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Bureaucracy Is A Bitch.

ERIC PREVEN'S NOTEBOOK - Homelessness*  (Us v. Them)

A letter addressed to Celia Zavala, the executive officer of the L.A. County Board of Supervisors, from Mayor Eric Garcetti and Council President Nury Martinez said they would not make appointments to the Blue Ribbon commission because the commission’s work would only delay efforts already underway to address the crisis. 

 

PLUM assignment:

The Planning and Land Use Committee meetings are intolerable.  The Chair, Marqueece Harris Dawson of CD 8, sits on a small theoretical throne flanked by Mark Ridley-Thomas and Gilbert Cedillo egging him on to do whatever they want, as west valley boys John Lee (Staffer B of CD12) and Bob #BlumenfieldKnows of CD3, go along to get along.   

Harvard Westlake was on the agenda for an 8:00am Cultural Historical Designation of the Studio City Golf and Tennis, but there were also 14 other items of interest including towers by ONNI.   

What a sham of a mockery of two shams to take only 45 minutes of comment.   

Terri Austin, the applicant, who also works for the Amanda Foundation and appears to be collegial with Paul Krekorian gathered 13,000 signatures from stakeholders who want to be sure the WHOLE golf and tennis is designated.  She couldn't gather any for me, because she's a Canadian, neither could the Studio City Land User ... I digress. 

The heritage commission that makes recommendations to PLUM said just designate the huge golf ball towers and putt putt and the small building.   

So, this item was the Hail Mary to block the school from developing an athletic center.   

But really, it was just more recognition that it's special to our community... 

It is.   

The School represented by Edgar Khalatian of Mayer Brown want to drop the whole 9 hole and say it's open to the public. Hardly. 

The school wants to move forward with their plans to make the best high school athletic facility on the west coast or anywhere.  "We can say it's public all we want, at the end of the day, it's only open when we're not using it, let's move forward." 

These damn HW wolverines will stop at nothing to have a winning program. It does not matter if 15,000 or 34,000 valley residents are inconvenienced or shown the door.   

The POV of the school and parents "We need these HW athletes to be first rate and bus rides to Van Nuys won't cut it. Not at $45,000 a year..." tk. 

Marqueece Harris-Dawson went out of his way to fish out a few callers after public comment. Including Karo Torossian in the role of activist / Chief of Staff for Paul Krekorian.   

I was never called up to speak, not sure if that means that I was deselected. 

Planning and Land Use under MHD is not a particularly hospitable environment for a ordinary member of the public with a point of view. 

I had a lot to say.  

Though Mr. Harris-Dawson was elected, he was really kind of appointed and the integrity of an appointee can be measured in part by quality of the individual making the appointment, in MHD's case, Herbert J. Wesson.   

 

Appointments:

The county board of supervisors who have been AWOL for weeks returned Wednesday and appointed Theane Evangelis to the Blue Ribbon Commission on Homelessness due to an unforeseen vacancy. 

Supervisor Sheila Kuehl of the third district is appointing Eunisses Hernandez and Sophia Li (Alternate), Los Angeles County Care First and Community Investment Advisory Committee. 

Eunisses has been a fighter and colleague for reduced incarceration and alternative strategies. It will be very interesting to see how being invited to the Christmas party so frequently impacts her excellent work.  

Supervisor Janice Hahn of the fourth district is appointing Roger H. Granbo, Jr., Joseph A. Markus, and Rita Topalian, Assessment Appeals Board. Granbo is Darth Vader.  An upper level county counsel who worked with Mike Antonovich "Five" and that firm from Pasadena tying everything up in a giant knot of scorched earth litigation at taxpayer expense. It's been proven to be a failed strategy. 

When I was a young jedi, I stormed Granbo's village... good to see him landing on the Assessment Appeals /Tax Break Approval board!  

Too bad Mary C. Wickham, the former county counsel's blue ribbon commission on homelessness is... listing.   

 

Ass Kissing:

There was a lot of ass-kissing going on at City Hall, fortunately there's plenty of ass to go around.  Today we had another derby between Mr. DeLeon and Mr. Ridley-Thomas who are both very diligent in their appreciation of whatever Council President Nury Martinez says. 

The council president adjourned in the memory of State Assembly Member Anthony Rendon's mother, who passed away recently;  Nury described her as a soft-spoken and powerful woman.  The tribute was sufficiently moving to cause both Mr. DeLeon and Mr. Ridley-Thomas to pile on, so to speak.  Mr. DeLeon was first to the buzzer, and surprised careful council watchers, by not really adjourning in the memory of Rendon's mother, or going self serving, but rather carefully applauding the council president on her eloquence. He called her comments "very powerful."  The CDC has no guidance on Blushing beneath the mask. 

Not to be outdone, Mr. Ridley-Thomas clinked his proverbial glass briefly -- he had played gust-master throughout the meeting, accounting for near thirty percent the meeting oxygen alone, but evidently he was not fully out of gas.  

He followed DeLeon's lead and caught everyone off guard by not bellowing on about himself, but rather skillfully deploying a mirroring technique he praised the Council President's comments as having had the perfect "degree of thoroughness" and angled the mirror in such a way as to reveal no shortage of ass for the continuation agenda. 

 

Speed is your ally...

Elected officials are always striving to find big easy target subjects to be 'way out front' leaders in the crusade to pander to the electorate about what a great guy or gal you are.  It's the essence of the job.   So, while Karo was decompensating at the Harvard Westlake Kabuki theatre cultural historic landmark hearing in PLUM, the boss Paul Krekorian was filing a press release. 

"Today, I sent a letter signed by six of my Council colleagues to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors asking that body to "create a plan for a swift, managed phase out of all fossil fuel production in Los Angeles County."   

What a great guy!  Krekorian didn't say a word at the meeting but getting out ahead of all fossil fuel production... very timely. 

Mitch O'Farrell of CD 13, started with an introduction intended to raise a listener's blood pressure, reminding that it was five years ago that HHH was approved to provide 10,000 units of permanent supportive housing (we're getting near 1,000). 

He's the one who is credited with power washing Echo Park Lake and can normally be found in his half of Hollywood doing cultural historical/river funding and luxury condos with Mr. Cedillo.  But Tuesday he had an item aimed at speeding up the payments to HHH homeless contractors and builders. Stat. 

Homeless funding and the speed at which such money is pushed out the door is a real hot button issue with our electeds. You can't angle and grab for more public money, with a straight face, if the prior money is still clogging up in the hose out to the treasured partners. 

O'Farrell said, "due to the pandemic and reduced staffing, it could take "six months to produce a check."  "This," he said pivoting "harms businesses, especially minority and women contractors."   

Housing is the priority, but timely payments are also important.  I had no idea that most of the HHH developers are minorities and women.  Maybe Jeanne Min, O'Farrell's chief of staff can substantiate that claim. 

This item hat had been seconded by the former Supervisor, Mark Ridley-Thomas, aroused a mini-gust about his devotion to getting the money out the damn and fast... real fast... a little faster.   

Back when MRT and the county were being criticized for massive confusion around Measure H funding, the maestro of manipulation loaded out a narrative that made it seem like he would be personally policing how the money was being spent (with his carefully planted not for profit recipients.)  

"How the money is being spent", it turns out... requires more study, but how quickly the money is being spent is a core ideology over at MRT enterprises.  

Before John Naimo, the former Auditor-Controller for Los Angeles County, took over on the civilian oversight board for Measure H raising public eyebrows, they were talking about bringing in a financial management assessment firm. Now we have a Blue Ribbon Commission on Homelessness*  

Sort of.   

One good question, how is the Blue Ribbon Commission on Homelessness going to make recommendations in six months, when the city can't get a check out the door in six months?  

Now, five years into the HHH crisis, we need more evidence in order for our confidence level to be raised.  

 

Do you know the way to  San Jose... 

LA City Council passes stricter law around protesting outside of residences, allowing those targeted and their neighbors to seek up to $1,000 from violators of the law.  Part of my public comment on the matter was allegedly on NPR's All Things Considered.  

A lot of speakers reminded that far right wingers.... all year long were never arrested by LAPD ... so this seemed a double standard.  Also it was pointed out that there are already laws for the scary behaviors that are not okay, but reportable and manageable.   

There was also an effort to revive a bad idea by Joe Buscaino intended to criminalize minor infractions... an extension of the 'you're not wanted at city hall' program.    

Important to remember it is the elected officials job to bear the brunt of the public's displeasure as well as gratitude.

 

Tail:

Blumenfield closed by touting that Oregon had managed to divert 17% of 911 calls to unarmed crisis response teams... can't keep asking officers to be social workers.  As we released an RFP, he wanted to make an amendment to make sure we have a lot of bidders... really trying to create something special. A lot of ways to do this, he said. 

Implement, innovate and make positive changes.  

Council President Martinez tagged Blumenfield's motion with a reminder that it was the great initiative of Herbert J. Wesson.  She wasn't sure if he was listening but she wanted him to get some credit for the RFP.  Reminding bidders, who your daddy is. 

 

Policies for engagement, a formula

There was a city housing committee report relative to the need for a consistent system so that reports clearly articulate the project costs and City funding allocated to a project so that the public can clearly understand what is being voted upon when the public views an item on a Committee or Council agenda.   

Good luck with that!  But FYI there is a whole ethos dedicated to obscuring everything. That's why I'm considering starting a podcast.

 

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

The views expressed and content submitted do not necessarily reflect those of CityWatch or CityWatch writers.