by Scott Zwartz
March 25, 2015
. In her New Yorker article, “Richer or Poorer” wherein she discusses the growing income disparity in America, Jill Lepore questions why we find so many victims and no villains. Ms. Lepore’s question applies to Los Angeles. The amount of corruption in Los Angeles is horrendous, and while some of it is hidden, there has been enough published that every activist has to know about it. Yet, even when faced with stark evidence from very credible sources, almost everyone pretends that we have no villains
. For example, in 2013, the County Civil Grand Jury [June 2013 Grand Jury] found that when City Council President Eric Garcetti took hundreds of millions away from the paramedics, he and his cohorts knew, not suspected but “knew,” that as a direct result people would die due to the reduced paramedic staffing. The Grand Jury alluded to the LAFD 2012 Deployment Report on which Garcetti relied as possibility fraudulent, and there were good grounds to find that the LAFD Report had been intentionally false in order to justify taking hundreds of millions of dollars away from the LAFD budget while claiming that L.A. response times would improve by decreasing its budget. Yet, no one could see any villainy, but perhaps the consequences of opening one’s eyes were too unpleasant. Who called for the report? An ascertainable fact. Why did they call for the report? An ascertainable fact. Was an important data omitted from the report? An ascertainable fact. Was the report incredible on its face? An ascertained fact – of course drastically reducing paramedics would not improve response times.
. The gullibility of Angelenos is a factor why they perceive no villains. 100% of the council agreed that if they spent less money and reduced the number of paramedics, then the response times would become better. (As seen later, 100% of the city council always agrees to utter nonsense.)
. In The Price of Just a Few Seconds Lost: People Die, USA TODAY, May 20, 2005 [USA Today], Robert Davis reported on L.A.’s unacceptably slow emergency response times. In reporting on how it took almost 30 minutes for the paramedics to reach Andrew Redyk, Davis showed that Los Angeles falsely reported the response times as six to seven minutes.
. Davis quoted LAFD’s own Marc Eckstein [LAFD’s Medical Director] on how Los Angeles abuses statistics to make it seem as if L.A.’s response times are much better than they actually are.
Marc Eckstein, Los Angeles Fire Department’s medical director, agrees.
“If your house is on fire, do you want to know the time it takes for them to get to the scene or the time it takes to squirt water?” he says. “It’s time to mitigation. Doing it the way we do it only makes pretty statistics.”
. Garcetti’s response to the USA Today article came in 2006 when Garcetti downsized the new Hollywood Fire Station 82 by 75% from 2 acres to ½ acre and then relocated it to gridlock hell at the tri-intersection of Hollywood Boulevard, Van Ness and the Hollywood Freeway.
. An independent evaluation of the emergency response data conducted by Fix The City found that Los Angeles’s emergency response times had continued to deteriorate after the May 2005, USA Today exposé. Thus, there was no basis for Garcetti’s claim that he could take hundreds of millions from the LAFD and emergency response times would improve.
. At the same time that Garcetti was using an incredible January 2012 LAFD Deployment Report to take money away from the paramedics, hundreds of millions of dollars were flowing to Garcetti’s projects like the corrupt CRA Project at 1601 N. Vine and Eli Broad’s garage next to his art museum, CIM Group at Hollywood and Western.
. While the Civil County Grand Jury found that Garcetti and others knew that they were killing people, no one cared. As Lepore found, people see the victims but no one sees the villains. More correctly, they see the villains; it’s just that no one will do anything about them. One explanation is that we live in the Age of Acquiescence. Describing the work of Steve Fraser, in The Age of Acquiescence: The Life and Death of American Resistance to Organized Wealth and Power, Ms. Lepore writes:
To chronicle the rise of acquiescence, Fraser examines two differences between the long nineteenth century and today. “The first Gilded Age, despite its glaring inequities, was accompanied by a gradual rise in the standard of living; the second by a gradual erosion,” he writes. In the first Gilded Age, everyone from reporters to politicians apparently felt comfortable painting plutocrats as villains; in the second, this is, somehow, forbidden. “If the first Gilded Age was full of sound and fury,” he writes, “the second seemed to take place in a padded cell.” http://nyr.kr/1GiGzWo
. Los Angeles provides some evidence for Mr. Fraser’s analysis. Los Angeles is filled with criminal activity and Angelenos, especially Hollywoodians see it every day. Enough has been written about the unlawful voting system at Los City Hall for people to know what’s going on. For the few who do not know, here it is in a nutshell.
. Penal Code Sec., 86 criminalizes any type of voting arrangement in a City Council. LA City Hall votes unanimously over 99% of the time. That statistic can only result from a collusion among the councilmembers. In fact, they are so open and notorious about their voting pack, you can see it on Channel 35 by watching their votes. The Council’s vote tabulator automatically votes YES. Watch and see, it takes about 1 to 2 seconds for the votes to register and you can see that many of the councilmembers are not even close to their seats. Some have left council chambers; yet in seconds, we have a unanimous approval.
. The essence of the criminal voting pattern at City Hall is that everyone has to vote Yes for whatever project another councilmember wants. Even when the City Attorney disapproves a project like the Hollywood Community Plan, if the councilman wants the project, all councilmembers unanimously vote YES.
Every day people see the impact that this criminal voting pack has had on their lives. It results in horrible traffic congestion, it results in increased crime as the City deteriorates, it results in fewer city services, it results in more needless deaths, it results in ancient water mains which burst constantly, it results in higher unemployment, it results in businesses and people fleeing the densified areas, it results in a multi-billion dollar deficit in the City Pension Funds, etc.
. A crimogenic City Hall has caused Los Angeles to cease to be a destination city but rather to be the place from which businesses and people escape.
. While Hollywood in specific and Los Angeles generally are in decline, similar factors have impacted the entire state. The Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, in its September 2012 report, The Great California Exodus, A Closer Look by Tom Gray and Robert Scardamalia has shown the link between corrupt density projects and the decline of cities like Los Angeles.
. This relationship has been previously shown by Hollywoodians Encouraging Logical Planning [HELP] starting back in 2005. A higher population density concentrated in a small area causes deterioration which in turn causes people to leave. As a result of these Transit Oriented Districts [TODs], people who can afford it, move away. They often relocate towards Pomona or farther to Rancho Cucamonga or Riverside. The people who are left behind are called “Default Tenants,” people who cannot afford to live in better places.
. Because the harmful mixed-use projects are unanimously approved by a corrupt City Hall operating under its criminal voting pack, the City ends up subsidizing these projects. The Hollywood-Highland Project lost close to $1/2 BILLION and yet Philip Aarons wants to build his Millennium Earthquakes Towers using Hollywood Highland as a role model. Hundreds of millions of dollars go to the developers each year and that means hundreds of millions of dollars do NOT go to street repair, to new water mains, to more police training, to more paramedics, to make pension fund contributions.
. Garcetti goes to Washington to get Promised Zone funds to help minority children gain a better education and the money goes to the portion of Hollywood where all his developer buddies need an influx of cash. http://lat.ms/1H0EoYe
. Garcetti claimed that he had “revitalized” Hollywood, but the facts showed that he had literally destroyed it in just ten (10) years. Between 2001 when Garcetti was elected and 2010, Hollywood’s population plunged by 12,000 people. An analysis showed that all the population loss came from Garcetti’s CD 13, except for a few blocks in CD 4 which were contiguous to CD 13, e.g. next to the Subway station at Hollywood and Western. In fact, the CD 13’s portion of Hollywood population loss was greater than 100%. CD 4 has gained population since the 2000 US Census. Thus, the 12,000 person deficit for CD 13 had to overcome the CD4 population gains in order for Hollywood as a whole to show a loss.
. In fact, Garcetti’s CD13 with its subway stations and mixed-use projects drove out so many people, that CD13 ceased to be a legal council district. Yet, in the Age of Acquiescence, people chose to look the other way, while screaming out the horrible traffic congestion.
. As H.E.L.P. had shown in 2005, TOD’s increase traffic congestion; they do not reduce it. Nonetheless, Garcetti continues to promote more and more density as a means to revitalize LA. As The Manhattan Institute showed, increased density has destroyed Los Angeles’ base for economic growth.
. We have the highest unemployment rate and businesses continue to flee. And, the main factor has been Garcetti’s pushing for more and more density.
. In its life time, the corrupt Community Redevelopment Agency [CRA/LA] had siphoned off more than $3 BILLION from tax revenue. That is why Los Angeles could not afford to maintain streets or sidewalks; why it could not build parks, why it could not pay for paramedics, or make proper pension contributions. Garcetti and his cohorts were diverting tax dollars to construct the same projects that were killing LA. Each new CRA Project not only increased the burden on the infrastructure, but it paid no incremental property taxes!
. Angelenos generally belief the myth that Los Angeles is almost all sprawl with low density. To the contrary, Los Angeles is the most dense city.
. Despite stereotypes about suburban sprawl, California’s development since at least the 1980s has followed the “smart growth” model of closely packed residential clusters separated by open space. As a result, California had the densest urbanized areas in the nation by 2010.
. According to the Census, the Los Angeles and Orange County region had a population density of 6,999.3 per square mile—well ahead of famously dense metro areas such as New York and Chicago. The Great California Exodus, page 20
. This fact is not new. Writing in 2010, Eric Eidlin in his article, What Density Does Not Tell Us About Sprawl, “Los Angeles has been the densest urbanized area in the United States since the 1980s, denser even than New York and San Francisco.” L.A. Dense Sprawl
. Because Los Angeles City Hall is a temple to Crimogenics, this information was deliberately withheld from the Hollywood Community Plan Update. (LA City Hall, A Temple to Crimogenics, CityWatch 6-26-2012 http://bit.ly/1jirZ5h) As the court remarked in January 2014, the City’s data for the Hollywood Community Plan Update was fatally flawed, wishful thinking and subverted the law. 2014-1-15 J. Goodman Decision
. The absurd claims that the pro-density folks were making were truly astounding. Some persons even told the court during the hearing on the Hollywood Community Plan Update that Hollywood could reasonably accommodate 400,000 people. The City’s itself had placed the maximum population in year 2030 at only 250,000 persons.
. These massive falsehoods have brought disaster upon Los Angeles. In 2006, the new Director of Planning, Gail Goldberg, had warned that The City’s allowing developers to set whatever zoning rules they wanted was leading to disaster. http://bit.ly/1CxiGep 2008-2-7 LA Weekly, City Hall’s “Density Hawks” Are Changing L.A.’s DNA, By Steven Leigh Morris
. Ironically, Ms. Goldberg resigned four years later after being accused of forcing on Los Angeles and Hollywood the same type Transit Oriented projects. http://bit.ly/15ygfuV
. After 15 years of neglect, the City’s infrastructure is a disaster. Los Angeles has the worst streets in the nation! This is astounding. We have no snow, we have no freezing rain, and we do not pour tons of salt on our roads. Yet, we have the worst streets. The corrupt ones at City Hall should have listened to their grandmothers who told them, “A stitch in time saves nine.”
. Whether it is a pot hole or a pension contribution, once you get behind, you cannot catch up. In fact, this pattern is what destroyed Bernie Madoff. His ego would not let him admit that his investment firm was not making the highest profits. When he had a bad year, Bernie lied and said he had done great and he paid dividends as if he had made 14%, thinking he would do 16% next year and pay back the pilfered funds. As time passed, Bernie had skimmed so much cash from the new investors that he could not repay them.
. It’s the same with a pension plan. If The City does not make the contributions for a few years thinking that it will catch up later when the cash situation is better, The City soon end up so far behind that it can never catch up. The same principle applies to streets. If the City does not repair them one year to save money, it will not have an extra large street repair budget the next year. No, it will probably have a smaller budget and then the streets get much worse faster making repair bills much higher. In choosing between repairing deteriorating streets and making political payoff to developers, the City chose to give hundreds of millions of dollars to their buddies. The City is now behind on everything!
. Here we are in 2015 with atrocious infrastructure and pension liabilities looming into the tens of billions of dollars. Businesses do not move to cities where the finances are terrible and where the infrastructure is crumbling. Businesses can see L.A.’s future:
. 1. Continued decaying infrastructure or
. 2. Higher taxes to repair infrastructure
. The density mania has distorted Hollywood’s population so that it is being shaped like a dumbbell. After driving out thousands of middle class and lower middle class families, Hollywood is left with more elderly and transient Millennials, who will double up to pay for the dorm-room like apartments in the TODs.
. Businesses shun such areas. The elderly are not a source of labor and the Millennials move away from urban areas when they want to start a family. The increased traffic congestion makes even small trips into big headaches. As we now know, TODs increase traffic congestion. Thus, all the additional mixed-use projects which are planned for Hollywood will make Hollywood inaccessible.
. The Mass Transit Subway Myth has been debunked. Only about 5% of Los Angeles is served by the subways. People cannot rely on the subways, but have to own a car. That is why the automobile ownership per household increased by 30% in Hollywood after the subway was completed. With Millennials doubling and tripling Up in their cubby holes, the number of cars per household naturally increased and traffic congestion similarly increased.
. Mass transit is slow, dirty and extremely expensive for the people who use it. They pay with their time. Time is money. When someone uses the bus or subway, it takes them much longer to reach their destination and running errands is much harder. The extra amount of time required to use subways and buses is so great that when one monetizes Time, one sees that bus and subways riders are paying a horrendous penalty to use mass transit.
. This is one reason the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. If you own a car, you can stock up at sales, but if you have to rely on buses or walking, you’re greatly limited on what you can lug home from the store. As a result, the poor end up paying a higher unit price for items that do the more affluent.
. The extra stress and strain of mass transit on its riders can also be monetized. If nothing else, by the time one gets home at night, riders of mass transit are more tired and have less time to take care of their households. This adversely impacts childcare and even the cleanliness of a home.
. The crimogenic City Hall tells Angelenos that they need more dense projects along the TODs in order to make the subways profitable. Subways are costly to operate and there is never enough ridership to pay the costs. The City then claims that more mixed-used projects will increase the population density so that there will be more subway riders. The City fails to mention what it has known for a century. To function as mass transit, the subway has to have subway stops within ½ mile of both the origin and destination. One can live on top of a subway, but when it does not have a destination where you need to go, it is useless. The subway covers about 5% of the urban area. If people wanted to use, most would be able to reach their destinations via subway. (http://bit.ly/cJh5BP 1915 L.A. Transit Study)
. As soon as the developers add more mixed-use projects, the number of cars in the area dramatically increases and the traffic congestion becomes unbearable worse. That prompts another exodus, which signals new employers not to come to Los Angeles.
. As businesses shun Los Angeles, our tax base shrinks and we have less money for infrastructure (but always money to subsidize developers like Korean Airline and China). The more the infrastructure decays, the more people move away, leaving a city with more Default Tenants.
. The criminal frauds, which brought increased density, cannot erase the laws of math and science. No matter how much one widens the 405 Freeway, building more super dense projects in the Century City – Santa Monica – Westwood Triangle will increase gridlock. No matter how much junk science City Hall spews out about how much people love the new super high dense projects, people still move away from crowded urban settings.
. Do not point to New York or Chicago as examples that LA can become more dense. Los Angeles is already more dense than either of those urban areas. LA-OC has 7,000 per square mile and we know LA is more dense that OC. Chicago has only 3,525 ppl per sq mile, and New York – New Jersey have 5,320 ppl per sq mile.
. The decades of false data have left us with a city whose infrastructure is crumbling and whose tax base is fleeing. Yet, we see no villains.