Are you one of those rare municipal geeks who always seems to know what the F is going on at City Hall? Have you always dreamed of seeing your street savvy in mass print? Are you woefully unemployed and have nothing better to do for the next 24 hours than perfect an argument about a jargony fiscal matter no one cares about? (No, we're not talking to you, Phil Jennerjahn. Please restrain yourself.)
Then, says L.A. City Council President Eric Garcetti, this could be your lucky day! He's asking that all potential 'Yes' and 'No' suitors for 11 sets of ballot-measure blurbs send an application to his office no later than 2 p.m. tomorrow.
The Voter Information Pamphlets will be distributed to all registered voters in Los Angeles.
Now is probably a good time to tell you about the fine print. In Garcetti's letter to "Interested Parties" (read: crazies who miraculously found this random PDF on the city clerk's website), he forewarns that priority will be given to:
1) An elected officer of the City;
2) An appointive officer of the City;
3) Bona fide associations of citizens;
4) Individual voters
So if you're just some laptop bozo with a penchant for city politics, we recommend you latch onto one such bona fide. That'll at least get you out of fourth place. 'Cause let's face it -- "individuality" just doesn't get the same respect it used to around here.
The application can be found at the end of this document.
The front-desk girls at the City Clerk's Office are somehow unsure of the best way to send it in ("We honestly don't get too many of these..."), but they ended up choosing a fax machine as your best bet.
So here's Garcetti's fax number: (213) 613-0819. Or, you can walk your app into City Hall like a real man: 200 North Spring Street, Room 470.
The City Clerk girls did say that 'Yes' arguments are usually drafted by councilmembers -- since they're the ones trying to get the measures passed, after all -- but that many counter-arguments have been crafted by non-council associations or citizens. In other words, if you'd like to see your masterpiece on a couple million L.A. voter guides next March, you're better off channeling your inner pessimist.
For a full run-down of the measures you should care about and how they got on the ballot, read the Weeklys "L.A. Has a Jammed 2011 Ballot" here.
Otherwise, the Big 11 are presented by Garcetti as such:
Increase funding for the L.A. Public Library
We're just gonna go ahead and pat ourselves on the back for this one. Has the Weekly ever written a 'Yes' blurb? Shucks -- It's about time. Although we doubt ballot arguments are allowed to rip the mayor a new asshole. That might be a problem.
"Remove three unconstitutional provisions regarding contribution limits and
Establish a Contingency Reserve Account and Emergency Reserve Account in the City's Reserve Fund, and a Budget Stabilization Fund in the City Treasury
Amend City employment provisions
Restrict prospective contractor campaign contributions and fundraising, and
matters regarding the City's Campaign Trust Fund
Impose a tax on medical marijuana collectives in Los Angeles
This one will of course be a hot election topic, as is anything pot-related in this wonderfully stonery California of ours. The City Council couldn't give less of a hoot as to whether we smoke the weed or not, just as long as they get $50 of every $1,000 brought in by the pot shops. It's a legally ambiguous move that isn't really theirs to make, but hey, it's fun to watch them try. To superior court we go!
Impose an excise tax on oil producers in Los Angeles
You might not want to tell your friends you're writing an argument against taxing big oil companies. That's possibly the least popular stance since 'Yes' on Prop. 23.
Create a new tier within the Fire and Police Pension Plan and Harbor
Department for new hires and related modifications
Which essentially means, lessen the retirement benefits for current police officers and firemen to make room for new ones. Likely popular with everyone who isn't a current police officer or fireman. Go figure.
DWP, submission of preliminary budget to the City Council and procedures
for making surplus transfers from the Power Revenue Fund to the City
It's about time! The unaccountable, moated-castle Department of Water and Power does what it wants, when it wants. This measure would at least let the council mull over the DWP's intended evils a few months beforehand.
DWP, removal of commissioners and the general manager by the City
Corrupt politicians ripping the chair out from under other corrupt politicians. Whatever.
DWP, establish an Office of Public Accountability (Ratepayer Advocate),
overseen by an Executive Director appointed by a citizens committee and
confirmed by the Council and Mayor
This is the big one for DWP reform. Read all about the limp finale to a three-year struggle here.
Goodnight, and good luck!