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 'A PROMISE IS A PROMISE'

Special to CityWatch: Can Jorge Ramos Save The American Immigrant Dream?

Tony Castro
TONY CASTRO’S LA- President Barack Obama’s disappointing failure to champion immigration reform, what The Washington Post called his “immigration train wreck,” may be the consummate example of the failure of the Obama presidency on Latino issues. It is also a tell-tale sign of the potential trouble the Democratic Party could find itself in…

Museum Row’s Billion Dollar Block Party

Tim Deegan
EXCLUSIVE TO CITYWATCH--City planners, developers, community members and other stakeholders are having a block party in the Miracle Mile: no champagne but plenty of stress served to order, depending on who you're aligned with. Issues with development: take a seat. Raising hundreds of millions of dollars for development, take several seats. Here…

What Is It About The Homeless That Makes Us So Angry?

Bob Gelfand
GELFAND’S WORLD--It was a long public hearing at my neighborhood council the other night. Outraged, obviously frightened homeowners were pitted against advocates for the homeless. At least that's how it started, but it's not how it ended. It's curious, but in this contentious culture of ours, it turned out to be possible to have a meeting of the…

Kill the Transit Tax, Kill the Olympics

Ken Alpern
ALPERN AT LARGE-You know, it's indeed possible that there will be enough voters who won't remember (or care about) the current shenanigans and budget games in the City of LA--enough to allow a 2/3 vote to pass a new sales tax measure in November 2016. Then again, maybe enough voters will remember, and the initiative will (like its predecessor…

Headlines Don’t Lie – LA Needs Leadership

Dennis Zine
JUST THE FACTS-I’m talking to you as a man who policed Los Angeles streets for over 30 years and established policy for another 14 years -- two years as an elected Charter Reform Commissioner and 12 years as an elected Los Angeles City Councilman. Take a look at the latest Los Angeles News and Breaking Headlines. They tell a frightening story…

Airbnb Just Floats by the PLUM Committee

Tony Butka
THE CITY-I was going to do my usual flip and cynical kind of a piece on the Airbnb hearing, but the issue is too important, and just maybe, all is not lost. The Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) Committee hearing was scheduled in the Public Works Hearing Room, but so many people attended that they had to move it to City Council Chambers…

Bikeshare Comes to Los Angeles … Sort Of

Richard Risemberg
WAITING ON LA--Here’s photographic confirmation that bikeshare has arrived in LA: Not the City of Los Angeles, though; not quite yet. That’s a live bikeshare station in Santa Monica, on Main Street, next to one of the two bike corrals that grace the block south of Ashland. (There’s another and very busy bike corral two blocks north.) This is a…

The Summer of My Discontent ... LA Version

Denyse Selesnick
MY TURN--I think there is such a thing as the "Dog Days of Summer" since my usual sunny disposition ... glass half full demeanor ... seems to be out of sorts of late. There is a litany of things that are annoying me, aside from the heat. I am disappointed in our local government ... not all of them, but a majority. Like many of you I studied the…

Marilyn Who? Ask Councilman Krekorian or Mayor Garcetti

Richard Lee Abrams
PRESERVATION POLITICS-Who doesn’t like Marilyn Monroe? Councilmember Krekorian, that’s who! Why else would Councilmember Paul Krekorian support the demolition of one of the most significant homes of Marilyn Monroe? With the blessings of Mayor Garcetti, who believes in eradicating as much of Hollywood’s history as possible, and with the support of…





Record Breaking! Josh Groban sings Trump


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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