Subterfuge 101

ERIC PREVEN’S NOTEBOOK - As was pointed out at the dinner the first part of celebrating the new year is to do a careful accounting of how things have been going.

Then later atone for the bad stuff, starve ourselves for one day, and then create a fabulous feast.  And remember to stay hydrated. 

Pot luck is always a great choice if you're in a pro-foodie environment, and there was such a lovely merry-go-round of inventive side dishes.   

LAHSA that came up for discussion in DeLeon's committee, causing Monica Rodriguez to fire off a merry-go-round comment.  Council member Bob Blumenfield of the west valley, where he tries to come across as a fulltime lab technician tweaking the various housing models, but is mostly canoodling with the NFL and NHL about the practice facilities and stadium.  

Blumenfield, looked up from his clipboard and said and I'm paraphrasing, "who the hell needs LAHSA  and more layers?"  

Nithya Raman, who is the G.O.A.T. (Greatest of all time) and ordinarily gets along nicely with Blumenfield, as co-chairs of the nerdy and polite but also effective and tenacious coalition, disagrees with bailing out on LAHSA and wants to go inside and redecorate. 


I'm with Rodriguez.  

The simple fact that this discussion is happening once again... Helps Caruso, according to one disgruntled LA Times reader.  

Spectrum News 1 anchor  @alexcoheninla  will moderate two debates at the Hammer Museum in Westwood on Wednesday night. CD 5 candidates Katy Young Yaroslavsky and Sam Yebri will square off at 7 p.m., followed by Hertzberg and Horvath at 8 p.m.  

Here's the link.  Billy Wilder Theater. There's a Yaroslavsky in there, by marriage.  

One question for the moderator Alex Cohen:  When Paul Koretz, the CD5 incumbent who is running for Galperin's seat as controller,  provided 41.18 signage around buildings in CD5, including Caruso's super fancy designed-to-compete-with-the-fanciest-buildings-in-New-York-City buildings, the population of homeless individuals in adjacent neighborhoods, has increased, so the question: WTF? 

Helps Caruso:

Another reader continues sending me links to articles under the heading: "Helps Caruso".  

The articles all share the general POV that whatever we are doing now in the way of homelessness and crime and safety, it's the wrong way and Caruso, knows the right way.  Here's a taste of what's arrived in my inbox over last couple months:  

Los Angeles agencies returned $150 million in federal funds to house homeless people 

Los Angeles Homeless crisis: Homeless man throws human feces at Sherman Oaks business owner 

Man shot and killed during home robbery in Encino 

2 Dead, 5 injured in shooting at San Pedro Park. 

Woman zip-tied, pistol whipped and robbed inside her Beverly Grove home during broad daylight 

Shooting at Gas Station near Beverly and La Cienega 

Santa Monica mayor says it's time to end L.A. County needle exchange program at park 

Video of brazen robbery shows woman robbed at gunpoint inside downtown LA parking garage 

Police seek suspect in Hollywood Hills sexual assault 

Van Nuys woman says homeless man continues to camp out on her porch 

Passengers on the HMS Caruso are signalling SOS but ONLY want to do what is legally required. They favor a bed and three meals a day, but preferably in a remote part of the county. Some of these Caruso-Canners are adamantly opposed to offering fully furnished expensive apartments to the homeless, nearby any Erehwon or Equinox. 

The Randy Fried Library Alcove:

I counted City of Los Angeles libraries and came up with 73, which for 4 million city residents is not quite enough, but there are also county libraries and school libraries. Some City Libraries are named for presumably important people.  A quick glance found... 

Miriam Matthews Branch in Hyde Park

Frances Howard Goldwyn in Hollywood

Felipe de Neve Branch on 6th Street

Mary McLeod Bethune at Exposition Park

Will & Ariel Durant on Sunset

Donald Bruce Kaufman in Brentwood 

I am against selling the naming rights to our libraries but going for Felipe de Neve caught my attention. He came from a fancy Andalucian family and was appointed as acting Governor of Las Californias on October 18, 1774, for New Spain, as it was known back then.    

In 1781, later in Neve's tenure, he founded the Pueblo de Los Ángeles, so this explains why he gets top billing at a branch library.  

Governor Neve had applied to Viceroy Bucareli for permission to establish a settlement (pueblo) near the Los Angeles River (Río de Porciúncula), where Father Juan Crespí had met local Tongva Indians.   

Folks may not know, that Neve is credited with being one of the first urban planners because he personally drew the plans for the pueblo. 

During Neve's tenure as governor, he quarreled constantly with the missionaries' leader, padre Junípero Serra, and favored a constitution less monastic, affording more civil liberty to the Indians and less despotism in the executive power of the presidios, the government of which might fall into the hands of cruel and avaricious men.    

He wanted a more Garcetti style operation, the harassment and sexual violence committed quietly off to the side, so as not to disrupt the fundraising machine.  

Neve, understood that a check on the power of government, would be necessary to moderate their authority. He knew that military government is subject to great improprieties when not moderated by an intermediate power. 

That intermediate power is the public.   

Apparently, Neve scrupulously followed the open government rules of the day, which included a fun section on sticks and stones.  

Trouble in River City:

The new 'old crony' brigade led by the "man" in shorts, Barry Johnson, is rebranding.  

It used to be called the "men" in shorts brigade before Richard Adams slipped in the shower and passed away.  RIP 

The Neighborhood Council by the river has lost its flow and continues to cling to it's own worst instincts, like lint on a sweater.  

The past president Randall Fried crossed the line recently by sending out a scathing 'vote no' email to his fellow committee members, intending to tank someone's nomination for a vacant seat.  His actions exposed the Agency to a lawsuit alleging serial meeting.   

Had the person not backed away in disgust, he could have sought Injunctive relief and invalidated the vote, but the past president Randall Fried, is a serial offender.  

As Rosh Hashana arrives this year, we all remember the Weinshaft initiative... and ensuing turd splatter across the community of Studio City.  


Randy had just squeaked into his seat as President and offered a job to an independent leader with some investigative enthusiasm, so sort of an attorney general AG, but let's go with GA, chair.   

But the GA job on offer came with a contingency.  All investigations conducted by the GA chair and committee would have to be signed off on by Randy.   It wouldn't have to be written down that way, according to Mr. Subterfuge Fried, but if the GA chair wanted the job he would have to  agree to "creative control" by the President.  Specifically, he would have to sign off on which items he could place on the commitee's meeting agenda. 

The GA chair, spotting a test, declined to serve under those onerous, Putinesque terms, agreeing to serve ONLY without the quasi-illegal 'Check-With-The- Prez-First' component.   

Randall Fried said he would take that under advisement and then moved forward with the Weinshaft initiative.  

The backsplash from the Weinshaft will follow Mr. Fried, wherever he goes for many high holy days to come.   

And so, as we come together as a community to celebrate, we always remember, in fact, we never forget.  

Subterfuge is a good SAT word for Harvard Westlake boys and girls and theys. The simple definition is "deceit used in order to achieve one's goal."     

The Brisket Embargo:

I was driving back from Coscto in Van Nuys, where I was completely shut down from picking up a couple of briskets for myself and my mother, in advance of the high holy days in the coming week.  En route to the Ralphs in Studio City I passed by the new Equinox Studio City, intended to marry history and high-performance. 

It's nestled in what the developers want you to believe is an oasis of mid-century accents and contemporary architecture.  Equinox opens on September 27th and will cost an arm and a leg.  Hurry!  

The new branding for the old Sportsmen's Lodge Hotel and Event Center, has the term, Sportsmen's, prominently emblazoned across the side of the building that abuts Coldwater where the old LA City firehouse used to sit, before Paul Krekorian cut a below-market deal for Richard Weintraub.    

Sportsmen's is sexist.  

As I approached Ventura Boulevard from the south, I was nearly hit by two cars fighting hard to squeeze onto Coldwater going north from the VB turn lane. In my view, it's only a matter of time before more accidents. 

How about  "Sportypeeps Landing?" TM 

At the Ralphs that used to be a Hughes and in my humble opinion is a southern Califiornia architectural classic, nestled between where the hotel was and Harvard Westlake, about a half a mile up Coldwater Canyon,  had two medium sized flat cut briskets. I bought them both sight unseen.  

As I checked out, I gazed through the giant glass front at the majestic old hotel, wondering how the proposed new Residences across the street are going to work.  For one, thing, the parking lot at Ralphs was totally full. And as I understand it, the Project Roomkey residents are out, so nobody is living there now.  

Where, I wondered, are all those people from 650 rental apartments, so very likely over 1,000 inhabitants and their cars, going to go?

And what about the requisite number of Briskets? 

FAQ: How much will the rent be on the 65 or units reserved for low income residents?  

We get that running a big rental operation and collecting 4, 5 or 6 thousand a month in rent x 585 units, beats selling damn good hiho burgers.  

Rental units are inarguably a great cash register (for the owners).   

But the best highest use, they crave is going to necessitate demolishing what is a very special midcentury modern hotel,  

To destroy it, is outrageous.  

The process of tearing down modern architecture and replacing it with disgusting expensive rental units, is the wrong kind of gentrification.  

That's why UNITE HERE Local 11 that represents over 32,000 workers employed in hotels, restaurants, airports, sports arenas, and convention centers throughout Southern California is joining a coalition of residents who are opposed to Residences at the cultural historical landmark eligible hotel.  

At one time the hotel was set for designation, and the article in support was written by Ken Bernstein, the Ken Bernstein, the national expert on preservation. 

But Steve Afriat, RIP, a lobbyist who worked for Richard Weintraub, and Paul Krekorian skillflly allowed the period by which the council had to approve the designation, lapse. 

You can take the Studio City people out of Studio City, but you can't take the Sportsmen's Lodge Hotel and the Weddington Golf and Tennis and pave Paradise to put up a parking lot, and a solar powered high school regulation basketball court in our precious open space.  

I was so upset, that I filed a lawsuit. On December 15, 2015, the City of Los Angeles Planning And Land Use Management Committee met and held a meeting on its recommendations to the City Council on Item 15-0634.  Jose Huizar was presiding and ignored dozens of opponents who spoke out.  

The next day on December 16, 2015, the City Council conducted a Special Meeting where it heard and acted upon Item 15-0634 without providing the public the opportunity to comment on the agenda item for Item 15-0634.   

The city did the same thing happened during and connected to the City Council’s special meetings held on May 19, 2016 (Item 16-0600 ) and June 22, 2016 (Item 14-1738-S1) 

Those Brown Act violations taken together resulted in the appellate decision Preven v. LA, in February 2019.  

What a pain in the ass.  

The event center has been replaced already with a place where one can visit the Erewhon expensive health food exhibit and then partake in a fairly priced HiHo burger.  

But that is  not our midcentury modern classic with one of the most charming swimming pool's in the valley.    

And the Patio Cafe,  should be revived and the iconic western drawings on the wall, should include a historically accurate depiction of Felipe de Neve 

If the Great Brisket shortage of 2022 taught Angelenos anything, it's that we don't like our old hotels being demolished by greedy opportunists.



Trail to nowhere:

And nothing infuriates me more than heading up Fryman Canyon for a hike and noticing that it's the Howard Berman or Sheila Kuehl trail or handwashing facility. 

The coup de grace, the Zev Yaroslavsky Greenway... linking up with the ongoing discussion dba the Harvard Westlake River Plan...and ensuing threat to overthrow the local government.  

Which is why the local council has to remain above the fray and keep their nose out of the dirty sneaky business and focused on the clean constructive and helpful business.  

Like it was nice to see Nithya Raman, the new council member in charge of a trio of stinkers capably created by Team Paul Krekorian of CD2 and henchmen, Karo Torossian, Edgar Khalatian and Ricardo Weintraub (who has starred as a villain in several movies set at City Hall). 

Weintraub was the son of a bigwig, and apparently, as a boy played alongside Eric Garcetti.  Heather Hutt who lost AD 54 to Isaac Bryan who got 21,472 votes to her 10,538 apparently played at city hall as a child, too, but I can't find any information about her age online. Odd.  She must have some age. 

In Studio City we have the Silver Triangle, delineating a nice neighborhood,  which has served as a platform to turn upward real estate values, in the area.  

We also have... the Devil's Triangle.  This refers to, a program created by the team mentioned above to 1) tear down the mid century modern class hotel  2) cede our golf and tennis to private interests and 3) relentlessly try to erect an unwanted structure on open space at Studio City Recretion Center while pleading it's all in the interest of climate. 

At the screening that Nithya Raman kicked off, before understandably shuffling off, there was no discussion, but there were free tacos. 

The local dog enthusiasts mingled happily and there were no arrests or detentions which was nice.   

At the very end of the CMs short welcoming remarks, as some of the old school Studio City Nimbys started to grumble about her liberal policies, the council member took a moment to thank "Our real estate partner, Compass. Thank you." 

The Zev Greenway

Speaker:  The Harvard-Westlake River Park Project involves the redevelopment of the approximately 16.1-acre Weddington Golf & Tennis site, and an adjacent approximately 1.1-acre portion of property along the Los Angeles River leased from Los Angeles County, collectively comprising an approximately 17.2-acre (749,344 square foot) project site, for use as an athletic and recreational facility for the Harvard-Westlake School and...  

Moderator: Next speaker. 

Let him finish.  

Speaker:  The athletic facility will be for the Harvard Westlake School (mumbling) and shared public use." 

What?  What is shared public use?  Do you mean the facility will be open to the public, like a library or a park?  The way the current golf and tennis amenity operates.  For decades, anyone can fire off a bucket of balls if they have the time and ten bucks.  

Next Speaker. 

How does shared public use work?   

"Next speaker, sir your time has expired. " 

It means, the residents are being given an empty bag with a hole in it. People, without identification may walk around the facility. Imagine if New Yorkers could merely walk around Central Park but not enter, unless the students at Harvard Westlake a quasi-Hogwarts have finished their training for the day.  Nice try, these kids are major overachievers and never quit.  

The amount of time open to community swimmers will be next to nothing.  

The HW Riverplan proposal is comparable to a gate around Central Park. 

Their plan of "shared public use"  is to provide a limited series of ID cards, following lite background checks. Unclear how signups to use a state-of-the-art soccer field, will work since the school claims they are desperate to have dozens of teams using the proposed playing fields.  It's the HW Badplan.  

The preferred use that gets at the way life in Studio City that was conceived by our predecessors is a community golf and tennis. It should be easy to run such a properly, while achieving some of the goals the school is trying to achieve.   

We can, because we think we can, (+the Mayor is an alum! ) 

The Mayor is in limbo and ... not helping. 

Next Speaker!  

The fix is for the school to build an economical practice facility and one extra field leaving enough golf to calm the natives.

And we demand at least SOME golf range, which unbeknownst to country clubbers from the Westside, have enjoyed a renaissance of late.  

Studio City demands a Drive Shack, where our adolescents can tank up and ...  

Next speaker.  

Drive Shack has perfected entertainment with a space centered around three-levels of interactive golf, community, food, games etc. 

[Crime?  Yes.] 

“Our sales results this quarter reflect the strong momentum we continue to see across our entire brand portfolio. We have a solid foundation in our core businesses with our Drive Shack venues and American Golf courses and each continues to deliver exceptional results,” said Drive Shack Inc.’s President and Chief Executive Officer Hana Khouri, used to work at Fortress Energy. 

Alcohol is also an energy resource, it helps folks loosen up a customer's golf swing, at the legal drinking age.   

Staffer B please step out of the vehicle:

If California were a sovereign nation it would rank as the world's fifth largest economy, and we have a very large surplus at present. 

Still, on June 28, 2022, a motion was made by our incumbent criminal to instruct the Office of Finance to report on the feasibility of implementing a one-year parking occupancy tax holiday for state universities within the City.  rufkm 

Disclosure: Adrin Nazarian who is running to replace Paul Krekorian in CD2 is married to Diana Mangioglu, who runs the Office of Finance where Mitchell Englander used to hold court; the same office that houses his old chief of staff and hands out tax refunds for Transit Occupancy Tax (TOT) and Parking Occupancy Tax (POT) collaborators.   

The Parking Occupancy Tax (POT) has been in place in the City since 1990, and is a 10% on all paid parking in the City. Cha-ching. 

A court case said operating a parking lot was determined to be a business operation rather than a governmental function. So collecting from the State was fair game. Based on parking receipts data from the schools that have recently registered POT accounts, the POT revenue expected once all are complying is approximately $5.8 million.  

An additional year delay would therefore have a negative General Fund impact of approximately that same amount. There are also considerations of fairness that will become more significant over time – students parking at private universities are currently paying the POT and could reasonably argue that the tax holiday should apply to them as well. 

If the private universities currently paying POT to the City were included in the tax holiday, the City would see an additional $2.1 million parking tax reduction.  

The vacation was not approved, the item was received and filed.  

(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)