Sun, Apr

"There it is. Take it."


ERIC PREVEN’S NOTEBOOK - Godzilla and the almighty Kong face a colossal threat hidden deep within the planet, challenging their very existence and the survival of the human race. The two great rivals team up to take on a villain threatening to destroy everyone’s existence. The latest movie in the series that opened last weekend is doing much better than expected by analysts. 

One critic called the film a "goofy-ass, clumsily assembled Saturday morning cartoon.”  Metacritic which uses a weighted average assigned the film a score of 47 out of 100, based on 47 critics, indicating "mixed or average" reviews. 

Another little disaster movie sequel took place in Studio City over the weekend. Apparently, ye olde fire hydrant was hit by a car and sent a geyser upward.  Again! 

Studio City insiders remember verbatim what Ben Besley, the Midwood Developer representative (emeritus) wrote when a fire hydrant had burst two days after the community had warned him about its placement.  It's too close to the cars pulling onto Ventura.  

“I will never hear the end of this.”   

Yes. Tina Choi should also be recognized for her work as a decorated search and rescue Ski Patroller as part of National Ski Patrol and as a Joint Venture Partner at Englander Knabe & Allen. She specializes in government and entitlement advocacy and consulting, guiding and counseling clients through the convoluted development and entitlement approval processes. 

She’s known for the "retention and attraction” of clients and presumably... hydrant placement. Scholars here, remember her deft maneuvering to arrange for a Department Of Transportation revision without discussion that resulted in the elimination of an important condition to the community.  Street Widening!  

Smart Speaker: How did she nix it?  

Great question.  Did she really find an older DOT guy ready to cooperate and retire? Did he literally execute the change before he pushed back and called it quits after an honorable career?  

Is there any evidence that widening would have prevented these costly hydrant accidents —   Tina is a great skier! 

Go (wannabe) Wolverines: 

Whenever I am sent a fusillade of emails noting a letter from the so-called “conscientious stewards” of Harvard Westlake who want to fell 200 trees in Studio City as I did this week I think of Samantha Millman (emeritus) and Caroline Choe of the LA City Planning Commission.  

Millman, an Eric Garcetti appointee and alumni of the school was the President of the commission for several years. She stepped down recently because the timing was just right for her and her family, presumably.  

It certainly had nothing to do with being chastened by a furious and disgusted Valley mob who are simply appalled at her shocking refusal to recuse herself on the vote to approve the school’s controversial (and greedy) plans. 

Caroline Choe, a vice president of the very same commission, who also went to Garcetti’s alma mater and was herself outwardly involved in fundraising for the school also refused to recuse. 

Smart Speaker:  Keep moving folks, nothing to see here.   Why is poor Curren D. Price in so much trouble?  

Samantha Millman is an absolute inspiration for bad city asses as well as city badasses.  Both. Her departure from the commission was expertly timed to coincide with her conflict of interest VOTE. She ran the old, ”See ya, wouldn't want to be ya!" play, and left through a dark stadium tunnel like a true Wolverine. 

So, far the LA City Ethics Commission is still hibernating, but there is plenty of time.  It appears that John Lee is being re-tried for 2017 activities.  

The only possible wrinkle with Samantha Millman’s brilliant exit strategy is that questionable ethics is a tough stench to remove, think skunk.   

And though it can be mitigated with peanut butter the issue of conflict of interest has become increasingly zeitgeisty.  To the point where there may be a Samantha Millman Center for Conflict at UCLA or USC or both! 

When she explained and I'm paraphrasing, "we don't recuse over attending UCLA or USC" because we all went somewhere, might fly if those schools weren't such warrens of fundraising, gyno scandals, and varsity blues... nevermind that USC and UCLA each have long lists of development plans for which they're seeking approval. 

Smart Speaker:  How about a giant mural/billboard recognizing the many old timers like Besley and Millman and Weintraub and Pritzker, all working together in a shared vision of Studio City?


"There it is. Take it." 


Coming Tuesday to a Corrupted Council near you: 

I was happy to see Nithya Raman order up a pedestrian Hybrid Beacon/HAWK signalized crosswalk at the Magnolia Boulevard/Tyrone Avenue intersection in Council District 4. No word on the cost. 

Also, it's encouraging to see the Music Y Poemas Event, and for materials and expenses for the Spring Break Sports Camp in Council District 1, $156,815 should be enough for a week of camp. YES! 

Another Eunisses Hernandez and Imelda Padilla motion for a $75,000 reward (high) and for another case, $50,000 with the pointed instruction to publish the reward notice in the “Our Weekly”, “Los Angeles Sentinel” and “LA Watts Times”. 

Smart Speaker:  That’s Danny Bakewell's business. So unfair to other small businesses. 

The honorable Hugo Soto-Martinez is entering the realm of “$150,000 for supplemental community beautification.”  Supplemental.  

Bob Blumenfield of CD3 who is shvitzing the budget right about now, wants $200,000 to smear around with the Los Angeles Conservation Corps. They are a political organization and should be ashamed. Mickey Kantor has been branded. 

Mr. De Leon (CD14) has arranged $650,000 for the Go For Broke affordable housing project (1st Street North housing project) for the reconfiguration of City Parking Lots 2 and 7 whose spaces and operations will be impacted by this project.  

And how sweet of Paul Krekorian (CD2) and Imelda Padilla (CD6) to order up an Office of Finance-hosted special reception on May 7, 2024.  In the Bradley room!  

Jeez, I wonder if Adrin Nazarian who is married to Diana Mangioglu the Director of Finance, will get a few people on that list.  :) Pffft. 

Council District 10's special observation of Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month is noted alongside Council District 9’s special recognition of Women Veterans Week. 

Which district gets to bring, National Alzheimer's Awareness Month? 

Smart Speaker: Did you forget? It’s Council District 15’s Tim McOsker, silly!  

Another $80,000 has been released from the Council District 12 portion of the Neighborhood Service Enhancements line. Any guesses?  

Police OT!  

Graffiti Gambling:

Despite the presence of 26 Liens against residents for various transgressions on this very agenda, the showstopper for Tuesday, April 2, is item 53 about the Oceanside Tower Graffiti debacle.  You would never know that unless you dig in. 

But first some small recognition for the big heavy hitters on the City Council.  The property located at 854 East 87th Street in the new ninth is getting a Lien of $114,866.39 affixed by Curren D. Price. Thank you, sir. 

The property located at 200 North Dillon Street is getting a Lien of $115,999.74 affixed by Mr. Hugo Soto Martinez (CD13).  Muchos Gracias, senor.  

Item 53 is about empowering the city to hire private security firms to handle certain nuisance properties and stick that bill to the owners as well. Right up the old--  

According to Hydee Feldstein-Soto, the City Attorney and one of her sidekicks, John W. Heath questions can be directed to another underling, Deputy City Attorney Charles D. Sewell at 213-978-8083 

As for CEQA? "Fuck CEQA!" This shit is urgent.  

As many know, including Imelda Padilla (CD6)  TikTok has blown up the Graffiti Tower Story and Mr. De Leon (CD14) is seeking re-election against a progressive fighter backed by Eunisses Hernandez (CD1). 

Smart Speaker:  What about the common sense exemption?    

Of course, there is a common sense exemption, and it applies when it can be "seen with certainty" that there is no possibility that the project will have a significant effect on the environment. 

Smart Speaker:  Seen with certainty by whom?  

Marqueece Harris-Dawson’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee waived consideration of the item, but certainly, any backchanneling is "perfectly legal” and encouraged.  

Smart Speaker:  What are the details of this ordinance?   

The Council can make administrative changes related to the enforcement of building standards by allowing the City to provide private security to secure properties that are subject to administrative abatement.  

Smart Speaker: Can't we just pay quadruple OT to LAPD to loaf around in the area like with the METRO contract?  

Great question. This ordinance amends several sections to order the owner of vacant property:  

- To provide on-site security personnel when fencing cannot be maintained in good repair;  

 - To enable the city to hire outside security personnel to secure the place if it is a nuisance property. 

And because of the internet sensation and election, there is a "present, extreme and immediate hazard or danger to life or limb, health or safety."  The work can be accomplished by any City department.  

Smart Speaker: Great, at any price?  

The costs relating to the work are recoverable from the Repair and Demolition Fund.  

Smart Speaker:  What is the current and expected balance in that fund? 

None of your business, Mr. Preven, and who cares, this ordinance is needed "for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health or safety" insofar as it establishes immediate procedures to secure dangerous and vacant structures that have been repeatedly breached by trespassers and vandals, most notably at locations such as Oceanwide Plaza in Downtown. " 

TikTok. 12 votes will be required on the second reading.

(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.)