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The Built-In Bullshit Detectors Were Blinking Overtime

ERIC PREVEN’S NOTEBOOK - The blue plate special on Tuesday's agenda was covered extensively as a meeting of the minds of two great leaders from the Latino community. 

Alberto M. Carvalho is a Portuguese American educator and the current superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District and Nury Martinez, the first Latina to become Council President of Los Angeles City Council.  

Martinez, opened by explaining that Carvalho agreed with her about preventing sitting, sleeping, or lying down within 500 feet of a daycare center.   She said that he reached out to her because teachers, parents, and pupils, are concerned about encampments near preschoolers.  

No child should have to face large encampments ... in relation to the encampments, in and around schools... Carvalho is on the way... and he's very eager to speak. 

In the meantime, to fill some time, she called up Krekorian, who is always ready to pontificate about something, and Tuesday it was the plan to add a Heat guy.  

"Thank you. Members... last week, he recalled, we learned that the so-called drought has become the new normal. 

He said, the council was "sobered to hear about the water needs, but along with that comes spiking waves of heat, that we experience locally. 

He said, we used to have one major heatwave ... per year, but now, that will rise to five heatwaves, per year...

He revised his claim that Blumenfield's west valley district had hit 122, by stating that it was actually 121.  

He reminded of ER visits and public safety... and he reminded the public that nationally we have wildfires, and our districts... are vulnerable.  

He worried about the power grid, and how DWP struggles to meet peak demand. 

Some had concerns that rails underneath the trains would buckle under so much heat.

What to do?  

Today, we are going to name our first Heat Officer, who will track progress, develop a  heat action plan, collaborate... raise awareness, and obviously, meet stakeholder groups!  

He will help DWP and improve the utilization of cooling centers.  

And the Department of Building and safety LADBS is going to report back on expanding a cool roof ordinance, updating building codes...to require cooling. 

It's time to mandate energy efficiency...  

He talked about his vision ...  planning to require more shade hubs.  Krekorian, like everybody else, is passionate about the tree canopy. 

Koretz jumped up to echo. He said, "In India, the ground temperature is 140..." 

Folks wondered if he was going to bring up Garcetti.  

"We can't stick our heads in the sand... " he said.    

That's a no to the Garcetti theory, as "head in the sand" seems to be a standard operating procedure.  Executive Directive #HeadInTheSand has a nice ring to it.  

The City Council only drew one public speaker, "Good morning, you criminals... " said, Arnold Sachs, as he blasted the council for lumping in two public hearing items into his multiple agenda presentation; his contention, supported by common sense and the law, that public hearing items require their own hearing.  

Mr. Sachs also urged the city council to spend more time in the neighborhoods.   And, he wondered if Cal Trans, who are obsessed with Graffiti removal, were able to remove any... encampments; some of this graffiti, he said, taking a swipe at the homeless, is three-foot thick graffiti. 

Before Carvalho arrived, City Council sounded off...

"No student should have to be forced to walk on a sidewalk based on sidewalks being blocked by large encampments"  

"Folks know that I have questions about enforcement." 

"Homelessness leaves us with an indelible mark of shame...but we have made great progress." 

Mike Bonin, spoke and said, "we're asking for this without the street engagement strategy."   Since he's leaving office after the next election, he touted MRT and his so-called 'engagement strategy' that had not been rolled out, pending the uh... indictment.  

He said, "This relates to any daycare center... they are everywhere."   He raised the same two questions, he raised when 41.18 was initially rolled out.   

"Is there a Map? So we know... where.  And 2) We are spending time telling people where they can't sleep, so where can they sleep?"  

Nithya Raman said she had six-year-old twins, and wanted to be making effective policy...  

She touted what she's done in her district... housing people.  

Her point was that it takes more resources.  She said,  restrictions on RVs, encampments, won't make a difference."  

She said, "Resources, like... outreach workers to make sure people are noticed" will make a difference. 

She did not want to create new rules that we can't enforce... she said there is a "string of RVs, encampments under the signs in her district. 

It's about lack of resources, not lack of laws against homelessness.  

Buscaino, rose "with deep disagreement and respect... "on behalf of the students and parents who have been subjected to needles, and buckets of feces, needles, nothing to debate here members... nothing to talk more about.  It was interesting to see a Joey "Buckets" Buscaino moment, where Mr. Buscaino, who is mocked with the middle name "buckets" for this exact run. Like catching a fly ball at a Dodger game.  

Though they'd already closed public comment, because this massive sign rollout was so important to O'Farrell and Martinez, they re-opened it for some Virgil Middle school parents who saw a naked man near their school.  

They said, "our students and parents do not feel safe walking in that area." 

DeLeon jumped up for a second time to remind us that this is "not a legal juggernaut."  Unclear how that fit in, it may have been a misfire re: the Alliance lawsuit/talking point.  

Cedillo's turn. If there were public speakers, they would have left for the bathroom at this point. Cedillo decided to speak as slowly and deliberately as possible, "This is about... do we recognize...  our land-use power." 

The crowd of none, headed for the door. 

He told a long anecdotal story about how someone who he knew as one of the most progressive lawyers in the city, attended one of the school meetings.    "One of the most progressive couples in the city..." agreed that minimum safe passage to schools is what we must do. Land use policy." 

To become the superintendent of Schools, Carvalho must have a decent built-in bullshit detector. It must have been blinking tripletime. 

But now, Carvalho would have to wait.  It was Mitch O'Farrel's turn to relive his Tiger youth.   

"Three months ago, I created a sleep safe site... with 24/7 services, mobile showers, three meals a day... my urban alchemy team are my practitioners... compel, cajole, help." 

Bonin jumped up, "for the record, this motion is not being heard properly per the Brown Act... the point was to make 56.11 more like 41.18, but this changes 41.18... and that is not consistent with the Brown act." 

Bob Blumenfield, who adores co-nerd, Nithya Raman said, "we should not have encampments by schools But 41.18, he said, "cost a lot per sign per district.  We need a different way... it was like 10k a site for 41.18... x 1000 = $10M.  This project could be $50 million... on signs and that's not feasible. 

Monica Rodriguez, lept forward, "There's an intuitive nature... about parks and schools ... the idea that we should be posting signs.  It makes no sense.   What is enforceable?"  

She was unhappy about drawing resources down to post endless signs.  Those resources should be used for housing... not signage.  "This has been gnawing at me." 

 After what seemed like hours, finally, the great Carvalho, came out and dropped, that "I'm doing a five-year plan in four years for contractual reasons... and it's going great." 

Then he gave a very reasonable SHORT speech about the undisturbed clean passage to schools, with a perimeter of safety, security, and sanity.   He said we have moral responsibility...  

Council President Martinez thanked him, but it did not seem heartfelt.  

"Thank you, superintendent.  A lot of effort from our staffs..." went into this.   

And then Council adjourned into closed session, to discuss... something sneaky.

 

Call Box Disconnect: 

The Metro Board has an $8.8 billion fiscal year 2023 (FY23) Budget, but that's not the half of money they also control. I was hoping to address the contingency plan if the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) fails to meet its contractual obligations over the course of the next 12 months, but I could not wait, so settled for the preceding SAFER Meeting, that was running late. It’s a subset of the full band, so sort of like a warmup act to the headlining act — the full executive board.

This week's theme: internal squabbling.  Even Mayor Garcetti and Supervisor Janice Hahn seemed to be in lite disagreement.   Garcetti, addressed a $10 million dollar renewal of the call-box program. He said at $6,000 per call, it was a lot. He wants to update the program. People have cel phones these days. 

Not so fast, Janice Hahn, jumped up, "Thank you. Eric Preven said we didn't have time to get into the story..." but that did not stop her from telling how her father, Kenneth Hahn had the inspiration for the roadside call boxes years ago. 

Then, a little friendly debate seemed to take place. It was very civil. 

Every time Garcetti said, "6,000 dollars a call" the public heard "$8,000 a call," which was the amount per call after it was reported that Sheila Kuehl pushed a series of no-bid metro contracts" to operate Peace Over Violence related, hotlines.    

A Hahn supporter noted, "It's hard to get a signal in the Angeles Forest."  

In the end, there was an agreement:  to get a report back on the discrepancy that arose re: the number of callbox calls:  Was it 20,000 / mo.  or 6,500 / mo. 

That's quite a spread!  

 

Read Out:

Quorum is the minimum number of members of body that must be present at any of its meetings to make the proceedings of that meeting valid. 

The City Council emerged from Tuesday's lengthy Close Session but could not muster even... a little quorum.  

Mitchell O'Farrell: And, we will call roll for attendance for the open session.

Clerk:  Thank you, Mr. President.

 

Blumenfield - present

Bonin - absent

Buscaino - present

Cedillo - present

Deleon - absent

MHD - absent

Koretz - absent

Krekorian - present

Lee - present

Martinez - absent

O'Farrell - present

Price - present

Raman - present

Rodriguez - present

Wesson - absent 

 

Clerk:  We have a total of nine members present... 

O'Farrell: And just to be clear, Mr. Koretz was excused, Ms. Martinez, of course... and Mr. Wesson left during the questioning period. but everyone else should be here.. Mr. Deleon, I believe he is here. 

Fauble: While we wait, I can report out that there is nothing to report. (Sustained silence...) 

O'Farrell: Again, the only excused are Mr. Koretz, Mr. Wesson and Ms. Martinez... we need to reconvene to wrap up this council session. (Several minutes of silence...).  

Sad music starts around 2:37:30...  

O'Farrell: Alright colleagues, to reiterate, excused today, are Ms. Martinez, and Mr. Wesson.  No one else has been excused...today, however, we now have a lack of quorum.  Therefore, the business that we conducted today, will be added to tomorrow's proceedings, and with that…  

Today's meeting is now suspended.   Thank you so much. 

 

So embarrassing: 

Some People will remember Mitchell Englander getting in big trouble with Herb Wesson for making the council president and all his helpers wait for forty-five minutes, while he extended a morning committee meeting.  It was obviously a set up to help with the plat du jour: jamming through over 100 items.  

Englander should be free soon, but back in February, 2016 he was fully unhinged...  

"Thank you very much, I'd like to first and foremost apologize for any inconvenience yesterday. The public safety committee meeting that was scheduled at 8:30am didn't begin.  In fact, it did start on time,  but we had a one-item agenda and it went on much longer than it should have.  

In fact, for over a couple of hours, but notwithstanding that...the most important thing, and I stand behind the Council President on this a hundred percent, we absolutely have to be in council on time... to do the people's work.   

And so it becomes a very big inconvenience for many, including staff and others, when that doesn't occur.   

So, I'll make sure, as the chair of that committee that this won't happen in public safety. And if there is an issue, quite frankly, and I take full responsibility for that, if there is an issue that requires much more time, and we can't finish or adjourn that meeting, we'll recess the meeting and continue it that afternoon or some other time, in the future.    

I also want to thank [+throw under the bus with me] my colleagues that were at the committee meeting. It was a robust and critical discussion, that we will continue, as well, but wanted to start the council meeting with that this morning and thank the Council President. Personally. For. Your. Leadership.  

Herb Wesson:  Thank you, stuff happens.  Now, let's get back to work. 

Over 100 items.... 

 

Wednesday:

To compensate for the lite turnout following the robust "Hillsides Villa" event, the council agendized an army of anti-tobacco fighters to come down and heap praise on the council for standing up to flavored tobacco companies, like Juul. 

  

Public Comment opened with an endorsement from Sean from Canoga Park, "I'm nominating Rick “C-a-r-i-p-s-o” for Mayor."    

Let the Games begin!  Ballot boxes are wide open... please leave plenty of time to sort through these ballots, as they are longer and more exhausting.  

Voting is fun!  

 

(Eric Preven has been named a finalist in the upcoming 64th SoCal Journalism Awards in the category of Journalist of The Year (Online).  A commentary co-written by Joshua Preven entitled “The Pandemic Should Not be Used as a Pretext to Muffle the Voices of the Inconvenient Public” is also a finalist.)

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)