CPR: After a brief lull in 2017, there’s now another embarrassing chapter in Los Angeles County’s emergence as an epicenter of American political corruption.
Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar has been stripped of all his council committee assignments after having his home and office raided by the FBI earlier this month. Law enforcement authorities have been tight-lipped about their probe so far, but speculation has focused on Huizar’s close relationships with developers and his now-former role as chair of the powerful Planning and Land Use Management Committee, which reviews all large development projects that come before the City Council.
It’s the second time in six months that the city’s planning approval process has faced criminal scrutiny. In June, it was revealed that the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office was investigating the city Department of Building and Safety over allegations of “unauthorized purchases, falsified invoices and $24,900 in payments to a consulting company that did not exist,” the Los Angeles Times reported. Five members of the department’s technology office have resigned or retired, including the division’s chief, Giovani Dacumos, who was named in most of the allegations.
Huizar replaced Antonio Villaraigosa as the 14th District’s councilman in a 2005 special election after Villaraigosa became mayor. The district includes most of downtown Los Angeles as well as Boyle Heights, Highland Park and Eagle Rock.
The first Mexican immigrant elected to the City Council, Huizar has repeatedly won re-election easily. But his political standing has taken several hits this fall. Besides the FBI raid, two former staffers have sued him, saying they faced retaliation when complaining about Huizar favoring an aide he was allegedly having an affair with as well as requiring them to do personal favors like picking up his dry cleaning or moving his wife’s car so it wouldn’t be ticketed. Huizar had previously admitted to having an affair with an aide in 2013, but he was cleared in a related sexual harassment lawsuit. more here