Covering City Hall

Mayor Jim Hahn delivered mostly good news in his annual "state of the city" address yesterday in a fire station hangar in Sherman Oaks, then took off while rivals Bernard Parks and Laura Chick worked the cameras and print and radio reporters. The ledes of the papers focused on his pledge to clear away the fundraising ethics cloud over City Hall. The Daily News led with Hahn saying he won't tolerate unethical behavior, the Breeze went with Hahn vowing to restore trust in local government, and the Times double-barreled with Hahn pledging to further reduce crime and defend his administration on ethics. Also in the LAT, columnist Patt Morrison writes that even with the ethics scandal burbling along, City Hall seems quiet and unexciting.

I press an ear to one door, then another. Silence. No riffling sounds of illicit moola being counted. No shirr-and-whir of documents being shredded. No pings of computer messages being deleted.

I don't even see anyone who looks like she has stuffed secret documents into her boots or crammed them down the back of her skirt to smuggle them out of the building, as that patron saint of secretaries, the loyal Fawn Hall, did for her boss, Oliver North, in the Iran-Contra cover-up.

Really, for a place that's been spoken of as practically a crime scene, City Hall is a complete letdown. All the back-and-forth about blackmail and blackballing, expletives deleted, pay-to-play shakedowns, grand juries and federal subpoenas and not even one solitary process server lurking behind a pillar?

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