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EDITORIAL CITY HALL'S FIG LEAF CITY HALL HAS SILENCED THE ETHICS COMMISSION AND EXPOSED ITS OWN CORRUPTION.

THE Los Angeles Ethics Commission has to be feeling totally irrelevant.

First, the five-member panel was excluded from the discussion of the ethics/term-limit expansion package that the Los Angeles City Council voted to put on the November ballot. Half of the ballot measure deals with expanding the terms that City Council members are allowed to serve from two to three. The other half makes changes in the provisions governing lobbyists, something that would seem to fall under the purview of the Ethics Commission.

But Commission President Gil Garcetti scuttled discussion of the proposal before the council voted on it -- a convenient occurrence for his son, Council President Eric Garcetti.

Then, on Tuesday, when the commission was finally able to discuss the details of the so-called ``reforms'' included in the ballot measure, members were barred from saying what they thought about them.

City government took a page out of the totalitarian handbook and invoked its Catch-22 rule that bars city officials from making any comment that could be construed as negative or positive campaigning once a measure is on the ballot.

Understand, the rule doesn't apply to elected officials or city employee unions, only to those who are in a position to actually know what they're talking about -- like commissioners and other top advisory officials.

Commission Vice President Bill Boyarsky was chastised when he pointed out that the proposed changes seem to weaken current rules regarding lobbyists.

How convenient that the very people who were appointed to advise on all things ethical are now effectively censured for their honest analysis.

All this makes one wonder why the city even has an Ethics Commission. If it is this easy to thwart the ``watchdog'' of the politicians, then it seems pointless even to have an agency -- especially given its long record of providing cover for City Hall's corruption, rather than exposing it.

A week ago, we said Gil Garcetti should resign from the Ethics Commission because of the appearance of a conflict of interest involving his son.

Now, we call for the entire Ethics Commission to resign so former members can speak freely against this phony measure and lead the campaign for tough ethics laws and an independent commission to enforce them.
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Title Annotation:Editorial
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Aug 17, 2006
Words:370
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