LA City Hall: Behaving Badly

@THE GUSS REPORT-The blissfully ignorant LA City Council will be back soon from its frolicking, multi-week summer recess despite the tumult, crises and emergencies it caused and failed to remedy, including the immediate health risk of a bubonic plague outbreak, according to Dr. Drew Pinsky, the apolitical M.D. heard on KABC-790 AM from noon to 3 p.m. each weekday. 

Speaking of KABC, thanks to its evening talk guru Peter Tilden for inviting me to drop in for an hour last week to discuss my recent columns on actor Robert Blake and the dishonest efforts of the LAPD and LA County District Attorney to take down the actor. “It’s an eye-opener,” said Tilden, who is as engaging and amusing between commercials as he is during his 6-9 p.m. weeknight show. 

You know, it’s oddly comforting that City Hall is so corrupt that the bad behavior continues even when Mayor Garcetti and the City’s 17 other elected officials cavort poolside in places not named Los Angeles. Let’s dig in. 

Lights, Camera…Stop Bugging Me! 

According to the “El Segundo” (formerly LA) Times, at least one staffer of disgraced Councilmember Jose Huizar, whose offices and home were raided by the FBI last year, may have illegally recorded workplace activity--which nobody would do unless they needed to document the lecherous behavior or other misconduct that has become synonymous with the Huizar name. 

If so, whether or not it is illegal, many applaud the possible take-down of Huizar, and there’s much speculation about who Huizar himself could take down (read: Council President Herb Wesson) if the Feds have the goods, indict Huizar and offer him a plea deal. Again, it’s all speculation, but speculation that has caused a City Hall grand jury betting pool among insiders. 

But why is the LAPD investigating the case? It has a huge conflict of interest in investigating offices of the lawmakers who vote on their pay and retirement benefits. Also, the LAPD continues to refuse requests for official documents related to an automobile accident Huizar was in a few years back, after which the cops allegedly allowed him to sit in the back of a patrol car for hours before administering a field sobriety test. 

Will the Department of Justice and FBI please step in? 

Yes, a Jose Huizar DUI, but… 

A faction of the gadfly set was abuzz during City Hall’s extended vacay when it was discovered that a recent DUI case was filed in a neighboring city against Jose Luis Huizar, but it all died down when it was determined to be a different dude with the same exact name as the Councilmember. 

Stop Bugging Me, Part 2 

Consistent with City Hall’s me-first approach to everything, they ripped out a whole lot of infected and infested carpet in their offices while on vacation. 

But which operative snapped photos of the unattended, unlocked Council offices under renovation? 

Why, none other than immigration attorney and uber-thorn-in-the-government’s-ribcage, Wayne Spindler, fresh off his double legal victory over City Attorney Mike Feuer in the latter’s unsuccessful attempt to get two restraining orders against him. 

The LAPD sent up six officers when Spindler appeared on City Hall’s fourth floor where the Council offices are located but didn’t do anything but observe. 

No Cake for Alexis 

Since Spindler’s recent legal victory, he has been regularly buzzed in City Hall corridors like a Putin military jet taunting a U.S. Navy ship by Alexis Marin-Wesson, the daughter-in-law of City Council president Herb Wesson. 

It appears that by repeatedly and pointlessly getting in Spindler’s way, she is trying to taunt or provoke a case for a restraining order that pop-in-law was denied. 

Why else would she so consistently be observed so close to the dastardly gadfly? 

Spindler’s response to Marin-Wesson’s aggressions apparently unnerved her, as he started using his public speaking time to make pointed comments about her physical appearance, causing her to unsuccessfully complain to the sergeants-at-arms to do something about it. At one point, Marin-Wesson, who was a Republican before marrying into the Wesson family, became so flustered that she was seen accosting Spindler at his seat during a recent meeting, getting no response from him and subsequently being approached by the same sergeants-at-arms and told to leave Spindler alone.

How’s that for irony? 

If nothing else, it’s good to see that Marin-Wesson finally removed her incorrect title from her city bio page. Until this column pointed it out, she improperly listed herself as Chief of Staff to Councilmember Nury Martinez. That job belongs to Ackley Padilla. Martinez refuses to state whether misrepresenting her job title was reported to Personnel. 

City Hall’s Incognito Deputy City Attorney 

Why would a Deputy City Attorney in the office of Mike Feuer named Jonathan Bislig go to a recent court hearing, refuse to identify himself as an attorney, refuse to provide his name and claim that he didn’t have any business cards with him? 

Well, among other things, it’s because Bislig wasn’t a witness to the case, and because attorneys aren’t allowed to represent parties in small claims cases, he didn’t want the other party (namely, yours truly) to know that as an officer of the court, he was knowingly violating its rules. 

In fact, Bislig participated in the discovery process and attempted to give the judge’s clerk a legal brief on behalf of the City government. And then, without advising the other party, he arranged a delay in the case. 

It wasn’t until the original judge, who said he knew Bislig and was disqualified from the case, that Bislig’s name was read into the record. 

That kind of attorney misconduct may cause the city to lose the case on a default judgment or a possible sanction against Bislig. It has already resulted in a complaint about him, a five-year graduate of Loyola Law School, to the State Bar of California, and a subpoena to now appear as a witness in the case. 

And finally… 

Carson Smacks Down LA 

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson laid an $80 million beatdown on Mayor Eric Garcetti, as the Trump administration denied the city a massive grant because of ongoing discrimination policies that the Mayor and company have long refused to remedy. 

There’s a certain satisfaction in seeing City Hall bullies take it in the pants from a bigger, wealthier and more powerful government. But fear not, City Hall, your next vacation is right around the corner.

So much more to share; so little word count left. Come back soon and have a great week.


(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.) Prepped for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.