THE VIEW FROM HERE - Don’t get all excited; LA city will still be a corrupt feudal society run by oligarchs.
There is nothing anyone can do about that sad fact. Every once in a while, the voters get to speak. Set aside for the time being, that they usually say foolishness and make everything worse. This November, some of the city elections might, maybe, perhaps, but probably not, change LA for the better.
Let’s Start with Councilmember Koretz vs the Accountant Mejia for City Controller
Here’s feudal overlord and termed out Councilmember Paul Koretz’ argument against Kenneth Mejia, who received the most votes in the primary. In 2013, Mejia let his CPA (Certified Public Accountant) go inactive! Koretz’ CPA license never went inactive since he never bothered to get one nor did he get a degree in accounting. His degree is in history.
Mejia graduated from Woodbury University in 2010 with a B.S. in accounting. He had his CPA license since 2013, and he worked at Ernst & Young, which is one of the largest professional services networks in the world. Then, he turned his attention to feeding the poor and became socially active on the left side of the political spectrum. He let his CPA license go inactive. Wikipedia Contrary to what Koretz would have one believe, being inactive did not erase from Mejia’s mind all his education and experience at international Ernst & Young. I bet Mejia would know how to audit a former councilmember’s sketchy financial dealing with Los Angeles Animal Services (LASS) see The GussReport.
Why the Mejia-Koretz Election for City Controller Matters
This is one of the positions where voters have to weigh character. This is not a Tweedle-Dee Tweedle-Dum election. Mejia not only has a gazillion times more accounting credentials than Koretz, but he is rash and brash. I’d say he is close to irrationally impetuous and that facts seem to play a minor role in his decision making. He sends disruptors into political meetings to swear at establishment candidates. The GussReport He supported the short lived Defund the Police craze, an idiotic meme, which arose from the justified outrage over the wanton and sadistic murder of George Floyd. Mejia has fallen into anti-Semitism, which is de rigueur for Wokers. If it’s good enough for Nancy Pelosi and the Rev. Farrakhan, it’s good enough for Mejia. Nonetheless, one hopes that the City Controller’s real currency would be in truth and integrity and not in blood libels.
There is no third choice; either it’s altacocker Koretz with a reason to prevent any audit of his behavior until after statute of limitations runs out or it is newbie Mejia with the professional qualifications, who falls for simplistic anti-Semitic tropes. (Allow me to interject that I think Woke is Wack; thus, Mejia and I do not live near each other on the political spectrum.)
Rick Caruso vs Karen Bass for Mayor
This election is a Rorschach Test. Either voters see a lying con artist devoid of ethics or a kindly grandmother who should be baking cookies. Being Jewish, I side with the grandmother who places people first. Some day in the future, historians may be discussing lack of ethics in government. When they take up the case of Donald Trump, they can agree, “At least, he was no Rick Caruso.” If anyone wants a lesson in crass character assassination contrary to the unwritten rule to keep religion out of politics, they can look at the despicable TV ads Rick Caruso has been running against Karen Bass. Well over a decade ago, Karen Bass, when Speaker of the California Assembly, gave one of those saying-nothing-speeches before Scientologists. After each bland platitude, Caruso features some damning quote about Scientology to make it seem that when Karen Bass gave her speech she was endorsing such behavior such as beating women into having abortions. Karen Bass is a Baptist, but Caruso renamed the Church of Scientology as “Church of Karen.”
Right now, many people do not like Scientologists. Similarly, Mejia does not like Israelis and by extension apparently Jews like myself who support Israel. I have seen no Mejia advertisements attacking Paul Koretz for being Jewish. Since the 1960 election of JFK, religion has been kept out of politics, and when some interject it into the political arena, others are quick to object. Caruso does not care that in America, in politics, religion-bashing is out of bounds!
Yes, we should investigate and criminally charge individual Scientologists and Catholic priests and Orthodox rabbis in Brooklyn for their misdeeds, but making any religion into a political weapon disqualifies Caruso. He obviously will stoop as low as he feels he has to go to get elected.
Most Disturbing Is the Cowardliness of the Media
Caruso is spending tens of millions of dollars on campaign ads, and if any media outlet chastises him, they can wave good-bye to those dollars. The harshest thing that the Los Angeles Time’s Steve Lopez could manage was “shrug.” We have not even had the election and Caruso is already corrupting us.
The Flaws in a Democracy
Although Los Angeles is not a democracy or a republic, but a feudal order composed of fifteen fiefdoms, where some Angelenos get to vote, people believe that LA is a democracy where people have a say in city government. Elections do not offer up the best and brightest. Elections attract power-mongers who realize that the ripping off the government is the best heist of all. Some power-mongers covet the power and they do not put any cash in their pockets. Others, especially those who came to government as millionaires or billionaires, see the government as the famous bank robber Willie Sutton saw banks. It’s the best place to rob because it’s got the money.
Los Angeles Has No Housing Shortage
By 2019, the county had 251,000 vacant units. Last year 204,000 people left Los Angeles. We have only 44,000 homeless. Thus, our housing stock is approaching ten empty units per homeless person. Caruso promises to build hundreds of thousands more affordable units. Why! No business is better suited to corruption that the construction industry. Add to those housing units, another $100 Billion plus for subways and other mass transit. The taxpayers will pay for all it. The poor have no money and the Millennials have moved to Austin, Denver, or Costa Rica.
Perhaps, we Angelenos can begin to reverse decades of corrupt decline by electing people with a modicum of integrity.
(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]. The opinions expressed by Mr. Abrams are solely his and not necessarily those of CityWatch.)