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My Day in LA in Court

ERIC PREVEN’S NOTEBOOK - I journeyed down to the Courtroom in Department 94 on the renamed B line. 

Studio City has a stop near Universal that is a tight 35-minute ride to Grand Park or the Civic Center station, where I apply most of my efforts, so I am a believer.  The City, the County, the Courts the Music Center, Disney Hall, are all clustered around the Hall of Justice and the LADWP.   

I've often wondered if the so-called "bureau" should set up a booth in Grand Park near the Starbucks.  [FBI] 

Unfortunately, the “riding the Metro" experience has deteriorated.   The courthouse experience, by contrast, seems a teeny bit friendlier.  

There were nearly three dozen cases on the docket the day I observed in Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) court.  The Judge gave a lot of time and latitude to the petitioners and respondents. 

She seemed genuinely interested in what steps the woman asking to have a restraining order against her absentee husband extended, had taken to reach the man.  She confessed that she hadn't seen him in six months.   

There was a translator and a stenographer, and a little red Elmo character sort of hanging from the arm of what looked like an overhead projector.  

The Judge said, "I can't give you legal advice .. .but without prejudice means you can come back again and refile." 

She directed her to the Self-Help office.   

Another case demonstrated how state-of-the-art judicial process technology is available when requested.  Most of the litigants and attorneys were calling in on Zoom, it seemed.  

"Do you swear under the penalty of perjury to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you...  zoom."  

One attorney popped on to say he had Covid and would like to continue the restraining order his client had pulled for three months. There was a negotiation about dates, one of the parties also revealed he had a plane ticket and a medical condition, and he was prepared to show them to the court. 

Many of the restraining orders that were set for hearing that date were dissolved on the spot as neither of the parties showed up.  People are really afraid of TRO's but they do go away if the spouse pushing for it doesn't show up.  But the court is happy to issue continuances... without due process, in pursuit of due process.  

There was not too much due process on display, last week, but there was some. 

In one case, a married couple heading for divorce had worked it out in Mediation and the judge and the public were very happy to not have to get into the nitty-gritty of their disputes.  The woman/mother had been living in her husband's mother's house and did not want him, given their separation, just popping over.   

The husband had agreed and pointed out that he never just 'popped over.'   He came over one time when there was a tumultuous situation.  There was a fight over something or other, the details of which did not come up in court.   

At the end of this Family discussion, the judge asked if it was the petitioner's decision to have the order dismissed? 

She thought about it, and then, after a long pause, mercifully, said "yes."

 

People: 

ProPublica found traveling across Southern Illinois over the past year, talking with families and the experts who work inside the DCFS system, is that parents who are repeatedly investigated for neglect often live in poverty, and many are struggling to provide for their children while dealing with weighty stressors on their lives, including addiction, depression or domestic violence. For too many, these cycles are generational. 

Writing an Opinion piece in the Southern Illinoisan, Molly Parker one of the authors, noted "News stories about child welfare tend to stake out one of two positions: They take agencies like DCFS to task for missing numerous and seemingly obvious red flags leading to a child’s death, or they draw attention to cases where children have been unnecessarily removed. Both of those situations are unfortunate and deserving of attention." 

What do DCFS agencies do about cases where departmental and parental shortcomings collide in a gray area?  

These cases never receive the public policy attention they deserve.    Read the ProPublica piece if this interests you.  

Without adequate resources, DCFS agencies here and there are left with two bad options: either allowing chronic problems inside a home to fester to the point of crisis; or taking children from their families.   

In the County of Los Angeles budget this week, the Executive Director of ICAN, is being funded by the Office of Child Protection and DCFS to establish a one-time $50,000 scholarship fund to support children who may want to participate in ICAN Associate’s Poster Art contest but are otherwise unable to because of a shortage of art supplies. 

ICAN is a nonprofit organization that has been serving the community for over 45 years.

 

LA's favorite guessing game:

Samuel L. Jackson and Don Cheadle hosted a fundraiser for Karen Bass and there is "feverish speculation" at the LA Times as to exactly how much money the billionaire developer, Rick Caruso, plans to drop ahead of the primary.  They cannot sit still on this.  

Since 1996, The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books has gathered writers, poets, artists, filmmakers, musicians and emerging storytellers. Now in its 27th year, it is the largest event of its kind in the United States.  All outdoor stages and activities are free! 

Brainstorm:  How about an  APP where Angelenos can submit guesses as to how much Caruso will spend in the primary?   

It's a little like guessing the number of jelly beans in a very big jar.  The best you can do is to estimate. 

Obviously, the Ethics Commission and LA Times employees cannot participate in this sweepstakes.   

Anyway, it's campaign season. Twice in the last couple weeks Kamala Harris has caused a bit of traffic as she hoovers up money from west side donors in advance of the midterms.  

But seeing the local public radio stations pandering to the moneyed interests and candidates who raise a lot of money, while blocking others who are on the ballot from being on the public airwaves, if they haven't raised $50,000 or more really steams me.  

Disclosure: I love KCRW and own numerous attractive, commemorative mugs (proof of donation).   

And I like Chris Douridas, who most recently turned me on to Simulation Swarm by Big Thief, a fairly popular 209,409 views, weird kind of musical pop avant-garde.   If you like the music, they are performing on Tuesday • May 10 • 7:00 PM at The Wiltern, in Los Angeles, CA.  

 

Public Radio: 

"Due to limited resources, we have set certain criteria for these interviews, which is quite common at this phase in the lead-up to primary election. " (eyes narrowing) 

KCRW had the goods on Joe Buscaino who told them that living on the street if elected is "not an option" or people would face consequences including citation and arrest. Also, Buscaino likes Karaoke, singing in the shower and in public.

The determination for candidate participation in this year's candidate series was based on the results of a February poll conducted by the Los Angeles Times and required a 3% threshold. Most of the candidates are not included. 

This coverage was made possible through support by the Committee for Greater LA in partnership with the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation and the Weingart Foundation. [Nothing to see here keep moving... ] 

Meet Henry Stern:  Los Angeles County Supervisor Candidate 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM on Monday, April 11, 2022 

Meet Lindsey Horvath:  Los Angeles County Supervisor Candidate  6:00 PM - 7:00 PM on  Tuesday, April 12, 2022   

Meet Bob Hertzberg:  Los Angeles County Supervisor Candidate 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM on Thursday, April 14, 2022  

Meet Karen Bass: LA Mayoral Candidate 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM on Thursday, April 28, 2022

Meet Mike Feuer: LA Mayoral Candidate 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM on Thursday, May 5, 2022 

Meet Kevin de León: LA Mayoral Candidate 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM on Monday, April 25, 2022 

Meet Joe Buscaino: LA Mayoral Candidate 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM on Wednesday, May 4, 2022 

 

Informal Preven Notebook survey of Youtube like clicks: 

Bob Hertzberg has 153 views  

Alex Villanueva has 1893 views 

Eunisses Hernandez has 44,600 views.   

Kenneth Mejia for Controller has 76,200 views   

Mr. Mejia who got an LA Times Endorsement, discovered that his opponent, Paul Koretz, took a MAXIMUM contribution from Naftex Operating Co., an oil company.  

So, the quid pro quo his campaign is offering -- in exchange for your vote, you'll receive financial transparency and accountability. 

Great.  We are all looking forward to his analysis of the City Budget Hearings... that start Tuesday April 27th at 1:00pm (convenient)  There are eight dates of hearings, four 9am starts and four 1pm starts. 

 

The County net (not net worth):

"Unfortunately, given the size and diversity of Los Angeles County voters, the costs for printing candidate statements can be costly and burdensome for some candidates, leading to instances where voters only receive statements from candidates who have the resources to have them printed" wrote the incumbent Supervisors. 

California Elections Code authorizes elections officials to permit electronic candidate statements, provided that the governing body of the local agency permits candidates to submit candidate statements for electronic posting and distribution.   

Hahn and Barger called for a pilot to provide online candidate statements.  They asked for a report back on costs, candidate adoption (how many took advantage), and voter usage (how many clicked through) to inform possible expansion or updates in future election cycles.  

Well, thank you. But please... shake a tail! 

Candidate statements (200 or 400 words) had to be in by March 11, and to keep Time readers interested, that's the same date on which Governor candidates had to submit their Tax returns.  Tell that to the "feverish speculators" waiting for Caruso to disclose. He never will because it's not a requirement.  Shaming doesn't work with billionaires.  

March 31 was the last day for the Secretary of State to transmit the certified list of candidates.  

The last day to register to vote in the Primary election is May 23.  

 

February 28, 2022

Dear Mr. Eric Preven (he/him/his)

Once the candidate nomination/qualification period concludes and the list of candidates qualified to the ballot for County positions is established, we will contact each candidate/campaign with the guidelines and requirements for submitting an online candidate statement. For any candidate for County office who elected to pay for a printed statement in the Sample Ballot, that statement will also be used for the online statement content. 

We will list information in the Sample Ballot, on our website, and in our public education campaign on how voters can access the online statements. 

Thank you.

 

Hon. Dean C. Logan (he/him/his)

Will there be a big bright ‘meet the candidates’ button glued to the face page of one of the top ten RR/CC office websites, south of the Rocky Mountains but North of San Diego? 

I was told the site was live. Please advise.

 

Mr. Eric Preven (he/him/his) 

The site is not live now. We are still in the candidate nomination and qualification period and the site will not go live until closer to the voting period.

 

Hon. Dean C. Logan (he/him/his)

I’d love to have a look as I am a county voter who enjoys access to candidate statements and videos. I wonder if former go-to-guy  for the county board of Supervisors, Jeramy Gray, has suggestions about how to diligently provide limited access! Stat!

 

April 18, 2022

Very very exciting. Would someone be able to offer a link to the landing page, so that insurance finally kick the tires on these civically engaged candidates? How many opted in to Print and online statements?   Warm regards 

 

Mr. Eric Preven (he/him/his) 

Good Morning 

Thank you for your call. Please note that the links requested are not available at this time and is being targeted for availability at the end of the month.   Thank you.   Regards,   Executive Secretary Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk

 

Hon. Dean C. Logan (he/him/his)

But isn't the election coming up in early June with vote by mail... practically underway?  What date was the ballot locked?

What date does vote-by-mail commence?

 

Afterthought:

"I did not give notice to the other party in this action because: I was afraid that the violence would reoccur when I gave notice that I was asking for these orders."    

"I declare that the above is true and correct and that I executed this declaration at Los Angeles California on 4/13/2022. Signed. 

 

(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)