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 LA'S UPSET NEIGHBORHOODS

People are Pissed! Can a Revolution be Far Behind

Dick Platkin and George Abrahams
LA IN MOTION-Throughout LA’s vast 500 square miles are many self-identified neighborhoods. Ninety-six of them have formed official Certified Neighborhood Councils (CNCs), as established by the Los Angeles City Charter. But, the real number of neighborhood groups is much larger, and they reflect tremendous differences in concerns, demographics,…

Exposed: Guess Who’s Leading the LAUSD Witch Hunt Against Teachers

Leonard Isenberg
CONSIDER THIS-How is it that the LAUSD's go-to outside law firm Sedgwick L.L.P. (that was embroiled in the Miramonte scandal and sanctioned for covering up evidence) is running teacher investigations, teacher jail, and the current witch hunt against nationally acclaimed teacher Rafe Esquith? As CityWatch has previously reported, LAUSD's latest…

DWP Ratepayers Facing Billions of $$$ in ‘Taxes’ Over the Next Five Years

Jack Humphreville
LA WATCHDOG-Over the next five years, the Ratepayers of our Department of Water and Power will be hit up for over $3.7 billion in taxes by City Hall as a result of the combined 20% levy on the power portion of our DWP bimonthly bill. And this does not include the billion dollar-plus price tag associated with the IBEW Labor Premium and its overly…

Politics: Let's Say Goodbye to the Snark

Ken Alpern
POLITICS FOR GROWN-UPS--It's been so long since the terms "liberal" and "conservative" were considered decent and honorable that probably most readers don't even know that they once were perfectly fine labels to bear with pride and respect. Ditto with respect to "Democrat" or "Republican". Yet after not one but two presidential eras where the…

Gang Wars: Don’t Just Send Cops to South LA

Ken Stone
URBAN PERSPECTIVE--With stepped-up police patrols continuing in South Los Angeles, community groups and clergy called on city and county officials Friday to bolster resources for gang-intervention programs and services for at-risk youth and adults. Twitter meme about Los Angeles gang violence.The groups spoke out in response to a wave of violence…

They Love Us This Much

Rick Risemberg
LA’S NEIGHBORHOODS--Yes, the photo is of a hole. Specifically, an incipient sinkhole on Hauser Boulevard where it runs through Park La Brea. It is about eight inches deep. It has been guarded for over a year by its faithful traffic cone. A companion pit behind it suffered the usual indignity of a half-baked cold-patch repair, and is now itself…

Latinos: More Concerned about the Environment than Average Americans

Fred Mariscal
LATINO PERSPECTIVE-Yes it’s true, according to recent polls, Americans of Latino descent are more worried about the quality of our air, water and the alarming effects of climate change already impacting our country, than the average American. Anyone who says that Latinos are only concerned with immigration doesn’t understand the complexity of…

Hey, Councilman Koretz … Westwood is for Bikes Too!

Joel Epstein
DEAR PAUL--LA City Councilman Paul Koretz that is. Say it ain't so! How sobering to read in the LA Times and The Daily Bruin that you now not only oppose bike lanes on Westwood Blvd but also want to strike the planned lanes from the City's Mobility Plan. Such a move would be totally unprecedented and would reverse nearly a decade of bicycle…

Could Molly Knight Be Vin Scully’s Successor?

Tony Castro
TONY CASTRO’S LA-For almost four decades, my summers have been passed listening to Vin Scully religiously, bemoaning the cutback in his announcing schedule and, I suppose, unconsciously preparing myself for that day when Vinny calls it a career. I am also one of those baseball fans who wears headphones and listens to Scully call a game on the…





Art or Ad? LA’s mural law written in gray ink

Escape the Room-Conan goes for the record … and the laffs


LADWP Rates Overview

 

 

  

 

 

 

What Were They Really Fighting About?

INSIDE CITY HALL - I starting working for the City Council in 1971 and after 30 years of meetings I thought I’d seen everything.

I almost forgot former Councilman Joel Wachs’ proclamation that the Los Angeles City Council is “the best free theater in the city.”
Last week the scene was a one hour argument over what appeared to be a “mom and apple pie” motion by council members Bill Rosendahl, Eric Garcetti, and Paul Krekorian that called for the Council to adopt a rule that its ad hoc (temporary) committees would abide by the state’s open meetings law as does its permanent standing committees.

What could possibly go wrong?

The problem was the environment in which the motion was made.  

You see Councilman Rosendahl also serves as the vice-chair of the new Ad Hoc Committee on the Proposed Downtown Stadium and Event Center.  

The agenda for the last meeting was posted just 24 hours before the start of the meeting.  That worked great for supporters of the proposed downtown stadium who knew about the meeting well in advance using insider information.

But it was a bum deal for everyone else who waited for the normal public posting of the agenda.  One day isn’t a lot of time to make arrangements for child care, or time off from work in order to attend.

During the meeting committee members found out that the chair of the committee wanted to hold a secret, closed-door meeting afterwards.  A member of the city negotiating team said they needed some guidance regarding sticking points that arose around the Environmental Impact Report.

Rosendahl objected to the closed-door meeting, stating that the public’s business should be done in public.

The deputy city attorney explained that ad hoc committees are exempt from the state law, the Brown Act, because they were just providing advice.  And if they were to reach a conclusion in secret, the recommendations would have to be adopted by the full City Council.  The chair dropped her closed-door session idea, and wouldn’t allow any public discussion of the issue.

If this had been a meeting of a standing committee, the agenda would have to include notice of the closed-door session.  And it would have happened but for Rosendahl’s objections.

Rosendahl’s motion simply called for ad hoc committees to follow the same laws about notification and openness that apply by standing committees.

As soon as the City Council began discussing the motion, the wheels fell off the transparency wagon.

It was clear that this wasn’t a discussion about the Brown Act, but about a council member who has dared to ask questions about the proposed football stadium, and who has attempted to make public the backroom discussions and hidden reports around which the negotiations have been framed.

Most appropriate is the old Japanese proverb that “The nail that sticks out gets hammered down.”

And hammer on Rosendahl is what some of them did.

It was a demonstration of the collective power of the City Council.  Any member who dares to stray from plans that place the interests of the council members, or the influential few who support them, over the interests of the public, find themselves being attacked publicly and privately.

Joel Wachs was one of those who regularly found himself feeling the wrath of “The Club.”

During one redistricting effort, Wachs had 90% of his district taken from him.  He essentially had to introduce himself to new constituents everywhere.

The most effective counterforce is public support for those who take controversial positions with which you agree.  That means messages of appreciation to the supporters, and requests for reversal of stances to those who temporarily misplaced their priorities.  

(Greg Nelson participated in the birth and development of the LA Neighborhood Council system and served as the General Manager of the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment. He also served as Chief of Staff for former City Councilman Joel Wachs. Nelson now provides news and issues analysis to CityWatch. He can be reached at:  gregn213@cox.net .)  -cw

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CityWatch
Vol 9 Issue 55
Pub: July 13, 2011

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