Mon, May

Buscaino Is Sailing On Your Dollars.


ERIC PREVEN’S NOTEBOOK - The USC chapter of the college Democrats endorsed Karen Bass but no response to inquiries made in London

as to whether the Invictus, USC Board Chair Rick Caruso's 216.5 foot yacht, has two Caterpillar Engines × 2,280hp and the fuel consumption at cruising speed is 450 liters per hour.  That's about 118 gallons or at $5/gallon, $600 an hour for gas.  

Kevin DeLeon had a full tank in his Homeless and Poverty Committee and was practically giddy, like a young boy in footy pajamas before a sleepover.  He was doing the thing where he excitedly over-emphasizes the Latina name in any sentence, infusing it with the power of the ... local tongue.    

Ms. Chinchilla, "is the most impressive candidate I've ever seen."  he said, emphasizing the chee in chinchilla... saying it like an instructor emphasizing each syllable. Chin-chee-ya. 

The appointment of Melissa Chinchilla to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority was not an outright love fest, but Mr. DeLeon called the Mayor's pick, "as impressive as anyone, I've seen, you know... that I've come across."   

He pronounced Ms. Chincilla's last name with a pointed vigor...  "a Ph.D. from MIT, MS from UCLA, and Berkeley, finest public institutions the country... Golden bears, two BAs one in mass communications and one in social welfare."  

His regular speech about how now is not the time for more studies, "no more reports, no more consultants, no more surveys" fell a little flat in the presence of a candidate with such impeccable academic pedigree.   

Even Councilmember Nithya Raman had a small giggle attack as Ms. Chinchilla revealed that she too, was a Dusper!  

DeLeon wondered, was that like "some kind of little species?"  

Ms. Raman got control of herself and explained that they had both graduated from the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT, hence the acronym, Dusper.   

She was quick to point out that she had just gotten a Masters while Chinchilla ...went all the way! 

Buscaino raised his virtual hand and clumsily came on to say that he would be abstaining from the vote to appoint Chinchilla to the LAHSA commission because he was simply disgusted, not with her, but with LAHSA.   

In the end, Buscaino did not abstain but rather left the meeting early.  

As the meeting pressed beyond two hours, even Mr. DeLeon was getting a little tired of hearing himself speak, so he  called up, Veronica McDonnell and Abigail R. Marquez, for the last item, number two.   

The way he said, Abigail's name by emphasizing the Spanish pronunciation was captivating (Ah-bee-guy-eel) and she seemed to like it.  

By making a mouthful out of various words, DeLeon celebrates language and culture, while applying a 'quasi-sloppy-pass' of camaraderie.  

DeLeon's enthusiasm for the 'solid ground' program was...  infectious.  Based on a New York homeless prevention system called, "home base," it aims to prevent, with emergency rental assistance money, help to relocate... and money for short term financial needs." 

By the end of the meeting, he'd promised these women that he was going to expand the program by more than double that he was beyond excited. They had done such a good job, that he was going to bring them back ... "at the front of the meeting next time," to talk about where to put all the new centers that he wants to fund.  

Everyone, including me, was blushing.  I thought I heard DeLeon say, "Anybody want to go jump on the big bed now?"

The virtual hands went up!  

Finally, one last request, Mo-nih-caaa," (emphasis on everything) ... "is your hand still raised?  



In the United States, film classification is a voluntary process with the ratings issued by the Motion Picture Association (MPA). It runs from G (general audiences) to PG 13 (parental guidance suggested) to NC 17 (no children under 17).  An unrated film is often informally denoted "NR" in newspapers and so forth.  

In the movie by Apple+, CODA (child of deaf adults), Ruby is the only hearing person in her home. When she discovers a passion for singing, she has to choose between her working-class family obligations and her dreams. The trailer for the CODA ought to be rated "HR" -- hanky required.    

I couldn't find that designation on Wikipedia, but I did find it kind of heartwarming how so many countries and governments all over the world have an instinct to label various types of potentially traumatic content with ... "guidance." 

From the "Teddy bear's head" affixed to content suitable for children younger than 12 years in Slovakia, to Thailand's rather direct and so refreshing category of "Banned" for films that are not to be screened publicly, the instinct to protect by telling people what content is appropriate is alive and kicking globally. Despite Meta, Google and Apple's resistance to becoming gatekeepers, labeling is zeitgeisty.  

I found the South African sub-descriptor program interesting but wished there were some vowels to make it easier to write jokes.

The FPB's rating descriptors
  • for sex.
  • for language.
  • for violence.
  • for prejudice.
  • for nudity.
  • for horror.
  • for substance abuse.
  • SV for sexual violence.  

Also, odd or not odd, how the P for prejudice seems to sit where, the R for racism might sit here.  Or would L cover that?    

Wait, what type of "Language" can be worrisome?  It's easy to see how fraught deciding what lanauge stays and what goes can be. 

And since we are STILL allowed to give limited critiques here in the USA, the South African version of PG 13, which is 10–12PG, in my humble opinion, leaves too much for parental judgment.   

And DO NOT get excited about the XX rating--it means, it simply means banned.  

In Ukraine, where 95% of the people speak the Russian language and where the residents have been experiencing a full-on invasion, that is unspeakably horrific, films can also be rejected by their central executive body of cinematography if they promote war, violence, cruelty, and fascism aimed at eliminating Ukraine's independence. 

  • Yes:  Film aimed for children. They contain no violence or obscenity.
  • For:  Suitable for all.
  • 12: Suitable for children aged 12 and older; those under 12 may be admitted if accompanied by an adult as parents may find upsetting to them.
  • 16: Not allowed for viewing by persons under 16 years of age.
  • 18: Not allowed for viewing by persons under 18 years of age. Additionally, "18" rated features may only be screened in theatres after 18:00, and they may be broadcast on television only after 22:00.
  • Denied: Refused a classification by the Derzhkino. Content may not be shown, advertised, or distributed anywhere in Ukraine.

In Russia,  the ratings on content appear inside red circles that look like stop signs, which indicate age restrictions followed by a plus(+), and appear on most TV and Internet programming in Russia.


Russian rating system
  • 0+– All ages are admitted.
  • 6+ (For children over 6 years) – Unsuitable for children under 6.
  • 12+ (For children over 12 years) – Unsuitable for children under 12.
  • 16+ (For children over 16 years) – Unsuitable for children under 16.
  • 18+ (Prohibited for children) – Prohibited for children under 18.
  • (Refused classification) – Banned. 

One way to protect our children and all global citizens would be to initiate a global ban on war.  

Outrageous?  No. 


Spiritual:  "HR"

The biblical text that inspired "Down by the Riverside" came from the book of the prophet, Isaiah [subscription not required.] 

The song first became popular during the American Civil War, then, had a renaissance during the Vietnam War, when it became an anthem of the anti-war movement. "Down by the Riverside," once rarely heard outside black churches, was suddenly being sung by the entire country and it seemed the world. 

I'm gonna lay down my sword and shield 

Down by the riverside 

Down by the riverside 

Down by the riverside 

I'm gonna lay down my sword and shield 

Down by the riverside 

Gonna study war no more.  

I ain't gonna study war no more, 

I ain't gonna study war no more, 

I ain't gonna study war no more, 

I ain't gonna study war no more.




Curren Price presided over a motion to reinvest $300,000 in LAPD Funds for Impacted Communities (Council file No. 20-0600-S83) by transferring it to the general fund for “Environmental Equity and Justice Fund-CD9” to be deployed as Bureau of Street Services overtime in Council District 9.   And though there were several liquor licenses pushed through in recent weeks, there was still plenty of "prohibition" on the agenda.  

Mainly having to do with parking. In CD12 and CD15 a strong set of "tow away, no parking" restrictions were approved and Monica Rodriguez had a lovely pair of her own--to establish oversize vehicle parking restrictions along with certain street segments in CD7. 

It's important to remember Mike Bonin, one of the great, if not unlikely, leaders of the "prohibition on parking" movement. 

Bonin, (born March 19, 1967) attended high school in Worcester County Massachusetts before going to Harvard.  He went on to become one of the most diligent obsessional council members in recent memory.   

One area of expertise was working with the Department of Transportation at wiring up great swaths of Los Angeles to prevent even the possibility of a wayward motorist parking on certain sections of the public roadway.   

A large team of scientists (one guy, named Felix) would draw up the plans and execute the paperwork necessary to start writing tickets.  

During public City Council meetings, like those on Wednesday and Friday this week, the people would be given one final look at the streets heading for closure, one last gasp... to object or thank the council for the government restriction.  

I was hoping to sarcastically thank Mike Bonin who advocates #DoNoHarm in front of the press and public, but when the rubber hit the road up in his Transportation committee and Mitchell Englander's Public Safety committee... I was planning to tell everyone, we would need a different headline.  

Back in the day, pre-Mitchell Englander indictment, the boys could dole out 50 to 55 smartboots a day.  On one day the CMs boasted that they'd applied 81 smart boots to vehicles.  That's a lot of high tech pain inflicted on people.  The two Pauls,  Koretz and Krekorian, were very attracted to this citation technology.  So simple, lucrative.   

With the vigor of Dr. Fauci promoting vaccination, Bonin helped pushed through 247 roadway closures often consisting of hundreds of spaces each during 2017, 2018, and six months of 2019.   That's 247 in 30 months or 8 per month or 2 per week.  

As an example, the Preferential Parking District (PPD) No. 276 in the Studio City Area once Council District Two, now Council District 4, is comprised of about 30 blocks. A block is defined as a street segment between two intersecting streets. Between 300 and 600 spaces. So if we take an average of 500 spaces x 247 restrictions*.  We're talking about approximately, 123,500 spaces verboten (forbidden).       

Bonin sweeping citywide campaign to limit every conceivable variety of parking.  Along with Avak Keohtian of the CLA's office, Bonin would agendize dozens and dozens and dozens of plans to prohibit the parking, stopping, standing of vehicles, or the parking of vehicles that are in excess of 22 feet in length or over 7 feet in height, or  no parking of vehicles advertising the private sale of those vehicles. No space would be left unturned.  

On both Friday and Wednesday this week, Council President Nury Martinez opted out of taking my comments (which is not shocking but actionable).   The headline, Council found more parking spaces to block off. 


Hand wrestling: 

Nate Holden, who is 92 and still lives in CD10 as a retired administrative law judge, came up as a possible replacement idea for Mark Ridley-Thomas who has been suspended from serving his constituents in CD10 while he battles back a federal corruption indictment.  Holden told the MRT camp that  "[Herb] Wesson, doesn’t appear to be eligible for the interim post, since he’s already served three terms." 

Holden is correct and could be sharp as a tack, but even though he's ready to jump in, how about we try to level the gender playing field in Los Angeles City Council and appoint a woman.  Like what's wrong with elevating the current CD10 chief of staff, Karly Katona, or another similarly situated resident.  

The recent road and pony show in City Council over the appointment of Kristin Crowley, a highly competent woman (effective March 26, when Chief Ralph Terrazas is scheduled to retire) to the post of Permanent Fire Chief of the Los Angeles Fire Department, eased some of the council's collective guilt over the department's dismal diversity numbers.   

 "You exemplify, some of the last remaining deficiencies... in the department,"  Mitchell O'farrell, Nury Matinez's sidekick said clumsily.  

Monica Rodriquez, whose father served as a consent decree firefighter back in the day, and who, as Chair of the public safety committee, has had to endure flatlining diversity numbers, was overjoyed, "Only 3.5% of the Fire department are women." 

 "Over 16000 applicants applied and Madame Chief Crowley, a young woman, scored in the top 50 on the admissions test."    

As for the love fest, Crowley aced it:  "Really, really smart."  "Very intelligent."  "A trailblazer... "   

Here's a thought from the people who were not invited to comment on Crowley's appointment: 

Only 3 of the 14 active council members are women (Nury Martinez, Nithya Raman & Monica Rodriguez). Nate Holden is definitely not too young and certainly not too old, but since he's eager to “hand wrestle anybody on council..." let's exercise a little affirmative action and appoint a woman to the tenth council district. 


The Devil has a pop up:

The wives of the Russian Oligarchs who are being hemmed in cannot survive without their Prada and Chanel.  

I read in Yasha Mounk's interview with journalist and editor, Yevgenia Albats,  "And we were told that we cannot say “war,” “invasion” and “offense,” with respect to the events in Ukraine. We can say it is a “special operation” of Russian troops to “demilitarize” and “de-Nazify” Ukraine.  

She also talked about the power of withdrawals from the wives of Russian billionaires.   Prada withdrawals. 

She said, "they cannot live without Chanel, Prada Louis Vuitton ... and you name it. No, they are going to torture their husbands...but they will make them bring back all of this luxury glossy life."  

Though I was by no means hobnobbing with the billionaires,  I once visited Stalin's Dacha in Sochi in the late 2000's, where I noted the high-backed sofa had been installed with a plate of steel to avoid unwanted assassination attempts in the living room.  

The Russians are good at expecting the worst but demand expensive luxury products. 


Floating Services:

I wonder if Caruso would consider a billionaire refugee pop-up on his yacht, the Invictus.  This would give both Russian and Ukrainian nationals, as well as Angelenos experiencing poverty and homelessness,  an opportunity to shop in the privacy of six spacious decks. 


The Invictus gives the impression of a 75m yacht, offering more space, more light, more luxury and more fun (and services)!   

Shoppers can shop all day with breakfast on the sun deck, order In n'Out  by the dip pool and a five-star gourmet sushi dinner for 22 shoppers on the owner's dining table.  

Caruso himself will not attend these pop-ups (obviously) because he's busy running for Mayor.  

The spacious Master Suite's private terrace, with six individually designed guest cabins - four doubles and two twins will be retrofitted to feature the most expensive global brands. 

An “Uber cool” Parisian-style nightclub and sky lounge with a bar on every deck, a bespoke Lalique bar on the owner's level and a piano in the high-ceilinged main salon, will keep shoppers' attention. 

The movie theatre - sponsorship oppty, ("Down Blumenfield") with stadium seating for 14, reclining armchairs and a huge screen will make shoppers never want to leave.  A spacious beach club and for those who need it--  

Staff will provide access to mental health services.


Ship to shore: 

Councilman Joe Buscaino has been in office for a decade and, during that time, used his officeholder account to take his family on several of his city-related trips. The LA Times found that Buscaino had spent nearly $65,000 from that account — which is funded from political contributions — taking his family to Hawaii, Italy, and other destinations.   

Concerns as to whether Buscaino may have taken a cruise on the Invictus, the superyacht identified as belonging to billionaire mayoral candidate Rick Caruso, have been rejected.   

The minimum budget for even a week on Caruso's modest 216.5-foot yacht is $75,000, which exceeds the entire decade of Buscaino's contributor-funded vacationing.  One ridiculous estimate of over $600,000 to rent the Invictus during the high summer season for a week has not been confirmed.  

Everything is negotiable in the world of super-luxurious yachts.  

I checked with the County's Beaches and Harbors department and as of March 7, Rick Caruso’s vessel, Invictus, "was not currently in Marina del Rey."   

The Sheriff's department chose not to answer questions raised about yachts connected to possible Russian Oligarchs. 

To refresh the memory, Olivia Jade Giannulli was reportedly spending spring break on the Invictus, owned by LA Based Oligarch, Rick Caruso, who ironically was chairman of the Board of Trustees at the University of Southern California, where the 19-year-old had been enrolled when her parents, “Full House” actress Lori Loughlin and fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, got caught issuing bribes to get her into USC.  

They've done most if not all of their time, and Olivia Jade left USC after a hearing in March 2019, unclear whether or not she was expelled. It was her parent's fault, but she was obviously in on it.  In the same way that Mark Ridley-Thomas was doing the no-good to help Sebastian get a good USC gig, but Sebastian had to have been aware.   Though, Ridley-Thomas likes far-fetched legal claims.  

Foot traffic on Caruso's INVICTUS has been up or down. The following inquiry transcript was intercepted by me: 


Invictus Communique Intercept:  

Francesca 12:00 Hi there! Are you looking to charter a yacht?  

Visitor 12:06 Hey, if it's 12 guests and 20 crew on the INVICTUS where do the crew sleep?   

Francesca 12:06 Hi there! I don’t have that information on hand. Are you looking to charter a yacht?   

Visitor 12:07 Possibly. Over summer in Europe. Not the whole summer obv   

Francesca 12:07 Great, can I ask who I'm speaking with today?   

Visitor 12:08 Eric Preven   

Francesca 12:09 Okay great. Can I please know if you are interested in chartering a motor or sailing yacht?  

Visitor 12:09 Motor.

Francesca 12:10 The smallest yacht length we consider for charter is 25m/ 80ft. Is there a specific charter yacht length that you're looking for?  

Visitor 12:10 Yes, how much should I imagine for a 216.5 ft charter rental for two weeks... in August?  

Francesca 12:11 The smallest budget we consider is EUR 40,000 for 3 days and EUR 70,000 for a week.  Would you still like to go ahead with your inquiry?   

Visitor 12:11 Yeah, but two weeks... would be over $150,000.  I'm nervous about 20 crew, where do they go? Do they fold up?  

Francesca 12:20 I don’t have that information to hand. The smallest yacht length we consider for charter is 25m/ 80ft. Is there a specific charter yacht length that you're looking for?   

Visitor 12:20 It's not about the length for me, but rather the capacity 12 is restrictive...It's  216.5 footer.  Sergei Brin’s Dragonfly yacht is just 240 feet.  I was kind of hoping to get the entire 14 person city council to go on a mayoral retreat. If we could fill the 20 crew slots with staff familiar with cooking, cleaning, and Yacht operations, then each council member could bring one such staff member (28), plus the City Attorney and City Clerk (2).  

I guess the last two seats could be for the CD10 vacancy.  Each and every district should be afforded the opportunity to go... yachting.  

I propose Karly Katona and Alvinette Strong, who has worked tirelessly for CD10 since before Herb Wesson put in the bank teller's glass the downtown office. Pre-rat! 

(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)