Secrets, Lies, Deception

JUST SAYIN’-Who would disagree that politics is defined by secrets, lies and deception? Not me. At our recent West LA Neighborhood Council Meeting, County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl sent her team of damage control folks to try to justify why they never told the community they were building a drunk tank in the heart of our revitalizing commercial district.

They even had the people from Clare Foundation, the agency picked to operate the center, come with a "nurse" to explain it away.

The problem was, they tried to link this new facility to others Clare operates, but when questioned further about this, they had to admit that it is nothing like their other facilities.

The picture of the one facility that operates as a drunk tank on Maple and 6th shows a fully secure, jail-like facility. Obviously, that is why they are hiding what they are doing in West LA.

After the meeting, I asked the Supervisor’s field staff if this Neighborhood Council could send a representative to their October 3 “Partners” meeting. The answer was an emphatic “No.”

They did say they would now hold a few outreach meetings in the community. What they failed to disclose is that these meetings are by invitation and RSVP only.

That is not the definition of a town hall. That is a hand-picked focus group designed to say everyone “likes the project.” Councilmember Bonin weighed in, stating that he was "displeased." But the question is … at what?

 My public records act request should finally be able to tell us who knew and when, etc. Stay tuned because I believe the best is yet to come.


(Jay Handal is Co-Chair of the NC Budget Advocates, treasurer of the West Los Angeles NC and Los Angeles Police Commission Hearing Examiner. Mr. Handal’s views are his own.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.