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What the f— just happened? 

ERIC PREVEN’S NOTEBOOK - As she steps aboard the Board of City Tourism Commissioners, Germonique Ulmer should sail through the fingerprinting and meet with Paul Koretz her Council member requirement with no trouble -- though, she might meet with Nithya Raman, just in case her San Fernando valley home has shifted districts. 

But the fact that her esteemed husband has a good working relationship with Mark Ridley-Thomas, ordinarily a signal of connectedness in LA, could be something of a liability.   As a subdivision of the state, the County is charged with providing numerous services that affect the lives of all residents, including public health protection, public social services and from time to time... federal indictments. 

To be clear, Kwame Ulmer, her husband is a national leader in the Medical Device Technology industry not an indictee. On the other hand, Mr. Ridley-Thomas is an indictee and on October 15, 2020, he hosted BioscienceLA the first ever Virtual Bioscience Forum: Advancing Diversity and Equity.   

So far, I'm all in.  Among the esteemed panelists crammed onto the panels between Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas's opening and closing remarks was Kwame Ulmer, Board Member, MedTechColor.  

So what? 

Germonique R. Ulmer, his wife is the Managing Director of Social Impact for the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Los Angeles where she drives the museum’s community engagement, audience development and government affairs efforts.  

The museum really needs to provide free admittance.  

 

Keep moving: 

Signs forcing homeless people who reside in vehicles to move from one side of the Pacific Coast Highway to the other in the middle of the night, cause sleep deprivation, according to a lawsuit filed against the County of Los Angeles.  Plaintiffs seek to end the county parking bans, claiming that sleep deprivation, under international law, constitutes torture.  

Sheila Kuehl would know, and the beaches are mostly in her district along with Janice Hahn. 

The county already has legal problems and Skip Miller, who agreed to a $2.5 million payout for two families who lost their loved ones in the Kobe Bryant tragedy, but failed to resolve things with Vanessa.   He's already banked over $1.3 million in fees, if you believe Rodrigo Castro-Silva, but Skip says Vanessa's attorneys are being strategic.  

Strategic is like, settling United Way Board member Sachi Hamai, before she even filed a claim for $1.5 million. Also, strategic, don't disclose the fees to the public on request.  

At the city, Paul Krekorian is strategic as well.  He likes to announce the legal settlements, vote and then.... next item.  The public is only allowed to give testimony after the council votes.  This is illogical.  

On Wednesday Krekorian called the item 16,  a routine settlement that had been previously considered in his Budget and Finance committee. "Unless members have questions or concerns?"   

The city hired Gutierrez, Preciado & House, LLP to assist with the matter and paid $150,000 through 2020, but in 2021, the City Attorney reached into the conflict of interest bullpen (The Conflict Panel) presumably because his office could not ethically provide representation.  

In June of 2021, while actively campaigning for Mayor, the City Attorney engaged Manning & Kass, Ellrod, Ramirez, Trester, LLP for $80,000.  The total cost of $230,000 is a lot of money.    

As a courtesy, I glanced at the Plaintiff’s motion for production of peace officer personnel records pursuant to california evidence code §§ 1043, et seq.  This is sometimes referred to as  a Pitchess motion.  

The Plaintiff had alleged that while decedent Keith Myron Bursey was a passenger in a parked vehicle, the Officer Kumlander ordered Mr. Bursey to exit the vehicle. When Mr. Bursey attempted to flee on foot, Kumlander drew his weapon and fired several shots into Mr. Bursey’s back, mortally wounding him.  

The plaintiff also alleged that Officer Kumlander used excessive force and his use was “motivated by [Mr. Bursey’s] status as an African American or his black skin tone.” Plaintiff also alleged that  Mr. Bursey’s civil rights were violated based on the circumstances of Mr. Bursey’s death. 

The Plaintiff sought an order directing the LAPD to disclose the personnel files for Kumlander. The City opposed.   

The City contended that service of the motion was defective in that the motion had not been served on the LAPD. According to the proof of service attached to the motion, the motion had been served on counsel for Kumlander and counsel for the City (i.e., the City Attorney).  

The Court noted the City Attorney’s Office represents both entities.  

Nothing for the public to see here, routine racism. Expend up to $465,000 in settlement.   

 

Hostility: 

I was thrilled to hear from Johns Hopkins this morning, wondering if I would be interested in participating in an Hostility study. Go on. 

The study seeks to interview individuals who frequently upbraid local officials on point.   

I'd like to thank the Board of Supervisors and their Attorney Rodrigo Castro-Silva for providing the wind beneath my wings by attempting to interrupt my department head evaluation of his terrible advice in his role as Los Angeles County Counsel. 

The County of Los Angeles has the largest population of any county in the nation - nearly 10 million residents who account for approximately 27 percent of California's population.    

Wickham & Wickham.  We have no sense as to whether Mary C. Wickham, the former county counsel who I associate with MRT and all his shenanigans, and John Wickham, the City's multi-pronged Chief Legislative Analyst Tool are related.   

John is excellent.  Whether he is administering Transit Occupancy Tax breaks for treasured partners like AEG or deconstructing LAHSA and the Blue Ribbon Commission for MRT, or, as he was doing this week, chopping up the districts for Junta leader, Nury Martinez.  

Wickham works hard enough that he rarely has time to even get a haircut. Martinez announced, "We have to do our best to pay attention so the public understands..." 

At Tuesday's redistricting vote you'd think Kevin DeLeon and Curren D. Price would be paying attention to the Exposition Park item.  Somehow they missed the vote the first time.  

In the end, it appears Price got his golden ticket....  the Lucas museum really needs to provide free admittance.  

 

All aboard "Low Morale" policy: 

Solis & Solis.  An earlier column alluded to an item on the Metro Board's agenda.  It was a clarification about tickets and passes of a "gifty variety" but obviously not gifts! -- according to the Chief Ethics officer at the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority.   

The New Chief Ethics Officer at LA Metro, ironically, has the same last name as the Chairwoman of the Board, Hilda Solis. 

Paul Solis, who has held the job of Deputy Chief Counsel in the Office of Congressional Ethics among others for 11 years and 4 months, landed in LA with a bang. 

After a decade of Congressional Ethics (are there any?) and a two year guest lectureship in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic, he's begun the vital work of clarifying a ticket and pass distribution program, which will never be a full throated endorsement.  

Metro receives offers of tickets or passes to a variety of events from various sources. For the ticket or pass to be exempt from reporting on the individual’s statement of economic interests (Form 700), the agency must have written policy stating the public purpose for distribution of the tickets.  

All represented and non-represented Metro employees, Metro consultants designated as Form 700 filers, Members of the Metro Board of Directors and Board staff are bound by a written policy that shall be adopted by the Metro Board of Directors.  

Tickets or passes are distributed pursuant to FPPC Regulations by Metro staff as follows:  

A ceremonial role is exempt from regulation.  Passes shall not be earmarked.  

The Agency shall determine in its sole discretion which Official(s) may use the tickets or passes. 

If public purposes of the Agency, like community outreach, building relationships, generating business or similar activity

appearing at the event of a non-governmental organization, providing educational information don't cut it...  there is a "some other way" provision to support the Agency’s Mission.  

When you do receive an offer of tickets or passes,  forward the offer(s) to the Communications Department.

The Ethics Department will review  and provide approval or denial and finally disclosure.  

The Agency will not accept offers of tickets or passes from Agency contractors, subcontractors, bidders, proposers, lobbyists, lobbying firms, lobbyist employers, or anyone else doing business with the Agency, unless the Ethics Department determines that acceptance would be permissible under applicable Agency codes and state law.  

There are plenty of acceptable loopholes here, but one solid reason for providing a pass,  "To support general employee morale, retention or to reward public service. 

There was one caveat with that,  that Mr. Solis could elaborate on. 

The Morale boost idea does not apply to a Member of the Board of Directors, Chief Executive Officer, Agency Department head, or designated consultants.   

Why not? 

 

Off Shore Feeding Frenzy:

There is no word if Charles Munger, who was tagged with the creation of Dormzilla at UCSB last week, the educational incarcerator complex intended to mar the coastline at the campus in Santa Barbara. 

Good news, however, as a federal agency has announced it is working to protect 7,000 square miles off the coast of San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties. 

The Associated Press had the story, but other sources, say the so called Marine sanctuary has triggered a lot of activity among wealthy parents of students in southern California's elite private academy circuit.  Harvard Westlake, Buckley... Oakwood etc. 

A leading professor (who I am fictionalizing her), who spoke on the condition of anonymity has pulled a restraining order to keep parents of applicants for a High School summer research program, from bribing marine staff in an attempt to effectuate selection.   

A longtime Kelp worker from Oxnard, married to the professor's research assistant who has a large role in vetting applications, was seen tooling around Santa Barbara in a high end Tesla, triggering concerns about possible undue influence. 

 

Marathon:

I hope the organizers of the Los Angeles Marathon remember the amazing effort exerted for them, and against the public's better interests, by Eric Garcetti and Barbara Ferrer when they greenlit the March 8, 2020 LA Marathon, just four days after the Mayor issued his historic March 4, 2020, Declaration of Local Emergency.  

John Korir of Kenya made a break with 7 miles remaining to win the 36th Los Angeles Marathon on Sunday. 

Natasha Cockram of Wales won the women's race with a similar strategy.  

The state of emergency was re-upped on Wednesday with relatively little fanfare, though, Adel Hagekhalil, was trying to hit the mark for Mitch O'Farrell who had choreographed a lengthy and insulting pageant of measures to combat heat and climate change. 

It was comedic as the Council tried to seem important and thoughtful about getting the Emergency response to the heat waves right,  Hagekhalil was literally bombarded with misfiring alarm signals. 

 

Red Lights & Siren:

On Tuesday, Joe "Buckets" Buscaino who has been doing everything in his power to arm Park Rangers with guns,  announced that he had participated in the 36th LA Marathon.  (coughing) Bullshit.

Congratulations!  

In the interest of transparency, please provide any footage that might substantiate the claim that Mr. Buscaino did not finish the entire race, but rather capably ran segments of the race...in the other marathon - the race for mayor.  

Sliding into an LAPD squad car at mile 5 and emerging somewhere near mile 15, some time later would make for a great episode of a TV series focused on just how far a big city candidate will go in a political campaign. 

 

September 24, 2018 - Budget & Finance Committee:

The other candidate among us, Mike Feuer was upbraided for going along with an insidious plan by the City Clerk to fleece angelenos of money in low profile public hearings. 

Englander had moved all the dirty stuff out of council with Nury Martinez, to small committees where the dirty deeds could be done without interruption by the public and media.  Englander conceived it something like a... Lien Fair. 

This period between 2015 and 2020 will go down in the history of corruption here, as the halcyon days. 

The trough of ne'er do wells was capably normalized by Patt Morrison recently in the LA Times, but Wesson, Englander, Huizar et al. will take the proverbial cake.  Literally. 

Huizar, with O'Farrell's deft assistance squeezed a property owner for contributions to his wife Richelle's campaign to get a vacation of property between his two lots. Paul Krekorian, signing off as dozens, if not hundreds of Angelenos were ritually violated with LAPD lurking around, facilitating an enormous "taking." 

One such case had to do with 17828 Tribune street in Granada Hills.  Mitchell Englander's district 12.  

For more information contact Niklas Alexander Buckingham #249346 or John Lee Staffer B.

 

Tennis Anyone?

We are back in bidness with the USTA.  The purpose of the grant from the USTA to the city is to defray some of the costs to organizations  delivering quality entry-level programs who are actively engaging at ($12) per tennis player, or another amount at the discretion of USTA, for RAP’s 2021 Tennis Programs.   

USTA will determine if funding will be awarded. You know who knows the people over at USTA... Mark Ridley-Thomas.   

He helped them lock down the golf course in Carson!  

Do you smell something? 

 

(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)