ERIC PREVEN’S NOTEBOOK - Paul Krekorian kicked off Memorial Day weekend with Boy Scout Troop 36 from Valley Village who placed flags on the graves of veterans at the Los Angeles National Cemetery. A lot to learn from the youngsters, and their website touts their belief in self-governance, "Our Troop is one where the elected Boy Scout leaders actually run the meetings and plan their activities for the year with the guidance and oversight of the adult leaders."
There is nothing like hands-on leading to teach leadership skills. I suggest the troop come to city hall and have a gander at the public comment process with an equity lens. #Blumenfield’s nose.
The City Council meeting on Wednesday was a good example of how the City Council and their counsel and importantly the Chief Legislative Analysts office, have wide control as to what makes the agenda and what can be commented on by the public.
All of the items noticed on Wednesday's agenda were in the section marked "Items for which Public Hearings Have Been Held”. Translation: Council will not be taking comments.
So, why bother attending the city council meeting at all?
Great question. One reason is to give a general public comment and sometimes, like on Wednesday, several items that had been previously discussed at committee were reopened for public comment.
Eunisses Hernandez of CD1, rose to call them special and clarify that Item 3, 3a, and 3b…re cooling systems, should be amended as follows: LAHD to identify pre-1980 units lacking sub-metering… if differentiating between multiple types of cooling systems incline wall or central air… one to two comprehensive case studies. One related to AC central, and one related to Wall units, to estimate costs of these cooling systems. Impact on tenants, including disruptions, etc.
Fauble then re-opened the items.
This elicited an immediate response from Marqueece Harris-Dawson (MHD) the council member from CD8 in South Los Angeles who may still be jet-lagged from his trip last week to Vienna, Austria. MHD who runs the PLUM committee and once told me it is not easy to keep track of all the contributions he receives, said, "Items 1, 2 and 12?"
Strefan Fauble, the first-city attorney replied, "Um, it's unclear whether we satisfied all the public comment in committee, so in an abundance of caution, we are re-opening public comment here. I can talk to you on the side."
Smart Speaker: I bet you can.
Marqueece Harris-Dawson: "Yeah, it would be good to hear about that because if we are going to hear it twice we could skip committee."
“Uncool.” Said a smart speaker who had a chance to insult the b-city attorney and tout a history of Jewish women and other hillside residents, helping in the fights against Harvard Westlake and Bulgari.
Smart Speaker: Incidentally, very scary this morning, council member Raman, as there was a shooting at a Casino, if you can believe it, I had no idea there was an illegal Casino near the LA Fitness in the Cahuenga pass. Could be a fun night out! Vibrant!
Stuart Waldman could pop over and play a few hands on his way to Sofi to catch a big sporting event.
Smart Speaker: And thank you to the group of geniuses from OpenAI, Google DeepMind, and Anthropic.
They've been very worried that the future AI systems, they are working on, could be as bad as... nukes.
They are calling for the government to prevent things from going “quite wrong” —
Respectfully, these agencies can’t handle Section 8, Metro transit, or regulating Airbnb or Street vending!
We may need to aim higher!
Studio City Moana:
"There is no option to attend virtually at this time."
Smart Speaker: The Board should do everything possible to encourage, support and facilitate active and engaged civic participation through attendance at public meetings.
Consider the following four-point virtual plan to build back better following the pandemic.
1) A designated individual attends board meetings with a computer fully loaded with Zoom. Hawaiian garb optional.
2) The NC covers the Zoom cost to link public speakers to the meeting.
3) After all in-person public speakers address the board on an item, the designated individual checks for virtual commenters, who we amplify so loud enough to be heard over the crumbling cookies and various animal noises.
4) This protocol could apply to committees as well.
To: Eric Preven
Fr: Studio City Neighborhood Council
Thank you for your email. We were waiting on the results from the pilot program that was being implemented by DONE
after which a listing of vendors and gear that proved to be workable and affordable, and able to be easily set up and taken down by board and committee members.
Apparently, the DONE program never got off the ground, so as I understand it, NCs are on their own.
I watched the setup and attended virtually when an adjacent NC tried it, and the results were poor at best. I have attended PRB meetings. where they use an OWL device, which seemed to me to be hit-and-miss.
We seat a new board in July, and we can revisit the hybrid option at that time. Again, as I understand it, hybrid for the public to participate, in person only for board and committee members, pending SB411 which would create a carve-out for NCs to go virtual if they so choose. It may be prudent to see how SB411 plays out before we invest in any additional equipment.
We still maintain our Zoom licenses, so if things do change, we are ready to go.
GAC and Transportation meetings this evening on the lot in MPR-3 due to the anticipation of a larger than committee size audience due to the. the subject matter of the Transportation Committee. Feel free to join us.
Fr: Eric Preven
Looking forward to seeing Mayor Basss at Moana on June 3rd. If you haven't seen the movie, Moana, an adventurous teenager sails out on a daring mission to save her people, fulfills the ancient quest of her ancestors, and discovers the one thing she always sought: an option for virtual testimony at community meetings.
It's very good. Moana is a phenomenal movie released in 2016 about a young girl that breaks the stereotypes and limitations of her culture and parents’ desires for her life in order to save her tribe. She does it without a boyfriend.
Mayor Bass should deliver a victory to Moana and address the issue of virtual testimony at NCs and committees because the best way to "encourage, support and facilitate active and engaged civic participation through attendance at public meetings" is to invite people in to break stereotypes.
In fact, allowing people to participate remotely could be the best and least expensive way to foster engagement and save the tribe. Let's check with the Controller!
Kindly confirm receipt.
Board Of Supevisors: AAA-OK: Check: Check: Plus
The Board of Supervisors are doing well, jk.
Transparency International is an international anti-corruption organization that publishes an annual Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) that ranks entities based on perceived levels of corruption in the public sector.
These rankings provide some insight into the varying degrees of corruption across different jurisdictions. "It is important to note that corruption is not limited to any specific political ideology or system."
Efforts to combat political corruption include independent anti-corruption commissions, investigative journalism (Hi, Mom!), and the Brown Act.
The allegations by the Los Angeles Times Communications of violations of the Ralph M. Brown Act are noted here with surprise and enthusiasm. Would anyone like to wager as to whether the county counsel will successfully induce Kelly Aviles and the Los Angeles Times to settle their Brown Act case?
Eliminating corruption from politics is a complex and ongoing challenge that requires a multi-faceted approach and sustained commitment from governments, institutions, and the public.
Still no word from the County as to my sincere request to be considered for the RFSI on effective county governance.
Executive Officer: "Please speak into the microphone, Sir."
Free Willy: Q&A
Question: ”So, what do you think about free will?"
Answer: After a few weeks, yes, there is some free will in life, but not total free will. You can't choose some things in life like you can't choose who your parents are. And you can’t choose where you're born, so in a way, you can't choose …the cards that life deals you.
What you can do, is choose how to play the hand you were dealt.
City Attorney: You're off-topic.
Goats Walk Leaving Hillsides In Peril:
In George Orwell's book Animal Farm, the pigs are depicted as being more equal than the other animals. They control the farm and decide the laws, while the other animals do the labor. Here in California, Goat workers are going on strike, because their costs have been increased and are making it impossible, they say, for them to clear the hillsides of hazardous brush.
Goat herders were recently reclassified by California labor regulators, differentiating them from sheep herders — come Jan. 1 employers will have to compensate goat herders at an hourly rate, now set at $15.50 for farmworkers, plus required overtime.
And given the nature of a goat herders' job, which is considered on-call 24/7, industry leaders and the California Farm Bureau estimate that change would come out to almost $14,000 a month.
One man who employs a few dozen herders for his several thousand goats, said that that monthly salary is almost four times what he currently pays his goat herders, which he already considers a fair wage, noting that they are also provided with housing, groceries, cellphones, and clothes.
From the Backroom into the Light:
Was the unscheduled “private meeting” that was recorded, in which Gil Cedillo, Nury Martinez and Kevin DeLeon discussed and advocated “racial gerrymandering” a violation of the Brown Act?
Not a bad question. I say, yes, for the following reasons. All three council members and at least two of them served on the Rules Committee which is comprised of just three members.
The evidence is overwhelming, but nobody is bringing the case.
The Brown Act case du jour, which everyone is focusing on now, thanks to the Lighthouse of Truth and justice, the Los Angeles Times, has to do with what it means to sit down with a department head and rip him or her a new —
Who knows what the Supervisors were talking about with the Probation Chief a couple of days after the bad news from the state came down about the shutdown of the youth probation facilities?
Whatever is on those tapes, that have been requested by the Times, could be damaging, and must be played out loud.
One speculator said, I bet Kathryn Barger will be like: “if they did the crime, they got to do the time... even if that happens to be in an active pool of feces.”
The public DEMANDS to hear these Closed Session tapes!
This may be the straw that breaks the Board of Supervisors back, as it relates to festering backroom liability.
Just in time for Zev Yaroslavsky's new book.
From the Light into the Backroom:
Fr: Eric Preven
Davenport won’t share her calculations, I was afraid of this.
Thank you for your response, Chief Deputy Whitehurst. The sentence in question, here:
"...please also provide the calculation used by Fesia Davenport to estimate the cost of McClaren liability in the $1.6B to $3.0B range."
Please provide those calculations immediately. The legal analysis may indeed be subject to attorney-client or attorney-work or official information privilege, but the CEO is not the County Counsel and the public has a substantial stake in accessing the information, related to the number and type and date of various claims, even if partially redacted. Thank you for understanding.
A Word About Festering Liability:
If we are going to cash out the Probation Youth who suffered at McClaren somewhere in the range between $1.6B and $3B and the women who had their vaginas violated by the gynecologist(s) at USC and UCLA, and so many other groups that deserve reparations, is there an alternative to paying out cash?
One suggestion is to give each of the victims/claimants an honorary scroll from the Supervisors? Even, autographed.
One thing Nimbys and progressives can agree on… being anti-Airbnb.
The congestion pricing article [The freeway was born in L.A. But it might not always be free to drive on] was subscriber-only. Doh.
One-third of Americans are having a hard time paying their water bills and it could get worse. El Nino is apparently driving temperature up in 2023... and there is an 80 to 90 percent chance that this summer is going to be a real air fryer, with pricey water and excessive heat.
How are we going to stay cool _____? Ideas!
(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)