Sun, May

Who Justifies City Council’s ‘Criminogenic’ Culture … and Why


CORRUPTION WATCH-Ending the “corruptionism” at the Los Angeles City Council is very easy – in theory. Enforce Penal Code § 86 which criminalizes vote trading in a city council. Los Angeles City Council unanimously approves all construction projects 99.9% of the time. (There is no statistical difference between 99.9% and 100% when we are talking about thousands of votes over spanning more than a decade.) Thus, the District Attorney, the US Attorney or the State’s Attorney General could all file suit to stop the practice. 

Because law enforcement has the power to subpoena records and compel people to provide evidence beyond what a regular attorney can do in a Citizens Lawsuit, it would be very easy to gather the evidence to show that the Los Angeles City Councilmembers operate by a criminal vote trading agreement not to vote “No” on a construction project from another district. 

Councilmembers may rest assured, however, that no law enforcement officer will ever inquire into the vote trading at Los Angeles City Council. Just because Jackie Lacey may act as if she is deaf, dumb and blind does not mean she does not know what is occurring. Good government in Los Angeles is political suicide, and all the politicians place their own personal well-being far, far ahead of any civic duty. 

Thus, it would be extreme political naivete to think that any law enforcement officer will ever take any action against this criminal nature exhibited by the Los Angeles City Council. 

That leaves Angelenos with two options. (1) Spontaneous change in the people’s consciousness such as occurred when the Soviet Union collapsed or (2) A Citizens Lawsuit. 

No Spontaneous Change of Consciousness 

There will be no spontaneous change in consciousness since the segment of the population with the biggest stake in reform has a much easier solution – it moves away. 

All the data show that the emerging middle class is choosing to leave Los Angeles. They know that they can secure a better job and a much higher standard of living almost anywhere else in the nation than in LA. For example, a 3-bedroom home in Los Angeles is $850,000 with a median family income of $55,909.00 and a 3-bedroom home in Austin, Texas is $290,000 with a median family income $52,431.00. 

The City of Los Angeles has fallen to #60 of desirable places for professionals and business service workers to live, which explains why more people leave Los Angeles each year than come here. There will be no change in the area’s consciousness when the replacement middle class for the retiring Baby Boomers are fleeing Los Angeles for almost anywhere else in the nation. It is easier and wiser to switch than to fight. 

Citizens Lawsuit Is the Only Hope 

The sole hope to root out corruptionism is via a Citizens Lawsuit. It is the essence of simplicity. If a government agency like a city council violates a public duty, any citizen can sue to have a court enjoin the violation of the public duty. Most people, except Superior Court judges, believe that everyone has a public duty not to violate the law. Thus, in theory, it should be easy for any citizen to have a judge enjoin the Mutual Bribery which runs the Los Angeles City Council. 

But there is one obstacle. The criminal enterprise which we call the Los Angeles City Council exists within a criminogenic political system. Not only is the city council a criminal enterprise, but all of the local, state and federal law enforcement agencies including the courts also operate within a criminogenic state of mind. According to a three judge panel at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the California State judiciary has suffered an epidemic of misconduct. In one case before them, they had a prosecutor who had committed perjury in order to have a defendant convicted of a crime, but the three judges did not focus on that one prosecutor with the standard “one rotten apple” lament. Rather, they said that the California court system had an epidemic of attorney misconduct because the judges habitually turn a blind eye to misconduct. In brief, the judiciary itself was corrupt. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black! 

It will be interesting to see what gibberish the state judiciary provides to turn its blind eye to Los Angeles City Council’s decade of vote trading. One should realize the teleological nature of the state courts. They are oriented towards a particular goal and all their actions are devised to achieve that goal. In California court, that objective is the perpetuation of its own power. If facts or law will achieve the desire result, then the court uses the facts and law, but if the facts and law do not reach the pre-ordained outcome, the facts and/or law are changed. 

Here are a few nonsensical things we can anticipate: 

(1) A citizen may not bring a criminal lawsuit. 

Duh, a citizen lawsuit is not a criminal lawsuit, making the state irrelevant. A citizen’s lawsuit does not seek any criminal penalties against any councilmember. The violation of the penal code shows that the city council is violating a public duty. There is no gibberish too misleading for a court not to whole heartedly adopt it. 

(2) Councilmembers have no public duty to follow the law. 

Some judges believe that due to some unarticulated reason, city councilmembers have no duty to follow the law. The judges have to take this ludicrous position since as soon as they admit that there is a duty to follow the law, they admit that the councilmembers need to be enjoined from vote trading. 

(3) The unanimous voting is coincidental. 

There are about 3,000 council votes per year and 99.9% of the time, they approve an agenda item unanimously. They have been unanimously approving every construction project for over ten years. Thus, using the analogy of flipping a coin a 100 times seriously understates the statistics in the City’s favor. Rather than 100 coin flips, we are actually talking about 39,970 coin flips where it came up heads. 

The chances for a flipping a coin 100 times and coming up heads each time is once in every 1,000 billion billion billion times. Let’s remember that, for this city council, we would have to simultaneously flip several coins as there are 15 councilmembers and 11 is a quorum. The chances of that happening are less than once in every 1,000 billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion billion. For short hand, let’s just say, 1/ ∞. “Yes, your honor is right. A mere coincidence.” 

(4) Separation of Powers means the courts may not intervene in the city council business. 

Under this theory, which the City of Los Angeles advances, no court may look at how the City of Los Angeles conducts its business. It does not matter if the City violates state laws because the courts may not interfere in how the city conducts its business. If this were true, then why would the State bother to make any laws? Why does Penal Code, § 86 exist? The fancy word the judges use to evade their duty is “justiciable.” The behavior of city councils is “non-justiciable.” 

On a practical level, does anyone expect any judge to interfere with this on-going multi-billion dollar scam? Any admission now that the city council engages in vote trading means that the practice has been happening for over a decade. What judge would make such a ruling? If the GOP can make such a fuss over a private email server, one can imagine what would happen if any judge hinted that the Los Angeles City Council, which functions as an adjunct of the Democratic Party, has been running a criminal enterprise the entire time that Obama has been President. (Disclosure: author is registered Democrat.] 

What’s next? 

Do not expect the great scam to stop now. 

Here’s the great scam that Garcetti and his minions are running on Angelenos right now: They believe that if the City spends billions of tax dollars constructing high-rise projects which no one wants then that spending will prop up Los Angeles’ economy. If they were spending the billions of dollars to make Los Angeles more productive, then the scam could work, but the city is squandering the hundreds of billions of dollars on 19th and 20th Century technology. This makes it certain that Los Angeles will never enter the 21st Century. The future is not choo-choo-trains and skyscrapers; it’s decentralization and TelePresence ©, aka Virtual Presence ©. 

By destroying all the rent-controlled properties, Garcetti thinks that he can justify the need raise billions of tax dollars in order to build “affordable housing.” If the November ballot “affordable housing” measure passes, it will raise property taxes over $2 billion! 

We already know the result of this construction – empty units. Since more people leave LA than come here, our housing supply increases each day even if we build nothing. 

The poor also realize that life is better in Dallas, Nashville or Arizona. As all these other areas of the country become opportunity centers, they will attract not only the more educated middle class, but also the less educated. During the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, it was not only the middle class who fled the farm lands. When life is bad for the middle class, it’s worse for the poor. 

The Great Subway-Bicycle Delusion. 

Garcetti labors under the delusion that subways, fixed-rail transit and bicycles will save our transportation problems. The data show otherwise: People hate the subways and seldom use the buses. According to Google, for example, it takes 19 minutes to go from Los Feliz to Sherman Oaks via car and 1 hour and 1 minute by bus. Thus, it takes three times as long by bus and that is without counting the time it takes to walk to the bus stop and to the destination. 

People avoid mass transit by one of two methods: (1) buying a car, (2) moving away from LA. When a family moves away from LA, let’s say to Austin, Texas, it can afford to buy both a home and two cars for less than the cost of one home in LA. 

Knowing these facts, the Garcetti Administration wants to load up Angelenos with hundreds of billions of debt with its housing and transportation measures on the ballot in November.   

“Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” and corruption destroys. There is no Lone Ranger, no Superman, no White Knight to save Los Angeles. We are engulfed in an all- encompassing criminogenic culture where the powerful will suck away every last cent needed to run a modern city until Los Angeles becomes America’s first favela.


(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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