Tue, May

Who Wins in the SB 50 Corruption Game? Crooks in LA and Sacramento


ONE MAN’S OPINION-Sen. Scott Wiener’s SB 50 shows that Corruptionism by any other name still sinks. Like its horrid predecessor, SB 1818, Affordable Housing, SB 50 has nothing to do with quality of life. Likewise, Los Angeles City Council density advocates care naught for quality of life.  


The Sacramento Crooks vs the Los Angeles Crooks 

As Eric Garcetti has shown other avaricious thieves, there are billions of dollars in extortion and bribery money just waiting to be picked up and stuffed into the pockets of whichever politico wields the greatest power. The difference between Mad Magazine’s Spy v Spy and Los Angeles is that in Mad Magazine, the white spy and the black spy played a zero-sum game, but the “spies” win, while Angelenos are always the loser. 

The LA Corruption Game – The Criminal Vote Trading Scam 

After Judge Richard Fruin gave his blessing to the criminal vote trading scam at the LA City Hall in December 2016, developer corruptionism went into hyper drive. Since Judge Fruin ruled that the LA City Council’s actions were “non-justiciable,” i.e. above the law, it continued to extort millions of dollars in bribes from developers. (The FBI probe won’t even touch 1/1,100th of the corruption.) The fact that density has been destroying the city’s viability meant nothing to Judge Fruin. “Ours is not to reason why but to do or die.” While judges yield power, they too are feckless flunkies. Men without honor sell out for next to nothing. 

However, when the thieves in Sacramento saw the hundreds of millions of dollars of bribes, they wanted in on the deal. Think of a large narco-drug trafficker wanting to take over another territory. The simple way to transfer that developer loot to themselves was to destroy the criminal vote trading scam at LA City Council. Scott Wiener knows enough not to challenge the criminogenic city and corrupt local courts on their home turf. Instead SB 50 preempts virtually every piece of that on which a developer would want to build into a multi-unit “by right.”  

By opening most of the city to developers and by making most the city multi-unit by right, developers no longer have to pay extortion to local politicos. Bribes are to get around zoning laws and when Sacramento kills zoning, there is no reason to bribe a councilmember or the mayor. The developers, however, will live under the constant threat each session that Wiener and his Sacramento cohorts might amend the bill. Generous developer bribes will make certain that Sacramento does not harm SB 50. 

Of course, local City Hall thieves are up-in-arms that their ability to rip off taxpayers for billions of dollars is being stolen by the big shots in Sacramento. 

Meanwhile the Public Is Clueless 

So the big shots admit that over 50% of Angelenos want to leave the city due to the high cost of living. (The court can disbar attorneys who brought this adverse news to light years ago, but they cannot order people to stay in LA.) The desire to leave is highest among family millennials who want to have a reasonably priced, detached home with a yard and a decent commute. So, what does LA propose? More high-density apartments surrounded by concrete and no access to parks along with the worst air pollution and traffic in the entire world.  

Building Infill and high rises when people want single family homes is like serving pork chops at an Orthodox Jewish wedding.  

Density Increases the Cost of Housing and Deteriorates the Quality of Life 

The more density, the higher the land value. The more the land costs, the more housing costs. That fact is a prime reason housing costs are so high in Los Angeles. Even the people who are preparing to leave, e.g. 53% of Californians, have no choice but to pay the criminally high housing costs until they can escape. The last place to construct affordable housing would be in a TOD where housing costs are highest. The sole reason for TODs is to make the landowners wealthier. 

Some People Are Trapped in Los Angeles 

Anyone who bought a detached home in Los Angeles in the last five years will be trapped. Contrary to the big lie that hordes of people are beating down the barriers to force their way into LA, we have been experiencing an exodus of domestic family millennials. Massive real estate fraud, with the help of cretin judges, have hyped the cost of single-family homes, but as predicted here, enough family millennials are fleeing Los Angeles to shrink the number of home buyers.  

As we saw in 1929 and 2008, the laws of economics may be slow, but they are relentless. Of course, the LA Times can spin endless lies about how rapidly LA’s population was increasing (it was stagnant) to hype the need for more high-density housing. Newborns do not buy homes and they do not rent apartments -- a fact which the LA Times forgot to mention. Eventually, however, the massive real estate frauds, which are much loved by the judges, eventually are done in by reality. When the population is already paying over the maximum amount which any family should pay for housing, they move. 

As a result, people who paid $1.5 million for a house that may soon be worth $800,000 are stuck. They cannot afford to sell, which is great for the crooks. Wall Street still gets to collect a mortgage based on the $1.5 million buying price for a house worth about half that amount.  

The city revenues won’t be hit until people demand a reappraisal on the property taxes and the assessed valuation drops by 20% to 50% which will cause property tax revenue to plummet. The City will still have to pay off its billions of dollars of Wall Street loans which it gave to the developers who went BK and did not repay the city. 

Thieves locally and in Sacramento focus on one thing: how they can hog the entire corrupt extortion-bribery honey pot. Weiner thinks his SB 50 will take it all. 

And Here’s the Latest Insanity 

The crooks cannot find enough graft in the $310 million busway down Vermont Avenue. Instead, they want an eight-billion-dollar train down Vermont. Why? International construction companies who build these massive projects are very generous.  

The train will theoretically justify high rises far above what SB 50 will allow and hence restore much of the extortion-bribery racket to LA City Council. Of course, the bribes will be paid long before it is clear that these massive projects will go BK and the developers will never repay the hundreds of millions of dollars in City loans. Never underestimate the ingenuity of criminals -- whether their titles are Councilmember, Mayor or Judge.


(Richard Lee Abrams is a Los Angeles attorney and a CityWatch contributor. 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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