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LA Times Stale, Mike Feuer Fail, Infected Jail … and a Decapitated City Hall Pig

@TheGussReport – You wouldn’t eat a week-old donut.  And you wouldn’t read a week-old Dodgers box score.  But the LA Times last week published in print an article that it ran online a week earlier without explaining its timing to its readers.

More curious, in print, the Times placed the old article prominently on its front page above-the-fold alongside actual fresh news.  (Newspapers generally publish articles online as soon as they are ready.  If they appear in print at all, it is almost always the very next day, not a whole week later.)

The article by City Hall guru David Zahniser recounts a dubious South LA real estate failure promoted by controversial City Council president Herb Wesson – a favored political son of the Times, especially as he tries to run for another office next year.

In the print edition a week later, the Times changed the wording to reduce Wesson’s culpability for the failure that a decade later is still an empty lot despite millions in questionable loans he facilitated and why an aide of his worked on the deal despite a family conflict of interest.

For example, when it was originally published on May 9th Zahniser wrote: “Wesson later said he was unaware of the (family) connection at the time.”

But on May 15th, when the story was finally published in print, the words “at the time” were deleted.

Neither Zahniser, nor Times Managing Editor Scott Kraft nor Times’ spokes hole Hillary Manning would field questions about the discrepancy and timing.   

Here’s a hunch:  Just 24 hours prior to the Times finally publishing its stale column in print, I wrote about it here, calling attention to all the ways Wesson kept denying knowledge of the corruption. If that caused the Times to alter its story, you might as well cancel your subscription today.  

Why else would the Times recycle a week-old story for its front page, Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong?

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Also not seen in the Times was LA City Attorney Mike Feuer’s (photo above) failure to obtain an emergency restraining order against outlandish City Hall critic Wayne Spindler with a dirty tactic attempted by LAPD detectives.

Spindler and his gadfly sidekick Armando Herman, both best known for obnoxious public commentaries during broadcasted government meetings, recently publicly stated the home address of their nemesis Strefan Fauble, the Feuer deputy city attorney who referees matters at City Council meetings, who in-turn expressed concern about their exposing his personal information.  (The ongoing free speech battle between Spindler, Herman, Fauble and Wesson is highly antagonistic, both ways.)

The LAPD, despite knowing Spindler’s and Herman’s addresses, waited until just two hours before an emergency restraining order hearing to personally serve them notice of it; a move which quickly backfired.

The hearing had been scheduled before an ex parte judge.  The LAPD’s short notice was designed to get an emergency restraining order in advance of the subsequent full hearing, without Spindler and Herman getting a chance to defend themselves.

But Spindler and Herman responded immediately to contest the matter, forcing it to be moved to a contested court setting, where Spindler, an attorney by trade, defeated the emergency effort against himself, but not against Herman.

Spindler’s win might be due to the duo retrieving a document from a Pasadena City Council meeting in which Fauble had published his own address, claiming that made it public information.

Why Spindler won but Herman didn’t wasn’t explained.  But look for both defendants to exploit the Pasadena document at the full hearing. But don’t expect the Times to write about it if Spindler and/or Herman win; only if they lose.

This partial fail was overseen by Deputy City Attorney Hugo Rossitter who, last we heard, still hasn’t paid his business taxes to the City of LA or Beverly Hills, which I wrote about for CW in 2016. The Times never reported on that, either.  

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Did you hear the story this week about one of the LAPD’s lockups being shut-down due to bed bugs?

Pacific Division’s pokey is the latest victim of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s failure to improve some of the disgusting conditions that LA’s first responders cope with when interacting with some homeless.

Garcetti was in Israel for much of the past week, cheering President Trump’s move of our embassy to Jerusalem. Whenever he does get back to LA, he should have his pal Moby write a “Wizard of Oz” theme song for all the ways LA has become an infected toilet during his tenure, like “Bed Bugs, and MRSA and Typhus, Oh My!”

Speaking of which, Garcetti’s Chief of Staff Ana Guerrero was out of town last week “on business,” but his office refuses to state whether she too was in Israel and, if so, what is the business reason that the taxpayers are footing the bill, wherever she went.

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And lastly, Councilmember Paul Koretz, known for professing his love of “a good piece of meat” while espousing veganism for others promoted requiring vegan options at city venues.  That’s not a bad idea.

But Koretz went silent when asked about a recent City Hall celebration where not only a pig’s entire roasted carcass was feasted upon as it lay on a City Hall table (hello, is that table used for Jewish and Muslim events, too? Paging Rabbi Marvin Hier….) while the pig’s severed head – which is essentially inedible – dripped blood as a grotesque table “decoration” next to its body. 

Koretz, who was told that prepared statements or speaking through a spokesperson would not be accepted in lieu of fielding fair, live questions, sent one anyway that evaded the issue, thus it won’t be published here.

Actor Michael Bell, a well-known animal rights activist and a vegan Koretz constituent, called out the lawmaker and City Hall.  “I can't understand how Councilman Koretz, who I thought would have been more sensitive to animal welfare, would remain silent as a roasted pig is served at City Hall, much less displaying the pig’s head as a decoration. UGH and double ugh.” 

Not to mention the cruel way it was treated while alive.   Ugh indeed.   Have a great week, regardless.

(Daniel Guss, MBA, is a member of the Los Angeles Press Club, and has contributed to CityWatch, KFI AM-640, Huffington Post, Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Daily News, Los Angeles Magazine, Movieline Magazine, Emmy Magazine, Los Angeles Business Journal and elsewhere. Follow him on Twitter @TheGussReport. His opinions are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of CityWatch.)

-cw