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Janice Hahn Makes a Promise

April 17th, 2008 by Celeste Fremon


After watching a shockingly hideous Democratic debate last night (What is wrong< with Charles Gibson and George Stephanopolous????)…..let’s turn to the local:

Wednesday night I was on Warren Olney’sWhich Way LA? with Councilwoman Janice Hahn
(plus LA Gang Czar Jeff Carr, and activist Charlotte Austin-Jordan, a woman who’s lost 2 kids to gang violence), and, in the course of the show, Hahn made an important promise.

The show had to do with the mayor’s gang plan
introduced on Monday at the State of the City speech, which came on the heels of last week’s decision by the city council-–after endless turf battles—to move all of LA’s gang intervention and prevention money and programs to the mayor’s office, as had been strongly recommended by City Controller Laura Chick.

Hahn was on the show in particularly to discuss her support
of a November ballot measure that would ask LA residents to pay three dollars a person per month toward gang violence prevention and intervention programs, a tax that could generate an additional $30 million a year. (On Monday, Hahn and Councilwomen Jan Perry and Wendy Greuel announced that they’d joined together to form what they are calling Mothers Against Gang Violence in order to push the three-buck a person ballot proposal.)

Certainly, with the city facing a $400 million deficit this year, an additional $30 million more for the desperately needed programs is a great idea- –especially now that we’ve got the beginnings of a coherent gang plan that will be administered under one roof. But, Hahn’s fundraising gambit begged a question: would politics as usual still call the shots should the measure be passed?

In other words: now that the City Council has been boxed into handing over control of the city’s gang money, would Janice Hahn try to yank that new $30 mil into the council’s pocket? Or would she put turf wars aside and hand it all over to the mayor?

Earlier in the week, I’d discussed the issue with one of Hahn’s aides, and he told me that he honestly didn’t know.

So toward the end of the Wednesday night’s show,
I brought up the issue and said I hoped that the Councilwoman would do the latter. At that juncture, Warren Olney jumped it and asked her directly.

There was a pause,
and then Janice Hahn, to her credit, showed leadership and made the right commitment.

“Absolutely,” she said.

So there you have it. After two years of turf wars over gangs….actual progress.

NOTE: LA City Beat has an interesting interview
with Laura Chick about gangs and city hall turf wars.

ALSO, you can listen to the show here.

PS: What kind of person asks a presidential candidate questions like
: “Does Jeremiah Wright love America as much as you?”

Posted in Antonio Villaraigosa, City Government, Gangs, LA City Council | 11 Comments »

11 Responses

  1. Woody Says:

    Hahn was on the show in particularly to discuss her support of a November ballot measure that would ask LA residents to pay three dollars a person per month toward gang violence prevention and intervention programs, a tax that could generate an additional $30 million a year.

    I wouldn’t pay it. The track record for such programs has been bad, and I suspect that new programs won’t be any better. The gang problem wouldn’t be so serious if we had dealt with the border problem in the past. At least putting the squeeze on illegal immigration would be a good start that I could support.

    Also, the three dollars per month per person sounds like a vacuum cleaner salesman trying to explain how his expensive piece of equipment isn’t really that much spread out. One problem. A lot of people won’t be paying anything, so the real costs to individual taxpayers will be higher.

  2. Rebel Girl Says:

    I heard the show on the way home and was heartened – then again, Connie Rice’s report at the end was sobering.

    (I missed the whole debate thing – no stomach for it right now–)

  3. Reggie The Alligator Says:

    Sister please, even I, can out smart Janice Hahn, how much money did she waste on me?


  4. Celeste Fremon Says:

    Hey, Reggie, how’s it going?! As you can see I snatched the photo by googling your name and hers.

    Hi RG, I talked to Connie at length afterward, and she too is kind of cautiously heartened by the mayor’s plan (which is the product of a lot of people, Connie included). But these problems have taken decades and decades to form and now have spread a lot of places. So it’s a long road.

    BTW, Her FBI guy sounds pretty interesting. A movie waiting to happen.

  5. Woody Says:

    For you Che Guevara T-shirt wearing lefties here: LINK

  6. Rebel Girl Says:

    I agree about the FBI guy – sounds like a solid pitch to me.

    (I outgrew my Che t-shirt years ago—)

  7. WBC Says:

    So now Hahn is pushing it as $3.00/ person per month? All along she’s made clear that she’s asking for a property/ parcel tax of about $30.00/ month — this doesn’t compute. It would be another tax on homeowners only, like the additional trash fee hike (to $38.00 from currently $26,00, itself a steep increase from $11.00 until last year).

    Many homeowners groups have opposed Hahn’s plan because once again it burdens this diminishing group of people, at a time when we all know RE prices have plunged, and in a city where homeowners are a bare majority, and which the Mayor admitted has the smallest middle class of any city. Chick has also been telling her for the past year that spending money more efficiently is what’s needed, not more and more taxes.

    An article in the LAT yesterday noted that some areas like Harbor/South Bay, which she represents, weren’t included in the 12 zones, so she is no doubt wanting more money that she can funnel into her district. She’s a classic tax-and-spend liberal in the old school, a woman after the heart of some on this blog (ah-hem), but many are fed up with her same old same old tax the same sitting ducks “solutions.”

    In the LAT article today about Bratton’s defense of SP40, he comes off as he does in person, very brusque and condescending of any critics of the Order as just “not understanding” it. He admits that includes a lot of cops, and says he’ll re-educate them in the next couple of weeks — starting with Zine, who has his own motion on it. Zine snaps back that he was a cop before SP40 too and knows L A a lot better than the Chief, and takes umbrage at just being brushed off as ignorant. The online poll asking if readers want to see SP40 changed to allow cops checking for illegals’ status even if the person is not suspected for another crime or infraction, is running 80% yes with thousands of votes. Opponents worry about profiling, but we do it all the time at airports, including to citizens every time they fly. I don’t like it, either, but it’s considered necessary to catch international terrorists, which many of these gangbangers, especially those who keep coming back after deportation, are. (Technically, that carries a 20-year added sentence to any crime.) Today Terminal 5 at LAX installed one of those creepy things that strips you naked before a screener. All in the name of “security.”

    The article says that cops privately say they’re discouraged from cooperating with ICE even when confronting a criminal on the gangbanger list, and face retribution from top brass if they do. With the way Bratton comes off in this article even to Councilman Zine, I wouldn’t doubt it.

  8. WBC Says:

    Reggie the Alligator, those pix ain’t nothin’: after she caught you (or an imposter brought in from the Everglades, some say — only YOU can tell us the truth! I wouldn’t doubt that you DID outsmart her), she showed a 5-min. professionally done video (no doubt on city time and budget) featuring herself as champion Alligator Wrangler. She used to have endless silly shows and presentations like that during Council time, but has been told to put a lid on it, so she’s been a lot better this past year.

  9. Reggie The Alligator Says:

    Of course I was the alligator caught at Machado lake, and of course I grew that much in such a short period of time.
    I have been captured and NOT a gator on the run. ;)

  10. Ishmael Says:

    Really good column. Nice to see Janice Hahn show some leadership. Finally.

    Now, if we could only pry the councilwoman away from the nibby crowd along Western Ave and get her to support the Ponte Vista project, we’d have an elected pol we could really be proud of.

  11. tips Says:

    I have admire your unselfishness in taking the time to make this web site.

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