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ERIC PREVEN'S NOTEBOOK

ERIC PREVEN’S NOTEBOOK - All Angelenos are excited to call out a crooked mayor or dirty Land Use Chair, but not if it might jeopardize, a mighty Transit Occupancy Tax break or scupper a handsome development project.  Angelenos are willing to call out a "wrongdoing" here, and a "misconduct" there, but its important to stay clear of the actual seat of power, lest it threaten one's 2028 Olympics package. 

Mark Ridley-Thomas has filed an ethics complaint over the use of a city seal in a “Let MRT fry” message sent out by his longtime nemesis, the former Police Chief Bernard Parks.  David Tristan and Heather Holt of LA City Ethics will know what to do with that one, presumably. Very little if anything. 

Ethics is so important and to perform the work necessary to uphold the promise, a special kind of restraint is needed to know where one should recuse and where one should run to the federal authorities and say, “I don't want to do this...”  Obviously, from time to time, but infrequently, the longtime complicitors turn in their bosses and we move on to sentencing. 

President Samantha Millman of the City Planning Commission is above the fray.  She has an impeccable pedigree.  After attending Harvard-Westlake, a school that was run for years by Thomas Hudnut, who served on both the Beverly Hills and the South Valley Area Planning Commission, Samantha Millman and Caroline Choe, the President  and Vice President of the City’s Planning Commission disclosed on Thursday that they were alums of Harvard-Westlake.

There was an audible groan in the room full of residents likely to be impacted by their proposed giant toxic athletic complex. 

Despite calls for them to recuse themselves from voting, both said at the start of the meeting that they could render an impartial decision based on the merits of the application. 

A reasonable apprehension of bias happens when an informed person, viewing the circumstances realistically and practically, concludes that a decision-maker may not be impartial or fair.  

If a reasonable person, knowing all the facts would have doubts about a trier of fact's ability to be impartial in the case. Well, then a recusal may be in order. 

A recusal is appropriate when a conflict of interest exists between an employee's job duties and financial interests (including interests in future employment) or certain business or personal relationships or outside activities. 

Caroline Choe is a founding board member of the Harvard-Westlake Korean-American Alumni Network 

Mad Libs:

Today I met Nithya Raman the Queen of Studio City during a quick trip to Weddington. I had left the house because I really needed to pick up a dozen tamales in order to feed my family. I wasn't planning on meeting her or I probably wouldn't have worn my sweatpants and a t-shirt. I know most people would have bowed, but I forgot and decided to blast her over her lame-ass response to Harvard Westlake's intolerable attempt to bulldoze our trees and commandeer our open space.  I told her, Your Majesty, we have a serious problem with these fancy bastards from the westside who are light on morals, heavy on resources.  She smiled politely and then said, 'We can because we think we can."

Today, an Ethics Commissioner named Rick ComeOn came to our school to talk to us about his job. He said the most important skill you need to know to do your job is to be able to pretend everything is normal as you go around doing devious things.  He said it was easy for him to learn the job because he loved to scheme and strategize when he was a boy--and that helps a lot!  If you're considering becoming a rapacious investor or craven politician, I hope you can gain experience with a seasoned crook in your chosen field of concentration. Someone who knows the ins and outs of how to properly mislead people. That's very important! If you get too distracted you won't be able to perfectly capture what it means to be an effective con man! 

Today I went to my favorite Taco Stand called the Sneaky Wolverine. Unlike most food stands, they cook and prepare the food in a Net Zero Pizza oven and High School regulation Basketball Court.  The best thing on the menu is the plato de mentiras. Instead of honest open dealing they fill the taco with various prevarications and cheese, and top it off with a salsa made from stem cells intended to increase productivity on and off the field.  If that doesn't make your mouth water like Ambassador Eric Garcetti always says: We can because we think we can!

"If I get elected, I will dismantle this stupid planning commission so none of us will have to sit through one of these stupid public hearings again."  [APPLAUSE] .  

 

Maybe it's time to give a little something back

 

 

Superiority: 

"A superior capacity to understand new concepts and technologies and apply them correctly and efficiently."   That’s how Jamie York described herself. 

But what Krekorian said, was York’s past professional work raising political contributions for candidates, including former Mayor Eric Garcetti was troubling. Pffffft.  

He also questioned whether York, a vocal proponent of stronger ethics laws, would show a willingness to consider opinions that differ from her own “without devolving into invective.” PFT.  

Raising money for Garcetti…no further questions your honor.  

York replied, “The system that was used to block my nomination is the shadow lobbying system.” 

Jamie's article.  ANYONE who opposes such transparency has to be guilty of some involvement in the corruption that has wracked this City for generations

National High School Journalism 

Teacher of the Year 

Studio City is offering a very nice prize to a local private school newspaper, The Chronicle perhaps, for reporting openly and honestly about the Harvard-Westlake River Park Plan (“There’s no river, there’s no park!).

It’s interesting, who is elevated to the status of visionary or inspirational leader in one's own life. Certainly, in my humble existence, the high school English teacher, Dr. Michael Digenaro, eased me onto a road I treasured throughout my life,  American Fiction. 

The books and stories that we started reading in that 10th grade class were mesmerizing, enthralling…  Walt Whitman, Edith Wharton, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and William Faulkner… 

I became obsessed with the lost generation and would hole up in the library and read about Paris in the twenties and the bohemian lifestyle. 

This was off-season from being captain of the High School swim team.  At this point, I was trying to accomplish great things but sometimes the humanity would occasionally collide with the high school swim team schedule.

In one instance, Mamaroneck High, my alma mater, was facing Pelham High School.  In swimming and diving, Mamaroneck routinely crushed Pelham.  It was not personal but, we had a stronger program and two rather noisy coaches who delivered a series of winners.  I was recruited in 7th grade to the high school team.   Our diving program under the leadership of a man named, Ford Winters, produced several state champions. Our swimmers were dominant and obnoxious. 

One weekend, during my captainship, I’d set up a plan to go up with other students to the science teacher’s ski hut near Gore Mountain in the Adirondacks. This would be a good opportunity to smoke weed and ski with my friends. The only thing standing in my way was a swim meet on Friday against the dreary and poorly organized, Pelham.  

I popped by the coach's office, and as the captain, said, “Coach, I’m not going to be able to make Friday as I have a travel commitment. Feel free to give that idiot, Pisani the keys to the castle for a day.” 

The Coach was not amused. He said, regardless of whether or not we were going to capsize Pelham as we always did in the meet on Friday, I needed to be there because I was, after all, the Captain. 

I winced. “Right. But coaches and captains are people, too. If it were a close fight, like against New Rochelle, I would not miss it, but we are going to systematically destroy Pelham. They have zero depth.” 

Out Of The Box: Harvard Westlake Athletic Plume

If a plume spreads in a valley… and Blumenfield isn’t properly alerted, is there any danger, and is the cleanup eligible for FEMA reimbursement? 

Last year, officials at the water board told the Daily News about its discovery of a plume of contaminated groundwater that had spread nearly half a mile north and east of the former Rocketdyne property.

The plume of contaminated groundwater had spread beneath a Canoga Park neighborhood near Vanowen Street and Milwood Avenue and inched to within 500 feet of the Los Angeles River, water quality control board officials told the Daily News in 2022.

The plume carried dangerous chemicals including tetrachloroethene, or TCE; total petroleum hydrocarbons; and trichloroethylene, or PCE. 

The impacted groundwater hasn’t been used for drinking water, according to board officials. Phew.

Jake Flynn, a spokesman for L.A. City Councilmember Bob Blumenfield, who represents Warner Center, said his office didn’t know why Triple Five Group decided to scuttle its deal with Raytheon Technologies.

“Nothing had been submitted to the city for review, so our office wasn’t privy to that information,” he wrote in an email.

The public certainly appreciates Blumenfield’s honesty, if the City Attorney will sign off on that. 

Nancy Hoffman Vanyek, CEO of the Greater San Fernando Valley Chamber of Commerce, said “It’s a major development opportunity, and with Stan Kroenke, the Rams and a multi-million dollar investment right across the street, it drives a lot of interest in the site.”

Stuart Waldman, you should build on this plume!  By the time the red tape is cut, Khalatian will mitigate the impact to next to nothing.   Go Wolverines! 

Escheatment:

Danny Bakewell, who charges municipalities hundreds of thousands to advertise on the city streets during TASTE OF SOUL honored in Council Chambers. 

The agenda had another Unclaimed Monies Seized Incidental to Arrest Trust Fund, item. This relates to money that has remained unclaimed for three years and is therefore eligible for transfer by the notification requirements of the City of Los Angeles Administrative Code Section 5.1112 and current state law.

All states require financial institutions, including brokerage firms and transfer agents, to report when personal property has been abandoned or unclaimed.  Honestly, how hard do they try to give people their money back?

Publications of notices of escheatment notices of escheatment must be placed in all newspapers indicated below. 

  1. LA INDEPENDENT 
  2. LA SENTINEL 
  3. TRIBUNE NEWS WAVE 
  4. BELVEDERE CITIZEN 
  5. SOUTHWEST WAVE 
  6. DAILY NEWS 
  7. DAILY JOURNAL 
  8. LOS ANGELES TIMES 
  9. LA OPINION

 

Each notice must be published twice, at least 1-week apart. Cha-ching!  When I last looked, the Los Angeles Times was taking in something like a quarter million dollars a year in these types of legally required but ineffective ads. 

And several of those newspapers are linked to Danny Bakewell and LA Sentinel. I wonder if the editors at any of the publications listed above would consider writing a story about what outreach efforts the LAPD uses to connect to the folks whose property they seized, and subsequently became unclaimed monies, it's fair for the taking!   He also collects ads posting rewards for information about suspects of crimes. 

If the management of the local news-gathering organizations is not comfortable reporting on the outdated and shameful process of fleecing residents of their resources, following encounters with law enforcement here, why?

It's true the reduction in the constant drumbeat of fine print newspaper advertisements would have a small impact on the bottom line, but isn't the newspaper looking for low-hanging fruit targets to unleash justice for Angelenos? 

The billionaire Charles Munger owns the moneymaking "Daily Journal" and Billionaire, Patrick Soon-Shiong, owns the moneymaking "LA Times."

Claims for the return of these monies held must be filed with the City of Los Angeles Office of the City Clerk, Room 395 City Hall, 200, North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012 by a certain date. 

Shortly thereafter, the aforesaid monies will become the property of the City of Los Angeles per, Diana Mangioglu Director of Finance / City Treasurer. 

         

On Dec 16, 2015 $961,827.56.         

On May 20, 2016 $544,821.93

On July 29, 2016  $245,266.79

On October 27, 2016 $280,305.53.      2016 Total  $2.1M

 

On February 10, 2017 $208,873.35

On April 20, 2017,  $208,681.26

On August 1, 2017 $280,544.25

On October 16, 2017. $317,817.21     2017 Total.   $1M

 

On January 25, 2018, $270,509.35

On May 1, 2018 $298,317.08

On July 23, 2018  $343,631.66

On October 18, 2018 $396,233.35.     2018 Total.  $1.3M

 

On January 15, 2019. $318,009.02

On April 10, 2019 $389,990.93

On July 9, 2019,  $419,077.07 

On October 11, 2019, $414,715.57       2019 Total. $1.5M

 

Diana Mangioglu, the wife of Adrin Nazarian, takes over as City Treasurer.

 

On January 15, 2020. $505,217.58

On April 9, 2020  $457,540.03

On July 17, 2020  $574,635.17

On October 20, 2020, $469,799.28      2020 Total.   $2M

 

On January 29, 2021 $412,863.01

On April 15, 2021,  $585,139.21

On July 20, 2021 $602,536.67

On October 22, 2021 $546,628.83.     2021 Total.    $2.1M

 

Disclosure:  I cough up $27.99 / month for an LA Times digital subscription.

 

(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.)