Tue, Dec

Empathy Training


ERIC PREVEN’S NOTEBOOK - McCosker, Price, and Soto-Martinez, who showed up a little late for Information, Technology, and General Services Committee, started early on Monday and drew zero public comments, something that is almost certainly going to earn McCosker a Gold Star from principal Krekorian.  

Tim McCosker:  We have two nominees… on consent, unless you have questions.  Let's go to Public comment.   

City Clerk:  There are no cards. 

Tim McCosker: Seeing none, we have finished public comment.  

There was a brisk review of the training underway as it relates to LGBTQ+. The LAPD has 18% women and the department representative and Inclusion Equity Officer, Ruby Flores, outlined how so many affinity groups help inform.  The one issue was scheduling the training.  It's not easy because the officers are busy, and the department is understaffed.  There was a discussion about maybe requiring the officers... something like a subpoena that you can't get out of. [You can get out of anything!] 

The plat du jour was the Gartner report on the new Payroll system.  

At this point in the flight, passengers are encouraged to loosen the motion sickness bag and be sure it is accessible.  

Ted Ross, the nicest man in the world, who is the ITA General Manager, came out with a small army of tech geniuses from both his office and the private sector.  Even the Chief Deputy of the Controller's office was represented.  

He started out positive, but the report revealed that 20% of city departments that are supposed to be helping are not responding to the giant over budget, project.  

He eventually revealed that the project is at risk…  "We are behind in testing…"  Since they need to complete 5000 more tests of the system by July and a test could have three steps, or six steps, or twenty steps... bad. 

To go at the rate we need, we would need 176 test steps per day, and we are currently averaging 28 daily…" 

To be very clear, the city has been unable to thoroughly test the system. 

The city employees are busy and frustrated.   

He said he was in the process of finding 15 testers… for the next six weeks.  Hopefully, full-time…  

How many? 

We’ve invited 30, we’ve got 7, and we’re working to get 15, Ross said. 

We are trying to beg borrow and steal to get it tested. The testing team started yesterday. 

Looks good, sitting down, they can do it very quickly… working with Mayor and Controller. 

Some city employees… are balking. There is a discomfort… I just do X in the old system… what can I validate?   

We have 2135 tests done, and 5000 more to go, so we are about 1/3 on the end-to-end testing cycle. 

Can we go Live in December?   

We need to hit July (hard).  We have parallel testing… "This is not bad software or a bad team."  We need 4 weeks; we say give us six… then we take 8 weeks. The old system is highly customized.   None of these are excuses."  

Tim McCosker:: There is nothing like the power of the Mayor.  We need to treat this like an "emergency."  It is not as sexy as opening gyms for people to sleep because of a natural disaster... but it is that important, he said.   

Ross said, from my perspective… "I’ve put full-time people on this."  There are some things we can control...we have pulled every lever, pushed every button, KPMG, Workday, Accenture… etc.   

McCosker closed, "I don’t mention the mayor… to throw it at her feet. But she can say to department heads, "You have to test the payroll system. This is your job, today!"  Before everybody leaves, I want to introduce my first intern… a Moorehouse man, working with our office." 

74 Newsroomies Axed:

“L.A. Times management’s decision to blindside the Guild with proposed layoffs as it neglects bargaining sends a clear message: You don’t care about the contract — or us.” 

Blindsided. Hmmm. This is going to make it even harder to report on the largest county on earth. 

On Tuesday there were — and I’m not exaggerating —141 separate items and General Public comments on the agenda.  A 40,000-word agenda for an agency with a 40-billion-dollar budget.  

This resulted in 70,000 words of dialogue, most of it from the Board of Supervisors themselves, who adore hearing themselves pontificate.  To be fair, I contributed nearly, 1000 words on my own. 

At one point Supervisor Hahn had to admonish a member of the public to address the board, not Eric Preven.   

In the bad old days, the agendas weren’t so big, but the press corps was significantly larger.  I reached out to the media relations team at the Board to see how many journalists could fit in the press room above the county board room, but she was in mandatory Empathy training. Lovely. 

Matt Pearce, the President of the Media Guild of the West, and a reporter for the Los Angeles Times said: “Our contract expired more than six months ago. No journalist would ever treat a deadline in such a cavalier manner. Now, you have proposed a reduction in staff with no warning or discussion. It’s difficult to imagine an issue more urgent. We expect to see meaningful movement, and soon. We are tired of waiting.  …We’re willing to do whatever it takes to win the contract that this newsroom deserves. You should be too. Starting now, we need to see a senior newsroom leader at every bargaining session — not just observing but participating. Show us that you want to make progress. Show us that you care.”   In solidarity,

Empathy training…  

In Atlanta, the City Council chamber recorded seven hours of public comment, with not one single speaker in favor of the Cop City project, to erect a training facility on the outskirts of Atlanta.  Impressive.   

At City Hall in Los Angeles, following the robot dog drama and Land Use drama of recent weeks, it was time to dig into what the city does best, hoist up important civil rights issues, and use them to obscure what’s really going on.   

Kevin DeLeon stepped up to confront the Homeless team and complained, "Two months ago… me and Ms. Rodriguez…asked about LA County contributions to Inside Safe programs, to date. We haven’t received that.  We are working on some existing contracts that the county and city held… always leveraging things up… we are not getting a bill.  But that is one of the LAHSA items because they have the contracts.  Service payment providers… we don’t want to accidentally double pay.   Appreciate you taking us through the tangled process, but we still want to get to the answer.  I want to underscore that this is not your fault, Gibson.  I’ve come away more confused.  We want to disaggregate… understanding the complexities.  Still looking forward to this answer.  I thought it would Ms. Marquez and Mr. Szabo… would be here.  Are they both able to come, for more questions? Thank you, Mr. Gibson."  

Preacher, Preacher:

To fully appreciate just how ruthlessly demagogues will play the gay card, especially in an election year.

Frank Rich, wrote in 1994, when a 34-year-old, Paul Krekorian, was lighting his first Olympic torch that would lead him to his historic presidency of the mighty City Council of Los Angeles. 

“No matter how large the show of force by homosexual men and women in today's Stonewall march in New York, gay-bashing remains a booming political sport for the right -- a sure-fire way to whip up votes, campaign contributions and a national witch hunt in the grim tradition of Salem and Joe McCarthy.”


Since that time, so much has changed, but not nearly enough. Still, the finer points of pandering to the community were on full display on Wednesday, as a pageant of the masters of empathy crowded downtown to demand tolerance and inclusivity and recognition of history.  

The "greediest place" on earth's relationship with the L.G.B.T.Q. community started before Disney was aware of that relationship. 

“In the 1930s, when being lesbian or gay was considered a mental illness, many gay and lesbian people identified with the quirkiness of Disney’s first star. Lesbians called secret get-togethers Mickey Mouse parties, and a gay bar in Berlin called itself Mickey Mouse.” Wrote Sean Griffin in a guest essay for the New York Times. 

 “As Disney grew, more L.G.B.T.Q. fans identified with characters like Ferdinand the Bull and Peter Pan or appreciated the campy flair of villains such as Captain Hook and Maleficent. Misfit characters who eventually found acceptance for being different gave many L.G.B.T.Q. individuals' solace and hope. Queer youth signed up to work at Disneyland and Disney World as employee “cast members” and found a community.”

The right is back at it, attempting to frighten the ignorant into voting for politicians who promise to protect them from gay subversives out to destroy America.

It’s nice to see Disney taking a stand.  Analysts cite the cable services and streaming wars, not the culture wars, as having the greatest impact on the company’s stock price.  Public opinion polls regularly show overwhelming acceptance of L.G.B.T.Q. relationships. 

Such acceptance is highest among the younger generations, the age group most sought after by advertisers.  

“Sir, you’re disrupting the meeting.” 

"Disney is not the hero here. The real heroes and heroines are the L.G.B.T.Q. consumers and employees who buy Disney merchandise, who work for the company, and who have helped lift it up for generations.” 

You could say the same thing about the City Council of Los Angeles. Of course, they are a glorious body who are vigorously supporting and shaking down one special interest group after another, but the real heroes are survivors, who have endured the abuse.   

Heroics and Fabric: 

Krekorian proposed a 60-day extension and laid out the argument for delaying the decision to protect the house of Morris Kight or knock it down to make room for affordable housing.   

He said it was a story of "heroism, and the fabric of our city, making sure future generations understand our history." 

Smart Speaker:  Hey, wait a minute, that’s my role! 

Krekorian reminded, “I’ve been around long enough to know Morris Kight, and what a pioneer. Recognizing those pioneers and leaders is something we don’t do enough of."   

Smart Speaker: What?  Recognizing special interests and their heroes, is all you do while making a mockery of the public meeting process. 

"We have a short attention span — so this is really important."  

The delay was approved over the objection of Monica Rodriguez, who wanted to protect the Morris Kight house NOW! Not only because she loves developers but also because she loves protecting civil rights heroes... and she likes to "shake a tail."  She also likes Ska and Richard Blade, the DJ from KROQ who was honored this week.  

DeLeon pulled a major coup, after the parade of supporters of the Kight House, that in recent days has included such international dignitaries as former Council Member Paul Koretz, landed on his door.  He rose, “Thanks to Rodriguez for championing the Morris Kight designation, actually, we wrote the designation.  Also, number 6 and Cooper Square. Morris Kight provided social services, that our community needed. The LGBT center was a model." 

One speaker who was very moving and got five minutes related to the Community Impact Statement he spearheaded, “I see Fletcher Bowen square…. for those who don't know about the 5022 ordinance -- since the late 19th century, 5022 targeted gender non-conforming people."  The law was horrendous and led to people being incarcerated for cross-dressing. It was very harsh.  

"LA was very conservative. Nancy Valverde was one of the very first women allowed into Barber School. She would have to wear pants for work. She happened to be Lesbian, which is not why she wore pants. LAPD would arrest her routinely. One time in Lincoln Heights, they put her in jail for three months… this happened repeatedly in her early life.  So, she went to the law library and found some case law, which said wearing pants was not a crime.  She found an attorney… and together they attacked 5022.  Nancy Valverde was the Rosa Parks of LGBTQ."   

Cooper Do-nuts was a place that would take non-conforming people, under-cover. Not only did Cooper Do-nuts allow them in, but also hired them which was unheard of at that time."  

Cooper Do-nuts Riot which took place a couple blocks from here, predates Stonewall by 10 years and is often believed to be the first gay uprising in the United States. Although these events are little remembered today, they contextualize the fight for LGBTQ rights and remind us that this struggle was not limited to one city or even one event.   

The uprising began when two police officers attempted to arrest two drag queens, two male sex workers, and a gay man. One of those arrested protested the lack of room in the police car and onlookers began throwing assorted coffee, donuts, cups, and trash at the police until they fled in their car without making the arrests.  

People then took to rioting in the streets and police backup arrived blocking off the street for the entire night and arresting several people.   

UPDATE: This might be a good time to remind you that the Freedom of Information Coalition and Susan Seager finally got the search warrant this week on which the LASD justified the mass arrests of protesters and journalists in 2020. 

One public speaker asserted, that LA is the most important city for queer history in the United States.  Happy Pride! 

Backup City Attorney:  Item 6 was not on the printed agenda, but item 6 is on the agenda. 

Another speaker noted, "I’m nonconforming" and the way Nancy Valverde understood that every individual makes a difference. "If someone needed 50 cents and she had a dollar, she’d give them the whole dollar."  

Smart Speaker:  It's perfectly legal.   cc - Ethics Commission 

Backup City Attorney: Ok, it's come to our attention, that all of the even pages in the printed agenda are missing. Anyone can check the agenda online. 

Paul Krekorian:  Is there a printed agenda?  


Paul Krekorian: The printed agendas will be available shortly. In the meantime, it’s scrolling on the monitor in the back.   

Public Speaker:  I’m with Unite Here, and I can’t afford to live here. 

Cut him off.  

"We are having a small technical issue we’ll get to you momentarily.” 

(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)