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What Type of Government is the City of Los Angeles?


THE VIEW FROM HERE - Both the federal and state governments are republics and not democracies, but what is the city of Los Angeles? While naming forms of government is somewhat arbitrary, the general difference between a republic and a democracy is that in a republic, the rule of law is supreme, whereas in a democracy, the whim of the majority is supreme.  Republics have constitutions which require the government to protect inalienable rights from the will of the masses.  In the United States, the Declaration of Independence makes individual inalienable rights including Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness the basis of any legitimate government.  Accordingly, the US Constitution created a republic and rejected a democracy. 

The virtue of our Republic is that it has many features to prevent one power block from gaining enough power to turn the government into a tyranny. The perpetual weakness of a democracy is the it degenerates into a tyranny of the majority.  Thus, the first goal of power-mongers, who would be absolute tyrants, is to replace the republic with a democracy so that they may vote away the rights of everyone else.  That is what is occurring nationally with polarization between the Wokers and the Alt Right. 

Angelenos Entertain Two Myths about Democracy 

(1) One is that a democracy protects individual rights. Protecting individual rights contradicts the purpose of a democracy which is to make the whim of the majority of the supreme law.  Both the Dred Scott Decision, 60 U.S. 393 (1857), and the Dobbs Decision Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, 597 U.S. ___, (2022) deny the government’s duty to protect inalienable rights. Rather, rights rest upon the passions of voters in each state.  Both decisions present the oxymoron dilemma of an unconstitutional Supreme Court Decision which changes the republic into fifty separate democracies. (That issue is beyond the ken of this article.) 

(2) The other myth is that Los Angeles is a democracy.  Just because people get to vote does not determine the form of government.  Totalitarian governments have voting; monarchies have voting; republics have voting. The form of government pivots on who has the power. 

Exactly Who Has the Power in Los Angeles? 

The Los Angeles City Charter identifies no form of government. Instead, it says that LA is a “municipal corporation” (Charter Sec 100) with “all powers possible for a charter City.” Charter Sec 101 “Every City office and department, and every City official and employee, is expected to perform their functions with diligence and dedication on behalf of the people of the City of Los Angeles. Charter 103 (bold added) Our current Charter was effective July 1, 2000. 

City officials are only expected to act on behalf of the people. It is not mandatory. Generally, the word shall is used when an action is mandatory.  Legally, the word must is not mandatory but is more like should.  Los Angeles’s Charter, however, does not even say that officials must or should act on behalf of the public.  Because LA need not act to benefit the people, on whose behalf is the city run? 

LA’s government is a kleptocracy, “whose corrupt leaders (kleptocrats) use political power to expropriate the wealth of the people and land they govern, typically by embezzling or misappropriating government funds at the expense of the wider population.”  

Page 38 of The 1915 Study of Street Traffic Condition in the City of Los Angeles, warned that Los Angeles could become a Kleptocracy.  The Study identified the kleptocrats as real estate developers.  

(“Such a policy (densification) would be nothing less than a deliberate exploitation of civic resources for the benefit of the limited number of property owners enjoying abnormal incomes from rental privileges.”  1915 Study p 38

As Angelenos have come to learn, the city’s unlawful vote trading system requires each councilmember to vote Yes on each real estate project placed on the city council agenda, and in return, every project which another councilmember places on the city council agenda is guaranteed unanimous approval.  Because Penal Code § 86 criminalizes vote trading, all councilmembers are felons as they all actively participate in the kleptocracy. 

How do Angelenos feel about our city government which is based on lies and corruption to benefit the few?  Let’s peek at the voting in the recent election for District 6.  

April 5, 2023, KNBC Channel Four, Updated Results from the LA City Council Special Election Seven Candidates . . . , by Jonathan Loyd provides the following data. Preliminarily, we need to note that Mr. Loyd repeats the patent lie that the three councilmembers engaged in a “discussion that included racist remarks about another council member's young Black adopted son.” Along with almost all other Los Angeles media, KNBC, and Mr. Loyd should be sued for defamation under New York Times vs Sullivan 376 U.S. 254 (1964). In contrast, on March 3, 2023, LA Times reporter Dakota Smith wisely used the words “incendiary remarks.” A few other reporters also stopped using “racist.” 

Only 7.67% of eligible voters voted, and Angelenos can vote from home. (Huevónes!)  Since it appears that no candidate will get 51% of 7.67%, there will be a run-off election in June 2023. 

The current front runners are: Padilla: 2,288 votes (25.55%); Alcaraz: 1,723: votes (19.24%); Grigoryan: 1,610 votes (17.98%); Santana: 1,568 votes (17.51%).  Thus, Imelda Padilla will be in the June 2023 run off election. 

What Did Ms. Padilla Say about Los Angeles Corruption? 

Nada!  Ms. Padilla’s official website is silent about corruption, but she does repeat the outrageous defamation, i.e. “Today, our community is left without a representative due to the short sighted horrific racist remarks we heard come from multiple City Councilmembers.”  Padilla Website   No one has shown a single racist comment, although many have lied about what was said.  One might assume that Ms. Padilla speaks Spanish, but if she does not, she has access to Spanish speakers, and thus, there is no excuse for her to repeat a proven lie.  Ms. Padilla has no objection to the kleptocracy, but panders to the lowest common denominator of racism.  

Marisa Alcaraz’s official campaign website does not repeat the lie about the councilmembers’ being racist. She does state, “ City Ethics Commission has the resources to enforce strict anti-corruption laws and eliminate the influence of money in local politics.”  Thus, she recognize that corruption is a problem. Alcaraz website. 

Rose Grigoryan’s website does not repeat the falsehood or address corruption by name.   

Marco Santana explains his platform in a video.  At 0:23 his video shows Nury Martinez with the subtitle “racist remarks scandal,” but his voice over does not repeat the falsehood. His video also shows a subtitle councilmember corruption, but his voice over does not mention that either.  Is he being two faced? 


Even though Los Angeles is a kleptocracy, Angelenos should not elect a councilmember who promotes racial strife based on a proven falsehood and finds nothing wrong with corruption.  Ironically, that person received the most votes.

Richard Lee Abrams has been an attorney, a Realtor and community relations consultant as well as a CityWatch contributor.  You may email him at [email protected])

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