fbpx

Whenever in Doubt ... Cut a Ribbon.

THE CITY--The scene was the newest west wing of the Tom Bradley International terminal, the West Gates, and the boys (Mike Bonin and Mayor Eric Garcetti) were introducing facial recognition software. 

Since other than raising big bucks for Biden, the most significant accomplishment of the mayor's tenure has been .... facial recognition. 

Building up his own. Now, that Garcetti will likely take the job in India, he'll be even more widely known.   

A nearly three-story-tall glass chandelier hangs from the middle of the new concourse, adorned with LED lights that can be programmed to change colors and strobe on and off in various sequences.   

This is Garcetti's enduring legacy.  

Still, the irony was thick because other than selfie-recognition, climate is supposed to be one of the mayor's signature achievements. 

But Recycle LA is a sham and airports and air travel on which everything here hangs, as we are the world's most touristy destination, if nothing else (LA 2028 pin?) 

Air travel is not good for the climate crisis.  Never mind the federal requirement that both travelers and flight attendants have to endure the freshest warnings about "coming down for a final mask check." 

The month of May hosts both Asian American Pacific Heritage Month and Jewish Heritage Month and both groups join Philippine Airlines in being upset that the walk to the gates at the new west wing is such a shlepp for elderly passengers.  

LAX officials said that the connecting tunnel features moving walkways, escalators and elevators and that passengers who need assistance can request an electric cart to use in the tunnel.  

The airline issued an advisory, apologizing for the “inconvenience of the airport’s decision” and noting that the carrier “appealed urgently to the airport authority to reconsider.”    

A thin little line:

As we head toward Memorial Day and the Anniversary of D-day, June 6, 1944, I'm remembering my 2019 visit the WWll museum in New Orleans where the feeling of the whole country working together in the defense of liberty is on full display in all its glory.   

Correspondent Ernie Pyle, whose columns about average GIs endeared him to millions of readers, walked along the Normandy landing beaches in the days following the D-Day invasion.  In a June 17, 1944 dispatch, just 10 months before Pyle would be killed in the Pacific theater, he described the debris left by Americans who perished at the Normandy shoreline.    

 "But there is another and more human litter. It extends in a thin little line, just like a high-water mark, for miles along the beach. This is the strewn personal gear, gear that will never be needed again, of those who fought and died to give us our entrance into Europe.  

Here in a jumbled row for mile on mile are soldier's packs. Here are socks and shoe polish, sewing kits, diaries. Bibles and hand grenades. Here are the latest letters from home, with the address on each one neatly razored out -- one of the security precautions enforced before the boys embarked.   

Here are the toothbrushes and razors, and snapshots of families back home staring up at you from the sand. Here are pocketbooks, metal mirrors, extra trousers, and bloody, abandoned shoes...   

Two of the most dominant items in the beach refuse are cigarettes and writing paper. Each soldier was issued a carton of cigarettes just before he started. Today these cartons by the thousand, water-soaked and spilled out, mark the line of our first savage blow.   

Writing paper and air-mail envelopes come second. The boys had intended to do a lot of writing in France. Letters that would have filled those blank abandoned pages.    

Over and around this long thing line of personal anguish fresh men today are rushing vast supplies to keep our armies pushing on into France."     

An irreparable hole in the sky:

Every little hillside canyon has its tallest tree. There was one tree that just towered above all the rest and you could see a great predator hawk and its crew lived up there. Magnificent is a nice way to put it. 

And one day there was a fellow climbing up the tree, giving it a haircut.  A little maintenance, we suspected. 

Our hearts sank when we realized that once the chap got near the top he started chopping down the mighty tree.  He took it down like a fireman retracting the tall ladder and driving away. 

Susan Orleans, who wrote the Orchid Thief and contributes to the New Yorker and I had once discussed the bird life of the canyon, some of the characters were larger than life like the bird celebrities of central park in New York. 

What a shame. I walked over and poked around... where the big tree had lived. There was evidence of real estate people.   

Now... an irreparable hole in the sky. 

Policy check:

Winston Churchill defiantly rallied the British Empire and played a pivotal role in building a global alliance to hold off the German juggernaut, remaining outwardly confident through the second world war's darkest days. "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat," Churchill told the House of Commons in his first speech as prime minister.   

 "We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering. You ask, what is our policy? I can say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim?  I can answer in one word: It is victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival.    

Though Churchill was one of the chief architects of the Allied victory, war-weary British voters ousted the Conservatives and their prime minister from office just two months after Germany’s surrender in 1945.  Rough room. 

About-face: 

When WWII began, President Franklin D. Roosevelt recognized that many  Americans strongly opposed any involvement in foreign conflicts. The president maintained official US neutrality (painful).     

After Pearl Harbor and Germany’s declaration of war, the President rallied the country to fight the Axis powers as part of the Grand Alliance with the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union. #Finally   

“We have faith that future generations will know here, in the middle of the 20th century, there came a time when men of good will  found a way to unite, and produce, and fight to destroy the forces of ignorance, and intolerance, and slavery, and war.” FDR, Feb 12, 1943 

Civil War: Pvt Carter, Pvt Miller (is one of the three playable characters in the Call of Duty)

According to Merriam-Webster, "feckless"continued its strange reign as the imprecation of choice for many politicians, as Marjorie Taylor Green (R-Ga.) referred to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) as a “feckless c**t”    

Whenever feckless trends in merriam-webster.com lookups it prompts readers to wonder if one can also be feckful. Yes, the word, less common than feckless, carries such meanings as “efficient,” “sturdy,” and “powerful.”  

Homelessness is intractable according to Skip Miller, of Miller-Barondess.   

That's Skip's feckful view, not necessarily that of the Supervisors, for whom he suits up every single day. 

The Governor, who is more optimistic but facing a recall announced recently that "The California Comeback Plan invests a historic $12 billion to expand... successful programs and seeks to end family homelessness within five years."  

Maybe Skip and the Governor can hash it out at The French Laundry.  

U.S. District Judge David Carter who famously ordered Los Angeles to find shelter for the roughly 4,500 people living on the streets has not been skimping on blistering criticism of city officials, including Mayor Eric Garcetti, for the problem.   

On May 27th Meghan Cuniff, a freelance reporter, tweeted Judge Carter's hearing,  "When I walk down the street it is beyond any civilized society. And I go to Afghanistan" and Syria etc, and the refugee camps are better than Skid Row."

Carter didn't mention India, where Garcetti is likely to don his next robe.

Kevin DeLeon (CD14) who "wants them in Sherman Oaks" (unhoused women and children) told Carter the homeless industrial complex in Los Angeles makes the DMV "look like a well-oiled machine."

Carter called on LA Auditor Ron Galperin, who was busy launching his 3rd District Supervisorial campaign, so AWOL. Carter directed his chief of staff to track him down.

I bet Galperin could figure out how much Skip Miller has been paid by the county to continue this epic charade? 

Both Carter and Miller attended UCLA. 

Skip's fees have been an ongoing controversy between me and the county legal team who for the second time, re-sent three legal cases from 2015 and 2017 for which they'd paid Skip and his firm $10,275,  $180,525 + $151,305.   

Despite, going all the way to California Supreme Court consisting at the time of Justice Carol A. Corrigan,  Justice Leondra R. Kruger, Justice Goodwin H. Liu, Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar, Justice Ming W. Chin, and the Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, the first Asian-Filipina American and the second woman to serve as the state’s chief justice, the county has reverted to its worst instincts. 

No matter how hard Skip works for the county they should disclose to the public what they are paying him.   

When the LA county counsel surrounds, the county's auditor-controller... Arlene Barrera, and advises her to ignore public record requests, she should feel very comfortable blowing the whistle.  

Skip Miller continued... "The real issue is homelessness" he told Carter, "not winning in court. The real role of the court is to try to decide the case between us."

Skip thinks the county is "100 percent right on the merits" and the plaintiffs, the LA Alliance for Human Rights,  have no proper claims against the county. "That's our position. Don't mistake it for the county not wanting to resolve this issue,"

Miller tells Carter. "Can we do more? Every day we try."

Carter says Miller and the county "went dark for a number of months" and appeared totally unwilling to negotiate.

Miller says he didn't go dark, "We don't need a lawsuit to tell us to deliver services. We're going to do it whether there's a lawsuit or not."

Carter asked Skip if he'd be willing to work over the weekend, and Miller replies, "All I do is work." 

Really? Skip, are you doing it for the women and children... ? Is it all probono? 

Newsom:

California Governor Gavin Newsom was wearing an outfit that could pass for a Star Trek: Picard Logo Lightweight Zip Up Hooded Sweatshirt, as he spoke during a visit by U.S. First Lady Jill Biden, at The Forty Acres, the first headquarters of the United Farm Workers labor union, in Delano, California, U.S. March 31, 2021.   

He touted "Project Roomkey," a program in which the state provides money for cities and counties to rent hotel rooms for people living on the streets. 

The Forty Acres preserves the legacy of the farmworkers movement and helps tell its story. With the Delano grape strike, Filipino farm workers played a significant role in changing the way agricultural workers were treated in the U.S. Filipinos were considered a "docile" and "hard-working" immigrant group, and were denied the ability to vote or own land. 

The Paolo Agbayani Retirement Village, named in honor of a Filipino union member who had died of a heart attack while on a picket line in 1967, was the UFW's response to the plight of elderly Filipino farm workers.  

Most Filipino farm workers had immigrated to the U.S. as young men during the 1920s and 1930s and stayed through the 1950s and 1960s. 

Strict immigration laws prevented Filipino women from immigrating to the U.S., and California law prohibited Filipino male immigrants from marrying women outside of their own race. 

This meant that Filipino farm workers lived as single men in the labor camps and had no family in the U.S. and no financial and public resources that would have enabled them to leave their physically demanding jobs.  More structural racism in California. 

With no place to go and no one to care for them, Filipino farm workers continued to work beyond the age of retirement to avoid destitution.  

in the early 1970s, the Paolo Agbayani Retirement Village was constructed in the Mission style.  It consisted of 59 single room units, bathrooms, telephone lines, central air conditioning, a lounge and dining area that provided daily meals, garden plots, and a courtyard landscaped with eucalyptus, Chinese pistache, blackwood acacia, carob, and camphor trees.  

The Filipino farm workers who retired to the Village had come full circle; they now lived in a place that provided them with a high quality of life, human dignity, and respect.    

The modern luxury:  It's a war out there!

California has become the latest state to offer a vaccine lottery to incentivize getting the coronavirus vaccine – launching the nation’s most valuable single prize draw: $1.5 million.   And retail is back...  and the local market for fancy magazines is... through the roof.  

Modern Luxury just published their pre-memorial day edition with the top 100 influencers and so much more. I definitely detected a war motif.  

So, why not sport a Versace camouflage backpack or crossbody buckle bag?  If you want a Reese Cooper camouflage brushed cotton canvas jacket, no problemo.  Something tasteful for the wildfires and megadrought.  

And I was briefly confused when I spotted the Emergency “night mission” wrist watch... I thought of the Midnight Mission, the Union Rescue Mission and the Los Angeles Mission.  I get it, think "search and destroy." 

Prices are up everywhere, but BofA has your back...  “The C-17,” said the very nice veteran they've put in service to get you to bank over at BofA explains, “is designed to carry large equipment, supplies and troops directly to small airfields in harsh terrain anywhere in the world. It’s able to carry 170,900 pounds of payload and drop 60,000 in a single drop." 

They sometimes refer to it as ‘the Moose’ due to its bulky appearance and the sound it makes while refueling, which is very loud.” 

Hopefully, the super scooper will be ready.  #megadrought 

My311La:
There was an example of dumping in Studio City.  A large green velvet lounger ... was left by the side of the road.   

I called it in and waited for 8 minutes, but had to take another call.  I called again later and waited  23 minutes to get through and they took my address and picked up the crap on Wednesday.   This is a victory.

The Pandemic Should Not be Used as a Pretext to Muffle the Voices of the ‘Inconvenient Public’

"When would these settlement negotiations begin?" Judge Carter asked the city officials on May 27th. 

Though he offered few details, Scott Marcus, the Senior L.A. City Atty, said that members of the City Council and members of the Board of Supervisors would be convening to discuss the case.  When?  They've got an item on the international condemnation of the repression and violence being perpetrated by the Colombian government against civilians, but nothing on the skid row lawsuit yet. 

Will the county board and city council be discussing 'gentrification' which sounds like a disease (and in a sense, it is socially/culturally?) 

Angelenos learn a lot from other Angelenos speaking truth to power. So why have open meetings been so dramatically cut back? 

As the LA Times editorial board is fully aware, half as many meetings and special meetings deny a general public comment and so prohibit criticism, so a Brown Act no-no.  

People who inform one another deserve a damn Medal of Honor.  

Here's what some people had to say about a proposed Arts District cold-storage plant dating to the1890s that would be replaced with housing, offices, a hotel and shops in a $2 billion dollar proposal from Denver developers.  

"Follow the money and report on who is paying and who is getting paid, how much did the city give away in tax revenue?" 

"From the moment the City puts up street signs announcing that you're entering the "Arts District" it's a sure bet that artists can't afford to live there anymore." 

"Amazing!! If we give these mega developers every square inch of every block, all the cars will magically disappear... according to their renderings. " 

"They "build next to transit!"  But they also make sure to include giant underground garages." 

"Why would I want to live in a residential skyscraper where if quarantined I would not be able to smell fresh air due to sealed windows and the only fresh air choice would be to walk among the homeless." 

"Will individuals from communities that have been displaced to the outskirts of Los Angeles be able to afford living/eating/working  in the Arts District?" 

"How about an adult retraining campus to feed those holy trail tech and creative companies with eager non-college workers." 

"Or just simply strictly residential space with an affordable housing mandate that makes sense?" 

"Or an imaginative park in a city with less open space than Mumbai, India?"   

"Upscale Mixed Use Development projects don't add any value to the neighboring community or the city at large."  

"The "housing shortage" is a developer boondoggle.  Their motto is "build it and they will come." The "they" in this case being rich New Yorkers and foreigners." 

Today... "comments are disabled."  

Ditching of US Airways Flight 1549 on the Hudson River:

On January 15, 2009, US Airways Flight 1549, from New York City's LaGuardia Airport to Charlotte, North Carolina, struck a flock of birds shortly after take-off, losing all engine power.  

Unable to reach any airport for an emergency landing, pilots Chesley Sullenberger and Jeffrey Skiles glided the plane to a ditching in the Hudson River off Midtown Manhattan.   All 155 people on board were rescued by nearby boats, with a few serious injuries. 

Ten years later... on January 15, 2019 the LA City rules committee briefly convened to make clear, rules are meant to be broken. 

These rules: 

PERMANENT RESTRICTIONS

City law also establishes two permanent prohibitions: 

Lobbying

Former City officials and employees may not receive compensation to attempt to influence any City agency regarding matters in which they personally and substantially participated during City service. They also may not be compensated to assist another person in attempting to influence a matter in which they were personally and substantially involved during City service. This ban lasts for as long as the matter is still pending with the City or the City is a party to the matter. 

Personal and substantial participation includes activities such as making or voting on a decision, making a recommendation, conducting research or an investigation, and giving advice.

 

Confidential Information

Former (and current) City officials and employees may not disclose or misuse any confidential information that they acquired in the course of their City service.  

At 4:00am an article appeared in the LA Times two months after the FBI raid on the office and home of Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar, announcing that new details had emerged about the ongoing pay-to-play probe.  

At 11:05am an article about Greig Smith's appointment as an interim voting member of the Los Angeles City Council was posted.  

Only one member of the public spoke, "Now, I will say that Waste Management is a company that has done $1.8 million dollars lobbying down here, but Mr. Smith is only responsible for about ten percent of that, the rest went to Englander Knabe and Allen, a large portion." 

"There's nothing personal against the man; ...but he wired up a lot of the waste stuff down here and you're not supposed to go out and lobby; which is a rule that they made, so I just think we have to look at it, face it, and then ... I would "request that you cancel the special election for CD12.  Nicole Bernson can serve as the CD12 voting member, for twenty months, because apparently 9 months is good for Greig, but he doesn't want to do any more." 

Wesson knew he was delivering  20 out of the next 22 months to be months during which campaigning would be happening in CD12.

"Mr. Harris Dawson, you weren't there at the time...Mr. Smith was one of the highest, respected members of the council, he was very operative, knew how to get things done.   And just an incredibly good person; made solid arguments. I can't think of more experienced individual that we have, anywhere in the city, to be considered to come in and serve as a voting member of this council." 

"I believe that the reason why the council is empowered to do that is because the people of this city recognize that there are going to be emergencies, and individuals are going to run for other offices, people were going to be offered other jobs, and the worst thing that can happen, is to have a vacant council seat, without a voting member."  

He failed to reference that, "people were going to be indicted by the FBI." 

I remember thinking, "Well, how convenient."   As my brother Joshua andI I had previously speculated, "is anyone willing to stand up to Wesson?"  Like that proverbial “strongman” in cautionary tales about the dangers of unrestrained power,  Angelenos needed Eric Garcetti to honor his oath but frankly, Garcetti was out of town.   

Wesson prattled on, "Now, I am not suggesting or promoting that in the future every time there is an open seat we would appoint someone, but that option should be vetted, because in some situations, when the stars align perfectly, there could be perfect people. And I think that is what lead us to you."  

Wesson must have meant, and nobody has ever asked him, a real insider who knows where the bodies are buried but will protect the enterprise. 

Sort of like Harvey Keitel in Pulp Fiction, as the fixer, or the cleaner;  a model of efficiency under pressure — a no-nonsense performer who got the job done with style. 

"The only concern is you don't want to give people an advantage."    Like staffer B?  

Smith cheerfully and selflessly accepted... 

Greig Smith: "A pleasure to be back, when I was here I was known as Mr. Recycling and today your recycling me. (laughter)   To the gentleman's comments about Waste Management, I would love to address that.  

When I left the office and went to work I did not go to work for Waste Management for a couple years. When I did go to work for them I went to the city ethics department, I went to ethics training, they cleared me to do that. They said it was within the council policies and the city charter.  

And I only registered as a lobbyist because Waste Management wanted me to. In my entire year and a half as a lobbyist, I never once lobbied anybody in this building. I acted as a consultant. Waste Management wanted to make sure that I registered so there'd be no question. I never did lobby. 

In my last year or so, I worked for them as a consultant on recycling issues for all of southern California, so my job with them was not lobbying representation, rather consulting for my expertise. 

And in relation to today I've already had the complete ethics department look at it, Ms Sharon Tso has already talked to the City Attorney Ethics Renee Stadel about it clarifying that I will be recused from any issues that deal with Waste Management directly that they benefit from, and I cannot discuss it with anyone in this council or anyone on the staff.  

So, very clearly in the public record if any of those issues with that one client I did have, I will not discuss with anybody in this building at any time. And I am more than happy to do that. Waste Management is fine with that, they understand. 

Herbert Wesson: With that said, I appreciate you doing this, I appreciate your family, because I know this is a sacrifice, so without objection, I'd like to recommend Greig Smith to be appointed as a council member and, you know, full responsibilities of council. Let it be written, let it be done. Thank you.

Smith resigned on August 23, 2019 

The Los Angeles County Young Democrats:

Mitchell Englander taught Stephanie Uy... EVERYTHING she knows.  

On October 24, 2018  Mitch Englander was heading for the door and the presence of Eileen Decker did not seem to be enough to keep him from flagrantly violating my rights.  

Eric Preven: Campaign finance is relevant to this office, you’ve raised a ton of money. All of you have!

Mitch Englander: OK, cut off his time.
Eric Preven: Committee members ... what are..
Mitch Englander: You are not speaking on items under the purview of this committee.
Eric Preven: What are you talking about? The LAFD provides campaign finance.
Mitch Englander: Now you are disrupting the meeting.
Armed LAPD: He’s ruling you out of order, can I ask that you return back to your seat.
Eric Preven:  No, I’m not going to be ruled out of order, I’d like to finish my public comment.  

Sigh.  I'd gotten to know Stephanie over the years because she was a good soldier in a terrible war.  

Eric Bauman, who has since sought treatment for “serious, ongoing” health problems and an apparent “issue with alcohol” after getting hit with numerous allegations of sexual misconduct at the Cal Democratic Party, had been refusing to share Candidate Interview Committee information.  

He wrote to me, "we will not be providing you with the names of the members of the Candidate Interview Committee." 

I pointed out that  the young democrats had provided the names of their selection committee. This was a group that Stephanie Uy served on alongside, Daniel Lopez and Anna Aroutiounian.   

Neither Anna nor Stephanie bothered to mention after Daniel Lopez did, that they were also working for my opponent in an election, Los Angeles City Council member, Paul Krekorian. Sigh.    

Lopez went on to be a jefe in the Kamala Harris for Senate campaign and eventually the Political Director at Gavin Newsom for Governor. 

Anna Aroutiounian did a brief stint working for Janice Hahn before landing at the Council President Nury Martinez's office. 

Stephanie Uy became a CD12ist under Mitchell Englander and on June 12, 2019 while serving bravely under Greig Smith... 

Stephanie Uy: We already closed public comment. 

Eric Preven: Then reopen it.
Stephanie Uy: We already closed it.
Eric Preven: Yeah well open it.

Stephanie Uy: We could but
Eric PrevenWhere is the city attorney? 

Officer Graciano: He’s right here.  

Stephanie ought to get a job at Onni, a big developer that in addition to having tons of development within the city, also has an office deal with the LA City Office of Finance.   Yikes.  

19-0607

Municipal Facilities Committee report 0150-11374-0000, dated June 6, 2019, relative to requesting authorization for the Department of General Services to negotiate and execute a new lease agreement witn Onni Group dba Onni Times Square Limited Partnership for office space located at 145 South Spring Street for the Office of Finance. 

When it finally came to council there was evidence of major dirty tricks in Tuesday’s 111 item (cluster bunch) agenda.

It is very likely Avak in Sharon Tso’s office who is responsible for the deceptive ways.  To my recollection there were also two distinct but similar $80,000 gifts of public funds to Danny Bakewell’s Taste of Soul.    

 "The only concern is you don't want to give people an advantage."