Wed, Apr

FEMA Mining


ERIC PREVEN’S NOTEBOOK - The Mayor Karen Bass and Craig Fiegener are taking their show on the road... again. After a fawning swing through DC in 2023, the Mayor and Fiegener took a ride up north to shake loose some FEMA dollars. 

If Blumenfield is not involved, I will eat my FEMA hat.  

Fiegener, who gently nails things down for KNX 97.1 asked the Mayor how she does it all, Washington, Sacramento...  Why Sacramento now?  

"Because I know Sacramento, and the way to get anything done is to talk to the legislative leaders, and anyone who has been speaker or pro temp before, "it's kind of like a club" that we all share.   

Smart Speaker: A club? 

She said the mission was specific, "We want to bring back money from FEMA that Sacramento has, but we need it to come to Los Angeles.  "FEMA related to COVID, related to homelessness." 

Fiegener noted that there was 200 million or so dollars in FEMA money out there, 40 or 50 of which might be for California, that could evaporate if it's not appropriately applied for.  

"Right," said the Mayor.  

When Fiegener asked the Mayor, "why do we have to make the case to get our money?"   

The Mayor smiled and explained "Well, because, you know, the squeaky wheel is the one that gets the... results. So that's what we're up here doing."  

Smart Speaker: The squeaky wheel gets the grease... madam Mayor. 


Sitting in the old Malibu movie theater, waiting for a French language film, Avenue Montaigne. 

An older man and his wife take their seats next to a theater producer and her TV director husband, who heads off to get popcorn.   

The producer notes that the man has a small dog, sitting quietly on a pillow. Amused she asks, 'Does your dog like movies?'" 

Without hesitation, "Well, she prefers English-speaking ones."  

"Why, doesn't she like reading subtitles?" 

The man shook his head, "She's too vain to put on her glasses!" 

The woman in the row behind them, leaned forward, "My god, that is very funny." 

The Animated feature about a dog that reads subtitles, will be out next Spring. [Not really!] 

[The Malibu theatre should never have closed, I blame Bezos and Soberoff and Weintraub.] 

Friday Dry Day:

Paul Krekorian (CD2)  was beaming from cheek to cheek as he said he was "pleased to call upon Ms. Hutt (CD10) for a very special presentation. [During election time.] 

"Any other Specials members, on the left?  On the right?  Fair warning! " Krekorian said.    

Senator Laphonza Butler (Senator, CA) who has been championing fairness and justice for Californians for a very long time, graced the council with her presence on Friday.  

Before a city proclamation was presented, from one appointee, Heather Hutt (CD10) to another, Nithya Raman (CD4) who got more votes than any city council candidate ever and is facing a tough re-election race, interjected to say it was fortuitous that there "would be a robust presentation" for the Senator.   

Then Raman said she wanted to quickly recognize her UCLA interns, Meghan, William, Morgan and Aaron, Cacius, couldn't be here." 

Nithya Raman talking to the little man in the big chair

Katy Yaroslavsky (CD5) also took a crafty moment to introduce kids from John Thomas Dye Elementary in her district...  calling it, "Serendipitous." [ie. crass + pre-planned.] 

Heather Hutt (CD10) appointee on the ballot called Senator Butler (appointee) "a beacon of hope" and a testament to progress and a better future.  She said she didn't realize that Butler had been 30 years old, so young when they met.  She said Butler was, "a force to be reckoned with" noting that, "If you gave her a basketball, she would participate."    

Curren D. Price, who is still indicted and facing trial said Butler demonstrated "great determination, fighting tooth and nail for the most vulnerable families."  

If Karen Bass connotes the locking of arms, Senator Butler connotes standing "shoulder to shoulder." 

Marqueece Harris-Dawson (CD8) said he was "struck that today we are talking about a working-class black woman from the deep south who is living out her dream of making the world a better place." [powerful union leader, Senator.] 

Butler was lucky she didn't get booed when she accepted her proclamation and said it was  "an honor to be honored in a chamber that chooses to honor the working families of this city."   Cringe.  

When Butler said she was "so proud to see you in the big chair" to Paul Krekorian, there was an audible groan. "All the incredible work, we can get done while we are in the big chair."     

It made total sense to wait to discuss the item to install another chain link fence and a lock on the nuisance Motel in CD8 until after the Senator left.  

Smart Speaker:  Yeah, It's Eric Preven. 

City Attorney, Jonathan Groat:  Which items would you like to speak to? 

Smart Speaker: There's only one item open on the agenda, you imbecile. Ten and general public comment.   

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

Smart Speaker: Okay, this is the only time I've been called to speak all week because of you and your colleague's malfeasance, which incidentally,  I am in the process of writing up in great detail and in a very robust way.   Item 10 is a tough situation out on South Broadway.  

The 108 motel has been abandoned. There's a picture of it on Google Maps.  It's across the street from a boxing gym, Broadway Boxing Gym and So Way Out, some kind of I don't know exercise place.  And then, the great Holy Trinity Church and Nold's Liquor store is on one corner. So here you have ... I'm almost sure this area is a part of the high injury network, with high-speed cars...    

In 2018 Harris Dawson tried to shut the place down and threw twelve thousand at the problem and now he's coming back, five years later for more.  I thought I saw  $28 thousand five hundred.  I don't understand.  

City Attorney, Jonathan Groat:  General public comment, please.   

Smart Speaker:  I don't understand why we haven't ... what's that?   

City Attorney, Jonathan Groat:  General public comment.   

Smart Speaker:  Are you interrupting me?  Ok, so that's an interruption. I'll go to general public comment, now. The interruptions are outrageous and disruptive.  I was in the middle of a point:  Why hasn't one of our treasured partners and "great" not-for-profits that we're funding repeatedly and arguably, excessively... jumped in here?  Where is Senator Laphonsa Butler?  She is in our camp, yet we can't get a lousy not-for-profit to take over a dilapidated hotel, quickly clean it up, and put in beds and cots and housing and showers in for the people who are obviously, you know ... out on the streets.  By the way, it was very savvy the way you brought in the children earlier to fill in the background during the Senator's appearance.  Kudos on turning the meeting into a Cirque De Soleil act.    

The Sneakiest Of All Time:

The Los Angeles Times reported, Avak Keotahian, the gruff assistant chief legislative analyst, is leaving City Hall after working in the L.A. city government for 46 years.  

Avak Keotahian, white hair, uncharacteristically, walking behind the speakers at the podium on Friday.  His usual routine is to walk right in front of public speakers. "Rude," according to over four hundred smart speakers is an understatement.  

The paper reported that council members tried without success on Friday to throw a sendoff for Keotahian, who decided to leave quietly instead.   

Keotahian, 75, started with the city when Mayor Tom Bradley was in office. 

He told David Zahnizer, standing on the council floor following Friday’s meeting, that he would miss being in the public arena. 

I am here to tell you he will not miss the public.   

He once told me,  directly that he thought all city council meetings should be conducted without the public in attendance.  

I gasped.  

Calling Avak "salty" is an insult to the thousands and thousands of Angelenos he faked out regularly with his deceptive crazy-making and illegal agendas.    

Best of luck!   


Approval from the City of Los Angeles, Caltrans, and the California State Parks...  once those approvals are secured, then it would return to Metro, for approvals of real property,  operations, and construction easements ...

While many more approvals are required... but it is important to require a written guarantee in the form of a community benefit agreement.  that protects the interests of Chinatown residents, and the community and provides the community with tangible results.  

The 20 condition Salute is sweeping and amounts to a web of confusion.  

Supervisor Solis calls for the project to indemnify, release from liability, and hold harmless all public agencies, which demonstrates a misunderstanding of the legal relationship between developers and municipalities. 

Of course, the project developers must have an insurance policy or an escrow fund, ensuring that, if the project becomes unable to construct or operate, the great people of Los Angeles... can still get to the stadium!  

The project is required to have a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) and to promise that it will not benefit from or compete against Metro, the County, City, or any other local jurisdiction within the County for state, federal, or other public funds to design, build, or operate the Project or otherwise fulfill Community Benefits Agreement requirements.    [bizarre condition] 

The project will adopt and adhere to an advertising display content policy that is consistent with Metro, City, County, Caltrans, and State Park’s respective advertisement policy.  [So, they can advertise.] 

They need to set up a business interruption fund similar to the ones Metro has implemented.   

Going forward in perpetuity, they must set aside ten percent (10%) of all LAART marketing opportunities for local Chinatown businesses and community-based organizations and Metro public service announcements, related to the following impacts: residential and other privacy concerns, visual and other impacts to parks and greenspaces, visual impacts to Union Station’s historic architectural elements, parking, traffic, pedestrian and active transportation safety concerns (including school access improvements), trash, noise and other forms of pollution, and other Project externalities.  [Buying off the local press.] 

They commit to providing sufficient safety and security personnel and resources for the Project and within 1,000 feet of the Project  (who decides what is sufficient?). 

They must reimburse any public safety department for specialty equipment or training that is not needed but for such department’s need to address the unique safety response needs and hazards [Incoherent.] 

The McCourts must offer free and unlimited rides for local Chinatown residents and businesses in perpetuity. [The most insulting of all conditions.] 

The ticketing program must be seamlessly integrated with Metro’s TAP and payment program.  

Bicycle and micro-mobility hubs are required at each of the Project’s stations.   

They must only use renewable energy sources and the purchase of carbon offsets in Los Angeles County, to the extent possible [empty bag with a hole in it.] 

There will be a tree replacement plan that, at the minimum, replaces trees at a 4:1 replacement ratio. 

And they must continue monitoring for all future biological impacts... [yes, through a local facilitator, who they are required to pay, so works for them.] 

This project must not benefit from the use of the eminent domain, and, in the case of any form of property rights acquisition from a public jurisdiction, the project shall offer compensation to said jurisdiction for at least the fair market value of such property, including air and real property rights, as determined, if needed, by one or more independent third-party evaluators.  [As Paul Krekorian recalls, FMV is fungible, as it was when the firehouse in Studio City had the sell price rightsized for REW1000 LLC or one of these eight shell companies, but ever the crony developer friend of Garcetti's, Richard Weintraub. And the special appraisals they call for are privileged, and the public can't see them, which is outrageous. How about a condition waiving that privilege so the public can see what's happening? ] 

If the project is non-operational or experiences issues during the 2028 Games, they must compensate Metro for any transportation costs that the Agency would not have incurred. [Interesting that the Olympics is prioritized and protected, what about other community events that might be impacted in the next five years?  

There must be a robust Community Benefits Agreement (CBA)   

A Metro-facilitated Community Advisory Committee (CAC) will be established consisting of (i) a representative of each of the City Council and County Supervisorial Districts representing the area bound by the I-10, US-101, and LA River and a representative from the Mayor of Los Angeles, (ii) two appointed stakeholder from each of the elected offices identified in (i) above, and (iii) a non-voting representative from Metro, Caltrans District 7, and Stake Parks.  

The CAC shall identify projects and programs in and for the community to be benefited by the CBA and develop an allocation process for the funds, including for allocations to be made after the CAC’s dissolution.  

The CAC shall be dissolved within 12 months of its initial meeting but may be extended at the discretion of the Metro Chief Executive Officer (CEO).  

An anti-displacement fund and implementation plan to support the retention and development of local affordable and senior housing.   

A promise to support local small and historically marginalized ethnic businesses through an ongoing Chinatown revitalization revolving loan fund to offer low and no-interest loans and forgivable loans to local small businesses, entrepreneurs, and street vendors. [Debt is debt, and though essential, can still result in default.] 

A funding and implementation plan, which includes community and stakeholder feedback, to create one or more living and stationary memorials to Old Chinatown, Chavez Ravine, and the indigenous peoples who previously occupied the surrounding land. [This is pimping out our history.]  

In the case of the Project’s temporary closure or heightened transportation demand for stadium events along the Project corridor, the developers will add multiple, region-wide, park-and-ride locations consistent with the model provided by the Park & Ride Hollywood Bowl shuttle program. [Hard to believe.] 

A preliminary mobility and cost analysis on alternative TSM/TDM mobility improvements, including a Bus Rapid Transit on Sunset Blvd, with a possible event day station near the stadium or a system for pedestrian travel on Vin Scully Ave. from Sunset Blvd. to the stadium.  Sunset for All, and other mobility projects that could alleviate the traffic caused by major sporting and entertainment events held at Dodger Stadium. 

Any possible future development at or near the parking lots surrounding Dodger Stadium that does not dedicate at least equivalent to twenty-five percent (25%) of all the developable space, which excludes outdoor open space, to affordable or supportive housing shall automatically and immediately terminate the lease.  

Smart Speaker:  Yeah right.  

(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.)