Tue, Apr

Shovel Ready - Hero Pay


ERIC PREVEN’S NOTEBOOK - The late novelist Kurt Vonnegut allegedly turned to his pal Joe Heller at a party on Shelter Island, "This hedge fund manager, whose house we are in made more in a single day than you made on Catch 22 over its whole history, Joe." 

Catch-22 is a satirical war novel first published by Heller in 1961. 

Joe replied, "But I have something he'll never have."  

"What's that?" 

"Enough," he said.  

Clever, but  Heller wasn't 100% satisfied himself, he reportedly said of my own glamorous mother at a party in New York, "Why can't I have a woman like you? Smart and beautiful."   

Because she was married.  And so were you, Joe. 

Turns out "Enough" is in the eye of the beholder.  Joe's final wife was his nurse and caretaker, and people I spoke with, who knew her said she was very "pleasant."  

Not Pleasant: 

Gil Cedillo, who offered a familiar sermon about his "comfort" putting signs all over the city blocking access to great swaths of Los Angeles handed off to Madame President Nury Martinez, "I choose the children, and I choose our future." 

Nury struck a January 6th...note.  She attacked the group that had shut the place down on Friday, "What we witnessed here, unfortunately, was really an attempt to try to keep us from taking this vote." 

Nury did not mention the proposed increase in the cost of non-emergency transportation of patients in the City of Los Angeles.  The Hospital Association of SoCal said the new rates were developed through a messy process with little opportunity for input from the hospital community.  

And speaking of the hospital community, did Patrick Soon-Shiong ever respond to Mitchell O'Farrell about housing homeless in the low low low as you can go, St. Vincent acquisition he made a few years ago ...  "Sir, you're disrupting the meeting!" 

Angelenos understand the need for fees to reflect rising costs but the City should develop a transparent process with input from all impacted parties, similar to those used in other jurisdictions.   

The great LADOT, who has excellent relations with Tina Choi of Englander Knabe & Allen who is regularly involved guiding and counseling clients through the convoluted city entitlement process chose to survey just a short window of time in December 2020. 

This was holiday time--one of the highest surges of hospitalization during the pandemic.  As a result, the transport activity reflected was way above normal levels and specific services like “ambulance wait time” were terribly exaggerated due to the increased number of COVID patients in hospitals.  

One week of service during the height of the pandemic is not reflective of the usual private ambulance services under non-pandemic circumstances. "Sir, you're off topic." 

Nury did not address the ambulance charges or attack the rate hike on behalf of her impoverished Angelenos, because she was insulted. She is tired of being accused of criminalizing homelessness or criminalizing poverty. 

So, she lashed out at LAUSD, pointing out that "any parent who has the ability to pay for a private education has left the district."  Slap.   

"Anybody who has figured out another choice or has the means to go to a different school that's not in an impoverished community," she said, "leaves the district."  Slap.  

And Nury lashed out at the "the public who interrupted council" who agreed with Mike Bonin and Nithya Raman about the dystopian 41.18 ordinance. 

These people have "no idea what poverty looks like or what it feels like to go hungry, or what it feels like to know that your parent is going to get laid off from work, and how you're going to make the rent every month. No idea what that feels like."  Slap.  

Nury explained that there was a brave, small group of a dozen or so Angelenos who had come down to express their discomfort with the walk to school in their neighborhoods. "They didn't speak the language, but they were willing to come speak out, but they're not here today." 

"I want to speak on their behalf and say, I'm here for you.  I listened to you." 

She said, "They were shouted down and so did not show up today. " 

As she called the roll for a vote, Nury said "the least I can do" as a representative of council district six in the San Fernando Valley," is vote for 41.18. 

The public wondered, "Why not provide opportunities for virtual testimony like other jurisdictions?" 

That's the least you can do, Nury.  


That's the term, that Gil Cedillo of CD1 for a few more months, used to describe the tall dark, and handsome ocean lifeguard Ricardo Flemming Monroy, of Lawndale, California who passed away on Monday, July 4, 2022. 

He said, "We met Ricardo when he represented the lifeguards.  He was tall dark and handsome. Physically fit... so helpful and pleasant." 

"Especially, during a campaign," Cedillo said. "He was very helpful. He was around during my first campaign." 

"When Ricardo showed up, you knew someone was going to be helpful, take out the trash, strategize. So pleasant. He would go along with you on a long drive. If you needed to move, he would help you move." 

He came out of the Art Torres camp. Really very, "pleasant."  

In High school, Ricardo became a swimmer and then an ocean lifeguard. Kevin DeLeon said, "It's very rare. I don't see a lot of Latinos or African Americans or Asians who are swimmers or lifeguards. It's a very rare occurrence." 

As a lifeguard, he rescued dozens of Angelenos over the years. One incident on the Redondo Pier, after a man who could not swim, had fallen over the railing was reported in a local blog. 

There had been a sudden commotion near the end of the pier.  Monroy, spotted the fishermen and other pier patrons yelling for help, waving and pointing to something in the water at the end of the pier.  Not being able to see what they were pointing at, due to glare on the water, Monroy reportedly ran back to the tower, called for backup, then ran back and heroically jumped into the water.  

He eventually, guided the struggling man away from the pilings and towed him safely to shore.   

The Redondo Beach Harbor Patrol pulled up on scene and Monroym, who is fluent in both Spanish and English helped translate for both the fire and police personnel.   

At the end of the ordeal, both the man who fell over the rail and his wife hugged and thanked Monroy for saving his life. That man was ________.  No word if he sent his children to LAUSD.  

"Keep swimming until we meet again."   

Commissioner: Congratulations to the many appointees from Tuesday's agenda. In particular, the Council President Nury Martinez's appointment of Courtney La Bau to the City Ethics Commission.   

There are clues from the background of Nury's admittedly stellar candidate, as to what she will bring to the commission.  

Courtney holds a unique and multidisciplinary background across media, politics and national security with a strong foundation in international finance at JPMorgan. JPMorgan is terrific, they're the city's new bank!  

Courtney has traveled the world interviewing currently incarcerated and former extremists and has a demonstrated passion and commitment to breaking down silos and enhancing equity in our communities.   

She has lived and worked in over 65 countries, has a deep knowledge of cultures around the world, and speaks fluent Spanish and conversational Arabic. 

Courtney is the former Vice Chair of Emerge California and has worked on numerous political campaigns at the local level as well as at the presidential level, having advised candidates on extremism and terrorism issues.  

Extremism, counter terrorism and access to JPMorgan!  Perfect!  

Wild Horses:

Joe Buscaino was pounded by an angry crowd last week so on Wednesday, after the council had met behind closed doors for a couple hours about the Alliance Lawsuit, he was emboldened by the fact tha no public were around, so actually went back for seconds at the Vin Scully encomium buffet.  

Vin Scully once told Jim Hill of CBS, "Jimmy, I don’t care if you’re flying across the country at night, put on your shirt and tie!" 

Back when the city council met openly without special inhibitory rules to protect city staff, I met Yasiel Puig in the elevator going up to the tippy top of City Hall. 

Puig's charity, the Wild Horse Children’s Foundation, gets its name from the nickname Vin Scully gave to Puig during his rookie year with the Los Angeles Dodgers.  The legendary broadcaster declared "And the Wild Horse is loose!" as Puig circled the bases on a triple. 

In every locker room there are writings and sayings, including LASD locker rooms apparently, one suggestion to commemorate Vin is to put up another plaque to go along with the road Cedillo had named after Vin.  Choose from the following: 

  1. ) "The best there ever was."   b) "A beacon of light."  c) "The heartbeat and voice of the LA Dodgers."  

Another sign idea and maybe we can get a deal from the 41.18 sign vendors, is to commemorate the great Avak Keohtian, who works for Sharon Tso and is very much alive and kicking and apparently feeling FINE.   

He has resumed brazenly walking in front of public speakers, during their testimony before the council. 

For every instance in which a city staffer of any kind, walks demonstrably in front of a member of the public, while they are testifying, they shall be FINED, $5,000.  

Four million Ayes!   

Below, the city council's variable masking policy is inhibitory.


County HATE:   

Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye announced last week that she would step down in January after 12 years.  

On July 1, 2013, following several publicized inquiries into allegations of excessive force against inmates housed in the Los Angeles County jail system, the ACLU of Southern California and Eric Preven (collectively, the ACLU) submitted a PRA request to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and the Office of the Los Angeles County Counsel (collectively, the County).  The rest is history! 

Though, it has been a few years since the California Supreme Court found in favor of ACLU/Preven affirming the public's right to access county billing records with private law firms in closed cases, the county has continued to disappoint. Why would Skip ever bother to close a case? 

On Tuesday, the board met for the second week in a row and this coming Tuesday will meet for the third consecutive regular meeting. This should appear to be a huge victory, but it's not.   

The board resumes its "half the meetings half of the time" after August.  The three-pack of consecutive meetings is special programming to accommodate the board's liberal vacationing activities.  

Sheila could easily spin it:  as an example of the board being responsive to the many "advocates" the same group who elected Eunisses Hernandez to Gil Cedillo's seat, who she routinely praises.  

But Sheila was busy on Tuesday in the role of an advocate herself, spinning for none other than corporate accounting giant, Deloitte.  

The item number 3 was for Information and Referral services and the nearly $100M ten-year agreement was ready to sign.   

Not so fast. 

Janice Hahn said 211 was about answering the phone and providing human contact... intelligently and compassionately... listening to the community.... technology is not the answer. 

If there is one thing Sheila has been clear on, it's the difference between allowing someone to speak, (required) and listening (not required).   

Kuehl, thanked Madame chair before tearing into J Hahn. "I've enjoyed being an elected person, primarily because of my colleagues... who, I disagree with several of the things you've said."  She said, 211 had issues, and of the 150 staff 46 are SEIU...  

Solis asked, "what are the other employees?" 

There was no affiliation, that Daveport knew of.  

Solis withdrew.  

Sheila said,  "I understand when people don't like a result, I support our process... all the things we made Deloitte put in...about everything." 

The process she said, was, "so we can't get my cousin John a contract... "   

How about my son Sebastian? 

The board voted against the contract:  Barger No, Hahn No, Kuehl Aye, MItchell Aye...  

Hilda Solis, abstain.  

Rick Orlov's golf buddy:

During the period when Zev Yaroslavsky was getting ready to leave his county supervisor office to make room for Sheila Kuehl who was being installed by Eric Bauman (the now defrocked creepo-gonif who ran the county and then state democratic party for years), I enjoyed sparring with Zev.  Tuesdays with Zev. 

He was near the end of his time in elected office and was and is a very smart man who has a way with words; he was never afraid to whip out a John Wooden quote or turn a phrase.  

One time, a coherent public comment stung, and he spun around in his chair, and very clearly drew a line in the sand, "We don't need a Vin Scully down here!" 

Everyone seemed to know the truth, that's exactly what we needed.  

(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)