Do you know how many people in the City of Los Angeles were crime victims last year?
Over 123,000 people were victims of so-called “Part I” crimes, which is police jargon for the following list: homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, grand theft auto, burglary theft from vehicle (BTFV), personal theft and other theft.
That works out to about 310 people out of every 10,000 people in our city. Plus, another 12,550 women and children were victims of spousal and child abuse.
Today’s Los Angeles Times reported that crime rates dropped six percent in other cities in the county, but only two-and-a-half percent in the City of Los Angeles. Crime was down seven percent in San Bernardino, and ten percent in Santa Ana.
If you help elect me and my slate of candidates to office on March 3, 2009, here is how we will reduce crime:
1. Jamiel’s Law: No Sanctuary For Gangs
We must immediately deny “sanctuary city” protection to gang members. We owe it to Jamiel Shaw, II, the outstanding young man, headed for college, who was gunned down by an illegal alien while Jamiel’s mother was serving in our Army in Iraq. We owe it to the Shaw family. We will not let his murder have been for nothing. And we owe it to ourselves and all the families in Los Angeles who just want to have normal lives.
As Mayor, I can and will revoke L.A.’s “sanctuary city” policy within 60 second after taking the oath of office. Special Order 40 is a memo, not a law, and can be repealed with the stroke of a pen. How big a dent could this put in the gangs? Senator Diane Feinstein has stated that “an estimated 80 percent of the [18th Street] gang’s members are illegal aliens from Mexico and Central America.”
And if you will elect not just me, but also elect David Berger as City Attorney, I guarantee he will work zealously with federal authorities, starting on Day One, to investigate, prosecute, convict and deport gang members who violate our immigration laws. Unlike the other candidates for City Attorney, Berger is an actual criminal prosecutor, with a track record of fighting gangs. And he is the only candidate for City Attorney who opposes Special Order 40.
2. Number One Budget Priority: Police
You will never hear me say we cannot afford to hire enough police to make every neighborhood a safe neighborhood. Rather, the first priority in every Walter Moore budget will be to bring the LAPD up to a minimum of 12,000 sworn officers. That is the number the Chief of Police says he needs to make ours the safest big city in America.
Right now, we have only 9,793 officers, up from 9,239 in 2005, when Villaraigosa took office. That’s an increase of just 554 officers, or just six percent. By contrast, last year Villaraigosa increased his own staff from 70 to 93—up 32%. And Villaraigosa’s announced goal is to have 10,000 officers—2,000 fewer than his own Chief of Police says we need, and at a time when we have 39,000 gang members in the city, according to the Mayor’s own estimate. If that isn’t a blueprint for failure, what is?
3. Parks And Recreation, Not “Anti-Gang” Programs
Villaraigosa spends $168 million of your per year on sketchy, unregulated “anti-gang” programs, some of which are run by people who claim they are “ex” gang members. The most notorious example is the “No Guns” program run by Hector “Big Weasel” Marroquin, who, after receiving over $1 million of your money—which funded a $90,000 per year salary for him, and another $110,000 per year for his wife a nd two children—was arrested and convicted by federal authorities of arming his “former” gang with machine guns.
I won’t spend a dime of your money on these unregulated, unreliable “programs.” Indeed, I can think of few ideas worse than putting children in the care of men who admit having been members of criminal gangs. (FYI, the Daily News and the BBC have both reported that the Mayor himself is a “former gang member.”)
I believe the best way to get children on the right path is to make every neighborhood safe, and to have plenty of parks and recreation programs for them. Team sports teach teamwork, the importance of playing by the rules, and all sorts of important life lessons. The children of Los Angeles deserve to have a normal childhood. They shouldn’t have to worry about whether they’re going to live to the age of 21.
All of this can happen—if you help get me elected. You are a participant in this election, not a spectator. If you have not contributed already, do so now. I’m not asking you to do this as some kind of a favor to me. I’m asking you to do it for your own self-interest, so we can have a halfway decent Mayor for a change. And whether you have contributed or not, get one of my free yard signs and bumper stickers. Our fellow voters cannot read about me in the local paper, but they can read about me when they drive past your yard or are stuck in traffic behind your car. Let’s make this happen, shall we?
For months, many average citizens and members of the press wondered if Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was turning out to be mostly talk. He frequently held staged press conferences devoid of news, launched, with great flourish, initiatives that went nowhere and flew off to places like Chicago and New York to raise money for his own re-election. Several of his touted projects—including planting one million trees, dramatically slashing congestion with synchronized lights, identifying the Top 10 Worst Gangs, turning Pico and Olympic boulevards into one-way streets, making L.A. the greenest U.S. city, turning around the schools, or hiring 1,000 more police—had backfired, come up short or just vanished.
In September, L.A. Weekly delved into claims that the mayor was indeed busy—but not with a mayor’s core duties of improving city government or a city’s quality of life. He has claimed, to national and global news outlets, that he puts in strenuous 16-hour days in deep commitment to Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Daily News and local TV news operations accepted that claim by Villaraigosa with little question.
The Weekly acquired copies of the mayor’s personal daily schedule covering a roughly 10-week period. We unearthed a jarringly different story: Villaraigosa spends just 11 percent of his time on city business—a fact that shocked many and turned L.A. Weekly’s cover story, “The All About Me Mayor: Antonio Villaraigosa’s Frenetic Self-promotion Leaves Little time for His Job,” into one of 2008’s most popular stories, picked up by media outlets globally.
That must have smarted, because on December 26 Villaraigosa lashed out at us in a Los Angeles Daily News story by Rick Orlov, criticizing L.A. Weekly for relying on his “public calendar” in which, Villaraigosa insisted to Orlov, much of his mayoral elbow work was not revealed.
Our assessment of his roughly 10 weeks of work, much of which we independently confirmed and nailed down in 15-minute intervals, revealed a mayoralty unlike anything Los Angeles has seen in the modern era.
His schedule reveals that Villaraigosa uses the Office of the Mayor as a promotional and public-relations operation, with extremely little time given to policy considerations, meeting with department heads or otherwise focusing on core municipal problems. On the rare occasions when Villaraigosa focused on policy or the deep problems within many city departments, he often met with
He flew around the nation and world, held one photo op after another, and even sat down in the mayoral mansion, Getty House, so that Madame Tussauds could replicate his head for a wax statue—soon to be displayed on Hollywood Boulevard. Our sidebar, “How Villaraigosa Spends His 16-Hour Days,” broke down the facts, showing that he spends about 34 percent of his purported 16-hour day traveling out of town, and about 24 percent on what the Weekly finally dubbed “gap time”—time soaked up racing around L.A. to appear at photo ops, banquets, ceremonies, interviews and other PR activities.
Together, then, the mayor spent 804 hours, or 89 percent of his work schedule, on ceremonial/PR, travel, blacked-out activities, gap time, fund-raising, personal issues and undisclosed “security” issues. On direct city business—such as signing legislation and meeting with city-department heads—his schedule shows the mayor spent 11 percent of his time.
“The mayor flies around the world like he’s on a reality TV show,” says a former California Democratic congressional staffer.