Author: garywalker

Knabe motion would alter who can make campaign donations to county assessor in wake of criminal investigation

Addressing a lingering political controversy that has threatened the credibility of one of the county’s departments, Fourth District Supervisor Don Knabe is seeking a prohibition on political contributions to the county assessor from tax agents who are involved in transactions with the assessor’s office. “The office of the Los Angeles County Assessor is currently surrounded by controversy, in large part due to the assessor’s alleged inappropriate relationship with a tax agent. It has been reported in the press that these agents have solicited campaign donations from their clients for the assessor’s election,” the supervisor’s motion reads. “In Los Angeles County, tax agents represent and advocate for property owners before our county assessor, the assessment appeals board and assessment hearing officers. They are paid to represent their clients and influence decisions. This process must be regulated and made transparent to the public,” the motion continues. “The county of Los Angeles has a very effective campaign finance ordinance that regulates financial contributions to political campaigns for county offices.” The supervisor, who represents Marina del Rey, acknowledged the motion was born out of the controversy surrounding county assessor John Noguez. “We realized that tax agents didn’t have the same reporting requirements so we wanted to put them in the same category with lobbyists,” the supervisor said after the board’s Aug. 28 meeting. Knabe’s motion would authorize the Board of Supervisors to direct...

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Venice: Community demands accountability in police beating of skateboarder

Nearly two weeks after the beating of a 20-year-old student in Venice by officers from the Los Angeles Police Department, police, members of the clergy and community as well as the young man’s family are still seeking answers to a situation that has become a clarion call for police accountability and has drawn the attention of a high-profile attorney attached to another well-known case. Ronald Weekley, Jr., a student at Xavier University in Louisiana, was on his way home Aug. 18 when four police officers stopped him for allegedly skating in traffic. Police claim the skateboarder resisted arrest and...

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Del Rey: Lieu bill prohibiting mandatory online rental payments heads to governor

A bill that will outlaw forcing tenants to pay their rent online is now headed toward the desk of Gov. Jerry Brown. The legislation, Senate Bill 1055, passed the full state Senate Aug. 21. It was one of the many pieces of legislation that made the Appropriations Committee deadline. “A growing number of landlords are no longer accepting checks or money orders from tenants,” state Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Marina del Rey), SB 1055’s sponsor, said after the Senate vote. “Instead, they have begun to change rental agreements to require tenants – including the elderly, disabled and poor – to...

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Ballona Wetlands: Restoration scoping meeting in Marina not what some attendees expected

The kickoff of the environmental review of the Ballona Wetlands is an event that has long been anticipated by conservationists, wildlife advocates and scientists who have been involved in researching alternatives to rehabilitate the ecological reserve. It was announced earlier this month by the state Department of Fish and Game and the California Coastal Commission following the release of the notice of preparation, which begins the environmental analysis, and dozens of observers came to Marina del Rey Aug. 16 hoping to speak to representatives who will be in charge of formulating the restoration approach. Fish and Game and the...

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Mar Vista: Street repair record at odds with secession proponents’ neglect claims

Despite complaints from a group of homeowners that their streets, roads and residential curbs have been neglected by Los Angeles officials, Mar Vista has seen a large number of infrastructure repair projects over the last several years. Members of the South Mar Vista Neighborhood Association in recent weeks have begun to quietly air their grievances with the city regarding infrastructure needs, and some have openly suggested that becoming annexed into their eastern neighbor, Culver City, could be more beneficial than remaining in Mar Vista. The Argonaut detailed the concerns of a group of homeowners in the association in the Aug. 16 issue, with some reportedly seriously considering secession from Los Angeles due to what they claim is a dearth of attention to their infrastructure needs, including street repair. While some of the avenues and boulevards in the neighborhood south of Venice Boulevard are in need of repair, the community’s streets have not gone entirely ignored. According to city documents since 2007, two years after City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, who represents Mar Vista, took office, there have been 343 street repair operations in Mar Vista, including 89 resurfacing operations, totaling approximately 18 miles in distance. In addition, the Department of Street Services has engaged in 254 slurry, or street sealing projects, equaling 21.44 miles, according to Street Services. “One of Councilman Rosendahl’s first acts after he was elected to the...

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