Wed, Jun

Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere


ERIC PREVEN’S NOTEBOOK - The power of invisibility is powerful. Lindsay Horvath tried to wipe her website of WeHo, from whence she came.

It's called pandering to the region where she needs to stop Bob Hertzberg in her bid for 3rd District jefe.  El Valle or the Valley!  

Sheila Kuehl went completely 'invisible' for a period of time when challengers were running against her because she didn't want anyone to even know there was a choice. She famously didn't even fill out the Candidate profile on Voter's Edge and League of Women's Voters sites.   

A choice is a democratic ideal, but a choice in candidates, at least here in LA County, is not an idea that the democratic party subscribes to. Instead, they subscribe to the LA Times...  Disclosure: I pay $27/month for digital only. 

I spy a cash register

Walter Wick is the photographer of the bestselling I Spy series. The text for the series was written by Jean Marzollo. Wick went on to develop as author and photographer the acclaimed, Can You See What I See? series. 

Wick has tried to push ahead the picture-puzzle tradition, taking readers deeper into more meaningful search-and-find quests for hidden objects.  No word on whether this Wick is related to LA's Julia Wick, who operates a different kind of search and find desk at the LA Times.  

"It's like trying to spot the cash registers in an agenda for the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors or City Council," said one careful board watcher, who attended Tuesday's board meeting virtually.  "They're in there somewhere, and there's a timer, so you better hurry."   

Can you spot the hidden items in the agenda?  Time's up.   

If we put half the time and attention on teaching County residents how to spot the Wall Street cash registers in the county agendas, as we do teaching young readers to spot hidden objects in photography, Fesia Davenport might have a chance to CEO-out a solution.   

Or a guy like Caruso, who clearly has executive management skills, might be able to set up enough workarounds to progress things and improve the city we all claim to love as we descend further into... policies to nowhere.    

For as long as the public is unable or unwilling to search-and-find the clunkers in these [100 item agendas] while the Supervisors praise their CEO for an unparalleled string of Triple-A bond ratings, despite the #nationaldisgrace...  

Everybody knows this is nowhere.    

One speaker, who had a voice like a young Bing Crosby, but seemed to be quoting a song written by the husband and wife duo, now deceased, Noel Regney and Gloria Shayne Baker, who was born Gloria Adele Shain, and changed the spelling of her last name early in her career.  

“Do You Hear What I Hear?,” which tells the story of the Nativity, has apparently sold tens of millions of records. I came across the number in my ongoing work on, "Public Comment! The Musical!"  

Do you hear what I hear?

(Do you hear what I hear?) 

A song, a song high above the trees 

With a voice as big as the sea  

Said the shepherd boy to the mighty queens 

Do you know what I know? 

(Do you know what I know?)  

In your palace warm, mighty queens

A Child, a Child shivers in the cold

Let us bring him silver and gold  

Great idea, and thank you to the federal government for the American Rescue Plan, ARP. and Gale Holland. 

I urge you to check out the blockbuster documentary series put together by a talented team over a number of years at the local paper of record.  

And also, Paul Pringle, the eminence grise of USC scandals but not necessarily Mark Ridley-Thomas-based scandals has a new book out and the New York Times gave it a great review.  Looking forward to reading it, but before I do, a bit of context is required. Coming soon. 

A+ in Equity

Dr. D'artagnan Scorza must have been kvelling as Holly J. Mitchell, the chair of the LA  County board of supervisors talked about his new "inspiration office." She thanked the federal government effusively for funding the American Rescue Plan and talked about her "great pride in intentionality." 

And then she acknowledged the army digging it out in the trenches every single day, "Not just the five of us, but our staff, the department heads. It takes effort to recognize it, name it, and work against it... thank you."  

Janice Hahn said, "A+ in Equity, and affirmation and verification of what we've been striving to do." 

Turns out we've also been striving to fund the liberrys (sic.) structural deficit.  

A very nice report from Skye Patrick, on the liberrys, as at least three out of five supervisors refer to them. For the record, they are called libraries, and among our most important local county resources.   

After a brief celebration of 419,000 internet connections cleverly delivered from the parking lot of various libraries, Supervisor Hahn said it "was just so great to see our liberry (sic.), offer so many creative accessible programs... to mitigate the learning loss in light of this pandemic." 

 "The library is the right thing to fund. Still, I would like to try some infrastructure modernization and expansion through these dollars.   Got, it, Fesia." 

Hilda Solis came out ready to rumba, "Your librarians were disaster workers, feeding people, tests, exams... you should always honor them... let us know about the structural deficit.  I get it, and I want to be helpful to you and the rest of the staff." 

"We have not solved it, but we have mitigated some of the issues..." We've had to reduce hours... we want to get back to pre-pandemic as a goal.  We need these critical services. We uplift the work daily... we've been very efficient. We've done everything we can do... "so we have ongoing discussions with, Fesia." 

Skye Patrick is a superstar. Got it, Fesia!  Let's add Skye v. Fesia to the upcoming Big Fight event! 

Mills Act 25th Anniversary:

It's not surprising, but the fact that Los Angeles City Planning took a break from the intensive treatment it has undergone for its Huizar infection, and undertook a comprehensive assessment of the Mills Act program, after twenty five years, offers an opportunity to reflect on the current status of the program and to define future goals.  

To refresh the memory, if you own an architecturally significant property and get a city cultural department to agree, you can deduct the costs you incur in restoration, from your property taxes.  Yeehaw, bill to the wider public! 

This can be quite lucrative and once you realize you might be eligible, you immediately become aroused at the possibility.  When your local council district pasha waves at you and says he or she will be supportive. Redacted. 

The recommendations out of this assessment are: More staff and more inspectors and a comprehensive database $y$tem. And more staff, including additional staff. 

Also, over the past 10 years, property values have substantially increased in Los Angeles. To address the increase, the report recommends increasing the valuation limits for single-family properties from $1.5 million to $2.5 million, and multi-family properties from $3 million to $10 million. Translation: more larger tax breaks.  

Or we could just scrap the program and allow the people who can afford to preserve important architecture, to do so without tax breaks.  There is a small community of such persons in Los Angeles. Mark Ridley-Thomas is not among them and frequently reminds us that he was an early proponent and protector of South Los Angeles. 

The analysis shows that existing Mills Act contracts are disproportionately benefiting property owners in communities with lower barriers to opportunity. #Bad 

As of 2022, Los Angeles has 948 contracts enrolled in the program including single-family, multifamily, commercial, industrial, and recreational properties. 

The largest number of existing Mills Act contracts are for single-family properties located in communities facing low barriers to opportunity. #Bad Though this property type represents 71 percent of the program (659 properties). 

Eighty-three percent of Mills Act savings went to properties located in communities facing lower barriers to opportunity, whereas 17 percent of savings went to properties located in communities with medium to high barriers to opportunity. #Bad 

"The annual property tax savings for all Mills Act property owners in Los Angeles is over $20,000,000, representing a significant investment in historic preservation by the City, County, and State. These savings are reinvested into the local economy through the hiring of tradespeople, contractors, and preservation professionals to rehabilitate, restore, and maintain the properties in the program.  

In 2020, Los Angeles City Planning undertook a comprehensive assessment to evaluate the program. LA City Planning contracted with historic preservation consultant Chattel, Inc. and subconsultant economist and planners AECOM to conduct the assessment" 

AECOM is terrific. They put together Garcetti's inauguration during the period that his in-house behested harassment scandal!  And before they ditched LA as its headquarters for Texas, they blew through tens of millions at the County working up everything from jail plans to Mr. Ridley-Thomas's massive county capital retrofit projects / Jamison property rental business operations.  #CovingtonBurling 

It's essential that the city do more "strategic outreach targeting high priority areas to educate prospective applicants about the Mills Act program; prioritizing at least half of new applications to meet high priority criteria; and ensuring that displacement does not happen as a result of program participation." 


Monkeypox snooze alarm

"Data doesn't lie, as we learned in school. Data does not lie." said Hilda Solis.  She's right, it's generally politicians and journalists and citizens that do the prevaricating.  Like...  

Hilda Solis wants more translation on the recommendations for people who are out of doors.  Barbara Ferrer, who filled two hours easily with Dr. Ghaly, said, "The mask mandate would only be for indoors."  

She said, as she's said a thousand times, "if you are vulnerable, a well-fitting high filtration mask is appropriate." 

The following day, Supervisor Solis attended a ribbon cutting at the Conrad Hotel downtown where she seemed to be shoulder to shoulder with Mayor Garcetti and Jacob Emrani, or a reasonable facsimile thereof.  Fancy...ish. 

Everyone agreed that there would be no masking for the all-star game that will be played on Tuesday.  If we do fall into enter an indoor mask mandate, on Thursday, the earliest it would start would be the end of July.  

"What about card rooms?" Solis queried. 

Odd question, but Ferrer did not miss a beat and played her, "They will need to wear them ... except when eating and drinking" card. 

"We don't have any cases in jails." Dr. Ghaly revealed.  

Sheila Kuehl, who may seek  a public health degree once she finishes packing it in, noted an interesting report on a study on the physical evidence that long covid with some unusual molecules, part of the lung, that keeps the air from getting into the bloodstream..." 

Later, she said, "I have no patience for people who don't wear masks."   

I have no patience for people who go into the minutiae of cutting edge research as if she is hosting her own show on the nature channel, during a downsized public meeting. 

Breaking: Eric Preven and a quorum of LA County Board of Supervisors nod off during a very long public health presentation following  comparable but slightly more interesting public library presentation.  

Sheila continued, wondering, "I get lots of calls, where's the vaccine...what can we tell people who think they've been exposed... but do they have to khow that for instance, they were at the spreader party?" 

Great question.  Of course, we love giving your offices talking points and materials, said Ferrer. 

"How about a hotline?" said the Supervisors, who spent nearly a billion dollars on call centers in some recent period, just ask Cisco and Arnie Berghoff, they'll give you a market assessment that would make AECOM weak in the knees.   

When I woke back up and caught Supervisor Barger yawning, Sheila was lecturing, "The big message that needs to be widely known is that abortion is not illegal in this state or this county."  "We are using 211... we give them script..." 

 "Give us something for our newsletters..." Sheila said like a true editor,  "I'm the last one to know, until I say, OK send it out. "

She went on to reveal that her team finishes her newsletter on Fridays, and gets sent out on Saturdays.   For those who are  "not on your list but on our list..." 

There was one final question from the chair Mitchell, for Dr. Ghaly, and it was once again about "prioritization." 

Holly J. MItchell asked, "who is getting the monkeypox vaccine... for instance in men's central jail?" 

"Good question, we're working with public health mental health... men who have sex with men,... gay etc. are high risk."  

"We have identified, 250 individuals...in jail...who we would seek to offer it to them...(the vaccine)..."65 watching now Started streaming 4 hours ago

Wait, didn't Ghaly say, "We don't have any cases in jails?"  

One member of the public reached out to suggest that for every minute a supervisor yammers on endlessly, a total of ten minutes must be afforded to the public for comment, to be administered as a corrective action.  A+  

Monkeypox is part of the same family of viruses as smallpox, but it is typically a much more mild condition, experts say. Symptoms include a fever, headache, back and muscle aches, exhaustion, and a painful rash with pustules that typically first appear on the palms or soles of the feet. It is rarely fatal. 

The virus spreads through contact with the rash lesions, and intimate touching such as kissing or living with someone who has monkeypox.   

A majority of cases this year have been in young men, many of whom self-identify as men who have sex with men.  

If you’re not eligible for a vaccine, the C.D.C. recommends some common sense steps to avoid catching the virus: Avoid close contact with people with monkeypox, and with people with a rash that looks like monkeypox. 

 Also, wash your hands often. 

Fesia: Will Sheila Kuehl do a public health / climate podcast?  

Key Characteristics for Identifying Monkeypox: 

  • Lesions are well circumscribed, deep seated, and often develop umbilication (resembles a dot on the top of the lesion)
  • Lesions are relatively the same size and same stage of development on a single site of the body (ex: pustules on face or vesicles on legs)
  • Fever before rash ​
  • Lymphadenopathy common ​
  • Disseminated rash is centrifugal (more lesions on extremities, face) ​
  • Lesions on palms, soles​
  • Lesions are often described as painful until the healing phase when they become itchy (crusts)

Power without accountability is brutality:

"...and while we're at it, let's charge more $ for concealed carry permits." said one Supervisor. 

"Great idea!" said another.  

The Olympics of professional abnegation has been advancing nicely and Janice Hahn stuck the landing on the "well, let's give the voters a choice... to see if they want us to axe our enemy" maneuver. 

Why not?  Because the voters are going to get a chance to properly un-elect the sheriff come November.  

The decision of whether or not an elected official should have the power to clip the ticket of another elected official, thereby disenfranchising the thousands of voters, should not be initiated by his frenemies, during a re-election bid.  That's a worst practice.  

The best practice in this space is to vote for someone else, and if you are a county supervisor, trying to help people who like you want to unelect a sheriff, try not to put your fat thumbs on the scale, as you did with the measure H initiative, costing millions in a settlement negotiated by your lawyer, the former FPPC guy, Gary Winnuk now serving as felon, Mitchell Englander's, biggest defender.  #yuck 

In this case, the Board really really really really wants to clip Villanueva's ticket themselves.  Four really's and one no.  

Robert Luna, who defines the company man and emerged from under the skirt of Don Knabe's guy, Jim McDonnell, is the better choice according to a wide swath of Supervisorial allies.  

The county brass, according to Sheriff Villanueva, want someone who "talks the talk." 

Luna talks the talk like Corbett who did a nice job on Tuesday against friendly fire from the Board, updating on the "headstrike tracker" progress, which is what happens when the ACLU gets in the jails and takes over the "use of force" program. 

The Rosas settlement, curated by the ACLU, just had a changing of the monitor guard -- that seemed a tad fishy to Chief Corbett. 

Apparently, a  one-off errant monitor report had emerged recently,  despite a string of prior love letters from the monitors, up until now.  

Was it timed to coincide with the "Get the Sheriff" initiative?  Was the board getting too political? During an election year?  

Holly Mitchell, was defensive and said at no point in her career had she speculated about what motives her colleagues.

 "This is not political in the least. This is a reflection of months of work with key stakeholders across the state.  She said, the 

Oversight commission brought this in May. "The timing is a reflection of building the best language... not political... " 

She touted her voting record holding body's accountable. "I have no issue with that... a lot of people don't have the money to do recalls." 

"Get him out of here!" 

The last time inflation was so high was 1981, the year I graduated from public high school in Mamaroneck New York - Go Tigers! Go Public!   

Long agendas, short time. 

Due to the limitations of the Brown Act, most notably, you can't sue for damages, just injunctive relief, it becomes a heavy lift to hold 'em accountable.  

Everything is doable, but it would be a high degree of difficulty, lawsuit... that would probably require a lawyer. 

But, as an experiment, we could try to get at the constitutional underpinnings of the way the Board and Council have selected and deselected what they want to hear. The requirement that speakers provide their names is a Brown Act no no, and gives the executive office the window from which they can pick and choose.  

The reduction of public comment is the reduction of democracy.   

"Your honor, may I approach the bench?"  

"No, sit down, Mr. Preven!" 

Tag: Redress of grievances 

TKO Koretz: Fight Night

A neighbor called and urged me to drive from Doheny to La Cienega on Burton Way near Cedars and the Beverly Center.  He was directing me to notice the lovely series of little grassy piazzas with shade trees on the very large medians. Recently, Paul Koretz put up no pedestrian signs that have been highly effective.  

Highly effective at what?  No standing?  No Standing typically refers to a zone where you cannot even slow down your car.  Sometimes, Airports enforce this one, to keep things moving. Sometimes corporate entities like Amazon and FedX and UPS don't give a shit, and pay the tickets to clog up the right of way.  



Here, it's more of an inside joke.  Locals won't get ticketed, unhoused will be arrested quickly and beaten. jk srsly 

Mostly, the median islands are used by people who walk their dogs, or take a stroll.  In the old days, when the rents were affordable, you might even walk to work.   

I asked, "did Koretz put up 41.18 signs?"  He explained that using the no pedestrian sign, a concept possibly developed in an anti-homeless laboratory in Venice, could be highly effective without OD'ing on the bad optics of a 41.18 frenzy, summarized thusly: "You can't be here, here or here. Here, it's ok."  

Where is here? Nowhere.  

Where is nowhere?  Where a guy recently had his glasses broken in connection with a punch in the face by a... possibly unhoused suspect.   

It's a unified displacement theory.   

"Nowhere" constitutes the adjacent neighborhoods to the 41.18 zones. "Everybody knows this is Nowhere..." is a Neil Young song, but it's also where Angelenos who don't have 41.18 signs in their neighborhood, explicitly prohibiting... among other things, sitting down.  

If it's not off limits, it's in nowhwere. 

The point is, "It's easy to raise $25,000" in Paul Koretz's district, and the no pedestrians signs have been highly effective at driving the population of local tent dwellers in a number of his upscale neighborhoods... elsewhere.   

Now, if a smart alek wise guy tries to pin the tail on the Caruso or other similarly situated developer, who may have benefited from Koretz's dilgent 41.18 efforts...  

I haven't seen any evidence that Mr. Koretz et al. was improperly incentivized to protect the ultra-high-end luxury Caruso building in CD5.


There are plenty of high-end luxury buildings eager for protection and Koretz is an equal-opportunity protector.   

He's also a good debater and fundraiser, let's have a big splashy FIGHT Night debate card with Koretz and Mejia, Caruso and Bass, Villanueva and Luna, Yaroslavsky and Yebri, and so on...  Hot DEBATES with real sparks. 

Remind me, why isn't this happening every weekend between now and November?  

I bet Elex Michaelson would be the moderator... and he might even do it, on air during the show:  The Issue Is  

He had Rick Caruso on last week, before zipping over to Washington to get in the Governor's groove as he meets the moment,  by denying that he's carving a path to the White House, as he carves a path to the Whitehouse.    

Straight outta Montana:  Why not, it's fun!  Montana is for ... runners.  

The majority of Montana's land is in private ownership. Unlike some Western states that are a majority public land and Eastern states that are all private, Montana enjoys a mix.  

This balance of public and private land is crucial to the outdoor farming and ranching traditions. Up in Montana, they must wonder what it's like down here... 

Neil Young's answer will suffice, "Everybody seems to wonder, what it's like down here. I gotta get away from this day-to-day runnin' around. Everybody knows this is nowhere."  

(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)