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Wed, Jun

On Second Thought, GFY

ERIC PREVEN'S NOTEBOOK

ERIC PREVEN’S NOTEBOOK - A well-regarded Oaxacan public speaker said, “I’m dark brown and I'm short. It’s not only racist, it's colorist. Thank you.”  

He was addressing the horrible comments by the trio of LA's most powerful Latino leaders, Nury Martinez, Gil Cedillo, and Kevin De Leon. 

One speaker, who is knowledgeable on fundraising suggested last week that each of the council members should raise $20,000  - EACH - to get the recall of De Leon rolling, as that’s the only way to get him out.  

The speaker also cautioned the city from moving too quickly with the Ethics reform measure they’ve been cooking up. He said, the measure deserves a full and robust hearing before approval. The theme, the Ethics commission needs to have greater independence.   

Pffft.  

Another speaker said, “I'm not throwing any shade to my Jewish, Armenian, Oaxacan women sisters” and Jina Amini, the 22-year-old Iranian woman “did not deserve to die” but this city council is out of control. 

Stefan Fauble, the deputy city attorney in charge of interrupting public speakers got a nice compliment from a Neighborhood Council-nik. The speaker commended Fauble for “keeping his cool.” 

Mr. Fauble, who is admittedly polite but a very meddlesome moderator could not resist and eked out an audible, "I appreciate the kind words.”  

After that brief pocket of warmth, the torrent of hostility resumed, ”You want to do a slide and glide like MRT.”   

We are talking ”illegitimate, point blank, serious!”   

Denise from Bizfed, who represent over 200 groups, said “We call for De Leon and Cedillo to resign because they’re unfit for public office.”  

One public high school teacher at LAUSD, said, “we need to teach civic engagement, direct representation, action, and getting involved."  He said the “inaction is shocking. Kids see that you are all complicit in weird illegitimate meetings...  how can we explain that they matter when you start your meeting 40 minutes late?” 

Nithya Raman made a speech about the women-led human rights movement in Iran, their bravery and courage in demanding their rights and freedom, and the killing of Jina Mahsa Amini. 

She shamed India and South Asia… to do more.  

There was no mention of Eric Garcetti as Raman wished everyone a pleasant Diwali.  

Diwali, India's biggest and most important holiday of the year, is a festival of lights that celebrates the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil, and the human ability to overcome. 

Hang in there, Angelenos. 

“On second thought, GFY.”  

The Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance has approved LAPD’s budget modification request for UCLA’s allocation to be added to the JSS contract (C-133903) to perform the scope of work originally contracted to UCLA.  

The JSS will now collaborate with Indiana University using machine learning techniques to analyze homicide data.  

What happened to UCLA? 

They lost a football game to Oregon, over the weekend, so politely "in your face, traitors!” Go Ducks.  

The unethical, immoral and frankly unfriendly, greedy self-involved conduct… dba our biggest University assets, yuck! 

If there were justice, don’t worry there is not, The Big Ten would change their minds and still UCLA and US to... GFY. 

Vacancies Galore at DMH:

988, the easy-to-remember phone number for people experiencing mental health-related distress, officially launched in July, offering 24/7 access to trained crisis counselors for anyone with thoughts of suicide, or a mental health or substance abuse crisis. 

Cool. 

The County board of supervisors had a very nice item 33, which was accompanied by a Department of Mental Health presentation from Lisa H. Wong, the interim Jonathan Sherin replacement who will be made permanent eventually.   

She’s currently taking home $441,777 a year, so will that go up or down? 

Wong said recently she was honored to spend time with some amazing people (both staff & clients) in Skid Row.  For her, It was a time of great reflection as she thought about the past, both her own experiences and what the Skid Row community has come through; the present, with all its challenges & seemingly insurmountable circumstances. 

One day in early October, she said, “over 20 near-death overdoses in one day shift, saved by emergency Narcan administration.”  

Staffing, however, has been extremely challenging.   

Each of the five supervisors asked questions about Wong’s report on adequate staffing and the capacity to serve those suffering from severe mental illness.   And each of the supervisors praised Wong’s innovative efforts to incentivize a ‘potential' workforce.   

People out in the public often wonder who in their right mind would want to sign up for a job at Los Angeles Department of Mental Health LADMH dealing with the homeless crisis.  

It’s a fair consideration.  

Wong pointed out a few obstacles:

In the ongoing search for new workers, we have to accept that most first-generation immigrants, who may be the first to attend college in their family, will very likely not be applying for homeless outreach worker jobs.   

Why not? 

Because they're going to be in engineering school, she said, candidly.  

She didn’t say it, but the implication, “They’re not stupid!” 

The supervisors wanted to know how bad it was out there, trying to get people to apply for these jobs.   Two-word answer: Very bad. 

Apparently, there is a 28% vacancy rate which is up approximately ten percent from the prior year.  

The vacancy numbers are coming down as the hiring process commences with the requisite… optimism.  

A homeless engagement job on the streets of Los Angeles may not necessarily be a perk-filled assignment, but Sheila Kuehl was quick to point out, that not everyone is looking for money.  

Huh?  

Sheila cited her experience at Harvard law school, thereby proving beyond the shadow of a doubt that she is totally out of touch. She said many of her classmates who attended Harvard wanted to make money, not fight for justice. But she imagined that many of her classmates did want to fight for … justice.  Hmmm, like her? You cut public meeting time in half.  

Chair Holly J. Mitchell suggested we reach out to the Department of Human Resources— they ought to know what to do with a shortage of DMH employees.   

The consensus is providing bonuses to incentivize workers is no longer enough to land people into these mental health jobs.   

One of the supervisors offered a penetrating analysis of why workers don't want to work, on-site in the encampments. She wondered if working at home might be… more pleasant. 

Yes, of course.  Footy pajamas and a cup of tea, beats squalor and danger any day. 

Supervisor Solis wanted to be sure that the Ambassador program at Metro and her brilliant Promotora program would not be jeopardized, as we try to resource Chair Holly Mitchell’s jam.   

When Mitchell heard the term "resource" she suggested that maybe the Historically Black Colleges would be a very good place to mine for DMH workers. 

She cited Charles Drew without mentioning Mark Ridley-Thomas, her predecessor and (presumably) political  +contracting hero. 

As the board prattled on about a devasting shortage of workers and a rather bleak outlook re the likelihood of finding any, everyone agreed that the county should offer to pay even higher salaries and offer to meet employees where they are…(at home).  

The board will try to provide onsite childcare and customized hours, to fit workers’ schedules.    

But, how can people fill the jobs (in the encampments) if they are at home? 

Sir, we’re going into closed session, GFY. 

Hochman:

Over the years, I’ve run into Nathan Hochman once or twice in the park in Malibu but he first came to my attention when he took over at the LA City Ethics Commission.  Apparently, he was appointed by Carmen Trutanich. The man briefly overlapped with TV’s Jessica Levinson, one of the most quoted human beings in modern compliant journalism history.  

I thought Hochman, given his status as a federal tax litigation specialist, would help disentangle how it was that nearly two dozen Harvard Westlake Trustees had given max contributions to Paul Krekorian despite not-for-profit status.   

And given their big-time engagement in lobbying, why did they check the  No lobbying box on their 990. 

Hochman was busy and aloof. 

Now, Nathan Hochman is running for home in the contest for Attorney General of California.  

He became a household name defending the disgraced former LA County Sheriff, Lee Baca.  

Now he wants Bonta’s job.  

When we met him he was working hard with Mitchell Englander contributing to his campaigns.  Englander went on to become the City’s best little felon, but Hochman was there early doing the dirty work for Englander by smearing one of his challengers, an NCist named Kelly Lord. Link.  

Both enforcement actions against Lord should have been reversed but Mr. Nathan Hochman, who unbelievably sees himself as viable to be the next Attorney General of California, never got around to explaining how his donations to Englander didn’t violate any conflict of interest policy worth its salt. 

Coro:

The Coro Fellowship in Public Affairs develops the next generation of aspiring change-makers in a city classroom. They get the policies just right so insiders can run things effectively… into the ground. 

The Coro Fellows Program develops emerging leaders to work and lead across different sectors by equipping them with knowledge, skills, and networks to accelerate positive change.  

Founded nearly 75 years ago, the Coro Fellows program has a rich history. Their methodology has been honed over time and proven through a long line of over 10,000 prestigious alumni.   

To mention just a few, note the high-quality insider status:  Karly Katona, who set the maps for an improper mailer sent by Regional Planning per MRT, Areen Ibranossian, who suggested it would take a year to provide email records and left five years of Krekorian maneuvering off of his Linked-in, Jasson Crockett, who recently turned down a Garcetti appointment, Senator Alex Padilla bestie of bitter racist, Nury Martinez, and Jessica Lall a subsidiary of Rick Caruso dba Central Cities…. USC llc! 

Lall, served as Chief Advancement Officer at Coro Southern California and as an executive committee member of the University of Southern California (USC).  It’s a love fest. Go Trojans! Go feds!! Go Caruso!!! 

How much is a Coro Fellowship stipend?  

For those who qualify, Coro Southern California offers a monthly stipend to ease the financial burden of participating in the Fellowship. Stipends are based on financial need, and monthly payments typically range between $500 to $1,500.   

It’s not exactly a Soros Fellowship, but a good line into the seat of power. Making the cut is an accomplishment in and of itself.  

Reader response:

Los Angeles Magazine has covered the people, food, culture, arts and entertainment, fashion, lifestyle, and news that define Southern California since 1961.    This November they're working hard for Eric Garcetti, delivering on page one. 

  

Caption: Why is this man smiling? 

 

He’s survived the pandemic, racial unrest, and a series of bruising scandals.  In his last major interview before leaving office, Eric Garcetti candidly discusses the highs and lows of his tumultuous career and prepares for his passage to India.  

Huh?  

Does Maer Roshan know something that we don’t or is this more spin?  LA Magazine seems to be bending the narrative to assist the commander in grief.  

He’s probably not going to India, Maer — FYI. 

It’s an insane interview.  

But a careful reader can see the strategy. Garcetti is laying this down as his last interview so that when his nomination fails, instead of fielding questions from the press, he will just point them to this interview, which is designed to project a narrative counter to the fallen man/ruined career. 

And Politico jumped into the fray to assist in the re-contextualization.  A piece entitled, “Welcome to Los Angeles, where political careers go to die” had Garcetti pontificating about the challenges and limitations of the office.  

“I think it’s OK to not want one single tent on the streets of LA,” Garcetti said. “It’s also OK to not want any traffic in LA. It’s also OK to want to have no pollution and smog in LA. It’s OK to not want one unaffordable unit in Los Angeles, and these have to be our goals. If we’re not marching towards those, what are we doing?” 

He added, “But what’s tough for people in a one-click culture — where whatever you want from Amazon is arriving this afternoon — is to understand that governance is different.” 

Kudos, to another article shaping the battlefield of Garcetti's imminent loss of the ambassadorship.  The Politico article is helpful because it basically says that Garcetti’s failings are about the office itself, not Garcetti, Silly. 

Morality Puh-lease:

"In a letter to the new council president, Paul Krekorian, De León promised to take 'professional sensitivity training,' as if his problem could be fixed by corporate workshops on wokeness. 

De León knows better than anyone how to heal the wounds he opened. 

At the county, fighting against the morality police... it's not only because we are standing with them, it’s also because we recognize our own morality police. 

Sheila Kuehl said, Emmett Till was killed by a… “morality police.”  The Emmett Till Antilynching Act, which makes lynching a federal hate crime, was signed into law on March 29, 2022 by President Biden.  

Sheila said this had "ingnited our passion for justice.”  I guess it’s been a slow burn.  

She said, the treatment of women all over the world... had prompted a reform movement led by women to serve as a wakeup call.  Repressive regimes worldwide, ours included, beware." 

Holly Mitchell, agreed and said item 22 was “very powerful and timely.” 

If we are intentional about being antiracist, focusing on anti-black history, we have to appropriately resource an unbiased, nonracist government. 

Mitchell had two small amendments: one,  direct CEO, anti-racism and diversity, and the CEO homeless initiative to work with LAHSA to work on the Latino... problem.  And let’s get the CEO to hire a consultant... to make sure our homelessness initiative is directly involved in all our activities. 

By adding a consultant, she reasoned, the already overburdened staff…will have the support, so they can do the work on systemic change. We need to show that their work is valued and therefore funded.  

This is not about the exclusion of any subgroup.   

Anti-black… Latinx … who are experiencing homelessness. 

Kuehl, could not sit quietly. One further comment.  “One of the things we also know about referring to subgroups within the subgroups, is we need a different way of presenting to Latino and Latina families.  She said, that she personally knows families, where homelessness is invisible because the Latinos and Latinas continued working.   

She said these people were too proud to show their homelessness. Their pride made them think that it was somehow their fault or a bad mark on them.  

We often don’t assume workers are homeless, she said.  

Solis, agreed, saying thanks for raising that... “One 65-year-old homeless woman and her son in Boyle heights said, “People don’t think she’s homeless because she washed up and is clean.”  

“These are essential workers in the workforce...and they also pay taxes, so thanks.” said Solis. 

Friends of Krekorian:

To me it seemed worrisome that Friends of Paul Krekorian (FPK) are the ones cutting the path for youngsters, avoiding the pesky ethics laws as they roll merrily along collecting money from the UFLAC leader Frank Lima and the Sportsmen's lobbyist Steve Afriat. Quasi off-the-books.   

I bet kids today would understand the FPK’s fundraising scheme.  

It's not that hard to grasp, just very sneaky.  

An “unfortunate loophole” in state campaign finance law permits individuals like lobbyists to legally donate to Krekorian's old state committee Friends of Paul Krekorian (FPK) which he kept "forgetting" to close for a decade.  

And that's exactly what the bros did.  They're helping Paul Krekorian pay off a huge loan that he made himself...  

The FBI was really interested...  but evidently, the Eileen Deckers and Andre Birotte Jr. were busy.   

Isn't that Special: July 2021

The first time the term Special Election arose for me, was after Felipe Fuentes, who the Times had endorsed in 2013 for the 7th District on the Los Angeles City Council, decided on August 14, 2016, to announce his resignation from the council effective September 11, 2016. 

The decision was framed by Dakota Smith of the Daily News at the time,  as a choice: either appoint a non-voting caretaker or pick a voting member to represent the district. Despite many questions, Herb Wesson appointed himself to rule of CD7 and CD10 simultaneously, often as mayor too, when Garcetti was AWOL.  

"Decency, common sense and the law," my brother Joshua and I wrote in the Daily News, "require that Mayor Eric Garcetti — in accordance with his oath of office — uphold the Charter of the City of Los Angeles by dismantling City Council President Herb Wesson’s recent self-appointment to the council seat vacated by Felipe Fuentes." 

By saving the $3M by not having a special election, Wesson gave the impression he was being fiscally responsible, not focused on CD7 political power.  

Instead, we got a year-long period of Karo Torossian, the CD2 chief of staff, running against Garcetti-backed Monica Rodriguez for CD7, while acting as Krekorian's chief of staff.  This is a ripe condition.  The power broker's, chief of staff with pending appointments to provide council support to all sorts of characters and their initiatives, while also fundraising.... #bad  

A contribution of $500 to see Karo elected to CD7, will not interfere with any platforming of a CD2 issue or a contributor hoping to energize or advance a project. Eric Hacopian, who represented Torossian and O'Farrell, who was caught by the Ethics Commission accepting excessive contributions, and is often quoted by the LA Times, is probably an expert on cross-district contributing. 

Joan Pelico, running for CD4 while serving as the CD5 chief of staff, to Paul Koretz (who finked out) is another candidate who dabbled. 

As for Torossian, he received contributions from Gibson Transportation (a city favorite) and two contributions from the Austin Family Development LLC and their team, who own several parcels 700 feet west of Whitsett on Ventura Boulevard in CD2 Studio City.  

The Austin project, which had been kept under the radar, is called, Sunswept Place... 

Sunswept Under the Carpet: 

"Dear Jessica in Krekorian’s office: 

The location here is where the city granted a developer a street vacation for a potentially large project. If there is a large project being planned at or very near this location the details of the project should be revealed to the public instead of being discussed behind closed doors and included in any traffic studies for the Harvard Westlake Sports Complex.  

Any traffic studies should be delayed until the Sportsmen’s Landing project is complete and all of the stores have time to settle in. Traffic and parking issues are real as the Sportsmen’s project was approved with inadequate parking.   

The lack of parking is a bigger problem now that the uses have changed to more restaurants and the addition of the Erewhon market resulting in the peak hours of most of the businesses colliding. " 

Sir, you're disrupting the meeting.  

Sebastian "Riddle me this..." Ridley-Thomas

Anyone who knows AD54 well, knows that it is Mark Ridley-Thomas country.  And nobody is more conversant than MRT in the local dialect known as ... Special Elections. 

His now infamous 2nd district initiative into the first Special Election of Sebastian Ridley-Thomas, his son, has resulted in very nice email chain and also a chain of Special elections and promotions from within the MRT family.  

The most recent special election was necessitated by Sydney Kamlager’s election to the state Senate in a special election March 2, filling the vacancy caused by Holly J. Mitchell’s election to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in November.  The winner Isaac Bryan has advised Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Kamlager on youth development and strategies aimed at reducing the number of people becoming homeless. 

When Sebastian Ridley-Thomas stepped down it resulted in the Special election of Sydney Kamlager Dove, County Supervisor Mark Ridley-­Thomas' Child commissioner, who was sworn in on April 16, 2018. This resulted in putting a representative in the seat after 56 days rather than allowing 83 days until a regularly scheduled election.  

The public saved 27 days of leadership at a cost of $66,666 a day and still got a primary election. 

Despite lingering questions about former Assemblymember Sebastian Ridley-Thomas' segue to his new role as a member of the faculty at the University of Southern California, I have not seen any reporting as to what condition caused him to step down and bounce back so quickly.  

I think both constituents and readers have a right to understand without judging or stigmatizing anyone for any reason. No matter the type of medical condition that the former Assembly member handily bested through five surgeries, we expect our leaders to stand up to stigma and discrimination, not kowtow to it. 

By treating the reason for a public official's segue from the public sector to a private university as 'non-disclosable' to the public it heightens the need for public scrutiny on the decision to hold a $1.8 million dollar Special Election at taxpayer's expense. 

Was it a requirement by law?   Who decided on what date with what information?   When you are a public figure, you have an obligation to tell the public something.  

The Times and the compliant media simply looked away.  David Goldstein of KCBS shown below. 

 

(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)