I noticed in the master plan memo that L.A.'s McFarlane investment firm (McFarlane stepped down, last month, in SEC controversy) had PENSION MONEY invested in the project.
That seemed concerning to me, since the project seemed like the belly-up loser that it is today, back then...and "new to the scene" ZD didn't know much, but he knew that pension money was the most sacred money that should be invested SAFELY, not risky. And this project certainly seemed shady to have pension money invested.
I followed up by questioning people wearing LACERS tags when I saw them inside city hall, and I asked one of them, flat out, "Does the mayor twist your arm to invest pension money in his shady real estate projects?"
It looked like the guy saw a ghost, as his head tilted back...eyes bulged out of his head, and he smiled, happy that I was on to it (as it appeared to me) and he said in a funny, "hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil" tone (put his hands in the air) and said, "I didn't say anything!!!" And backed up and ran away.
So I took that as a "wink-wink" and followed up with others and did further investigation.
Turns out, we now all know about PensionGate, the multiple Villaraigosa-appointed pension commissioners that have either resigned amidst SEC/Andrew Cuomo controversy, or have already plead "guilty" like Weatherly Capital's Julio Ramirez (remember the day ZD bumped into Schwarzenegger at Starbucks and warned him of Dan Weinstein/Weatherly problems...AND RAMIREZ, OUT OF NO WHERE, PLEAD GUILTY LATER THAT DAY!?!?)
Elliot Broidy was one of Villaraigosa's appointments on the pension commission. He plead GUILTY to pension shenanigans.
So now, it has been announced that BILLIONS has been lost in pension money in what the city pension managers appeared before council to say was invested in overly-risky Wall Street investments and real estate investments made at the peak of the real estate market, just before the bubble burst, leading to BANKRUPTCY of BIGGEST Downtown real estate developers!
So to recap: People like Ron Burkle and Weatherly's Dick "Head" Ziman and Dan Weinstien financially BACK candidates, like Antonio Villaraigosa (and everyone around him on all sides) -- and the FIRST THING HE DOES WHEN HE STEPS INTO OFFICE, is appoint who he is TOLD TO APPOINT...and get the fuck out of the way, douchebag. (Antonio is free to fuck up the city, however else he wants, AS LONG AS THOSE PENSION COMMISSIONERS ARE PUT IN PLACE.)
Guess who else was put into place by Villaraigosa upon entering office? Weatherly Capital's LONG TIME legal counsel, William H. Jackson as CHAIRMAN of the CRA.
AND, let's not forget, Eli backed Antonio toward one goal...take Robin Kramer and make the Grand Ave Project happen.
So Eli backs Antonio to make the $2 billion plus "savior of downtown" Grand Ave Turkey Project happen. Weatherly's William Jackson is plopped in as CRA Chair...the pension commissioners are locked into place...
and before you know it ZD finds pension money is being invested in Grand Ave Project (with McFarlane, Magic Johnson's capital partner) funneling the money, until ZD makes so much noise (or they come to their own conclusion) that it is too risky -- and the pension money is pulled out...and replaced with Royal Family of Dubai money.
But the problem isn't really Grand Ave Project, specifically (mostly CalPERS in that one), but the fact that Villar's pension thugs lost BILLIONS in what have been deemed as overly risky investments on Wall Street and Real Estate, the real estate firms have gone belly up, billions has been lost...the city is forcing 2,400 into early retirement, with more coming (one way or the other, like it or not) -- and it all means a loss of service, as in not enough mechanics to maintain the trash trucks -- and police and fire vehicles that are used to respond.
THIS IS NOT ME SAYING IT, BUT THE EXPERTS DURING THE HEARING AT THE COUNCIL MEETING THIS PAST FRIDAY. (See YouTube videos and a transcript from this meeting on this blog as posted on Sunday.)
AND NOW...the pension experts say the city has to "win back" the money on a BULL Wall Street rally. WHAT IF WALL STREET GOES DOWN IN 2010?
LISTEN TO THIS RADIO SHOW (same show as posted on blue BlogTalkRadio widget on this blog) FOR MORE OF THE CASE AGAINST ALLOWING THE MAYOR TO HAVE FOUR PENSION COMMISSIONERS ON THE SEVEN PERSON BOARD. (Because the other problem they announced as a BIG part of the pension loss problem, is the mayor's ability to appoint FOUR of SEVEN, calling it "pension packing power." WE SEE THE RESULTS! A BERNIE MADOFF STYLE SCAM THAT HAS LEFT THE CITY ON THE BRINK OF BANKRUPTCY AND ACTUAL MUNICIPAL DISASTER!)
THE MESSAGE IS I URGE ALL CONCERNED CITIZENS TO FOCUS ALL ACTIVIST ENERGIES TOWARD NOTIFYING CITY COUNCIL THAT YOU DEMAND A CHARTER REFORM, CHANGING THE WAY THE PENSION BOARD IS STRUCTURED, REDUCING THE NUMBER OF MAYORAL APPOINTMENTS TO ONE.
I don't know the process of appointing the rest of the board, currently (the other three of seven) but a vote of LACERS members might be the answer. I'm sure others know how this works/should work.
BECAUSE THE BOTTOM LINE IS, CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS AND CITY EXPERTS HAVE ALL TOLD ZD THAT THEY ARE POWERLESS TO DO ANYTHING OVER THIS ROUGE PENSION BOARD THAT HAD CONTROL OVER THE MOST SACRED, AND BIGGEST CHUNK OF MONEY IN THE CITY'S TREASURY...
THAT IS WHY THE BIG FUNDRAISERS LIKE BURKLE, ZIMAN & WEINSTEIN WORK SO HARD TO GET THEIR BOYZ ON THE PENSION BOARDZ. IN THE 90's, it was discovered that there were 100's of MILLIONS...BILLIONS AND BILLIONS of pension dollars out there, ready to be "tapped" with placement agents who cut the deals, and before you know it your mother's and your pension money is being tossed around to shady cronies who BLEW IT!!!
THE TREASURY IS BEING HELD HOSTAGE BY THESE PENSION KIDNAPPERS!!!
AND THE PEOPLE AT CITY HALL HAVE EVEN COME OUT AND TOLD ME THAT THIS MUST BE CHANGED, AND THAT THEY ARE TRYING TO CHANGE IT...BUT YOU KNOW HOW THAT WILL GO!
BRING IT TO THE FRONT OF THE BURNER...ASAP!!!
CREATE A MEASURE FOR THE BALLOT WITH REFORM MEASURES.
After over three and a half years as an activist...I REALLY SEE THIS AS THE SINGULAR, MOST IMPORTANT ISSUE THAT MUST BE ADDRESSED...BECAUSE WE ARE SEEING THE RESULTS OF LAST YEARS PENSION WIZARDRY ON WALL STREET...and now their plan is to hope for an UP rally, which is STILL not nearly enough. AND THE PEOPLE WHO WANT TO JUMP IN AND TRY TO AVOID FUTURE PENSIONGATE SHADINESS CANNOT TOUCH THE UNTOUCHABLE PENSION COMMISSIONERS.
Quite an arrangement. YOU GOTTA BREAK IT UP, NOW! Consider this my handing of the ball. I can't do it alone from the public comment podium and my blog. THIS REALLY ISN'T "MY THING," IT YOUR THING. I had no reason, and have no reason to give a SHIT about "pensions." It's the most BORING issue that I knew NOTHING about before L.A. City Hall activism.
BUT I HAVE FOLLOWED THE TRAIL TO THE TOP OF THE PROBLEM. IT'S FOUR PEOPLE WHO HAVE THE TREASURY HOSTAGE, AND NO ONE HAS THE KEY. REMOVE THE DOOR WITH A CHARTER INITIATIVE...PLEASE!
- Los Angeles "Will See Service Impacts; Will Be A Challenge To Maintain Fiscal Responsibilty; Sustaining Police & Fire Vehicles A Significant Challenge
- NoHo Commons' FAIRFIELD RESIDENTIAL Files For Bankruptcy -- AND CALSTRS (Pension) "WIPED OUT" of Investment (Oh Well, At Least They Gave It A Shot!)