25
Sat, May

Make Me Host, Instead of Co-Host

ERIC PREVEN'S NOTEBOOK

ERIC PREVEN’S NOTEBOOK - Driving by a Perrier bottle lying in the open road in Studio City following a day in which several trashcans along Ventura Boulevard had been overturned by an angry vandal or vandals, I thought about what it means to be a good citizen.

It's really not cut and dry.   

For instance, many good citizens who pass by a green glass Perrier bottle in the road, might want to help and pull over, collect the bottle, to prevent someone from hitting it and shattering it and maybe causing a flat tire or even an injury.  

But even good citizens have to be cautious.  Sadly, there is no exemption for good samaritans from getting killed in the roadway.  

Similarly, constituents have to be willing to stick their necks by bringing up awkward and important truths about our elected leadership, to encourage the improvements to the current state of affairs, they might seek.  

Of course, it is understandable that they would be cautious, feeling pinched, if you will, with anxiety about pissing off the man... inclusive of the first Latina Council President of Los Angeles Nury Martinez, and Supervisors Sheila James Kuehl, Holly J Mitchell, Janice Hahn, Kathryn Barger and our very own progressive icon from the good old days of the Obama administration, Hilda Solis.  

All Angelenos are excited to call out a crooked mayor or dirty Land Use Chair, but not if it might jeopardize, a mighty Transit Occupancy Tax  break or scupper a handsome development project.  

Angelenos are willing to call out a "wrongdoing" here, and a "misconduct" there, but it's important to stay clear of the  actual seat of power, lest it threaten one's 2028 Olympics package. 

 

The New HOTTER Malibu:

Richard Weintraub, who the Wall Street Journal [WSJ] referred to as a real estate investor, who has lived in Malibu on and off for decades, said nowadays he feels like "everyone is fighting all the time."   

The truth is Mr. Weintraub is always fighting because he's a three-dimensional character.  He referred to the stakeholders of Studio City as the "worst people" he'd ever dealt with, by which he meant, "ripped off."  His transit occupancy tax shenanigans, and firesale on the firehouse to realize a profit is legendary in our humble little stretch of the LA river. 

Weintraub told a reporter at WSJ, that out in the bu, "spats in recent years include a furor over whether to add permanent lighting to Malibu High School's football field. Opponents worried that the lights would destroy the ambiance of the area, while others said the lights were necessary to allow students to play night games." 

Hmmm, that sounds familiar, Studio City is still battling the imperious Harvard Westlake over their self-serving river plans.  

Weintraub must know by now that  "you can’t fake transparency, and that's also true of integrity." 

In the same Real Estate Porn article a Malibu resident was interviewed who said she was pleased home values have grown, but lamented the loss of old Malibu.  

Ruth Preven, moved to Malibu from New York in the 1990s after her husband was offered a job directing a soap opera. Back then, she said, Malibu was "funky." Now, she said, it's gotten too "upscale" and "too Ralph Lauren." 

To my knowledge, Weintraub's footprint in Malibu has been downsized, as for the lights on the hillside?    

For benchmarking, it took Studio City nearly a dozen articles and a three bushels of corn to derail the plans to light up the Cold Water Canyon for high school athletics, but the battle rages on.   

The new plan, though different than the widely opposed three-story parking garage, complete with flood-lit sports field on top and private pedestrian skybridge over the public thoroughfare of Coldwater Canyon, comes with its own set of rich assholes. 

Charlie Munger, the escheatment king, who owns the "Daily Journal" recently bought our last publicly accessible open space golf and tennis facility and gifted it to Harvard Westlake.   

Let me just say colloquially, a brother can't chill in the hood, if the mofo police are up to no good.

 

Temple of Hypocrisy Redux

Emancipation is the act of freeing someone from the restraint, control, or power of another. It is especially used for the act of freeing someone from slavery.  

 "Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Liberation Day, and Emancipation Day, is a nationwide celebration to commemorate the emancipation from slavery."   

The Emancipation Proclamation, issued by Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863, ordered that enslaved people living in rebellious territories be released from the bonds of ownership and made free people—their own masters. Though the proclamation's initial impact was limited, the order was true to the etymology of emancipation, which comes from a Latin word combining the prefix e-, meaning "away," and mancipare, meaning "to transfer ownership of.” 

Martinez said, "Members, will you keep quiet...so we can hear the public comment." Paul Krekorian, muttered under his breath, "Yeah, we don't want to miss it." 

Then a fairly moving cavalcade of supporters who were downtown to thank the City Council for the important recognition of Juneteenth.   

The comments came from across the board and were 100% supportive, it seemed. 

One chap was from Bogalusa, which he said, along with Azusa... were the only two places in America that ended in USA!

One person said, "We are begging to be recognized... "

The Council President barked, "Mr. Reedy, you're disrupting the meeting. Mr. Reedy, you've been warned."

Paul Krekorian suggested, "Why don't we place him under arrest." 

Sean from Canoga Park had a turn and said, "these cars are still speeding at night, one of my roommates can't sleep. We need to do something. That's why we're killing so many people."

Then, a speaker told the Council, he was blowing the whistle on the County's Children's court and DCFS. He said, "unabashedly and with conviction... " there is a group at Monterey park, engaged in racism, classicism and criminality... including, the presiding judge and commissioner." He said, they had dropped the ball and needed to be "investigated."

Marqueece Harris-Dawson, tapped the mic,  "Just today, a man stood twenty... feet from me... holding the confederate flag." 

Then, the lights dimmed and Herb J Wesson, who gets as much credit as anyone for the ongoing corruption of City Hall, rose up to put everything in context. 

"I too rise to support this matter. It should be supported but more importantly than that, we need to reflect and think back... imagine... "walking to see your relatives..." or "going on the first date with your wife."

Suddenly, you are grabbed, handcuffed, ankles shackled.

Then you are on a ship that "smells like shit and piss and vomit."

A boat... big and wooden... and it moves and shakes. Undescribable fear... voices, you don't understand. Your life has been turned upside down... one third of the people, "willed themselves to death," he said.

"Imagine how difficult that is to just mentally will yourself to death..."

"Another third of these enslaved people in the black belly of this ship, like sardines... were angry and mad.

When they were taken to the deck, to keep them healthy enough to make money... ]"your property had to exercise" ] they jumped overboard. They killed themselves, fed themselves to the sharks, rather than to be enslaved by people they didn't even know...

And then there is the one third, who refused to die. And that's why we're here. "Mr. Harris Dawson, Mr. Price... and I...

"All the dreams were taken, now it's our responsibility to ensure that those dream are realized."

Wesson continued, "I have to read something ten times when you have to read it only once. Because I want to be the best that I can.

The pandemic showed us that black and brown are more sick than others, our financial system is just "effed" up. People got loans... they didn't get jack, the Lakers got a check, they sent it back."

"The system needs to change," he said. "Take this holiday and you can give me 40 acres and a mule and you can keep the mule."

Then Wesson talked about a young boy in an apartment in Pasadena,"who's damn handsome. He's alert, smart. He's got great parents. Harrison James Wesson, nine year's old..."he has an opportunity to fly as far as their imagination and abilities will take them."

"We just want an equal opportunity... let's make this a greater country than it already is."

The City approved making Juneteenth, a paid city holiday on Monday, though June19th fell on a Sunday this year, that happened to be Father's day. Federal courts will be closed on Juneteeth, so no corruption trial until Tuesday.

 

Escheatment:

The agenda had another Unclaimed Monies Seized Incidental to Arrest Trust Fund, item. This relates to money that has remained unclaimed for three years and is therefore eligible for transfer in accordance with the notification requirements of the City of Los Angeles Administrative Code Section 5.1112 and current state law. 

All states require financial institutions, including brokerage firms and transfer agents, to report when personal property has been abandoned or unclaimed.  Honestly, how hard do they try to give people their money back? 

Publications of notices of escheatment must be placed in all newspapers indicated below.  

  1. LA INDEPENDENT 
  2. LA SENTINEL 
  3. TRIBUNE NEWS WAVE 
  4. BELVEDERE CITIZEN 
  5. SOUTHWEST WAVE 
  6. DAILY NEWS 
  7. DAILY JOURNAL 
  8. LOS ANGELES TIMES 
  9. LA OPINION 

Each notice must be published twice, at least 1-week apart. Cha-ching!  When I last looked, the Los Angeles Times was taking in something like a quarter million dollars a year in these types of legally required but totally ineffective ads.  

And several of those newspapers are linked to Danny Bakewell and LA Sentinel. I wonder if the editors at any of the publications listed above would consider writing a story about what outreach efforts that the LAPD uses to connect to the folks whose property they seized, and subsequently became unclaimed monies, fair for the taking!  

If the management of the local news gathering organizations are not comfortable reporting on the obviously outdated and shameful process of fleecing residents of their resources, following encounters with law enforcement here, why? 

It's true the reduction in the constant drumbeat of fine print newspaper advertisements would have a small impact on the bottomline, but isn't the newspaper looking for low hanging fruit targets to unleash justice for Angelenos?  

The billionaires Charles Munger, owns the moneymaking "Daily Journal" and Billionaire, Patrick Soon-Shiong, owns the moneytaking "LA Times"  

Claims for return of these monies held must be filed with the City of Los Angeles Office of the City Clerk, Room 395 City Hall, 200, North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012 by a certain date.  

Shortly thereafter, the aforesaid monies will become property of the City of Los Angeles per, Diana Mangioglu Director of Finance / City Treasurer.          

On Dec 16, 2015                 $961,827.56.

On May 20, 2016                $544,821.93

On July 29, 2016                  $245,266.79

On October 27, 2016          $280,305.53.      2016 Total  $2.1M

 

On February 10, 2017        $208,873.35

On April 20, 2017,               $208,681.26

On August 1, 2017              $280,544.25

On October 16, 2017          $317,817.21     2017 Total.   $1M

 

On January 25, 2018          $270,509.35

On May 1, 2018                 $298,317.08

On July 23, 2018                $343,631.66

On October 18, 2018          $396,233.35.     2018 Total.  $1.3M

 

On January 15, 2019          $318,009.02

On April 10, 2019                $389,990.93

On July 9, 2019,                   $419,077.07 

On October 11,2019           $414,715.57       2019 Total. $1.5M

 

Diana Mangioglu, wife of Adrin Nazarian, takes over as City Treasurer.

 

On January 15, 2020.        $505,217.58

On April 9, 2020                   $457,540.03

On July 17, 2020                  $574,635.17

On October 20, 2020          $469,799.28      2020 Total.   $2M

 

On January 29, 2021          $412,863.01

On April 15, 2021,               $585,139.21

On July 20, 2021                  $602,536.67

On October 22, 2021          $546,628.83.     2021 Total.    $2.1M

 

Disclosure:  I cough up $27.99 / month for an LA Times digital subscription. 

 

 “To Protect and To Smother"

Over $4,000,000 in Legal settlements were processed by an otherwise distracted city council on Friday.  Two cases between $900,000 and $1,000,000. Four cases averaging $200,000 and one whopper was settled for $1,200,000. 

One case was brought on behalf of plaintiff Michael Moore by Dan Stormer of Hadsell Stormer Renick and Dai, LLP and Matthew Strugar settled on Friday for $300,000. That sum seemed very light given the egregious allegations. 

On February 28, 2019, officers from the LAPD tackled, beat and arrested Michael Moore, a 62-year-old blind African American man with a history of mental illness, in front of the doorway to his home.  According to the complaint, the officers then took Mr. Moore to the hospital for medical care. While Mr. Moore lay strapped to a hospital gurney unable to move and surrounded by half a dozen hospital security guards and multiple LAPD officers, LAPD Officer Choi pulled a towel over Mr. Moore's face and cupped his hands over Mr. Moore's mouth and nose, blocking Mr. Moore's airway.  Mr. Moore cried out, "I can't breathe! I can't breathe!! I can't breathe!!!"  Ignoring Mr. Moore's frantic pleas, Officer Choi continued suffocating Mr. Moore, covering Mr. Moore's face for a full minute even after Mr. Moore lost consciousness.  

The LAPD officers allegedly claimed that Mr. Moore had assaulted firefighters and officers, which he claimed was false.  Unable to afford bail and unwilling to plead guilty to crimes he did not commit, Mr. Moore spent more than four months in jail awaiting trial.  A jury acquitted Mr. Moore of all charges.  

Mr. Moore survived but remains deeply traumatized by the incident.  He is unable to sleep and afraid to go outside.  He says he lives in constant fear of the police.  

Happy Father's Day!  

 

Team change:

Interesting, how a blind brother who nearly got snuffed out received $300,000, while James Willis, who worked as an assistant inspector general under the former office head of the Police Commission, Alex Bustamante, got four times as much for enduring much less.

What's the going rate for enduring retaliation and loss of income as well as physical, mental, and emotional injuries and other damages?

The lawsuit filed by Gregory Smith, Mr. Willis' attorney, alleges he alerted officials at the police and the L.A. ethics commission when he discovered Bustamante had allowed a KABC reporter to photograph "secret logs which were law enforcement sensitive."

The logs were related to an investigation into a controversial 2015 LAPD gathering in downtown L.A. At that gathering, billed as "top secret," local law enforcement and business leaders met with an ex-Mexican Mafia shot-caller serving life in prison for murder.

City and law enforcement officials lambasted the gathering as inappropriate, potentially endangering the public and incurring unnecessary costs.

Willis claims he sounded alarm bells days after he discovered the KABC reporter had the logs. According to the lawsuit, Willis contacted the officer in charge of constitutional policing, the executive director of the L.A. Police Commission, and Matt Johnson, then-president of the commission.

Willis continued to work for the office after the logs were disclosed and claims in the lawsuit he was subjected to "multiple adverse employment actions," including diminished investigative responsibilities. He was fired in April of 2018.

Gregory Smith, Willis' lawyer, said Willis was fired not long after Mark Smith took the helm, because "Bustamante knew [Willis] couldn't be terminated during his tenure."

"It would look like retaliation," Smith said. "So they waited ... in an attempt to make it look like team change."

 

Studio City River Plan:

At 32:36 into the recording of the four hour and five minute Special meeting of the Studio City Neighborhood Council, the board came to an innocent looking item number 6. Election of Board President.    

Being on a neighborhood council is frequently described as a thankless, volunteer job, though there was some strong fan support among the speakers for Ira Gold, a newish member of the council who is in charge of cutting off speakers at the sixty second mark.   

Nonetheless, the local public in Studio City was very engaged.  

One of the more than a dozen  speakers who weighed in, said "...this was one of the best Neighborhood Council's for many years, but Randy, you failed ..." he went on to say we need less  "glad-handing with city officials-- 

"That's one minute,"   Ira Gold capably hit the buzzer mid-sentence. 

It came down to a contest between Randy, the incumbent President and Scott Mandell the incumbent Vice President.  

Mr. Mandell had blown the whistle recently because he said, he was "Disgusted by your behavior..." and felt that an email, sent to him by Lisa Karadjian, the Land Use Chair serving at Randy's pleasure, was outside the code of conduct. 

He wondered about oversight and conflict of interests and how power corrupts. "For example, how many boards can one serve on?" 

Randy spoke for almost eight minutes, revealing that "Scott is like a second wife."  He said, "Let's lift each other up not tear each other down." 

Scott said he wouldn't need that much time, but spoke for a solid seven and a half minutes. "I can be rough around the edges sometimes, but I trust you all."  

He said, "We're a year in and chaos, lack of direction, lack of organization" and the Land Use Committee should not be the ones choose the AdHoc committees to focus on Sportsmen's Lodge and Weddington Golf." 

The vote was close. Everything came down to Richard Niederberg, who was having trouble unmuting his mic. 

Randy was shvitzing, "Let's try to unmute him, circle back. Richard Niederberg..." 

The anticipation was palpable. 

When the votes were counted, it came down to six for Randy Fried (P) and six for Scott Mandell (VP).  

Randy said, "I'm open to voting again...great idea."    But he wanted to be clear that whatever happened, having heard the residents, lambast him, "Yes, residents, but also developers, landlords and businesses..." let's not forget we represent ALL the stakeholders.  

"That being said, I think it's very telling... that Scott would not want me as Vice President." 

There was a brief debate.  Some board members thought Randy's deep and sneaky knowledge of the way the city works, would be helpful to Studio City stakeholders. 

Scott, said, "I was just kidding, about not wanting you to be vice president." 

At the one hour and forty five minute mark, following a typically barely coherent set of bylaw assessments, including a Motion to decide by coin flip, then vote on that... which will then, open more public comment [Drat!] 

Randy said, he'd never shied away from public comment. Scott had said he was going to produce a set of rules to deal with "gadflies." 

Randy who has done a lot of work with and for Harvard Westlake, for Sportsmens Landing and the rest. He said, "I thank board members who have offered the support, but I will step aside and let him be ... I shouldn't say let him.  I recognize there is a want. I share it, but at same time, half of the board have voted in favor of Scott." 

Goat puppet, a recognized critic in Studio City, came on late and confirmed the vote, calling the freshly unelected Neighborhood Council President, who cut his eye teeth under Lisa Sarkin and Barry Johnson, "Randy Fried Chicken dba as Randy Fraud."  

Goat puppet said, that Mr. Fried had been devious but not nearly as devious as the Goat puppet!  He called for the newly elected President to remove Lisa Karadjian as the Land Use Chair.  

One of the Studio City NC bylaws calls for any newly seated President, to recalibrate the committee chairs, who serve at the pleasure of the chair.  

Disclosure: As a past Government Affairs Chair, I was once recalibrated by a past President.  

The Letter: 

---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Lisa Karadjian <[email protected]>
Date: Fri, May 20, 2022 at 10:58 AM
Subject: Re: Questions/Concerns re LU and HW River Project
To: Scott Mandell <[email protected]>

Hi Scott,

I’m sorry this has kept you up all night. 

Is this you talking or Peter Cole?
Your relationship with Peter and Patrice and all the members with “Save Coldwater Canyon” is very concerning.

I hear you’re very chummy with the members of the group and hence, have become their puppet.

It’s very apparent your totally bias to what position Peter, Patrice, Teri, Patty, Adele, etc. have taken towards Harvard Westlake. 

I would like to know how many board members you’ve been discussing the items below with?

I know more than four.

You might want to check the rules of the Brown Act.

Thank you for checking in.

Lisa K.

Lisa Karadjian 
Studio City Neighborhood Council Board Member
Chair Land Use Committee 
Councilmember Krekorian CD2 Appointee - Plan Review Board - PRB
Ventura / Cahuenga Boulevard Corridor Specific Plan

 

The song: 

Dissolve... to Munchkinland  

Mayor:  As mayor of the Munchkin City, in the county of the land of Oz, I welcome you most regally.

Judge:  But we've got to verify it legally. To see.

Mayor: To see.

Judge: If she...

Mayor: If she...

Judge: Is morally, ethically
...

Munchkin 1:  Spiritually, physically...
Munchkin 2:  Positively, absolutely
...

Munchkin Men: Undeniably and reliably dead!

Coroner:  As Coroner, I thoroughly examined her, and she's not only merely dead, she's really most sincerely dead

Mayor:  Then this is a day of independence for all the munchkins, and their descendants. Yes, let the joyous news be spread, the wicked old witch at last is dead! 

Munchkins:  Ding-dong the witch is dead, which old witch, the wicked witch!  Ding-dong the wicked witch is dead!

Wake up you sleepyhead, rub your eyes, get out of bed, Wake up the wicked witch is dead...

 

George Bush-teenth

The County Counsel's finally responded late to my request dated June 2, 2019, directed to the County of Los Angeles seeking information regarding the total cost for the holiday in honor of the passing of President George H.W. Bush.  

Specifically, you sought: "Item 6, from our Neighborhood Council Agenda last month deserves a response. 6. County Cost Recovery -Follow up! The Los Angeles Times was told by the county that the estimated cost for the day off in honor of the passing President GHWB would cost $10,000,000 What is the actual and why should the public have to pay $2,100 to get the ACTUALS?" 

They noted that the County is under no obligation under the Public Records Act to answer questions rather than to produce records. However, in an attempt to assist me with my question, the $10 million estimated cost of the holiday includes the 15 percent of County employees that are in "post" positions, like safety officers and medical personnel, who must report to Work on holidays. Approximately $6.8 million is for base pay and an additional $3.4 million in overtime pay totaling approximately $10 million. 

"In regard to your question about the actual cost of the holiday, please refer to our response dated January 17, 2019, also attached, where we explained the $2,041.24 cost to produce these records." 

The county folded on charging the $2,100 but refuse to share Covington Burling and Skip Miller records, so #VeryShameful

 

(Eric Preven has been named a finalist in the upcoming 64th SoCal Journalism Awards in the category of Journalist of The Year (Online).  A commentary co-written by Joshua Preven entitled “The Pandemic Should Not be Used as a Pretext to Muffle the Voices of the Inconvenient Public” is also a finalist.)

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)