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50% less gratitude

ERIC PREVEN’S NOTEBOOK - Flanked by a cadre of the nation's leading progressive prosecutors, advocates and community leaders, District Attorney George Gascón marked his first year in office by outlining the office’s efforts to keep communities safe, improve victim services and implement criminal justice reforms. 

Gascon has been working with Miriam Krinsky who was a careful collaborator with Sheriff Lee Baca and Zev Yaroslavsky but has emerged as a national leader advising progressive DAs and other prosecutors.

The Office claims that District Attorney Gascón will continue to work to increase transparency by providing the public with access to real-time statistics using the county’s Open Data portal, but he has consistently refused to hold the County Board to the standard set by the Governor's March 2020 order regarding public meetings.

Twenty-one people were charged with public corruption in 2021 in cases involving the cities of Industry, Maywood and Compton by the Public Integrity Division, which works to ensure clean government, but if the office looks away again and again from violations of the public meeting law it will never change.

The District Attorney’s Office claims that it has bolstered its efforts to engage with the people of Los Angeles County. Including several advisory boards to help the office improve services.

It's great to support the LGBTQ, African American and Asian American and Pacific Islander communities but the DA could hold a virtual discussion with District Attorney George Gascón and Supervisor Holly Mitchell about the legal requirements re: public comment.

A comparison of public meeting Transcripts and Statement of Proceedings of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors from March thru December of 2019, 2020, & 2021 yielded some unsurprising, but highly disturbing reductions. By cutting half their public meetings, they've cut more than half the gratitude.

 

A 35% drop in total number of Items voted on by the Board since 2019

A 34% drop in total number of Transcript pages generated

A 55% drop in the number of times the term 'thank' appears in meeting Transcripts.

 

Lying to Congress is Zeitgeisty:

One City Council member is in federal prison and two more are under indictment. A former deputy mayor is embroiled in a bribery case and facing federal charges.   

Some of the dozen or less members of the public listening to Wednesday's Ethics Commission meeting were wondering if Commissioner Melinda Murray's dog might have been trying to blow a whistle by barking through her "I'm busy" on Thursdays rationale...   

Murray, the former Chair is an LA County District Attorney and deftly offloaded a small guilt trip,  "I'm only going to be on the commission for another year, so do what you want--"    

Her dog growled during Director David Tristan's offer of compromise about the commission's meeting schedule.  He was suggesting that maybe the meeting could be moved to Wednesdays a bit later than City Council?  The Commission has traditionally met as infrequently and at the most difficult possible times for the public to show up, that they can reasonably get away with.  

The Ethics Commission's meeting in October only faced one public commenter at its meeting: moi. There were no public speakers at the November Special meeting. 

Could it be a Boycott? No. 

The City Attorney assigned to the Ethics Commission, Renee Stadel, who is frequently engaged in overt acts, tabled the issue, "We'll have to look at the schedules."  

Next item. Off Agenda. 

Garcetti’s chief of staff, Ana Guerrero spent several months on leave after posting disparaging remarks on a private Facebook page about California political figures, including the 91-year-old labor icon Dolores Huerta.  

The former head of DWP, David Wright, has agreed to plead guilty to bribery charges in a case involving the city attorney.  And, of course, there’s Officer Garza, who has sued the city, accusing the former deputy chief of staff, Rick Jacobs, of sexual harassment.  

A lawyer who worked in the mayor's office wrote to the Senate committee calling the alleged harassment “common knowledge.”  And New York Magazine had the story, that  'The Mayor Knew’ his top aide was a serial harasser, according to multiple accusers.  

The mayor, they say, ignored it. 

U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire who serves on the Senate Foreign Relations committee brought up the sexual harassment accusations, saying that India -- where Garcetti would be an ambassador to -- is a place where there is "fear and intimidation for women to speak out on issues of harassment." 

Maybe a virtual discussion with District Attorney George Gascón and Supervisor Holly Mitchell on providing victims of all genders, including LAPD officer Matthew Garza who is reportedly a man, a safe environment in the Mayor's office to seek help and receive trauma-informed services. The Mayor claims, "This will be a priority of mine, because it's been a priority my entire life."

Respectfully, raising tons of money has been the top priority of the Mayor's Fund: A list of our $5k+ donors through the end of our FY21. 

Next Item. Still, off agenda.

A lot can be accomplished by a well positioned tirade, especially if he or she or they happens to be a motor-mouth. I promised to hunt down what the permissible uses are for the $1.8M in Zev Yaroslavsky's old campaign accounts

Can a child's spouse's campaign, like Katy Young Yaroslavsky, be the recipient?  

The Ethics commission responded to my inquiry, thusly:  "City council campaign committees can accept contributions up to the allowable limit of $800 from a single source.  We do not regulate county committees, so you would need to check with the county to determine if they limit the making of political contributions from this committee." 

The county posts:  Distribution of Excess Funds  "Unspent and/or excess funds in a campaign account, officeholder account, or attorney’s fees fund may, in addition to any other method allowed by law, be disposed of by contribution to a bonafide charitable, educational, civic, religious or similar tax exempt nonprofit organization, so long as no substantial part of the proceeds will have a material financial effect on the candidate, the County officeholder, his/her campaign treasurer, any individual with authority to approve the expenditure of the unspent funds, or a member of his/her immediate family." 

The County Registrar Recorder, reports that surplus funds may only be used to make the following expenditures, per the political reform act:  

  • Payments for outstanding campaign debts or officeholder expenses.   
  • Refunds to contributors.  
  • Donations to a bona fide charitable, educational, civic, religious, or similar tax-exempt, nonprofit organization, provided no substantial part of the proceeds will have a material financial effect on the candidate, on any member of the candidate’s immediate family (spouse or registered domestic partner and children), or the campaign treasurer.   
  • Contributions to a political party committee, so long as the funds are not used to make contributions in support of or opposition to a candidate for elective office. (For example, funds earmarked for overhead expenses.)  
  • Contributions to support or oppose any candidate for federal office, any candidate for elective office in a state other than California, or any ballot measure.  
  • Payments for professional services or attorneys’ fees for litigationthat arises out of campaign or election activities.  
  • Payment for an electronic security system. Contact the FPPC for information about specific requirements that must be met.

Direct link here è  Fun Fact: David Yaroslavsky, Zev's son, is an LA Superior Court judge.  

 

Match Date 2022: 

To date, 41 City candidates have agreed to participate in the matching funds program.  Matching funds payments may be made only after a candidate meets all qualification criteria, including qualifying to appear on the ballot, which will occur after the redistricting maps are finalized and Candidate Filing Week is held, typically three to four months prior to a primary election. 

The Odd balls are up in 2022 (as opposed to even),  CD1 Gilbert Cedillo  CD3 Bob Blumenfield  CD5 Paul Koretz*  CD7 Monica Rodriguez CD9 Curren D. Price Jr.  CD11 Mike Bonin  CD13 Mitch O’Farrell  and CD15 Joe Buscaino (is running for mayor).   

Saturday, February 12, 2022, (Open 8am to 12 noon) is the last day to file Declaration of Intention to Become a Candidate or to withdraw said declaration. First day to obtain and file Nominating Petitions.  

Wednesday, March 9, 2022, is the last day to obtain or file Nominating Petitions and/or Supplemental Petitions. 

It's interesting to think about the small train wreck facing CD4 and CD2 voters who have been scrambled by redistricting.  

On Thursday March 17, 2022, the California Secretary of State will provide a Random Alphabet Drawing to determine candidate order on the ballot.  

The primary election will be on Tuesday, June 7, 2022.

 

Fighting Irish:  Go Blue! 

Sometimes, the public has to band together and take care of business.  After studying outstanding issues, sometimes an aggressive community outreach campaign may be required. I personally adore aggressive community outreach programs.  One for the record books involves, Charles Cunningham Boycott (1832-1897).  

Boycott was an English land agent who worked for Lord Erne, who owned over 40,000 acres of land in Ireland.  At the time, during British rule, nearly 800– often absentee – landlords owned half of Ireland.   

Many of them paid agents to manage their estates, as Boycott did for Erne in County Mayo. His job involved collecting rent from the tenant farmers who worked the land.   

In 1880, the Land League, which had been formed the year before to work toward reform of the landlord system, which left poor tenant farmers vulnerable to excessive rents and eviction if they could not pay, demanded that Boycott reduce rents by 25 percent.   

Sound familiar? 

Harvests had been bad and the prospect of famine loomed.  But Lord Erne – and Boycott – refused and obtained eviction notices for those tenants who could not pay.   

Charles Stewart Parnell, an Irish nationalist leader and president of the Land League, urged Boycott’s neighbors to shun or ostracize him in response. 

Shops in the area refused to serve him and when laborers refused to work the land, he was forced to bring in scabs from Ulster at a cost far greater than the value of the crops they harvested.  

But Father John O’Malley, a local leader of the Land League, allegedly felt the word ostracize was too complicated for the tenants – and so the term ‘to boycott’ was born.

 

Very Coldwater: 

There is ZERO evidence that anyone will boycott Erewhon or any of the other businesses at the Sportsmen's lodge. 

What an adorable bunch of celebrated innovators the Studio City Neighborhood Council: recording and hosting accessible forums at the library w/ no hikes in across the CBS lot from the parking structure, following NSA level security clearance.   

Impactful, off book, Community Impact Statements.  

How did Studio City wind up with Randall Fried cutting Lisa Karadjian's ribbon at Sportsmen's Landing?  

Though President Fraud deserves some recognition, Randy is a wholly owned subsidiary of bff Barry Johnson and the "other Lisa" dba Richard Weintraub's wet-nurse, LIsa... last name rhymes with parkin'...   

So good luck finding a space.  The 1300 underground spaces at the local chokepoint should help. 

 (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)