Fri, Jun

The Great Wave



Smart Speaker: The item about the missing and murdered indigenous women. The heart goes out to that population of indigenous women who have been abducted and their families. I know that Council member Monica Rodriguez is having a gathering. Thank you. 

Heritage Month is significant and Native American Two Spirits, I was looking it up ...  it's interesting it came up later, ie. more recently, and refers to folks of varying genders... who should feel included.  That's good. 

There is a guy named Rudy Ortega, a longtime native American advocate who has been working with the county and city commissions… yet as I was flipping through the horrifying list of Harvard Westlake Tailgaters who come out to praise a private athletic complex, and will do so again, presumably on November 7 at the Plum hearing, I had to shake my head.  

Teri Kaufman Macias, the planning expert is retiring from the City Attorney's Office.

This is a billionaire incursion into a local community and yet in the midst of it is Rudy Ortega giving a thumbs up. Using his good name to endorse Harvard Westlake's bad project. Shocking.   

This feels really bad, to see this... where is Nithya Raman?  I feel she got set up by Krekorian on this one.  And to give any kind of support for this… incursion.  Wow, I really feel she got set up.   

Not that you're not an intelligent person, council member Raman, yet there is absolutely no justification for building a ramp down from the rich people — not really in our district — to their private complex.

City Attorney, Jonathan Groat:  Mr. Preven, I can't tell which item you are speaking on. Please speak to the items or I am going to politely ask you to move to general public comment.   

Smart Speaker:  Hold on hold on. Please,  listen carefully, Groat. You're a smart guy with a very deep voice.  Nobody is going to throw you out.  But please keep your deep voice down while other people are speaking. It's not about your understanding. I'm talking about Raman right now and the Billionaires from Harvard Westlake. 

City Attorney, Jonathan Groat:  So again, Mr. Preven this is your last warning.  I need you to bring it back to the items or I am going to move you to general public comment. 

Smart Speaker: Alright, we can talk about the San Vicente median landscaping and irrigation. We ought to thank Traci Park and the State Parks and Recreation group for popping $1.2M right into the rich part of town for some stately upgrades.  

A little manscaping near Schwarzenegger's house and I like the way Park does not hesitate in Washington or anywhere to get out and shake her money maker for federal dollars and ultimately… her constituents.   

City Attorney, Jonathan Groat:  Mr. Preven, you are now in General public comment.   

Smart Speaker:  Sure, the general public comment, will connect to what I said earlier. There are some fronts that must be defended no matter what. Hugo Soto Martinez is standing with Labor. That's where he comes from.   

Where do you come from? That's an existential question, Groat.  You don't need to answer now.  I come from Studio City.  The indigenous people who live and work and play golf in Studio City -- are often painted as NIMBYS -- but it's way more existential than that.

Just because Munger and Pritzker made a killing over a number of years,  doesn't mean the lines of our backyard should be scrambled.  The current Harvard Westlake RiverPlan plan underfoot is horrible and Edgar Khalatian and his prevarication team over at the private enclave (and City Planning) want the narrative to be, “face east or we'lll back out and you will wind up with affordable housing."  

Now, it’s true, over the years there have been large pockets of resistance, but not now that the deep pockets have shown up. 

Currently, 85% of people hate their jobs and according to my calculations, 85% of people in town will support a women's family center with 200 lower-income single parents and their children. . 

A plan for such a place arose in a part of Manhattan, that caused massive resistance.  Once it was done, there were no problems. Those who opposed it, were converted to believers.

Do not be confused, the 500 units of luxury housing at Sportsmen's is a violation of everything,  but 200 units of single-parent affordable family housing? 


Harvard Westlake wants the mayor to sign off.

But if she is smart, she will kill the plan for a Greedy Athletic complex in Studio City to the exclusion of all but a few neighbors, despite being told it’ all for us. 

It's not that we don't appreciate the opportunity to stroll around the wall of our captors, it's just the optics all around...

Weddington will soon be known as Fort "Forget About It" in the battle for the right to life, liberty and golf and tennis. 

There are many options and opportunities. 

Injustice, Lack of Care, Dead Endings:

As I was listening to the epic LAHSA commission the other day, I drove by a sign for the  Justice Care and Opportunities Center out in Las Virgenes. 

I believe it is a youth probation facility.  

It occurred to me, depending upon who you talk to, the sign should read "Injustice, Lack of Care, and Dead Ends" center.  

And, listen I attended the LAHSA commission meeting with the new starting lineup of brand new commissioners.  Including, Dr. Melissa Chinchilla.  Everyone is looking forward to hearing Kevin De Leon pronounce her name with an uncommon vigor: Meh-leeza Cheen-chee-ya

And the Player/Managers who have appointed or got themselves appointed to serve themselves -- Lindsey Horvath, Chair, Mayor Karen Bass and BREAKING  Kathryn Barger,  also now serving on the critical oversight body.

Smart Speaker:   Errr, is that ... won't they have to recuse themselves? Aren’t the city and county engaged in Judge Carter style legal battling with one another and Skip…  Independent Oversight is what the public imagines, what we appear to have here is… Individual Oversight. 

Are they grading their own work?   Yes. 

The meeting, which I’d signed up to attend, was filmed in an interesting manner - poorly. 


From L-R Commissioners:  Unclear 1, Chair Lindsey Horvath, Unclear 2,  Mayor Karen Bass, Kathryn Barger.

At County Board meetings the Supervisors typically glow in a sea-green, light-blue angelic light.  At the LAHSA Commission meeting, I tuned in for, you feel like you’ve gone into a basement to use the creepy restroom behind a greasy kitchen. Everyone was out of focus.

Their slide show reviewing countless slices of their many efforts currently underway was unfortunately mind-numbing.  

All the same clunkers arose for brief discussion and shrugging, CES (everyone agrees its nobody’s fault), Safe Parking (overcomplicated / Do No Harm), and a merry go round of structural problems. 

Kevin De Leon used to say... "we don't need any more studies, we need housing."   


Still, I felt appreciative that the big wigs were rolling up their sleeves, so I opted to mostly say nice things... I tried. Kudos for trying. 

The way forward is to aggressively dismantle the current homeless industrial complex. The failed systems -- this should not be hard as we have nothing but unfilled positions. Instead, we need to build… 

Why not start next door to Katy Yaroslavsky’s house?

JK, but we could use her support in Studio City. 

As I grew irritated at all the digging in, that seemed like obfuscation, pure and simple, I thought of the famous Friedrich Nietzche line, “If you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”  

I’ll translate for Groat since he looks confused.  It’s a caution for our top leaders, who are gazing right into the eye of the LAHSA monster… Be careful as "You are what you eat.” 

City Attorney, Jonathan Groat:  I am not confused, Mr. Preven.

Smart Speaker:  Fine, hold the line on Wall Street’s incursion onto Main Street on November 7th.  Let’s put up a nice safe family place for single parents with children.

Next Speaker...


Trust is the most essential technology of all and the Silicon Valley blowhards are increasingly less convincing that Technology is going to save the world.  

About AI, Mark Andreesen, who the New York Times tagged as Silicon Valley's chief ideologist with some strange ideas, said, "We are not primitives, cowering in fear of the lightning bolt, we are the apex predator; the lightning works for us.” 

What?  We are artists who depict the lightning bolt, you blowhard apex predator. “You’re canceled.  No takebacks.”

I was struck by an image on a high-end Doormailer from the great Japanese artist, Hokusai, who is having a show courtesy of the British Museum and the Bowers Museum OCTOBER 21, 2023 - JANUARY 7, 2024.  The Bowers is located at the corner of 20th & Main Streets in Santa Ana - one minute from the 5 freeway, (Main St. South exit) and just minutes from the 57, 55, and 22 freeways.

Under the Wave off Kanagawa ('The Great Wave'), from Thirty-six Views of Mt Fuji, late 1831. Color woodblock print. Japan.

Doormailers are expensive but intended to target voters or potential exhibit attendees right where they live --  at the front door.  A high concentration of ads can work well at influencing recipients.  But remember, even several forests of Rick Caruso's diligent efforts were not enough to stop the mighty Mayor Karen Bass, who is now also a LAHSA Commissioner.  

The mailer about the Hokusai show sparked a minor debate among my family of origin as to where the old prints that mom and dad shlepped back in Japan way back when might be located.  

And, parenthetically, if Hokusai, who was a bit of a nut, really did 30,000 works of genius, could the two we've managed to misplace, possibly be Hokusai? Dammit, I love mysteries. 

It was in 1801 that Hokusai began signing images with the phrase Gakyojin Hokusai ga, which has been translated as "painted by the madman of painting, Hokusai." 

Hokusai was known for his eccentricity in everyday life.  Apparently, he moved residences frequently. It is said he moved ninety-three times due to a hatred of cleaning, preferring to find new lodgings when his home became unbearable. 

Smart Speaker:  Sounds a bit ... vagabond, vagrant... was Hokusai homeless?

"Sit down, Mr. Preven"

Hokusai's messiness was not restricted to interior spaces; each morning he drew a Chinese dragon and threw it out a window for good luck.  

Smart Speaker:  This is littering in Japan.  Was he a madman?

"Sit down, Please."

Hokusai was also known for his liveliness. In the early nineteenth century, I read, he was quite a performative artist and gave forceful public comments

In 1804, at a festival in Edo, he produced a portrait of a Buddhist monk, 180 meters long, with the help of students, using a broom in place of a paintbrush. 

Smart Speaker:  Clever, to get students to do free labor, like Paul Krekorian and Staff B John Lee and Nithya... all y'all.

"Get him out."

Hokusai firmly believed that he would improve as an artist as he grew older and posthumous critics have agreed that this was the case.  

In 1810, at the age of fifty, Hokusai was struck by lightning, an event that has come to be seen as a turning point in his life; had he died when struck, his legacy would be very different from what it is today.  

In the following decade, Hokusai began to produce his most ambitious work and became phenomenally successful. He published a highly erotic image that has since been subject to attention stemming from both disgust and appreciation. 

"You're disrupting the meeting."

He published two additional drawing manuals, entitled Transmitting the Essence and Enlightening the Hand: Random Drawings by Hokusai, also known as Hokusai Manga.  The fifteen volumes of his work across his life and posthumously, have had an ongoing impact on manga and anime. 

Despite professional success, Hokusai's personal life continued to be tumultuous. One of his daughters died in 1821 and his second wife died in 1828, after which his youngest daughter, Oi, left her husband to return to Hokusai's home. 

In 1839, a fire in his studio destroyed much of Hokusai's work and his grandson began to gamble and misbehave, exhausting the family's resources. Hokusai and his daughter, Oi, were forced to leave home and live in a temple. 

Oi Vey. 

Hokusai died at the age of ninety in 1849, having created around 30,000 print designs across a lifetime. His last words, reportedly, were a wish for more time: "If heaven would give me just five more years, I might become a true painter." 


(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.)