Who is Steve Soboroff? Up until two years ago, I had no clue who he was, nor did I need to know. Two years ago was a pivotal moment in Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) took custody of two drones and Police Chief Charlie Beck applied for his second term as police chief. At the time, Steve was President of the LAPD commission and was spearheading community input on the chief’s application to remain chief. After the South Los Angeles area was omitted from the schedule, I tracked Steve down in Westchester to chat about it. Then things went sideways.[adsenseyu2]
Steve Soboroff has had his hand in a LOT of activity throughout Los Angeles County. According to his Wikipedia page, he is affiliated with LMU, UCLA and USC. He was a senior advisor to former LA Mayor Richard Riordan and unsuccessfully ran for mayor. He has served on the Harbor and Parks & Recreation Commissions, which Riordan shared is the “most powerful commission in LA”. Steve was instrumental in the building of the Alameda Corridor and AEG’s Staples Center, which poached professional sports from Inglewood, CA. If you drive down Lincoln Blvd. and notice the Playa Vista development, not far from the La Ballona Wetlands, thank Steve.
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In short, Steve brings in massive amounts of investments into the city of Los Angeles and he needs to protect those interests.
As President of the LAPD commission, I antagonized him on Twitter about the failure to provide equitable input on the police chief getting a second term. I called him a liar for not holding the meeting, as I interpreted he would and subsequently found myself blocked by him on Twitter. Chief Beck never made it to South LA but did appear at a Watts Gang Task Force meeting. I assumed Steve was being flexible.
2016 has become the year of officer involved shooting.
This summer the world watched as police shootings, resulting in the deaths of unarmed Black men, exploded across the nation. Then came videos of Alton Sterling and Philande Castille’s deaths. The killings set off a national movement with several factions of the Black Lives Matter movement being pitted against police departments. Then I receive an alert that Steve is following me on Twitter.
I didn’t go back to my previous antagonist tweets but did reach out to find out what was up. Steve wanted to plan a cookout with Black Lives Matter, the community and LAPD. He wanted to follow a model that transpired in the South but wasn’t totally organic. The police suggested the picnic and Black Lives Matter showed up. That didn’t happen here in LA.
At the September 20 commission meeting, the members found fault with two officer involved shootings, yet, final disciplinary actions are handled by Chief Beck. It provoked me to ask Steve “why does the commission exist, if final say comes from the chief and not the members?”
2 Urban Girls reached Steve and inquired on what is he looking to accomplish as police commissioner, to which he replied:
I want to validate the idea of massive incremental funding for service
providers to underserved. Not from LAPD budget, but from Philanthropy and the 1%. I’m a trustee of Weingart Foundation and we give over $30,000,000 each year for these programs and recently announced new focus in Certain areas of Los Angeles County. www.weingartfnd.org
During the meeting audience members accused Steve of giving them “the finger” as the commissioners left for recess. When asked about the allegation, Steve told 2 Urban Girls:
I was scratching my ear and adjusting my glasses.
Every week that commission meetings are held, the members are ruthlessly taunted by members of Black Lives Matter. They continue to convene in hopes of creating better policies to assist with reforming the department. Mayor Garcetti has added attorney Cynthia McClain-Hill and Shane Murphy Goldsmith to the dais alongside Steve, Matt Johnson and Sandra Figueroa-Villa, in the hopes of implementing better policies for LAPD. If they could get through meetings uninterrupted, it could happen.
To be continued…