Thu, Jun



ERIC PREVEN’S NOTEBOOK - Dr. Dre was the recipient of the inaugural Dr. Dre Global Impact Award at the Grammy’s on Sunday. He was looking forward to handing out the award with his name on it for many years to come. One of his mantras, “Everything is important.”  

How about size and scale?   


Ben Besley of Midwood, the New York developers of the proposed Sportsmen's Residences in Studio City says they never do aerial views because it's not how anyone is ever going to actually see a project.   

Click above to see the one some concerned Studio City Residents commissioned from an architect. 

So, what, one wonders, was the point of Midwood including the views of the existing hotel from the air in their application? Page 12  

The obvious answer is the project is so large that there is no way to see the entire project from the ground.  

If, for example, you want to get an idea of how large Disneyland is the only way would be from the air or with a 3-D rendering of the ENTIRE project viewable from different angles. Everybody, including Urbanize has been posting 3-D representations of Los Angeles neighborhoods.  It's fun! 

FAQ:  How do we prevent Midwood and other “helpful” developers from providing the affordable housing stock that they are promising to deliver along with a cluster F*&k at our local chokepoint, from gifting those 78 units to various friends, family and workers?  

Great question.   

The state law and transit corridor incentives, earmark the very affordable for folks who make less 50% of the median income in Studio City.  So this could be a win-win for Midwood of New York and their low-earner friends.  

Keep labor prices low (check) while incentivizing those low paid employees to live at work (check).  Who needs a car?  (check)  Or parking space? (check) 

Correction: Win-win-win-win! 

Midwood could easily make arrangements to provide a very nice affordable unit to each of their most cooperative mall tenants if they'd only stop suing one another.  And when not if, Midwood gets approval for an additional 40,000 square feet of retail with close to 500 employees… 

Hey, what about the chokepoint impact? 

Sit down, Mr. Preven. 


ChatGPT is a program that produces text and images in response to user prompts. Concerns about accuracy, trustworthiness, and potential for bias are rampant. 

In a roundup of potential pernicious uses for AI, Apple's CEO revealed that AI could change "everything we do.” Currently, Apple management prefers to NOT come to the telephone, even for award-winning pains in the ass, FYI.  

I once made a mid-sized fuss at a conflagration of upscale journalists with enough money to fly to Houston for a weekend to compare notes and margaritas, pre-pandemic.  All of the instruments agreed -- Apple is imperious.  

And technology can be frightening. 

Way before Karen Bass noted how we were “building the plane as we fly it” on Homelessness, an LAPD police commissioner exclaimed, “It’s almost like working on the car as you’re driving down the freeway.”  

He said this after seven UCLA professors and graduate students attempted to halt the LAPD from using a predictive policing tool, that amounted to... predatory policing.  

Moore briefly defended the approach, before folding.  Believe me, we still have plenty including, Palantir. 

This week, more bad feeling was re-ignited as Michel Moore’s contract as Chief of Police was renewed by Karen Bass. The mayor said she called her friend, Melinda Abdullah, a recognized critic of Moore, before announcing her decision.  

This may be a case of: you get what you get and you don't get upset. 




The Justice Department’s efforts to combat COVID-19-related fraud schemes are proceeding on numerous fronts, including cases and investigations involving the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, Unemployment Insurance (UI) programs, and COVID-19 healthcare fraud enforcement. 

The numbers are simply too large to print here.  Billions and billions, not merely millions. 

Meanwhile, down at City Hall, where contracts or agreements for the awarding of funds to nonprofit agencies and community service groups in amounts up to and including $5,000.00 are not required to be in writing, the new Council President wants to REFORM things and make it so that contracts under $25,000 won’t need to be in writing.  Rufkm 

Is there a current, Recall Krekorian initiative?  

No, there was an Ad-Hoc self-rule committee meeting on Monday, called by Committee Chair Councilmember Paul Krekorian. 

The real name is the:  Ad Hoc Committee On City Governance Reform    

It’s a lovely bunch but where is Monica Rodriguez, who has been outspoken on this?   

Councilmember Nithya Raman    

Councilmember Bob Blumenfield    

Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson    

Councilmember Heather Hutt    

Councilmember Eunisses Hernandez    

Councilmember Traci Park   

On the Ad-Hoc agenda, is a City Ethics Commission report relative to updates to the Municipal Lobbying Ordinance.  

Lovely, I wonder if they included a rule that lobbyists' should be prohibited from using the spouse loophole to shadow contribute thousands on behalf of myriad clients, who have business before the city.   

And do rank-and-file Angelenos know that Linda Berghoff and Brianna Knabe are among the most civically engaged Angelenos?  Civically Engaged is code for, pay-to-player-player.  It’s perfectly legal because Ethics won’t do anything about it.  

There is also a proposal to examine amending the City Charter to create an Independent Redistricting Commission for the City and related matters.   

Here you have Paul Krekorian and Nithya Raman teaming up, despite Krekorian offloading a spectacular hatric of controversial projects on Raman.   Apparently, the learning curve... takes time no matter how smart you are.  Raman is among the smartest, imho. 

And there's also a related item making clear the city's opposition to SB 52 (Durazo),  which would establish the City of Los Angeles Citizens Redistricting Commission to adjust the district boundaries for the Los Angeles City Council.  Krekorian et al. do not want or need State help because they prefer to work independently (in the shadows.) 

And the item CM Rodriguez favorites is to move expeditiously forward with a Bill structured similarly to Senate Bill (SB) 958 (Lara - Hall) that created the "County of Los Angeles Citizens Redistricting Commission." 

She wants new commission and new redistricting maps for the City of Los Angeles before the April 2023 special election.   Quixotic.  

Wagon Wheel:

At one time wheat from the valley was sent to Santa Monica on a wagon path, now known as Interstate 405.   

In 1876, Isaac Lankershim, a German-born American landowner and pioneer in California, turned it into a toll road, as there were fewer pathways over the hill. Cha-ching. 

As the owner of 60,000 acres in Los Angeles County, Lankershim was, in a word, loaded.  With his son-in-law, Isaac Newton Van Nuys, Lankershim started the Los Angeles Farming and Milling Co, and they took over full ownership of the San Fernando Valley Ranch Company.  

Van Nuys later sold most of his holdings in the southern valley to a group of speculators led by LA Times publisher Harrison Gray Otis in 1909. By 1913, water from the Owens Valley began flowing into Los Angeles, and these investors made millions developing housing in the newly lush environment.  

These events were later dramatized in the movie Chinatown.  

Sit down, Mr. Preven.  

They also established the Lankershim Ranch Land & Water Co., a 12,000-acre real estate development in what is now known as North Hollywood, Los Angeles. 

Brown Act Advisory: 

AB 361’s flexibility will be retired in the near future (and not later than February 28, 2023 based on the recent statement by Governor Newsom).   

Unless otherwise permitted by AB 361, members participating remotely would be required to identify their remote location’s address on agenda and have the location open to the public, per Brown Act requirements.   

Remote participation for the public would still be available by virtual means (such as Zoom), if the council agrees.   

Remote participation by members is left to the approval and discretion of the President. 

One concern is the current Council President is a thought leader on "one item" budget hearings, one of the most draconian and asinine notions ever floated by an elected official.   

Your Show of Shows:

Recalls are notoriously expensive and difficult to pull off. The last L.A. council member removed from office that way was Meade McClanahan, who was recalled in 1946 just months after his election because he refused to disavow his support of an antisemite.   

LA Mag tweeted "Waiting for the haters to find something wrong with Dr. Jill Biden, the First Lady of the United States, presenting the GRAMMY for Song of the Year" to a genuinely surprised Bonnie Rait.  

Reminded me of a funny response to another bit of churn created by Time Out Los Angeles. They were wondering "what are some Los Angeles-specific dating red flags for you?  Let us know." 

Answer: la mag subscription. 


At the Grammy’s Lizzo, who won the vaunted Record Of The Year for ‘About Damn Time’ told an endearing story about playing hooky from school to attend a Beyonce show. 

I had a similar story while working late one night in my first TV writer’s room on the Universal lot.  I decided to cut out without formal permission from my bosses to attend a panel discussion with:  Sid Caesar, Mel Brooks, Mel Tolkin, Larry Gelbart, Neil Simon, and Carl Reiner all in the same room. It was the right move.  

Tom Shales, writing for the Washington Post said of the event after watching the KCET broadcast, "There are too many writers to call this a comedy Mt. Rushmore; it’s more like a comedy Last Supper.” [Jay-Z performed a nearly five-minute rap in the Last Supper-Inspired ‘God Did’ Performance to close out Grammys. ] 

Larry Gelbart, who went on to be the head writer of MASH, said that being one of Caesar’s writers was like playing for the Yankees or with Duke Ellington’s band. 

Carl Reiner, who passed over the summer of 2020, said they were all moths fluttering around Sid Caesar’s flame. 

Caesar joked, that they'd all kept going on a diet of “electricity--and hate.” 

Caesar would bark as he entered the conference room each morning, “All right, let’s hear the brilliance.”  

It was apparently a very raucous writing room, the producer Max Liebman allegedly threw lighted cigars at Brooks (who hated him).  

Sid Caesar told the hilarious story of losing his first sponsor, a TV supplier because he was selling TV sets faster than Admiral the supplier could make them.  

And the men discussed why 32 is not only a funnier number than 24, but the funniest number!  It did sound very funny when you imagined Imogene Coco saying it.  

Mel Brooks told the crowd he first made only $40 a week and lived, Caesar quipped, “underneath a hovel.”  

Neil Simon’s first office with his brother was under “the landing of a staircase.”  

Neil remembered that “walking down the street with Mel Brooks, you just knew something terrible was going to happen.” 

The guild ran a disclaimer on KCET:  “The laughter heard during this program emanates solely from an audience whose members were alive, present, and exercising their own independent judgment when the jokes were told.”


(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)