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Thoroughly Modern Bob – Coming to a Legislature Near You!

Paul Hatfield
PERSPECTIVE-Thoroughly Modern Millie was a Tony Award winner. State Senator Bob Hertzberg is rolling out his own sequel. The only problem is the production cost. Actually, the real problem is we will be the ones bankrolling it if Bob gets the green light. It is the most expensive tax scam concocted, more than California HSR. I’m talking…

Elite Girls School Has Brentwood Up in Arms … Over Traffic

John Schwada
INSIDE LA-Hairdresser Mikell Powell is walking her two dogs in Brentwood along Sunset Boulevard just across the street from the Archer School for Girls (photo left). “I’m opposed to anything that would make driving on Sunset here anymore hellish than it already is,” Powell says as her dogs tug on their leashes. No question: there’s a 1.2 mile…

Homeless LA: Safe Havens, Not Sidewalks

Mike Bonin
WHO WE ARE-In recent years, Los Angeles has seen more progress in combating homelessness than it ever has – yet the problem is still getting worse. Since 2011, the region has housed more than 23,000 people – a record number even by national standards. Yet homelessness is on the rise. Encampments are proliferating in our neighborhoods throughout…

Can LA Afford Another Olympics?

Jack Humphreville
LA WATCHDOG-Boston bailed on hosting the 2024 Olympics when Mayor Martin Walsh refused to sign a host city contract with the United States Olympic Committee (“USOC”) that would have put Beantown (and possibly the Commonwealth of Massachusetts) on the hook for any cost overruns associated with this 17 day extravaganza. But Walsh’s refusal to…

The Petty Hypocrisy of Mandatory Ethics Training

Bob Gelfand
GELFAND’S WORLD-As a member of a neighborhood council board, I am required by state law to do 2 hours of ethics training every 2 years. Elected officials such as members of the City Council are also required to take this training. The curious thing about our California ethics rules is that they prohibit the small stuff while looking the other way…

Los Angeles: Brown lives Matter!

Fred Mariscal
LATINO PERSPECTIVE-According to the Los Angeles Times, over the last five years in LA County, coroner's data show that Latinos, who make up about half of the county's population, also represent about half the people killed by police. Of the 23 people fatally shot by law enforcement in the county this year, 14 were Latino. The Times raises an…

Grading the LA Times: Mike Feuer’s B+ Leaves Something Out

Noel Weiss
OTHER VOICES-Reading the LA Times’ Report Card grade of B+ for City Attorney Mike Feuer, it was good to see at least a 'hat-tip' to the issue of whether the City Attorney really is the “attorney for the people.” But their conclusion seems to be that he is not, and I believe that is wrong. Exactly who does the City Attorney represent? Certainly, he…

Beverly Hills Pounds Final Nail in Bike Lanes Coffin

Mark Elliot
GETTING THERE FROM HERE-If you expected that Beverly Hills might install bicycle lanes on our segment of Santa Monica Boulevard when reconstructing it next year, you will be sorely disappointed to know that City Council just pounded the final nail into the bike lanes coffin. City Council split on the Blue Ribbon Committee recommendation to expand…

Helter Skelter, Murder and the Looming Race War

Tony Castro
TONY CASTRO’S LA-In one of our last conversations before his death earlier this year, author and prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi lamented that while he had successfully imprisoned Charles Manson, he feared he had only made a dent in the threat of an apocalyptic race war that the mass murderer had hoped to ignite. “Madness and mad men,” said Bugliosi,…


Reynolds Rap Video: Joey has hope for the pope in Philly.

You’re gonna cry! Kids sing to teacher with cancer

Scarrrry! The Flying Gun

Kid Stuff! Full of chuckles

LADWP Rates Overview







Moving Forward Despite Collusion, Corruption and Cowardice

CALIFORNIA COMMENTARY - Yes, believe it or not, we are moving forward in California.  It might be because our learning curve has been ratcheted up by our harsh economic times, the budget numbers and an Internet that just doesn’t let the dark secrets stay hidden, but we’re moving forward.

Take, for example, the City and County of Los Angeles.  Apparently, as Steve Lopez of the Times reports, a University of Illinois study suggests that L.A. is #2 in the nation behind Chicago when it comes to corruption.  Perhaps the Illinois researchers were partial to their local Chicago metropolitan region, but I doubt being #2 is anything to be proud of.

We’ve got overpaid DWP employees and a rot-infested budgetary process that has been approved by mayoral wannabees Jan Perry and  Eric Garcetti and by city controller wannabee Dennis Zine.  And we’ve got a hideous usurping of power by new City Council overlords Herb Wesson and Jose Huisar in a City Council redistricting process that as full of racial/racist politics as it is pure backroom graft.
And it’s easy to blame all this on L.A. being a one-party town:  for the most part, Republicans need not apply for public office, because we already have three political parties:  moderate Democrats, liberal Democrats and very liberal Democrats.  It’s just a darned shame that the local government is so focused on Democratic politics in Sacramento and Washington to the exclusion of doing their jobs here in the City of L.A.

However, it’s not that simple:  somehow, Carmen Trutanich, a moderate Republican who somehow overcame the political machine of our current Mayor to defeat Jack Weiss and become the L.A. City Attorney, is breaking his campaign pledge to stay two terms in office when the City of L.A. needs him the most in order to enter the race to replace the outgoing Steve Cooley and become District Attorney.  Apparently, lying to the voters is a bipartisan thing in this town.

Not to be outdone at the county level, the L.A. County Assessor Noguez scandal is making us all wonder who’s paying enough or too much property taxes.  Furthermore, the county supervisors (who’ve for decades been known as “the five kings and queens of L.A.”) are potentially running afoul of Brown Act laws and are as removed as ever from their constituents (of course, isn’t that what being a L.A. County Supervisor is all about?).

And, just as if we’d had enough of law-bending and other non-enforcement kookiness, it appears that our two leading local cops, Sheriff Lee Baca and L.A. Police Chief Charlie Beck have decided to selectively ignore the word “illegal” in offering illegal immigrants drivers licenses (link).  Kinda makes one wonder which rules are OK to be enforced—after all, there’s no blowback in embracing rulebreakers and lawbreakers, right?

And rules and laws were MEANT to be broken, right?

Yet despite all this, I wanted this piece to be positive—and there IS room to be positive despite the University of Illinois study declaring the obvious (that our open-minded, enlightened City and County of California is corrupt).

For example, Metro is actually getting serious on fare evaders, which brings hope for those of us who want to ensure the financial viability of our budding rail/bus transit system.  The voters elected to pay for Measure R, and will likely be asked to pay more to extend Measure R, so it’s only fair that those who use Metro pay their fair (fare?) share.

Furthermore, Governor Brown and the new leadership of the California High Speed Rail Authority are now focusing on upgrades to Los Angeles Union Station, San Francisco Transbay Terminal, and the Caltrain and Metrolink systems that feed into them.  This is the only realistic immediate remedy to ensure that our $10-15 billion state/federal investment isn’t prudently spent to justifiably enhance commuter rail in a state that is rightfully-infuriated by an apparent bait and switch (link).

Giving Governor Brown some more well-earned props—as well as to his usual Republican opponents in Sacramento—it appears that the GOP is saying “yes” to supporting the Governor on pension reform, which even the L.A. Times is praising.

Of course, the GOP has been saying “yes” to balanced budgets and keeping spending within sustainable limits—despite its pathetic inability to make a case to the media and to the voters of California.  Furthermore, Republicans and conservative Democrats alike who are concerned about the sustainability of the state’s pension system (and the pension spiking that’s made it rotten to the core) also said “yes” to an initiative to correct that lack of sustainability.

Unfortunately, Attorney General Kamala Harris’ obscenely-biased summary and title of an initiative engineered to correct this budget-busting problem (link) forced its backers to drop the initiative.  Let’s hear it for the lady, huh—SHE really showed whose pocket SHE is in.

Yet Governor Brown and his GOP opponents are stepping up to plate to defend the taxpayers against the likes of Harris and a Democratic-dominated Legislature, who’ve become too used to doing the bidding of a state public sector union system that has no problem stepping on the collective neck of the aforementioned taxpayers.

The TAXPAYERS—you know, that group of suckers who’ve not yet fled the state and will be invariably be asked to raise their taxes to pay for education, transportation, infrastructure, safety/security, our parks, etc.?

The TAXPAYERS—you know, those had-it-up-to-here folks who will also invariably say “no” to new taxes if its cities, counties and states don’t clean up their collective act?

So yes, we’re moving forward.  There’s plenty to like and despise at all levels of government, and in both political parties.

But necessity is the mother of invention, and our necessity is forcing us to reinvent California, one painful step at a time.

(Ken Alpern is a former Boardmember of the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC) who previously co-chaired its Planning and Outreach Committees, and who currently is Vice Chair of its MVCC Transportation/Infrastructure Committee. He is co-chair of the CD11 Transportation Advisory Committee and chairs the nonprofit Transit Coalition, and can be reached at The views expressed in this article are solely those of Mr. Alpern.)



Vol 10 Issue 17

Pub Feb 28, 2012