Mon, May

At City Hall: A Stirring Encounter at the LA City Ethics Commission


[The following is an abbreviated AI Version of Today’s Eric Preven’s Notebook]

ERIC PREVEN’S NOTEBOOK - The LA City Ethics Commission convened on Wednesday, and the proceedings were nothing short of intense. The meeting showcased a clash between procedural rigor and the right to address public concerns, leaving many observers on edge.

One individual, referred to as the Brown Act Speaker, stood firm on their constitutional right to speak on all items and offer general public commentary without disclosing their identity. However, this stance collided head-on with the Commission's insistence on following protocol, specifically requiring the completion of a speaker card.

At the heart of the confrontation was the Commission's President, Jeffrey Daar, who repeatedly urged the Brown Act Speaker to adhere to the established procedure. Despite the Speaker's persistent refusal to comply, asserting their right to anonymity and uninterrupted speech, Daar held firm in his stance.

The standoff reached a boiling point as the Brown Act Speaker demanded recognition and a platform to address the Commission without submitting a speaker card. Eventually, LAPD officers intervened, allowing the Speaker to make their mark on the card, though the circumstances surrounding this action remain unclear.

Amidst the tension, a voice of reason emerged, highlighting the legal obligation to uphold the Brown Act and respect citizens' rights to address public bodies anonymously. This call for adherence to legal standards underscored the gravity of the situation, urging the Commission to reevaluate its approach.

Meanwhile, behind the scenes, emails exchanged between Eric Preven and county officials shed light on efforts to secure access to virtual public comment and meeting transcripts. These communications underscored the importance of transparency and public engagement in the governance process.

As the meeting progressed, remote speakers like Eric Preven took the floor, voicing concerns over various agenda items ranging from lighting districts to oil franchises. Their impassioned pleas underscored the critical role of public input in shaping policy decisions and holding elected officials accountable.

However, procedural hurdles, such as time constraints and limitations on public comment opportunities, posed challenges to meaningful dialogue and comprehensive discourse. Despite these obstacles, voices like Preven's resonated with the community, advocating for greater transparency and accountability in government proceedings.

In the aftermath of this gripping encounter, one thing remains clear: the struggle between procedural formalities and the public's right to participate continues to shape the landscape of civic engagement in Los Angeles. As activists like Eric Preven continue to push for reform, the quest for a more inclusive and responsive governance system marches on.


(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.)