MORE

Ron Burkle and the Stern Sting

HEY, RON “PARTY-BOY BILLIONAIRE” Burkle, Democratic fat cat who flies President Clinton around in your own Boeing 757, you oughta write a book. We don’t care what the fired New York Post Page Six columnist Jared Stern says about you or the videotaped shakedown that went down in your Manhattan loft on March 22, 2006, effectively ending his career. Never mind that he’s the one with the book deal — d’oh! — we want the full, lift-the-curtain account from you.

It’s been 7 months since you and your hired techno-thugs set up fancy listening devices and caught that trashmonger Stern soliciting $220,000 in return for a promise not to make up gossip items about little girlfriends and big mansions you don’t have in Aspen. Reporters ate up the six-minute excerpts of your 90-minute Stern sting, writing stories that appeared on the front pages of the New York Daily News, The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. And yet the U.S. Attorney General’s Office still hasn’t decided whether to charge Stern. We wonder: Was the media play all you really wanted?

As the world turns, more questions arise: What would happen, for example, if the less powerful had gone to the feds to complain about a gossip columnist? Would the FBI: (a) tell them to get lost; (b) take charge of the investigation and set up their own equipment and make it official; or (c) give them some do-it-yourself tips, and sit in the next room to offer advice as the sting unfolded?

In the case of the rich and powerful Burkle, the answer is (c). This smacks of a favor bestowed by federal law-enforcement officials. It smells like a rich guy getting preferential treatment and the feds giving you the right to release the most damning fragments of the evidence and spin the story your way; after all, you owned the tape. (By the way, it’s not unheard of in corporate circles, where alleged victims have money and access to top-notch video gear — as you did — to play the lead role in a sting operation. But the arrangement seems to have puzzled L.A. Times reporters, who, playing catch-up on the story, inaccurately reported on April 8 that the FBI did the videotaping. The New York Times and Daily News made it clear that law enforcement only monitored it.)

If you do write a book, Mr. Burkle, consider this advice: Do it yourself and don’t let your mouthpiece Michael Sitrick be the ghostwriter. We want all of the questions answered — fully. And make sure you come clean on all of the reasons you pulled the sting in New York: The secret recording by a private citizen would have been illegal in California.

Ali vs. Maxine

For all these years, we just thought Congresswoman Maxine Waters and activist Najee Ali were loony and obnoxious. But now, it turns out that they might actually be a danger — to one another. A Superior Court judge last week granted Ali’s request for a temporary restraining order — barring the congresswoman from getting within five yards of him; then Waters, out to even the score two days later, got the judge to grant a restraining order against Ali. The pair’s most recent spat played out on October 2 at Mount Moriah Baptist Church, where the dynamic duo exchanged words in the parking lot about a planned appearance at the church by Governor Steroids; Ali says Waters didn’t want him to talk to the governor, and yelled at him in a particularly scary way. Sounds like another day in the hood, Najee. The two are due back in court, when the judge will decide whether to make the stay-away orders permanent. We have another idea. Could we get hizzoner to expand the order, say, to include keeping the scattershot congresswoman and shoot-from-the-lip activist away from all of us?

Ted Hayes, Fence Builder?

Back in 1993, Ted Hayes seemed like a savior for downtown’s homeless. Now he’s lost not only Dome Village, which gave shelter to 35 people in fiberglass huts under the Harbor Freeway near Staples Center, but the respect of all who rallied behind him 13 years ago. Jacked-up rent is not the only reason Hayes’ utopian village died this week. The real culprit is Hayes himself. A true visionary — well grounded in reality and rational behavior — could have lined up corporate donations to come up with the new rent: $18,300 a month instead of $2,500. An aggressive campaign could have pulled down financial backing to make Dome Village a model for cities everywhere. Too bad it didn’t happen, but then, who can take Hayes seriously as a homeless advocate anymore? Especially now that he’s gone over to those border nuts, the Minutemen. Let’s see what kind of shelter those anti-immigrant Nazis can provide him. Maybe he should head south and take shelter under some of the building materials soon to pile up along the planned 700-mile “Bienvenidos” fence.

Point-Blank Range

. The L.A. City Council got a raise last week, and now each of the 15 Mighty Egos brings home $171,648 a year, an increase of 14 percent. No complaints here. Nope, these are sincere, magnanimous and selfless people who each and every day put the interests of the community ahead of their own. But what about tying pay to performance? For example, let’s dock the salary of that shallow developer puppet Jack Weiss by half; he’s got his eyes set on the next prize anyway — the City Attorney’s Office. And for realizing how important it is to cure Raiders fans of their addiction and bring a real NFL team to L.A., let’s give Bernard Parks an extra 25 percent. Ka-ching.

. Remind us again, who is Phil Angelides, and what grounds does he possibly have to keep the people of California from issuing a permanent restraining order November 7?