Tue, May

Go Big or Go Home


ERIC PREVEN’S WORLD - From airlines to Hollywood, workers are fighting for survival.  Labor unions are organizing to protect their members from being underpaid and replaced. 

The Los Angeles City Attorney, Hydee Feldstein-Soto has advised city officials to refrain from speaking out at strikes or union protests. 

Smart Speaker:  rufkm

In a confidential July 3 memo, a copy of which was reviewed by The LA Times, [The Times did not respond to requests to see the letter] “Feldstein Soto’s team warned elected leaders that if they show up on picket lines or rally with demonstrators, they might have to recuse themselves from voting on a related issue in the future.”

I’m still waiting for the list of RSO properties that the Council President Paul Krekorian owns, that require him to recuse.  Curren D. Price is being hassled by the District Attorney about recusals, so I think the council president should share voluntarily. I admit it’s zeitgeisty, but still no word from Fauble.  Tick tock.

Also, someone alleged during the 11th hour, 11-hour Planning hearing on the Harvard Westlake monstrosity in Studi City, that a family member of Paul Krekorian attends the CIF championship Harvard-Westlake.  

I wonder if the LA Times could confirm that one? 

Though, that is not necessarily a problem, but should be disclosed, right? I thought CP Krekorian had a student at one of the other local private schools but Harvard-Westlake is the gold standard for privacy and discretion. 

Justice, Care & Opportunities: 

The county is full of innovative branding ideas. 

On Tuesday, the smattering of public hearings is followed by a robustly themed, closed session featuring an Interview and consideration of candidate(s) for appointment to the position of Director of Justice, Care, and Opportunities Department.  

A performance evaluation of the Interim Director of the Justice, Care, and Opportunities Department.  

And finally a conference with labor negotiators, including agency designated representatives: Fesia Davenport, Chief Executive Officer, and designated staff  v.  The "unrepresented employee," the Director of Justice, Care and Opportunities Department. 

They call it J-COD.  

All The Confidential News that’s been reviewed by the Times:

The Los Angeles Times rumor mill is grinding away nicely. There was one rather enthusiastic denial on Twitter by Patrick Soon-Shiong himself following what he tagged as "fake news."   

Apparently, a report from Joel Del Bruno who writes in @interesect  had the fake news…

“…two people, who are inside both publishers’ inner circles and asked not to be identified for fear of retribution, said the owners have held talks about a deal where The Times is folded into Jay Penske’s PMC Media empire that includes Rolling Stone, The Hollywood Reporter, Billboard, and Variety.”

That would be huge… like the old days when the Sunday Edition of the LA Times was so fat that a paper thrown on the home of actress Barbara Bain landed on —and killed — her dog.

Bain was married to Martin Landau, and starred with him in the first Mission Impossible, but also worked with Krekor Ohanian, dba Mike Connors on Tightrope.  

I remember liking Mike Connors's portrayal of Mannix the private investigator.  He was a veteran actor who died in 2017, and played basketball at UCLA for Coach John Wooden. 

Anyway, sad about the dogs and the fact that a large Sunday newspaper has become a relic from the past. You can barely kill a mouse with one. Yes, the mouse house is a major LA Times advertiser.  Maybe they should buy the times!

Patrick Soon Shiong: Fake news (if you call the piece news) that we are in discussions to sell the LA Times. 

Smart Speaker: How about partner up?

I once knew a rather fussy actress with a dog named Jigs who was tragically hit by a bus in New York City traffic.  Devastating.  Rumors circulated that the dog may have done himself in—

Jigs was a great dog and loved his high-maintenance owner, so I found that characterization nasty, but the actress was a leader in high-maintenance technology.

This was back when one could make a living as an actor and legitimately boss everybody around. 

Now, according to another younger friend who stars in a current TV series that has just been canceled, 13% of the SAG-AFTRA membership qualify for healthcare benefits.  For shame! 

Speaking of the 13% solutions, readers will remember that The Los Angeles Times executive editor Kevin Merida announced in June his intentions to lay off 13% of the paper’s journalists, about 74, to cut costs. 

That leaves about 500 boots on the ground.  

Not sure how this will impact the workload of the accountability team in El Segundo, but I was trying to source a letter from the very nice headmaster of Harvard-Westlake, Rick Commons, that he had sent to various alumni and boosters, and it suddenly occurred to me, what about the journalists that attended the school?  They might provide a redacted copy.

I thought the “constant vigilance, the quest for truth, the exercise of freedom, the performance of public service” would cause one of them to share the letter from Commons.  I promised to redact. 

Let’s give it time as things are moving very quickly on other stories. 

And the City Council is off for another three or so weeks and the next planned slam dunk by the school on the local freedom fighters in Studio City is not until August 24th.  Hopefully that will be delayed.  

Dead at 80: 

I read in the New York Times, who nixed the sports desk last week, that Sally Kempton died at 80 in Carmel California, where she moved later in life.  

Many will remember that she was a rising journalism star in her day, turned swami. 

She made her name with an essay in Esquire magazine in the late 60s in which she took aim at her father, her husband, and her own complicity in the regressive gender roles of the era.  

The US-India Strategic Partnership Forum. Three women.

What would she think of today?  Women in politics... sports etc.   Three women?

She described her husband, the movie producer Harrison Starr, who was 13 years her senior, as “a male supremacist in the style of Norman Mailer” who infantilized her and provoked in her such frustration that she fantasized about bashing him in the head with a frying pan.  Kids don't try this at home.  

Four years after the Esquire piece was published, Ms. Kempton essentially vanished, to follow an Indian mystic named Swami Muktananda, otherwise known as Baba, a proponent of a spiritual practice known as Siddha Yoga.  

By 1982, Ms. Kempton had taken a vow of chastity and poverty to live as a monk in Baba’s ashrams, first in India and then in a former borscht belt hotel in the Catskills.  

After living on ashrams in India and New York State for many years, Ms. Kempton moved to California, where for the last few decades she had been teaching meditation and spiritual philosophy.

The NY Times obituary noted her first ecstatic experience, which she later recalled, in her apartment in the West Village, while taking psychedelics with a boyfriend and listening to the Grateful Dead song “Ripple.”   

In a video on her website, she said, “All the complexities and the suffering and the pain and the mental stuff I was concerned with as a downtown New York journalist just dissolved, and all I could see was love.”

Ripple Grateful Dead 

Lyrics by Robert C. Hunter Jerome J. Garcia 


If my words did glow with the gold of sunshine 

And my tunes were played on the harp unstrung 

Would you hear my voice come through the music? 

Would you hold it near as it were your own? 


It's a hand-me-down, the thoughts are broken 

Perhaps they're better left unsung 

I don't know, don't really care

Let there be songs to fill the air  


Ripple in still water 

When there is no pebble tossed 

Nor wind to blow  


Reach out your hand if your cup be empty


If your cup is full may it be again 

Let it be known there is a fountain 

That was not made by the hands of men  


There is a road, no simple highway 

Between the dawn and the dark of night 

And if you go no one may follow 

That path is for your steps alone  


Ripple in still water 

When there is no pebble tossed 

Nor wind to blow  


You who choose to lead must follow 

But if you fall you fall alone 

If you should stand then who's to guide you?

If I knew the way I would take you home  



Every individual is on a “path” of their own as they go through life, and every individual must interpret life and its meaning for themselves. No choice.  

The chorus:  Ripple in still water When there is no pebble tossed Nor wind to blow  …means life’s meaning will come out of nowhere, in your mind and consciousness, in other words from the fountain not made by the hands of man.  

The songwriter is saying they would like to define life’s meaning and path, but they cannot, and it’s best you figure it out on your own, and in the end, that’s how it will happen anyhow…

It’s like a parent or significant other squaring with you and saying that they love you, but…for the deep stuff…you have to figure it out for yourself.  

The song also says if someone thinks they have the answer or answers for others as a leader, well, they only have the answers for themselves. 

Go Big or Go Home!

I want to thank readers for all the supportive comments, and though I have not yet been successful at reaching Mr. Charles Munger, about his Studio City legacy, I have written to the Harvard Westlake Headmaster and the top Fundraiser. 

As for the Munger Hall project in Santa Barbara, presently there is no construction timeline and the funding remains uncertain. 

The project must get the approval of the UC Regents and California Coastal Commission before construction can begin. 

The Project was initially introduced as ‘Absolutely Stunning.’ 

What was once two towers had been consolidated into a single 11-story structure with nine floors dedicated to 4,536 individual student bedrooms-- [It’s been further downsized, but not sure about specs.]

 “The design of the project, as well as how it will be built, can be credited to Munger’s own sweeping and inspired vision for the university’s new student housing,” the announcement read.

“Eight students, each with individual bedrooms, would share a suite that would branch into a hall of eight suites which all share a vast kitchen area and great room. Living in a bedroom twice the size of their counterparts, a residential advisor would oversee the 62 other students in their area. That pattern repeats eight times per floor, each holding 504 students.”

If built, it would be the largest student dormitory and eighth densest neighborhood in the world, according to one of the project’s former architectural consultants. 

Munger Hall would have a population density equivalent to 221,000 people per square mile – making it the eighth densest neighborhood in the world, narrowly trailing a district in Dhaka, Bangladesh.   

 Ambassador Garcetti has been working with the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum. Kudos.  But what a lovely lather-up from bestie Alex on SpectrumOne. 

Hello, Sir.  See if you can add more women to this group, as this makes the LAFD seem balanced. 


(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.)