City Governance Reform Committee – Feb. 6, 2023

Introduction On Monday, the Ad Hoc Committee for City Governance Reform conducted its first meeting of the year. The committee was convened in the wake of last year's racism scandal on council, which centered around backroom dealings by the council's power bloc - namely, those allied with former Council President Nury Martinez - to interfere…

A Voter’s Guide to Measure A (2022)

The Board of Supervisors has been making halting progress in a campaign to impose some limits on the authority of the sheriff for a decade or more. Los Angeles is the most populous county in the country, and the sheriff, with his jurisdiction over the local jail system and a police force the size of an army division under his command, is among the most powerful local elected officials anywhere. For a long time, that power has been associated with cultures of corruption and violence within the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department. It is important to note that neither the reform process nor the appalling conduct of the Sheriff's Department have their roots in the current administration of Sheriff Villanueva (though he does typify the threat posed to the public when so much power is concentrated in the hands of one reckless individual).

A Voter’s Guide to Proposition 31 (2022)

The War on Drugs has always justified itself as a crusade to save children from moral evil, and yet it has been a failure, utter and without mitigation. Where the War on Drugs has succeeded is only in wreaking titanic moral evils of its own: grinding lives and entire communities into dust, sowing seeds of chaos in countries near and far. This may seem a small front in that war, but, as the question has been put to me (and all Californian voters), I cannot cosign the legislature's action.

A Voter’s Guide to Proposition 1 (2022)

Proposition 1 is a statewide measure and legislative constitutional amendment on the ballot for the 2022 General Election. It seeks to add a new subsection to Article I of the California Constitution, the Declaration of Rights; this section would explicitly add the "fundamental right to choose to have an abortion" and the "fundamental right to choose or refuse contraceptives" as enumerated rights inalienable by the government.

Identifying when the Martinez Tape was recorded

A Sunday: local news outlets hurry to print the story that would upend the prevailing, stable order in Los Angeles politics. The basic components of the reports (some recorded audio, a surreptitious meeting, and an unusually vivid racism) have gained in depth since that day, but were potent enough in the first hour to set events spinning quickly forward. The rate of progression here has been such that, while the Sunday in question feels some months distant, at the time of this writing, less than three weeks have passed since then.