Wed, Jul

Ambassador Driven Equity


ERIC PREVEN’S NOTEBOOK - Sup. Lindsey P. Horvath, Board Chair: It is your right to participate in today's board hearing and the board encourages such participation.  We are going to take items a little bit out of order. I'm going to have our executive officer call the agenda please.  

Smart Speaker: You continued all the bloody items.  

Poor Margie G. Rodriguez, a double scroll recipient, for both “Women’s History Month” and “Cesar Chavez Day,” had to be pushed out a few weeks.  It’s an honor.  

There was a Presentation of scroll to “an incredible woman” in the Third District that on the supplemental agenda, was identified as Christine Devine, the FOX 11 anchor.   Turns out Devine was also a foster youth and is an adoption champion. The whole thing was arranged by Supervisor Lindsey P. Horvath.   

Hopefully, Ms. Devine has not noticed that the lawsuit count for the Department of Children and Family Services DCFS is not going in the right direction. Apparently, lawsuits have skyrocketed from like 46 a year to over 800.  Nothing to see here.  

The agenda on Tuesday was lite to extra-lite.  It started as a modest eleven items, mostly hearings of the dry to extra dry variety, but there were a few items worthy of engagement.   

Unfortunately, due to an urgent trip to Sacramento to recalibrate with state cronies, following the latest episode of Fiegener’s 24/7 coverage On The Road with Mayor Bass, there were only three available Supervisors.    

This was the right quiet week, for the Chair to release a document from her to her colleagues explaining her views on the public comment.  She promises to"rebalance Board days by grouping set matters and departmental presentations on the same day.” 

Who knew that rebalancing meant, "canceling' and ‘continuing' and accidentally blocking on purpose? 

In the absence of any meat on the bone, we glanced a the recent Board Correspondence. This is on the Board's website and a good place to troll around for what they're really up to.  Giving raises and hiring treasured partners.  

The Probation Department requested via Fesia A. Davenport, CEO, approval to appoint Sheila Williams to the position of Chief Deputy Probation Officer (UC), Item Number 8632, at an annual base salary of $320,932.32.  

Smart Speaker: Robust pricing to manage a longtime... horrible shameful fiasco.  

The Chief Executive Officer also requested approval to appoint Mason Matthews to the position of Senior Assistant Chief Executive Officer (UC), Item No. 0863, at an annual base salary of $347,000.   

Smart Speaker: Not too shabby! 

Jackie Contreras, Ph.D. the honcho at the Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) in accordance with Board policy 5.100 on sole-source contracts of $250,000 or greater, exercised its delegated authority to negotiate a sole source services contract with Golden West College (GWC), for four months, at an estimated cost of $300,000 to secure Specialized Investigators’ Basic Course (SIBC) training new hire Welfare Fraud Investigator Trainees.   

Smart Speaker: Exciting!  Training the trainees.  

GWC, located in Huntington Beach in Orange County, is the only agency that provides specific SIBC training approved by the POST Commission.  GWC has provided this training for DPSS since 2002. 

Training the trainees in OC. 


Moderator: Our first participant is Eric Preven.  

Smart Speaker: It's Eric Preven on the weed abatement. There have been a dizzying number of continuances today and also on item 2, for the record, as you know, I tried to raise my hand but it was not permitted.  I'm sure that other people were similarly disenfranchised. There were no speakers on the item. It's very, very shameful. Because it was a letter from Mark Pestrella. Who we know from the Harvard-Westlake hammerlock on our open public space in Studio City. We have weeds all over the place… if you like weed abatement.  And we know there's a record of who signed up to speak on item 2.  This is not tolerable. I certainly love libraries and you know I love art. But you can't manufacture situations that allow you to accidentally on purpose avoid your critics. You’ve effectively canceled half of your meetings. Thank you for providing a record.  

Moderator: Thank you for speaking. Next speaker: Geneviève Clavreul, you may begin.  

Geneviève Clavreul: Yes. Can you hear me?  

Sup. Lindsey P. Horvath, Board Chair: We can. Go ahead.  

Geneviève Clavreul: Most of the item have been continued. How come you don't know in advance that's what the item are going to be continued? To me, it's a great concern. Almost every item is continued. And what's going on?… 

Executive Officer:  Supervisor Solis. Supervisor Mitchell.  Supervisor Horvath.

Aye, Aye, Aye. 

Executive Officer: It carries 3-0.  

Sup. Lindsey P. Horvath, Board Chair: Executive officer please report on the tabulation results for item 2. A determination has been made that no majority protest exists against the proposed drainage benefit assessment area number 36 in the unincorporated area of  Stevenson Ranch. Please call the roll...    Aye, Aye, Aye.  Okay. I see Dr. Wong quickly approaching the dais.  

Dr. Wong:  Good morning supervisors. Lisa Wong, Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health. Good morning Chair Horvath. I feel so special that my item did not get continued.  

[Silence, Anger]  

Wong spoke about the Hollywood 2.0 pilot, inspired by the Trieste model of care in Italy where the central premise is a person is at the center of care, rather than having an array of care… presentation    

Moderator: Our next participant is Eric Preven  

Smart Speaker: Thank you, this is fairly interesting, and I support this kind of work. I worked as a mental health worker myself for many years at an in-patient facility. Now, I was glancing at the vacancies in the presentation for the items or jobs to run this program.  It appears that we're running with about 24 vacancies.  So, this is a theme.  Hopefully, we can bring that number down, you know, I was trying to imagine, is this plan scalable in any way to the rest of the county.  I think it was Supervisor Mitchell who said “Every community has to find the right series of things”  for their community.   The community in Hollywood, an artsy community with LGBTQ+ funding sources, has led to a very strong outpouring of support from various entities. But how are we going to get this up and running if we can’t even take public comment properly?  

Executive Officer:  Thank you, your time has expired. Moderator, next speaker, please.  

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

Smart Speaker:  Yeah, I'm quite upset that you ignored my effort to comment on item 2, that you conveniently called it up early and out of order, and then didn't allow people to raise their hands. This is a very hostile thing to do, especially on a day when you canceled almost the entire agenda.  So, kudos to the team who will try to cover up this highly effective maneuver to block people.  And just so you know, when you squelch out a little light like mine…it gets darker for everyone.  

We don't want to play silly games and I don't understand, if you want to blame AT&T, they are well aware that I signed up, and complied. There's no good reason not to have taken my comment on item 2 between the time you went for tabulation and the final vote. You could have done that easily because I had drawn this to your attention, Judy Whitehurst’s attention,  Dawyn Harrison’s attention.  Those are the people in county counsel who thought it was a good idea to withhold Horvath's infuriating essay on public comment from December.  Rather than providing it on demand, you delayed for three months which is just absurd… not green.   

Try to be reasonable and fair to your constituents. We're here because we care. You all talk about community engagement constantly. These …are the people. We are the people.  

Sup. Lindsey P. Horvath, Board Chair:  Thank you, your time expired.  

Moderator, next speaker, please.  

Sup. Lindsey P. Horvath, Board Chair: Okay. With that, that concludes our time for public comment. And it also concludes today's meeting. Members of the public and colleagues, we will be showing a video presentation following this meeting. Supervisor Mitchell's video presentation… begins now… 

The Sacramento Queen’s:

Janice Hahn and Kathryn Barger were lurking around the State Capitol this week trying to run into colleagues.  Someone should do a CPRA and make a chart of all our elected officials' travel.  

As a courtesy, I have initiated a CPRA for the Mayoral and City Council itinerary details, and who specifically paid for the trip to Paris, then across Asia to Japan, and who knows, maybe Washington D.C., just to say we did? Nobody knows if the delegation paused in India to carry on with Ambassador Garcetti. How exciting! Stimulate a little local investment... here, there, everywhere!   

Ambassador Driven Equity:

I feel a global investment podcast coming on... “Ambassador Driven Equity!” 

In Paris, over 40% of Parisians are fuming about the upcoming 2024 Olympics and regret the whole thing, and a much higher percentage are planning on leaving the city during the Games.  The opening ceremony has been halved to 300,000 and made invitation-only for security reasons.    

**You know what might be fun for Kenneth Mejia, the City Controller -- to provide an interactive map of the designated first amendment zones. In Paris, and then also here in the City of Angels. Yikes.   

The recent Tokyo Games reportedly cost $13 billion — almost 60% public money. This was twice the estimated cost when the IOC awarded Tokyo the Games, but less than the $25 billion some predicted. 

Lost In Translation: 

There are always, at any given moment plenty of lucrative consultants working for Fesia A. Davenport who took the helm from the big cheese Bill Fujioka or was it Sachi Hamai?  In any case, she's the current CEO of one of the most impressive governments in America.  

I glanced at her quarterly consultant report but could not find Covington & Burling, the firm engaged to provide a report on contracting fraud.  Some may remember the Second District's beloved Mark Ridley-Thomas was convicted… I digress.    

I did note tucked under the sofa in the report, a  $556,200er (Increased By $185,400 Amendment 4) with Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP AO-20-002-04 for providing 'non-exclusive' legislative consulting services in the areas of State Budget, redevelopment, realignment policy, and such other areas as may be required by the Chief Executive Officer, or her designee.


Manatt, to refresh the civic memory appeared in a recent column about a degraded Helinet (tk.) facilitiy at the Van Nuys Airport. Manatt was the reputable firm threatening the City via Strefan Fauble, the city's lawyer, who was attempting to frighten the council about their liability exposure.   

Shameful Litigation is so Los Angeles -- Maybe Evan Lovett will do an LA In A Minute (or 462 hours)  on where we are now. 

Litigation in a Minute: 

I don’t want to come across as too negative or discouraging in my remarks here about the Controller Kenneth Mejia’ information drop on some of the details about the City of Los Angeles’ lawsuit factory.  It’s a good start.  Link 

But without benchmarking against other jurisdictions, the typical Angeleno must be left wondering what does this all mean?  

People certainly remember the percolating hostility between the City Council and Controller Mejia, a progressive who once appeared in city council dressed like Dwight from Dodgeball in a branded purple tracksuit and took 13 balls to the face led by a feisty, Marqueece Harris-Dawson and Monica Rodriguez.  His nominee for the sacred Ethics Commission,  Jamie York, was pre-rejected without so much as a fair hearing. 


I wonder if Capri Maddox  (above) the Executive Director of the Los Angeles Civil + Human Rights and Equity Department (LA Civil Rights) would do something. No. 

Ms. York, who is articulate serves on a Neighborhood Council in the Valley and has advocated for better transparency from lobbyists.  Mejia, picked someone else and has since widened his faux-feud to include the Mayor’s Office.  His most high-profile stance involved real time audits of LAPD by … yes, Mr. Mejia, in a tracksuit.

Branded City Controller on Scooter. 

The Mayor and Mejia are currently having a minor tiff over the power of his office to (audit) Inside Safe.

Paul Krekorian, who along with the mayor, must still have jet lag after their whirlwind world tour to Europe and Asia following Sacramento, cut his eye teeth serving on the Ethics Commission (“a million years ago”).  For the last decade, he has been the Five Star general in the war against liability at City Hall.  

He ran the sneaky budget and finance committee before he took over as Council President and appointed  Eagle Scout, Bob Blumenfield, who added the word innovation. Innovative! 

Mr.  Mejia’s sleek and breezy presentation about what LA has paid out over four fiscal years 2020 - 2023:  $472 million for liability claims, with the most money being used to cover: police ($125.2 million) sanitation ($93.7 million) street services departments ($88.4 million)


White Goodman from dodgeball (Ben Stiller).


Payouts usually come out of the City’s General Fund, NOT department budgets.


Here's a look at the Top 10 Department Expenses, County (left) and City (right).  Though, the city doesn't say whether they include Attorney fees, so not apples to apples. 



County (1 year)  County budget: $43B. v.  Approx 300M a year so .69 percent of the budget. 

City (4 years) City Budget:  $13B.  Approx 125M a year so .96 percent of the budget.  

County is leaner and meaner... certainly not cleaner. Both are dirty.  

Usual Suspects:

At Lindsey P. Horvath's county (ie. Sheila Kuehl's county)  the number of new lawsuits with which the County was served increased by 188 percent, from 780 in FY 21-22 to 2,246 in FY 22-23. 

The 2,246 lawsuits cover six case types: General Liability (1,593)  Law Enforcement (315)  Auto Liability (183)  Employment (119)  Medical Malpractice (32) and  Environmental (4). 

DCFS was sued more than any other County department in FY 22-23. DCFS was served with 870 lawsuits in FY 22-23, an increase of 824 new lawsuits, compared to 46 in FY 21-22.  

Jaclyn Cosgrove of the LA Times who knows there are no dumb questions should produce a helpful ‘splainer on the full cost of and scope of these disgusting county litigations.  Great idea! 

Probation was second, with 326 new lawsuits in FY 22-23, an increase of 315 new lawsuits, compared to 11 in FY 21-22.  

Smart Speaker:  Hmmm, that does not sound good. 

LASD was served with 244 new lawsuits, an increase of 18, compared to 226 in FY 21- 22.  

Fourteen additional departments were named in 10 or more new lawsuits in FY 22-23:  Notably, the Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk, 14, an increase from 10.  

Smart Speaker: Dean Logan is excellent and bringing all the votes to the big center... eventually tipping things over the edge. 

The Assessor,  had 11, an increase from seven; and ISD, 10, an increase from nine in FY 21-22.  

Smart Speaker:  Where did Selwyin Hollins of ISD go?  

All remaining County departments were not sued or named in fewer than 10 lawsuits in FY 22-23.   

So, the Board of Supervisors could have up to nine! 


(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.)

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