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Wed, Jul

Inside the Facility

ERIC PREVEN'S NOTEBOOK

ERIC PREVEN’S NOTEBOOK - On Wednesday, May 31, a coalition of unions including the WGA, SAG-AFTRA, IATSE and the Teamsters said that they “stand alongside our sisters, brothers and kin in the DGA in their pursuit of a fair contract....As eyes around the world again turn towards the negotiation table, we send a clear message to the AMPTP: Our solidarity is not to be underestimated. The Hollywood guilds and unions stand united, and we stand strong.” 

That was before the DGA settled over the weekend and now plan to vote on a tentative agreement Tuesday.  

Here are details on the new contract: [My notes are in bold.] 

Wages and Benefits:  Groundbreaking gains in wages and benefits include a 5 percent increase in the first year of the contract, 4 percent in the second year and 3.5 percent in the third year. Additional 0.5 percent to fund a new parental leave benefit. [Who qualifies for theparental leave benefit?] 

Global Streaming Residuals: Substantial increase in the residuals for dramatic programs made for SVOD by securing a new residual structure to pay foreign residuals. The result is a 76 percent increase in foreign residuals for the largest platforms so that residuals for a one-hour episode will now be roughly $90,000 for the first three exhibition years. [76% increase of .12 cents is over .21 cents]

 

 

Artificial Intelligence: Groundbreaking agreement confirming that AI is not a person and that generative AI cannot replace the duties performed by members. [This could enable UPMs and ADs to use AI to replace other workers like Location Managers.] 

Non-Dramatic Programs: Established the industry’s first-ever terms and conditions for directors and their teams on non-dramatic (variety and reality) programs made for SVOD.  [OK, so a decade later an insidious loophole is closed.] 

Improved residuals and for the first time, associate directors and stage managers will now share in the residuals. 

[Impressive, but what do we tell the DP, Costume Designer, and Production Designer?] 

"Sir, you're disrupting the meeting." 

High Budget AVOD Terms and Conditions.  

Achieved the industry’s first-ever terms, creative rights protections, working conditions and residuals for scripted dramatic projects made for free to the consumer streaming services such as Freevee, Tubi and Roku. [OK] 

Unit production managers and assistant directors will share in the residuals. 

[Impressive, but not the DP, Costume Designer, or Production Designer, right?] 

Feature Directors: Historic first-time compensation for the months of “soft prep” feature directors currently perform for free prior to the start of the director’s official prep period. [The Industry adores gratis work.  How much is proposed for a month of soft prep? Because many Directors are paid over scale, this will very likely be credited against their existing deal, anyway.] 

Episodic Directors: For pay TV and SVOD, episodic directors won expanded paid post-production creative rights; and gained an additional guaranteed shoot day for one-hour programs — the first additional day added in more than 40 years. [One can assume that by agreeing to this, the Studios and Streamers will save on OT.] 

Reduction in Hours: Unprecedented reduction in the length of the assistant director’s day by one hour. 

[From 24 to 23?  From 16 to 15?  From 14 to 13?  A little humanity with a side of OT-savings.] 

Safety: Achieved concrete safety advancements including the first-ever pilot program to require the employment of dedicated safety supervisors; expanded safety training programs for both directors and their teams and the ban of live ammunition on set. [Will Safety Supervisors be admitted to the guild?] 

"Sir, your time has expired." 

Power Writers United

Hundreds of journalists for the country’s largest newspaper chain walked off the job on Monday, accusing Gannet’s chief executive, Michael Reed, of decimating its local newsrooms, and demanding a change at the top. 

“Our leadership is focused on investing in local newsrooms and monetizing our content as we continue to negotiate fairly and in good faith with the NewsGuild,” saying there would be no disruption to Gannett’s news coverage during the work stoppage this week.  

The merged company, which took the Gannett name, owns USA Today and more than 200 daily newspapers in 43 states, though it has closed dozens of publications since the 2019 deal.

A reporter for NewJersey.com said, “You have communities that go uncovered, and when things go uncovered it allows people to abuse their positions.”  

Jon Schleuss, the president of the NewsGuild, said in a statement that Mr. Reed “doesn’t care one bit about a long-term strategy to invest in the company by investing in journalists.”  

What Journalists require, Mr. Schleuss said, “is support and resources to make sure our communities have the local news needed to keep our democracy thriving.” 

He noted with disdain that,  “Reed’s singular focus has been on stuffing his own pockets.”

 

"Today, I am your brother in Green." Dr. Patel 

Hypocrisy and Transpo:

On Friday, it came out that the City Council's Hypocrisy and Transportation Committee... would be meeting offsite, to bring in the people.  

The committee is the first comprised of all-women council members and they definitely know that getting to a community meeting or a public meeting has been made infinitely more accessible by Zoom.   

Call it a Silver Lining of the pandemic.  

Despite all of the obvious benefits, as have been previously outlined in this column, the man who likes to preen among dignitaries after tossing the public out of the room, or boring them out of the hall,  has severed a key engagement lifeline for thousands of Angelenos, including LGBTQ+.  

Blocking virtual testimony from committee meetings and replacing them with poorly attended, or scheduled rallies in the place of open forums, is a very bad practice. 

Council member Katy Yaroslavsky of the Fifth and richest of all our fifteen districts, recently hired a firm to help her address constituent concerns with citizen engagement software.  

 I would love to know what Indigov who is signing up for $36,560,  thinks about: 

Items for which Public Hearings Have Been Held   

Virtual testimony at committee meetings 

Encouraging citizens to become involved in their local communities shows them that their actions can have a positive impact on their neighborhood and that their voice matters.  

Engagement software like that offered by Indigov provides flexibility and resourcefulness and can help ease stress for citizens and greatly increase citizen satisfaction.  

Of course, the Contractor, Indigov,  shall perform said services in accordance with a scope of work approved by the Councilwoman. 

Katy, please get Paul Krekorian who handed you a seat on the Metro Board to get in the boat,  a call-in option for NCs and Committee meetings.  

"We will listen and learn. And then, we will do better." 

That lovely comment came from the firm that the City Attorney Hydee Feldstein Soto is bringing in to clean up a little Ethical problem, following the George Floyd murder.   

Which ethical problem?  

"None of your business." 

The San Diego firm, Devaney Pate Morris & Cameron had to be brought in because the city's Alternate Conflict Panel ACP firms are either conflicted or don't have the experience.   

MYOB.  

DPMC is a full-service law firm with over 200 years of combined experience representing public and private entities, including community colleges, municipalities, special districts, public-private corporations, and non-profit organizations.   

DPMC attorneys handle all aspects of campaigning, election, and ethics including:  

*Placement and evaluation of ballot measures  

*Limitations on the Use of public resources for political activities  

*Compliance with disclosure and conflict laws under the California Political Reform Act  

*Avoiding conflicts of interest under the PRA. 

Stepping Off:  

During a year when, arguably, redder states got redder and bluer states got bluer, we are losing Chuck Todd, a longtime political journalist in Washington, who is leaving his job as the moderator of “Meet the Press.”  He’s been launching the questions and drilling in with the follow-ups, since 2014.   

He will be succeeded by Kristen Welker, NBC’s chief White House correspondent and the co-anchor of “Weekend Today.”  The man is only fifty years old but noted, “I’ve let work consume me for nearly 30 years,” and alluded to a desire to spend more quality time with family. RED FLAG. 

Head Strike Dashboard: 

My first unsuccessful run for office, which was actually an undercover journalism operation, came to an abrupt end on June 3, 2014. For years, the LA Times referred to me as a man who "ran unsuccessfully, for office."  In 2016, as a co-plaintiff with the ACLU, I won a case at the California Supreme Court requiring the County of Los Angeles to disclose legal bills paid to outside private law firms.   

In 2019, I won a Brown Act case against the City of Los Angeles protecting the right that all members of the public have a right to be heard at public meetings. Given that, I often feel an obligation to speak out about jail violence and other issues, where others might demur. 

Disclosure:  One day in Malibu, I was circled by the scary Sheriffs from a different area and thought for sure I was going to be beaten to a pulp. That's a story for another column, but surviving that ordeal made me stronger.  

Despite the Board of Supervisors,  so-called best efforts, the County is once again debating the possibility of stricter policies against Sheriff's deputies hitting inmates in the head. Not joking.  

The county counsel called it an “extreme” and “unwarranted” suggestion and argued that the department had already tightened its policy last year.   They claim, that now the number of incidents involving deputies punching inmates in the head is down to one a month at each of the three downtown jails. That’s a 50% reduction from two a month at each facility two years ago.   

At the center of the current kerfuffle, is a video provided by the ACLU of an inmate being beaten and having his head smashed against the wall.  The inmate survived, but whoever leaked the video is pushing for better and more frequent monitoring.   

The Rosas case is one of three major lawsuits involving the Los Angeles jails, the oldest of which has been ongoing since the mid-1970s.  

Rosas is currently focused on abysmal living conditions in the Inmate Reception Center, where last year lawyers discovered that severely mentally ill inmates were routinely being left chained to benches and chairs for days at a time.  

A judge ordered the county to limit the practice of chaining inmates to benches, and make several other changes — but this year the county admitted that jailers had instead begun tethering people to gurneys. Efficient, economical but... inhumane.  

There’s a famous picture in an early LA Weekly article, written by the 2nd smartest man downtown, Hillel Aron. In that now iconic image, a young investigative reporter with a background in Television comedy is captured in the passenger seat of a Sheriff’s vehicle, during a ride-along.  

The selfie was taken by the young writer, who at the time was conducting his first quixotic campaign for the county’s Third District seat.  Eventually, that writer saw all four of the five supervisors (who were male) replaced by women. 

Gloria Molina, who adored Grand Park, but did not want her name branded all over it, was replaced by her progressive protege, Hilda Solis.   Care first, jail last was finally adopted, and the only thing preventing reform is... 

The county's unwillingness to answer legitimate inquiries re: the RFSI on county governance reform. 

Inside the Madhouse:

 

  

You cannot open a door these days without stumbling into another upsetting story about the various mental health crises we face. 

Of course, our heart goes out to  Lisa Wong, Psy. D. the current Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health (LACDMH) as of February 28, 2023. She served as Interim Director since July 2022.  

There are three different doctoral degrees for school psychology, PhD., Psy.D., and Ed.D.  Psy.D. training has a clinical emphasis compared to PhD. and focuses on delivering psychological services directly to individuals or groups. This degree usually takes four to six years to attain.  

But only a fraction of that time is spent in the so-called asylum.  The big problems in the department include the 1,788 unfilled positions and the beyond-shameful lack of psychiatric beds in our system.  

How long is reform going to take? 

In 1887, under the name Nellie Brown, Nelly Bly had herself committed to an asylum on Blackwell’s Island in New York for ten days so she could expose the horrible conditions there.  “I had little belief that I could deceive the insanity experts and I think my editor had less.”   

Her reporting got her a permanent staff job and her report on the asylum, and later reports, inspired changes that helped to pave the way for women in journalism.   

She told a paper at the time, “But here let me say one thing: From the moment I entered the insane ward on the island I made no attempt to keep up the assumed role of insanity. I talked and acted just as I do in normal life. Yet, strange to say, the more sanely I talked and acted, the crazier I was thought to be by all except one physician, whose kindness and gentle ways I shall not soon forget.”   

That physician will be played by Bradley Cooper.  Jk  

But Bly’s 1887 exposure of the abuses on Blackwell’s Island was one of New York’s most extraordinary sensations of the time, “Inside the Madhouse.”  The series was also published as a book titled Ten Days in a Mad-House that same year.  Bly’s fearless investigation brought about much-needed reforms for inpatient treatment at the asylum. 

The budget appropriation for the Department of Public Charities and Corrections was increased, following her work. Seven years after the expose was published, the asylum closed, and her work forever changed the field of journalism. 

 

(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)