Yesterday Emanuel sent a letter to all Los Angeles City Councilmembers, urging them to hold off on agreeing to a binding deal on an NFL stadium until AEG's ownership is settled.
Reprinted below is the text of that letter to Councilman Eric Garcetti (CD-13):
To The Honorable Eric Garcetti:
I am writing this letter not only as a candidate for Mayor of Los Angeles, but more importantly as a concerned citizen of this great city. We feel that the City is moving too swiftly to approve a deal for a convention center renovation and stadium construction, especially in light of the recent announcement that Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) is up for sale. I join concerned Angelenos in asking that the City Council delay final approval of the deal with AEG and carefully consider what this proposal means for our City’s finances; what a sale of AEG could mean for the project; and what the environmental and community impacts of this project might be.
As currently written, this deal could add as much as $229 million in explicit obligations to the City’s General Fund—more than the City’s projected $216 million budget deficit next year. Another $110 million in implicit obligations could be added in Mello-Roos bonds. This City cannot afford to put its credit rating at further risk, just one year after being downgraded by the major credit agencies, and only months after the Chief Administrative Officer warned us about the possibility of bankruptcy. The Lease Revenue and Mello-Roos bonds that will finance the convention center renovation are not riskless. I understand that the City has identified potential revenue streams that in theory will service this debt, but councilmembers, you included, have admitted that the City Council has a poor track record when it comes to deals reliant on economic projections. If there’s any delay or default in payment, bondholders will hold the City, not AEG, responsible.
Moreover, approving any deal at this time does not make good business sense. Any businessman will tell you to know with whom you are doing business. The City doesn’t know who will buy AEG, if new ownership will keep AEG’s current leadership team in place, or if the next owner of AEG plans to honor the terms of this deal. It could take several years for AEG to find a suitable buyer, during which time little development can take place. It could also be that the new owners of AEG decide they don’t like this deal, and either reopens negotiations with the City or take the City to court to void the contract. Any of these scenarios would put the current development plan in jeopardy, as well as limit the City’s ability to move forward with any other proposal for convention center renovation. By agreeing to the deal now, without knowing AEG’s buyer, you would limit the City’s options in case future AEG ownership does not agree with all terms of this deal—a very real possibility.
A remodeling of the convention center and a new football stadium could be great additions to Los Angeles, but we must ensure that these additions are made with limited cost and risk to the City and its residents. This deal could negatively impact the City’s budget and ability to borrow, particularly since we’re not sure with whom we are doing business. And while we have commissioned an Environmental Impact Report, it is not clear we fully understand all the impacts of this project, nor have provided adequate safeguards for the City’s residents. I ask that you and your fellow Councilmembers not approve this deal until we better understand its financial, environmental, and community implications.
I’m writing you today, as I approach the filing deadline for my campaign, to remind you why I’m running— we need someone who will speak out on behalf of the most underrepresented and underserved in LA and take on the most difficult issues we face today without the influence of special interests. Our country needs leadership today and we cannot stand by.
Our communities are hurting. Every time I walk down the street, I see a city not realizing its potential. I see my neighbors frustrated, without any immediate opportunities. I see the homeless and unemployed ignored. I see empty storefronts and potholes that don’t get filled, and I see our children ill-equipped to achieve their dreams.
I’m running because I understand these communities. I grew up in them, and I choose to stay here to make a difference. My mother, an immigrant from Mexico who raised my sister and I by herself, never made much money but gave tirelessly of herself to fuel my dreams. So did my teachers, coaches, and mentors. I was one of the lucky ones in my neighborhood, who had people looking out for him. That’s not the case for much of LA. There’s no other candidate who understands these communities like I do. My experiences in local government, federal government, and the private sector will all help me be the best Mayor for LA’s future. There’s no other campaign that will walk all of LA’s neighborhoods, engage LA’s most underrepresented people, or develop innovative community-based solutions to ensure our city realizes its full potential.
Comentarios preparados por Emanuel en el Debate de Candidatos a la Alcaldía de Los Ángeles presentado por la Cámara de Comercio de Hollywood:
Estamos reunidos esta noche para asegurar que todas las voces de la ciudad se escuchen. Como un Angelino nacido y criado, estoy cansado de las decisiones que se toman detrás de puertas cerradas. No podemos aceptar este hecho. Es tiempo de hacer que nuestras voces se escuchen. Es tiempo de demandar contabilidad de nuestros funcionarios electos y tomar de regreso a nuestra comunidad.
Nuestra ciudad esta adolorida. La tasa del desempleo es una de las más altas en la nación. El número de estudiantes que abandonan nuestras escuelas públicas es inaceptable y encima de eso nuestra ciudad se encuentra al borde de la bancarrota. El siguiente alcalde necesita entender estos problemas y enfrentarlos directamente. Por eso me lanzo a la alcaldía.
Esta ciudad ha sido construida sobre los sueños de generaciones que han venido en busca de una vida mejor. La creatividad, diversidad y el sentido de comunidad dentro de la ciudad de LA es lo que la hace a la ciudad una inspiración para la nación y para todo el mundo. Yo he tenido la oportunidad de crecer en una ciudad con estas posibilidades. De joven no tenía mucho, pero con el apoyo de mi madre y el apoyo de la comunidad fui capaz de cumplir mis sueños y llegar hasta la Casa Blanca y trabajar con las compañías más grandes del mundo.
Sin embrago, cada vez que camino en mi cuadra veo ese sueño de una vida mejor desapareciéndose de mis vecinos. Veo a una ciudad que no está alcanzado su potencial. Miro a gente frustrada, sin las oportunidades que merecen. Veo a la gente sin hogar y los desempleados siendo ignorados. Miro negocios vacios y baches en las calles sin reparar. Sobre todo, veo a nuestros jóvenes sin la preparación necesaria para realizar sus sueños.
Todo esto ocurre mientras que nuestros políticos elegidos solo se enfocan en las siguientes elecciones. No nos hablan de la manera que merecemos. Ellos no entienden nuestros problemas ni nuestra lucha de cada día. Han tenido una corta vista y han sido irresponsable con el futuro y el presupuesto de la ciudad. Y ahora en lugar de escuchar nuestra voz y nuestras propuestas, nos buscan callar.
Necesitamos líderes quienes hablan al corazón de nuestra ciudad. Lideres que están listos para trabajar sin descanso en el nombre de los menos representados. Merecemos un líder quien puede revitalizar a nuestra ciudad. Es tiempo de abrir las puertas y escuchar todas las voces. Hay que regresar nuestra ciudad al paso derecho. Es tiempo de elegir a un Alcalde quien no se interese solamente en su carrera pero alguien que se interese en usted.
Lo que la ciudad necesita es un Alcalde quien cumpla sus promesas. Un Alcalde quien luche para las oportunidades para los desalojados y los desempleados. Necesitamos a un alcalde quien entiende que los empleos no se crean en el ayuntamiento pero por la gente de las vecindades atreves de la ciudad. Necesitamos un alcalde que actualmente rellene los baches en las carreteras de nuestros barrios, alguien quien si luchara por los jóvenes y quien representara a todos los angelinos.
Este es el tipo de ciudad que LA puede ser. Esto hará a Los Ángeles una ciudad donde sus ciudadanos tienen la habilidad y la oportunidad de alcanzar sus sueños. No necesitamos permiso de nadie para hacer esto una realidad. Podemos y debemos empezar hoy. Necesitamos responder a los problemas que los políticos de carrera han fallado en arreglar. No necesitamos esperar hasta el próximo año, o al siguiente Alcalde, o el siguiente debate. Debemos empezar hoy.
Emanuel addressed supporters yesterday outside of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce Mayoral Candidates Debate. The debate included four of the other candidates--Eric Garcetti, Wendy Greuel, Kevin James, and Jan Perry--but Emanuel was denied the opportunity to speak by the chamber. Despite the support of two of the four participants in the debate, Wendy Greuel and Jan Perry, the Chamber cited logistical reasons in their refusal to allow Emanuel into the debate.
Emanuel, rather than stay silent, addressed a group of followers outside of the venue. We don't need permission from politicians to make change happen! Here's some media of the debate, including the Team Pleitez protest outside:
KTLA 5: "The first public debate in the race to succeed Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was held on Wednesday night in Hollywood...Pleitez joined a group of his supporters outside the debate to protest what they perceived as a snub."
LA Times: "A fifth candidate, Emanuel Pleitez, was excluded from the debate. He and about a dozen protesters chanted and carried signs on the sidewalk outside."
LA Weekly: "Emanuel Pleitez, a long-shot who was barred from the debate, protested his exclusion outside the hall. Notably, Greuel sent a letter earlier in the week to the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, the host of the debate, urging that Pleitez be included. 'Mr. Pleitez is certainly a legitimate candidate given his experience in government and his previous electoral success as a candidate for U.S. Congress,' Greuel wrote."
In 2011, 48.5 million Americans, or 15.9 percent of the US population, lived below the poverty line, according to a US Census report published yesterday. By the Census Bureau's definition, a family of four lives in "poverty" if their collective income is less than $23,000 per year. Total poor in the US increased between 2010 and 2011. In 2010, total US poor equaled 15.3 percent of the US population, or 46.2 million people.
California's poverty rate increased between 2010 and 2011. In 2010, 15.8 of Californians lived below the poverty line. By the end of 2011, California's poor increased by 336,000, to 16.6 percent of the state's population. And that percentage is likely to increase, given the state's continued poor economic growth prospects.
We should remember that a job doesn't guarantee economic success. Many poor work, but don't have the skills or opportunities for a job that could pay them more. The next Mayor needs to fight for the unemployed and employed, to guarantee a living wage for all workers.
As reported by Mayor Sam this morning and the Los Angeles Times last week, Rick Caruso, billionaire mall developer here in LA, is considering joining the race to be the next Mayor of Los Angeles.
The more candidates, the better we say. Los Angeles is in dire need of new approaches and perspectives in government. With more candidates in the race, the more ideas we can hear, the more issues we can debate, and the more progress we can make. The goal of politics is not to shut out diverse opinions in favor of the establishment; the goal is to debate our ideas and let the voters, the people, decide what suits them best. We’d love to hear Rick’s ideas, just as we would any other citizen concerned about the direction of this City we all love.
Today, the Los Angeles City Council introduced new measures and restrictions for fundraising for city campaigns. Starting in 2015, the City Council will only provide matching funds to donations raised within city limits, and in order to qualify for those funds candidates will have to raise money from at least 200 unique donors. Additionally, in 2013 the the City will match every 1 dollar raised by a candidate by 4 dollars in a general election, and by 2 dollars for every 1 dollar raised during primaries.
Proposition 34 will repeal the death penalty in California, and institute a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole in its place. Proponents of the proposition say it is less about the merits of the death penalty, and more about allocating resources properly. There have only been 13 people executed in California in the last 34 years, yet $4 billion have been spent on the program since 1978. Those are funds that can be used more wisely in a State where the death penalty is all but abolished.
In six neighborhoods in Los Angeles crime reports went up significantly last week. Harbor City and Westwood saw a jump in reports in property crimes, with 13 incidents being reported in Harbor City, and 16 being reported in Westwood. Meanwhile, Fairfax, Lincoln Heights, Valley Glen, and Exposition Park all experienced sharp increases in violent crimes reported over the week.
Today the Federal Reserve announced a plan to stimulate the economy via a new round of bond buying. The Fed has announced that it will buy $23 billion worth of mortgage bonds by the end of this month. The Federal Reserve stated the investments are needed because “growth might not be strong enough to generate sustained improvements in labor market conditions.”
Ahead of the November elections, groups are working hard to combat Republican voter I.D. laws in Pennsylvania that might restrict voting in underserved communities. Labor unions and elected officials have mobilized initiatives to educate voters about the new law and the need for new I.Ds to vote. Democrats are still hoping that the law is overturned by the State’s Supreme Court, but the initiatives are aimed at getting voters ready for the elections if the law is still on the books come November.
Emanuel Pleitez for Mayor of Los Angeles – Paid for by Pleitez for Los Angeles Mayor
With state and federal elections on the horizon, knowledge of your rights is critically important. This is especially true given the litany of laws passed by Republican-controlled statehouses aimed at limiting the franchise to minority groups. According to a study released today, nearly 1 million voters could be effectively disenfranchised by onerous voter identification laws passed in the last few years.
The Brennan Center for Justice has a comprehensive listing of recent changes to voter ID laws, among other resources related to voters' rights. Whether in California or other states, be sure to check you're still eligible to vote under these new laws. If not, you may need a new form of ID, and a call to your local representative to voice your displeasure may be in order.
Today, two city budget officials revealed that the costs to rebuild a wing of the LA Convention Center have jumped by $40 million. The project, before estimated at $275 million, will now cost taxpayers $315 million. The increase in costs are attributed to a 45,000 square-foot ballroom, a new security system, and better pathways to an outdoor plaza.
While these additions to the convention center might be great during better economic times, the reality is that Los Angeles is facing a serious budget crisis. This year Mayor Villaraigosa proposed laying off 231 city employees in a recent budget proposal, while his Chief Administrative Officer also said that the City could face bankruptcy without new tax revenue, budget cuts, and pension reform. In a year when the residents of Los Angeles are being asked to make sacrifices, city officials should not be adding to the costs of an already expensive project that may not benefit all of the city’s residents.
Los Angeles Unified school principals will have their performance evaluated using student achievement data for the first time, according to an agreement made between LAUSD and the Associated Administrators of Los Angeles. In addition to using student test scores to evaluate principals, the one-year evaluation agreement will also include data on attendance, graduation, suspension, and dropout rates.
When Los Angeles closed a 10-mile stretch of I-405 last year, city officials urged residents to leave their cars home with the hope it would prevent massive gridlock on other freeways in Los Angeles. This time, city officials are encouraging residents to stay home by offering discounts at restaurants, museums, and other forms of entertainment that can be redeemed with proof that one traveled by a form of transportation other than a car.
The estimated costs for a new wing for the Los Angeles Convention Center has risen by $40 to $315 million. The construction of the new wing is part of a plan to build a football stadium in Los Angeles to attract an NFL team. The increased cost is due to the addition of a 45,000 square-foot ballroom, a new security system, and better passageways linking the new wing to a nearby plaza.