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26
Sun, Sep

LA WATCHDOG - Recently elected Councilman Kevin de Leon announced that he is a candidate to be the next mayor of the City of Los Angeles. 

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LA WATCHDOG - The City Council is considering a 2022 ballot measure that would amend the City Charter to limit bid preferences on City contracts to include only business located in the City of Los Angeles.

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LA WATCHDOG - Former City Councilman Jose Huizar has been indicted on federal racketeering charges in connection with his shakedown of real estate developers in a $1.5 million pay-to-play scheme.

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LA WATCHDOG - While Californians are awaiting the outcome of the vote to recall Governor Gavin Newsom, others are already focusing on the November 8, 2022 ballot.

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LA WATCHDOG-Everybody loves trees and green space, especially in crowded, disadvantaged neighborhoods of the City where there is a scarcity of parks, recreational opportunities, and open space.

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LA WATCHDOG - The Bureau of Sanitation is considering the development of its Clean Water Campus, a 159,000 square foot facility with a 750 car parking facility, that is expected to cost more than $100 million.

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LA WATCHDOG - Seven years after the City entered into a deal for Fire Station 83, you have to wonder what the hell is going on with this facility that is located at 5001 North Balboa Avenue in Encino in Council District 5 represented by wannabe controller Paul Koretz. 

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LA WATCHDOG - The Los Angeles 100% Renewable Energy Study (“LA100”) explored multiple pathways for the Department of Water and Power to achieve a 100% clean energy future by 2045. 

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LA WATCHDOG - City Councilman and wannabe mayor Kevin de Leon (“KDL”) has been outspoken about holding the members of the City Council accountable for failure to meet the goal of creating 25,000 new housing units by 2025.   

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LA WATCHDOG - Every two or three years, the City Council and the Mayor approve new budget busting labor agreements* with the campaign funding leaders of the City’s public sector unions.

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LA WATCHDOG - The 2021 Assessment Roll for the 792,559 properties in the City of Los Angeles rose to a record $724 billion, an increase of $28 billion, or 4%, from 2020.  

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LA WATCHDOG - A recent poll indicates that the September 14 special election to recall Governor Gavin Newsom is essentially a tossup, with 50% of likely voters opposed to the recall while 47% are supportive. 

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LA WATCHDOG-The botched rollout of the new DWP billing system has already cost Ratepayers a bundle, whether through billing errors and the massive cost overruns on the development of the Customer Information System. 

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LA WATCHDOG-Has the City Council learned anything about transparency over the past year? 

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LA WATCHDOG-As part of the Department of Water and Power’s study to achieve a carbon free future by 2045, it is proposing that a third of the City’s single family residences install rooftop solar systems at a total cost of $3 to $5 billion, or $15,000 to $25,000 for each of the 200,000 homes.

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LA WATCHDOG-Reliable sources in Washington are saying that the Biden administration is having second thoughts about appointing Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to be the country’s Ambassador to India, a country of increasing strategic importance to the United States in its efforts to curtail the political and economic influence of the People’s Republic of China. 

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LA WATCHDOG-The City Council and its lack of financial discipline have once again created a Structural Deficit, where the increase in spending is greater than the growth of tax revenues.

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LA WATCHDOG-One of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Back to Basic Priorities was for the City to “Live Within Its Financial Means.”

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LA WATCHDOG - In a word, NO. 

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LA WATCHDOG--The City’s Reserve Fund is intended to be used for emergencies and unforeseen expenditures, such as those created by the recent pandemic, an earthquake, or a wildfire.

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LA WATCHDOG--The Economic Development and Jobs Committee of the Los Angeles City Council authorized the Chief Legislative Analyst to release a Request for Proposal (“RFP”) seeking consulting services needed to conduct policy, fiscal, and economic analyses related to the formation of a public bank serving the City of Los Angeles. 

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LA WATCHDOG--The infusion of $1.35 billion from Washington into the City’s coffers has set off a feeding frenzy among the members of the City Council which threatens the long term financial integrity of the City.  

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LA WATCHDOG--The Mayor’s Proposed Budget calls for an “investment” of $24 million in a Universal Basic Income (“UBI”) pilot program that will provide 2,000 low income Angelenos with $1,000 a month in unrestricted funds for one year, a total of $12,000 for each participant.  

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LA WATCHDOG-While the City is anticipating the cash infusion of $1.35 billion from the Federal government, the timing is uncertain, creating significant cash flow issues that must be addressed, especially in the upcoming fiscal year. 

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LA WATCHDOG--Despite the infusion of $1.35 billion from the Federal government, the City of Los Angeles still has a Structural Deficit that it is unwilling to attack.    

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LA WATCHDOG--The infusion of $1.35 billion of cash to the City’s coffers pursuant to Washington’s American Rescue Plan will allow the City to stabilize its finances, eliminate budget deficits, fund numerous one time projects, and establish a sizeable Reserve Fund. 

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LA WATCHDOG--The Department of Water and Power is planning a series of outreach meetings with Ratepayers and other interested parties to discuss the Los Angeles 100% Renewable Energy Study (“LA100”) that outlines various plans that will provide City residents and businesses with reliable 100% clean renewable energy by 2045.

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LA WATCHDOG--The Legislature is considering the establishment of BankCal that will provide no-fee debit cards to many unbanked and underbanked Californians. 

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LA WATCHDOG--Charter Amendment B: Shall the City Charter be amended to allow the City to establish a municipal financial institution or bank? 

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LA WATCHDOG--The Los Angeles 100% Renewable Energy Study indicates that the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power can provide the City’s residents and businesses with reliable 100% clean, renewable energy by 2045.

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LA WATCHDOG--The City Administrative Officer’s Third Financial Status Report recommendations on how to handle the City’s $1.354 billion windfall from the federal government pursuant to the American Rescue Plan (“ARP”) are spot on.

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LA WATCHDOG--It appears that the proponents of recalling Governor Gavin Newsom will have enough signatures to place a measure on the ballot to recall Newsom.

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LA WATCHDOG--Mayor Eric Garcetti is “ecstatic” that the City of Los Angeles is expected to receive $1.35 billion from Washington under the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan. 

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LA WATCHDOG--Homelessness and affordable housing are major issues facing the City of Los Angeles

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WHO’S WHATCHING THE WATCHDOG?-A recent LA Times report adds fuel to the suspicions of some City Hall observers that the City Ethics Commission, instead of being a fierce watchdog of the public interest, is too often a myopic, fearful lapdog. 

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LA WATCHDOG--“This has to be about congestion relief, not revenue.” Mayor Eric Garcetti 

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LA WATCHDOG--The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, led by ageless (43) quarterback Tom Brady and a swarming defense, upset the favored Kansas City Chiefs, 31 to 9, in Super Bowl LV (55).  This was Brady’s seventh Super Bowl victory and caused LA Times sports columnist Bill Plaschke to claim in his column, No more doubt about it: Tom Brady is the GOAT of GOATs, that Brady “became the greatest football player ever, and arguably the greatest American team sports athlete ever.” 

Many of us will agree that Tom Terrific is the greatest football player ever who, over 20 seasons and nine Super Bowl appearances, won seven rings.  But no way is Brady the “greatest American team sports athlete ever.”  That accolade, the Greatest of All Time (“GOAT”), belongs to Bill Russell, the Boston Celtics center who led the Celtics to 11 NBA championships during his 13 year career (1956-1969). 

After winning to two NCAA championships in 1955 and 1956 while playing for the University of San Francisco and captaining the 1956 Gold Medal Olympic team, Russell was expected to be drafted by the St. Louis Hawks. In his greatest trade ever, and maybe the greatest trade of all time, Celtics coach Red Auerbach sent All Stars Ed Macauley and Cliff Hagen to St. Louis for the #2 overall draft choice.  This allowed the Celtics to draft Russell, a defensive minded center in an age when centers were offensive machines.  

Russell changed the Celtics, a high scoring team with a porous defense, and the game with his emphasis on defense, rebounding, shot blocking, and the fast break.  In his first season, the Celtics defeated the Hawks for its first title.  And over the next twelve years, the Celtics won an additional ten rings, including eight consecutive titles (1959-1966). 

This success is reminiscent of John Wooden, who in his 27 years at UCLA, won ten national championships, all of those over a twelve year period (1964 to 1975), including seven in a row.  

Russell’s offensive statistics do not compare to many other great players.  He averaged only 15 points a game, had a field goal percentage of 56%, and a free throw percentage of 44%.  Offsetting his lack of offense was over 22.5 rebounds a game, numerous blocked shots, numerous fast breaks, and most importantly, a leader who led by example on and off the floor. 

While many Angelenos will question Russell as The Goat, possibly claiming that Magic and Kareem may be worthy of the title.  But together, they only won five and six titles, respectively, over 33 playing years.  Some may claim Michael Jordan, but he won “only” six rings over 15 seasons. 

When you ask long-time fans of the Los Angeles Lakers about the Celtics and Bill Russell, do not be surprised at a violent adverse reaction.  During Russell’s 13 years with the Celtics and his 11 rings (one for the toe), seven were at the expense of the Lakers (1959, 1962, 1963, 1965, 1966, 1968, and 1969).  They know that Russell is THE GOAT.

 

 (Jack Humphreville writes LA Watchdog for CityWatch. He is the President of the DWP Advocacy Committee and is the Budget and DWP representative for the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council.  He is a Neighborhood Council Budget Advocate.  He can be reached at:  [email protected].)

-cw

LA WATCHDOG--Once again, Mayor Eric Garcetti, City Council President Nury Martinez and the other three Councilmen (Koretz, Krekorian, and Buscaino) on the Executive Employees Relations Committee placed the interests of the City’s public sector unions ahead of the financial integrity of our City and the best interests of all Angelenos.

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LA WATCHDOG--On November 7, 2018, the FBI raided the home and offices of then Councilman Jose Huizar.  

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LA WATCHDOG--The Los Angeles Times, our paper of record, needs our help.

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LA WATCHDOG--On November 7, 2018, the FBI raided the home and offices of Councilman Jose Huizar.

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LA WATCHDOG--San Francisco based Carmel Partners, a multibillion dollar private equity firm, has “agreed to pay $1.2 million to resolve a federal criminal investigation that focused on the Company’s relationship with former Los Angeles City Councilmember Jose Huizar, who voted to approve its 35-story project” located at 520 Mateo Avenue in the low rise Arts District, just west of the railyards and the Los Angeles River, at the entrance to the iconic 4th Street Bridge. 

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LA WATCHDOG--Our Department of Water and Power will be hosting a series of virtual community meetings this week to discuss LA 100, its plan to achieve 100% renewable energy by 2045, and the updating of the Urban Water Management Plan (“UWMP”) and its goal to increase local supplies. 

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LA WATCHDOG-On March 27, former Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch Englander agreed to plead guilty to one count of scheming to falsify material facts.  He is scheduled to be sentenced on January 25. 

According to the Los Angeles Times, federal probation officials are recommending three years of probation, a $9,500 fine, and no jail time or community service.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office is pushing for 24 months in jail, 300 hours of community service, and a $45,000 fine.  

Englander deserves the max: three years in the clink and a $250,000 fine.  He has violated the public’s trust and disgraced our City.  Now, if he could give up a few of the higher ups in the criminal enterprise known as City Hall, then he would deserve a lighter sentence. 

 

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Mayor Eric Garcetti has announced that the City has entered into deals with the Coalition of LA City Unions (representing 18,000 civilian employees) and United Firefighters of Los Angeles City (representing 3,600 members) to defer raises in return for no layoffs and furloughs during the term of the agreements.  The Coalition workers are protected until the end of this fiscal year while the firefighters are protected for two years. 

However, the Mayor and the City have not released any details about these arrangements and the financial implications for the City’s budget over the next two or three years.  More than likely, the City is kicking the can down the road, once again selling out the City to their Partners in Labor, just like they did when they approved budget busting labor agreements in 2019, entered into the Separation Incentive Program in July, and failed to implement the budgeted furlough plan that would have saved $140 million.   

 

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The City is not only facing a $675 million “budget challenge” for this fiscal year that ends on June 30, but must also eliminate $130 million of overspending.  But this is just the beginning because the City is looking at an estimated deficit of over $1 billion next year.  

But next year has not been a topic of conversation with Angelenos.  Why not? Most likely because it will require layoffs and furloughs, an anathema to the City’s Partners in Labor. But what the hell, it only concerns the financial integrity of our City.

 

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And speaking of Mayor Garcetti, he is scheduled to be deposed in February in the sexual harassment lawsuit where Matt Garza, a police officer on Garcetti’s security team, is suing the City for sexual harassment and a hostile work environment.  Garza alleges that a senior Garcetti operative made inappropriate remarks and hugs that were witnessed by Garcetti and that the Mayor joked about the operative’s behavior.  Unfortunately, tickets will not be available, despite the fact that scalpers believe the prices would be in the five figure range. 

 

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On the brighter side, the Assessed Valuation of the City’s property increased to $696 billion, an increase of 6.6%.  This is good news because property taxes represent over one-third of the City’s budgeted revenues and are not overly sensitive to swings in the economy.  Of this increase, about half resulted from the sale or transfer of properties while the inflation adjustment represented about 30%.  One of the benefits of Proposition 13 is that property taxes represent a stable source of revenues, even during downturns in the economy.

 

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Next week, the Department of Water and Power will be hosting meetings on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday to discuss its 100% Renewable Energy Study and how the Department will be fossil free by 2045 as mandated by the State.  Unfortunately, there will be no discussion of the impact on rates of this program and the plan to upgrade the distribution system.  The link is www.ladwp.com/CleanEnergyFuture.

 

(Jack Humphreville writes LA Watchdog for CityWatch. He is the President of the DWP Advocacy Committee and is the Budget and DWP representative for the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council.  He is a Neighborhood Council Budget Advocate.  He can be reached at:  [email protected].)

-cw

 

 

LA WATCHDOG--On Thursday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced that it entered into a Non-Prosecution Agreement with San Francisco based Carmel Partners,

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