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Thu, Mar

Where Have All The Gadflies Gone?

ERIC PREVEN'S NOTEBOOK

ERIC PREVEN’S NOTEBOOK - I’ve always felt that legacy and geography are more important than TV money!  

That’s why I migrated from writing funny scripts for hire to issuing withering broadsides for sport.  Sorry, on principle.   

The Regents at UCLA could not bring themselves, mid odious strike by struggling-to-survive university workers, to block UCLA’s exit from the Pac 10. Too much TV moolah. 

Apparently, according to someone, emails from the community demonstrated “little public support.”  That would be a holiday-time understatement.  What a disgusting plan. The resistance by protestors resulted in the closure of a meeting in Westwood, but…    

Cut to: The Heisman winner, Caleb Williams under a towel with tears in his eyes following USC's heartbreaking 47-24 loss to Utah. It was broadcast all over the world, and this man is so damn passionate (Tear up here). 

What an amazing outcome for Mr. Williams, who went on to be awarded the Heisman Trophy.  How wonderful for him, and how wonderful for the Trojans, and how wonderful for the optics… to be honest— 

“Sir, you’re disrupting the meeting.”

  

It’s Alright to Cry 

It's alright to cry

Crying gets the sad out of you

It's alright to cry

It might make you feel better

Raindrops from your eyes

Washing all the mad out of you

Raindrops from your eyes

It's gonna make you feel better

It's alright to feel things

Though the feelings may be strange

Feelings are such real things

And they change and change and change

Sad and grumpy, down in the dumpy

Snuggly, hugly, mean and ugly

Sloppy, slappy, hoppy, happy

Change and change and change

It's alright to feel things

Though the feelings may be strange

Feelings are such real things

And they change and change and change

It's alright to know

Feelings come and feelings go

It's alright to cry

It might make you feel better

It's alright to cry, little boy

I know some big boys that cry too

 

Rosey Grier sang that song in Free To Be You and Me.   

Sportswashing is a kind of reputation laundering. Like former CD1 Councilmember, Gil Cedillo, who served on the council since 2013, before losing badly to Eunisses Hernandez, and this week broke his own personal record for not speaking publicly, by a wide margin.  

Cedillo is from Boyle Heights, approaching seventy years old, and will always be remembered for his courageous battle (against minor resistance) to link his name to that of the great Vin Scully by renaming the entrance to Dodger Stadium via Elysian Park Avenue to Vin Scully Avenue.   

This week he declared after two months of silence over his role in Nury-gate, “this kid from Boyle Heights never resigned!” 

Lovely. And forever linked to Vin and the Dodgers… it’s a shame that Cedillo couldn’t think of anything to say, in the face of the horrible racism aimed at disenfranchising renters, other than this is “cancel culture’ at its worst.” 

I’m pretty sure I’ve heard Cedillo alongside everyone else on the city council utter the words that have been falsely attributed to Edmund Burke “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” 

Good men are hard to find, as are original quotations. At best, the essence of the quote above can be traced back to the utilitarian philosopher John Stuart Mill, who delivered an 1867 inaugural address at the University of St. Andrews, that included this:  “He is not a good man who, without a protest, allows wrong to be committed in his name, and with the means which he helps to supply, because he will not trouble himself to use his mind on the subject.” 

To be fair to the disgraced one, he does have the right to remain silent.  

John Stuart Mill said protest… 

BREAKING“CM Deleon just left the chamber, along with his staff.” (again) 

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS:

See you next Tuesday!  

At this Tuesday’s board of supervisors meeting, there were only two speakers, Dr. Genevieve Clavreul, shared her sixty seconds on the murky two-item agenda and the former president of the Vanguard Community Garden expressed some dissatisfaction and wanted a meeting with Holly J. Mitchell, the former chair.  

Hahn,  who was a homecoming queen or friendly with one in High School, and Lindsay Horvath, a talented young renter who defeated the great gasbag from the Valley Bob Hertzberg… slinked into closed session.  

But first, they allowed the three minutes remaining on the five minutes that they had allotted for public comment to lapse… 

Nobody among the ten million county residents showed up to Janet’s pre-prom party.  

Here’s a song in recognition of The Closed Session Sisterhood… CSS 

Where have all the Gadflies gone?

Where have all the Gadflies gone?

Long time passing.

Where have all the Gadflies gone?

Long time ago.

Where have all the Gadflies gone?

The Council has picked off every one.

Oh, When will you ever learn?

Oh, When will you ever learn? 

The agenda had an item relating to the costs of the Bass inauguration… it was easy to imagine Paul Krekorian dressed in a Harry Potter sort of elf-like outfit, igniting a giant lamp atop the majestic obelisk of Downtown city hall with something that looks like an Olympic torch  At $400, the average cost to see a vet n Los Angeles…13 Ayes.  

Welcome to the second most corrupt city in America, Mayor Bass… 

As it was the last assembly before the Christmas recess the gaslighter in chief had lined up a modest fusillade of items to ram through…  

Why and what for?  

"For the people, dammit. These fucking protestors will not stop us from getting the good work of the people done, am I clear?" 

Yessir!  

Merriam-Webster just made “gaslighting” its word of the year, after searches rose by 1,740 percent in the last 12 months, and it was looked up multiple times, every single day. The dictionary broadly defines gaslighting as “the act or practice of grossly misleading someone, especially for one's own advantage.” 

The Budget is one item, silly.  

I signed up early, but was never called up to speak.  What a surprise. 

Holly C. Wolcott,  famous for nixing printed meeting agendas while hosting the city’s signature invalidation group which has been certified as a ridiculous and preposterous scheme to have the incumbents’ city clerk oversee the backroom invalidation of non-incumbent signatures. (Get Well Soon, Judge Beckloff)  

You can always spot the clerk begging the budget chair, Paul Krekorian, for new positions, while exceeding expectations in challenger invalidation. 

13 votes for Krekorian.

13 votes for Price 

Krekorian had deferred to Wolcott one hour or two of rule 7 and 12 and she was happy to hand him back the gavel of shame.  

Milton Bradley is said to be looking  into developing a rule 7 and 12  parlor game.  "Exclusion can be fun!" 

I see Krekorian like Luke Skywalker and in the role of Han Solo, his City Attorney sidekick Strefan Fauble.  

These heroes...  are brave freedom fighters protecting the public’s right to meet, though obviously no light sabers, in the chambers.  

When Krekorian  took over for Wolcott after the unanimous vote, he said, “Well, we have re-organized.”   

He said he was delighted to welcome all five of our new members, but was quick to caution that the city faces unprecedented challenges, …including a crisis of confidence in this city government.   (And if you can believe it, CityWatch missed a publication date due to _________.) 

The new Council President FYI who has been the closest advisor for the last two council presidents said it was time for a different approach. 

“This is the time to join arms… and realize we don’t have to agree, to work together… to move forward."  Lovely. 

The best interests of the people will be served by the council. 

"You have a right to be angry but you don’t have a right to stop this meeting. " 

Mr. Price, thanked everyone for the vote of confidence, as he assumed the role of second banana to Paul Krekorian.  He said, we are facing “a new dawn” and looked forward to achieving greater equity.  here were several groans amid the hooting and hollering.  

He cited the fact that we now have six women on the city council, and two new citywide elected women, Heidi Feldstein-Soto and Karen Bass.  

I wonder what Eric Garcetti who has been flaming out of contention for ambassador to India until that initiative is revived by my worst nightmare, a fever-pitched partisan shove-through, known as a recess appointment, would think of all the women in power. 

Garcetti frequently referred to public comment as the "Microphone that makes us all equal…” in the blessed John Ferraro Chambers.  When I first heard him refer to the Temple of Democracy (gagging reflex here) it struck me as an open and closed matter.  “Mr. Mayor, how are we all equal if the public only appears the size of #Blumenfield’s nose on channel 35?”  

Curren D. Price said, “I get it. Talk to Herb Wesson.” 

Even after Paul Krekorian ordered his former chief of staff’s wife to issue a city check to my attorney for just under $100,000, which doesn’t reflect the cost that the city incurred in its fight to stop public comments at Special meetings. There were nearly 100 instances of violation since the date I took them to court Pro per over the Sportsmen’s Lodge debacle. 

Despite the raging Land Use wars across LA, the entire city staff and council were all well-aware of the problem. How do we know? Because I personally (served them) and told them repeatedly.  

That’s what public comment is all about.   

The city’s attitude is, "it’s fine, that man is a kook.”  Gaslight him. 

Spirited Debate:

Mike Antonovich who served on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors from December 1, 1980 – November 30, 2016, enjoyed watching a self-described liberal go after his colleagues Zev Yaroslavsky, Gloria Molina, and the wind-king Mark Ridley-Thomas.  And though, Don Knabe was on Antonovich’s team, “better him than me.” 

It didn’t work out, I tortured Antonovich about his sneaky animal care and control expansion and busted him on various Steve Cooley shenanigans—they’ve been besties since college. 

I was furious that Antonovich had put a victim's item in the middle of a jail violence moment. I called it out. (Smart Speaker comments, Antonovich attacks) 

And he turned on me and through me under the bus as disrespecting victims. 

I came back on another item and called him out big time… reminding him that I was a victim, as a dear friend had been murdered in Hollywood. (Public hammers back at Supervisor) 

Ah, the good old days.  

I’ve delivered a lot of public comments in the short time since 2010 when I took notice of the Los Angeles county board of supervisors. By 2013, I had examined the Los Angeles City Council, initially through the toothless ethics commission.    

By 2015 I was often downtown four days a week, with a goodie bag of free commentaries.   

I spent a lot of pro bono time studying the agendas, and if I am being candid spent a fair amount of time speaking on items that were ON the agenda but that for some insane reason, were NOT open for comment.  So, an Angeleno who had shlepped down to speak on something, could not.  Why not? 

See The Gaslighter in Chief: 

Answer: Because the council has previously satisfied themselves (re comments) in committee. 

Gross. 

I quickly caught on to the fact that the chief legislative analyst, Avak Keohtian only puts items on the part of the agenda for which the council will take comment if he is required to by law.   

ALL touchy or sticky or severely problematic items land on the “you cannot speak on these items” part of the agenda.  

In this day and age, Fauble directs, “you can speak on it in general, if you’d like.”  

My approach often involves delivering a comment on the items that are open for comment, like say, a YMCA item. I could start with some BS praise — I’m familiar with no law against ass-kissing —  and then pivot to the YMCA near me, which is opposite a park… in just a few seconds I’ve successfully bent the comment to also fit my interests in discussing our national disgrace, that Fauble insists is not on the agenda.   

Without going into it, I say try to explain that Los Angeles blames wildfires on the homeless, but evicting them won’t solve the real problems: Climate Change and Urban Sprawl. And if there was room to shame Paul Koretz and Kathryn Barger as the scapegoaters in chief… that’s perfectly legal.  

One cannot enter the process of speaking truth to power with too much arrogance or confidence.  

There are two ways to interpret the above statement, but rather than sermonize I will engage in a little utility journalism. 

What constitutes a good public comment?

One that people including the public will remember. 

What will people remember? 

Saying something truthful with passion but respectful.  It’s okay to be angry but you have to be respectful. You can’t raise your voice too loud or bang the desk too hard or ring the fucking cowbell. 

What you can do, is tell people what you are talking about and I’ve learned not to bog down in the exact date and description, just tell them where they can find it if they want to look deeper. 

Say it like you mean it.  And asking questions is never a bad idea in my notebook.  Answers, frankly, should be provided.   

Some say the Brown Act forbids it.  Bullshit, if it is an item on the agenda, before the body, a discussion is appropriate.  If it is a general comment that was not on the agenda, there is no law that says council members cannot listen and respond to constituents.  If not during the meeting, in writing afterward. ffs 

They convene in the back — as Krekorian and Fauble batt away disruptors.  I was watching the other day and Bob Blumenfield had his back to the public speaker and was clearly not listening but rather visibly joking around with one of his aides.  It’s classic. Reminiscent of Sheila Kuehl’s greatest moment, which is always fun to play out during the holidays.  Here it is.  

 

I proposed that we change the rules so that the supervisors are forced to listen.   

I’ve said we’re not speaking to the council, per se, we're speaking to the public and the council.  The whole idea is to have the mob listening, but no necessarily t in the corridor screaming.  

Naming it:

So, what was it that Krekorian was so desperate to get to “for the public”: 

Nothing to see, here. Unless members have questions or concerns on the escheatment of unclaimed monies items.

Seeing none, let’s move forward.  Oh, wait, Ms. Hernandez, one second.  

Recognizing Joe Buscaino, Paul Koretz, and Mitch O’Farrell by naming a boulevard, a greenway and a Redcar bridge after them.   

Also, a request to put up a plaque honoring Mike Bonin.  

Why and what for?  

Well, not for being the king of Preferential Parking Districts. ‘Carter, We’ve Run Aground…’ 

At City Council, Mike Bonin was advocating #DoNoHarm. But up in Transportation and Public Safety, they were banging out 50 to 55 smart boots a day and on one day applied 81 smart boots.   

With the vigor of Dr. Fauci promoting vaccination, Mike Bonin pushed through 247 roadway closures often consisting of hundreds of spaces during 2017, 2018, and six months of 2019. . .that's 247 in 30 months = 8 per month or 2 per week.   

As an example, the Preferential Parking District (PPD) No. 276 in the Studio City Area in Council District Two is comprised of about 30 blocks. A block is defined as a street segment between two intersecting streets. Between 300 and 600 spaces.   

So if we take an average of 500 spaces x 247 restrictions* = 123,500 spaces!  

The Bonin Carlift was a breathtaking nose to the grindstone campaign to rescue NIMBY residents from Angelenos desperate to park.   

Escheatment: The agenda also had another Unclaimed money Seized Incidental to Arrest Trust Fund, item. This relates to money that has remained unclaimed for three years and is therefore eligible for transfer in accordance with the notification requirements of the City of Los Angeles Administrative Code and current state law. 

All states require financial institutions, including brokerage firms and transfer agents, to report when personal property has been abandoned or unclaimed.  Honestly, how hard does the city try to give people their money back? 

Publications of notices of escheatment must be placed in all newspapers indicated below.  

  1. LA INDEPENDENT 
  2. LA SENTINEL 
  3. TRIBUNE NEWS WAVE 
  4. BELVEDERE CITIZEN 
  5. SOUTHWEST WAVE 
  6. DAILY NEWS 
  7. DAILY JOURNAL 
  8. LOS ANGELES TIMES 
  9. LA OPINION 

Each notice must be published twice, at least 1-week apart. Cha-ching!  When I last looked, the Los Angeles Times was taking in something like a quarter million dollars a year in these types of legally required but totally ineffective ads.  

And several of those newspapers are linked to Danny Bakewell and LA Sentinel. I wonder if the editors at any of the publications listed above would consider writing a story about what outreach efforts the LAPD uses to connect to the folks whose property they seized, and subsequently became unclaimed monies, fair for the taking!  

If the management of the local news-gathering organizations is not comfortable reporting on the obviously outdated and shameful process of fleecing residents of their resources, following encounters with law enforcement here, why not? 

It's true the reduction in the constant drumbeat of fine print newspaper advertisements would have a small impact on the bottom line, but isn't the newspaper looking for low hanging fruit targets to unleash justice for Angelenos?  

The billionaires Charles Munger, owns the moneymaking "Daily Journal" and Billionaire, Patrick Soon-Shiong, owns the moneytaking "LA Times"  Disclosure:  I cough up $27.99 / month or more for an LA Times digital subscription.

Claims for the return of these monies held must be filed with the City of Los Angeles Office of the City Clerk, Room 395 City Hall, 200, North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012 by a certain date.  Onerous.

Shortly thereafter, the aforesaid monies will become the property of the City of Los Angeles per, Diana Mangioglu Director of Finance / City Treasurer could explain.   Outrageous.

On Dec 16, 2015                 $961,827.56.

On May 20, 2016                $544,821.93

On July 29, 2016                $245,266.79

On October 27, 2016          $280,305.53.      2016 Total  $2.1M

On February 10, 2017        $208,873.35

On April 20, 2017,               $208,681.26

On August 1, 2017              $280,544.25

On October 16, 2017          $317,817.21     2017 Total.   $1M

On January 25, 2018          $270,509.35

On May 1, 2018                 $298,317.08

On July 23, 2018                $343,631.66

On October 18, 2018          $396,233.35.     2018 Total.  $1.3M

On January 15, 2019          $318,009.02

On April 10, 2019                $389,990.93

On July 9, 2019,                 $419,077.07 

On October 11,2019           $414,715.57       2019 Total. $1.5M

Fun fact: Diana Mangioglu, wife of Adrin Nazarian, eager to take over as Council District 2, is the City’s Treasurer.

On January 15, 2020.        $505,217.58

On April 9, 2020                $457,540.03

On July 17, 2020               $574,635.17

On October 20, 2020         $469,799.28      2020 Total.   $2M

On January 29, 2021          $412,863.01

On April 15, 2021,              $585,139.21

On July 20, 2021                $602,536.67

On October 22, 2021          $546,628.83.     2021 Total.    $2.1M

Smart Speaker: I’d like to address the escheatment item, for starters why are we doing this? 

“Sir, you’re disrupting the meeting.”

I added up a total and the city has taken like $10 million dollars out of the pockets of people they arrest since 2016 or more.

Council member Eunisses Hernandez stood up and corrected on the record the law that has been cited incorrectly over and over again. The city of Los Angeles has been posting the wrong government code for a rather long time. 

The people demand that the controller, who may have a protected Twitter Account, explain what (wtf) the city are doing to return this money to those Angelenos who have it removed from their possession during encounters with law enforcement. 

Whatever they are currently doing has resulted in real disenfranchisement, aka stealing. 

 

(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)