Bill Bratton LAPD Media

Bill Bratton v. The LA Weekly?


Late yesterday afternoon, I got a note from a couple of staffers at the LA Weekly that read:

“We thought you would be interested in the following piece of hot LOL:

Chief Bratton responds to LA Weekly’s recent cover story “Bratton: L.A. Is as Safe as 1956” by saying “I think they were smoking a little weed when they wrote that article,” and then “It’s kind of voodoo reporting.”

The subject head for the email read: LA Police Chief Calls Us Stoners.

Indeed I was interested. Who could resist?

When I followed the embedded links I learned that on Wednesday’s Ask the Chief segment of Patt Morrison’s show on KPCC, Chief Bill Bratton came back with a few testy retorts when asked about a recent LA Weekly cover story that stated Bratton was manipulating LAPD crime stats for political purposes.

Then on Thursday, the Weekly’s Steve Mikulan posted a short take on Bratton’s remarks. (Mikulan has done a remarkable job as a one person news machine for the Weekly’s website. I have become convinced that Steve never sleeps.)

Here is the relevant excerpt:

“Actually,” said Bratton, “I think they were smoking a little weed when they wrote that article.”

The crack got a chuckle from Morrison, but the chief did not seem to be in a jovial mood about the story, and soon sounded darker motives behind it.

“The reporter that wrote that piece had a conclusion that he was writing to,” Bratton said. “Quite frankly I read that article and I couldn’t figure out what the hell he was talking about . . . We stand by our numbers.”


“L.A. Weekly,” he intoned, “seems to have it in for the mayor, so anything he says they try to question. . . . the L.A. Weekly, in their effort to go after the mayor seized on this, spent a lot of time writing about it.”

When Morrison asked if it may be a little misleading to compare per capita statistics that are separated by half a century, Bratton defended his department’s figures while taking one more swipe at the Weekly:

“It’s kind of voodoo reporting,” he said of McDonald’s cover story. “I’m very happy to rely on our statistics, which are audited by the FBI.”

(You can listen to the whole radio segment here.)

Here’s the thing. Yeah, Bill Bratton at times has the fastest mouth in the West. It’s part of his…um… charm. But on the matter of the Weekly article, I must admit I agree with him. I read the 6600 word story by Patrick Range McDonald when it appeared in in the LA Weekly at the end of April. And I found it to be pretty much a hit piece.

In his initial thesis McDonald had a point. He said that Bratton claimed that crime in LA was down to levels of the 1950’s.

On January 5, 2006, for example, Bratton sent out a press release noting that the 2005 “preliminary crime rate” was “364 Part I crimes per 10,000 residents.”

“You’d have to look back to 1956 to find a comparable crime rate
for Los Angeles,” the chief said in the press release. He did it again in 2008, this time saying that L.A.’s crime rate in 2007 had repeated the amazing achievement of 2005, once again dropping so low that it matched 1956.

Technically Bratton was right, but only if he looked at Part I crimes in a particular way: Murders and robberies are much higher now per capita than they were in 1956. (Duh! I’m sure you are shocked—shocked—at this news.) But right now rapes and burglaries are way down in comparison to the 50’s. So if one averages all those figures together, Bratton can back his claim—in a number-pretzeling kind of way.

In other words, Bratton’s not cooking the figures, but he’s spinning them.
It’s a sales trick. He’s making the numbers say something that he finds useful.

Okay, fair enough. I think Bratton’s 1950’s gambit is a dopey,
disingenuous comparison too. Hey, Chief! Catchado!

And that’s probably worth a single column to whack Bratton on the wrist. But a 6600 word piece? Seriously?

And oh, yeah, and did I mention that McDonald’s editor, Jill Stewart, already did that column two months earlier?

With nearly all the same sources.

Moreover, the LAPD’s FBI verified crime stats are up on the department’s website for anybody to check. You can do your very own comparisons. In fact, short of the US DOJ, the LAPD has some of the easiest to access law enforcement stats in the nation.

So why did the Weekly decide to do this cover story on a retreaded column that had a very, very small point to make?

Well, McDonald did have two other points in mind:

1. He said that law enforcement in general and Bratton in particular often take credit for drops in crime that are really probably the result of widespread trends. Or partially the result of widespread trends. Crime ups and downs are complicated, dontcha know.

Yeah. And yawn.
This point has been made around 47 gazillion times in the last couple of decades, by nearly every news outlet that covers crime trends. So the Weekly considers it cover-worthy news now why exactly?

2. McDonald’s second point, was the big one. He suggested that Bratton is cooking the department’s statistics for real, particularly gang statistics. By the end of the article, one is left with the impression that the Chief is actively shaving the dice, when it comes to numbers, and putting pressure on his district captains to do it too. Implication: So those numbers on the LAPD site? You can’t trust ’em. The chief of police is a liar.

And in the way of facts to prove this thesis the writer offered.... nothing. Zero. Zip. There was innuendo aplenty. But facts? Even circumstantial, ominously suggestive, tangential facts….?


McDonald did have one retired LAPD cop (whom Jill Stewart also quoted) who opined mightily.

Like I said. A hit piece.

Look, as readers here know, I’m critical of the department on a semi-regular basis, and critical of individual officers’ actions on many more occasions.

I have also been critical of the Chief. Ask him.

It is part of my job. It is part of the Weekly’s job.

But only when the facts show that he deserves it.

Yet the Weekly did not approach the issue of LAPD statistics and Bill Bratton with a question in mind. It looks to me as if they instead leapt in already knowing the answer they wanted, and then went about looking for people who would give them the opinions they needed to support their pre-manufactured thesis. (And yes, they had the requisite “other side” quoted too. We all know how to do that one.) But start yanking things apart, and the whole structure falls.

I’d show you specifics, but this is too long already, and I’ve got student papers to grade. (Read it and see what you think.) And while we’re on the subject, I wouldn’t let a student of mine get away with this kind of agenda-driven nonsense.

Hey, listen. I have a long and excellent relationship with the LA Weekly and count many of its writers and editors as personal and/or professional friends, as well as respected colleagues. That includes Jill Stewart.

And just to give a plug along with a slam,
I should tell you that the paper is up for a bunch of Association of Alternative Newsweeklies Awards. (The finalists were announced on Tuesday.) It will likely—and deservedly—win a fair share.

But on this matter, I’m sorry. I’m with the Chief. He is not perfect. (Who is?) But he’s wickedly smart, and unafraid to hire the best around him. And guess what? He has lowered crime in LA–even if there’s still a long way to go. We are lucky to have him.

And if and when we need to criticize him—which sometimes we have, and sometimes we will in the future— it would be nice if my fellow journalists at the Weekly used facts, not mud.

Oh, yeah, and just to be clear, I don’t think those involved were smoking anything weed-related.

Unfortunately, I think they were stone, cold sober.


  • I’m sick and tired of these idiot reporters trying to spin everything their own way. This was definitely a hit piece on Chief Bratton because it was followed by another negative piece by Daniel Heimel the following week. If crime was way up would these guys have anything to say? Many of us are glad to have a Chief who speaks his mind and tells it the way it is instead of tip toeing because of political correctness. Its nice to have a leader in this city like Bratton who has a list of accomplishments having turned around 5 police departments and look what he’s done for LAPD. Its already been posted on blogs to BOYCOTT THE LA WEEKLY. With this financial crisis at hand people are sick of all the negative crap these reporters are putting out to try and drumb up papers.

  • Celeste Fremon once again wins a place in the L.A. Journalism Hall of Fame, though I assumed the chief was high on crack when he endorsed Jack whatshisname and drunk when he threatened to pull police officers out of Rosendahl’s district.

  • Talk about hit pieces on the mayor and Bratton by association: that goes triple for Jack Weiss. He also got the short end of endless hit pieces by the Times’ Zahniser — even his foes are thanking Zahniser for coming out with like a half dozen hit pieces on Weiss and him only, in anti- Antonio blogs like RonKaye and Mayor Sam. And these are people who don’t like Jack Weiss but it’s so obvious.

    The Times’ Op Ed section was just as bad, totally overlooking Trutanich’s nasty campaigning from the start in January, on mailers, tv ads, even a whole section blasting Weiss on his own website hidden under “initiatives.” The Downtown News’ Regardie had it right when he said that Trutanich’s campaign staff “made Karl Rove’s people look like they were at a cupcake party.” Whereas the Times used to be criticized for being too liberal/p.c., it’s now gone in the opposite direction as an organ for parent Fox media and in the city attorney election didn’t even try to be fair.

    And Bratton was absolutely right to endorse Weiss, his perennial critics like (Republican) Zine, Janice Hahn (who still has a grudge about Weiss helping the mayor get in over her brother – a debt he owed, maybe) notwithstanding. Zine claims all the councilmembers especially he himself did as much with DNA rape kit issue, public safety, etc. Not true and Zine’s self-named “Motion” that tried to replace SO40 was just grandstanding, like Trutanich did on every issue. That issue is what the Police Protective League’s right-leaning Webber defected from Weiss over, heard him on McIntyre saying so. — Yes, I admit I listen to it once in a while to see what the a.m. screamers are riling the peeps up over now. (Irks me that Trutanich has never done a damn thing FOR public safety or any of the issues he hammered Weiss for, at least not since he gave up being a prosecutor back in the early 80’s. The guy’s an opportunist and the way Chemerinsky exposed his stonewalling over clients proved he doesn’t understand legal code nearly as well as he claims, and even made up some codes etc.) Also if it weren’t for Weiss and a few others the police force would have been cut last year.

    Now with Parks (who never loses a chance to criticize his replacement), Zine (with their huge police pensions) feeling smug they’re going after Bratton’s hiring program every way they can, and after him too. (I just plain detest Zine — he is a rude backstabbing person and most of all, just plain mistates the facts to benefit himself like his friend Trutanich.) They and Rosendahl are also distorting Bratton saying he’s going to pull cops out of the westside bureau as “threats.”

    Rosendahl knows that damn well — I attended a December Town Hall meeting for my Brentwood area in December where Bratton told us all that if he couldn’t get his 10,000 cops, the only way to staff the two new stations and keep enough cops in the highest crime areas would be to divert more. Weiss got blasted for agreeing with Bratton on this, while Rosendahl objected — but now wants to cut funding. I think Weiss showed guts in wanting what’s right for the city as a whole instead of just one area, but clearly it didn’t pay off for him.

    Even the PPL’s Weber opposes Bratton on expanding the force, if it means furloughing or reducing the earnings of current cops by one dime. And he wants to make the Chief’s job an elected one, so someone more “suitable” to him, like himself or Zine, could take over. Hell no! We don’t need someone who pits the force against the needs of the city.

    I think that in the face of all these negative forces, it’s important to support Bratton and I admire a guy who speaks his mind. It would be terrible if these clowns managed to drive Bratton to more welcoming pastures.

    As for whether he should endorse at all, I think that when you have Cooley not just endorsing Trutanich but twisting arms for endorsements and funds and saying nasty things about Weiss to the media and Baca doing the same later, Bratton has not only a right but almost ethical obligation to stand up for someone who’s stood up for him and LAPD the most. He’s by far the smartest guy on the Council (maybe people felt he showed it too much) and has a lifelong commitment to the issues he’d have been defending, but his lack of gladhanding and gab hurt him.

    (It was Trutanich who was unethical in running commercials of himself with Bratton, implying an endorsement — Bratton said he didn’t know anything about this when questioned.)

    So Allen Middle-state I totally disagree with you on your points and generally agree with Celeste’s take on this. Glad she had the courage to call out the Weekly for its hit piece — wish she’d do that with others too. (And keep an eye on Trutanich as he unravels into the phony he is behind that politician’s facade!)

    The integrity of the formerly MSM seems to have gone down the tubes, so they’re often little better than the blogs now. (Speaking of Weber trying to throw his weight around, it’s amusing that the Times calls him out for wanting to fire some San Diego paper’s op ed writers — are they connected with the Times’ Tribune? — fired for advocating cutting of city employee pensions. Yeah, he’s just what we need as Chief or his new BFF Zine…)

  • You got it right Celeste and I am glad you brought it up. On all counts. Pitch pefect (except, of course, your remarkable politeness and diplomacy). Patrick Range McDonald’story on Bratton wasn’t a hit piece, it was a *hit piece. I have put it aside for use next semester in my reporting class on how NOT to do a story!

    Bratton is also right, of course, about the Weekly’s (or in this case) Jill Stewart’s declared and transparent biases regarding the mayor. She is as much of a blind detractor of the mayor as she is a shameless sycophant of Dick Riordan and Arnie Schwarzenegger (for purposes of disclosure, I have a mixed view of all three and have written positively and negatively of them on different occasions). Diito re Bratton.

    Yes, Stewart wrote a column about Bratton’s statement a few weeks earlier. Then Stewart had her underling McDonald expand it into a full “story.” Crap.

    I have to make this confession: When I read McDonald’s story, I was literally tempted to send him an unsolicited email saying that in my humble opinion, as someone twice his age, I would suggest that any thought he has about building a career by being Stewart’s ideological enforcer would be suicidal. But I thought it would be too patronizing to send it. So I didn’t. He’ll find out the hard way.

    On this comment thread, we now see a very negative review of McDonald’s piece by two former News Editors of the Weekly abd by its prominent and accomplished news feature and LAPD beat writer. He can take that all as sour grapes. Or as a serious warning of seriously flawed work.

  • I just saw in Joe Mailander’s Street-Hassle blog something that very aptly echoes my sentiments. Wish he and others had been out there saying this stuff earlier when it could have affected the outcome.

    On May 20th/ this Wed., “The City Staggers Toward Tribal Implosion — Again”

    Re: the impending disaster of Carmen Trutanich:

    “Carmen Trutanich, a chest-thumping death penalty advocate and a tribal throwback to whiter days in the City, looks more like a Vegas pit-boss than a savvy, sang-froid Angeleno, but the anti-incumbency mood enabled him to trounce Jack Weiss anyway. His first oppositional, uncharitable comments are not encouraging. For those of us who actually care about the way the city prosecutes its criminals, this is not a good marriage. But if you thought Bradley-Gates was good for the City, I’m sure you will love Villaraigosa-Trutanich.

    “Of the two races, the Times and Daily News really blew it in endorsing Tru — if they did it simply to show up the Mayor, it was out of dislike for the Mayor’s record. They should have voiced their opposition when the Mayor was running, not when one of his friends was. These two newspapers can’t fold up their tents soon enough; we’ll be so much better off when they go bye-bye at last.”

    Yes indeed. I guess Mailander is implying that Weiss is the one with “savvy sang-froid” in contrast to the Nooch’s pit-boss style (which he shares with Zine and Cooley) — given the current make-up of the Council, that may sadly have worked against him but it would be just the style the City Attorney needs. Mark my words, even his critics will be yearning to get Weiss back after they know the Nooch.

    Celeste, why didn’t you weigh in against this character who seems to represent everything you rail against? Not to mention that if you want the Mayor to fulfull his promises, why saddle him with someone who’s intent on antagonism?

  • Actually, Celeste, the real/big story here is that ALL THREE major papers abuse their bully pulpit to campaign against Antonio and anyone he’s associated with, while effectively giving a pass to their opponents like Nuch.

    (The Times and DN lukewarmly endorsed Antonio but only because he had no viable opposition, and seem to have regretted even that. At least the Times has when you look at how they made up for it by doing everything in their power to ensure that Antonio didn’t get to work with Weiss.)

    You really ought to follow up on that and its implications.

  • At the risk of beating some regulars at serial posting, I note that it’s not just Trutanich’s critics who noticed the Times’ bias: on anti-Antonio (and therefore Weiss etc.) blogs like and MS some Trutanich supporters have thanked David Zahniser for his at least half-dozen hit pieces on Weiss (but explaining AWAY Trutanich’s negatives) right up to and including the days before the election. Maeve Reston wrote a similarly slanted piece right before the election, and her pieces always gave Trutanich’s spins the benefit of the doubt while hammering Weiss even for what he put on his own personal website.

    (The Daily News attracting a conservative Walter Moore/ David Berger crowd isn’t as surprising in its slants and editorials, but it makes 3.) From a supposedly liberal bias of yore, all the editorial changes and decimations have wrought a new, streamlined, rightwing-leaning (or at least populist to a fault) blatant skew which has caused them to abrogate their obligations to “inform” not indoctrinate the public. They might as well ALL be Fox news (which the Times is affiliated with and it sure shows).

    L A no longer HAS a major paper worthy of the city.

    This merits a LOT of attention and you can bring it.

  • “At the risk of beating some regulars at serial posting”

    Woody is spun out hiding the salami somewhere, no problem.

  • OK now I’ll take the dubious prize but this (#7 and previous) really scares me when you add that all the a.m. talk radio programs are virulently anti-Antonio too and viciously campaigned for and against Weiss, giving Trutanich (and Zine, Cooley, etc. even PPL head Weber whose personal politics are opposed to Bratton’s as is he — factoring into THEIR endorsement and campaigning for Trutanich) countless free air time during their programs.

    Kevin James especially but also Jon&Ken, McIntyre etc. all take credit for turning out their base (which largely coincides with the anti-Antonio blogs) while the “silent majority” remained just that with a mere 17% turnout.

    The “liberal” allegedly radio programs like NPR/KCRW/KPCC were scrupulously balanced, so didn’t affect the vote politically. ALL the active talk radio shows were virulently anti-Weiss lobbies.

    Added to the blatant political bias and lobbying of the 3 major papers, the situation is extremely dire and needs to be exposed to generate a hue and cry, cancelling subscriptions, ads, etc. If that’s the deathnell of these political organs that people innocently subscribe to/pay for under false pretenses, it’s none too soon.

    Perfect scoop for some enterprising journalism students and their professor….???

  • “boycott the LA Weekly”

    LOL. The paper’s actually free. I assume you mean boycott the sponsors. Typical dumb ass cop’s wife.

  • Can we get Bratton a two week pass to LA TAN? The man looks like he’s carrying Ricketts.

  • With a name like Robbie Tommy no one cares. Boycott the paper dumb ass is boycotting the sponsors moron. The Weekly story is being torn apart all over the place. People in LA aren’t ignorant. They “get it” although our politicans don’t. Patrick is yet another reporter getting blasted for his inaccurate, negative reporting. Why is the LA Weekly targeting a Chief who has done more for this city and his department then prior Chief’s in over 3 decades? Thanks Celeste for being one of the few reporters who is balanced, fair and has a sense of reason.

  • Space aliens currently experimenting with Woody’s sleep routines to see what happens. Radiation, gamma rays and some kind of Taos hum thing are being apportioned to the little *rat*.

  • Yes kiddies … Kevin James, Jim Jones, David Koresh, and Marshall Applewhite have all drank the Kool-Aid in its purest form … distilled.

  • The space aliens, noticing the lack of intelligence from the left, have made me their king. They earlier contacted reg, who kept demanding an anal probe of himself.

  • The paper’s free? Really? You mean people who still get it delivered shouldn’t be charged? There are quite a few of them left actually, though many have canceled and if everyone did they’d be even more irrelevant than they are now. There’s still something about seeing words in print.

    While Woody and his compadres have no doubt drunk the toxic Kevin James Koolaid, the fact that political propaganda in the guise of journalism, with routine hit jobs and PR for the right, are THE norm in town across all media including the formerly MSM is highly toxic to the very essence of democracy.

    The fact that the likes of Bratton, Antonio and Weiss are subjected to this vitriol in the guise of informing the public, while the likes of this Nooch, Zine and others who look and act like chest-thumping vulgar bullies and pit-bosses, with their reactionary views (that they cleverly disguise depending on who they’re talking to) are spun into heroes, is a disaster for this city. Not that I agree with Antonio on everything but the principle here is way bigger than him. The papers and scribes like Stewart, Patrick, Zahniser etc. and their dirty work now ARE the story.

  • LOL. Don’t lie, Janet. You know you were out there trying to boycott a free newspaper before I told you it was free. Everyone knows cops marry the dumbest women. Who else would marry a cop? Anyway, by all means, carry on with your boycott of a free newspaper, genius.

  • Celeste, looks like were going to have to re-introduce Janet and Robbie boy. Lets take it from the top Kids … Janet, you promise to be all syrupy with Robbie boy? And you Robbie, you give us your word of honor not to further berate Janet’s fragile feminine ego? Good…Now shake hands and give each other a hug and shut the fuck up the both of ya.

  • Hey pretzel boy, Mr. Woody, If I want anymore lip from you…I’ll zip down my zipper…Now fetch me a beer.

  • Thanks for stepping in, Cid. I’m delighted to have Robbie Tommy here, but I don’t like anybody beating up on anybody else, even though I understand that Janet is more than capable of taking care of herself.

  • Touche, thanks Celeste. Its great dialogue and you are the only web site that had the guts to post the truth. With the way these reporters are beginning their spins and finally getting nailed for it on many blogs, its refreshing to have you call them out.

  • In Janet’s honor, I’m boycotting broadcast t.v. today. Nobody pay to watch broadcast t.v.! Just today! Show the media!

  • Cid: If I want anymore lip from you…I’ll zip down my zipper.

    Since you’ve exposed your orientation, Cid, I’ll forward your message to reg.

  • You talk big Woody… Cid is going to pull your lower LIP over your head like a cabbage leaf!
    Girlie man.

  • Interesting comments. It’s far from a hit piece, whatever that means. The term was thrown out there the way Bratton threw out “voodoo journalism,” and it was merely used as a smear tactic.

    To me, the piece was investigative journalism that takes on the chief and how uses crime stats to fit his needs or the needs of politicians. We had no idea what we were going to find, but the 1956 stat seemed fishy so we started looking into it.

    Right away, crime experts told us that the 1956 statistic was meaningless and explained why. I’ve since had feedback from cops, even Daryl Gates, who say the piece was right on the money.

    I’m surprised people don’t have problems with the chief using these stats to prove what a great job he’s doing so he can justify spending more money on the police force. That money could be used for better city services that the public, especially the poor, will need during these difficult economic times.

    I’m afraid certain people who call themselves liberals are only interested in “hitting” the Weekly for whatever reason rather than defending and speaking up for the very people they always seemed so concerned about.

    Take care,
    Patrick Range McDonald

  • Hi Patrick,

    I appreciate and respect that fact that you came over to comment regarding my post on your piece. Thank you for your courage in doing so. Many people wouldn’t.

    Yet all that said, I think if you read carefully through the post you’ll see that I gave you credit for flagging the chief’s use of the 1956 comparison and that I agree with you on that point.

    However, as Jill had already done a column talking about that same issue two months prior I questioned why you were redoing it with all of the same sources (plus some others, I realize), only at far, far far greater length.

    Yet, as I read on in the piece, I saw your two other points:

    You felt that the chief was taking credit for a drop in crime that was really more the result of widespread trends. But instead of exploring that issue, you simply attempted to prove it by showing only one side of a very complex issue about which there is much disagreement among criminal justice experts. Having reported on crime and law enforcement for nearly 20 years, I know the multiple sides of that argument, and it is very much a discussion worth having. But you didn’t have it. Instead you seemed intent only in slamming Bad Bill.

    However the truly egregious thing for me—and the material that solidified your feature as a hit piece—was your entirely fact-free insinuation that Bratton was actively cooking the figures.

    Spinning them is one thing, falsifying them is another. You accused him pressuring people to misreport. As I said above, we can all agree that Bratton spun the numbers to suit his PR needs. To argue otherwise is preposterous. But, again, this was a point that Jill had already covered in her column of Feb. 25. So why it the world would you go back to that well and reinterview the same list of people she had quoted—namely Mac Klien, George Tita and Gary Nanson, in order to say the same thing all over again, thus undercutting your contention that “We had no idea what we were going to find, but the 1956 stat seemed fishy so we started looking into it.”


    Andrew Karman was source Jill had not mentioned, I’ll give you that. But he’s been making a career out of bashing Bratton for nearly two decades thus is everybody’s favorite go-to guy if they want a legitimate academic to criticize Bill Bratton. Karmen, with his crime trend analysis, has one piece of the puzzle that is worth factoring in, but it doesn’t come close to being the whole of the matter. AND it’s old news. Karmen’s been spouting this same line since Bratton was the NY Police commissioner. Been there, done that. Fell asleep.

    Look, Patrick, I took the time to read some of your other work and you seem like a smart guy and a writer with talent who could make a genuine contribution.

    Matters of gangs, law-enforcement and crime are terribly serious issues in our city. We have thousands of school kids in our most gang-ridden urban areas who display higher levels of PTSD than soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. And there is much about the mayor’s approach to gangs and gang crime reduction that very much deserves criticism. But to get to the really pressing issues (as opposed to rehashed stories about “The Chief said our crime level is the same as it was when people were watching “Leave it To Beaver” OMG!”) requires that one put aside political agendas and ask real questions. Forgive me, but I don’t believe you did that.

    As for, “I’m afraid certain people who call themselves liberals are only interested in “hitting” the Weekly for whatever reason rather than defending and speaking up for the very people they always seemed so concerned about.”

    You’re kidding, right? Well before you say that to me, you might want to do a teensy bit of checking into my past writing. I’m very Googleable. Hell, you can limit yourself to the Weekly’s archives if you like.



    PS: Patrick, just so there is no misunderstanding, my criticism is limited to this single piece. Other things I read of yours struck me as passionate. skilled and honorable.

  • Patrick just confirmed what the Chief had said, that he starts with a conclusion and then struggles to find facts or claims that work up to it, rather than the other way around. (That’s true of everyone they do hit pieces on too, especially Weiss and while I have no great love for them, the whole council: how many more stories on the Weekly’s opinion that their pay’s too high, trying to stir outrage about it?)

    When he says that the “money can be better used for other city services that the public, especially the poor will need,” he’s showing that it’s this personal opinion that he’s trying to “prove.”

    Many believe that public safety like cops and fire are THE number one issue, that if those guys don’t come when you call them the city is unlivable. Yes same thing when a pipe bursts in your street or your car keeps rutting from potholes (many streets haven’t been paved in decades, even though the economy was “good” so long), but especially in this economy they must prioritize. As it is LAPD doesn’t have enough cops to keep enough stationed in many areas, because they’re focused where they’re needed most. And opposing Bratton’s insistence on the cops promised from the trash fee hikes and Prop S (which he personally was recruited to campaign for, so he’s get a stake) is just keeping a commitment to the taxpayers/ homeowners.

    Yet the Weekly keeps lionizing the very Budget Committee members (Parks, Smith and now also Rosendahl) who are betraying that trust and now saying that promise was never meant to be kept, that the money was always going to misc. places with just some to cops. Why? Because they like to depict as “heroes” anyone who defies the Mayor, who along with Weiss made supporting Bratton a keystone of policy.

  • A propos the extremely blatant bias against Weiss that’s being noted on various blogs including nationally, part of the Times’ (aptly called Slimes) vendetta against Weiss in order to fulfill their initial endorsement of Trutanich was to give lots of space to all his enemies.

    Notably Dennis Zine, who got to rant just on his feelings and unfounded jealousies about Weiss (like “I’m just as supportive of the Chief as him, no fair!” — except of course for dissing him on SO40 and promoting his own pointless “motion” all over talk radio, with PPL’s head Paul Weber, arguing with Bratton over the need for a self-named “paparazzi law,” and just a few other big things).

    Zine was often quoted as he has been for years, just venting his personal dislike for Weiss, who was apparently too civilized ever to return the favor. (He avoided confronting all the negativity against him until the primary, probably to his detriment; when his campaign did retaliate the Times chose to slam him nastily with “he did it first and worst” ignoring the mailings of Weiss as a lapdog and nasty rhymes and worse (utterly irresponsibly putting this falsehood “out there” to be picked up). The Daily News has given Zine’s Weiss-bashing a lot of space too.

    Plus they both ran feature articles about constituents going to Council as a group to criticize him: but without noting that they were sent by Trutanich in an orchestrated campaign stunt.

    Last week when they ran a feature on Parks’ enormous police pension that he’s collecting simultaneously with his salary, they did NOT mention their new BFF/main source for hit pieces Dennis Zine’s own $80,000 pension. That was just plain irresponsible.

    They did however laud him in another article for being “the only one” offering to take a 10% salary cut, grandstanding to look superior is more like it, without mentioning his pension advantage there either. The examples go on and on.

  • ADO: Hey, you’ve convinced me. I’ll check out the reporting patterns on Weiss in relationship to the others. But it won’t happen until I survive the insane teaching and book-writing deadlines I have this month, turn in my Master’s Thesis, head for Bennington, Vermont, get my MFA, then on WA DC for meetings. then come back to LA in late June/July-ish, and briefly collapse. But, I will wade into this eventually.

  • I am astonished to see the way that some are clinging to the wreckage of the Jack Weiss campaign. They’re trying to blame local media for publishing ‘hit’ pieces against Jack Weiss. I’ve been waiting for the term “swift-boated” to be applied to Jack Weiss’s downfall, but so far even the pro-Weiss people have not gone that far.

    Last time I looked, the term ‘hit piece’ was applied to something that was either 1) untrue, 2) irrelevant but embarrassing or 3) slanted unfairly against the ‘victim.’ I do not believe a ‘hit piece’ is a fair characterization of the reporting of the truth, even if it is inconvenient for the ‘victim.’

    So which of the categories do the ‘hit pieces’ fall into? As I recall, there were 3 topics that were less than favorable to Jack Weiss in the last week of the run up to the election.

    First, Maeve Reston wrote about Jack Weiss’s on-going refusal to pay to the City Treasurer the illegal money-laundered campaign contributions that he received from an executive and associates of Alan Casden’s development corporation. Trutanich had challenged Weiss over this at the televised debate at the Westside Jewish Center. Weiss had remarked to the effect that Trutanich was distorting facts and that the “matter was settled years ago.” Why should we accept Weiss’s word? Reston, as a reporter had a duty to investigate, especially as Weiss’s claim of “years ago” seemed false in the light of the Fair Political Practices Committee’s 2007 demand to Weiss to pay the money as required. I think Reston concluded that Weiss faced several procedural obstacles in actually paying the money. So, the article was not 1) untrue, 2) irrelevant because ethics is perhaps more important for the City Attorney’s post, nor 3) slanted, because Reston reported on Weiss’s difficulties in paying the City Treasurer.

    Next came Dave Zahniser’s story on Weiss’s illegal fundraiser held on April 27, 2009, in Beverly Hills. City Pensions Commissioner Kelly Candaelle co-hosted the event and did so in direct violation of the law – LA Municipal Code 49.7.8, which prohibits city appointees from engaging in fundraising for city elections. Jack Weiss attended the fundraiser, and doubtless saw Candaelle there. It must have occurred to Jack Weiss that the fundraiser was unlawful as Weiss not only voted to pass 49.7.8, but Jack Weiss also voted to appoint Candaelle. Zahniser did not state the obvious; that Jack Weiss openly allowed the law to be broken in his presence and to his advantage, instead reporting that when he (Zahniser) contacted the Mayor’s office the following day, the Mayor’s response was to deliver the resignation of Candaelle within 4 hours. Zahniser’s article was neither 1) untrue, 2) irrelevant, as Weiss is running for the post of chief law enforcement officer, so his tendency to misapply the law, or be ignorant of it, is highly relevant, and 3) it was not slanted as the focus was on Candaelle rather than Weiss.

    The third alleged ‘hit piece’ occurred when FOX 11 news reported on a May 3, 2009 Hancock Park fundraiser that Weiss attended hosted by a person who had been convicted of several fraud and theft related felonies surrounding the operation of medical facilities. The story was not 1) untrue, and it was 2) relevant to the character of and choices made by Jack Weiss. Remember, Weiss had made the issue of associations with criminals a central theme in his negative ad against Trutanich for being a defense attorney. Of course 3) the slant of the report focused on Weiss, but then again, there really was no other logical focus; it was Weiss who made the decision to attend the fundraiser. Weiss compounded the poor choices he made in attending this event when he pretended that he was hearing of the gaffe for the first time from the Fox 11 reporter. In fact the Weiss campaign had known about the gaffe for 5 days prior to the Fox 11 interview, and had undertaken to return all donations.

    All three ‘hit pieces’ fail to make the definition of a hit piece. They are, at best, fair and truthful reports of poor choices made the candidate for City Attorney, and at worst, worrisome with regard to the way Jack Weiss considers the way that laws either apply or do not apply to him.

    Voters had every right to make informed choices particularly when Weiss had raised the issue of character in his bizarre denigration of the ethics of the legal profession. In the end the media saw at least three relevant, newsworthy and truthful red flags to Jack Weiss’s candidacy, and to fail to report them would have been the equivalent of a ‘hit piece’ on the electorate.

    On a personal level, I delighted that Jack Weiss failed to win the election. The LA Times really got it right when they described Weiss as “Unfit” for the post. And after reading the above, does anyone truly believe Weiss had the morals and ethics for the job? It’s a sad day for Los Angeles politics that when you Google the phrase “Jack Weiss felon” you come up with some very inconvenient truths about Jack Weiss.

  • “David” is the David Berger who ran for City Attorney on Walter Moore’s slate and made it his mission to attack Weiss, even after he lost, on behalf of Trutanovich. So OF COURSE he’s delighted with the outcome, however it happened.

  • I tried posting a response to #38. Either it failed to make it through cyperspace, or it failed to make it past the editor. I’ll give it one last try.

    My identity is no secret #38, unlike yours. Neither is my agenda; Jack Weiss may claim to represent liberal/progressive interests, but my experience of Weiss as my councilmember was that he was fairly uniformly unrepresentative of anyone but developers and their interests.

    Your response to my point that the articles written about Jack Weiss were not ‘hit pieces,’ was simply to say “David Berger wrote that.” You did not deny that the articles were factual, truthful and relevant.

    Of course they are actual, truthful and relevant. One of the reasons Jack Weiss failed to win was his inability to answer the serious questions about his troubled 8 years in office. His response was never to deal with the issue, it was always to attack and deflect attention. As a strategy, it failed.

    As it is clear that you have conceded the substance of the matter, I wonder if you could explain a couple of points.

    1) You said that I lost – meaning the primary election. Had you done your research more fully, you would have discovered that my candidacy and subsequent support for Trutanich was all about stopping Jack Weiss. So perhaps you would agree I won that battle?

    2) You conclude with “So OF COURSE he’s delighted with the outcome, however it happened.” What does “however it happened”mean?

  • Hi. I noticed this on the AAN website (in the L.A. Weekly’s favor), but I agree, it was a hit-piece.

    I have been investigating the AAN because they awarded the rotten Pasadena Weekly for some very dubious articles, one recently.

    I wrote an open letter to Richard Karpel, Executive Director of AAN here:

    Yes, the Pasadena Weekly is rotten, but you don’t hear too much about it. They have been sourcing right-wing extremists for years and pick up dubious National news too.

    They attack public education and fan the flames of fear of Northwest Pasadena. They are really bad.


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