Sat, May

LA Politics: Mother to All Kinds of Crime and Corruption


CORRUPTION WATCH-The word “crime” is one of those terms which we use all the time without taking the time to think about it too deeply. According to Merriam-Webster, crime means: (1) a gross violation of law, (2) a grave offense especially against morality, (3) something reprehensible, foolish, or disgraceful. 

The Los Angeles City Council’s behavior satisfies all definitions of a crime. It operates in violation of Penal Code 86 which forbids vote trading among members of a city council. Its actions are morality offensive especially when it comes to the theft of billions of tax dollars and the destruction of poor people’s homes. Finally, its behavior is reprehensible, foolish and disgraceful. 

Yet, these words fail to convey the great harm which the ‘criminal’ Los Angeles City Council has brought upon us. 

Let’s take a deeper look at how a city council which is a criminal enterprise destroys a great city – one injustice at a time. 

Case in point is one tiny section of Valley Village, a place so small and so out of the way, that the vast majority of Angelenos do not even know that it exists. Zooming in closer, we see a most remarkable intersection at Hermitage and Weddington – or, at least, what is left of it. On the southeast corner once sat a modest home (demolition photo above) where Marilyn Monroe lived during the end of WW II. 

Rather than allowing the modest structure be moved, Mayor Eric Garcetti and Councilman Paul Krekorian wanted the home destroyed. So a couple days before a Cultural Heritage Commission hearing, Marilyn’s home was demolished (just as Garcetti demolished the facade of the Spaghetti Factory in Hollywood in defiance of a court order.)

From a neighborhood standpoint, the properties on the westside of Hermitage across from Marilyn’s home were significant in their own right. Directly opposite from Marilyn’s home was a beautiful Spanish-style apartment and to the north of Weddington was one of Valley Village’s most unique properties. 

Because Valley Village was a mixture of these unique low density places in an area where mega-apartments were encroaching, the Valley Village Specific Plan was enacted in order to preserve the character.  

The fascinating aspect of these Valley Village properties at 5621 to 5303 Hermitage is that they had an extra measure of protection from being destroyed. Weddington Avenue runs ½ block westward between the beautiful Spanish style apartment home at 5621 Hermitage and unique grouping of cottages at 5303 Hermitage. 

With the state owned street separating the two parcels, neither parcel was large enough to attract attention of developers who increasingly want to construct larger projects. In a city run by criminals, however, laws are impotent. Councilmember Krekorian and Mayor Garcetti see nothing wrong with giving the street to the developer so that Urban Box will have an extra-large area on which to construct its project – after destroying all the rent-controlled units and throwing the elderly and disabled on the streets. 

Criminals, however, do not care who owns property. It can be you, it can be me, or it can even be the State of California. When a criminal syndicate operates with the force of law, they take whatever they need. And, everyone else better shut up or else. 

This Is the Evil of Criminality 

In Los Angeles, greed rules and decency is in exile. If a developer wants to destroy your home, no law will stop him. Los Angeles City Council is a criminal enterprise where every unlawful demolition, where every unlawful gift of public property, where every corrupt commission decision always receives unanimous approval. 

We need to be very clear about this: in Los Angeles, the law counts for nothing, for zero, por nada. The criminal vote trading pact requires that each councilmember give unanimous approval without any regard to lies, deception, physical intimidation, vandalism or theft of public funds. There is no crime significant enough for a councilmember to refuse to go along. The criminal regime at City Hall is strict: not even allowing a single protest vote against the destruction of Marilyn Monroe’s home. 

Yet, the District Attorney finds nothing nefarious is afoot when all projects unanimously receive “Yes” votes. The odds of flipping a coin 100 times and getting 100 heads is 1/1.2676506 × 1030. Okay, so you don’t even know how to name that number because it is so large. We are talking about 15 coins being simultaneously flipped and getting all heads. Oh yeah, we’re supposed to believe that number, whatever it may be, is not the product of a vote trading agreement.

The Rise of the Garcetti Goons 

After some goons tried to intimidate an attorney who had come to the property at 5303 Hermitage prior to the August 11, 2016 South Valley Area Planning Commission meeting, the attorney complained to the Commission. He wrote to Councilmember Krekorian and to Mayor Garcetti that the intimidation had to stop. Neither of them bothered to reply. 

Silence in the face of an accusation is an adopted admission. There is a rule of law that says when someone is accused of bad behavior and they say nothing, their silence is a sign that the charge is true. 

Dear Councilmember Krekorian and Mayor Garcetti: 

The intimation and threats in connection with your desire to demolish the rent controlled units at 5303 Hermitage in Valley Village must cease and desist immediately. Brandishing firearms, tampering with the gas lines and having thugs try to intimidate the tenant’s attorney has brought the City’s “war” on poor people’s homes to a new low. As I told the South Valley Area Planning Commission yesterday, this criminal behavior has to stop. Furthermore, no police officer should ever tell a person who has been assaulted with a fire arm that he will arrest her if she calls 911 for protection. We expect this criminal behavior to cease and desist forthwith.-- Richard MacNaughton, Attorney at Law, State Bar 77258.  

When the city council becomes a criminal enterprise, we all live in a lawless society. And when white collar criminality at City Council becomes physical intimidation, it threatens of intolerable violence at the home owner level. 

Let’s remember that this Valley Village instance is not the first situation involving Garcetti, development and criminals. Garcetti’s fundraiser, Juri Ripinsky, spent two years incarcerated in Federal prison at Leavenworth for real estate and bank fraud. Yet, Garcetti got unanimous approval from the City Council for Ripinsky to have the lucrative Paseo Project at the old Sears site in Hollywood. Two years at Leavenworth and he gets a multi-million dollar real estate project! 

Just like the poor people who are desperately trying to save Valley Village, all Angelenos face a criminal enterprise. When criminals with absolute immunity want something, they just take it. And, people wonder why employers and the middle class are leaving Los Angeles.


(Richard Lee Abrams is a Los Angeles attorney. He can be reached at: [email protected]. Abrams views are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of CityWatch.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.


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