The New Norm?


ERIC PREVEN’S NOTEBOOK - The Golden State Warriors head coach dunked it after the Texas elementary school massacre reminding that some 90% of Americans support universal background checks.

And Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, the US representative from Queens, mused on twitter, "Why even be in Congress if you don't believe in doing your job."     

The scourge of gun violence arises from a blending of a devious cultural defect with the venality of "elected office." 

The word 'venality', for the scholars, used to refer to the French Crown selling its judicial offices to raise money and arose as a product of a debate that reportedly gathered strength in the second half of the sixteenth century.  Back then, a lot of plebes found the monarchy's practices utterly abhorrent.  

High five. 

Representative Ocasio-Cortez went at her colleagues hard, "Just quit and let someone who actually gives a damn do it instead of acting like a useless piece of furniture when babies are shot with AR15s that we let teen boys impulse buy before they can legally have a beer." 

Council President Nury Martinez said, "None of us should be numb. Their babies are not coming home." 

Agua Caliente:

California has experienced the driest first three months of the year on record, and drought is worsening throughout the West,” said California Secretary for Natural Resources Wade Crowfoot.  

Secretary Crowfoot was assisting the lame-duck Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti as he tries to purify the increasingly murky water he's hoping to be baptized in by the Senate.  

Garcetti boasted that Angelenos, "have saved over 200 billion gallons of water" since he took office in 2013.  That's enough water to fill the LA Coliseum over 900 times, and nearly double the amount of water LADWP uses en toto per year.  

It may not be enough.  Though you can bet the mayor has the support of a community of people who are united in their love for pure products that protect the health of people and our planet. 

The Mayor, who is widely regarded as the City's Top cheerleader and possible health product spokes guy, gave Los Angelenos the impression that we're doing pretty well when it comes to conserving water. 

If we are honest...  "Sir, you're disrupting the meeting." 

LADWP has already invested hundreds of millions in its washers and toilets rebates and is continuing to look for ways to expand those programs. CPRA request:  How many hundreds of millions?   

Also, how many of those rebates went to people from Silver Lake and Studio City versus Pacoima and South Los Angeles?   

This came up on Wednesday when Marty Adams came down to council with a couple of sidekicks from LADWP to provide a solid update on a) how great the department is (mired in scandal) and b) how bad the drought is (not his fault).   

Spoiler: The drought is quite bad.   

Over the past decade, LADWP’s turf replacement program that was briefly mired in scandal. [See Turf Terminator - David Goldstein #CBSLA ] helped Angelenos replace over 51.1 million square feet of turf, which equates to enough water savings to supply 27,500 homes per year.   

So if we kept that rate, 27,500 homes per year, we could feed water to approximately 192,000 homes over the next seven years.  Confusing! 

We're saving water? 

But don't we have a huge housing shortage and what about the water for those new homes?  "Sir, you're disrupting the meeting." 

Garcetti told the Los Angeles Business Council summit in April that “We voted through something that will now set an honest number of 457,000 units of housing [needed] in the City of L.A.”  

To put that number in perspective the mayor said, “if we were still building the same number, and permitting the same number of housing units per year" as when he started (in 2013), it will take approximately 60 years to get there."   Sixty years out is 2082.  

So, the message is loud and clear, let's do it in seven years, by 2029.  



On the day after mayor Harry Sidhu resigned amid an FBI investigation into the so-called “cabal” that runs the city of Anaheim, the public attended a packed chamber -- without masks -- to express to the City Council their disapproval of the Angel Stadium land sale.  

At the start of the meeting, when Sidhu’s formal resignation as mayor was announced, the audience broke into raucous applause. 

Anaheim City Councilman Jose Moreno, who was the only councilman to oppose the deal consistently, took a standing ovation.  He said Anaheim has been experiencing a "pandemic of corruption"  and called the stadium deal “the fruit of a poisoned tree."   

Of the 39 speakers that addressed the council during the public comment period, not one speaker spoke in favor of proceeding with the deal.  One used part of his allotted speaking time to lead the audience in a chant of “Ditch the deal!” 

A local real estate broker at Tuesday's meeting in Anaheim told the newspaper "land values in the area have risen as high as $7 million per acre; the city’s cash price in the Angels deal was about $1 million per acre."   

Several speakers said the first order of business should be a new appraisal.  

Audience members waved placards calling for the deal to be canceled, the city to be audited, and certain council members to resign.     

Sounds familiar. 

Los Angeles city codes outline a process for selling unused property, including obtaining an appraisal. The city does not always explain why it decides to sell a property through a direct sale, rather than by auction.  

Tree Tip:

While tree roots typically extend out as far as the tree is tall, the critical watering zone is a distance out of about 2/3’s the overall height.  As an example, if a tree is roughly 12 feet tall, the watering should be done within 9 feet of the trunk.   

The water should be placed right in the soil. One idea is to wrap a hose around the base of the tree at least 1 to 2 feet from the trunk. Set the water to "trickle" for several hours, once a week.  This will help your trees get through the summer drought.  A trickle is more than a drip but less than a gurgle.   

100% increase 

Wednesday the City Council increased public participation by 100%.  Arnold Sachs, who attended Friday's meeting, solo, was joined by one additional speaker, raising the number of speakers up to two. Well done. 

As Staffer B John Lee, the Council Member from District 12 tapped the mic, to deliver the message that had been delivered seven times by smoking Joe Buscaino in prior meetings, that it was time... 

When is enough enough? 

He wants to quit declaring that the city is in a state of emergency (covid style, he does want a homeless emergency, I believe, check with Caruso), and behaving like no other city in the nation.  "We have already welcomed the public back…to these (stately) chambers."  "The Dodger!" Mr. Lee cried. 

"We have to be critical about what we are trying to accomplish… we're impacting lives.  "At least," he said, "we should require proof" of impact to show these landlords.  

Lee said, he was urging a "no" vote, presumably for all the mom and pops, "The problem is getting worse."   

He begged his colleagues to “start to have the conversation” so people are protected and unintended actions don’t make things worse.   

Buscaino "ditto'd" Mr. Lee's remarks and disclosure, Mr. Lee was slurring his speech on KNX 97.1 recently.  Not an allegation, just an observation.  The emergency endures. 

Great news:

The City Council wanted to convey to the public that despite the bad news, the City is doing everything in its (water and) power to combat the drought... except posting all of the candidates' water scores, as requested in last week's column.  

Mitchell O'Farrell, who sermonizes two or three times a week, in the Temple of Hypocrisy reminded the public that the indigenous… believe that water is life.  

O'Farrell, who is widely regarded as the 2nd most perky city cheerleader, told Mr. Adams, as there were no public in the gallery, that cemeteries, like Forest Lawn, are using 98% recycled water, 

He briefly touched on a prior sermon about the sacred duty of stewardship but did not broach his plans to rapidly expand the youth diving program to fund Recs and Parks sufficiently to go after dogs alleged to have violated the leash laws.  

But Marty Adams was very clear.  Fields, where humans and animals play, are exempt from the harsher requirements.  Personal lawns are a no-no, and watering times are limited, and cover your pools. 

O'Farrell effusively thanked the mayor, Council President Martinez, and the LADWP for the 1000s of acre-feet of water.  Nobody quite understood, but he sounded smart.  

The ensuing motion for the Metropolitan Water District and Department of Water and Power to produce regional options to conserve and invest was a hit. 

If a member of the public had been in attendance at this point, they might have quipped, "Invest? In what, sports gambling!" 

Even the council who had scheduled the meeting was getting tired of Mr. Adams's clear and pat answers. 

Adams, who is not to be confused with the crook he followed, debunked the legend that all of the DWP infrastructure bungles and negligence are the result of  the drought.  There is no correlation.  

The public loves debunking, but there were no people around other than staff, who have been under siege if you believe Marqueece Harris Dawson.  

Kevin DeLeon, who is running for mayor in a crowded field, rattled off some good ones: He touched on the aquifers recharge, and the backstops of desalination.  He praised Australia’s handling of their 12-year drought…and even mentioned some Israeli efforts. 

And because he is a pro, before aiming at the equity problem, wherein he wondered how many of those rebates landed in the poorer neighborhoods in his and Monica's districts, he lathered up Marty Adams for a moment.  "Marty is at the helm" but who are these mid-level… guys?    

"First come first serve…  is not inequitable."    

"The rich get richer, and get in line first." 

He gave the example of the Tesla and Range Rovers sneaking into Ramona Gardens to jump the vaccinations line. 

Mr. Adams responded to the equity issue by saying they were focused on making it equitable.  He mentioned one detail, that was interesting and so moved past with alacrity.  Obviously, since trees are critical, but appear more abundantly in fancier neighborhoods, how should watering the trees be addressed?  Hard question.  

Krekorian, who becomes aroused in the presence of DWP money, piped up to add to the discussion that it was122 degrees In Blumenfield’s district, at one point. 

"Lake Castaic is at 50% capacity," he said.  

He called it the, "The new norm" as he outlined that somehow the public seemed to be unaware of the danger ahead in the future... as it relates to the economy, the public health of our city. And then he deftly threw the LA Times under the bus and did a little chest thumping as well. The Times says “we are failing on our conservation efforts. "We’ve been at this for over 30 years…we’ve done it already… the rest of the state can catchup to us!" 

He sprinkled in a little Fire protection and Fire Suppression (comment), brush clearance (public clearance).   The public has to hit the BRAKES even harder as we find alternatives to meet demand.  And then he turned on the people, "Maybe watering your lawn" a little less often "isn’t the biggest sacrifice in the world." 

After the robust in-person adjournments, delivered by Curren Price and Gilbert Cedillo, Mr.  Krekorian popped up one more time to after Blumenfield's touching adjournment.  

He said the chap who had died, was a really good man... then he paid him the ultimate compliment, he called him a true "Servant for the people of Los Angeles." 

If the public were at the meeting and permitted to speak without masks like Curren Price and Gil Cedillo and Kevin Deleon, I'd have considered attending to ask why Krekorian thinks 122 in Blumenfield's district is the new norm.


(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)