Wed, Jul

Yes, please


ERIC PREVEN’S NOTEBOOK - Marqueece Harris-Dawson, President Pro Temp:  All right. Now we will go to public comment. 

Marqueece "Plastics" Harris-Dawson does the dirty deeds with single use water bottles or cups.

City Clerk: Oh, Mr. President, would you like me to run through the closed-session items that were considered by Budget Finance and the new committee?  

Marqueece Harris-Dawson, President Pro Temp:  Yes, please. 

City Clerk:  For item 31 in the case entitled Richard Payne et al. versus the city of Los Angeles et al., there is a recommendation to expend up to $110,000 in settlement. (LAPD November 2016)  

For Item 32 in the case entitled Jeremy James Cotton et al. versus the city of Los Angeles et al., there is a recommendation to expend up to $875,000 in settlement. (LAPD March 2019) 

Item 33 in the case entitled Benjamin Montemayor versus the city of Los Angeles et al., there is a recommendation to expend up to $1,500,000 in settlement. (LAPD June 2020) 

Item 34 in the case entitled Elmer, Alberto Aguilar versus the City of Los Angeles et al. There is a recommendation to expend up to $1,900,000 in settlement. (Vehicle to vehicle collision) 

Item 35 in the case entitled Judy Aronson versus the City of Los Angeles et al. There is a recommendation to expend up to $125,000 in settlement. (Uplifted sidewalk, trip and fall). 

Item 36 in the case entitled Angelina Atabekova-Michaelidis et al versus the City of Los Angeles et al. There is a recommendation to expend up to $2,750,000 in settlement. (Police Tort) 

Marqueece Harris-Dawson, President Pro Temp: All right, we can open the roll to vote on these items.

Let's open the roll, close the roll, tabulate the vote. 

City Clerk: 12 ayes.  

Jonathan Groat, Deputy City Attorney:  When speaking on the agenda items, you must be on topic. Our goal is to get through as many speakers as we can. If you are not on topic or if we cannot tell whether you are on topic, you will get one brief warning from me or the president. At that point, you need to get immediately and clearly on topic. If you do not do so or if you again stray off topic, you will forfeit the rest of your speaking time and we will move on to the next speaker.  

The items open for public comment are items 16 and 17 and items 23 through 30. So again, the items that are open for public comment on the agenda are items 16 and 17 and 23 through 30. Members of the public may also speak for up to one minute for general public comment, which will be held concurrently with the agenda items.


"This is not LA anymore." 

Smart Speaker:  For those who have not attended a city council meeting, every day is a little different, even though the Brown Act was intended to bring transparency and regularity through statewide standards.  It's not that one approach or the other is "more legal" it's the fact that confusion is the enemy of clarity and very bad things happen to city governments that operate in the shadows. (Hi, Avak! How's retirement?)   

The City Council under Paul Krekorian has adopted a policy of "audible" rules for public comment at meetings. This severely disadvantages all types of speakers from activists and lobbyists and most of all, ordinary members of the public.   

Despite years of begging Ted Ross, the head of ITA who handle the telecast to Paul Krekorian who took the crooked President baton from Nury Martinez, who Herb Wesson empowered... to Marqueece Harris-Dawson and Bob Blumenfield ...heck, the entire city council, the default setting at LA City Hall is "no default setting."  

Every day, Coach Krekorian calls the daily play: whatever it is, offense or defense, the goal is the same to block public criticism.  This is a very ugly look, which is why he tries to blame the people of Los Angeles for the antics his devious policies create. 


Compassion in Short Supply in LA’s City Council Chambers


Control and Kaos:

On Friday, the controller's office issued a “correction,” saying in a statement, “We believed that the data that we received from the coroner and relied on included all unhoused deaths in 2023. Today, we learned the data used included only closed cases, not total cases. 


“We will be updating our 2023 unhoused deaths analysis page accordingly, and we will be conducting a new analysis when we have complete data,” the statement continued. 

So there, take that Mayor Bass!  

One Angeleno suggested that Controller Mejia should be auditing departments like Animal Services not what he called "druggy deaths." 

Where is Mejia's report on departmental expenses and pension and overtime abuses? Project Room key? 

Or maybe Mejia could lead another federal task force...  Obviously, there is FEMA... there is lots of local interest in declaring the Sportsmen's Lodge Hotel a National Historic Landmark. (Hello, Karo Torosian!). So that's a great federal ask.   

And for those who forgot, the recent FBI investigations have put the City Council of Los Angeles on the shortlist among most indicted local governments, at a time when newspapers are dying.  You can find green LA Times metro interns mingling with overworked Pulitzer winners as they normalize greedy developments.  

The Times reported "City Councilmember Hugo Soto-Martinez, a former Unite Here 11 organizer, cast the lone “no” vote on the Sportsmen's project on Wednesday.   Council president Paul Krekorian was curiously absent from the vote.  Councilmember Nithya Raman, who represents Studio City, had declined to take a position on the development but voted yes at Wednesday’s meeting.  

Smart Speaker:  Ouch. 

Nithya Raman simply does not care that Eric Garcetti, Paul Krekorian, Richard Weintraub The Afriat Company and the entire team in the mayor's office made a firehouse available at firesale prices.  She seems not to care about the Office of Finance (run by Adrin Nazarian's wife) facilitating TOT antics.   

Who is Raman to question the almighty Midwood and Tina Choi of Englander Knabe & Allen, who magically made a widening condition on Ventura Blvd disappear for +/- $100,000 in fees (it's all available precisely at the LACityEthics.com). 

And let's not forget the public benefit expert, Dave Rand, who for some reason was not listed as the representative on the agenda item but did all the talking in PLUM on the day Marqueece Harris-Dawson put the pedal to the metal.  The listed representative was Brad Rosenheim. Huh? 

Maybe Controller Mejia could examine that.  If you search Wednesday's agenda for Dave... Chapelle comes up, but apparently, his walk of fame was mysteriously continued. Mr. Mejia could investigate that, too. 

The truth is we in the public cannot take anything this council does at face value and with a termed-out Paul Krekorian driving the tanker toward the bridge extra scrutiny of all cargo voted on by these crooks is needed. 

Naturally, he's been providing the opposite and successfully blocked me from speaking for 75% of the last half dozen meetings.   He's uses every obfuscation technique known to man women and others,  when that doesn't work he'll call a sort of Point-of-privilege.  He just decrees, "I'm done" stranding the critics. 

Maybe Ted Ross can explain who decides who speaks. Or who is lowering Dan Guss's hand? 

Over the past three years, former council members Mitch Englander, Jose Huizar and Mark Ridley-Thomas have been sentenced to federal prison on corruption charges.  Councilmember Curren Price faces corruption charges in state court. And the city Ethics Commission has accused Councilmember John Lee of accepting illegal gifts from developers.  

Lee is so far not facing criminal charges...   maybe he should be shortlisted to be the next Council President? 

Raman's besties at NBC Universal: 

I have been a little confused about the Times coverage of the upcoming Paris and Los Angeles Olympics. On the one hand, we're doomed and on the other the mayor is delighted we are on it early.  

What to do?  

"We have a huge challenge when it comes to the supplemental bus system," Seleta Reynolds, Metro's chief information officer, told a Metro committee last month.  Seleta Reynolds?  Wasn't she Garcetti's and Mike Bonin's bestie and the former DOT chief?  Yes. 

Everybody is bracing themselves for more bad news about the frothy predictions and promises to ready the LA for one million drunk sports fans for two weeks.  

The biggest winner in all of that, other than Casey Wasserman, will be NBC.  To repay their gratitude, Universal Pictures has 11 films in production or pre-production, and none were shot or set to shoot in the Golden State, as of two weeks ago. 

Smart Speaker:  None! 

The Studios say they adore Los Angeles and California, but greed is... great. According to the LA Times:  

• Disney has 22 live-action films in various stages of production, roughly three of which are based in California. 

• Warner Bros. only has one feature out of seven filming in California. 

• Sony has begun production on six movies, with one slated to shoot in California. 

Two Turntables and a Microphone:

For some very shady reason, Jonathan Groat, the interrupter in chief for the city council provided two different options depending upon your viewpoint on the Sportsmen's project.  If you were supportive, Groat would invite you to make your point in general.  Thoughtful.   If you were against, he would tell you it's not on the agenda.  

Here is Groat's approach for a supporter:  

Groat:  Good morning. If you could please remind us of the name you signed up under and the items you would like to speak to. 

Duran:  Hello everyone. My name is Jonathan Duran. I want to speak on item one and two.  

Groat:  Okay, so you have one minute for general public comment. 

Duran:   Thank you. Thank you. Again, name Jonathan Duran with the Western States Regional Council of Carpenters. Representative third generation union carpenter. I'm here to support of the sportsman lodge... and we want to move this project forward... " 

Nick:  My name's Nick and I, and I would like to speak on items one and two.  I'm in full support of the project. 

Groat:   Okay. One minute. 

And yet a well-regarded speaker calling to criticize the plan to put up a monster project at a chokepoint: 

Groat:  Next caller, which item would you like to speak on? 

Critical Speaker: Hi there, I've had my hand raised to speak on item number one. Is that still available for general public comment?  

Groat:  So no, item number one, the public hearing was already held at committee. So it was not open for public comment. And the only items that are currently open are items 16 and 17. So would you like to speak about either of those items?  

Critical Speaker:  No, thank you. Thank you.  

Groat:  Okay, next caller. And again, just for everybody who's calling in, only raise your hand if you're here to speak about items 16 or 17. All public comment and general public comment on other matters has been closed.   Next caller, please go ahead. 

Smart Speaker:  Yeah, Mr. Groat, the speaker wanted to speak for one minute on general public comment about item one.  

Groat:  So Mr. Preven, you--  

Smart Speaker:  Please invite him and others, invite people to speak for one minute on those items during general public comment. Thank you, Groat. -  

City Clerk:  No more callers in the queue.   

Smart Speaker: Yes, Eric Preven.  

Jonathan Groat, Deputy City Attorney:  Yes, we can hear you. Good morning. Which item would you like to speak to? 

Smart Speaker:  Well, I'd like to speak on 17, which is the Studio City Bid. And I'd like to speak on one and two, which is the Sportsmen's Lodge project. 

Jonathan Groat, Deputy City Attorney:  Okay, so you can have, you have one minute for item 17, but items one and two are not open for public comment, but you can speak to them during general.  

Smart Speaker:  Oh, they're not open for public comment today?   

Jonathan Groat, Deputy City Attorney:  No, so again, you can have, you have one minute for items.  

Smart Speaker:  And Paul Krekorian is absent, the previous council member who represented the area when all the promises were made and broken and now the lies ... 

Jonathan Groat, Deputy City Attorney:   So you have one minute for item 17 and one minute for general public comment, please begin.  

Smart Speaker: Right, so seventeen, okay, thanks, Groat.  Keep quiet. 

Seventeen reflects the Studio City Business Improvement District, which runs along Ventura Boulevard from, you know, like kind of Colfax I think, or maybe a little further to the east, all the way to Coldwater. This is now CD4, where Raman, our pathetic leader who has consistently let us down and apparently told the newspaper that she "hasn't taken a position on this project."  Well, great. They are trying to put a 94-foot monstrosity full of 520 not-so-affordable apartments + 78 very low-income units with 1400 underground parking spaces. (Nausea) 

Studio City Business Improvement District is comprised of businesses along that corridor.

And a big one, who've been paying a lot in assessments has been Sportsmen's. All those guys at the converted event center where hundreds of Unite Here people used to work, pay.  Now, unfortunately, Krekorian has set up Raman to preside over the destruction of a national treasure. The hotel will be felled.The Studio City Business Improvement District is delighted.   

I guess, but that's because they're a business-friendly group.  Not worker friendly - with their kooky off-the-clock parking solutions for their workers who are stranded.   And with this position, they are not resident-friendly. Now- -  

Jonathan Groat, Deputy City Attorney:  General public comment.  

Smart Speaker:   Studio City Business Improvement District.  No, no, I'm not ready yet. I have other items.

I'd like to talk about the walk of Shame.  

Jonathan Groat, Deputy City Attorney: Sorry, the only item you listed was item 17. So which other items would you like to speak to?  

Smart Speaker:    The walk of shame, not Chappelle, he was continued.  It's not as bad as being canceled. 

Jonathan Groat, Deputy City Attorney:  Okay, so you have one minute for item number 24. 

Smart Speaker:   And then I have one minute for general, right? -  

Jonathan Groat, Deputy City Attorney:  Yes, correct.  

Smart Speaker:   Okay, good. Okay, thank you, Groat. You're doing a great job. You're keeping track of the bouncing balls.  It's hard. The stars along the Boulevard are so important. Studio City is home to many Hollywood Stars, but this walk of fame or shame is in Hollywood, proper.  And in Hollywood, obviously, Dave Chappelle is very funny but always being hassled for his views and not dropping now. The other celebrity is going in and obviously, Hugo Soto-Martinez is gonna participate; maybe make an effort to get a frickin bathroom, maybe.  People are saying Hugo may try to get a bathroom for the people, which I think is a reasonable thing for any kind of Star Walk of Fame visiting area with vending. 

Speaking of people deserving stars, and by the way, you know who should absolutely get a star for being the council's least favorite POS?  

Herr Doktor Paul Krekorian.   Give him a round of applause for skipping school today.  He deserves a huge star located at the corner next to the hydrant that has burst three times on Ventura Boulevard at Sportsmen costing who knows how much.    Near Coldwater, where Harvard-Westlake is located. Where cars keep driving over and, rolling through fire hydrants causing--


 Weddington Golf and Tennis which is in trouble on 4-4-24.  For shame, Harvard-Westlake!

Jonathan Groat, Deputy City Attorney:  Now you have general public comment. 

Smart Speaker: Yeah, I'm pretty sure the public pays to make those repairs.  The developer pays Tina Choi. And Krekorian set the whole thing up and now Raman is left holding the bag. So, if this sounds familiar, or similar to the Harvard Westlake travesty, for the many fans listening.  

Yes. The big problem is, you know, they want to put something that is 94 feet tall. Maybe they'll call it the Krekorian/Torossian Towers. And I don't understand what happened to Ben Besley, the mayor's buddy... who worked at Midwood and jumped ship suddenly after the ABC violation. 

 As for Midwood today, what an unbelievably shameful.... your strategy of coming to town and telling Unite Here Local 11, the residents association and an upscale supermarket to get lost, is rather stupid.  

It's also not wise to nix a hotel when we are explicitly trying to add hotel rooms.  It's a very nice mid-century modern classic.  So,  Marmol Radziinger, the shameless people who cooked up the monstrosity are over. 

Jonathan Groat, Deputy City Attorney: Your time has expired.

 (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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