LA WATCHDOG--The recent reports of rats, fleas, and vermin in City Hall have gone viral, eliciting comments from around the world. This includes an appropriately titled, front page article in The Wall Street Journal, “Politics is a Dirty Business – Starting with the Rats at Los Angeles City Hall.”
Several have commented that it was only fitting that City Council President Herb Wesson was the lead in reporting on the infestation of the four legged rats, joining the two legged rats that occupy the City Council Chambers and the Mayor’s office.
As is customary with the City Council, whenever there is a problem, a motion is introduced demanding action. In this case, Councilmen Smith & Wesson fired off a motion (CF19-0127) requesting the Department of General Services to report back on the scope of the pest and vermin infestation and on the protocols needed to prevent any further “psychological and health related issues affecting City employees, residents, and other individuals who work within or visit the Civic Center complex.”
The motion also requests that General Services report back on the removal of all the carpets in City Hall, provide an assessment of all the live plants in City Hall that are attractive to vermin, and draft a policy addressing unsecured food in City Hall offices.
This motion was approved unanimously by the City Council, although ever vigilant Paul Koretz was worried about the rodenticides in the carpets and the impact of their disposal on landfills.
More than likely, and unlike other motions, this issue will be handled expeditiously since it involves our precious elected elite.
Other outsiders have commented that these unsanitary conditions are business as usual, where the City Council and the Mayor divert money from the basic maintenance of the City’s facilities and infrastructure until it becomes fodder for the media or reaches crisis proportions.
Where the comparison to rats hits home is that the two legged rats who occupy City Hall have sold our City, our neighborhoods, and our streets to campaign funding real estate developers for personal gain. Of course, Garcetti, Wesson, and the rest of their flea inflicted varmints will deny any allegations of payoffs or corruption.
But how do they explain the FBI raid on Jose Huizar’s home and offices? And the FBI’s request to search the email records of not only Huizar, but of Councilman Curren Price, former Garcetti appointed Deputy Mayor Ray Chan, and Wesson’s chief of staff, Deron Williams? And why did the Garcetti appointed Joel Jacinto resign from the Board of Public Works after being named in the search warrant?
(Photo left: City Council president, Herb Wesson.)
And what about Canadian real estate developer Onni’s $50,000 donation to a Huizar controlled political committee, Families for a Better LA, just before a crucial vote involving the landmark status of the Onni owned LA Times buildings in DTLA.
In late 2017, we learned that the developer of Sea Breeze, a residential development in an industrial area of Harbor City, contributed $600,000 to politicians to win the approval of the City Council for his out of character development. The beneficiaries included County Supervisor Janice Hahn, Mayor Garcetti, and Councilmen Buscaino, Englander, Huizar, and Cedillo. To date, none of these bribes are known to have been returned or donated to worthy causes.
And then there is the up zoned, luxury high rise development at Catalina and 8thStreet in low rise Koreatown that was approved after the developer forked over $1.25 million to slush funds controlled by Garcetti and Wesson, a mere pittance compared to the $15-$20 million increase in value.
And then there is Hollywood, the home of the crane, where Mitch O’Farrell, the developers’ water boy, has approved numerous oversized, congestion causing developments. This includes the recently up zoned Cross Roads of the World project that will allow the developer and land owner, the politically active Milton La Kretz, to reap hundreds of millions in additional profit.
Why are the City Council and Mayor Eric Garcetti unwilling to pass comprehensive legislation that limits campaign contributions from real estate developers? Very simply, rats follow the food chain and the cash.
(Jack Humphreville writes LA Watchdog for CityWatch. He is the President of the DWP Advocacy Committee and is the Budget and DWP representative for the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council. He is a Neighborhood Council Budget Advocate. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.)