New From CityWatch
PERSPECTIVE--Have you experienced water faucets that spray tiny jets of water onto your hands? You know, those eight tiny jets of water, each about 1.0 millimeter in diameter, that are emitted with so much pressure that the paltry quantity of water bounces off your skin before you can get it wet enough to apply soap, and makes rinsing the soap off nearly impossible? You can find these water faucets in airports and other public places, where they constitute a minor annoyance. But wait. Thanks to California’s state legislature, they’re on their way into your home.
PLATKIN ON PLANNING-City Planning has developed a host of ways to assist real estate developers building for the high end of the real estate market. Their helping hand, though, is based on cheating, and it also hides behind several totally spurious claims. While they don’t yet concede their bait-and-switch approach, their friends, like Senator Scott Wiener, unabashedly support real estate speculators with many outlandish predictions.
EASTSIDER-For those of you who have gone to a Neighborhood Council meeting, it’s obvious that they are usually long and boring! Most of the reason for this is the Brown Act, as interpreted by DONE and their secret owner, the Los Angeles City Attorney, and it’s been an exercise in blocking and controlling the NCs without regard to the rule of law. It doesn’t have to be that way.
CAL MATTERS-To intertwine cliches, Gov. Jerry Brown let the cat out of the bag last week and acknowledged that he’s concerned about killing the golden geese.
PACIFIC STANDARD-Last week, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents swooped down on about 100 7-Elevens across the country. The coordinated pre-dawn raids arrested 21 workers and launched audits of employers who, if found to knowingly employ undocumented workers, face fines and jail time. The message was clear: Undocumented people—even those who escape workplace arrests—will soon find it impossible to seek employment at all.
CORRUPTION WATCH-Mayor Garcetti’s declaration to make Los Angeles into Silicon Beach bears as little resemblance to reality as Trump’s declaration that he is “like a really stable genius.” Garcetti proclaims that LA will become a center of the STEM industry. (STEM = science, technology, engineering and mathematics.) In September 2017, CNBC showed a grinning Garcetti sitting in a self-driving car, as it heralded LA’s emergence with infusions of investment capital.
THE PRICE OF A TRUMP PRESIDENCY--The United States' global standing has plummeted under the Trump administration, according to Human Rights Watch's (HRW) annual report and an international Gallup survey regarding the country's reputation as a world leader.
RANTZ AND RAVEZ-I don’t want to be too critical about the leadership or lack of it at LA City Hall. I just want to be fair and objective as I point to a failed system of direction and accomplishments – failures that impact all of us who are trying to enjoy life and happiness in the Golden State and the City of LA. I am talking about the ever-growing population of homeless living on the streets of our city.
POLITICS--Former Maricopa County Sheriff and U.S. Senate candidate Joe Arpaio at his office on January 10, 2018, in Fountain Hills, Arizona
GELFAND’S WORLD--We used to talk about ethical and structural reform within the city of Los Angeles. We've been distracted for the past year, but someday we will get back to thinking about fixing what ails us at the local level. Hey, we could even take up local reform while we're waiting for the mess in DC to pass. How could reform actually be made to happen at the citywide level?
BCK FILE-One year ago, the day following the Inauguration of Donald J. Trump, 750,000 people gathered in Pershing Square as part of a global Women’s March. For many of us who participated in the very first march alongside fellow members of the resistance across the country and even the world, this was one of the first steps to show our solidarity on behalf of not only women, but every group and issue marginalized by the Trump and Republican agenda.
LA WATCHDOG--The City of Los Angeles is proposing a $103 million tax break to subsidize the development of a $454 million, 1,130 room hotel complex at the corner of Figueroa and Pico, strategically located in the booming South Park area of DTLA, directly across the street from Gilbert Lindsey Plaza and the Los Angeles Convention Center.
DEEGAN ON LA-Chances are it will be a happier year for the homeless in 2018 than it was in 2017, thanks to a couple of proposed ordinances that would expedite housing, an abundance of programs for many types of homeless, and possibly even having a “Homeless Czar” at City Hall.
ANIMAL WATCH-Mayor Eric Garcetti, LA Animal Services' GM Brenda Barnette and LAPD Chief Charlie Beck and City Attorney Mike Feuer may find it an unnerving surprise that the vegan dog-food proposal to feed only meatless meals to Los Angeles city shelter dogs -- propounded by Commissioner Roger Wolfson and eagerly supported by Best Friends enthusiast Layne Dicker -- has found fervent support and visual prominence on the Liberation/blog page of DirectActionEverywhere.com, the new site connected to the Animal Liberation Front (ALF).
SCIENCE AND AGING-A start-up company in California called Alkahest has an unconventional, and rather vampiric, idea for curing Alzheimer's disease. The founders believe that the disease can be slowed, stopped, or possibly reversed using blood from young people.
EASTSIDER-After writing about the recent Skid Row election, and discovering that DONE’s grievance panel system was a fraud, I was surprised to discover another 2016 Election which is turning out to make Skid Row’s debacle look like child’s play!
NEIGHBORHOOD POLITICS--The new owners wasted little time. Soon after completing their purchase of a dilapidated set of apartment buildings in South Los Angeles, they greeted their 70-some tenants with a message: Get out, and do it two weeks before Christmas.
NEIGHBORHOOD POLITICS--In reading the article about the Venice NC and the issues with DONE, I remind the public that the bigger issue is the cost to taxpayers when a department acts recklessly violating ordinances, commission policy and more.
NEIGHBORHOOD POLITICS-In a city of smaller communities, it’s the Neighborhood Councils that connect the Mayor’s Office and the Council with the issues facing each neighborhood. The job of EmpowerLA and the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment (DONE) is to support the Neighborhood Councils. But what happens when Empower LA drops the ball?
NEIGHBORHOOD POLITICS--Television City, the large studio complex at the corner of Beverly and Fairfax, was the West Coast headquarters of the CBS network for more than five decades. Some of the most iconic television shows originated there, from “The Jack Benny Program” to “The Price Is Right.” The sight of its signature red awning is etched on the minds of many viewers of a certain age, as is the voice-over that began so many of the shows once filmed there: “From Television City in Hollywood.…”
NEIGHBORHOOD POLITICS—Mayor Eric Garcetti and Councilmembers José Huizar, Marqueece Harris-Dawson, and Curren Price today officially opened the Skid Row Community ReFresh Spot, a personal care center that will provide new access to showers and toilet facilities for Angelenos experiencing homelessness.
MASS TRANSIT DEBATE-The war on transit has launched a new salvo with accusations that subways, light rail, and trolleys are financial weapons of destruction out to destroy LA, using poor and working mothers as cannon fodder.
JUSTICE--Opening statements are scheduled to take place in Los Angeles this week in the civil trial (Case No. BC621315) of a disabled woman who alleges that in 2015 a Los Angeles police officer repeatedly punched her, including in the face, and pinned her non-functioning arm underneath her body. (Photo: As they beat the mother of four, LAPD officers repeatedly yelled at her to give them her arm and to “stop resisting” but due to her disability she was unable to unpin her arm voluntarily.)
@THE GUSS REPORT-As President Donald Trump confounds supporters, detractors and the detached alike with his latest daily dose of foot-in-mouth syndrome (late last week he allegedly inarticulately pondered why the U.S. has immigrants from “shithole” countries), some brilliant someone came up with a hash tag that offers some agreeable and much-needed comedic relief: #AddShitholeToMovieTitles, which quickly went viral.
CONNECTING CALIFORNIA--California is so big that you don’t need to be a mouse to hide here. You can be a giant elephant, and still escape notice.
420 FILE-Although the Los Angeles City Council adopted three ordinances to regulate and zone cannabis businesses in Los Angeles, it’s hard to imagine the impact of legal pot becoming significant enough to shrink the black market.
ALPERN AT LARGE--We live in a nation where one side wants to save us all from the other ... but who shall save us from those trying to save us?
NON VIOLENCE--About a year ago, sometime between the feelings of depression that followed Trump’s election and his inauguration, an old activist friend – and occasional Capital & Main contributor – contacted me. Vivian Rothstein had traveled to the South to register voters during the civil rights movement, and she thought it was time again to focus on non-violence as a way of resisting what was floating to the surface in America. She meant not only white supremacy, but what many activists recognize in Trump’s authoritarian tendencies: a threat to democracy itself. Would I join a small group of people to offer trainings in nonviolent resistance, including civil disobedience?
GUEST COMMENTARY--In a New Year’s Eve display of liberal newspaper death penalty abolition harmony – buoyed by the release of the Death Penalty Information Center’s (DPIC) annual report evidencing another year in the long-observable trend of capital punishment’s disuse and disfavor in America – both the Washington Post and New York Times’s editorial boards published opinion pieces arguing for an end to what the Times called a “cruel and pointless” practice; one that is “savage, racially biased, arbitrary,” and which “the developed world agreed to reject...long ago.”
PACIFIC STANDARD-Many labels come with stereotypes attached, and applying them can influence how a specific individual is viewed, and treated. While these harmful labels are often based on race or religion, new research identifies a different large group of Americans who are surprisingly subject to being stigmatized: Baby Boomers.
CORRUPTION WATCH-When the federal Ninth Circuit Court issued its decision In re Sunnyslope on May 26, 2017 (WL 2294746), it may have saved Los Angeles from disaster.
LA WATCHDOG--Alexander Nazaryan’s Op-Ed column in the Los Angeles Times, Let’s Compare Eric Garcetti and Bill de Blasio, paints a positive image of Mayor Eric Garcetti, an “embodiment of pragmatic politics,” compared to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, an “ideologue driven by a self-serving fervor who easts his pizza with a knife and fork.”
LA WATCHDOG—(Editor’s note: Jack Humphreville is currently snowed in on the east coast. LA’s Watchdog will return on Thursday. In the interim, here’s a replay of Jack’s most read column of 2017.) Why are Councilmembers Paul Krekorian, the Chair of the Budget & Finance Committee, and Paul Koretz, the Chair of the Personnel Committee, and Mayor Eric Garcetti unwilling to be transparent about the City’s pension crisis that contributes to its never ending Structural Deficit and is crowding out basic services to Angelenos?
LA WATCHDOG--It has been over a year since Miguel Santana announced that he was resigning as the City Administrative Officer to become the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Los Angeles County Fair Association. And despite the call for a nationwide search for the most important job in the City of Los Angeles, we still do not have a permanent City Administrative Officer which makes you wonder why.
LA WATCHDOG--Hollywood is for sale!
LA WATCHDOG--As a result of Raul Bocanegra’s resignation from the State Assembly, taxpayers will have to foot the bill for a special election to fill his seat. This will more than likely include two trips to the polls, a primary and then a runoff, costing taxpayers an estimated $2 million, if not more. And this does not take into consideration the distraction caused by this special election or the campaign dollars spent by the aspiring candidates. (Photos above: State Senators Kevin de Leon, left and Ricardo Lara)
LA WATCHDOG--The unfunded liability for the Department of Water and Power’s retirement liabilities improved as a result of the 12.7% return on invested assets for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2016. As a result, the shortfall decreased from $2.8 billion (81% funded) to $1.8 billion (88% funded).
RESISTANCE WATCH-The hipster real estate blog Curbed LA recently announced that San Pedro had fulfilled its destiny by winning the 2017 Curbed Cup. According to Curbed LA, the Curbed Cup is a celebration of neighborhood pride and that this Harbor Area neighborhood “knocked out Burbank to claim the title of Neighborhood of the Year.”
RESISTANCE WATCH--The #MeToo phenomenon was one of the most important social and political moments of 2017. While the floodgates have opened, it is still too early to label these mass revelations of men’s sexual assaults on women as a social mobilization with a political plan for gender justice.
RESISTANCE WATCH--The term "burnout" is all too familiar among students and workers: a mental and emotional exhaustion where you feel like you've used up the last of your inner resources.
RESISTANCE WATCH--Billionaire Democratic mega-donor and environmentalist Tom Steyer's "Impeach Trump" petition began as a marginal political operation that was greeted with contempt by Democratic leaders.
ANIMAL WATCH-At the December 12, 2017, evening meeting of the LA Animal Services Commission to discuss approval of performing a feasibility study on feeding vegan food to the impounded dogs in all city shelters, GM Brenda Barnette, Commission President Larry Gross, and Assistant City Attorney Dov Lesel acquiesced to the persistence of two of Mayor Eric Garcetti's appointees, Roger Wolfson and Layne Dicker (photos above) -- turning an official hearing into a bully pulpit opportunity for their egocentric rants and grandstanding.
ANIMAL WATCH-If you live, work, own a home or business in the city of Los Angeles, Councilman Paul Koretz has a holiday surprise for you! Soon, you could find that an unlimited number of Pit Bulls or cats "rescued" from city animal shelters are relocated to a “pet shop” next to your business or less than 500 feet from your home. (Most other impounded dogs are adopted.)
@THE GUSS REPORT-Does one need to sue Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti in order to get the truth? That might be the case when it comes to un-licensed, un-permitted dog and cat breeders operating in the city.
ANIMAL WATCH-In a shocking and embarrassing display of arrogance and disrespect at the Los Angeles Animal Services' Commission meeting on November 28, Commissioner Roger Wolfson – an appointee of Mayor Eric Garcetti -- included insults and bullying to attempt to overrule the decision of General Manager Brenda Barnette and Chief Veterinarian Jeremy Prupas and gain approval to switch impounded dogs in city shelters to vegan food.
ANIMAL WATCH-Two Pit Bulls owned Ace of Hearts Dog Rescue, a West Hollywood group, recently attacked innocent victims in separate incidents while in the care of fosters in the city of Los Angeles. Both were declared Dangerous Dogs by LA Animal Services' GM Brenda Barnette. This means the dogs must be removed from the city or euthanized and that the owner cannot license or keep another dog within the city limits for three years.
ANIMAL WATCH-“We are opposed to puppy mills," stated Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman on Wednesday, as the City Council discussed repealing a ban which would have restricted local pet shops from selling dogs, cats and potbellied pigs not obtained from an animal-care facility or rescue organization. "This will not affect puppy mills,” she said, “They’re going to continue to be there.”