ERIC PREVEN’S NOTEBOOK - The County Board of Supervisors is moving forward at full steam ahead this week following the cancellation of last week's June 20th closed session meeting.
The county's budget deliberations which were scheduled to begin on Monday, June 26th in the 9:30 a.m. regular slot, have been pushed out to 1 p.m. without explanation. It's fine.
The following day, tomorrow, Tuesday the 27th, the board will resume a regular meeting at 9:30 a.m. with 112 agenda items.
Experts have advised repeatedly that this is too many items, and there is not nearly enough time to apply the proper amount of public scrutiny. The Board knows this and is willing to tolerate the frustration of the public to get out the door and into their summer-lite schedule.
If you can believe it, the board only met twice in June.
In July, they plan to meet three times, the 11th, the 18th (c is for closed session), and the 25th, and three times in August the 1st (c), the 8th, and the 15th (c) before slowing things down until after Labor Day.
The City Council is also turning one page at a time to a brighter tomorrow.
Marqueece Harris-Dawson newly elected to Council president pro tempore, replacing Curren Price, who is facing embezzlement and perjury charges, took center stage.
The City Council has seen scandal after scandal over the last few years, but Harris-Dawson is perplexed by the Price charges, "As an African-American official, or an official of color, it certainly feels like you're being hunted," Harris-Dawson said.
All eyes were on the Rules Committee on Friday, a group that is deeply committed to getting things right, but not necessarily the facts, apparently.
Paul Krekorian who sits on that one got his Richard Alarcon corruption details wrong and Dan Guss who writes a Substack and just won two So Cal Journalism Press Club Awards on sunday night asked Krekorian nicely to check himself, lest he inadvertently wreck himself. I'm paraphrasing there, but we'll see what happens. Alarcon was not acquitted.
The Rules Committee predictably kicked the Curren D. Price matter to another meeting in late August, but while the whole city was on the edge of their seats distracted over Pricegate, the Chief Legislative Analyst, Avak Keotahian, saw a window of opportunity to run off some protests, appeals or objections to forty-seven Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety liens.
To do this to one's constituents during a homeless crisis is not just cruel it's also bass ackwards (sic).
Hugo Soto-Martinez only had one lien against a 13th district resident for a mere $957, so if we were handing out awards for decency or clemency, he would have taken home the prize on Friday.
Heather Hutt, who has never been elected to her office came in second place with only one lien filed, valued at $2,039. The bronze medal went to Eunissesses Hernandez of CD1, who only had a single lien for $3,821. Blumenfield had two liens for a grad total of $3,322, which is less than Eunisses', one.
So, Blumenfield had more but also less.
Marqueece Harris Dawson took the top bad-guy prize with eight (count 'em) liens valued at a game-winning, $44,909. Downright presidential.
Nithya Raman, a very progressive liberal, had six liens affixed to her constituents for a respectable, $39,203
Paul Krekorian had three liens for $37,450 with a team-high liening average of, $12,483.
Old Man Price may be down, but he is not out with a fancy nine liens in the new ninth for a total of, $32,659
Even Tim McCosker got a little dishonorable mention for his five-pack of easy-on-the-eyes but still painful liens valued at, $15,675
Among the remaining districts, only Kevin DeLeon and Monica Rodriguez crossed the $10,000 threshold on this agenda, so hopefully as we move forward, through the current state of emergency, the council can work harder!
I do miss Ackley Padilla. Not that we were close.
It's just the timing of his departure from CD6 was odd.
To refresh the memory, Ackley is the brother of Senator Alex Padilla, who was Nury's top chef and who had a very good sense (slash) was probably tipped off, to step away before the audio heard around the world exploded on the scene... potentially splashing on the Senator from Pacoima. I suspect The Pulitzer prize-winning team at the LA Times will eventually -- bring the light to bear...
"Sir, you're disrupting the meeting."
Here's the loving goodbye to Ackley that was attended by an almost undercover Senator Alex Padilla. [Cut Him Off Speaker, section The Cost of Good Help)
Speaking of Padillas, I am going to assume that Imelda Padilla who is running for CD6 in Tuesday's special election (endorsed by Lindsay Horvath and UFLAC, the firefighters union) is not related to the Senator because I searched and could not make the link. Please correct me if I am wrong.
And Marisa Alcaraz also running, (endorsed by Paul Krekorian and Unite Here 11, the hotel workers union) could very well be related to the Monica Alcaraz of the historic highland park neighborhood Council and Team Hilda Solis. But here again, I can't really tell and it doesn't really matter. Don't forget to Vote, CDsixers.
Four Legged Menschy Magicians:
Councilmember Nithya Raman of CD4 said "Sue" who was one of her earliest and most committed staffers, "has the cutest baby, you should look her up on Instagram." I missed the staffer's last name, but Raman clarified that she wouldn't be going far, as she was taking a job in Mayor Bass's office. Adorable, the city is one big happy family!
Another member of CM Raman's starting staffer team is also moving on.
"Josh," she said, "played a jig on a tiny little flute... and he does magic. What more do you have up your sleeve?"
She noted, that Josh will be starting a "civil rights law firm of his own." and said, she looked "forward to closed-session briefings on cases he brings against the City of Los Angeles." Super cute!
When it was finally Marqueece Harris-Dawson's turn to drive the magic school bus as the legit second banana, he rolled out a classic adjournment in the memory of Miss Kathryn Chancy, who he didn't realize had the name, Kathryn, because he'd always called her "Miss Chancy" as the rest of the neighborhood did. He said they'd lost her earlier this year but wanted the right moment to celebrate her 103 years in a joyful way.
That moment: fifteen minutes prior to the meeting called to discuss the fate of Curren D. Price.
Kevin De Leon, rose to announce, "Colleagues, yesterday there was a major fire in the Flower district, and 50 people were safely evacuated, thanks to the safe swift action of nearly 155 firefighters."
What a mensch!
Bob Blumenfield, the innovator budget chair, who always played second violin to Paul Koretz on Animal Services abnegations, trotted out the new Animal Services GM, Stacee Dains. Blumenfield said he supported Ms. Dains but wanted to open the floor so she could lay down some stylings... pre-Price cookout!
GM Dains thanked Chair Eunisses Hernandez of CD1 and John Lee of CD12 for their thoughtful engagement in working together on a 21st-century model of animal welfare. [Hold nose here.]
The department has been without a permanent general manager since April 2021 — with Annette Ramirez serving as interim general manager.
Mayor Bass and the City Council approved an 18% increase to the department’s budget, which will be used to “protect the welfare of animals” in the city. You don't say?
On June 1, Mayor Karen Bass announced her selection of Staycee Dains.
Dains said she'd been a volunteer, a shelter supervisor, an operations manager, and a director in Long Beach. She admitted to being innovative and courageous and a passionate person with a developed track record of engaging to achieve better life-saving numbers in the municipal animal welfare environment. [Not a phrasing associated with anything positive]
Ms. Dains noted that it takes more than one person and that she looked forward to collaborating with the staff, the volunteers, and other organizations and community partnerships to "cultivate and prosper together."
Ms. Dains plans to refocus the 378 employees and 1,800 active volunteers, to harness the full potential of all of our resources.
She promised to be fearless in carrying out her duties, but also mindful of safety, kindness, and compassion for animals and people.
And she said she would take the time to "understand" the "boots on the ground" people including their experiences, in finding a real solution to the overcrowding crisis, and lack of affordable access to care, and vision etc.
As long as "understand" doesn't mean "retaliate against" we're better off.
Ms. Dains said she looked forward to making Los Angeles the most... humane place in the world, tipping her hat to the "electeds who care deeply."
Her speech went over well but when she closed with "I am truly honored" there was a palpable, almost audible, groan.
"I paid the fine, I can't read or write so can you please call me... I am unable to work... please... call me. "
"I had to pay someone else's $5,000 water bill."
"I owe $10k ...because of other tenants squatting. Now, they're fining me $6017.13 cents? That's corruption. You can never get ahead, something is always coming up."
"What kind of hearing is this? I thought this was court... I have the right to keep what I want on my property. If I have car... I can keep it, they say I have to let it go... "
"What do you do with people who can't do the paperwork?"
"I tried to get my divorce record."
Kevin De Leon, said he will continue item 41 until July 5
Smart speaker: Yeah, it's Eric Preven, I'd like to speak on the available items and also general public comment.
Fauble: Ok, you have three minutes Mr. Preven for items 1-48 and 52-57, followed by a minute for general. Please begin.
Smart speaker: Ok, well, thank you, and I'd love to know the name of the other city attorney so that I can address him appropriately via email when you are out with a head cold, or wherever you've been. It's great to have you back.
I want to thank the mothers against gun violence. What a force of. nature this organization has been, for that reason, I think it is appropriate to -- ordinarily I try to balance things and be fair to all the groups. I love all my babies equally.
So, for $400 bucks we light up the obelisk for the mothers and in this case orange, I'm agreeable to all that. But three nights is really special ... these ladies are so smart. They figured out that nobody could really quibble, about a couple extra days, because we don't want to bring the team in to take down the lights.
(Wait, the lights are always in place-- )
Forget it, who cares, these ladies helped ban ghost guns... And frankly, they have been there helping with a lot of stuff that the city council has been actively working on.
They've been very, very active, in fact, Mitch O'Farrell and Paul Krekorian, despite a stern warning from the Studio City Neighborhood Council, about getting sued for enacting an unconstitutional law calling for all contractors to be scanned for NRA affiliation. Still, O'Korian and Farrell ...(Krekorian and O'Farrell) couldn't resist and it ended up costing the city nearly, $500,000. Sheesh.
And given all the pernicious liens today, where the "F" are the progressives?
Kudos, by the way, on the 125 years of Filipino independence recognition, and thanks to Kenneth Mejia for calling it out. The shared fight for liberty...is profound and real. We really do appreciate that.
So, which one of the great civil rights leaders on the city council is going could restore virtual public testimony at committee meetings and Neighborhood council meetings?
Because, today the independent truckers have come out in force and ... I support them. But not everyone can get out. These truckers were promised that if they: got a green truck, and became an independent contractor, they could serve the people of Los Angeles from the port and everywhere else. That's what they were promised.
Now, the city is changing the deal and saying, you need to be a $30 an-hour employee and work for Hydee Feldstein Soto, the city attorney? Honestly, have you lost your mind?
I understand, there's a new law. But you need to look into the... exemptions, ok.
That would be constructive and helpful.
And finally, I have to say, as much as I respect the District Attorney (not that much) who has been in hibernation for five years, to perk up all of a sudden over stuff that we've known for a very long time raises questions about
What in the world happened to Herb Wesson, the brother kingpin, from another mother, Jose Huizar?
What happened? How did he manage to leave poor old Curren Price holding a bag of --
Fauble: Sir, you're off-topic.
If Price has a conflict, it's very hard to understand what's up because all the other votes were in alignment. They don't split votes on Del Richardson stuff.
And what about Paul Krekorian's RSO conflict? And what about the RSO property details that the city attorney doesn't want to share, despite a lapsed CPRA clock?
"I want to thank Dr. Truthfay!"
Kudos to the winners last night at the SoCal Journalism awards.
(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.)