LA WATCHDOG-Los Angeles’ cupboard is bare as it is projecting a three year cumulative deficit of $425 million. But that is not stopping the campaign funding leadership of the Coalition of LA City Unions from using its political and financial clout to strong arm the City Council into approving a budget busting, multiyear labor agreement that will further aggravate our cash strapped City’s financial woes. The Coalition represents a significant portion of the City’s civilian employees and has been negotiating with the City since before the expiration of its contracts on June 30. Unfortunately, we are not privy to these secret negotiations that are overseen by the Executive Employee Relations Committee (“EERC”). This secretive body that meets behind closed doors consists of the Mayor and four members of the City Council, all of whom have blatant conflict of interests since they have benefitted from cash contributions to their campaigns from our public sector unions.
CONNECTING CALIFORNIA-For the record, I did not intend to get naked for this column. But the woman at the local massage parlor insisted that I remove my pants and underwear before she would put her hands on me. And so I took it all off–in order to better understand today’s California.
TRUTHDIG-Protecting immigrants from deportation, permitting them to come out of the shadows, is the right thing to do. The country will be strengthened when these people are allowed to pursue their family lives, work and education without fear. Upward striving immigrants, determined that they and their children get ahead, will infuse the nation’s economic, cultural and intellectual life with badly needed energy and creativity.
CALBUZZ SPECIAL-Tell me if you have you seen this movie before: a corporate special interest, frustrated with the Legislature, dreams up a ballot measure designed to protect its profits. An army of high-priced consultants tells the naive corporate backers they can win — notwithstanding public polls showing just the opposite.
GELFAND’S WORLD-I can remember Greg Nelson, the spiritual godfather of the neighborhood council movement, referring to participatory democracy within the system. The term has a 1960s protestor sound to it, probably because one extreme form of participatory democracy came of age during that era and dwindled just as rapidly.
JUST SAYIN’-Washington (one of the most dysfunctional places in recent history) rarely gets it right, but not this time! Despite the close vote, Keystone XL (or as Senator Boxer referred to it, “X-tra Lethal) went down for the count (hopefully for the last time). There has been so much dissemination of bad information, that it is time once again to try to straighten things out. The pro-pipeline people either like to scare us into supporting their point of view or attempt to coax us (based upon all the “benefits” they describe) into wanting to cheer when we hear these prevaricators speak.
GETTING THERE FROM HERE-Having been "converted" to recognizing the growing support for an Eastside Light Rail Extension, I think that the Metro Board did the right thing by studying both the SR-60 and Washington Blvd. Alternatives (the latter would also identify an alternate north-south connection along Garfield Ave.). There is an increasing desire by the cities and residents along both routes to create a local project, but what they don't know WILL certainly hurt them.
MY TURN-At a recent conference City Lab, held in Los Angeles, Mayor Garcetti talked about his vision for autonomous vehicles--having entire neighborhoods devoted to driverless machines. At a gathering of world-wide Mayors, civic leaders and educational institutions sponsored by Atlantic Magazine, Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Aspen Institute, speakers spoke about solving urban problems. This was the second annual Conference. The first was held last year in New York and our Mayor was so impressed with the quality and the networking that he invited the Conference to be held in Los Angeles.
RETROSPECTIVE-It was November 9, 1989. I was at the library at Northwestern University, putting the final touches on my first book — which happened to be about Soviet foreign policy. In a mad rush to beat my deadline, I dashed out and dropped the manuscript in the FedEx box just before the truck pulled up. I headed home, feeling exhilarated.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Basketball Legend)-I didn’t come here just to play basketball
Keith Olbermann-Observer, journalist, writer-My Father Asked Me to Kill Him