In this week's The Z Files, posted to the LA Weekly website more than a day early, David Zahniser reports on a recall move against 5th District councilman Jack Weiss that seems at least a tad more serious than most recall threats. Nearly two dozen representatives from homeowner groups agreed to draft a recall petition, approved the bylaws for a political action committee, and met with Controller Laura Chick — who wants to replace Weiss when his term expires in 2009. The issue, this being the Westside, is over-development and traffic.
The man spearheading the recall effort said there are too many burning issues, from park repairs to clogged intersections, to stick with someone like Weiss, already looking for the door [by running for City Attorney in 2009]. West L.A. will be the subject of a new long-range plan for development and deserves a representative who isn’t raising thousands of dollars from developers and their lobbyists, said Mike Eveloff, president of the Tract 7260 Homeowner Association.
With major homeowner groups pursuing a recall, “elected officials in our area and throughout the city will understand that they represent the voters, and not the developers and not the lobbyists,” he added.
Eveloff recently sparred with Weiss over two 47-story condominium towers planned for Century City, both of which were approved by the council with Weiss’s blessing. Before that project was approved, city planners asserted that the 483-unit condominium project would produce less traffic than the existing one-story bank and fading nightclub. The developer, AP Properties, also happened to give $100,000 to a campaign committee controlled by Weiss’s closest political pal, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
Homeowner groups are also scrutinizing a development planned for Century City by mall owner Westfield, which also gave Villaraigosa’s committee $100,000. The now-ubiquitous mall developer and operator hopes to build a 39-story tower that houses 260 condominiums, three stories of office space and three stories of retail.
In the piece, Councilwoman Janice Hahn is unusually critical of Weiss for comments he made about the public speakers at Council meetings. "I don’t see how you can be in public service when you have a fundamental disdain for the public, and he has disdain for the public,” she said. "He’s clearly annoyed by public comment. He gets upset when they go on for more than two minutes. He has no patience for the people he governs." Weiss campaign adviser Larry Levine pooh-poohs the recall drive as typical, and minor, 5th District rancor.