Tue, May

That's a Diss


ERIC PREVEN'S NOTEBOOK - Louis “Skip” Miller is an attorney who frequently represents the county of Los Angeles, and the county does not willingly share how much they compensate his law firm, Miller Barondess, LLP, but the county does allow Skip wide latitude when it comes to speaking out in court and to the press.

For this, we are eternally grateful. 

As in the LA Magazine article yesterday by Meghann Cuniff about the city of Los Angeles’ settlement of the high-profile federal lawsuit brought by the LA Alliance over the ongoing homelessness crisis.     

Though Los Angeles County is not part of the settlement, outside counsel Louis “Skip” Miller questioned its legality, saying most of the 14,000 to 16,000 beds were planned, regardless of the lawsuit.  “I don’t understand how you can make an agreement to do something that’s already been committed to,” Miller said. 

Miller also questioned the $1.8 million in attorney fees the deal calls for the city to pay L.A. Alliance, saying it didn’t “make a lot of sense;”  

Judge Carter said he believed the figure was low and told Miller to “produce your paycheck” for comparison. 

“Just put on the table your contract with the county, along with all of your associates,” Carter said, before telling the  L.A. Alliance lawyers that he was “happy to accept” the $1.8 million figure. 

That's a diss. 

All Stars:

The co-president of Unite Here Local 11, said in the statement last week, as the knife was twisted regarding a possible strike, “They often live with economic uncertainty because the quality of jobs vary stadium to stadium. No worker should have to continue living like this. They are the backbone of our tourism and sports industry, yet many struggles to stay housed and to make ends meet." 

Levy Restaurants run the concessions at and employs nearly 1,500 food servers, bartenders, suite attendants, cooks, and dishwashers at Dodger Stadium. 

Good news, but not great news... “Both parties look forward to a successful All-Star Game and continued negotiations.”  

Best practice: Hug it out.    

Bad Pringle:

I was going to see if Paul Pringle wanted to be the lead dog on our hunt for the WaterInsight Reports of the mayoral candidates,  but I assume he's on book tour.  

The Los Angeles Times has been fighting hard to provide a service to its readers in a tough market. Paul Pringle's new book has emerged from the toaster, painting the Times management in an unflattering light, claiming that while fighting for the readers, they were also fighting for the subjects of their articles, like USC. Shocking. 

The New York Times gave the book a decent review, which caught the attention of certain activists who have worked alongside the eminence grise of Mark Ridley-Thomas investigations and 909889889 

Kudos on the good review and packaging up as 'Bad Davan' but more is needed.  As a kook who has worried about the Times legitimacy from time to time, I feel I should share some of the bits that I have submitted to the Times that might have informed and advised Angelenos of the so-called, ritual fleecing... 

Because recording is not permitted in courtrooms, the following dialogue is made up. 

Preven v. LA Times: LA Superior Court Department 8988888  

Eric Preven:  Your honor, Los Angeles needs a tireless hunter, who is willing to go into the dark alleys of county and city government, for the readers. Someone like Paul Pringle. 

Skip Miller: Your honor, correction or revision, please:  We will accept... "is willing to go into the dark alleys of USC, for the readers." 

Court:  You want to replace the local agencies county and city government, with USC, the private university? 

Skip Miller:  Correct. 

Court: Got it. 

Eric Preven:  Your honor, respectfully.  Absolutely, not.   May I approach the bench? 

Court:  No, sit down, Mr. Preven. 

Mr. Preven is eventually removed from the courtroom, an iPhone falls out of his pocket and records the following: 

Eric Preven: Your honor, we do not dispute that USC may indeed be a POS, but the county and city are guilty of many terrible acts and omissions and we need to put it all out there.   

Court:  All of it? 

Eric Preven: Correct. 

Court:  Has there been a broader look at various 'blockades' to Times coverage in various sectors to your knowledge, Mr. Preven? 

Eric Preven:  I mean, there is the historic 'bareback' period ongoing, in which the local paper of record is making do without a dedicated county beat reporter. I mean, they do have a very active "Get the Sheriff" desk which is costly, one assumes, and the Times recently added a Metro Beat Reporter, following two years of maneuvering a "48 by 28" Olympics project push-through, as regular service deteriorated. 

And of course, the shocking, wholesale "ignore" on a major Wall Street player pigging in the county's golf cash registers thanks to American golf and Wesley Edens.   This resulted in a cold call to a New York Times reporter who'd covered Goldman Sachs and Fortress. The LA Times reporter at the time, came across as very smart but the newspaper... "took a pass."  Red Flag. 

And there is the Job Order Contracting exemption.  Again, totally unclear, why in the world such 'documented' fraudulent activity in the county's task order contracting program,  was not picked up by the Times. How are readers supposed to know? 

Court: They can read CityWatch.  Mr. Preven, readers want to read about people, not failed programs you've reviewed. 

Eric Preven:  It's not a failed program, it's a leaky vessel that needs suring up, Sir.  The people have to be informed.

(then) Mark Ridley-Thomas is a person and the classic "2nd District Initiative" wherein, a powerful Supervisor, now indicted for a USC related scandal, pushed his Regional Planning director to stick the county's proverbial thumb on the scales, during his son Sebastian Ridley-Thomas' first run for AD54. 

Court: Go on. 

Eric Preven: There was also the board-to-the-head of the reading public, when the Times refused to even notice that the very same regional planning director, Richard Bruckner, had migrated over to Edgar Khalatian's desk at Mayer Brown while invading the county's revolving door ordinance for county department heads. 

Court: Did the Times cover it? 

Eric Preven:  No, your honor, to be fair, the Times has been busy. 

On a more personal note, your honor, Mitchell Englander, the council member whose egregious misconduct  should have resulted in a cottage industry of stories about his wheeling and dealing in CD12 went totally uncovered.  When he abruptly left to work for a lobbyist / and we now know was being indicted, I begged the Times to expose the irregularities.... 

Court:  I remember the michigas about the fundraiser on the eve of Englander's departure-- 

Eric Preven:  Yes, and what about Sebastian Ridley-Thomas stepping aside from the State Assembly while issuing a medical riddle, as to what mysterious medical condition was preventing him from finishing up his term? 

Court: What did the Times say to that? What was the condition? 

Eric Preven:  John Myers, who covered the legislature for two centuries, sorry decades, and recently stepped down explained at the time,  that it was about limited resources.  

So, no questions about a $3 million 'self serving' special AD54 election on the heels of Herb Wesson refusing to call a CD7 special election, after Felipe Fuentes dropped trou to become a lobbyist... was asked.  All of it, amounted to thirty extra days of Sydney Kamlager...?  It made no sense, until the truth came out, after which time... it was too late.  Nothing wrong with Kamlager, but what a ripoff! 

Never mind, the illegal 'reinfection' of Wesson.  Sorry, "re-installment" of Wesson, your honor.  

Court: That's not legal because he's termed out. 

Eric Preven: Correct, your honor.  But, the Heartbreaker in a Homeless Crisis Award [HHCA] has to go to the Skirball cooking stove drama, which was so comprehensively mismanaged at the Los Angeles Times, that a brief tribute to the wall of shame that was capably crafted by Garcetti et al, on which he lead a rousing rendition of the Paul Koretz and Kathryn Barger Christmas carol collaboration: "Scapegoating for the Holidays." 

It's quite catchy... and very wrong. But your honor, to be fair to the Times, without the obstacle of terrible decision-making by Scott Kraft and Shelby Grad, that story never would have seen the light of day at The Intercept, where it was published and went on to win two press club awards. 

Court:  Mr. Preven, are you finished? 

Eric Preven:  No, there's the irregular, land swap with Patrick Soon-Shiong himself, facilitated by Herbert J. Wesson dubbed The Odor Control, project. 

Court: I already told you Wesson is termed out. 

Eric Preven:  This was before Soon Shiong bought the Times, your honor.  Is there a statute of limitations? 

Court:  Mr. Preven, I'd like to adjourn in the memory of Francis X. Clines, who wrote three 900-word "About New York" columns a week for the New York Times and will certainly be remembered as a brilliant man who enjoyed deflating pomposity.  

Eric Preven: Yes, your honor, I'd like to join in on that one, too.  The New York Times obituary by Robert D. McFadden, one of the finest rewrite men in the business, was deeply moving and he closed with a quote from a Seamus Heaney poem. I love Seamus Heaney. 

'The way we are living,

Timorous or bold,

Will have been our life.' 


The County Board of Supervisors will go into the cave on Tuesday to discuss USA v. County of Los Angeles, et al., U.S. District Court Case Number: 15-cv-05903-DDP-JEMX.   

As Judge Dean Pregerson wrote so many years ago, "The mental health issues around which this matter revolves are public safety issues as well as legal ones, and concern the well-being of not only the prisoners and public servants directly involved, but of the larger community as well. Mental health issues have, unfortunately, and self-evidently, risen to crisis levels, and the Sheriff has been forced to assume a prominent role in the absence of sufficient mental health resources. The court encourages all parties to continue to work together to formulate and implement policies that are not only constitutionally and legally adequate, but efficacious and empathetic as well. 

Eric Preven:  Your honor, they're not working together. They're at war, respectfully, and are sullying the county brand big time. 

Court:  Sit down, Mr. Preven. 

Eric Preven:  And how in the world is it okay to blow off half of their county board meetings, to have a cognac behind closed doors with the  Coalition of County Unions?  

It's a thing!

A disturbing resemblance was detected between @Sen_JoeManchin +  @hertzieLA.

Unfortunately, @LindseyPHorvath who is in a runoff for the 3rd County Supervisor seat, cannot be tagged in photos. 

What is the public to do with reformed creepy guys?  Put 'em on the radio, apparently. 

Eric Bauman, hosts The UnCommon Sense Democrat on NBC Radio KCAA. He's a former creepy guy! 

Anthony Wiener has a podcast radio show, he's a former creepy guy, too


(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)