Using Transparency to Solve Challenges
In the last three years we have seen an unacceptable spike in arrests of elected officials for corruption. We’ve seen the arrests of Councilmembers, official staff, bureaucrats, and high-level commissioners. Three different councilmembers have been arrested, one is currently serving house arrest, and two are awaiting trial. We’ve heard disturbing tales of wiretaps, cash handoffs in casino bathrooms, sex workers, and even bizarre plots involving Councilmembers trying get fraudulent university degrees for their family members.
Meanwhile, my opponent was recently deemed “critical” to a federal bribery and corruption case. Federal prosecutors see Karen Bass’ acceptance of a full-ride scholarship to USC, gifted to her by the former dean of the school of social work, as “critical” to a federal bribery case against Mark Ridley Thomas and the former dean. The facts are clear, prosecutors say – she didn’t apply, she didn’t pay, and she didn’t disclose the $100,000 gift.City Hall has a corruption problem and far too many lawmakers behave as if laws don’t apply to them. Career politicians have failed us. Pay-to-play politics are the reason why City Hall has failed to build affordable housing, clean up our streets, and deal with the real problems our city faces. LA’s next mayor needs to be taking on special interests – not accepting gifts from them.
As mayor, Rick will:
- Work for $1 a year as Mayor. Rick isn’t a career politician and he isn’t running for Mayor because he needs his next job. Rick is here to work for you, his only special interest is to CLEAN UP LA.
- Refuse contributions from corporations or lobbyists. Unlike the other candidates for Mayor, Rick won’t accept campaign donations from corporations or lobbyists doing business with the City.
- Appoint an independent ethics czar on day one to advise on all issues and ensure City business is conducted in a manner that prevents conflicts of interest.
- Ensure special interests can’t cut the line. Rick will prioritize community stakeholders over special interests to make sure LA is working for everyone, not just those who can buy a seat at the table.
- Publish the Mayor’s official calendar on a daily basis so everyone can see who Rick meets with and what Rick’s official activities are, including all travel within or outside of the City.
- Place all his business holdings in a blind trust. Rick will immediately separate himself from all formal business activity and run the most transparent Mayoral administration.
End Corruption in Contracting and Development
We’ve seen the headlines repeatedly: a councilmember arrested for bribery while approving a development project, the DWP Commissioner arrested for bribery for approving a high dollar City contract. The corruption at City Hall has become commonplace while our most pressing problems continue to worsen.
Here in Los Angeles, we must start by recognizing that pay-to-play politics is at its worst when it comes to land use and development projects. We need tougher laws around transparency and reporting that reform the way development is approved in Los Angeles.
As mayor, Rick will:
- Work to remove the City Council from ALL land use decisions. Developers and their representatives bribe councilmembers because they need their support to get new housing and developments approved. Councilmembers are not experts in land use, planning, or environmental issues, yet they wield enormous authority to approve projects that are extremely technical and impactful. The City deserves unbiased professionals reviewing these applications for new housing and other developments. We need zoning regulations that make it clear what can and can’t be built, without exceptions.
- Bar commissioners from meeting with lobbyists. Rick will mandate that all appointed commissioners are barred from meeting with anyone seeking to do business with the city. Conversations with these applicants on items before commissions must be done in open session, in public view, and with notes and minutes being taken to ensure accurate records. We cannot accept city business taking place in dark rooms without public accountability.
- Issue an Executive Order that encourages Councilmember transparency. Rick will demand Councilmembers and their staff to publicly report their schedules, meetings, texts, and emails with all applicants, lobbyists, and others who stand to gain financially from city actions. We must demand transparency and accountability from our elected officials. We also need tough penalties for those who don’t adhere to these rules. Hefty fines need to be in place to ensure bad actors face real consequences for breaking the public’s trust.