27
Mon, May

A U.S. Capital Idea

ERIC PREVEN'S NOTEBOOK

ERIC PREVEN’S NOTEBOOK - Ambassador Garcetti praised India for organizing the upcoming mammoth general elections with nearly one billion voters in the electorate and said that "the US has something to learn from India" in how to improve its electoral practices and procedures.

Word. Mayor Eric Garcetti defeated a field of 10 challengers to win his second term.

No word if the practice of running a stalking horse to promote an incumbent landslide originated in India.  Remember, Garcetti's schleppy opponent, Mitchell Schwartz, ran a mailer campaign with a good photo of Eric Garcetti on one side and a terrible one of himself on the other. The whole thing was very innovative because it was funded by out of state dems eager to support the future Ambassador ... and his opponent, I guess. (Yes, Rick Jacobs, the harasser worked in that exact space! Yikes.)   

Ambassador Garcetti lathering up India is par for the course, but last month India summoned a senior US diplomat to its External Affairs Ministry's office following contentious comments made by the US State Department regarding the arrest of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. 

In a stern message to the US, I read on an Indian news site, New Delhi cautioned the Biden administration from making any controversial or schooling India about how to run a democracy. "The MEA underscored India is a democratic country and that America should not interfere in its internal matters."

Naturally.

Garcetti, who majored in smoothing over fiascos rolled out a narration he'd put together of personal memories of "magical moments" that he experienced during his visits to India since childhood.  He told a private crowd that he's had a deep emotional connection with India for decades and remarked that "India never left my soul."  

Lovely.

Garcetti also mentioned that US President Joe Biden had once told him that India "was the most important country in the world" and that Washington's ties with New Delhi were "the most consequential" for shaping the world order in the twenty-first century. 

[APPLAUSE]

US Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti visited Amritsar, Punjab, to see the Golden Temple with his spouse Amy Wakeland, and another family member.

Smart Speaker:  The Ambuttkisser is nailing it for the people. Thank you, Sir.  

The Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration: 

Smart Speaker:  Thank you, Supervisors, and feliz cumpleanos to Dolores Huerta, what a giant in the industry.  

It's very exciting that April 10 will be her day going forward. A great feminist, an amazing labor leader, who as you all agreed has... aged with power.  I mean, I think this should be a federal holiday to be fair ...and 

Unite Here Local 11 needs your help, Ms. Huerta, because in Studio City where Horvath and Raman are running things, they do a decent job for labor ordinarily, but they've turned their backs on workers relating to a project that is coming in and going to put -- an awesome workforce at one of the most historic hotels for labor, the Sportsmen's lodge.  These workers would do anything to keep their jobs. At one point the developer bused dozens of them in to vote in a silly neighborhood council election.  Now they are all united against this greedy project. 

I noted that your impressive archives are housed at the Reuther Museum at Wayne State in Detroit. Supervisors, Dolore, this story, the story of Sportsmen's Lodge is very important.  It's a classic case of a greedy Wall Streeter who has come from New York City to Los Angeles to put Angeleno hotel workers out of middle-class jobs.  

Moderator: Your time has expired. Next Speaker, please? 

Smart Speaker:  Horvath should skip the trip to Washington and lift a finger for her constituents. 

Moderator:  Madame Chair there are no other remote speakers to address the board.  

Executive Officer:  Moderator, May we have the first speaker.  

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

Four hours and twenty minutes in:

Smart Speaker: Thank you, Supervisors. The meeting started four hours and twenty minutes ago. I am sorry you had to have an extended closed session,.. because of the disruption.  I very much support the Arts and the grants.  They're not big enough, though the budget continues to grow. Yet these grants have hovered at the same level for too long.  I'm hoping for bigger more substantial grants.  And I'm eager for the Supervisors to bring in the Studio Chiefs and ask them why they are going out of state all the time. Universal has eleven new projects all out of state, per the Times.  So, this hurts, given that this is the home of Hollywood, so we'd like to shame them a little bit.  And finally, the narrative about Art in everybody's life is a great one. It's especially important that George Lucas and Melody Hobson - I know you are listening Supervisor Mitchell - that they make sure that the Lucas Museum is open to the public for free. They can sell Tchotchkes and Star Wars and cheeseburgers to tourists, but -- 

Moderator: Your time has expired. Next Speaker, please? 

Smart Speaker (extension):   California Science Center is free, The Broad Museum is free, the Hammer Museum is free... and thanks to our in-house fighter for equity, Holly Mitchell, The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art founded by filmmaker George Lucas and his wife, businesswoman Mellody Hobson, will also be free. Right, Supervisor?  

Free admittance is the narrative that many if not all members of the public in Los Angeles crave our city's Museum of Narrative Art located in our beloved Exposition Park.   

So beautiful, a real estate mogul (Broad), a fossil fuel titan (Hammer), and a celebrated entertainer and Starbucks CEO (Lucas/Hobson)... all insisting that their museums be free to the public. I find that deeply moving.  

Five hours and thirty-five minutes in:

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

Smart Speaker:  I want to thank the board of supervisors, who, after a morning of being hidden away in the backroom - agreed to hear that report out in the open with selected members of the press  - it was a long and confusing report.  I was very encouraged to hear that at least 95 people have been permanently housed.  So, we are making a dent, but 80,000 across the county... and I think it's 180,000 across the state of California which is extremely upsetting.  I think we may need to rethink the idea of Supervisor Horvath and others serving on LAHSA and all the little committees.  Because I think that when the same two eyeballs see it over and over again, it's a closed loop.  It was not what I was hoping for, I was hoping it was Horvath rolling up her sleeves to kick some butt and get things done, but I'm just not -- I'm a little worried.  To be fair.  Keep up the great work and I really like the tenacity with which you are digging into this... 

But going to Washington is not appropriate after two weeks off for no good reason, will you be taking virtual comments? Davenport, get in here! 

Moderator: Your time has expired. Next Speaker, please? 

Six hours into the meeting:

Time for the Cambodian genocide recognition.  Long Beach has the largest population of Cambodians outside of Southeast Asia, FYI. 

Six hours and twenty minutes into the meeting: the April 24 Armenian Genocide remembrance day.... truth, justice, and remembrance.  Only fifteen minutes of testimony from Supervisors and the public. This may be the shortest Amenian recognition on record.  

Janice Hahn of the fourth district spoke briefly about the sixty 99 cents stores in LA County. Supervisor Solis alone has 21 stores in the first district. The county headquarters is in commerce and several thousand people work for the place - 3,000.  Paul Krekorian and his wife shop at one near Universal Studios. 

Supervisor Hahn raised the question: "Why do we care about these workers?" 

She answered her own question, "This is what we do, people who are at the end of their rope, financially, emotionally, mentally... the last thing we need is three thousand workers... out"  

Then she gave a shout-out to Kelly Lobianco, "our new leader" over at DEO the economic and workforce development group, before calling up the public who had pulled 85G to address 99 cent store closing. 

Moderator:  There are no remote speakers in the cue.  

Smart Speaker: Gulp. 

Finally, six hours and forty-two minutes into the meeting, all speakers on all items were called. 

A dedicated but weary public gave a few comments, far fewer than expected, and the Executive Officer came on to say, Barger was abstaining on item 12. Mitchell and Horvath were recusing on item 51, Barger was abstaining on item 89 and Janice Hahn needed to recuse on item 3D on account of a greater than $250 donation from Arturo Snyder.   

And one other thing... we're all going to Washington, D.C. "Shhhhhh."  By the time we meet illegally, the press and public will be fresh out of luck. 

The Board of Supervisors with Tom Perez a senior advisor to President Biden in Washington on Wednesday. Nothing in LA Times about the board meeting being shut down by probation department activists.

Seven hours and forty-three minutes into the meeting, the Board adjourned.    

I've reached out about providing comments on Thursday, but no word back as to whether they will take comments.  

Hopefully, Jaclyn Cosgrove of the LA Times hard-hitting desk will report back on the history of Statements of Proceedings for remote meetings.  I'm more focused on the public's right to attend and comment on items... you know monitor the instruments.  

City Sideswipe:

Jonathan Groat, Deputy City Attorney: You have three minutes for the items and one minute for public comment.  

Smart Speaker: I would like to thank council member Rodriguez for coming up with some money for beacons related to traffic safety. People can get hurt if you cannot see pedestrians in the roadway -- by the way, Seleta Reynolds, the former GM of the Department of Transportation and Mike Bonin's bestie is now working with Krekorian over at LA County Metro, in the information deflavorization department. 

She was a leader in establishing preferential parking districts - Americans remember the Berlin Airlift, but Angelenos also remember, the Bonin Carlift from the seminal "Carter, we've run aground" article." ‘Carter, We've Run Aground’… 

But, back to the beacons. What they do is illuminate the roadway by the crosswalk so that a motorist is almost forced to slow down. This way, people don't get injured in the crosswalk.  Brian Panish, Krekorian's old chum who according to a national trial lawyers publication Brian Panish has obtained more than 100 verdicts and settlements over One Million Dollars ($1000000), including 10 jury verdicts over Ten, is picking up $9.5 million for a traffic collision client. He keeps coming back and cleaning the city's clock with Paul Krekorian and Bob Blumenfield. Today's item is stately number 39.   

For all the smoke and scan listeners, who are reading Eric Preven on CityWatch, The total payout for all of the closed session items on today's agenda was... (drumroll)  over 16 million dollars!   

I guessed in the prior article, $12,075,000, so was under by more than $3,000,000.  Not impressive.   

I may announce a winner later, in the interim, Mr. Controller Mejia, please prepare an invoice for $16,268,000 payable by the taxpayers for all the fine work Krekorian-field performed out of view in the backroom.  All of it, conniving with the plaintiff attorneys like George Mgdesyan but also helping to create a false narrative that allows for more taxpayer funds to be kicked out of the LAPD helicopter--   

Let us never forget "Bicycle lawsuits" -- a bold frontier opened by Englander, Krekorian, and LA Times/KCET.  

And through it all, Bob Blumenfield believes we have...  nothing to discuss.  "Flush it all down. Next!" 

Respectfully, there are plenty of things to discuss and I think the public has a right to understand the terms of these deals. By doing it in secrecy you leave the door open for repeat claims. We want to be better so we put ambulance chasing attorneys out of business. 

On today's docket, a variety of LAPD matters that progressives are not objecting to, and at least a few questionably priced... trip and fall and one shocking car crash.  

Jonathan Groat, Deputy City Attorney: The closed session matters we've already had public hearings on them. Please move to an item that is open for public comment.  

Smart Speaker:  Yeah, I'm going to go right to my general comment now and tell you that I disagree with the "play" that you have been running on these closed sessions; The Blumenfield-Krekorian, skidoo. Frankly, it's bullshit.  

What happens is when you announce the terms that are supposed to be announced after a closed session, in an open session, the Brown Act requires that you take comments.  But you are a bad actor and some say a pumpkin head. 

Jonathan Groat, Deputy City Attorney: I asked you to move on to the agenda items, I am going to move you to general public comment.  

Smart Speaker:  Yeah, I'm moving to general public comment, I'm voluntarily moving to public comment, starting now. I'll need the full sixty seconds, though.  You can't keep interrupting, Mr. Groat, especially on this particular discussion about your crooked closed-session practice, because it is squarely in your purview, as the city's deputy Brown Act bungler.  I apologize. It must not be easy to lay the giant head down to rest at night, knowing a massive decision will fall down from on high making costly legal demands on Mama Hydee.  It's not too late, Groat, to do the right thing, we have a springtime special that I will check to see if you qualify for. 

Anyway, I digressed. When the highest-paid city council in North America or South America (not counting bribery) goes into a closed session... they actually don't go! 

Instead, Mr. Krekorian tips his hat to his best Tonto, Bob Blumenfield (CD3) to make a recommendation and Blumenfield says:  "We don't need to go in the closed session,"Tell 'em what they've won, Johnny!" 

But if they had gone in the back room eventually they would have had to come out; the officers would open the doors, the public would be re-admitted and the terms of settlement - for the sake of this example say --  $1 billion, on item 1, and $1 on item 2 - would be read into the record.     

This is the moment.  The Brown Act requires a readout and because the existence of those terms constitutes new information and thus a substantial change to the items, public comment is required on the items.  Any member of the public who indicates that they want to comment should be afforded that opportunity in light of the new info.   

Whether it is a billion dollars or $1 for 30 years, it is substantially different than no information. Therefore the public has a right to say, Yay (good deal), or Nay (too little), or "are you effing crazy" (too much).  Or, a person may want to relate more information before the council votes, for example, "The plaintiff in this case is one of Curren Price's wives, sisters-in-law's cousin!" "Or Krekorian took payments from the lobbyist into his Friend of Krekorian account." 

The City of Los Angeles, rather than appropriately taking public comment on these substantially changed items, play the committee exemption game, as they tried to do the last time Mr. Preven dressed down the entire City Council in Appellate Court and repaired and restored Special Meetings to their special status. Denada. 

This is why Avak Keohtian retired with no speech. And once Paul Krekorian is properly pried off the city's steering wheel and frogmarched out they're going to come into the chambers and make you do it correctly. Groat.   

We don't want to upset you. You've been sufficiently warned, but there is going to be a cost to taxpayers. As with the Willits case, your draconian and wrongheaded interpretations of the closed session rules have cost the public immeasurable pain --  and over $16 million in lawsuit outpouring just today!   For Willits over a billion- 

Jonathan Groat, Deputy City Attorney:  Mr. Preven your time is 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.)