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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…

 

Reynolds Rap Video: Korea Was Made in China.





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

 

 

  

 

 

 

Asia on $30,000 a Day

LA WATCHDOG - Our peripatetic mayor is now on an 11 day, $295,000 junket to China, Japan, and South Korea designed to build and nourish important relationships with the movers and shakers so as to “increase investment, trade, and tourism” in the City of Los Angeles.  This “trade mission” is being financed by the Port of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles World Airways (“LAWA”), two of the City’s three proprietary departments. While there is no doubt that the commercial relationships with these Pacific rim countries are very important to the well being of Los Angeles and its economy, is this an appropriate use of the resources of the Port and LAWA?  Are they the sole beneficiaries of this expedition?  Are first class travel, luxury suites, and sumptuous dinners appropriate given the dire conditions of the City’s finances?  And are these type of expenditures even permitted under the travel policies of these two proprietary departments?

But the inappropriate use of LAWA funds by the City is nothing new.  In the past, LAWA funds have been diverted to help balance the City’s budget and fund the City’s marketing efforts.  On Sunday, the Los Angeles Times revealed that the Federal Aviation Administration is reviewing a complaint filed by the Los Angeles Airport Peace Officers Association that the Los Angeles Police Department is seriously overcharging LAWA for police services, a clear violation of federal law and Proposition 26. (Link)

The utter disregard for the appropriate use of government funds appears to be rampant.  Just this weekend, KCET’s award winning show, SoCal Connected, revealed that massive expense account abuse is still rampant at the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (“HACLA”). (Link) This included over $14,000 spent at Harold & Belle’s Creole Restaurant, one of Herb Wesson’s favorite watering holes, and the beneficiary of a highly questionable $2.6 million loan to finance the son’s leveraged buyout of his family’s business.

And while the City was digesting this fraud, the Los Angeles Times disclosed that HACLA’s politically appointed Board of Commissioners quietly approved a $1.2 million severance package for Rudy Montiel, the former head of HACLA who was sacked back in March.  This agreement also has a clause that neither party will disparage the other.  However, that might be very difficult since HACLA may be under criminal investigation.  

Of course, the real sin is that these abuses are surely an indication of a mismanaged and corrupt organization that is failing to serve those that are least able to help themselves.

But there is another good reason why the Mayor Who Broke LA left for Asia.  

On December 2, the City Administrative Officer released the Second Financial Status Report which revealed that the City is projecting a $72 million deficit for the current fiscal year that ends on June 30, 2012.  Underlying this projected deficit is higher than budgeted personnel expenses related to the Fire Department, Workers Compensation, and retiree healthcare, issues which should have been addressed through the development of a long term operational and financial plan that is standard operating procedure for any $7 billion organization.

This report also stated that the Four Year Outlook has not changed, meaning that next year’s budget gap will be in the range of $250 million and that the four year cumulative deficit will be in the range of $1 billion as personnel costs will increase by $750 million.

No doubt a smiling Mayor Villaraigosa will return from Seoul, the last stop on his trip, with plenty of great news on how this trade mission will benefit Los Angeles and its economy and create numerous jobs.  

But while the Mayor is gallivanting around the world and no doubt indulging in the world’s finest wines, he and the City Council have failed to address the ever increasing corruption in our City, its inefficient operations and out of control personnel expenses, its deteriorating infrastructure, its underfunded pension plans, its bureaucracy that is trashing local businesses, and its impending financial crisis.

We are in for one horrible hangover.

(Jack Humphreville writes LA Watchdog for CityWatch He is the President of the DWP Advocacy Committee and the Ratepayer Advocate for the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council. Humphreville is the publisher of the Recycler -- www.recycler.com. He can be reached at:  lajack@gmail.com) –cw

Tags: Asia, Asia trip, Mayor’s Asia trip, Mayor Villaraigosa, Herb Wesson, LAWA, Port of LA, Rudy Montiel, Jack Humphreville, HACLA, Los Angeles Airport Peace Officers Association







CityWatch
Vol 9 Issue 97
Pub: Dec 6, 2011



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