Archive for February, 2012

Leon Trotsky was on the money about one thing: he stated we have the right to be stupid, but some people abuse the privilege.

Those are words that can apply to LAPD Chief Charlie Beck and  Mayor Villaraigosa. Their support for ignoring state law concerning the consequences of driving without a license is probably not just a violation of their oaths of office; it has also constructed another barricade on the road to resolving the illegal immigration crisis in our nation.

Put aside any opinion you might have on the practical merits or drawbacks to Beck’s or Villaraigosa’s arguments.

The debate over “comprehensive immigration reform” has been divisive enough without throwing more fuel on the fire. Adding this latest flub on top of the existing economic and social consequences of illegal immigration will make reform impossible for many more years to come. It will draw attention to the larger issue – granting licenses to the undocumented living in this country.

Drivers licenses will not make  illegal immigrants any better or worse behind the wheel ( although I am sure some of them are already safer drivers than their legal counterparts).

This is all about pandering for votes.

The President selected the mayor to chair the party’s convention in Charlotte, NC to secure Hispanic support. Those votes are needed given the failure of the administration to push for immigration reform, even when the Democrats had the majority in both houses.

The party’s strategy is understandable, but it has an Achilles Heel: the license controversy will follow Villariagosa all the way to Charlotte.  While it will probably not be discussed in public on the floor of the convention, the media will use the event to connect the Democrats to it, through Villaraigosa, in what could be a damaging blow to President Obama’s campaign, especially if unemployment and underemployment remain high.

As the top legal official in the city, City Attorney Carmen Trutanich’s support of the mayor’s and Beck’s position is even more confounding.  Mayor Villaraigosa failed the Bar three times, but Trutanich passed and is licensed to practice law (maybe our City Attorney is taking the meaning of practice too literally).

He is already at odds with DA Steve Cooley, who is concerned about the city’s exposure to civil lawsuits resulting from accidents caused by ignoring the state’s 30-day impound requirement.

Driving is not a constitutional right; it is a privilege.  The consequences of driving without a license are clearly established and should remain so unless the citizens of the state empower their legislators to change the law.

Beck, Villaraigosa and Trutanich would prefer to make their own modifications on the fly or, should I say, from behind the wheel while in the fast lane.

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Comments about Richmond QB Aaron Corp are just past the middle of the article.

I’ve seen him throw.  He is on the money and does well under pressure.

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When I compared the work of the City Council Redistricting Commission to how the Allies created Yugoslavia after the First World War, little did I realize the post would attract a modest but steady stream of views from that part of the world.

At least some people from the states once part of the most poorly defined nation ever created are now aware of the contrived process that shapes boundaries here in Los Angeles.

I wonder what kind of traffic I can generate by drawing a parallel between corruption in Los Angeles under Mayor Villaraigosa with corruption in Russia under Vladimir Putin? Let me tell you, at least the Russian people know how to protest against crooked leaders.  None of that camping in the park stuff of the Occupy Movement for them.  And they do it in the middle of the winter, too!

In the meantime, the dispute over the breakaway community of Toluca Lake goes on.

It may be time to call in a NATO peacekeeping force.

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It is Oscar weekend, so let’s have a movie quiz.

Those who know me are aware of my fondness for James Bond movies, especially the early ones with Sean Connery.

Which 007 adventure has the highest box office – that is, in inflation adjusted value.

The answer can be found by going to this link, but try to guess before checking.

While you are thinking about it, enjoy this live performance of a couple of classic soundtrack pieces from James Bond films, the late John Barry conducting.

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North is north, and south is south, but never the (bullet) train shall connect.

That would be good news for California.

An article in the LA Times reported some encouraging developments; sort of.

Transportation agencies in both ends of the state are finally facing up to reality:  a bullet train project in the Central Valley will not provide the impetus the system needs to win the public’s acceptance. They now appear to realize that a major makeover is required for commuter rail in the San Francisco, Sacramento and Los Angeles metro areas.

That’s half a loaf for me.

I’ve always been a proponent for fast and reliable regional rail serving major population centers, such as the Southern California market.  At least the so-called experts recognize the importance of that much, but they are still clinging to a multi-billion dollar train wreck of a plan connecting north and south.

I will lean towards optimism and assume they just might realize the light at the end of the high-speed tunnel is an oncoming train, then convince the federal and state governments to redirect the funding to improving commuter rail.

We won’t need $100 billion to achieve major improvements.  Dedicated track for passenger service, elimination of at-grade crossings and anti-collision technology will allow current diesel locomotives to fly along at over 100 miles per hour.  According to the article, officials realize that high-speed trains would not be able to travel  much faster than that in urban areas.

Nevertheless, there is a major flaw with their vision for regional improvements – sharing track with freight.

No way; never; forget about it.

I invite the officials to try riding Amtrak or Metrolink , as I did, between Union Station and Irvine for over a year.  The segment between LA and Fullerton is shared to a large extent by commuter and freight trains.  If you want a bumpy ride subject to delays, that is what you will get if you combine the two. Passenger trains will not attract the patronage they need to recover operating costs under those conditions.

Freight traffic will only increase as the economy grows – even at a modest pace.  That will translate to slower speeds and outright delays for commuter trains sharing the same tracks.

Will Governor Brown come to his senses and convince the federal government to drop its support for high-speed rail and allow bonds to be used for regional improvements?

Fast and reliable regional service will do far more to eliminate cars from the 405, 10, 14 and 101 then a 400 mile route through the vast agricultural interior would to get cars off the 5.

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I was away and missed the outcry over the Whitney Houston remarks made by KFI’s John and Ken .

It wasn’t until I got within the broadcast range of Los Angeles while driving south on lonely 395 last night that I heard the news.  I quickly switched to 640 on the AM band and caught the last thirty minutes of Bill Mandel, who was subbing for the suspended jocks.

There was no mention of the incident by Mandel or the host in the next time slot, Tim Conway, Jr. Perhaps Mandel talked about it earlier, or Conway mentioned it later in his program, but I thought it was particularly strange that neither one mentioned it in their conversation during the transition between the shows before 7 PM. Neither host is bashful when it comes to discussing controversy. I can only assume KFI management muzzled them. If so, that’s a disservice to the listeners.

John and Ken have earned their reputation for irreverence. They go beyond politically incorrect many times.

That’s too bad because it takes away from their message about corruption and incompetence in state and local government. 

In all fairness, some of their rants are no more provocative than Bill Maher’s, a classic example being the HBO host’s vulgar remarks concerning Tim Tebow’s public expression of his faith (by contrast, SNL’s Tebow skit was clever and did not cross the line).

There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking hard shots at officials, celebrities or other newsmakers.  Their actions or words invite just that kind of passion.  Wit, sarcasm and displays of outrage are powerful tools against those who feed off the public or allow their egos to get the better of them. 

Making bombastic statements concerning personal tragedies are another matter.  Houston, along with Michael Jackson, were primarily responsible for their own deaths even though either or both of them had enablers. 

John and Ken would have been fine had they discussed the role drugs may have played in Houston’s death. Referring to her as a “crack ho” was despicable.

So what effect will all of this have on the duo’s future broadcasts?

At least one colleague of John and Ken does not accept their apology. It will be interesting to see if KTLA continues with its short simulcast with their show.

No doubt, it will create an uncomfortable atmosphere as they attempt to collect their thoughts before opening their mouths. Their credibility will suffer as the targets of the show’s criticism will point to the unconscionable remarks about Houston as an example of  the pair’s character.

I will listen in on Monday to learn how or if they adapt, although a transition to a kinder and gentler style of political incorrectness will not occur overnight.

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Richmond quarterback Aaron Corp made a favorable impression on scouts at the Players North-South All Star Classic at Little Rock, Arkansas.

He could be a late pick.  God knows the Redskins could use him.


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