ERIC PREVEN’S NOTEBOOK - The City Council meetings have always been exclusionary, byzantine, and imperfect. When Bob Blumenfield dropped the term “Los Angelestan” in front of two dozen Sikhs seated in the front row of the city council on Wednesday, folks wondered, were the city’s writers also on strike?
One very prolific writer on CityWatch inadvertently referred to me as “CityWatch personnel” the other day.
Though, I am certainly proud of what CityWatch is and a regular contributor, I am not exactly on the payroll so not really a part of a coordinated workforce, like over at Knock. LA.
At Knock, the work is coordinated in the service of one progressive group’s ideology. CityWatch has many views represented by a myriad of unaffiliated writers.
Apparently, one very forceful advocate views the world as being comprised of CW people and… non-CW people. Huh?
In my writing, I am the one who currently decides what I am going write about — start jokes about how Eric Preven’s Notebook is too fucking long and confusing. It is my understanding and belief that other CityWatch writers decide what they are going to write about, as well.
One can easily disagree with another writer’s characterization of something and often people engage and participate in those disagreements.
We all collectively retain our first amendment rights to love our own perspectives and vigorously dislike those of our colleagues and frenemies.
Similarly, Jim Hampton, the editor who took over for Ken Draper, does not have the time nor inclination to bicker with all of his many writers about every little thing. Why bother?
Facts do matter, but even big corporations cannot easily be the arbiters of what is accurate. Many of us, self-police.
Exciting four shot!
Ken Draper was a national treasure and in my experience, Jim has also been a very good steward and hard worker since he took the baton from Ken.
In September of 2021, Ken and I had a little "pulldown dilemma,” and disagreement over what to do about a complaint over something I had written.
We managed to work out a good solution, so I thought I’d share.
Spoiler: Write your way out of conflict!
In a nutshell, a subject that I had written about pissed off an influential woman who had an in-house lawyer. Meridith Baer, the home staging whale — owner of one of the largest home staging companies in America — thought it was a good idea to have her lawyer try to bully a vocal critic and writer about her policies.
Ken forwarded me her lawyer's letter after he’d pulled the offending article because Baer’s lawyer felt it was defamatory to her client.
Of course, it was not defamatory at all and I was entirely outraged and forced Ken to watch a two-hour Master Class with Media Law Resource Center recorded on Friday, August 6, 2021.
That talk can be viewed here and features the former lawyer (and windbag) from the New York Times commenting on libel, slander, and defamation. I recommend it.
The case related to CityWatch appeared to be opened and shut, Ken et al. were totally protected from any attack over opinions launched by writers on the online website thanks to Section 230.
I told Ken that I would not be further reprimanded by a home stager, even one with a national footprint.
Ken noted that he was not in the mood for a dumb legal fight or a costly first amendment litigation.
I agreed and argued that the future of CityWatch would be in jeopardy if people felt that they could call up Ken (or Jim) and have them pull down a column as easily as, "Get rid of that ugly sofa!”
Ken urged me not to obsess about the article that had been removed under the specious threat of litigation and authorized me to write a fresh piece, addressing the specific allegations of the complainer... and her lawyer.
In sum, “he was not further reprimanded.”
LA County Board of Supervisors - August 1, 2023:
Sup. Janice Hahn, chair: Mr. Moderator, may we have the first remote speaker?
Moderator: Our first speaker is Eric Preven.
Smart Speaker: Thank you, good morning, I am a Studio City Resident for a long time and I’m reaching out to Supervisor Horvath and the rest of the board - I saw you flew in a county helicopter with County Fire… or looked at one, at least. I suggest that you fly over and take a look from above at the green space at Whitsett and Ventura Blvd it’s called the Weddington Golf and Tennis…
It’s being encroached upon by an elite private school and the big-money Pritzkers who do a great job of giving away a lot of money, you could see my recent article, but we really can’t handle this type of initiative right now. And the county land that’s being kind of folded into it..; we need to request that Madame Chair and the board stick it to the man! We cannot have Anthony Pritzker setting the tone for the County flood control district in Studio City. He’s a westside guy, the guy who built a 49,300 square foot Manson — he built the Pritzker estate for himself and his family — He should not be making decisions about the giant airplane hangar-sized thing in our community’s last remaining green open space; the trees and the tree canopy are the lungs of our neighborhood. We thank you for all of your service.
Sup. Janice Hahn, chair: Thank you.
Smart Speaker: And a willingness to get in there to support the people!
Sup. Janice Hahn, chair: Thank you. Mr. Preven
Read this article for a list of Trustees amassed to attempt to crush Studio City.
LA County Board of Supervisors - August 8, 2023:
Thank you and I’d like to thank the chair as well for, I saw there was one more Pride parade and the two of you were in an open car together, it looked very very nice.
I just want to touch base on what happened in 2012 and 2014…this was related to the last assessor before our hero Prang showed up.
John Noguez was wheeling and dealing with and influencing appraisals. I think the technology has contributed a lot to mitigate that, but we still have to apply very thorough scrutiny … this is a dirty, dirty, dirty cesspool where very very powerful people can flick a little number revision this way or that and they enjoy enormous tax breaks. We see these enormous numbers that Prang talked about and some of the county’s largest property owners live in Supervisor Horvath’s district. So, it’s very tempting to sidle up to all the many big-money players at Harvard Westlake, but we have to keep it honest and legitimate, and real because the county has many needs, not just enriching the private school trustees. We cannot be reducing the taxes disproportionately, for the richest people in our midst. But thank you for your leadership.
Sup. Janice Hahn, chair: Thank you, we depend on you to keep us honest and real, Mr. Preven. Next speaker, please.
Moderator: Madame chair, there are no additional speakers.
For the love of wood: Wax!
May 29th 1925
Miss Aline Barnsdall
Dear Miss Barnsdall:
I am sorry that the question of finishing the oak should cause you so much distress... with its soft purplish Tones is in the best condition when it has been allowed to keep its natural color. An application of beeswax will serve to preserve this natural richness and protect the surface against stains. Any application of oil, shellac, or varnish not only changes the color towards a rather coarse tan (see the usual cheap office furniture) but covers the surface with an artificial film, preventing the wood from aging naturally and rightly.
Shellac and varnish are used only for cheap apartment house finishing, where it is necessary to achieve a finished effect quickly. It is essential. to the wax finish that the application of wax be repeated several times during the first few months until the wood is thoroughly impregnated.
Nobody who loves wood for its quality would be willing to apply anything else. None of the good old furniture was treated in any other way than with Wax. I never specify any other treatment for hardwood and I appeal to you not to damage irreparably either the wainscotting or your floors with any kind of oil, shellac, or varnish.
Rudolph Michael Schindler
(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.)