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LA Supes: Three Minutes of Silence For The Five Little Queens

ERIC PREVEN’S NOTEBOOK - Recidivism, the word of the day on July 6th, is defined as "relapse into criminal behavior, or more broadly, a tendency to relapse into a previous condition or mode of behavior." 

George Gascón recall proponents delivered approximately 717,000 signatures to the County Registrar-Recorder's office in Norwalk. Organizers believe that if the recall qualifies for the ballot, the progressive district attorney will be removed from office in a landslide.   

The irony is not lost on me that Gascón's progressive policies, intended to reform our totally ineffective carceral system, are under siege by a vocal section of the public, who prefer a 'lock 'em up'... approach, despite horrifying and punishing evidence that such an approach feeds... the recidivism. 

Meanwhile, First Amendment and media law specialist Susan Seager, honored by the LA Press Club recently, said, "Once again, we are forced to sue to do our jobs and give the public transparency."  

She was referring to LAPD bodycam records from a recent protest that are subject to disclosure under state law. "It begs the questions — what are they trying to hide, and for whose benefit?” 

I certainly appreciate the fact that Press Freedom Project and the First Amendment Coalition who have partnered up with Knock LA to  sue the LAPD for the records, but I wish they would also take action on behalf of the members of the public who attempt to deliver truth to power during reasonable increments of public comment time at the regularly scheduled meetings of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and City Council. 

The board of supervisors is sometimes described as the five little kings (currently, the five little queens), but nobody is above the law,  'cept Bruckner!  

Maybe the First Amendmentists could bring suit about the subject of our SoCal Journalism Award-winning article

Consider this following short sequence from Tuesday at 9:30 am, the board's regular meeting time. Instead of a regular meeting, this Tuesday, the board gathered, as has been their pattern, virtually, for a special closed session. 

Though there were four items on the agenda, by calling it a special meeting, the board offered 15 seconds per item, so 60 seconds total. No general public comment was on offer, as it is not required by deeming the meeting a 'special meeting.' 

The first of only two speakers, Geneviève Clavreul, RN, Ph.D., asked the board of supervisors to resume meeting in person in her minute and complained about the vagueness and absurdity of the board's agenda.  She said it was a bit more clear, than prior agendas.  Then... 

Executive Officer: Our next speaker is Eric Preven, you have one minute. Please state which item you will be addressing today, Please begin. 

Speaker:  I'll speak on all of them, thank you. And one minute is not enough. I'll be honest with you on that.  But I wanted to uplift the swimming ordinance. You know It's so important.  We need lifeguards.  And I wanted to also remind the Board that at the moment, there is a terrible shortage of lifeguards.   

So any efforts to increase the wages of that class of service would be very very helpful. It's really serious, I mean people need lifeguards, so that's number one. I know you got the ordinance and Roxie's death was a tragedy.  

But let's move forward and pay the lifeguards well.  You know or should have known about the YMCA retaliation for speaking out about the lifeguards there.  

It was nice to hear Gilbert Wright of the DA's office uplifting ODR, (office of diversion and re-entry).  I agree with that, but he may have gotten lost when he was trying to find the TASER information we requested a couple of years ago, along with why the DAs were spending asset forfeiture money taken from Angelenos on Tasers.  He never finished answering.   

Lastly, it's time to meet more frequently.  I know that it is very tempting because you are the ones who set the agenda and the schedule-- 

Executive Officer: Excuse me. 

Public: I beg your pardon. 

Executive Officer:  Your time has expired. May we have the next speaker, please.   

Operator: Chairperson, there are no other speakers in the cue to address the board. 

Holly J. Mitchell, Chair: Thank you, very much. To ensure that we allow the full five minutes for public comment if there are any additional callers who call in, we're going to remain open to 9:39, and we will take any additional callers who call in by that time.  

The speaker raised his hand, audio prompt confirmed: "You are in cue." 

Executive Officer: I do have Eric Preven in the cue, again. 

Holly J. Mitchell, Chair:  I think Mr. Preven has been given the opportunity to speak. So we are going to wait to see if there is any additional member of the public who would like to use the time. Thank you.

 

(Three minutes of silence ensues. Mr. Preven raises his hand again.)

 

Holly J. Mitchell, Chair:  Thank you, 9:39 has arrived so our time for public speaking has ended. We want to thank both of the callers. You may submit comments as indicated on the agenda. We will continue to accept all comments that come in and they will become part of the record.  

Let me just say, because it's an issue we hear pretty consistently, with regard to re-opening. We have discussed it regularly, and are developing a plan to open the board meeting to the public when we truly deem that is safe and appropriate for both the members of the public and county personnel as well as the board members.   

So we are working on it; continue to be concerned about our numbers continuing to increase and so you will hear from us once we are clear that it is safe for the public to return.  

We have put plans in motion and have executed many of them with regard to making the hearing room safe, with regard to air purifiers, etc.  But there is a plan, and the public will hear about that very soon.   

Thank you very much.  #Buh-bye 

Why does the Board of Supervisors treat public comment as if it is "bad" speech? 

Social Media, Freedom of Speech, and the Future of our Democracy, edited by Lee C. Bollinger and Geoffrey R. Stone features a variety of perspectives from some of America's leading legal experts on how to manage hate.  

It is difficult to develop remedies given that some of these forms of "bad" speech are ordinarily protected by the First Amendment. 

But as Sheila Kuehl says, "As you well know, the First Amendment requires that you be able to speak, not that we are forced to listen."  

 

 

The board of supervisors simply does not want to hear it.   

On Tuesday's upcoming agenda, there are over 100 items and one of them has nearly $1 million in Supervisorial Arts grants between 10k and 20k.  There are so many artists, but still the Board wants to give Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture 2022-23 Community Impact Arts Grant (CIAG) Program Awards where the giving is good. 

Like to Peace Over Violence POV. 

What does Peace Over Violence have to do with the arts?   POV is firm that Sheila Kuehl was accused of helping at METRO, while the entire city pretended not to notice that the real sponsor for Peace Over Violence was Mayor  Eric "I Know Nothing" Garcetti.  One critic, wrote, "Maybe EG should take a POV workshop a couple dozen more times" a not so sly reference to the appalling 'he knew or should have known' drama covered elsewhere. 

The grant to POV is for  $10,900 to support partnering with Critical Mass Dance Company to offer 200 dance empowerment classes for survivors of sexual and domestic violence in LA County.   

Maybe  Southern California Public Radio who is in there collecting $10,300, to support compelling arts coverage that explores creativity, connection, access, and equity through multiplatform news and storytelling, could cover it?   Good idea.  

Or better, maybe SCPR should cover the lifeguard story that has been emerging despite the best efforts of not for profits taking money from the government, and then lashing out at critics of that government who have the gaul to criticize the mighty YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles.  

What would you say, if I told you that of all the arts organizations in the county, the YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles, was the best we could do with the $10,200?  

The art grant to the Y is to support the WELA YMCA's Youth Institute of Media Arts to offer year-round access to youth seeking digital media programming and services. 

HOLD it, the YMCA does not like critics, even award-winning critics?  Left with very little choice, I am going to have to reach out to the Bane Act guy, I met on a Yacht during a recent cross-jurisdictional investigation.  

The Honorable Board of Supervisors is also agreeing with Gary Jones of Beaches and Harbors to onboard the VP of CubeSmart, Jeffrey P. Foster, who earns $1,230,000 per year.  These groups are running REIT activity that should be carefully scanned, but good luck as there are over 100 items and one of them will very likely be a 95-minute Barbara Ferrer symposium. 

Commonly known as the California Yacht Club, Parcel 132S contains 253 boat slips and a 20,000 square-foot, two-story clubhouse and ancillary buildings and occupies 5.69 acres of land and 9.95 acres of water in Marina del Rey.  

It's not too far from Rick Caruso's Marina-based encampment.  Disclosure: My kids took a sailing camp there one year, and it was awesome. 

The 56-year and nine-month ground lease between the County and Lessee was executed in 1965 and is set to expire on July 31, 2022. The proposed Amendment No. 13 would extend the Lease term by three (3) years to July 31, 2025, with two (2) one-year options to extend at the discretion of the Director, and allow the Lessee to continue its operations for its members and the surrounding community. 

Thank you. 

In addition, the proposed Amendment No. 13 includes a requirement for Lessee to develop a proposal for the renovation and opening of the promenade to the publicas well as allowing the use of Lessee’s facilities by a County youth-serving water program, such as the Department’s Water Awareness, Training, Education, and Recreation (WATER) program, or a similar program provided by another organization approved by the Director. 

Beaches and Harbors is diligent when it comes to elbowing out the public for access to waterfront offices... but Water Safety...(eyes narrowing)... 

Dear Sheila Kuehl, 

Wtf, are the lifeguard wages countywide reasonable in your opinion?  Please, ask Madeline or someone comparably competent to ask around.  The YMCA has been ritually abusing lifeguards by actively denying them benefits by requiring onerous part-timing.   

But even if that's OK with you, it should not be OK with you, for the publicly funded YMCA to engage in whistleblower retaliation against journalists, who cover their funders, for speaking out.  cc- Nury Martinez, City Council and  Kathryn Barger, whose young Fifth Supervisorial district deputy, capably onboarded the nitty-gritty of the complaint that is heading for a probono Bane Act assessment.    #SkipMiller4Supervisor  

Warm regards,

&^%$#

 

Last week, I lectured the board of supervisors about the wild uptic in sole-source contracting.  Sole source is when a buyer does not want to permit open bidding, because it is easier and more fun to hire your bestie, like say Patty Giggans of Peace Over Violence.  

Why not, Patty does a good job at attacking the Sheriff as well as servicing the Mayor and LAPD with Domestic Violence support.   

There's a lot of art and creativity and $50 gift cards in running a not-for-profit.  And Patty goes way back to Villaraigosa.  

The logic behind allowing fair bidding, and not going sole source all the time, is the public gets a better price. The City of Los Angeles and the County get 'very good' prices.  

"Good prices, for whom?" is a reasonable question.  Both the county and the city dumped an extra $10 million or so... into Motorola's coffers by allowing several seasons of the Sachi Hamai, former CEO  heist drama, entitled LARICS.  

"Sir, your time has expired." 

 

3-D stands for three-dimensional:

The item so numbered 3-D for this coming Tuesday July 12 authorizes the Executive Director of the Los Angeles County Development Authority to execute an amendment to a contract with Enterprise Management, Inc., a Missouri Corporation, for fleet management services, to extend the term to December 31, 2023, and increase the maximum compensation by $1,000,000 for a total of $3,829,530.  

Sounds familiar... wait, I remember Enterprise. They were the company that was given a sole-source, five-year deal to maintain the agency’s existing fleet. Commission staff projected that outsourcing the fleet services would save about $300,000 a year.  

But then, that damn report on KCET’s “SoCal Connected” focused on the lobbying firm Englander Knabe & Allen and questioned whether its clients — including Enterprise — got an unfair advantage because partner Matt Knabe is the son of county Supervisor Don Knabe, who voted along with all the other supervisors to award the contract... yadda yadda yadda. 

Wendy Watanabe, the Auditor-Controller at the time, said, “I think they got lazy, they took a shortcut, and they didn’t think it was that big of a deal,” she said.  Holly J. Mitchell should read that sentence over again, because as Mr. Ridley-Thomas, her predecessor used to say, "you better check yourself, before you wreck yourself." 

Any kind of 'lazy' fraud, whereby we re-up terrible contracts that make no sense whatsoever for the public because when the board finally hears how toxic they are in public comment... it's embarrassing.    

This is yet another good reason to increase, not reduce public comments.  It's the best disinfectant.  

The sole-source contract of the week goes to 4aiSoft with a Maximum Contract Sum of $5,108,200, when exercising the options and it's for Fraud Detection Analytics and Audit Management System.  

Zeitgeisty!  This  4aiSoft  group is capable of managing, administering and detecting fraud in the Worker's Comp space through analytics to reduce risk exposure Countywide through June 30, 2025, for a maximum contract amount of $5,108,200. 

Cool what is the maximum contract amount for Covington Burling, the firm who employ Shallman and Kubota, who have been examining the contracting fraud?  And why has Kubota also been pitching in with Deixler on the "Get the Sheriff" initiative?

 

Hall of Shame:

The Hall of Records HOR was designed by midcentury architect, Richard Neutra, in partnership with fellow architect, Robert Alexander, and is considered a rare example of a constructed high-rise office building designed by the architects. Planned as part of the 1957 Civic Center Master Plan, the HOR provides records storage space and clerks' offices for the County. The HOR retains a remarkable degree of design integrity, both on the exterior and interior, which will be retained as part of this proposed renovation project.  

The Hall of Records Regional Planning Headquarters and Hearing Room project budget is $14,487,000,  with an estimated construction cost of $8,500,000. That's quite an upgrade for a hall of records.  

The proposed project will renovate a portion of the 13th Floor in the HOR to house the Headquarters for the Department of Regional Planning. The proposed scope will include renovated office space, a breakroom area, and a hearing room on the 1st Floor. The renovations will include new architectural finishes, mechanical and electrical upgrades, new audio-visual equipment, upgrades to data and telecommunications equipment, and Americans with Disabilities Act upgrades.  

The design will incorporate the County's Work Space Standards, which contain guidelines for office and workstation sizes, and meeting spaces, including hoteling stations and huddle rooms. 

Once completed, the Honorable Board of Supervisors will allow the Department of Regional Planning to consolidate staff, currently housed on the 10th and 11th Floors of the HOR, into a single space.  

These suites will be subsequently used by the Auditor-Controller, which will relocate from leased space at the World Trade Center*.  

Furthermore, the project will create long-term savings since staff will vacate other HOR spaces to consolidate onto the 13th Floor and allow other County staff to backfill those vacated spaces instead of financing leased office space. 

Public comment:  Bruckner, get in here! 

The World Trade Center* is a Jamison Property. Paul HS Kim will remember a number of brilliant CPRA requests and formidable blunders by Team MRT related to, Richard Bruckner, the former Director of the County's Regional Planning office.   

What you need to know:  

A)  Bruckner and Karly Katona, the former chief of staff for Mark Ridley-Thomas huddled in one of those huddle rooms to push a mailer out the door from Regional Planning (during Sebastian's election to AD 54) known as the 2nd District Initiative 

Then, a couple of years later, we caught ole Bruckner who jumped to Mayer Brown, for invading the one-year county holdback on former department heads lobbying. He was working hard for Watt Companies to do a project on Metro Land with only 15% affordable. That made no sense, on fully public land.  

The District Attorney and City Attorney were informed but did nothing. 

B) Then, one way to get dozens of contributions from the real estate family behind Jamison Properties, is to dole out lucrative county contracts for office space to house the ever-growing county workforce.   

I'm only a few items into the Board's agenda, and we've just scratched the surface.  

How can we tell the people of the County of Los Angeles, what we've learned about the greatest county on earth if the Board is constantly expanding and outsourcing while downsizing the public comment?  

Where are Horvath and Hertzberg on this? 

 

Clockwise to OFF:

Local authorities in Inglewood are investigating a dead body found in the lake outside of SoFi Stadium. The Los Angeles County Fire Department received a call from someone who spotted a body in the water. Additional details surrounding the circumstances of the discovery were not available. But it serves as a good reminder that we are in a terrible drought.   And Butts has Sofi's back, no matter what. #bad  

And why is there a 15 foot lake?   

We crossed a threshold recently where, after four to six weeks of cringing and minding my own business, when I spotted a neighbor allowing her adorable toddler to play with a running hose.  I'd spotted it before but this time I got right out of my car and walked over to her and one of the children, who she was holding in her arms, nearby the water usage.  

I stormed right over, and disclosure, the young mother was wearing a flag bikini,  I told her how adorable her babies were and how much we liked them.  And then I pivoted, "I don't want to be that asshole, but the drought is really bad."  And I rolled out a Woody Allen style rant about how I thought she was well within her rights, but if she could somehow, curtail the use of water a little bit, maybe fill the kiddie pool, and then shut 'r down...    

She understood.  

But we both realized, no matter how well intentioned,  I was suggesting, rather insisting... that she do something on her own property with her own water bill* 

That's a hate crime, in my world, because I always say, "Live and let live," but there's an effing drought you idiot.  

Aligning Marina del Rey with Los Angeles County Priorities for Equity and Inclusion 

Within 180 days, as part of the report requested per subsection (b) above, provide any additional recommendations for an equitable, holistic, longterm land use plan for MdR that promotes, to the greatest extent possible, the priorities identified in the 2014 Visioning Statement, including but not limited to: 

  • Increased inclusivity and accessibility of MdR and its waterside amenities for all County residents and visitors, including via public or multi-modal transportation; 
  • Increased focus on community-serving amenities and the opportunity to incorporate youth-serving programming, including DBH’s Water Awareness, Training, Education and Recreation Program; 
  • Sustainable and equitable development and business practices, including LEED Gold certification, payment of Prevailing Wage, and compliance with applicable County policies like Local and Targeted Worker Hiring and Labor Peace Policy;
  • A community aquatic center that is open to the public; 
  • A community-serving one-stop civic center and plaza, to potentially include new consolidated DBH headquarters, an enhanced library facility, and other County resources; 
  • Increased or enhanced park and open spaces for public enjoyment; 
  • Expansion of public recreation spaces at Mother’s Beach and Burton Chace Park; 
  • Activation of a more vibrant waterfront with an array of free and low-cost recreational and community programming accessible to all;
  • Incorporation of public art elements; 
  • New and improved visual identification of MdR as a destination/community, including monument, wayfinding, placemaking/landmark, and informational/interpretive signage, etc.; 
  • De-emphasized use of County property for surface parking lots; 
  • Enhanced tenant and workforce protections; 
  • Increased provision of affordable and “missing middle” housing;
  • Protection and expansion of wildlife habitats, especially marine bird rookeries; 
  • Protection and enhancement of strategic scenic resources, especially marina and ocean view corridors; and 
  • A transparent and community-focused approach to all aspects of any MdR redevelopment.

 

(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)