Mon, Mar

Gas Taxes! Vehicle Fees! Crime! Dennis is Steamed!


RANTZ & RAVEZ-First of all, a Big RaveZ for LA City Councilman Bob Blumenfield and the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks. The Woodland Hills Recreation Center located at 5858 Shoup Avenue in the West Valley has a sparkling new pool and recreation center after a long four years of meetings, delays and construction-related problems. It was one thing after another that held up construction of the facility, including contaminated soil that had to be removed and heavy rains that hit the community.  


The West Valley Warner Center Chamber of Commerce and many community members were present for the Ribbon Cutting ceremony to dedicate the new pool. The community has been waiting for this, asking Councilman Blumenfield when it and the whole recreational facility would finally open.  

While the pool is now open and in full operation, the remainder of the facility, including the sports field, is still in the construction stage. The entire facility should be opened in a few more months. In spite of the delays, the councilman pushed and shoved and huffed and puffed until the pool portion was completed and opened. Congratulations to Councilman Blumenfield for finally getting it done!  

(While I was able to fund the project before I left office, it is hats off to Councilman Blumenfield for getting it over the line and into operation.) 

To put some frosting on the cake, we all jumped into the pool to celebrate the opening. It was a very refreshing dip, even with our clothes on, on this 100 plus degree day.       

The Latest LAPD Citywide Crime Stats 

The July 1, 2017, LAPD citywide statistics continue to reflect the increasing crime trends in Los Angeles in 2017 compared to 2016 and a continuing decline in arrests.  

Total Violent Crimes are up 18.6%, 2017 vs 2016.

The category includes: Homicide, Rape, Robbery and Aggravated Assaults.  

Property Crimes are up 7.4 and 9.7%, 2017 vs 2016.

The category includes:  Burglary, Motor Vehicle Theft, Burglary/Theft from Motor Vehicle, Personal/Other Theft. 

Statistics for arrests continue to show dramatic declines: Total of all arrests are down 18.3%, 2017 vs 2016. 

RantZ Commentary, Continued 

Talk about giving the finger to the voters! Here’s a classic example of that: 

Charter School proponents were successful in electing new members to the Los Angeles School Board. The first matter that has gained attention from the public is the increase in compensation for the newly-elected school board members. An obscure city commission recommended it with little to no fanfare and the salaries have jumped a whopping 174% with the snap of the finger. 

The new salary is now $125,000 a year, compared to the previous salary of $45,637. Board members who receive other outside compensation will receive only $50,000 a year, up from $26,437. When we look at the Los Angeles Unified School District, we see a dysfunctional body of elected officials that hamper any effort by teachers to try and educate our youth. Hats off to the new school board members who will receive additional compensation at our expense with little to show in improving the educational system for Los Angeles students. 

Let’s compare salaries for some elected officials in Los Angeles. LA City Council is now at $191,000 a year. A first-year teacher is at $50,368 a year while the average teacher is at $75,350. The salary for a principal ranges from $83,000 up to $138,000. The head of LAUSD, Ms. Michelle King, receives $350,000 a year.  

Fabio the Famous Actor/Model takes on the Criminal Justice System and Governor Brown 

Fabio -- the famous model, actor and advocate for what is good about America -- and I have become great friends. We do radio and commentary shows, bringing to the people of this region the problems with the failing criminal justice system, highlighting what Governor Jerry Brown has done to let thousands of criminals out of jail, only have them commit more crimes. 

When you examine the LAPD and other law enforcement agency crime statistics, you will find that crimes are increasing because the criminal justice system has lost sight of justice. It is more concerned about how much it costs to house vicious criminals in the State of California. Fabio and I are working with local business owners to persuade our state legislatures to rectify the problems caused by the many state measures that have cleared out the state prisons over the past few years, releasing hardened criminals onto the streets in the communities of California. We are working with representatives of the criminal justice system to bring back reasonable consequences for criminal activity. Like I have said in the past, buy a gun to protect you and your family before it is too late. 

The New Gas Tax and Car Registration Fee Increase - What you can do to STOP IT    

In the past, I have urged you to get off your ass and get involved. Together we have a voice and can make things happen. This one is simple and hopefully you will support the effort to help reverse the gas tax and car registration fee increases that the state politicians passed without your vote or support. 

The governor jammed this into operation without any vote of the people. Is this move by the state legal? It does not matter at this point. It is not a Democrat or Republican issue, but rather, a people issue for all of us who reside in California and drive a vehicle. What matters is that we have a voice and we can be heard. If you fail to act, the new gas tax and car registration fee increase will cost you between $350 and $700 additional each year to operate a car in our state.  

Here is what you have to do: Sign the petition to STOP the CAR TAX. Log into http://act.reformcalifornia.org/petitions/cartax/html/kogo/

And remember, there are more of us then them. Make it happen and you will save some money to pay for your food that is becoming more expensive due to the increasing minimum wage in California.      

During a recent trip to Arizona, I found gas prices to be around $2.18 a gallon at local stations. The roads there were smooth and I never encountered any potholes. If Arizona can do it, why can’t we in California? 

Another Rant for all Seniors 

The National Parks Service has a National Senior Pass to all National Parks. The one-time cost is only $10 for seniors 62 and older. But in August the price is going up to $80. If you plan to visit any of the National Parks in the future, I suggest that you apply for the Lifetime Senior Pass before August 1. I have one and have used it many times when visiting our great and beautiful National Parks.    

That’s it for this edition of RantZ & RaveZ. I welcome your comments and observations at [email protected]

Until next time, get involved -- don’t just sit on the sidelines and watch your city crumble and your dollars get swept away by a broken system.


(Dennis P. Zine is a former and retired LAPD Supervisor, former and retired 12-year Los Angeles City Councilman and current General Manager at Bell Canyon in Ventura County.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.