An Angeleno’s Duty


In a democracy, citizens must hold their leaders accountable. Thus, in the City ofLos Angeles, citizens have 18 elected leaders to hold accountable. They have a Mayor, a Controller, a City Attorney, and 15 Council Members.

Obviously, Angelenos expect their leaders to uphold the City Charter. But what can they do if certain leaders don’t satisfy that expectation? What could they do if, for example, the Mayor routinely violated certain Charter provisions?

Sadly, this is NOT a rhetorical question! Even before he took office 7 years ago, Mayor Villaraigosa endorsed a plan to dismantle the civil service system. Acting as if Charter Section 541 doesn’t exist, he stifled the Civil Service Commission and claimed its powers for himself. Now, working without legal authority, the Mayor is still ignoring the Charter and corrupting the City’s civil service system!

The question arises naturally: What are the people ofLos Angelesdoing to hold Mayor Villaraigosa accountable? I’m not aware of any other initiatives that may have been taken on behalf of the public. But as a concerned citizen, I asked the Mayor for an explanation. I wanted to know how the Civil Service Commission’s duties are now handled. That was 7 years ago; my question is still unanswered.

As a citizen, I asked the Civil Service Commission for an explanation. The Board President didn’t dispute my contention that the Mayor’s “new paradigm” violates Section 541 of the City Charter. But she offered no explanation for that violation.

On behalf of the public, I communicated with Chairman Zine, of the City Council’s Personnel Committee. He did not appear to be well-informed on City personnel matters; nor did he deny that the civil service system was under attack.

I wrote to Maggie Whelan, the Personnel Department’s General Manager. She did not respond. Neither did any other department head in the City organization.

I asked 8 TV Channels, 20 Radio Stations, and 59 Newspapers to at least check out this scandalous Charter violation. But on this issue, the media has been mute.

Until recently, I have been writing a column for The Tolucan Times. All told, I’ve written well over 100 individual columns. I reported on the corruption of civil service in City government. I got virtually no comments on those columns.

It pains me to say this, but based on my experience it seems that no one in Los Angelesreally gives a damn about City government. Let that power-grabbing Mayor and his Council cronies trample the Charter, who cares? So what if the Pols kill Civil Service? I’m just a citizen; what can I do to keep City “leaders” honest? 

C’mon, Angelenos! We can — we must — hold our leaders accountable!

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