Sat, Jul

The LA Times Is Officially a Joke


AN ANGRY ANGELENO - I've been taking a break from writing for CityWatch, but something got me REALLY angry this Sunday morning...and I am “An Angry Angeleno” after all.  So, consider this column my return. 

A CityWatch colleague texted me that the El Segundo Times, er LA Times, fishwrap, endorsed George Gascon for reelection. Yeah, that George Gascon...the widely despised LA County DA that almost got recalled. But Rick Caruso had to spend 100M on his Mayoral run, while only giving the

Gascon Recall Effort 50k to pay people to collect signatures, supposedly banning them from collecting on his mall properties (ironically protesters of his Mayoral run went to court and got the right to protest his mayoral run at The Grove). If I'm wrong about that, Rick, feel free to leave a comment below. The Times did Rick wrong in the Mayoral Election, so I'm actually hoping that Caruso (who would have solved the LA's homelessness/crime problems much faster and cheaper than Mayor Bass) buys the paper and cleans house. I'm not particularly a Caruso fan.      I even fought one of his projects with a lawyer. He's a Developer. But our State Legislature (with a shady Democratic Supermajority) and Governor Newsom are in bed with the developers and taking over local zoning (even suing slow growth cities and destroying single family zoning), local politicians have been pro-developer for years, the Times is pro-developer with its Developer Cheerleader Liam Dillion (can I interest you in yet another article about ADU's ?)...so who really cares if Caruso buys the Times. Rick: you bought lots of ads from the Times after they showed they were totally for Bass why didn't you buy ads from CityWatch and other similar sites instead? 

Anyway, getting back to this morning's text about the Times Gascon Endorsement, following a staff walkout at the Times (their union is fighting with the Owner over another round of looming layoffs), I just couldn't believe it. I had to check my calendar to see if it was April Fools' Day. Is Patrick trying to destroy the Times for a big tax write-off ?? I've said all along that they can save a lot of money and jobs by firing the whole overpaid Editorial Board. While they're at it, they should get rid of George Skelton, too. Instead, they're writing multiple articles about his 50 years there. I've seen him kissing Newsom's buttocks one too many times (figuratively, not literally).  CityWatch lawyers told me to say that) and a few of his positions on major issues have been too conservative, ironically. Erika D Smith should also be fired. Plays the race card too often. Just a reminder that Gascon is prosecuting Curren Price (which is pretty convenient for a prosecutor to be doing just before an election that he's expected to lose because of his weakness on crime, which includes corruption) and Gascon is definitely not a racist. He IS, however, VERY soft on criminals...just ask almost any cop or prosecutor just look at how many current/former prosecutors are running against him. Ask the Association of Deputy District Attorneys for thoughts about Gascon. 

Los Angeles Magazine just published “L.A. County District Attorney Candidates Pile on George Gascón in Debate on Leadership, Crime & Homelessness” by Greg Gilman:. Sub-headline reads in part: “FOUR of his own prosecutors criticize him out at every opportunity, and everyone on stage agrees L.A. feels less safe than it did three years ago”. Article starts with: “Los Angeles Magazine hosted 10 candidates last night running to become the next L.A. County District Attorney, including incumbent George Gascón, who was central focus of just about everyone gathered on stage — including four of his own deputy district attorneys, who ripped into his job performance every chance they could” That about sums it up. 

Angelenos have been having this same conversation about Gascon for several years. That's what makes this Times endorsement so clueless, stubborn, disrespectful to readers and advertisers, reckless, and, frankly, it smacks of corporate suicide. How many subscribers is the Times gonna lose because of this endorsement...you know, all the LA residents that have suffered from crime, like me getting punched in the face by a homeless person, having my glasses broken, and my thumb messed up, requiring multiple sets of x-rays. Have you ever had the police come out for a crime and been told that nothing is gonna change as long as Gascon is in charge? That's why so many of our cops (and other LA government employees like firefighters, some of whom Steve Lopez reported are not just commuting from other counties, but even other states) don't live in Los Angeles...LA Government Employees know that their connected Unions make sure they get high salaries and benefits, but they know better than anyone that LA is going down the tubes. How many ADVERTISERS is the Times gonna lose because of this endorsement...you know, businesses whose LA locations have been hit by flash mobs, thefts, burglaries, looting, arson, armed robberies, etc, etc. We just had an arson fire at the mall next door to me that was set in a dumpster. I happened to be awake past midnight and called it in. Two days later, I walked by a public trash can on formerly beautiful West 3rd St that had been burned to the ground. 

My whole neighborhood was looted and destroyed during the protests and curfew...you know that curfew that was just for us law abiding citizens, not for the criminals that wreaked havoc all night long. And Mayor Bass gave Garcetti's Political Police Chief another 5 year term...ridiculous. But she is smart enough to distance herself from the political kryptonite known as George Gascon...can't understand why she won't do likewise with Nithya Raman. 

Supposedly, LA Times news reporters can't use the word loot because of Nika Soon-Shiong. But, it's not a racist word. There were white, latino, and young black people looting and destroying that night. They looted and burned my corner liquor store, long owned by a nice family (whose father had been previously killed in an armed robbery), that no longer runs it after that night. They destroyed (needlessly smashed up the interior of) a longtime glasses store across the street from Cedars that my family had patronized for years. The owner gave up in sadness and shut it down. Los Angeles has become lawless. Even recently, West 3rd St was tagged up with spray paint during political protests regarding Israel. People are fed up with the anarchy and lawlessness. I call it “The Wild West”. The FIRST step to restore order is to get rid of Gascon.

Check out my previous LA CityWatch column about the LA Times: “Patrick Soon-Shiong's Horrible Legacy at the LA Times”

But the LA Times, with Nika the young progressive activist running around, loves to make endorsements that are DESTROYING Los Angeles. 

Listen, it's very hard to get recalls on the ballot because you're given a short amount of time to collect a ridiculous number of signatures. That's by design of the politicians seeking to keep their jobs. We couldn't recall Jack Weiss in LA City Council District 5 years ago, because we ran out of time...we had no trouble getting people to sign going door-to-door. He had tons of money, plus the endorsements of both the mayor and the police chief, but he lost his LA City Attorney race...that's how unpopular he was. Residents in Nithya Raman's district tried to recall her...was it once or twice? I forget. Point is, without money to pay signature gatherers, it's very difficult to collect so many signatures in so little time...even for somebody disliked the way Raman is...for being soft on crime (she even voted against LAPD getting more money for cops recently...Why, oh why, did Mayor Bass endorse her for reelection??) and homelessness...Raman just basically said she's against removing homeless encampments near schools...see David Zahniser's Times coverage of her debate this last week below: 

David Zahniser in the LA Times covering Raman Debate with her Main Opponent: ”Raman said she supports PARTS of 41.18 but argued [against] newer additions to the ordinance — such as those that allow the council to create 500-foot buffer zones around libraries, SENIOR CENTERS and other locations — [that] simply push homeless people down the street. 

Banning tents around SCHOOLS and DAY-CARE centers “doesN'T work,” Raman added. “I doN'T think a kid’s going to be safer because a tent is 500 feet away from a school.” [emphasis added]. 

The reason I bring up Raman is that if the Times endorsed Gascon, you know they're also gonna endorse Raman. See, the City of LA has 15 council districts, and the elections are staggered, with an election every 2 years for 4-year council member terms. Last time, it was for the odd numbered council districts. This time it's gonna be for the even numbered council districts like Raman's Council District (CD) 4. Each council district is the size of a small city and LA City Council Members are like Mini Mayors...and, of course, they vote on citywide policies and even on actions in other council districts that are not their own...for example, the extremists have voted in the recent past against efforts by Traci Park to protect her Venice area residents from the homeless druggies to whom former council member Mike Bonin rolled out the red carpet. Highest paid city council in the country, I believe. Many of them came down from being Sacramento State Legislators for the pay bump to over 200k per year. Last city council election, the Times endorsed extremists like Hugo Soto-Martinez for the Hollywood Council District, CD13, who opposes LAMC 41.18 no camping zones, EVEN opposes protecting SCHOOLS from encampments...and Eunisses Hernandez for CD1, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, a defund-the-police extremist...and the very dangerous Katy Yaroslavsky, Zev's daughter-in- law, for CD5 (which includes Beverly Grove and Westwood)...I've written plenty about her for CityWatch...you can google all those columns. So, that's THREE members of “The Gang of Four” (not my expression)...you can fully expect the Times to back Raman for this coming election. They even have cover provided by Bass' endorsement of Raman.

Raman is the one that famously blamed Toyota for catalytic converter thefts from Priuses...or is it Prii.

Getting back to the subject of recalls, Californians were able to get the Newsom Recall on the ballot (through a combination of paid signature gatherers and volunteers)...and he would have been recalled...but him and his powerful buddies (and the CA Secretary of State Shirley Weber...who Newsom appointed to her position to fill a vacancy...lol) kept Name D's off the ballot (even Villaraigosa didn't run...he would have won)...and the media helped too. It became a choice between him and a controversial Republican. 

The highly unpopular LA City Council Member Mike Bonin almost got recalled...they couldn't collect enough signatures in time. But he saw the writing on the wall and chose not to run for reelection. San Francisco's unpopular DA...Chesa Boudin...he got recalled. And San Francisco is better off for it. Same problems as LA... crime, homelessness, and drugs like fentanyl. Chesa Boudin was hated for the same reasons as Gascon. Interestingly enough, Gascon was previously San Francisco DA...he also was at LAPD for many years, many years ago. He had connections from that...that's how he got the LA gig...I do believe that Caruso and even the more conservative LA Daily News INITIALLY endorsed him years ago. Wikipedia says that “during his time at LAPD, Gascon earned his JD from Western State College of Law in 1996.” That's an EXCELLENT law school. Clearly, at some point in the last few years, he seemingly lost his mind and became pro-criminal. Maybe somebody at CityWatch can look into when that happened and what caused it...and then write it up for me to read. I do remember reading an article about Gascon's office, with the help of Newsom's State Attorney General pick, Rob Bonta's (again filling a vacancy between elections, which based on Newsom's picks, seems like it is a bad policy...just hold a Special Election so that we can get good people and so that bad people don't have the benefit of incumbency when they initially run) office, turning Death Row sentences into Life Sentences without consulting victim families...that rubbed me the wrong way. But just google George Gascon...there have been SO MANY SCANDALS...almost all involving being ridiculously soft on criminals. When we replace him, I have no doubt that crime in LA County will fall dramatically.

Anyway, if the Times Editorial Board is endorsing Gascon, it's VERY clear where we're headed...a redo of the last City/County election, where the Times endorsed extremist progressives like Lindsey Horvath for County Supervisor (she's Nika Soon-Shiong's buddy from WeHo), Erin Darling (the Mike Bonin clone) for the Venice Council District, etc, etc...and almost all of them won. Darling did not win because things were THAT BAD in the Venice area and other parts of Mike Bonin's council district.

Even the Times endorsement can't prevail when things are that bad on the ground. Problem is that registered Democrats (like me) vote the LA Times endorsements due to lack of time and knowledge (not like me). Many of them are young market rate renters...if the politicians they voted for make their street and/or hood more dangerous, they just move. Patrick Soon-Shiong and his daughter have betrayed the trust that Angelenos have long had with the paper by hoisting these Absolutely Horrible Extremists into victory...to then go on and destroy Los Angeles. The Times is very much to blame for LA's decline, and the endorsements are the biggest part of that. 

LA, San Francisco, and Oakland. If you go on Twitter/X, those are the 3 California Cities that are suffering from constant crime, drugs, and homelessness. Residents are moving out. Businesses are moving out. Oakland's In-And-Out just closed because of rampant crime and the company wasn't shy about saying so. It was even making money, but they're still closing it because they're worried about the safety of employees and customers. That's happening to A LOT of businesses in LA too, shutting down because of homelessness and crime. 

Who else has the Times endorsed?? The Special Interest Speed Camera Lady for Congress, Laura Friedman. I've followed her for years...not a fan. But she recently took it to a new low in the State Legislature by pushing through Speed Cameras for us, part of the Bike Bozo, Anti-Car, Anti-Poor Agenda. Completely worthless politician if that's her priority. And I actually don't drive. Haven't driven in years. But her legislation is not gonna make us safer. It's just about raising money, making Traffic worse so LA Metro gets Congestion Pricing, turning over our streets to the Bike Lobby, and forcing the working poor people to take the Bus. The Times has gone All-In on the Bike Bozo, “Streets For All” (which is really Streets for Bike Riders and I'm not talking about motorcycles), Anti-Car, LA Metro Bandwagon. And what did Angelenos used to complain about all the time...TRAFFIC. The LA Times is making it worse! 

Don't believe me? The Times has ALSO endorsed the Absolutely Horrible Measure HLA: 

“The initiative would FORCE L.A.’s leaders to enact their own visionary Mobility Plan, which aims to make the city’s CAR-DOMINATED streets safer for pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users and, yes, even drivers.” [emphasis added] 

Who got this garbage on the ballot? Why, the well-funded extremist anti-car, pro-bike group “Streets for All”, of course. You vote for this, you're gonna be spending a lot of time stuck in Traffic, away from your family, friends, and loved ones. Streets for All is the group that got Mayor Bass to support ripping up the Marina Freeway...until she realized it would damage her politically. But why did she throw in her support so quickly, without consulting the impacted communities and Council Member Traci Park. Probably because she owes the LA Times and came into office on a Progressive Wave. But the pendulum is swinging the other way now...to common sense, away from extremism.

You know, I actually read about a 24-hour Bus Lane that was created in the Valley. Who needs a 24 hour Bus Lane in Los Angeles, which has horrible bus service at night and on weekends?? That's really just a very wide bike lane. Bus Lanes are the new bike lanes...incognito. Bikes can use them, they're cheap for the otherwise Anti-Bus LA Metro to create, they have the potential to make Traffic worse and take away needed Parking for Businesses. 

The Wilshire Bus Lanes are GREAT. Wilshire used to be a parking lot during Rush Hour and now Traffic flows, even though the Cities of Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and the Condo Corridor didn't participate. But I question the La Brea Bus Only Lanes in my hood. I don't drive, so I ask DRIVERS OF CARS to let me know in the comments below...have the La Brea Bus Only Lanes made traffic better or worse during Rush Hour (because you couldn't park during rush hour, so the new bus lanes actually took away several hours of rush hour driving lanes)? I do applaud Heather Hutt for protecting her Residents and Businesses (there has also been an expansion of what is considered “rush hour” to take away parking during non-rush hour) from the negative impacts of these new lanes...at least in her Council District south of Olympic Blvd. She has been surprisingly good on a few major issues, even though she came to office in a way that was unfair to her ballot competition. 

The Bike Bozos actually took over my neighborhood council (NC) years ago. They wanted a “Road Diet” on 6th Street, you know, the way to avoid traffic on Wilshire. You know why it's called a Road Diet, right? Because you die while sitting in the traffic it causes. These folks dream of a Utopia where we will all be forced out of our cars and ride bikes...then they got smart and said that they're fighting for pedestrians too. I believe it was a unanimous vote of my NC's Board in favor of the 6th St Road Diet...thankfully, former council member David Ryu (how the heck did he lose to Raman?) knew it was political suicide and shot down that proposal. They tried to mess with Melrose and when Paul Koretz got pushback from locals, he was politically astute enough to back off. Now they've gotten all too powerful with big money behind them...probably from a few rich progressives who have similar crazy thoughts...they might not even be Angelenos. 

Funny thing about the bike bozos? Years ago, they fought legislation that would have required them to wear helmets. But your car still has to stay a few feet away from them...that legislation passed. But they don't have to do their part in keeping themselves safe. Riding a bike at high speed without a helmet in car traffic is suicidal. 

Have you heard about the new “daylighting” legislation that Newsom signed? It's gonna take away parking spots near crosswalks to save pedestrian lives. But didn't Newsom decriminalize most jaywalking statewide?...wasn't it because jaywalking tickets were unfairly targeting POC (never mind that the majority of Angelenos are Latino and thus POC)? So small businesses are gonna go under so that cars can see pedestrians who are now very likely to cross outside of a crosswalk...actually, so that Newsom can try to undo some of the damage from the jaywalking legislation instead of admitting he made a mistake and undoing it. Classic Crazy California...doesn't the LA Times fit right in?? 

Now, Newsom is FINALLY supporting No Camping Zones...in Court...mainly for the SF Bay Area, I believe (don't forget about us here in LA, Mr. Governor) ...maybe because it's his political base. Maybe homelessness is finally starting to negatively impact the PlumpJack businesses his sister is running so that he doesn't have a conflict of interest...lol...google the PlumpJack Group. 

One more...Incumbent John Lee in CD 12, the most conservative council district in the City (formerly repped by the great Greig Smith) vs Serena Oberstein, better known as the wife of former Paul Krekorian spokesperson Jeremy Oberstein. She's also the former President of the LA City Ethics Commission (CEC), whose members are picked by shady LA Politicos. The CEC is an utter joke to those in the know...taking years to give slaps on the wrist to incumbents/winners (I don't think they even went after Nury's campaign for getting matching funds by reimbursing small contributions and essentially generating fake small contributions, since that used to be a big requirement for matching funds...as far as the CEC is concerned, you can cheat as long as you win), while every once in a while destroying a losing challenger to look tough and discourage them from ever running again. I don't see any normal jobs in her LinkedIn resume, so you know she's right for this one. Expect the Times to endorse her and to use Lee's recent issues with the CEC as their rationale...the CEC has to make an example out of someone in such a corrupt LA City Hall...let's make it the conservative guy to try to manipulate his upcoming election. Is the CEC gonna go after Mayor Bass' DWP Board President who just resigned in an Ethics Scandal? Doubt it. 

Also, Progressive LA City Controller Kenneth Mejia, who Nika Soon-Shiong just LOVES (and the LA Times endorsed; I actually voted for him because I disliked Paul Koretz even more), recently went after Lee for having the most no homeless camping zone arrests in the City. If you're a resident in his council district, that's a GOOD thing. I wish Katy Yaroslavsky wasn't the opposite of that. Essentially, that means that homeless people intentionally violated no camping zones (they have posted signs) and were arrested for doing so...there was actual enforcement of the zones in Lee's council district. That means he's doing his job, keeping his residents and businesses safe, including children and the elderly. According to LAist in their October 6 coverage: “Nearly half of the 2023 arrests have been in ...Lee’s district...That's 836 arrests in District 12, which is more than three times as many as the second-highest district, Council District 1, represented by Eunisses Hernandez. [the defund-the-police socialist]” The suggestion is made that he's pushing homeless people out of his council district. Yeah, but so many of those folks came from outside his council district, as in other parts of the City of LA (think the highly publicized gentrification of Skid Row by Downtown Developers with political help), other cities in LA County, other Counties in CA, and the Other 49 States (I've written several articles about this for CityWatch ...LA is becoming the nation's dumping ground, kinda like patient dumping) And a bunch of homeless uses were forced on his council district previously by the other council members. And he even let Northridge Skateland become a homeless use, which I'm still upset about. 

(“An Angry Angeleno” is the nom de plume of Yuval Kremer, a former ballot candidate for both LA County Supervisor and LA Mayor, who is also a HW Alum.)