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ONE MOTHER'S PERSPECTIVE

  • WHO WE ARE-Women did it again. The annual Memorial Day tradition of placing flowers on graves of fallen soldiers was begun by women in the South after the Civil War. Who knew? Who now remembers that it was originally Decoration Day? Or that it is a day to decorate the graves of soldiers who fought for a better future. Memorial Day is a great deal…
  • 453 Days Later...

    Tom Rubin
    OFFENSIVE BUT PROTECTED SPEECH-Welcome news this week from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. By a vote of 11 to 1, the court overturned its injunction against the controversial video called "Innocence of Muslims" that it had ordered off YouTube back in February 2014. Here's the background. Actress Cindy Lee Garcia (photo below) was…
  • What LA Educators Should Learn From Bell Gardens High School’s Shocking Turnaround

    Jay Mathews
    VOICES FROM THE SQUARE-Bell Gardens High School in east Los Angeles County was a sorry mess when science teacher Liz Lowe arrived in 1989. It was overflowing with trailer classrooms and graffiti. More than 3,000 students crowded into school buildings surrounding a concrete quadrangle with patches of grass and some trees. Expectations were low. Not…
  • The Clean Sweep Election Finally Happened

    Bob Gelfand
    GELFAND’S WORLD- A few years ago, a group calling itself Clean Sweep argued that the voters of Los Angeles should defeat all the incumbents and replace them with fresh blood. On Tuesday, the results came close. There are two distinct lessons, one of which is quite ominous for elected officials. This election demonstrated the end of voter patience…
  • What Did Tuesday’s LAUSD Election Results Prove?

    Paul Hatfield
    PERSPECTIVE-Did the LAUSD election results signal a change for charter schools? Perhaps. Possibly. Maybe. You can make a decent case that Ref Rodriguez’s victory in District 5 points to strong support for charters. It was a battle between two well-funded candidates with diametrically opposed views on the issue. The effectiveness and fairness of…
  • (Train)ing Ourselves to Confront Modern Mass Transit

    Ken Alpern
    GETTING THERE FROM HERE-It's great to learn that Metro has an excellent new CEO with the hiring of Phillip A. Washington who comes to us from Denver. Following in the footsteps of his predecessors, Roger Snoble and Art Leahy, Mr. Washington has a first-rate reputation to maintain--but his first job will be to pass Measure R-2. Measure R-2 (perhaps…
  • 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…




Memorial Day 2015- Freedom Isn’t Free

J. Cole raps on the Letterman show: “Be Free’

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

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

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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