14
Sun, Apr

Democracy Dies in Discussion

ERIC PREVEN'S NOTEBOOK

ERIC PREVEN’S NOTEBOOK - It does not get more confusing but it was nice to hear the pre-game announcer come on and say, that the Metro meeting was trying to be respectful to our neighbors by keeping any signs you brought in, at your feet. This is a noticeable break from the arch stupidity at city hall, where all signs are banned

 

When the metro board of directors meets, you have the Fab Five conducted by Mayor Bass with the Katy Yaroslavsky orchestra and Paul Krekorian keeping the shameful beat.

 

Interesting conflicts. 

Marching to Krekorian’s drum is what young progressive candidates do to get ahead around here.  Just look at Krekorian’s protege Marqueece Harris-Dawson.   [We'll get there, but he's not on Metro, Katy Yaroslavsky is.] 

Gloria Molina, Mayor Karen Bass said, was a giant in the industry, and so time to call the civic center metro rail station, "Molina" like everything else.  Gloria would not be approving an unsolicited project as the best transit option, and punting the analysis of these questions down the road.  

Janice Hahn and Mayor Bass were hading off the mic between them,  Hahn doing an optimistic version of her signature Mary Tyler Moore meets Julia Louis Dreyfus, confidently flustered. "Is it 99 thousand or… whoops, no, it’s 99 million”.  

Smart Speaker:  If you to ask, it’s too much, right?

The CEO noted of Metro that Valley bus ridership was up one Sunday, since 2019 by 113%!

Kudos.

As the minor ripoffs were shoved through quickly on consent, and the blue plate gondola special was called up, Holly Mitchell, said it:  ”Director Solis did not come to play today!"  

She applauded the way Solis talks about accountability "in a defensible way.”  

No word, if she was alluding to Covington & Burling LLP the defense firm brought in to "study" and bury a report on county contracting in her district and countywide following the latest MRT imbroglio and conviction.  Covington is Eric Holder’s law firm, where the hourly rate can be over $1500 for cleaning up disgusting messes!  Still no word on that contract or it's findings. MRT will appeal.  

The biggest slap across the public face was when Hilda Solis offered free unlimited Gondola rides to Chinatown residents... for the eyesore nightmare. Everyone else, you pay! 

Lindsey P. Horvath promised a robust process... clarifying that there would have to be an air space lease agreement.  So, a lease process... to be approved by the California Transportation Commission.  Horvath promised to be  "As transparent as we can be on every step of the way..."  gag.  

Horvath and Chong-Castillo and Nicole Davis-Tinkham have systematically ignored dozens of requests for the LA County Flood District lease extension to an imperious Harvard-Westlake dba 4141 Whitsett, LLC.  And...

Pushing three months (instead of ten days): 

We checked in on the "process” of screwing the public out of public comment: 

 

Dear Mr. Preven: 

This letter is in response to your December 14, 2023, e-mail, requesting copies of records pursuant to the California Public Records Act (“CPRA”). Specifically, you requested the following from January 1, 2021, to the present: …[A]ll memos or emails between the district board offices and the executive officer about the county's public meeting protocol and schedule. Including the rollback of meetings. Also, on what date were the current board rules approved by the board of supervisors? Were there any hearings? Outreach about the proposed changes?  

On December 26, 2023

On January 9, 2024

On January 26, 2024

On February 6, 2024 we provided the 1994 Rules of The Board 

On February 20, 2024. “Thank you for your patience as we continue to search and review files which are responsive to your request. We anticipate providing you with an update on or before March 11, 2024. As always, the County reserves its right to assert all applicable privileges, doctrines, and exemptions.  

Very truly yours, 

DAWYN R. HARRISON

County Counsel

 

Democracy Dies Here: 

Jon Stewart mocked liberal critics upset over him pointing out Biden's age in his debut program: 'Democracy dies in discussion' he said.  

Not at LA City Hall, dba The Temple of Hypocrisy.  

On Tuesday Supervisor Holly Mitchell walked down from on high - The Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration where she sits in Mark Ridley-Thomas's old seat, and was shocked that  "... the back door to city hall was not open."   She said she was offered parking but prefers to walk. She was wearing a stylish hat.  

"Thank you very much. This for me is very personal. Patrice (Rushen) was my mother's first boss," she said. "When I got the call that you were going to grace this individual..."    

What? Is this why the Board of Supervisors meeting was canceled? 

 

Staffer B, John Lee, trotted out a dozen or so little hard hats for engineers' week...  round of applause.  

After a tour of city hall, "they also do an egg drop on the forecourt..." he said, "but this is a fantastic opportunity to introduce students to the STEM field.  Thank you to the BOE ... for teaching the kids (and their donor parents) about STEM and how fun and important it is to our city and world."   

Paul Krekorian reminded the kids that they were visible on TV, unlike the public speakers, and instructed them to smile. "This is your final warning!" jk 

One smart speaker wanted to address three CD10 Motions by Heather Hutt, but Mr. Krekorian the chair, would not allow him to comment on how gifts of public funding during election time, including $75.000 in supplemental charter bus services in Council District 10.   

As for my comment, the roulette wheel did not spin in my favor for the second time this week... NO COMMENT (for you, Eric Preven) 

Looking for an outlet, I attended the Ethics Commission meeting at noon. Here, they have adopted a public comment section all up front, in the "get these lunatics out of here" plan. 

There was a lot of gratitude for allowing call-in testimony, among the speakers, unlike city council committees. 

It was very weird, but hopefully the conspiracy to interfere with protected activities will eventually be exposed.  

Probably not by the LA City Ethics Commission. 

Rob Quan gave props to the Ethics Commission. His message: more money.  

Quan of UnrigLA urged independence to protect this body from the whims of the city council budget process.  

He noted that Mr. De Leon had shaken loose $3.8 million to strip the Oceanwide Plaza development in downtown L.A. of graffiti, which amounted to 3/4 of the Ethics Commission's annual budget.  

If you believe Mr. Quan, an advocate and enthusiastic user of the six-dollar matching machine, for those who are dialed in to the 26th floor, the problem is staffing.  More needed. He thanked Krekorian for winking approval to the three positions during the council meeting. Had those positions been approved earlier, perhaps the commission could have produced the last few quarters of lobbying numbers. 

Everyone agreed that Les Moonves, who colluded with a cop during a wave of sex crimes should have been hammered harder.  Twenty minutes into the meeting Jamie York, whom the council rejected from serving on the commission last year, could be heard describing in some detail an occasion when Mr. Moonves, a major CBS executive, pushed a woman’s head onto his crotch... in a motor vehicle. The vehicle was not identified, raising concerns about disclosure requirements. 

The commission couldn't pull the trigger at the low number of $11,750.  Yawn.  

One speaker, who speaks frequently noted a corporate conflict with both VICA and Stuart Waldman being fined for forgetting to register and pay up.   "When you sign for the corporation on a fine that you receive personally…(as Waldman did) that’s a conflict of interest."  

Another noted that VICA and Stuart are well known. He said it was a complete shock to learn that Waldman was not registered during the 2021 redistricting.  He claimed VICA and Stuart Waldman were at many meetings advocating positions.  How many meetings over many hours?   There was no mention of any of that in the Ethics violation. "Was that even looked at?" 

Next speaker:  

One furry little speaker wondered if Mr. Waldman was a corporate officer, representing the corporation, then he's not a lobbyist. "Officers can speak!"  

Another called for Immediate Ethics reforms and said the commission should push the city council to adopt revisions, that they’ve been sitting on forever. He touted the higher penalties for violations in Chicago, the Greatest Of All Time (GOAT) city when it comes to corruption, where the typical Ethics penalty is not $5,000 but $20,000!!!   

Lobbyists should identify themselves but these people feel that the "Not for profit" threshold for being exempt should be $200,000 in revenue or $500,000 in assets.  It was unclear how large not-for-profits, that are set up by corporate interests, would be addressed.  

Moderator:  Caller ending in 616. Please state your name and the items you'll be speaking on.  You'll be prompted to unmute.

Smart Speaker: Hello, Yeah, it's Eric Preven, I'd like to speak on the available items and a general public comment.  

Moderator: Thank you. You have three minutes. You may begin.  

Smart Speaker:  Well, I noticed that there is no lobbying report but there is some enforcement.  And I certainly echo the concerns as to how it is that Stuart Waldman of VICA, a local windbag and Lobbyist from the San Fernando Valley Industry & Commerce Association, has only been caught for a very discreet penalty that's been reduced by half because he cooperated.  I mean, this is a full-on lobbying organization -- Frankly, we are at a crossroads.  The Ethics Commission may have to pack it in over this.   I mean, Krekorian, who was on the commission a million years ago has been touting them, and yet somehow they couldn't see an elephant in the room. No pun intended.  

Also in the Executive Director's report, buried in the back, is an audit of MRTs committees... and there were thousands of dollars of aggregated payouts and excessive contributions, and then finally a little $7,000 penalty. Totally buried.   Mr. Ridley-Thomas is on his way to jail.  

I agree with the speaker who said that Les Moonves, who is a very rich man, should pay the full penalty.  Ordinarily, I like reducing them because this is a silly commission that busts people for forgetting to do stuff.  And yet real crimes are happening all over the place and this body doesn't give a shit.  

For example, item 11 in the behested payment bundle.  Why is Children's Hospital giving $7,500 to an elementary school for Nithya Raman?  What is it - do her kids go to that school?  I don't understand that one at all. And I don't understand all these behested payments, this was a major problem with Mayor Garcetti.  

 

You've got the North Valley YMCA getting 110,000 dollars because Staffer B John Lee soaked tons of people with city business, Harvard-Westlake, Waste Management... He's going around raising money for the Greater Metropolitan Area YMCA, though this is the West Valley version which is something like a Lake Tahoe resort, compared to the others.  But the main one is a corrupt entity, that blocked people from speaking out about how they underpay their lifeguards.  Why this is allowed? I have no idea.   

And why has Monica Rodriguez raised 245,000 dollars from all sorts of people including Wells Fargo for the Valley Cultural Center?  She's going around to people who have business before the city and she's saying "Put it in the kitty. This is something I want. Put it in the kitty!"  Motorola, Verizon... all of them, and they all do it: to the tune of five grand, on average.  I don't like it at all.  

Moderator: Thank you. 

Smart Speaker:  I'm not done yet. I have more. 

Moderator:  I apologize, you have forty seconds.  

Smart Speaker:  No I believe I have fifty seconds to account for that ten-second interruption.  That's fine. Where is the Lobbying report?   

And in my concluding remarks, I just want to say, that I'm glad the Ethics Commission got three more bodies, and it was very nice to see Tyler present down at Krekorian's crooked inside baseball redistricting committee, but I don't think the Ethics Commission should serve as the arbiter of anything, redistricting because quite frankly, the earlier speaker made the note.  They didn't even notice that Stuart Waldman and VICA were in there tummeling.  This is not the right organization, they march to a certain kind of drummer, it's the Krekorian drum, and we don't want that. Thank you for keeping your mics open today.  

I searched the agenda for the helpful lobbying report, but it was nowhere to be found, so I went back to the last one they’ve posted which was heard in November and dealt with Q2 2023.   

This: MHD

Only one greasy slime bucket raised more money bundled by lobbyists than Mr. Marqueece Harris-Dawson in Q2 2023.  John Lee Staffer B edged him out by hauling in a few thousand more than the $49,000 the chair of the PLUM Committee commanded.  

In Q2 2023, so almost a year ago, 619 lobbyists were working for 102 Lobbyist employers, with 2,202 clients and 129 lobbying firms.    

Of the 850 Late fees totaling $5,875 were assessed for reports filed after the deadline.  A tad more than Waldman's fine. 

Q2 2023, total payments from clients who felt the need to register were talked at $18,508,903 (million). This marks a 12-percent increase in total payments compared to the previous quarter.   Quarter! 

All bundled for Marqueece Harris Dawson. 

Veronica Perez & Associates  Harris-Dawson for City Council 2024 $3,950.  

Kindel Gagan $12,200

Leon & Walsh Public Affairs $4,000 

Englander Knabe & Allen $3,600 

Ronald Stone, Strategic Government Affairs $1,800 

Jeffrey McDonnell EKA $1,800 

Afriat Agency $900 

Courtney Chesla Torres 750 

Tchoi and Associates $1,800 

Eric Rose, EKA $900 

Kellie Hawkins EKA $900   

Nithya Raman took a modest $900 from the Southwest Mountain States Regional Council of Carpenters  

Somos Law Group LLP 0  and Derek Galey, Somos Law Group LLP 0 were less generous.  

Harvard-Westlake, who works with Mayer Brown only poured a gentle $23,360 down Edgar Khalatian’s throat in Q2 2023.   

Readers will recall, that the school is seeking approval for the development of a new athletic and recreational facility for the school and they claim falsely “public uses” at 4047-4155 N. Whitsett Avenue, Studio City, CA 91604.   

Sadly, Mayer Brown and Edgar Khalatian are simply committed to making questionable representations about who will be permitted (literally) to use the elite private school’s facilities and when.   

Smart Speaker:   "What… after an exhaustive background check? It’s a private facility."

And where are the lobbying numbers for Q3, 2023 and Q4, 2023?  They are important. Where the “F” are they?  

 

City Hall Takes A Little Break:

National League of Cities Annual Congressional City Conference: 

March 11, 2024 through March 13, 2024 in Washington, D.C. 

Friday March 1, 2024 **MEETING**

Tuesday March 5, 2024 **MEETING**

Wednesday March 6, 2024 **MEETING**

Friday March 8, 2024 **MEETING** 

Tuesday, March 12, 2024. recess

Wednesday, March 13, 2024   recess 

Friday March 15, 2024 **MEETING** 

Tuesday March 19, 2024 **MEETING** 

Wednesday March 20, 2024  **MEETING**

Friday March 22, 2024 **MEETING** 

Tuesday, March 26, 2024. recess

Wednesday, March 27, 2024. recess

Friday, March 29, 2024.  recess  

Tuesday April 2, 2024 **MEETING**

Wednesday, April 3, 2024 **MEETING**

Friday April 5, 2024 **MEETING** 

Tuesday April 9, 2024 **MEETING**

Wednesday, April 10, 2024.  recess

Friday April 12, 2024 **MEETING**  

Tuesday April 16, 2024 **MEETING**

Wednesday April 17, 2024 **MEETING**

Friday April 19, 2024 **MEETING** 

Tuesday, April 23, 2024  recess 

Wednesday, April 24, 2024.  recess 

Friday April 26, 2024 **MEETING**

 

Revolving Doors:

A five-minute break called at 1pm for the Ethics Commission turned out to be a twenty-minute break. 

Shawn Bayliss, who worked for Koretz, agreed that he violated the revolving door restrictions. When someone leaves and switches sides, one ordinance holds back some high-level employees for one year.  Bayliss left and joined the Bel Air Association…too early.  

Readers will remember that Sean Hassett, Alan Yochelson, and presumably Bjorn Dodd all ignored a very serious violation of the similar county ordinance that involved Richard Bruckner of Mayer Brown, where Edgar Khalatian also works. Bruckner jumped in before he was allowed, representing Watt Companies on an early negotiating agreement with Mark Ridley-Thomas at the county and the Metro.   

The whistle was blown loudly and hard. Mr. Bruckner took a backseat as Khalatian guest hosted the project at a Metro meeting.   

The lack of enforcement against Bruckner and Mark Ridley-Thomas hangs out there like a bad dream. Now that we know more about all the backroom arm-twisting and creepy emojis and…. violations of federal law.  

The public was ahead on this, but the District Attorney did nothing and in this case, has no excuse.   

Public Comment - Highly Unorthodox Activity - We see you!

 

Fr: [email protected] 

To: [email protected] Cc: George Gascón , David Michaelson , Strefan Fauble , Jonathan Groat , [email protected]  

Tue, Feb 20 at 10:58 AM  

This is naked corruption, I urge you to investigate.   

Eric Preven

 

From: [email protected] <[email protected]>

To: Strefan Fauble <[email protected]>

Cc: David Michaelson <[email protected]>; Mayor Helpdesk <[email protected]>; [email protected] <[email protected]>; [email protected] <[email protected]>

Sent: Tuesday, February 20, 2024 at 10:55:42 AM PST

Subject: Public Comment - Highly Unorthodox Activity - We see you! 

You have been calling up the same callers, but despite my signing up first, in real-time, you have still not called me up. I just double-checked that you had not lowered my hand.  My hand is up, 2616. 

Very bad. Call all the speakers. 

Eric Preven

 

(Eric Preven is a longtime community activist and is a contributor to CityWatch. The opinions are of Mr. Preven and not necessarily those of CityWatchLA.com.)