Wed, May

The H Bomb


ERIC PREVEN’S NOTEBOOK - New Sheriff, Robert Luna, has announced he’s going to start a constitutional policing division inside the LA County Sheriff’s department, as a deputy has claimed a new law enforcement gang has formed inside the East LA station.  

Sergio Perez, the City Controller Kenneth Mejia’s Boy-Friday, once served in a surprisingly ineffective constitutional policing group at LA County, after crashing and burning as the City's Ethics Commission Enforcement chap, working alongside Republican AG candidate, Nathan Hochman, who was on Ethics...a million years ago.  

Last week Perez and Mejia were scowling at LAPD as a protest was conducted following the brutal and tragic slaying of Tyre Nichols. More about that later.  

On Tuesday the Board of Supervisors cut the ribbon on a variety of gun regulations. The public debated these issues with familiar views expressed on both sides.  There was a consensus that more exceptions would be needed to the list of individuals who will NOT be banned from carrying a weapon on county property.  

“Judges absolutely need to be on that list,” said Barger. 

Judges are packing?  Did not know that.  

Next item: Homelessness spending.  

Smart Speaker:  Thank you. It's Eric Preven and this has been a very long and interesting conversation of course, but I love the three missions.  They're very good.

I appreciate discussing it and outlining the priorities and the plan. 

Could we whittle it down to maybe two missions? 

Anyway, the top of the list is working with the local cogs. Great work on Supervisor Horvath's part in appointing herself to the Westside COG.  

This is what we need, people to roll up their sleeves and get in there.  Doubling down on expediting mental health and substance abuse, YES. 

And how about a little streamlining, for God sake?   Ms. Maria Cabildo, a former Supervisor Solis staffer was appointed by Mayor Bass to the Los Angeles City Planning Commission (LACPC).  How's that for streamlining?  

And God bless the Supes for waiving vehicle parking fees of $20 per vehicle for up to 450 vehicles, so $9,000, at the Music Center Garage for the Constitutional Rights Foundation’s 42nd Annual State Mock Trial Competition.  No jokes, please. 

One feisty speaker riffed on the notion of Constitutional Rights.  

Class Trip: 

I think a fifth-grade trip to Washington DC is very important to civic education.  

One speaker suggested a joint powers boondoggle to Washington where all the supervisors and mayor Bass go and try to lose the emergency declaration business and shake loose some real money.  High ... Six! 

Just for a couple of weeks — I personally adore the Park Hyatt but we can have two tiers of hotel-- one for the Supervisors and upper-level staff, and maybe a few department heads.  And then we can have a more ‘democratic’ cheapo, to house the rank-and-file staffers. NOTE: Not on the street or in the public right of way, per county counsel. 

The idea of getting to functional zero homeless in Los Angeles in five years is a beautiful thought, but more realistic and achievable is a two-week trip to D.C. 

The Park Hyatt is upscale and convenient.  Supervisorial, if you will.   

Let’s pivot and shift to use Supervisor Mitchell’s favorite new phrase, from ridiculous declarations of emergency, one following the other, to straight-up resource hunting. 

Hint: NOT additional layers of consultants recommending outreach to unhoused people.   

Someone, said, “I’m all in" and I’m wondering if Mayor Bass's Safe Inside or Inside safe, would like to license, "I'm all in."  

Bottomline, mayor Bass adores Washington, we all do!  

I thought I saw Supervisor Lindsay Horvath under the White House Christmas Tree doing selfies.  

Why not?   

Spring Break in DC — but of course, 24/7 work for fourteen days. 

There is no reason not to bring all of our trusted not-for-profit partners and Supervisorial staff (all of them), and plenty of department heads.   

County Counsel can approve coverage of doggie care for staffers who go, but service animals are certainly welcome.  

Pestrella, at the pleasure of the chair, should be afforded accommodations at the Park Hyatt down the proverbial hall from the... Fab Five.  

Sup. Janice Hahn, chair:  Thank you, I love Washington, D.C.  Next speaker, please.  

Inspector Mejia:

The Los Angeles Police Protective League, speaking of the newly elected City Controller, Kenneth Mejia, and his efforts to observe a recent protest said, “Kenny’s team appearing at protests to ‘audit’ the LAPD is akin to 5th graders auditing quantum physics at MIT to determine its impact on society,” their statement said.   

That's a diss. 

But one of the controller’s top staff is hardly a grade-schooler in policing. Mejia hired Sergio Perez, the former watchdog of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, to be his chief of accountability and oversight.  

“It's part of the gold standard in performance auditing,” Perez said of combining field observations with information received directly from agencies like the LAPD.  

Mejia told KPCC he was looking for efficiencies at other departments too — he said his staff had already visited animal shelters and observed housing inspectors.  

Perez, who also served as the DWP’s first inspector general, said the Mejia’s controller’s office intends to closely watch as Mayor Bass tackles homelessness. “We know that there’s a lot lacking in that space — a data vacuum with regards to a lot of homelessness spending and results,” Perez said.  

“We are looking to fill that vacuum,” he said.  One speaker wondered “with clever billboards.”  Yes. 

Nobody reads long, boring, detailed audits... OK.   

I have many suggestions for Mejia if he's running out of long, boring, detailed subjects … beyond observing LAPD. 

One, that came up in public comment was a rental subsidy that was boldly announced for up to $5,000 during the pandemic.   In, CD13, formerly Mitch O’Farrell, currently, Hugo Soto-Martinez, the speaker alleged, "thousands had applied for the subsidy, and not a single person has been approved.”  

This is for people who live on $21,000 average annual income.  The speaker called for someone to "Please put in action a motion to get details the CD 13 rental relief program." 

Mr. Mejia and Mr. Perez might take a look at that.  

And why not look into Copper theft, which Staffer B John Lee, jumped up to complain about? Sweet of Staffer B to adopt a little orphan issue that Kevin DeLeon has been neglecting.  

For one thing... “Electrocution!”  

Everyone agreed that the lack of consequences had made it so criminals more brazen than ever. “We’re diverting funds from services for constituents,” staffer B John Lee moaned.   

Paul Krekorian coached him on, “We have to harden the system… and prosecute unscrupulous metal dealers, who are buying the copper.”  

"The public street lighting infrastructure is being destroyed." 

Next item. 

Offshore Wind Development:

I know.  

Wind Development Czar sounds like the kind of territory where Mark Ridley-Thomas and/or Kevin DeLeon could lead the charge.   

Unfortunately, it was just another good suggestion being expeditiously moved past, as Paul Krekorian delivered another incremental step toward building a massive billion-dollar pipeline to transport hydrogen to the Scattergood Generating Station in the Playa Del Rey area of Los Angeles, near El Segundo and LAX.  

"We don’t need a massive hydrogen infrastructure,” cried one environmentalist. 

Katy Yaroslavsky of CD5, who did time with Sheila Kuehl and is a chip off the old Zev, by marriage, was not convinced it was supportable, but in the Yaroslavsky tradition, spoke articulately about the problems and then voted to move it forward anyway.   

She promised to withhold her next vote if her questions were not addressed to her satisfaction…in committee, presumably.  

One speaker called it a hydrogen boondoggle saying it will feed the unholy alliance between LADWP and SoCal Gas, who are reportedly one and others' best customers. Yuck. 

[An Angeleno I know well was hammered this month with a $1,100 gas bill for December 2022 and January 2023.  To my knowledge he does not have a pizza oven or kiln.] 

SoCal gas lobbyists want to keep the necessary methane flowing to Scattergood, despite the talk of deadly ammonia leaks, and hydrogen explosions. 

And the evil empires were supported by many business interests including the Central Cities Association, the Pipe Fitter’s union, and the chamber, all eager enough for jobs to say collectively, "Let ‘er rip!" 

But the opposition said these are not clean energy jobs. ”This will replace thermal clean energy jobs with jobs that contribute to the climate crisis.” 

Food and Water Watch said hydrogen is ”prone to leakage…” the process involves lots of methane gas which is one of the most lethal that will be mixed with lots of water.   

New research shows just how thirsty hydrogen really is.  

And if you can believe it, Aliso Canyon is now open for storage.  Let the lawsuits rip with lots of water! 

Burning hydrogen, according to a number of sober analysts, “should only be used in hard-to-electrify circumstances."  

One speaker, blurted, “Why not do solar instead... ?  It’s less expensive.” 

I wonder if the Controller could take a break from hanging out at protests and map out all the possibly dangerous sites. Then, he could make a huge technology buy, draw a reasonable radius around each one of those sites, and see where the home addresses of the LA City Council and County Board of Supervisors fall.  

We don’t want any of our leaders in the danger zone.   That’s for Supervisors _______ and Council Members _______ constituents.  

Paul Pringle of the LA Times is top-notch on drawing radiuses around MRT and then never publishing them.  

Mejia Punch List: 

We noticed that Eunisses Hernandez has a Temporary Preferential Parking District (TPPD) No. 197 in the Lincoln Heights area.   

How about a glance at the impact of preferential parking districts and any coherent articulation of how the program is equitable?  

It allows a resident owner to park all year for about $75 while excluding everyone else, who must pay approximately that much every time they get a ticket by Parking enforcement.  

And what about the Metro Bus driver shortage and its effect on the City's contract transit services?   

Can Mejia help find the number of bus operator vacancies per contract? 

And how old is Elmo.  Happy Birthday Elmo!



And frankly, the City Attorney is accepting a grant of  $118,851 for the Fiscal Year 2022-23 from the County for the Restorative Justice Dispute Resolution Program.   

For me, this raises the notion of an investigation into the Alliance Lawsuit and how much public money was expressed to Miller Baroness, LLP of course for their work at County,  but really both the City and the County, en toto, for the breathtaking multi-year letdown of the public in front of Judge Carter.   

Bob Blumenfield, of CD3, is not ruling out pedestrian bridges and tunnels over and under the 101 Freeway in the Third Council District.  P-22 has gone and the Annenberg wildlife bridge of freedom or whatever is coming soon.  Residents? Maybe.  

The Chief Legislative Analyst, who is not in charge of correcting City Clerk errors has been instructed to include: "Las Mafianitas," "Sixth Street Viaduct Annual Celebration," "CicLAvia," "Civic Center Farmers Market," "DTLA 4th of July Block Party," "Boyle Heights Orgullo Fest," "Paro! Lantern festival," and "Dia de Los Muertos" to the List of Citywide Special Events for Council District 14.  Fair enough. How much?  

And the council was happy to approve a donation of holiday party expenses, valued at $40,966.26, for the Los Angeles Police Department’s (LAPD) Mission Area. Season's greetings.    

Nothing to see here, keep moving.  

Following the exclusion of several speakers, the City Council approved the inclusion of the 2022 Inauguration Ceremonies of Mayor-elect Karen Bass, incoming City Council Members and the City Attorney in the Citywide List of Special Events. Hmmm. 

Sneaky work by Paul Krekorian and Marqueece Harris Dawson, but what about all those sponsors?  Did the city pay for the Microsoft Theater?   


Strefan Fauble is the Council's City Attorney / fussy proctor in charge of making sure that all speakers are on the right item.   

If you veer off topic, "unfortunately, he says” you will be destroyed. 

The other day, Fauble gasped about 45 seconds into reading a complicated amendment.   

“I'm reading number 4. I've lost my mind.  Five years, here or something, and that's a first. That amendment will be stricken from the record.”  

It seemed like Fauble had been the only one who noticed, until he broke the fourth wall, and then everybody pretended to be paying attention.  

Council member Tracy Park, the more conservative Mike Bonin CD11 replacement, was nice about it. 

Krekorian even did a little jokey callback.  

Fauble bounced right back and rejoined the festivities, “Miss Lewis.  Apparently, Ms. Lewis thinks she’s more important (than the rest of class) and Mr. Grabner is shouting from the back of the room. Sorry to the public, maybe you can’t hear it but it’s a lot of noise."' 

Disruption resolution:

A concept similar to ‘encampment resolution’ is something of a new catchphrase these days for sweeping up… temporarily.   

Nobody expects the encampments or Mr. Grabner to vanish permanently except a list of city officials that we can assume are attorney-client privileged.  

Once the ‘disruption resolution’ was completed, Kevin DeLeon spoke for the second time in months. This time about housing 20 individuals… in nearby housing sites. Half women, one disabled man in a wheelchair.   

At Fentanyl corner... where a stabbing death took place last Saturday, the beating of a transgender person on Monday, and a fatal overdose.  It sits across from a daycare center." 

Krekorian thanked Mr. De Leon and then unfurled a comprehensive biographical report and adjournment for Mr. Alexander Nazarian, an architect, painter, pianist, historian, great husband, and father to his former chief of staff, Adrin Nazarian.   

Adrin is married to the Director of the Office of Finance Diana Mangioglu and was the first Iranian born assemblymember in our state’s history.  

Areen Ibranossian is a lobbyist, and Karo Torrossian, who ran for CD7 collecting contributions to run against Monica Rodriquez, followed Mr. Nazarian as Krekorian's CD2 sidekicks.   

The Council President spoke from the heart and talked about the extraordinary challenges that Alexander Nazarian had faced to build an extraordinary life.   

In 1962, he started getting bios of current Armenians and published:  Armenia… and the Armenians. 

He taught his seven grandchildren to play chess.  And despite obstacle after obstacle, Mr. Nazarian rebuilt again and again. A truly American story…he was 95. 

“Mr. Grabner leaves the chambers immediately!”


(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)