We’re Doomed!

A VIEW FROM HERE - When the most laudable candidate to be Los Angeles' next Mayor is unwilling to say whether the state’s criminal laws apply to the city council, we are doomed to continued rapacious lawlessness. 

Every horrible thing which has befallen Angelenos in the last two decades has been the result of a city council which operates according to a criminal voting pact.  It does not take Einstein to figure out why even Karen Bass will not admit the obvious, .i.e., Penal Code § 86 expressly forbids any voting trading by city councilmembers.  Here’s the likely logic of her position: 

(1) Without exception, every city councilmember engages in a criminal vote trading system. 

(2) If I, Karen Bass, deny that PC § 86 applies to the city council, I have taken a position which is 100% contrary to the statute. Suppose I say that it is OK for a councilmember to take $250,000.00 from a developer to vote for his project.   Penal Code § 86 says that receiving a return vote is no different from taking cash bribe.  How will I, Karen Bass, explain why it is illegal to take cash but not illegal to accept a vote?  

(3) If I, Karen Bass, admit that PC § 86 applies to the city council, then I will have to take steps to stop the criminal vote trading.  Step one would be to denounce it during my campaign. 

Perhaps, Candidate Bass has an alternative explanation 

As We Learned During the AIDS Epidemic, Silence = Death 

Karen Bass, like all other politicos, relies on polling of likely voters.    Promises to address the Homeless Crisis ranks number one in Los Angeles. Addressing the actual causes of homelessness, i.e. a hideously corrupt city council which has preyed upon the poorest and weakest among us for decades, shall never cross her lips.  The public’s idea of solving the Homeless Crisis is to hide the homeless.  The public does not care whether the homeless are shoved into jail or hidden behind the fence of the Veterans Administration or crammed into tiny homes with 64 sq ft per person, or if they simply die and are cremated. Just hide them, somewhere, anywhere. 

Why Did The Homeless Become So Visible in Los Angeles 

Because The City intentionally uses fatally flawed data to the extent that it subverted the law (Judge Goodman Jan 2014), the city of Los Angeles continues to build into a surplus of high end apartments and condos while destroying the homes of the poor, i.e. Rent Controlled Apartments (RSO).  Thousands of these new units stand vacant.  The city council tried to help the developers by giving them all the sales tax revenue and business license fees from their projects.  Also, anything built under the CRA (the corrupt Community Redevelopment Agency) did not actually pay property taxes.  The tax revenue from their projects went to the CRA which then doled the funds out to the developers to subsidize more projects. 

As the then city controller Laura Chick pointed out, the CRA projects’ retail areas stood mostly vacant.   The city did not have sales taxes and license fees to return to the developers. Thus, developers could not pay their mortgages.  The developers rely on their rents to pay their mortgages, but they stood largely empty ending in bankruptcy.  When projects went BK, the city gave additional help by not collecting any of the CRA loans.  The Hollywood-Highland Project which cost $625 M to construct was sold to CIM Group for only $201 M and none of the $90 M in CRA loans was repaid.  That still left $344 M owing to Wall Street. 

Measures HHH and JJJ Ride to the Recuse 

Like the calvary in an old Hollywood Western when killing Indians was still laudable, Garcetti rode in on Measures HHH and JJJ. The city would get $1.2 Billion from Wall Street by issuing bonds.  The ruse to deceive the public was that the HHH & JJJ money would go for Affordable Housing to house the growing homeless population.  As pointed out before Measures HH and JJJ passed, it was a scam. The charade rested upon the public’s fear of the homeless invading decent people’s lives.  In order to stampede the voters into approving the measures, the city made the homeless highly visible.  Homeless encampments were crucial to Garcetti’s getting the measures passed.  The promise was that developers would set aside 35% of their units for the homeless.  Thus, the key to getting the “unwashed, diseased degenerates” out of right was more high end units.   

It was a fraud from the start. Developers would take the millions in public subsidies, bankrupt their LLCs and LLPs, and then a judge would wave his magic gavel and turn all the affordable unit into luxury units.  With no low rent affordable units, the developers could pay their Wall Street mortgages. Thus, the developer would maximize their rental income and Wall Street did not lose its money.  The city still had to pay back all the funds which it had borrowed under Measure HHH. (The total bill with interest could have been $2.4 billion).                                         

This multi-billion dollar scam made rent controlled apartments (RSO) units highly desirable.  Also in December 2016, Judge Fruin sanctified the criminal vote trading at city council.  

Oops Someone Forgot to Tell the Ninth Circuit     

The Ninth Circuit ruined this scam with its 2017 Sunnyslope decision.   It ruled that if a developer took any money to construct affordable housing, the courts could not remove the low rent affordable housing units.  Garcetti’s plan was to make multi-million gifts to developers and to build zero affordable units.  In reliance on the Measure HHH and JJJ fraud, developers had invested heavily into destroying RSO units. 

Myopia to the Nth Degree 

Since Garcetti never planned to build a single affordable unit with HHH funds, his making homeless people highly visible was a myopically foolish scam.  Once the homeless were camped under freeway underpasses and along the sidewalks outside the luxury high rises, their numbers would grow unless the city stopped the destruction of RSO units. It did not.   

Any candidate who closes her eyes to the criminal enterprise which has resulted in the needless deaths of thousands of poor people while driving Los Angeles downwards towards the level of a third world nation with the country’s worst urban GINI Coefficient should not run for political office.   

Does Karen Bass believe that she can use City Council’s criminality for good?  The criminals are not here to improve society bur rather to loot society.  

 (Richard Lee Abrams has been an attorney, a Realtor and community relations consultant as well as a CityWatch contributor. The views expressed herein are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of CityWatch. You may email him at [email protected])