Thu, Mar

This Week in LA Government: Racism, Confession and Lunacy


@TheGussReport – We kick-off this column with a shout-out to Scott Johnson over at Mayor Sam for his take on one on my recent political nuggets about LA LEY’s cultural appropriation of the LAPD.  

And we follow-up with that to lead off:

Polish Power at LAPD’s LA LEY?

LA LEY, formed in 1967 to advance the education and careers of Latinos in law enforcement, recently set-up a disingenuous Latin Heritage Month display in LAPD’s headquarters lobby, including an old photo of Captain Patricia Sandoval, who is of Polish descent.

Celina Robles, LA LEY’s new president, didn’t respond to inquiries, but reportedly told people that officers on the display who are not Latino are at least shown participating in Latino community activities.

Except that Sandoval’s photo is just a portrait … of a Polish-American … not participating in Latino community activities.

Robles, who works in gossipy Central Operations, claimed (according to inside sources) to be unaware of the recent lawsuit filed against the LAPD for Sandoval’s racist policies when she oversaw LAPD’s Media Relations. 

Yeah, right.

Robles, who is currently in line for a promotion, knows to not rock the boat and kept the photo of the recently promoted Sandoval on display, with the silent blessing of Chief Michel Moore.  We’ll see how Sandoval’s anti-Latino attitude plays out now that she heads the Olympic Division.

Bottom line:  toe the line at the LAPD, even when it misleads the public, and you get promoted.

Whacko Tobacco Policy

The LA County Supervisors wrestled last week with the vaping crisis, and whether to ban flavored nicotine products, like the sugar-inspired ones deliberately marketed toward children.

But the Supes are throwing out the baby with the bathwater, because banning menthol flavored vaping products hits the black community especially hard, given that it disproportionately favors menthol tobacco as a result of Big Tobacco’s decades of targeting African Americans with especially toxic menthol tobacco and “cool” marketing.

Banning flavored vaping products is a great idea, but the Supes should leave the menthol ones alone; it will help many smokers, particularly black smokers, kick tobacco with little appeal to children who shouldn’t be vaping anyway.

Confessional:  Koretz Admits LA is Not “No Kill”

I spoke briefly with LA City Councilmember Paul Koretz, the self-proclaimed animal guy in local politics, about LA Animal Services’ ongoing and untruthful semantics about LA shelters being “No Kill” despite killing thousands of healthy, adoptable animals, including pups and kittens, each year.

Koretz amiably acknowledged that LA is not No Kill and was only briefly there a few years ago.  

In essence, Koretz’s explanation was along the lines of the difference between the words “continual,” which means once in a while, and “continuous,” which means all the time. 

In other words, LA was briefly no kill, but isn’t and hasn’t been for a while, according to the twisted definition of No Kill.   But in this columnist’s view, LA has never been, and will not become, No Kill without better leadership.

But kudos to Koretz for being the first LA politician to admit this. 

LA can do much better for animals starting with a real audit (hello, City Controller Ron Galperin) that can lead to fewer births, fewer breeding loopholes and less lying about it from Mayor Eric Garcetti.

Koretz also said he was not opposed for such an audit to zero-in on Best Friends.  But if Koretz didn’t hold Best Friends accountable during Galperin’s sham audit a few years ago – despite being given immensely detailed information from this columnist (via LA City Council president Herb Wesson) why should we expect integrity this time?

Lastly, Koretz couldn’t explain why LA Animal Services is years behind on Public Records Act requests, including one of mine which is five years old, and would take all of 30 seconds to fulfill.   I will update you on that if and when he makes an effort for transparency.

Feuer’s Newer Lies.

Did you hear that LA City Attorney Mike Feuer last week suddenly dropped the City’s civil lawsuit against PricewaterhouseCoopers in the LADWP billing scandal?

Feuer claimed it was because they couldn’t win without testimony from witnesses who are tangled up in the recent FBI raid of the LADWP and Feuer’s City Hall offices.

Feuer ran from a question asked of him last week by this columnist, whether that decision had anything to do with a rumored deposition of Feuer which, we have heard, didn’t go well.

If nothing else, this will put an end to any chance of Feuer ever becoming Mayor, and that’s a win for LA.   Whether he winds up like Mike Nifong is anyone’s guess.

Speaking of which, Councilmember Gil Cedillo is reportedly poking around to see if he has support to become LA’s next alcalde, though neither he nor his best buddy, chief of staff Debby Kim, responded.

What’s going on with their tempestuous, soap opera-like situation?

A Civic Hero Not Celebrated

Jasmyne Cannick is a civic hero.  She single-handedly kept the Ed Buck story (the salacious one about the young, gay, black mean repeatedly overdosing and/or dying in his West Hollywood digs) in the media.

She should be celebrated, yet we don’t see the LA County Supes, or her current boss, Herb Wesson, doing that by publicly honoring her.

Perhaps because politicians don’t like to acknowledge Buck’s ties to Democrat party power players.  Rumor has it that LA District Attorney Jackie Lacey only charged Buck a few weeks ago because she was tipped off that the feds were going to do it, and she wanted to save face.

That’s because Lacey is a politician, and they take care of one another first and foremost, and Cannick is a voice for those in need of one.

A Note about Lunacy

The LAPD rushed in several dozen enforcements during a raucous LA City Council meeting last week, with supervisors furiously taking notes on clipboards when at least a hundred people showed up to protest abusive policies on homelessness.   Despite loud, disruptive chants of “Shame on You” shouted at Wesson and Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, nobody was ejected from the meeting which Wesson later described as a terrific and productive discussion.

In what world is anything terrific and productive when dozens of cops are called in to quell honest people worried about corrupt policies?

And finally, this:  SNL’s season premier this weekend had a hilarious skit of a Democrat Town Hall, in which Woody Harrelson did a great Joe Biden, and Maya Rudolph stole the show with a spot-on Kamala Harris.  Not bad, considering that next to them were stellar performances of Larry David as Bernie Sanders and Kate McKinnon as Elizabeth Warren. 

Back soon.  Keep the verifiable tips coming, and have a great week.

(Daniel Guss, MBA, is a member of the Los Angeles Press Club, and has contributed to CityWatch, KFI AM-640, Huffington Post, Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Daily News, Los Angeles Magazine, Movieline Magazine, Emmy Magazine, Los Angeles Business Journal and elsewhere. Follow him on Twitter @TheGussReport. His opinions are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of CityWatch.)