Sat, May



ERIC PREVEN’S NOTEBOOK - India’s government was accused of orchestrating the assassination of a political opponent on Canadian soil, leaving Mr. Biden caught between one of America’s oldest friends and the newer friend he has been cultivating.  Mr. Trudeau blamed “agents of the government of India” for the shooting and expelled an Indian diplomat described as the head of New Delhi’s intelligence agency in Canada. India has called Mr. Nijjar, who advocated the creation of a Sikh state out of Indian territory, a wanted terrorist, but has denied Mr. Trudeau’s accusation and expelled a Canadian diplomat in response.     

While addressing an event in Delhi, US Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti spoke up on the Nijjar row.  

Smart Speaker:  Hello, Sir, hope you are having fun!    We miss you.

A photo of Eric Garcetti with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in 2018.


Garcetti said that Canada is a dear friend and the United States deeply cares for Canada just as it cares for India. Speaking on India-US relations after Trudeau’s allegation Garcetti said, “These moments don`t define our relationship, but they certainly can slow down progress.”

Power up:

Southern California Edison, the largest subsidiary of Edison International, is the primary electric utility company for much of Southern California. It provides 15 million people with electricity across a service territory of approximately 50,000 square miles. So they are busy.

I'm a LADWP man. 

SoCal Edison has a call-in telephone line that restricts any access to a representative unless your situation can be described as an emergency.  Pffft.

The SCE lawyers and shareholders will remember that “Forest Service investigators determined that the Bobcat Fire ignited due to a tree in contact with power lines (conductors) owned and operated by SCE and maintained by SCE and UTS."

“The contact resulted in the ignition of vegetation on a branch, which fell to the ground and spread.”  The wildfire started on September 6, 2020, and ultimately destroyed 171 structures and 178 vehicles, damaged 47 structures, and resulted in the widespread evacuation of residences. Nearly three years later, more than 100 miles of trails and numerous campgrounds remain closed to the public. 

"If you are calling into SCE for an electrical hazard, power outages, and repairs, press one. Billings and extensions, 2, Power turned on or off, press 3."  

I had already called in a concern: that a senior citizen who lives upstairs in a duplex had seen her power bill surge by five times and was convinced that the neighbor who lives downstairs in the building had inadvertently or intentionally had a new air conditioner tied to the wrong meter. 

The way the resident discovered the discrepancy was through a friendly note from SoCal Edison suggesting that she was using five times the power of her neighbors. Julia Wick, the Pulitzer prize winner,  will recall that during the mayoral campaign, members of the community were seeking the water bills of the various mayoral candidates. 

The Water Insights report of a particularly efficient antagonist, proving that he was using less water than his most ‘efficient’ neighbors was memorable bordering on excessive.

I am here to tell you that I pushed the button for an electrical hazard and was able to get through, but I feel dirty.  I broke a rule and succeeded, and I am totally justified. Still...  

Coming Up: 

The Board congratulates County employees, including the numerous project managers and department heads, for their ongoing achievements in improving quality and productivity, generating savings, implementing and/or improving County services, and establishing beneficial collaborations between departments, the private sector, and the community-at-large. In addition, the 88 PQA projects submitted this year will provide annual estimated benefits to the County in excess of $3.5 billion dollars. Kudos. The annual party will be epic!

Supervisor Lindsey Horvath does her homework.


Smoke 'em if you got 'em:

Consider the fact that tobacco tax revenue intended to fund First Fives across California has been slumping.  Thanks in part to higher taxes, there will be far fewer smokers in 2023 — a public health success story.  But the downside is that there’s less money to distribute to programs for kids. First five…    

In that context, I spotted an item:  Transforming Pediatrics for Early Childhood Project Grant Award and Sole Source Contract.

Sole source is never good, but when competitive bidding takes place, if you saw Rebecca Ellis's excellent coverage in the Los Angeles Times, it's not necessarily a better deal. 

She uncovered and the county admitted they failed to spot, that some small mom and poppers were fudging their competition in bids for contracts. In short, they were competing against other small companies that they owned. Yuck, but clever.

On a matter coming before the Board of Supervisors next week,"Transforming Pediatrics for Early Childhood" there will very likely be no discussion.   

The Total Amount of the Federal Award including Approved Cost Sharing or Matching this Project Period $998,573.00...but if one digs in, that number is per year, for four years! Wow!

If you dig further the areas of activity for the award include: Facilitate the placement of Early Child Development experts into pediatric practices.



Where does the other Four hundred thousand a year go?  Dr. Ferrer?  I certainly hope not to the Public Health Department.  

To find what was really going on I had to go to Exhibit B  on page 116 - 122 of the attachment.  It’s very interesting. There you can find all of the substance and boatloads of bullshit. There is one section where I learned the plan: 

To improve equitable access to a continuum of Early Childhood Development (ECD) Family Partners (ECD-FPs) services in underserved communities by hiring, training, and placing five ECD-experts in five different pediatric sites across Los Angeles County and providing technical expertise to each clinic in workforce capacity and ECD services. 

Identify five pediatric practices and enter into business agreements, subject to prior review and approval by Public Health, with each pediatric practice for placement of ECD-FPs in each of the pre-identified (see Statement of Work for selection criteria) underserved communities:  Pomona  South LA  Pacoima/Sun Valley  Wilmington/Carson  Antelope Valley  

The Business Official on this one is Alexis Deavenport-Saman, DrPH, MPH is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at the Keck School of Medicine of USC

USC?  Children's Hospital?  (As in the Malibu Triathlon? )  Rufkm, I mean, "Great!"

As the Assistant Director of the University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, Deavenport-Saman works to promote the well-being of individuals with developmental disabilities through research and evaluation, community services, training, and technical assistance. She is also a Research Scientist who specializes in maternal and child health, public health sciences, and social and behavioral sciences.

Impressive.  I wonder if she knows where the other $400,000 goes. 

County Counsel:  Sir, you're time has expired. 

Smart Speaker:  You want me to lighten it up? OK, what about the on-call consulting agreements for various surveying etc.   Pestrella, is it awkward to see that N/A is making a strong comeback? 



Adjourn in the memory of Ralph Levinson, who had a great sense of humor and suffered from a serious mood disorder but lived a happy life and is survived by one of his two daughters, and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  

After losing his parents while in grade school, Ralph and his brother Max, worked at a gas station for a nice man who left the business and sold the station to the boys. They discovered that gas stations worked well near highway exits and expanded and partnered up with others including, Leon Hess, who would provide gasoline for their stations.   

Smart Speaker: Big Oil? 

City Attorney, Jonathan Groat:  I apologize it appears you are having technical difficulties, we are going to have to move on to the next speaker.  

Smart Speaker:  It’s Eric Preven I’d like to speak on the available items as well as a general public comment.   

City Attorney, Jonathan Groat: OK, so the items that are open for public comment are 31 -44 so you have three minutes for the items and one minute for public comment.  

Smart Speaker:  OK, thank you, on 44, I’d like to take just a minute to say hello, Mr. McCosker, it’s nice to meet you, sir, and "Hello, Newman” to Staffer B, I’ve met you once or twice, as you recall and I’ve admired your work.  Anyway, this is a great motion and I really appreciate it a lot.  Golf and Junior Golf are top priorities for Angelenos, but what is really tough is coming up with the funds to get it done.  Of course, finding the time and obviously the location. Transportation can be a challenge, it’s not easy…  especially while lugging the clubs. 

This motion by these two great Americans is to look at what’s going on in the community among the youth in the high schools and how they can access these golf courses. And how much they’re paying to play …  It’s McCosker’s pay-to-play motion.  Jk srsly.  

Now, in our neighborhood in Studio City, I have a great idea — you know, thanks to Paul Krekorian, who stuffed his pockets with Harvard Westlake Trustee donations, a deal was brokered to have our local green space and golf and tennis handed over to a very well-heeled private school. — 

City Attorney, Jonathan Groat: I’m sorry Mr. Preven are you still there? 

Smart Speaker:  Oh my frickin’ god, I’d like my time back. I was explaining that this golf item is great, but Mr. Krekorian, when he was running this part of town, which is now CD4, made a dirty deal after taking tons of contributions from the Trustees of Harvard Westlake.   Now they’re trying to land the dirty plan to put up an 80,000 square-foot airplane hangar-sized gymnasium, to train high school athletes for the Ivy League and the NFL - Both! Not the Pac 12. The school also wants a 2nd pool, but they already have an Olympic-sized swimming pool, that Karo Torossian, very much wanted to take a dip in, and did.  We have not yet asked Nithya Raman if she likes to swim in Harvard-Westlake’s pool, but she’s very likely to welcome over there.  The problem is they are getting a tremendous fight from the people of Studio City — And Ms. Raman, bless her heart, has been handed this stinking bag of — by the way, the composting practices among council members that someone brought up is worthy of some investigation.  And yes, we all try to compost appropriately.  If the smell-to-high-heaven test is a factor, yes, city council is composting aggressively across all districts. 

So, let’s review the to-do list on this golf and tennis thing. They want a variance.  The County of Los Angeles doesn’t give variances. Why should the city?  They want a zone change, but we don’t have to give it to them.  Councilmember Raman has been made to feel like there is nothing that would enable her to deny the big funding powerhouse, because she asked them to make a few tweaks, like she forbids them from “Taking all the big old trees, just take most of them.”  That is not a calculation for Raman to make.  

This is a neighborhood.  We have been there for a long time. We are the indigenous people.  

At the county, they have a land acknowledgment, and I realize Mr. Bertoni is busy wheeling and dealing before being relieved of his duties, but we really do need some leadership down here.  Council member Raman, you are a great leader. I’ve always felt that way.  Progressive — even though McCosker and Lee are terrific in their space,  I don’t want to alienate the conservative lobbyists while I’m kissing up to the impressionable progressives.  

The whole city council is terrific — where the hell is Katy Yaroslavsky?  She has done such a great job fighting for her billionaires on the other side of the hill, who is going to stick up for the local golf and tennis of the pathetic little millionaires in Studio City?   

Groat, will you finally step forward and do something for the people?  No. Would Krekorian?  Did I just get cut off?  

City Attorney, Jonathan Groat:  Mr. Preven your time has expired. 

County Clouds In Your Coffee:

Sup. Janice Hahn, Chair: Okay. Moderator, may we have the first remote speaker, please?  

Moderator: Our first participant is Eric Preven. You may begin.  

Smart Speaker: Thank you. Good morning. This is a finding move there are no not-for-profit operators who can help move around some of the elderly folks and also those with disabilities. So here I think we are finding a way to hire somebody who is a for-profit, that's what I think. A little bit murky but it is so nice to see public works and Mr. Mark Pestrella, who has been running a smooth operation for ten years, since Gail Farber stepped aside.   We are looking forward to his stepping forward about the LA County flood district, in Studio City.  We hope.   

But truthfully, we are getting very, very worried that these comments are falling on deaf ears.  Every meeting of this body starts with a powerful land acknowledgment, it is so beautiful. And it worries me that our current indigenous people are being disrespected even as we go forward,  despite the apologetic tone.  

Sup. Janice Hahn, Chair: You know, I love you, Eric, but you are off-topic. 

Sup. Janice Hahn, Chair: Next speaker, please.  

Moderator: our next participant is Eric Preven.  Smart Speaker: Thank you, board of supervisors and I'd like to thank Supervisor Horvath for asking the very good question, is it standard that the applicants would pay for their own architectural study? Well, that's a great question, because you get what you pay for. Is kind of what many of us out in the real world think about.   Well, that works because the prior administration led by others didn't want to pay for anything themselves.  Unless they dent the budget.   

So Jack up the price on the applicants all over the place. But here, I think it is important to bring up the conflict. It is a little bit conflicting but we accept it.  People pay for their own EIRs which is very unfortunate. But notice, Amy Bodeck, thank you, Amy, for all your service, imagine if she had worked for or gone to school at the property under consideration.   That's what has been happening with her and another commissioner, Caroline Choe, who is also a graduate of the school seeking a zone change.  Both of them were put on the planning commission by Eric Garcetti, a Harvard-Westlake graduate himself.  Will anybody stand up to these billionaires up on the hill?  

Sup. Janice Hahn, chair: Thank you. Thank you. Your time is up. Next speaker,

Moderator: Our next participant is Eric Preven. You may begin.  

Smart Speaker: Thank you. This is a general public comment is that right?  

Sup. Lindsey P. Horvath: Yes.  

Smart Speaker: Yes. Okay. Good. So then, thank you. My general public comment is-- I just want to applaud the board for leaning in and listening and trying to be respectful of the community.  I love that we're starting these meetings with the land acknowledgment which is a wide net that explains how it is important to remember what we're doing and what we have done in the past.  

And as we look forward along the LA County Flood District - Mr. Pestrella -  we have questions about whether or not we should be disrupting a neighborhood -- the reason is simple, it's very, very simple, money.   Big Money.   

But it's not really money that would allow a $42 million investment by a billionaire to turn into a $100 million project that puts a large gymnasium in our quiet, peaceful place with little creatures and birds and neighbors walking around and playing golf a little and tennis and enjoying the space as it is.  We are not looking forward to bulldozers --  

Sup. Lindsey P. Horvath: Thank you, your time has expired. Next speaker, please.

Smart Speaker:  I think that we made a teeny bit of progress by having these meetings and the public hearings where there are some issues that are worked out on Tuesday. But I do still think it's best practice to meet every Tuesday, and you know, take public comments every Tuesday because you learn a lot.  

You learn a lot about the green zone. You learn a lot about the blue zone, and you learn a lot about the red zone in Studio City, where Harvard-Westlake is planning to — 

Sup. Janice Hahn, Chair: I saw you trying to transition.

Smart Speaker:  Yes, is that okay?



(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.)