THE WEEK THAT WAS – DECEMBER 26TH (2008) – JANUARY 1ST (2009)

In The Week In Review, Uncategorized on January 3, 2009 at 10:47 pm

The first week of my City Attorney campaign was a big one!

The City Attorney is the attorney for all of the people. My goal is to give you, the voter, an opportunity to see and evaluate how I approach the questions and issues that are important to the people of Los Angeles. Comments, concerns, and criticisms are always welcome. When elected, I pledge to continue this practice of openness, transparency, and communication.

At the week’s beginning, I was preparing pleadings on behalf of one of the opponents of Proposition B which will appear on your March 3rd  ballot.  It is the mandated DWP-Owned Solar Rooftop Program ballot initiative measure the City Council rushed through so that they could meet the Nov 7th deadline to put it on the ballot.

Turns out the group writing the ‘Pro’ argument for Prop B (the Proponents) filed a lawsuit against one of the groups that was writing the ‘Con’ argument (the Opponents). The Opponents of Prop B approached me and asked if I would act as their council. Although the notice was very short, I agreed to help.

Now I’m no prophet, but if you have lawsuits occurring over the wording of the ballot arguments, you can bet that if Prop B passes there will be legal challenges due to the rushed nature of the legislation. So once again, we are back to more lawsuits and government by litigation instead of government by competent legislation. That does have to stop. As your city attorney, I would do my part to ensure competent legislation. In this instance I would have advised the Council that  1) a California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review of some type was necessary, 2) an active role in DWP operations by the Council may violate the City Charter, and 3) the limited public discussion (closed session discussion is not public) with limited public comment is not in the Council’s best interests.

On New Year’s Day I was at Cabrillo Beach for the Polar Bear Swim.

Polar Bear Swim

It wakes you up to go into 65 degree water; and it was very fun.  I spoke to the people of Los Angeles, and they were very gracious.

I then spent the rest of the day and evening campaigning in East LA. These are tough times. I am encouraged by the courage and the desire of the people of East Los Angeles to meet the economic challenges that confront them. The social contract between the government and the people has been breached. That breach has to be cured. In traveling the entire City I have found that the people in East Los Angeles are in many important ways as disempowered as the people in Valley Village. Homeowners and renters face many of the same challenges. It is time to focus on the common interests and our common values rather than the divisions. It is time to bring the City together by way of a political consensus behind empowerment, reform, and redirection.

How I propose to do this will become evident in future postings on my site.

Stay tuned.

As the year 2009 begins, we would all do well to pay attention to Gandhi’s list of the Eight Blunders of the World, especially No. 7:
1. Wealth without Work                               5. Science without Humanity
2. Pleasure without Conscience                 6. Worship without Sacrifice
3. Knowledge without Character                7. Politics without Principle
4. Commerce without Morality                   8. Rights without Responsibilities

Thanks for taking the time to read this. Empowerment and redirection are a job for us all – Get Involved! Join us and make LA a better place by emailing noel AT noelweiss DOT com

I ask for your vote on March 3rd.

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  1. Noel: My questions for the next City Attorney are as follows:
    1. Why does the City make policy that can not be enforced? (i.e. if there are conditions placed on tract maps, why are they overlooked? If the City has no intentions on fulfilling their conditions, why bother having them?)
    2. Why is it that our elected officials have the “power” to override what their constituents want? I thought they were elected to govern according to what the people desire, not what they personally want. (i.e. after much public input by the people asking that the City NOT implement the Olympic-Pico proposal the very next day the Mayor anounced that “Phase I would begin soon”.

    • Shelli:

      Thanks for the questions. First off, in this land use area, the City Council often fails to make clear policy because each councilmember wants to be the king or queen of their own districts; and to do that, it is better to keep things somewhat vague. Other times, even though there are specific tract map conditions to be enforced, either the City Attorney or the Department of Building & Safety refuse to enforce them – again because the Council office either wishes to satisfy a political need, does not wish them to be enforced, or the City Attorney simply refuses to enforce the conditions. This is precisely what happened at Lincoln Place where a developer procured land use entitlement rights in return for a ‘no eviction promise’ (a promise not to evict any tenants who wanted to stay). After the developer got the entitlements, the developer decided it wanted more density and broke the promise and evicted the tenants anyway. There are two court of appeal decisions which establish that the City Attorney acted wrongfully and that the speculator’s commitments should have been enforced. The result of all this is 38 acres of nearly vacant apartments in Venice. If I am City Attorney this will not happen. Tract map conditions will be enforced under LAMC 12.27.1 which states that the violation of a tract map condition is a public nuisance and can be abated – which in this case means if the condition is not honored, the developer loses its tract map rights. It is as simple as that.

      Second, in response to Question 2: Because the voters fail to go to the polls and ‘fire’ the politicians who fail to reflect our core social values and what the voters want. This is the reason why we need a strong City Attorney – to be a check on the abuses or neglectful practices of the Mayor and City Council – Call it the voters’ back-up plan. I will be that check as City Attorney.

  2. Noel, re: your Polar Bear Swim story,
    I doubt that the water temp. was 65 degrees F. on 01-01-2009.

    This week, during the morning drive-time FM radio surf condition reports,
    the ocean water has said to have been between 50 and 55 degrees.

    The *real* Polar Bears Club members reside in Chicago, IL. or the Twin-cities in MN.
    where they wade-in to nearly freezing water temps around 32 degrees F. every Jan. 1st.
    <>

  3. Also, below the line that says: “Your comment is awaiting moderation.”
    it implies that I submitted it on 9 January 2009 at 3 AM !

    The Month, Day and Year are correct; but here in Downtown L.A. it is about 7:45 *PM* !

    Where, and in what time-zone is your web site hosted ?

    The inaccurate time-stamp information needs to be cleaned-up –
    Los Angeles is in the Pacific (Standard) time zone now.

    Comments may need to be considered in time context with future events.

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