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Mon, Dec

Marathon Holiday Tailgating

ERIC PREVEN'S NOTEBOOK

ERIC PREVEN’S NOTEBOOK -During this period it’s important for elected officials to rightsize the various gifts that they report and then worry about all the stuff they didn’t report. 

The last time that Paul Krekorian’s rental property changed hands was February10, 2016 for $1,00,011. It’s approximately 2,600 square footer has 4 units and Krekorian et al. take in over $100,000 according to his Form 700, capably provided on request by the Ethics Commission - where readers will remember, Mr. Krekorian served “a million years ago.” 

The little purple space is what he's been recusing himself over on all the tough votes. 

For the newbies, Holiday gifts from colleagues are treated transparently at City Hall, while the real graft, corruption and greed takes place out of view.  Gratitude is the correct attitude. 

In 2022, the city council honored Paul Krekorian with a totally appropriate set of  holiday gifts. Here, they are ranked from most expensive to least expensive.  NOTE:  Nithya Raman and Kevin De Leon chose not to gift the council president in 2022 or forgot. 

Districts are bracketed. 

(10) Heather Hutt slam dunked the competition with a pair of Converse sneakers for Krekorian valued at a chart topping $50.

Tim McCosker, the in-house one-five lobbyist (15) dropped $45 for a basket of baked goods.

(12) Staffer B John Lee snagged bronze with a $44 Personalized Hydro Flask. 

(8) Marqueece Harris-Dawson’s $43 combo pack of socks and cookies drew interest.

(9) Curren Price offloading a $40 LAFC Championship scarf. (Swag alert) could result in additional DA under their “Brother Can’t Chill in the Hood, with the Mofo Police up to no good” initiative. 

(1) Eunisses Hernandez gave a teeny-tiny little Tea set valued at $35.

The “Hecho in Venice” cap from (11) Traci Park arrives with elevated westside pricing of $30

(13) Hugo Soto Martinez spent $21 on pastries, one dollar more than the remaining bottom dwellers

(3) Bob Blumenfield gave a $20 mug.

(7) Monica Rodriguez gave a $20 book.

(5) Katy Yaroslavsky gave $20 in pastries.

(4)  Nithya Raman - 0

(6)  Nury Martinez (scorned), Imelda Padilla (not elected) - 0

(14) De Leon - 0

Holiday Tailgating: 

There was quite a robust turnout at the last City Council meeting before the break. A broad mix of renters concerned about losing their housing, mom-and-pop landlords concerned about going under and a very sophisticated group of tailgaters from Harvard-Westlake who dominated the first half of public comment. The game was handled by an outside coach, Marathon Communications Inc.  

Marathon a strategic thinking outlet downtown is able to identify the opportunities within even the most daunting of communications challenges. No matter the challenge, hurdles can always be scaled.

So, when there is a big public hearing and a bullying powerhouse wants to give a strong showing and more friendly impression... who you gonna call?

Marathon.

On Tuesday, agenda item 35 was squarely in the "you can't talk on it" section, but miraculously, out of nowhere, a wand was magically waved by Paul Krekorian (who is totally impartial... SPIT-TAKE) and the public comment gate was opened.   

How convenient then that several dozen Harvard-Westlake specialists had cued-up at dawn and set out to share their vision of local support and enthusiasm for a project that has roiled the community.

I see an opportunity for a Page One or Sixty Minutes episode about a small town (Studio City, CA) and its epic battle... against the sports industrial complex (dba Harvard-Westlake School)...   

Trustees and philanthropists versus TV and Film industry professionals battered by the strike.  

People here generally try to avoid irritating billionaires... but the indigenous people of the Valley have been pushing back. 

This is an LA story but it's also an American story...  you could be the perfect producer...  there are thirty-five incredibly impressive trustees who should all be willing to talk, and my guess is they will not come willingly to the microphone...or maybe they will.  The speakers and voices against are strong and legit...

Since the comments from the local people, were rightly informed by their attorney that the city council would not take comments on Tuesday, their voices were mostly not heard. Here is a good  link.  the voices of those people, who would have spoken had they been given the heads-up that the item would be re-opened. These words are why Harvard-Westlake should change tack... bulldozing over community opposition will never fly.  Even if you do get to build the blasted hangar-sized thing.  

Disclosure: Not on our watch!

Sad Speaker:

Paul Krekorian, Chair:   Hold on we are having a technical issue there are two callers on the line at the same time.

Smart Speaker:  One of which is Eric Preven... so

Paul Krekorian, Chair:   We heard you the first two times.

Smart Speaker:  Every week… you get tangled up and can't — 

Paul Krekorian, Chair:  HOLD ON A SECOND! (silence) Alright, now whoever is on the line, Mr. Preven or the other caller can go ahead.

Smart Speaker:  Alright, I appreciate that. I don't appreciate being yelled at.

City Attorney, Jonathan Groat:  Mr. Preven which items would you like to speak on?

Smart Speaker:  Item 35 and general public comment.

City Attorney, Jonathan Groat:  Ok so you have one minute for the item and one minute for general public comment. Please begin with the item first.

Smart Speaker:   Okay, I am a longtime resident of Studio City. I know some of you have heard the project discussed before by me and others. What's really going on is interesting. There's a zone change needed and a conditional use permit.  And it was promised by certain council members, but not overtly and then the school conducted a bunch of meetings, that were invitation only; I was excluded. They had some meetings which we did go to... and everybody was like, “this is a very special part of our community, this cannot be a big and vast expansive project.”  And Harvard-Westlake, as a speaker just said, just went back to their desk and then reposted the same project.

Cue the chorus of tailgaters -- I just want you to understand the context of those lovely people who came down today and live around the corner and nearby.  It's bullshit.  Ok, there are people who live nearby and there are people who support the project.  But this is a coordinated assault on your minds... 14,000 signatures. In your mind, how many people is 14,000...from around the neighborhood with the same zip code?    This was Marathon… every time there’s a hearing they pour $25,000 into them for support.   

Please don't do this. This is not the right way to go.  The right thing to do, for the voice of reason is to do a scaled back project... and not have an 80,000 square foot, which FYI is like an airplane hangar, gymnasium complex.  If you don't read citywatch, you can check my column...it's huge!  It is not what you want.  They, say, “Well, some people like it, some people don't, we'll just disagree about the details.”    But this will destroy the lungs of Studio City. This will engender a dislike of the school -- worse than already. It’s no secret that the school has some work to do in some sectors —

That was heartbreaking testimony from the employee whose child starts by bus at 6:10am and then doesn’t get home until 8pm and apparently has not yet started the homework. 

I know the school is very dominant in the athletic space. But we don't want an athletic factory and they don’t need a 2000 person arena right next to our Firehouse.  Nice touch, by the way, bringing fire department down this morning to honor them and lather them up… there’s a long tradition.

Still we don't need elevated risk by sticking that usage next to the station.  We need a smaller project that retains the golf in a limited way, so the people of Studio City can be happy.  I thank you for your consideration. 

Supervisor Horvath, if you are listening, please.  Thank you very much.

They--

Paul Krekorian, Chair:  Thank you very much

The Four Questions:

What does Krekorian care about a bait and switch at the Coldwater Canyon chokepoint?  Raman’s problem. He already cut the TOT taxes and a ribbon or two. 

What does Krekorian care about Harvard Westlake eating the local Golf Course?  Raman’s problem. He’ll help because you need deep pockets to run for Congress, silly.   

What does Krekorian care about an enormous High School regulation-sized basketball court in the open space of the Studio City Recreation Center?  He’ll be in Washington finding money! 

How did he manage to dump Raman with all of the above after cashing all those checks? 

How muchy?

Harvard-Westlake spent more than  $2,089,627.11 lobbying over about a decade including both great switcheroos. 

 

Switcheroo 1, Paul Krekorian brokered a back door sale of the property to Charlie Munger for the school, thereby nixing the most offensive project ever conceived... dba The Bridge Over Coldwater. 

Friends of Krekorian, yes, but Krekorian was also a friend to the Trustees.  A very good friend. 

The second Switcheroo 2, dump the project into someone else's hands and then close the window. Nithya Raman, is an innocent victim of the redistricting process. 

Smart Speaker: Who is running the new redistricting panel?  Paul Krekorian. Pfffft.

Desperate Lobbyist Wives: 

Edgar Khalatian, the school's highly effective but oily lobbyist has helped gather $90,200 in fundraising for city officials.  Howard Sunkin has gathered $78,050 in fundraising.  Not too shabby.

And the wives on this have been terrific. 

Tina Khalatian and Nancy Sunkin are great team moms.    

Despite many entreaties, the LA Times has ignored these Lobbyist wives. 

As with the latest attack on AIDS Healthcare Foundation, capably put together by a capable team of three reporters a photographer and one graphics artist, in which the Times talked to 30 current and former AIDS Healthcare Foundation residents...

I wonder if the newspaper would interview Anthony Pritzker, the maverick who is plowing over $100 million into a neighborhood treasure that Charlie Munger plunked down $43 million on... 

To make it easier, here is the list of actors (Trustees - and management at a school that doesn't pay taxes).

Richard Commons, President $830,000  David Weil, CFO. $361,000  Edward Hiu, CAO. $332,000  James De Matte, $302,000  Laura Davidson Ross, $283,000  David Ruben, $260,000  Jonathan Wimbish, $254,000  And the latest crop of volunteers are the Trustees... [Light Show]  Alan Wilson, Chair  Wendy Wachtell  William Barnum  John Weissenbach  Mark Attanasio  Robert Beyer  Peter Bing  Jae Min Chang  Jean-Marc Chapus  Diana Chen  Bradford Edgerton  Jane Eisner  Javier Ferreira  David Fisher  Eric Garen  Joni Hamilton  Jeffrey Harleston  Philip Holthouse  James Feldman Horn (left 6/22)  Jean Kaplan   Stephen Keck  Robert Kotick  Jaime Lee  Alan Levy  Robert Malone  Charles Munger  Alfred Osborne  Anthony Pritzker  Spencer Rascoff  Deborah Reed  Alison Ressler   Michael Segal  Melanie Staggs  The RT REV John Taylor  Charles Thornton  Shirley Wang 

Patrick Soon-Shiong, the owner of the Times is not a Trustee, to my knowledge, but did send at least one child to Harvard-Westlake.  Congratulations! 

One wonders why the Trustees were so confident that none of the Councilmembers would pile on to put an end to a project that was wrong for the community, like Bulgari in Yaroslavsky's district 5?   

Nithya Raman's dad plays Tennis at Weddington when he visits Los Angeles but her speech admitting failure was a low point.  

The reason why the Los Angeles Times hasn't written about the Trustees or lobbyist wives ... your time has expired. 

 

(Eric Preven is a longtime community activist and is a contributor to CityWatch. The opinions of Mr. Preven are not necessarily those of CityWatchLA.com.)