ERIC PREVEN’S NOTEBOOK - Closed Session is the last thing on the City Agenda before adjourning motions. If you believe the agenda which unfortunately you cannot do, it comes right after “Council Members' Requests for Excuse from Attendance at Council Meetings.”
I believe that CMs notify the council president if they are planning to be absent from a meeting, but in approximately one decade of attending crooked city council meetings, I’ve never heard it called by the Clerk or President. It's part of the charade.
Last week, I wrote about another fatal flaw with the city’s closed-session meeting practice.
This week I’d love to know what Hydee Feldstein-Soto thinks. She’s the first female City Attorney in L.A. history, and the first Latina elected to citywide office in Los Angeles. She was wedged in next to Kenneth Mejia on Friday during the Black History Month recognition in the chambers.
For instance, in one correspondence last April with a real estate receiver who was complimenting the City Attorney on a stern e-mail Feldstein-Soto wrote: “Precisely, I do not unsheath the stiletto unless provoked but when provoked, I can be extremely effective.”
Smart Speaker: Cool.
City Closed Sessions for Tuesday, February 6, 2024:
I haven’t had time due to extreme weather to delve deeply into the Tuesday closed session agenda, but one case that I recall, had a jury awarding Kelly Kaneko over 6 million dollars after she was dismembered by a dog named Jaxx in an LA city animal shelter. She spent 40 days in an ICU and had to have multiple skin grafts and lost functioning…
I assume the case is on the agenda because the city plans to appeal the ruling.
If there is anyone to blame for the excessive litigations in the City of Los Angeles, it is Paul Krekorian. He’s handed the thankless task off to Bob Blumenfield, once Krekorian disappears, the real costs will emerge…
FAQ: Katy Yaroslavsky, Does the City have a cost of litigation report? So we have a broad overview of how bad things are?
Kelly Kaneko v. City of Los Angeles, et al., Los Angeles Superior Court Case No. 20STCV34501. (This matter arises from an incident at a City of Los Angeles animal shelter which occurred on October 31, 2019.)
Joseph Tetelman v. City of Los Angeles, et al., Los Angeles Superior Court Case No. 21STCV04003. (This matter arises from a skateboarding accident that occurred on October 23, 2020, on North Gardner Street in the City of West Hollywood involving infrastructure owned by the City of Los Angeles.)
Kristin Hirai, et al. v. Skating Edge Ice Arena, et al., Los Angeles Superior Court Case No. 19STCV30280. (This matter arises from an automobile verses motorcycle accident that occurred on November 14, 2018, at the intersection of Western Avenue and 238th Street.)
Josefina Juarez v. Jason Reilly, et al., Los Angeles Superior Court (LASC) Case No. 21STCV16236 (consolidated with) Tara Vartanian, D.O., et al. v. Jason Reiley, et al., LASC No. 21STCV08517. (This matter arises from an automobile collision that occurred on September 10, 2020, at the intersection of Vermont Avenue and Franklin Avenue, in Los Angeles.)
Stacey Vince v. City of Los Angeles, Los Angeles Superior Court Case No. 20STCV40092. (This matter arises from allegations of discrimination and harassment against the Los Angeles Police Department.)
Zeeshan H. Khan, et al. v. City of Los Angeles, et al., United States District Court Case No. CV21-03289 CAS. (This matter arises from an incident involving members of the Los Angeles Police Department that occurred on August 21, 2020.)
Nicholas Stern v. City of Los Angeles, et al., United States District Court Case No. 2:21-CV-03760-CBM-AS. (This matter arises from an incident involving members of the Los Angeles Police Department that occurred on May 30, 2020.)
Community Power Collective, et al. v. City of Los Angeles, et al., Los Angeles Superior Court Case No. 22STCP04289. [This lawsuit concerns allegations that certain restrictions contained in Los Angeles Municipal Code Section 42.13 (Sidewalk and Park Vending Program), are unlawful under California Government Code Section 51036, et seq.]
Gina Rasmussen v. City of Los Angeles, et al., Los Angeles Superior Court Case No. 22STCV18924. (This matter arises from a trip and fall incident which occurred on September 6, 2021, on an access ramp near 10 Washington Boulevard, in the City of Los Angeles.)
"Elevate, Educate, Empower,’’
On Tuesday the County Board of Supervisors will highlight and acknowledge notable African Americans as well as recognize the Los Angeles County African American Employees Association (Association). Nice.
Holly J. Mitchell who is very territorial made a special amendment to be sure to coordinate with and build on other existing efforts by the Anti-Racism, Diversity, and Inclusion Initiative and Human Relations Commission to combat identity-based hate impacting communities across the County.
She wants everyone in the conversation. Unless it’s a conversation about the egregious legal spending the county has lost control over.
Annual litigation expenses for Fiscal Year ("FY") 22-23 for the County of Los Angeles ("County") totaled $340.2 million, a 129 percent increase from the $148.3 million spent in FY 21-22.
You would think the Board would ask for a nice report back to examine, "What the hell?”
But Sheila Kuehl, the Svengali behind the rise of Lindsey P. Horvath, insisted that the cost of litigation items be a permanent receive and file ie. No public report. Tag: “Get him out of here.”
The County paid $188 million for 320 settlements in FY 22-23, an increase of 236 percent compared to the $56 million spent in FY 21-22.
The County paid $82.8 million for fees and costs in FY 22-23, an increase of $17 million, or 26 percent, from the $65.8 million the County paid in FY 21-22.
The second costliest judgment paid in FY 22-23 was Amador (Case No. 2:10-CV-01649 - $17,666,666). Amador was a federal class-action lawsuit filed in 2010 by female inmates of the Century Regional Detention Facility who claimed they were subjected to intrusive visual body cavity searches (strip searches) without privacy and in unsanitary conditions. After the court certified two classes and three subclasses of female inmates who were strip-searched while incarcerated between 2008 and 2015, 87,937 class members claimed they were strip-searched a total of 421,718 times. In 2019, a $53 million settlement was approved by the court, under which the County was to pay $53 million into a claims fund in three installments at twelve-month intervals. LASD paid the second installment ($17,666,666) during this last period and spent $1,630 in fees and costs defending the lawsuit in FY 22-23.
FAQ: Why is the CEO’s estimate of the class action related to the MacLaren Children’s Center with up to 3000 claimants, less than the 87,000 claimants in Amador by so much, going to cost so much more than the outrageously high, $53 million for the improper searching?
Fesia Davenport, the County CEO said MacLaren could cost as much as 3 billion dollars.
This resulted in a request from a member of the public, (me) asking as to how the hell she came up with that number.
She doesn’t want to share!
Smart Speaker: Once, again, to avoid further litigation, please share the details of your miscalculations.
As for the County Risk Report:
The total of all costs related to Liability and Workers’ Compensation increased by $202 million to $998 million, which represents a 25.4 percent increase over FY 2021-22. The County’s Total Cost of Risk increased from 2.01 to 2.23 percent of the County’s operating budget; this represents a 10.9 percent increase over FY 2021-22.
Law Enforcement liability claims have increased by 190 to 764, which represents a 33.1 percent increase over FY 2021-22. The cost of claims and lawsuits increased by $50.3 million to $108 million, representing an 86.7 percent increase over FY 2021-22.
Workers’ Compensation claims have decreased by 2,196 to 11,611, which represents a 15.9 percent decrease over FY 2021-22. The cost of claims and lawsuits increased by $48 million to $516 million, representing a 10.3 percent increase over FY 2021-22.
Vehicle accident claims increased by 250 to 1,069, which represents a 30.5 percent increase over FY 2021-22.
General Liability claims have increased by 4,752 to 15,292, which represents a 45.1 percent increase over FY 2021-22.
Betting on the Grammys:
During his speech Sunday night, Jay-Z quipped, "Some of you are going to go home tonight and feel like you've been robbed." "Some of you may get robbed," he said. "Some of you don't belong in the category."
As the audience winced at the diss, Jay-Z said, "When I get nervous, I tell the truth." "Outside of that, we got to keep showing up," he said. "And forget the Grammys for a second. Just in life."
"Just keep showing up. You got to keep showing up until they give you all those accolades you feel you deserve. Until they call you chairman, until they call you a genius until they call you the greatest of all time. You feel me?”
Moderator: Next Speaker!
Smart Speaker: Thank you… People may not believe this, because of the sheer volume of public comments I’ve delivered since my original comment in the fall of 2010, but I have a hard time speaking in front of people. Well, unless I am speaking straight-up truth, like Jay-Z.
When I raise my voice to the powers that be to expose the so-called ‘truth’ about what the so-called ‘power’ is up to… the nerves disappear.
The sheer outrage of the situation sharpens a brother’s tongue. “Keep order in the chambers…” can drive an ordinary man to activism.
Sports betting is the latest new venture for Jay-Z. The music mogul and founder of the entertainment company Roc Nation.
He’s teaming up with investors to bring a casino to Times Square in New York City. But gambling, though part of the culture, has a tragic history within the Black community.
Jay-Z is already loaded so does not have to behave, as Matt Taibbi once described Goldman Sachs, as a " vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money. "
Mo’ money Without Gambling:
“We all start somewhere. First court. First swing. A first down. An upset. A game-winner. A moment that changes everything…” -- LeBron James in “Origin of Greatness.” LeBron video: Origin of Greatness
Smart Speaker: Yeah, it's Eric Preven. I'd like to speak on all the available items and general public comment.
Jonathan Groat, Deputy City Attorney: So, you have three minutes for the items that would be items 13-18. Please begin.
Smart Speaker: Okay, well thank you. Neighborhood councils are so important, they run the communities, and this one is in Tarzana, home to Schaffer, some of us remember old Leonard Schaffer, he worked very closely with the city, a former LAPD guy -- he was assigned to come to Studio City when we won an election, to ensure that an inside plant would be installed that Krekorian could contain. In other words, he showed up as a BONC rep and fixed the Presidency, hobbling the newly elected so can't they get anything done. Schaffer does a very very good job in that regard. Fauble will be getting back soon with a CPRA request for the North Hollywood Neighborhood Council correspondence related to the memos related to the change in the NC meeting location to accommodate the housing of individuals in the Rec Center there. Possibly migrant individuals.
Jonathan Groat, Deputy City Attorney: Mr. Preven that is not on the agenda, please stick to the items on the agenda.
Smart Speaker: Item 14 is the LA Conservation Corps, Groat. And I know you read the article I wrote about the Corp. This is about community beautification... it's not so bad on appearance. They bring in some youth and roll out the money, this one is $270,000, last week there was one for $390,000. Interestingly, Raman is doling out this $270,000 now during election time. Because the LA Conservation Corps once sponsored a Supervisorial debate ... and consistent with the local corruption, only wanted to hear from two of the five candidates. Never mind the other three's bonafides. I was one of those candidates, a democratic environmentalist -- but they didn't want to hear from me. They only wanted to hear from the most visible candidates who already had the support of Eric Bauman’s county dems.
I mean, look, it's very green to clean up the neighborhoods and it's fun and easy to dole this money out to treasured partners. But I want to be clear, as I noticed that Prop K (is not for Krekorian) materials are circulating in the background. We are not, Nithya Raman I’m talking to you, going to be erecting a giant building in the last bit of open space at Studio City Recreation Center. Right? Just because cranky old Paul Krekorian put it on the rails with the collusion of pander bear, Brad Sherman, and a bunch of local crooks… Right? We don't want a building in an open space. That is not green. Build a high school regulation basketball court, which is massive, in a field? We already have an outside court that works well.
Incidentally, Harvard Westlake lost by two points in overtime to Chaminade in basketball last night. So the Studio City curse is taking a toll. Mr. Krekorian --
Jonathan Groat, Deputy City Attorney: Mr. Preven I cannot tell which item you are speaking to.
Smart Speaker: Yeah, fifteen, the early parking agreement. I've heard about early negotiating agreements but never really heard about an early parking agreement. And when I looked closely, my nose started to twitch. I thought, wait a minute ... so they're working on a deal to rent office space but in the interim, they need to rent parking space (during election time). Mr. De Leon, you might want to adjust your hat for this one. Who are we coughing up the $75,000 for interim parking to? The Jamison group. Those are the people who have a massive real estate empire and multiple contracts with the city and MRT’s county… right up the yin-yang. The CEO Jamie Lee is a Harvard Westlake graduate who sits on multiple city commissions and describes herself as a tough negotiator and straight shooter. She's emerged with the values of the Garcetti era. #VeryCorrupted. In a clean way!
Still, the Ethics Commission up on the 16th floor has a permanent stuffy nose related to any conflicts.
I’ll move on to the street banners. They're not effective. They do keep a few people employed, so that is one plus. And the banners are not terrible, but it is a misapplication of public money. And when we see NBCu running advertising banners up and down the Blvd. The only group clamoring for street banners is the one overcharging for them.
Number seventeen is pedestrian hybrid beacons… I support these—
Jonathan Groat, Deputy City Attorney: So your time has expired.
Smart Speaker: Yes, but since you’ve been derelict, I will take liberty on item 1.
For the development, installation, and operation of the systems and equipment necessary to implement "ExpressPark", an intelligent parking management system. The project will utilize vehicle sensors, new parking meter technology, a central parking management system, and a real-time parking guidance system to manage and optimize the utilization of public on- and off-street parking through demand-based pricing and operational policies. Formerly, ACS State & Local Solutions, Inc, then, Xerox State & Local Solutions, Inc, now Conduent.
Smart Speaker: Yeah, it's Eric Preven and I'd like to speak on both items
Paul Krekorian, Council President: Go right ahead, you have two minutes.
Smart Speaker: Yeah, you lowered my hand again, so I'm not happy about that. Let's get to the Hillside Villas. Everybody remembers Gil Cedillo from CD1... and his long-term fight to try to purchase the property, that has a hundred and forty-something units. It's so heartbreaking to hear about these Angelenos, who come from around the region, are getting ritually screwed. Some have been living there for twenty or twenty-five years and have families piled in, surviving, and the rent is going to be doubled. I read one person was going from $1200 to over $2500.
What's most upsetting is the way this city council keeps bringing it back and chewing on it and sort of using these residents to create a mind-bend for the public, that has you in the role of helpful leaders. So, why has this taken so long?
And why is the attitude of our council president so contentious with the public? As opposed to listening to what the people have to say about our city and the way we live here, he's become a vexatious antagonist. His behavior is vexatious.
It does a disservice to the men and women around the horseshoe... for him to behave like such a prick. Sir, just take general public comments from all the callers and not just a few before arbitrarily on-purpose... leaving some out. You leave critics stranded at every meeting. That’s an awful thing to do. I think you know better.
On January 16th I was the fifth caller in, and on January 17th the third… and yet I was not provided a comment on the items and a General Public comment.
Brown Act Violation Wrap up:
Finally, on Friday, Kevin De Leon had an unagendized announcement about more copper theft.
Kevin De Leon, Council member (CD14): A couple weeks ago we had a press conference dealing with the copper wires and cables, and just recently, he said, “I got a phone call from the LaBonge family that a plaque was dedicated to our beloved Tom LaBonge, a bronze plaque and was... stolen. Aside from that a colleague that a handful of us knew, Marco Firebaugh, predated our time in the assembly. Not in the City of Los Angeles, but in the City of Lynwood. An eight-foot-tall bronze statue of Firebaugh was completely stolen. Not parts of it. The whole statue.
And my understanding in the midwest, somewhere, I'm not sure if it was Kansas, Jackie Robinson, our beloved Jackie Robinson statue was stolen too. These precious metals are being cut up and sold to recycling centers because of their value... which only gives more emphasis to why we have to crack down on these individuals who are picking the city apart part by part.
Paul Krekorian, Council President: Not to belabor the point, but I just read that we are celebrating Black History Month beginning today. The county's designation of Bruce's beach plaque has also now been stolen, as well... It's it's it's an outrage! It really is. Any other announcements, members?
Smart Speaker: Harvard-Westlake’s coach David Rebibo has guided the basketball team to five straight Mission League titles. Good luck! No pressure. Nice coverage.
(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.)