Real power probably in store for L.A. County executive

first_imgUnder the proposal, the CAO would be replaced by a county executive officer or CEO with complete authority over department operations, including power to fire department heads, unless, of course, a majority of the board decides to intervene and overturn those decisions. The tough-on-gangs approach advanced by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton last week was long expected. But it has left some concerned about the city’s commitment to developing prevention and intervention programs. Councilman Tony Cardenas, who chairs the City Council’s ad hoc Committee on Gangs and Youth Violence, vented some of that concern when he complained that prevention programs are a tough sell. “That’s the politics of life,” Cardenas said. “People don’t get elected by doing the right thing. People get elected by being tough on crime. That’s what sells. Every five years, Supervisor Mike Antonovich gets his chance to be Los Angeles County mayor – a notion generally written off as part of the quirkiness of L.A. politics. Efforts to have an elected county mayor have failed repeatedly since at least the 1970s, when then-Supervisor Kenneth Hahn tried to push through such a plan. Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky is the most recent advocate for a position as elected county mayor, although he concedes it is unlikely to go before voters. But with the difficulties finding a replacement to Chief Administrative Officer David Janssen – who has been desperately seeking to retire for the past year – the board is now considering the creation of what would essentially be an appointed mayor’s position. “We have to have the courage to try to cut across that and do what is right to keep people out of gangs.” State Sen. Tom McClintock, the darling of conservatives, remains undeterred despite losing his bid for lieutenant governor last year and facing being termed out of office next year. McClintock, R-Thousand Oaks, has started an organization to funnel support he has developed over the years to keep conservative issues alive, according to the political blog FlashReport by Jon Fleishman. Citizens for the California Republic at www.carepublic.com is a sounding board for McClintock to complain about all things he disagrees with – from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s budget to recruiting candidates for various offices. On a related note, former Assemblyman Tony Strickland has formed a committee to run for the state Senate, presumably for McClintock’s seat. If living well is the best revenge, writing a screenplay in which you get to skewer your enemies comes in a close second. Such is the case for former public-relations executive Doug Dowie, sentenced to 42 months in federal prison for overbilling clients, including the Department of Water and Power. Dowie, a Daily News managing editor in the late 1980s, is completing work on a script, “Anonymous Sources,” about a scandal at City Hall that involves illicit sex, political betrayal and, of course, money. No, it’s not about San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and his recent problems, Dowie insists – although that would make a movie in its own right. To Dowie, the most important line in his script – and one he might have learned at Los Angeles City Hall – is: “Never confuse loyalty with guilt.” FOOTNOTE: Maybe it’s just part of being fashionably late, but it seems the city decided to wait until Feb. 9 to begin its celebration of African-American history month, which officially began Feb. 1. rick.orlov@dailynews.com (213) 978-0390 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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