have wondered, sometimes aloud, exactly what criteria the Times uses for determining which races and which candidates receive coverage and which ones don't.

Some consultants and candidates have begged the former fishwrap of record for a formula. "Just tell us what the criteria is, and I'll meet it!" one frustrated candidate complained to me in 2009.

In today's otherwise pablum piece on the coming civic elections, the Times may have let the formula out of the chest. The criteria appears to be a measure of fundraising, and fundraising alone. And it appears to be a very high bar to pass: namely, a third of the amount of the leading candidate.
By contrast, the only fireworks so far in the City Council races have been in the 14th District of Jose Huizar. Self-financed candidate Rudy Martinez has been able to remain competitive with Huizar's fundraising efforts while arguing that he could be a more effective advocate for the district, which includes portions of downtown and stretches through Boyle Heights and north to Eagle Rock.

The only race without an incumbent — the one involving the northwest San Fernando Valley 12th District seat now held by retiring Councilman Greig Smith — might have proved more dramatic, but Smith's top deputy, Mitchell Englander, has netted endorsements from nearly every council member while amassing almost $443,988 in his treasury. His closest opponent has raised $33,915.

So Rudy Martinez, who has raised about 50% of what Huizar has raised, gets a mention, but Brad Smith, who has raised under a 10% of what Englander has raised, does not. Neither, however, does Tomas O'Grady, who has to date raised almost 25% of what Tom LaBonge is spending. Nor does Stephen Box rate a mention at the Times, who has raised less money than O'Grady but who has a fully-staffed campaign headquarters on Hollywood Boulevard.

To suggest that "the only fireworks in the City Council races" have taken place in CD 14 strikes us as limited at best and disingenuous at worst. There have been in CD 14 is to ignore, for starters, two of my own most widely read items this month: Brad Smith's departure and re-emergence within the CD 12 race, which may have been forced by the Englander campaign's bullying of Smith through actions taken at Smith's workplace. Smith is now on a Leave of Absence from his employer to address his campaign exclusively. And O'Grady took the battle for Barnsdall Art Park to the south lawn of City Hall, where he received extensive media coverage, as he did on Veteran's Day when promoting a veteran's issue in his district.

Maeve Reston's ballot synopsis, while fairly accurate even if titled towards big money candidates, will otherwise make your headache. It suggests ballot measures rather than candidates will be top on the minds of voters March 8, and talks more about what Councilmembers have stakes in the measures than about the measures themselves. I don't see it that way; I don't think Council races, School Board races, or ballot measures will drive the voters out, making it every man and woman for themselves, and leaving the ballot measures a tremendous crap-shoot, ultimately determined by the bluehaired homeowners, neighborhood watch people, and union members that work for their own local candidates.

But more pointedly, if you wonder why there is always under 20% turnout for stand-alone civic elections not involving a Mayoral race, coverage like this is certainly one reason.

Each one of these Council Districts is populated by about as many people as live in Pittsburgh. The races deserve more than the usual cone of media silence in which the Times envelops challenger candidates.

Downtown News: Martinez pollsters asking "really ugly questions"

Jon Regardie, the executive editor of the Downtown News, reports some highly suspect tactics from Rudy Martinez's pollsters:

They asked if I am concerned that Huizar was the target of a federal investigation for taking thousands of dollars from nonprofits (say what?!), a scenario that ultimately led to jail time for a labor leader. They asked about lists his office made ranking people in the district based on their influence, and that he “withheld city services” from low rankers and then, egads (my word), had city inspectors harass them, “a clear abuse of power” (questioner’s words). They wanted to know my thoughts on his supposedly spending $40,000 in taxpayer money on restaurants, bars and clubs, to which my response is, well, if a guy with four young children and a crazily demanding City Council job can actually do tequila shooters and dance till 3 a.m. at a party where Daft Punk is spinning, then more power to him.

Then they got to the really ugly questions, which I won’t go into, because I already feel dirty enough having written about the above.
That's just the way I feel when I read MayorSam. We have received a report of a similar style of canvassing from incumbent Tamar Galatzan's campaign for school board in the West Valley against Louis Pugliese. The two campaigns are run by consultant Eric Hacopian.

Nick's problems suddenly blow up into Rudygate

La Opinión reports more serious accusations, including the willful deception of a donor, against former CD 14 Councilman Nick Pacheco, de facto development chairman for the beleaguered Rudy Martinez campaign:

Un directivo de la oficina de Pacheco, que habló con La Opinión pidiendo no revelar su identidad, da otra versión. Revela que el ex funcionario le pidió "de favor" emitir un cheque para una organización no lucrativa, pero después se enteró que el dinero terminó en la campaña de Martínez. En su caso, dijo, la oficina le devolvió íntegro el cheque.

Unofficial street-hassle English translation:

A Pacheco office manager, who asked to remain anonymous, offers another version. He says that the former civil servant requested "a favor of him" to write a check to a not-for-profit organization, but later found out that the money ended up in the coffers of the Martinez campaign. The office in this case refunded him the money.

The worker goes onto report that he "felt deceived." If you have a better translation of the above paragraph, help us out.

EARLIER: Pacheco employee "was forced" to write check to Martinez campaign, Pachecho sends Skelton cease-and-desist letter, Fun with Nick in Vegas, the Sequel, Fun with Nick in Vegas

Rudy doubles down: Mitch fills out questionnaire

In a move that must certainly make Eric Hacopian happy, Rudy Martinez loaned $50,000 more of his own cash to his quixotic effort in CD 14, while the in the same period, other donors gave him $215.

Also, CD 12 Candidate Mitch Englander gets a chance to word process some campaign position papers for the City Maven. Brad Smith did this too. She submits to them mostly the same questions.

You can find a report our own sit-down with Mitch here.

Drex & Sex, &c.

Dockie style.

Sex sells, sorta, maybe even for alt weeklies with readership skewing way over 40. The LA Weekly beefed up to 104th St. this fortnight-ere-VD issue as The Sex Issue. No arts article, alas, and a tickle-ourselves piece on LA's Republican law firm of choice, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and their pro bono Republico on behalf of Beverly Hills Attorney Ben Austin and the Compton parent trigger fiasco, which it is now obvious the Weekly will run with to farce until the sheer tedium of the story grinds the whole universe to a screeching halt. Having toiled for Gibson Dunn whorehouse myself a quarter century ago, I can only imagine the chuckles as a fat Brioni-suited partner dispatched the hapless associate with the least prospects of making it rain to the instant matter.

Ow, there's also a weeks late something ironically on the LA "news" page in which Carmen Trutanich is eying the D.A. post. No, really! Gene Maddaus may not yet be party to this elaborate ruse, where candidates are being invited to beg off the race longer still, because Steve Cooley is just so pissed that Carmen the Clown is running that, darn it, he will run himself after all, saving America, scaring the hell out of everybody! Also, Maddaus, who has few willing-to-talk-publicly sources in pocket yet has somehow talked to someone who knows exactly what John Shallman says to Steve Cooley on the telephone, has a "former contributor [sic] to Trutanich" assure the Weekly "He's fucking insane"--he being our very own City Attorney!

What a thing to anonymize! You know, the subtext is like this: Carmen is so fucking insane, he might even use his office to retaliate against a "former" [sic] contributor! Which would be pretty much a felony. At any rate, here's what's really fucking insane: Jim Newton got to interview Carmen the Clown last week, so Jill Stewart needed to get something on Carmen on the board too, pronto, preferably with an f-bomb or two in it, and this was it, thank you Gene.

But then--Drex Heikes, sex yikes! Somebody greenlighted this sex issue thing. There's a furry on the cover and then, in order, Gendy Alimurung, Gendy Alimurung, L.J. Williamson, L.J. Williamson, Paul Abramson, L.J. Williamson and L.J. Williamson. In short, I count three people covering 1.3 million LA sex lives each, and ending up in Hollywood a lot.

Squinting through my own fiftysomething farsight to read something sexytime, I can't help but wonder how the Weekly settled on this particular trio of "researchers", who are generally young vibrant bi curious, when the fishwrap's newsstand readership is liberals looking for a showtime to a Laemmle matinee, the only time of day they can read the dinky print. Wouldn't it have even been more interesting--I mean, for your actual readers--to explore the sex lives of, say, San Pedro's dockworkers, east downtown loft artists, eastern Euro mail-order brides in Woodland Hills, than the froth of tatted gropers that wash the shores of our Hollywood coffeehouses and happy hours, whom we can see any old time we like, and who are, in general, not much more than predatory nuisances, really? I. Think.

EARLIER: 96th Street, 96th Street, 92nd Street.

LAUSD approves half a billion more expenditures

The LAUSD, which professes to have no money for classroom instruction or teachers, and whose enrollments have been declining throughout the past decade, just voted 5-2 to spend over $500 million more on school construction and cafeteria makeovers.

Galatzan and Flores opposed. "I just cannot support spending money on things we don't need," the outgoing Flores said.

Voters approved five construction bonds in eleven years, and property owners will pay on them until 2044. The average homeowner in the District pays $555 a year for the construction of often-worthless projects; this is on top of property taxes they already pay to the County for education. The LAUSD construction program is the west coast's Big Dig.

Single Gear

Straight as a Sharrow

The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition has a politically-hopeful post up soliciting input regarding how bike-friendly various City Council candidates are.
Because the LACBC is a 501(c)(3) corporation, we cannot endorse any candidates; however, we encourage everyone to vote and to make informed, educated decisions at the polls. We’ll post the answers to the surveys when we receive them for your review and comment.
We expect that favorite son Stephen Box will emerge with high ratings.

Included are links to all candidates' websites; that's useful in itself.

State Senator Yee calls on Limbaugh to apologize

California State Senator Leland Yee has urged Rush Limbaugh to apologize after Yee received another Limbaugh-inspired threat.

"Rush Limbaugh will kick your Ch--k ass and expose you for the fool you are," part of the memo said.

Yee and state Assemblyman Paul Fong, D-Cupertino, previously demanded an apology from conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh, who mimicked the president of China on his Jan. 19 show.

Yee also offended supporters of Sarah Palin "when the state senator revealed that officials at California State University, Stanislaus shredded documents related to Sarah Palin's contract fees as a keynote speaker."

In January of this year, Yee received threats from Pima County, Arizona, the County where Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot.

Another Terrace Morning

Utah is a step closer to havings an official State Gun. It is still no closer to having an official State Book.

You keep hearing "$300 million" around LA City Hall. That's the size of the expected City budget deficit in the next fiscal year. Very troubling: about eighty bucks a citizen. But you watch: to validate bridging the gap, you'll pay $400 in extra traffic fines, $200 in extra parking tickets, $200 for that extra jaywalking fine, $400 in higher DWP rates, $100 more in trash fees, $30 more for library privileges, &c. Watch $80 per person in the abstract turn into $1,000 for you in particular. Better start saving now.

Brown polls well early. Very well, very early.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa all but admitted yesterday that city community redevelopment agencies are big developer slush funds. "For many of us, these are the only funds we have available to create new jobs," the mayor said. But for two generations, the CRAs have sold themselves to the public not as job creation agencies, but as property-tax revenue enhancers.

I guess what goes around...recently I called Joe Barrett an "aging punk activist," so now he calls me something back.
The real issue here, anyway: the partisans at MayorSam have been complaining for the past twenty-four hours about my sit-down with Councilman José Huizar. (They didn't call me names when I sat down with their own candidate of choice, Huizar's opponent Rudy Martinez, last August.) So if you missed it: the MayorSam blog supports Rudy Martinez. It also considers anyone who doesn't openly declare support of Martinez a villain, an alcoholic, a traitor, a socialist, an anchor baby, &c. And yes, the disgraced blog also feigns surprise when solvent grown-ups send it cease-and-desist letters.

Speaking of...Martinez took a powder in the Weekly's blog column; actually his top supporter, Nick Pacheco did. A Pacheco employee asserts that he was pressed to write Martinez a campaign contribution check. Pacheco in so many words calls the employee a liar. All is not well at Nick's law office.

Freshman-comp-level dangling participle appears at the former fishwrap of record. Scribe Shan Li wrote the following sentence: "I just want to settle my wife's debts and keep her comfortable," von Anhalt, 67, said during a tour of the home he gave to the news media. Hope the media appreciate their new crib.

José Adelante

Councilman José Huizar is relaxed, but in a hurry too

"I'm getting impatient," the relaxed man in the blue blazer, who never seems impatient, tells me.

After addressing a neighborhood watch group in University Hills, Councilman José Huizar grabs a corner window seat with me and watches the crowd disperse. He has brought his wife, sitting on the other side of the room, waiting patiently, and his political consultant, Mike Trujillo, and left his tie and any trace of concern about his coming election at home.

But mention CRA failures in his district or affordable housing, and the Councilman indeed professes that he's a lot less than relaxed.

"You know, Garcetti and Reyes have taken up the restructuring of affordable housing, and are supposed to be issuing a report. It's taken them quite a while," Huizar says. "It's been too long."

With forty days left before the 2011 elections, the Councilman has been subjected to a hotter spotlight than at any point in his preceding five years as Councilman. And he returned the favor, in an exclusive sit-down with street-hassle, with more than a few observations on how the City does business.

The community of University Hills abuts Cal State LA, and it's also adjacent to one of Huizar's best hopes for redevelopment in his District: the Biotech Corridor, visualized five years ago, that might someday stretch along Valley Boulevard from USC's health care complex to the newly-dedicated property added by the County of Los Angeles.

Huizar has told the community earlier that now, thanks to an agreement between the City and County, earnest hopes for development at the long idle site can now begin.

He also tells me that the Adelante project in Boyle Heights has been slow-and-go, but promises to break ground on two more projects in the zone within a year.

And about that would-be deal that fell through three years ago for the Sears Center, with Oscar de la Hoya?

"The great problem with that deal is that the Sears property was part of a New York hedge fund," Huizar explains. "It was next to impossible to deal with them."

A part of the City's powerful Planning and Land Use Management Committee, the Councilman isn't too concerned about the controversies surrounding CPIO Zones.

"We're bringing it back to Council with a few [modifications]," he says. He considers public opposition slight.

While the Councilman has recently taken some lumps in media, he also remains absorbed by what scribes and pundits say. It even turns out that Jose Huizar is a big Jon Regardie fan.

"I love his columns," the Councilman says of the Downtown News's executive editor, who often lampoons Huizar and the Mayor's civic actions and private lives too. "He's just funny. Even when I'm his target."

"The Downtown News does as good a job as the Times, sometimes even better," he says. "It's amazing because obviously they don't have near the resources."

While Regardie may be really good at stitching satire into current events, Huizar may also be throwing more than a little shade towards the other significant fishwrap downtown: the The Los Angeles Times. Times scribe David Zahniser has been on the Councilman's back the past few days.

Last week, Zahniser broke a story about the Councilman's office maintaining lists that monitored influence--a story whose source was Huizar's opponent's mother. Yesterday, Zahniser amplified Council President Eric Garcetti's concerns about forming a quorum yesterday; for the first time in recent memory, the Council President singled out two Councilmen, Huizar and westsider Paul Koretz, and admonished them publicly.

"I was in the building," Huizar says, still beaming a grin. "I don't think Paul was. Our staffs were talking to each other...we were, what, two minutes late?"

Was it a stunt? A new Garcetti, trying to prove he has a backbone after all? The Council President has all but declared his intentions to run for Mayor in 2013...

Huizar smiles all the more broadly. "I don't know. Maybe." He wears the grin of a man who now appreciates a good political stunt, even when he's at the receiving end of it.

This is how José Huizar is most markedly different from the candidate for Council I interviewed five years ago. He's always been easy going, but now he seems to enjoy the give-and-take of political life far more.

Earlier, as the neighborhood watch meeting ends, a woman shouts "Who are you running against?"

After five years, the Councilman has perfected a comedian's sense of timing.

He pauses and grins sheepishly; he may answer, he may not. He simply keeps grinning.

"Uh...nobody," he says at last.

The room explodes with laughter.

"His name is Rudy Martinez," Huizar says at last. "He has a restaurant and a bar in the district."

"I'm not voting for him--I don't trust his face!" a woman cries out in a heavy Spanish accent, and the room is full of laughter again. This, the Councilman's twenty-fourth community meeting of this election cycle, is José Huizar's crowd, and José Huizar's night.

Another Terrace Morning

Obama was as Obama is: inspiring, audacious, and yet grounded in reality. These are the reasons he's President.

John Myers tweets: If any state wins 'face time on TV game' 4 StateOUnion, it would be CA. McCarthy, Lee, Chu, Capos, Sanchez (Loretta) all in first 5 mins." Also wonders: "Do you think CA's David Dreier (R) & Maxine Waters (D) had much 2 chat abt sitting next 2 one another @ StateOUnion?"

Governor Brown's State of the State is Monday at 5 p.m.

A planned mosque near Temecula in Riverside County gets the green light. I wish the media covered the greenlighting of fundamentalist Christian churches so diligently.

The Mayor of LA is going to bat for his Community Redevelopment Agency, and therefore against the Governor. "
"Redevelopment activities support an average of 304,000 full-time and part-time jobs, including 117,000 construction jobs," Villaraigosa tells Rick Orlov. "They also contribute over $40 billion annually to California's economy."

You can get an idea of just how much our own agency [hak-cough] contributes to California's economy by reading the CRA audits of the past decade. Ron Kaye has links to 2000-2006's.

Garcetti's "two-minute no-warning" snit over tardy Councilmembers to Chamber spilled over into broadcast media attention. It may be indicative of a broader riff between Garcetti and some other members of Council now that Garcetti has all but declared himself a candidate for mayor in 2013. We'll explore that later, as...

Street-hassle scored an exclusive interview with Councilman Jose Huizar last night. We'll have it up at 9:30 a.m. Stay tuned.

More Egypt footage

I don't know who this woman is, but she should have shot Black Swan too.

Egypt dispatch: "I've been beaten a lot"

We interrupt this California blog to bring you Egypt.

Andrew Sullivan: a dramatic dispatch.

Video above: Raphaëlle Ayach's sister.

A rundown of the protest appears at the NYT.

Demonstrators want an end to the 30-year rule of Hosni Mubarak.

Hillary Clinton called the situation "stable" but one wonders how much that statement owed to the coming SOTU tonight.


Because a cracker from Sout Caroline can't behave hisself whenever there is a Negro president, Congress needs a special seating chart tonight. Click chart to enlarge.

MUCH EARLIER: South Carolina wants its slaves, secedes from union.

Jacobs' new blog

Rodger Jacobs has a new blog. It's called The Valley of the Ashes.

I'm guessing the blog is an expression of two tensions residing within Jacobs': his ongoing efforts at subordinating the various brutish challenges thrown his way in the second half of 2010 and his anxiety to present quality fiction to a wider audience at what often seems like a museum's closing time for American civilization. Those interested in either tension, or simply to watch yours truly hurl bon-mots from Olympus in yet another comment environment, will be anxious to watch the blog progress from the ground up.

Another Terrace Morning

The Times is out in front on school board endorsements. They are so predictable and status quo as to elicit a morning yawn. If you want to look at them, you can, here, but I'm not going to mention them because they fly in the face of reform. In fact, the Times may be in as much need of reform as the LAUSD is.

The California Supreme Court clears the way for financially strapped cities to lay off workers without union input. That sounds like invalidating collective bargaining, doesn't it?

Yesterday, we took Mariel Garza to task for studiously penning an op-ed purportedly about Council races, yet which did not mention the name of a single candidate. (We have seen this tactic from newspapers recently, in the 2009 Mayor's race). Yet Garza's newspaper has space enough in it to feature a Council deputy. Again, five weeks from a civic election, newspapers are willfully failing democracy locally. Candidates who think they're going to get fair coverage from fishwraps should know better by now, and make other plans.

It is good to see alternative candidates contributing thoughtful pieces somewhere, and Stephen Box's piece at CityWatch on the CRA and sleight of hand is laudable and worthwhile. "Dantona is to be commended for performing what he refers to as “piñata” work, and the audience responded by revealing that in many of the city’s 31 CRA project areas, it’s the community that feels like it’s being treated like a piñata." One can only imagine fearfully what fluffy Tom LaBonge would have said about the same public meeting.

And thank you very much, Wendy Greuel, but now we have a real controller looking into CRA expenditures, so you can look busy some other way.

Jose Huizar will hold living room coffee chats numbers 24, 25, and 26 this week. I wonder how many Rudy Martinez, Mitch Englander, Tom LaBonge &c. have held?

Former news schlubs Kevin Roderick and Jim Newton together find a way to put 1,000 words together that somehow offer less information about Carmen the Clown than is routinely uttered by aspiring neighborhood council vice presidential candidates in a single sentence. This, after Newton's burpy lunch with the Clown at Ciro's.

The King's Speech, a competent Weinstein-Hollywood movie that certainly was not special, leads Oscar noms with 12.

No Shame at the Weekly

A couple of teens died in Orange County. It's an enormously sad story. They were sixteen and fifteen. Odds are good they died of a careless attempt to party, gone tragic.

LA Weekly, however, is determined to get some cheap page views out of the whole thing. So the paper puts the full names of the two deceased minors in the item's post title, with no regard for friends or family impact, apparently in the hopes that the site will receive a few extra clickety-clicks from the decedents' friends who might be Googling for info. After all, everyone knows Google searches and prioritizes by title first.

This is what I call desperate. Without shame. And most of all, exploitative of a tragedy.

Exit line: after as much, the paper consoles the deceased to "R.I.P."

Also: The former alt-fireplace starter decided to get snarky on the former fishwrap of record when the NYT sniped this morning. I do wish the people who get paid by corporations to write their versions of city life would write less about each other and more about the city.

Your Privatized City

Courtesy Keep LA Strong, now on Facebook.

Another Terrace Morning

Jack LaLanne made California a place associated with healthy lifestyles. RIP. profile quote of the week, sent in by a single 40something gal: "If you list the LA Times as what you read every day, please do not even think of winking at me."

In what may be one of the most disingenuous op-eds on civic politics ever written, Mariel Garza devotes a column to the upcoming municipal elections without mentioning a single candidate. She assures you that "What this means for you is very little at the moment - if ever." Certainly such races will ever mean little to you if you stick to newspapers. Poor Mariel, she gets paid not to write about the people she gets paid to interview. Her column is condescending, patronizing, marginalizing and completely deplorable. I suspect corporate-cuddling hacks like Mariel Garza feel so powerless themselves that they even resent the unbeholden freedom of the people in LA who are actively trying to change it. This is why the Daily News matters so little to LA's political scene and diminishing in influence daily.

Among Valley education luminaries spotted at Louis Pugliese's campaign kickoff event for Tamar Galatzan's LAUSD board were CD 12 candidate Brad Smith, California parent trigger catalyst Lydia Grant and Beckford PTA generalissima Debbie Lopez. Smith is hosting his own relaunch Tuesday around the State of the Union Address, a fact not noted on his campaign website.

The Rudy Martinez campaign released a video of Jose Huizar getting razzed in Glassell Park last Thursday. His patronizing remark that "everyone here is a five" fell flat and goofy. But the broader issue is how well Glassell Park has been served by Huizar's office, which indeed delivers much more to Boyle Heights, Eagle Rock, Cypress Park and Highland Park because of the presence of better organized commercial hubs in all those communities. However, it strained credulity when Huizar claimed he wasn't "familiar with the details" of the CRA billion-dollar three-card monte gambit, which Martinez even further fumbled.

In the wake of the arrest of Blanca Martinez-Navarro and her husband, Walter Moore usefully lists the City Hall denizens who have been arrested in the Villaraigosa mayoralty. "There's the DUI guy, who is still in charge of the City's budget, namely, Miguel Santana. There was "Big Weasel," doling out machine guns and silencers in his "anti-gang" program called, ironically, "NO GUNS" There was that other "gang expert" arrested for battery or something. And don't forget, false timecards guy." Match this track record up against Mariel Garza's dismissive op-ed about Moore and other alternative candidates.

Chris Essel's version of the gifting of 1601 Vine to Pacifica Ventures is precisely the kind of document that may be of interest to Kamala Harris should the Governor encounter difficulty shaking down the State's CRAs, especially our own. At the conclusion, the document reads: "Files currently available to staff suggest that CRALA’s appraisal procedures may not have been followed. However, we have uncovered no evidence that the developer was involved in this process or benefited financially from the process used." As Pacifica Ventures was filled with ex-Paramount people Essel knew from way back, Essel may have heard about the gaming of the appraisals and the mechanics of the swindle first hand. So when you read, "Files currently available to staff..." you may be getting something very deliberately evasive, as Essel herself may know what the truth of the would-be sweetheart deal was far better than the files do.

Culver City also opted for the CRA expenditure transfer. CC transferred $119 million of $300 million, and a lot of the money went to affordable housing projects.

Westside subway/MTA meetings this week. "Monday, 6 p.m., at the LACMA West Building, 5905 Wilshire Blvd.; Wednesday, 6 p.m., at the Westwood United Methodist Church, 10497 Wilshire Blvd.; and Jan. 31, 6 p.m., at the Roxbury Park auditorium, 471 S. Roxbury Dr., Beverly Hills."

An interesting race in State Senate District 17 (Antelope Valley, Valencia, &c.) between Sharon Runner and Darren Parker. Their special election is February 15. The Republican Runners (her husband is George) kept the Senate and Assembly districts in their own household through the zeroes; Sharon comes from the Assembly to try to swoosh into her husband's Senate seat. Sharon is also in bad health with a rare lung ailment and awaiting a lung transplant. The couple founded Desert Christian Schools.

Mayor's Office Gang Official Arrested

The former fishwrap of record reports this morning that "Blanca Martinez-Navarro, the Rampart program manager for the mayor's gang reduction and youth development office, was booked on suspicion of misdemeanor battery around 1:40 a.m. after police were called to the Conga Room at 800 West Olympic Boulevard within the downtown L.A. Live Complex, according to law enforcement sources familiar with the case."

The Mayor has validated his anti-gang programs throughout the decline of the City's economy by citing crime stats. Crime is declining all throughout urban America, however, and most serious social observers cite the reason as the cumulative effect of three strikes laws, and not any particular program. 2009 Mayoral candidate Walter Moore likened the Mayor's claims on crime reduction to "stepping on an escalator and taking credit for the movement."

Halfway solution for Santa Barbara's Homeless

The solution the civic fathers and mothers of Santa Barbara for the "nuisance" of homelessness: they will rotate fourteen key benches on State Street 90 degrees.

"They'll be sitting with their backs to half the people coming and going on the sidewalk," said Marck Aguilar, a supervisor for the city's redevelopment agency. "They'll have half the potential contacts with the public. It might not be financially beneficial for them."

You might call it the halfway-to-final homeless solution.

And some people wonder whether Jerry Brown's plan to eliminate redevelopment agencies might be a good thing.

Another Terrace Morning

The silencing of progressive voices in corporate media continues as MSNBC cuts an exit deal with Keith Olbermann. Voices say the exit of Olbermann likely has to do with Comcast's pending takeover of MSNBC. How ironic that media CEOs can donate to Republican causes but their pundit underlings can't donate to Democratic ones. This is exactly how progressive voices are purged from corporate media while hate-spouting rightwing lunatics thrive in it.

Jon Regardie says in the Downtown News that "The lists hurt Huizar." The lists and CLARTS are also driving the narrative at the bilingual weekly advertiser EGP, which distributes widely to the district via the "Sun" newspapers. Still, lots of people in the district know Huizar, but few know Martinez, forum moderator AJ Jaramillo told the paper in Spanish. The Sun group also quotes Martinez's bizarre presser in which he called on Carmen the Clown (who prosecutes misdemeanors and protects City Council interests) to "commence a criminal investigation" regarding employee expenditures made by Huizar while adminstrating ordinary CLARTS fund activities approved by Council.

On the day of another Zac Champommier vigil, Patt Morrison asks for..."Justice for Luis." Even though Luis' killers are safely behind bars--the only question is for how much time. It would take a lot more courage to ask for Justice for Zac, whose law enforcement assailant remains unknown to the public even after six months, while law enforcement agencies stack their investigative decks out of public view, thanks to the tacit approval of newspapers like Morrison's LA Times.

But the former fishwrap of record agrees with what we reported yesterday: that LA's new Med 420 Ordinance revisions are a lawsuit magnet. "The amended ordinance is almost certain to draw more legal challenges. Long Beach, which used a lottery to cut the number of its dispensaries to no more than 23, has drawn eight lawsuits." Jane Usher acknowledges that legal challenges could add up to more law enforcement failure, yet expects a different result this time: "Clarity should lead us to much more success than we had in the second half of last year while we were in litigation," she said.

"This Old House" comes to Silver Lake and finds stucco "exotic."

Aging punk activist Joe Barrett is back at MayorSam, the "Home of LA Politics." I feel obliged to report it because nobody else in the blogosphere will. (Frankly, I didn't know he left). The site seems to have had some dispute over publishing comments. I always thought the people who wrote the site wrote most of the comments too. You can also be MayorSam's friend on Facebook.

The site also appears to be solidly behind Louis Pugliese's attempt to unseat Tamar Galatzan on LAUSD school board. If I were Pugliese's manager, I'd have a big sign that said "CHANGE" right next to the candidate at all times, and my yard signs would say that too. Because nobody, not even Tamar, can safely run on a school board incumbency, and also because Pugliese outperformed in his last bid for office, while Tamar underperformed in hers. And I'd put all his signs in red with white knockout letters because some people in the northwest Valley will read it as secret Republican code. In fact, come to think of it, I'd put red signs north of Roscoe and blue signs south of it.

But Louis Pugliese is his own campaign manager, which means he has to come up with a lot of things all by himself--including a GOTV campaign, which figures to be pivotal in this particular election. That could hurt him as he squares off against Tamar and her manager, Eric Hacopian, who likely isn't afraid to tell his client when she comes off as arrogant and detached, which she does quite often, especially to moms who don't have the budget to dress as well as the once and future attorney. Tamar will benefit from the reality check offered by a manager like Hacopian; Louis will be obliged to depend on friends and family, who tend to echo the good and overlook the not-so-good. That alone concerns me about his candidacy.

Karen Bass asks her new constituents "Where should I sit?" for the State of the Union. I don't know why, but the question kind of bugs me.

In Memoriam, Zac Champommier

Zac Champommier would have turned 19 today.

Unlike nearly every other law enforcement killing in the purportedly cosmopolitan city of Los Angeles, nearly seven months after his killing, we still don't even know the name of the law enforcement officer who felt it necessary to gun down Zac Champommier, honor student with no priors, late last June in a dark parking lot behind Chipotle on Ventura.

We do have the forensic report, and we know that Zac Champommier was not under any influence of any kind of drug or medication at the time of his death. We also approach this matter with full recognition of the fact that law enforcement officers save lives daily, &c.

But what is most challenging to our sensibility is the failure of local journalism in this matter. The fact that the public instantly knows the name of the officer in shootings involving an LAPD badge, but does not know any of the principles in this County and Federal matter after nearly seven months, is the single greatest disgrace, the single greatest evidence of impotence, of the LA Weekly, Los Angeles Times, and Los Angeles Daily News of the past year, and perhaps of the past decade. These have all failed Zac personally; and they have failed his family, his loved ones catastrophically.

Frankly, these papers' collective lack of courage in bringing this case to light, even while often writing with literary pretensions and sinister overtones about killings that took place decades ago, makes me ill. And how dare the LA Weekly, the worst offender of al--which never ceases to attempt to pat itself on the back or issue itself an award, and never fails to hype a long-dormant killing--type something about an arcane, already-settled legal case that formalized today, and thump "This one's for the kids" without ever having investigated the circumstances of the death of the former Granada High student who was shot to death a week after graduation summer last's's pathetic. (But that's just my opinion).

A candlelight vigil takes place this afternoon at Laurel Canyon and Ventura, near the spot where Zac was killed. Justice for Zac has details on the day, and the forensics too.

Carmen the Clown's botched Med 420 Ordinance rebotched

A major issue for the City of Los Angeles reached a unanimous yet ambiguous milestone today by a Council action that both documented past City Attorney failures and assured endless future wranglings.

Potentially inviting literally dozens of lawsuits in the near future, LA's City Council decided to permit the existence of more Med 420 centers by...lottery. A judge had ordered earlier that Carmen Trutanich's draconian Med 420 Ordinance become more expansive, and making it more expansive by lottery is the only way our City Attorney could figure out how to do so. Sources tell street-hassle that this is likely to create thorny cases, perhaps even Constitutional takings clause cases and dozens of prospective lawsuits of merit against the City.

City Council approved the City Attorney's recommendation unanimously but reluctantly, setting up a prospective paper trail of haplessness that points directly to Trutanich's office.

Martinez house flips includes three foreclosed properties

Street-hassle has learned that Council Candidate Rudy Martinez has "flipped" at least three homes in the run-up to the real estate bubble that later were foreclosed on.

The foreclosed properties include:
  • 442 West 118th Place in South Los Angeles (flipped by Martinez November 2001; foreclosed June 2004). Martinez's sell price was $72,000 greater than his strike price.
  • 10968 Wilmington Avenue in Watts (flipped by Martinez October 2005; foreclosed on October 2007). Martinez's sell price was $162,000 greater than his strike price.
  • 10600 Avalon Boulevard in South Los Angeles (flipped by Martinez May 2006; foreclosed on October 2007). Martinez's sell price was $139,000 greater than his strike price.
The phenomenon of flipping houses was commonly identified by economists throughout the decade as a practice that ironically kept urban homes out of reach of striving would-be buyers, dependent on "liar loans" and creating a "missing rung" on the urban housing ladder.

The LAUSD Proto-Gulag

It's not just the City of LA that has turned on its own citizens. While Jill Stewart and the LA Times were busy last year cuddling up to the corporations and wantonly bashing teachers on behalf of Eli Broad's and Bill Gates's plans for privatizing public education, the LAUSD's administration was busy hiking truancy fines to $250 and creating a mini-gulag for our city's poorest adolescents.

Students in Los Angeles can now get $250 truancy tickets - not only when they are caught being truant (something we also all probably did at least a few times!) but when they are simply late.

These truancy tickets are part of a broader shift in educational policy. Public schools are now using tickets as a form of discipline and employing police-not teachers, not counselors-as the first responders. It is part of a "zero tolerance" philosophy that emphasizes punitive policies, law enforcement, and courts as the "necessary" solutions, creating conditions of "pre-prisons" rather than educational environments for our Black and Brown youth who make up the majority of our public schools.

And so our young people now face ticketing as a daily reality. They get tickets for fighting. Tickets for going off campus at lunch without permission. Tickets for skateboarding on school campus without a helmet. And, truancy tickets for being tardy.

It's like Sesame Street teaching you how to watch television, but worse. LAUSD is teaching students how to go to jail.

96th Street

Before Heikes/Stewart &c.

The inky version of the LA Weekly remains stuck at 96 pp sopping wet this week.

The way the Weekly is covering local civic races this election cycle is consistent with the decline. You can find far more even-handed treatments of, say, the Jose Huizar v. Rudy Martinez race at AOL Patch Highland Park, where the scribe there has found that Huizar's friendster lists have evoked "more bemusement than outrage" in his community. Or even at mediabistro, where they don't do local politics too much. And most non-Republicans in the highly Democratic district think so as well. The right-tilting mukluks at the Weekly, however, are zeroing in on Huizar-Martinez while missing a host of other intriguing races, like Englander-Smith and Galtazan-Pugliese, about which citizens are even more passionate, and which also could produce shocking upsets.

Even ordinarily unflappable local political consultants are tuning out the Weekly as a serious news source. One expressed to me last week that he's simply "given up" on the Weekly. "I don't pick it up because I don't have time even to correct it anymore," he said.

Why give up on the Weekly? For an example, watch this all-too-common slant from David Futch in the Huizar-Martinez race:

...before Martinez, star of cable TV's remodeling show Flip This House...

Consider that shining happy word, "star," basking in unqualified isolation. (Weekly scribe Simone Wilson has used it to describe Rudy too--even in a headline). It's hard to believe that these people at the Weekly have ever even sat down with this "star" (as we and at least a dozen other scribes have); Rudy himself would quickly set them straight on his "star" status on the show.

Martinez was, actually, one of the hosts of one of the teams in the show's fourth season. The show's cancellation season. Only. The show had over twenty such "stars," and almost all of them had far more screen time than Martinez.

&c. By the time you reach "don't count Huizar out" (Who was counting him out? He's won two races on the first ballot, though the Weekly only talks about one of those races--the one with the lower vote totals) you have likely counted the Weekly out instead.

And by the way. The raison d'etre for the lists in the first place--which the Huizar camp is not eager to state, because it draws attention to another office problem--owed to the fabled high turnover in Huizar's office. The ranking system was simply a way for new staffers to prioritize tasks in an office in perpetual flux.

EARLIER: 96th Street, 92nd Street.

O'Grady, Box both outwit LaBonge on civic questionnaire

This is useful: somebody polled the three Council candidates in CD 4 for their opinions about the Community Redevelopment Agency and other issues. The piece states:
At the outset I believe all Angelenos should be very thankful that Tomas O’Grady and Stephen Box actually believe in openness and wrote extensive, thoughtful answers, knowing that their answers would be used for an article over which they will have no control. Councilmember LaBonge’s answer were short, evasive, and seldom dealt with the issues.
Not a surprise. You can read attorney Richard Lee Abrams' parsing of responses to his own questions by following the link. Don't expect the Councilman to grant him a future interview, though: he mocks LaBonge's responses quite a lot.

Another Terrace Morning

Best head o' the day: Meg Whitman Named to HP Board in Housecleaning...

If you live in LA and have tickets and want to keep your machina, pay them now. We hear that the City has entered full draconian mode when it comes to booting and towing away scofflaws. Hollywood offers the revenuers a particularly ripe setting for boot-and-tow.

Brace yourself to read the absolute most slackjaw, insensitive comment on Rep. Giffords possible:
Not to make light of a tragedy, but had Rep. Giffords been hit in the face with a whipped cream pie, would the Food Network have to go off the air?
That wildly inappropriate, garbled non sequitur is from the right wing goon squad at the American Spectator. It's the kind of stuff that is undoubtedly why Obama is indeed still polling on top of all GOP rivals.

In San Francisco, citizens are standing up for mom and pop pet supply shops, and against PETCO. The decision is in their Planning Commission's hands.

Shrewd David Nahai, our former DWP chief, has been "appointed as Advisor to ITT Corporation in connection with ITT’s global water strategies" so send your congratulatory notes soon.

Former LA Republican Walter Moore says LA Republican Party is still dead. He cites their Twitter account, which would rather talk about Rose Parade floats than local candidates.

LA least friendly city in US

No surprise: LA is "rudest" city in the US. The city is also ranked worst for public transportation and pedestrian-friendliness and friendliness and second-worst for affordable getaway.

Brad Smith secures LOA from Parsons for campaign

Street-hassle has learned that Brad Smith has not only re-entered the race for CD 12 but he has now also secured a leave-of-absence from his employer Parsons Corp. of Pasadena to do so.

Formerly a weekend candidate, Smith also does not see that losing most of a week less than two months away from the election has hurt his chances in the district.

Smith is the Democratic Party's pick in a largely Republican council district.

Another Terrace Morning

Sorry no updates in a while but this stay-at-home blogger spent yesterday on the Central Coast.

Defending his plan to abolish community redevelopment, Jerry Brown says that redevelopment was originally "slum clearance" and he is right. Look at it now. Brown gets away with telling more truth than any politician in America.

New American Home is Vulgar Monument to America's Tacky Dreams. Via Wonkette's Wonkette, Debbie Lopez.

Speaking of vulgar monuments, CD 12 if full of them; also, Brad Smith is back in the race. More later. Kevin Modesti at the Daily News doesn't mention our campaign bombshell of two days ago, which may have helped bomb Smith back in. I don't know if I should expect to find Drama King Smith's next campaign announcement in the Daily News or Backstage West.

Jose Huizar and Rudy Martinez face off again at the Glassell Park Neighborhood Council meeting tonight.

Another Terrace Morning

Full moon in Cancer at 1:21 Pacific today. A good day not to do too much.

Impeach Bentley now in Alabama. Domestic terrorist attempt in Spokane.

On Brown's redevelopment proposal, the former fishwrap of record again covers the ongoings in the 'burbs rather than in the inflated pueblo. The San Jose Mercury News calls it all "predictable sniveling from special interests."

LA City Council balked for the moment and continued LA's own community redevelopment money-grab until next week. As we didn't see much made of the Friday grab in print, Ron Kaye, the Downtown News and I will take full credit.

Clean Tech jobs are growing a little, not a lot in California.

Fiftysomething white males John Deasy and Ron Nichols are two new names around LA to master. Both come to government with extensive ties to private life; both think running government like a business somehow helps. Deasy already has a crisis to deal with in the Gardena High accidental shootings, which is both unfortunate and unlucky; Nichols' DWP is perpetually in crisis but local scribes have run out of steam writing about it, as Austin Beutner's heavy-handed tactics have worn editors down.

Speaking of Gardena High, the Weekly is correct for once to point out that Gardena is not in Los Angeles and therefore Hizzoner should not be issuing statements about ongoings at Gardena High. What a colossal waste the Mayor's tinkerings with the LAUSD have been!

Wish I knew what went on in Hollywood last night that required ten black&white barreling east on Sunset at top speed.