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Stupidest Things Said by Los Angeles Civic Figures in 2011

PHOTO COURTESY OF MAYOR SAM'S SISTER CITY

1. "At the time they were spending the money, this agency was more flush with cash."

Ken Simmons, CEO, Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles, who was forced out — but not before Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa agreed to give a $1.2 million golden handshake to his former boss, Rudy Montiel, who was mired in allegations of lavish spending. Employees used the agency like a petty cash box for $2,000 lunches, $4,500 in sweaters and thousands of dollars in goodies from Bath & Body Works. The bath items failed to clean up the smell.

2. "We'd like to be able to see a milk cow come in and see the kids ... maybe even grab a hold of a teat and squirt a little milk themselves."

LAUSD Food Services director Dennis Barrett, expressing enthusiasm for more nutrition education in schools. Hey, Mr. Barrett, instead of grabbing ahold of a teat, how about clearly posting, where kids can read it, the meals' fat, sugar, sodium and overall calorie counts?

3. "I'm not having a conversation with you!"

West Hollywood City Councilman John Heilman to an L.A. Weekly reporter in March. Heilman, a potentate in a city without term limits, is famously thin-skinned. After blurting this out, Heilman broke into a vigorous run — and successfully evaded the reporter.

4. "What can I say? ... If I had my way, I would have stayed a city councilman all along. But term limits didn't allow that."

Richard Alarcon, Los Angeles City Council member (assemblyman, state senator, etc.), indicted for lying about where he lived and running in a district he did not actually represent. In this comment to the Los Angeles Daily News, Alarcon doesn't grasp that voters don't want lifers in office.

5. "He doesn't have to ask permission to solve the problem."

Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, trying to shift responsibility for the Men's Central Jail onto Robert Olmstead, a former top commander who discovered use of excessive force by jailers and "systematic failure of leadership." After Olmstead alerted Baca, the problems grew.

6. "Stay as long as you need."

Los Angeles City Councilman Eric Garcetti to Occupy L.A. on Oct. 4. Eight weeks later, Mayor Villaraigosa showed that he still runs City Hall, ordering the Occupy encampment cleared by LAPD.

7. "The food is fine. I like it."

Former Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Ramon Cortines reviewing the LAUSD's old lunch menu. Since he made that guffaw-inducing claim, the district's greasy menu selection has been completely overhauled.

8. "A Los Angeles Department Water and Power Project. Antonio R. Villaraigoza, Mayor."

DWP manages to misspell the mayor's name on a street sign erected to tout — the DWP.

9. "I saw this as the least expensive way for the taxpayer to actually get the job done."

Tea Party Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, a Republican who makes $95,000 a year and chose as his taxpayer-supplied car a luxurious, $32,000 2011 Ford Edge, justifying his fancy wheels to The Sacramento Bee.

10. "These are legitimate, revenue-producing concerts that are mainstream."

Los Angeles City Councilman Bernard Parks on raves, which are now banned at the Coliseum due to a tad too much death and mayhem among the kids.

11. "Everyone in this room right now can be a beacon of love."

Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, to a roomful of Men's Central Jail inmates, whom Baca met at a staged media event. The men said they can't get regular showers or books under Baca's management. Baca said that was terrible. No word yet on how much love these inmates are getting.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the $1.2 million golden handshake went to Ken Simmons. It went to Rudy Montiel.


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