Tue, Feb

Only Ask Questions They Do Not Want to Answer


THE VIEW FROM HERE - Election season is under way and various groups are arranging what they call debates or candidate forums where the public may ask sanitized questions. For those who want to target the actual issues rather than provide a platform for more political lies and evasions, the public needs to learn how to ask questions which the candidates do not want to answer. 

The Current Inane Process 

Currently, these debates and forums are soul sucking events designed to let the candidates spew nonsense, e.g., Los Angeles has a housing shortage.  Almost all begin with a question like, “Tell us why you are a wonderful person.”  Too often, a moderator screens all questions so that the candidates are never embarrassed.   

Here’s How to Phrase the Question 

“Is it not true that . . . . “ A stronger variation is “Admit that . . .” Example: “Is it not true that since you took office, you voted Yes on every project which included demolishing rent control units.  If your response is No, please identify each and every project on which you voted No.” 

It Can Take a Team to Question a Politico 

On the issue of destroying rent controlled units, which is the main cause of the Homeless Crisis, a team approach will be helpful as your first question will make you persona non grata.  It’s wise to have allies for a coordinated for an attack on corruption.   With a team you can have a several audience members who can ask the follow-up questions.  Forums where a moderator or the other candidates ask the questions are a waste of time.  Whenever possible insist audience members themselves ask their questions. Writing out questions for the moderator to read is a sham. 

A great place to begin research on incumbents is the Los Angeles City Clerk’s webpage which records every votes by every councilmember. See this section of the City Clerk’s page    Click on the blue words and then Bookmark this page. 

It has a goldmine of information. Starting here is the best way to see a councilmember’s voting pattern.  It has every vote going back years. 

How to Use the City Clerk’s Council Voting Page 

Start in the upper right hand corner for the dates between which the website will retrieve the votes. Then, ask for “All Meetings” and then the specific councilmember, and at the bottom ask for all “No Votes.”   For CD 4 Nithya Raman, there will be 25 No Votes for the year 2023.  None will be a No Vote against a developer project which destroys rent controlled units (RSO).  The destruction of RSO units is a substantial factor in creating the Homeless Crisis, while a vote for Affordable Housing is usually a scam to benefit the developer with millions of dollars.  Meanwhile, the poor remain on the streets. 

Since Homelessness was a major issue in the last election and will be a huge issue in future elections, it helps voters to know which councilmember never Voted No on eliminating poor people’s homes. Rather than go through the thousands of votes which Raman cast, for example, it is much easier to look at her No Votes. One can rather easily click on each No Vote to see its subject matter.  If it is a construction project, it will so state.

The City Clerk’s Council Voting Page Shows Who Is a Criminal 

Penal Code § 86 criminalizes vote trading in city councils. When the developer has to bribe a majority of the city council members in order to get his project approved, bribery is inefficient and expensive.  The key to the criminal Vote Trading System is called One and Done. Because each city councilmember agrees to vote Yes on any and all projects in other council districts in return for a Yes vote for any project which he places on the city council agenda, all councilmembers vote Yes.  Due to the Vote Trading System, a developer needs to be nice to only the councilmember where he wants to build in order to guarantee unanimous approval of his project.  

An Effective Use of The Neighborhood Councils 

Yes, the Neighborhood Councils (NC’s) have become virtually useless. It seems DONE, which runs roughshod over the individual NC’s, is primarily concerned with implementing the Woke DEI agenda.  Nonetheless, some times they can be beneficial.  NC’s holding candidate forums  can be converted into opportunity to cross examine the candidates.  While no candidate wants even one “Is it not truth that ...” question, a refusal to answer also is a black mark against them. 

Grass roots organizations can do a lot of work which NC’s cannot do.  Even a small group with 5  active members can gather a ton of data from the City Clerk’s webpage.  They can make a party of it where they bring their laptops and have a ball searching how the councilmembers voted. Councilmembers’ prior actions speak louder than words. 

What About Non Incumbents? 

They have no voting track record, but their Webpages will be filled with grandiose promises.  Those web pages are great places to find a basis to puncture their pomposity.  For example, CD 4 candidate Ethan Weaver: “Is it not true, Mr Weaver, that your webpage does not even address the City Council’s Vote Trading System which Penal Code § 86 criminalized?” 

This is where having a grassroots organization is helpful.  If he denies the system is criminal, the a second questioner can ask: “Is it not true that Penal Code § 86 criminalizes vote trading by city council members.” 

Another can ask, “Is it not true than Nithya Raman has voted Yes for every construction project in the city and no councilmembers has voted against a project which she placed on the city council agenda.” (Be sure get list of some of her projects.) 

A fourth person can ask, “Is it not true that the entire time you have been a deputy district attorney, you have taken no action against any councilmember for participating in the Vote Trading?” 

Why Exposure of the Criminal Vote Trading System Is Crucial 

Without the Vote Trading System, there would not have been the mass destruction of RSO units nor the excessive densification of Los Angeles.  Throwing an unprecedented number of poor people onto the streets created the Homeless Crisis. Excessive densification always raises housing costs. If developers could not destroy smaller homes to cram a four story multiple unit complex where one or two detached homes stood, the sale prices of homes would not have escalated. Each time a developer purchases a single family home, he pays the high Developer Price.  Because the developer plans to make millions of dollars on the project, he can easily afford to pay two times the home’s value, but the family looking for a place to live cannot compete.  The developers’ purchase prices go into the Comps for that area and the next seller wants the same high price. Millennials and Gen Zers are moving away in droves as they cannot afford homes in LA and employers follow them out of state. 

As a result of the Vote Trading System, LA has the Homeless Crisis and absurdly high housing costs so that our best and brightest are leaving. If there is any chance to save what is good in LA, voters have to attack the Vote Trading System.  Thus, voters should only ask cross-examination type questions “Is it not true ....” or “Admit that you ....” The politicos will hate it because they hate the truth.

(Richard Lee Abrams has been an attorney, a Realtor and community relations consultant as well as a CityWatch contributor.  You may email him at [email protected].)