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Pro·crus·te·an 

ERIC PREVEN'S NOTEBOOK - The smash and grab gang had a good week, and the porch pirates are ramping up for December. 

One retail consultant said about the recent flash mobs, "I'd have everyone on deck including the CEO to help ID these ringleaders."  No word if Rick Caruso... strapped anything on and walked the Grove or Palisades Village.   

"It's a partnership, not a blame game..." between the County Board of Supervisors and the Los Angeles Sheriff's department.  Janice Hahn the Fourth District Supervisor cited the LAPD as doing a great job.   As for the Retail-side, that's where Rick Caruso comes in. Still, unclear if he's NOT running for mayor yet.  

No word from Retail maven, Paul Koretz, who is definitely running for Controller, as to whether these hammers, crowbars, and yes, sledgehammers... can be categorized as snap together weaponry.  The no "Ghost Gun" item passed.  Get the "shovel ready, hero pay" out for that effort. 

Security:  "Hey, who’s that lady in the corner, with no makeup?" 

"Supervisors Solis?"   

Public:  She's okay.  

This week was apparently the last outing as chair of the Board of Supervisors for outgoing, Hilda Solis.   

The Thank You festival will be forthcoming, and we will bring concrete data about her impressive record during the pandemic and long career.  Among so many great accomplishments, her "FREE" parking waivers are not to be believed.  They're not FREE, but the county pays, so Yay!

 

Resilient: 

The most used phrase in America and probably everywhere else is ... "you're still on mute."    

Folks were praying, as Gilbert Cedillo the Council member from district one blathered on about representative democracy... for several days.  

He wasn't filibustering but he started at the Special Olympic/Paralympic 2028 Committee meeting Monday morning and continued right on through to Wednesdays City Council meeting where he reminded the council about the so called "org chart."   

He was making the point, gently ribbing Paul Koretz of CD5 who had suggested that Casey Wasserman's answer about public input on the IOC LA28 deal had "not been a direct response."  

"It's intellectually dishonest to compare LA to other cities." Casey reminded, "We are a private entity delivering the games. Normally, it is a government. We have an arms length agreement.  We are delivering a singular event for 17 days in 2028. We will privately secure and deliver the games as opposed to a..." civic group. 

Questions about public input according to Gil Cedillo who serves on the Olympic Ad hoc were... "Sophomoric. This is not a town hall. We are all elected."    

"The City Council, the City Attorney, the Controller, the Mayor and... yes, the 15 representatives, who are all intimately aware of the values and priorities of their districts."   This time he was defending Buscaino's right to do what one sharp critic called more enforcement banishment and criminalization. 

"Intimately aware," the Studio City Neighborhood Council had community impact statements (CIS) in support and also opposed to the new districting plan. Sigh.   

Cedillo, said "Look, on the westside, my deference is to Bonin."  And in the Valley, yes, "I'd like him to be better," doing more like me and O'Farrell in the form of affordable housing, "but for the valley, I turn to Blumenfield."   

The groans were barely audible.  Not as bad as when Koretz veered into / commemorated how important Prison sex was in the spreading of AIDS. 

Blumenfield of CD3 sometimes compared to Fielding Mellish, has not been sleeping as he examines and re-examines ways to augment the city's FEMA take.  Patty Huber of CAO and Nithya Raman of CD4 helped him realize that the Project Roomkey opportunity window is closing. Raman asked how many of the existing providers would be interested in extending until April 2022 when the program funding ends?  

Great question, no one knew.   

The point, underscored repeatedly is that FEMA will reimburse 100%.  "Why would we not take advantage of that?"  

Could the item approving a $1.8 million dollar settlement with Guess IP for which Paul Krekorian recused himself be FEMA reimbursed?  

Nithya Raman who is not typically a cheerleader-type and has voted bravely in opposition once or twice in hundreds of votes, provided a lot of gratitude to Ted Ross and ITA who may have felt badly about the humiliating updates over the last couple weeks re; the PaySR payroll system and egregious Workday overages.   

No matter how diligent or intelligent explaining egregious waste fraud and abuse takes a serious toll. Ten million dollars over budget on a Twenty million dollar budget... is a lot.   Sorry.  

Also a lot -- Buscaino's attempt to ram through over 160 sites for 41.18 signage reminding folks not to sit, or lie down.  

Joey "Buckets" as he is referred to, failed to get enough traction to get past the city council. And there was a waft of recognition by Kevin DeLeon who had been whining all week about no more studying, no more reports, no more committees, commissions etc. when he stepped in at the Council President's urging to push Buscaino's 41.18 motion back to Homelessness and Poverty committee. NOTE: Should we change name to Unhoused & Poverty Committee ?  

Lincoln Riley the "get" coach from Oklahoma.  Wonder if he has any qualms about the veritable laundry list of shame... at the house of Trojans. It's offensive, but also sweeping... robust and exclusive.  And like the great Rita Moreno... resilient.   

That's what Moreno told 60 minutes after revealing that her own agent had raped her in her teens, in his office.  It was painful to hear how she kept had him on as her agent even after that horrible trauma.   

That's what it would be like to allow Mike Feuer, the current City Attorney and Mayoral candidate and Eric Garcetti "The Mayor knew" to keep raising money and wielding power.  

The City Attorney, who accepted a Hodson Award from Pauline Weaver of ABA, was aware that Paul Paradis was already representing Antwon Jones the rate payer who had a claim against DWP arising from billing overcharges.    

Mr. Jones was not aware that Paradis, his lawyer, was also the lawyer representing his intended adversary.   

Paradis paid bribes to LADWP officials to get lucrative contracts for Avenidor.  Feuer hired an Ethics gal for $176,000 to write up a report. 

Enough is enough.  

 

May 17, 2020:  [I sent this to the authorities because I thought they deserved the whole truth... ] 

Dear PCTips:

I believe that the Office of the City Attorney of Los Angeles has been engaged in acts that on the surface may appear to be routine city business but when properly placed in the deeper context of the major ongoing FBI investigation into a criminal pay to play enterprise at city hall, reveals a scheme to legitimate the suppression of public scrutiny in furtherance of the alleged criminal activity. 

The attorney in the case BS 166039, Paul Nicholas Boylan, is clearly a part of that scheme, but it is not clear if he was a willing participant or rather strong-armed by the City Attorney, or a rogue actor within. 

The city council has been engaged in various activities... “The city has been engaged in a pattern of abuse on the Brown Act.” 

On September 30, 2016, the city council initiated amendments to the public comment rules at city hearings. The City Council's new speaking rules created a two-class system of public participation.     

Felon Mitchell Englander, frequently had critics thrown out of meetings and fought to modify trespassing rules so that any disagreement with the Council Chair would be a criminal offense.  All of those efforts were taken, I have alleged, in furtherance of the pay to play criminal enterprise.  

The John Ferraro Chambers that Mayor Garcetti describes as the "Temple of Democracy" was devised by a despot with a complicit city staff and technical features that allow the defendants to humiliate public citizens and percipient witnesses who dare to shed light on city hall activities.  

In the case of Paul Boylan, an attorney from Davis, CA, retained by me, and who I have alleged improperly signed on my behalf a settlement agreement to which I was a party, to collect his fees while giving away my rights without my consent or signature, even though I had been the prevailing party. This constitutes an act that may seem at first glance, a civil matter between me and Boylan, but when properly contextualized I believe it rises to the level of critical evidence in the ongoing alleged criminal pay to play scheme at city hall.   

Before I even knew about the settlement agreement that Mr. Boylan had illicitly signed and agreed with the City Attorney's office, one that I would never have signed in a million years after my historic appellate court victory, Boylan started acting strangely.  

His  "unwillingness" to fight or enforce our victory on the Brown Act was what tipped me to request public records supporting the resolution of the lawsuit. The City Attorney provided under CPRA a settlement agreement that I had never seen, let alone agreed. 

So, the City continued to violate the Special Meeting rule and Boylan appeared unwilling to ASSIST. The payoff by the City Attorney to Paul Boylan, had apparently worked. On the surface, it's all perfectly legal.  

I approached the Silverstein Law Firm, whose client George Abraham had also sued over amendments to the City Council's rule changes under the Brown Act.  During that case, Mr. Abraham, and I were in contact. Then Mr. Abraham was hit by a FedEx truck and became incapacitated. The attorneys from the Silverstein firm, approached me to step in for George, and I agreed. The Silverstein firm then asked me to provide detailed information about my work, for a declaration. 

In retrospect, this may have been part of the City Attorney's scheme to contain litigants and suppress critics. 

But my 'good faith' participation may have been used as leverage by the Silverstein firm to drive up the money on the 'proposed stipulated judgment'  

I don't believe George Abraham would EVER have agreed to dismiss with prejudice the dangerous and illegal rule changes that he so loathed. 

On March 17, 2020, the last City Council meeting that the public was present for, one in which the public was segregated and bunched outdoors in 55 degree weather while Nury Martinez called... item 98. 

The matter had been slated for closed-session but was instead agreed out loud in open session that the City Attorney's recommendation would be agreed and the Silverstein firm would collect  $232,000, while dropping the case.  The alleged reason for payment: 

Judgment is entered in favor of Petitioner on the first cause of action for violation of Government Code Section 54954.3(a) as follows: On September 30, 2016, Respondent violated Government Code Section 54954.3(a), including under Preven v. City of Los Angeles, 32 Cal. App. 5th 925 (2019), when the City Council failed, during its September 30, 2016  special meeting, to provide Petitioner and other members of the public an opportunity to give public comment on agenda item number 25 relating to a motion to adopt amendments to the Rules of the Los Angeles City Council ("Council Rules"), specifically Council Rule Numbers 7, 8, 11, 12, 22, 62, and 63 (the "Motion").  

All other causes of action, essentially the substantive attack on the [now enacted] inhibitory rule changes were dismissed with prejudice.   

Once again, an overzealous City Attorney, eager to legitimate the suppression of public scrutiny in furtherance of a criminal pay to play enterprise, pressured the Silverstein attorneys to AGREE TO DISMISS WITH PREJUDICE Mr. Abraham's good claims in exchange for a quarter million dollars.  

George would never have agreed to drop those claims with prejudice.   

And now the LA City's categorization of the entire 20-21 budget process as ONE ITEM rather than by department or any other coherent process, resulting in low public input must be put to rest. We fought so a comment could be delivered on any item noticed on the agenda... we won.   

Now, the City only notices one item when the budget is discussed as if to ignore the fact that the city is comprised of 28 separate departments.  #ThePublicIsNotStupid 

As reported earlier, the scheme to legitimate the suppression of public scrutiny in furtherance of the alleged criminal activity was supported by Wesson, Englander and Martinez's very specific effort to move items away from public telecasts etc. into committee. 

I copy the DA's office here, to underscore how the County has resisted any Brown Action or even friendly reminders about ... the rule of law.  #VeryBad 

Eric Preven

 

Q/A:  [Always happy to field a question! Thanks for writing] 

Q: The SCNC's emergency meeting, contrary to your false accusations, was within the proper notice requirements, as Mr. Nyambura has pointed out. So where's the beef?

A: Thank you for the note. Let’s consider using common sense instead of straining for interpretations that violate the letter and spirit of the statute in question.

But thanks for stepping in to uphold the integrity of Mr. Nyambura, BOTH of you are doing excellent work… every single day.

Ensuring that email notifications from Neighborhood Council Presidents can be delivered without regard to Brown Act notification requirements is important. Someone has to do it.

To be very clear, the BONC policy and NC Bylaw loopholes should have and could have been shut down years ago when they were first brought to the attention of Lippman, Shaffer and the rest of the gang who came over on the Mayflower, by simply clarifying:

24 hours = 24 hours, not 16 hours and eight minutes.

Don't get me wrong, if Randall Fried wants to email other informative materials to those who have signed up for agenda notifications... email is terrific, night or day!

Though, Mr. Fried does have a tendency to “put his thumbs” on the scales by telling constituents what to think, it hasn’t worked (Sunshine HIll, CD4 and Proud!)

Re: The Beef
No beef will be served on Thanksgiving but No constituents, whether they like Special Meetings served in accordance with the law or not, will be turned away.

I believe it was the Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Gregory J. Weingart who declared: “Given the plain language of the statute… “Preven is right.”

And it was City Attorney Michael N. Feuer and his lawyers who were quick to argue that “the council has no obligation…”

In that case, the High Court found that Preven successfully alleged a pattern of conduct by the City at special city council meetings in violation of the Brown Act.

The attorney in that case wrote that the seminal decision “reaffirms and applies the principles of law that favor public participation in local government, interpret exceptions to participation rights narrowly, disapproves of procrustean statutory interpretations, and requires that both public agencies and superior courts interpret statutes using common sense instead of straining for interpretations that violate the letter and spirit of the statute in question.”

Keep up the good work!

Pro·crus·te·an (especially of a framework or system) enforcing uniformity or conformity without regard to natural variation or individuality.

 

(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)