By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
By all accounts, 2011 was a breakout year for Andrea Alarcon that saw her star rise high over L.A.'s political scene. Under Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's wing, the 33-year-old Loyola Law School grad, single mother and scion of the Alarcon political clan — bright, attractive and generally well-liked — moved from volunteer appointments on obscure transportation commissions to powerful president of the Board of Public Works, where she earns a $130,000 salary with say-so over the department's $1.8 billion budget.
Alarcon flexed her new muscle in bold fashion. In August 2011, she wiped out the 30-year-old Sunset Junction music festival just days before the popular event was set to begin, withholding the organizer's permits due to a dispute over a $260,000 bill owed to the city. Around the same time, Alarcon led the ouster of the city's bus-bench contractor for allegedly cutting the city out of bench-kiosk advertising revenue.
The very same month, at the helm of the city's Art Walk Task Force, Alarcon bullied food trucks, musical acts and sidewalk vendors out of a four-block area that makes up the popular monthly Downtown Art Walk. This year, she was a subject of controversy in June when L.A. Weekly reported that Alarcon led what appeared to be a legally questionable ban of food trucks from the core of Art Walk. The Department of Building and Safety cited a 1996 court injunction that prevents the city from banning food trucks, as Alarcon has done. Critics attacked her as arrogant and unapproachable on the issue. At one point she lectured TruckIt food-truck festival operator Phillip Dane, at a public hearing, "I'm not going to engage in a back-and-forth with you. We will talk about it at another time."
Alarcon's demonstration of power and fiscal hawkishness earned her praise from L.A.'s budget watchdogs and garnered increased talk of Alarcon as a possible candidate for her father's City Council seat. As good as 2011 was for Alarcon, however, it also marked the beginning of a public fall from grace that ended last month, when her social life bested her political life.
On the night of Dec. 30, 2011, Alarcon was driving south on Route 18 out of Big Bear Lake with her 10-year-old daughter in the car. The 2009 Volvo she was driving got a flat tire, and her car was blocking traffic in the one lane of the twisty and sometimes treacherous main route out of the mountainous ski resort area. When California Highway Patrol Officer Raymond Thomas arrived on the scene, it was clear that a field sobriety test of Alarcon was in order.
Alarcon failed. She blew at least a 0.15 blood alcohol percent by weight, almost twice the legal limit for a DUI, according to court documents. She was arrested and charged on the spot with two counts of driving under the influence and one count of willful cruelty to a child.
"We view the child as not having a choice as far as being in the vehicle," CHP Public Information Officer Ben Baker said.
The San Bernardino District Attorney filed misdemeanor DUI and child cruelty charges against Alarcon in June, but the media either ignored that news or never learned of it.
Alarcon is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing next week. Alarcon's lawyer, Michael Scafiddi, several days ago told the Los Angeles Times that he expected two of the three charges to be dropped, a claim that has been widely repeated by California media. But when L.A. Weekly contacted San Bernardino District Attorney spokesman Christopher Lee, he said, "That couldn't be further from the truth. We have no intention of dismissing the charges."
Alarcon met with Mayor Villaraigosa last December, the day after her DUI. Officials won't say if she offered to resign, but it's now clear the mayor allowed her to slip out of it with her job and reputation intact.
That all ended last month, when the Big Bear DUI charges became public and Alarcon's penchant for partying hard caught up with her in dramatic fashion — in the form of a second investigation for child endangerment in under a year, this time on her own turf at Los Angeles City Hall.
On Friday, Nov. 16, Project Restore, a city agency dedicated to restoring and preserving historic city-owned buildings, held its annual gala at City Hall. The event was attended by the usual politicos, including City Council members, Public Works officials and Villaraigosa, who was honored by Project Restore.
Around 10:30 p.m. that night, as first reported by the Los Angeles Times, Alarcon left City Hall to continue her night out with Lorraine Green, an aide from Villaraigosa's office; the two women stopped by the nearby DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel. The problem was, Alarcon left her 11-year-old daughter behind at City Hall.
A short time later, General Services police officers who patrol the floors and halls in the vast — and, at night, gloomy — old City Hall building, found Alarcon's daughter wandering alone. Police took Alarcon's daughter to the Los Angeles Police Department Central Division.
It's unclear what happened between that time and 2 a.m. — when Andrea Alarcon arrived by taxi at the police station. It is known that at about 1:30 a.m., Villaraigosa aide Green, who had been partying with Alarcon, called Alarcon's city-issued cellphone, the L.A. Times and Los Angeles Daily News reported. Alarcon's daughter had been left with this city cellphone. The girl answered, then handed it to police officers.
Child endangerment is a BIG deal. Driving drunk with you kid...then a year later, abandoning the same child, to wander around city hall at midnight, while it takes the cops a couple hours to get hold of you, stinks!
And what about this city official who let her dump her kid downtown while they partied? Why are there no consequences for her? Does she have any kids? Has she been drug tested? Or is there a chance that our city government is being run by those who may be using ilegal drugs? Don't forget, the bar was closed. What were they doing unti 2:00am?
I normally wouldn't care about such things. Except for the child. The kid was following them for some reason. Why? Who was the real parent here?
She is a buddy of phony tony who is also a buddy of garcetti. Please remember that when you vote. A vote for garcetti is a vote for continuing our corrupt city government.
I don't think this woman should be paid our tax dollars while she figures out why she's a drunk, drug addict, felon or for endangering her kid and whatever she's seeking help for. Furthermore there has to be some measure where people in the same family shouldn't be allowed to run this city. I've been to meetings and marnoyes1 is right all these fucks walk around and sit there with an air of entitlement that's disgusting to say the least. They ignore the people and vote without any real consideration for the issues unless it benefits them in back room deals! This woman ruined the Sunset Junction over money owed yet that event and the art walk generate tax dollars that are now paying for her fucking leave of absence!? WTF is wrong with these people and don't they care about the little guy who also needs to pay their own bills. It's not like anyone was taking food out of her mouth especially when she makes over 100K while the rest of us are fighting to stay afloat with the little income our businesses generate. This will not stand, she must be terminated not allowed to "get help" on our dime! Let's make her ass famous and create measures to kick all these assholes out because someone is pulling strings for her ass and all those people need to be removed from these positions where all they care about is themselves. I mean seriously who the fuck drives down from big bear blowing a .15 with their daughter in tow. She claims to be a caring mother but she's anything but! How do you forget your daughter at City Hall!? How is this woman not in jail being arraigned like any other person that had these charges against them!? I guess the apple doesn't fall from the tree as it seems this whole family are scandalous self centered drunks and felons who somehow got into office. The mayor and all of City officials should all be investigated!
What a competent and effective leadership class! It looks like L.A. is going the way of Bell / South Gate / etc.! Diversity is our strength!
Who the fuck picks a battle with food trucks? It literally says "I'm going to make my mark with that truck that looks like a Metallica album".
Child endangerment is no fucking joke tho. Get a baby sitter with your 100k job.
We need some laws prohibiting multiple family members from holding high-level jobs in the City of Los Angeles. Anyone who watches our City Council meetings can pretty well understand where Andrea Alarcon's arrogance comes from. This sense of entitlement and being above the law is hurting the stakeholders of our City who have a hard enough time getting decent representation Downtown. And think about it...does someone with the utter disregard and lack of judgment to leave her daughter wandering around City Hall ALL BY HERSELF late at night...does that person have the ability or the motivation to look out for the best interests of the citizens of Los Angeles?If you grow up as the child of a politician and they roll out a red carpet leading to your cushy City Hall position, you are likely to have a rather warped vision of the world and how it really works. And when dad and Uncle Tony can pull a few strings to make your dangerous and illegal behavior "go away", your sense of arrogance and detachment from reality can only become more pronounced.I'm glad that Ms. Alarcon is seeking treatment...but nothing about it should be subsidized by the taxpayers of Los Angeles. What's a huge concern at the end of the day is what is happening to her little girl. How frightening for an 11-year-old child to be left on her own in a vast, empty building at night. It doesn't take much imagination to come up with some really awful scenarios that could have befallen her. I hope that Andrea Alarcon gets the help she needs and can get her act together as an individual and as a mother. I wonder if she might not have gone so far off course had she not been living a privileged life in which doors magically opened and consequences mysteriously vanished.
@sirvaldrin2002 I will certainly remember all of this and everything else associated with this troika, during voting time and in the future. This is completely unacceptable. But like they say, it all shows up in the wash. You can run, but you can't hide. None of the above mentioned are true leaders. The value of the city is rapidly sinking and we shouldn't have to pay for "professional" incompetency...Time to clean house in the biggest sense of the word.
@Guestasaurus Haha, yeah right. As if having a rich wannabe white-trash president with ADHD ruin the entire U.S. economy wasn't bad enough. Go move to Arizona, you idiot.
@LA_WEAKLY , you mean with her $130,000 job - you can buy a lot of child care with that extra $30K
@LA_WEAKLY I know right, food trucks!!?? Are there no other pending issues that our city faces that might be a BIGGER priority????????????????????? Not to mention, its just wrong any way you look at it.
@LA_WEAKLY best comment on this thread.
No kidding get a babysitter !
And yet, for some reason, the glorious benefits of diversity are coming to Arizona too. This is how it works: white people colonize a place, create prosperity, good schools, safe streets, and jobs. Then diversity arrives, along with the Bell/South Gate/Alarcon leadership class, graffiti, litter, terrible schools, etc. Then the white people move away. Wash/rinse/repeat. Call me a Nazi but it's the simple truth. Compton etc. used to be perfectly nice, safe places to live once upon a time.
@alloydawg Diversity is not our strength - it's our cross to bear.
@guestasaurus You don't belong in Los Angeles ,California. Take your white ass back to eastern Europe.
@guestasaurus ok Nazi a hole