Thu, Mar

A Tribute


ERIC PREVEN’S NOTEBOOK - I have delivered millions of words and at least one million too many, for sure, to CityWatch. 

Thanks to Grammarly, btw, for helping with the comma crisis and other short fallings.  And thanks, one last time to the great Ken Draper, who was a man who very much liked to repeat himself but passed away after a long illness.  

As the founding editor and publisher of CityWatch, Ken loomed large over a massive roster of young hungry writers eager to break in to the CityWatch game. My brother and I were such newbies some years ago and getting to know Ken (a little) has been a great joy.

I speak for myself, when I say that I only had a few squabbles over the years with Ken, which for me is good. Very good. 

On one occasion a particularly pointed article, Profit Over Violence, was mysteriously delayed.  Another time I had to chase Ken to have a particularly sharp attack on Mitchell O'Farrell reposted because a small CD13 or Mayor's Office rat must have chewed through the link. 

Opinion writers have wide latitude to voice their opinions. Writers on CityWatch and everywhere develop their own reputations for reliability and truthiness. Personally, I provide characterizations based on what people say and do -- but I'm definitely a characterizer. I am sharing my POV.  

The shtick, which is not a shtick, but something I find myself doing frequently, is trying to depict characters in revealing, amusing light.   

Ken made that process infinitely easier.  

And his own serious talent for pulling brilliant headlines and perfect images is something that every writer at CityWatch will remember.  He was a newsman, a master craftsman with no taste for accolades or awards.  

Ken was not interested in changing CityWatch and he expected writers to deliver their submissions by the deadlines.  But he was reasonable and would accommodate if you informed him. He expected people to treat him the way they wanted to be treated. 

"Got it, thx."

Ken built a very bright light that hopefully will continue to shine. The world will be dimmer for a moment.




The Fifth Speaker 

I wanted to speak to a new ordinance at the county but everyone else seemed ready to rumble all masked up down at City Hall. The mighty mamas dba the five little queens had on their board meeting agenda an item to properly top off the current crop of public information officers. I figured, in a way, I'm kind of Public Information Officer.  Like f'rinstance, BREAKING in Studio City: the longtime Planning and Land Use Chair, Lisa Karadjian, has stepped down and out of the "canoe." 

The county decided to eliminate two community information officer positions (too much "community") and replace the positions with the new and improve communications manager.  Out with community, In with manager.  Excellent.  



Richard Bloom has been manning the confusing 'position' desk at county counsel for many years and if you have questions about 'classifications' ... f'rinstance, what is a PUBLIC INFORMATION SPECIALIST...you're disrupting the meeting.  


Speaker: I want to speak on the items and also a general public comment.  How much time will I be afforded? 

Operator: Two minutes.  

Speaker: Thank you for responding. I appreciate that. The county once again has a robust agenda. I just want to note you've got the DA's annual federal equitable sharing agreement. The district attorney from time to time runs into criminals from whom it seizes property. This is called asset forfeiture, and it is not a pleasant area.  

This year, it's a fair amount of money, about a million plus dollars came in and will be spent on law enforcement, whatever that means. 

So, I was interested in what that means and did a Public Record Act request a few years ago. The great Gilbert Wright over at DA showed up and began presenting records at a glacial pace. The public needs more information on this item. Wright is running the 'major loon' division now and recently testified that the board of supervisors were geniuses...so thank you.  

Please identify specifically, whether a Rolex or a Porsche or a briefcase full of Cash w/ mini-tequila bottles on top was seized and for what purpose and after what process.   

And though $1.2 Million dollars will be expended, please clarify what will be or has been purchased from whom. 

Seized assets from the public require special public scrutiny.    

As for the reorganization of the public information officers or PIOs in the office of the board of supervisors. They all do an excellent job, obviously. The Beaches and Harbors group are particularly skillful and with Caruso's Invictus and other Oligarch yachts coming and going, they certainly have their hands full down in Marina del Rey.   

There was one key detail that I noted: none of these PIOs are represented, employees.  

Wtf  Why not? Why not, Chairwoman Mitchell?  

Why can't the PIOs have the representation like all the other county employees. 

Nobody adores procurement more than Holly J. Mitchell and Sheila James Kuehl and they're really trying to make the process easier for the world, including their bestie not-for-profits. The county has $6 billion in procurement opportunities so any questions about who has the power, can be directed to Sheila's earlier faux befuddlement about supervisorial discretion. 

One speaker wondered, "What about the string of harsh public comments from the local Leimert park small businesses that are allegedly being decimated the rapacious corruption, gentrification train, capably engineered by Choo Choo train driver Mark Ridley-Thomas and the enduring legacy of so many Supervisorial 2nd District actors! "   

The speaker urged the board to, "Take some strong action, in the right direction." 

Moderator: Madame Chair, there are no other speakers to address the board.  

Sup. Mitchell, chair: Thank you very much. To make sure we allow the full 90 minutes the call-in line will remain open until 11:10 A.M. And we will take any other callers that come in by that time. Thank you for your patience. In the meantime, we will transition -- one moment.  Okay. We will go back to public comment, because we got four more callers that entered the cue, so back to public comment, thank you. 

The four speakers spoke, and then finally the fifth speaker... 

Operator: Our next participant is Deon Rosen. Please state the agenda items you are addressing and whether you will address on general public comment. You may begin.  

Speaker: I am just going to give a general public comment about what's going on just down grand park at LA city hall. The mighty board of supervisors should go down there and testify against the 41.18 ordinance. The no sitting, sleeping or lying down ordinance, which, I'm fairly sure the supervisors oppose.  

Sup. Mitchell, chair: Eric.  

Speaker:  The extended criminalization of the homeless.   

Moderator: Excuse me, can I have the next speaker, please.  

Operator: Mr. Chair, there are no other speakers on cue to address the board.  

Sup. Mitchell, chair: Thank you very much. Let's pause for a second to see if anybody is going to cue up. Like they did previously. Anyone have one?  

Moderator: Thank you next speaker, please. 

Operator: There are no other speakers in cue to address the board at this time.  

Sup. Mitchell, chair: All right. Colleagues, again, our 90 minutes will officially end at 11:10:00 A.M. And so what we are going to do is a transition to adjournments in memory, again, leaving the line open. Once we complete adjournments in memory, if there are still members of the public that are called in the cue, we will transition back over to them to allow their full 90-minute period for public comment. So we will start with district 2.  And again, we are transitioning into adjournments in memory, and it saddens me to say, colleagues, both of mine today are deeply troubling to me because they are people who lost their lives very early, and lost as a result of violent crime, and several others as a result of a horrific car accident. So let me begin....  DISSOLVE: 

Item 47-E seemed like an important item for people in LA County who may be facing elder abuse.   

It has to do with the reporting laws that have been set up currently where one has an obligation to call the police. But what this sensitive motion is trying to do is make that requirement to report, not necessarily to the police, but rather to a more appropriate county agency. [Unless, of course, a gun or suicide is involved.] 

What if a dangerous pack of attorneys feeding off of an unstable client engages in 'negligent and unethical' conduct that results in the abuse of the elderly? I will address that very serious question in an upcoming column, in the meantime, the instant motion 47-e does make sense.  

It allows family members to reach out for HELP without worrying about turning in a sister or mother or daughter. The alleged abuser can get the appropriate attention. So good work on that.  

Not good work on holding back as you celebrate nearly one million dollars for a six-pack of Capital Project Restrooms, to be completed by Job Order Contract.   

Sheila has already started packing her bags and I believe Kathryn Barger got Universal in redistricting, but we STILL need an OPEN public toilet at the Redline Universal metro station.  Why is this still languishing?  

There is an already-built restroom facility that is currently operable but inexplicably caged off to the public. Only metro employees who have a key, apparently have business to do in Universal City.  For the rest, keep moving.   


This is a massive slap across the public face of all the theydies and gentlethems who pass right through Universal every day full of coffee and other things, who simply have a biological need to drain the tanks.  

Seriously.  Remember, we are the world-class host of LA28... maniacally focused on building up the hotel room inventory.  

Operator: Your time has expired.  

Sheila Kuehl, who we will all miss, drew the card to adjourn in the memory of the great Vin Scully, because Janice Hahn was out with Covid.  "He was known for his amazing ability to tell stories that perfectly painted the picture of the game for the audience," she read.

Vin, "had a gift for how much to tell the audience, knowing when to stop talking and let the game speak for itself."  

Speaker: What the "F" is wrong with you people? There are more public toilets in India!  

Cue Garcetii: RUFKM



When the Board went into their lengthy inappropriate chat with Barbara Ferrer about Monkey Pox, where the prioritization as to who should get two doses, rather than one.  Hint: Whoever is neediest, per the Board! So, I'm sure there is a way to reach out to your Supervisor if you are a celebrity, VIP or I'm sure Hilda Solis would know where to put a well-timed donation. In her officeholder account, although those are really from a different era, now that all the not for profits, are armed and ready to take instructions from the Fab Five! 

At City Hall, not 72-hours after kicking off the first-ever Children's development department in Los Angles, the children were exposed to more strife.  

Disclosure: the city has had a bizarrely named public works and gang reduction committee, until recently. 

Paul Koretz, who is in a tough fight with Kenneth Mejia for the fairly inconsequential job of Controller, was simply "shocked and angry." 

He said, "we love the city.... we love the people... for a group to continually try to take over city hall, charging at us, we should not be allowing this."  

A speaker who was later arrested, said, "Paul you got your ass kicked... by Kenneth Mejia.  No one likes you, Paul.  Mitch, how's your fucking fence?  It's like your fence, like your campaign. it's going down.  Your colleagues... no one likes you in this room full of losers, you are the biggest loser."  

Council President Martinez shrieked, "Steve Diaz are you here?"  

Strefan Fauble, deputy attorney:  "You're disrupting the meeting. Please go sit down.  You've been warned. The council president has indicated that you are expelled, the council president has indicated ...sergeants, have him removed... You've been ordered to quietly leave the meeting, you’re disrupting, please do so, leave quietly..." 

They took a break, and when they came back, Nury Martinez said, "I've never witnessed anything like this... some people were offended by comparison to January 6th, jumping over a barrier... we can not legislate in fear. We cannot tolerate this behavior.  I want to apologize to the public. Thank you for coming back. (Note, the room was mostly empty.) 

"To have such energy wasted on organizing people to come here to raise this question, and yet to be so far off point... amazing, such misguided energy with lack of tactics...  this is about parents and children and the Lemongrove incident, brown v. board, legal history, prop 187 settlement!"  

The big closer Joe Buscaino came out and said, "the tides had turned."  On behalf of the students, parents, teachers, administrators, and Alberto M. Carvalho, who he called the backbone... superintendent"  we are restoring order and safety among our most precious sites." 

Our children can no longer be traumatized... exposed to "sex acts, psychotic behavior, drugs..."  

Speaker: What about the feces, Mr. Buckets? 

Step Out of the Canoe:

There were fourteen items on Wednesday's city council agenda and two of the eight mayoral appointments to commissions were mysteriously withdrawn.  That's a 25% bailout rate.   

The proposed appointments of Ms. Wah Chen to the El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument Authority and the appointment of Ms. Julia Campbell to the Board of Transportation Commissioners for the term ending June 30, 2027 did not happen.   

Naturally, there was a $216,000 spike in crime, howdy-do in LAPD Overtime handed over by Mitchell O'Farrell and Paul Krekorian.  

And a tiny drop eeked out of the Athens Services Community Benefit Trust Fund for Monica Rodriquez's use. 

A commemoration for special recognition of the two-year anniversary of the Beirut Port Explosion was posted. Thank you. 

The Los Angeles Parks Foundation (LAPF) has plans to purchase the last privately held parcels within Griffith Park in Council District 4, with $40,000 from the Council District 4 portion of the “Neighborhood Service Enhancements."  The plan is to enlarge Griffith Park. [This is not about protecting rich people from further development in the hills during a national disgrace housing crisis. "Yes it is." Sir,...] 

The City Attorney and three other city-based departments will be back in 30 days with relocation consultants who will be engaged to help resolve barriers preventing the relocation of remaining displaced residents, due to the 27th Street fireworks explosion on June 30, 2021. Did I miss the blast-iversary? 

And a teency weency item about the volume of service calls regarding illegal grow houses and enforcement practices when responding to such calls was on the agenda; including the estimated valuation of revenue loss associated with the production and sale of unlicensed cannabis.  Zeitgeisty!  These weed taxes are high!  

There was no discussion.  

The Gray Lady:

Even the New York Times makes mistakes and to my knowledge, they have a very good correction track record. 

Their California newsletter sent out an eblast that was short by three paragraphs, so, the paper did the right thing and re-blasted the newsletter with the corrections.  Here, then, are the paragraphs that were initially left out:  

But, as more people begin living on the streets, “liberal cities are doing everything in their power to get around Martin v. Boise,” said Ananya Roy, a professor and housing justice advocate for U.C.L.A. “It’s not an effort to alleviate poverty, it’s an effort to manage visible poverty and get it out of sight.”  

Jason Ward, associate director of the RAND Center on Housing and Homelessness in Los Angeles, said that enforcing the city’s new law would most likely be complicated and costly. And he said the city needed to focus on increasing the housing stock if it didn’t want its homelessness problem to worsen.  

“We’re creating new people that will be camping on the streets every day,” Ward told me. “A lot of people look at this problem in isolation, but I see it as inextricably linked to the fact that we don’t have enough housing in this region.” 


(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)