THE CITY-Announcing the publication of the Civic Memory Working Group’s report and its topline recommendations,
which propose ways for the City to more honestly and effectively commemorate important historical milestones, protect historic and community resources and develop new monuments and memorials.
Mayor Eric Garcetti himself reminded, "When you lose an elder you lose a library."
Public facing monuments and memorials are so important and they have to be about what people care about and at bare minimum: the naming rules and processes must be made open and accessible!
In that spirit, the lad from Sunshine Hill in Studio City, who avoids Nextdoor because it's more abusive than fun, submits the following Oral History and map to the highly talented team at Past Due: Los Angeles Mayor’s Office Civic Memory Working Group.
Thank you to Christopher Hawthorne for spearheading this initiative, and John Szabo and Danielle Brazille for helping to rewrite the narrative. And please let's all remember that the George Lucas Museum of Narrative Storytelling will succeed depending upon the answer to one key question.
Wayfinding Studio City.
By glancing at the map, the Xaxaamonga village would probably have contained many of the local hot spots found in modern day Studio City, somewhere between Burbank and Sherman Oaks.
To the west in the Valley the Siutcanga roamed around Encino and into where Bob Blumenfield has been generously offering to house people in garden sheds while putting the finishing touches on a professional hockey stadium and Westfield expansion.
On the coast, are the Chumash and Maalewonga village. Richard Weintraub, the developer who was run out of Studio City, has an extremely unappealing freeway adjacent project near the Las Virgenes Exit of the Ventura freeway.
Weintraub said, he'd never met such a horrible tribe as the river people of Alcove, opposite the landing adjacent to the natural flowing river, where his dream of a luxury fitness center with dozens of stationary electric bikes could be realized.
Note: The elders across the region agree on very little, but there is broad concurrence that no matter how good Frank Gehry is feeling at 93, the lack of water may put a wrench in the mayor's dream.
Natives will also remember the skirmish at Cross Creek in Malibu, where the villagers there sacrificed a local cinema but gained an Amazon Whole Foods courtesy of LAPD commissioner, Steve Soberoff, who is also a developer.
The Ralphs on old malibu road have fought bravely, but following the pandemic, are expecting Whole foods to improve the quality of their already-prepared-food dishes. A battle is expected over the summer.
Today's excursion is intended to shed light on the center, or the heart of Los Angeles, a small set of villages along the LA river stretching from the Coldwater canyon along the Zev Yaroslavsky green way right up to the "landfill" at mouth of the Cahuenga Pass.
The Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA) is up in there, too.
One enduring poem from the archives has been discovered, entitled CD2Ville with apologies to Dr. Seuss and Mark Twain.
John T. Walker, Constable Paul Krekorian, cowboys in Studio City.
Studio City - Important Milestones.
The battle over Beeman park was a meeting scheduled, despite every effort conceivable to cancel it by the cavalry. No amount of endemic corruption was enough to stop the villagers from gathering at the park to rebuke Harvard Westlake.
National Night Out. Tongva land with majestic trees over the community center. A new type of patrol. Little big man, Fraud was found attached to the rear end of Michael Feuer and Paul Krekorian.
Sussman Ridge was at one time a vast encampment and one day will be restored to its prior greatness. The current landowner is obsessed with breeding Elderberry bushes and has only a modicum of respect for anyone but himself.
He has been capitalizing on his affiliation to the Land Use committee for years. The prior chair who was much smarter than Sussman, but disliked people who fuss over their yard's appearance, was never able to enjoy that process.
The Alcove Uprising. One young squaw on Alcove is nice to all passersby. Once. Before the turn of the century, folks could leave a book or take a book from the little library on Alcove.
Such a sweet little spot, but now. . .caution, there are cameras everywhere.
The Lad from Sunshine Hill.
A young fellow came down to a meeting. . .and eventually started making forums, inviting people to share information about what the Cavalry were up to.
Ironically, this was a dark period for the peoples of Studio City. They did not want or need help exposing themselves as a small group of miscreants stealing funds alongside Big Chief Garcetti, to stuff their faces while pretending to do good service.
The open forums were created by the lad from sunshine hill when President Lewis inadvertently invited the practicing attorney and incumbent windbag, Senator Bob Hertzberg to address the local council, but forgot to invite his forgettable challenger.
The lad from Sunshine hill went rightly berserk, and everyone agreed it would be fair to have an open forum. . . this his seemed to spell disaster for the last of John Walker's coalition.
The Library: Forum Busting.
The Local library had been the scene of an illicit cookie market. Books were donated but the proceeds split among thieves. A writing contest was introduced and quickly quashed by the Welvang anti-reading and writing initiative.
To dissuade participants from attending open forums, the shadow coalition would stick a scary fat clown in the front row, who would systematically choke on a cookie and pop a button on his shirt while coughing. This would ordinarily send a person out the door.
If that didn't work, the double faced Izbicki would settle in acting normal for a moment and then spring like a bobcat onto any young squaw or brave inquiring about Affordable tent housing.
The cavalry even sent officers with guns to chill the enthusiasm for open forums.
The Santa Monica Mountains and the HUGE parking structure.
While the squaws and braves were shuttled in from other villages in SUVs the locals enjoyed eye-hand coordinating activities. . . including golf and tennis. . .a lovely par nine was open to all villagers, for a small fee.
The local office increased the speed limit by the golf course from 35 mph to 40mph to allow the cavalry to establish speed traps and distribute citations. . .that would be collected at harvest time.
Farm Fresh: Profiteers.
The weekly farmer's market will undoubtedly be the subject of a whiteness commission inquiry by the really well-to-do families who cannot be bothered with parking but prefer to idle in the parking lot at Gelson's while their helpers secure the Viktor Benes cookies or Hamentashen, in season.
The Superior and Jon's grocery tribes have reasonably priced vegetables; very good deli and some meat -- a Roma tomato could be half the price of the same one at Vons or a tiny fraction of the price of one at Gelson's.
The Aroma Indians would line up for hours on the Tujunga to wait for coffee.
Indigenous cyclist, Rudy Melendez rode his bike along the majestic river with a camera atop his head. He can still be found along the river railing against Cal Trans and Sheila Kuehl about freeway ramps and exits; some have suggested naming the 170 Exit in Studio City the Rudy Melendez.
A dip in the pool.
A young cavalryman, Karo Torossian, set up a small piggy bank and with Edgar Khalatian, a man who was reportedly on excellent terms with and served on a think-tank established by the Big Chief Garcetti, to come up with ways through planning, to screw locals and make a fortune for private school trustees et al.
If you asked Karo what he was doing with all that money in his carriage, he'd remind you of the time he took a dip in the elite swimming pool that Harvard Westlake had shipped in via the Suez Canal.
Karo is easily impressed by any expression of wealth.
Big Chief Garcetti's Innovationist: John T. Walker PhD.
Not a supremacist in the traditional sense. . .he would offer free dinners provided by Miceli’s Italian restaurant to anyone who showed up.
Some villagers liked the things that were going on in Studio City and others were adamantly opposed.
Walker understood the value of the backroom and was very innovative. He would make it as easy as possible for anyone to participate and meet the "right people." He purportedly supported Greuel over Garcetti in the mayoral race.
A popular figurehead Walker would say, "You don't make money being on this council, but you make some great acquaintances."
Walker lobbied (privately, not as an SCNC president) for the election of his complicated Vice President Lisa Sarkin who reportedly was a wet-nurse for a young developer, Richard Weintraub.
Others who were part of Walker's "team" when they were elected, included Rita C. Villa. "We were successful here because of our coalition. You cannot do this job without a coalition." The "C" does not stand for “Cannabis,” but she does serve on the commission.
Together with the Alcohol Beverage Commission and other Alcohol Tobacco and Firearm organizations Walker established Studio City as a top watering hole where you could easily wreck your horse, because of all the drinking and dancing.
Studio City became an alternative to Downtown for wild activity because one was less likely to get in trouble with the Cavalry, who were almost always downtown cashing checks, changing the zoning and popping into peaceful protests on quadruple overtime in riot gear.
John Walker was a documentarian with a PhD., who served the villagers of Studio City for the better part of a decade.
His innovations in election fixing. . .are legend.
He successfully amended the local council's bylaws, in a dizzying fashion leaving the rank-and-file Studio City people stunned and confused.
Just as they were begging for clarity, John would suggest that he could help them understand the confusing ballot he'd designed.
And so, the crooked slate mailer was born.
He would print up a document with his trusty sidekick and tonto, Lisa Sarkin, featuring his top picks for office.
It looked just like an official ballot! If you asked about the challengers, the reply was simple: who cares?
The only way to help the voters, Walker reasoned, was to tell them who to vote for.
If they disagreed, they could consider going into business for themselves. . . but he always signed his letters with an oversized FONT, so you'd understand who was in charge.
TYPOGRAPHY note: Hopefully, the typography team at "Past Due" should have a look at Walker's massive intimidating signature.
His brilliance was that the only one people elected would be from the inside, so he could control things, even after he left.
Reklaw is Walker backwards.
Where John Walker loved sneakiness, the lad from Sunshine Hill was a radical transparency nut. The people of Studio City did not necessarily sign up for a tour of the sausage factory and the lad from Sunshine hill was something like a modern-day Upton Sinclair of the local tyranny market. There was simply so much to explain. . . and so little time.
It was reported that the lad from Reklaw up on Sunshine hill was so tough, he reminded folks of Night Train Lane, an early NFL defender who would rip the heads off of the players he tackled. [Also, a very good cook.]
The Alcove Uprising.
The lad and the Alcove peoples laid everything on the line and stuck Alex "Izbicki" on the slate, even though he was on Sarkin's slate. Izbicki is half man half worm.
Richard Welsh helped Greek up the slate itself, so it seemed similar to Sarkin's slate. Neither were official, but both looked like the traditional unofficial Walker slate.
Izbicki on the upper left corner was all that was needed. . .
You can't choose your partners in this poker game, so, whoever is not with the current President, is with you. . .if you are a challenger.
You get what you get, and you don't get upset!
But thanks to John Walker, you can always work the crooked bylaws and worm your way back in.
Sarkin's last stand: Walter Reed Middle School.
After Sarkin's last dirty trick had been exposed and the Los Angeles Times had helped put the Sarkin era to rest, the mayor's team sprung into "backpedaling" action.
Hindsight is 2020 and looking back the focus of Welvang's distinguished administration was, how can we "run things into the ground?"
More of a practitioner than a doctor, Welvang, a medicine woman and incompetent along with her sidekick, ran a perfectly dysfunctional tent.
The fraud concocted by prior Cavalry liaison, Rita C. Villa about electioneering was debunked by the sunshine gang.
Villa was immediately promoted to the Cannabis Commission by Big Chief Garcetti, and the clerk of crooked elections reversed course and certified the election of the lad from Sunshine Hill and the Alcove Peoples.
You can't hand pick when you lose, but you can send a specialist like former Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Leonard Shaffer in to spin up some BS and install the least effective person possible.
The lad from sunshine hill wanted to hear from the possible presidents before voting, but Shaffer understood, thanks to Walker, no thought or discussion is necessary. Welvang is president, do we have a second?
During the reign of saloon proprietor and patron Patrick Lewis who was known to be busy and evasive, a DGA man named Schiller took the office of treasurer. Champagne receptions -- off agenda -- to plan BBQs with $11 hamburgers and real-life ice cream trucks was the order of the day. The truck had been used during prior union required meal breaks when Schiller was actively directing and so infuriating crew members. The children loved it. He was never prouder than when Adams awarded him the only SCNC man of the year award. tk.
The Civics Nerd:
An angry progressive artist with a flair for graphics, young energetic Brian understood, contextually and practically, the ebb and flow of tyranny and the cyclical nature of our country’s past and present. He was able to see both the greater context of policies and legislation and his fundamental goal was to provide that feeling of community through local civic engagement, with an occasional* angry outburst.
*Translation of "occasional" in local dialect it means "frequent." He also gets credit for stuffing Porter on the board, a man who will not say no to a liquor plan and will not sit down.
The man in shorts:
After the Alcove uprising it was not clear that the power afforded to the community could be stuffed back into the proverbial tent bag.
A young fundraiser willing to do anything understood the power of Walker's innovation. . .that the Leader alone could choose who served on committees. Light bulb.
Something had to be done. The man in shorts devised a plan after consulting with Rita C. Villa, John T. Walker and even Lisa Sarkin. . .
it was decided that Randall Fried, would replace the lad from sunshine hill because. . .in simple terms, he could.
"Letting go of the need to be liked will ultimately make you a master negotiator. "
The off-agenda hit was conducted as best could be expected.
Randy knew that if he agendized the attack, the people would revolt and surround the young Reklaw chief and protect him making it impossible to remove him.
Fried agreed to exercise presidential discretion as Walker had intended, to ensure that the "right people" not those who would speak out, would serve the village.
The peoples of Alcove who had accomplished so much with the lad from Sunshine Hill were impressed with the untrustworthy behavior of Mr. Fraud.
The squaw invited him into chit chat and review the security cameras.
The Mighty Council: no pay, no power, RESPECT.*
Everybody had an equal opportunity to exercise their first amendment right. And so, the lad from Sunshine Hill showed up one day, out of nowhere.
The lad had been leading attacks with sunshine on the highest and most mighty of all boards, the mighty board of supervisors, established in 1858.
The Alcove Peoples could not stand the lad's liberal bent, but appreciated his fierce attacks on everyone, especially regarding Sportsmen's lodge and the program to build a giant aircraft carrier sized parking structure for Harvard Westlake children and faculty.
Sarkin was sacked in the Alcove Uprising. She and Weintraub bussed in hotel workers to vote, but it was not enough to unseat the newly elected.
INTERPRETIVE MAP: Pending GETTY FOUNDATION FUNDING.
Studio City's Native habitat near river’s edge, interpretive panels tell the story of the natural function of the council and the native people who once centered their lives around it.
Unspeakably Rich Pay No Taxes
1) This tribe of affluent families are from other villages but send their squaws and braves to train at the facilities that the Big Chief Garcetti trained at. The battle of Coldwater canyon was between local hillside people and the outsiders with big wallets. In the indigenous language, "Izbicki" means "fair weather" friend.
2) Stretching from its days in the 1930s as a trout fishing attraction and place where people got married and families shared big occasions. Movie stars from western films in which indigenous people were frequently shot at, and treated as Tontos, lined the walls of the poolside coffee shop.
3) The Alcove tribe, a passionate effective and completely untrustworthy people have a million cameras rolling at all times, so best to keep moving. The bad blood between Midwood and the Alcove peoples is an ongoing story.
4) Hollywood Bowl Park and Ride -- During one period small ineffectual groups with very white sounding exclusionary officious names like: Residents Association, Property Owners Association, Neighborhood Council, Chamber of Commerce, Business Improvement Association, Beautification Association, would write letters to the Big Chief Yoda, a particularly nasty Supervisor chief who disliked letting ordinary Angelenos speak at board meetings. Richard Lillard Outdoor Classroom
The local councilman and the big Chief Sheila set the tone for the whole region with a traditional finger pointing dance. Watch for Harvard-Westlake's next powwow to see if it will be ready before Luminaria.
5) Campo de Cahuenga. . . The Campo de Cahuenga, near the historic Cahuenga Pass was an adobe ranch house on the Rancho Cahuenga where the Treaty of Cahuenga was signed between Lieutenant Colonel John C. Frémont and General Andrés Pico in 1847, ending hostilities in California between Mexico and the United States.
Because the location is near the redline universal stop on the metro, this sacred ground is used as a public toilet because Constable Krekorian has refused to address it otherwise.
Local residents gather once a year and wonder, why do we do this every year, the lights are as resplendent as a series of penlights in a paper bag can be, but this is faintly religious.
Disturbances arose when activists realized that a fair amount of nasty white people killing had been done here. Also, one of the malfeasants on the neighborhood council works night and day in the service of the people while clinging to the dream of running the Tujunga Village holiday concession as a business. He has done so much.
6) Sunshine Terrace. Years ago, a young member of the cavalry with ties to a tribal leader Sarkin refused to wear long trousers. Instead, he wore shorts day in, day out. Never covering his legs. During this time, he walked for many miles. . .and dreamed of blocking Angelenos coming from over the hill and cutting through the village.
He was working for the Cavalry and Krekoian and when this was discovered, he became mad with power.
Sarkin recruited a man dedicated to "criminal element removing" named Randy Fried but some locals called him, Randy Fraud. Nobody respected him, but everybody wondered. . .is he a master negotiator?
7) CBS's Los Angeles flagship TV station KCBS-TV, along with sister station KCAL-TV are housed on this triangular site that is bisected by the Los Angeles River. CBS Studio President Michael Klausman, who adored John Walker, allowed the council to meet in offices on the lot. Today, the studio is one of the most active in the city for producing repugnant petty neighborhood council leaders.
8) Carpenter Avenue: Little Chief Speak for Many -- Explicit corruption wherein villagers from outside the boundaries took an elementary school hostage and despite the obvious public nature of the program pressed for political action. Stacey Slichta leads a pack of shameless bullies and bullshitters.
They're going to have to take down the city signage that blocks Angelenos from the public right of way. The City Attorney Michael Feuer panders to the parent organization at the drop of a hat, and $75,000 in contributions.
(Eric Preven is a longtime community activist and is a contributor to CityWatch.) Tongva Villages Map courtesy of Sutimiv Pa'alat. Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.