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mike feuer is addicted to campaigning
he needs an intervention
Mike Feuer is an addict. He’s addicted to campaigning. He’s always running around, begging into social media feeds and telling us about his resume. He can’t stop holding press conferences. He can’t stop saying, “let’s be clear” and graphing us with long Instagram captions about all his plans. He makes lots of tweets asking us if he could be mayor of Los Angeles one day. And I think this is all very weird.
He’s already been campaigning for over a year and a half, posting cute videos and making us binge his life, and we still have seven months to go until the June 2022 primary. Mike for Mayor: now streaming ‘til you die!
This month, he kicked off his “Every Neighborhood, Any Question,” tour, where he has vowed to visit every single neighborhood in the city of Los Angeles. That’s 101 neighborhoods. Man, I can’t wait til Mike discovers Lincoln Heights and tells a mariachi band about his three-point plan to reduce council districts, or goes to Century City, again.
Honestly, we should be worried about him. He’s been campaigning for various posts for 25 years. At a recent stop in Pan Pacific Park, Mike was observed in the wild, networking at all costs: talking a lot, nodding his head, and saying hi to vulnerable children and bored voters. He even hired a softcore rock band called "Mike & The Feueries.” This is abuse.
A debrief from his campaign press release stated, “A diverse crowd enjoyed safe, outdoor fun while eating Pink’s Hot Dogs and taking advantage of the unique opportunity to ask the mayoral candidate questions ranging from homelessness, traffic congestion, affordable housing, and the recent uptick in crime.”
Unique opportunity. He’s out of control. And as they say, “doin’ too much.” According to mental health experts I talked to, Mike is projected to experience an event horizon sometime in the spring, where, while arms folded, he’ll sternly examine a vegan cupcake in Highland Park, concede all bourgeois hipster demands, and then suffer a nervous breakdown just weeks away from primary day.
He clearly suffers from an acute case of Getting Places Anxiety (as do I), and mixed with reading too many Politico newsletters, he has normalized gamified campaigning. This is problematic, and we must all do better to make sure it doesn’t get any worse.
Because it already has. He’s talking a lot, and not telling the truth. Recently, he was asked about his handling of the DWP fiasco by the People’s City Council, a major issue over here in Debaserland. This was perhaps the biggest case Feuer had to defend as city attorney, and it got messy. The question comes at the end:
Here’s what he said, in perfect complete sentences, with the emphasis mine:
“I handled that the way you would want a leader to handle that: decisively and transparently,” said Feuer, sounding like a well-calibrated algorithm.
“I actually found the evidence that outside lawyers had helped our opponents sue the city. And I gave it to the court and the press the next day because I wanted the public to see that. And I hired an outside ethics expert to evaluate the conduct of our office, and I promised to put that report online and I did sever ties with the lawyers who were involved in that, and I wrote a report about the various reforms I’d make in my office to make sure something like that could never happen again.”
There wasn’t any pushback, but props to the People’s City Council for throwing it out there. It’s…complicated.
But here’s the thing: Feuer didn’t find the evidence that his own outside lawyers helped sue the city. Other lawyers did. Gibson Dunn and Blood Hurst & O’Reardon did. That “evidence” he is referring to were emails that were carefully fed to the press as part of a public relations move to wash Feuer’s hands of the DWP billing mess. I should know, I took the bait. But it was mostly to show how sketchy the city was paying its cards. To give you more context, those emails indicated outside counsel for the city directed a manufactured lawsuit against the city. But Feuer had that “evidence” some three months before he “discovered” them. Feuer hid the ball til the right opportunity presented itself.
Paul Kiesel, one of those outside lawyers Feuer hired, testified to this in a sworn deposition. He said that April 24, 2019 “evidence” uncovered by the city of LA wasn’t news to the city. He sent it to them months before as part of a trove of documents in preparation for a deposition related to DWP.
“It is your understanding that the batch of emails that was ‘discovered’ on Friday was one that you sent through your partner to the city several months earlier in compliance with a court order?” Kiesel was asked by Gibson Dunn lawyer Daniel Thomasch.
Kiesel answered, “I do.”
If we look at the special master’s report, the massive court-appointed investigation into the DWP saga, it has some things to say about Feuer’s handling of the case.
“The city’s filing, in its representation of the nature, scope and duration of Mr. Paradis’s and PLG’s representation of Mr. Jones, was neither transparent nor candid,” stated the report.
Jones is the ratepayer who says he was defrauded by Feuer’s office. Paul Paradis was the city’s outside lawyer. The report said the city was not forthcoming about its relationship regarding Jones, who didn’t know his attorney was also an attorney for the city.
That the city lawyers handpicked and worked with Jones’ attorney to draft the billing lawsuit was the result of the first plan having fallen through. The first plan was to get all the other lawyers who were suing the city over incorrect DWP bills to drop their lawsuits and join in one lawsuit against Pricewaterhouse Coopers, arguing it was to blame for the faulty billing rollout. We know according to emails by Feuer’s right hand attorneys that he signed off on this plan. There are no emails indicating he greenlit the sham lawsuit (of course not), but why would Feuer suddenly not care about the next steps of a major lawsuit his office was handling? As the special master’s report states, quoting Feuer’s top deputy, Jim Clark: “Everybody reports to Mike Feuer.”
So the special master’s report said attorneys at DWP, Feuer’s office, and Feuer himself, “all knew most or all of this three-part plan,” which culminated in the manufactured lawsuit. So Feuer saying he “found the evidence” is spin, because it took years and years of court triangulating by his opponents to unearth it. It was hardly done “decisively” and “transparently,” as Feuer described it. The special master did not even come to the conclusion that Feuer’s outside lawyers went rogue without him knowing it.
“Despite the city’s public assertion that Mr. Paradis and Mr. Kiesel, without the knowledge of anyone in the city, went “rogue” in handing of the Jones v. City complaint…the evidence supports a finding that the city directed and assisted in the city suing itself with a sham lawsuit.”
And when he was deposed over this case, Feuer said “I don’t recall” over 60 times. How does he not remember one of the biggest cases to come across his desk? If he doesn’t recall, what’s that say about his ability to lead one of the biggest cities in the country, let alone the city attorney’s office?
But back to political campaigning. Americans wants less money in campaigns. They also want shorter campaigns. U.S. presidential campaigns are about two years long, way longer than other countries. In Mexico, campaign season lasts about five months, in Japan, under two weeks. By the time the mayoral primaries take place in June of next year, campaign season will have lasted over two years, with potentially six more months to go. It’s just another financial opportunity for the news-marketing apparatus to make us binge political and corporate propaganda ad nauseam.
Some more interestin’ studies: the more addicted to the news you are, the less you participate. Couple that with another study: Americans are addicted to the news more than ever, but distrust is also as high as ever. So what’s happening? The news is a total disaster. We don’t do anything useful with it. It’s drugs. Addicting and fun at first, but then come the diminished returns. Feuer is a direct product of a broken system, an interesting character study in the wild. He reads the news and fucking loves politics. And he keeps running round, wanting more. Take one hit and you’re never satisfied.