When it comes to politics, we all tend to talk about the ones on the broader scope, right? Things like US Immigration, US Labor, The President and his administration, and so on.
But, even though we all want to make the world a better place, the question is “What can we do in order to change the things we don’t like?” Let’s be honest: There is nothing we can do besides go and demonstrate, write letters, and so on, but in the end, it barely makes a dent into something we have no control over.
But, what if we can actually make a difference when it comes to politics right here in our own backyards? No, not the ones with the Birds and the Trees, Silly. I am talking about the politics within our reach, you know: The Local Ones!
Just in case you missed it simply because you are too pooped from last year’s Election experience, there are City elections heading our way, and yes, they are on March, 7, 2017.
Voters across Los Angeles have options from sticking with the same-old business, or they can go out and vote the incumbents out of office.
I guess by now you are wondering who would you replace them with, right?
Well, there are a number of candidates running against the City Insider’s Wheel of Fortune.
The City Ethics Commission’s website has them all listed. From Mayor, City Controller and City Attorney, to all hopefuls for the uneven numbered City Council Districts. Here is a link to the Commission’s website:
However, instead of taking on the entire world of elect-hopefuls and their incumbents, I will stick with those that are near to my heart.
Even though I am now a Westside resident, I am still very much interested in the wellbeing of my former area of residency: Council District 13.
I used to live in Hollywood, which is part of CD 13, and which is currently represented by Council Member Mitch O’Farrell.
Mr. O’Farrell has been around since the good old days when he worked under then Council President Eric Garcetti.
Mitch O’Farrell claims that he has brought nothing but good things to the neighborhoods he represents, but from articles and conversations as well as listening to City Council Meetings I learned that there are a lot of people who will disagree with that.
One of these people is Douglas “Doug” Haines, a longtime resident of Hollywood and a First-Time Candidate for Council District 13.
Doug Haines has earned his recognition in City Hall by speaking up against big developments that threaten the character of a neighborhood, and these neighborhoods don’t necessarily have to be around the corner from him.
Haines has fought and won in and out of court as a member of the La Mirada Neighborhood Association, and he has voiced his concerns multiple times during meetings of the LA Planning Commission, LA Planning and Land Use Committee, as well as before City Council.
Perhaps that is why he is so very familiar with the way the big-money-machine works, yet he is not one of those who greases the wheel when it starts squeaking. Instead, Haines goes and starts speaking and as the last resort, is heard by the Judges of the California Courts.
He’s been speaking to and with anyone who wants to listen, and he has proven that a lot of talk can actually make a difference.
His experience with politics started when he got himself involved with saving the Cinerama Dome on Sunset Blvd, a treasured structure and icon that wouldn’t be standing there today if it wasn’t for Doug Haines and his interest in preserving history in Los Angeles.
Haines also took part in the early stages of forming the East Hollywood Neighborhood Council, and still serves on its board as well as on the board of the Hollywood Studio District Neighborhood Council.
Living in a community that has been deprived of new park land for decades, Mr. Haines made it another goal of his to bring a new park to the neighborhood. It might not be the biggest park created within the last 50 years, but it sure is a great start for the community surrounding it.
Mr. Haines knows that he cannot resolve homelessness, and problems with gangs and crime, all by himself, but he started working on these issues with the LAPD in the Hollywood area.
Candidate Haines has walked his immediate neighborhood almost every day, cleaning up the streets, speaking with neighbors, reaching out to shop keepers and helping those who feel that they have no voice in the city.
Still, what does a successful film editor, who spent most of his time in closed dark rooms working on major movies, have to offer when it comes to working with people? My answer is: Everything!
He is smart, he knows building codes and regulations, he is charismatic and engaging, he listens to people, brings concerns to the front and fights city hall from the outside in.
Candidate Haines said that he is not accepting money from Developers during his campaign, and he will not accept it at any stage when in office.
Mr. Haines is ready to spend the next 12 years, give or take, with his constituents, work on the right development for the neighborhoods by keeping an eye on City Codes and Regulations. This time however, he will be doing this from the inside out.
And let’s not forget that he is a big supporter of Measure S, the initiative that is promising to put a moratorium on overdevelopment throughout the City of Los Angeles.
If you like to find out more about this candidate, please check out the web page supporters of Doug Haines have created at www.votedoughaiens.com.
Many candidates stepped up to the plate to run against the incumbents of today’s city hall, but now it is up to You, dear Voters, to decide who will be voted in, who will be voted out and who will remain in office.
Do yourselves a HUGE favor, take a look at the candidates that are on the March 7, 2017 ballot and decide for yourself who is worthy of your vote.
Ziggy @ February 20, 2017
For almost two years the looming skeleton structure that once was thought be an operating TARGET store by the Holiday Season of 2014 might have to remain looming in place for a while longer.
The shadow it casts from the sun reaches the nearby residences, but the shadow is not the fault of the sun.
The sun, in fact, has nothing to do with it. The shadow, however, has everything to do with it.
The shadow over the Target on Sunset project was cast by Mayor Garcetti, who was the Council Member and City Council President when the project was approved in City Council several years back. A major project that could have been bringing in money to the Target Shareholders and the community. (link to video)
However, none of the current LA City Council Members are blameless either. They were back then and still are now all in favor of the project to proceed as is. The current Council Member for CD 13, Mitchell O’Farrell, has made it abundantly clear that the project needs to move forward, so that it can bring in Jobs and improve the quality of life in the neighborhood. (Link to video)
The only people who have a problem and, well yes, a legitimate concern about this Project are the so called “NIMBY’S” (Not In My Back Yard).
Their main concern is the fact that Target on Sunset is being built in Non-Compliance with the current laws, mainly: The SNAP Ordinance that governs, or rules, the area this Target store will be located in.
Guess what? The Court agreed with them when they sued the City and Target about the Height, amongst other things. Judge Fruin, in fact, had the construction of the project halted back in 2014. (Link to video)
So, why not blame the court then? – Simple: One cannot put blame on those who uphold the law.
Instead, one has to make changes to the Law! … And that is exactly what the City is now doing … without any regard to the community or its members or even the employees of Target, who apparently have lost out on a Child Care center, which SNAP requires.
When a community becomes the target of TARGET on Sunset, which apparently is backed by the back-room-deals of our City Leaders, then what’s left to do? Sue!?
Yes, in Hollywood it has become a standard practice as community members stand up to the seemingly corrupt system Los Angeles has turned in to.
Some, including City Leaders, call the opponents of projects NIMBY’S, but I think these fighters are the “guardians” of communities who are being taken for a downhill ride with developments that bring more traffic, less services and yes: more back-room-deals. When people feel that their back is against the wall and that their objections and concerns are not being heard or taken seriously, the only tool these people have left is to sue the City. That’s the last resort, but it seems to be the ONLY resort left in order to fight the machine we call City Hall. (link to video)
Sitting back and doing nothing is not an option when thousands of written pages and countless spoken words can’t seem to reach anyone in the Council Offices or even the Mayor’s office. The efforts of trying to work with the city leaders and their representatives are being disregarded and wasted by the same people who they are supposed to reach. (Link to video)
In Hollywood one lawsuit after another is filed, with quite a number of them being won in court. Yet, nothing ever changes as far as the business as usual in Los Angeles is concerned. – Instead, City Council Members and the Mayor put their heads together to figure out a way to make development easier for developers.
Instead of upholding current laws, rules, and guidelines they (The City Leaders) change these laws, rules and guidelines as they please without any regard to what the consequences would be.
In the case of Target on Sunset: They are amending the Vermont / Western Station Neighborhood Area Plan (SNAP), which is accompanying Ordinance 173749 just so that Target can be built taller and does not have to provide any real services to the community and its employees. SNAP requires delivery service to the community and child care facility for employees.
In this instant, though, Target got away with not having to do any of the above. (Link to video)
The city’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee (PLUM) held a hearing on March 22, 2016 in order to give the people and appellants of the project an opportunity to address the members of the committee in regard to the Target on Sunset Project.
These “public hearings” are mandatory by law, but from the looks of it this hearing was nothing less of an unnecessary “courtesy” extended by the overwhelmingly tired looking and tired acting council members.
Council Member Felipe Fuentes set back in his chair, not to be heard one spoken word from, while Council Member Jose Huizar, who is the chairperson of the committee, had several yawning “attacks” and apparently had a hard time staying awake.
Council Member Marqueece Harris-Dawson just plainly closed his eyes for seconds at the time, if he was not wandering around to speak with someone at the sidelines of the meeting, and Council Member Gilbert Cedillo needed food to stay awake, which he so gallantly devoured during the statements given by Staff from Council District 13 and one last public speaker, George Abrahams.
Granted this has almost nothing to do with the Project, but it has everything to do with the fact that the Committee Members, who are also City Council Members, were all in agreement BEFORE the meeting even started.
On Wednesday, March 23, 2016 the LA City Council sent the issue of “Target on Sunset” back to Committee due to technical error, as the “Ordinance was not included”.
Ziggy @ March 24, 2016
Over a decade ago, the people of LA hoped that the Neighborhood Council System [NCs] would become a great institution. The question is: How is that working out?
Clint Eastwood’s Movie “The Good, The Bad and the Ugly” stands true for the NCs. There are some good ones; there are some bad ones; and then there are some that are downright ugly, especially in the way they are treating their fellow community members.
According to the 2002 “Executive Directive No PE-1”, which was signed by Mayor James Hahn, the City of Los Angeles has a “Non-Discrimination” policy, which states in part that:
“City policies and personnel practices, including but not limited to, recruitment; selection, advancements, work assignments, compensation, benefits, training, discipline and terminations, … will continue to be established and administered without regard to race, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, age, religion, creed, marital status, disability, medical condition, … .” (Bold added for emphasis)http://ens.lacity.org/mayor/hahned/mayorhahned248358517_02082005.pdf
NC board members are officials who serve on a city agency and they are part of the city government and thus, Executive Directive No PE-1 applies to them. And even though there is no salary for serving on a Neighborhood Council Board, the city’s standards and policies apply to them as they do to the paid city employees.
That is why Race, Gender, Ethnicity, Religion and any Political Affiliation with a specific group should never be an issue as is it against the law.
The policy also states that:
“Any City employee or employment candidate who believes the City’s policy of equal employment opportunity and non-discrimination has been violated is strongly encouraged, and must not be prohibited from reporting the alleged policy violation. Further, employees and employment candidates can be assured that the necessary steps will be taken promptly to address all reported violations.”
The City is not necessarily that adept at implementing its anti-bias directives. For example, the City is turning a blind eye and a deaf ear on a situation involving the Hollywood Studio District Neighborhood Council [HSDNC], which has been openly and notoriously discriminating against one community member since April 2015.
The HSDNC’s Bylaws and Election Committee held its public meeting on April 22, 2015 (https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0t_jgBk3TW7Qm1nRFlWWVQ1cm8/view?usp=sharing), during which board and committee members of the HSDNC decided that it was Okay to bash down on the applicant, who happens to be Venezuelan, and who was applying for one of the open seats on the HSDNC board.
The applicant, Mr. Jimenez, alleges in his 05-09-2015 letter to the City Attorney that during the meeting members of the committee called him a liar, asked him personal questions about his income and told him that “they [the HSDNC] did not want anyone on the board who has any affiliations with any Latino Community Groups or any “little something” in the area.”
Mr. Jimenez was hoping that based on his letter someone from the City Attorney’s office would start investigating the situation. https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0t_jgBk3TW7SGRXbFFUbG5XQUU/view?usp=sharing
I was seriously disappointed and disgusted by what I read in the May 9, 2015 letter from Mr. Jimenez and by what he describes in detail of what occurred at the HSDNC’s Bylaws and Election Committee meeting.
The applicant alleged that two of the four committee members, who are also board members, felt it was OKAY to not only discriminate against Mr. Jimenez due to his affiliation with a group called “Little Venezuela”, but also to interrogate him for his personal info such as his personal income and his Driver License.
When Mr. Jimenez pointed out that he not only lives in the area, but also has his business there, one of the committee members asked him to provide his Driver License in order to prove that he (Jimenez) was not lying.
We all have to remember that NC’s are supposed to be inclusive and not to discriminate against any individual or group. The HSDNC has it even in its bylaws per ARTICLE II – PURPOSE, B. The POLICY: 5. To prohibit discrimination against any individual or group in the Council’s operations on the basis of race, religion, color, creed, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability, marital status, income, homeowner/renter status, or political affiliation or belief; … (Bold added for emphasis)
The response from the City Attorney’s office to Mr. Jimenez’ letter was not at all reassuring.
The e-mail from the City Attorney’s office stated in part that “… we [The City Attorney’s Office] don’t process “complaints;”. It concludes with the only reassurance that the City Attorney’s Office will “… provide our client with any and all appropriate advice.“
In the meantime it leaves one to wonder if the City Attorney’s office “advised” the HSDNC to address the issue at the next meeting, and if so, to combine both issues: Mr. Jimenez’ application to the board and the now so-called “Grievance”.
It took the HSDNC one quarter of a year to finally address something, but it was not the letter / grievance, but instead the original application.
Well, let me correct that: The HSDNC didn’t agendize the letter / grievance, but that did not stop the board from talking about it during the 07-13-2015 Board Meeting, in violation of the Ralph M. Brown Act. https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0t_jgBk3TW7Ul9qVTR6TzJaSkE/view?usp=sharing
In order to address the “Grievance”, the HSDNC had to take action based on its Grievance clause in its Bylaws and place the Grievance on the agenda for one of the subsequent HSDNC Board Meetings, which could have been the July 13, 2015 board meeting. They did not.
Instead the HSDNC only placed Mr. Jimenez’ application on the agenda for that meeting. There was no mention of the letter / grievance in the item description nor was there any other item alluding to it. https://youtu.be/n_LWSDHML0s
Despite all the mistreatment, Mr. Jimenez never lost sight of being part of the HSDNC Board and to do his share as a board member in order to serve his community.
The July 13, 2015 Board meeting offered him a new chance and opportunity to address the full decision making body.
Here is how Bylaws and Election Committee Chair Orletha Andersen introduced the candidate, who then got a chance to speak, too.
Ms. Andersen: https://youtu.be/S0370USqTvo
Mr. Jimenez: https://youtu.be/m0pz6f44OAQ
Instead of denying the accusations made in the letter / grievance, one of the alleged Discriminators, Mr. Durkee, acknowledged and even agreed with Mr. Jimenez as he had quoted him (Durkee) verbatim. The underhanded Thank You was promptly followed with an accusation that Mr. Jimenez recorded the committee meeting with a “microphone in his pocket”. https://youtu.be/Pn70260UCpE
Another board member then continued the already escalating situation when he took the opportunity to offer the Applicant an ultimatum by asking Mr. Jimenez to send out another letter to City Hall. “If you were just to write another letter to City Hall saying we talked about [it] everything is fine … If you are willing to do that and just tell me you’re burying this thing at that point I won’t have any problem voting to have you on the board …” https://youtu.be/6K07VaFqNBI
One can say that in the end Mr. Jimenez prevailed as he was appointed to the board. But to what cost?
More importantly, perhaps, the question should be: why did it even come this far? Where do we find these people? – Who trains these people? More over: Who steps up to make sure that these types of ridiculously close-minded-bigoted remarks won’t happen in the future?
Imagine yourself in a situation in which you are insulted, discriminated against and basically poo-poo’ed on, resulting in you filing a complaint.
Next you are being told that, in order to make things “better”, you are to withdraw your complaint and to bury the issue just so you can be part of the “gang”.
I call that not only immoral, unethical and wrong, but also utterly stupid, disgusting, infuriating and insulting to anybody who ever filed a complaint or grievance with a Neighborhood Council.
On one hand the City of LA has a policy that basically promises “… the necessary steps will be taken promptly to address all reported violations.” … While on the other hand the City has a system that does not comply with it.
If Neighborhood Councils can pick and choose with the guidance of the City Attorney’s Office and the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment (DONE) when and when not to address a grievance or if these groups are allowed to offer up ultimatums to have a grieved party withdraw a grievance / complaint, then when can the stakeholders feel safe to report any violation of any laws? Let it be the NC’s bylaws, the City Ordinances or even the State Laws, nobody will ever come back to speak up against something they felt was done wrong.
However, if that is the goal of the City of Los Angeles to allow its NC Board Members to be racist, discriminative, demeaning and sexist (just watch this again and pay attention to the “Do you type, too?” remark: https://youtu.be/Pn70260UCpE) and put potential candidates through the ringer not once but twice, then the NC system is on its way to become the greatest institution of horrendous leaders the city has ever seen.
In closing let me point out that in the case of the HSDNC the Grievance system or the understanding of such has been a long time problem that just didn’t rise up overnight. – In fact, back in 2012 the HSDNC Board had a grievance on its desk for many months and one its then board member is now the chair of the HSDNC: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZuI_Ip0oNKg
Answer me this, if you can: How long will it take the City of Los Angeles to take any real interest in the ongoing “Shenanigans” of its Neighborhood Councils?
Note: Here is the link to the entire un-cut Item 6 http://youtu.be/SaX9IboLnVI
Ziggy @ August 5, 2015
HNN-TV does not get involved in Legal Issues, but as it turns out there are issues addressed in this particular case that we feel it is necessary to get the word out.
On April 1, 2015 the City of Angeles announced through the office of Mayor Eric Garcetti that it is proposing a settlement of $1.3 Billion dollars in the case of Willits vs. City of Los Angeles.
This case is currently being heard in Federal Court by honorable Judge Consuelo Marshall and she will have the final say in what the agreement will be.
When we first heard about the proposed agreement and the outrages amount of money to be “allocated”, we thought it was an April’s Fool thing. However, it turns out that it is indeed something that the City of Los Angeles is planning to do with Angeleno’s Tax Dollars.
Online Blogger John Walsh (www.hollywoodhighlands.org and www.jwalshconfidential.wordpress.com) sums it up pretty nicely in his latest posting, which also includes a long Open Letter by two community groups who are seemingly fed up with the ongoing “fleecing” of the city’s funds.
Link to Mr. Walsh’s webpost: http://wp.me/p3eXP9-C3
Link to the PDF of the open Letter: https://jwalshconfidential.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/2015-4-14_open-letter-to-judge-marshall.pdf
Feel free to read and chime in by using the letter as a template …
Ziggy @ April 15, 2015
Judicial Corruption Gains Momentum
by Scott Zwartz
January 19, 2015
Last time we spoke, we explained how Justice Paul Turner was doing his imitation of Louis XIV, L’Etat, c’est moi (“I am the State”).
More evidence has popped up. Justice Turner’s December 26th illegitimate order does not appear on the court’s own Dispositions webpage. When the Appellate Court issues a bona fide order, it is logged on to the court’s Dispositions webpage under the case number B257712.
As the court’s webpage shows, the Disposition page has a legitimate Justice Turner December 26th order, granting a real motion, but it omits the bogus order removing Mr. MacNaughton as SaveHywd’s attorney and thereby removing SaveHywd as the petitioner in is own litigation. Thus, the court itself did not recognize Justice Turner’s order as legitimate.
Oh, if we only had a NSA spy cam inside the offices office of Division 5! It’d be great to see and hear what happens when Justice Turner discovered that some employee had the temerity (i.e., honesty) not to log his illegitimate order as if it were real.
While most people retreat in the face of an abuse of power; SaveHywd advanced and obtained collaborating evidence from the court itself. “Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.” Sir Walter Scott.
And now, we see the tangle is getting more complex. The Dispositions webpage also does not have Justice Turner’s January 8th illicit order denying the request that his December 26th order be stayed until matters may be investigated. Meanwhile, Justice Turner knows that his order has been given to the trial court in order to deceive and mislead it. Does Justice Turner stop his choo-choo train of corruption? No, rather he confirms his original illicit order by not staying it. That is no different than the corporate executive who writes out an authorized check calling up the bank, saying, “The check is good. You can cash it.”
Are there any indications where this bit of judicial corruption will go next? Yep, there sure is.
The appellate court’s cover-up machinery has been geared up. The justices should have read Sir Walter Scott before going down this path, but men of hubris see no higher goal that protecting themselves and their miscreant colleagues.
The Dispositions webpage does show that on January 16th all three of the justices re-considered the request to stay Justice Turner’s bogus order. Did they have the integrity to stay an illegitimate order? No way! They affirmed the denial of the Stay.
That bit of judicial treachery should give us lowly folks down here on the streets an inkling of things to come. If the justices cannot find it within themselves to stay an order which the court’s own records do not recognize as legitimate, how can anyone have any faith in anything else they will do?
Does anyone believe that these judges will place the sanctity of the judicial system above covering up their friend’s abuse of power? Remember, L’Etat, c’est moi!
If you believe that judicial integrity is vital to America’s soul, this Tuesday, January 20, 2014, please call 213/830-7000.
Remember, they do not want to hear from you, me or anyone else. The powerful have allotted to us subjects our proper role.” “Ours not to reason why, ours but to do and die.” Alfred Lord Tennyson
(Note: This follow up story was posted on JWalshConfidential:
HNN-TV felt it was necessary to keep our readers informed about any issue that can impact the quality of life and the overall “justice” system we live in)
Ziggy @ January 20, 2015