Thank you!

Election Day has come and gone, but the battle for Los Angeles continues.

Thank all of you who supported to ou campaign. Your support made is possible to get our message out to the most amount of voters as possible in just two short months.

Although we were not successful in winning, we made more progress than expected in raising awareness.

Make no mistake, we played a major role in defeating Measure B and forcing a run off in the LA City Attorneys race.

So, forward and onward.

David Hernandez

LAPD Chief a Political Prop

Bratton’s Jump Into L.A.’s Mayoral Race
Angry candidates ask: How can Bratton and Villaraigosa claim L.A. is as safe as 1956?

By Jill Stewart
Published on February 25, 2009 at 7:24pm
Correction: 700 police have been added to the LAPD, not 400 as originally reported.

Police Chief William Bratton raised eyebrows recently when he broke an unofficial rule against endorsing political candidates — long discouraged because it can politicize the Los Angeles Police Department and make a chief’s views suspect if he takes stands that are of importance to City Hall.

Bratton’s surprise decision to endorse Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is already creating a backlash, with critics assailing his support for Villaraigosa’s strange claim that Los Angeles is now as safe as it was in 1956.

Several of the lesser-known candidates for mayor in the March 3 primary are slamming Bratton, but the critics are not just Villaraigosa’s rivals on the ballot, who include attorney Walter Moore, San Fernando Chamber of Commerce executive director and neighborhood activist Dave Hernandez, pastor Craig X. Rubin, City Hall activist Dave “Zuma Dogg” Saltsburg and actor Phil Jennerjahn. Criticism is also coming from criminal experts who note that Bratton’s claim helps to enhance one of Villaraigosa’s few policy achievements over the past four years: the hiring of about 700 more cops.

“I’ve talked to people who grew up here in the 1950s,” says mayoral candidate Moore, who has raised enough money in his long-shot fight against Villaraigosa to qualify for matching funds, “and believe me, nobody in L.A. remembers crime in the 1950s being like it is today.”

Mayoral candidate Hernandez calls the optimistic figures now cited by Bratton and Villaraigosa “nothing more than props,” noting that official LAPD reports of “shots fired” are up 98 percent, so “how can crime be down?” Rubin calls Bratton’s unexpected foray into City Hall political endorsements “unethical” and vows that if he becomes mayor — unlikely since Rubin has no name ID with voters — he’ll quickly fire Bratton. “For a chief of police to endorse a mayor — this is something that’s never done in California,” Rubin says.

An admirer of Bratton’s from the East Coast who closely observed his work as police commissioner in both Boston and New York, and who asked not to be named, says, “Villaraigosa uses crime as an issue when he needs something politically, and now he’s farming that role out to Bratton. But Bratton has complied much, much more willingly than I would ever have expected him to.”

Gang-crime expert Gary Nanson, a veteran gang-crime fighter who two months ago retired as one of LAPD’s four coordinators of antigang efforts, is a leading authority on the use of unreliable gang-crime data. He says that Bratton’s and Villaraigosa’s claim about L.A. enjoying a 1950s crime level “defies common sense and reality — and both of them know this.”

The claims by the mayor and the chief represent a marked change from 2007 and early 2008, when Bratton and Villaraigosa depicted gang crime as a worsening scourge in an embattled city, their assertions bolstered by an alarming-sounding report by attorney Constance Rice that called for spending up to $1 billion on a Marshall Plan to deal with the city’s purported gang explosion.

Local media repeated Bratton’s and Villaraigosa’s claims, largely without question, of a new “gang surge” — and that view spread nationally. L.A. Weekly wrote on March 8, 2007, that outside media outlets like the Chicago Tribune and Kansas City Star had published stories painting L.A. as a badly worsening “national epicenter” and “breeding ground” for gang activity, vividly depicting “an unlivable Los Angeles now under the thumb of gangs.”

Except there was one big problem: Bratton’s and Villaraigosa’s insistence that a gang surge had hit the city was not accepted universally, or even widely, by independent experts, who said the two were using a limited snapshot of a very short time period that showed a spike in gang crime only in certain areas of Los Angeles.

Gang expert Nanson, who has endorsed Hernandez for mayor, tells L.A. Weekly that neither Villaraigosa nor Bratton “had any idea if a gang surge was under way, because the LAPD statistics that are used to track gang crime are so bad. Chief Bratton is an incredible statistics machine, and he leads the LAPD using statistics, but in ’06 and ’07, he and the mayor never knew if there was or was not a surge — and in ’08 they didn’t know it, either. And that is a fact.”

The timing of Villaraigosa’s and Bratton’s intensive media campaign in 2007 and early 2008 was highly political — just as their timing is highly political this week. The City Council had voted to place a controversial phone tax on the February 2008 ballot, and Villaraigosa pledged to use it to hire police to address the gang “surge.” Worried voters, hearing again and again from Bratton and Villaraigosa, approved the phone tax. Yet little of the money was in fact used to hire more cops, an audit by City Controller Laura Chick has since shown.

Then, later last year, calling for a renewed fight to keep kids out of gangs, Villaraigosa and the City Council placed a tax on the November 4, 2008, ballot — this time a property-tax increase. The so-called parcel tax would have doubled, to about $50 million, money flowing into City Hall’s experimental civilian “antigang” program — a major pot of cash that is controlled by Villaraigosa.

Voters didn’t buy the antigang-tax argument after being misled about the phone tax, and the property-tax increase failed. Now, L.A. is suddenly being touted by the mayor and the chief as one of the safest cities in America — the difference being that Villaraigosa’s own election, rather than antigang taxes, is on the ballot next week.

“It’s appalling,” says Saltsburg, the City Hall activist known as Zuma Dogg. “Nobody believes that data they give out anymore. Why should they, when it’s just in time for the mayoral election?”

Malcolm Klein, professor emeritus of sociology at USC and a critic of the abuse of crime statistics, has said that LAPD has no idea how many gang members exist or which crimes are committed by gangs — a view with which Nanson strongly agrees. For years, the countywide gang-member estimate stood at 150,000. But one year, Sheriff Lee Baca suddenly changed it to 90,000, then again quickly to 80,000 — moves that revealed how easy it is to alter the largely unreliable data.
Nanson says that this week, when Villaraigosa told the Los Angeles Daily News that L.A. has 40,000 gang members, “I do not like to call people names, but the mayor lied. Villaraigosa is well aware that’s a lie. He and Bratton know that 40,000 is the tip of the iceberg. They know the city’s gang-member figure is far higher.”

George Tita, an assistant professor of criminology, law and society at UC Irvine, sees things differently, saying that Bratton is doing something “really right,” because crime is dropping “and I know LAPD has not changed the way they categorize their crimes, so it’s a true drop in crime.”

But Kent Bausman, director of criminology at Maryville University, calls it “spurious” for Bratton and Villaraigosa to take credit for a drop in crime that began long before they arrived. “It’s interesting how they use those stats when it serves their interests,” Bausman says. His review of Los Angeles media reports last year shows an abrupt change, when Bratton and Villaraigosa switched from promoting the gang surge to calling L.A. safer. Bausman calls the flip-flopping “schizophrenic.”

Candidate Moore likens Villaraigosa and Bratton to “stepping on the escalator and then taking credit for its movement.” Los Angeles does not feel safe to most people, and several of the candidates facing Villaraigosa next week note that middle-class flight is rising and residents no longer know what to believe.

Some analysts suggest that Bratton’s decision could reverberate for years since he gave up the appearance of independence to endorse Villaraigosa. Behind closed doors, Villaraigosa “does not like Bratton,” Nanson notes, and the mayor’s dislike may have made the chief feel vulnerable, since Villaraigosa can oust Bratton during his next four years. But, adds Nanson, “If Villaraigosa’s dislike for Bratton is the reason for all this, I’ll leave that to others to figure out.”

Campaign Trail to Election Day

David Hernandez for Mayor
On the Campaign Trail
18 Days and Counting

Greetings Friends and Supporters,

As the high dollar candidates flood your mail boxes with enough high gloss campaign material to plant a million trees in Los Angeles, I am on the road from San Pedro to Sylmar, Woodland Hills to Eagle Rock!

Listening to your concerns and priorities continues to be a rewarding experience.

Here is my schedule for the remainder of the month. It will be up dated next week as the calls are still coming in.

Sunday begins a non stop adventure in Los Angeles Politics and you’re all invited.

1. 2/15 4PM -LA Daily News/Valley Alliance of Neighborhood Councils Mayoral Forum. CBS Studios 4024 Radford Ave. Studio City, CA. Enter main gate and be there by 3:30.

2. 2/15 8PM Part one of Full Disclosure Network Part one of LA Gang Series featuring David Hernandez. LA City Channel
Preview here: http://www.fulldisclosure.net/Programs/530.php

3. 2/16 7AM – Good Day LA KTTV Fox 11 live television appearance. David will be live in studio to answer your e-mail questions. Live 7 & 9 AM.

4. 2/16 2PM – KNBC Ch 4 Mekahlo Medina interview.

5. 2/16 6PM LA City Channel Part two of Full Disclosure Network LA Gang Series featuring David Hernandez.

6. 2/17 12:45 Westchester-Playa del Rey Federated Women
KJ’s Restaurant 8731 Lincoln Blvd Los Angeles.

7. 2/17 6PM UCLA Phi Alpha Delta Pre-Law Fraternity Mayoral Forum, Covel Commons, UCLA Campus

8. 2/17 7:30PM Westchester Neighborhood Council The Westchester Christian Church 8740 La Tijera Blvd, Westchester.

9. 2/18 12noon United Chambers of Commerce Government Affairs Meeting. Van Nuys, CA.

10. 2/18 7PM Sunland Tujunga Neighborhood Council Candidates Forum, Sunland-Tujunga.

11. 2/19 6PM Leader to Leader African American Community Empowerment Think Tank Candidates Forum. 11243 Glenoaks Blvd, Pacoima, CA 91331.

12. 2/19 7:30 PM Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council Candidates Forum Center for the Arts, 2225 Colorado Blvd LA CA 90041.

13. 2/22 2PM Mayor Sam Blog Candidates Forum . Not open to public unless invited via Mayor Sam Blog.

14. 2/24 11:30 Ranch Palos Verdes Federated Women, RPV. ( postponed)

15. 2/24 7PM Business & Professional Women of Sunland Tujunga Achievement Awards.

16. 2/25 6:30 PM UCLA Political Science Student Organization, Mayoral Forum Haines Hall UCLA Campus.

17. 2/26 11:30 AM San Pedro Federated Women Ports O’Call Restaurant Berth 76, San Pedro, CA.

18. 2/26 1:PM Mayoral Forum The Claude Pepper Sr. Citizen Center 1762 So. La Cienega Bl. Los Angeles.

19. 2/26 7PM USC Political Student Assembly Mayoral Forum.

20. 2/28 7PM United Chambers of Commerce Honoring Bill Powers Odyssey Restaurant 15600 Odyssey Dr. Granada Hills, CA 91334.

Gangs not a problem, a Culture

Do you know why you do not feel safe in Los Angeles?
Because you’re not!

The Gang Problem in Los Angeles is the worst it has been in 30 years.
What you’re being told is a lie; they care more about numbers than safety.

Because their solutions are based on false facts and false numbers those solutions are doomed to failure. As a result, millions of dollars are wasted on failed programs or even worse, schemes intended to enrich the very gangs they were meant to fight!

I want to educate you on the problem and then you will be in a position to determine who is best qualified to achieve a solution.

Before we get into the facts, it is vital you know what we are really up against. We are not dealing with a “gang problem”; we are dealing with a “Gang Culture.” This difference is critical and no solution will be successful regardless of how many millions of dollars are spent or how many non-profits are set up. This is a bit of a read, but unless you are armed with the truth, you and your family are in danger.

What is a Culture?

“The word culture comes from the Latin root colere, to inhabit, cultivate, or honor. In general it refers to human activity; different definitions of culture reflect different theories for understanding, or criteria for valuing human activity.

In 1952 Alfred Kroeber and Clyde Kluckhohn compiled a list of over 200 different definitions of culture in their book, Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions. They see culture as a “complex web of shifting patterns that link people in different locales, and link social formations of different scales.”

The popular use of the word culture in many Western societies reflects the fact that these societies are stratified. Many use the word culture to refer to elite consumption goods and activities such as fine cuisine, art, and music. Some label this as “high” culture to distinguish it from “low” culture, meaning non-elite consumption goods and activities.

18th and early 19th century scholars and many people today often identify culture with “civilization” and opposed to “nature.” Thus, people lacking elements of “high culture” were often considered to be more “natural,” and contrarily elements of high culture were often criticized, or defended, for repressing human nature.

By the late 19th century, anthropologists argued for a broader definition of culture that they could apply to a wide variety of societies; they began to argue that culture is human nature, and is rooted in the universal human capacity to classify experiences and encode and communicate them symbolically.

Consequently, people living apart from one another develop unique cultures, but elements of different cultures can easily spread from one group of people to another.

Anthropologists have thus had to develop methodologically and theoretically useful definitions of the word. Technically, anthropologists distinguish between material culture and symbolic culture, not only because each reflects different kinds of human activity but because they constitute different kinds of data that require different methodologies.

As a rule, archeologists focus on material culture, and cultural anthropologists focus on symbolic culture, although ultimately both groups are interested in the relationship between these two dimensions. Moreover, anthropologists understand “culture” to refer not only to consumption goods, but to the general processes by which such goods are produced and given meaning, and the social relationships and practices in which such objects and processes are embedded.

In the early 20th century anthropologists understood culture to refer not to a set of discrete products or activities (whether material or symbolic) but rather to underlying patterns of products and activities. Moreover, they assumed that such patterns were clearly bounded (thus, some people confuse “culture” for the society that has a particular culture).

In smaller societies in which people were divided by age, gender, household, and descent group, anthropologists believed that people more or less shared the same set of values and conventions. In larger societies in which people were further divided by region, race or ethnicity and class, they believed that members of the same society often had highly contrasting values and conventions. Thus they used the term subculture to identify the cultures of parts of larger societies. Since subcultures reflect the position of a segments of society vis-à-vis other segments and the society as a whole, they often reveal processes of domination and resistance.

Cultural studies developed in the late 20th century, in part through the reintroduction of Marxist thought in sociology, and in part through the articulation of sociology and other academic disciplines such as literary criticism, in order to focus on the analysis of subcultures in capitalist societies.

Following the non-anthropological tradition, cultural studies generally focus on the study of consumption goods (such as fashion, art, and literature). Because the 18th and 19th century distinction between “high” and “low” culture is not appropriate to the mass-produced and mass-marketed consumption goods with which cultural studies is concerned, these scholars refer instead to popular culture.

Today some anthropologists have joined the project of cultural studies. Most, however, reject the identification of culture with consumption goods. Furthermore, many now reject the notion of culture as bounded, and consequently reject the notion of subculture. Instead, they see culture as a complex web of shifting patterns that link people in different locales, and link social formations of different scales.”

Question: Are you aware of any civilization which has successfully eradicated a culture?

We are dealing with a Gang Culture; a culture with its own language, dress, music, movies and code of conduct.

As outlined above it has spread into the mainstream and is not only accepted and embraced, but emulated.

As with any other Culture it has evolved. Why dress in a manner that will get you arrested when you can operate in plain sight wearing a suit and tie. Why us a gun to steal $100 and go to jail when you can use a stolen ID to steal $100,000 and get probation.

Yes there are known gang members wearing baggy clothes and baseball caps, but there are twice as many unknown gang members wearing slacks and sport shirts. Thanks to well-meaning hospitals, the traditional tattoo markings that identified gang members are being removed for free.

Yes on Solar-No on Prop B

Analysis calls ambitious L.A. solar

plan ‘extremely risky’

An outside consultant says Measure B, which easily made the March 3 ballot, is more costly than portrayed by the city’s Department of Water and Power.

By David Zahniser

December 19, 2008

When members of the Los Angeles City Council agreed last month to put an ambitious solar energy plan on the March 3 ballot, they talked effusively about their desire for cleaner air and “green” technology jobs — the kind that could boost the economy during a recession.

What they didn’t discuss was an analysis by a city-hired consulting firm that called the solar plan “extremely risky” and considerably more expensive than was being portrayed by the Department of Water and Power.

Measure B, which calls for unionized DWP workers to install solar panels on rooftops and parking lots across the city, sailed onto the ballot with a unanimous vote. But days earlier, the council’s top policy advisor was so troubled by the proposal that, in an e-mail to Council President Eric Garcetti, he recommended that the council delay it until a future election.

After receiving the analysis from the consulting firm, Chief Legislative Analyst Gerry Miller warned Garcetti that the solar measure could result in “substantial increases” to the electricity bills of DWP customers.

Neither Miller nor Garcetti made those findings part of the public record. Since then, Miller’s office has rebuffed requests from The Times for a copy of the consulting firm’s analysis, saying the state’s public records law allows city officials to withhold any document that would reveal the “deliberative process” between the council and its chief legislative analyst.

Miller said Thursday he is no longer worried about the cost, as long as the DWP can secure $1.5 billion in solar tax credits. But he said the agency still must deal with other findings from the consultant, which concluded that the utility “does not have the planning mechanisms and resources in place” to accomplish the solar plan.

Garcetti, for his part, said the consulting firm’s findings were not made part of the record because they were among several opinions that he solicited informally on the ballot measure. Solar industry experts disagreed with the numbers produced by the consultant, he said.

“They said that this [ballot measure] was absolutely doable and that that [the consultant’s analysis] was wrong.”

Still, foes of Measure B said the findings confirm their worst suspicions about the measure — and the process used to get it on the ballot.

Opponents have called Measure B a backdoor mechanism to make voters sign off on a huge package of DWP rate increases. And they accused Garcetti and Miller of concealing the findings of the private analysts, P.A. Consulting Group.

“That’s the problem with City Hall,” said former DWP Commission President Nick Patsaouras, who opposes Measure B and is running for city controller. “They think the average taxpayer is not smart enough to tell them the truth.”

In a Nov. 4 e-mail obtained by The Times, Miller told Garcetti that he entered into a “quick contract with a very reputable firm” to study the solar plan at Garcetti’s request. He offered to keep the analysis from other council members even as he complained that DWP officials had failed to do their own thorough analysis of the measure. “It concerns me greatly that the department did not come forward with this information themselves,” Miller wrote. “It would have been as available to them as it was to me.”

Miller later concluded: “Since this request came directly from you, I am not sharing this with [Councilwoman] Wendy [Greuel] or the other members until you clear it.”

Garcetti said he later gave Miller permission to give the findings to other council members — and would not have voted to place the measure on the ballot if he thought the findings were accurate.

Still, Councilman Bernard C. Parks, who heads the council’s Budget and Finance Committee, said he never received the findings — and wished that he had.

“If this is accurate information, or at least a point of view, the council should get the chance to ferret through this,” Parks said.

The DWP has already agreed to impose increases of nearly 24% on electricity bills between 2006 and 2010. DWP officials contend the solar plan would lead to rate hikes of no more than 4% for the average household, and that those would occur no sooner than 2011.

But according to a one-page summary attached to Miller’s e-mail, P.A. Consulting Group warned that ratepayers could face annual surcharges of up to 12% per year if Measure B passes.

The analysis also said that the solar plan would cost $3.6 billion, not the $1.5 billion suggested by DWP General Manager H. David Nahai.

“Bottom line is they do not believe that the department can deliver on this program at all, and that the costs associated with the program are way understated,” Miller wrote in his e-mail to Garcetti.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and council members have embraced the solar plan, which was spearheaded by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the union that represents DWP employees. Under the plan, all the solar panels would be owned by the DWP and installed by the utility’s workers.

In the mayor’s office, the measure was handled by Deputy Mayor Nancy Sutley, who was recently tapped by President-elect Barack Obama to fill a high-level environmental post in Washington, D.C. Sutley said Thursday that she never received a copy of the outside analysis. “I heard it referred to once and never again,” she said.

Sutley said she could not respond to the assertions in the analysis because she did not know what they were based on. She also said she never asked for the document because she wasn’t sure it existed.

Councilwoman Jan Perry, who heads the Energy and Environment Committee, said Miller showed her the one-page summary of the consulting firm’s findings. Perry said she was “alarmed” by the potential effect on DWP ratepayers but did not keep the document because she thought it was confidential.

Asked why she voted to put the measure on the ballot anyway, Perry said she thought she could unearth more details about the solar program in the months leading to the election. “I felt that through the committee process, we would be able to better vet the proposal, which is what I’m doing now,” she said.

Greuel, who is also running for city controller, said she also looked at Miller’s document but concluded that the DWP had answered all the questions raised by it.

Representatives of P.A. Consulting Group did not respond Thursday to requests for comment.

The findings zeroed in on the surcharge — known as the Energy Cost Adjustment Factor — that the DWP places on power bills to cover the costs of fluctuating prices, including natural gas and sources of renewable energy.

The firm warned that the surcharge, which stands at 4% annually, could triple if Measure B passes.

DWP officials said they had not received a copy of the outside analysis. But in an interview two weeks ago, Nahai said the prospect for a larger surcharge was unlikely.

“Is that within the realm of political possibility? I would say no.”

david.zahniser@latimes.com

Privatization

Privatization Debate

 

 

At first glance the “privatization” of Los Angeles may have an appealing sound, especially during these challenging financial times.

 

Unfortunately we are dealing with local LA Politicians and Venture Capitalists with no system of checks and balances to protect the tax payer.

 

We have seen a clear example of what to expect and in some cases the truth has been kept in smokeless back rooms.

 

Let us look at the LA Zoo for just one example. The city is racing to spend 40 to 60 million on just one exhibit, the Asian Elephants.

 

 Bond money from various sources is placing the city in more debt and is draining General funds. Once complete the city is planning on “privatizing” (giving the Zoo the GLAZA) to run.

 

As in many schemes taking place in Los Angeles, public funds are being used to cover the risk normally assumed by private sector and then the Tax Base is being comprised with sweetheart deals when no bed tax needs to be paid for decades.

 

In the case of the community redevelopment agency, public funds are once again used to cover the risk, money is shimmed of the top to friendly non-profits and the increase in tax money generated by the new development is diverted from the General Fund and goes back to the CRA to be used in a legal ponzie scheme. All the while the politically connected and friendly developer rakes in millions.

 

If one wants to go private, then go private all the way, risk and service are a part of the private sector that separates it from the public sector.

 

David Hernandez

Candidate for Mayor of Los Angeles