ERIC PREVEN’S NOTEBOOK - Thomas Hagen is a fictional character in Mario Puzo's 1969 novel The Godfather and Francis Ford Coppola's films The Godfather (1972) and The Godfather Part II (1974). He is portrayed by Robert Duvall in the movies.
Paul Krekorian is sort of the Thom Hagen of Los Angeles City Hall. Though he's allowed his bar license to lapse the man still operates as the top consigliere for the city, the way Thom did as the lawyer for the Corleones. Logical and gentle, he serves as the voice of reason; an informally adopted member of the family.
It's the rationalism and strategic mind of Paul Krekorian that is Thom Hagen-esque.
According to a fan site, behind the scenes, it was Duvall who helped Coppola land Al Pacino to star as Michael Corleone. Disclosure, the same site suggested that Duvall joined James Caan and Marlon Brando, in what has been described as a wave of on-set 'moonings.'
For those who don't know, 'mooning' is the act of exposing one's buttocks to (someone) in order to insult or amuse them.
Nury Martinez had been promoted from her number three position by Herb Wesson, when Mitchell Englander the biggest number two in the city's history, left to be a lobbyist/felon.
Joey “Buckets” Buscaino served as Nury Martinez’s number two for a period, but when it came time for his controlled burn, spectacular Caruso-mini-me flameout campaign, O’Farrell got the nod.
Council President Martinez never did pick a number three; not Rodriguez nor Blumenfield nor Harris-Dawson nor Price.
The Los Angeles Times shies away from covering the shameful failures to appoint leadership. It's boring, until now.
But rather than complain, or rather, in addition to complaining, I started a campaign to get the third banana at city hall chosen and others joined in to demand that Martinez choose.
Leaving one big VACANT on the front of every single public meeting agenda was uncool and irresponsible.
What if something happened? Pffft.
If you asked city players about this, they would point to the top of the obelisk at city hall and say “Talk to Nury.”
Not surprisingly Nury's staff was comprised of an ex-Krekorianista, Anna Aroutiounian, a Senior Policy Deputy and Alexis Marin, the wife of Herb Wesson's son, Justin Wesson.
Herb Wesson’s selfless willingness to take responsibility for the most offensive, illogical, unethical and disgusting policies, had rubbed off nicely on Nury. Like, Herb she agreed with 'satsifying herself' in committee and with the general feeling that less public comment equals 'more participation' in the distorted house of mirrors dba the John Ferraro chambers.
Wesson, a thought leader of deflavorization, was proud to install the first Armenian American to be elected to office in the city of Los Angeles and gave Paul Krekorian the Budget and Finance committee chairmanship and assigned him to serve as his proxy on the city's claims board. Dirty closed-session work, but right up Krekorian's alley.
Krekorian kept all the yucky gravy rains running on time whenever the sh*t hit the proverbial fan and the city was suited. By analogy, he was the associate professor who kept the laboratory running even when the big professor… won a Nobel Prize or ran for President or got indicted!
Krekorian never made the masthead, but was a star writer and the Budget seat is famously powerful.
But, how could it be in the public’s best interest to have only two eyeballs on all the legal wheeling and dealing of a big corrupted city?
“Talk to Herb."
Why were the public speakers appearing the size of Blumenfield's nose in the taxpayer-funded telecast?
"Talk to Herb." "Talk to Nury."
Wesson and his staff, including Andrew Westall and Justin Wesson who married Alexis Marin, Nury’s top deputy, laughed in my face when I raised these points. What’s so funny?
"Talk to Krekorian."
Paul Krekorian has wisely vowed as the new Council President “to restore the people’s trust” in city government. “We really need to ... make clear that no one ever again feels excluded or belittled or demeaned or disrespected or left behind by the people that they elected to represent them,” he said.
Deputy City Attorney Fauble: "You have three minutes for 6, 7 and 8 and one minute for general."
Smart Speaker: We have to get rid of De Leon and Cedillo but we also have to address the Krekorian installation. This is a guy who arose as the best choice among what was available. But what many speakers have mentioned is that we have sort of a systemic problem down here.
Paul Krekorian is good at maneuvering and adjusting the corrupt policies and systems that we have in place, rather effectively. That's not to say... I mean, you could decide if he's corrupt, yourself. I mean, you take 20 donations from Harvard Westlake trustees and then you help them rewrite the planning zoning to get all their giant parking structure on a hill, organized, and then "whoops, there it is..." suddenly it's a hostile takeover of our local golf course... and then, following redistricting, he gives it all to Nithya Raman. Her headache.
I mean, it takes expertise to be that effective and you can't do it alone. You need a network, you need friends and people helping, like Areen Ibranossian, who left Krekorian's office as chief of staff...and then...
Fauble: So, sorry to cut in. It sounds like you are on general public comment, do you want to speak on 6, 7 or 8?
Smart Speaker: I think you have to applaud the man for being effective, but is that what we need? He put up a picture of Herb Wesson as he was being coronated the other day to send the strong signal that he will go back to a simpler time when Wesson's strong-arm tactics ruled the day. That distorted view of how things should be is why Wesson was considered effective, because under his leadership... nobody could breathe.
Fauble: Mr. Preven.
Smart Speaker: Wesson ran it like a tyrant!
Fauble: Mr. Preven.
Smart Speaker: ...and the question for Krekorian is, is he willing to expose the people who...
Fauble: OK, let's move on to the next speaker.
Smart Speaker: ...participate in these meetings through a hybrid meeting--
Text message: "You were just saying hybrid!"
Smart Speaker: What do you mean?
Text message: Hybrid, other munis are doing it. When they cut off your comment you were on topic.
Smart Speaker: Did they cut me off?
Text message: Yes, for being off topic.
Smart Speaker: OK, I'll listen back and sue them. Thx.
Text message: Sometimes ideas are complex and it takes a few sentences to get the... bridge.
Item (6) 21-1189. “Findings to Continue Teleconference Meetings Pursuant to AB 361”
COMMUNICATION FROM THE CITY ATTORNEY relative to finding in accordance with Assembly Bill (AB) 361 Section 3(e)(1)(B) whether meeting in person would present imminent risks to the health or safety of attendees because of the continuing state of emergency related the Covid-19 pandemic, as originally proclaimed by the Governor on March 4, 2020; and related actions.
Andrew Westall, threatens legal action if his name ever appears in my column again. Alleges that I haven't learned anything from the recent scandals in City Hall and claims my referring to him as a, "sneaky bastard" ...is defamation because, in his mind, he has never been sneaky.
Mr. Westall, who called me Eric in his open letter to me, went on to threaten a defamation and libel lawsuit if I ever referenced his name again.
Here's the excerpted section Mr. Westall complained about “We’re rolling”: (Virtual Adios)
The most likely event is that one or more rooms at the Federation of labor were being covertly recorded during a period spanning at least a year from 2021 to ... last month.
Continuously? Or intermittently? Live? We don’t know.
My guess is someone, who was not in the room, had to retrieve a device that had been planted, strategically. Someone like Areen or Justin Wesson or that sneaky bastard, Andrew Westall.
It could have been any of a crew of at least a dozen insiders, like Jeanne Min, Chad Molnar, David Hersch, Karo Torossian. Not Matt Hale because he has been 24/7 trying to wrangle our mayoral candidates’ water bills.
The upper-level deputies current and past would have or could have obtained access. That’s why it's so important to cover the buh-bye section of city council meetings.
Here's the Westall Attack:
Eric - You mention my name in your columns every again, I will sue you for defamation and libel. Your offensive and disparaging comments are unnecessary and uncalled for, other than you being your normal biggest jerk in the City. I have never been, nor am I sneaky. I worked hard for the people of Los Angeles for 15+ years and have many accomplishments to show for it. And I would never illegally record anyone - ever.
Lastly, you obviously have learned nothing over the last two weeks - I am a bastard and was adopted at two weeks old - but you wouldn't know that. I love my parents and have no issue with anyone knowing my truth.
Mention my name again, and I'll see you in court. This is your final warning Mr. Preven.
Here's the Measured Response:
Thanks for reading. You can call me, Eric, Mr. Westall.
The "sneaky bastard" reference was not with any knowledge about your status as a foster child. It was related to your work for Herbert J. Wesson, the guy who rewrote the district lines ten years ago.
That said, there is nothing wrong with being a foster child.
And you may believe that the city's processes, that you've been working for fifteen years are not "sneaky." For you it may be great work that you are proud of. Out here, we call it the Temple of Hypocrisy. Embarrassing, shameful...etc
I write my opinions based on my experiences. I have not defamed you and I am happy to discuss any allegations you may have or want to discuss publicly with your attorney, at your expense.
The regime that you worked for, Andrew (maybe you still do) pretended to be high and mighty civil rights leaders, when in fact you they were backroom rights violators.
And when I sued the city, over the way Herb Wesson, Nury Martinez and your little buddy Mitchell Englander behaved routinely and won... you just kept on treating the people like crap. Repeatedly.
You guys are super smart, but when you pick on smart people... bad stuff happens, like when your bosses and you banished public meeting agendas from the public meetings to save money on paper and "stimulate participation." Pffft.
I asked you for an agenda, because it was not possible to follow so many items and your response to me was to flip me off (shown below)....Get some rest.
Westall shown below with Stuart Waldman.
Above, Andrew Westall shown with Richard Alarcon.
(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)