Posts Tagged ‘Los Angeles’
November 2nd, 2011 at 1:02 am
More Crony Capitalism in L.A. Football Bid

Recently, Troy wrote an excellent indictment of the latest Los Angeles boondoggle, a debt-laden deal to bring an NFL team to a city with job-killing regulations and 12.5 percent unemployment.

Now, Joel Kotkin echoes Troy’s analysis with more scathing criticisms of the regulations-for-thee-but-not-for-me pay-to-play scandal pushing a publicly financed stadium forward.

Such projects often obscure the real and more complex challenge of nurturing broad-based economic growth. This would require substantive change in a city or regional political culture. Instead the football stadium services two basic political constituencies: large unions and big-time speculators, particularly in the downtown area. The fact that the stadium will be built with union labor, for example, all but guaranteed its approval by the city’s trade union-dominated council.

Downtown developers and “rent-seeking” speculators, the other group behind the project, have siphoned hundreds of millions in tax breaks and public infrastructure in the past decade. They have done so – subsidizing companies from other parts of Los Angeles, entertainment venues and hotels — in the name of a long-held, impossible dream of turning downtown Los Angeles into a mini-Manhattan. Perhaps no company has pushed this more effectively than the stadium developer Anschutz Entertainment Group, a mass developer of generic entertainment districts around the world. AEG has expanded its influence by doling out substantial financial donations to Mayor Villaraigosa and others in the city’s economically clueless political class.

October 14th, 2011 at 9:05 pm
‘Occupy’ Protests So Anti-Establishment They’re Now Joined by One of the Nation’s Most Powerful Special Interests
Posted by Print

The ‘Occupy’ protests that have been springing up around the nation aren’t particularly well-defined. As best I can tell, there’s a visceral aversion to capitalism, accompanied by an endless array of non sequitur liberal causes (one protester’s sign at Occupy Los Angeles read “end heterosexism”).  In truth, however, this seems to be first and foremost an aesthetic movement aimed at recapturing the grimy romance of the halcyon years of protest in the Vietnam era. As such, it defines itself primarily by its opposition to institutional power, capaciously defined.

That’s why it’s so ironic that the movement now has the backing of one of the most powerful — and malign — special interests in the nation. From the San Francisco Chronicle:

The California Teachers Association jumped on the Occupy Wall Street bandwagon Thursday, throwing the weight of 325,000 state teachers behind the movement for “tax fairness and against corporate greed.”

About that last bit: the CTA, which is one of the most nation’s destructive teachers unions, knows a thing or two about big money. It’s spent over $210 million in the course of the last decade to influence California state government — more than “big oil”, “big tobacco”, and “big pharma” combined. The results? Defeats for school voucher propositions, teacher accountability measures, and paycheck protection for educators. Not to mention that California — formerly a national leader in the classroom — now ranks among the bottom five American states in most education metrics.

Corruption, nest-feathering, and sticking it to the little guy. Sound familiar, Occupy protesters? Don’t look know, but you just got in bed with The Man.

April 29th, 2011 at 1:50 pm
Community Organizing Targets Public Education

Conservatives are rightly convinced that private sector initiative is the key ingredient to almost every major improvement, be it economical, cultural, etc.  But before individuals can make big changes, they must be legally allowed to do so.

Thanks to Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s Race to the Top program, states like California opened up their public school districts to more parent involvement.  (These kinds of reforms are necessary to qualify for Race to the Top funding.)

According to Parent Revolution, a Los Angeles-based organization helping parents maximize their rights under the law,

The Parent Trigger is a historic new law that gives parents in California the right to force a transformation of their child’s current or future failing school. All parents need to do is organize – if 51% of them get together and sign an official Parent Trigger petition, they have the power to force their school district to transform the school.

If successful, parents have five options:

1) Charter conversion:

If there is a nearby charter school that is outperforming your child’s failing school, parents can bring in that charter school to transform the failing school. The school will then be run by that charter school, not the school district, but it will continue to serve all the same students that have always attended the school.

2) Turnaround:

If parents want huge changes but want to leave the school district in charge, this option may be for them. It forces the school district to hit the reset button by bringing in a new staff and giving the local school community more control over staffing and budget.

3) Transformation:

This is the least significant change. It force the school district to find a new principal, and make a few other small changes.

4) Closure:

This option would close the school altogether and send the students to other, higher-performing schools nearby.  Parent Revolution does NOT recommend this option to parents – we believe schools must be transformed, not closed.

5) Bargaining power:

If parents want smaller changes but the school district just won’t listen to them, they can organize, get to 51%, and use their signatures as bargaining power.

Parents get to pick which option they want for their children and their school. For a much more detailed overview of each one of these options, please click here.

All public policy needs to do is create space for private initiative to occur.  Once it does, the ingenuity of the American people will make the most of the opportunity.

For more on Parent Revolution, click here.

September 25th, 2010 at 2:49 pm
Bell, CA Officials Arrested in Corruption Sweep

The saga of the systemic corruption of public finances in the City of Bell, CA, is not over.  Earlier this week Los Angeles police officers arrested eight current and former Bell officials on charges of misappropriating upwards of $5.5 million in public funds.

It’s often said that if private business owners kept their books like the government does, there would be lots of CEOs in prison.  With the Bell scandal showing that fraud is criminal no matter who does it, the people who’ve grown rich at the public’s expense should start looking over their shoulders.

The cops – and the pitchforks – are coming.

September 17th, 2010 at 1:18 pm
$111 Million in Stimulus for Jobs, But Not One Penny for Business?

The Los Angeles Times reports that after receiving $111 million in federal stimulus money the City of Angels has only created 55 jobs.  Officials counter that whenever they get around to spending taxpayers cash the total jobs created will be 264.


With California losing citizens and jobs to other states in record numbers, why not allow cities like L.A. to give $1 million to any business that promises to move into city limits and employ a domestic workforce?  Better yet, give 111 businesses $1 million in tax breaks to set up shop and revive the local economy.

American taxpayers can’t afford to spend millions of dollars for dozens of jobs.  (And government jobs at that!)  Since we need a much higher return on investment to get the economy growing again, why not direct money and incentives to businesses?  After all, they – unlike bureaucracies – can create jobs without perpetual government handouts.

August 21st, 2010 at 2:51 pm
Florida Tea Party Needs to Go Local

As discussed in this week’s Liberty Update, the next great wave of Tea Party enthusiasm needs to wash over local political offices as soon as this year’s federal midterm elections conclude.  A column in the St. Petersburg Times notes that several of Florida’s highest profile Tea Party candidates are mounting what looks to be losing campaigns in the run-up to next Tuesday’s statewide primary elections.

The reason is simple: it’s just too hard to compete for votes and money when running against candidates from the two established parties.  Far better, the columnist suggests, to turn the Tea Party’s attention to city and county races where much of the real world of governing takes place.

Mike Alexander and the Pasadena (CA) Patriots couldn’t agree more.  Like Mike’s wife Patricia likes to say, “Starting at 6 a.m. on November 3rd, we are going to focus on all the municipal elections here in Los Angeles County: county supervisor, city council, school board, you name it.”  Tea Party enthusiasts would do well to check out Alexander’s TEA PAC organization for ideas on how to turn activist energy into winning elections.

June 7th, 2010 at 1:54 pm
La-La Land Weed Whacking: City of Angels No Longer Sanctuary City for Illegal Pot Shops

After letting medical marijuana dispensaries illegally mushroom to about 1,000 within city limits, L.A.’s city council is imposing tough new restrictions designed to reduce that number to between 70 and 130 within six months.  Under the recently passed ordinance, violators could be fined up to $2,500 a day, and possibly face jail time.

Here’s a mind-blowing perspective:

“The sky isn’t going to fall down,” Asha Greenberg, assistant city attorney, told National Public Radio. “LAPD isn’t going to go around kicking down doors, etc. Initially we’re going to be doing information gathering.”

At least there’s one deleterious activity the people running L.A.’s City Council are willing to fight against.  (At least until November…)

May 21st, 2010 at 9:18 am
Video: California Dreaming on Arizona’s Immigration Law

In this week’s Freedom Minute, CFIF’s Renee Giachino discusses the temper tantrum being thrown by the City of Los Angeles over Arizona’s new immigration law and the idea of taking border security seriously.


May 19th, 2010 at 2:26 pm
Arizona Utilities Willing to Shut Off Power to L.A. to Honor City’s Boycott

With apologies to Texas, Don’t Mess with Arizona!  One of the state’s utilities commissioners sent an open letter to the Mayor of Los Angeles in response to the City Council’s resolution to boycott Arizona businesses in order to, as the mayor said, “send a message” that L.A. officials disapprove of Arizona’s tough new illegal immigration law. (pdf)

Commissioner Gary Pierce’s letter is short and powerful. (pdf)  My favorite excerpt:

“I received your message; please receive mine.  As a state-wide elected member of the Arizona Corporation Commission overseeing Arizona’s electric and water utilities, I too am keenly aware of the ‘resources and ties’ we share with the City of Los Angeles.  In fact, approximately twenty-five percent of the electricity consumed in Los Angeles is generated by power plants in Arizona.

If an economic boycott is truly what you desire, I will be happy to encourage Arizona utilities to renegotiate your power agreements so Los Angeles no longer receives any power from Arizona-based generation.  I am confident that Arizona’s utilities would be happy to take these electrons off your hands.  If, however, you find that the City Council lacks the strength of its convictions to turn off the lights in Los Angeles and boycott Arizona power, please reconsider the wisdom of attempting to harm Arizona’s economy.”

Like the well-heeled college students protesting capitalism on spring break, it’s time for Los Angeles officials to put their principles where their sanctimonious mouths are.  We’ll see who backs down first.

April 30th, 2010 at 1:32 pm
L.A. May Day Protests Cost Taxpayers

Unfortunately, red flag waving organizations won’t be trying to disrupt local economies by staging walk-outs and marches on a work day.  This year, Communism’s “May Day” celebration falls on a Saturday, meaning that instead of counter-demonstrators shopping en masse to keep business profits high, the only reason to venture outside tomorrow will be to enjoy the virtual shutdown of urban life.

The Los Angeles Police Department is planning for up to 100,000 people to turn the annual march for grievance solidarity into a traffic congesting protest of Arizona’s new immigration law.  One wonders what organizers hope to accomplish since the LAPD has an illegal immigrant policy called Special 40 “which prohibits officers from initiating action against people solely to discover their legal status.”  Moreover, L.A. was the first to proclaim itself a “sanctuary city,” further complicating the logic for protesting another state’s law in a town that totally disagrees with it.

Since the only discernable economic winner in tomorrow’s L.A. area protests is the LAPD police union members who must be activated in order to monitor the participants, maybe this year’s “May Day” is serving a purpose after all: enriching a public employee union on the weekend.

H/T: L.A. Times