THE EASTSIDER - After something like two and a half of years ducking Eagle Rock residents,, Kevin De Leon finally hosted a meeting at the Eagle Rock City Hall, reaching out to the Eagle Rock business community. I have to note that the Eagle Rock Businesses had been trying to get him to talk to them for something like 2 1/2 years with no luck.
And even so, big time restrictions were clear when you look at the Agenda, titled “NELA Business Owners Meeting”. Not anyone else. Also the agenda was for 1 hour only, with only 35 minutes of that time set aside for the business owners to actively participate .
Further, the way the fairly small room was set up in a horseshoe configuration, it was also clear that they only wanted to hear from as few as possible of the actual business owners. There are more business owners than there were chairs.
Also interesting, the only handouts were a brief agenda and a 6 page statement to the Metro Board from back in March of 2022, written in small letters. That document was simply a summary of why he supported the project. Duh, everyone already knew that..
After burning off some time talking, Kevin finally started to go around the table with the business owners unanimously saying how they could be put out of business during construction of the project, even if they survived the construction. There is already very limited street parking, and most of the businesses do not have access to any nearby existing parking lots.
For example, a gym owner on an adjacent street off of Colorado Blvd, by St. Dominics, also testified as to how the project would probably ruin small business owners on side streets off of Colorado Blvd, as well as those on the Blvd itself.
Also, there was a very detailed handout from the Eagle Rock Chamber of Commerce and the Business Community of Eagle Rock, detailing a number of critical modifications to the Project which would garner their support for the BRT. After all, the actual build date isn’t until late 2025, or later. No response from De Leon.
Another hitch in Kevins plan also came up. It turns out that that a homeowners group in Eagle Rock had filed a lawsuit some time ago, alleging that the BRT project approval had violated the Brown Act. In fact, Bob Warnock, the head of the group, indicated that the court date is within a month or so.
That visibly surprised De Leon, although he tried to blow it off.
Kevin Ejected a Councilmembers staff Without Cause
As people were identifying themselves going around the table, one of the attendees was Troy Carbajall, a staffer for Assembly member Wendy Carrillo (AD 52). Suddenly De Leon decided that he had no right to be in the meeting and basically demanded that he leave. After some very awkward moments, Troy decided the fuss wasn’t worth it and left.
But think about it. This was an open public meeting under the Brown Act, and there was no legitimate reason for booting Troy out, or any other member of the public, for that matter. Very bad form, and I think a look into Kevin’s temperament lately. Maybe he’s afraid that Wendy will enter the race for CD14 and beat him. So what? He’s a well compensated public figure, and taking incoming goes with the territory.
Besides, Troy was only there to listen.
Then There’s The BLM
Before the meeting, as we all were trying to park and get in, the Black Lives Matter group were on the street in front of the City Hall, with signs and X rated Slogans, in loud voice. That seemed a little weird, since this was small gathering in an area not overly BLM’ed except where Kevin lives.
Anyhow, at about 7:30, halfway through the meeting, someone went downstairs and opened the door into the building. The BLM mini-mob ran in, yelling and screaming obscenities and having a grand old BLM time. In an enclosed space, it was deafening, and I actually had some hearing loss for about an hour after the meeting.
Kevin De Leon simply sat there for a while, called for the cops, and beat feet. He took off out the back, into his car (which was very close to the exit), and sped off. The BLM folks stayed, yelling and screaming obscenities about De Leon until the LAPD stepped up and started to move them back.
Clearly the meeting was over, and we’ll see if De Leon ever sets up something else, having blown the business owners off for over two years.
The sad part of this is that I don’t think he has the intestinal fortitude to have another meeting and face the people who’s lives and businesses may be destroyed by an unnecessary Metro project, cooked up in the back rooms between Kevin and Hilda Solis.
Finally, it was clear that Kevin De Leon had no answers for the business owners. His Agenda made that clear, and it was tightly structured so that he control most of the hour. With the agenda, only about 1/2 of the time would have allowed actual Eagle Rock businesses to ask for some modest modifications. You could see from the look on his face that he didn’t give a damn.
I would be remiss if I did not mention a number of conspiracy theories floating around about how BLM knew about the meeting, and more importantly, who went downstairs and let them in the hall.
Some folks claimed that a resident named Amanda went down and opened the door. Some claimed that one of Kevin’s staff went down and opened the door, because Kevin wanted out of the meeting. Truth is, who knows.
Ultimately, I don’t think it made any difference. From the Agenda you could tell that Kevin De Leon had absolutely no interest in modifying his vote authorizing Metro to fund the BRT Project. Or making any changes between now and 2025 that might give the businesses along Colorado Boulevard any hope of surviving the construction.
(Tony Butka is an Eastside community activist, who has served on a neighborhood council, has a background in government and is a contributor to CityWatch.)