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LA Times, City Council Punk, Get Punked and Mis-Remember

@THE GUSS REPORT-On Wednesday, the LA times published a “news” story about a nearly two-decade-old and long-debunked rape allegation against LA City Councilmember David Ryu. 

The timing of the article by the Times’ Emily Alpert Reyes is curious, given that the allegation was already long on Ryu’s Wikipedia page. The allegation has also long been a subject of mockery by City Council gadflies Wayne Spindler, Armando Herman and Mike Greenspan, among others. 

But Ryu may get the last laugh on this story because at the bottom of the column, a prankster changed Alpert Reyes’s Twitter handle to @LATimesEmily, an account featuring pornographic images, including a few that look rather painful, along with spam in Japanese and Arabic.  

The Times Mis-remembers the Northridge Earthquake 

Recently, the Times did a story about earthquake retrofitting, mislabeling a photo of the tragic and deadly collapse of the Northridge Meadows apartments from the 1994 earthquake as being from the 1989 Bay Area quake. A plurality of the quake victims perished in Northridge. 

I Tweeted the inaccuracy to the Times, which corrected the photo with the wrong date and location, but what it didn’t do, as is customary, was point out the correction to its readers. 

But the Most Shameful City Council Moment of the Week was . . . 

For anyone who thinks that the change in leadership at LA City Council was going to improve things as it switches hands from termed-out Herb Wesson to Nury Martinez, this should put those thoughts to rest. 

While the official hand-off doesn’t take place until January, City Clerk Holly Wolcott has already sworn in Martinez. But less than 24 hours later, Martinez was already giving constituents City Council’s familiar and proverbial middle finger. 

That was when one agenda item last week drew dozens of immigrant families concerned that the City’s super-lenient rules for street food vendors were either hurting them financially or forcing them out of business altogether, costing them what their families and employees built over the years. 

Specifically, they are restaurant owners who are concerned that street food vendors set up shop in front of their restaurants where they don’t pay rent, don’t have staffs to hire, don’t face on-site health inspections and customers who might be headed into the restaurants could be lured away with food cooked and sold on their restaurants’ doorsteps. 

But the heat from the criticism was deflected when Martinez allowed the item to be disrupted by – wait for it – mariachis! 

Click here to watch the desperate pleas to the Councilmembers, or advance to the 2 hour, 4 minute mark where it was all set aside by the mariachis. 

Yes, friends, we know your lives and businesses are being ruined, but let’s take it down a notch and celebrate as a parade of colorfully attired mariachis and dancers march down the aisle, halt the discussion, taking the focus away to honor Don Cheto, a Latino community icon. 

No doubt Don Cheto is a deserving recipient, but the timing could not have been more cringeworthy.  If this was any indication, City Council’s change in leadership just means business as usual, where parades and celebrations take priority over serious issues created and made worse by LA’s inept government. 

Elections, my friends, have consequences. 

(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.) Photo: LA Times. Prepped for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.