23
Thu, May

Lord Acton, Get In Here!

ERIC PREVEN'S NOTEBOOK

ERIC PREVEN’S NOTEBOOK - On February 25th, “calling, ordering, and conducting the Special Election(s) to fill the vacancy in the Office of the City Council, 10th District, was estimated to cost the City $3.1M (including both City and RR/CC costs).” 

I thought I’d read that the CD12 election in 2019 would cost  $2.4M

 

 

But then I found an estimate for the CD6 special election of $7.65M

 

 

 

That's quite a discrepancy, so let's have a look at the details, as that’s the district where the devil typically resides and just like signatures, reports can be misleading and irregular and must be validated.  

I'm on it, but as a result of the Easter holiday, City Hall will need a bit more time to explain itself.  

I was going to raise the point in a stirring public comment before Bob Blumenfield’s Budget and Innovation committee. These badasses are not playing. Price, Yaroslavsky, Mcosker and Rodriguez sitting in a tree...  

This week's innovation agenda came with an innovative new feature: no virtual public comments.  

David Zahniser of the Los Angeles Times reported in LA On The Record, that the committees were opening up. Ironically, they appear to be shutting down.  

It’s quite poignant to realize the subtle but very real impact the simple removal of the virtual link to a meeting will have on Angelenos.  

Certainly, the disabled and elderly and poor folks who cannot get around so easily, not to mention the army of people who cannot afford to take a day off to shlepp downtown.  

And what about the carbon savings of not requiring hundreds to fight their way across the city to give a comment?  

Sir, you're not invited... 

Shutting the virtual public comment window, in this way, stifles the screams of the public the city is shutting out as it continues the assault on democracy.  

BOS Betrayal:

The Board of Supervisors is no better. In fact, the chair of the board, Janice Hahn, who won a measure of respect from the public for resuming public comments on specific items, has quickly betrayed the trust she’d earned by canceling April 11th and the April 25th board meetings to accommodate a major Washington DC boondoggle.  

The impact of canceling public meetings is significant. Dr. Ridley-Thomas and I once discussed the trend of phasing out meetings.  

When the number of meetings is reduced, the number of items per meeting is compounded and can rise to a level that even the most committed gadflies are unable to call out the irregularities. 

When the board of supervisors places nearly 100 items on an agenda or more, it becomes virtually impossible. 

The board, who should be adding days on which they meet before the public, not canceling them, is creating orphan items.  

Items that land on their agendas among so many others that none of them get enough attention.  

Even with the best of intentions and resources in place, it’s physically impossible, given the number of ideas and limited time.  

Supervisors each make over $2,000 an hour to attend public meetings, and ought to meet more frequently, not cancel on April 11 and 25.  It is not too late to call a Virtual meeting from Washington, D.C. as in prior years. 

Blumenfield’s Last Jam: 

Consider the meeting that Bob Blumenfield planned without call-in technology in place.  There are 38 items on his agenda.   

Because those items are being met on in a committee, Blumenfield and his master, Paul Krekorian, will be able to agendize them for council approval in the section marked “already satisfied public comment in committee.” 

That means, yer done.  

When the item comes before the council on another date for a vote, “Sorry Charlie, see the officers at the rail, for a deeply unsatisfying explanation.” 

One of the council members called for a report on the progress made to incorporate equity into the City’s annual budget process.  

While we’re staffing up for that Look-see, can we also examine the highly volatile, depending upon which argument we are making, Special Election Index?  

The index comes from the Budget and Finance Chair Paul Krekorian, who introduced the glamorous notion that the entire City budget of Los Angeles should be handled as one item.  Uno. 

C’mon!  

People are smart, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to discern the true and actual cost to conduct a special election.   

When the city was approving a CD12 special election to accommodate, Mitch Englander’s sudden big exciting life decision to join Oakview with Irving Azoff and continue to deliver for investors… / get indicted, and go to jail, the cost was estimated to be a dainty $2.4M!  

Krekorian, the budget chair for the last decade, could explain how the cost has risen $5.6M to nearly $8M.   

The Mayor removed Larry Fondation and will replace him with Anthony Holland. Fondation's successor is to be confirmed by the City Council.  

The Mayor certified,  that in her opinion, Mr. Holland is qualified for the work that will devolve upon him, and that she made the appointment “solely in the interest of the City.”  

Great. Previously Holland worked as a consultant in the interests of  Amazon, Amazon Studios, Madison Square Garden, CA Children’s Hospital Association, CA Department of Transportation, Charter Communications/Spectrum Cable, Airbnb, JUUL... etc.  

Also as a political Consultant/ Campaign Manager SEPT. 2015 - OCT. 2021 for Nanette Barragan for Congress, Teddy Davis for City Council, Villaraigosa for Governor,  Listening Tour, Communities in Support of Euniesses Hernandez for City Council, Proposition HHH,  Measure H,  Measure J,  CA State Proposition 4. 

Also, the  Vice President, of the Greater Los Angeles African American Chamber of Commerce 

Cool. He is listed as Latinx. Not a discrepancy (I don’t think.)  

Next Item.  

Katy Yarolavsky is agreeing to spend $300,000 to audit reimbursements in a program in which the city provides RSPs (service providers of sanitation) with quarterly credits for blue-can activities. The reimbursements are calculated by the City based on self-reported data provided by the RSPs. RED FLAG,  A biannual report on the proceeds received from the City of Los Angeles v. Purdue Pharma L.P., et al. litigation and how funding has been expended.   

A potential ballot measure to update the City’s Municipal Occupancy Tax Code regarding the Transient Occupancy Tax.  

Currently, the Municipal Occupancy Tax Code allows online travel companies to collect and remit tax on the discounted and/or wholesale room rate agreed upon with the hotel, rather than on the actual amount the guest pays for the room. As such, online travel companies collect a room rate from the customer but do not pay a full tax amount.  

This gag was cooked up by a lobbyist.  Mayors know how to game the TOT system, as they decide what to report.  

Tim McOsker is one of the most civically engaged lobbyists on the city council. And his item noted that 

Anaheim apparently collected $267M in 2021, and 2022. if they closed the loophole, there, they could see an additional $3M in hotel tax.   

Jumping to the City of LA, the TOT revenues estimated for 2022-2023 were expected to be $224M... McOsker's calling for a ballot measure to get more money to increase the amount that can be used for city programs and services.   

What a sweetheart. 

How about a full detailed accounting of the TOT?  

The whole thing smells to high heaven.  

Shemtoob is excellent. Paul Krekorian has kept his eye on this particular candy store for the last decade alongside Englander, Smith & Wesson and Martinez, Huizar, Cedillo, and his eminence, the Dr. Mark Ridley-Thomas.  

Next item. 

Los Angeles Police Department report is relative to the release and use of overtime funds allocated for A Bridge Home and other homeless housing sites. This came up once before and started a territorial spat.  Once it comes to council, "satisfaction" will be invoked.  

Next item. 

City Administrative Officer report relative to a proposed contract with CentralSquare Technologies, LLC, to provide a web-based alarm management system including billing and collection services. 

Had to look!  I wonder why they didn’t label this item as a way to charge up to $377 for a false alarm?   Charge who?  

Charge you!   

Well, $322 plus $50 incremental increases if you accidentally trigger a false alarm.   

Here, LAFD wants to ‘piggyback’ on a contract with the City of Omaha, Nebraska. Simple but punitive folks. 

The department is estimating net annual revenue collections of $3.7 million based on receiving an estimated 15,000 annual billable false alarm calls.   

Disclaimer: We have no idea.  "Let 'er rip!"    

Compensation is based on a graduated net collection share ranging from 90 percent City and 10 percent Contractor to 87 percent City and 13 percent Contractor as calculated by amounts collected through the False Fire Alarm Program.  

The City collection share will be deposited as General Fund revenue.  

Next item: 

I guess a three-year contract with Colantuono, Highsmith & Whatley, PC, as outside counsel with a contract ceiling amount of $500,000, with respect to Apartment Owners Association of California, Inc. v. City of Los Angeles is in someone’s interests.  

I wonder if Price and Krekorian will recuse?  

I never like to see a request for a waiver of conflict of interest for Kahana Feld, LLP, related to the matter of Jo Anne Korngute v. City of Los Angeles, et al., Los Angeles Superior Court Case No. 22STCV36947.    

There are so many angling attorneys, why do we need one who is conflicted? 

Speaking of which, why we are entering a legal services agreement with Munger, Tolles & Olson, LLP, for the litigation United States of America ex rel. Mei Ling and Fair Housing Council of San Fernando Valley v, City of Los Angeles, United States District Court Case No. CV-11-00974 PSG (JCx). 

Sheesh.  

There were two closed session items labeled as “Bomb square detonated explosive material” related. That’s very likely supposed to be ‘squad’ but there’s no way to call in ... 

Lord Acton, Get in here! 

Highly annoying series of pieces noticing the Ridley Thomas fiasco.  

The man had a fair amount of gravitas but he should be defrocked and then put right back to work, with an emphasis on healing rather than stealing and no more wheeling and dealing.  

We'll get Isaac Bryan and Marqueece Harris-Dawson up in there to carry the torch and MRT can operate an ice cream cart in the community he loves, where he can proselytize and sermonize sell ice cream to children.  

Comeuppance “just deserts, usually unpleasant,” is an Americanism that first appeared in Harper's Magazine in 1859. The word derives from the phrasal verb come up, as a case for judgment at a trial, and the common suffix –ance, which forms nouns from verbs, such as acceptance from accept, or appearance from appear.  

Comeuppance means, a punishment or fate that someone deserves.  You are put in your place.  You got a little too big for your britches, and now you are being rightsized so that your own ego can be stowed in the overhead compartment.   

Ridley-Thomas was a Chip off of the old Dr. Cecil “Chip” Murray.  During one of the many shameful county Sheriff chapters,  

The Citizens' Commission on Jail Violence [CCJV] was a response taken by Zev Yaroslavsky and the County Board of Supervisors to Lee Baca’s mess. It was absolutely yet another commission on county jail violence.   

Rev. Dr. Cecil “Chip” Murray was brought in by Mark Ridley-Thomas to repeat what Lord Acton had said so many years ago, “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely."  

Amen.

 

(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)