Sat, May

Barbie, the new Batman


ERIC PREVEN’S NOTEBOOK - Weaving through the pathways and little wooden bridges over running water, with my cocktail in hand sloshing around is one of my first memories of the Sportsmen’s Lodge.

I was a 26-year-old Assistant Producer and I’d invited 350 soap opera fans to California for a fan club dinner.  

I had been collaborating with a marketing woman who had good ideas about how to capitalize on the mailing list that I’d put together from the thousands of fan letters the show had received. 

The Hotel was a wonderful local landmark despite the plan underway to tear it down, despite the total bait and switch. Stay tuned for increased coverage of this astonishing scam.

Stunt Driving:

William Friedkin passed away at 87. He was the Director of many films including "The French Connection" which may bear some blame for the world and certainly Los Angeles’ obsession with car chases. 

SoCal local news needs a nice long tour of "car chase” rehab. 

No disrespect, the French Connection managed to win five Oscars in 1972, including for director, Actor for Gene Hackman and Best Picture. 

I always thought Rémy Julienne (17 April 1930 – 21 January 2021) was the genius responsible for the amazing car chase, but I was wrong, it was another expert, Stunt coordinator, Bill Hickman. 

I had the occasion to meet, Monsieur Julienne, who opted to drive himself and his guy to meet us at the appointed spot along the corniches, in Monaco.  

They pulled up in a Volvo station wagon painted like a rally racing car. 

This was the master genius who had been responsible for much of the elaborate stunt driving in several James Bond films.   Impressive, we thought! 

The purpose of the sequence we were attempting to film was part of our initiative to put the so-called money on the screen. 

The idea that we were “chasing”  we thought our audience might like to see our main characters from the Judith Krantz Maxi series that we were producing, driving quickly along on the corniche in a sports car with spectacular shots from a helicopter following along. This was a pre-drone episode. 

Julienne, who was to be our precision timing expert was late for our very first meeting with my boss and the Director.  I remember shvitzing the details as we stood at the appointed meeting place on the side of the corniche, waiting.  

Finally, as Remy pulled up in his very cool-looking station wagon, we had to stifle our laughs as the expert we’d hired to essentially produce an exciting (+unnecessary) car chase was having trouble parallel parking.

Andrew Westall, Herb Wesson's guy-Friday, consults with Heather Hutt, who hoisted him up to Chief of Staff. 


Gwyneth Paltrow Estate, Santa Monica: $17.5M

The entire estate is gated, providing privacy and tranquility, catering to the discerning demands of VIP buyers. 

Originally developed by the company King Gillette, the community in Santa Monica is recognized for its larger residences, mature street trees, and its proximity to Palisades Park overlooking the Pacific Ocean.  

Nearby entertainment options include the Riviera Country Club, the Brentwood Country Club, and the eateries and stores of the Brentwood Country Mart. 

The location also offers convenient access to Hollywood, Downtown Los Angeles, and other attractions throughout LA via the freeway.  What about the metro? 

Would Santa Monica, one wonders, be open to hosting the Harvard Westlake Athletic Complex?  What about Crossroads? 

Sticking it to the man!

Everybody is wrestling with management over work conditions. 

And there is a major national chit-chat around stay-at-home culture.  Metro's possible tag line for 2023-2024, 

"It’s not that bad!”

Forced communication culture, that requires people to go into the office is not necessarily a bad thing.

Younger people tend to enjoy staying at the office more as they meet people, and can practice climbing the greasy pole of success. Getting ahead is an acceptable aspiration. 

Smart Speaker: How? 

More seasoned people often gravitate toward work-from-home operations to attend to various family responsibilities. Tag: Kids.

For the big bosses, it's about balancing "worker conditions" with "revenue."

A balanced approach of three days a week sounds good to me. 

Also, pay your workers, D-bags!

City of Austin v. State of Texas - Pretextual Stops

In Austin, the quasi-Blue state inside the Red state of Texas, The Austin police chief and the Texas state troopers are marching to a slightly different drum. 

New York v. New Jersey - Congestion pricing

In New York, there's been an escalation in hostility related to the 'climate friendly' idea of charging congestion pricing as is done in Singapore, London and Stockholm. 

New Jersey is heading to court over it.  “What’s prohibitively expensive for someone of limited means is a drop in the bucket for the affluent,” a prior member of the Studio City Neighborhood Council put it in 2019.

Public Comment:

Smart Speaker: Thank you, it’s Eric Preven calling from Studio City. I'd like to speak on all the available items and also a small general public comment. 

Anonymous City Attorney: So, the items that are open for public comment are one and two. Number six and ten through thirteen. So you have three minutes for the items and one minute for general public comment.  Please begin with the items. 

Smart Speaker:  Who is speaking now?  Do you have a name?  [Silence]. Okay, no worries. Don't be shy. I'll go on.

Alright, well first of all I want to uplift a very good comment by Bollinger.  All of the council members who are not paying attention to public comment.  Super awkward.  Not cute.  You should really pay attention. 

Honoring Batman, even though it seems like just another trivial agenda distraction, that will draw some colorful sound bytes, about who the best Batman is?  (Answer: Christian Bale, from The Dark Knight 2008, etc). 

Dark, complex, and unforgettable, The Dark Knight succeeded not just as an entertaining comic book film, but as a richly thrilling crime saga. 

Heath Ledger, RIP, delivers one of the most iconic performances in film history.  It was directed by Christopher Nolan, who must be pleased with the performance of “Oppenheimer.” 

Smart Speaker: Sorry, which studio is handling Batman? 

Warner Brothers.  

Smart Speaker:  Sorry, but to do this acknowledgment during a writer's and actor's strike in Hollywood, is a robust fuck up.

Not nice.  Very very upsetting.  

Council member Raman appears to have been outsmarted by the usual sneaky team led by Avak Keotahian in the Chief Legislative Analyst Sharon Tso's office.  

To be fair, Sharon is busy, and "we have to keep on schedule" and "Krekorian is never around."

I wonder if Mr. K was out poking around relative to a new lease with DWF VI GPI Lankershim Owner, LLC for approximately 5,879 square feet of new field office space located at 5250 Lankershim Boulevard, North Hollywood, CA 91601 in Council District Two.

He’s signing a four-year lease with one four-year option to extend.  Awkward... because Krekorian is termed out in less than a year.  

The road is long and the party never ends.  

Honestly, this honoring Batman is a real low point in television and film history for the City.  I can't believe it, I'm very very disappointed. 

Also, it seems to have been a rough day for Eunisses Hernandez. So many speakers calling her out for not paying attention and for the Morris Kight debacle…

Kight was an iconic LGBTQ all-star, and someone wants to put up more housing at the site of his old home.  

That will be back for more consideration on Tuesday relative to the Morris Kight Residence, located at 1822 West 4th Street, getting on the list of Historic-Cultural Monuments. Or not!

My heart goes out to Eunisses because I know that she cares a lot but she should listen to the people. 

Standing around talking to Blumenfield is not cool.  

Why don’t you ask Mr. Krekorian -- what he’s up to, blocking virtual public comments at committee hearings?

Anonymous City Attorney: I can't tell which Item you are talking on, can you please identify the item that you are speaking to?

Smart Speaker: Sure, Yes, I would be happy to. I was getting to the Walk of fame for Mark Anthony, the Puerto Rican dude, who somebody referred to as a good-looking guy. 

These are honorariums, Mr. City Attorney, so please give a little latitude... also what is your name? 


If you get a chance...and also for clarity one speaker was concerned that Krekorian had blocked the AAPI equity alliance group from testifying in front of his totally magical mystery redistricting tour - without virtual testimony. 

Krekorian was my Councilmember and now I have Raman.  Remember when Karo Torossian, his sidekick, was jumping up and down about fraud during the last redistricting…?  Well, miraculously they were dealt a hand in which all of the CD2 problem areas (Beeman, Sportsmens, and Weddington) magically slipped into Nithya Raman's CD4.  

Incidentally, where is Krekorian, he's been unusually low profile. I've been wondering... does it begin with an "I"... [India, Indictment… Italy!]

I'm not unhappy to see Marqueece Harris-Dawson driving the Choo Choo train.  It's nice to engineer this kind of Hollywood Walk of Fame project and testimony.  

Also, I won't talk about it - because it's not on the part of the agenda people are allowed to speak on - but the $20 million dollar cha-ching over at the Water Revenue Fund looks tasty. Hopefully, someone is paying attention, there. Matt Hale would know.

As I head for the door, the Lady Luxe transportation committee report which I assumed was modeled on the Fab five lady Board of Supervisors, and timed to coincide with the Barbie rollout, was not as expected.  

When I noted the OVO… I thought, egg? 

But Oversized Vehicle Ordinance, rufkm? 

Anonymous City Attorney:  General Public comment. 

Smart Speaker:  I was talking about the oversized vehicle ordinance, but I'll roll it in. Thank you for your guidance, what is your name, pray tell?  Is it possible to know? 


I will go on.  Anyway, the fab five lady supervisors, are deeply empowering and equitable, but what is Hugo Soto-Martinez doing on this motion?   He’s a man.  And remember, the policy "Do no harm."  

We can’t resume bossing people around from here to there if we have no place for them to go.  Can we?

Look, if you really want to go nasty, go nasty.  Malibu developed a very nice set of sharp pincers to use on unhoused people. You should examine their ordinance. It really bites!  

The first time you park the motorhome you get a reasonable, nasty fine, but if you try it again, the penalties escalate very quickly. 

It’s intended to be a very strong deterrent, but it does raise the same question, where will they go? 

Answer:  Anywhere but not Malibu.

I would suggest that all of the council members who are still awake, ask Paul Krekorian to provide virtual call-in options for council committee meetings.  Urgent, forthwith!

And if you get a chance please find a moment to stick it to the man.  

Krekorian: The Opportunity Zone

CD 2’s current field office space is being redeveloped, requiring the office to vacate the site. 

Smart Speaker: They have a contract! Currently, CD2 is in their last five-year option term which is due to expire in 2028.  

Anyway, Tony Royster of GSD, says, there is no anticipated current-year impact on the General Fund from the estimated shortfall amount of $290,432 identified at this time.

Smart Speaker: Shortfall?

During the pandemic, Grubb Properties purchased the building with the intent to redevelop the property into a mixed-use multifamily development.   Grubb Properties is based in Charlotte North Carolina. 

Grubb Properties’ CEO Clay Grubb is the author of the book “Creating the Urban Dream: Tackling the Affordable Housing Crisis with Compassion.”

Smart Speaker: Is this a link apartment?

Off topic.

“This new lease is a full-service gross lease with the initial base rent of $25,573.65 per month ($4.35 per sf), escalating annually at a rate of 3% on each anniversary of the Lease Commencement Date.  


Included herein is the rough order of magnitude cost for furniture, moving, communication and security expenses estimated at $150,000. 

It should be noted that GSD is negotiating with the current landlord on the early settlement agreement, which will be needed to cover these costs.

Based on recent market analysis, the monthly rate for similar locations and types of space ranges from $4.16 to $5 per sf. 

The proposed base rate of $4.35 for rent reflects an acceptable rate for a Class A office building, and full-service gross lease and is within the acceptable range for comparable office space in the NoHo Arts District area. 

The General Fund impact is estimated at $290,432. This includes six months of rent estimated at $153,438. 

Additionally, there is a parking cost of $100 per non-reserved parking space and $175 per reserved parking space a month, a maximum of 17 spaces totaling $11,550 for six months. 

Studio City Treetops.


County Jumpy Tent:  

Participate in Tuesday's meeting. Click here for Tuesday's agenda.

Here are some choice selections.  On Call = Trust Us!

  1. Fee Waiver to Congratulate California's Newest Speaker of the Assembly.
  1. Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles “Camp Stuff ‘n’ Such” Fee Waiver
  1. Hotel Worker Protections
  1. Suspension of Board Policy 3.055 to Allow the Continuation of Virtual Agenda and Policy Committees (Also Known as Cluster Meetings) and Perform Review of the Policy
  1. Award a Design-Build Contract for the North Hollywood Health Center
  1. Department of Health Services Lease Amendment
  1. June 2023 Job Order Contract Construction Task Catalog and Technical Specifications
  1. Parcel 132S Lease Amendment
  1. Colonel Leon H. Washington Park, Athens Park and Atlantic Avenue Park Restroom Projects
  1. Landscape Maintenance Services Contract Pending 
  1. Landscape Maintenance Services Contracts Pending 
  1. On-CallFlood Facility and Stormwater Treatment System Repair Services Contract Pending 
  2. On-CallServices to Remove Abandoned Materials and Debris Contracts Pending 
  1. On-CallProject Management and Related Services for Projects Management Division III Federally Funded Projects Agreements Pending 
  1. On-Call Environmental Compliance Services Agreements Pending 
  1. On-Call Surveying and Related Services Agreement Pending 
  1. Hazard Avenue, et al. Project Construction Contract Pending 
  1. County Paratransit Program Funding for Fiscal Year 2023-24 Pending 
  1. On-CallPacoima Dam Aerial Tramway Annual Inspection and Repair Services Contract Pending 
  1. On-Call Ford Theatres Shuttle Services Contract
  1. Sale of Surplus Real Property in the City of Burbank 
  2. Annual Federal Equitable Sharing Agreement and Certification Report 
  1. Settlement of Samuel Bonner v. City of Long Beach, et al.
  1. Settlement of Rosa Carrillo Lomeli v. County of Los Angeles, et al.
  1. Settlement of Miao Chang Zheng v. County of Los Angeles, et al.
  1. Settlement of Oscar Ventura, et al. v. County of Los Angeles, et al.
  1. Settlement of  Rita Williams v. County of Los Angeles, et al.


(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.)