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Thu, Jun

Hypocrisy Dies in Darkness

ERIC PREVEN'S NOTEBOOK

ERIC PREVEN’S NOTEBOOK - A bill seeking to limit euthanasia in California animal shelters appears to have been blocked by state lawmakers. The proposal was in the Assembly’s Appropriations Committee, which reviews the fiscal impacts of bills, but was quietly killed Thursday, May 18, through a process called the “suspense file.”  

It’s a mysterious process through which lawmakers decide — with no explanation — which bills get a chance to become law later this year and which ones should not move forward.  

It was one of the hundreds of bills that didn’t survive the legislature’s suspense file, and now, once again, the survival of innocent animals is threatened.   

Disclaimer: 

As some will recall, the LA County Board of Supervisors is taking a break from all of the self-congratulation and has asked the Executive Office of the Board of Supervisors to issue a Request for Statement of Interest (RFSI) to solicit responses seeking and ideas about how to strengthen equity and transparency while examining models in other localities and exploring any applicable reforms that could enable a more inclusive political system, with an emphasis on providing a more transparent, equitable process for policy and budget development. 

The RFSI was posted May 18, 2023, RFSI 23-01. so any of you independent third-party entities or consultants willing work with the Executive Officer, please shake a tail as the application deadline is fast approaching. I thought I saw May 24th something was due.  Let’s double-check.  

NOTE: When I clicked on the link provided, I was introduced to a page featuring RFPs for Weed and Vegetation Control and Emergency Radio Telephone Systems.   

This is going to be a fun and challenging process, but don't worry there’s plenty of time for Transparency and an equitable process between now and Wednesday.  

BREAKING: 

Paul Krekorian has called a special Ad Hoc Committee on City Governmental Reform meeting.  As the Mary Tyler Moore theme song plays we hum, "Reform is all around, no need to waste it, You can have reform, why don't you take it ... You're gonna make it after all!" 

This city's potential has been stunted for far too long by inept and corrupted power systems. Now, Paul Krekorian, his Igor, Bob Blumenfield, Nithya Raman, and Marqueece Harris-Dawson are joining their newly elected colleagues,  Eunisses Hernandez, Traci Park, and Heather Hutt, and... unclear.   

They are supposed to be “expanding the size of city council and pegging its size to the city's population in perpetuity; and empowering an independent redistricting commission." 

The city's power has been concentrated in the hands of too few for too long, and the city council in particular has proven itself incapable of using that power for good.  

The public deserves a city that's cleaner, more affordable, and safer and that work begins with a more representative government. 

"Oh, puh-lease." 

“We MUST bring the LA City Council members back to representing their constituents by reducing each council district's footprint and putting the voters squarely in control of each council member’s ability to win and retain a council seat by honestly looking after the peoples' needs and not diluting them in giant district maps. This requires every council person to have the courage of true public service, to forfeit some of their own power for the good of Los Angeles and its people." 

Smart Speaker: So, we’re counting on the courage of council members to forfeit their power?  

Get him out of, here!

DONE may be OVER:

According to LAist, the people who have critiqued the Neighborhood Council system (everyone) are desperate for basic functionality.   

LAist, now part of KPCC is where Julia Wick cut her eye teeth as editor before nabbing a Pulitzer alongside LA Times colleagues, though not Jon Peltz, for breaking coverage of the festering racism scandal at city hall. She's a Harvard Westlake Wolverine alum like Mayor Garcetti.  

Despite a decade of Paul Krekorian's willingness to "listen" alongside his colleagues, Bob Blumenfield, Curren D. Price, Monica Rodriguez, Marqueece Harris Dawson and Staffer B John Lee, the neighborhood council system is in shambles.   

Why, after ten years in office have are there still ‘Incredibly onerous’ rules? 

Why are NC members saying there is a major lack of guidance from either the department or the city attorney's office? 

LAist used the expression, ’hellish bureaucratic loop.’   Frankly, that’s a gross understatement.   

The processes in place are required to make it harder, to resolve conflicts, and the entire system has "...pushed so many good people out of government." 

One fellow mused, “I think the real question is: How many great community leaders have our neighborhoods lost because of DONE’s ineptness?”  

But it's important to remember that when a community leader leaves the Neighborhood Council system, they are not necessarily ...lost! 

Some would say, they're actually "found" in the sense that once untethered by the spectacular bullshit, they are free to be more effective and file lawsuits against the city!  

Policing Vision Zero Policing Vision Zero: 

Mayor Adams of New York, noted last week that traffic safety is public safety, and we have strong evidence that this year his administration’s Vision Zero priorities — in enforcement, education, and street redesign — made a difference and saved lives.  Lovely. They wrote a ton of speed cam tix.   

 But it's essential that the people police the police, who are capable of veering off course, like at the Liberty Avenue exit off the northbound Van Wyck expressway near JFK airport in New York City.   

The 1225 (d) imbroglio was a cautionary tale of about 50,000 citations over just a couple of years at one single location.   

Smart Speaker: Your honor, I want to make clear that by contesting the citation on the facts and the merits it is not in any way an attempt to diminish the word of the good officer, that's what I'm trying to say. 

Judge: I get it. 

Smart Speaker: The reason why is that the precinct and the department have done a better than Outstanding job of gathering 1225 (d) citations at this particular location. 

Judge: OK. 

Smart Speaker: Now, the reason why I know that, and I'm going to bring it up because I feel like I have to. When I learned about this citation and Mr. Smith cited me, I was upset. I did a freedom of information request and I was able to get the Department of motor vehicles in Albany to provide all of the citations for 1225 (d)'s that have been issued at this particular location.  

Judge: I have no doubt there's plenty, so I need to wrap this up, I have a full room of people.  

Smart Speaker: Your honor I am almost done, but it's my right to be heard, I believe. And I know... 

Judge: As the judge, I'm allowed to bring it into the facts of the case ... 

Smart Speaker: But I'm... getting there. 

Judge: The relevant facts, okay? 

Smart Speaker: I agree but I've just said three sentences leading up to a very nice fact. 

Judge: Keep it moving... I get it. There's a whole bunch of tickets for 1225 (d) at this location.  

Smart Speaker: How many?  

Judge: No, I don't know the amount, I'm not concerned with the amount.  You're saying there's a lot.  

Smart Speaker: Are you interested in how many? 

Judge: Not really, no, I'm not.

Smart Speaker: Well, I appreciate that. 

Judge: I'm interested in whether you traveled down the road with a cell phone in your hand looking at it for GPS purposes. 

Smart Speaker: Sure, and I appreciate that your honor and my point was that my effort to evade capture by pointing the very salient fact out, that I was not handling the phone but it did illuminate, I am trying to protect the integrity of the department and G. Smith and all of the officers who are at this location on a regular basis, reaching over and looking in, in slow-moving traffic, on motorists who are fighting their way through the snarl and they are using GPS, especially the tourists, because that's what the city's website says to do.  So, I do not want my contesting this to be any kind of an indictment of what G. Smith was doing on that particular day. I know that the whole purpose of this program is to prevent road deaths and the number of road deaths that happen in bumper-to-bumper traffic, we all know, including Smith is very very low, but we are giving them friendly citations to go home with and if they want to challenge them... and now I have to ask Smith about this very briefly.  And I realize that this is my moment, I have been waiting for a year and a half. And I know that you guys have a lot of business to take care of. And I certainly know that the people here... do--  

Member of the public: We're good. It's interesting.  

Smart Speaker: Oh, they have no problem. (pause)  Raise the roof, please.

Member of the public:  Let him speak.  How many did the cops get? 

Smart Speaker: How many do you do in a typical morning? 1225 (d)'s in that location?  

Officer Smith: It varies.  

Smart Speaker: On a good morning.   

Judge: Give a ballpark.  

Officer Smith: Ballpark? I usually issue about ten in the general area over 

Smart Speaker: What? Ten, between ten ayem and two pm?   

Officer Smith: Yep.  More than that?  No, I usually issue ten or twenty at that location.  

Smart Speaker:   OK, But when you do one, and then pull the motorist over, you don't back up the ramp-- 

Officer Smith: No. 

Smart Speaker: You go away...   

Officer Smith: Yeah... I go back... 

Smart Speaker: And nothing would prevent another officer from coming in behind you and so that way you can keep the numbers up--  Officer Smith: Right.  

Judge: I'm not concerned with that. I really want--  

Smart Speaker: Well, I appreciate that. And by the way, what is your name, you are the Judge...  

Judge: My name is right there...  

Smart Speaker:  Okay, I consider this a process. This is America. We don't need to be angry with one another.  

Judge: I think you are abusing the process at this point.  

Smart Speaker: You think I'm abusing the process?  

Judge: Yes.  

Smart Speaker:  I disagree and for the record, it was more than fifty-thousand citations at that one location, your honor. I suggest we get the Mayor in here to give Smith a raise.   

Outreach Bill of Rights:

Neil Drucker of BOE claimed the “staff of Council District 2, Paul Krekorian, has done additional outreach to stakeholder organizations such as the Studio City Neighborhood Council and the Studio City Residents Association.  Whether those stakeholder organizations disseminated the notice and agenda for the 7-20-17 LVNOC meeting to their own membership is within the purview of the leadership of those organizations and is not within the purview of the Proposition K Program nor its program staff.  RED FLAG! 

Dear General Manager, Department of Neighborhood Empowerment 

I know you are in New York with the Aspen Institute "learning and sharing" about the Neighborhood Council system but here in Los Angeles it's imploding. 

In 1999 the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment emerged to connect neighborhoods to the resources necessary to empower their communities and constituents to meaningfully participate.   

All these years later, last week in Studio City, a Local Volunteer Neighborhood Oversight Committee [LVNOC] was convened for a voter-approved Prop K Community Center, precisely the type of project that requires local engagement to be appropriately customized to the unique needs of each neighborhood, but the community was never notified. 

There were no drawings or pictures posted until the sixty-minute 6pm meeting began despite numerous public record requests for information about the project. There was nothing online to review or share among our residents. There were actually more Bureau of Engineering and Rec and Parks employees at the meeting than community members in attendance.  

Studio City Neighborhood Council did not send out a single notification about this LVNOC meeting and it was allegedly the last and there hadn't been one for 591 days. 

Failing to notify the community should be considered a serious violation of an all new Neighborhood Council-Wide Ordinance on the subject of outreach. The City of LA needs something like an Outreach Bill of Rights. 

Going forward all NCs should be required to UPDATE by eblast all taxpayer funded Neighborhood construction projects that impact the community. And the department should also set basic outreach criteria for other types of projects.   

If an NC fails to provide adequate outreach, as in the painful example of the Prop K project in Studio City, the department should step in to take over and issue sanctions. 

For an empowerment organization, disempowerment must be treated as something that will NEVER be tolerated. [It's not negotiable, data driven, and there is no panel to turn it into a game.]  Outreach is required, whether you favor or disfavor the news.  

Even the most diligent community stakeholders will fall on their faces if the electeds remain "outright hostile to any plan that would give the public the ability to stick their noses under the tent with stronger voices, and increased transparency."    

I would ask that you and the Mayor to put a 'HOLD' on the Studio City Rec Center Prop K project and any future work on the project, until we can facilitate a community meeting, that the community is actually invited to. 

Kindly confirm receipt.   Cc Raman

Eric Preven

 

Claim jumper!

New York has a shit ton of liability.  According to the Washington Post, the 25 largest police and sheriff’s departments in the U.S. had to pay out more than $3.2 billion in the past decade to settle 40,000 claims (“The hidden billion-dollar cost of repeated police misconduct”).  

More than $1.5 billion has been spent to settle claims of police misconduct involving thousands of officers repeatedly accused of wrongdoing. Taxpayers are often unaware of these repeat offenders. 

The biggest contributor among the twenty five cities examined was New York with $1.7 billion payed out over the period for Police misconduct. The windy city of Chicago, blew down the door for second place with a whopping $578 million and the dainty and progressive, LAPD, seemed almost cuddly with a mere $215 million in payouts for various officer involved atrocities.

 

 

Important to remind that the rights of these employees, as well as those of the public, must be balanced and preserved.  

Every investigation, or hearing, arising from a complaint must be conducted in an open and fair manner with the truth as its objective.  

The Department accepts complaints against its members and fully investigates all such complaints to the appropriate disposition. 

Smart Speaker:  Innocent?  

For the most part, yes.  

Last Week In Frustration: 

Mr. Grabner, whined rather eloquently at City Hall last week about the renewal of the homeless emergency, calling the current state of affairs, a “Disaster. ” He claimed, "No one is getting housed. They are getting a cheap motel room, 30 miles away…only to discover that everything they own is thrown out, and they have to comply with extreme restrictions.” 

Nithya Raman, who according to LA Mag is a “charismatic urban planner full of compelling ideas blessed with a policy wonk’s gift for budget crunching” must have been very proud to see, major city operative, Herb Wesson’s and Danny Bakewell crony, Capri Maddox, touting a whole raft of sheroes who were being issued, Pioneer awards. 

The fact that the Mayor herself could only attend a breakfast, is par for the course.  Mayors are busy.  

The names of the Pioneers being honored are not listed on the public meeting agenda, but the City Clerk would theoretically know where to find a list, but candidly, her office is highly irregular!  

See: Ask Judge Beckloff, who is apparently feeling better.  

Anyway, the fifteen women who were honored, were very impressive but one major bungle was the dumb rule, wherein, only the CMs speak and the honorees just stand forced to listen to the CM read the staff report on their accomplishments.  

Council member Park trotted out the Deputy Commissioner of grant-making from Liberty Hill…  among so many other incredible women leaders, who stepped up and made a significant difference.   

There was even an opportunity to thank the past chair of the Pacific Palisades task force on Homelessness, which has 12 volunteers, and a track record that speaks for itself.   

They are constantly (+ relentlessly) engaging the homeless. They are partnered with the People Concern, so hopefully Mike Bonin and Sheila Kuehl, gone but not forgotten, could adopt a few of the last remaining unhoused, ...each!  

One smart constituent, immediately suggested on Twitter — “Can we please have brief intros for the sheroes, and then, let the sheroes speak, ffs.”  

Seeing, but not getting to hear from honorees, reminds the public of the day, some years ago, when Mitchell Englander (local felon, and lobbyist nephew)  had the chutzpah to crassly honor, the District Attorney Jackey Lacey as a pioneer, before he was indicted and mad with power.    

At the time, we had suggested the DA  investigate and enforce the state's bid rigging laws … or, in the alternative, admit that they were not paying attention at all.    

Lacey did what she does best, nothing.  

Water On, Water Off:

A breakthrough deal to keep the Colorado River from going dry, in the short term has been reached.  The agreement on cuts, aided by a wet winter and $1.2 billion in federal payments, expires at the end of 2026.  

Under the plan announced Monday, most of the cuts — 2.3 million acre-feet — would come from water districts, farm operators, cities and Native American tribes that had agreed to take less water in order to qualify for federal grants offered under the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act. Those payments will total about $1.2 billion.  

Bribing states to do what’s required is... preposterous.   No?  If usage is capped in the most draconian manner conceivable, people might figure out that living in the middle of a desert as temperatures increase ever further is ill-advised.  As it stands now we are subsidizing madness.  

Buenos Noches, Lakers & Celtics, we LOVE YOU!:

Teams are 0-149 all-time when trailing a seven-game series 0-3.  So let's not pretend that there’s a good chance for either the Lakers or the Celtics.  Both teams are screwed!  Go Lakers! Go Heat! 

 

(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)