Sat, May

Gentrification Bridge:  The Ribbon of Strife!


ERIC PREVEN’S NOTEBOOK - On Friday, there was something of a cosmic joke as Strefan Fauble, who has certainly done his fair share of the customary garrotting of public speakers in Mayor Garcetti's Temple of Democracy, seemed to have had his microphone shut down.

Could it have been sabotage?  

It was hard to tell because any snickering, if there was any, would have been conducted from beneath a comprehensive layer of stinky masks.  

Come on, there is nothing to see here, keep moving...  

One Kingdom warrior among the half dozen members of the public, noted that the first amendment affords a protected right to speak. "You allowed 27 speakers to speak, including Chad doing celibacy jokes on July 1, and you denied Yolanda Adams, the chance to speak, so that Nury could go to a  barbecue. 35 years living in a tent and you wouldn't let her speak.  Let them speak. Then you can talk about how great you're doing." Check the LA Times she said.  

Paul Krekorian rose and encouraged the students of the SFV youth leadership academy... which has been providing opportunities for students to become more effective as advocates, to wave and be seen on TV. 

Then he rattled off a very nice tribute to the 'best and brightest' culled from schools where Krekorian et al. had come through raising awareness (and money) on how appreciative everyone is for reliable leadership, cc - Edgar Khalatian,  

When I first came across Areen Ibranossian, out in the wild wild west of the San Fernando Valley in 2015, he was diligently guiding  Krekorian to an easy re-election.  We clashed outside the State of California building on Van Nuys Blvd, near my Subaru dealer, when he wiggled out of agreeing to a debate, despite feeding the public matching machine with Harvard Westlake checks from the westside! 

I wanted to peek in Areen's letter box to see what was on constituents' minds in CD2, so I did a public record act request for all of the emails from CD2 residents to get a flavor for what might be needed in my historic campaign to challenge Krekorian, but Areen had pre-decided that no challenger was needed.  He proposed that I cough up over $2,000 and come back two months after the election to retrieve the records.  

That's when I met the above-average intelligence, Matt Hale, for the very first time. 

Rick Orlov, who was on his last legs, sat me down in the courtside media office and helped me understand how the local government here works, behind the curtain, but I learned way more from the CD2 gang. 

The Tale of two cities...  told the tale of how differently two groups, Harvard Westlake, the tony private school and SaveColdwater Canyon were treated by the councilmembers's office.  

On Friday, Krekorian, touted how he had been providing opportunities for these young Eric Garcettis to be more effective as advocates. 

 Unfortunately, during Covid, he said, "we took a break, but came back with the strongest, largest class we've every had."  Cha-ching. 

These are the interns from Buckley, The Rose and Alex Armenian school, Harvard Westlake, North Hollywood High, Ulysses Grant HS, Providence High School, AGB Demerjian school, Milken Community School, Cesar Chavez Learning Academy, Valley Torah HS, and Oakwood* Secondary school, where Krekorian's offspring may be headed. 

"These young people for the last two weeks have come in every single day to meet with some of our leaders of Los Angeles Departments, Recreations and Parks, the Police Department, The Fire Departemnt, Sanitation, they met with Metro staff as well, those are some of the many experiences they had touring city facilities and getting to interact with the leaders of those departments."  Notably, this all takes place, when the council is mostly on recess.  

As cheerful and happy as it was to have all the masked teenagers in house the next announcement filled Krekorian with tremendous mixed emotions.   

His best boy, Matt Hale, who is smart, has decided to hike up the hill to take a job at LADWP.  "I'm going to be right up the hill, working with all of your staff."    

Krekorian credited Matt with the city becoming 100% carbon-free by 2035. Has the city achieved that 2035 goal already? 

(Shut up, Mr. Preven, we have Matt Hale to thank.) 

"You are one of the most smartest people I've ever worked with," Nury Martinez said boldly. 

"I listen to my staff... " and according to them, Kevin DeLeon, said, "you are an awfully nice guy. Not imperious, nice guy who is very smart... " 

Mitchell O'Farrell lauded Hale's "generosity in word and deed. And the beauty of it is we get to keep benefiting from it, because you are going to be the director of governmental affairs at LADWP. I believe that is going to be the title. You get to benefit the entire committee that I chair.  We will continue to reap the benefit. "  

If O'Farrell had a mustache, he would have twirled it here.   

"You have been a pillar"  "incredibly encouraging of women in particular" (you dog)  and an "indispensable treasure." 

Hey, isn't LADWP where all the corruption is located?   

(Get Mr. Preven out of here.) 

Mike Bonin said he could really feel Krekorian's pain and had a similar story, saying goodbye to his chief advisor and chief of staff and confidante and longtime friend, Chad Molnar.   

Hale may have been around for 17 years, but Bonin said he wouldn't have had a recall against him had Chad not been on vacation.  Chad crossed the country once to attend a eulogy that Bonin delivered following the death of his sister. Chad, without telling Bonin, flew in, and Bonin saw it as "such a profound and loving gesture."  

He called Chad a solid stand up guy with an enormomous brain and heart.  No word if Chad applied to The Caruso Law School at Pepperdine, but has confirmed he will be attending Tulane School of Law in New Orleans.  So, booya. 

Matt Hale, iarguably a fairly smart man, but as the meeting wound on, he was still eliegible to be the second smartest person in Gary Lee Moore's life, but not the first, because Moore's wife Jin Soo (sp.) "is the smartest person I know." 2:05 in, link.   

As his colleagues will confirm, Bonin frequently feels that he is the smartest person around, so seemed a bit miffed and thus was uncharacteristically muted in his praise for Moore.  O'farrell's effusiveness might have contributed to the sour sack. tk, 

Regardless, the brain drain continues at City Hall and nobody is like Gary Lee Moore. He's a real "one of a kind"  though I thought similar in many ways to Mike Shull...of Recreationss and Parks, another nice white guy, who retired last month.   

DeLeon, called Moore, "America's engineer" who he "thought was a country singer - Gary. Lee. Moore."   It got a laugh. 

Blumenfield had the list, " As the City's top engineer, Moore has been around for the completion of 2,600 projects, over $7 billion...  in MONEY.  Blumenfield, said that may be "chump change" for Facebook."   Forget it, more numbers, 2845 beds of interim, 30 bridges, 22 firehouses, 18 libraries, 15 new police stations, 15 swimming pools, and seven new animal service centers."    

When Blumenfield mentioned the seven animal shelters, Koretz and anyone who cares about animals winced.   

ITA has been getting very creative with the framing of up of the city protagonists at public meetings. Though obviously nobody from the general public. Council President Martinez shown with two separate mask looks she's been debuting. 

There was a particularly amusing shot of a masked Matt Hale, being hailed by an unmasked Kevin Deleon, who admitted to only knowing Hale briefly, and Paul Krekorian struggling to mask up during DeLeon's hollow remarks. It was a charming three-shot featuring, Sensei Krekorian, pupil Hale and windbag DeLeon on the praise-horn.   


DeLeon joked about how Moore had been  "cruising low and slow across that bridge."  Cedillo told Moore that he'd had a greater impact than the great Robert Moses of New York.   

Paul Krekorian said, "the people who are critical of what government does get attention."  Thank you, sir.    

He went on, "Every single good thing we've done, somehow or another it goes across your desk..."  

O'Farrell said,  "You define the city family."   

When it was finally Moore's turn, he surprised everyone and said, "I love community meetings, when you are able to listen to the heart of what they're saying, then, you go and incorporate what they're saying, and you come back with a better project.  I've always tried to instill that in our team: Listen!  Don't get upset that they were screaming, what were they screaming about?  And how can we incorporate it...  

Moore is a class act and among other tidbits, he quoted the fastballer, Satchel Paige, one of the greatest pitchers who lived July 7, 1906 - June 8, 1982,  

"Don't look back. Something might be gaining on you." 

Ted Allen, who has worked in the city’s engineering department for nearly three decades, was appointed by Garcetti, to be the Los Angeles’ new city engineer and executive director of the Bureau of Engineering.


The Hall of self-serving Administration.  

On Tuesday it's time for another cost of living upgrade and housing allowance.   Not sure why it's on the supplemental agenda.  

It is good MOU news for the Committee of Interns and Residents CIR, who are getting a $10,000 housing allowance effective July 1, 2022 + an add'l $3,000 for all CIR employed w/ the County as of June 15.  The members of ALADS, PPOA, PDI, and LACOLA, will get a 5.5 % cost of living increase... as of July 1. Boom!  

Is anybody in the mood for phased-in retroactivity?   

Far too many Californians have had their convictions and sentences upheld despite:  

  • Blatantly racist statements by attorneys, judges, jurors and expert witnesses; 
  • The exclusion of all, or nearly all Black or Latinx people from serving on a jury; and  
  • Stark statistical evidence showing systemic bias in charging and sentencing.    

Let's give these individuals an equal opportunity to pursue justice.   

Pursue justice = file a lawsuit   

AB 256 According to the Judicial Council, criminal courts disposed of approximately 170,000 felony cases in 2019 alone. Making a conservative assumption, that if AB 256 results in just one percent of those cases having a more proportionate prison sentence equaling a prison term of one less year, the state would save $154.7 million savings in just one year.  

Was there something you wanted to tell us about a... State Bar cleanup... what for?  Who? Tinkham? 

Skip Miller's annual take in county billing exceeds expectations annually (but the county still refuses to share!) On Tuesday, he'll be slinking back in to closed session on the LA Alliance for Human Rights, et al. v. City of Los Angeles, et al., but more importantly, where are we with gavel to gavel coverage of the exciting Vanessa Bryant matter where Skip is defending Alex Villanueva and company in between attempts by the fabulous five to defenestrate the Sheriff by any means known to women? 

I just wish that the Munger Tolles guy leading the asinine charge against the county and ole Skip would quit it!  Vanessa, we share your loss, but please move on.  

The Sheriff did the best he could given the prurient circumstances. Why can't an inhouse county counsel handle this, Dawyn Harrison?  

Madame Chair, Holly J. Mitchell, you hav to speak out against Vanessa Bryant.  

The floor is yours... 

Killer!  FREE PARKING for Palisadians! 

Thank you Sheila for recognizing the exceptional students of 90272 + the students who bus to Pali because they don't have cars, on one of maybe ten routes!    

This is for the students and faculty fleet of nearly 30 cars per session. Killer!   

Will Rogers State Beach, where the hit television show “Baywatch” was filmed, has been operated by the County of Los Angeles since 1975.  Still 30 cars every other day resulting in a $20,000 parking waiver is nice, but shouldn't @SheilaKuehl be pushing for a greener approach?  

(stfu, Mr. Preven)
As always, student surfers enrolled inland, who don't have cars, can go **** themselves.   

Schindler Gold

I pulled one short letter from December 1940, that Schindler had written to the Federal Housing Administration on behalf of George Gold, a Tax Accountant client, for whom he was designing a house in Studio City.  

"In answer to you rejection of our design I should like to submit the following:  I assume that your objection is based on the somewhat contemporary character of the architectural features of the building. I see no good reason why a contemporary house should not take its place among the usual mixture of so-called conventional styles in any neighborhood. It is obvious that the present fashion of “Early American” imitation will be just as short lived as the passed “Spanish” phase and the architectural development of this country cannot artificially and permanently be reduced to rehashing old European models. " 

He goes on to demand re-inspection of the neighborhood. Unlike, the uncertain fate of Watt and Long the roofing contractors, who Schindler fought Aline Barnsdall to save, the Gold House plans were ultimately granted approval.  I know this because I raised my two children and have been living there since my former wife and I restored it in 2000. [It's plywood and stucco!]  


25 Years ago: Down By the Riverside:

In Los Angeles County the Board of Supervisors has been raising spending caps all over the place which minimizes the opportunity for public scrutiny.  

For years, the board published two full regular meeting agendas each week and took those meetings out in the open, in front of the public.  

In the year, 1997, the board of Supervisors shifted from having two meetings a week, to one by conflating the second meeting that was often comprised of public hearing items.  I believe it was around the time a young starter named Zev Yaroslavsky had suited up.  He'd cut his eye teeth over at the Temple of Democracy, and ... Joel Bellman would know.  

I’m gonna lay down my sword and shield

Down by the riverside,

Down by the riverside,

Down by the riverside

We done cut back from two to one,

Down by the riverside,

Down by the riverside,

Down by the riverside

Gonna step out in the public's time

I ain’t gonna study war no more 

Zev is a pundit for CBS now, and Mark Ridley-Thomas may not be the brightest star down at the Kenn Hahn Hall of Self-Serving Administration, these day, but at one time, he was quite the fastballer.   

He struck out the side last month by asserting the primitive, almost basic point, about Herb Wesson being termed at City Council. 

This inning he's seeking a declaratory judgment that Defendant s’ termination of Councilmember Ridley-Thomas ’s salary and benefits while temporarily suspended from City Council without authorization from City Council was unlawful.  "I'm looking at you, Galperin!" 

"We simply have to enjoin these damn Defendants from violating the City Charter..." 

Despite his offer to continue duties as Councilmember while stepping back from full Council and Committee meetings so as to allow the Council to conduct its business with minimal distractions, the great abstainer as he's frequently referred to, says he was never allowed to vote on the motion or even attend the proceeding.    

Therefore, he was unable to abstain and more importantly unable to go on the attack against members of the public who might challenge him in any way. 

In effect, then, Ridley-Thomas has been on a kind of administrative leave without pay.  Angelenos and CityWatch writers are sympathetic to the fact that the the loss of Councilmember Ridley-Thomas ’ income will cause significant hardship on him and his family.   

Stuart Waldman, "What about his county pension?" 

"Shut up, Waldman, you're time has expired." 

The younger Ridley-Thomas, Sebastian, a former member of the state Assembly who resigned after being accused of sexual harassment, was allegedly given tuition-free admission to the school, a paid professorship, and a mechanism to funnel his father’s campaign funds through USC and into a nonprofit Sebastian controlled.  So smart. 

According to the indictment, Ridley-Thomas and Marilyn Flynn took steps “to disguise, conceal, and cover up the bribes, kickbacks, and other benefits” received by the Ridley-Thomases.  Funny how both Karen Bass and Rick Caruso are slightly tainted by MRTs USC based scandal. Not that funny. 

Elected officials in Congress, like congresswoman Bass, police officers and firefighters, teachers, and city workers all continue to receive their salary and benefits until after any allegations of wrongdoing have been investigated and adjudicated.  

Nobody is more capable than the great Crystal Nix-Hines of QUINN EMANUEL URQUHART & SULLIVAN, LLP*, who has swooped in alongside or instead of Michael Proctor to pontificate on behalf of MRT, "And let me simply say this,"  she might have said with the full rhetorical heft of her prizeworthy defendant (and gasbag) "The City Council's arbitrary and callous treatment of Councilmember Ridley-Thomas, in violation of fundamental principles of due process, was an affront to both his 31-year career in public service, as well as to the community he was overwhelmingly elected to serve.  

When unproven allegations have been made against an employee, including elected officials, they may be suspended but only with pay and benefits until those allegations have been resolved in the relevant tribunal.   

Judge Dale Fischer set the trial date for Nov. 15.  She indicated she would likely reject MRTs attempt to bifurcate the trial of his co-conspirtor, Flynn of USC.  She also admonished both parties for their heavily redacted briefs. While prosecutors pointed to an ongoing investigation, Fischer ordered them to reevaluate the protective order “so you can file these documents with less redactions. If there’s still things that need to be redacted that’s fine, but less is better.” 

The fundamentals of due process are a sub-specialty for Mr. Ridley-Thomas, and he's a heavy redactor from way back who does not stomach criticism well.  Like when he went to the opening of The Lucas Museum during a hearing about a county landfill, that was "NIMBY," so MRT didn't give two shits about it. 

The great abstainer, as he's sometimes known, is also the great retaliator.   

He has a variety of exemptions and privileges and Skip Millers that he utilizes to pursue self-serving interests with an unparalleled vigor.  

Back in the day... he was a real hurler.... 

*Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP provided $190,744 at Mike Feuer's behest to the City Attorney's office for some governmental purpose in 2021 and run a zeitgeisty, artists-in-residence program that will, among other things, give access to a corner office on the main floor of the Los Angeles location with an unredacted view of the sad, corporate, dull... Crypto arena.  


Huizar 2028 

If I were working on Jose Huizar's team, I would position Huizar as the gatekeeper to the people, who have been acting out on the Sixth Street Bridge because they miss Huizar... and the sense that anything was possible.  ANYTHING!    

Huizar is the leader and the only one who can talk to the people from the "Nayba-hood" to make Angelenos realize it's never a bad time to make a contribution to the 6th Street Bridge GoFund Me page   

The structure has been dubbed the ‘Ribbon of Light,’ and replaces its iconic predecessor over the Los Angeles River.  

Michael Maltzan Architecture notes," The new bridge design spans 3,500 feet over the LA River, 18 railroad tracks, the 101 Freeway, and several other surface roads in the city.  The new structure fulfills its predecessor’s role in linking the Arts District on the city’s west side and Boyle Heights on its east.   

It creates a dramatic new urban symbol for LA while bringing much-needed new community resources to the area. The design evolves the monoculture of a single-use bridge into an intermodal multiculture welcoming motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians alike. It seeks to overcome the silo effect caused in the past by infrastructure, countering it with the vibrancy and connectivity of a civic structure."  

I remember the old legal case from October 2018...   Los Angeles Superior Court Case: BC579701 

Complicated area.  This is a condemnation action in which the City is seeking to acquire a fee take and temporary construction easement in portions of a property for its Sixth Street Viaduct Replacement Project.  The City was suing a very rich family... the one of UCLA donor John Anderson for which the school of management there is named, at taxpayer expense.   John Anderson (d. 2011), and his daughter Judith Munzig, launched Ace Beverage in 1956 with exclusive rights to deliver Budweiser in Los Angeles. Holding company Topa Equities, Ltd., now has more than 30 businesses. 

City of Los Angeles v. Duesenberg Investment Company LLC, Los Angeles Superior Court Case No. BC579701 

Once asked for his tips on becoming a successful entrepreneur, Anderson said wage-earners thinking of striking out on their own should not wait too long.  “You shouldn’t get too comfortable in building up your pension or in the fancy cars and fancy offices,” he said. “Stay humble and stay hungry.”  The unpretentious Anderson — who despite his wealth was known to drive a Subaru, purchased from one of his dealerships, to black-tie events — maintained strong work habits that for years included putting in 12-hour days at the office.  Anderson continued to come into the office until Thursday, the day before he died.  

On December 07, 2018  Huizar and Englander authorized a warrant for $5,098,000 to acquire project parcel 16, payable to Duesenberg Investment Compny, LLC. 



Pro tip: Record Requests

The suggestions/guidelines are intended for future records requests.  

Proper Recipient for Records Requests: 

If a local agency hasn't designated a certain person as the recipient of records access requests, then the chief executive officer of the "clerk" is the proper recipient of a records request.  For counties that person is the president/chairman of the Board of Supervisors and/or the County Clerk.  

For cities, it is the Mayor, the president of the City Council, or the City Clerk. 

Sending a records request to the City attorney or to lower level officials is  the same as if the request was never made. 

A records request cannot be enforced if it is made to the wrong person through an improper mechanism.

f an agency has designated someone - such as a Custodian of Records or a Public Information Officer - as the person that is appointed to receive records requests, then that person must be the primary recipient of the request.  For example, the City of Los Angeles has designated the City Clerk as the recipient for records requests. See https://recordsrequest.lacity.org/

It is perfectly fine to copy the request to others, such as officials and/or the County/City Attorney.


Proper Method for Records Request: 

If a local agency has created a method for making records requests, then that method must be utilized. If not, then the request may be invalid.

For example, the City of Los Angeles had created a specific method for requesting records.   See https://recordsrequest.lacity.org/


Don't Just Ask For Links: 

Ask for copies of records.  A request for a link isn't a records request covered by the PRA.  If there are no links, they don't have to respond - even if records exist.  Even though it is arguable that an agency has a duty to ask if you want hare copy of electronic records, it is a better practice not to allow such a dispute to happen at all. 

Instead, ask for copies of records, and add that providing a link to the record you want would satisfy the request. 

Be Polite: 

Write every email or letter while keeping in mind that a judge might read it.  Judges don't like rude people and are less likely to provide relief to people who are seen to be rude. I've seen this happen a hundred times: a chain of emails is used to argue that the requester is unreasonable and unpleasant and therefore the requester doesn't deserve to prevail.

You avoid that possibility by never allowing anyone to paint you with such a brush.


Don't Make Threats or Demands: 

Judges also hate bullies. They forgive agencies, but won't forgive ordinary citizens who they consider to be bullies.  

The chronologies for the cases I am looking at make you look like you are trying to bully public officials into doing what you want with threats of going to their superiors, accusations of fraud, demands that other officials get involved and demands for explanations for inaction, etc. 

The only demand you should make is for the production of records and/or information controlled by a local agency that pertains to the conduct of the public's business.  The only threat you should make is that, if you do not receive the public records you requested, that you will "seek a judicial remedy" and you should make that threat only once - at the very end of your communications and just prior to filing a lawsuit. 


(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)