Fri, Jun

Spin it: Homelessness crisis OVER!


Drought Dogs:  The dogs, a large black lab named Montana and a medium sized tan mutt named Winston, make several sorties a day up to the top of the hill behind our house at full speed; they never catch anything.

Seasonally, squirrels (and other rodentia) head for the hills and make a great autumnal mess fleecing the trees of nuts and digging holes in the land around the old modern house designed by Schindler in 1946.  

 It's a rare throwback among mostly redone McMansions that feature scary lighting at night and 17 camera coverage. 

These dogs have been working on a screenplay.    

Angle on:  Drone-shot: as six majestic Condors veer to the south of Burbank Airport coughing and sneezing.  

A worrisome fire in the San Gabriel valley have driven the condors to the hazy San Fernando Valley, or if you prefer, the Xaxaamonga village spreading grounds by Equinox. 

The large birds, configured as a multigenerational family; think Little Miss Sunshine, descend into the smokey hillside above Studio City, disrupting the sensitive habitat (and pay to play racket) over Laurel Canyon.  

The squirrels, that the aforementioned domesticated dogs chase are also emigres from various fire and flood ravaged areas. 

The screenplay plot follows the ordinary mutt, as he is adopted by the family who buy and restore the Schindler house.  He falls for a scrappy young coyote.  

As in all Pixar films, there's a star turn for a climate yenta and an electric fence... music (with any luck) by Olivia Rodrigo.


Spin it: Homelessness crisis OVER!

Great news, Mike Feuer, a candidate for mayor told the LA Times that he was ready to settle the Alliance Lawsuit or at least "open to settling with the plaintiffs" under the right conditions. 

This comes on news that the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals panel vacated an order issued by Judge David Carter in April that set out a swift timeline for the city and county to shelter people in Skid Row, as well as to put $1 billion into escrow. 

Hilda Solis, chair of the County Board of Supervisors, declined to comment about the 9th Circuit order.  But Skip Miller outside counsel for Los Angeles County on the case -- who must be doing very well, but the county can't find his invoices --  said that though the county appreciated Carter’s efforts to help unhoused people, it applauded Thursday’s decision.  “We are grateful the 9th Circuit has ruled in our favor by vacating the district court’s sweeping injunction based on an abuse of judicial discretion,”  

“Nevertheless," Miller mused, "the county will continue with its massive efforts to address homelessness as it has all along.”   

Apparently local officials had been complaining quietly to The LA Times over the last few months that Carter’s hearings, which often stretched for hours with little conclusive resolution, were ponderous and his remedies to the crisis were counterproductive.  

Also, true, local residents have been complaining to the Times about the biased and inadequate coverage of both the county and city's counterproductive and draconian assaults on public comment and so civic engagement in Los Angeles. 

Kevin De León, who was one of Alex Villanueva's biggest and most important supporters said the Ninth Circuit ruling does not “change anything for unhoused Angelenos struggling to survive on our streets. They’re still victims of a litigation merry-go-round that does nothing to put a roof over their heads." 

The mayor, Eric Garcetti, who was left out entirely of the big meeting between President Joe Biden and Narendra Modi this week, was pleased to see the right decision on Alliance, “Now we can continue moving forward with our strategic, comprehensive plan to confront homelessness."  Spit take.  

All aboard the litigation merry-go-round.


Insurance for teenagers: spikes

In the U.S., when two parents add a 16-year-old teen to their full coverage auto insurance policy in 2021, their premium would increase by $2,531 annually on average.  

This brings their total annual premium to $4,156 per year, according to Bankrate’s analysis of rate data obtained from Quadrant Information Services in more than 6,800 ZIP codes in major U.S. metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs).  

In Los Angeles, a similar auto policy costs $7,026 per year, 164% higher than the standard average L.A. rate for the same couple of $2,655.  Parents adding a teen driver to their policy in Los Angeles pay an average increase of around $4,000 more per year.  

And these rates do not include adding an additional vehicle to your policy for your teen to drive, which is even more expensive. 

Buckle up!


Only thing worse than a lawbreaker is a lawmaker:

While various big dogs are once again fixing their hair to jump in to the mayoral race, Mitchell O'Farrell, who was very likely manning the the excessive contribution dunk tank at the California League of Cities meeting last week in Sacramento, is being tapped to replace Councilman and 2022 mayoral candidate Joe Buscaino as the Council President's first sidekick, President Pro Tempore.  


Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez introduced the motion which is item 30 on Tuesday September 28, 2021.  

Buscaino, who was evidently hoping for a different result said in a written statement that he "... will be supporting my good friend Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson to replace me.”   It was not clear if Mr. Harris-Dawson or who might assume third banana duties.   The post has been vacant for almost a year. 

Regardless, it's all about enhancing public trust, ethics, and community involvement.  Spit take encore!


Brown Act flexibility: 

On September 16, 2021, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law AB 361 (Chapter 165, Statutes of 2021), enabling local public agencies to continue to use teleconferencing without complying with certain Brown Act provisions.  

Then on September 20, 2021, Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-15-21, delaying the full application of AB 361 (which would typically be effective immediately, as urgency legislation) until 11:59 pm October 1, 2021.  

These moves are the latest in a series of adjustments made to Brown Act rules for teleconference since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The legislative body need not provide a physical location for the public to attend or provide comments. Still, one local resident wants to keep an eye on the 'tools' downtown. 


From: ERIC PREVEN <[email protected]

To: [email protected] 

Cc: [email protected]; <[email protected]>; <[email protected]

Sent: Sat, Sep 25, 2021 2:40 pm 

Subject: Access to City Council meetings - in person    

Please make plans for the public to be admitted to regular and special public meetings as of Tuesday or we will seek an embarrassing judicial remedy.   The public has to be admitted to the room in which the legislative body meets In order to effectively monitor the instruments.  Kindly confirm by Monday 10:00am that admittance to city meetings will be granted to members of the public.  As a courtesy, speaking for myself, I am happy show proof of vaccination.  

Regards,  Eric Preven


Local agencies should review their continuing obligations under the Brown Act with their own legal counsel. 

The League of California Cities in general take the position that public comment requirements can hinder cities’ ability to hold practical, transparent, and accessible meetings.  

Some years ago, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a favorable ruling in Bezis v. City of Livermore, in which Cal Cities filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of the City.   The ruling affirmed that the city council meeting at issue in the case was a limited public forum, and therefore the Livermore city council members were empowered to interrupt a speaker to remind them to limit remarks to the agenda topic at hand without violating the First Amendment.   

Members of the public in Los Angeles frequently disagree with the Ninth Circuit and request that council members in Los Angeles sit quietly until a speaker has completed their timed remarks, respecting the First Amendment. 

Members of the public also, have serious questions about a new law surrounding alleged unruly behavior in which police officers can issue citations for singing without authorization or sitting on the floor of a building, according to a presentation on the ordinance by Chief Assistant City Attorney David Michaelson.   

Michaelson and Paul Krekorian who routinely write bad sneaky laws that are struck down, are adamantly opposed to AB 339 (Lee), which requires certain jurisdictions (over 250,000) to provide in-person and teleconference options for the public to participate in meetings.  

It passed, but the League of California Cities has stated that AB 339 undercuts the safety-oriented provisions of AB 361 and could have negative impacts for local agency workers.  They're urging the Governor to veto the bill by October 10 or it will become law. 

In Los Angeles County, the board canceled it's closed session last week without proper notice or explanation.  We'll survive, but what a shameful group of progressive icons.  

In Orange County, the district attorney’s office weighed in on the matter of a closed session meeting held on June 29 by the Laguna Beach City Council.  

To avoid further action being taken by the district attorney’s office, the Laguna council will have to record its closed session meetings for a period of six months and keep those recordings for a year.   

The recommended actions also state that meeting agendas should be accurate and provide proper notice of discussion topics. 

One has to wonder why the Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon continues to ignore our pleas for Brown Act compliance. 


Cleaning up the mess:

Single Use water bottles are a go-to subject matter for Council member Paul Krekorian, who was a Sparkletts MVP in late twenty-teens,  and lectures regularly on  DWP sustainability.  

The City Council has already taken so many actions to curtail plastic waste, including removing single-use plastic water bottles from our airports, it was no surprise that to see a bit of self-congratulations in Krekorian's official newsletter.   

Beginning this autumn, he boasted,  the city will be barring larger restaurants from automatically including plastic foodware utensils in takeout or delivery orders unless the customer specifically requests them.  But these dedicated professional lawmakers won't stop there. 

Though fossil fuel activism came to Paul Krekorian long after Koretz started kvetching about it, back in 2020, Krekorian was too worried about the cost of litigation.  He recently turned on a dime to join the throngs of climate activists with one eye on the people's best interests and both eyes on a return for his investors.  

It was Councilman Krekorian who splashed cold water “Any buffer zone ordinance [to keep oil wells away from residents] enacted by the city will likely result in litigation," he objected in November 2020. 

 “I do not want to be the one that has to approve a settlement with oil companies, where we take general fund money that would otherwise be spent on services in front-line communities in the city of Los Angeles,”  Litigation Money v. Public Health  -- “The last thing we want to do is subsidize oil companies with public money,” Krekorian said. 

On September 14, 2021 Krekorian was the lead author on a silly little letter signed by six of his Council colleagues to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors asking that body to "create a plan for a swift, managed phase out of all fossil fuel production in Los Angeles County."   

Bravery is important.



Shelly Ross a Network TV news producer published a commentary in the New York Times about a particularly offensive ass-grab in an upper west side restaurant  in 2006 by CNN's Chris Cuomo. It was her ass he grabbed, and it was in front of her husband.  

Merriam Webster's says "Badass" may be defined, as an adjective, in two different ways: “ready to cause or get into trouble; mean,” and “of formidable strength or skill.”   

As a noun the semantic content is somewhat narrower: “a person who is badass.” For those who are interested in the noun referring to the "the state or condition of being a badass" rather than to the person themself, the proper word is badassery. 


Short-term Incumbent Helpers:

Jinny Pak, the Election Division Manager for the Office of the City Clerk of Los Angeles makes $88.69 / hour for signature checking.   

Sheesh, maybe take a break.  

Most of the other signature checkers are short-term staff specifically hired to check signatures, but they earn quite a lot of money, which raises questions as to why they get increases and why an elite group return year after year to do the careful work of invalidating signatures from petitions submitted by challengers.   

Here is the public record response from the city re:  "signature checkers" ...  

And below is a glance at the "A" team and their rough earnings.  

Elsa Ibarra in 2019                 $24,000 CHIEF ELECTION CLERK

Howard Jones in 2019           $4,000  ELECTION ASSISTANT III

Jeremy Mijares in 2019          $15,000 Senior Election Clerk in 2014 / ELECTION ASSISTANT IV

William Carson in 2019          $12,000  ELECTION ASSISTANT III

Rolen Romanes in 2019         $10,000 ELECTION ASSISTANT III

Alrfred Uceda in 2019             $12,000  ELECTION ASSISTANT IV

Maria Esquivel in 2019            $30,000 ELECTION ASSISTANT IV

Zapata Bellaneth in 2019        $14,000  ELECTION ASSISTANT IV

Maria Rivas in 2019                $64,904  SENIOR CLERK 

Maribel Khan in 2020              $57,011   ELECTION ASSISTANT IV, ELECTION ASSISTANT II

Carlos Montejano  in 2020      $75,852   ELECTION ASSISTANT III 

Aram Hacobian in 2017          $3,435.75


(Eric Preven is a longtime community activist and is a contributor to CityWatch.)

The views expressed and content submitted do not necessarily reflect those of CityWatch or CityWatch writers.