ERIC PREVEN’S NOTEBOOK - Herbs are frequently applied to the treatment of chronic and acute conditions such as cardiovascular disease, prostate problems, depression, and inflammation,
but Angelenos now know that Herb is definitely not indicated in cases of pay-to-play corruption.
In fact, it can make things worse.
Since Judge Mitchell Beckloff, who has been feeling fantastic (even frisky) slapped Herb Wesson out of office the people want to be sure Wesson's willingness to ritually abuse public speakers with impunity and the career-ending rebuke from Beckloff are given the proper recognition.
For at least a decade, Herb Wesson and the devious city attorneys’ office, who knew better, blocked 1000s of speakers from saying a single word on items that came before the city council.
On what grounds?
Herb Wesson felt that the public right to comment on items that had previously been heard in committee and that had "satisfied” any requirement to hear from a member of the public who showed up at city council to speak, even if they had no knowledge about any committee hearings.
I was a young speaker once and thought... "this can't be right."
Turns out, the Brown Act does not permit limiting comments at special city council meetings based on comments at prior, distinct committee meetings. Given the plain language of California's open meeting law (the Ralph M. Brown Act), Government Code 54954.3(a), and its legislative history, the court held that Eric Preven adequately alleged a claim that he was improperly denied the opportunity to comment on the agenda item at a special meeting, and a pattern of conduct by the City at special city council meetings in violation of the Brown Act.
The most offensive part of Wesson's massive lie and willful abdication was the belief by other council members that given his power there was nothing the cheerful 'colleagues' could do.
I spoke personally with the great leader of the new ninth, Curren D. Price, who earned a scholarship to Stanford, so knew or should have known. Price simply shrugged and said, "you'll have to talk to the council president."
Ludlow and Price
Paul Koretz, who, years ago rode his bicycle to San Franciso, threw his hands in the air and said only Herb Wesson could unlock the illegal public comment blockade. Like, he knew it was wrong, but would not speak up.
Bob Blumenfield, who has endured a legacy of #BlumenfieldKnows jokes drawing attention to the shameful and disrespectful violation of the council rule 93, was simply limp. "I don't disagree. You need to talk to Wesson."
Harris-Dawson said, "See Herb Wesson."
Everyone is supposed to be given equal treatment by the city, and ITA, because it is the public's technology agency, but if you ask Ted Ross the GM, "why do the public appear so small onscreen?" he says, "you'll have to talk to the council president."
If you followed that lead, you'd wind up in the CD10 office where a giant plexiglass bank teller's window has been installed at the taxpayers' expense. What about Nury?
Baskin-Robbins® is the only ice cream chain in the world that has the unique “31 flavor” concept. It represents a different flavor for each day of the month.
Let's make Wednesday August 31, 2022, the first day of the new era in city council, in which the public will be both seen and heard.
County Cash Register
It is important to note as we send Wesson out the door that he was one of the worst presidents in city council history.
I am hoping that the City Council decides to have a special presentation commemorating the extralegal, unethical efforts by Nury Martinez, on the advice of counsel, to stuff her bestie, Herb Wesson back into the CD10 office.
Maybe we could hire a local political firm like Bridge Street Inc. the socially innovative live entertainment development company run by Martin Ludlow, who stepped down from his CD10 post and was later convicted in a campaign finance corruption case?
Ludlow's company helped organize the $15/hour minimum wage extravaganza, featuring the iconic wheelbarrow full of signatures.
Wesson would do 'annnnything' including disrespecting the public to pursue his agenda, so when Judge Beckloff or Strobel (who eventually recused herself) had Wesson's pay halted in July and told him he could no longer perform “any functions” of his interim spot, Angelenos went wild.
Nury Martinez, should come up with the $144 dollars from her officeholder account to put a flashing red light atop city hall, to signify the departure of Wesson, who is only one and a half years away from 31 years in service.
Au Revoir, Herb.
Former CD10, Herbert J. Wesson
Herbert Clark Hoover was an American politician and engineer who served as the 31st president of the United States. In the midst of the economic crisis, dba "the depression" Hoover was decisively defeated by Democratic nominee Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1932 presidential election.
Hoover's retirement was over 31 years long, one of the longest presidential retirements. He authored numerous works and became increasingly conservative in retirement. He strongly criticized Roosevelt's foreign policy and New Deal domestic agenda. In the 1940s and 1950s, the public opinion of Hoover improved largely due to his service in various assignments for presidents Harry S. Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower, including chairing the influential Hoover Commission.
In the end, Herbert Hoover is often regarded as a below-average U.S. president. Critical assessment of his presidency by historians and political scientists ranks him as one of the worst presidents in U.S. history
The art of the bribe:
Frederick T. Woodman served as president of the Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners. When Los Angeles Mayor Charles E. Sebastian resigned for health reasons, Fred Woodman was elected to replace him. He served as acting mayor from September 5, 1916, until 1917. The Republican then served as the duly elected Mayor of Los Angeles, as the 31st person to do so.
In March, 1919, Woodman was indicted on charges of "asking and receiving a bribe." During his mayoral campaign, Woodman was arrested and tried. In May 1919, Woodman was acquitted of all charges but lost the mayoral election to banker Meredith P. Snyder two months later.
This reminds me of the Mark Ridley-Thomas drama. What if MRT is acquitted?
"Sir, public comment has been satisfied in committee."
It was interesting to note, that Woodman's sister, Kathryn Woodman Leighton, was an artist in Los Angeles. "Art and Artists: Indian Chiefs Put on Canvas"
Her paintings were not innovative in form but they were hailed as "distinctive" and "historical" for their content; "Kathryn Leighton has painted the Indian aristocracy as Van Dyke painted the British aristocracy," declared a Los Angeles Times critic.
However, another Los Angeles Times critic commented that the portraits "command my respect and admiration--and yet I do not personally like them."
Kathryn Woodman Leighton 1876 - 1952)
"Indian with Turquoise Earrings"
During Woodman's time as the fill-in mayor of Los Angeles from 1916 to 1919, he displayed many of Kathryn's paintings in the mayor's office.
For anyone interested, in art and bribery, please examine Mark Ridley-Thomas' legacy of artistic empowerment in the area.
There is a lot to learn.
In 2020, nearly a century after Woodman's mayoral term, the U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna described “rampant corruption at City Hall” in L.A. as part of an FBI investigation that brought down two City Council members—one of whom, according to a lawsuit filed by a former staffer, “was engaged in conduct designed to extort applicants for cannabis permits within his Council District.”
The city settled the lawsuit for $150,000. Some people refer to cannabis as herb.
You can't spell Herbalife without Herb.
The October 24, 2021, City Streets Closure in Venice Beach was moved by HERB WESSON, JR. at the behest of Herbalife so they could hold their 24 Triathlon Los Angeles.
It was a big move, because the County Board of Supervisors, with the help of some noisy members of the public over there, threw them off of the County beaches when their sponsorship of the Malibu Nautica Triathalon was identified as ... disgusting!
The company promises people a dream, a chance to change their lives, quit their jobs, and gain financial freedom. In 2016 Herbalife also promised to pay a $200 million judgment for refunds to many of its "distributors."
Monica Rodriguez took a $500 campaign contribution on her road to victory and Nury Martinez took $500 right in the old Officeholder account as well, on 09/27/21. That's less than one year ago.
Same deal in 2019 with Marqueece Harris Dawson ($500) and Curren Price, who also choked down an Officeholder supplement of $500.
Is it true that Herbalife has preyed on aspirational Angelenos eager to climb out of poverty, while not getting mired in a losing pyramid scheme in which they dole out resources, or go in debt, to become part of the Herbalife flock?
Has Herbalife changed its harmful practices?
- They say they have banned lead generation 2. Changed its buyback policy 3. Modified the qualification thresholds for different positions in the plan.
But, none of the changes address Herbalife’s compensation system or the business fundamentals that make it a pyramid scheme.
When I asked the City Attorney, why there was an item 15 on a Claims Board Agenda that identified Herbalife in some kind of settlement, he said:
"Please note that there is no complaint for #15."
On Tuesday, September 6, 2022 the shameful 50% off public comment program resumes including a SPECIAL CLOSED SESSION MEETING regarding Significant exposure to litigation (one case). (22-3188)
No word if that is the $31 million payout to Vanessa Bryant et al. The board does plan to have a look at the Policies and Training Surrounding First Responder Photographs.
But the county is still feeling munificent and will continue to provide support for Greater Los Angeles Heart and Stroke Walk, “Breast Cancer Awareness Month” and the biggie ... a massive parking waiver for the Malibu Triathlon, from September 12 – September 15, 2022 and for approximately 4,000 vehicles on race days on September 16 – September 18, 2022.
My heart goes out to Sheila Kuehl's office, who are diligent and thoughtful and have had to endure a lot of corrective action from the very diligent and well-equipped army of angry residents she has represented during her two terms as county supervisor.
Michael Epstein Sports Productions, MESP, the producer of the well-respected Malibu Triathalon took pressure because some residents made a fuss about the participation of Herbalife as a sponsor of an event that received a $96,000+ waiver from the county to advertise on the magnificent county beaches.
Because Sheila's office ignored the critique initially, the public went deeper and through CPRA uncovered that the county had been short-paid by $75,000 or more. The county eventually circled back, collected the money, and dropped Herbalife the next year.
The replacement... Bank of America. (Hello, Newman!)
Even county employees could spot how wrong the massive gift of public funds was. Why was the county, with billions in unmet needs, if you believe the County of LA's Department of Parks and Recreation not to mention the City of LA Recreation and Parks, pouring so much money into a bicycle race, to raise money for a private hospital?
We park poor, dog.
"Not that I agree with Preven on anything" the county staffer noted, but "we should all quit our day jobs" if the Malibu Nautica Triathalon numbers he gathered by public record act request, pencil out as he indicated.
They penciled out.
The film Broadcast News captured the moment nicely, when Holly Hunter's boss shakes his head and needles her, "It must be nice to always believe you know better, to always think you're the smartest person in the room."
"No. It's awful," she replied.
When the county backed away from Herbalife...you can't spell Herbalife without Herb.
Nury Martinez appointed Heather Hutt, a former aide to Vice President Kamala Harris during her time in the Senate, to be CD10 chief of staff, when she installed Wesson. No word if Hutt will provide access to Herbalife. Why not?
(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)