Communication Breakdown on Mt. Lee

by George Abrahams

This Daily News article highlights the extreme vulnerability within our communication system – the very system that makes 911 calls save lives, gets fire engines to your home on time, and allows seamless communication between officers, dispatch, etc. This vital communication hub on Mt. Lee was offline for a full 12 hours on Tuesday, April 3rd due to an accident during the testing of a back-up generator. Mayor Villaraigosa attempted to downplay the significance of the communication failure, the magnitude was significant.

Councilman Mitch Englander of the 12th Council District, blamed Tony Royster, the General Services Department General Manager, for the error and is even calling for his head on some bureaucratic platter.

The real fault is with the mayor and the city council. They are responsible for the absence of a fully redundant emergency communication system. While they have been wasting money on pet projects and busy diverting the tax base increment to failed, money-losing CRA projects, our infrastructure has been badly neglected.

I suggest anyone living in Hollywood or Los Angeles, for that matter, do two things right now:

1)    Write to Councilmember.Englander@lacity.org and tell him not to get rid of Royster! This man is being made a scapegoat. There’s no value in adding one more person to the unemployment lines. The City Council and Mayor should take full responsibility for this event.

2)    Write a letter to Sharon.Gin@lacity.org in the City Clerk’s office. Refer to file number 12-0303. This is one more example of why we need to oppose the increased density element of the Hollywood Community Plan Update. Our inadequate infrastructure cannot support the development we currently have.

LAPD Radio System Fails For 12 Hours

Daily News – Rick Orlov, Staff Writer

After Los Angeles Police Department radio communications went down for half the day on Tuesday, a city councilman on Wednesday demanded the firing of the official whose agency caused the problem.

Councilman Mitch Englander said he will call for the dismissal of General Services Department general manager Tony Royster for the power outage Tuesday at Mount Lee, where all LAPD radio communications equipment is housed.

Englander, who is a reserve officer, said General Services crews were sent to the Mount Lee facility – located not far from the Hollywood sign – to test a backup generator. However, he said, the test failed and knocked out all power at Mount Lee, shutting down radio communications.

“It placed the public and officers at extreme risk,” Englander said.

LAPD officials and the Mayor’s Office, however, said backup systems were used that ultimately prevented any serious breakdowns in communication.

LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith said the power failure turned into a test of the department’s emergency response operations.

“We were able to handle it without too much of a problem,” Smith said. “We run drills all the time to test our system and that’s what this turned into.”

“It was a good exercise for us. Our center was down for about 12 hours, but we still had communication from the stations to the cars and the car computers never went down.”

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s office was informed of the problem and said backup systems were put into effect.

“When that equipment didn’t work, other redundant systems kicked in at the LAPD,” spokesman Peter Sanders said. “The LAPD successfully handled 911 calls and no emergency responses were threatened.”

Englander, however, insisted that the problem was more serious than that. The communications breakdown meant a delayed response to emergencies, as 911 calls had to be answered manually with operators then calling stations to dispatch an officer, he said.

For officers, he said, the danger came in the form of an inability to get immediate access to information, such as a driver history based on license plates.

“We weren’t able to find out if the person had a record, was being sought for anything or had violent tendencies,” Englander said. “A traffic stop can be the most dangerous stop we make.”

Because the Valley Dispatch Center was also down due to electrical problems, Englander said the department also lost communication with the main Metropolitan Communications Dispatch Center.

“They should have checked with the department first and there is no way they would have allowed them to work on Mount Lee until the Valley Dispatch Center’s problem was fixed,” Englander said.

“While the system is back up and operating normally, a failure of the GSD management of this magnitude resulting in the shut down of our most critical system (demands answers),” Englander said. “Whoever is responsible for this lapse needs to be held accountable.”

rick.orlov@dailynews.com

213-978-0390

twitter.com/rickorlov

The CRA/LA is Dead, But Corruption is Alive and Well

by Richard Lee Abrams, Published in CityWatchLA.com, Friday, February 3, 2012

Date line: February 1, 2012 Today shall be a wonderful day for all of Los Angeles; in fact the entire state should rejoice.  The vilely corrupt CRA/LA is dead.

Rejoice quickly as corruption is alive.

This morning (Wed 2-1-12) Miki Jackson wanted to show to the City Council a nice poster that she had made to celebrate the death of the CRA/LA, but the city council said, “No, no poster.”  Although Ms. Jackson reminded the city council about the first amendment, they were un-moved.  Speech, of which they disapproved, would not be allowed.

The city attorney advised the city council that the United States Constitution protects free speech and the council could not censor Ms. Jackson’s sign.  Astounded and aghast to learn that there was such a law which allowed a citizen to show a sign, the council finally allowed Ms. Jackson to display her sign.  Is it true that some councilmembers covered their eyes with their hands lest they be blinded by such blasphemy?

On the very day that the Corrupt Redevelopment Agency finally died, the council persisted in its arrogant hubris of trampling people’s fundamental rights.

This impingement on the fundamental right of free speech exemplifies how the council views our basic liberties.  It whimsically ignores them.

Right now councilmember La Bonge is continuing to wage his war against the constitutional right of free travel.  Despite the US Constitution, the California Constitution and state statutes and cases which say it is unlawful to gate a public street so that only a few people have access, LaBonge presses ahead with his efforts to gate various cul de sacs in the Hollywood Hills.  There is Solar Drive, and there is Ledgewood-Mulholland, and there is Deronda Drive.

The City has been sued, CCLA and HELP v City of Los Angeles, Case # BS 130-014, but LaBonge presses onward in his quixotic quest.

Let’s take a peek at the statute Labonge ignores:

Vehicle Code, § 21101.6.  Notwithstanding Section 21101, local authorities may not place gates or other selective devices on any street which deny or restrict the access of certain members of the public to the street, while permitting others unrestricted access to the street.

Some laws are incomprehensible, but this law is clear.  The city may not put a gate across a street and then allow selective access to only some residents.  The City lost a landmark lawsuit on its prior violation of this constitutional right of free travel. See Citizens Against Gated Enclaves v. Whitley Heights Civic Assn. (1994) 23 Cal.App.4th 812

Let’s see what LaBonge’s Motions say.  Council Motion # 11-1222:

*  Gates to be installed to effectuate the closure of the area

*  Keys to the gates be provided to all adjoining property owners . . . Council Motion # 10-1039 commits the same transgression.

*  That the gates to be installed to effectuate the closure of the area . . .

*  That keys to the gates to be installed be provided to all adjoining property owners . . .

From reading the vehicle code and from reading LaBonge’s motions, it looks as if LaBonge quoted the language about what is unlawful and made that the basis of his motions.  Although a city may not selectively gate a street, LaBonge does not care and the City Attorney squanders precious resources defending LaBonge’s unconstitutional behavior!  According to the City Attorney, the city ordinances take precedence over state statutes and the state constitution.  No wonder the city council wants to muzzle Nikki Jackson.   I thinks a city council motion can trump the Constitution!

The same arrogant hubris which allowed Garcetti and LaBonge to down size the 2 acre Regional fire station 82 to only ½ acre on the grounds that a full fire station was too expensive and which allowed them to sanction giving $52 Million to Billionaire Eli Broad while not allowing the children in Hollywood to have a community park is the same corrupt approach to governance which tries to silence Miki Jackson and tries to give away public streets to the friends of Tom LaBonge.

While we can all celebrate the death of the CRA/LA, that epitome of crony capitalism, let’s remember, the council is still inherently a lawless body which will do anything it pleases without regard to state law or the constitution.

(Richard Lee Abrams is an attorney in Los Angeles. He can be reached at: Rickleeabrams@Gmail.com ) –cw

Download this article

 

Tags: City Council, First Amendment, First Amendment Rights, CRA, Tom LaBonge

 

CityWatch

Vol 10 Issue 10

Pub: Feb 3, 2012

Is This What YOU Envision for Hollywood? Los Angeles?

Link

Mayor Villaraigosa wants what he calls “elegant density”
The City reads your silence as support for this vision.

The Hollywood Community Plan is just the first of 35 Community Plans that will cover every part of Los Angeles. It is the template for all the plans that will follow.

The Zoning Administrator, the Central Area Planning Commission, and the City Planning Commission approved this Plan in just four weeks, with only minor changes.

The Plan, as it stands, is a gift to the land developers who have contributed to the campaigns of the Mayor and Council members.

Almost every Neighborhood Association and City-Certified Neighborhood Council in Hollywood has taken official positions in strong opposition to the Plan and its effect on the Hollywood Community.

The City of Los Angeles is updating the Community Plans that control land use and zoning. These plans set the vision for the future of Los Angeles. Community Plans have an enormous impact on all of our lives—for good or bad.

Every resident Citywide needs to know that they could effectively lose any chance to defend their own local Community Plans if The Hollywood Community Plan passes unchallenged and is certified.

This Hollywood Community Plan would allow for…

• INCREASED DENSITY IN BUILDING HEIGHTS = MORE TRAFFIC CONGESTION
• HISTORIC SITES NOT PROTECTED (HOLLYWOOD HERITAGE FEELS THAT THE PLAN IS A BLUEPRINT FOR THE DISTRUCTION OF HOLLYWOOD’S HISTORIC BUILDINGS)
• OBSCURING THE VIEWS OF THE HOLLYWOOD HILLS
• REDUCED PROPERTY VALUES
• CREATE CONCRETE CANYONS (BLOCKING SUNLIGHT)

The really objectionable part of the Hollywood Community Plan is the proposed massive increase in development without any plan for updating the existing inadequate infrastructure:

• PAVING OF ROADS (TO DEAL WITH INCREASED USE)
• UTILITIES (WATER, ELECTICAL, SEWAGE, GAS ETC.)
• PUBLIC SERVICES (POLICE, FIRE, GARBAGE, ETC.)
• TRAFFIC CONTROLS AND TRAFFIC MITIGATION

We, PEOPLE FOR LIVABLE COMMUNITIES, a coalition of concerned Angelenos, are reaching out to neighbors across the city. If you would like more information:
email info@plcla.org or for further information, call us at 323.380.8970.

You can also contact Councilman Garcetti with your comments or complaints since the plan was endorsed by him (whether or not you are in his district). Copy your own councilman with your comments or complaints.

http://lacity.org/YourGovernment/CityCouncil/index.htm

District 13 – Eric Garcetti
City Hall Office (213)-473-7013
200 N. Spring Street, Rm 475
Los Angeles, CA 90012
councilmember.garcetti@lacity.org

District 4 – Tom LaBonge
City Hall Office (213)-473-7004
200 N. Spring Street, Rm 480
Los Angeles, CA 90012
councilmember.labonge@lacity.org

District 5 – Paul Koretz
City Hall Office (213)-473-7005
200 N. Spring Street, Rm 440
Los Angeles, CA 90012
paul.koretz@lacity.org