Thu, Jun

Come Together People, We Can't Study Our Way Out of This


ERIC PREVEN'S NOTEBOOK - Nearly 15 years ago Peter Guber wrote for Harvard Business Review “Make the ‘I’ in your story become ‘we,’ so the whole tribe or community can come together and unite behind your experience and the idea it embodies.” 

He goes on to illuminate in the piece how he essentially bribed Fidel Castro into allowing him to film in the Havana harbor.  

Kevin De León, who is running for mayor of Los Angeles, said "1,383 people have died on county streets, no more studies, no more reports, no more commissions.  We know what to do. Interim is not panacea, but needed. Not acceptable to allow them to die on the street.  A room of your own.  We can't study our way out of this..." 

Bob Blumenfield who graciously allowed DeLeon to sleep one of his west valley tiny homes recently, said that Mister Ridley-Thomas was a giant in the area of homelessness, and we would never be able to fill his shoes, but would try to put a roof over someone's head, "just not on a park bench." 

It was an awkward beat. 

One wondered if it had to do with "Outfront Media" the billboard and street furniture goliath who Blumenfield enjoys grappling with as we roll out modern update$. 

Lawsuit idea: Outfront sues the City of Los Angeles for excessive unhoused people blocking ads on bus benches, loss of revenue! 


Seeing is not always believing:

A piece by Sixty Minutes showed how deepfakes can be used maliciously in many different contexts. From a disinformation perspective, deepfakery could really become a game-changer.  

The FBI put out a notification warning that "Russian [and] Chinese… actors are using synthetic profile images" — creating deepfake journalists and media personalities to spread anti-American propaganda on social media.   

This could be potentially disruptive, if creators of deepfakes have the power to make people including councilmembers say or do anything, at least on our screens. 

All media organizations in China are strictly controlled by the country's propaganda authorities. Could the recent disappearance and reappearance of Peng Shuai be an interesting test case? 

Like, for instance, the recent footage of her signing those enormous tennis balls for students.  

Could that be a political fake?   

Peng's well-being is a huge deal for the IOC.  The head of WTA immediately went on the record stating that he was willing to take a huge loss to support Peng.   

He said, "When you factor in the commitment to prize money and the commitments to the WTA, and you factor in the stadium build and real-estate elements, it's over a $1 billion dollar commitment they have made to the WTA Finals and the WTA."  

You go girl!  


My name is: 

 “Sometimes you just feel tired, you feel weak…you just want to give up. But you gotta search within you,” Eminem sings, before the song’s first verse. “You gotta find that inner strength and just pull that shit out of you.” The song’s hook comes around:  

“Til the roof comes off, till the lights go out / ‘til my legs give out, can’t shut my mouth  

‘Til the smoke clears out, and my high perhaps / I’m-a rip this shit, ‘til my bones collapse”  

Eminem is such a talent.  

Mayor Garcetti told the Times recently, " “Every other city is an apple and we’re an orange,”  

He was bragging about the Olympics,  “We have our venues built.”   

And we also have a "shovel ready, hero pay eligible" Gay sex scandal in our mayor's office.   

The Garza trial is inching forward.  So, it's fair to say we are definitely ... not nowhere. 

Last week the IOC praised LA28 for its astute commercial success "having signed a multitude of high-level domestic sponsors and licensing agreements to date, the organizing committee has a solid financial base to deliver the Games.”    

That bumped me a bit because I thought the financial particulars were being held off until 2025.  

The contract with IOC includes a provision vowing to work with community advocates and establish a policy that would “compassionately and responsibly protect the rights of local unhoused communities.”   That's a red flag. 

The proposed contract also promises to "address environmental sustainability and create programs for local hiring and for helping small businesses procure Olympics-related contracts."  Yeah, right.   

There are also provisions for making “affordable” tickets available to underserved communities, though the mechanism for this provision is still not clear.  And there is that pesky problem of the $98 to park a car at Sofi! Go Rams, Go Chargers! 

Organizers are quixotically praying for a repeat of the 1984 Games, during which traffic surprisingly improved because many residents cut out, businesses shifted to flexible work hours and truck deliveries were scheduled at night.   Quaint and FYI, we have a severe shortage of truck drivers and a horrible staffing shortage.  

The insurance provision in the agreement would require coverage against “natural disasters, communicable diseases, terrorism, civil unrest, cyberattacks, event cancellation and coverage for reduced ticket sales and other revenue sources should the events become less appealing.”   Since the COVID-19 pandemic, this type of insurance has become more expensive so LA28 plans to wait for rates to stabilize over the next few years. Ok, but if there's an earthquake before the 2025 price check is worked out... are we facing a fiasco?  

Casey Wasserman, who inked the multitude of high-level domestic sponsors and licensing agreements said, “If all we do is deliver a great competition for 17 days, we will have missed our opportunity to do something really special for the community.” 

Go on... 


Papal Journalism: 

I've always joked, that as a reporter covering local officials, the moment you agree to attend the proverbial Christmas party, you've lost your edge and should resign in shame.  

Robert Novak of CNN interviewed the syndicated columnist and beloved humorist Art Buchwald who explained why. 

NOVAK:  We've already had the Christmas party this year, but for next year would you like me to ask the White House to put you on the list? 

BUCHWALD: I don't think so. I'm doing well without it. I'm going to see a lot of people there that I'll just attack. 

NOVAK: You would attack members of the... 

BUCHWALD: No, I'm kidding. I'm kidding. 

NOVAK: Arthur, thank you very much. Happy holidays to you. 

But if Pope Francis offers you a holy blessing, and your a journalist, it's hard not to be receptive. 

Watching David Goldstein of CBS Investigations preening among the dignitaries/indictees shortly after he reversed course on a story that wound up in the LA Times and on KFI shaming the city about it's rodent program, was solid gold. 

The office of Herbert J. Wesson and his wing man Deron Williams were so proud of David and what the whole CBS family has accomplished.    

With journalists who are eased down into submission it becomes easier for politicians and corporations to get away with lying to voters and enriching themselves at the public expense. The Pope made a few points in front of his Vatican homeys. 

"Journalism does not come about by choosing a profession, but by embarking on a mission, a little like a doctor, who studies and works so that the evil in the world may be healed.  Your mission is to explain the world, to make it less obscure, to make those who live in it less afraid of it and look at others with greater awareness, and also with more confidence." 

 "It is not an easy mission. It is complicated to think, to meditate, to study more deeply, to stop and collect ideas and to study the contexts and precedents of a piece of news."  He called good journalism a mission: listen, investigate and report...  


Eric Preven Point of order. Uh, your majesty... er papal wonder... Sir?  Respectfully, don't forget the fourth pillar of the fourth estate?  

Pope:  Mr. Preven, Public comment is closed.  

Eric Preven:  Spin! 



Who wants to be the homelessness beat reporter?   What a grim assignment.   

Or County jails... "anyone?" 

Gale Holland has done a terrific job... and many great writers cover subjects because they have knowledge and background and expertise. 

It was a nice angle for Supervisor Janice Hahn following last week's metro meeting, announcing that she will be forcing the LASD to respect the vax mandate.  The Sheriff who says he supports the vaccination but not the mandate, has decided to withdraw from Civilian Oversight Commission meetings until the Board apologizes for insulting his department.   He wrote a three page letter.  

One guy, Joe Maizlish, has covered the No More Jails beat at the LA County Board of Supervisors for decades.  He's not with the LA Times, but rather a member of the public - activism division.  

Whenever Joe would speak to the Board, which was frequently but not every time, he would introduce himself as a marriage and family counselor. 

Joe worked with groups in extreme conflict and trauma and devoted many hours that I know of personally working with me, and the Board of Supervisors, who have had various "issues" over the years.   

He could do a lot to improve the Sheriff and the Board's relations if they would allow him in there. 

Joe was there the day the Board of Supervisors threw the public out of the room after a coordinated No More Jails disturbance.  He was there in the sixties after being incarcerated for what sounded like Viet Nam related protest activity... 

It was a long road to where we met, standing in the bullpen ready to activate the Board of Supervisors against standing by...  

I became particularly focused on derailing a plan to send women who had been incarcerated to Lancaster where the risk of contracting  and getting very sick from Valley Fever was significantly greater for women, african american women, Fililpino women.  

Joe rarely lost his cool. He was mostly reasoned, measured, and modest.  A magnificent sense of calm.    

But not weakness, resolve... fortitude.  He would never go away without telling you why he'd come.   He lingers like your conscience

Joe  made me a better, more reasonable person. 

With Joe in mind, you can muster the strength of Mahatma Ghandi.   

Joe has a fight ahead of him, because he has not one, but two nasty cancers. 

There is no turning back, obviously, but call a brother before it's too late.   


Reasonably feasible is not acceptable:

The department of neighborhood empowerment is obsessed with multiple languages but need to brush up on their basic California open meeting law.  It starts at the top.  

Michael Feuer Deposition: Quote:  "  " 

The SCNC wanted to have a special meeting to show their displeasure with the new redistricting maps that were released late. 

Randall Fried, the top district office apparatchik and President of the NC was furious, that after nearly two years of sucking up to Paul Krekorian, he might have to shift his attention to Nithya Raman.    

Since Fried has surrounded himself with powerwashers from the flats, he was hopping mad at this unforeseen shift.   

At 1:16pm he pushed the button on an agenda for a very Special Meeting the following day at 1:30pm but sent it everywhere but to the public who have signed up for such notifications, myself included.  

One reason to wait, is so that a President or delegated communicator has enough time to create a coherent communication, but communications are not time specific.  Agendas are on a very specific clock. 

Delaying a legally required public notification in order to have more time to work on one's poem is never ok, according to an expert on special meetings in California, and CityWatch Editors.  

November 7, at 5:18pm  The City's early notification system acknowledged the agenda and posted it on ENS. 

November 7, at 8:08pm  Finally, the document was emailed out LATE]  ** Violation** 

The 24 hour rule is not murky.


Eric Preven:   Nov. 8  - So, 16 hrs and 8 minutes is the new 24hrs? I suggest you cancel the meeting and resign. 

Please provide a copy of the rule the NC relied upon to justify the illegal meeting.  

The group goes ahead and meets on November 8, at 1:30pm


Special Meeting Violation 

Nov. 9 The City Attorney's Office responds that it has no responsive documents to a request for the rule.  

Eric Preven: Nov 9. Thank you Fauble. Stand by for a fusillade of confusing  finger pointing …

Nov 10 Gibson Nyambura of the department writes, "The agenda was posted correctly in accordance with the Board of Neighborhood Commissioners posting policy."


Eric Preven: Nov 10  "Thank you for the dismissive tone, Gibson.  The Council President of SCNC cited something different than the Board of Neighborhood Commissioners posting policy.  Please provide a copy of the policy that you are referring to, immediately." 

Nov 12 Please find attached is the BONC agenda posting policy. 


Eric Preven:   Nov 12  As soon as feasible, but no later than the next BONC meeting, please agendize and revise the rules so that all of the 98 Neighborhood Councils will be able to comply with the  72 and 24 hour meeting notice rules, without getting lost in the draconian and illegal procedures attached. The Board of Neighborhood Commissioners does have the authority to make policies but if those policies, like the policies highlighted below are contrary to the open meeting law, they must be struck down.   Ask Mr. Michaelson ($95k)  or  Mr. Fauble who believes that he as the counsel for the council decides relevance for the public, whom he always refers to as.... "speaker."  As any fool, myself included, can easily see that the eblast and posting requirements must BOTH adhere to the Brown Act time limits.   Thank you, Speaker. 


Gibson Nyambura: Nov 17 I am further responding to various emails sent from November 7 through November 12. Initially, you were concerned about Studio City NC’s email distribution of its agenda, and you are now inquiring about the Board of Neighborhood Commissioners’ agenda posting policy. Please note that the Brown Act does not require that legislative bodies, such as neighborhood councils with uncompensated members, post their meeting agendas on websites or email agendas.  Cal. Gov. Code section 54954.2(d) The Department’s website may be a helpful resource because it explains the difference between the Brown Act and the Board of Neighborhood Commissioners’ policy:  Here’s the website page. 

Eric Preven: Nov 17  Thank you. Why didn't Mr. Fried, if that's who violated the public's trust... this time, simply eblast the agenda to the NC eblast list prior to 1:30pm on Sunday, November 7?  City Response: __________________  Because he didn't feel he had to?  Are SCNC and BONC rules authorizing NC members to "do less" and move forward without respect to the notification timetables that apply to everyone in California?  Not familiar with the Brown Act lite...  We, and I speak for over 36,000 registered voters strive to be better than that... respectfully.  Nothing has been resolved.  I urge you to get Lippman to change the BONC policy without further delay. 

BONC Response: ___________


Stash at Ventura and Whitsett:

Politics is like gov't and religion and at the Sportsmen's lodge, there were Bat mitzvahs, poliitical fundraisers and fan club dinners, gatherings... galore.  

It was all inclusive...with beautiful trees and little ponds with fish. The Cultural Heritage designation written by Ken Bernstein for Sportsmen's  did not include enough information on the rubber chicken dinner, where so much of City politics was and is and will be done.  

Clink glass:  Thanks to Lisa Karadjian and Paul Krekorian for NOT Widening Ventura as promised and for allowing the monstrosity on Sunswept at the Weddington chokepoint, to be pushed through and placed into Nithya Raman's problem basket.  

Thanks to Paul Krekorian for the Transit Occupancy Tax waivers, the Firesale on the Firehouse to Richard Weintraub and his mother, Roberta Weintraub and Wendy Greuel.  All the related companies.  

We'll miss you all and Karo... also,  the aisles at the Erewhon are going to need to be widened. 


Everywhere is Nowhere:

Michael Richards had a vision... and we all tried to assist with it.  

After he forced me to film him as we went through customs to fly over on Etihad, and throughout the Abu Dhabi airport and Formula One track, where we met my friends for a lovely midnight meal, al fresco.   

He was totally charming but was insisting on being filmed as we emerged from customs into India by a crew who were not authorized to do so, and I was getting a little anxious.   

I begged him to let us set up in a place where it was ... "not forbidden, not illegal."  (nervous laugh). 

He was having none of it, and I convinced the crew on my cellphone with the UPM to just act like tourists.   

They jumped right in the boat and then our skipper came about, hard to the lee... into something sort of like madness.  

We tried to put some material in the can before sundown but since Michael had been vague about what specifically he wanted to do, we were struggling to help him. 

At the end of day one,  he went up to his hotel room after a minor explosion. I agreed with the crew who had suggested showing him some choices of locations early in the morning, to save time... improve happiness.   

I thought, "Wait, let me check with him, first."  but there was no answer in his room. 

The ADs and I agreed to do the limited preparatory work (take a few pictures)  but "slow walk it" in case he felt threatened. 

The next morning he marched down into the Lobby right on time in his bizarre but attractive costume.   He looked like ... Kramer, frankly.  

As we drove off into the subcontinent, I tee'd up what the helpful Indian crew had done... "they put together some choices for you to choose from."   He flipped through the folders, quietly... deliberately. 

"Who did this?" he said cooly. 

I told him, "the crew."  

"Does the crew want to direct?" he said.


(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)