It seems so, judging by activities like spending morning, noon and night one recent weekday in Santa Monica pimping the Democrat candidacy of Joe Biden on MSNBC and appearing as himself on a scripted ABC show which we won’t mention here.
It might be well and good when times are well and good, but they aren’t. Eric Garcetti has failed LA in ways big and small, whether from his hallmark of homelessness or dozens of other failures and misrepresentations. His threadbare presence during the Corona Virus episode, its run on stores, its impact on schools and workplaces demonstrates he is Mayor of LA in only superficial ways to the end of his term just like Antonio Villaraigosa was for most of his time in office.
It doesn’t matter when Garcetti filmed the TV acting role; it looks bad for him to read lines in a tuxedo in network TV promos when civic life in LA is shut down. That was time he should have been devoted to his job.
The Prince should formally hand the reigns to City Council president Nury Martinez, who is acting mayor when he is away anyway. While she still struggles to find her sea legs as Council President and has yet to embrace all of its job responsibilities, at least she is at work every day and hopefully understands the gravity of the job. That would put the similarly superficial Joe Buscaino in as Council president; not exactly a deep bench of City Hall talent, but this is what those who voted have elected.
Chris Schauble of the KTLA Morning News set off a small firestorm last week when commenting on a story about a pig wandering around a neighborhood when the anchor erroneously insisted that some pigs stay small.
That’s a myth perpetrated by Madison Avenue and the TV and film industry. No pigs stay small. In fact, it’s this type of misinformation that leads to so many of them being abandoned or killed in local pounds when they aren’t so tiny and cuddly as piglets.
Last year, this columnist helped get two big porkers released from LA Animal Services and sent up to my good friends at Little Orphan Hammies, LOH, in Solvang, where songwriting legend Diane Warren is a donor. Several years back, KTLA did this story on another pig who friends of mine and I helped rescue and send to LOH. Schauble and KTLA News have not yet responded to multiple offers to visit LOH or another pig sanctuary closer to Schauble’s home, to set the record straight.
BILL MAHER’S GUTSY MOVE
Kudos to HBO’s Bill Maher for going forward with last Friday’s episode of his long-running comedic news-talk show “Real Time with Bill Maher” in front of a largely empty audience consisting of his writers and staff at CBS Studios on Fairfax Avenue. (Disclosure: I wrote alongside one of those writers at Warner Bros. many moons ago.)
It is gutsy for a comedian to do a show without an audience and Maher was solid even when jokes fell flat. Once when it happened, he pointed to his writers in the sparse audience and said, “See? Even they didn’t like that joke. . .and they wrote it!”
LAUSD, NOW JUST ANOTHER SOCIAL SERVICES AGENCY?
Fox 11’s Elex Michaelson, host of the excellent community affairs show “This Issue Is,” tweeted this the other day:
“I feel deeply for the LAUSD students who will not be in class starting Monday. Many depend on the schools for food, daycare, education, socialization. 80% of the district’s kids live in poverty. Many of these kids are our most vulnerable & this will really hurt them.”
Michaelson’s sincere observation raises another issue.
Why has the LAUSD become responsible for what amounts to parenting and a primary source for food, daycare and socialization for so many?
Maybe what ails the LAUSD in terms of its educational and financial troubles is that it has morphed into a social services agency. If families are splintered or working so hard that they rely on the school for survival, something is wrong and may be beyond repair at LAUSD. Despite what our local governments and media say, more government (i.e. a school district that serves as a surrogate parent to thousands of kids) doesn’t fix things; it usually makes them worse.
AND FINALLY. . .
A contingent of gadflies repeatedly taunted over the years by now-indicted former LA City Councilmember Mitch Englander showed up to his second hearing a few days after pleading not guilty to seven corruption-related counts.
With huge grins and some with recyclables in tow, they behaved during the federal proceeding, but outside the courthouse let loose from afar with their brand of verbal justice toward the defendant in front of his wife Jayne Englander and defense counsel Janet Levine. That’s a preview of their upcoming fiesta as the trial gets underway on Cinco de Mayo.
But here’s something that raised a few eyebrows during the hearing. The federal government intends to call Levine as a witness in the case, which had the legal eagle visibly shaken when discussed in court. Englander may have undermined his defense by misleading her into becoming a percipient witness.
If you haven’t yet read the indictment, it is an easy read that may convince you that Englander’s goose isn’t just cooked, but rather burned to a crisp.
It makes some think that another City Council outcast, Councilmember Jose Huizar, may have already flipped on his City Hall colleagues. The indictment says, “City Staffer A was City Councilmember A’s special assistant from approximately June 2013 until approximately January 2018.”
Those dates and title match the background of controversial long-time political hand George Esparza and would make Huizar “Councilmember A” in the indictment. Since neither he nor Huizar have been charged in the 18 months since the FBI raided Huizar’s home and City Hall offices, it doesn’t necessarily mean that Huizar snitched on Mitch, but it sure smells like it.
Roll back the calendar to this column’s exclusive story on another FBI raid that took place a few blocks away from LA City Hall shortly after the raid on Huizar. As the Englander case plays out, watch and see how that plays into the bigger corruption story.
What’s remarkable is the hubris of Huizar and his wife, Richelle Rios Huizar, and her brief candidacy to replace him on City Council when he terms out. If the FBI hadn’t shown up with warrants, the corruption was going to continue business as usual. Even Garcetti appointed Mrs. Huizar to his lacking-in-substance Commission on the Status of Women, where she rarely showed up during her brief tenure and when she did, she just as often left early.
In other words, most of these players are dirty or dirty by association.
And this might keep former LA City Council president Herb Wesson, whose family is almost entirely on the public payroll, up at night. Wesson has repeatedly called Huizar “my best friend,” but stripped him of powerful committee assignments and hasn’t had a public sidebar with him since this whole mess went down. The U.S. Attorney at Englander’s second hearing told the judge that “more indictments are on the way.”
With friends like these. . .
(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.