Tue, May

Swatting the City Hall Gadflies: Taking the ‘Civic’ Out of Civic Engagement 


DITHERING DYSTOPIA-As the Mayor was winging around the world touting Los Angeles as a venue ready for the World Stage, his bumbling surrogates -- Councilmembers Herb Wesson (photo above) and Mitch Englander (literally unable to keep their lies straight) -- rolled out a motion last Wednesday to make the violation of City Hall rules become a “trespass,” a misdemeanor which can carry with it a six-month prison sentence.  

It’s the “if-you-dare-break-one-of-our-rules-we-will-send-you-to-jail” ordinance, and it will render City Hall a dystopian haunted house, where members of the public will actually be stripped of civil liberties as they pass through the metal detector.  

A necessary evil? Absolutely, they contend, given the deadly and/or noisy nature of the City’s murderous and/or blabber-mouthed gadflies. All this is in addition to the prospect of the transient who hopped over Councilmember Bonin’s desk in 2014 coming back for another bite of the apple. 

Cops in City Hall take orders directly from whomever happens to be sitting in Council President’s seat. It could be a psychopathic drug addict, but if that person’s in the chair, he has at his disposal a private army of Taser-toting cops.  

So watch your back. Herb Wesson and the frequently defensive and irritable Mitch Englander are taking the civic out of civic engagement. 

It’s the watchdogs that are to blame. If they weren’t so nosy and abrasive and fault-finding, then the Council wouldn’t need to crackdown.  

Where’s the press? Most of the major outlets swallowed Wesson’s barely coherent talking points and then dutifully circulated them to the public, but it’s not too late to set things straight. 

We should be storming City Hall, kicking down doors and taking names. If not now, then when? 


(Eric Preven and Joshua Preven are public advocates for better transparency in local government. Eric is a Studio City based writer-producer and Joshua is a teacher.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.

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