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Tue, Jun

Underdoggies

ERIC PREVEN'S NOTEBOOK

ERIC PREVEN'S NOTEBOOK - As an underdog fan, I was totally stoked to see 27-year-old Luke Shepardson, a surfer and lifeguard from the North Shore of Oahu, vanquish the biggest names in the sport, and win one of Surfing's highest honors, the Eddie.  

A surf contest and cultural event to honor and celebrate Eddie Aikau, a surfer from Hawaii and the first lifeguard on the North Shore of Oahu.  

Aikau saved more than 500 people as a lifeguard, and his final act was one of service. He was part of a canoe voyage retracing the ancient Polynesian migration route between Hawaii and Tahiti in 1978.  

The vessel capsized off the coast of Lanai, Hawaii, and after waiting for rescue, Aikau took his surfboard and paddled toward shore to get help. The rest of the crew was rescued, but Aikau was never seen again.   

Luke was competing during breaks from his lifeguard job, returning to the tower between heats. He accepted his award wearing his uniform: a yellow lifeguard T-shirt and red board shorts.   

Shepardson said after a brief celebration. “I got to get back to the tower to make sure everyone is OK until the end of the day.”  

The focus was on the three words on the back of every competitor’s jersey:  

“Eddie Would Go.”   

 

Smart Boots:

The Budget and Finance Committee is meeting under Bob Blumenfield, who has launched the committee into gear on an off week, raising presumption of

regularity concerns, right out of the gate.   Kudos.       

Monday's meeting, barring a failure by Blumenfield to recuse on any Cube museum business that may have or may be coming before the committee, coupled with Curren D. Price's standing recusal on anything involving rental hardship of any kind, should be 100% reimbursable by FEMA.    

 Let's be sure to get Mr. Suh to make a note for the CAO, Matt Szabo, to capture whatever we can.     

Hey, where's Krekorian?     

 "Sir, you're disrupting the meeting. Blumenfield and Price know where the bodies are buried, please sit down."    

Krekorian is busy acting as mayor!     

Next Item: Litigation and Smart Boot technology.     

One matter arises from a bicycle accident that occurred on September 23, 2019, on Silverlake Boulevard, near the intersection with Virgil Avenue, in Los Angeles.       

Another arises from a bicycle v. car accident. Plaintiff was riding his bicycle on Riverside Drive when he was struck by a vehicle driven by a non-City driver.       

Another matter arises from a trip and fall incident that occurred on April 7, 2020, in an unmarked crosswalk located at or neat 22000 W. Collins Street in the City of Los Angeles.       

Not another matter arising from a vehicle accident that occurred on September 22, 2019, near the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and North Highland Avenue.     

Nothing on the Special Meeting agenda about Preferential Parking District (PPD) No 276, but there, buried in among the trip and falls, an item by Paul Krekorian and John Lee to get the Suspension of enforcement of scofflaw violations, lifted. 

Go on…     

First, the history:       

Back in the bad old days, pre-Mitchell Englander indictment, the boys could easily dole out 50 to 55 smart boots a day.  On one day, the CMs boasted that they'd applied 81 smart boots to vehicles.  That's a lot of high-tech pain inflicted on people. The two Pauls, Koretz, and Krekorian were very attracted to this citation technology.  So simple, and lucrative.  At City Council, Mike Bonin was advocating #DoNoHarm….while presiding up in committee over thousands of smart boots.   

Then in April 2022, in Fitzpatrick v. City of Los Angeles, a federal court ruled that the City violates the Fourth Amendment when it impounds legally parked vehicles solely because they have accumulated more than five unpaid parking tickets under section 22651 (i) of the California Vehicle Code (CVC).       

The Court ruled that an impound is constitutionally proper only if it is necessary to achieve a goal: community caretaking need, such as ensuring the safe flow of traffic or protecting property from theft or vandalism.        

The City filed a motion to dismiss the complaint, arguing that community caretaking needs were satisfied because the owner of a vehicle with five or more unpaid parking tickets has undermined or interfered with legitimate public objectives, with fines not having any intended deterrent effect.  The Court denied the City's motion to dismiss.        

So what can a city do to prevent the City streets from becoming vehicle dumping grounds for scofflaws?  Since the decision, Krekorian claims the debt owed to the City for parking citations has soared substantially and scofflaw behavior has increased, with little repercussions for those breaking the law. (Shake head in disgust, here)     

Data shows that there has been a 60% increase in the number of habitual violators (motorists owing five or more delinquent citations).    

Mr, Krekorian and Lee write, “These amounts are staggering and will only continue to increase with no effective parking enforcement mechanism for scofflaws.”      

The City Council even had a closed-session briefing…     

The question remains, is aggressive scofflaw enforcement a reasonable practice during a historic housing crisis?    

Methinks, not.    

 

Helpful:  

That's what being a superhero is all about.  One 54-year-old chap who had been placed at a motel, by Inside Safe said “I haven’t seen anything in writing — I asked to see something in writing. What is the agenda that you’ve got here? What do you expect from me? And what should I expect from you?”  

Outreach workers told the inquiring mind they didn’t exactly know how long it would be, just that he was supposed to stay at the motel until the system connected him to housing.   

To be clear, those who moved from Venice and now Hollywood were not moved into “housing,” but were offered an indefinite stay at a motel.     

But to be fair, the mayor is also trying to accelerate the production of housing projects, in which all units are intended to be affordable.  

She’s found 31 or so affordable housing projects that could qualify under her plan, but the question…     

Sportsmen’s lodge is adding sixty units, but putting up 500 market-rate units, will actually, harm affordability for the community.      

The goal for getting people who land at motels to be assigned housing case workers — as opposed to outreach workers, is two to three weeks, according to Dr. Va Lecia Adams Kellum.  “This is part of why we’re all here — we wanted to decrease the amount of time it takes people to go from the streets to home,” she said, adding that on average, it takes six months.

 

Underdog: 

Robin Hood. The Fugitive.  

Colonel Sanders was a seventh-grade dropout, named Harland Sanders. He apparently lied about his age and joined the Army when he was 16. He later tried his hand at everything, traveling the country and often sleeping in his car, he set out to spread the gospel of his secret recipe for frying chicken in a pressure cooker.   

Eric Brokovich, a divorced mother of three helped to hold PG&E accountable for deliberately contaminating the drinking water in Hinkley, CA.     

Louis Armstrong who emerged from a tough New Orleans juvenile facility did odd jobs for a Jewish family, who eventually took him in and helped him buy his first coronet from a pawn shop.  He went on to be Louis Armstrong.  

The whole idea behind the American dream, that someone who is poor and/or weak can use hard work to achieve victory.  

The Fool is often an underdog if they are the main character. Their apparent ineptitude leads to people underestimating their true abilities, and they are able to win either through luck or hidden wisdom against a more powerful "establishment" villain.  

One of the catchiest cartoon theme songs ever.  

A well-written underdog story rouses the reader's sympathy like no other.  I “Always got a charge out of the scene with the giant where Underdog flies so fast, his legs turn into a lightning bolt!” wrote one viewer commenting on the opening theme song for the animated series Underdog.  

Three openings linked above were edited into one by a fan: The First Two are used whenever they actually appeared and the third one is used whenever a One Off Villain showed up.   

Apparently, Underdog, who frequently destroyed phone booths or buildings had many, many lawsuits against him by the Telephone Company and building owners.  

But the music is a genuine work of decent orchestration... “The lyrics, the melody, harmonies, and backing vocals are sheer genius. Not to mention the driving bass line and the clarinet fills. Such a dramatic effect.”  

Underdog is a superhero but instead of arrogance about his powers, his pride and passion are in his humble profession of shining shoes.”   

The show was silly and satirical, but the theme is NOT.  Underdog, from the same perspective as the people he saves - for all his clumsiness, is a genuine hero, so he gets the most over-the-top epic hero theme song the songwriters could come up with.  

I love how at 00:25 the "camera" shakes under the mighty force of Underdog flying by. Great effect.   

One viewers favorite was "When Polly's in trouble I am not slow, so it's hip, hip, hip, and Awaaaay I go!!"   Another wrote, “That used to give me chills when he said that because some criminal was going to get their butt kicked.“ 

The idea started with William Watts "Buck" Biggers who imagined the shoe shine boy who became a superhero, especially whenever the reporter Sweet Polly Purebred was threatened.  

It won the slot and made its debut on NBC in 1964. It was intended to sell cereal. "The secret compartment in my ring I fill with an UnderDog Super Energy pill...!!"  

An attempt was made in the early 90's to re-release 'Underdog' in syndication but because of the drug culture at the time all references to the "secret energy pill" were removed.  

Without them the cartoons did not make sense and were quickly pulled.   

This is a little ironic since the original reason the pills were added was to encourage children to take their vitamins. Some commenters couldn’t resist, “Is the secret energy pill for when he’s feeling weak and tired?”  “No, it’s what he says when Polly Purebred is ready for round 2!”  

The Underdog theme song lyrics has almost the exact same meter as the poem "Excelsior" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, about a guy who goes through a mountain pass and is killed in an avalanche. 

Try singing the poem lyrics with the Underdog music, it's kind of cool but with a sad ending.  

 

Excelsior  

BY HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW 

 

The shades of night were falling fast, 

As through an Alpine village passed 

A youth, who bore, 'mid snow and ice, 

A banner with the strange device,       

Excelsior!  

 

His brow was sad; his eye beneath, 

Flashed like a falchion from its sheath, 

And like a silver clarion rung 

The accents of that unknown tongue,       

Excelsior!  

 

In happy homes he saw the light 

Of household fires gleam warm and bright; 

Above, the spectral glaciers shone, 

And from his lips escaped a groan,       

Excelsior! 

 

 "Try not the Pass!" the old man said; 

"Dark lowers the tempest overhead, 

The roaring torrent is deep and wide!" 

And loud that clarion voice replied,       

Excelsior!  

 

"Oh stay," the maiden said, "and rest 

Thy weary head upon this breast! " 

A tear stood in his bright blue eye, 

But still he answered, with a sigh,       

Excelsior!  

 

"Beware the pine-tree's withered branch! 

Beware the awful avalanche!" 

This was the peasant's last Good-night, 

A voice replied, far up the height,       

Excelsior!  

 

At break of day, as heavenward 

The pious monks of Saint Bernard 

Uttered the oft-repeated prayer, 

A voice cried through the startled air,       

Excelsior!  

 

A traveller, by the faithful hound, 

Half-buried in the snow was found, 

Still grasping in his hand of ice 

That banner with the strange device,       

Excelsior!  

 

There in the twilight cold and gray, 

Lifeless, but beautiful, he lay, 

And from the sky, serene and far, 

A voice fell like a falling star,       

Excelsior!

 

"Brandon Tsay Went!"

Brandon Tsay is a hero, not a celebrity.  He's the guy who jumped in and disarmed the Monterey Park, shooter.    

One person who attended the recognition ceremony told the Daily News, she was looking forward to meeting "a real-life Asian superhero."   

Brandon was offered a job as a Sheriff’s deputy, by Robert Luna. Shouts of Go Brandon, by 20,000 people were punctuating the proceedings. 

Congresswoman Judy Chu joked that Brandon had turned her down when the President invited him to attend the State of the Union address in Washington next week. 

As for gun violence here and across America:  Bad. 

The Board of Supervisors are clicking-off a few public hearings and then into closed session. No word, on the Hiring blitz…  or the gun violence.  

Is it a failure of strict regulations, or do we need even more?   

Both the Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay, accused gunmen had previous brushes with law enforcement. Both appeared to have been in the throes of a mental health crisis. And both had highly regulated weapons that cannot be acquired legally in California without numerous safeguards. Yet both slipped through the overlapping public safety and health regulations that California imposes to mitigate the risk of gun death.   

The sale, manufacture and import of high-capacity magazines also have been generally banned in California since 2000. But the Monterey Park shooter might have been legal, gun rights experts say, if he bought it before it was outlawed or during a weeklong window in 2019.   

In Half Moon Bay, a former roommate of the accused gunman had in 2013 successfully sought a temporary restraining order, alleging that he had threatened to kill him and tried to suffocate him.   

California does have a “red flag” law that allows police, family members, employers, co-workers and others to petition a court for a gun violence restraining order to remove firearms from people who may be a threat to themselves or others. But those laws do not work if people don't use them.  

Victims of mass shootings make up about 1 percent of overall gun deaths in the United States, according to federal gun homicide data analyzed by the advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety.  

The risk of dying in a mass shooting is even lower in California, the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California recently found. Nationally, suicides account for just over half of all gun deaths. 

Thank you, Brandon. 

 

(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)