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The Truth about Tony Cardenas
 

The Truth about Tony Cardenas

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City Councilman of Los Angeles for District 6, Tony Cardenas' compilation of news articles. The truth about Tony Cardenas. The district represents the neighborhoods of Panorama City, Pacoima, Arleta, ...

City Councilman of Los Angeles for District 6, Tony Cardenas' compilation of news articles. The truth about Tony Cardenas. The district represents the neighborhoods of Panorama City, Pacoima, Arleta, North Hollywood, Sun Valley, Van Nuys, Lake Balboa.

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    The Truth about Tony Cardenas The Truth about Tony Cardenas Document Transcript

    • 11/14/01 City Council Opponent Files ComplaintsLos Angeles City Council candidate Wendy Greuel filed complaints with state and city ethics agencies Tuesday alleging that stateAssemblyman Tony Cardenas (D-Sylmar), an opponent in the race, has not properly disclosed city and statecampaign activity.The two are competing for the 2nd District seat.In letters to the Fair Political Practices Commission and the Los Angeles Ethics Commission, Stephen J. Kaufman, an attorney forGreuel, accused Cardenas of failing to file city campaign reports with the state and updated reports on his state committees with thecity.Greuel, an executive with DreamWorks SKG, also called on Cardenas to close a state committee that has raised more than$400,000, much of it from Indian gaming interests, for an aborted run for secretary of state.Fred Woocher, an attorney for Cardenas, said he is looking into the issue and said proper disclosures will be made.Cardenas will close his secretary of state committee, said campaign consultant Richie Ross.11/29/01 2nd District Foes Exchange AccusationsOn Wednesday, Greuel said Cardenas acted inappropriately when he solicited support for his campaign during a county-sponsoredevent Oct. 26. That event kicked off a program funded by a Cardenas bill to help at-risk youth.Richard Shumsky, county chief probation officer, sent a confidential memo to the Board of Supervisors, saying he had not knownCardenas would use the event to seek support for his candidacy and pass out campaign material."Had we known, we would have attempted to discourage those actions," Shumsky wrote, adding that he has reminded his staff thatcounty policy prohibits individuals from politicking during county events. According to the memo, Cardenas was asked to speak atthe event about the youth program."Towards the end of his comments, he made reference to his City Council campaign and used the occasion to invite support by thosein attendance," Shumsky wrote. "In addition to this, a member of Assembly Member Cardenas staff spontaneously begandistributing flyers that spoke of his commitment to juvenile justice issues but were primarily brochures for his upcoming campaign."Greuel said Cardenas should not have used a county-sponsored event to stump for votes. "What that memoindicates is he is running a taxpayer-financed campaign," Greuel said. "Its very inappropriate."Cardenas denied he had done anything improper."Mr. Shumsky was sitting right next to me and he didnt say anything," Cardenas said. The legislator said he talked about hiscandidacy in response to a question from a participant at the event and that a campaign worker had received permission to pass outfliers.12/1/01 Council Hopefuls DebateThe involvement of Indian gaming interests in the race for the Los Angeles City Councils 2nd District seat was a major issue duringa spirited debate Friday among the three candidates.Wendy Greuel criticized opponent Tony Cardenas for accepting a $100,000 contribution from a Native American tribeto his aborted secretary of state campaign the day before he announced he was instead running for the CityCouncil. Cardenas council campaign also has received several $500 contributions from tribes, which he helped as a member of theAssembly with bills to expand gaming on tribal lands."We have to make sure that special interests like gambling interests do not have influence at City Hall," Greuel saidduring the debate, which was taped at the studios of the Adelphia cable TV system.Cardenas, a Democratic lawmaker from Panorama City, angrily disputed Greuels claim that he is beholden to gaming interests."I hope you stop picking on American Indians in California and focus on issues of Los Angeles," Cardenas said.He said he had returned the $100,000 check given by an Indian tribe to his state campaign fund, that the contribution was legal, andit was not affecting his city campaign."These are not gambling interests. Those are American Indians," Cardenas said. "They have a right to give money." Greuel, aDreamWorks SKG executive from Van Nuys, said Cardenas has been slow to disclose how he has spent money from his statecampaign, causing concern about whether it affects the city race.
    • The third candidate, Van Nuys businessman James Cordaro, said he has raised less than $10,000 and has received no special-interest money.Cardenas said the main difference between him and the other candidates is that he is the only one with experience holdingelected office."My special interests are the people I have been serving for the last five years," Cardenas said.The assemblyman said he will use his experience to expand the police force and improve basic city services.Greuel also vowed to work to improve services as a way of heading off San Fernando Valley secession."Im running because I believe we need an independent voice for the Valleys fair share here in the 2nd CouncilDistrict," Greuel said.Cordaro, the only Republican in the race, favors Valley secession because, he said, the area isnt getting its fair share of services fromthe city. He called for extension of a subway or light rail line across the Valley floor.Also Friday, Greuel filed a complaint with the city Ethics Commission, saying neither Regency Outdoor Media nor Cardenashas disclosed the cost of providing pro-Cardenas billboards in the district. A Regency official has said they were beingprovided by the firm as an independent expenditure, but so far no one has filed the necessary disclosure forms with the city.12/5/10 Cardenas Ads Draw Rivals IreOne of the candidates, Assemblyman Tony Cardenas (D-Panorama City), has used images of the shattered buildings and soot-covered rescue workers in a series of mailers, television commercials and even a refrigerator magnet touting his endorsement by theLos Angeles firefighters union."When Los Angeles firefighters returned home from the search and recovery efforts after the New York terrorist attack, TonyCardenas was there to welcome them," read one mailer, quoting the union president. The mailer includes a photo of rescue workersraising an American flag in the ruins of the World Trade Center.12/7/10 Cardenas Fined for Late Reports on Fund-RaisingThe Los Angeles Ethics Commission has levied penalties totaling $1,560 against two state campaign committeescontrolled by Assemblyman Tony Cardenas (D-Panorama City) for the late filing of fund-raising reports, officials saidThursday.Because Cardenas is a candidate for the 2nd District seat on the Los Angeles City Council, he was required to file campaign financestatements by Oct. 10 for all of his controlled committees, including one formed for an aborted run for secretary of state.The secretary of state committee and another Cardenas state panel did not file disclosure statements with the city until Nov. 29,which was 50 days late. Another pair of reports due Nov. 1 were 28 days late.Penalties Stem From Greuels ComplaintsEach committee was fined $780, or $10 for each day it was late in filing disclosure statements, according to letters by the EthicsCommission dated Dec. 4 and released Thursday."Tony Cardenas has attempted to skirt the law," said Julie Buckner, a spokeswoman for Greuel. "We think voters have a rightto know who is spending money in campaigns and for what."A spokesman for Cardenas said the tardiness in filing was inadvertent."Tony, after finding out that not all the is were dotted and ts crossed, ordered that [the filing] be done," said Josh Pullium. Some ofthe confusion, he added, stemmed from the fact that state disclosure laws are different from city laws.The most recent filing for the secretary of state committee shows its treasury is down to $21,793 after Cardenas had previouslyraised $493,000 for the account.Pullium said Cardenas returned much of the money, including a $100,000 check from the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians.The assemblyman also had paid bills for services provided before he decided against running for the statewide job.2/14/02 Cardenas, Greuel Exchange Barbs in Fight for Council Seat…Greuel criticized Cardenas for the state budget deficit, but Cardenas countered that budgets across the nation have "taken a bite"since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.…The two clashed again when Greuel noted that the county district attorneys office recently referred to the city EthicsCommission a report concluding that Cardenas had talked to some out-of-town American Indian tribes aboutgetting involved in last years mayoral election. The prosecutor had decided not to file charges over the tribesindependent expenditures in the race."People are really tired at City Hall thinking there is undue influence by special interests," Greuel said.Cardenas countered that he acknowledged talking to the tribes about the election and that the investigation focused on someoneelse, not him.
    • "Quite frankly, there was no wrongdoing," Cardenas said………..02/22/02 Council Foes Trade InsultsBuckner said Cardenas lacks credibility on the issue of taxes."He has no standing on this issue, as someone with a history of a failure to pay taxes and a legislator at a time when thestate faces a $12-billion budget deficit," Buckner said.She released a 1997 notice of a federal personal income tax lien against Cardenas for $12,000 that was owed, and thenotice showing the lien was lifted about three months later.Cardenas said the personal income tax lien stemmed from his involvement with a nonprofit child-care group called Escuella de laGente that failed. As a member of the groups board of directors, Cardenas said he agreed to pay the back taxes it owed. Cardenassaid he was paying the taxes in monthly installments as part of an agreement with the Internal Revenue Service when he wassurprised to find that the IRS had filed a lien."As soon as I found out there was a lien, I wrote a check and paid it off completely," Cardenas said. "If they had bothered to tell methere was a lien, I would have paid it sooner."Cardenas spokesman Josh Pulliam said he believes Greuel, by attacking personal finances, is dodging the issue of the cost of her 51-point plan, which he said could be in the tens of millions of dollars.2/28/02 Rivals Getting In Their Last Shots in 2nd Council District Race…She said that Cardenas shares some of the blame for the states budget problems because he served as chairman ofthe Assembly Budget Committee until recently."You need to take responsibility that we have a $17-billion deficit," Greuel said.Cardenas said as head of the Budget Committee he was instrumental last year in creating a $2.5-billion state reserve fund."I put together the biggest budget reserve ever," he said during the debate. "After Sept. 11, it went downhill fast."He said the loss of tens of thousand of jobs after the terrorist attacks, as well as the loss of dozens of conventions in California, hurtthe state budget….8/2/02 Cardenas a Shoo-In for Seat on CouncilFor termed-out Assemblyman Tony Cardenas, who lost a Los Angeles City Council election last spring, a new council district in thenortheast San Fernando Valley could be his consolation prize.With the nonpartisan primary election seven months away, Cardenas has raised more than $50,000, his campaign says. And hefaces no serious challengers for the open seat, which was created July 1 to give more clout to Valley Latinos and Latinopoliticians such as Cardenas.2/28/03 Cardenas Takes Another Shot at City Council PostAfter narrowly losing his first Los Angeles City Council race last year, former Assemblyman Tony Cardenas is hoping that his secondwill finally land him a seat at City Hall.….Facing the end of his allowed term last year, he considered running for state Senate, but opted for a local bid instead. Cardenaslost to Greuel by 242 votes after an expensive and often bitter campaign for the seat vacated in October 2001 when Joel Wachs quitafter an unsuccessful run for mayor.Greuel complained at the time that Cardenas was being controlled by special-interest groups, such as Native American tribesgrateful for his Sacramento help in expanding tribal gaming. Even though Cardenas strongly disputes the allegation, it is a chargethat is being repeated by Cardenas current opponent, Garcia.3/6/03 Next Councils Tangled TiesCardenas, however, brings his own tangled relationships to the council: He lost a hard-fought race a year ago to CouncilwomanWendy Greuel and was the go-between for an Indian tribe-funded negative campaign against Villaraigosa in 2001.1/12/05 FPPC Fines Council MemberLos Angeles City Councilman Tony Cardenas and two political aides face $35,000 in fines for failing to discloseexpenses charged to his state political committee, including $17,000 paid to a golf course and golf equipment firm, officialssaid Tuesday.Cardenas said the $87,956 in expenses cited in the violation involved costs of serving as a state assemblyman through 2002,including bills for a golf tournament, gift bags and greens fees that were part of a political fundraising event.
    • The state Fair Political Practices Commission staff released a proposed settlement that says 169 expenses incurred by Cardenas stateofficeholder committee from July 1, 2000, through Sept. 30, 2002, were not properly disclosed.Cardenas and his two campaign treasurers agreed to pay the fines, but plan to appeal, saying the errors were merely clerical."We didnt fully agree with the FPPC, but we agreed to pay it," Cardenas said.State law requires elected officials to itemize expenditures over $100 so voters "may be fully informed and improper practices maybe inhibited," according to the settlement agreement.In the case of Cardenas and campaign treasurers Kinde Durkee and Maria Sanchez, Mark Krause, the FPPCs executive director,pressed for stiff penalties, saying that significant expenses were not properly reported and there was a pattern of noncompliance.On 11 separate reports, Cardenas reported the totals billed to his credit card but did not provide a breakdown of each expense."What it came down to is, early on when I was a legislator, everything was reported. It just was not reported in the fashion the FPPCwanted," Cardenas said. "It was a matter of being new to the reporting requirement. Once it was brought to our attention, wecorrected it."Expenses not properly disclosed include tabs of $789 and $463 for two visits to Brannans Bar & Grill in Sacramento, $220 paid toParamounts Great America amusement park in Santa Clara, $1,050 to Marc Popcorn Co., $222 to the Spa Hotel in Palm Springs,$110 to the Jelly Belly store, and $422 to Thorton & Sons Jewelers. Cardenas also had meals at the Bistro Garden and Todairestaurants in Studio City.Cardenas said the restaurant tabs were for staff lunches and the popcorn bill was to buy a popcorn-maker used at community eventsthat he hosted as state assemblyman. The jewelers bill was for gifts for colleagues and staff members, he said.Expenses included $12,500 paid to Cascades Golf Club in Sylmar and $5,525 paid to Diamond Head GolfManufacturing. Cardenas said the golf course bills were for a political fundraiser.The fines will not be finalized until the Fair Political Practices Commission approves them at its Jan. 20 meeting.1/21/05 Councilman to Pay Fine From FPPCThe state Fair Political Practices Commission voted Thursday to ratify $35,000 in fines against L.A. City Councilman TonyCardenas and two political aides for failing to properly disclose $87,956 in expenses incurred by a political committee he had whenhe was a state assemblyman.Cardenas agreed to pay the fines to avoid further penalties, but plans to appeal the charges that he violated state disclosurerequirements in not itemizing bills for golf course fees, meals and expensive hotel rooms.9/21/05 Council OKs DWP Salary RaisesPay will increase at least 3.25% in each of the next five years with a 6% annual cap. Critics cite a disparity with the wages of othercity workers.Faced with the threat of a massive strike, a divided Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday approved a controversialcontract that raises the salaries of most Department of Water and Power workers by at least 17.9% over five years,and as much as 31% if inflation spikes that high.The councils 10-3 vote was greeted with a boisterous roar of approval from the more than 200 DWP workers who packed the councilchambers.Smith also said its not fair that many DWP jobs already pay much more than similar jobs in other city departments. In one case, asenior automobile dispatcher at DWP receives $80,200, or 61% more than the same class of worker at other city departments. Astarting structural engineering associate makes $71,700, or 6% more than the same worker in other city departments.The contract would cost the DWP about $70 million over five years if the raises are at the minimum and about $135 million if theraises are in the 6% range, Deaton said.Monica Harmon, a community activist, was the only member of the public to testify Tuesday against the contracts 6% cap. "How doyou justify this when our LAPD officers received only a 4% raise?" she asked…….The new contract provides a minimum annually guaranteed cost-of-living increase of 3.25% but allows salaries to grow by up to 6%each year if inflation is that high. For the first year, beginning Oct. 1, the raise will be 3.8%, the rate of inflation as measured lastmonth by the federal government. The rate is slightly higher than officials expected, in large part because of the sharp rise in fuelcosts.Leaders of other unions have criticized the city for giving much higher raises to the DWP than to other city workers.While some council members brought up the same issue, the majority said Tuesday that the contract was reasonable because itprovided a hedge against inflation for workers who often toil in hazardous conditions to keep the electricity and water flowing."Its a fair contract," said Councilman Tony Cardenas. "I think its fair to the ratepayers and the workers."
    • 08/03/06 Study: Effort to Rid L.A. of Gangs Is FailingThe city of Los Angeles is losing the battle against street gangs because it has failed to properly fund and focus efforts to keepyoungsters from joining gangs in the first place, a study released Wednesday has found.The study by the Advancement Project, a nonprofit group, suggested that the 23 antigang programs spread throughoutvarious city departments and costing $82 million annually be put under a single authority."Youve had a pretty ad hoc, scattered, incoherent approach to the problem," civil rights attorney Connie Rice, co-author of thestudy, told the councils Ad Hoc Committee on Gang Violence and Youth Development. "Somebody needs to be responsible. Thereneeds to be centralized accountability."Rice said the last phase of the study, to be completed by the end of the year, will look at possible models for bettercoordination of anti-gang programs, including appointing a gang czar at City Hall, creating a city department, reorganizing anexisting city office or convening a task force.The study cited city reports that the vast majority of anti-gang funding, $56 million, has gone to suppression programs aimed at thearrest, incarceration and containment of gang members, with only a small amount going to prevention and intervention programs."What you are saying is if you have a better balance of intervention and prevention, what you have is less need forsome dollars in suppression," Councilman Tony Cardenas, committee chairman, said to Rice during Wednesdays hearing onthe study. "So what you are doing is you are being much more efficient and effective in utilizing public funds."Researchers mapped out neighborhoods where gang violence is greatest and found a correlation in many cases with highschool dropout rates and poverty.City efforts must better address those root causes, the study said.09/13/06 Cardenas Agrees to $3,500 FineThe city Ethics Commission unanimously agreed Tuesday to fine Los Angeles Councilman Tony Cardenas $3,500 for violatingthe citys campaign-finance laws by accepting seven contributions above the $500 limit.The fine is equal to the amount of excess contributions found during a routine audit of Cardenas 2001 primary campaign for theCity Council.The San Fernando Valley councilman agreed to pay the fine.The seven excess contributions, totaling $1,000 each, came from the Official Police Garage Assn. of Los Angeles, the Los AngelesCity Fire Department Chief Officers Assn., William M. Lasher, Gene A. Lucero, Funes Architecture and Architect Manuel Funes, ACSState & Local Solutions, and AMG & Associates.11/14/06 L.A. bond issue raises concernsThe deal last week received attention in City Hall because it was the second year in a row that the council -- acting on motions byCouncilman Tony Cardenas -- had steered business to De La Rosa & Co. of Los Angeles and Siebert Brandford Shank &Co. of Oakland.Cardenas said in an interview Monday that he intervened in the bond deal because bureaucrats ignored the councils wishes to givemore city business to locals. He also said he had heard suggestions in City Hall that he had financial interest in the firms -- which headamantly denied."This is about the council taking a stand and doing the work that they are chartered to do and letting the staff know that if they dontdo the work, unfortunately, the council is going to do the work for them," Cardenas said. "It is our responsibility to determine whatbonds are sold and what method is going to be used." Fujioka issued a report in late October saying that all of it should be sold on a competitive basis.In committee, Cardenas and Councilman Bernard C. Parks, however, said they wanted some of the bond deal to be on a negotiatedbasis to benefit local firms.The dispute came to a head in Wednesdays council meeting, when Cardenas and Fujioka sparred over the deal.Fujioka said the city policy required a competitive bid unless he or the city attorney found that it wasnt practical or beneficial.When Cardenas pressed him on issuing such a finding, Fujioka responded: "Please dont ask us to do it" in the council meeting"without actual facts. I need to have the time to look at this and say without any question this is safe for the city."Ultimately, Cardenas introduced two motions. The first said that the entire deal would be negotiated and that the underwriterswould come from a group of six qualified firms already approved to do business with the Department of Water and Power.The second motion said that 30% of the bond would go to the local firm on that list and another 30% to a firm based in California.Only two firms fit that description: De La Rosa and Siebert Brandford Shank. The others -- Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, MerrillLynch and Lehman Bros. -- have local offices but are based elsewhere.Both Cardenas motions passed unanimously -- among those who voted.The debate echoed a council action in September 2005, when Cardenas persuaded his colleagues to force the DWP torework two bond sales totaling about $1.8 billion to give a greater share to De La Rosa and Siebert Brandford Shank.
    • That action delayed the bond sale until this year, after interest rates increased, costing taxpayers an additional $10million, Fujioka reported. Cardenas, however, said problems with the DWPs accountant caused the delay.11/15/06 A bad aftertaste (bond deal)The City Councils decision to give a bond deal a local `flavor is going to cost taxpayers millions.Thats what City Councilman Tony Cardenas did last week by insisting that $150 million of a $500-million municipal bondto build an already over-budget police center be underwritten by a handpicked Los Angeles investment bank, instead ofbid out in open competition. "I chose to flavor it my way since the city administrative office wasnt willing to do thework," he said.The "work" of which Cardenas spoke was not making sure that the bond sale brings maximum return for the citys money, but ratherthat a large percentage be sold by local underwriters. Its the kind of micro-protectionism you might expect from a desperate town inthe hinterlands, not from one of the nations leading financial centers. And it came over the loud objections of the official whoknows best about selling debt: City Administrative Officer Bill Fujioka, who warned that this sop to locals could costtaxpayers at least $21 million.Yet no member voted against the measure. (Councilman Jack Weiss objected to the plan but abstained.) Either the culture ofconsensus has transformed City Hall into a hallelujah chorus, or protecting the public purse simply isnt a priority there. We hope itsnot both.The councils vote may have been foolish, but using bond contracts like patronage is nothing new in this city and state. As long astwo decades ago, a Times investigation detailed what it called a "growing link between city politics and the bond business."There are times when it makes sense to negotiate a bond deal with underwriters rather than putting it out to bid. If the bonds aregoing to be harder to sell -- perhaps because theyre backed by a single project rather than the full credit of the city, or some otherreason that will require more work from the underwriter and more explanation from the issuer -- negotiating is the way to go.But the $150-million sale being handed to E.J. De La Rosa & Co. is the exact type of bid that should be competitive -- afixed-rate, general obligation bond for a deep-pocketed city with a stellar credit rating. The deal should go to thequalified bank that offers the best terms. Period. Full stop.Instead, the council has voted to benefit local political heavyweights at the expense of taxpayers.11/16/06 City OKs bond sale, no competitive biddingCouncilmen Tony Cardenas and Ed Reyes pressed City Administrative Officer Bill Fujioka unsuccessfully to declare that a negotiatedsale might be the better deal, but Fujioka refused.The administrator agreed to the negotiated deal to keep the bond sales on schedule.The bonds would pay for construction of city buildings, including a Police Department headquarters.Los Angeles-area firm De La Rosa & Co. and California firm Siebert Brandford Shank and Co. would each get 30% of thebond as senior co-managers of the bond issue, while two national firms would get 20% each.11/16/06 CARDENAS DEFENDS NEW NEGOTIATION POLICY FOR BONDSThe approval, which reverses a decade-old city policy that awarded bond underwriting through competitive bidding, comes despiteconcerns it could cost the city more money.But Councilman Tony Cardenas defended the deal, which also specifies that 30 percent will be sold by California firms.``No one can say until these bonds go on sale whether or not this is a gain or loss for the city, a visibly angryCardenas said. ``If there is a loss, it will be on the head of one official, Tony Cardenas, and Im prepared to takethe responsibility for this.The bonds will be sold by firms including De La Rosa & Co., Merrill Lynch and Co., Siebert Brandford Shank and Co. andLehman Bros.Cardenas pushed through the shift in city policy last week and said firms have already agreed to handle the account for a reducedprice, saving the city about $1 million.Cardenas and other council members have voiced concerns that the competitive process used by the city for the past 10 years hasexcluded many smaller, local financial institutions.But City Administrative Officer Bill Fujioka said that while he recognized what the council was trying to do, he believed it was betterto have an open competitive bidding system.
    • ``I will not change what I told this council last week, last month or last year, Fujioka said. ``But I recognize the goals you have, andits a public policy debate that you have to resolve here.Questions also were raised over the role of Fernando Guerra, a lobbyist who works as a senior vice president for De LaRosa & Co., and is close to Cardenas.Fujioka said he was comfortable with the plan but asked that a full study be conducted for future bond sales.Cardenas offered assurances that the process would go smoothly and was fair.``There are a lot of inaccuracies out there, Cardenas said. ``There is a lot of speculation about what will happen. Things are goingto turn out well.1/24/07 L.A. to seek a tax to fight gangsThe study said the city has failed to reduce gang violence, in large part because it lacks coordination and focus for the 23 scatteredanti-gang programs it currently funds to the tune of $82 million a year.Councilman Tony Cardenas, who leads a council committee on gang programs, said the city has not determined how much money isneeded to get the job done, and he worried that $50 million might not be enough.2/26/07 4 challengers take on Cardenas on crime, city services… "Show and go -- thats Tony," said Cordaro, 50. "Hes an empty suit, a lot of empty promises."Cardenas, 43, dismisses the monikers and the challengers claims that he is lax on the job. "Ive had dozens of coffees in peoplesbackyards," he said. More than 5,500 tons of trash and bulky items have been removed from the districts streets, he said, and 150prostitution-related arrests were made during the last year and a half.5/21/07 Mayor touts L.A.s climate plan, then jumps in SUVWhats interesting about Villaraigosas appointment of Ernesto Cardenas, brother of Councilman Tony Cardenas, to the Boardof Public Works?Villaraigosa and Tony Cardenas have a long history going back to their days together in the state Assembly in the 1990s. But the twomen have never been terribly close.Public Works board seats long have been viewed as political rewards, because the job pays $115,090 annually.As it happens, the mayors budget for the coming fiscal year -- which focuses on anti-gang efforts -- may be voted onas early as today by the council.And who is the chairman of the councils gang prevention committee that wants to hold off funding some of the mayors new anti-gang programs until he can vet them in his committee?If you guessed Tony Cardenas, treat yourself to an extra Pop-Tart.2/14/08 BLUEPRINT FOR ANTI-GANG STRATEGY (Rick Orlov)"What I would say is if not now, when? We have a system that is completely dysfunctional and costing us millions of dollars eachyear and countless numbers of lives," Chick said.While Chick did not put a price tag on gang crime, she said the city currently spends more than $160 million a year tocombat gangs with enforcement, intervention and prevention efforts.Chick said no new money should be allocated to the efforts, but that $19 million should be redirected to new neighborhood actionprograms under the direction of a new Anti-Gang Office that would be run by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.The office would be responsible for overseeing all programs now carried out by the Los Angeles Police Department, City AttorneysOffice, Community Development Department, Recreation and Parks and Children, Youth and Their Families."The city can accomplish more with the resources it has if it strategically and organizationally focuses these resources," Chick said.Chick said the Anti-Gang Office would include divisions to deal with suppression, intervention, prevention, assessment, evaluationand administrative services to coordinate state and federal grants.Last year, Villaraigosa and Police Chief William Bratton launched their own attack on gangs, creating a list of the worst in the cityand a "Most Wanted List" that has led to the arrest and prosecution of several gang members. Villaraigosa also brought in Jeff Carrto head up anti-gang efforts.
    • Since then, the city has seen dramatic drops in gang-related crimes - 5 percent in the Valley last year and 4 percent citywide. Ganghomicides fell 26.5 percent - from to 294 in 2006 to 216 last year.That trend is continuing this year, officials said, with gang crime and homicides each down 20 percent in the wake of increasedcooperation among gang interventionists and boosted presence of LAPD officers in gang-ridden neighborhoods.Chick said the new Anti-Gang Office would develop criteria to determine the effectiveness of all programs, using measures such asreduction in gang crimes, higher school attendance levels, community participation and increased employment.As part of assessing effectiveness, Chick recommended new bids within six months by all anti-gang service agencies, noting that theL.A. Bridges program has not been re-evaluated in 10 years.But Councilman Tony Cárdenas, who chairs the City Councils ad hoc Committee on Gangs, said Chicks proposalmight be premature."Before we create an Anti-Gang Office in the Mayors Office, we need to prove where it belongs," Cárdenas said. "This, to me, ispolitics, and politics have driven funding and intervention for close to 30 years and our streets are not safe for our children."2/27/08 Who Will stop the GangsMeanwhile, City Controller Laura Chick this month issued her own audit of ongoing anti-gang efforts. She doesnt see a need for anynew funds, but she wants to reallocate money from some programs and consolidate all of them under a single anti-gang czar, whowould report directly to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. He likes the idea, as do Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Police Chief WilliamJ. Bratton.Chicks proposal, however, is unlikely to go any further than Rices because its opposed by Councilman Tony Cardenas, whochairs the Ad Hoc Committee on Gang Violence and Youth Development. "Theyre recommending that the intervention andprevention programs basically be put in the mayors office," he said, "which is a policy matter first and foremost that should, andwill, be vetted through the council." In other words, economic and political stalemate as usual -- and another chance to avert ourcollective gaze.3/9/08 Stuck on stupidPeople are dying. L.A.s gang problem demands more than reports and hearings.The current squabble between City Councilman Tony Cardenas and City Controller Laura Chick over how to improve the citys anti-gang programs follows a long-running -- and enervating -- City Hall pattern. Nearly a decade ago, a City Council committee groundto a halt over LA Bridges, the citys primary gang prevention program. Council members deadlocked not over the program itself buthow to evaluate it, then how to evaluate the would-be evaluators. Chicks predecessor, Rick Tuttle, concluded that the program wasfatally flawed and should be scrapped. But the council, many of whose members received campaign contributions from LA Bridgescontractors, protected the ineffective status quo. LA Bridges is still with us.In the words of Connie Rice -- who presented a report on the citys gang problem more than a year agoCardenas may have been right to spend some time parsing city programs, to understand just how they work before arriving at anorganizational solution. But his promised several months of hearings have gone on for more than a year, and he isseeking even more time. Now he has slated, for Friday, a hearing on Chicks report. That hearing will be a crossroads for the city.Some in the City Council fret over whether Chick would have the power to audit programs in the mayors office. The concern ismisplaced. Chick has the power and the pulpit to force Villaraigosa into opening his office to scrutiny.3/10/08 Politics clouds anti-gang fightSince then, she and Cardenas have accused each other of delaying, with their feud spilling into public view two weeks ago during anappearance on the radio program "Which Way, L.A?" and continuing in statements issued by their offices.Chick, a former council member and City Hall fixture for 15 years, criticized Cardenas for "stonewalling" her report.Cardenas, a former state assemblyman who has made himself an authority on juvenile justice, responded that he needed time todigest her findings ahead of a Friday hearing of his Ad Hoc Committee on Gang Violence and Youth Development.Cardenas said that he agreed with Chick on the need to consolidate gang-prevention programs but that handing control toVillaraigosa would undermine that effort.He said Chick, the citys fiscal watchdog, lacks the authority to adequately audit gang services in the mayors office -- a point shedisputes.
    • … In a city-sponsored report released 14 months ago, the organization called for a massive overhaul of the citys approach to gangviolence, including the creation of a department of neighborhood safety run by a "high-powered, politically skilled" gang czar whowould recast the citys many anti-gang programs."The time for studying this is over," Rice said.Some at City Hall criticize Cardenas for trying to maintain his powerful hold on gang services at the expense ofmoving forward aggressively, saying his committee has not done enough to advance the citys response to youthviolence. Those critics say that Cardenas has had trouble getting members of his own gang committee to show upat meetings.Cardenas said he has labored to ensure that the city spends its money on programs that make a difference. He pointed out how hiscommittee recently produced a new "model" to redefine gang intervention work, a step that will allow the city to create clearerguidelines for programs seeking money. That process alone took months.3/12/08 L.A.s lethal turf wars (LATimes) Chick recently completed an audit of the programs and recommended consolidating all anti-gang initiatives and their funding undera single official in Mayor Antonio Villaraigosas office. The programs currently are overseen by the City Council. Though he didntseek the assignment, the mayor has endorsed the proposal, as have Police Chief William Bratton and Sheriff Lee Baca. A massivestudy of the gang problem commissioned by the City Council and conducted by civil rights attorney Connie Rice included a similarrecommendation.City Councilman Tony Cardenas, who chairs the Ad Hoc Committee on Gang Violence and Youth Development,doesnt like the idea. He thinks the council should retain control of the programs -- and their funding. Friday, hiscommittee will hold a hearing on the controllers proposal, and the odds are that nothing will happen.…..have consigned the proposal to parliamentary limbo by referring it to no less than 15 different committeehearing. This is the council standing in the way of desperately needed civic change purely out of institutional self-interest.Its all about money. As long as individual council members maintain the ultimate power to approve or veto construction ofeverything from a new fence to a new hotel in their district, every developer, contractor and lobbyist with an active neuron knowsthat theyd better ante up with the requisite campaign contributions -- or move to a game at another table.Right now, millions of dollars every year are spent on the so-called LA Bridges initiative, which operates under council oversight anddoles out money to programs and projects on a district-by-district basis. Its a safe bet that each council member signs off on theexpenditures in their district. The council also supervises the millions of dollars in individual contracts currently let for variousgang-prevention and intervention efforts. though the fact is that the ineffective LA Bridges program reaches less than 1% ofthe 300,000 Los Angeles children who live in gang-infested neighborhoods, according to the Rice report).3/15/08 Cardenas seeks city task force for anti-gang services (LATIMES)Los Angeles Councilman Tony Cardenas sought Friday to block a plan that would put the mayors office in charge ofthe citys scattered gang-prevention services. Cardenas and three other council members called instead for an "executive taskforce" to coordinate the gang programs over the next two years. Cardenas task force would include the mayor, a councilrepresentative, the police chief and several department heads. Goes against Chick’s recommendation last month. Cardena’s hadissue whetehre there could be audits under Mayor by controller.4/2/08 That deadly gang in City Hall (Tim Rutten)The best proposal -- because its sensible, doable now and builds on insights from civil rights attorney Connie Rices massive study ofthe problem -- is the one City Controller Laura Chick produced after her office audited the whole range of Los Angeles anti-gangprograms. Her suggestion is that all existing programs be placed under a single official in Mayor Antonio Villaraigosas office. Theplausible theory here is that centralization will provide focus, urgency, accountability and better coordination at a time whenbudgetary constraints demand that Los Angeles wring as much good as possible from every hard-won dollar it spends on this criticalneed.So whats the problem? Why has the proposal been languishing for weeks with its future more uncertain by the day?City Councilman Tony Cardenas, who chairs the ad hoc Committee on Gang Violence and Youth Development,wants to maintain the lawmakers current control of these programs, their funding and all the contracts involved.Over the last two weeks, Cardenas and his committee have held two hearings that have done worse than nothing.Theyve produced five motions -- four demanding studies and information designed to undermine the conclusions in the controllersaudit and one, introduced Friday, to create an entirely new city department to take over all gang-related initiatives.So what do you think the chances are of creating a new city department, when we cant afford the government weve already got?None, which even this council knows. So whats this really about?
    • In large part, it has to do with Cardenas desire to maintain a say over programs and contracts. Millions of dollars for anti-gangprograms are currently under the control of council members. Hes quietly built political capital by selectively micromanaging thecitys bond contracts through his chairmanship of an ad hoc committee on that process, and something similar is going on here.Then theres the fact that Eric Garcetti, who ostensibly supports Chicks proposal, is a weak council president, unable consistently tomove legislation through the committees and wary of a likely challenge to his leadership from Councilman Herb Wesson. Cardenaswould be an important swing vote if Garcetti has to fend off Wesson.And what to make of the members who seconded Cardenas patently delaying motions -- Ed Reyes, Bernard Parks, Jose Huizar, JanPerry and Janice Hahn? Like Cardenas, some want to be courted by the council president; others sense that Villaraigosas difficultand distracted year has created a vacuum in which their own ambitions might be cultivated.In other words, its venal, small-minded council politics as usual -- while the body count grows.4/9/08 Mayor may get gang effortsThe logjam over how best to manage anti-gang programs in Los Angeles showed signs of movement Tuesday, with City CouncilmanTony Cardenas saying he is open to the idea of transferring the programs into the office of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa -- at leasttemporarily.Cardenas and City Controller Laura Chick have been arguing for weeks over the proper organizational chart for the initiatives, adebate that has been waged for years by city officials and outside consultants alike.With the council expected to discuss the matter today, Cardenas offered signs that he was moving toward Chicksposition."I am introducing a plan that incorporates the mayors office while at the same time ensures future mayors dont shift theirresponsibility and focus away from the persistent crisis of gang violence," he said in a statement.Cardenas comments were viewed by some as a face-saving measure. Still, Chick remained combative, saying she wouldspurn a compromise that failed to meet her goals.Since Villaraigosa was elected, none of the players involved in the debate -- Chick, Cardenas and the mayor -- have evaluated theperformance of the programs.4/10/08 Gang suppression programs movedThe City Council voted Wednesday to move anti-gang programs into the office of the mayor starting July 1 for at least 18 months.The move ends a dispute between City Controller Laura Chick and Councilman Tony Cardenas over the proper organizational chartfor gang prevention and intervention initiatives.The decision comes five days before Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is scheduled to give his State of the City speech, which is expected tofocus heavily on the effort to combat street gangs.The council agreed to determine a long-term location for the gang programs by December 2009.7/16/08 Ethics Panel Ponders Hike in Penalties for CardenasFrustrated with repeat campaign finance violations by Councilman Tony Cardenas, the Los Angeles Ethics Commission asked itsstaff Tuesday to consider at least tripling proposed fines for accepting excess campaign contributions.Commission staff had proposed fining Cardenas $2,050 for accepting $500 in excess contributions from three donors and for failingto submit two scripts of automated phone calls made before his 2006 re-election.But commissioners said those fines were too low, considering that Cardenas has been fined for 15 similar violations duringelections in 2001 and 2003.They asked staff to come back with a proposal for higher fines, which could range from $4,500 to $25,000."To me, this is a very easy case: Either this candidate needs to get a new treasurer or he needs to take the Ethics Commission a littlemore seriously," said Commissioner Sean Treglia."One or two excess contributions, even that would be enough to up the penalty, but 15? Thats a lot."But Cardenas took issue with the commissions criticism. The Valley councilman has challenged previous allegations of ethicsviolations and he wondered whether he is being singled out by the commission for speaking up."While I respect the work and responsibility of the commission, I hope the commission is not being retaliatory because its own pastmistakes were brought to light," Cardenas said.
    • He pointed to instances from his 2002 campaign when the commission staff initially accused him of some 500 violations andwanted to fine him $62,150. After he challenged the accusation, the commission staff dropped all but 25 charges andfined him $7,250. (That fine was approved after his 2006 re-election and was not considered part of his record for the proposedfine being considered Tuesday.)Cardenas said he had also faced 60 charges stemming from his 2003 election, and all but eight were dropped. He endedup paying a fine of $8,250."Even though the Ethics Commission has made many mistakes and must always be conscious to remain a neutral body, I still believethe work it does is important," Cardenas said.Ethics Commission Executive Director LeeAnn Pelham wouldnt comment on the pending violation from Cardenas 2006 campaign.But she said the commission has sought to be fair and move forward with violations only when the facts support a case."I would take issue with the characterization that we made a kind of mistake in the prior case," she said."We bring evidence forward based on the best evidence we have (at) a time and when new information comes to light, we arethorough in looking at that information."7/16/08 Cardenas fine is called too lenientThe city Ethics Commission Tuesday rejected a proposal to issue a $2,050 fine against Councilman Tony Cardenas, saying theagency had been too lenient considering that he had been fined in previous campaigns.The commissions investigators determined that Cardenas had failed to submit two scripts for automated campaign telephone callsduring his 2007 reelection campaign and received three campaign contributions that exceeded the maximum $500 allowed underthe citys election laws.Commissioner Sean Treglia said Cardenas should have known better because he had been penalized during the 2002 and2003 elections."We have a candidate here, who, for whatever reason, cannot seem to get it right," Treglia said."Either this candidate needs to get a new treasurer or he needs to take the Ethics Commission a little more seriously," Treglia said.Commission Executive Director LeeAnn Pelham said her agency has fined Cardenas $19,000 as a result of 40 violations ofcampaign finance and disclosure laws since 2002.Cardenas, who represents a portion of the San Fernando Valley, said through a spokeswoman that he had successfully fought in thepast to reduce the number fines sought by the commission."I hope the commission is not being retaliatory because its own past mistakes were brought to light," Cardenas said in a statement.9/6/08 D.A. probes officials election spendingThe Los Angeles County district attorney has opened an investigation into whether two San Fernando Valley politicians illegallyexceeded election spending limits by raising money through an independent campaign committee, sources familiar with the mattersaid.Prosecutors and investigators with the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission have spent the last three months asking questions aboutthe committee and whether it was controlled by two political allies: state Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) and Los Angeles CityCouncilman Tony Cardenas.Cardenas attorney, Fred Woocher, said his client also did not control Citizens for Dependable and Reliable Leadership and does notknow who did."He had no role in forming, controlling, deciding, spending -- anything you would consider to be controlling that committee,"Woocher added.In 2006, the countys Democratic Party gave nearly $28,000 to Citizens for Dependable and Reliable Leadership, which then usedthe money to make automated phone calls to voters on behalf of Garamendi. Bauman said he spoke directly with Durkee on thematter and never had any contact with Cardenas, Padilla or Fuentes.Another donor was Simi Valley businessman Jim Dantona, who gave $500 and persuaded three family members to do the same.Dantona said he could not recall precisely why he gave to the committee but suspected that he was asked by Cardenas to contribute."I cant attest to that 100%, but Im about 95% sure, because I just have a great deal of respect for Tony Cardenas," Dantona said. "Sowhen he calls, Im happy to help him."
    • 7/9/2008 Los Angeles City Hall as SlumlordCouncil members Perry and Cardenas pressured the CRA to hand Ruben Islas public money. But a federal judge called it like it was.…Tony Cardenas and his colleague Jan Perry — with an assist from Assemblyman Fabian Núñez — sought Mayor AntonioVillaraigosa’s personal involvement last August to make an unguaranteed loan of public funds to Islas, a rich political insider.The push came after Islas, his wife, his business partner, his employees and their family members gave Cardenas $10,100 incontributions in 2006 and 2007. In fact, city records show, just 27 days before the raucous CRA hearing in August, Islas and his wifegave Cardenas $2,000. And 10 days after Islas got final City Council approval for the subsidy, Cardenas received another $2,000 intotal from Islas, his wife, his business partner Jules Arthur and Arthur’s wife.Cardenas made his highly unusual appearance at the August 2007 CRA meeting, lavishing his political contributor with public praise— even as Islas’ tenants, sitting nearby, accused Islas of taking public money and misusing it to exacerbate a slum situation at theAlexandria Hotel….LINK http://www.laweekly.com/2008-07-10/news/los-angels-city-hall-as-slumlord/7/15/09 L.A. ethics commission fines San Fernando Valley campaign committeeThe City Ethics Commission issued a $2,000 fine Tuesday to a San Fernando Valley-based campaign committee that for the last yearhas been under investigation by Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley. (Citizens for Dependable and Reliable Leadership)The Times reported last year that lawyers for Cooley were trying to determine whether the committee was controlled by state Sen.Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) and Los Angeles City Councilman Tony Cardenas. State law bars elected officials from controllingindependent expenditure committees, which usually have no limit on how much they can spend on candidates.The agreement to pay the fines was signed by Padilla, Cardenas and Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes (D-Sylmar), as well as Padilla aideBill Mabie and Cardenas aide Jose Cornejo. All acknowledged that the committee bore responsibility for the violation, said attorneyStephen Kaufman, speaking on their behalf. The committees treasurer, Kinde Durkee, also signed the agreement.3/10/10 Automatic yes votes allow time for back-room dealing at City Hall [LATIMES]Thanks to voting software, City Council members can hold meetings, give interviews, even grab a smoke while deciding the days issues.March 08, 2010|By David Zahniser and Maeve RestonLos Angeles City Council members have figured out how to be in two places at once.Its no magic trick. But some say the public is being fooled all the same.Consider the councils meeting on Nov. 25: On that day, Councilman Tony Cardenas voted to install a new executive at the Community RedevelopmentAgency. He agreed to cut the budget by slashing overtime pay. He even voted to install a bronze bust of former Councilman Nate Holden at a municipalperforming arts center.Yet Cardenas was not in his chair for any of those votes. Instead, the San Fernando Valley councilman was behind closed doors in a nearbyprivate room for an hour and 50 minutes. As he conferred with an aide to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, a computer at his desk in the councilchamber automatically voted "yes" on those issues -- and eight others.…….Many council votes are routine, and members could argue that time spent with lobbyists, mayoral aides or even reporters is more valuable thanresponding to repeated roll calls. But few make that case. A spotty voting record can easily become a political liability.So instead of being recorded as absent, the council members have a technological fix: The chambers voting software is set to automatically register each ofthe 15 lawmakers as a "yes" unless members deliberately press a button to vote "no."The "yes" votes then flash on video screens throughout the chamber -- and are placed in the clerks official record -- even when members have left to grab asnack in the hall or hold a meeting.Lawmakers in New York and San Francisco are also allowed to leave their seats during meetings, but members must be in the room to have their votesrecorded. When Los Angeles County supervisors leave their meeting room, they are no longer allowed to vote…..The rules of the council state that members must activate their own voting machines and must be within the council chamber to be counted as present. Butthe city attorney who advises the council said his office has defined the "chamber" to include the back rooms, bathrooms and news conference area, all ofwhich are out of public view.
    • The practice shows a "profound lack of respect for the public," said Terry Francke, general counsel for Californians Aware, a group devoted to preservingopen government. "It seems to me to say, My time is too important right now to spend it actually participating in a meeting where I was elected torepresent the public. "In some cases, the practice also could raise questions about whether the council is in compliance with rules that require 10 members to be present toconduct business.….Cardenas defended the time he spends in the private areas, saying he is well-versed on items that receive his automatic approval: "If Im notpresent in front of my desk, it doesnt mean that I havent considered the item or that Im not aware of it."City Council President Eric Garcetti said that many issues are worked out in advance in committee meetings and that accidental "yes" votes are rare.Garcetti said he has admonished several members over their disappearances, adding that they should step out only for "immediate needs, emergencies andin order to keep the chambers as quiet as possible.""That doesnt mean stepping out for an hour," he said.7/19/2010 Tony Cárdenas To Hold Fundraiser At Restaurant Bidding For LAX Business [LAWEEKLY]By Gene Maddaus, Mon., Jul. 19 2010 @ 4:00PMAll this summer, L.A. City Hall is embroiled in a big-money battle for the right to sell quick-serve cuisine to LAX passengers.Just one of the eight packages is worth $600 million in sales, so you can imagine how much lobbying pressure has been applied tothe Board of Referred Powers, the committee that will decide on the contract in the coming weeks. Chaired by Councilman TonyCárdenas, the boardhad its first meeting on July 8. The next is tentatively set for July 29.By sheer coincidence, certainly, guess whos having a fundraiser that morning.Yes, Cárdenas will be kicking off his re-election campaign at 8 a.m. that morning at the El Paseo Inn.The El Paseo Inn is owned by Camacho Inc., which partnered with Host International to bid for the biggest LAX food contract.To summarize: On the same day that Tony Cárdenas sits in judgment of a $600 million contract, hell be asking forcampaign contributions at a restaurant whose owner stands to benefit from that contract.But wait theres more!One of Hosts lobbyists at City Hall is the firm of Ek & Ek. Though prohibited from contributing to Cárdenass campaign, Ek & Ekhas been distributing the Cárdenas invitation to its clients.Cárdenass chief of staff, Jose Cornejo, said that the councilman wont accept contributions from potential LAX vendors. (Hell havefundraisers at their restaurants, but he draws the line at taking cash.) Cornejo defended holding the event on the same day as theBoard of Referred Powers meeting."If you cant separate fundraising and doing whats right for the people of L.A., you shouldnt be in politics," Cornejo said. "You haveto raise money. He doesnt come from a community that itself is wealthy. Hes not Meg Whitman."Fair enough.So has any of this lobbying had an influence on Cárdenas?Well, the committee hasnt done anything yet. But it has shown skepticism about the process that led to the LAX staffrecommendations. Thats good news for companies like Host, which finished last in the rankings.After the first board meeting, Cárdenas sent a letter to LAX staffers with a list of 30 extremely detailed questions about the contractprocess. (Two examples: "What type of polling or focus groups were used by LAWA to determine the types of stores, brands orproducts desired at LAX?" "Please explain the definition of flavor of Los Angeles and the distinction between Local, Regional andNational brands.")Keep in mind, Host doesnt need to win the contract in order to win. As the incumbent contractor, they just need to tarnish theprocess enough in order to have the bids thrown out and the whole thing re-started. That would mean at least a couple more years asthe top vendor at LAX.
    • Cárdenas is actually a bit more scrupulous about this than Councilwoman Janice Hahn, who took $40,000 from LAX concessioncompanies and their lobbyists in her bid for lieutenant governor. (Host gave the maximum, $6,500, as did each of the two principalsat Ek & Ek.) Hahn also serves on the Board of Referred Powers, and joined Cárdenas on July 8 in expressing skepticism about theLAX process.By the way, if you want to attend the Cárdenas kickoff, itll cost you $500, which is the maximum contribution for a councilcampaign. You can also earn the title of "co-sponsor" by reserving five tickets ($2,500) or "co-chair" by reserving 10 tickets ($5,000)8/15/10 Cardenass So-Called "Campaign Expenses" [WalterMooreSays]How would you feel if you contributed your hard-earned money to a City Council candidates political campaign, only to learn laterthat he spent it paying off bills he had already incurred for lavish lunches with his staff; trips to Monterey, Seattle, and Austin; andbar bills?This hypothetical question has a firm basis in fact.…..Side note: Cardenas also raised another $1,500 -- for his legal defense fund. Really? What do you suppose hes done that hes raisingmoney for a legal defense?…. Cardenas, however, had already managed to spend $49,786. And wait till you see some of the expenditures hes claiming as"campaign expenses." Here are just a few examples:• $127.20 for lunch for Cardenas and two staff members at the very nice Beso restaurant in Hollywood. Would you like to know your contribution will be used to pay off a $42-per-person lunch tab for Cardenas and his staff? How, exactly, was that important for the campaign?• $199.53 for lunch for Cardenas and two staff members at the very nice Elevate Lounge. So, if you contribute $100 to his campaign, youll cover half the tab for . . . sushi and apple-tinis?• $539 to Critter Concepts in Las Vegas, which, judging from the companys website, was for a fancy dog-feeder. Wait, what?• $379 for a donation to KOCE-TV. Bad news: if you give Cardenas a contribution, you do not get to claim it as a charitable contribution.• $4,600 to Tia Chuchas Centro Cultural & Bookstore for "office expenses." May I see the receipts, please?• $537.40 for airfare to Seattle, Washington. Was that one of those "fact-finding" missions?• $259.40 for airfare to Austin, Texas. Hmmmm..... Can you guess what hes doing in Texas? See if the next item explains it.• $111.50 for a "fundraising event" at the Zinc Champagne Bar in San Antonio, Texas. Hey, I guess the people of Texas really, really like us, huh? I mean, they must be contributing his campaign because they believe hell protect our interests, right?The Zinc Champagne Bar, by the way, has a lovely assortment of cigars on its menu. I guess thats what they use to create the smoke-filled rooms.Source: http://waltermooresays.blogspot.com/2010/08/cardenass-so-called-campaign-expenses.html8/15/10 Cardenas Kept Taking "Contributions" After Taking OfficeA funny thing happened on the way to researching how much the City Council candidates have raised for their campaigns.I discovered that City Councilman Tony Cardenas apparently never stops asking people for money.Cardenas took office on July 1, 2007. Guess how much time elapsed between that date and the next date he accepted a"contribution" from someone?Go ahead, guess. Give up?Nineteen days. Just 19 days after taking office on July 1, 2007, Cardenas accepted $2,000 contribution from a La Jolla developer andhis wife for. . . wait for it . . . Cardenass legal defense fund.And Cardenas didnt stop there. Far from it.Cardenas has proceeded full speed ahead ever since. He has accepted "contributions" from out-of-state corporations like United AirLines (as in airport leases); developers galore, including Eli Broad himself, of course, and The Related Companies of California; atleast one union committee; DFS America (as in airport catering); the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; and on, and onand on.Between July 1, 2007 and June 30, 2010, Cardenas has raised a total of $240,150 for his various committees -- of which, only about$2,300 was for his election campaign.
    • For your reading pleasure, I have itemized these contributions in chronological order in a 162-page PDF file which you can downloadby clicking here. You can also download a file itemizing the contributions itemized based on state and city by clicking here.Now, I dont know how you feel about it, but I dont trust politicians who continue to accept "contributions" after winning anelection, and before the next campaign has even begun. It screams "CONFLICT OF INTEREST."Are we taxpayers supposed to be so naive as to believe that corporations and individuals -- many of whom dont even live here --contributed a quarter of a million dollars to this City Councilman because theyre concerned about your welfare and mine?Cardenas needs to go. He and the rest of the Spring Street Gang at City Hall have had more than enough time to make Los Angeles agreat place to live and do business. They have failed miserably, and we cant afford to leave incumbents like him in office.Whether he is incompetent, corrupt, or both, we need to sweep Cardenas out of office in March 2011. Make it happen. Sign up for LAClean Sweep. Join the progressives, moderates and conservatives who agree we need to elect honest, competent people from the realworld, and not just keep recycling career politicians.Link: http://waltermooresays.blogspot.com/2010/08/cardenas-kept-taking-contributions.html8/18/10 Is Cardenas Circumventing Campaign Finance Laws? [WalterMooreSays]You know from one of my previous essays that Cardenas kept taking contributions after taking office -- hundreds of thousands ofdollars of contributions.So I took a look at what he was spending his "office holder account" money on, as opposed to his "campaign" account. What do yousuppose I found right off the bat?How about $5,564.85 paid to Charlotte Dobbs & Co.? The code Cardenas used on his City Ethics Commission form to describe theexpenditure, moreover, was "CNS," which stands for "Campaign Consultants." And the companys website says it does political fund-raising.Now I happen to know many of you who read my essays work at City Hall. Can any of you explain why this expenditure is beingmade from his office-holder account, rather than from his election campaign account?Perhaps theres an innocuous explanation, but this looks to me like a sneaky way to keep omit campaign contributions andexpenditures from the reports the City Ethics Commission requires for such matters. What good are those reports if Cardenas simplycollects and spends campaign money through his "office holder" account?8/18/10 Los Angeles Is Bell On Steroids: Cardenas Case Study [Walter Moore Says]You want to know the difference between Bells politicians and L.A.s politicians? Bells politicians made the rookie mistake ofwriting their own name after "pay to the order of."Who does that? The expression is "money under the table," not "overthe table." Writing checks to yourself is so farm league.City Councilman Tony Cardenas knows better than to write checks to himself. When he spends contributors and taxpayers money,he has the good sense to have the checks made out to . . . his sisters book store.Cardenas, as you may recall from previous essays, has raised over $240,000 from "contributors" in the past three years, and spentthat money on things like luxurious lunches with staffers, trips to Seattle, an automatic dog feeder, and $4,600 to Tia ChuchasCentro Cultural & Bookstore for "office expenses."That last one really piqued my curiosity -- because, really, how could one spend $4,600 at a "Cultural & Bookstore" for "officeexpenses?" -- so I looked into it.Well, it turns out that the owners of the bookstore are Cardenass sister, Maria Trinidad Rodriguez, and her husband,Luis J.Rodriguez. Plus, when you take into account Cardenass "office holder" committee, he has actually spent$6,239.10 of hiscontributors money at Tia Chuchas Centro Cultural & Bookstore.And the fun doesnt stop there. Tia Chuchas has gotten quite a bit of your money while Cardenas has "served" on the City Council:• In 2005, Cardenass sisters company got an $8,000 contract from the Department of Cultural Affairs to produce "The Son Jarocho Music and Dance Program." Did you attend that program? You paid for it.• In 2008, her company got a $7,000 contract from the Department of Cultural Affairs "present 1 outdoor festival or parade." Are there pictures of that festival or parade in your scrapbook?
    • • In 2008, her company got another contract, which was amended, for $19,000 from the Department of Cultural Affairs "provide music education services for youth as part of the 2008-09 Music LA Program." Did your kids participate in that?• In 2009, Cardenass sisters company got yet another contract, again from the Department of Cultural Affairs, amended "for a new total not to exceed $17,000."• In 2009, just in case youre not pissed off yet, the City of Los Angeles actually handed $50,000 of your money Cardenass sisters company "[t]o present Low Rider Cars from Los Angeles on dates to be determined mutually by Grantee and host venue at the Expo Guadalajara in Guadalajara, Mexico." If that is not the Mother of All WTF Expenditures of taxpayer money, what is?• In 2010, Cardenass sisters company has -- so far -- landed yet another contract, from Cultural Affairs, for$13,500. What do we get for our money? See if you can figure it out from the Citys description, because I cannot: "To administrate a season of at least six months of creative services; this will be accomplished by supporting salaries, planning and/or development expenses." What the heck does that mean, and why are we paying $13,500 for it? Youd have to ask someone at Cultural Affairs, wouldnt you?Now, while Cardenass sister and brother-in-law were in Mexico displaying those low rider cars, the brother-in-law took advantageof the situation to push their merchandise. Rodriguez wrote at his blog, on December 2, 2009, about how he hawked their companysbooks to librarians:In the morning, Trini and I made the rounds among US librarians who came for a couple of days to order books.They stayed at one hotel not far from ours, and we passed flyers on Tia Chucha Press (with info on Tia Chuchas CentroCultural on the back), and another flyer with information on most of my books in poetry, fiction, childrens literature, andnonfiction. Our friend Oralia Garza Cortes of Texas was gracious to introduce us to many members of the American LibraryAssocation as well as the Latino librarians of the “Reforma” group.Doesnt that just give you a warm, tingly feeling, knowing that you work your butt off to pay taxes for this kind of stuff?Plus, youll be glad to know that the "friends and family" program includes a waiver of fees ordinary people have to pay. In 2006,Cardenas and the rest of the City Council gave Tia Chucha a waiver of $1,086 in fees for a "Youth of Unity" festival, and a waiver ofanother $1,086 in fees for a "Celebrating the Word" festival.Look, if you live in Los Angeles, you live in Bell. They are one and the same. Both cities are crony-ocracies. Both cities have twoclasses of people: the politically connected, on the one hand, and those of us who pick up the tab, on the other hand.This example, with Cardenas, is just one tiny example of how the Spring Street Gang robs Peter to pay Paul. And they do it, by theway, apparently without violating any laws.So what are you going to do about it? Youre going to visit the LA Clean Sweep website, and get involved. Youre going to get friendsof yours who ignore local politics to start paying attention. And on March 8, 2011, youre going to celebrate, because were going tothrow Tony Cardenas out of City Hall.http://waltermooresays.blogspot.com/2010/08/los-angeles-is-bell-on-steroids.html8/20/10 All In The (Cardenas) Family Game Continues [WalterMooreSays]Yesterday, I told you how it pays to be the sister or brother-in-law of L.A. City Councilman Tony Cardenas. Remember, "TiaChuchas Centro Cultural & Bookstore" and the $50,000 low rider boondoggle? Sure you do.Today, lets turn to the Councilmans step-daughter, Vanessa Narvaez, who, judging from a Los Angeles Times article in 2008, isnow approximately 26 years old.If you contributed to Cardenass "defense fund" or "office holder" account after he took office on July 1, 2007 -- and even if you didnot -- you might be surprised to learn that $3,486.81 from those funds went to her. Based on the City Ethics Commissionscodes Cardenas used to describe her services, he paid his step-daughter $51.81 of contributors money for a meeting (MTG), and$3,435 for her services as a "campaign consultant" (CNS). Right. Campaign consultant. Im totally buying that. Arent you?Anyway, according to the aforementioned Times article, Narvaez landed a job with a company called Amerland Group just fourmonths after her step-father "spoke on behalf of" a proposal for the Community Redevelopment Agency to provide $8 million torenovate a hotel the company owns -- and then sat for hours in the meeting where the agency considered the proposal. DavidZahniser, the reporter who wrote the story, explained how Cardenass sit-in went over:At the time, redevelopment Commissioner Madeline Janis complained that Cardenas presence constituted political pressure toapprove the money. Cardenas responded by saying Janis was "confused and making things up."Confused and making things up? Maybe.But then, how would you explain the fact that Ruben Islas -- whom Zahniser identifies in the article as the head of Amerland -- andhis wife have contributed $5,000 to Cardenass between August 10, 2006 and June 30, 2009?
    • One explanation would be that Mr. and Mrs. Islas just probably care deeply about the people who live in the Council District 6. Imean, dont you contribute to councilmen who live in other cities? Who doesnt?Then again, if youre cynical, you might think its more likely that Cardenas, rather than Commissioner Janis was making things up.You might infer from the circumstantial evidence that Cardenas is simply peddling his influence. You might suspect -- because youare an extremely suspicious, untrusting soul -- that, in exchange for the contributions and the hiring of his step-daughter, he usedhis position to try to steer $8 million of your tax money towards Amerland.If that is what you believe, then you have an ethical duty to do something about it. All that is necessary for evil to triumph, as theysay, is for good men to do nothing.You can do something really easy: sign up for the L.A. Clean Sweep mailing list so, when the time comes, you can help elect someonegood to replace Cardenas. We dont have to settle for crony politicians. We can get an honest, decent person in that office, whosincerely wants to improve our city.Meanwhile, young Ms. Narvaez has already catapulted to the office of President of the "Andres Y Maria Cardenas FamilyFoundation." According to that non-profits most recent IRS Form 990, for the year 2007, it received $209,317 in "program servicerevenue including government fees and fee contracts." Wait, government fees? Government fee contracts? I thought they made theirmoney selling those lovely "Lupita Dolls" for $60 a pop. Seriously -- they actually sell dolls at their website, for $60 each.Now, in the spirit of fairness, I dont want to leave you with the impression that Cardenas spends ALL the money people donate tohis committees on family members. Far from it.He also spends it on completely legitimate items, like the $1,230.59 he paid from his "office holder" account to the Clarion Hotel inStockholm, Sweden earlier this year, or the $994.39 he paid from that account to KLM Airlines to fly to Amsterdam in December of2009. Im sure he had a very good reason to spend contributors money on those trips.Maybe he was showing Europeans what low riders are.Source: http://waltermooresays.blogspot.com/2010/08/all-in-cardenas-family-continues.html8/20/10 Another $6,000 For Cardenass Sister Just Yesterday! [WalterMooreSays]The Spring Street Gangs gravy train never stops. It never even slows down.Day before yesterday, you will recall, I told you how City Councilman Tony Cardenass sister and brother-in-law have received tens of thousands of your tax dollars for their outfit, "Tia Chuchas Centro Cultural &Bookstore."Guess what happened yesterday?THEY GOT ANOTHER $6,000 OF YOUR MONEY! And what do you, Joe Taxpayer, get in return? You get "musiceducation services for the 2010-2011 Music LA Summer Program."By the way, "Plaza de la Raza" is also getting $6,000 of your money to provide the same vital "service."No wonder City Council is selling off our valuable public assets (e.g., parking structures) at fire-sale prices: wecant afford to stop the flow of cash to Tia Chuchas, Plaza de la Raza, and the rest of the "non-profits" thatconsume millions of your tax dollars each year.12/20/10 Even More Of Your Money Is Going To Cardenass SisterWhen its a slow news day, and I havent yet finished my coffee, sometimes I like to look at the latest obscene "contracts" that CityHall is handing out to the friends and family of the career politicians in the Spring Street Gang.You yourself can browse through the Citys contracts, or at least summaries thereof, at a website the City maintains: click here.You may remember how, back in August, I highlighted some of the "contracts" awarded to City Councilman Cardenass sister andbrother-in-law, and their business and/or "non-profit," Tia Chuchas Centro Cultural. Remember? Sending low-rider cars to Mexico?Ring a bell -- as in, "Bell on Steroids?"Well, theyre still at it. On November 18, 2010, a contract was amended to give sis mo time and mo money. A "contract" thatoriginally called for "just" $7,000 of your hard-earned money has been extended and increased so that now "Tia Chucha" will receive$34,000 of your money from this contract alone. (Click here for the Citys summary.)…
    • http://waltermooresays.blogspot.com/2010/12/even-more-of-your-money-is-going-to.html1/19/2011 Seven Thousand More Reasons To Dump Cardenas In March [WaltermooreSays]Budget, schmudget. When youre a member of the Spring Street Gang, theres always plenty of money for friends and family.For example, if youre City Councilman Tony Cardenas -- whos up for reelection on March 8, 2011 -- you dont care how manylibrarians and fire fighters are furloughed. Come hell or high water, your sister will receive her regular payment of thousands oftaxpayer dollars for her "non-profit" organization, Tia Chuchas Centro Cultural.What do we taxpayers receive in return for the tens of thousands of dollars -- or is it over $100,000 by this point? -- poured intoCardenass sisters operation?We get "creative services" for $13,500, or "music education programming" for $30,400, or "music education services" for $13,000.Sure we do.According to the Citys contract website, the latest change to her contract was made on January 12, 2011, adding another $7,000 tosisters bank account last month:Plus, dont you dare forget that Tia Chuchas Centro Cultural got $50,370 of your money to "exhibit" low-rider cars in Mexico. Youcould not make this stuff up.ont just get mad. Get rid of Cardenas, an abysmal career politician whos in it for himself and his cronies, not you, the taxpayer. …Cardenas is very, very, very beatable -- a veritable pinata among politicians. As you may recall, in the last election he barely squeakedinto office with a margin of just 1,178 votes. Lets make this happen, shall we?Source: http://waltermooresays.blogspot.com/2011/01/seven-thousand-more-reasons-to-dump.html2/10/2011 - L.A. City Council Spends Thousands of Your Money on Top Restaurants, Clubs,Hotels (Even for a Personal Fiesta) [LA WEEKLY]Despite the budget crunch of the last few years, some L.A. City Council members have been ... lets say liberal with your tax dollarswhen it comes to restaurant and hotel spending. (And remember, these are the highest-paid elected city officials in the nation).San Fernando Valley Councilman Tony Cardenas spent $10,000 in 15 visits to E3rd Steakhouse & Lounge a few blocks from CityHall, according to an expose of the spending in La Opinion newspaper Thursday. His total restaurant, hotel and travel spending waspegged at $81,500.In one outing alone, documented as a "personal holiday" (or, in the awesome untranslated parlance, un fiesta personal ... indeed)Cardenas spent ...... nearly $3,000.Now, why the hell are you paying for a councilmans fiesta personal? Before we address that, wait, theres more:Eastside Councilman Jose Huizar spent $2,845 for 13 visits to Pacific Dining Car, and $259 for a night at Elevate Lounge, a 21st-floor, DJ-driven club downtown.In all La Opinion counts up $ 850,000 in spending by City Council members for hotels, trips and restaurants in the last decade.The cash comes from council members "discretionary funds," which allow them to spend lots of cash pretty much however they like.Top spenders were identified as Ed Reyes, Cardenas , Greig Smith and Janice HahnInterestingly, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, known for his travel to Europe, Mexico and Washington, D.C., came off as one of themore conscientious spenders in City Hall. La Opinion added up $23,500 in recent discretionary hotel and travel spending for themayor.Westside Councilman Bill Rosendahl was one of the most miserly on the body, with only $1,116 in such spending.For his part, Cardenas tells the paper:"When I have a meeting with a member of the community I pay for everything."Eh, make that we pay for everything, councilman.