15
Sat, Jun

Wiggle Room Timeline

ERIC PREVEN'S NOTEBOOK

ERIC PREVEN’S NOTEBOOK - The Tuesday, May 28, 2024 Board Meeting has been cancelled. The next Regular Board Meeting will be held on Tuesday, June 4, 2024 at 9:30 a.m.  Unbelievable.  

The city is counting down to summer recess that begins on Friday, July 5, 2024 and runs through Friday, July 26, 2024. So exciting!  

That's why a consortium of eager beavers have been calling for an election for the position of Council President.  Spoiler:  Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson will likely be tapped to be the Council President effective September 20, 2024.  

The current chair of the City Planning department told KNX that was not a matter for the public to be concerned with, but rather, the council to decide. [anger emoji] 

Let Us Never Forget:

Mr. Huizar's attorneys successfully pushed back his prison start date until the end of summer.  

"If anyone dared rebuff [Jose Huizar's] call to pay bribes, he punished them and their city projects, threatening developers with indefinitely delayed projects and financial peril," according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. 

The man who took the helm of the Planning and Land Use Committee that Jose Huizar ran with an iron fist and briefcase full of money, was a real chip off the old Herb Wesson.  

 

MHD: "Look, I get a lot of contributions, I don't always know."  

 

When Marqueece Harris-Dawson MHD and David Ryu arrived on the scene at City Hall there was a real feeling, "Whoa, we've got some possible progressives up in here, things are going to change."   

Nithya Raman ate Mr. Ryu’s lunch becoming the undisputed GOAT when it comes to progressive election winners and Lindsey P. Horvath spun the revolving door to land one of CD4's top deputies who now acts as Horvath's chief of staff.  

Nothing to see here, keep moving.  

A few years ago I had a minor tete-a-tete with Mr. Harris-Dawson in the corridor when I discovered that the Goldbergers of Atlas Capital, a sponsor of the Central City Association decided to return their Richelle Huizar contributions 14 days before the FBI investigation.  

Was Goldberger in cahoots with the FBI, I wondered.    

Whenever I have fun questions relating to contributions and possible favors I contact the Ethics Commission first. They're very approachable.   

In this case, they didn't respond for 14 days.  

And though that might be explained by the impressive statistic that Paul Krekorian proudly touts, that over the last decade, or at least as long as Krekorian can remember, all Ethics Commission requests for funding have been approved ... by Krekorian!  Thank you, sir. Very independent. 

How is it that a building developer can be squeezed for a monetary 'term' like for instance being asked to provide $500,000 in community benefit (as conveyed by DL Piper for Atlas) as one of the conditions to moving forward with a project that needs to be VOTED on by City Planning and City Council kosher?     

Wiggle Room Timeline:  

October 11,  $800 contribution to RICHELLE HUIZAR from Jeffrey Goldberger of Atlas 

+ $800 from Laurie Goldberger 

October 24,   REFUND  $800 contribution to RICHELLE HUIZAR from Jeffrey Goldberger of Atlas 

+ $800 from Laurie Goldberger 

November 7, FBI raids the councilman's fourth-floor City Hall office and the HUIZAR's home as well as a Boyle Heights field office.  

November 15, HUIZAR stripped of committee assignments including PLUM 

December 26,  $800 contribution to Marqueece Harris-Dawson from Jeffrey Goldberger of Atlas 

+ $800 from  Laurie Goldberger 

March 19,   Marqueece Harris-Dawson votes on the project    

I confronted Marqueece Harris-Dawson as he was leaving a council meeting, where I’d given a public comment calling out the Atlas shuffle... 

"Why did you take contributions from Goldberger if you didn't know?"  He shrugged, "Look, I get a lot of contributions, I don't always know."  

Smart Speaker:   Right, like Seabreeze. 

Plunking down contributions on council members is an excellent way to get a Council member's attention.   

Maybe not Harris-Dawson’s. Though, we remember the connection to George Chiang the third person to agree to plead guilty to a federal felony. Turns out back in 2017 Harris-Dawson got $800 check from Synergy Alliance Advisors, which listed Chiang as its CEO.  

As for tie-ins with the Crossroads project, Harris-Dawson also received $1,500 in campaign cash from Harridge CEO David Schwartzman, with $800 of that arriving on December 27, 2018, just weeks before the PLUM hearing on Crossroads.   

It's worth noting $2,400 of the total $22,000 smeared around on the project went to Council member Mitch O'Farrell.   

Smart Speaker:  I wonder if Mitch O'Farrell has become a lobbyist, like Herb Wesson?  

Shut him down:

Marqueece Harris-Dawson has a trigger finger that I Herb Wesson-esque.  

When in doubt, interrupt a speaker, and set the record straight. If they object, cut 'em off. 

You should see the terrible treatment of members of the public who come before the PLUM committee under the newly tyrannical rule of MHD. The unwritten rule is the so-called Subject Matter Experts should be silenced at any cost. 

 

Nithya Raman reads a presentation.

 

The Feds should be able to show that the Council has been engaged in a scheme to legitimate the suppression of public scrutiny in furtherance of their alleged criminal activity. 

We already know the city council has been engaged in various activities, “The city has been engaged in a pattern of abuse on the Brown Act.” 

On September 30, 2016, the city council initiated amendments to the public comment rules at city hearings. The City Council's new speaking rules create a two-class system of public participation. 

I approached the Silverstein Law Firm, whose client, George Abraham, had also sued over amendments to the City Council's rule changes under the Brown Act. During that case, Mr. Abraham, and I were in contact.  

Then Mr. Abraham, who was a passionate advocate, was hit by a FedEx truck and became incapacitated. Eventually, his time fully expired. 

The attorneys from the Silverstein firm approached me to step in for George, and I agreed. The Silverstein firm then asked me to provide detailed information about my work holding the council accountable. The reason was ostensibly to work on a declaration for me. 

In retrospect, this was all part of the City Attorney's scheme to contain and suppress critics.  It was Mike  Feuer at that moment in time, but Hydee Feldstein-Soto is no better.   

My 'good faith' participation appeared to be used as leverage by the Silverstein firm to drive up the money on a 'proposed stipulated judgment'.  It was not ethical or nice, it was real lawyerly.  

I don't believe George Abraham would EVER agree to dismiss with prejudice the dangerous and illegal rule changes that Her Wesson enacted and that George despised.  

Four-camera coverage of the Navy Band.

 

Memorial:

George Abraham, RIP -- "The council has long ignored fair speaking rules in many venues.  Alright. One is at the land use hearings.  We've gone to court many times.  We've complained about it during these EIRs. These planning cases, we never know how much time we are going to get to speak.  And so, I think leaving something to the call of the chair, how much time you get to speak is just arbitrary and unfair. It's part of your job to listen. Your paid to listen.  That's why you are here.  To find out what the public thinks about issues that come before this body.  And so I think it is wrong for you to treat the speakers basically like they are some kind of a nuisance.  Something--Oh, how can we stop these people from coming up here and speaking all the time.  Well, it's your job, so I hope that you will not adopt these new rules." 

Herbert J. Wesson, Council President:  Thank you. Thank you.  And again just to clarify things, we've been operating, using this policy for about six weeks.  So, it's not a surprise.  We're not eliminating individuals' rights to speak, we're moving public comment from the end of the session to the beginning. So, that people can come here; they can speak, and if they choose to leave and go back to work, they can.  

Dishonorable Discharge:

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

Strefan Fauble, Deputy City Attorney:  You have three minutes for Items twelve through twenty-five followed by a minute for General. 

Smart Speaker:   Special request: don't interrupt because this one is complicated.  Okay? I appreciate that. 

I know you are going to have a closed session on Mei Ling. Mei Ling was fifty-seven years old in 2011 when she filed her lawsuit against a North Hollywood place that had promised the CRLA that they would make it accessible to people who travel in a wheelchair, people who we used to refer to as disabled. 

Paul Krekorian got elected and for a decade the city council went into the back room and told Mei Ling to fuck off until she finally prevailed, a federal lawsuit came and the city taxpayers were forced to come up with 3.1 million dollars. Just shameful, the way the city treated her. Now, the matter is back on the agenda and, frankly we don't know exactly why. Good work, Fauble. 

I am delighted to see the EPA down here among all the noxious fumes and I want to thank Bob Blumenfield and FEMA both. So, that's FEMA,  Blumenfield's obsession, and Blumenfiled himself, both!  

I just don't want to leave anyone out. It has all been said before, but that has never stopped this body from reiterating things. 

And thank you for recognizing Valley Pride. "The San Fernando Valley Pride Rally and March" is coming soon -- You know, when you put terms like "march" out there. I don't know, I guess it is a march -- But I think someone needs to wordsmith these things. How about a parade... we want to celebrate, not sort of militarize or get sucked into a weird "protest" feeling.  

I agree with the prior speaker that it is nice to recognize Africa Day but lighting up city hall is an odd way of doing it. I know we have limited resources -- 

Listen,  the "thirty by thirty" conservation campaign item, about open space conservation. I can't tell if anybody is in the room anymore, but I know that Nithya Raman believes in her heart that open space is a good and valuable thing and that we have a limited amount of it.  She's very smart.  And we also know that Katy Yaroslavsky certainly likes to talk the talk.  How brave standing up to Bufgari for her rich people. Thank you. 

A lot of us were deeply moved by the brave and heroic sending back to the Public Works committee the light sentence for a violator of the protected tree ordinance in Raman's district.   

Apparently, the Public Works committee had issued a slap on the wrist instead of a much-needed ass-kicking. .  

Councilwoman Raman, is there any way that you can step forward and halt the massacre of the trees at Weddington our beloved community space and golf course in Studio City?  And why in the world would we agree to knock down a perfectly charming rec center to erect a giant -- tribute to high school regulation basketball courts?  

Strefan Fauble, Deputy City Attorney:  Can you move on to the next item Mr. Preven? 

Well, the preferential parking district in CD10 is in Heather Hutt's district, during an election time, but the public cannot speak on that item. Is that right?  She's setting up ways for her residents to beat the system during election time, but the public cannot make a comment on it, so respectfully, I will skip it, Fauble.  

Now, the PFAS or (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances)  item, relates to our concerns about the artificial turf favored by Harvard Westlake, over the natural grassy lawn we have now.  I would request that the Planning department look closer at the PFAS in artificial turf and immediately halt the Harvard-Westlake project.  

Now, going back to Workday software. Workday, is one of the greatest humiliations the city has ever faced.  This company is helping with the payroll software system intended it to pay the many city workers whose rates were recently jacked up by this hallowed council.  We now have a 400 million dollar deficit....  

Incidentally, kudos to Blieb Blumenfield for quietly reducing public comment on the budget by approximately 500%.

Strefan Fauble, Deputy City Attorney:  You can go to general, Mr Preven.  

Smart Speaker: Is it general public comment, now? 

Strefan Fauble, Deputy City Attorney: Yes.  

What can one generally say, other than, as we head into Memorial Day, and the remainder of fleet week, what a great celebration of oneself, for the council to focus on? As the council heads off into the weekend think about all the self-involved, fatuous activities, wherein you surround yourselves with honorable people, rather than facing the music.  Or I should say, the public!   

We all agree that the city has significant problems with transparency and accountability, and yet Eunisses Hernandez wants to step right up in front of... the public and say, "Fam, let's cut these public meetings down to one a week. We don't need to hear from nasty people."   

I would say,  "Resign." 

I mean, honestly, you know I have been a big supporter. You know where I'm from and what I do. To speak out against public comment... out loud or in private?   That hurts the people of Los Angeles.  And I don't know what to say, but it's enough already.   

It is time to finally allow virtual testimony at committee meetings -- 

Paul Krekorian, Council President (CD2): Thanks.

Strefan Fauble, Deputy City Attorney:  Thank you

Paul Krekorian, Council President (CD2): Thanks, very much. 

(Eric Preven is a longtime community activist and is a contributor to CityWatch. )