ERIC PREVEN’S NOTEBOOK - The Lindsey P. Horvath coronation on Tuesday was lovely.
All the haters who were hoping for a Tracy Flick flash-forward fiasco were disappointed. .
Sup. Kathryn Barger: And now it is my privilege to introduce you to two beautiful little terriers. Pollo is a four-month-old and Stella is a 5-month-old terrier. They're both available at the Downey Shelter. Call (562) 940-6898
Sup. Janice Hahn: Thank you, madam chair. Next Thursday, December 14th, we will be laying to rest the 1,937 unclaimed dead who passed away in Los Angeles County in 2020 and whose remains were never claimed by family members or a loved one. This annual ceremony is part of a commitment that the county has upheld since 1896.
Some commitments the county has made over the years are certainly worth keeping, others not so much..
For instance, could the county agree to ease back on the thank you to one another, just a smidge? There were 425 county "thank yous" expended during the most recent county board meeting if you believe the board transcript.
We don’t want to ease off the spirit of gratitude which is pervasive, just the endless cooing about one another’s legacies.
Why not polish up the legacies in the back room while fixing the county up out front?
No, inside safe
Sup. Lindsey Horvath, Chair: I wanted to say thank you, madam chair, but I know that we're transitioning today and I'm incredibly grateful for the example you have set this past year as our outgoing chair…
Then, the newly crowned Queen administered a two-page customized lather up of former Queen Janice Hahn, followed by a five-page tribute delivered by Hilda Solis that resulted in the snarky comment from Holly J. Mitchell, “so what she said. All right, Supervisor Solis, save a little for the rest of us. Supervisor Solis was on a roll.”
She was. Still, Mitchell delivered two pages, then four and a half pages from Kathryn Barger, culminating in three very good pages from outgoing Janice Hahn. By culminating, of course, I mean warming up.
Next was a half-page of rules and warnings from Zavala, followed by three pages from the public.
Smart Speaker: Only three pages from the public?
Correct, then to conclude, a five-page acceptance speech that was capably delivered by Mayor* Lindsey Horvath.
No word if Horvath will adopt the past practice of Mayor Michael Antonovich, Barger’s animal control guru who noted that when one is chair of the Board of Supervisors they are the Mayor* of LA County. As Mike would probably say from time to time “Suck it, Villaraigosa, or less plausible but perfectly legal, Horvath could say “Suck it Bass!”
County Counsel: Sir
Smart Speaker: I agree. Withdrawn.
I was disturbed to see retroactively, that item seven on Tuesday’s agenda was a sneaky rollback of public comment. Specifically, the Board posted its schedule for the year 2024 and has rolled back the number of meetings from 47 in 2023 to 42 and plans to hold half of them mostly in the back room. It’s a debacle.
Years ago, Mark Ridley-Thomas pontificated about a possible trend in the cancellation of board meetings, "There are nearly fifty board meetings a year…” he said, before admonishing a young citizen.
Smart Speaker: I had argued that I was concerned about a“trend” toward meeting cancellation.
Furthermore, by holding meetings in the back room on special meeting days, there is no general public comment.
General public comment is often the last-gasp opportunity to redress grievances. That critical moment being replaced with a Special closed session is unacceptable. It denies the public the opportunity to speak about items that are 'generally' under the board's jurisdiction, but not itemized on its agenda.
The Board's proposed plan will reduce opportunities for Angelenos to provide general public comment.
This is severely problematic for numerous reasons. Please cure and correct this proposed schedule to reflect that the board of supervisors will meet Regularly on Tuesday mornings.
The smart speaker shown above is excellent.
Smart Speaker: First of all, let me pivot to say congratulations to the chair because this is such a big deal for a young Supervisor to run the show and I think it's smart that you deferred a year to learn the lay of the land, so that’s great work. So looking forward we will be kissing up to you. As for Supervisor Hahn, what a champion. This one has done a very good job. She came and quickly restored some of the public comment opportunities that were so important following the pogrom led by Sheila James Kuehl.
So get in line and be helpful and I think she's done a very good job. We look forward to a much lighter load over monitoring the assessor's activities in the future and continuing with the great work. And thank you!
Sup. Lindsey Horvath, chair: Thank you very much. Is that our last caller?
Executive officer: there are no other speakers, madam chair.
Moderator: Eric Preven, you may begin.
Smart Speaker: Thank you. Good to have a water plan, and Mark Pestrella has been working on it for several years. Good work. To ring the bell one more time over at the LA County Flood district — the public wants to raise concerns about giving a lease to an imperious private school, Harvard Westlake.
Also, I appreciate and echo what Supervisor Mitchell was saying about how historically in California and around Los Angeles water has been used, sometimes in nefarious ways. I spent time looking at the private equity backers of Park Water which had 27,000 accounts and served about 126,000 people. I drove around with a writer from the New York Times, watching in horror as people had their water shut off. Frightening. Almost like 200 homes a month, when I was looking. Yes, 190 families had their water shut off for nonpayment each month. And of course, that process comes with plenty of onerous fees. So we have to do better at regulating and making sure -- again, the water plan is for everybody.
At the end of a very long 299-page meeting, Supervisor Barger came on to deliver a video presentation honoring and introducing the Rose Court for the one hundred thirty-fifth rose parade.
The next meeting for the board will be a public hearing and closed-session meeting to be held on December 12th at 9:30 am.
A Bullfight in Chambers:
At the very top of the show, Council President Paul Krekorian rolled out his slippery presentation. “I’d like to do mine… all of our offices have been blessed with the best and brightest... as interns. My office has an exceptional group of young people in summer and fall and many alums have gone on on to achieve extraordinary positions throughout the city, the DOT, other districts, State Assembly...
Smart Speaker: Also, Matt Hale Krekorian’s top intern for many years moved over to LADWP!
Paul Krekorian, Council President: I commend our 2023 interns...throughout the duration, of Team Krekorian, 2023.
The "Ban Rodeos" discussion was quite heated. First Bob Blumenfield got nasty because he wanted to be very clear that sending this back to the committee, a humiliating sign of his weakness and failure, was for a very special instruction: to ban rodeos.
Monica Rodriguez and her posse, including Imelda Padilla and bigtime Western rider John Lee on horseback, demanded a seat at the table, to ensure a fair opportunity to clean up the language to protect Latino culture.
Smart Speaker: I witnessed a human get gored by a bull in La Ciudad de Mexico some years ago. The place went wild yelling Toro, Toro, Toro.
In the end a backup matador, so kind of like if Marqueece Harris-Dawson had to jump in if Paul Krekorian, got gored by Grabner... Harris-Dawson would jump in to the ring and slay the Grabner.
Blumenfield, maybe not.
Los Hombres Musicales, Pablo Krekorian and Roberto Blumenfield are ready to ban stuff.
The only regret about the big rodeo hearing was that my suggestion for a Latino Culture parade led by the young Padilla riding a pony under a limbo bar held by Traci Park and Katy Yaroslavsky did not materialize.
Next in my lineup, had it been adopted would be Eunisses Hernandez dipping down followed by labor lion comrade, Hugo Soto-Martinez, ooovying abajo.
The big finish had Papi Kevin De Leon and Monica Rodriguez, La Madrina going under the limbo bar holding hands.
Smart Speaker: It's Eric Preven from Studio City. I'd like to speak on the items and a general public comment. And some of what you hear down here is not authorized by the council president.
City Attorney, Jonathan Groat: So you have two minutes for the agenda items that are open that's 18 and 19, up to one minute per each, and one minute for general public comment. So Please begin with the items.
Paul Krekorian, Council President: Okay, well I think a lot of people have been quite vocal. We can't really distinguish between for and against the rodeo ban so we are just going to take 15 minutes of calls and then we are going to move forward. So let's take the first caller, please. And this will be limited to item 15, for the callers who are listening, we are limiting this to item 15.
Moderator: Next Caller, which items would you like to speak on?
Paul Krekorian, Council President: NO, THIS IS LIMITED to item 15, they'll have one minute! (ffs)
Smart Speaker: FYI, we’re getting mixed signals. Item 15, is on the board, correct?
Paul Krekorian, Council President: Yes.
Smart Speaker: Okay, good. So let the record reflect that this is my number, and you've been deselecting me… but I support the ban on rodeos… in a limited way. I believe the cultural issues are real, so we must try to respect the different communities, as we revere the animals and don't want them to face any harm. Certainly twisting a calf's head off should be outlawed... but we need to be very specific.
This whole rodeo drama has been playing out in the Wild West of Bob Blumenfield’s district… Reminiscent of a vintage Paul Koretz initiative. Central is the recognition that taking advantage of sweet animal-loving people, by dragging them downtown, covering their parking, then not covering their parking, and then covering it again. The net result… the arteries of downtown city hall are clogged with rodeo people, for and against, looking for parking.
This is not the ideal purview of the city council and everyone knows it. There are legitimate organizations that handle this type of thing, but this rodeo is for the wrong reason... this is a circus that aims to block the public from speaking on the city’s agenda.
Blocking from saying anything about John Lee getting a waiver to hire a law firm that has been racking up city contracts. All the while, pretending that you are taking all of this on for the people... and the animals.
The animals, sir, as twenty or more people said in public comment, you've allowed animals in our custody to suffer beyond belief in broad daylight, all the while bragging… it’s embarrassing.
Paul Krekorian, Council President: Thank you and I'm going to ask the members of the audience please if you can try not to applaud and make noise when people are speaking because then we can't hear what they're saying. So in between is fine. But... it interrupts our ability to hear the speakers.
Smart Speaker: Class, this is called backpedaling. On an agenda dotted with FEMA payouts and traffic enforcement funding, there is a lovely little Motion from Monica Rodriguez, to jump into bed with Indigov Corporation for services provided to the Seventh Council District.
Also, would love to say thank you for the “December holiday season Christmas tree and an unlit Menorah as well as for displaying appropriately any other symbols of holidays celebrated during this time such as Kwanzaa, Las Posadas, Ramadan and others.”
The tree is a gift from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 11.
Smart Speaker: So, why is the menorah unlit?
Also, no reason not to increase the contract ceiling with Beveridge & Diamond (Contract No. 139942) for an increased contract ceiling amount of $4.7 million. It’s the third amended contract for the Bureau of Sanitation (BOS).
And if you are going to retain legal counsel and legal services, Kendall Brill & Kelly, for a cool $150,000 will work quietly out of view.
Smart Speaker: On what?
Dear City Attorney, Hydee Feldstein-Soto:
Hope all is well with you and Groat and Fauble and that you have nice plans with Frank to enjoy some time off. Too much time off.
Please explain what this Kendall Brill & Kelly item is for and why over 60% of the attorneys at Kendall Brill & Kelly were former US prosecutors. Are we in trouble again? Sorry, how badly?
(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.)