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Another Terrace Morning

Via The Dirt Floor.

Here's a good indicator of the bottom of a crater: real estate cash sales. In California they are at the level they were in 1994 levels as percentage of all residential real estate transactions.

Latinos are 37% of the State's population, 39% of the State's prisoners---and 8.2 of the State's judges.

The Governor is giving the State Legislature ten more days to reach a budget deal.

Some are actively recruiting Ed Lee to run for Mayor of SF. The interim appointment says he won't.

To save money, Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom will close the LG's office in LA; also, he'll lease form himself hipper digs south of Market.

The CRA will vote on Broadway's streetcar project this week. Last week, the project got a million from the City.

LA Times endorses Tomas O'Grady in CD 4

Mulch, not mud.

Another potential game-changer, and this one is in CD 4. The Times has endorsed Tomas O'Grady in the race.

While O'Grady has pledged to cut his own salary in half as a Councilman and calls for broad fiscal restraint, the paper calls O'Grady's calls to fiscal discipline largely symbolic. That's OK--so at this point are Jerry Brown's. But the paper also gives Councilman Tom LaBonge the pointed rebuke he deserves: "Likable and hardworking, yes, but LaBonge is part of a larger failure, and thus can hardly be considered part of the solution to the present crisis." No, not hardly, not when you think putting in a light at Finley and Hillhurst validates the whole reason for a CRA, as Councilman LaBonge has tirelessly told audiences when called upon to defend the agency at campaign forums, always to the flapping applause of his omnipresent three scruffy plants in the audiences.

[What CD 4 voters really need to think about: neither of the two dailies in LA endorsed LaBonge, and the top weekly dissed him too. The Daily News endorsed Stephen Box and the LA Weekly, which fled the District years ago, gave Box a cover two weeks ago.]

The Times offers this on O'Grady:
O'Grady's background in business, devotion to environmental issues and hard work as an activist in L.A. Unified schools make him the most appealing alternative to LaBonge. The Times endorses O'Grady.
This dovetails with my experience as well--the street down from me, formerly barren Tracy Avenue, is lined with trees and shrubs thanks to the organizing efforts of Tomas O'Grady. And people all around Los Feliz and west Silver Lake tell the same tale. The candidate has been very busy in Los Feliz over the past few years, not necessarily working the City Hall people, but the community people, and I too imagine he might get a lot more done throughout the District as Councilman.

The paper doesn't mention Stephen Box's candidacy much, which is unfortunate, as it will likely take votes from both O'Grady and Box to set one of them into a runoff against the career Councilman. But we have heard some concerns about Box's nearly exclusive appeal to renters in the District, indicated by how few Box yard signs you see, and also regarding his manic cycle-centrism.

Yes Box knows how the City works. He would make a great Council Deputy, in fact. If he is too subversive for CD 4 may be an issue; in most elections, well over half the voters in this district are homeowners.

O'Grady's great challenge this week is not necessarily to unseat LaBonge, but to anchor himself as the top alternative. The odds are far higher now that this race could go to a runoff, something every incumbent fears. And now, that challenge goes for Box too: his top task is not to finish strong, but merely to finish in second place. O'Grady has accomplished top-alternative status easily in Los Feliz, and in Los Feliz above the flats, where the heaviest voter turnout comes, he may even be leading outright.

A political consultant tells me that a Times endorsement is a 5-8 percent bump, sometimes 10%. But this is a District where name recognition goes a long way on its fringes: Hancock Park, North Hollywood, Toluca Lake. LaBonge, civic figure forever, also has billboards up to reinforce his own name recognition, and Box maintains a visible hub in Hollywood proper.

Still, with the Times endorsement in O'Grady's pocket, the race now has all the essentials of a legitimate three-way, and that is a very good thing for democracy in the District.

Another Terrace Morning

How to win.

So if Gwyneth won for the annoyingly Anglophile Weinstein production Shakespeare in Love in 1998, does that mean that we'll see Colin Firth ironing his hair and warbling like a hillbilly at Oscar night 2024?

Chino's Bing Energy has moved to Florida. "I just can't imagine any corporation in their right mind would decide to set up in California today," says the CFO. He sounds bitter, doesn't he? I guess the company will be able to pollute Florida however much they like.

Solano Ave merchants in Berzerkley don't like the idea of a Goodwill landing on their street. There was a time when siting a Goodwill anywhere in Berkeley would have been an act of gentrification.

If you missed it, the Times endorsed Tomas O'Grady in CD 4. That is huge news, and may assure a runoff for either O'Grady or Box.

Rudy Martinez tells Facebook friends he can't believe Councilman Jose Huizar didn't talk to people in CD 14 the way Rudy is. The Downtown News endorsed Huizar.

Accusations of military recruiting violations at NoHo High

Anglophone media missed this one: accusations of military recruiting violations at North Hollywood High. "Military recruiters flirt with female students; they frequently interrupt classes and take away my learning time." Esturban: "military recruiters continue calling my child at home even though I told them to stop..." &c.

Not only did Anglophone media miss the story but the Daily News even wound up on the same campus to find a way to make it all sunshine.

Mimosas on the Terrace

We have endured the snow and frost. Be careful about buying citrus trees from nurseries for a while, though...

That was fast. Governor Brown has made two trips to LA to visit the Chamber of Commerce here--we reported one Thursday--and on Friday the august and largely moderate business org emphatically endorsed his solutions for fixing the budget mess. So did VICA for good measure.

Downtown News, which has been following the CD 14 race far more closely than other print publications, endorsed Councilman Jose Huizar for reelection, over challenger Rudy Martinez. It also expresses disappointment over the way the race has been run to-date, adding "in a sense the district has already lost." Even so, it sees Broadway as a work-in-progress under Huizar, and suggests that "people are united in a way they have not been before." They also say of Martinez "his campaign platform frequently relies on generalities and hopes rather than the political realities required to do the job."

Pro-union demonstrators, who have been unimpressed by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's color coded union support, showed up in force yesterday at City Hall. How about taxing the rich, they wonder?

Who's in the best position to become the next Mayor of San Francisco? There are seven candidates of note. We think it's either the appointed Mayor, Ed Lee, or well-liked Assemblyman Leland Yee. People inside City Hall itself are positioning themselves as outsiders.

Now's the time to learn what the State's Little Hoover Commission is, Joe Matthews says.

Jane Harman officially steps down tomorrow. Marcia Winograd's entry into the race could complicate things for Debra Bowen, and help Janice Hahn's candidacy. Winograd and Hahn have both long coveted the seat; Bowen is the progressives' darling.

It's amazing to me that after substantively remaking Hollywood, Councilman Tom LaBonge continues to tout bringing a traffic light to Hillhurst and Finley as a CRA "accomplishment" and a Tom LaBonge accomplishment.

Scott Folsom left a message here yesterday. Folsom is a write-in candidate for the seat that Monica Garcia's chief of staff Luis Sanchez is also vying for on the LAUSD school board, the District 5 seat. His blog 4LAKids is representative of his campaign: quixotic, intelligent, policy-wonkish, maybe to a fault. Folsom has been on the District's Bond Oversight Committee for a long time.

Riding the Mayor's Money: Luis Marquez née Sanchez

If one of the Mayor's pet school board candidates, Luis Sanchez, beneficiary of the Mayor's billionaire boys club's machinations with the LAUSD, were even remotely actively involved in his own campaign, you'd expect him at minimum to spot that Team Antonio called him "Luis Marquez" in his first flyer's caption insert before they sent it out to the District.

Microhousing for the homeless

Since yurts seem so scary to people, how about microhousing of the homeless for even less? Here is the tale of microhousing built for $200. Not $200K, $200.

After twenty failed years of affordable housing programs that cost us all tons money while delivering to only a handful, it is time to try alternative strategies. Despite the hundreds of millions we spend on affordable housing in Los Angeles County, the majority of the homeless of five years ago, when I first proposed yurts to the City, are just as homeless today.

Another Terrace Morning

Shuttle diplomacy: Governor Jerry Brown flies back down to LA, to take place in a Chamber of Commerce meeting.

The Little Hoover Commission, growing in stature, makes recommendations on how to deal with pensions in State, and seeks funding caps (that link is a pdf).

Very sensible editorial at the Daily News: who negotiated these overfat union contracts anyway? Half of the seats at the table are government seats. Politicians too beholden to union contributions are to blame for the overfat contracts, of course. Democrats are beholden to union contributions as Republicans are beholden to corporate contributions, and our country and state are both worse for it.

As Vico once said, to devise a government for these people, first ask yourself how these people should be governed: "As she was being abused, the crowd of roughly 200 men chanted 'Israeli' and 'Jew,' apparently believing her to be a spy. Egyptian state media had been reporting that Israeli spies were disguising themselves as television crews." If you think purebred Jeffersonian democracy is going to fix all this, you probably also thought it would make Iraq just like Virginia.

Guys are more large boys rather than men. Especially guys in their twenties, it seems, who are increasingly perpetual adolescents, according to lots of twentysomething women. What happens later is a mystery. And speaking of, Mayor of the people Antonio Villaraigosa wants taller walls around the Mayor's mansion.

KNBC Report: DWP ripping off many renters

Via Zuma Dogg. "The Bureau of Sanitation has begun sending out 750,000 letters to DWP customers, telling them that if they think they've been wrongly billed for city trash pickup, to call 1-800-773-CITY." You also wonder where the LA Times has been with this story.

Another Terrace Morning

The Dirt Floor: JR is taking over Los Angeles.

San Francisco may get a touch of snow tomorrow afternoon.

Now an unincorporated part of Riverside County, a place known as Jurupa may become a city. Their election is also March 8, and vote by mail is already underway.

Bill Lockyer and Stanford University were both being disingenuous when trying to identify a fair return on retirement funds for CalPERS. This is the biggest part of the retirement fund problem: when it comes to markets, nobody can predict the future. When Lockyer says, "Over the past 21 years, CalPERS' portfolio has generated an average annual return of 8.6 percent. In 15 of those years, it beat the 7.75 percent assumed return rate," he is cherry-picking years (note that key stretch, twenty-one) the way a first-year Series 7 at any brokerage would, right off the in-house tip sheet. And so was Stanford, to prove their point that the system is untenable.

Councilman Richard Alarcon was cleared of one ethics charge by the City's Ethics Commission. He still has the DA to worry about on another matter.

City Attorney Carmen Trutanich seemed to relish the thought of banishing at-risk populations to prison or Arizona at the Downtown News's Downtowner's of Distinction Awards Tuesday night. Speaking of "nogoodniks," he said,
“You don’t own the Central City. It ain’t your playground anymore. Your days as the predators of the vulnerable are over.” Award winners were posted last Friday.

Why America's teachers are enraged, speaking directly to the ongoing sustained teacher vilification programs in mainstream media.

Hacopian: Huizar has " multiple languages"

Man in the middle

In CD 14 today, the bilingual issue proved sensitive to challenger candidate Rudy Martinez in his bid to unseat Councilman Jose Huizar, as Team Rudy issued a press release this morning emphatically stating that Martinez speaks "the language of representation."

Eric Hacopian also has something to say. Presser follows:


LOS ANGELES, CA (February 7, 2011) – Council District 14 is amongst the most culturally and economically diverse districts in the City of Los Angeles. In a recent L.A. Times article, Councilman Huizar called Mr. Martinez “inept” and said he couldn’t represent the residents of Council District 14 because he only speaks English.

“When I walk and speak to voters every single day, the only language voters care about is the language of representation, of creating jobs, of engaging the community, of revitalizing our business corridors, of expanding youth programs and providing quality city services to all neighborhoods,” said Rudy Martinez.

Council District 14 is fortunate to be represented by many outstanding representatives Governor Jerry Brown, Senator Barbara Boxer, Senator Diane Feinstein, Congressman Adam Schiff, who don’t speak Spanish either. That fact has clearly not disqualified any of these individuals from providing outstanding representation to Council District 14 residents.

“Unfortunately, Mr. Huizar’s bilingual skills have only meant that he has failed our communities in multiple languages,” said Eric Hacopian.

&c. Hacopian is Martinez's lead political consultant.

Otra mañana de la terraza

You may have thought all the hot hoops action was at Staples last weekend, but last night Caltech snapped a 310-game conference losing streak dating back 26 years, beating Occidental 46-45.

LA businessman and nostalgia-riddled telly commercial guy Sanford Sigoloff has died at 80. The State could use some of his fiscal discipline.

Smart growth is not so smart when cities fail to place jobs near transit-hub housing, according to a Public Policy Institute paper.

How's this for incentive to cancel a subscription? The LA Times' biggest self-inflicted embarrassment, Jonah Goldberg, says simply that "public unions must go." It is Jonah Goldberg who must go. The fishwrap will find that out after losing a few thousand more subscriptions for its caprice.

Far more responsibly, the SF Chronicle compares Wisconsin to California and determines that the Golden State is extremely unlikely to face similar State-v.-union showdowns. Not listening, Assemblyman Allan Mansoor has already introduced a bill hoping for ending collective bargaining for pensioners. Mansoor, formerly the mayor of Costa Mesa, is one of our most isolated new Assemblymen: as mayor, he joined the Minutemen movement in 2006. His bill is destined to go nowhere.

Mother Jones has good charts of eight things wrong with America. Jane Harman continues to be worth over $400 million...that's one right there.

The State Senate will take up a bill touting alternative energy mandates this week. The Times finds a way to write a tepid editorial about the bill, calling for not much other than asserting that "it's very important for the standard to take the form of legislation rather than a gubernatorial order."

Councilman Jose Huizar tells a senior editor at the Times that challenger candidate Rudy Martinez does not speak Spanish. This revelation comes as Huizar and Newton are walking LA's most Spanish-speaking district. Calls in to Rudy Martinez's campaign regarding this went unanswered.

And here they come: the patented Parke mailers. First one to arrive blasts Martinez's lobbying efforts on behalf of cigarette smoking at restaurants. Meanwhile, Martinez continues to use social media to scrounge up photos of blight in the District.

Compton's school board throws a wrench into the parent triggering of McKinley Elementary; the law may simply be unworkable in practice. The school board's vote was unanimous, 7-0.

Does this sound like policy, or equivocation? "A break-up is happening," [LAUSD School Board member Tamar Galatzan] said. "Charter (schools) are breaking up the school district ... and we don't know yet if this is a good thing or not." If after five years we don't know, it's probably not.

Old Adversaries Plaguing Bernie Parks

The Los Angeles Police Protective League does not like Councilman Bernie Parks. They released a scathing brochure last week stating that Parks "took 1,000 police officers off our streets"--something the LA Times reports in its news section, not on its op-ed page--as not true. The LAPPL has also upped broadcast media efforts against the Councilman, who was once LA's top cop before his City Council gig.

This is one of the odd races in which the challenger candidate represents the entrenched interests inside City Hall and the incumbent is a long-standing agent of City reform. Because of his fiscal conservatism, Parks has made enemies of lots of union and status quo interests in the City, while challenger opponent Forescee Hogan-Rowles is a CRA crone and DWP apologist.

Retiring Councilman Greig Smith tells the Times that if Parks were to lose to Hogan-Rowles, "the city of Los Angeles will go bankrupt."

Another Terrace Morning

They are calling the Ed Lee mayoralty in San Francisco "an era of civility." Lee was appointed, not elected, and so he remains polite to the Supervisors, kind of like an empowered CLA.

Republicans in Sacto still stand in the way of a June tax vote in the State.

The LAUSD never likes it when a good school becomes a charter. But that will be the path of El Camino Real, chartering to gain more money from the State than it does currently from its District allocation.

Home prices declined again in December in cities nationwide.

What's going on with this Orlov piece? He mentions three Council races but not the one in Council District 4. TK?

African Americans are concerned that the State's Redistricting Commission will under-represent blacks and other minorities. From a presser: "I am concerned that when the Commissioner's were applicants for the Commission, practically every one of them said diversity was important. However, in their very first opportunity to act on their commitment to diversity, they choose to ignore the minority community," said Alice Huffman, President of California State NAACP.

Behavioral science indicates that not only are institutional players telling us lies most of the time, we're going along with them most of the time. That's good enough reason to be a contrarian in investing and as a voter.

Holiday Afternoon on the Terrace

Did you know that in CD 14, they sell beer and wine at some 7-Elevens? Evidently, this goes on with the full knowledge of Councilman Jose Huizar. Even more shockingly, I understand they also sell beer and wine at some 7-Elevens in CDs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, and also in 15. Watercolor by yours truly, 2007.

It is now against the law for a cashier to ask you for a zip code. But they can still ask you if you'd like to supersize that.

Did Councilman Tom LaBonge really tell candidate Tomas O'Grady at the Autry candidate forum that O'Grady doesn't care about the district? Did he really call O'Grady "retired"? O'Grady recently told a low-amp radio show that LaBonge did, and also reminded the audience that while planting trees at a middle school, O'Grady dug twenty-six holes, including one for LaBonge, to avail the beleaguered Councilman his photo op. Then O'Grady, who grew up on a farm, planted the other twenty-five. Maybe Tom LaBonge will find out what it's like to be "retired" sometime soon. Find out what else was said here:

As you can readily see, Councilman Tom LaBonge is quite nuts, and also, these debates are the envy of the City. If you click, especially loop two, be sure to watch the other two candidates, because after Tom LaBonge hoots and hollers about the CRA and Barnsdall, he gets thoroughly demolished by both challenger candidates.

More Parent Trigger editorializing as the corporate lobby ramps up, this one in the SF Chronicle. Not a strong editorial; it doesn't state what people are concerned about. It simply vilifies teachers, almost mindlessly. In truth, there were enormous concerns in Compton that Parent Revolution didn't disclose the true stakes of the trigger vote to Spanish-speaking parents.

Now even George Skelton is for trimming the CRAs around the State. A reminder: his paper did not cover the last Mayor's race, in which nearly every challenger candidate proposed trimming or elimination of the CRA.

California by the Bay

The Sunday before President's Day, the former fishwrap of record noted somewhat ominously for the south of the State that politics in California have tilted north.

But who can blame Washington for recognizing the trend that Californians themselves recognize? The top political name in Southern California, Antonio Villaraigosa, has been tarnished by the man's inability to deliver jobs to Los Angeles. All throughout his mayoralty, Villaraigosa has been unable to call off the bluffs of a very few self-serving billionaires; he has squandered his tme in office on tinkering with public schools in such a way that the nation only recognizes Los Angeles as a model of hopelessness. A Democrat who mostly supports ethnic-dominated labor unions and who also regularly also spurns Anglo-dominated ones at his puppeteers' insistence, the man most to blame for the diminishing of LA's political status in the State is none other than the Mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa.

But also advance Richard Riordan's name as a close second. Riordan was the first Mayor to tinker seriously with schools; a multimillionaire himself, he chortled with glee when given the opportunity to start shaping LA's top school board with recreational Republican privateers. He also began the practice of privatizing select services in the City, in which very occasional waste was replaced by both waste and fraud, and his chicken little scratchings in the Wall Street Journal have, by flaunting weaknesses rather than working to cure them, made a bad economic condition far worse. Friend to the same billionaires who have made Villaraigosa such an ineffective Mayor, Riordan was the opening act of LA's decline.

And also add the name Steve Cooley, which has come to be associated with Republican politics even though the post he holds is non-partisan. Cooley's partisan rancor in dealing with political ethics cases has only given reactionary Republicans some amused and pettily vindictive moments; but nobody else pays attention. These same partisan tussles are the very moments that most disgrace him Statewide; and they are reason the race for Attorney General last year became so partisan that a little-heard name with little else other than the blessing of the word "Democrat" affixed to it could beat the far better-known Cooley.

And certainly toss onto this pile of decline the name of Fabien Nuñez, a once promising legislator whose name became synonymous with cronyism while his son's crime came to Statewide attention.

While Bay Area pols have held onto the possibility that job creation may come from Silicon Valley or clean or green tech projects, the south has busied itself with economic drains and money pits such as half-a-billion dollar high schools and widespread foreclosure remedy plans. The Latino south's politicians have also maintained a far greater preponderance for scandal and unseemliness that has not tinged the more polite Anglo-elite north. And the south's enormous Orange County Republican base not been much of a factor in Statewide politics, only serving as the top exemplar of pasty white flight crankiness to an increasingly diverse, ecologically and environmentally friendly State. It's not a wonder, given the slips and spills of the south, that post-Schwarzenegger California is all California by the Bay.

Panderer of ugly politics surprised by ugly politics in CD 14

Lots of cognitive dissonance here, this time under the byline of Kate Linthicum: the former fishwrap of record, which has done everything it could to date to promote all the inane dirt slung by political consultants Mike Trujillo and Eric Hacopian on behalf of their candidates in CD14, and which has scarcely at all noted the issues in CD 14, now devote a "story" finding that people in the district finding that politics are ugly and wish that issues were discussed more!

EARLIER: Jose Huizar fires Mike Trujillo, Martinez investigated for possessing badge of dead officer, More Archaeological Journalism on CD14, &c.

Mimosas on the Terrace

Something's happening downtown today. But a few of us recall this happening in Inglewood about 39 years ago, when ordinary people could still go to basketball games.

Challenger candidate Stephen Box has some unconventional endorsements. The latest round are from food truck associations. Box thinks food trucks are a unique part of LA culture. Bricks and mortar restaurants disagree. Councilman Tom LaBonge seems wishy-washy about the matter.

Councilman Jose Huizar flexed incumbency muscle and cut the ribbon on a bike corral in Highland Park, the City's first.

Arne Duncan joined the Mayor to wag their fingers at kids about teaching yesterday. Neither one of them has been a friend to teachers.

Armenian Power targeted Armenians in particular, says Ron Kaye in the Glendale News-Press.

Turkish delight: the new production of the pastiche Il Turco in Italia, a Rossini opera rarely performed in the US, debuted at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion last night, and it's as enchanting as opera buffa gets. It was another triumph for soprano Nino Machaidze as the sweetheart strumpet Fiorilla, and a chance for the locals to see Sir Thomas Allen comically limp through the Prosdocimo role. Beautiful art direction, simply bella; you won't regret this one.

Regardie @ KPCC: Alarcon "addicted to running"

Downtown News ed's Jon Regardie has a politics spot on KPCC's Offramp, and it starts off here:

"Richard Alarcon is addicted to running...."

And it runs off quite a bit from there. Alarcon has recently announced he's running for State Assembly. You can listen to the segment at KPCC's site here. Alarcon's record of running for office and abandoning constituencies is astonishing.

It's a pretty tough commentary.

PHOTO: Frank Stoltze/KPCC

Another Terrace Morning

Mitch Englander
was a no-show at Thursday's candidate forum in Granada Hills, an AOL Patch reports. "That a candidate would not come to one of only four campaign forums is, quite frankly, reprehensible," candidate Brad Smith notes.

Candidate Stephen Box's best meme is that LA is "a complaint-driven City" and that it should not be. Here he expounds.

Candidate Rudy Martinez releases a statement: "Just want to let everyone to know I am feeling fine. Running a campaign is tough business, but I am committed to the energy it takes both now and when I am elected. I have recently had the soles of my shoes fixed:)" He was hospitalized after collapsing late Thursday night.

The former fishwrap of record endorses Measure H, a campaign finance reform measure.

Let there be no doubt about it, the recent social unrest in the state of Wisconsin has nothing to do with balancing a budget deficit and has everything to with union busting..." Rodger Jacobs begins an essay recounting his own experiences with the Writers Guild, which concludes by insisting that labor unions often have the interests of all workers, not only union members, in heart.

Rudy Martinez collapses, hospitalized, released with advice to rest

Jon Regardie has the details at Downtown News:

Rudy Martinez, the challenger to 14th District Councilman José Huizar in next month’s City Council election, collapsed last night following a candidates’ forum in El Sereno.

Martinez was taken to Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena where he was kept overnight. Tests were run and his episode was determined to be a muscle spasm that was attributed to stress and exhaustion, said George Gonzalez, a spokesman for the campaign.

Martinez was released this morning and sent home with orders to rest and take muscle-relaxing medication, said Gonzalez, who was with the candidate during and after last night’s community forum.

Gonzalez said that after the event, Martinez reported feeling poorly. He collapsed and complained of chest pains. Gonzalez said doctors determined that Martinez had not suffered a heart attack or stroke.

&c. Martinez had been notably exerting himself walking precincts in recent weeks.

Another Terrace Morning

All things must pass...Rudy Martinez walking precincts in CD 14, recalling another boulevardier of old.

This is a great interactive map: click on LA County and you see that people are moving to LA from the Northeast and from Minneapolis-St. Paul, but when they move from LA they might go anywhere.

A local scribe liked our take on the Banksy tear-down: "Welcome to Los Angeles, where nobody knows anything about anything." That is perfect. It's been a great week for quotes. Earlier today I came across, "California economy: I rub your back for $75 an hour then you rub my back for $75 an hour then we both go down to Best Buy and get a new Chinese TV." And on Tuesday a friend muttered, "Look, we're at war with the people who control the idiots."

Here's a headline we don't even have to tweak to make perfect: "The Village at Topanga Promises to be 'Nicest Loooking Costco.'" If you still have doubts, here's the Draft EIR.

The UTLA, which endorsed candidate Brad Smith in CD 12 yesterday, will conduct a runoff in March to determine who succeeds A.J. Duffy. Julie Washington and Warren Fletcher are the two names to master. Fletcher is a hopeful reformer, Washington a longtime apparatchik.

LAT gives thumbs up to I and J, the two DWP measures on our ballot. Nearly everyone else does too. It also runs a make-up op-ed in support of Measure L, the Library measure, which its editorial board opposed.

Every now and then a political consultant bypasses the scribes entirely and slips a puff piece into mainstream media completely unadulterated, and Ed Rollins got one in at CNN for Chris Christie yesterday.

Huizar backfire may indicate Parke is out of touch

The latest twist in the CD 14 soap opera indicates that Councilman Jose Huizar's re-election team simply cannot toss a pea into the ocean these days.

Karen Kubly, a retired LAPD officer herself, sent an e-mail Wednesday to Huizar saying it was “hurtful and most disrespectful” for him to use the badge in his campaign against businessman Rudy Martinez without notifying her family first....

Huizar campaign consultant Parke Skelton said the councilman would meet Monday with Kubly and follow “whatever her family’s wishes are.”

As though Skelton doesn't know by now. If Team Huizar is banking on Badgegate to bring them to victory, they should probably stop.

Did Carmen the Clown order Banksy torn down?

It was only up a day. Now it's gone. Welcome to Los Angeles, where nobody knows anything about anything.

EARLIER: Carmen the Clown as LA's Mubarek, Carmen the Clown clowned again on Med420, Bitter Steve hits traffic-blocking band with felonies, Carmen Trutanich's Lively Decade.

Another Terrace Morning

Banksy bombs LA off Sunset. &c., The Dirt Floor.

CD 12 Candidate forum tonight in Granada Hills, with Linus and Lucy moderating.

There are so many issues that distinguish the candidates in LAUSD school board races that the Times decided to write about the one that doesn't distinguish them at all: fundraising. A ridiculous piece cuts and pastes from financial reports. Voters are left in the dark again regarding what anyone stands for. The Daily News also runs the same rubric.

No on O, the locally pumped oil tax, the Times says. I guess it's worried about driving grasshoppers out of town.

Feds clamp down on Armenian Power, a local organized crime ring. That credit card skimming operation affected a lot of people--and a lot of banks--in town.

Again, the Weekly says that the winner of CD 14 may need as few as 6,000 votes. Again, we wonder why. The charcoal-starter is also about ten weeks late to the party on the CD 12 race. More about fundraising, which is to say, more journalists clicking around rather than talking to communities.

Weekly blogger Wilson draws own mob

An angry lavender lynchmob cut local LA Weekly scribe Simone Wilson little slack today after she dealt with the sexual violation of CBS correspondent Lara Logan in a direct but occasionally insouciant way at the beleaguered alt weekly's Informer blog.

Local HuffPo beauty-beat writer and occasional Fourth-Wave feminist Pandora Young appraises the I-posse impetus at MediaBistro:
She remarked repeatedly on Logan’s good looks and made note of her controversial sexual history. Worst of all perhaps was Wilson’s description of the attack...
&c. The Weekly/Wilson also called Logan a "firecracker" and a "gutsy stunner."

The fact that the Weekly regularly panders to rightie agitprop locally certainly engenders contempt among LA's scattered, well-meaning sociopolitical chatterers, myself among them. But vilifying this kind of discussion of Logan also only trivializes the greater point of her story: the dangers of honest reporting for anyone, cynical dispatcher or suicide blonde, from a revolution or a war zone. In identifying these risks and setting them against a well-known side of Logan's well-known persona, while not the way many would frame the event, Wilson's column, I think, was actually less objectionable than it might initially appear.

But I also see the matter in yet another way, specific to the publication at which it appeared. It seems that all scribes involved with the Weekly, past and present alike, have collective amnesia about what really used to drive readership at the graying alt in its heyday: Rockie Gardiner's tough love-guide Rockie Horoscope, wistful, dark-side Carol Lay's wistful, dark-sided Story Minute, and a surfeit of salacious sexytime personal ads, now of course appearing at craigslist. In the oldtime context, Wilson's slip into the flip flashed for a moment a long-missing, fearless irreverence that the Weekly has been sadly lacking in the entire Heikes/Stewart hegemony. Wilson's not writing what Katha Pollitt would write, sure, but we already have one Katha Pollitt and don't really need a second, and meanwhile we could use some of the carefully irreverent heat these other key components of the formerly edgy Weekly of old brought to our formerly edgy lives of old.

And that's what I thought Wilson ultimately brought to the piece: not tone-deaf insensitivity, but carefully-constructed, contextualized irreverence that nonetheless never fully lost its grip on the gravity of the event. Wilson wasn't reporting from the scene, after all; she was aggregating and expounding on both a victimization and a reporter's own history. She indulged not only the career but the sultry side of the reporter's path, and located ironies in the telling of her story. These things may be uncomfortable to read about, but they are what many wonder about when wondering about Logan; they deserve to be told if only that some might finally learn from them that even these things have nothing at all to do with the crime. While crime and career must remain distinct, those who would only report the victimization, and not tell the tale of the career at all, are not telling a full story either; maybe they are tone-deaf in another way, and I think most of all that Wilson was speaking to this.

Wilson's only real mistake here, I believe, was bowing to the mob pressure and updating her post at all, to acknowledge the contentions of the detractors; her original thoughts, if she was comfortable with them, required no amendment. Wilson is generally lively as a blogger--far more so than the other Weekly bloggers--and I doubt we'll see her consigned to a Patch outlet anytime soon. And anyway, What Would Wonkette Do in this situation? Oh--never mind.

EARLIER: Century Boulevard, Sourcing Trujillo, Sourcing Stewart, I know. 96th St., Drex & Sex, &c., 96th Street, 96th Street, 92nd Street.

Another Terrace Morning

A reader submitted photo of Griffith Observatory to the former fishwrap of record. More and more content is for free.

This narrative about the Paulistas badgering Dick Cheney at CPAC shows that compared to the Ron Paul faithful, even the neocons seem human.

The Times discovers an error in the legislative analysis of Measure H by Miguel Santana's office. It says that the error is likely to affect any outcome. How do you vote on a flawed measure, then? Obviously No. But it's such an arcane measure that it doesn't really matter. As usual, the people will go to the polls and then nothing will happen. As Emma Goldman said, If voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal.

The fishwrap also wants a Yes vote on Measure G, which will start to roll back police pensions.

Someone open another donut shop north of Devonshire: some money is found in CD 12, and it goes straight to the LAPD. I'd be curious to learn how many of the beneficiaries actually live in the City of Los Angeles.

Republicans got out the vote in the Antelope Valley. Democrats did not. It was Sharon Runner in a special for the State Senate seat there. She has large looming health issues. Her husband is in the State Assembly. But Ted Lieu kept the 28th. These elections are fairly meaningless, change nothing, and impact us not a whit.

We are ever more reliant on tinsel as other industries fail. County economists try to paint this as a good thing.

The estimable City Council today takes up the Mayor's plan to hand over some City parking to private gougers in the name of raising revenue.

Anything with the word "doomsday" in it certainly does not demonstrate how well things are going. But the LAUSD has more doomsday scenarios than boxing does Fights of the Century.

Here's another instance of why Christianity is going to hell in a handbasket these days: too much hypocrisy regarding sexual preference. This outbreak of intolerance, decades old but only recently flaunted, is at Westmont College in Montecito.

Mitch Englander and the Spirit of Enterprise

First there was outgoing Councilman Greig Smith's Friday newsletter touting Enterprise Zones.

Then there was my piece here and in CityWatch, a firm rebuttal explaining why Enterprise Zones don't really work.

Then, very soon after, came another study, backing me up.

And then the Times, mirable dictu, agreed with yours truly in an editorial, even while mentioning nobody at all.

And then candidate Mitch Englander (photo), for years chief of staff to Greig Smith, and very much wed to Enterprise Zones, said Jerry Brown, the Times and yours truly were all wrong.

Now an economics prof at CSUN also says that it's Mitch Englander who is wrong, in what has become the defining debate in the race for Council District 12. Democrat Brad Smith and Republican Kelly Lord, both also in the race, are also on record insisting that Republican Mitch Englander is wrong. Who will voters think is wrong? With under a month to go, this is getting fun to watch.

Amnesia at Brand

The story of private citizen billionaire Rick Caruso's shameless robber baron attempts to use Glendale City Council to acquire a hotel that only serves Caruso's own business interests are increasingly horrifying. While eminent domain has been a sustained American bugabear since the Civil War, never before has it been so arrogantly flounted as in the Americana at Brand case.

It is difficult for an ordinary citizen, even one worth a few million dollars, to meet with a billionaire like Caruso, let alone to pressure him to stay within bounds of law. But Glendale's City Council has historically been so awestruck by the dollars involved in the creation of Americana at Brand that it simply has played the role of order-taker to-date. This would be all well-and-good in a cowtown that services itself; but Glendale "serves"--or you could say "steals" too--business from a 700,000 person Angeleno crescent surrounding it on the north, east, and south, including the LA communities of Sunland, Tujunga, Eagle Rock, Highland Park, Glassell Park, Silver Lake and Los Feliz.

Whether or not the City of Los Angeles will recognize that its own business interests are misrepresented by the two-decade-old trend of businesses fleeing LA not for Texas but for its greedy, nefarious neighbor to the north will ultimately test the courage of LA's Mayor Villaraigosa and especially the absentee District Attorney Steve Cooley. Can these men form an agreement that finds a way to join the interested parties that support a Constitutional approach to land development in Los Angeles County, in which billionaires play on the same Constitutional field as the rest of us? Or will both be content to let the land-grabber grab away, and hope for the best, even as the region's true economic furnace, the City of Los Angeles, declines at the expense of the cheating northern neighbor?


I am not the only one to identify the ongoing vapid misogyny expressed at the local rightwing blog MayorSam.

Tree Trimming, Rudy Martinez style

Watch him trim.

This should be fun. Challenger candidate in CD 14 Rudy Martinez issued the following in an email blast this morning:
What can I do now? It’s quite simple. Help me identify your problems. Today I am instituting project “Block by Block” to collect data. I am asking you to take pictures of your areas of concern and post them on my Facebook Here.

This can be something fun, use your camera phones, or digital cameras to photograph potholes, sidewalks, untrimmed city owned trees, blighted business, buildings, corridors and alleys. Once you post the picture on my Facebook, please tell me the location, and if possible how long the problem has been there and what you want done.

When elected, I fully intend to address each and every one of the problems you post. I will use my experience building relationships to ensure that the corresponding City Departments address your concerns and get them fixed in a timely manner.

Wait a minute. Did he say "untrimmed city owned trees?" Indeed, Rudy will take care of those. He hacked down a City tree that was unlucky enough to be in front of a restaurant of his.

While it's an excellent sentiment, the whole concept sounds like the precise opposite of Stephen Box's pledge to make the City Departments themselves look out for problems, as has always been the model before the days of 3-1-1 and our "complaint-driven" City government.

Another Terrace Morning

And another WeHo morning

Comes now a very sad day, one in which the LA Times editorial board completely lost its collective faltering mind. You'll think so too when you read their shocking No on Measure L endorsement.

It will seem like I'm making this up, but I'm not:

In the abstract, cutting library hours seems hard to defend. But what if the alternative is to hire fewer police officers, or to cut gang-intervention efforts, or to make new businesses wait longer for permits, or to close down graffiti-removal programs?

What? Most would cut all those things before library hours. Because longer library hours assure that we need fewer police, help people form new businesses, enable youths to stay out of gangs, and are de facto graffiti prevention programs.

Senator Diane Feinstein, no favorite of the netroots, and an alumna of Camp Hillary in 2008, endorsed Janice Hahn for Jane Harman's Congressional chair. There is lots of pressure from progressives for Debra Bowen to run, but the District is more purple than blue.

Councilman Jose Huizar picked up the critical La Opinion endorsement. He needed such a local newspaper endorsement to stay comfortable in the race. The editorial reads in part:
The councilman has done a good job with an ambitious agenda in his first four years. During this period, the district piloted an increase of green spaces, the expansion of the metro’s Gold Line, the opening of educational centers and the initiation of economic development projects such as the plan to revive downtown’s Broadway commercial corridor. He has worked tirelessly on gang-related issuess, attracted investments, and maintained a commitment to the arts and culture.

Huizar’s leadership has had a positive impact on district residents, especially in Boyle Heights and El Sereno. Not as much progress has been apparent in the city’s Northeast part, which is the reason for opponent businessman Rudy Martinez’s campaign. Despite this, we believe Huizar’s administration has been adequate in northeast areas like Eagle Rock, for example, as to merit a second term.

Over the past four years, Huizar’s prior experience on the LAUSD's Board of Education has been extremely useful. In the same way, we believe that his first-term experience will help him be more effective during the second four years.

&c. It reads like a refreshing return to reality in opinion after some debacles we've seen at the Times and Daily News over the past week.

Is your alma mater CSUN? You can't be pleased if it is with the way things are heading.

When Councilman Tom LaBonge says "It's all on the table" as he does by rote, some enterprising candidate should remind him that that apparently means commercializing our parks and handing over Barnsdall to LACMA or MoCA. What will Tom LaBonge take off the table? It's too bad Billy wasn't on the table in the run-up to the crisis.

Without a tax hike

This is apparently supposed to scare you, because there is lots of incomprehensibly awful stuff on it. The California CAO's office has laid out the kinds of cuts the State will be obliged to make without a take hike. Attendant story here. Why drill off of Santa Barbara for a scant $100 million, not even 1% of the deficit? Why no real prison reform?

Public schools: Eliminate K-3 class-size reduction. $1.275 billion
Public schools: Change kindergarten start dates beginning in 2011-12 so that children who turn 5 after Sept. 1 cannot be enrolled until following year.700 million
Public schools: Eliminate state support of home-to-school busing.500 million
Community colleges: Eliminate state subsidy for intercollegiate athletics.55 million
Community colleges: Eliminate state funding for PE and fine-arts classes that are repeated for credit or that give no credit.85 million
Community colleges: Increase fees to $66 per unit.170 million
UC & CSU: Increase tuition an additional 7 percent for UC and 10 percent for CSU.270 million
UC & CSU: Reduce institutional financial aid by 5 percent.74 million
UC & CSU: Reduce operating expenses by 5 percent at both university systems; reduce personnel costs by 10 percent at UC and 5 percent at CSU.623 million
CSU: Reduce enrollment by 5 percent.124 million
Cal Grants: Limit income eligibility; limit awards to stipends only; eliminate some fee waivers; raise minimum GPA for eligibility.135 million
Social services: Reduce In-Home Supportive Services wages to minimum wage.300 million
Social services: Eliminate food stamps and welfare for immigrants.190 million
Social services: Eliminate full Medi-Cal benefits for newly qualified immigrants and some permanent residents.120 million
Social services: Eliminate Adult Protective Services, which investigates elder abuse.55 million
Social services: Reduce CalWORKs - the welfare-to-work program - benefits.270 million
Public safety: End some special grants to local public safety agencies for such programs as juvenile crime prevention. 506 million
Public safety: Reject various proposed prison system expansions.426 million
Public safety: Delay court construction projects and take funds from an emergency fund.250 million
Public safety: Reduce parole term for existing parolees from three years to 18 months.125 million
Resources and environment: Allow new oil drilling off Santa Barbara County coast.100 million
Transportation: Take transportation funding, including money for local transit and intercity rail, for general fund relief.400 million
State workers: Reduce pay an additional 9.24 percent (equivalent to two furlough days a month).700 million
State workers: Reduce state contributions to employee health care by 30 percent.330 million

Another Terrace Morning

Mark Ridley-Thomas, perpetually vindictive, labor-backed County Supervisor, is lending assistance to labor-backed former DWP commissioner Forescee Hogan-Rowles in her challenge to Councilman Bernard Parks. Parks is also the one incumbent that Ron Kaye's LA Clean Sweep endorses.

Lots else happened over the weekend: Rudy Martinez reneged on his pledge to "stay positive," even after flaunting his signing of the agreement to stay positive in an email blast, and The Daily News endorsed Stephen Box over Tom LaBonge without even commenting on the ground-gaining candidacy of Tomas O'Grady at all.

The Daily News, as usual, says some really bizarre things, seemingly meant to trip Box up even as it endorses him: it says "his biggest obstacle is communicating his message and his platform" and devotes most of the editorial in explaining its contention. This is completely bizarre. In candidate fora, it's Box who has danced circles around LaBonge in the clarity department; Box has drawn specific plans for rectifying the city budget, and LaBonge's stock answer "Everything is on the table" to every budget and backing question is not clarity. In fact, I can think of several other things that are bigger obstacles to Box other than his communication skills; that he doesn't drive a car, for instance, is one, he appeals mostly to renters rather than homeowners in a heavy homeowner-vote district is a second, and the fact that he's currently not even second but third in the race in fundraising is another. But the Daily News's editorial page is in a race to the bottom with the LA Times' editorial page vis-a-vis local campaign coverage; its editors, like the Times editors, should leave the building once in a while, and come to the community, rather than insist that the community come to them.

Tim Rutten in the former fishwrap of record slammed Carmen the Clown on Saturday, also comparing his actions as City Attorney to a wannabe Mubarek. (Remember, this is the same Clown the LA Times endorsed in his race against Jack Weiss). The anonyblog LA Dragnet provides a recent decent history of the tenure of Carmen the Clown as City Attorney. (There is also some stuff about me there that made me blush). But what is obviously happening now is that the Times and Daily News alike are not nearly doing an adequate job of vetting candidates before endorsing them. What we have to say to the paper now is, where were you in 2009, when these things were already obvious?

A Terrace Valentine

Love Bombs La Brea, courtesy The Dirt Floor.

Box nabs Daily News endorsement

Above Tomas O'Grady and the other guy.

Though [Councilman Tom] LaBonge clearly has a deep commitment and historical understanding of L.A. and CD 4, he hasn't offered any evidence during his campaign - or during his decade on the council - that he can help the city reinvent itself during this watershed moment.

By comparison, challenger Stephen Box has.

Box, a community activist with broad-based grass-roots support in the district, has fresh ideas about how to make the city work for its residents, an excitement about shaking up the status quo at City Hall and strong, though rough leadership skills - the kind of which are in serious shortage around the horseshoe in council chambers.
&c. Interesting especially because The Daily News endorsement matters in North Hollywood and Toluca Lake, where Box is weakest and least well-known.

Rudy Martinez: Jose Huizar "does not care about this community"

Council District 14 challenger candidate Rudy Martinez appeared on a low-amp Internet radio show last night and assessed Councilman Jose Huizar as someone not interested in the Council District he has represented for six years.

On deciding to run, @37:37 of the Feb. 12 "LA Live Saturday Night" show, Martinez says: "I felt the same way running for City Council. I said that, the guy that is there now does not care about this community. He is completely disconnected and became reconnected when I decided to run, and it's been a battle ever since."

He adds that the LA Times endorsement gave him credibility. The guest and his hosts spent most of the Martinez segment's time talking about the notorious cocktail-hour email that resulted in Trujillo's dismissal from the campaign.

The show received one listener call-in at the end of the segment, from perennial LA candidate Phil Jennerjahn, dialing in from Washington DC and the Conservative Political Action Conference. Martinez, long a registered Republican earlier in life, registered Democrat in August 2010 just before entering the race.