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.
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
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Tags: City Council, First Amendment, First Amendment Rights, CRA, Tom LaBonge
Vol 10 Issue 10
Pub: Feb 3, 2012