Thu, Mar

"Justice Justice, Are You Here?"


ERIC PREVEN’S NOTEBOOK - On Tuesday, Supervisor Sheila Kuehl allocated an amount not to exceed $5,000,000 in Proposition A Excess Funds, available to the Third Supervisorial District to the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum Foundation for La Brea Tar Pits Master Plan Project.  Thank you. 

On Wednesday morning her entire legacy had been smeared with tar by a search warrant sought by the county Sheriff's department, that some residents fear may be led by Sheriff, Alex Villanueva for another four years.  One of her best friends, Patty Giggans, who battled against Villanueva bravely as the Civilian Oversight Commission chair, and as the Executive Director of Peace Over Violence, had her motor vehicle towed away by law enforcement on a flatbed. 

Yikes.  There was a time not that long ago, when the smaller cozier cities, like West Hollywood, Santa Monica and Pasadena were in high demand. 

What happened to the neighborhood?  

Christopher Hawthorne, the city of Los Angeles' first Chief Design Officer, is resigning from the design commission in Pasadena, sans scandal. Apparently, his wife got a big job at Yale.  Maybe there's room for Mayor Garcetti in the hallowed halls of New Haven, if India never materializes.  

Glancing at the adorable little Pasadena City Council agenda, I noted that t they've been moving toward Remote Teleconference Meetings of the City Council, all City subordinate bodies, and all City non-profit corporation Boards and their subordinate bodies.    

A hybrid model aimed at helping the public to participate?  

Cool, why don't we offer the hybrid model here in the biggest, greatest city in the region?   Long Beach?  

No, Los Angeles! 

Giggans drove a hybrid. 

Visiting "The" City Hall

The council president, Nury Martinez, asked council member, John Lee, frequently referred to as Staffer B, for his role in the FBI Vegas hoedown, to lead the council in the pledge of allegiance. 

Monica Rodriguez of CD7 was wearing a starfish broach, as she agreed to approve another application out of the public convenience and necessity.... for the offsite consumption of you know what, on foothill boulevard.  Mr. Lee quickly seconded before quickly introducing a few special guests from Korea before public comment.  

He said, they were Korean American students and named more than ten of them calling them a delegation connected to a foundation, that has been connecting students globally.   "A big round of applause... welcome and good luck on your travels... " he said, "and they've brought a proclamation, MOU, to secure an education agreement, if you don't mind looking at that, at some point. Madame President." 

A post presentation, review of a possible proclamation... interesting sequencing there.  Not on the agenda, obviously.  Bon voyage. 

Dr. TruthFay, a public speaker from Loa Angeles noted that extra staffing provided by Paul Koretz and Monica Rodriguez at a swimming pool was fine, but "what the hell happened at the Fairfax library on Gardner?  At 1:30pm the library closed, due to staffing?"   

She was pissed, "What up?  You can't just suddenly close."  She admonished, "You need to staff the library and the pool." 

One guy stepped up and said, "Last week, you cut me off but prior to the meeting, there were two LAPD officers ... and these cops were speaking about people they have kicked out. Obviously, they were scared and knew what they were doing was wrong.  They are trying to intimidate public commenters because they don't want us to come and give our opinions. " 

Nury Martinez called the next speaker, "Justice Justice, are you here?" 

One speaker said item 20 was a land giveaway to developers. "I've lived here for 20 years." 

CMs Blumenfield and Rodriguez moved $650,000 to the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA), to be used for their general operating expenses. ttyl.  

The Studio City Neighborhood Council submitted a community impact statement opposed to (LADOT) designating stalls or spaces on a public street or in a publicly owned parking facility for the exclusive use of charging and parking a vehicle that is connected for electric charging.   Where does this go? One wonders. 

Curren D. Price made an announcement about how Sunday morning,  a fast-moving fire hit the Victory Baptist Church, that MLK himself had once visited.  Price vowed to restore it to its greatness.  He did not recuse.  

Kevin DeLeon, who replaced Jose Huizar after his fall from grace took a moment to admonish the media and praise the LADWP.  "I want to recognize LADWP and all the fine men and women, during the hellaciously hot weather pattern, only 3000 out of 1.5M customers had outages here." He went on to chat casually about how folks up north had  been overloading the transformers... "but we have a vertically integrated system."  As if he personally cobbled it together before work every day.  

He said, "LADWP is an institution that has been much-maligned.. Sometimes, for the right reasons and sometimes for the wrong reasons." 

Then he singled out, Marty Adams, presumably as a good guy, but you never know.   

Maybe Mr. Adams, who is the GM over there, could help find the WaterInsight Reports for the mayoral candidates?  Caruso and Bass.  

John Lee jumped up to congratulate Squid Games on its Emmy victories.   

Nury reminded Gil Cedillo, who seemed sleepy, "Sir, you are our honorary padrino, this year."  Cedillo eeked out a low-energy invitation to join him at the historic occasion on Thursday.  After a quick nap.  

DeLeon had already fired-up the wind generator, so delivered one more rolling recognition of the senior Benjamin Ceja, who passed away recently.  The Junior Benjamin Ceja is an upper level CAO employee (Asst GM) who works closely with Matt Szabo.  

Ben - yameeen... DeLeon prattled on about the man from Boyle Heights who had a great sense of humor and a deep love of music... and was always putting people up, helping them set roots and to find a balance, as they pursued the dream ... Ode to Boyle Heights.  

Nury, said, all members.   


On Wednesday, public comment started with a request to create a national recreation area in the San Gabriel mountains. Two-thirds of LA's open space is up there and 1/3 of our drinking water comes from there.  Park poor people need it, the speaker said.  

A half dozen humans came down masked and ready to rumble on behalf of the ponies who they claim are being exploited and treated inhumanely. 

"End this now," one pleaded. 

One chap, who's been vocal at the LACMTA  (metro) board meetings, suggested the public look into an "international warrant"... it was not clear if he meant a search warrant or some kind of payment.  

Fauble, dispensed with him quickly. "Sorry, we have to move on to the next speaker, thank you for your comments." 

One guy started by asking the council, "How many of you have dogs or cats?"  He went on, after a few shrugged,  "You would never do what you're doing to these ponies, to your own pets."  

He promised to "personally raise funds to move them to a safe place." 

O'Farrel took a moment to pump the Los Angeles civil rights and transgender advisory group's "All gender clothing drive."  

He said,  gently used business or professional attire, dresses, purses... men's small or women's large are sizes that are encouraged.   

Since the council has destroyed public meetings by refusing virtual accommodations and nobody was in the chambers he turned to Nury Martinez, "Take a good look in your closet." Zap! 

Hissing and giggling could be heard coming from the fourth floor, rotunda west wall. 

The council president was clueless, "I'm happy to share this on my social media, by the way." 

The meeting lasted was over in under 15 minutes. 

No discussion of the status of the implementation of permanent Wi-Fi hotspots and nothing about the lease amendment with 11620 Wilshire Los Angeles, GP, LLC, for office space located at 11620 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 1100, being used by Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety (LADBS) West Los Angeles Inspection Bureau. That LLC is a CIM Commercial Trust Corporation. subsidiary.    

Not exactly a Mom and Pop, but location, location, location.  The current rent for this lease is $37,785.84 per month and the new lease will be $38,741.10 per month; an increase of $955.26 per month.  Applicable parking.  (What? Extra or included?) 

Common Area Maintenance fees and property taxes will also be paid from Fund No. 48R for the duration of the lease agreement. 

Why would we agree to pay their property taxes?  

LADWP & USC: Uh-oh

There is a goal to have all retail sales of electricity in California come from eligible renewable energy resources and zero-carbon resources by December 31, 2045. LADWP has initiated an aggressive solar energy development program to meet its renewable portfolio and greenhouse gas reduction goals.  

Many of LADWP's commercial and industrial customers have expressed the desire to work cooperatively with LADWP to facilitate the purchase of renewable energy and Renewable Energy Credits RECs. Under the Agreement, USC will be responsible for agreed charges for energy and RECs.  

LADWP will be responsible for providing energy and RECs, billing USC, and installing metering infrastructure. Approval of the Agreement provides an opportunity to determine the feasibility of offering this arrangement to eligible large commercial and industrial LADWP customers who require a higher percentage of renewable energy service in the future.  

Due to adverse operational impacts, a waiver to Executive Directive No. 4 was granted by the Mayor's Office to the LADWP Power System on June 24, 2022.   

The Office of the City Attorney reviewed and approved the Agreement and Resolution as to form and legality. RED FLAG jk srsly. 

Sheila gets it!

Sheila Kuehl learned over the years to stuff the county dems endorsement committee with friendlies (and/or assholes) like the former city controller, rhymes with scuttle (Rick Tuttle 1985 -2001).  

Sheila refused to put any information up on Ballotpedia when it was time for her re-election. Her strategy for getting re-elected was to 'not contribute' to the noise that there was an upcoming election.  If voters are in the bag, she resoned, no need to disturb them until the county mailer goes out.  

Just stay home and watch "cat videos, like regular people do."


Judging the Judge

In 2020 Incumbent, Craig Richman was the only candidate to file and so won his Superior Court judgeship by default when the election was canceled.  

Alex Villanueva said on television this week, that he was not aware of this Judge, who unlike Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, does have a Ballotpedia page with a surprising entry.   

Judge Richman posted a summary of an argument and incident he had with a neighbor over dog shit that lead to allegations of battery. 

He was eventually tried by City Attorneys and ultimately, exonerated.   

Connie Romero, his neighbor was walking her dogs outside of Richman's home on July 18, 2013. She had reportedly placed a bag of dog feces outside the house as Richman pulled up in his car. After he asked her to pick it up, a heated argument began.   

According to the city attorney's office,which prosecuted Richman, "The defendant allegedly pushed her from behind, causing her to fall to the ground, allegedly striking her face on the sidewalk… and [she] was later treated for injuries.  Romero admitted she threw the bag into Richman's car and told him to throw it away himself.   

The Judge said he pushed the woman after she did this. He claimed she yelled expletives at him and actually pushed him first.   

Richman also admitted to telling Romero that he was a police officer.



Yma Sumac Square

Yma Sumac (/ˈiːmə ˈsuːmæk/), as she was known professionally, was a Peruvian-American coloratura soprano. She was one of the most famous exponents of exotica music during the 1950s.  Sumac became an international success based on her extreme vocal range. She had five octaves according to some reports, but other reports (and recordings) document four-and-a-half at the peak of her singing career. 

A typical trained singer has a range of about three octaves. 

Sumac was discovered by a Capitol Records talent scout and moved to Hollywood. She would go on to record six albums with Capitol Records, star in two Hollywood films, make two world concert tours, and be honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  

Sumac became a Peruvian American icon and spent the rest of her life and career in Los Angeles. She passed away on November 1, 2008 at the age of 86.  

In recognition of her trailblazing career and in honor of what would have been her 100th birthday on September 13, 2022, it is appropriate that the City name the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Wilcox Avenue, the same location as her star on the Walk of Fame, as "Yma Sumac Square."  

Department of Transportation to erect a permanent ceremonial sign(s) to this effect at this location. The sign should include her full name, if possible:

Zoila Augusta Emperatriz Chávarri del Castillo. 


(September 13, 1922 - November 1, 2008) 


The American Golf Links [the movie]

It heats up nice in September... which is why it is so important that both the city and county recreation departments in Los Angeles spend their money wisely.  

We need to protect the main street from wall street while developing a strong Youth Diving program! LA2028! [See Mitch O'Farrell] 

The awesome secrecy that private equity craves and uses to maneuver through municipal government... is not a good fit with the California public records act.   

That's what I told to the G.O.A.T  of LA Press Club Award winners, Karen Foshay, who eventually produced an investigative piece entitled Family Ties for KCET's SoCal Connected.  

The Lobbyists ordinarily help blunt the problem of the pesky public paying attention, but they also bring their own set of pay-to-play issues.  

The risk of a coordinated accounting made possible through the public records act could be potentially catastrophic and the fact that the head lobbyist for the wall street titan was the son of Supervisor Don Knabe was both appalling and... irresistible.  

On November 28, 2013 a resident from the 3rd district requested via email that the golf item be continued pending the provision of the RFP proposals and score sheets and the American Golf Corporation's [AGC]'s monthly profit and loss statements that are required by contract.  

On December 3, 2013 the board continued item 17 and Supervisor Knabe, who had just taken over as the chairman, made an effort to deny public testimony on account of his decision to continue the item for the transfer of the lease for Whittier Narrows golf course, pending the provision of the RFP proposals and score sheets. 

Public testimony   "No public comment on items continued…and we're continuing 17!" 0:36

Public testimony  "Award to American Golf on federal land" 0:53

Public testimony    "American Golf little engine that could…" 1:07 

On December 10, 2013 item 17 for the transfer of Whittier Narrows was continued a second time, pending provision of AGC Profit Loss statements and other records. Supervisor Knabe was a no-show at the Board of Supervisors meeting.  

Public testimony   Goldman Sachs/Starwood sold it…Hey?! 

On December 13, 2013 item 63E is quietly added to the Supplemental Agenda after-hours Friday. Parks and Recs Director was seeking delegated authority from the Board of Supervisors to transfer the leases from Goldman Sachs/Starwood Capital to Fortress Investment Group.   

On December 17, 2013, LA County Board of Supervisors approve Item 63E, over the objection of at least one member of the public demanding transparency.  

Public testimony    "I'll wait for the records" 0:27

Public testimony      "Clarion Call" 3:20

Public testimony   "Public comment" 2:43 

On January 7, 2014, The LA County Board of Supervisors, went out of their way to NOT LISTEN to a member of the public

testify about the golf course deals, reducing public comment speaking time to just one minute.  

Public testimony   1:39   "1 minute …really? " 

January 14, 2014 -- Agenda'd items, "You're trying to push Item 18  through -- Let's slow it down long enough to answer the questions?" 

January 14, 2014 --  Item 18, an attorney shows up, and talks about the "benefit of the bargain"  County Counsel speaks 

January 14, 2014 -- Item 30 -- A fire in Zev Yaroslavsky's District -- the public presses to be heard,  Newspapers all over America...endless violation of the open government laws. 

September 23, 2014 --  Don Knabe:  We're running the meeting from here! 

Russ Guiney, the Director of Parks and Recreations would have liked the public to believe that he'd been duped by his own department. On January 7, 2014, with witnesses in room 383,  Mr. Guiney said he'd had no knowledge about American Golf's partner, FIVE MILE CAPITAL PARTNERS, who provided for a cozy Transfer to Fortress/Starwood with no Transfer fee!!!   

John Wicker took over when Guiney retired and ran the show for approximately five years before calling it quits in the late teens, Norma Garcia now dba Norma Edith García-González is currently at the helm. 

Goldman Sachs ran four separate sneaky plays to acquire the leases for the golf courses without paying transfer fees.  

1) Diamond Bar Golf Course. The Transfer language was mysteriously missing in the contract.  This one amounts to a run-of-the-mill county bungle.   

2) Chester Washington/Maggie Hathaway Golf Course  - AGC promised the public a 10% rent increase for the seven courses but reduced it to a six-pack in 2012, separating Chester Washington from the pack. Chester Washington is near LAX airport and thus especially appealing to tourists. The amendment was never signed so the 10% rent bump never materialized and... because of that,  Goldman kept paying month to month, and thus: No transfer fee (eyes narrowing).  

3) For El Cariso, in the glamorous third district, Goldman allegedly rescued the county from a small operator with probate issues -- but in fact, seized the course for a song and brought on a minority partner: Five Mile Capital Partners from Connecticut.  They're regular co-investors of Starwood and Fortress but the Director of parks and Recs claimed he'd never heard off Five Mile, in January. 

4) For Whittier Narrows golf course the award was Tuesday, Jan 14, and there was a higher bidder… and a November 5, 2013, Appellate decision… about RFPs.  By delaying the award until just after the ownership change… AGC claimed NO Fee is due.   

Oh, look... New York Times July 15, 2016  link to NYT


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)