16
Tue, Jul

Big Mess

ERIC PREVEN'S NOTEBOOK

ERIC PREVEN’S NOTEBOOK - The county met openly for a total of six hours and twenty minutes this week. There was a two-hour Budget Deliberation and a four-hour regular meeting with 114 items on it.  The next time the board plans to meet is on July 9th at 9:30 am.  Nice work if you can get... elected. 

The Board had 158 pages of transcript on Tuesday most of which was the Supervisors themselves pontificating and thanking one another for their important work.  Janice Hahn missed her third board meeting in a row and when asked, the Los Angeles Times shrugged: "She must be on a trip." 

Smart Speaker:  Yes.  Where, pray tell?! 

Talk about tripping, I was pleased to see Lisa Mandel, the former chief of staff for Sheila Kuehl who during her tenure did more to decimate public comment than anyone since Benito Mussolini, was there stepping in for Brandon T. Nichols the current DCFS topper.  

DCFS stands for Department of Children and Family Services. No word if Nichols, who is regarded throughout the nation as an accomplished professional with more than 20 years of expertise in child welfare, foster care, adoptions, mental health, and the law, is with AWOL, Janice Hahn.   

Being away did not stop the family of a toddler from filing a lawsuit against the DCFS for $65 million, alleging that the boy fell unconscious and died while his mother, grandfather, and a DCFS social worker were present at the home as the boy overdosed on Fentanyl. 

Mitchell was rather upbeat and suggested that the Transition Aged Youth in the county's system that she had spoken to are organized and ready but that Social Workers do not call them back.  Ms. Mandel sees it as, "an opportunity to be better" and touted  The Yes Unit

 

The public comment was kicked off by Miguel Santana the former CAO of Los Angeles and CEO of the Weingart Foundation. If Mandel is a chip off the old Kuehl, Santana is a chip off of the old Bill Fujioka, a former CEO at the County and former CAO at the city. This brother is hooked up tight inside.  

Other usual suspects, who made the promenade downtown to adore the Supes were Yvonne Wheeler of the County Federation of Labor, Sarah Dusseaux of the Blue Ribbon Commission, and Stephanie Klasky-Gamer of LA Family Housing. They all came to kiss the rings and offer support for the Supervisors' effort to get a new 1/4 cent sales tax on the ballot to replace Measure H.   

A surprise creepy appearance by Rick Jacobs, the former Eric Garcetti aide and national democratic fundraiser who triggered a $1.8M payout in a sex harassment case, caught some victims off guard.  Ambassador Eric Garcetti did not testify.  

Rick Jacobs testifies before Lindsey Horvath:

Rick Jacobs was Eric Garcetti's henchman and a very "handsy" and "tonguesy" guy. 

 

There were about 60 public comments overall on a 114-item board meeting agenda.  Most of the speakers were from people working at NGOs advocating for more funding from the Board.  

For the general public comment, there were only ten speakers.  Kudos to the chair, for once again, failing to call up a critic, despite his diligently pressing 1 then 0 and hearing the prompt, "You're in queue."    

As for agenda item 48, Supervisor Mitchell is recusing herself pursuant to 84308 because she received a contribution or contributions of more than $250 within the past 12 months from Paul Viviano who is a party, participant or agent of a party or participant in the proceeding.  

Supervisor Barger is recusing herself pursuant to 84308 because she received a contribution or contributions of more than $250 within the past 12 months from Prime Healthcare Services In. who is a party, participant, or agent of a party or participant in the proceeding.  

Directives 3 through 6 of the item will be administratively carried over to July 9, 2024.  Whatever that means.   

Inspector General Max Huntsman's report was capably buried and there was no discussion at all. 

And though there was a nice recognition of the history of county Parks and Recreation - the American Golf heist was downplayed.  There was not a single speaker in support of the county's parks.  The chair even said something awkward about it.   

Listen, who needs support from public speakers when you have Hilda Solis in your corner going deep and long for the Whittier Narrows Recreation Area Bicycle Moto-Cross (BMX) Facility?   

Gracias, a todo!  

Moderator: Our first participant is Eric Preven, please unmute and speak directly into your phone, you may begin.  

Smart Speaker:  Thank you, am I unmuted, because I don't have an unmute feature?  

Sup. Lindsey Horvath, chair: We can hear you.  

Smart Speaker: Great, thanks. Well, I also love the parks and the park system. The county parks, also the county beaches. This is parks and rec, Norma Garcia, et cetera. The history of the county operation has been robust. Certainly, the county golf operations, the county has about 17 golf courses.  The thing that upsets me is that they're run by an onerous private equity company that sucks a lot of money out of the county cash register. And Garcia goes along.   

Yet, the unmet needs are real. We heard at the budget hearing yesterday, "They are down to one rec coordinator per park in some spots.  This means if they call in sick... we have no one."  

So, when the county needs staff to run the parks, it's upsetting to read in the New York Times about private equity, Goldman Sachs, Fortress, Newcastle, and mastermind, Wesley Edens.  

Smart Speaker:  All these big players from New York, so good work getting the Triple-A bond rating back. But what we need is to make the county --  

Executive Officer: Your time has expired. Next speaker, please.  

Smart Speaker: Thank you good luck and congratulations.  

LA City:  Sunnyside Up

Smart Speaker:  Yeah, it's Eric Preven I'd like to speak on twenty-five, twenty-six, and four, five and six.  And a general public comment.  

Jonathan Groat, Deputy City Attorney: Okay, so you have three minutes for the items; General public comment is not currently open, we will be taking it later so stay on the line. Go ahead, you have three minutes for the items.  

Smart Speaker:  What about the Ernst & Young item and the $5.5 million is that in the section where you can speak about it?  The Ernst & Young contract?  No.  Okay, fine let's go to the Animal Service centers. You know this has been-- what is so upsetting about this one - and we noted the Larry Gross resignation news from Dan Guss's substack - but this fiasco among the animals has been a kind of... active negligence.  The city knows, has known, has known for a decade, that their strategy is to contract with various groups that either do the job or don't do it, yet in every case leave the Animal Services department, what you know as the pound, horribly understaffed.  To the point where, I know you recall, last week the city settled a case for seven and a half million dollars, which is just an astonishing, shocking number paid to a person who a dog maimed that the city knew was dangerous.  The ongoing problems are so sad because even Bob Blumenfield (CD3) loves to cuddle with these little critters.  Yet you couldn't bring yourselves to do what Mike Antonovich did over at the board of supervisors and Kathryn Barger (SD5) does now -- two pet adoptions at every meeting!   Anyway, it's too painful when any of us see a little animal in crisis, we cringe at the egregious abuses of the city.  So my heart goes out to Katy Yaroslavsky and Imelda Padilla.  

Now, as for the business improvement districts, you'll be tabulating the ballot on June 3, and whenever I hear the word ballot I think of what happened yesterday when the Board of Supervisors pushed through the new measure H replacement to be on the ballot and I believe you shoved the Police Board of rights matter on there as well.  Kudos. 

The county wants a quarter-cent sales tax to feed the very same LAHSA machine that Monica Rodriguez has been jumping up and down about demanding accountability.  So, yes it was upsetting.   

Now, item 25 is tough. You guys say there's no clear public benefit? Well, there's a public benefit for the owners of land who don't care about the public and are just in it to win it.  

But those developers who claim "by right" also miss the point. The people who live in the neighborhoods and communities have rights in land use discussion.  Everybody knows SD1 trying to get things built no matter what - screw the process -  is problematic.  Flouting the will of the local people in the community has failed and the prevaricators and equivocators and Harvard Westlake bastards and all the experts who lie and cheat and mitigate for money will regret their actions. They carefully, dishonestly, address every single impact.  Khalatian loves addressing things with mitigation. Just one wrinkle, when all is said and done, these Khalatian types will have to face themselves in the mirror every single day,  and they will see the reflection of a person making a horrible horrible undoable mistake - power over the people!  Yuck.   

Naturally,  many of the nasty projects they fight for fail in the end.  Time will tell.  Remember Boat Central in the Marina? Remember the Women's Jail at Mira Loma?  The list is long... the party never ends.  Your time has expired.      

Local Shame & Lunch!

In local shame, the Weddington property is looking like a dirt patch and Bill Nye the Science guy and thousands of Studio City residents are feeling badly about the massacre of trees.  Lindsey Horvath, the county supervisor, and Mark Pestrella despite constant efforts to alert them, allowed some trees on the county side to be destroyed.  Oops. 

Apparently, Harvard Westlake School has a River Park Advisory Committee comprised of cooperation-minded folks, like the local business improvement district, the Chamber of Commerce,  the Neighborhood Council  President, and one assumes, a representative from the MRCA.  Apparently, individuals or entities who are suing Harvard-Westlake are not on this particular committee.   

One question has arisen, once Khalatian and the lawyers dispense with all the lawsuits, will those neighbors who sued to protect the neighborhood,  be allowed on the premises?  To be clear, after the Khalatian steamroller has decimated everything? 

Smart Speaker: Great question.  

Damage to the Remainder: 

Moderator: Next is Eric Preven, please unmute and speak directly into your phone, you may begin. 

Smart Speaker: Thanks. This is the measure H replacement idea. They got 393,000 signatures. But this is very interesting. Jeremy Gray used to work in the Executive Office as a political hack for the supervisors, now he's overseeing the self-serving ballot measures.  Well done.  

The Registrar Dean Logan, who Jeramy works for,  only 21 verified 11,800 of the signatures. Dean is a highly regarded totally impartial guy.   Wink wink.  He just projects that based on the 3% random sample at least 287,000, which would be 120%, is sufficient.   He signed something to that effect on June 18. You know, I have been an advocate for taking care of the problem of the unhoused.  But I think the taxpayers have been exhausted. Whereas I love the fact that Holly J. Mitchell is so excited about more funding sources and locking up funding sources we need to be clear with the people that we are trying to fund the very same failed operation. I know you have some other great ones coming up --  

Executive Officer: Thank you your time has expired, 

Moderator: The next participant is Eric Preven. Please unmute and speak directly into the phone. You may begin.  

Smart Speaker:  Thank you. Eric Preven from Studio City and transition-aged youth deserve a better deal. And you know, I appreciate  Nichols is on vacation. Unbelievable. Where is Supervisor Hahn?  Hopefully, she is okay. This is the third meeting she's missed in a row.. But DCFS is an example of the county, you know, at its best saving lives when there is a dire need, but also at its absolute worst. When you have ten bureaucrats sitting around a table discussing the future of a child, that none of them really know.  When you speak to foster parents who have experienced it,  it's just unbearable. And the next solution is a Court where, if you haven't attended, you will never see a more disturbing place.  I know that you know, we reward the people that go in there every day and try. It is such a bungle. It is beyond release. The only thing worse is the criminal side where the Youth probation debacle ... where you have been once again engaged in a kind of self-harm by neglect.  Ten years ago paragraph 73 was very clear, "let these kids out of custody. Do not put kids in custody."   

Executive Officer: Thank you. Your time has expired. 

Moderator: The next participant is Eric Preven. Please unmute and speak directly into the phone. You may begin.  

Smart Speaker: Thank you. Hepatitis C is a viral infection that affects the liver. And you know, can be long term. I appreciate the authority reaching out and trying to, you know, get in there. Get in there and do the work, to make sure that people get the vaccine. And people will get it.  

By hosting a meeting like this, putting the item right here in the middle, ahead of 75 other items.   If you look at the pending items up on the board,  Looks to be 75 and 100 items blocked from comment, while we hear from the Hep C community, it is kind of, it is a pageant. It is definitely impressive that you platformed and prioritized it this way, and have allowed it to take up such a robust percentage of the time allotted for today's public meeting.  As for the other sneaky items you have in  there, and all of the other stuff --  

Executive Officer:  Thank you. Your time has expired.  

Moderator: The next participant is Eric Preven. Please unmute and speak directly into the phone. You may begin.  

Smart Speaker:  Thank you. I'm Eric Preven. I must say, I'm deeply moved by this. Because you know, for a Dad, I am a dad and I have a dad who I adore.  He is in his late 80s and still very sharp and vibrant. As is my mother so I'm really lucky in that regard. Yet, it is so infrequent that the dads are recognized by this hallowed group of women. This Board is highly focused on other groups that are given wide access to extraordinary platforms and if I hear the word "equity" again, I will celebrate as we always do and just did on Juneteenth.  So very exciting, as we are heading into the 4th of July as well there are so many wonderful things to celebrate and for this Board, in that context, to put the Dads on the table for one day.  Deeply moving.  Of course, one equals 365 days a year of respect and equity.   

Moderator: Next participant, Eric Preven. You may begin. 

Smart Speaker: Thank you. And you know, Men's Central, you know, when I started paying attention right around the time when Zev Yaroslavsky and Mark Ridley-Thomas started the Civilian Commission on Jail Violence.  And the former sheriff, whatever his name, Jim McDonnell was sitting up there alongside all of the great geniuses including the Good Right Reverend Cecil B. Murray, may he rest in peace.  They put together a huge operation of nearly one hundred lawyers all working for free pro Bono.  So sweet.  

And county counsel and Roger Granbo presided over the entire massive de-favoritization.  Yesterday, the Los Angeles Times noticed, Peter Eliasberg as one of the most influential people in Los Angeles lol. That is very exciting. I hope Rebecca Ellis covers how that all went down. As many of you know, before Peter was famous, he partnered up with little old me and we sued the County over concerns related to their scorched earth litigation policy in defense of vicious deputies. I wondered, why they were hiring private attorneys with public money to do horrible things...  including covering up ... various beatings of the public.  

BUDGET DELIBERATION DAY:

Moderator: The first participant is Eric Preven, unmute and speak directly into your phone, you may begin. 

Smart Speaker: Thank you. I'm not clear on the format, am I speaking on -- there are a million items. Just go for it and we'll see how far I get. I don't --  

Sup. Lindsey Horvath, chair: All budget items.  

Smart Speaker: Okay, everything together, thank you. How much time is afforded so I'll try to size my remarks.  

Sup. Lindsey Horvath, chair: 90 seconds.  

Smart Speaker: How much? 90 seconds.  Okay, well that's hard but I'll try.  Thanks for resolving item 3c clarifying that the Sheriff's department is going to continue bungling the county parking enforcement. Department of Public Works where Mark Pestrella is waiting to jump in and take over at Mitchell's urging, is going to take a wait-and-see and continue to push a final decision down the road while dilgently undermining the Sheriff.  

I liked the video and it was nice to see Felicity, someone who looks like a younger Supervisor Mitchell, in there finally.   This board is tired of the overemphasis on men and the patriarchy.  Interesting to see in the county art commission that Patrice Cullors and  Liane Weintraub are nestled in there next to  Randy Tahara.  

Sarah Dusseault lead strategist.

 

I certainly remember Randy Tahara, and her tenacity working for the former Supervisor from District 2, Mark Ridley-Thomas. She conducted a lot of business for MRT including assisting him with attendance at totally inappropriate offsite meetings during fair public hearings on a festering landfills. Think Chiquita!  

On May 15th, Eric Preven noted and thanked the chair and the CEO for mentioning that we need to get clarity about the calculation on the claims related to the McClaren Hall abuse. That is a looming, frightening thing. Where is Fesia Davenport's work on her suggested three billion in possible payouts?  

I'm excited about the Museum of  Natural History mobile program. I want Holly Mitchell to work very hard along with the private sector to make sure that the --  Lucas Museum and the Museum of Natural History do not charge a fee for admission.  They can sell tchotchkes in the gift shop. The entrance must be free.

 

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