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 IF IT'S BROKEN...FIX IT

Getting Serious about LA’s Sidewalk Repairs: A Five-Point ‘Let’s-Get-On-with-It’ Plan

Ken Alpern
FIXING LA-Last Tuesday night's City Council Board of Public Works and Budget Committees met and allowed a lot of good public input to a series of concerned and available Councilmembers and City officials. The attendance and input were both outstanding--I want to thank Councilmember Mike Bonin, in particular, for allowing the outreach and advice to…

Latino Politicians Putting Climate Change Ahead of Constituents

Joel Kotkin
POLITICS-Racial and economic inequality may be key issues facing America today, but the steps often pushed by progressives, including minority politicians, seem more likely to exacerbate these divisions than repair them. In a broad arc of policies affecting everything from housing to employment, the agenda being adopted serves to stunt upward…

Worlds Apart on Kathryn Steinle: When Political Opportunism Reigns Supreme

John Mirisch
MUSING WITH MIRISCH-The small Swedish Jewish Museum in Stockholm is tucked away on a side street. Discreet signage instructs would-be visitors to push a button which activates a camera, so they can be screened before they are granted entry. The museum's permanent exhibition fills one fairly small room. Most of the objects on display are Jewish…

Garcetti Passes, Wesson Fails

Jack Humphreville
LA WATCHDOG-Our Los Angeles Times has issued midterm letter grades for Controller Ron Galperin (B-) and City Attorney Mike Feuer (B+) and will be posting grades for City Council President Herb Wesson this Sunday and Mayor Eric Garcetti the following Sunday. Our City is facing many difficult issues, ranging from a lagging economy, relatively high…

What LA Really Needs: A Part-time City Council and a Part-time Mayor!

Dennis Zine
JUST THE FACTS-There are so many serious and pressing problems facing the City of Los Angeles and few if any real solutions are being proposed or implemented by our elected and appointed leaders at City Hall. I will start with the current city budget. Former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa had a $7.7 billion total budget in the 2013-2014 fiscal year.…

Why Don’t the City’s Women Managers Hire More Women?

Denyse Selesnick
MY TURN-Perusing the web is a little like the soap operas of yesteryear. You get suckered in! One link leads to another link and then one is exposed to a barrage both facts and idiocy. The reason for this discussion was my attending a July Valley Alliance of Neighborhood Councils (VANC) meeting with the Department of Water and Power. General…

Cleaning Up LA City Hall: ‘It’s What’s Legal That’s the Problem’

Bob Gelfand
GELFAND’S WORLD-Everyone understands that developers own our city government. Sure, there are some officials here and there who are upright and independent, but recent history shows that the developers typically get their way in spite of public opposition. Whether it is a zoning change for an office tower or the required permits for a new mall,…

Not So Fast LA! Let’s Consider the Real Costs of Hosting the Olympics before We Jump In

Greg Nelson
SPORTS POLITICS-On Monday, Boston withdrew from its offer to be the nation’s bidder for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games. In January, Los Angeles finished second to Boston when the U.S. Olympic Committee made its decision. After Boston was selected to polish up its bid before submitting it to the International Olympic Committee for a final decision,…

Party Crashing for Political Access: Schwarzenegger and My Pantsuit

Charlotte Laws
CALIFORNIA ACCESS POLITICS-Party crashing—or gate-crashing, as it is sometimes called—is an art form that I stumbled upon as a teen. I taught myself how to finagle into any event, anywhere, anytime. It required being part private eye, part actress and part chutzpah machine. I had to think outside of the box, throw myself into the role, and whip my…

 

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





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

 

 

  

 

 

 

A State of the City, Scribbled from Elsewhere

MAILANDER MUSINGS - The Mayor's State of the City addresses have become odder and odder events over the years.  Occasionally, precious snippets appear on television, to the delight of the Mayor's communication team and few others.  

Occasionally, the city's online crowd raises questions about what is actually said in them.  But nobody in local media seems very interested to fact-check them--I suppose because they are anxious to be invited back to the next space oddity.  
Nor does the Mayor suffer much criticism from his dependable lackeys on City Council, who are only anxious not to alienate any potential voting block the Mayor has not yet alienated himself.

But the Mayor's most recent State of the City address, given in a theater at Paramount studios on Wednesday--in which Federally-propelled transportation was seen as a cure-all for economic recovery, and the triumph of hope over experience was never made more manifest--was certainly the oddest and most error-riddled one yet--and the most indicative yet of the Mayor's near complete disdain for people who actually happen to live in the city he happens to govern.

Just by way of glaring example: the Mayor's office in this speech made a claim that the City's Clean Truck program has "pumped a billion dollars into the economy."  What economy? Certainly not the City's!  

This statement is a many-sided fiction that has nothing to do with the actual state of the city.  That billion isn't local money, of course, nor are the trucks locally built, nor do even a fifth of the trucks permitted day passes at the Port of Los Angeles come from Los Angeles shipping companies; and by now, most of the pre-1989 trucks that the program originally targeted would have been retired anyway.

The Mayor's crack team of out-of-town analysts even blew a reference to the commemoration of the 1992 riot: the Mayor said it extended over "those six days in April"--but the riot began April 29, and extended nearly until Cinco de Mayo.  I don't suppose the people who weren't here in 1992 would recall as much.

And whomever writes the Mayor's speeches even got author Anne Lamott's name wrong on the press copy, rendering her last name "Lamont."

Not only that, but the fact that the Mayor of Los Angeles couldn't find an Angeleno author to cop a quote regarding hopefulness doesn't speak well for our city, as hopefulness is not in superabundance here.  And certainly, the fact that the Mayor's speechwriter chose a lifelong San Franciscan for the speech's money quote, rather than an Angeleno does surprise me for all its Carson-esque audacity.

But beyond the botched jots and glich-riddled tittles, perhaps there was no more slippery slope within the Mayor's speech than the healthy segment devoted to LAUSD schools.  The Mayor cited many statistics—spoon-fed to him by the LAUSD itself--that demonstrated that the LAUSD is measurably improving.

Most of these statistics were based on Academic Performance Index scores--scores based on standardized testing: he told his captive audience at Paramount that API scores are up over 50 points in Partnership schools, a five-fold increase in charter schools achieving an API ranking of 800 or better, reduction of poor performing API schools, etc.

But these API rankings receive all the criticism that standardized test rankings do, and they only began to incorporate dropout rates last year.  The District has in fact has recently made wild contortions to check the stratospheric dropout rate, only this week proposing to reduce the number of courses needed for graduation.

When the Mayor began rambling about transportation, he made heads spin, even in his captive audience.  "What does this all mean? It means Angelenos will have more transit options. It means that Angelenos will spend less time in their cars and more time doing the things that matter: Playing with their kids. Talking with their neighbors. Enjoying a day at the beach."  I am told that the people in the audience who had an hour-plus trek from the Westside to 5555 Melrose allowed their jaws to gape accordingly.

A community leader who resides at least fifteen miles from the nearest Metro stop told me, "transpo and getting folks out of their cars is a distraction.  Geographically it’s too difficult and the City likes to help the car dealerships -- actually, most cities do."   Which is true on the whole, and caused me to wonder if the Mayor and I even live in the same city at all--obviously, his speechwriters don't.

On Council, Budget and Finance Chair Paul Krekorian, ever hopeful to move somewhere else up the ladder, released a tepid statement on the Mayor's address: “I applaud the Mayor’s vision and his continuing efforts to ramp up transportation projects and to create jobs," it began.  Then, seemingly anticipating strife, Krekorian added "“The Mayor gave only brief mention of his anticipated budget proposal tonight, but when he releases it on Friday, I will work with him in earnest to produce a balanced budget that reflects the values of our city and the priorities of its residents."

At one point, when looking for someone in local politics who might dare to say something more courageous than Krekorian could muster, I asked someone close to the Mayor if anybody who has ever even lived in LA before 2005 could have possibly contributed to this speech.

He just laughed--nervously.

Yes, now, LA has become such an absentee-landlord town that even the Mayor's top speech of the year is gamed by an out-of-town clique.  Which should surprise nobody who has been following the arc of local politics through the lost Villaraigosa years.

(Joseph Mailander is a writer, an LA observer and a contributor to CityWatch. He is also the author of The Plasma of Terror. Mailander blogs at street-hassle.blogspot.com.)
-cw

Tags: Joseph Mailander, Mailander Musings, State of the City, Mayor’s speech, LAUSD, LA Port, Port of Los Angeles








CityWatch
Vol 10 Issue 32
Pub: Apr 20, 2012

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