Who’s next?

Who’s next?

With Tuesday’s indictment of former Glendale City Councilman John Drayman, longtime council critics are wondering if any more local public figures are in trouble with the law.

Two political watchdogs in Glendale say that more charges could be coming similar to the 28-count indictment filed by a Los Angles County grand jury against Drayman for allegedly embezzling between $305,000 and $880,000 from the Montrose Farmers Market.

On Wednesday, Drayman, 54, was released from custody after being held on $200,000 bail. He is scheduled to return to court on June 28 for a pretrial hearing.

On Tuesday, he pleaded not guilty before Superior Court Judge Patricia Schnegg to 10 counts of filing false tax returns, five counts of money laundering, three counts of forgery, one count of filing false financial statements, one count of embezzlement and eight counts of perjury. If convicted on all counts, Drayman faces 10 years in prison, according to Glendale city officials.

Drayman has also come under fire for renovations made to his condominium, which according to the Los Angeles Time were originally reported to cost $30,000 but ended up totaling $213,000. The work was performed by National Fire Systems and Services Inc. without the required permits. Drayman’s condo complex was built by Advanced Development Inc., an affordable housing developer accused of raking in millions from Glendale and other cities by overbilling for construction. National Fire Systems is a subcontractor for ADI.

The $213,000 was supposed to be paid by ADI, but the subcontractor only received $98,000, according to Glendale political watchdog Barry Allen, who said that the subcontractor has placed a lien on the condominium and has filed a lawsuit to foreclose on the unit.

“I do believe this will be the first of several indictments,” said Allen, who regularly speaks at council meetings and operates a news-oriented Web site. “He will have to be tried by a jury of his peers. We did have witnesses for the Police Department, but they chose not to use them. They [witnesses] were concerned about retaliation. We asked the police to set up a protocol to provide them safety, but the police said no, so we did not provide the witnesses.”
When asked about Allen’s claims, Glendale Police Spokesman Sgt. Tom Lorenz told the Weekly the department could not comment on the investigation.

“The ADI matter is a separate issue, being handled by federal authorities,” said Allen. “A third issue is that Drayman’s condo was being renovated while skirting city building permits … He’s got a lot of issues, legal issues, criminal and civil, that are certainly of his own making.”

Elissa Glickman, interim director of nonprofit organization Glendale Arts, which manages Glendale’s historic Alex Theatre, had many encounters with Drayman over the years due to his passion for the arts. She expressed a mix of appreciation for his help and surprised disappointment over the indictments.

“I think the most disappointing thing is that John was an incredible supporter of the arts and what we brought to the city through Glendale Arts,” said Glickman.” It’s an example of things spiraling out of control. It’s unfortunate because the Drayman name has such a legacy in Montrose and the family has done so much for this community that there’s a black mark now. Even if these allegations prove to be untrue, they will always stain his reputation, and it’s unfortunate.
“As a councilperson, he was always a huge supporter of the arts,” Glickman continued. “He helped not only do things for the Alex Theater, but helped bring the [impending addition of a Laemmle movie theater] along and the Museum of Neon Art. He always looked out for culture and art in the public realm. Luckily we still have [council member] Laura Friedman, somebody else who seems able to carry that torch.”

“Drayman has said if I go down, so will everybody else,” said Glendale political observer and onetime council candidate Mike Mohill, who ran against Drayman in 2011.

“This is a man who would go to City Council and call me an attack dog,” Mohill said. “He would belittle me every week and attack me personally. He is an embarrassment to the city of Glendale.”

Who’s next?

Who’s next?
Who in our politically poisonous world could have ever imagined some crazy loner gunning down a popular Democratic politician like Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was among 20 people shot — six killed, including 9-year-old Christina Green and US District Judge John Roll — during a town hall meeting Saturday in Tucson?
 
Indeed, who could have guessed something like this would happen?
 
Learning the actual target of the attack was the likeable three-term “Blue Dog” Democratic congresswoman, who was shot in the head but as of this writing was still fighting for her life, could not have come as much of a shock to tea partiers. Giffords was reelected by 4,000-plus votes in a tight race against a tea party candidate, a heated contest that at one point saw her office vandalized.
 
What might seem surprising is how quickly tea party champions Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck have distanced themselves from both this act and the person who allegedly committed it, the mentally unhinged 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner.
 
Although there is no direct link between Loughner and the tea party, and a motive is not yet known, both Beck and Palin have been facing tough questions about their respective contributions to Loughner’s possible state of mind. 
 
For Palin, that meant much backpedaling, because in September, during the rancorous and at times racist debate over health care, Palin posted to her Web site “hits” on Giffords and 19 other Democrats seeking election with her “Take Back the 20” campaign, featuring crosshairs placed over the districts of those Democratic candidates — Giffords’ among them.
 
As for fellow FOX News commentator and tea party agitator Beck, he devotes much time to bashing Democrats and discussing both the New World Order and the coming new currency, the “Amero,” which he says President Obama is about to secretly foist upon an unsuspecting public, courtesy of “China and Gulf Arabs.” 
 
Now read what the whacked-out Loughner had to say about “currency” and the world economy on a recent YouTube posting: “Firstly, the current government officials are in power for their currency, but I’m informing you for distributing of a new currency. We now know — the treasurer for a new money system is the distributor of the new currency. As a result, the people approve a new money system which is promising new information that’s accurate, and we truly believe in a new currency. Above all, you have your new currency, listener?” Sound familiar?
 
Despite all the denials, there could hardly be any surprise that such a thing would some day happen. But that’s really moot at this point. The bigger questions right now should focus on who is next.
 
Someone who saw something like this coming was Congresswoman Laura Richardson. As the Long Beach Democrat wrote in a statement, “Since August 2009, my colleagues and I have received hate emails, threats that seem to be escalating and, in some cases, encouraged. Whether it is spitting at someone, holding a hateful sign, or spewing a racial slur; now is the time for all leaders, all parties, and all organizers to stop fueling hate against anyone regardless of their perspective on issues or level and position.” 
 
Giffords was certainly concerned. “For example,” she remarked in an interview with MSNBC during the campaign, “we’re on Sarah Palin’s targeted list, but the thing is, when people do that, they have to realize that there are consequences to that action.”
 
As far as Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik is concerned, if anyone didn’t know that, they damn well better learn. “When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government,” Dupnik told reporters Saturday, “the anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous. And unfortunately, Arizona, I think, has become the capital. We have become the mecca for prejudice and bigotry.”
 
Feeling pressure from the political left, Palin emailed Beck Sunday. He read his response over the air on his radio program. 
“Sarah, as you know, peace is always the answer. I know you are feeling the same heat, if not much more on this. I want you to know you have my support. But please look into protection for your family. An attempt on you could bring the republic down,” Huffington Post reported Beck saying. “There are nutjobs on all sides … terror is terror. I don’t care if it is for Allah or your party.”
“I hate violence,” Palin replied, according to Huffington Post. “I hate war. Our children will not have peace if politicos just capitalize on this to succeed in portraying anyone as inciting terror and violence. Thanks for all you do to send the message of truth and love and God as the answer.”
 
It seems all any of us can do is hope the shooting ends in Arizona. But considering the potential number of impressionable Jared Loughners out there, and the disingenuous, self-serving, unapologetic, blame-the-victim reactions by Palin and Beck, another incident like this one can’t be far off.

Who’s next?

Despite all the talk about Pasadena schools Superintendent Percy Clark being asked to leave, executives with Hamilton, Rabinovitz & Alschuler, Inc. — the management consulting firm that helped to bring Clark to Pasadena — said last week that they had not been contacted to begin a new search.

If Clark is in fact on his way out, one reason for not making that call just yet is because district officials may have some locals in mind for the job.

United Teachers of Pasadena President Bethel Lira said she has already heard two names being bandied about as possible replacements for Clark — popular Blair High School Principal Rich Boccia and former Deputy Superintendent Dave Banis.

“[Banis] has been in the district for a long time,” she said. “That’s one name I heard tossed around. I also heard Rich Boccia; I happen to really like him. He is easy to work with, very much a problem-solver.”

Another name — Assistant Superintendent George McKenna — will also likely surface in discussions. His work in improving LA’s George Washington High School was made into the 1986 TV movie “The George McKenna Story,” starring future Academy Award-winner Denzel Washington.

Clark has been in charge of the Pasadena Unified School District since 2001.

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