ERIC PREVEN’S NOTEBOOK - If you are worried about hunger, money and shelter, it's very hard to worry about anything else, like how many citations you may have accrued and whether or not you qualify for any kind of immunity.
Another annoying piece in the New York Sunday paper comparing the Big Apple to Los Angeles. Converging cities... one ethos. They're waiting for their first Erewhon.
The argument that they are more similar than different is an old one because both cities are meccas for extremely competitive overachievers who either have a lot of money, get a lot of money or will be forced out.
Here in Los Angeles, if you are alive... welcome to Studio City. If you are dying, why not try New York, there's a lot to do.
If you are merely drowning, maybe pass by the Grove and try Rick Caruso's auto salon. Once you do, you'll never go back... to New York. In LA we have some four-acre liberals who actually have four-acres.
In New York they have a severe garbage problem and so a concomitant rat problem, even at Mayor Eric Adams's house.
Here in Lala land, we had our own rat problem at City Hall but it was more of a Disney production in that it was totally fabricated.
Disney was more successful in bringing back the old boss. Nury Martinez tried to bring Herb Wesson back which flopped but he still gets credit for the rats at the city hall episode.
Wesson, it turns out, was very very worried that, Deron Williams, his trusty chief of staff, might have inadvertently attracted a 'bug' in the ceiling. So, during the holidays, he called Greig Smith's guys to come have a look, and poke around. Pretext: Pandemic. Nope. Pretext: Rat Infestation ding ding ding.
Even the City Clerk Holly Wolcott was worried... about public health, obviously.
David Goldstein of KCAL TV might remember... as long as the burn scars hold this week.
Los Angeles can definitely hold its own in the category of craven politicians willing to do anyyyyythingg for money.
After the rain, near city hall, there will be fields of green and a new crop of optimists like Traci Park and Eunisses Hernandez and Hugo Soto Martinez and Tim Mcosker and Katy Yaroslavsy with which to frolic liberally.
Financing will fall from the sated trees and the Good Mayor Bass will enlist an army of well-off good Samaritans eager to convert all the city's pain to pleasure... and expensive housing.
Why not take a beautiful open space in Studio City and put up a net zero high school regulation basketball court? Why not build a tower at a choke point?
Absolutely not, Brad Sherman. Maybe in New York.
Supervisor Horvath took a selfie by appointing, Lindsey P. Horvath, to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority.
Kudos, she's going to show up and see for herself.
Supervisor Hahn is joining Horvath to work get cracking on making NARCAN readily accessible in the County’s Juvenile Halls and Camps. Finally!
And regarding the homelessness crisis, there is much to be done in expediting contracting and procurement. "Leveraging the lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic," we need to take appropriate steps to expedite processes for getting materials, equipment, and services necessary to respond rapidly to the homelessness crisis."
Excellent, shall we bypass putting anything on a public agenda as we race to get things done? Public Scrutiny is simply a luxury... we don't have time. "Vlade, back the truck up to the treasury...quickly!"
And whereas, I agree the Chief Executive Officer should report back to the Board on the new emergency proclamation, in writing, in one year caught me off-guard. How about next month?
And, as we recognize January 22, 2023, as the start of the “Lunar New Year” in Los Angeles County and tout the Los Angeles County Asian American Employees Association and the Chinese Employees Association of Los Angeles County for their contributions to Asian American and Pacific Islander residents, what, pray tell, about the Armenians?
Why is there 'nary a word about the Armenians on Tuesday's agenda?
Please read, Russia is helping Azerbaijan by starving 150k men women and children in Artsakh, Armenia… #Armenia #Artsakh #Russia #Azerbaijan #Putin #Biden #Speakerofthehouse #SpeakerVote @POTUS @KamalaHarris @SpeakerPelosi @RepAdamSchiff @MayorOfLA
Barger? Hahn? Next presentation...
Motorola: Bruno Mars
Some of us remember how Uptown Funk pumped out a private gig ONLY for the vaccinated last summer.
Motorola Solutions Inc. CEO Greg Brown, the opposite of a hipster, reportedly paid for his kid's multi-million dollar wedding and party. The payout to Mr. Mars was said to be in the high 6- to 7-digit range. Lovely.
Motorola has been ripping off the City and the County for years. Who knows when we will be washing through another upcharge under the MSA that will retroactively increase contract funding from the General Fund by...(last time) $8,468,397.50, consisting of $2,497,555 for the Sixteenth Amendment and $5,970,842.50 for the Seventeenth Amendment.
What for? Install computers and related communications equipment in 1,800 patrol vehicles and to extend the term of maintenance for the 9-1-1 Telephony Recording System from January 1, 2020 to December 31, 2021. Three months left!
Also, to provide maintenance for the PremierOne Computer-Aided Dispatch system and extend the term of the contract an additional ten months out to February 2025.
In case it's not fishy enough, "Should funding in the contract out years not be appropriated to the Department, the provisions of Contract Section 3.E., Compensation and Method of Payment, Limitation of City’s Obligation to Make Payments to Contractor, protects the City from any claims by the Contractor for payment until the City makes an appropriation of funds for such work."
$10,000 and a sincere apology:
I wondered if the prior county beat reporter, who moved on to the mental health beat, was tuning into a NY Times event.
Elizabeth Williamson... from the legitimate, New York Times, was talking with Amy Barkhorst and Julian Ford about the recent wave of shootings.
Barkhorst said, "We have to find a reason... so we go mental health, but for crimes, robberies etc. we don't attribute those shootings to mental health." "If we stamped out mental illness" she posited, “we would reduce crime by 4%..."
"We always hear they've had counseling (the shooters) ... there is a difference between having mental health issues, and a problem... depression, anxiety, anger. Those things can be in the normal range, or potentially a symptom of mental illness.
"Chest pain, doesn't mean you are having a heart attack... "
Severity matters. she said, but sadness and loneliness are normal parts of human emotions. They can of course get out of control.
The fact that young men are often bullied, isolated, and under-appreciated... is not helping. "It results in violent revenge fantasies."
These young men feel compelled to show that they are worthy... they want to feel powerful because they felt ...the opposite.
This is not necessarily a mental illness, though it is characteristic of someone who is "not in a great space..."
Can improvements to the mental health system rectify that problem?
Amy Barkhorst said, "A lot of people during the pandemic ...worried about more suicides. But we didn't see that overall in the numbers. We did see a big increase in violence and homicides." It was surprising but correlated with large firearm purchases.
The demographic of first-time buyers who were not the typical old white guys, but more liberals, women, and people of color, she said, "I was gobsmacked by that..."
Between 2019 - 2022 on average there was a 45 % increase in firearm purchases across all the states.
Red Flag laws could be helpful, "but if you have a High School student... whose into violent video games, military stuff... comments to students, 'wouldn't it be cool to blow this place up, then he references Columbine...' etc... a so-called, school-shooter type!
If that kid were legally old enough, at 18 to get a gun... if he had no hospitalizations... he can legally own firearms. "The police can't just take them away."
People are understandably alarmed when cops show up and they have "no legal recourse." Red Flag laws could fill that hole. If a judge decides, the owner could be a danger... they can extend the order."
I asked an LA County Sheriff Watch Commander, "if I saw a Howitzer artillery gun in my neighbor's garage would you come out?"
He reminded me of the 2nd amendment, "no."
The conversation shifted to the fact that adolescents don't develop a pre-frontal cortex until their mid-20s. Adolescent boys have high rates of substance abuse, sex activity, car crashes, and impulsive acts of decision. They are more likely to perpetrate a mass shooting because they don't fully grasp it. The anger, rage, and vengeance is consuming.
So ,by increasing to 21, the age to get a firearm... it would be better!
Julian Ford came out and said the parents of Adam Lanza, who killed children at Sandy Hook in 2012, really tried to get help for their kid, but, they felt the state had failed them.
Adam was an isolated, emotionally detached twenty-year-old. As a pre-teen... he had a significant psychiatric evaluation at Yale.
Nothing came out, violent.
They found he was not just depressed, he was not psychotic, but he was very cut off and detached from other human beings.
Not like autism, where some things are not relatable... or psychopathy, no concern for other people. Adam wanted to be involved with other people, but he reportedly didn't know how.
Ford, who wrote a book about this, said Adam "couldn't have an understanding of how others might feel. "Then he told of a fifth grade... drawing, that Adam labeled, "The big book of granny..."
Dr. Ford found the drawings of all sorts of violence happening to an older woman called granny, deeply troubling. The fact that he was struggling with violent impulses, never showed up anywhere else in his behavior.
He was living in a basement, and the one family thing he liked to do, was to go to the shooting range. He was very detached... and literally became obsessed with video games, and military, and weapons. His mother thought going to the gun range with him was a way to connect with him...
The attack began when Adam killed his mother, Nancy Lanza, in the home that the two shared in Newtown.
Would a Taser Drone have helped?
Apparently, the in-house AI Ethics board, at Axon the parent company of Taser, has more balls than the LA City Ethics Commission. Those who don't recall Mitch Englander's Taser tenacity can refresh here.
Armed police couldn’t stop the shooters in Buffalo and in Uvalde. But perhaps a very small drone equipped with a Taser could. Specifically, Axon CEO Rick Smith suggested, “non-lethal drones capable of incapacitating an active shooter in less than 60 seconds” (according to the Axon press release), which would be stationed inside of schools.
Smith’s curious proposal met near-instantaneous backlash. By the following day, nine members of Axon’s A.I. ethics board had resigned, writing in a statement that the school Taser-drone announcement had led them to conclude “that after several years of work, the company has fundamentally failed to embrace the values that we have tried to instill.”
Smith, who adored Mitch Englander for shoving through a huge bodycam order with 4,400 Tasers under the seat, early on, is deeply into this idea and outlined his views in detail in his 2019 self-published graphic novel, The End of Killing, which combines his philosophical take on the matter with two hypothetical scenarios in which Taser drones feature.
According to the graphic novel, “killing is a technology problem,” and Axon-made devices like Tasers and Tasers that fit on drones are the solution.
"In one graphic novel scenario, an improbably buff workplace shooter is (literally) shocked into submission by a miniature Taser drone that emerges from a smoke detector–like nest on the ceiling. In a second and even more fanciful scenario, set in Syria in 2045, an ISIS-like masked man with a scimitar is prevented from executing an innocent man by a fleet of small Taser-equipped drones, which U.S. intelligence services had tasked with watching the area. After a human approves the action, the drone tases the swordsman into submission. Then a “human transport drone” equipped with a large grabbing arm scoops him up and flies away with him. At the detention facility where he’s deposited, he’s fitted with a mind-scanning helmet that literally reads his memories, looking for incriminating information. “Thousands of people will be processed in the same manner,” Smith confidently asserts. “Some of them will be determined to have done nothing wrong; they will be released and given $10,000 along with a sincere apology.”
(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)