Sunday, February 3, 2013
Political backing playing big role in District 3 Pasadena Unified Election (Pasadena Star News - click here): Ruben Hueso, a Los Angeles teacher and Pasadena parent, clearly has the major political backing in the District 3 election for the Pasadena Unified School board. He's the brother of San Diego state Assemblyman Ben Hueso, has funding from former Assembly speaker Fabian Nunez and has scored endorsements from unions and other groups such as ACT Pasadena.
"I'm getting great responses from the community, and I feel very hopeful," Hueso said, adding that he's walking the district every day and is the only candidate with lawn signs so far.
The race remains wide open, however, with four candidates vying to represent Northwest Pasadena in the first year of voting districts for the March 5 election. Among the other three candidates Guillermo Arce has gone on the offensive against Hueso, Tyron Hampton, Jr. has relied on his roots as a PUSD graduate and Deirdra Duncan has tied her candidacy to a family focus.
Arce, a special education advocate and Los Angeles County worker, sees the election as three underdogs going against the establishment candidate. At one point, a sitting PUSD board member asked Arce to drop out and support Hueso, he said. "Once Hueso came in with his money and his political support I became yesterday's news," Arce said. "I don't play second fiddle that well. ... I'm a person that will not sell out for anything in the world."
In his campaign, Arce emphasizes the need to reform special education in Pasadena, and like many of the other candidates in local forums, he has identified a "brain drain" in PUSD as students leave for charter schools or other districts.
On Facebook, Arce has gone on the attack, accusing Hueso of hiding the Nunez connection. But the $5,000 campaign donation from Nunez has never been an issue, Hueso said. "I'm a parent, I've been a volunteer at all my daughters' school, and I've been watching the board since my daughters were in kindergarten."
His own campaign has gone through a misstep, because of campaign photos portraying Hueso's leadership role with the Boy Scouts. Blogger John Crawford pointed out Wednesday that the photos violate Boy Scout policy. Hueso doesn't believe the mistake will be significant.
"We'll have a different flyer every week," he said. "That's not going to appear anymore. But I can't hide who I am."
(Mod: You know what? Ruben is right, he can't hide who he is. Which is probably his biggest problem right now, and why Rube is getting as much coverage on The Tattler as he is. Something no candidate for any office should ever want. But the response to his Boy Scout gaffoonery - click here - is simply amazing. His solution to getting busted for politically - and illegally - exploiting an organization dedicated to the well-being of children? Print more mailers. Which I guess you can easily do when you are being bankrolled by such discredited Sacramento establishment pols as Fabian Nunez - click here.)
Eric Garcetti's Voodoo Economics (City Watch - click here): Wannabe Mayor Eric Garcetti has been touting his credentials as a “fiscal hawk,” opposing the half cent increase in our sales tax to a job crippling 9.5%, one of the highest rates in the nation; proposing the elimination of the $450 million business tax to stimulate job growth; leading “unprecedented pension reforms saving hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars;” and balancing the budget through work place reform.
However, as City Council President for six years, Eric Garcetti is one of the prime architects of the city’s financial woes because of his unwillingness to face economic reality and confront the campaign funding union leadership. Rather he continued to “kick the can down the road” to insolvency which will saddle our children and grandchildren with tens of billions of unfunded obligations.
In 2007, the City entered into a budget busting contract with a coalition of public unions, despite the fact that the City was experiencing financial difficulties with an already existing Structural Deficit in an environment where the economy was beginning to slow and head south.
As the President of the City Council, Garcetti, along with our globetrotting Mayor Villaraigosa, was one of the primary authors of this deal that would haunt the City and its residents for the next seven years and beyond.
Garcetti has touted his decisive leadership in eliminating 5,000 General Fund positions, allowing the City to “balance” its budget when the revenues dipped 3% ($132 million) in 2010.
However, Eric fails to mention that the Early Retirement Incentive Program and the dumping of over 2,000 City employees on the Department of Water and Power, the Port, LAX, and the special revenue departments would end up costing the City and Ratepayers billions.
Nor does Garcetti mention that City revenues have increased by only $250 million (6%) since 2010.
“Balancing” the budget also involved Enronesque accounting shenanigans, such as banking police overtime and deferring civilian raises. In return for temporary concessions, the coalition of unions agreed to extend their contract to June of 2014, the year after the City elections since Garcetti did not want the union contracts to be an issue in the 2013 Mayor’s race.
(Mod - Speaking of voodoo economics, do you know who appears to be on board with the Eric Garcetti for L.A. mayor campaign? Our very own Johnny Harabedian - click here. Probably because Garcetti is leading in the polls. But there are certain similarities, too. Especially when you consider Harabedian's Garcetti-esque support for the Sierra Madre Police Association's law suit driven wage and benefits demands. Something he is willing to spend upwards of $50,000 in our tax money and hire a "public safety" consultant to make happen.)
West Village complex has yet to fulfill UC Davis vision (Sacramento Bee - click here): Before construction began, UC Davis laid out a vision for West Village, its new on-campus community, as a showcase of energy efficiency that would provide affordable housing for faculty and students.
Nearly two years after the $300 million development opened, it has not yet fulfilled those expectations.
Its student apartments have experienced high turnover. Single-family homes for faculty and staff have not materialized. And the developer can't quantify whether the project is meeting its goal of using no more energy than it produces from solar panels.
As for being affordable, West Village apartments have some of the highest rents in town.
"The reality is the rental rates at that property are extremely high," said Karen Mattis, coordinator of the Davis Residential Managers Association, a citywide group of property managers. "Students are looking for something more affordable."
(Mod: The latest craze in exploitative development planning is "community housing." This UC Davis disaster is a consequence of that. But the PUSD, led by its Fabian guru Peter Dreier, has also bought into the notion that building low income housing on public school sites will somehow save the world from social inequity. And if you think that certain members of the PUSD politburo have not privately discussed "community housing" for our Middle School site, then I have a City Hall I'd like to sell you.)
710 Freeway Coalition faces growing efforts against linking the route to 210 (Pasadena Sun - click here): Just as Los Angeles County transportation officials embark on an environmental study of options for closing the freeway gap between Alhambra and Pasadena, the lobbying group that supports the controversial tunnel option finds itself trying to regain its footing in an uphill public relations battle.
After more than two decades of lobbying for a connection between the Long Beach (710) and Foothill (210) freeways, Nat Read retired in September and passed leadership of his group, the 710 Freeway Coalition, to Harry Baldwin, a former mayor of San Gabriel who works out of his home.
Paul Talbot, city manager for Monterey Park, said that with Read out of the picture, the 710 Freeway Coalition was essentially starting over.
“Well, we had a relationship with Read Communications for many years,” he said. “Now Harry just took it over, so it's early, but they're trying hard.”
Together with his daughter, Kendall Flint, and her communications firm, Flint Strategies, Baldwin is trying to continue Read's advocacy, but they now face an opposing lobby that in the last year has grown in size, organizing power and fervor.
The No 710 Action Committee, which wants to see the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority summarily shut down any effort to extend the freeway, claims about 60 volunteers, many of whom have a personal real estate and quality-of-life stake in the outcome. They organize, exert political pressure on local elected representatives and make their voices heard at public hearings.
( Mod: Oh boy, yet another PR consultant waltzes onto the stage. At least they're keeping it in the family this time. Are Clean Air Kendall's services something taxpayers are obliged to pay for? Or perhaps this is a "usual suspects" driven enterprise? It probably doesn't help that she is a pal of Arnold Schwarzenegger - click here.)
Cardinal Roger Mahony defends legacy on church abuse in blog (Pasadena Star News - click here): The public rebuke of retired Cardinal Roger Mahony for failing to take swift action against abusive priests adds tarnish to a career already overshadowed by the church sex abuse scandal but does little to change his role in the larger church. Mahony can still act as a priest, keep his rank as cardinal and remain on a critical Vatican panel that elects the next pope.
While Archbishop Jose Gomez's decision to strip Mahony of his administrative and public duties was unprecedented in the American Roman Catholic Church, it was another attempt by the church to accept responsibility for the abuse scandal that has engulfed it. Victims were quick to point out that Mahony's new, paired-down local standing was in stark contrast to his continued position among the prelates at the Vatican.
The decision "is little more than window dressing. Cardinal Mahony is still a very powerful prelate," Joelle Casteix, the Western regional director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, said at a Friday news conference outside the Los Angeles cathedral. "He's a very powerful man in Rome and still a very powerful man in Los Angeles."
The Vatican declined to comment Friday when asked if the Holy See would follow Gomez's lead and take action against Mahony.
Tod Tamberg, the archdiocese spokesman, said Mahony was in Rome several weeks ago for meetings unrelated to Thursday's announcement. He said he did not know if Pope Benedict XVI was aware of Gomez's announcement.
(Mod: You do know that there are a lot of powerful people in Los Angeles County who really couldn't care less about your kids. It is estimated that Mahony spent $10s of millions of dollars in parishioner donated money for lawyers and legal fees to cover up the sexual abuse priests in his employ committed with children. That this strategy was successful for decades is brutal commentary on how things are done here.)
Try not to overdo it on the nachos and beer during the Super Bowl game today. You know you'll regret it later.
Posted by The Moderator at 5:00 AM