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Thu, Jun

Bright Spots

ERIC PREVEN'S NOTEBOOK

ERIC PREVEN’S NOTEBOOK - Friday the City Council is planning a regular meeting and a special meeting. Then, it's off for an amazing period of rest and relaxation and an opportunity to make good on the hollow commitment they made to the many vendadores who came downtown to testify on a day that will forever be remembered as Dr. Paul Martin Krekorian Day. 

This was an inside joke among Marqueece Harris-Dawson and Heather Hutt who cheered on the little white council president as he trotted out the date on which the city’s longest-serving mayor, Tom Bradley was sworn in, July 1, 1973.

The truth is the public and their devious elected officials are exhausted from all the Juneteenth and Pride celebrations, so it was refreshing to see them doing light racial jokes. 

The meeting on Friday has a closed session re: Deon Jones, the man who filed a lawsuit after he was shot in the face with a rubber bullet by an LAPD officer during one of the May 2020 protests.  After deliberating for under four hours, the jury found the shooting was unconstitutional, malicious, oppressive, or in reckless disregard of  Mr. Jones' rights.

Blumenfield will know what to do, but will probably announce that its already been decided, so if nobody has questions...  

The envelope please:    When and if the settlement number is made public, it's too late to comment. 

The Bradley bloviation follows the near-perfect filibuster by Nate Holden last week, who spoke for fifteen uninterrupted minutes about his long and storied career.  

Officer Graciano (the smart one) and Duarte (the other one) were ready to make an arrest if it came down to it. 

The Messiah:

D’Artagnan Scorza, reminds close county watchers of the good old days, when the messiah, Dr. Mitchell Katz roamed the halls of county government. To be fair, Katz had a detractor or two but most of the board found themselves mesmerized by his perky constructive leadership style. He ran the health department prior to the historic mush-together but had to take a job in New York City, and to care for an elderly parent.  What a mensch!  We miss him. 

Like that traitor, Dudamel.

Scorza is totally beloved and gave a mesmerizing overview of the county’s much-ballyhooed race report, released two days before the dismal county homeless report was buried…er,  lifted up. Spoiler; 10% increase.

Nobody is perfect and Scorza did refer to the county’s favorite Superior Court judge, Mitchell Beckloff, as Michael, but Scorza found his legs, he did not disappoint. Anti-black racism is rampant and disgusting and our “main objective remains improving access to resources, to meet the challenges.” 

Awkwardly, according to late-breaking news reports we are going to have to meet those challenges without Affirmative Action as we know it. 

All is not lost, and President Biden has urged colleges and universities to continue to try to achieve diversity on their campuses by taking into account the hardships that their applicants have faced in their lives.

The President said that “students first have to be qualified applicants,” but he added that “once that test is met, then adversity should be considered, including a student’s lack of financial means.”

In a statement celebrating the decision, Edward Blum, the conservative activist behind the lawsuits against Harvard and U.N.C., said: “Ending racial preferences in college admissions is an outcome that the vast majority of all races and ethnicities will celebrate. A university doesn’t have real diversity when it simply assembles students who look different but come from similar backgrounds and act, talk, and think alike.”

As in prior years, Black people were over-represented, making up 31% of homeless residents, or more than four times greater than their overall share of the county population. The Latino portion leveled off at nearly 43% after increasing substantially in last year’s count. 

Black angelenos, and Scorza had numbers are plagued with more than just elevated rates of traffic stops. He rattled off a whole plethora of disturbing findings that you can read here.  

By utilizing an equity lens, ARDI, the county’s Anti Racism and Diversity Initiative will guide LA County toward achieving racial equity. 

Racial equity refers to what a genuinely non-racist society would look like. 

And let’s get some more Academics in there… the Center for Critical Race Studies in Education at UCLA engages scholars and community members in interdisciplinary research that expands our understanding of crucial educational and social inequality issues. Centering the role of race, racism, and their intersectionality with other forms of discrimination such as sexism, classism, homophobia, and ableism, is key to the county’s mission. 

But keep in mind, UCLA has over 150,000 applicants and only accepts 6,500. In order to expand, it was announced this week that UCLA purchased the 11-story, Art Deco-style Trust Building on Spring Street, and expects to begin classes in it later this year — initially through its large Extension program. 

Affordable housing?

“Sir, you’re disrupting the meeting.”

Chancellor Gene Block said the 334,000-square-foot Trust Building, which will be renovated with classrooms, office space, and more, can help accommodate additional students, anchor research projects, potentially host startup companies, and serve the neighborhood.

 “We couldn’t be prouder to expand UCLA’s presence in the beating heart of downtown, which has been a vision of ours for a full decade. The sky’s the limit on what we can do.”

Sky is the limit!

Bright Spots:

To freshen up the stench of horror that is frequently emanating from the Downton Jail conversation, Supervisor Solis and the board of Supervisors arranged for a very special presentation, and after the Supervisor teed it up, even Kerry Morrison, who used to flip HHH burgers at the City of Los Angeles as a member of the HHH civilian oversight came out to rave about the bright spot down at Twin Towers. 

Bright spot?  Twin Towers?

She was referring to Craigen Armstrong, Co-Author of “THE SOLUTION: Mental Health Assistants.” 

The book provides an exclusive inside look at the treatment of the mentally disabled inmates who are under the care of their incarcerated counterparts; general population inmates (mental health assistants) that are free of any mental illness. 

Kerry Morrison said,  “When you walk into the fifth step down... there is so much colorful stuff. And there are men walking around freely... people talk to each other... and the secret sauce is the Mental health assistants.”  

They come into the space with long-term struggles,… 

The presentation felt like an episode of The View.  Craigan who is charismatic and self-effacing, and his sidekicks Dominic and Jerry who he brought along via Zoom… nailed it. 

Hilda Solis was “blown away.”

There was also a major push by many public speakers advocating for something called a Sexual Assault Council championed by Supervisor Horvath.   

When I noted that the county might not need one more commission or council comprised of appointees, so much as we need actual leadership inside the county departments, not more bureaucracy, Horvath push back.  

She called out the public speaker, who said that “everyone is against sexual violence” (disclosure: that was me)… she said, “Unfortunately that’s not true, that's why we need the sexual assault council.”

My reply was, “What’s wrong with Peace Over Violence? Isn’t it possible that more apparatus isn’t the answer?  

Beached:

Gary Jones of Beaches and Harbors came out to cite some numbers and calm tensions about the 55 mammals that had washed up on the county beaches, not counting Santa Monica and Long Beach. 

He had no comment about the shortage of county lifeguards. 

Domoic acid is a kainic acid-type neurotoxin that causes amnesic shellfish poisoning. It is produced by algae and accumulates in shellfish, sardines, and anchovies. When sea lions, otters, cetaceans, humans, and other predators eat contaminated animals, poisoning may result.

Jones cautioned that if you encounter a beached sea lion, be careful and stay away, as they could be agitated and aggressive. 

What they need is rest, rehydration, and supportive care.  So Gary has set up a safe quiet place where they can be supported, and purged of the toxin. Of course,  some are euthanized. [gasp]

Smarty Pants Speaker:  Is this a hotel?  Why not?

Smart Speaker: Because they are wild animals. 

Unite Here, 11

I was reading about a mid-career freelance producer on a recent Netflix of Korea original series.  The production company paid her a flat monthly wage that was understood to preemptively cover the maximum 52-hour workweek. 

It was described as a common arrangement used to squeeze workers.

Certain tasks, like prep days when film crews were off but producers were called into the office, were strategically excluded from the count. This amounted to hundreds of hours of illegal overtime — all unpaid. “I was paid around $3,400 a month at the time,” the producer to the Hollywood Reporter. “I’d say I worked somewhere between 90 to 100 hours a week.” She described Korean productions as chronically understaffed.

Unite Here, 11, the hotel workers union is ready to go on strike as of Saturday if they can’t find a resolution. 

They wrote to attendees of an International Anime Convention, “When workers go on strike, they stop work and walk off the job. If workers go on strike, there might not be anybody taking out the trash, cooking the food or cleaning the rooms. There also may be loud 24-hour picket lines right outside the property. How do you think this would affect the quality of the Anime Expo if you are attending / planning?” 

They urged the guests to contact the management and ask if they would negotiate a new contract that meets what workers are asking for.”  

They even produced a targeted anime-style advertisement featuring a pink-haired Unite11 worker carrying a sign reading: “Anime is cool! Disrespecting workers is not!” 

Some of the hotels near the convention center with expiring contracts include the JW Marriott Downtown LA and Westin Bonaventure. 

JW Marriott reminded me of last week’s yucky refund without any information even when requested: 

First and Spring:

Kenneth Mejia came out and spoke eloquently about his fight for "better," and of his fight against systems of inequity and oppression.  He wrapped it up with Happy 125th independence day to the Philippines.

Mr. Controller,  where are we with the study about virtual testimony at committee meetings? And what about...item 59, - a refund of what is alleged to be an overpayment by Ticketmaster LLC of $885,000 plus interest.  The taxpayer is Live Nation, so RED FLAG.   

That's why I wrote to Kevin James, who has shimmied over to the mayor's office for more details:

 

Dear Mr. James,

Hope all is well.  Please provide a link or pdf with the backup documentation related to the below claim and refund. 

Thank you. 

 

Fauble responded for Mr. James, which is never a good sign:

 

"We have no non-exempt backup documentation, per California Government Code section 7925.000." 

-Strefan Fauble

 

Maybe, Diana Mangioglu would know.  She's married to Paul Krekorian's former chief of staff, Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian who has been running for CD2, unwilling to face Laura Friedman.  She’s moved to a race for Adam Schiff's congressional seat.   Plus, it has to be said, City Council pays BIG.  

But will City Council be able to salvage its reputation? Is the metal from which the Temple of Hypocrisy has been forged, permanently tarnished?  

The Court issued a Judgment against the City on October 17, 2022, and on January 17, 2023, awarded a total of $241,080.50 in attorney fees to counsel for YIMBY ($172,983.75 to Zacks, Freedman & Patterson) and counsel for the Developer ($68,096.75 to Jeffers, Mangels, Butler & Mitchell). The ruling reflects an approximate fifty percent reduction of the original attorney fee request of $486,053.50.

Don't be negative, Mr. Preven. 

Record Breaker:

When more than one pitcher throws to achieve a no-hitter, it is called a combined no-hitter. A perfect game, on the other hand, is an even more rare feat. It is accomplished when one or more pitchers are able to complete a minimum of nine innings without any of the opposition batters reaching base.

Hats off to the Yankees' Domingo Germán for throwing the 24th perfect game in major league baseball history. 

What a year for records. 

--Most indictments, 

--Most attorneys being investigated,

--Most pending charges.

And according to the Grabner Office of public protest, the civil rights leader, Dr. Paul Martin Krekorian has set the record for most evictions or removals from city council chambers. 

Dr. K, as he's known to insiders, has evicted more members of the public from the city council chambers than any other living or past member of the Los Angeles City Council.   

Take a bow, sir.  But could you please instruct your staff [Karo Torossian] to share the specific RSO parcels that you are connected to before anyone rushes to judgment over even an 'iota' of evidence?  

 

(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.)