ERIC PREVEN’S NOTEBOOK - The LA County Board of Supervisors, who famously decreased the number of meetings they have in front of the public, has re-instated lengthy quasi-appropriate presentations at the outset of frustratingly long meetings.
Next week the County Risk and Cost of Litigation reports are on the agenda alongside an adorable little payout of $160,000 to the Los Angeles Times Communications, LLC for a Public Records Act case. The shocking part: Before settling the county ran up a tab of $377,185 plus $1,056 fighting the LA Times. Scorched earth.
Note: The LA Times only reports the settlement amounts, not the amount the taxpayers pay to fight. Sigh.
Supervisor Janice Hahn (SD4) examined (+ honored) the Cerritos High School Football team + coach.
Moderator: Our next participant is Eric Preven. You may begin.
[The smart speaker only spoke once during a 312-page county transcript -- a victory for Lindsey P. Horvath.]
Smart Speaker: Thank you. This is an important issue. I’m not sure it warrants another four-hour hearing but I realize that’s all part of the sneaky plans. So Kudos. Anything to infuriate rank-and-file Angelenos is embraced by this board. Well done.
One thing that I'm highly concerned about is the way that Mr. Butts, the mayor of Inglewood where Sofi is located, and other cheerleaders for giant sporting events as a reason to live, works with the big dogs like Stanley Kroenke who has been focussing on vertical companies to make even more money. He's not as interested in the wonderful vibrant street vendors that we’ve all been praising as contributors to LA's vibrant food culture. No. Kroenke is about bank. He and Ballmer want to sell you the parking, the tickets, and the supersized hot dogs. How many would you like, 2? "That's sixty dollars!"
As for the street vendors… “move ‘em out.”
Unfortunately, what ends up happening is the county adopts the mean spirit, which has officers whisking people away to First Amendment zones. This is all preparation for the almighty Olympics, and frankly, we know with whom you stand… Kroenke and Ballmer.
The city of Los Angeles passed a vending ordinance in 2018, and was promptly sued over its “no-vending zone” — tourist-friendly areas such as Dodger Stadium and Hollywood Bowl where city officials contend vendors will add to congestion.
This is just embarrassing. A body that contains five of the allegedly most talented (electable) supervisors and yet… not ONE clue about how to permit or outlaw pop-ups? My heart goes out...
Do you have any idea how much 600 dollars is to a street vendor? I know you plan to only charge $100 a year through mid-2028. But a lot of vendors told you today that a fee of $600 — if it ever comes to fruition— would automatically kill their business. So...you're time has expired! jk
Nice work. I have to give credit, where credit is due. What you have done here today is equally onerous to all. The brick-and-mortar restaurateurs and the run-of-the-mill street vendors. Both!
There it is. I said it.
Heather Hutt who is currently running for CD10 and John Lee (Staffer B) recognized Jan 13 Korean American Day, by hosting an off-agenda honor for, "The many contributions of the Korean American Community"
Kathryn Barger (SD5) currently campaigning responded on Tuesday, Jan 30, with a small agendized presentation. Note: Nothing compares to the robust Armenian recognitions at County Hall... coming soon.
The YMCA Odor:
Smart Speaker: It’s Eric Preven from Studio City, I’d like to speak on the available items and give a general public comment.
Bob Blumenfield, Second Banana: Go ahead Mr. Preven, items 19-25.
City Attorney, Tania Ysaguire: You have 3 minutes.
Smart Speaker: Alright, 19-25, thank you. First of all congratulations on the removal of the goatee. I admire your tenacity.
The license plate readers I am less comfortable with. One of the prior speakers mentioned, “You know, it’s one thing to do it citywide” but when you do it in a separate neighborhood, it takes on a - Council member Raman - a kind of Apartheid component. Whereas, if you come in here to this area, you are going to be watched very very very carefully. No matter what you’re doing or driving. The whole thing is not cool, and as another speaker noted this is Sunshine Landfill money. For those who forgot, this was one of Mitchell Englander, the convicted felon’s favorite scams. It goes back further to Greig Smith. These guys take the money intended to ameliorate or mitigate the impacts from a foul-smelling landfill … and give it to LAPD and it turns out the YMCA of Greater LA, who terminated me, Eric Preven, after more than 50 years of membership, because I criticized in writing the asinine and draconian policies the East Valley Branch of the YMCA in NoHo has adopted.
I don’t want to get into too much detail here, but Adrin Nazarian, who is currently running to replace Paul Krekorian at the CD2 desk, arranged it so the Y’s youth and government group, who were asked to host a CD2 debate between Krekorian and a very nice local challenger from the neighborhood council (me. Instead of hosting that debate, they denied the request from several of the youth and agreed to have the dynamic duo co-host a youth in government award ceremony. This was arranged carefully to be just days after the primary election. Such a comprehensive shame. Anyone, from the progressive flank or any flank would get sick to their stomach after reading the details of that… political favor! Yuck.
You know who, other than Englander, Krekorian, and Adrin Nazarian, were big boosters and boosties of the YMCA of Greater Los Angeles — Charlie Munger, Nury Martinez, Sheila Kuehl, Sheriff Baca — need I say more?
It was nice to have the Carpenter Avenue Cougars in the house… this morning. My kids went there, and Principal Martinez is a good guy.
Nithya Raman (CD4) is actively running a competitive campaign for CD4 honoring the very popular Principal Martinez of Carpenter Avenue Charter School in Studio City. Yuck!
As for the Sepulveda Basin items … this area was a festival of corruption around redistricting. Nury Martinez gets the credit and blame. One idea for Imelda Padilla: Why not offer a very special arrangement for Harvard-Westlake?
As insiders know, the snag they’ve run into in Studio City runs very very deep.
If she can onboard some of the big money from Harvard-Westlake Trustees whose basketball bros had their butts kicked by lil old Notre Dame and Sierra Canyon but…
City Attorney, Tania Ysaguirre: We’re not clear what item you are speaking on.
Smart Speaker: Sepulveda Basin. I’m sorry is this the Groat replacement? Yeah, Tania, I am afraid I am going to have to join Rob Quan in the anyone-but-you campaign if you’re going to continually interrupt speakers. I was talking about the Sepulveda Basin and private school funding…
Now, you’ve derailed me. I am going to tell David Michaelson, the least appealing of all the craven City Attorneys, who has been hiding since Feuer left in the New Mayor’s office, hoping that nobody notices that he is the same old crooked legal team. I noticed.
Incidentally, Chris Thompson, Mayor Bass’s conflicted “thief of staff”… because he came from the Casey Wasserman LA 2028 Olympics desk. Enough said. Thompson only stayed eight months or so and now, apparently has started working for Arnie Berghoff & Associates as a lobbyist.
Berghoff also onboarded Jeffrey Ebenstein who made a name for himself shlepping Paul Koretz’s backpack around city hall for him. Arnie Berghoff as many know, had a bunk-desk arrangement with Harvey Englander. And Linda Berghoff, his wife, is as civically engaged as any Angeleno on record and contributes the max to Councilmembers.
This allows, Berghoff who claims she has a First Amendment right to pelt the council on behalf of Axon/Taser… and many others. Just don’t bring it up out loud.
It’s all perfectly legal, if you ask, Harvey Englander, Zev Yaroslavsky, and Rick Orlov the longtime golf buddy of those two, who died around 2015.
That troika put so many of the crooked protocols from yesteryear we’ve come to despise in place. Yuck.
Anyway, Harvard-Westlake should be given a first look at putting up whatever the hell they want in the Sepulveda Basin. It's not too far from the Coldwater campus and they can exclude … whoever they want. The school has not been reading the signals well on the subject of Studio City Golf and Tennis. They’re heading for a … cliff.
Bob Blumenfield, Second Banana: OK, I believe that concludes telephone public comment.
"Smile kids, you'll be on TV". Nithya Raman (CD4) was ready for her close-up!
Monica Rodrigue (CD7) touted an Oscar-nominated short documentary (40 min) entitled, "The Last Repair Shop." Watch it here Link. As a music lover, she found a way to enhance her own profile.
Reaping the Benefit of Telecasting:
City Attorney, Jonathan Groat: The open items are items 12-21 and item 22.
Smart Speaker: Okay, I am going to start with the REAP items and build to the alliance lawsuit. So please don’t interrupt me. This agenda is another REAP merry-go-round - it stands for the rent escrow account program. They can be helpful to tenants, as it was explained by a previous speaker. How it works? Noncompliant landlords don’t get the rent payments from tenants, but rather they go into an escrow account until they become… compliant.
As with everything else, such a program is only as good as the enforcement. Oversight over tenant protections is always murky because there is a lot of dishonestly - on both sides. This is why many city council members want tenants to at least have access to a free lawyer. Sure, but no lying.
In a way, there is a comparison to be made to the way the city council fails to follow its own rules. The Ralph M. Brown Act and the California Public Records Act… are set up so that a constituent who doesn’t feel that the laws are being followed…can file a lawsuit.
If it is the federal government filing the suit, it can result in a consent decree. That’s where the city or county in question agrees to federal oversight.
The Alliance lawsuit is like a consent decree. The federal court, under Judge Carter’s leadership, has required the county and the city to fix the mess they’ve created in the mental health services and housing homeless space.
"Unspeakable neglect” may be too strong, but many feel that the situation has been created by powerful bodies, who spent the last couple of decades, celebrating a Triple A bond rating, while nurturing a homeless crisis.
Others feel that too much time and money has been spent by the county and the city, pointing fingers at one another, while sending big checks to inside lawyer Skip Miller of Miller Barondess, LLP. Yuck.
The Alliance lawsuit marks the latest chapter in a convoluted, decades-long, pay-to-play protected, failure. That’s one way to put it.
All over Los Angeles, everyone including moms and pops has been struggling. And where are the city council members like Curren D. Price, and Paul Krekorian? They’re in the back room recusing themselves.
The county was ordered to put 3000 mental health crisis beds and 450 board and care service contracts…into the mix. Board and Care are places where people can go when there’s nowhere else to go.
City Attorney, Jonathan Groat: Mr. Preven you’ve exhausted your time on item 22.
Smart Speaker: Okay, thank you. Five people die every single day in the population, Groat. FYI. Today is a day, for the record. Today is not Tania’s day, today is your day. Tomorrow may be Fauble’s day because it’s a Thursday, and he has gone stealth —
City Attorney, Jonathan Groat: This is your final warning, please move on to another item or I am going to move you to General Public comment, where you can continue to talk about item 22.
Smart Speaker: That’s okay, I’ll go to the general public comment because I want to talk about your closed session practices.
Closed Session Practice:
Today, you’re upending, the recently upended “rule changes” that were never adopted or voted on. Krekorian just decided he could block more speakers by breaking City Council Rule 7 that specifies that General Public comment shall be, “at or near the beginning of the meeting.”
At the end of today’s meeting, you are planning to go into a closed session, and so because you don’t want the public around, you are offering them an opportunity to lump general public comments in with comments on items.
Typically, you agendize a closed session, and Krekorian or Blumenfield says, “We’ve already discussed this behind closed doors in committee, so there’s no need to do anything unless the council has questions. They rarely do. Then, Blumenfield says, “Seeing none, let’s vote.”
At that moment, which often relates to millions of taxpayer dollars, the public is not heard.
That’s the problem. Because there is a substantial change when you change the item from closed to open session, and the settlement sum (eg. $8M) that is typically announced by the city clerk’s henchwoman or man, is a substantial change from no information.
When that settlement sum comes out of the clerk’s mouth, the public should have s a right to speak, to say, nay, yay, or hurray. The way you do it now, is not acceptable nor compliant, according to me… despite Blumenfields’ contention that the city has been doing it that way, for a long time.
That won’t cut it. That’s what Fauble and David Michaelson of Karen Bass’s office now, said when I pointed out to Mike Feuer that the city council was improperly denying public comment on Special Meeting agenda items. We all know how that case worked out; the city was dead wrong and had to cover years of my attorney’s fees.
Paul Krekorian didn’t care because, as he said the other day, “my best-by date” is fast approaching. He’ll be gone.
This is not a system that works. I encourage you to do the right thing and like with some of these REAP accounts, meet and confer or mediate a resolution. Do you want a civic engagement consent decree?
City Attorney, Jonathan Groat: Your time has expired.
(Eric Preven is a longtime community activist and is a contributor to CityWatch. The opinions are of Mr. Preven and not necessarily those of CityWatchLA.com.)