The Origins of Los Angeles City Council’s
Mutual Bribery Voting Pact
by Scott Zwartz
Friday, April 8, 2016
Strange as it sounds, the habitual corruption at Los Angeles City Council derives from the State of California’s attempt to remove corruption from municipal government. [California State Constitution, Art; 2, Sec 6 (a) & (b)] Back at the beginning of the 20th Century, the Progressive Movement sought to do away with the corrupting influence of political parties at the local level by requiring all municipal elections be non-partisan, thereby leaving no role for political parties in city government.
“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Lord Acton 1887. In reality, Lord Acton was rephrasing a basic political truth which underlies much of the US Constitution. Power corrupts, and thus, power needs to balance power. The Senate with two Senators from each state no matter how small, for example, balances the power of the population based House. Appealing to man’s better nature is a fool’s plan.
Although the United States Constitution made no provision for political parties, they soon emerged. As seen in The Federalist Papers, especially #9 and #10, the problem of factions polluting the political process has always been a problem.
Unchecked Corruption Destroys
Lord Action, however, did not articulate the logical conclusion of power’s corrupting influence. “While power corrupts, corruption destroys.” The only way to stop the destruction which corruption brings is to counterbalance one power center with another. The LA City Council has no counterbalance. Ironically, this situation is the unintended consequence of good intentions. The California State Constitution requires all municipal elections be non-partisan — that means no political parties.
As a result of the City Council’s being non-partisan, GOP cannot balance out Dem. Where political parties operate, legislation can be the product of in-fighting between the political factions — GOP vs Dem. Of course, the wealthy buy their own politicians and each council person will shamelessly front for whoever bought him/her — but at least, the citizens do have two opposing forces fighting against each other. In Los Angeles, however, there is no counter-balancing force. Do we even know who is a GOP and who is a Dem? Basically, they are all Dems, but that misses the entire point. There is no balancing of power in the Los Angeles City Council.
If State Constitution allowed political parties to operate in city councils, then some wealthy people would buy a lot of GOP councilmembers to counter-balance the Dem City Council members. As the corrupt GOP battled the corrupt Dems, they just might have to pay some attention to Angelenos themselves. Both GOP and Dem would know that their power in City Council rested in their getting more of their party elected, and thus, voters would have some value for City Hall.
No Political Parties means No Balance of Power
As it is, there are no political parties, and thus, there is no way to counter-balance power. Rather, the LA City Council has exiled dissent so that the Los Angeles City Council has more unanimity than a Soviet Politburo . That is proven by the fact that the LA City Hall unanimously approves everything over 99.9% of the time. By guaranteeing that City Council may never have political parties to balance each other, the State Constitution has given us the most craven and corruption politician system where voters play no role whatsoever.
Zwartz Talk calls Los Angeles’s form of Corruptionism “Garcettism.”
The City Hall operates according to a vote trading agreement whereby no councilmember may vote No on any development project in any other council district. There can be no balance of power when city councilmembers have an agreement to never vote No. Of all the terrible things we see in Washington D.C., would anyone ever expect their Congressman to agree to never vote No on a bad project? Yet, in Los Angeles we expect each councilmember to defer to each other councilmember. In fact, that is what they do. Some judges like to pretend that mutual “deferring” to the councilmembers is not the essence of an agreement. The proper term is “Mutual Bribery.”
Law Enforcement Supports The Corrupt Vote Trading
The District Attorney and the downtown judges pretend that it is mere coincidence that out of 10,000 consecutive votes, the 15 member city council voted unanimously over 99.9% of the time. Who expects a judge to put his career on the line by acknowledging what everyone can see — Los Angeles City Council operates according to a criminal vote trading pact? [Penal Code 86 criminalizes all vote trading in city councils. Penal Code 86]
Once the obvious corruption is publicly acknowledged, then people feel compelled to do something about the criminal behavior. Thus, law enforcement, the district attorney, the politically appointed US Attorney, the State Attorney General, the Representatives to Congress, and all other politicos in California turn a blind eye.
That’s why Mickey Kantor’s 2020 Commission had no recommendations how to stop Los Angeles’s decay over which it fretted in its December 2013 report, A Time for Truth. Mayer Brown (Kantor’s law firm) was too heavily invested in the City Council to suggest ending the City Council corruption in its follow up 2014 Report, A Time for Action.
http://bit.ly/1djIH5M December 2013, 2020 Commission’s Report, A Time for Truth, to see how the City is steadily heading down hill.