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Last updateMon, 25 May 2015 2pm

LOS ANGELES Monday, May 25th 2015 6:27

WAGE RAISE RAGE

  • WHO WE ARE-Nearly half of Los Angeles just gave itself a raise. Following a wave of state and local minimum-wage bills and initiatives, Los Angeles became one of the largest cities to dramatically raise its hourly base pay and join Seattle to hit the magic $15-an-hour demand pushed by labor and community groups nationwide. The City Council…
  • ​City Snookered by Westfield Billionaires

    Jack Humphreville
    LA WATCHDOG-In March of 2014, the Herb Wesson led City Council and Mayor Eric Garcetti approved a 25 year, $48 million giveaway to help the $28.5 billion Westfield Corporation finance its $250 million development, The Village at Westfield Topanga. (Photo) But this subsidy championed by Councilman Bob Blumenfield was hardly necessary as The Village…
  • Slick With Denial: ‘Self-Regulation’ and the Latest Oil Spill

    Judith Lewis Mernit
    HISTORY LESSONS IGNORED-On Wednesday, May 20, the day after a Santa Barbara County fire inspector discovered a stream of contaminated crude oil flowing onto a pristine segment of the Southern California coast, a group of researchers published a study linking the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill to a mass die-off of bottlenose dolphins. The 46…
  • Scaremongering about the Patriot Act Sunset

    Jameel Jaffer
    FALSE CLAIMS EXPOSED-In a last-ditch effort to scare lawmakers into preserving unpopular and much-abused surveillance authorities, the Senate Republican leadership and some intelligence officials are warning that allowing Section 215 of the Patriot Act to sunset would compromise national security. (One particularly crass example from Senator…
  • Still the Land of the Free, and the Home of the Brave

    Ken Alpern
    ALPERN AT LARGE-It's been another year and another successful Flag Placement at the West Los Angeles National Cemetery. Crawling out of bed in the morning on a holiday weekend to show up bright and early for a show of American patriotism and respect to our veterans and fallen heroes, the region and nation saw yet again how the Boy Scouts, Girl…
  • Retaliation: VA Police Target Veterans

    Robert L. Rosebrock
    LOS ANGELES – Recently, I was interviewed by John Ismay, an Iraqi War Veteran who is the “Veterans and Military Issues Reporter” for Southern California Public Radio. We met at the Los Angeles VA to discuss the never-ending misappropriation of land at this largest VA in the nation, within our nation’s capital for homeless Veterans. We were…
  • City Controller’s Grandstanding DWP Audit is the Real Waste of Ratepayer Dollars

    Dennis Zine
    JUST THE FACTS-City Controller Ron Galperin’s Grandstanding DWP Audit results were finally released. Unfortunately, the conclusion and political spin that came afterwards from the controller was misleading. Here are the FACTS: The DWP’s Joint Training Institute and Joint Safety Institute are administered by DWP managers and representatives of the…
  • A Place Where ‘Special Interest’ is NOT a Dirty Word

    Denyse Selesnick
    MY TURN-We need to have a new word to differentiate the villainous “Special Interest” that everyone is always complaining about and the “Special Interest” that almost all of politicians and civic and social activists have adopted as a cause. It is impossible to have passion about multiple issues. I know I have mentioned this before, but it seems…
  • Alert! America’s Small Businesses are Being Screwed by Big Business

    Robert Reich
    THE ECONOMY-Can it be that America’s small businesses are finally waking up to the fact they’re being screwed by big businesses? For years, small-business groups such as the National Federation of Independent Businesses have lined up behind big businesses lobbies. (Photo: small businesses in Studio City) They’ve contributed to the same Republican…

 

  • Can Strawberries Help Fight Cancer?

    Christian Cristiano
    WELLNESS-There have been a number of studies over the years that could show evidence of strawberries fighting off cancer. Tong Chen lead a study…
  • Study: The Best Way to Quit Smoking … Bet On It

    Francie Diep
    WELLNESS-Oftentimes, money speaks louder than words. Apparently, that aphorism applies to cigarettes too. A new study finds that money incentives…
  • Exercise Can Help Anxiety … Here’s How

    Christian Cristiano
    WELLNESS-Statistics show that over 3 million American adults suffer from anxiety and there is no evidence that number will be declining any time…




ICYMI-Amy Schumer shows Dave her vagina

Remembering Ann Meara: 1929-2015

The Star Spangled Banner … like you’ve never heard it before

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

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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