SOMETIMES YOU GOTTA WONDER if L.A. City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo forgot to wear his helmet during his days playing safety on Harvard’s football team. Sure, like any halfway decent lawyer, he can probably write a plausible brief arguing that hospitals are breaking some law, somehow, when they drive recently discharged patients to Skid Row. But if we’re talking about homeless patients ready to be released from the hospital, where should they go? Arianna Huffington’s palace in Brentwood? Chief Bratton’s digs in Los Feliz? The mayor’s mansion in Hancock Park? Even with all the dangers of Skid Row, a homeless person stands a better shot of finding services there than on the streets of Beverly Hills. Let the city attorney consider filing all the charges he wants against hospitals and bring in the softheaded ACLU for moral support, but don’t distract us from finding the real solution: This county needs shelter space for the 88,000 homeless people who sleep on the streets every night. By the way, consider that homeless people might just be treated with more kindness than the rest of us, who get kicked to the curb, sometimes days before we’re well enough to return home, by hospitals serving the craven interests of very wealthy, morally bankrupt insurance companies.
Don’t Get Fooled Again
One of our favorite parlor games here at L.A. Sniper headquarters is imagining, in a perfect world, which one of the 15 Mighty Egos, a.k.a. L.A. City Council members, might be the first to be indicted. Our newest nominee: Tony Cardenas for blatant violation of public trust. Over the strenuous objections of City Administrative Officer Bill Fujioka, who pointed out the obvious — that competitive bidding saves money — Cardenas got his unindicted co-conspirators to go along with his plan for a no-bid sale of some $500 million worth of bonds needed for the new LAPD headquarters. Thirty percent of the booty from this stinks-to-high-heaven deal goes to E.J. De La Rosa & Co., a firm where high-profile City Hall lobbyist Fernando Guerra is a senior vice president.
The deal was detailed in a story by Rick Orlov in the L.A. Daily News last week. If the Mighty Egos want to do business like this, they better install some portable showers outside City Hall so the public exposed to such a sleazeball spectacle can wash up before returning to work.
Billionaire party boy Ron Burkle would be about as good an owner of the L.A. Times as, say, Dick Cheney and his oil buddies would be sound stewards of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Burkle, who wants so badly to own the paper, if not the entire Tribune Co., is no patron saint of the First Amendment. In the past two years, he’s done everything he could to keep his divorce settlement confidential. When Burkle failed to get a judge to seal his files, he asked the Legislature — twice — to pass a law to make those files secret. In 2004, months before he got then–state Senate President Pro Tem John Burton to fast-track the first bill, Burkle gave $120,000 to Gov. Steroids and $26,000 to the California Democratic Party. The legislation passed, but a judge deemed it to be unconstitutional: What goes down in a public court proceeding is, well, public. Earlier this year, Burkle tried again, but the bill by state Senator Kevin Murray, a Democrat from Culver City, failed. What makes these bills particularly creepy is Burkle’s insistence that he had nothing to do with them. Phooey. Murray was quoted at the time: “Clearly, it’s not lost on anybody that he’s involved .?.?.” Couldn’t Burkle take a long ride on his Boeing 757 and leave us the hell alone? We promise not to write about it. Hey, Ron, it can be our little secret.
Let Congress Investigate .?.?. ?Crime in L.A.
Too bad the ballots in the Congressional races last week didn’t include this option: Elect no one. Our lives would be so much better without Congress and a few other inside-the-Beltway institutions pushing us around. Over the years, we wouldn’t have been forced to endure endless investigations into matters of little or no consequence. We could have avoided the costly debacle examining whether Bill had sex with Monica in the White House and lied about it. Their obsessions with Bill’s obsessions cost us hundreds of millions of dollars, and the corresponding inattention to security matters made conditions ripe for 9/11. We wouldn’t have wasted millions of dollars and several years trying to figure out who told quasijournalist Robert Novak about a washed-up former CIA spook named Valerie Plame, whose life was never endangered by the revelation. Of course, for worse instead of better, Congress is here to stay; for the first time in 12 years, the Democrats are back in control — and threatening to launch even more investigations.
Why not forget about probing the obvious — Are American companies guilty of war profiteering? Is domestic surveillance unconstitutional? Are drug companies greedy? — and delve into questions the answers to which could actually help Americans.
Congress should investigate homeless programs, gang-intervention programs and corrupt state legislatures, and tell us which ones work and which are broken. Congress should audit big-city police department budgets and find out why there aren’t more cops on the street. And investigate cops on the beat to see who’s doing their jobs and who’s not.
A good rule of thumb when weighing whether or not to investigate: Will it help tens of millions of Americans, or is the primary goal to embarrass the opposing party?
And of course Congress, if it’s doing its job, will come up with programs that need money. One possible source: Rent out the entire White House to members of Congress fixated on sex rather than governing. Remember: What goes down in the White House, stays in the White House.
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. Britney Spears lost her sexy defamation suit against Us Weekly in which she claimed her reputation had been sullied by a false report that she and her soon-to-be-ex-husband Kevin Federline taped a home sex video. We’ve got the videotape — and we didn’t pay $50 million — and that wasn’t her husband. It’s none other than .?.?. L.A. City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo. Just kidding, your honor. It’s a J-O-K-E.
. Speaking of videotaped acts of passion, does anyone in L.A. really believe these LAPD acts of brutality — such as the thumping of 23-year-old William Cardenas — are not a whole lot more routine than the occasional tapes that surface might suggest? To be fair, bashing someone in the head can sometimes be sound police tactics. But if it turns out that officers Alexander Schlegel and Patrick Farrell broke the law, here’s an expedient punishment: Dump the thugs on Skid Row.
Send insults and ammo to BigAl@lasniper.com.