27
Tue, Feb

Watch Out, CD 14!

LOS ANGELES

ACCORDING TO LIZ - Current playground of the ineffective Kevin De León (KDL), the 14th District takes in much of downtown, including all of Skid Row, as well as all or portions of Boyle Heights, Eagle Rock, El Sereno , Garvanza, Glassell Park, Hermon, Highland Park, Monterey Hills, and Lincoln Heights. 

It is the deformed duckling of a side deal on redistricting in 2011 that gave competing Councilmembers equal access to the downtown businesses that spread corporate largesse at election time. 

And does a disservice to both: the residents of the downtown areas could really benefit from a politician focused on their unique problems and, even more-so, the interests of the inhabitants of northeast Los Angeles that have historically fallen through the cracks created by Councilmembers sparring for those deep-pocket downtown interests. 

Well, at least until recently, since we have yet to see how CD 1’s Eunisses Hernandez’ political aspirations play out. And who arises out of the ashes of CD 14 to play her counterpart on the Los Angeles City Council. 

It’s disgusting that the disgraced KDL has the most moolah and, as incumbent, access to district discretionary funds to woo votes. Just a tad reminiscent of his illustrious (not) predecessor, the infamous Sleazy Huizy. 

Who was recently sentenced to 13 years in federal prison for accepting “pay-to-play” bribes from developers that took out affordable housing and instituted a spiral of gentrification, higher rents, and increasing homelessness across the City. 

Now, two years into her second term as California Assemblymember, Wendy Carrillo is campaigning to replace KDL in CD14, but has allied herself with Antonio Villaraigosa the ethically challenged previous mayor, another graduate of the Sacramento school of political maneuvering and CD 14 alum, who was called out on numerous occasions for confusing pursuing personal concerns with good governance. 

Clearly the district has not been well-served, neither by politicians fresh from the halls of Sacramento nor by reelecting incumbents. And has certainly suffered from Councilmembers’ lack of pursuit of pan-district interests at City Hall, not to mention their selective use of community funds to promote their reelections. 

This weekend, KDL dramatically demanded the City clean up graffiti on the unfinished Oceanwide Plaza apartment buildings in downtown, calling it an eyesore on the face of the City, country and the world? 

Come-on KDL. Actually it’s quintessential tagging art that draws tourists to Los Angeles, and where better than across the street from the Grammys. 

Furthermore, why should LA taxpayers have to foot the bill – which they will since it will be a tad difficult to squeeze it from the owners because the project was abandoned in 2019 when the developer ran out of moolah. 

Oh. Perhaps tap the people who approved the project in the first place, the ones so greedy for the tax dollars such a project with a luxury hotel as its anchor located across from the Convention Center might generate. You know, the ones who blindly offered incentives and tax breaks to a Chinese developer from a country then and now reviled for its real estate crookery? 

Since KDL ran for City Council with the same stars in his eyes that drew José Huizar, Mark Ridley Thomas, Curren Price Jr. and Mitch Englander into the Los Angeles City Hall pot of corruption, cooked books and personal profiteering, he along with the individual City Council members should all take personal financial responsibility to right this wrong. 

But – oops – that’s right. Mr. KDL is a tad short of cash himself, probably one of the key reasons he refused to fade away with his co-conspirators – Nury Martinez, Ron Herrera, and Gil Cedillo – when that incriminating recording was released. 

Personal cash flow problems and overweening pride. And the arrogance that goes with it. 

We certainly don’t need another Trump tossing taxpayer funds around as if they were in his personal purse. Do we? 

A love letter from Kev to his Eagle Rock constituents: 

“I am delighted to share with you a momentous accomplishment that took place during last Tuesday's City Council meeting. Our collective efforts have succeeded as the motion I presented was approved by a resounding vote of 10 to 3. This landmark decision allocates $100,000 from Council District 14's discretionary funds to significantly bolster the safety and security of our beloved Eagle Rock. 

“In a clear demonstration of our commitment to the well-being of our community, this funding will be directed towards dedicated foot patrols along Colorado and Eagle Rock Boulevards beginning immediately. The focus will be on combating crimes such as theft and fostering essential community outreach initiatives... 

“Your continued support has been instrumental in achieving this milestone, and I am grateful for the unity and determination of our community. Let's celebrate this achievement and look forward to a safer, brighter future for Eagle Rock.” 

Momentous? Not. 

Since the discretionary funds are just that – discretionary funds that each Councilmember has to allocate as they see fit, approval was pro forma not an accomplishment by any stretch of the imagination. Especially with the tit-for-tat voting prevalent at City Hall. 

And since Eagle Rock has a population of about 35,000, well under 1% of the City’s total, and covers just four and a quarter of the 469 square miles of Los Angeles, what the allocation does is take funding that might otherwise be spent more wisely on items contributing to the well-being of the other 230,000 or so residents of CD 14. 

Instead, KDL uses this money in a manner that appears to be an outright bribe to get voters in the northeast to reelect him – much in the same way that Huizar used prior discretionary funds to repave many residential streets in the area (badly) just prior to his last reelection.] 

Due to the scurrilous redistricting, northeast Los Angeles is the step-child ignored in favor of the downtown business districts. Until elections roll around. 

And after Eunisses Hernández trounced Gil Cedillo in 2022 (prior to the release of the incriminating tapes), KDL is and should be running scared, very scared.

(Liz Amsden is a contributor to CityWatch and an activist from Northeast Los Angeles with opinions on much of what goes on in our lives. She has written extensively on the City's budget and services as well as her many other interests and passions.  In her real life she works on budgets for film and television where fiction can rarely be as strange as the truth of living in today's world.)