Thursday, October 8, 2009

LA TIMES: Felony Charges Against Councilmembers...NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCILMEMBERS, YOU DUMMIES!!! WAY TO GO!!! THE SYSTEM IS FINE AND YOUR NC IS PERFECT!

SInce some people miss Zuma Dogg's public comments, here is a blast from the past that about all of you reading will remember: "Neighborhood Council was created to be an independent system, but if the system that created it is corrupt, then how can you expect their system to not be corrupt? The NC system has been taken over by City Hall, the mayor, councilmembers, their staffers, developers and family members and is nothing but one corrupt-racket." - Zuma Dogg (countless city council and committee and NC meetings.)

All I ever hear is how everyone's Neighborhood Council system is so perfect and every time I mention this type of corruption that the naive suckers have to be aware of, all I'm ever told is, "Oh no, Zuma Dogg...not OUR Neighborhood Council system. Mother Theresa is out treasurer from heaven above." (And they aren't spinning me...they BELIEVE IT TO BE THE CASE.


Zuma Dogg blogging, "blast from the past." One of MANY times I have blogged this -- and countless public comments, "on the record," before city council and in committee meetings:

Thursday, June 12, 2008

More Concerns Over Neighborhood Council Election Shadiness Under City Clerks Election Division)

Has the Los Angeles Neighborhood Council elections under the City Clerks Election Division become nothing more than a big racket? (As in RICO/Racketeering?) You be the judge. Or maybe a judge will be the judge?

This link isn't working, but this came off a Google search on a ZD article on this issue:

zuma dogg fights ...
30 Jun 2007 by Aileen Ruth (repost of ZD's blog post.)

the system was not set up for developers, council staffers, and their activist “,llc” cronies to corrupt the system. again, part of ncs job is to generate more participation. but when you are running an international development racket ...

Plus this...and now...

Los Angeles neighborhood councils' cash tempts some
Felony charges against four treasurers have city rethinking oversight.

But now it looks like it's a different kind of "case," as in FELONY! I think this will do WONDERS for the NC system. I think the system is a success...has done WONDERS...and MORE MONEY should be funneled into the system. (OR, you could just build some giant, human hamster wheels for people to run around on. Or just get a treadmill and put the mayor's picture in front of you.

And besides the people who are alleged of outright stealing it, you have some who can't even show books as treasurers, not out of corruption, but out of irresponsibility or ability to even have complete accounting books. THEN, the NCs who use the money to funnel to their own friends and family businesses or charities. AND, the flat-out, irresponsible spending on things that the money has NO BUSINESS BEING USED FOR. (Some lady showed up crying that her kids needed new soccer uniforms and a check was written on the spot. Or food handed out at random with NC money on the streets to ANYONE (an line up they did) -- WITHOUT A SHRED OF IDENTIFICATION THAT IT WAS FROM THE NC...NO SHRED OF OUTREACH...Just a random act of unidentified kindness to a bunch of people lining up on the street.

THEN, there are the developers and Villaraigosa and Council cronies and family members who sit on the NC board, right under your noses -- to help jam through their agenda. (You demanded this system, but it is given to you by a corrupt system, so how could it be anything else. You have only forced them to have their family and own staff take over these councils, right out from under you.

In Westwood, a new NC was trying to be created by a life long community member who wanted to help revitalize the Westwood Village area. What happened. Some developer insiders hijacked the process with secret meetings and took over the process and the guy is as out of the DONE start-up process as someone who lives in the Ukraine. So you try to do something good for your community and start up an NC, and before you have the bylaws written it is already overtaken by the developer community powers that be.

BUT, it IS a nice way for everyone to get together and have a nice social occasion and it almost FEELS like something that one day may TOUCH upon the feeling of being a real NC meeting.

Now I know there are a lot of hard-fighting, brilliant, knowlegeable and profoundly intelligent people who participate on these NCs for the right reasons and probably feel some progress is being made.

But the system as a whole...see you in three years. Meanwhile, at least take some NC money and build some giant human hamster wheels. At least you'll feel great and look great in three years!

Los Angeles neighborhood councils' cash tempts some
Felony charges against four treasurers have city rethinking oversight.
By Maeve Reston

October 8, 2009

Los Angeles police are investigating a community activist and convicted felon accused of misusing tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars while serving as chairman of his neighborhood council.

The case of James Harris is just one of six involving neighborhood council treasurers or chairmen who are believed to have misspent as much as $250,000 in city money.

The investigations have raised questions about the city's financial oversight of the volunteer community groups -- for example, none of the treasurers were subject to credit or background checks. And the probes have drawn attention to what some activists view as a system that poses challenges for even the most well-meaning participants.

Although the neighborhood council system was created in 1999 as a way to give residents a greater voice in community affairs, some members say they have been distracted by difficulties resolving internal quarrels, confusion over the laws governing their meetings and burdensome financial paperwork. Four councils are currently unable to hold meetings because of internal disputes, according to city officials.

To pay for projects in their communities, each of the city's 89 groups has historically been allotted $50,000, which can be spent through city checks or a credit card issued to each treasurer. Although every expenditure is supposed to be approved by the full neighborhood council, investigators have found that some were not.

So far the Los Angeles County district attorney has filed felony charges against four treasurers. In addition to Harris', at least one other case is still under investigation. Tips about misconduct have trickled in to the city's Department of Neighborhood Empowerment ever since officials there began posting neighborhood council transactions on the Internet in 2007 to enhance transparency.

Two treasurers pleaded guilty to felonies involving misuse of public funds this summer, one faces her next court hearing later this month and one case was dismissed because the defendant died before trial.

Michele Siqueiros, president of the Board of Neighborhood Commissioners, said "the majority of [neighborhood council] money has been spent to do great things" such as graffiti cleanups, community events and beautification projects.

[ZD: AND THAT'S THE PREMISE THE SHADY HIDE BEHIND. (Not saying that Michele is...I'm saying that's the line I hear from KNOWN shadiants. And it isn't o.k. ot say "the majority." How about if a nurse delivering babies does a good job "a majority" of the time. But the other times they are dropping the babies on their heads. (Majority is not acceptable. It's not target practice or a game. Well, 60% of the time, the money isn't stolen. Hey, we're trying!)


"There are powerful things that neighborhoods are doing with these funds, and we want to them to continue," she said. [TOO BAD, IF THIS WHERE AT THE CITY HALL/COUNCIL LEVEL IMAGINE WHAT YOU PEOPLE WOULD BE SAYING. YOU SOUND LIKE A BUNCH OF LITTLE NURSERY SCHOOL CRYBABIES. DON'T YOU GET IT...IT'S OVER!!! They are going to use this to neuter NCs to complete nursery school sandbox status. YOU CAN'T WANT THINGS TO CONTINUE WHEN THIS IS HOW IT GOES. YOU PEOPLE ARE UNREALISTIC SPOILED BRAT CRYBABIES..."Boo hoo hoo, a lot of good things are happening...we want to keep this experimental dream alive." TOO BAD...you wanted the responsibility and be treated like professionals...but you clearly can't handle it as a system as a whole. SORRY TO THE GOOD APPLES.]

In a memo to police, DONE's Bong Water Kim said Harris submitted what appeared to be fraudulent invoices and event sign-in sheets with fictitious names. Officials were also concerned about Harris' "possible self-dealing with another community organization and gift cards purchased for questionable purposes." The neighborhood council paid $6,784 to Harris' employer, a South Los Angeles economic development and anti-drug-abuse group known as the Community Coalition. The group was founded by Assembly Speaker Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles), and its board includes the Rev. Leonard Jackson, a senior advisor to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

HELLO!!!! HELLO!!!! IT'S ZUMA DOGG HERE!!!! I WANT APPOLOGIZES FROM EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU WHO ARGUED WITH ME THAT THIS WASN'T HAPPENING AND THAT I DIDN'T UNDERSTAND!!! START CALLING NOW, PLEASE!!!

City officials also asked police to look into what they described as excessive payments for two administrative assistants that totaled more than $53,000 between June 2006 and January of this year.

I HATE EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU NAIVE DUMMIES WHO ARGUED WITH ME THAT THIS WAS NOT SO IN YOUR FUCKING PERFECT LITTLE NC SYSTEM THAT IS COMING SO FAR...YEAH, COMING SO FAR IN WAYS TO BE CORRUPT AND ASSIST CITY HALL!!!

YOU KNOW WHAT...I think someone heard all my public comments on this...AND I WILL BE RE-POSTING THEM....I WANT APPOLOGIES FROM COMMUNITY MEMBERS!!!

Harris' work with ex-offenders, gangs and substance abuse organizations was praised by both by Deputy Mayor Larry "IN ALONG FOR THE RIDE, YOU PHONY" Frank, who oversees community affairs, and the Community Coalition's executive director, Marqueece Harris-Dawson.

"We have tremendous respect for James; we really hope this matter can be resolved where James can continue his work in the community," Harris-Dawson said. "Losing someone like James in a community like ours can be devastating."

[YEAH, LARRY...YOU MEAN BECAUSE HIS ROLLING OVER AND SINGING WOULD BE DEVASTATING...TO YOU AND YOUR BOSS!]

Officials would not comment on Harris' background, but court records show that he was convicted in 1990 of disorderly conduct involving prostitution and of illegal possession of a firearm in 1996. [LET'S PUT HIM IN CHARGE...NO DISCLOSURE, EITHER...REMEMBER...YOU WOULDN'T WANT TO DISENFRANCHISE ANYONE OR HURT THEIR FEELINGS.]

In the summer of 2007, members of the Central Alameda Neighborhood Council noticed curious charges by their treasurer, Genia Jackson, who did not turn in her financial reports.

[IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO KNOW SOME OTHER NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCILS THAT ARE NOT ABLE TO TURN IN FINANCIAL REPORTS BECAUSE THEY DON'T HAVE THEM (OR THE MONEY ANYMORE) CALL ZUMA DOGG. It isn't really hard to find out. People will tend to call and email you the problems without even asking or looking. They HAMMERED ZD, at least with this info.]

Records show that she withdrew $5,000 in cash over two months alone and made more than 30 purchases at clothing, thrift and shoe stores and a school uniform shop after assuming the post in September 2006. There were also purchases at Hertz Rent-A-Car, the Premier Inn, New Wave Beauty Supply, New Fashion Wigs and L.A. Nails. [IT WAS "FOR THE KIDS!"]

At Jackson's preliminary hearing this year on charges of misuse of funds by a public official, her fellow neighborhood council member, Jimena Toscano, testified that council members never asked Jackson how the money was being spent "because we always assumed it was for our neighborhood projects." After being alerted to the suspicious charges, it was three months before city officials took away Jackson's city credit card. After entering a guilty plea in August, Jackson is now on a plan to repay the city more than $18,000.

[All you NC members who told me none of this stuff was happening sound like the sweet, naive parent of every gang member killer..."Not MY kid!" MEANWHILE...I can see why NC members want MORE responsibility...look how they all stood there like Hellen Keller and just assumed all is well. "WHY ask WHY?" Hey, we're havin' FUN! It almost FEELS like something real!]

Her lawyer, Louisa Pensanti, said there was no excuse for Jackson's actions, but she noted that her client had cancer. Pensanti added that she was shocked by the city's lack of oversight: "It was unlimited credit. It was like somebody handing you a credit card and saying: 'Go ahead.' "

[OK...SHUT THE FUCK UP WHOEVER YOU ARE...THAT IS THE SINGLE DUMBEST THING I HAVE EVER HEARD! I THINK THIS IS ONE BIG ATTEMPT TO COMPLETELY DISCREDIT THE NC SYSTEM BY MAKING PEOPLE OUTRAGED IN THE RESPONSES THESE INFERIOR AND DEFECTIVE CHARACTERS ARE ACTUALLY SAYING. THIS STUFF SOUNDS LIKE THE SAME "BOO HOO HOO CRYBABY" STUFF CITY COUNCIL HIDES BEHIND. WE HAVE A CITY OF "BOO HOO HOO CRYBABIES." (It's not even a political moniker of "bleeding heart liberal." It's not about politics. It's about lack of discipline and desperation.]

IT'S JUST AN AVALANCHE FROM HERE...HAVE FUN READING...I HAVE TO SWITCH TO INDICA FROM SATIVA...I CAN'T TAKE IT...WILL SOME OF YOU SHADY FUCKS WHO STOLE THIS MONEY CALL ZD AND BUY HIM SOME LUNCH TODAY AND MAYBE PUT A WEEK'S WORTH OF HOTEL ROOM ON YOUR CREDIT CARD. Common...most of you thieves LOVE ZD and we've had some laughs and good discussions, together.

Similarly, Chris Elwell, former president of the Olympic Park Neighborhood Council said "it took an astonishing amount of time" for city officials to suspend treasurer Verna Jones, who is alleged to have withdrawn $15,000 in cash, according to a city memo, and used the council's credit card for car rentals, gas, mailing charges and trips to restaurants across the city.

Elwell said the problems with Jones inflamed already fractious relations among the neighborhood council's members who could not agree on how to handle the matter. "When the board did meet, it was 'The Ricki Lake Show,' " Elwell said.

Advice from the neighborhood empowerment department was continually changing, Elwell said: "They kept trying to put it back on us to somehow review the expenses -- we were not capable of having a meeting."

After discovering unauthorized charges online, members of the Empowerment Congress Central Area Neighborhood Development Council also had trouble getting answers from Chairman Frank Prater, who was later charged with illegally spending $30,797.

When Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas served on the City Council and later in the California Assembly, Prater was on his staff. City Councilman Bernard C. Parks subsequently appointed Prater to the Neighborhood Council Review Commission.

Prosecutors alleged that Prater, who died before his case went to trial, made cash withdrawals at the Normandie Casino, and spent $8,315 at Jimmy Jam's T-Shirt business, $4,500 in food purchases, close to $2,000 on vehicle expenses and nearly $250 at a jewelry shop.

Former North Hollywood Northeast Neighborhood Council Treasurer Jeffrey Brooks admitted to using his group's city credit card for household expenses, including his cable bill, after losing his job, according to court papers. He was ordered to pay the city $28,637 in restitution.

The neighborhood empowerment department is considering tighter limits on cash withdrawals, a formalized system for councils to approve each transaction and a requirement that treasurers submit fingerprints.

Siqueiros said "there has to be a balance between providing support and adequate training for the neighborhood councils" while preserving their autonomy.

But with deep budget cuts over the last two years, Kim said that his staff struggles to stay abreast even of the quarterly audits they perform of each neighborhood council.

The 43-position department currently has just one auditor, who is assisted by two accountants, doing that work.

maeve.reston@latimes.com

Maeve, love ya! Thanks for writing a great horror-comedy. Not an easy genre to write. But when you stick to non-fiction it's always easier. Because you couldn't make this stuff up. If I DID, people would say no one could be that stupid (to try all of this stealing) because there are too many checks and balances and there are books and everything is hunky-dory and not my kids and not my NC. And, Zuma...common...NO WAY! THANKS MAEVE FOR TELLING THESE LIVING IN DENIAL DUMMIES WHAT THEY NEEDED TO HEAR. THEY ARE STILL SAYING, "Well, not at MY NC...not realizing it is a system as a whole and DONE is CLEARLY DONE! (Good luck rebounding from this one. Good luck sorting THIS one out. You can't even pick between "plain" or "peanut" M&Ms if it were on the agenda. Good luck navigating this one. BUT THE GOOD NEWS IS...THERE IS NOW...A FRESH...NEW....BATTLE!!!

Yahoooooooooooooooooooooo! Community activists, start your engines....these are isolated incidents...the measures that the city will want to take may disenfranchise some people...it's going to be too restrictive....AND THERE WILL BE ENDLESS MEETINGS AND DISCUSSIONS FOR YEARS!!!! YIPPIE!!!! LET'S HAVE A MEETING ABOUT HAVING A MEETING! THERE! That's 2 meetings,already!

Follow by Email