Roots of L.A. City Council’s leaked audio scandal can be traced back decades.
There is the story of a little girl’s request for an ice cream cone at a Hollywood Hills school playground. There is the tale of an L.A. woman who got an unwanted haircut. There is also a woman’s angry reaction to what she believed was a sexist remark made by a neighbor. There is a mayor’s decision to not hold an election, but instead to pass a resolution that gives control of the city council to an unpopular mayor’s appointees. And there’s a tale not so different from that of the woman who was attacked on camera at her home by her aggressive neighbor.
It all boils down to a story of three women speaking their minds against seemingly no-win situations. And some of the conversations in the audio release last week are quite revealing about the complicated and often troubling dynamics at play in the Los Angeles City Council.
The first audio tape was discovered by a news photographer who happened to be on patrol in Hollywood, according to the Los Angeles Daily News. The woman in the recording called police after being chased by her neighbor, who she claims yelled at her for having cut her hair too short.
When police and the woman could not get the man who recorded the conversation to stop recording, a judge sent him to jail on the recording without letting it be released to the press.
But that didn’t stop a local television news anchor from making it public anyway.
The news anchor’s actions were ultimately caught up in a very old controversy involving the public access to recordings in Los Angeles City Council meetings that dated back over a decade.
“It has been reported that, even though many of the recordings and tapes are in public records, the City Council continues to prevent the publication of these tapes even though they have been provided,” City Atty. Carmen Trutanich wrote back in May of 2011 in a letter to Councilman Joe Buscaino and his supporters, according to City Atty. Mike Feuer.
“Given the fact the City Council is not bound by law to make or disclose public all information, and the fact the tapes have been provided, the Council is not required to release the tapes prior to making final comments before the