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The Silence and the Fury

ERIC PREVEN’S NOTEBOOK - A respected journalist, Jeff Jarvis, who identifies as a CUNY professor fired off a 19-tweet salute last week, touting the natural scarcity of quality.

The response we need to abundance, he argued, is for someone (as magazine editors used to) to take the time to mine for authority, credibility, value, talent, art.    

Tweet number 8 said, News organizations *should* concentrate on unique value: original reporting, expert explanation, specialized & focused context. The biz model--bundling, paywalls, attention-based advertising, editorial expense--militates against that.  Otherwise, "journalism & the public suffer" he concluded.   

In a recent UK study on his website,  44 percent of people surveyed felt “I can share my opinions and have a voice" on the internet. Only 17 percent disagreed with that statement; and unsurprisingly a third  of the population have no opinion about sharing their opinions, one way or the other.  Check out the blinky new ads on CityWatch! 

I blame myself. Had I been more diligent and attended more meetings, worked harder I could have helped to swing a brighter light through the operation downtown, thereby curbing the rise to power of Jose Huizar, Sheila Kuehl, Mitchell Englander, Janice Hahn, Eric Garcetti, Areen Ibranossian and Mark Ridley-Thomas.   

What about Herb Wesson?  He's termed out.  

Corey Brettschneider, a professor of political science at Brown University told Yascha Mounk, the German-American political scientist on his very good podcast, Persuasion,  that, "There has to be a way to defend democratic values at the same time as protecting dissenting viewpoints. Once we've established the rule that the government can't punish speech based on the viewpoint it contains, the government has to take a stand in defense of liberal democracy, and it has to support those citizens who are protesting in opposition to groups like the Ku Klux Klan. Now, the danger lies in how you go about that. The more you can do it through reasoning, and the less through social sanction, all the better." 

Yes, we need to build a culture that facilitates, rather than stifles, conversation on the issues which matter most. 

But at City Hall in Los Angeles, we've built with the collusion of the local newspaper of record, a culture that facilitates...the stifling or even wholesale rewriting of the conversation on the issues that matter the most. 

Take as an example, the most recent Times expose on the City of Los Angeles Animal Services, which is still on people's minds. 

Koretz told the hundreds of angry speakers, out of which he heard from 57, "It was dramatic testimony, but we've never heard that in the committee. The difficulty is we have to also take comments from the experts - who give a different points of view.  We can't determine the real truth sometimes... we don't monitor the commission hearings. We hold our own hearings." 

If there were a way to retroactively have Koretz's hollow words flow out onto Facebook LIVE, the way Mayor Garcetti's State of the City addresses did, a volcano of angry face emojis would erupt there! 

Paul Koretz, has chaired the Los Angeles City council committee overseeing animal welfare since 2011. He has good working relations with the WGA Plan and their Health, Pension and Welfare group, according to Jeffrey Ebenstein, who has checked out following his quarter million dollar run to nowhere in CD5.  

With and without Ebenstein, Koretz has failed to perform the basic oversight required of his job. And the WGA Plan, who continues to do the wrong thing, despite what seemed to be a legitimate effort by George Martin Kraw  #71551 to refund money seized without due process by his predecessor, the 'unhinged' Hirsch Adell, who was born on March 11, 1931 and passed away on January 20, 2018 after a five year giggle fest over an auditors' willingness to seize a well recognized writer's earnings, to justify their thievery.   

Paul Koretz, found the time during a council meeting to adourn in the memory of old Hirsch, who was the President at Reich, Adell & Cvitan, but also unethical.  

If my testimony were being Facebook LIVED so that a higher power (or court) would be apprised, which was unfortunately not the case at Koretz's one item special meeting agenda, because Koretz was the only committee member to attend and never called me up (obv.)  "Your, honor, this has led to the suffering and mistreatment of countless animals throughout the years. LA must do better for our animals." 

In response to the concerns of the absurdly high numbers of volunteers being suspended, an animal shelter official accused volunteers of acting as “watchdogs” or not following exact protocol when talking to the media.  LA must do better for our "watchdogs." 

But is giving more money to six severely troubled Animal Shelters a way forward? 

There are so many generous Angelenos who want Animals to be walked, not just Seth MacFarlane, who donated $1M to the Australian Zoo in 2020.  Is now the time to pay people for the work of walking the dogs? 

It can only be described as a shocking policy failure to leave it to a cycle of part-time volunteers, sworn to silence in the face of conditions that elicit fury.  

As Paul Koretz always says, "We need to staff up." 

Say, I wonder if Rick Caruso would agree to hire 1500 Animal  Service walker? Let's hand off the animal walking to a showrunner! 

Quick Question:  Could LAPD walk some of these dogs?   

Answer:  No. The officers are busy. 

 

A dirty secret about the white car…

In a moment when many Angelenos do feel unsafe, Caruso is looking for any and all ways to paint Bass as soft on crime.  

Caruso argues that his time as L.A. Police Commission president uniquely positions him to handle the current state of the city and that Bass is unfit or unwilling to do what’s necessary to make people feel safe.  

I reached out to two major local news outlets last week, but there didn't seem to be any interest, but it might have been about resources.  

It's a clip from a resident of the Palisades, clearly, a samaritan citizen of some type, observing what appears to be a grab-and-go crime on Antioch in the Palisades next to Caruso’s Village.

“Three men fled in a white Volkswagen Jetta with an estimated $8,000 work of purses after pepper-spraying the security guard. The incident happened in the 15300 block of Antioch around 1:50 p.m. on July 6, 2022” according to ‘circling the news’ a palisades local news website.

The samaritan in the clip attempted to report what he saw and filmed on his iPhone to LAPD but for whatever reason… the department was unable to successfully onboard the iPhone evidence of the alleged crime in progress.

The dispatch officer told the samaritan that a detective would call to follow up. That call from a detective never materialized.

The samaritan called back several times to no avail.  It’s been more than two weeks.  The car description reported at the local website was a Jetta. The samaritan filmed a white BMW, zipping away, so had the detective called back, it might have been helpful.

The Issue Is, "How is this possible at Rick Caruso’s Village?"

Do LAPD and Rick Caruso and Karen Bass want Palisades locals to call in eyewitness accounts?

Are they willing to field those calls?  Do we have to face the fact, "hot leads" go unchased every single day?

Is this why we need 1,500 new police officers? 

 

The silence and the fury

The 'silence and the fury' will be my doc, named in light of "the sorrow and the pity" 

The churn and burn continue as Anna Bahr is out at Karen Bass HQ.  The campaign should be bringing someone on full-time soon.  

And Rick Caruso is attracting the likes of Areen Ibranossian, the lobbyist with a selective memory biography, and Edgar Kahatian, the mayor's land use operative who works at Mayer Brown where Richard Bruckner was up to no good with Mark Ridley-Thomas.  We had our first heavyweight bout over Harvard Westlake's definition of  'consensual' land use behavior.  

Here's a meeting video in which the local residents of Studio City politely take apart Mr. Khalatian like a wristwatch, as he tries to breathe life into the last iteration of Harvard Westlake's failed plan to help out the residents of Studio City by taking our open space and putting up a gate.  

Here's my October 2021  Fore article, that glances at the high-handed Charlie Munger, who bought the local Weddington Golf and Tennis for the private school. The article admonishes him for underwriting the inappropriate private taking of a priceless public amenity.  

Imagine if New Yorkers could only walk around Central Park, while the students from Collegiate or another elite academy, held the keys to the park.  Not even a discussion.  

Kudos to Khalatian, sound like he made a high-profile citizen's arrest at a Caruso rally.  

 

Down by the Riverside

I wonder if Kenneth Mejia, who has a very sharp team in place and published a very cute chart recently pointing out that most of the city's budget goes to law enforcement, knows anything about Job Order Contracting, the heavily used procurement system, that some have bellowed on about substantially, because of its widespread use at Los Angeles County?   And the corruption.

 

Mark Ridley-Thomas and others have been trying to migrate the task order solicitation concept down Grand Park to city hall. Is it a good idea for the city to standardize pricing and eliminate corrupt procurement practices? 

Was it a good idea by editors at the Los Angeles Times including Matt Doig, who spoke out against Pringle recently, to simply NOT COVER  the fraud in the Job Order Contracting space?

It's a good question for a Controller debate between Mejia and Koretz that I'm happy to moderate. Though, disclosure:  when we wanted to discuss Eric Preven's Finance Chart, Koretz finked out. 

In Riverside county they've been splitting up orders to get around spending caps and publishing audits.  

Thirty-three purchasing orders totaling $5.89 million were split to get around spending limits and rules for contracted vendors, the Riverside County audit found.

Those 33 were among roughly 3,300 purchasing orders. The audit also looked at roughly 8,900 purchasing orders for non-contracted vendors and found that seven, totaling almost $408,000, were split to avoid spending caps.

Twenty of 23 terminated employees “did not have their access rights” to data systems cut off within 24 hours of leaving the department, the audit reported. It took, on average, 13 days to disable former employees’ access with one ex-employee still having access 99 days after leaving, the audit added

In Los Angeles County the Board of Supervisors has been raising spending caps all over the place which minimizes the opportunity for public scrutiny.  For years, the board published two full regular meeting agendas a week and met before the public. 

In the year  ____ the board went to one regular meeting every Tuesday, once a week. In 2020, the board cut back so there is only one regular meeting every two weeks.   

How about a shaming round of Down by the Riverside... ?  I'll rewrite the lyrics and come back on that. 

 

Item 26  Friday July 29, 2022

Laura Montilla is a recent graduate of the University of Southern California and had been living in Los Angeles for four years, when she claims that she was unjustly arrested while peacefully protesting in Downtown LA on Monday, June 1st 2020 tk. 

The City Council will review her case in closed session on Friday July 29, 2022. Laura Montilla v. City of Los Angeles et al.  

Her story alleges illegal action and emotional and physical abuse committed by the LAPD.  She posted her detailed experience on her Instagram.  The story linked here is her word-for-word testimony in another 19 tweet salute tk. Twitter thread

I strongly urge you to read through the account of her experience as the accusations are serious and terrifying.  

Others have attested to being out peacefully protesting and receiving an alert that the curfew time had changed with only 30 minutes' notice. LA is a huge sprawling city with lackluster public transit. How could protestors be expected to disperse that quickly and be home in 30 minutes? Why were young women taken to a parking lot and held for hours without food or water?  Why no phone calls or Miranda rights? Zip ties so tight that people were bleeding? Music to drown out their voices mirroring popular torture tactics? 

Khalatian, get in here!

 

Justice Derailed

I noted that Bill Megulin, an investigative reporter for KTTV-TV Los Angeles won another Emmy for a report called, Derailing Justice.

I googled it and a fascinating article came up exposing abusive and unconstitutional practices in Colorado city courts.  Really bad stuff, collecting debt for non-jailable offenses, Illegal arrest warrants against impoverished debtors, senseless Incarcerations, setting Defendants up for failure: counterproductive & unfair,  harsh tactics discouraging court appearance and making a mockery of justice.   

Kudos, I thought. 

Ooops. I was wrong. The name of an ACLU report was Justice Derailed, so I was reading the wrong story.  

The piece by Megulin who has moved on to be a national correspondent at Fox News Channel FNC was entitled Derailing Justice, a deep investigation into a decision LA DA  @GeorgeGascon made, hours upon taking office, to drop an entire criminal case against 3 anti-police protesters accused of trying to derail a train.  Shortly after his story aired in March 2021, L.A. County paid out a large six-figure settlement to the prosecutor who alleged that the DA had retaliated against him and punitively transferred him to a smaller office for refusing to drop this case.   

Apparently, Melguin plays hardball and is 3 for 4 at the Emmys, so it provoked my curiosity about which of his stories didn't win? Could it have been the Metro Call center scandal hit job on Sheila Kuehl?  Melguin's piece, correctly spotted that Sheila's relationship to Patti Giggans and Peace Over Violence [POV] is cozy, but duh.   

What was really shocking, was that he simply ignored the fact that the Mayor and LAPD spent 20x as much as the County with POV and face very serious allegations about what Garcetti knew or should have known was going on in the mouths of employees and journalists, in the mayor's office, in the mayoral motorcade, and in an elevator in Washington.   

Spectrum 1 found a way, once Garcetti had been rightsized, so minimized in the story, to leave it to Bill at Fox.  Kudos on the Emmy.  Sheila took it like a ... person.  But Sheila was also taking one for the team.  

The public had no clue that, as the mayor was grappling with a burgeoning inhouse sex abuse scandal, his office had also been pouring money into POV with evidently questionable results. "Vile"  

I propose an Emmy for the Mayor's office for creating an effective false flag distraction, giving much-needed time to strategize about how to discredit his entire, once thought to be impressive office, in cover-up of Jacobs's attacks.   

Not sure why Melugin stopped short of looking at the city's Peace Over Violence footprint.  You've seen one $50,000 dollar load of gift cards, you've seen 'em all.  Bill is a hard worker on the border recently, in a July 13th dispatch, pinned to his Twitter page he noted:  

BREAKING: One of the most massive single groups we have ever witnessed cross illegally at the border is crossing into Eagle Pass, TX right now. The line of people went so far into the trees it’s hard to get a count. Hundreds upon hundreds. Coyotes guiding them in water. @FoxNews

 

Frequently Asked Questions

One question that comes up a lot as we head into the 2028 Olympics, is which of the legacy outbound African American leaders of South Los Angeles is more or less corrupt.  

Ericka Smith had the column in the Los Angeles Times asserting that Mark Ridley-Thomas and Herbert J. Wesson had been put in a terrible position, and both are beloved, larger-than-life icons in a community that Smith may or may not actually live in, yet one thing is clear, it's tearing the community apart. 

It's important to remember when an embarrassing corruption scandal breaks out, the public are usually only exposed to tip of the iceberg.  I should say, the tip of the iceberg as posted by the gatekeepers at the Los Angeles Times.  

If you hear an activist or opinion writer carrying on about a particular subject over and over again (like say animal rights, or job order contracting) it's because they are trying to share the information with like-minded Angelenos (and the FBI) to better navigate the sea of corruption.  

The designated port traffic controller, in white pants with a large cup of coffee, that he never spills, is the Chief Legislative Analysts Avak Keohtian.    

He ought to get an Emmy. He's the star of Chart's Rule!

 

Make it happen, USTA! 

Here, it's in been in the seventies by the coast, triple digits in the high deserts, nineties in the valleys, and eighties in the mountains.

Terrific. The problem is it was 104 in London and 117 degrees in Portugal.  

The Boston Triathalon was postponed, so when those 'enthusiasts' take a break, you know you're in trouble. No disrespect to any iron men, women etc. 

Here's my  Mask Advisory (from opinion writer, not a doctor): If you are in an interior space with high-level viral dynamics you should wear a mask. There is a wide range of types to choose from.  

But should Angelenos be required to wear a mask? Being an anti-masker should be the default human position. Quite different than being an anti-vaxxer.  Which is also, apparently, a matter of personal medical choice. 

Novak Djokovic, inarguably one of the world's best tennis players who just played and won Wimbledon (once again) due to a vaccination requirement in New York, may lose out on the opportunity to play in the US Open coming to Queens on August 29, 2022 through September 11, 2022. 

John McEnroe called the idea of ​​excluding Djokovic from the Grand Slam crazy.   

"There is absolutely no reason at this stage of the pandemic not to allow Djokovic to play in the US Open 2022.  The US government and the USTA must work together to allow him to play. If unvaccinated American players can play, they must. You also allow Djokovic to play. He is one of the legends of this sport. Make it happen, USTA! " 

(Eric Preven is a longtime community activist and is a contributor to CityWatch. The opinions expressed by Eric Preven are solely his and not the opinions of CityWatch)