Sun, Jun

Munger, Get In Here!


ERIC PREVEN’S NOTEBOOK - There was a lot of gratitude being smeared around at the county board meeting about the bringing of the FIFA world cup soccer tournament to Los Angeles in 2026.  But make no mistake the five fierce supervisors are not afraid to pull a chair up to any table that requires a strong voice for equity and inclusion. 

I admit, that I have been critical of LA28 and the ways we've bent, under Garcetti's leadership,  our metro priorities to deliver humans to stadiums where they can buy beer and overspend money that they can't really afford to waste.  Go Galaxy, Go LAFC, Go USA, Go Honduras, Go Mexico, Go Finland. Why not:  Go for a regional plan that is more sustainable. #NYTimesSportsSectionNixed

We are led to believe that there is going to be a giant public benefit to these large international sporting events coming to town. They bring a lot of economic activity... and I am excited that out in our local communities -- I know Supervisor Horvath or Barger, each represent a bit of Studio City, they're thinking about some paralympic activity. Lovely. 

Who, you say?   Harvard-Westlake School. Which, is obviously great. I went to a public high school with Matt Dillon, who you might remember from Something About Mary

Regarding the highjacking of the publicly accessible amenity... people have to understand that the zoning in place now supports an open-to-the-public golf and tennis facility. 

The Harvard Westlake steamrolling machine, god bless 'em, is attempting to shove down our throats something that has a wall around it. 

They've been very deceptive and misleading while touting their neighborliness. 

Yes, an 11-foot wall.  And no we cannot tolerate that in Studio City.  

And the worst part, is they're trying to have their way with... the Zev. 

"The Zev" refers to the spectacular greenway named after the father-in-law of the current city council member from CD5, the richest district,  Katy Yaroslavsky.  Much of CD5 sits in SD3, the county's third supervisorial district.  

The MRCA/SMMC Zev Yarlslovsky trail is currently open 24/7. The new proposal is to restrict it from dawn-dusk, with the addition of 3 security booths + security patrolling anyone who is not one of the 500 paying HW students. The cost to the people: Absolutely nothing. 

Respectfully, bullshit.  Why would we want a private school policing a public right of way near their 11-foot wall?

I think Chair Hahn and all of the Supervisors understand, Studio City is a multi-culty mom-and-pop community. 

Stuart Waldman of the Valley Industry and Commerce Alliance sent his best guy, Victor Reyes, to lobby for the project on Wednesday after minimizing the public's concerns as routine resistance to change by "rich white neighbors"  on Twitter. 

He's infuriating. Some of us want to prioritize the public before the ever-burgeoning sports industrial complex.

Can supervisors imagine a high school with 900 students having a second stadium with bleachers erected in a virtual sanctuary serving 100,000 active golf and tennis enthusiasts and five times that number in passive beneficiaries who treasure the green open space, the little creatures... the canopy?   

This project is about creating an 80,000 square foot sports complex #hangar 


And a second swimming pool, which they are also requesting, despite the fact that they imported a very nice one from Europe that got Karo Torossian, Krekorian's land use deputy all hot and bothered to take a dip.  

On This Day... 

I performed a Public Record Act request for all emails sent between March 1, 2011 and December 15, 2014 to or from -- Mr. Krekorian or anyone in his office -- and a list of key Harvard Westlake personnel and Trustees.   

The emails that came back and have been posted at the LA City Ethics Commission, have been put into a consumable format by chronological order.  All redactions were made by the council district, except for the names of two students, which were omitted for privacy, and a few edits for length.

5/15 John Amato (VP Harvard-Westlake) to Karo Torossian (Director of Planning and Land Use, CD2), Edgar Khalatian (Lobbyist) ([email protected]) [REDACTED CC LIST] 10:22am 

"I hope everything is OK with you. The storm drain issue is slowly being worked out and we are trying to follow the directions of DOE as carefully as possible. The pool is on the ship transiting the Atlantic and will be in LA by the end of the month after having passed through the Panama Canal--all very exciting! On another matter, I would love to arrange a meeting in the next couple of weeks with the Councilman in his downtown office with a small delegation from School. We are finally at a stage in our planning where we have something to show him regarding the building project across the street. He will be the first to see these plans for the project. Karo thanks for your help on all fronts. You are a good friend and all of us at School appreciate the help of the Council Office. Please give my best to Paul. Best, John" 

5/15 Karo Torossian to John Amato, Sara Ter-Minasyan, Edgar Khalatian [REDACTED CC LIST] 2:13pm 

"Hi, John, it's been my pleasure to help and look forward in seeing the pool project completed and it sounds like a very cool pool. Let me know when it is here I would like to see how it is put into place and maybe interested in taking a dip when it is done. lol. [REDACTION] As for meeting with the Councilmember I am passing your email to Sara who handles all the scheduling for the Councilmember.”

Sup. Janice Hahn, chair: Thank you, Eric. 

Smart Speaker:  Thank you. 

I'm from CD4 and I work for a living: 

During that same period in 2013, Vanderpump Rules, launched as a spinoff to The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills on Bravo. 

There was a lot of excitement this week, around the unscripted series getting an Emmy nod, alongside fellow 2023 nominees:  Deadliest Catch, Life Below Zero, RuPaul’s Drag Race: Untucked and Welcome to Wrexham. 

The The real Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and another 155 zip codes, were out in force on Wednesday as part of a masterful public relations effort by elite private sports academy Harvard-Westlake aimed at applying a rather tasteful 'green' lipstick onto a nasty pig. Obviously, no disrespect to--

Moderator:  Sir, please address Kimberly Henry, of City Planning directly. 

Kimberly notes before the hearing, "Please be advised that a Hearing Officer Public Hearing is not considered a Brown Act meeting and, therefore, does not require an agenda to be posted 72 hours in advance of the hearing date."   

Smart Speaker:  Happy to disagree on this. This is a public hearing over serious land use in California... so, why not a Brown Act meeting?  Because the commissioners are &^$%*#? NC members are *&^&^$^%?  This is BS, respectfully, and as almost everyone agrees, hybrid meetings are the only appropriate way to go.  When the public cannot be in the room, bad stuff happens. 

Wednesday’s public hearing was not designed to reach any conclusion about the project’s fate. The plans are scheduled to go before the city’s planning commission on Aug. 24 before any final decision will be made.  

Nithya Raman, of CD4 who inherited the mess said in an emailed statement.  “While this effort predates our time representing this neighborhood, our office continues to productively engage with community members, advocacy groups, and the school to gather feedback in order to achieve the best outcomes — as we do with all projects under the city’s discretion,” 

The eleven hours of testimony can be boiled down this way... it's the 11th hour


Above is the Studio City boundary showing the third District.

Back to the County: 

Smart Speaker: Supervisors, thank you. What a heartbreaker that people were encouraged that their loans would be forgiven and this horrible decision and President Biden, bless his heart, had to immediately jump in. Very, very upsetting.  And you know, these programs that benefit young people and allow them to engage and participate are so important. 

So, it is very hard to understand, how out in Studio City we feel our lifestyle that we've fought hard to preserve and improve is being bullied by a private school with deep pockets and a history of inducing politicians to get on board with their activities...or else! 

Charlie Munger, who I am here requesting be given a copy of this column, by the school,  bought the Golf and Tennis via an LLC for +/-  $42.5 million.  

The current use is for any member of the public who can pay the nominal entry fee at the door to play golf, tennis, or disc golf.  There is no membership required. 

Kids can play with their moms and or dads or both and practice putting, drive some balls, and then maybe grab a cream soda.  Think Eric Garcetti getting ice cream with his sister in the back of an old station wagon at the end of a long beach day. 

Smart Speaker:  Can it be one of those iconic wood-sided station wagons?

Well, that's total bullshit, but yes, for the campaign ad, that would be perfect.  

Many constituents in our community are not comfortable handing county or MRCA or SMMC land over to a private school that has a long history of swindling and infuriating the public, while touting their contributions and paying no city taxes. 

Their contributions are noted: 

But they also have a history of grooming Karo Torossian and so, once again, here is the famous section that contains Karo's surprising and applicable comment, where he wrote to John Amato, "    

Sup. Janice Hahn, chair: Your time is expired, speaker. 

Above is the Studio City boundary showing the fifth District.

Renters Champion: 

Smart Speaker:   Very moving speech and a great story because we all know what you experienced. I would like to thank the chair for saying every public speaker who calls in gets a right to -- I thought she was going to say "counsel" but the right to be heard.  We'll take it. Thank you. 

I'm concerned about what the last speaker said. I'm NOT an apartment association guy, I do like mom and pops, I'm worrying why we're not trying to improve relations rather than make it more contentious between landlords and renters.  

We have to protect people who are thrown out improperly but mediation is tricky, precisely because DCBA cannot require mediation.  So, if you have an unpleasant party on one side or the other, it's very hard.  

Maybe, we,  by which I mean you, could work on a law that makes mediation required. Then it can be done, with less back-and-forth enriching lawyers as opposed to enriching lives. 

Thank you. 

Sup. Janice Hahn, chair: Thank you. I agree. 

Harvard-Westlake and CD2 emails can be found at the LA City Ethics Commission -- A Tale of Two Cities   


(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.)