State Assemblyman Paul Krekorian was elected Tuesday to serve as an East Valley representative of the Los Angeles City Council. Since he's new to the body, we've assembled this handy guide to the way things really work downtown. Councilman, if you follow these simple rules, you'll get along just fine:
-Avoid, put off, and dodge difficult issues at all costs. For example, the council has been pondering pot-shop legislation for more than three years. In the meantime the number of marijuana dispensaries in the city has skyrocketed. It's the kind of sticky issue (pardon the pun) no one wants to be associated with. And besides, some of these shops have good lawyers and even constituents who like things loose and mellow. So by all means use your power to “study” issues like this, “continue” discussion at a later date, have the City Attorney write draft after draft, and direct city staffers to do “research” and return to you at a later date. Before you know it the problem will be bigger than ever. But your vote won't be attached to anything unseemly.
-Get out of town! No, seriously, get out of town. The best way to act like you're doing stuff without actually doing stuff is to continually go on fact-finding missions. While the council could have learned a lot about how to regulate medical marijuana by simply calling other California cities that have done just that (an action that the Weekly found was not taken by anyone on the council), it's always more effective to go overseas to attend conferences on global warming and the like. The annual League of Cities convention in San Antonio is an excellent place to waste time, by the way, especially if the city is facing a $400 million deficit. If you can, get in the mayor's inner circle and travel with him to Mexico, Europe and other exotic locales.
-Focus on the little things: There's no need to get your hands dirty with Debbie Downer issues like the budget deficit, the intermittent closing of fire stations, money problems facing the Los Angeles Police Department, and the mushrooming of medical-marijuana dispensaries. You can wow your constituents and look effective by enacting a ban on cat declawing.
-Embrace billionaires and wealthy corporations: Rich people need representation too. Anschutz Entertainment Group, the company that owns Staples Center, has been good to your fellow council members such as Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and downtown representative Jan Perry. So when it wants to put on a show such as the Michael Jackson memorial, and have the city pay $3.2 million to do so, you need to be on its side. Trust us, you'll be rewarded.
-Smart growth: Say it. It sounds good. When developers get on the economic good foot again, and they will, they're going to need your support. Now, how do you give a bitter pill that includes increased traffic to your constituents? Smart growth! It's smart, so how could it be bad? Say things like “mixed use” and “green building” and it's all good.
-Give yourself a raise: You're part of the highest-paid council in the nation, but you deserve it already.
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