(Pandemic in Los Angeles: Day 60)
Following George Chiang’s guilty plea in the FBI’s case against Council Member Jose Huizar, I am firmly of the belief that all fifteen members of the L.A. City Council should now resign, pack up their bags, and try their luck elsewhere. The reason is very simple:
The fact that Huizar’s back-door dealings with L.A. taxpayers’ money could even take place at city hall over the last three years (at minimum) shows a complete and utter failure of oversight.
We’re supposed to live in a country with “checks and balances” to govern power and prevent abuse. I don’t know about the rest of Los Angeles, but I know that when I cast my vote for my elected officials here, I do not sign up for the FBI’s knock at their door to serve as that check and balance. It’s a waste of my time and my money, and that of millions of other taxpayers’.
But since it’s clear that the council members are incapable of checking and balancing each other, and that even the L.A. Ethics Commission needs the council’s permission to have it regulate itself, the writing is on the wall: It’s time for a shake-up. A real gravitational one.
The whole council’s resignation shouldn’t seem like an unreasonable order, either. Voters can also demand to recall the officials. Less than 20 years ago, voters in California recalled Gray Davis and installed a Hollywood superstar with no prior experience in office to the state’s highest office. In the city of Los Angeles, recalling a local official is supposed to take between 50,000 – 100,000 signatures.
At a time when nearly 2.3 million workers in L.A.’s formal economy are without work, what’s the cost of registering them to vote and having them sign off on checking a broken institution at City Hall governing their tax dollars?
And I’ve got to be honest with you, Los Angeles: the state’s republicans have certainly already started their petition online to recall Governor Newsom for “violating civil liberties.” I’ll let readers look that one up themselves. Who am I kidding, here it is.
In any case, while the council’s collective resignation is obviously technically possible, I admit that the record on such bold action after prior scandals in Los Angeles makes that highly unlikely. So in the meantime, here’s some more data for you to enjoy during your morning commute, or breakfast, or sleeping in…
Mitch O’Farrell, who’s served as the representative for the 13th district in Los Angeles for almost seven years, has taken home at least $1.1 million taxpayer dollars since first stepping into the office on June 29th, 2013. He is not the only council member with these earnings. Go and see for yourself at the L.A. City Employee Payroll website.
During those same five years, more than 10,000 residents in the city of Los Angeles lost their homes due to high rent, low wages, and unemployment, ending up on L.A.’s streets.
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