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Wed, Jul

The Noon Puppet Show

ERIC PREVEN'S NOTEBOOK

ERIC PREVEN’S NOTEBOOK - As the author of the international bestseller, Armed Custodians… I joined the metro board meeting on Thursday in its attempt to seek definitions of terms like “visible presence” while finding a new model for public safety.  There were ideas floating around about shared services and emergency response, where one or the other agency could respond to an emergency and get paid, but not both.  

Reinvention worried many of the Metro Directors, who seemed concerned about doing the same thing over and over again and getting the same result.  Everyone I spoke to agreed that there is one root cause that cannot be ignored.  The crass and self-serving and so indecent proposal: An All-Overtime LAPD Force to Guard Metro.

No thank you, Ambassador Eric Garcetti. 

Instead of a holistic culture change, that would involve running more lines and offering decency amenities, like effing restrooms, he pandered to LAPPL.  You get what you get and yes, everyone is upset. 

Meanwhile, the sandals on-the-ground metro Ambassadors who are doing God’s work are terrific. Though, their attempt to unionize has stalled for the moment.  

The US Ambassador to India told Spectrum One that he was “reading in the Indian press how the United States has an 80% approval rating in India and is seen as the most dependable friend and partner to India, for the first time in our history.”  Take a bow, sir.

Funny, during his final run for mayor against a field of challengers including a stalking horse candidate, capably played by Mitchell Schwartz of the national democratic party fundraising desk, Garcetti told the Los Angeles Times, who went for it, hook, line, and sinker, that 80% of voters polled would tolerate his re-election so, therefore, no need to debate the historic field, which happened to include, Disclosure: Me. Eric Preven. 

This week Garcetti was gushing about his Ambassador gig on Spectrum, “I love this job!” he said calling this an “exciting time” and an amazing, fun, incredibly fulfilling moment.

The Yoga, that Narendra Modi has been touting is working wonders everywhere.

After a two-year coverup and grind that included the stunning and repeated shaming of the President of The United States by causing him to join the charade that Mr. Garcetti might possibly have not known about the sexual predator fundraiser Rick Jacobs, his most trusted advisor, the sun is shining again!

City Hall’s "open secret" went to Washington as Angelenos looked on in horror and disgust as the partisan river of hate parted momentarily to permit Eric Garcetti to slime his way through the sphincter-like confirmation process, effectively tagging dozens of Angeleno whistleblowers as liars.  

Garcetti told Spectrum One finally it is time to “take advantage of this moment,”  In his new job, “nobody expects me to fix that pothole,”

Lovely. 

As for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit with President Joe Biden, one can imagine how upbeat Garcetti is. When asked about the human rights issues there, Garcetti praised India for passing a controversial transgender rights bill in 2019 and said that India has taken steps to improve opportunity for women, though it still ranks 127 out of 146 countries surveyed.

127 is not in the top 100, sir.

TV Pitch:

This is a proposal to get the City to reinstate virtual testimony at city committee and neighborhood council meetings.  It means everything, to rank and file Angelenos who need to be heard, and it is part of an important multi-year television documentary.

Smart Speaker: Would Ambassador Garcetti be willing to host a food show at the embassy?

Kudos to the LA County Fire Department for getting a Dick Wolf Docu series going. It was just rolled out.

If there is a season two. Lets check with Holly Mitchell and Barbara Ferrer.

Before I head off to protest against the Studios and Streamers, one more pitch:  

How about a Veep meets Mary Tyler Moore starring Janice Hahn?  Supervisor Hahn is very funny and likable (not that funny) and though she is quite white, she’s enforcing diversity every single day and translating millions of words a year into multiple languages. Thank you. 

If people think it’s tough to cancel a subscription to Amazon Prime, you should try getting a Spanish language article published in a Spanish publication. The executive team refers to the labyrinthian process of getting out of Amazon as the “Iliad." Getting an article printed in another language is like ... Don Quixote.

Dear Esteban, if you have any ideas for Spanish language publications that might run the uplifting sports commentary “All Hail Primo Villanueva” in Spanish, that would be fantastic.

The “Calexico Kid” story has been recognized as a finalist in the upcoming SoCal Journalism awards and has already been translated into Spanish. 

It is an important story for Chicanos, Hispanohablantes, and all Angelenos who appreciate undersung heroes. Go Bruins!

Open secrets:

The City Council adores the public but still has to work very hard to avoid hearing from them, for their own good. 

The hope is…if the wider audience doesn’t notice any symptoms of a horrible disease that is ravaging their body, is it really happening?  Why bother them?

If a colleague is “indicted" in the forest and a meeting is canceled for alleged logistical reasons (read: rest from competitive Pride celebrations) does one thing have anything to do with the other? No.

Standing up against hate is always appreciated but efforts to enforce diversity are tricky. 

There were a lot of smart speakers who had come down to City Hall on Wedneday to grieve about the Barrington Arms, a run-down west side RSO building in Tracie Park’s (formerly Bonin’s) district that is in need of major retrofitting. There was one fire in 2013, then another, and now it is a very bad situation.

One tenant of the arms, Claudio Montanari says he has seen the owner's building plans and it's a full remodel, new windows, and new landscaping, which shows that the owner is not going out of business and therefore is misusing the Ellis Act to evict tenants. 

Another, Robert Lawrence, said Douglas Emmett's management style — he’s the villain developer — is "dark and malevolent," and called him a slumlord using harassment and intimidation to force out hundreds of tenants, in order to end rent stabilization and promote gentrification. 

He pleaded, “Do not allow this developer to use a bad faith Ellis Act filing now to create a mass eviction of 712 households that would crown these injustices.”

Consistent with the feeling that no good tragedy, should go to waste, the tenants are very worried that the developer is going to mis-apply the Ellis Act and flush them all down the drain.

Councilmember Park called up the City Attorney and housing slickster, Greg Good, who if I am not mistaken ran briefly for the CD11 seat last year. (Good Lord!)

CM Park had legal questions about the property owner’s use of the Ellis Act, and the designated city attorney politely declined to answer in an open session.  Annoying. 

Bob Blumenfield was very happy to sign off on all of the closed-session items that they’d discussed privately in committee, without a call-in option for the public.  All but one that is: item 57 or 57A or both!

The Queen of CD4 raised her hand on 57, and was granted a moment by King Krekorian. “As we are going into closed-session to talk about this issue that has been in the news and the city has been engaged with for a while,” Raman said.  I think there are other issues, particularly related to communications with the tenants at the Skid Row Housing Trust site that we can and should be taking up in open session.”  

She said, “We’ve been communicating with the city attorney to find ways to do that in ways that don’t impact the receivership and the court case and I just wanted to stress in open session, my commitment and the commitment I’m sure of this entire council to being able to do that and to putting the interests of the residents that are in these facilities first and making those issues as public and transparent as possible.” 

Confusing. Apparently, Judge Beckloff is on the case.

His majesty Krekorian replied “With that, we are prepared to go into our closed session.”  

Then Krekorian instructed the Sergeants… to remove the puppets. 

Puppet Show, High Noon:

Up in Ethics, at noon, it was time for the changing of the guard but there were technical difficulties at the outset very likely culling the mass demonstrations planned by interested members of the public. 

What differentiated this Ethics meeting from appearances by Jamie York, Rob Quan and Eric Preven was the testimony of several attorneys who had called in to address the Ethics Commission about Katy Yaroslavsky.  

Odd, she seems too new to be badly corrupted. 

The attorneys said she had a “persuasive and ongoing bias against their project,” and said “she must recuse herself... as she is in an adjudicative process, and has already stated her views.  She must recuse herself in the future to avoid further prejudice of our clients rights."  This is related to the odious Bulgari project.  

The lawyer was referring to a motion she had initiated that he said forced staff to break the city ordinance, by denying his clients due process. In closing, the attorney said, “Thanks for your time and excellent work, I'm honored to be here.” 

Honored to be here?  What a kook!

In Q1 2022, more than a year ago, so why are we only getting this report now, is not clear, the commission collected  $444,614 in 2023 lobbyist registration fees date... but that wasn't nearly enough. 

For that, we have "robust" enforcement. 

Every enforcement matter begins with a complaint that alleges wrongdoing.

Ethics is required by law to review every complaint that they receive. 

Based on the review of a complaint, an enforcement case may be opened.  But let's not kid a kidder... 

In 2023 Ethics onboarded 272 complaints to date!  (It’ only June) still seems high! 

The most popular type of complaint was, Misuse of Authority— whatever that means.

Followed by,  

Misuse of Confidential Information 

Gifts 

Conflict of Interests  (ding ding ding Curren Price, c'mon down!)

Financial Disclosure 

Outside Employment 

Revolving Door.     

Ethics claims about 150 of these complaints ... are out of their so-called jurisdiction, so maybe a better fit for the US Attorneys who seem to have become so tangled in Herb Wesson’s weeds that so far have been unable to indict the best friend of the kingpin--Huizar's kingpin from another mother. 

As for District Attorney Gascon's office, they have a breathtaking track record of ignoring complaints from me and many others, but recently cracked down on old man Curren D. Price just as he was taking a victory lap and instructing his ”Smart Speaker, to play 'Easy Listening Smooth Jazz' playlist! 

Keep The Pools Open:

As a young man, I sought and completed a lifeguard certification course. It was a satisfying accomplishment, I learned how to do the cross-chest carry, perform CPR and break down your run-of-the-mill water-based emergency.  No regrets. I'm a lifesaver.

That said, I have not worked as a lifeguard. During the period when I thought I might in high school, I got a very cool job in sales and rode it as long as I could, before shifting to a job as a mental health worker in a psychiatric hospital, during my college years. This explains my interest in public comment.

My relationship with lifeguards is unusually strong  I know dozens of them because for years I swam at a YMCA pool that refused to hire lifeguards in such a way that they could qualify for benefits.  There was a 8th pilar of character at the Y, famous for its 7 pillars - no benefits for the lifeguards. 

I brought this ugly fact set to the attention of everyone… Nury Martinez and Mitchell Englander as well as  Sheila Kuehl, Paul Krekorian and Kathryn Barger, all of whom supported the YMCA in various fundraising efforts.  None of them did jack shit.  None of them were moved.  I was retaliated against for speaking out.

Now, I am an LA Fitness man, where the city attorneys from yesteryear work out. No Lifeguard on duty, but much better conditions for the swimmer… as long as you don’t have a heart attack.

One swimmer from the lane next to me, touched my body the other day, physically.  That certainly got my attention, “Hey, you and me are here early, and there’s no lifeguard.  If I go down, you’ll dredge me up, right?”

I said, “Of course.  Are you feeling okay, pal?”

He laughed, and then I laughed, “Yes, “ he said, “but good to know you’ve got my back.”

Across the country, there is a serious shortage of lifeguards.

Desperate for help, cities and private employers have dangled perks and raised hourly wages. 

Amusement parks are offering up to $18 an hour to lifeguards including a $500 signing bonus. In some cities in Michigan, the parks department covered the cost of lifeguard training this year, helping to attract enough applicants to staff its pools.

Now I hear that the county and city pools are going to have to reduce pool hours during the hot summer.  Unacceptable.  

There could be a shorter “on duty” component than usual, but that would entail opening the pool for no-guard-at-your-own-risk swims.  Better than a closure, people have to sign the waiver.

Or the 2028 Olympics are rolling along and Mayor Bass (who has an LA28 chief of staff), Paul Krekorian and Curren D. Price (pre-indictment) and all of the other angling council members are constantly touting the $160,000.000 that Casey Wasserman scored for the kiddos from the IOC.  

It was meant to provide swimming lessons for our youth while we wait for the Olympics.  Sigh. Maybe  Ambassador Garcetti could loan Los Angeles a few lifeguards from the US embassy pool?  

 

(Eric Preven is a longtime community activist and is a contributor to CityWatch. The opinions of Mr. Preven are not necessarily those of CityWatchLA.com.)