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LA’s Continuity of Corruption and Stupidity

@THE GUSS REPORT-While the official hand-off of the LA City Council presidency from Herb Wesson to Nury Martinez doesn’t officially take place until January, it is effectively already underway. Wesson is supposed to represent Council District 10 until the end of this term, but now leaves meetings early, if he shows up at all. 

In an oddly comforting way, like a snake shedding its skin with the new skin being identical to the prior one, City Hall’s corruption and stupidity continues, which is why things are likely to stay the same or get worse. 

LAPD, Political as Ever, Can’t Show Me the Money 

If any entity should be apolitical, it’s a police department. This column was first to discover that the LAPD provided free security for the private family wedding of Wesson’s son, Justin Wesson, to Alexis Marin, both City Council aides. Within hours of my asking Wesson’s office about those free services, the story appeared in the LA Times, and neither entity denied that Wesson’s office fed the Times’ David Zahniser that tip to get a “softer” telling of the story, a favor that the Times regularly does for Wesson. 

So, this column recently obtained Wesson’s film permits for his recent shoot of his political commercial in which the lawmaker – dressed magnificently, as though headed to a golf tournament – walks around feces-laden homeless encampments searching for his son, Douglas, who he says is homeless and addicted to drugs. 

Ten days after I made a public records request to the LAPD for proof that Wesson’s campaign (for LA County Supervisor) paid the LAPD for mandatory security at those shoots, it says “special circumstances” exist requiring an additional 14 days for the agency to search for that reimbursement.  According to my public records attorney, the LAPD can’t just say “special circumstances.” It needs to explain specifically what they are but refuses to do so. By comparison, when I requested proof that Wesson’s son reimbursed the LAPD for the wedding security, it took them only five days to show the transaction details. 

The LAPD has promised a response by the end of this week. We will see whether the perpetually cash-strapped lawmaker reimbursed the LAPD, or not, or whether it was only done after my records request. If there’s anything fishy, the dates and figures will be compared to Wesson’s campaign finance records. 

By the way, even though LA is loaded with production companies, Wesson didn’t hire locally. He instead hired one based in Salem, New Hampshire. 

Completely Unrelated 

Here’s a photo of Wesson with a random passerby from last week. No, it’s not me. He and I both know why it’s amusing, and we can have some fun letting people wonder. I don’t trust him whatsoever as a politician, but I still like him personally.  

Forget LA’s Homeless; City Council Now Welcomes Refugees! 

It seems LA City Council has given up on its homeless crisis because last week, it made an utterly empty re-affirmation of LA as a “Welcome City” for. . .refugees!  

The 15 lawmakers didn’t say where such refugees would live in a city where the phrase “housing crisis” is as common as “It’s Time for Dodger Baseball!” 

No mention of whether the refugees would receive social services or who will pay for it. Just a chance to welcome more people to LA despite tens of thousands of American refugees, also known as homeless people, living in disease and desperation on our streets, store alcoves and off-ramps. 

When I pointed out these concerns at a Council meeting last week, Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell improperly interrupted my comments – yet oddly he wasn’t cited as being “disruptive” to the progress of the meeting. Perhaps his ego is still bruised from my recent story on him. Councilmember Paul Koretz, who ran the meeting at that time (where did Nury go?), decided to not give me back the five or so seconds of interruption – such pettiness, Paul – that I appealed to the Deputy City Attorney for fairness, who then told Koretz to cough up the five. . .lousy. . .seconds, which he did. 

When five seconds requires a City Attorney intervention, you know that City Council is lost, abusive and full of itself. 

The lawmakers were also upset at my asking what they consider to be a refugee. Millions of economic refugees would love to come to Los Angeles from Central America, Mexico and elsewhere. But not one of the Councilmembers stepped up to host them in their own homes, or on their dime. 

As always, LA City Council makes foolish, empty proclamations that go nowhere. . . But yes, keep voting for these people, LA. 

Garcetti’s Gender-bending Piggies 

In October, this columnist offered to help two abandoned pigs at LA Animal Services, the high-kill impound run (poorly) by the Eric Garcetti administration. Poor, as in his $314,534.20 GM Brenda Barnette and his five Commissioners, Larry Gross, Alisa Finsten, Olivia Garcia, Jose Sandoval and Roger Wolfson, ignored the offer for weeks, even though it could have been accomplished in just a few days. 

Part of the confusion was the animal agency’s inability to even figure out the genders of the pigs.  Most people would just LOOK for an appendage in the right area. 

Now, I know this is a little basic for most CityWatch readers, but for City employees who are paid six-figure salaries at LAAS and given the title of “Life-Saving Coordinator” and the like, my piggy expert friends advise the following: 

“The boys pee down, and girls pee straight back.” Got that, Commissioners? While most of us learned this long ago, let me know if you need a diagram. 

LAAS Assistant GM Tammy Watson advises that when one of the pigs first came into its custody, it was thought to be female, but the staff named “her” Wilbur. Stop and ponder that for a bit. Does LAUSD need to reconsider its curriculum, or are farm animals now a #MeToo, #Woke thing? 

Then, for no known reason, the name was changed to Willamina. And finally, when he/she was brought to the vet, it was determined to be a male, and the name was changed to William. There’s no accountability at LAAS, so let’s just publicly shame them a bit. 

The piggies are headed to sanctuary Little Orphan Hammies next Sunday. Way to take 50 days rather than 7, folks. . . 

City Hall Ignores Help for Dogs in Most Need of a Miracle 

For reasons I’ll explain in an upcoming column, I offered LAAS and Mayor Garcetti’s office that I would take in whichever dog in its custody is most in need of a miracle, provided that primary veterinary care is covered by the well-funded Animal Welfare Trust Fund, AWTF, and that I would continue helping those dogs in perpetuity, meaning not just finding homes for them, but that I would personally adopt some myself. 

No response. 

This blown opportunity would not only bring attention to animals most in need of help, but also to the AWTF and how people can donate. The fund, which is supposed to directly help animals is regularly raided by Barnette and the Commissioners to pay for travel, lodging and meals to industry events.  Donors should reconsider whether their money directly brings care, healing and comfort to homeless animals, or not, and redirect those funds to private animal charities instead of to this rip-off. 

And Finally. . . 

Sorry to see 790-KABC reshuffling its lineup and the name of the great Peter Tilden not in it. I thoroughly enjoyed being on his show, as he makes sharing stories fun and easy. He is a blast during commercials, as well. Tilden is an LA treasure who we will hopefully have back before too long. 

While @The Guss Report is published on CityWatch on Mondays, come back this Thursday for a quickie piece on the most moronic City Council moment of the past week. Bye for now.

 

(Daniel Guss, MBA, is a member of the Los Angeles Press Club, and has contributed to CityWatchLA, KFI AM-640, iHeartMedia, 790-KABC, Huffington Post, Los Angeles Daily News, Los Angeles Magazine, Movieline Magazine, Emmy Magazine, Los Angeles Business Journal, Pasadena Star News, Los Angeles Downtown News, and the Los Angeles Times in its Sports, Opinion, Entertainment sections and Sunday Magazine, among other publishers. Follow him on Twitter @TheGussReport. His opinions are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of CityWatch. Prepped for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.)