Whistleblower hotline: (213) 785-6098

Friday, December 30, 2005

DUI Hotline - (800) TELL-CHP

According to CNS, signs will be posted at roadside rest stops throughout the state publicizing a toll-free number people can call to report suspected drunken drivers over the holiday weekend.

If you see a drunk driver, call (800) TELL-CHP.

The signs are part of the anti-drunken-driving effort being conducted by the California Highway Patrol, Caltrans, the state Office of Traffic Safety, and the state Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs.

Animal Planet

LA City Beat dedicates it's Frontlines section this week to two stories on the recent battle over animal rights in Los Angeles.

After Stuckey is fired from Animal Services, new chief Boks steps into a department knee-deep in a court fight with activists

Jerry Vlasak turned the animal rights world on its ear when he suggested that animal research scientists might be killed

Blog away animal nuts!

Air and Traffic Monitoring Reports

What better way to ring in a New Year than the release of boring number crunching monitoring reports on the 101 freeway and the air quality in the port area.

On the 101 freeway the LA Times reports that a slight improvement in traffic flow has been found since the opening of the Valley busway -- though most motorists may not feel the change.
Snip from the Times: The study of the freeway, conducted by researchers at UC Berkeley on behalf of The Times, determined that traffic through the south San Fernando Valley from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. has sped up about 7% — from an average 43 mph to 46 mph. And since the 14-mile busway opened Oct. 29, the amount of time that morning commuters waste being stuck in congestion — defined as traffic slower than 35 mph — has declined about 14%, the study found.
As for the Harbor, the LA Times, Daily News, Daily Breeze, and Long Beach Press Telegram are all reporting that LA and Long Beach are joining sides to monitor air pollution in the harbor area.
Snip from the Daily Breeze: Setting aside their normally competitive ways, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach will join forces to measure the air pollution emitted in and around the two harbors, officials said Thursday.

The commissions that oversee the two ports are scheduled to vote next month on an agreement allowing the two agencies, which typically seek an edge over each other in maritime matters, to coordinate the collection of data particulate matter and other harbor emissions.
Here's to better air in 2006!

KCRW brings Storycorps to Santa Monica

An E-mail from KCRW:

Everyone has a story to tell: tell yours at StoryCorps!

StoryCorps comes to Downtown Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade from Monday, January 9th through Sunday, February 5th. Select segments from StoryCorps air nationally on Friday mornings on KCRW, during National Public Radio’s Morning Edition.

The largest oral history project since the Great Depression, StoryCorps is recording the stories of everyday people who make up the kaleidoscopic American landscape. The goal is 250,000 interviews over ten years, to be archived at The American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.

StoryCorps has been traveling across America and the MobileBooth -- a state of the art recording studio housed inside a silver Airstream trailer -- will be based on the Third Street Promenade at Wilshire Blvd. StoryCorps is also partnering with KCRW to create special programming from the stories recorded on The Promenade.

Now it's time for you to tell your own story! Sign up for an interview session, beginning Monday, Jan. 2 at 10 am at http://www.storycorps.net/ or by calling 1-800-850-4406. Spaces fill up quickly so make your reservations early and fast!

Interviews take place in pairs--with a loved one, a friend, a family member, an inspiration--and you’re guided through the process with a trained facilitator. You’ll leave with a CD of your 40-minute interview.

Don't miss this chance to let your story become part of the history of America. Call or sign up on January 2nd.

Porn Star Takes on Local Business

This is not exactly new news, but in doing a Google search on Wendy Greuel, I ran across a tidbit I had not heard previously.

Legendary porn star Jeff Stryker - nee Charles Peyton - has been engaged in an all out battle against a local NoHo boho coffeehouse-cabaret who he claims is in cahoots with Councilwoman Greuel to skirt the zoning laws and such. Stryker AKA Peyton has put the whole sordid tale on a website that is one page long, center justified and runs thousands of words. His case is well documented with citations of zoning meetings, neighborhood council meetings, letters, phone calls and even video. But I still am not sure of Stryker's exact beef with the coffeehouse, Kulak's Woodshed, other than whatever violations of the law he claims as well as the general nuisance of patrons, music and parking.

Stryker who has done both straight and gay porn is probably the only adult entertainer to have an action figure modeled after him. As well, he once had a portion of his anatomy molded and cast into a sex toy for retail sale.

Man, this is LA!

Press Events for Friday

8:00 AM -- Phoenix Decorating Company will give the media access to Rose Parade float decorating until 11 a.m. Photo opportunities will be available during the same window through Sunday. Rosemont Pavilion, 700 Seco St.

8:30 AM -- Arraignment is scheduled for actor Brad Renfro, who was charged with attempted possession of heroin after being arrested during a downtown Los Angeles drug sting. Div. 30, Criminal Courts Building, 210 W. Temple St.

9:00 AM -- Four Tournament of Roses Parade float-decorating locations will be open for public viewing through Sunday. Locations include Rosemont Pavilion, 700 Seco St., Pasadena; Brookside Pavilion, south side of Rose Bowl Stadium, Rose Bowl Drive, Pasadena; Rose Palace, 835 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena; and Buena Vista Pavilion, 2144 Buena Vista St., Duarte.

11:00 AM -- Mayor Villaraigosa, Los Angeles Police Chief Bratton, City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo and Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca host a news conference asking New Year's Eve revelers to refrain from shooting guns during their celebrations this weekend. Century Sheriff's Station, 11703 S. Alameda St.

2:00 PM -- Bands participating in the 2006 Tournament of Roses Parade will participate in "Bandfest,'' presented by Remo USA. The event will continue through Saturday. Pasadena City College, 1570 E. Colorado Blvd.

5:00 PM -- LAPD Deputy Chief Michel Moore and City Councilwoman Wendy Greuel will hold a news conference to announce increased law enforcement efforts to combat drunken driving on New Year's weekend. LAPD Van Nuys Station, 6240 Sylmar Ave.

6:30 PM -- The Grove will host a USC pep rally in advance of Wednesday's Rose Bowl. The event will include USC Yell Leaders, Song Girls and the Spirit of Troy Marching Band. Grove's Town Square, 189 The Grove Drive.


8:00 AM -- The city of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks will hold its sixth annual "Polar Bear Swim'' at Hansen Dam Swim Lake. 11798 Foothill Blvd.

9:00 AM -- Rose Parade floats will be judged at the Tournament of Roses Buena Vista Pavilion until 11:30 a.m. 2144 Buena Vista St.


8:00 AM -- The 117th Rose Parade will be held, rain or shine, with floral floats, equestrian units and marching bands from around the country. The parade, themed "It's Magical,'' will also present its first-ever opening act, featuring a performance by Leann Rimes. Additional entertainment will feature Toni Braxton performing on the NAMM float, Lance Burton performing on the FTD float and a Disney youth chorus performing on the Disney Parks float. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor will serve as this year's Grand Marshal. The parade will travel north on Orange Grove and turn east onto Colorado Boulevard, where the majority of the event will take place. The parade will end at Sierra Madre Boulevard and Villa Street.

1:00 PM -- Rose Parade floats will be on display for post parade viewing in the "Showcase of Floats'' until 5 p.m. Sierra Madre and Washington boulevards.


Open Thread for Friday

Look for this to be the last day of substantive posts in 2005. Odds are the next updates won't come in until Tuesday morning, January 2. Have a great weekend and beginning to 2006!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Mayor Sam on the Air

Our friend David Hernandez hosted his final "Reclaim LA" public affairs show for 2005 this evening on Adelphia. I had the privelege of being one of the call in guests on the program.

You don't need to hear this old, dead Mayor babbling on, but I found the comments of David and his guest, Dr. Charlotte Laws, about our blog and local political blogs in general to be of some interest. Click the link below to hear some audio from the program.

Where The Hell Is Mayor Sam?

Good question. Who cares? But in case anyone was wondering.

In the last two weeks or so, I've been bit by the perfect storm. Starting off with one of the worse flu bugs I've ever had, followed up by running a toy drive that delivered toys to 70 families on Christmas Eve, then Christmas itself and a lot of busy days at the office. To make it even worse, I've had suckier by the day internet access provided by the soon to be bounced out on their ass Adelphia Cable. (I've had two whole days with zero connectivity - what's up with that?)

I know some of you don't care, but for those of you who miss this old, dead Mayor let not your heart be troubled. Alas, I will be back within a day or so to blog away with all the dum dums.

A big THANK YOU to Mayor Frank and Walt O'Malley for keeping things going while I've been gone. For those of you who receive our daily e-mail updates, please note they will resume on January 3rd.

Happy New Year!

Click the button below for an audio version of this post in Mayor Sam's own voice!

this is an audio post - click to play

Dodger's Win More Fans in the City

Since the Dodgers have been doing such an incredible job of PR with the city, it shouldn't be a shock to read the following headline in the LA Times:

Dodgers, NFL Had Meetings -- The idea of suggesting a football venue at Chavez Ravine angers those who back the Coliseum plan.

Um yeah, you think? Here's some choice quotes from the story:
  • "We told the McCourt group we were not interested in proceeding unless we're unable to close deals with the Coliseum and Anaheim," Aiello said. "There are no further discussions planned. There are no next steps. We're not negotiating with them."
  • "I've got to believe he [McCourt] didn't understand the depth and the extent of the community consensus behind the Coliseum as the site for an NFL team in Los Angeles," Villaraigosa said.
  • Yaroslavsky said the Dodgers had "broken ranks with what has been a united community — the business, sports, political and environmental communities, all of them behind the Coliseum project."
  • "If he's making these overtures, it's a big blow to the folks who are building a level of trust with him," Reyes said. "That's important when you're dealing with issues of that scale."
  • "Mr. McCourt has been sensitive enough to meet with us. He has shown concern about our community," Brown said. "He said, 'If a stadium should ever come into the discussion, you would be the first to know.' "

Walter O'Malley has chimed in with his opinion in the comments below. It is worth promoting up top to the post itself. See below:

Here's one other quote from the article: "The Dodger Stadium site is arguably the best site for the NFL in the entire Southern California area. Politically, it's D.O.A," Ganis said.

Can't LA politicians just be honest for a minute? While it's admirable that after 10 years, all of LA has rallied around one plan, the Coliseum, let's just admit that it's not actually the best plan.

At Dodger Stadium, you have an enormous open plot of land. It has some of the best views in Los Angeles. There's plenty of parking. And it's right by three freeways (5, 110, 101) and Sunset Blvd.

While the Coliseum area has gotten better, it's still lousy. The NFL hates it. The NFL owners fear it. Parking is a nightmare. Traffic leaving the Coliseum is five times worse than Dodger Stadium. It's less accessible than Dodger Stadium. There's science museums and other entities down there which get in the way of football, and lose all customers because of football. State governments and city governments have to be placated.

The Coliseum Commission's past problems have driven away the Rams, Raiders, the Chargers, UCLA football, and NFL expansion efforts five years ago (see: Houston Texans).

Ten years ago, my son Peter wanted to build a football stadium at Chavez Ravine. The NFL wanted him to join their fraternity. They loved the Dodger Stadium location. And Peter would have arranged shuttle transportation from downtown parking lots to alleviate traffic concerns.

If local leaders hadn't been so quixotic in killing that plan, then Peter O'Malley would still own the Dodgers and LA would have a football team in a gorgeous hillside stadium. Chalk one up for short-sightedness.

So now Frank McCourt has the temerity to bring forward the same plan, one of the few sensical ideas he's had (although don't ask me how he would afford an NFL team or NFL expansion fees), and the political climate is so warped that we're stuck supporting this inferior plan which will be a mess if it ever comes to fruition.

Anyone with a basic understanding of LA's economy and land planning knows that Chavez Ravine is the perfect site for the NFL to return. It's a shame that Zev Yaroslavsky, Mark Ridley-Thomas, and co have been supressing that reality for a decade in the name of their own private interests.

Ask the Mayor

Here's the link to KCAL 9's "Ask the Mayor" segment from last night. The highlight was the question provided in the graphic.

The story from KCAL 9:

During Wednesday’s "Ask the Mayor" segment on KCAL 9, an e-mail from a viewer, Charles Davidson, was read. "I've been complaining about a massive pothole on Pico and Stanford," the e-mail stated. "My cries have been ignored. Does it take the loss of life to get the mayor to fix this enormous pothole?"

"It will get fixed tomorrow," Villaraigosa said.

Looks like the clock is ticking!

For those of you who would like to submit a question of your own for next week, here's the link.

***UPDATE*** 12:10 PM

The pothole was filled this morning according to KCAL 9 12:00 news broadcast.

Press Events for Thursday

9:30 AM -- LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will kick off the Department of Public Works' Christmas tree recycling program. Los Angeles Zoo, 5333 Zoo Drive.

10:00 AM -- City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo and Councilwoman Janice Hahn will announce the filing of criminal charges against at least two people suspected of releasing an alligator into Machado Lake and possessing several exotic animals banned for private pet ownership in California. Harbor Regional Park, 25820 S. Vermont Ave.


Open Thread For Thursday

The Onion presents it's top 10 stories of 2005

January 30, 2005
Bush Elected President Of Iraq

December 18, 2005
Asian Tsunami, Hurricane Katrina, Kashmir Earthquake Battle For Natural Disasty Award

July 10, 2005
Pope Died As He Lived: Propped Up For Public Viewing

June 24, 2005
North Korea Nukes Self In Desperate Plea For Attention

March 10, 2005
Brain-Dead Americans Defend Brain-Dead Florida Woman

April 9, 2005
Prince Charles Weds Longtime Horse

Febrary 6, 2005
Losing Super Bowl Team Gets Locker-Room Condolence Call From John Kerry

October 19, 2005
Theory Of Intelligent School-Board Design Disproven

December 10, 2005
White House Celebrates Fifth Straight Year Without Oral Sex

January 7, 2005
Pitt, Aniston To Quietly Separate

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Chick Invokes Public Records Act Request

Uping the ante in the LAUSD governance sweepstakes, Laura Chick took Romer's quote about "we've been audited enough" to heart and filed a public records act request to view such audits and reports and assess them herself to see if they are following the recomendations included within them.

Why do I have a funny feeling that A) they haven't met many of the recomendations, and B) this audit of the audits is simply going to trigger the long sought audit Chick wants to do in the first place.

Nothing like wasting time on the taxpayers dime...

Additional coverage: Daily Breeze, LA Times, Daily News

Brayj Against The Machine: Who Will Fill Jose Huizar's Old Seat?

Frequent contributor ubrayj02 took the time to ponder the upcoming AD 45 race and the special election set to replace Jose Huizar on the LAUSD School Board. Check it out on his blog here:

Brayj Against The Machine: Who Will Fill Jose Huizar's Old Seat?

While we tend to agree with this commentor that there are certainly other horses in this race, his observations are none the less accurate in that this will be quite the race to watch with all of the various "kingmakers" backing different horses.

Operation Pothole

As we profiled on Monday, "Operation Pothole,'' a 14-week effort to repair pockmarked streets across the city, came to an end today as Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa filled a pothole in North Hollywood.

Many, including LA Observed, took the opportunity to note the irony of the photo-op happy mayor and the bold claims of achievement in his short tenure as Mayor.

There were two very funny quotes used in the CNS story which has been cited all over the place. The first by the lovable Tom LaBonge:
"When you drive, drive slow so you don't hit that pothole and hurt your suspension."
Or, you could just fix the fu&$#$%! pothole so we don't have to. That's what you were claiming victory over, wasn't it? Now for quote number two from Judith Nazemetz, a resident walking by who lives on Radford Street:
"This is a great beginning, but more needs to be done,'' Nazemetz said. "But I love the way he handles that machine. I wonder if he irons?''
Inquiring minds want to know?

Tipsy Tow

Thanks to AAA (no, not AA), drunk drivers and their vehicles will be offered free trips home over the upcoming New Year's holiday weekend thanks to the Auto Club's "Tipsy Tow'' service.

The service is available from 6 p.m. Friday through the end of the day Sunday in the 13 Southland counties served by the Automobile Club of Southern California.

Motorists, bartenders, restaurant managers, party hosts or passengers of a drinking driver may call (800) 400-4AAA for a free tow home of up to seven miles.

Callers simply tell Auto Club operators, "I need a Tipsy Tow,'' to receive the free tow and ride home, Thorp said. A regular Auto Club-contracted emergency road service truck will be dispatched.

The Auto Club advised motorists to follow these safety tips:
  • At social events, designate non-drinking drivers who can get everyone home safely.
  • Call a friend or family member for a ride if you have been drinking.
  • Keep a cab company telephone number in your wallet so you can call for a ride home.
  • As a party host, offer a variety of non-alcoholic drink alternatives and provide a gift to guests who volunteer to be designated drivers.
  • Take the car keys away from friends and relatives who have had too much to drink.

Press Events for Wednesday

9:15 PM -- Villaraigosa will appear live on KCAL Channel 9 for the "Ask the Mayor" segment.

Open Thread for Wednesday

On this date in 1945, the U.S. Congress officially recognized the Pledge of Allegiance

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

For a moment I thought I was at a fundraiser

Missed in yesterday's news was this tidbit from Rick Orlov in the Daily News:

The last City Council meeting of the year was a lobbyist's bonanza, even by City Hall standards.

With measures ranging from Playa Vista and the Los Angeles Theater Center to grocery-store worker retention, the Los Angeles lobbying corps was out in full force.

Standing behind the marble columns or conferring with one another, it was a billable-hours dream as the council droned on and on in a meeting that began shortly after 10 a.m. and lasted past 2 p.m.

The lobbyists' attendance did not go unnoticed.

"For a moment, I thought I was at a fundraiser," joked one council member.

Added another: "Maybe I should hold one."

So much for the "clean-up" at City Hall

Press Events For Tuesday

11:30 AM -- Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Councilwoman Wendy Greuel will announce the completion of "Operation Pothole.'' The mayor will fill the 80,173rd pothole of the operation during the news conference. 11802 Huston St.

6:30 PM -- Sun Valley Area Neighborhood Council will meet, 6:30 p.m. in the assembly room at Villa Scalabrini Retirement Center, 10631 Vinedale St., Sun Valley. Call (818) 788-6342.

Open Thread for Tuesday

For those of you returning to work today as opposed to yesterday, happy shopping recovery day to all of you out there coming out of your egg nog induced hazes shopping frenzies. Odds are that blogging here will be lite over the next week, but I too will attempt to set down the nog and post some stories for those of you who are stuck at work this week.

Happy blogging, and remember:

Don't nog and blog Drink and Drive.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Reform in Citizens' Hands

Will it ever happen? Not if the bureaucracy has anything to say about it. But two rebels, Assemblyman Joe Canciamilla and Keith Richman are trying anyways. Their plot according to the LA Times:
Under a new proposal, voters chosen at random would form a "citizens' assembly" -- no politicos allowed -- to study California's political system and suggest improvements. Their ideas would pass muster, or not, with all voters at the ballot box.

Can animal activists be tamed?

Well, the Daily News asks just that question today. The answer:

For now, it is all wining and dining, private meetings with top city
officials and elegant soirees with local activists for Edward Boks.

But perhaps sooner than he would like, the 54-year-old Boks will be thrust into the heart of a high-profile job, perennially controversial, that will greatly test him despite his years of experience.

Welcome to the kitchen.

Nameplates Were a Changin'

In what will be one of many 2005 wrap-up stories, the LA Downtown News' Jon Regardie tackles the events highlighting City Hall's year: The Ascension of Antonio, Rumble in the 14th, Two More Council Members - Four More Years, Shootout at the LATC, In the Zone, and Goodbye Miguel, Hello Martin. Here's an early nod to writing off 2005 and moving on to 2006.

Pothole Tuesday

For those of you who have nothing to do on Tuesday, you can always join our Mayor who celebrates the filling of LA's 80,173rd pothole. Coincidentally, we think this may be his 80,173rd photo-op as well since his inauguration.

The Battle of LAUSD

Full Disclosure Network is out with it's latest 7 minute video blog highlighting financial operations at LAUSD and a summary of the major players in the battle over LAUSD governance.

Yet again, they provide valuable insight into the quagmire that is LAUSD

Open Thread for Monday

Happy recovery/shopping day to all of you out there coming out of your egg nog induced hazes. Odds are that blogging here will be lite over the next week, but I too will attempt to set down the nog and post some stories for those of you who are stuck at work this week.

Happy blogging, and remember: Don't nog and blog Drink and Drive.

Oh, and Happy Kwanzaa. (The seven day festival begins today)

Friday, December 23, 2005

Say Cheese

The only explaination I can figure out for why the Mayor has no public planned appearances today is that he is still warn out from yesterday's mugging with City employees.

According to KCBS 2, the Mayor said "cheese" 1390 times grinning with city employees in front of the red and gold decorated Christmas tree at the center of City Hall's third-floor rotunda.

Hopefully the major onslaught of photo-ops carries him through the weekend and he can enjoy Christmas with his family.

I gotta give it up to some of the city employees though, for not letting the holiday spirit get in the way. They took the opportunity to speak up about contract negotiations:
"I told the mayor that it was unconscionable with what he's offered us when we do the same type of work as DWP workers," said David Geary, an industrial waste inspector at Lopez Canyon for six years. "He told me that he makes tough decisions, and that his decisions are not going to be popular.

"After that, I didn't want a picture with him because I don't like him," Geary said. "I just wanted him to get our message."
Ouch. The funniest line had to come from Josie Santiago though:
"We were surprised the line was short right now," said Josie Santiago, a 15-year employee with the city's street services division, who got in line around 10:15 a.m. "I think the line was longer last year when I came to see Mayor (Jim) Hahn."
Happy Holidays!

My Tree is Bigger Than Your Tree

I think Steve Hymon from the LA Times is suffering from tree envy. Today he chronicled the height of LA's Christmas tree with those of other major cities. Leave it to a guy to get in a "my tree is bigger than your tree" pissing contest. Oh well. He needs to remember this old addage: "It isn't the size that matters. It is what you do with it"

One Good (Law)Suit Deserves Another

LA Times: Animal Rights Group Files Free-Speech Claim -- The Animal Defense League-Los Angeles has filed a $3-million claim against the city of Los Angeles, alleging that City Atty. Rocky Delgadillo denied them their right to free speech.

If the city denies the claim, the attorney for the group said, he will file a lawsuit.

Let round 400 begin


Press Events for Friday

5:00 AM -- Celebrities, TV and radio personalities and other volunteers will join the Los Angeles Mission in providing a Christmas meal for the homeless on Skid Row. Jennifer Love Hewitt will host the event, which will include snow and gifts for children. Expected to participate are actors Camryn Manheim, Jeremy Renner, Jayne Meadows, Rich Fields, Aaron Drozin and Ashley and Bobby Edner. Food preparation in L.A. Mission's kitchen will begin at 5 a.m.; Fifth Street closed at 6 a.m.; celebrity arrivals will begin at 10:45 a.m.; meal served at 11 a.m.; event will close at 3 p.m. Los Angeles Mission, 303 E. Fifth St.

9:30 AM -- LA Board of Public Works will meet. Room 350, City Hall, 200 N. Spring St.

Open Thread for Friday

Merry Christmas, Kwanza, Chanukah or Holiday (whatever your pleasure is) and enjoy the weekend! Posting will most likely be lite for the next week. Best wishes to you and yours!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Ask the Mayor

Last Evenings "Ask the Mayor" segment on KCAL 9 dealt with homelessness, animal shelters, and the city council. Yes, as you can see by the graphic, I am partial to the City Council question:

Much has been made about the City Council showing up on time. As Mayor, how can you persuade the Council to change their bad habits?

His answer: He acknowledges my question, talks of seperation of powers between legislative and executive branches of government (which yes, I understand), and then starts in with the scheduling conflict verbage saying that sometimes it is unavoidable.

OK, I give him props for answering the question. However, my point was actually addressed in the followup question:

Can you at least sympathize with many of the people who wait many hours and then no one is there?

His answer: Absolutely. He then gives examples of changes in the MTA meetings where public comment has been moved from the end of the agenda to the front.

The problem they keep missing is this. It is not enough to just give the public a comment period. YOU MUST ACTUALLY SIT, LISTEN, AND RESPECT THEM. They have given their time and energy to join the process that so many people can't even be bothered to go and vote for and then they get mistreated. And people wonder about the causes of voter apathy...

Simple solutions such as a brief recess could have solved the entire dilemna. This isn't rocket science. Better yet, how about they show up for their jobs which we pay them for and do the work we elected them to do. Heck, If I just got to get up and leave my desk at work whenever I felt like it, I'm not so sure that my employers wouldn't respond much differently than I am. I'd be fired or docked pay. Certainly a draconian step, but may be where this is headed if the council keeps winning "Ass-Clown" awards.

Break-Up the LAUSD

Here we go again. This time it is State Assemblyman and would-be "Mayor of the Valley" Keith Richman:

Daily News: Effort planned to split LAUSD - Richman hopes to split LAUSD into small districts
LA Times: Plan to Split L.A. Unified to Be Offered
Daily Breeze: Lawmaker's proposal seeks to break up LAUSD - San Fernando Valley assemblyman says his legislation would divide the district into 14 entities under the guidance of a nine-member panel.

News from the Animal Front

Here's the headlines from the Animal Services front for today:

LA Weekly: A Billionaire's Bark - Surgeon-inventor is Behind Shakeup of LA's Animal Services
LA Weekly: Power to the Dogs - A Short History of Animal Control in LA
LA Weekly: Earth to ELF: Come In, Please - Does the Radical Environmental Group Really Exist?
Daily Breeze: Ousted Animal Chief Files Appeal
LA Times: Ex-Animal Services Chief Files Appeal
Daily News: Fired animal-agency boss appeals to council

Press Events for Thursday

9:00 AM -- City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo, Councilman Greig Smith, Councilwoman Wendy Greuel and Mothers Against Drunk Driving will hold a news conference to "urge all Angelinos to act responsibly during the holiday season'' in an effort to raise awareness and reduce alcohol-related crashes and fatalities. Parker Center, 150 N. Los Angeles St.

10:00 AM -- LA City Council members Bernard Parks and Jan Perry will join Gene Hale of the Greater Los Angeles African-American Chamber of Commerce in handing out $500 gift cards to 20 families affected by Hurricane Katrina who are now living in Los Angeles. Creole Chef Restaurant, 3715 Santa Rosalia Drive.

11:30 AM -- LA City Councilman Tom LaBonge will help distribute hams to 150 families whose children go to the Boys and Girls Club of Hollywood. Boys and Girls Club, 850 N. Cahuenga Blvd.


Open Thread For Thursday

How about a little humor today? From the Onion: Rove Implicated In Santa Identity Leak

WASHINGTON, DC—The recent leak revealing Santa Claus to be "your mommy and daddy" has been linked to President Bush's senior political adviser and deputy chief of staff Karl Rove.

"If this devastating leak, which severely undermines the security of children everywhere and has compromised parent-child relations, came from the highest levels of the White House, that is an outrage," said former Bush counterterrorism adviser and outspoken Bush Administration critic Richard Clarke.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Vacation Time

In an effort to make more time for press conferences and mug shots in front of cameras, the City Council voted 14-0 without debate to approve the 2006 schedule.

According to CNS, the approved weeks (20 days) off include:

-- Friday, March 10 to Wednesday, March 15 to attend the National League of Cities' Congressional Cities Conference in Washington, D.C.;
-- Friday, April 14 in observance of Good Friday;
-- Tuesday, Aug. 22 to Friday, Sept. 1 for summer recess;
-- Tuesday, Sept. 5 to Friday, Sept. 8 to attend the League of California Cities Annual Conference in San Diego;
-- Tuesday, Dec. 5 through Friday, Dec. 8 to attend the National League of Cities' Congress of Cities Conference in Reno, Nev.; and
-- Friday, Dec. 22 to Friday, Jan. 5, 2007 for winter recess.

According to the Daily News, that stat has grown from nine and a half days in 1997 to twenty today. At least this makes it easier to ignore people. Just don't have the meetings!

Eight New Commissioners and Board Members

The City Council just confirmed eight more of the Mayor's appointees to some boards and commissions:

Aaron Grunfeld -- Metropolitan Water District of Southern California Board
Estela Lopez -- Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority
Helen Mars -- Transportation Commission
John Murray -- Metropolitan Water District of Southern California Board
Jesus Quinonez -- Metropolitan Water District of Southern California Board
Sergio Siderman -- Taxicab Commission
Michael Sirota -- Quality and Productivity Commission
Nancy Sutley -- Metropolitan Water District of Southern California Board

Four Fatalities on Skid Row

While the Council was grandstanding and posing for photo ops yesterday, it was reported that four different people living on skid row were found dead of various causes, none of which were foul play.

While the council did vote unanimously to set up an ad hoc committee on homelessness to launch a new effort to combat the problem, one has to wonder if this is just yet another chance to put their mugs in front of the cameras. Enough is enough. Every single politician in this city is exploiting the situation for their own gain, and not a single one of them seem to be actually getting anything done towards getting these people the shelter and care that they need.

Maybe rather than touring Skid Row for an hour in their shiny loafers or handing out toys and serving food in front of cameras, they should go there and spend at least an evening and truly feel these people's plight. Maybe this committee should be more than "ad-hoc." The problem is here. It is NOT going away. Rather than the "stunned silence" that the Times reports, we could get a little action.

Ass Clown of the Week

It has been a while since we highlighted the "Ass Clown of the Week" award. So in honor of the awards return, we have 12 nominees. The nominees were even highlighted today in the Daily Breeze: 'Photo op' angers residents wanting the council's attention

Some snips from the article:

The same could not be said, however, of Los Angeles City Council members, who were so focused on promoting Chick's audit -- and appearing with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa at a signing ceremony for Chick's proposal -- that they left the public to address 12 empty seats during Tuesday's council meeting.
The council's indifferent response to the public has been a hot-button issue for years among neighborhood activist community volunteers. Earlier this year, an appellate court judge forced council members to hold a new hearing on a zoning issue because too many of them had been caught on videotape getting out of their chairs, talking on the telephone or chatting with aides before a vote.
Garrison and nearly two dozen of his neighbors waited four hours for the chance to speak on a residential development project planned for their neighborhood, which is expected to result in the removal of 200,000 cubic feet of dirt.

"I apologize to those individuals," she [Greuel] said. "We tried to peek in and hear part of it as it was ongoing."
"We sat there and listened through four hours of the other business," he [Garrison] said. "And when it came time for us to be heard, they went into the other room for a photo op."

So, as you can see, the City Council has proven yet again they know how to turn a deaf ear and a blind eye towards their constituents, making them more than deserving of this week's "Ass Clown of the Week" Award.

Headlines for Wednesday

Steve Hymon provides his weekly humor column in the LA Times highlighting Herb Wesson, Marvin Braude, Con Howe, ceremonial presentations, and Dennis Zine.

In the LAUSD vs. The World update, we get stories from the LA Times, Daily News, and Daily Breeze regarding auditing the district.

Eric Garcetti announces David Gershwin as Chief of Staff, Ana Guerrero, who was named Deputy Chief of Staff in July of this year to Director of Council Relations, and Jan Perry as President Pro Tempore.

In the "better late than never" files, the LA Times reports that nearly a decade after Los Angeles County voters overwhelmingly approved an ethics initiative to regulate contributions to county political campaigns, the five supervisors agreed on a way to enforce it.

So much for regional airports. It turns out that Palmdale has fallen by the wayside yet again, as it's sole carrier is bailing in March. LA Times: Sole Carrier at Palmdale to Quit

Press Events for Wednesday

8:30 AM -- LA City Council's Commerce, Energy and Natural Resources Committee meeting. Room 1010, City Hall, 200 N.
Spring St.

9:00 AM -- LA City Council members and officials from the LAPD's south and central traffic divisions will hold a news conference to announce rewards for unsolved hit-and-run investigations. City Hall, First Street steps, south side of building, 200 N. Spring St.

9:00 AM -- LA County Regional Planning Commission meeting. Hall of Records, 320 W. Temple St., Room 150.

10:00 AM -- LA City Council meeting. Council chamber, third floor, City Hall, 200 N. Spring St.

11:45 AM -- A federal grant intended to combat homelessness will be announced by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Mayor's Press Conference Room, Third Floor, City Hall, 200 N. Spring St.

1:00 PM -- LA County Commission on Disability meeting. Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration, 500 W. Temple St., room 140.

7:00 PM -- North Hills West Neighborhood Council in Building 22 at the Sepulveda VA, 16111 Plummer St., North Hills. Call (818) 893-8613.

Open Thread for Wednesday

On this date in 1983, Former U.S. President Gerald Ford guest-starred as himself on the prime-time soap opera Dynasty.


I've been suffering with a pretty bad flu for the last few days, so haven't been able to write. Thanks to Mayor Frank for keeping up the blog. I should return in a few days.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

22 L.A. Neighborhood Councils Form a New Congress

From the LA Times:
Aspiring to be much more than pothole police, 22 neighborhood councils throughout Los Angeles have voted to create a congress of the panels that will give them more clout by allowing them to collectively weigh in on citywide issues.

The decision ushers in a new era in the evolution of the city's system of 86 advisory neighborhood councils, providing individual panels an opportunity to exercise more influence by speaking with a united voice, said Leonard Shaffer, chairman of a working group on the congress.
Heads up City Hall. With every step they take, they are going to get harder and harder to ignore...

Remembering the Four Victims

Today I will be remembering Albert Owens, Yen-Yi Yang, Tsai-Shai Lin, and Yee-Chen Lin. If you don't recognize the names, they are the victims of Stanley "Tookie" Williams.

As for whom I won't be paying my respects to:

12:00 PM -- A public memorial service will be held for Stanley "Tookie'' Williams at Bethel A.M.E. Church. 7900 S. Western Ave.