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Over 1/3 of Metro Employees Feel Unsafe on LA's Trains

ERIC PREVEN’S NOTEBOOK - The Registrar's office is quite responsive.

Good afternoon Mr. Preven,   

For Supervisorial District 3 the cost of a printed candidate statement is $26,900 for English 1 column and $53,800 for 2 columns. The 5th District is not on the ballot, so no cost estimate is available for the June Primary.    

Thank you,  

Laticia McCorkle  

Assistant Division Manager 

No word, yet from Jeramy Gray on the pilot program to make online candidate statements possible for the upcoming county elections. 

 

All aboard: 

Long shadow over President Biden's State of the Union...  but apparently, Union station has gotten quite bad, as well.  

The high and mighty Metro board, led by County Supervisor Hilda Solis were discussing how to balance safety and declining ridership issues, at their monthly Directors meeting.   

Apparently, 50% of citations given are given to African Americans despite that group only representing 16% of the population at large.  

29% of employees felt safe on the system, all the time.  

Whereas, 39% of employees said, they rarely... or never felt safe.   

Still, 70% of metro riders want an unarmed response to conduct issues to be a priority.  

The CEO Stephanie Wiggins lead a team of white women who provided updates, following a deep dive including a study of the conduct codes at other agencies. 

A layered approach to security will include the development of an app to better coordinate our outreach services at various county sites. 

The launch date for a new ambassador program, Wiggins said, would be the fall of 2022. 

The old model was prescriptive, reactive and siloed.  The new direction is about transformational change... will be based on responsible analytics...  "We are now offering hotel rooms." Red Flag.  

A more equitable, proactive and strategic approach was rolled out by the new Chief of Security, who will find the right mix of promotoras, elevator attendants and Mental health outreach workers. 

One major problem is a staff shortage.  

Dr. Sherin, who did not attend the Metro meeting, told Steve Lopez about the horrible administrative burdens he faces.   

Outreach workers engaging patients before they get on trains, sounds terrific, where are these positions going to come from?  

Mental Health was going to send over estimates by Friday about how much it would cost to get people in these jobs.  

Supervisors admitted, "We are also having trouble recruiting at the county... as we are all competing for the same outreach workers to do the same thing."  

One Supervisor said the county has agreed to pay the tuition for workers who agree to do this kind of work.  

In the meantime, the CEO explained, "We've started putting people in hotels with supportive care..."  

Director James Butts, interrupted, "When you say we?  You mean LAHSA?"   

CEO Wiggins, clarified, we "Metro is 100% support funding these rooms."   

Butts, replied, "I don't want us to be known as the homeless agency."  

He told the new Chief, "if you can prevent crime, you are underpaid."  

Butts said he had posted himself on the Crenshaw line, during the Super Bowl week and the number 1 complaint about it, "and these were not our regular riders, was the homeless and lack of sanitation and exposure to infection." 

He touted, Mayor of New York, Eric Adams, who he said, "is like me on amphetamines, but I like the guy." 

"The reason," Bob Greene, left as Chief of Metro, was because we need "law enforcement leadership not, 2 to 6 ideologies" from Directors on the board.  

Kathryn Barger agreed, "We have an immediate problem right now, while we are reimagining safety people are reimagining how they get around." 

Butts insisted that Mental health is the biggest challenge and "LHASA should be paying for it. Period." 

Chair Solis, reminded that these workers "need to serve the county first."  

Holly J Mitchell, eventually chimed in "Mayor Butts -- you never cease to amaze me..."

Ara Najarian asked if these ambassadors "will have the power to arrest? To detain?  Can they use force?"   

"Ara, Ara," Mayor Butts interrupted, "they are a uniformed presence to provide order and they are a lot cheaper than OT cops."   

"Can they give orders?" Najarian quipped. "Like, put your feet down!?  We need to think about that... Will they have body cams?"  

Fernando Dutra, a newish board member who is from the private sector, said "How did we get to this point?"     

Janice Hahn, the Fourth District Supervisor reacted to one last report on the soaring costs of construction.

 "I find this Sobering. But what are we doing to keep costs down?" 

Then she quasi-admonished staff, "Staff, don't make us ask...preempt the question by telling us  'this is what we are doing... to keep costs down' don't make us ask."  

"Let us know, that you know, that we know, that you know," said former Congresswoman Hahn. 

 

Left, Right, Left: 

On Sunday a pair of House Republicans who attended a conference hosted by a prominent white nationalist over the weekend were called out.  Congresswoman Liz Cheney said in a tweet,"As Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene and Rep Paul Gosar speak at this white supremacist, anti-Semitic, pro-Putin event, silence by Republican Party leaders is deafening and enabling,"  

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) popped up on CNN.  "I’m reminded of the old line from the 'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid' movie, where one character says, 'Morons, I have got morons on my team.'" 

"How anybody in this country can side with Vladimir Putin, is unthinkable, almost treasonous."     

He said, as he was whipped around the internet decrying the morons, It's all about "Shock value." "Eyeballs."  

"It's disgusting."

 

Local Negativity:

"If the Senate approves Eric Garcetti despite a worrisome office culture that he claims he was totally unaware of, then so be it," I wrote in a column that Sal Rodriguez, the opinion editor at The Los Angeles Daily News was happy to ignore, "Los Angeles has to move forward. The idea that the Mayor is staying out of some Boy Scout-like civic responsibility is noted, but honestly, Los Angeles is in crisis, so the Mayor will have to shorten his victory lap." 

It was July 2021, so had the Mayor done the right thing and agreed to step down before his next chapter, thereby allowing the City Council to call a Special Election in early August, we might've had a new Mayor as of a December 28, 2021 election. 

Woulda, coulda, shoulda.  

"Yes, I did," replied Sal Rodriguez, when asked after three weeks, if he'd received my proposed guest commentary.    

They don't issue courtesy passes over there, because it is unnecessary "if you don't hear from us, it's a no."  

 

CD 10 Special Election:

Should the City Council opt to call a Special Election on or before March 8, 2022, the earliest it could take place would be August 2, 2022. While it is too late to consolidate a Special Council District 10 Primary Election onto the June 7, 2022 Election, consolidating a possible Special Runoff Election onto the November 8, 2022 Election would be feasible.  

Calling, ordering, and conducting the Special Election(s) to fill the vacancy in the Office of the City Council, 10th District, is estimated by the Clerk to cost the City $3.1M (includes both City and RR/CC costs). 

The Special Election to replace Mitchell Englander had been estimated to cost $2.5M.   

The estimate for the54th State Assembly District Special Primary Election to replace Sebastian Ridley Thomas was, $1.8M

 

January 4, 2019:

To: [email protected]

Subject: BROWN ACT ALERT -- County of Los Angeles Registrar-Recorder (County) will administer LA CD12 special election 

Mr. Registrar-Recorder, 

Hope all is well.  Happy New Year. 

While the City of Los Angeles will conduct the candidate filing portion of the upcoming CD12 election, it comes to our attention that, the County of Los Angeles Registrar-Recorder (County) will administer this special election.   

Please provide, in connection with the CPRA, documents showing the estimated costs for administering the proposed Special Election in CD12, as well as the estimated city costs for the candidate filing portion of the election. The term $2.5 million has been tossed around without substantiation.  

Also, this is to inform you of a pending Brown Act matter related to the special election. 

The City of Los Angeles has a public matching fund program, administered by an Ethics commission, appointed by the council's leadership.  As you must know because the City Clerk and Ethics Commission and City Attorney should have notified the County by now, the City has been charged with violating the Brown Act on December 12, 2018, by approving amendments to the matching fund ordinance without taking public comment in accordance with the law.  The impact of the challenging action could effect the fundraising ground rules for the upcoming Special Election in CD12.  [The approval of the City's Special Election item was also on the agenda and could be impacted.]

At the Rules Committee meeting on December 11, 2018, the committee took comments on Item 1 —  Council File # 12-1269-S5.  After taking public comment, the Council President Herb Wesson made an alternate motion to the one being considered, and substantially changed the item.  It was the very last thing he did in the meeting and he did not provide an opportunity for comment on the substantial changes.  

At a full City Council meeting the following morning, December 12, 2018, the Los Angeles City Council took action and approved an Item 9 — Council File # 12-1269-S5 without taking public comment. The Brown Act Has Been Violated.

This letter is informational.  Thank you for your interest in City government.  

Eric Preven

 

Shallman, from the blue line! 

Now, suddenly the white collar defense guy, Dan Shallman, is zeitgeisty.   

In addition to spearheading, without disclosing what he and Carolyn Kubota plan to charge the county to conduct a lite-to-extra-lite investigation slash coverup into the virtually endemic contracting fraud at the county capably managed by Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher et al.   

Mr. Shallman, who hangs his hat at Covington and Burling LLP was spotted recently representing former congressman, and tainted Water & Power Board commissioner, Mel Levine,  in the LADWP PriceWaterhouse Cooper fiasco. 

Busy. 

 

Ambassador Program: 

Jaclyn Cosgrove, the county beat reporter has ankled her post and shimmied over from 24/7 county government reportage to the mental health desk at the Times.  

The Mental Health staffing crisis came up near the five-hour mark into a very strange METRO board of directors meeting. 

Bonin and Krekorian had already disembarked, as the last item before the Assistant County Counsel, Charles M Safer led a sweeping set of settlements including 36a5, that closed at $2,500,000.  A injury lawsuit. No details. No Corrective Action plan.  

 

Public Comment:  

One resident opposed to the Gondola was articulate, "You used the word equity a lot during this meeting but the Gondola prioritizes the bloated tourist industry and overlooks the needs of the general public.  What this gondola would do is allow the McCorts to rent out their parking lots as remote parking for every major event downtown. This will bring more traffic into our neighborhoods. Not less, as they are promising. And what about the promise that this will increase access to park areas.  There is a lot more to Elysian park than dodger stadium.  Instead of building massive towers and stations, how about busing the existing roads and run a bus line to the various recreation areas.   If this gondola is granted any state or federal funds based on "equity" that's big business abusing programs that are intended to help disadvantaged communities. The McCourts don't have experience running a transportation system. What about parking around the stations?

 

Ethics: 50% off

Gloria Molina, Chair Solis' predecessor, used to say, "We are all Risk Managers." 

Eric Preven: Ruth Preven asked me this question and I will relay it: To quash the motion to seize that is currently active and that is terrorizing our family that is ordered by the --  

Judge Reid: Sir, I just got finished saying that is Judge Lefkowitz.   

Eric Preven: We will go over there. I understand.  

Judge Reid: She has got tons of cases. I have got tons of cases. I don't like to enter-- meddle in her cases and I don't want her interfering with mine.   

Eric Preven: Your honor, I apologize.   

The matter above was not held in Division 101 or 100 at the Van Nuys Courthouse but rather in Santa Monica.  

The current robe wearer at  Div. 101 in Van Nuys is David E. Hizami who was a Deputy Public Defender at Los Angeles County, before taking the bench. According to Los Angeles County payrolls for the 2012 fiscal year, he made $223,019 in total compensation. Of this total $157,762 was received as a salary, $61,452 was received as benefits and $3,805 came from other types of compensation. 

Hizami's total compensation was 24 % higher than the average deputy public defender salary, and 145 % higher than the average Los Angeles County salary.   

Judges of the Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles, like Strobel, Beckloff, Nieto & Chalfant also do well.  Hard to zero in on their compensation, but as a courtesy, we'll hunt it down. 

Next door to Division 101 at Van Nuys is the bench where Zev's best bubela, David Yaroslavsky, is the judicial officer.  

We've been watching him ever since his  Office of Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office from June 2012 to January 2019 and various stints as an extern at the US Attorneys's office.  

The Judge Yaroslavsky is married to a contender for the CD5 seat, NAME who has not, to my knowledge, been mentioned in... On the Record. 

The current bungler from CD5, currently running for Controller, Paul Koretz has been mired in another campaign finance-related mixup.  For those who don't recall, Koretz finked out, thereby creating a meme: Koretz, finked out.   

It was circulated widely during the 2018/19 Herb Wesson campaign finance deflavorization campaign to rightsize public matching funding into mostly incumbent pockets.  

When Koretz, and Bonin and Ryu were asked to explain to a very nice community group, The Studio City Neighborhood Council, just how the city's matching fund made one degree of sense for rank and file, Angelenos, they declined. 

Mr. Ryu, was busy grandstanding about an unconstitutional ban on developer donations. Bonin, was acting like a reformer but too busy to address Studio City Slickers and... Koretz finked out.  

This month, Koretz has been caught canoodling and excessive fundraising with the longtime head of VANC (Valley Alliance of Neighborhood Councils) Jill Banks-Barad.  Who's recently added a Hopkins to her name.   

Commissioner Barad’s spouse’s former employer creates something related to the San Fernando Basin.  

"Based on discussions with DWP staff, we understand that matters concerning the SFB are likely to reappear before the DWP Board in the future. In addition, it is likely that Commissioner Barad’s spouse will continue to receive income from his pension.  

The San Fernando Basin Beneath the San Fernando Valley is the San Fernando Basin (SFB), a collection of aquifers made of gravel, sand, and silt that store water underground. The SFB is one of the basins in the Upper Los Angeles River Area watershed and is naturally recharged with rainwater from the valley and surrounding mountains. The SFB is a local water resource for the City of Los Angeles (City) and has provided about 10% of LADWP’s total water supply (5-year average), but has the potential to provide up to 21% in average year conditions. The City encompasses an area of 465 square miles with a population of nearly four million residents and an annual average water consumption of approximately 161 billion gallons. The daily average per capita water use is 106 gallons. The City currently has a total of 115 groundwater wells configured into nine well fields in the SFB.  

The City, however, is only able to reliably operate 41 of its wells because of contamination caused by commercial, agricultural, and industrial operations. This has caused a 50% reduction in historical groundwater supply.

 

Candidate Statement (239 words): 

Since 2010 there has been a model for effectively addressing homelessness…why hasn’t Los Angeles County made use of that model?  It’s an important question because it gets to the heart of why LA County needs fresh leadership not stuck in old, ineffective ways of doing things.  The homelessness-reduction model referred to above is called Haven of Hope, and it’s been in operation in San Antonio, Texas for the past eight years—during which time the number of people experiencing unsheltered homelessness in that city has decreased by 15%.  Haven of Hope is centered on a 22-acre “one-stop-shop” campus, where 30 agencies provide services such as housing, food, job training, child care, and even kennels for pets. Mental health and addiction treatment is done across the street at the Restoration Center. Sixty percent of the budget for the program is provided by private donors.  Scores of municipalities across the nation have adopted the Haven of Hope model over the past eight years…where has LA County been during all that time?  As a journalist covering and commenting on government in Los Angeles for years, I have learned a lot about what works and doesn’t work in County governance. I currently serve as an elected member of the Studio City Neighborhood Council. Before going into journalism, I spent thirty years as a television writer and producer—and member of the Writers’ Guild of America—living in Studio City, where I raised my two children.   

 

(Eric Preven is a longtime community activist and is a contributor to CityWatch. The opinions expressed by Eric Preven are solely his and not the opinions of CityWatch)