Kevin de Leon: Reliance is the American Way

(OCTOBER 19, 2014) Last week a tweet caught my eye.  This morning I had time to check into it.


The tweet was from Alex Johnson, who was almost elected to the Los Angeles Board of Education in August. The quote was allegedly from CA Senate President Kevin de Leon during his inauguration on Wednesday.

Could that be accurate? How could the media covering the event ignore such a “money” sound bite?

So I dug up the video and found that the actual quote is different than the tweet.  But the sentiment remained.


Sadly, millions of kids living in poverty today simply won’t ever have the opportunities I had. This disparity has led me to one very important conclusion: Isn’t it time we shatter the great American myth about pulling one’s self up by the bootstraps? It’s a fantasy. It’s simply not true. We all need help.

As the great scientist Sir Isaac Newton said, “If I have seen further, it is because I stood on the shoulders of giants.” Every single one of us, whether rich or poor– has relied or is relying on others for our success.

Reliance is not something of shame. It is the American way. Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson, Chavez, King, Milk, Anthony– all American giants, were great leaders and they each attributed their success to people along the way who helped them be great.


(SEPTEMBER 5, 2014) On Thursday, pop culture icon Joan Rivers passed away at age 81.  Friday morning, Los Angeles Deputy Mayor Rick Cole felt the need to marginalize her comedic skills as “vulgar” and “vapid”.


You can call Joan Rivers a lot of things, but one thing you can’t call her is “vapid”. 

Words mean things. 

Having said that, no one can deny Cole’s “vulgarity” accusation.  A rather pompous claim, considering the tacky tweet the Deputy Mayor sent less than three months ago.

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(SEPTEMBER 2, 2014) On Monday, Los Angeles Councilmember Nury Martinez spoke at Mayor Eric Garcetti’s “Raise the Wage LA” Labor Day rally.  She suggested that L.A. Council will reform the City’s business tax in exchange for support of a minimum wage hike.

Nury Martinez, Sept 1, 2014:

"We have to make Los Angeles the most progressive, livable city in the country, and we have to do that together.  And I don’t want to leave big business behind, or small business owners in our communities…"

"The Council President (Herb Wesson) and I will be introducing the Business Tax Reform proposal in the next couple of weeks because we get it. We get that we have to do this (raise the minimum wage) in a balanced approach."

Earlier this year, Mayor Garcetti talked about eliminating the business tax in order to make Los Angeles more competitive.

L.A. Daily News, Feb 1, 2014:

The Valley Industry and Commerce Association, an influential business advocacy group that lobbies City Hall, has already mobilized its membership in backing the plan after being told by the Mayor’s Office that a phase-out is in the works.

VICA sent a form letter to its members urging them to put it on their company letterhead, sign and fax it to City Council members.

VICA President Stuart Waldman feels eliminating the tax would be a milestone for the city. “It would be monumental,” he said. “It would send a message to businesses that Los Angeles wants their business.”

VICA, along with the LA Area Chamber of Commerce and Central City Association are, for some reason, considered “business leaders” even though they’ve all sat on their hands for the past nine months as Team Garcetti plotted its minimum wage plan of attack.

What kind of “business leaders” would be surprised by the Garcetti’s minimum wage scheme?

Real leaders have foresight.


(SEPTEMBER 1, 2014) Today Mayor Eric Garcetti officially announced his plans to raise the minimum wage for all of Los Angeles.

Businessman Eli Broad, AFL-CIO leader Maria Elena Durazo, U.S. Congresswoman Karen Bass and seven L.A. Councilmembers bored a crowd at Martin Luther King, Jr. Park. 

THE SMOKING GUN: Councilman Gil Cedillo said the minimum wage should be raised so poor people in his district can buy coffee at Starbucks.

This video goes out to anyone in Pico-Union unable to splurge on a pumpkin spice latte this fall.  YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE.

In addition to Cedillo, Council members Mike Bonin, Paul Koretz, Curren Price, Herb Wesson, Joe Buscaino and Nury Martinez also spoke in favor of Garcetti’s plan.


(SEPTEMBER 1, 2014) Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Freuer is looking for volunteers for the new Neighborhood Justice Program (NJP).



(click image to enlarge)

That means different standards for different neighborhoods. 

What is acceptable in posh Hancock Park may or may not be acceptable in a Boyle Heights barrio.

Of course, that is probably the NJP’s intent.

Our traditional justice system, in some instances, will be replaced by a handful of “community leaders” who will determine punishments that could be as light as writing a “letter of apology”. 

We are talking about misdemeanors like theft and vandalism, but some NJP punishment options make those transgressions sound like third-grade spitball spats.

This is just another example of using the justice system to implement social policy. 

The City says NJP is an opportunity for “individuals with no criminal record to take responsibility for their part in a minor crime and to avoid criminal court in the hope that they will have no further contact with the law.”

Now, the Los Angeles City Attorney is cool with criminals getting a slap on the wrist for misdemeanors they commit without even having to go to court.  How convenient.

On the bright side, this nonsense should help alleviate that jail overcrowding problem.  But hiring new NJP employees won’t help ease the City’s ongoing budget fiasco.

Freuer recently posted a job opening for a NJP “Administrative Coordinator” that will pay up to $94,502 annual salary to basically do clerical work.  Check out the job description: