If Carmen Trutanich once wanted to throw Jan Perry in jail, and slapped a million dollar bail on a man accused of a misdemeanor, imagine what he'll do to you if he gets to peek into your occasionally malfunctioning fireplace flue.
By now homeowners know the game: by design, they're vastly outnumbered in Los Angeles. They have almost no rights other than to exist to pay extra money, even beyond ordinary State property taxes, to the State, the City, and the school district. They even pay extra to build new schools while the school district continues to lose students.
Their one saving grace unto themselves is that, despite being outnumbered in the city 40-60, they vote in nearly equal rates as renters do, and in some districts, like LaBonge's and Englander's, they actually still outvote the City's renters. Of course, the City's renters also pay the city's astronomical property taxes, but don't see it as excessive taxation. They simply pay their landlords high rents and grumble about the landlords, who turn around and pay the city's and county's high property and parcel taxes with ever-larger percentages of their rent.
Since the beginning of the year, jowly Councilman Paul Koretz has wanted to give Carmen Trutanich--who lived in Long Beach before he became LA's City Attorney--the right to harass homeowners nearly any way he likes, with the Administrative Code Enforcement (ACE) plan. And Koretz's deputy Jeff Eberstein is currently peddling this plan to unsuspecting neighborhood councils.
Even Trutanich diehard Ron Kaye is willing to publish bromides against this plan, so menacing does it appear to the people who are most rooted here.
Almost no recent homeowner owns an entirely up-to-code home in Los Angeles. Problems with homes--problems acquired at sale--can take years to fix. In the mad boom of the 'zeros, flippers typically used shoddy materials and shady contractors, with much effort devoted to bluffing the busy inspectors. Homeowners from 2000 onwards were often saddled with as-is homes they got into while the loaning was good. But if Koretz and Trutanich have their way, Trutanich will be able to fine any picayune code offense as he sees fit, whether you bought your home thirty years ago or just last month.
This would not be worrisome had Trutanich not demonstrated his own willingness to flaunt and bully at nearly every turn.
You know the litany: in his short time as LA's City Attorney, Trutanich has:
- brought a largely frivolous suit against one of LA's biggest private landlords, hoping to find cash somewhere.
- turned the medical marijuana permitting process into a pulverizing systemic fracas.
- slapped a million-dollar bail--a Murder One level bail--on a misdemeanor sign violator.
- trampled on the First Amendment rights of protestors, earning him comparisons to Hosni Mubarek.
- displayed ignorance and disregard for LA's Charter.
- threatened to throw someone he swore by oath to defend, a City Councilwoman, in jail if she didn't see things his way.
What is Koretz thinking? Might he have his own homeowner gold card system up his sleeve?