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New Lieweke meme: "Cavemen"


A Leiweke cosmopolitan

UPDATE: Kevin Modesti of the Daily News sees a pro football team as another potential downtown end-of-business-lifecycle investment.
Meanwhile, Michael Hiltzik at the Times calls the NFL "The quintessential unreliable partner."

“I know occasionally we had to deal with cavemen — citizens against virtually everything," Tim Lieweke has been screaming around town this weekend, of his attempt to steal 600 acres of downtown Los Angeles.

To a developer who wants to bulldoze substantial acreage the sake of lining his own pockets, everyone in the path looks like a caveman. The neanderthals who don't like NFL football at all, and are content to watch the amateur college sport. The homo erectus who, barely standing on two legs, doesn't like the idea of not being able to get to the Music Center on a Sunday because all the cosmopolitan souls trying to get to the stadium are choking off the approach lanes. The missing link who would rather spend time with a book than plopping down in front of a flatscreen for nine hours every weekend.

We're all cavemen, we know-nothings who don't want pro football downtown! We're positively uncivilized. God knows more pro football fans is just what every city needs to elevate itself.

EARLIER:


Lieweke to city: relax, sit back, enjoy it
"If we stand indivisible, we'll all ride the dirigible."

In wake of Stow arrests, Beck urges more media restraint

The Times, which laid off a few people this week, forfeits twelve column inches this morning to LAPD chief Charlie Beck.

Beck returns the favor by blasting media's role (?) in the errant arrest of Giovanni Ramirez:

That is the state of the game, but we can do much better. We need to not merely abide by the rules but to recognize their shortfalls. I can be more circumspect in my comments, and the media should be more restrained and cautious. The public should remember the rules, so they can respect the rights of those on the field.

&c. He also mumbles much about constitutional policing. But this really grates: the media should be more restrained and cautious.

If anything, local print media could not have been more comatose--as they are once again by printing Chief Beck's op-ed.

I invite you to read any of the following, most written here and much written elsewhere, to glean precisely the level of media involvement in the Stow case and other notable unsolved violent crimes in Los Angeles--and judge for yourself whether print media should have been "more restrained and cautious."

EARLIER:

Break in Stow case follows reward increase
(street-hassle)
Cooley tacitly critical of LAPD's handling of Stow case (street-hassle)
Did Northeast division bungle Stow case? (street-hassle)
So where are all the perps? (Echo Park Patch)
Ominous gang murder trend in Echo Park began... (street-hassle)
Really Hidden Los Angeles (street-hassle)
Echo Park Teenager wounded in drive-by shooting (The Eastsider LA)
Second night of Echo Park gunfire (The Eastsider LA)
Timid Police statement on Stow case; Mickey David killer still at large (street-hassle)
Stow family to sue Dodgers (street-hassle)
Jeffrey Cardona charged with one count of murder in Mickey David shooting (Echo Park Patch)
Arrest made in Mickey David killing (street-hassle)
Update on Echo Park shooting (The Eastsider LA)
Mayor to host Town Hall in Valley as violent crime spikes (street-hassle)
Ostriches take over local newsrooms as murder spree continues (street-hassle)

Union busting as school reform

Big city mayors across the country, like LA's Mayor Villaraigosa, are also complicit as charged:
“One of the schools I’m working in has serious problems. Their organizer wasn’t concerned about that, they were interested in getting people to see [the film] Waiting for Superman,” Rev. Hood said of SFC. “Waiting for Superman did not fly here in Chicago. It wasn’t a hit like they thought it was going to be. It was about taking away the rights of unions to organize. In the communities we live in we need living wage jobs,” he said. “Most of these parents have been arguing about how we don’t have books in school. Those are not the things Stand for Children were talking about. They were talking about taking power from teachers,” Hood added.

Please refer to my earlier piece Riordan, Broad, the eastside Latino machine, and the legacy of District 5 to see how this also unfolded in Los Angeles.

Commercial trumps residential on NC boards across LA




Activist Zuma Dogg has filed a Brown Act complaint against Venice Neighborhood Council. Dogg claims he was not provided with an amended draft copy of an item pertaining directly to him. Such filings by residents are commonplace as a Neighborhood Council system becomes increasingly beholden to merchant interests, and less answerable to residential interests.

Dogg's filing is symptomatic of a larger trend: across Los Angeles, community residents have taken to using Brown Act grievances as a way to bring balance against commercial factions.

Brown Act grievances, a lone equalizer in a system often called "grassroots democracy" but devoid of democracy's checks and balances, have become more common throughout the system.

Brown Act requirements for LA's neighborhood councils were established by their original charter. As wikipedia says, the introduction to the 50-year-old Brown Act describes its purpose and intent.

In enacting this chapter, the Legislature finds and declares that the public commissions, boards and councils and the other public agencies in this State exist to aid in the conduct of the people's business. It is the intent of the law that their actions be taken openly and that their deliberations be conducted openly. The people of this State do not yield their sovereignty to the agencies which serve them. The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The people insist on remaining informed so that they may retain control over the instruments they have created.

A further operational difficulty for chartered neighborhood councils is the lack of checks and balances within the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment. As discussed at a City Hall forum two days ago, neighborhood councils may easily be co-opted by other civic organizations, especially chamber of commerce, pro-development and other real estate factions. This happened in Venice seven years ago, and the legacy of the co-opting continues today.

All throughout the Neighborhood Council system, business factions are over-represented and residential interests are under-represented. The Central Hollywood Neighborhood Council's president is Scott Campbell, a pro-development real estate agent, for instance. Its Vice President is Tricia LaBelle, a promotions director at Boardner's.

In recent years, some neighborhood organizations that represent residential interests, notably on the westside, have gone so far as to bypass City certification as neighborhood councils so that they may more effectively operate without being beholden to Brown Act requirements.

Degrees of difficulty

I mentioned Tony Pierce yesterday, but I otherwise don't know that I should say very much about the recent round of Times layoffs. Suffice it to say that anyone who has read me for any length of time knows that I think the Times op-ed page has been a mess since at least the early-zeroes, and so has the Times Book Review. But after a day, we start watching the departures like dives off the 10 meter board: this one handled it and gets a 6.0, that one made a huge ugly splash and gets a 2.8.

One I would give a 6.0: Jane Engle has been an LA Press Club stalwart in addition to a patient writer and will be much missed.

All in all, however, I am always surprised by the sense of entitlement many journalists reveal when laid off. Humility is typically cast far far aside as they have been separated from the frame that handed them the ability to reach half a million eyeballs just for showing up. They all seem certain of another thing too: it's the Times that changed for the worse, it's not that they failed to change with the times. I think the latter is more often true of most, both laid off and retained.

One thing I hear from other editors not at the Times, is this: there are too many choices, so readers don't automatically come to you, you have to go out and find your readers. That's definitely true in the twenty-teens, and as the environment becomes all the more competitive, the more urgently writers and editors need to locate precisely the readers who might be interested to read them.

In tough times, editors cut from the bottom up before they cut from the middle down; but eventually they do cut the middle too if they have to go deep enough to make it work for the hectoring publisher. The whole madness for clicks is a farce--advertisers are certainly figuring out by now that a one-second click isn't worth even a hundredth as much as a two-minute click. The fact is, most of us are already getting along without the Times, and nicely. Its next mission is not how to game the clicks, but how to become relevant to the civic life of everyone from Santa Barbara to San Juan Capistrano again.

Dick Riordan's pending bankruptcy



News Item: the former Mayor, who went screaming to the Wall Street Journal a year ago that LA was on the verge of bankruptcy, and blamed workers for this, threatening our entire City's credit rating while making ordinary workers feel bad about receiving decent wages, now has to charge his patrons at the Pantry fifty cents more for coffee than what they were being charged as recently as a week ago.


Dick Riordan is facing a terminal fiscal crisis: Between now and 2014 the Pantry will likely declare bankruptcy. Yet Dick Riordan and Alexander Rubalcava have been either unable or unwilling to face this fact.

According to the Pantry's own forecasts, in the next four years of annual coffee expenditures will increase by about $2.5 a pound if no action is taken by the Pantry's doddering owner. Even if Mr. Riordan were to enact drastic pension augmentation today—which he shows no signs of doing—the Pantry would still through turnover problems lose a few hundred thousand per year.

The Pantry's fiscal woes can be traced to two numbers: 12% and 5,000. Twelve percent has been the projected annual rate of return on the assets in the Pantry's coffee funds--a return on investment Riordan came to expect as a corporate raider and leveraged buyout specialist. Four years ago, we strenuously warned Mr. Riordan of the dangers behind the myth of that 12%, only to be told by the Pantry's controller's office that our warnings were "based on faulty assumptions which are largely disputed."

Dick Riordan can't control the economy, but he could have chosen to control spending to keep the size of waitstaff proportional to the size of the local economy. Instead he's done the opposite: squeezing the Pantry's productive workers to come in when they're sick, work well past retirement because they need the money, and fail to adequately fund the salary, pension and other benefits of Sue the cashier until she finally keels over in her cashier cage.

In order to pull the Pantry back from the brink and put Los Angeles on the road to recovery, the following steps must be taken:

• The Pantry's 401(k) plans must be replaced with defined benefit retirement plans, so that workers don't have to work for economic reasons beyond age 65.

• Current Pantry employees must pay much less of their salaries for their pension benefits. At a time when the Pantry pays well under 25% of payroll to the pension funds, this is only fair.

• Decrease Dick Riordan's compelled retirement age to 65.

•Increase Pantry staff to 2005 levels. Since the kitchen and counter service departments represent less than 80% of the Pantry's budget, they must also be forced to gain more help.

• Enact far more retiree health-care benefits. Pantry workers who retire before they are eligible for Medicare may face profound shortcomings after toiling throughout their lives for Dick Riordan.

Outreach, power under scrutiny at NC forum

Yesterday, at a CORO-sponsored event involving LA's Neighborhood Councils in City Hall, some of the City's top NC figures were put increasingly on the defensive at Q-&-A time.

"If I'm a CEO and there's one big thing wrong with my corporation," scolded West LA Neighborhood Council president Jay Handel from the back of the fourth floor media room, "it's time for a reorganization. There isn't one big thing wrong with this corporation--there are three or four."

Most of the contention involved real representation and especially real outreach. Even ten years after the foundation of the Neighborhood Council movement, figures such as Commission President Al Abrams, outgoing commissioner John Kim, General Manager Bonghwan Kim and poli sci prof Raphael Sonnenshein were pleading for NCs to accomplish more outreach while acknowledging deep flaws in representation.

When a neighborhood council becomes co-opted by another community organization, there is little incentive for it to do sincere outreach, lest its seated members risk diluting their own control of the council.

The City "gave us seeds and gave us weed killer," BongHwan Kim said, describing his department's paradoxical relationship to "neighborhood empowerment." He acknowledged that some neighborhood groups on the westside are choosing to work unattached to City authority. He also acknowledged that roughly half of all neighborhood council officers have no experience handling or managing public money.

Another audience member pressed the panel on the prospective "1% rule," which would demand that a neighborhood council reach one percent of its community to validate its own operating status.

Last year, the City Attorney asked the Neighborhood Council commission and Department to look into establishing guidelines for the "factual basis stakeholders" who can participate in neighborhood council elections.

As Kathleen Travers told street-hassle two weeks ago, the councils can easily become beholden to a small faction of business interests or other interests under the current structure, and leave the interests of community residents behind.

"Businesses shouldn't have the grossly unequal representation they've been accorded," Travers said.

Abrams, whose remarks often indicated sympathy with the side of promoting business, insisted that "the best part of my job [as commission president] is public comment." Outgoing commissioner John Kim thought that the Neighborhood Council commission "doesn't need more power because it doesn't do well with the power it already has."

Newly-minted Councilman Mitch Englander kicked off the forum with some opening remarks celebrating the shiny side of neighborhood councils.

tony's wild years




tony pierce fetched about ten billion five hundred million pageviews in what maybe four years at the la times

i think he brought some other people to the paper too

maybe even the former fishwrap of record was a cooler place when tony was there

which he isn't as of tomorrow because he was laid off

today

who is tony pierce? maybe you forgot if you don't read the times but he had this blog busblog so many years ago

and he still has busblog despite it all

it's like the most noncorporate thing that has corporate level traffic in america

every time i wrote him at the times which was about once a year because i didn't want to disturb his important work he told me how many hits he was getting, and it was always a lot, like about a million a day more than street-hassle

only lately it was two million a day more

so i supposed that was what he was there for and that was what he was pressured to do and sure he knew how to do it, so how can you argue with that?

he had some problems with jack kerouac that i recall very fondly--this was way before he ever went to laist let alone the times

i remember when jon regardie and i first met him, we were going, like, this guy, can he handle laist? do you think laist might be too buttoned down for him?

well probably it was me who was saying that mostly because jon doesn't say things like that

laist, hah, we were wondering if he could handle laist and then two years later he's handling the times

so therefore he was perfect for the times, and maybe they knew it for a while, maybe one of their smartest hires ever

i remember at arianna's with matt welch or was that jason toney

and we were going, this guy, look out, he will either launch it into the stratosphere or make it a madhouse

and i think both happened

no wait that was while he was still at laist

and i remember i ran into him at the la press club in 2007 and he saw me and said, ron paul, is this guy for real? which made me laugh

and i remember an editor whose name i cannot divulge who told me of some fabled sxsw expense report of tony's that was red hot hilarious and immediately legendary

and of course i've always somewhat owed him and somewhat always been leery of him because not only did he interview me in 2006 but he also put up that photo of me talking to ann coulter in cathy seipp's backyard, a photo that many have expressed concern about

(it looks like i weighed more then doesn't it? unflattering shirt that's for sure)

but i have been checking in on tony especially lately because after all these years he was still at the la times former fishwrap of record &c.

and so because i've been checking in especially lately i saw it when he wrote this...

he saw amy winehouse and wrote of her

"If I had been shooting the video I would have probably stopped half way through because she is clearly suffering.

"Scratching her arms, wobbling, unsure how to even put down a mic stand"

which is so goddamned sad but pretty perfect if you ever saw her

when i said that she cut her heroin with chandeliers, i thought i had nailed her, but no, tony did

you know i think we share only one common trait in life and that is we both for some reason like to photograph the northwest corner of the intersection of sunset & alvarado

and now that he is not at the former fishwrap of record it's like 2003 and i can read him again and know that he is tony pierce and not a guy with a deadline or a pagecount hanging over his head

nothing in here is true.

Beutner & James fundraising: a tale of two cities

Austin Beutner's exploratory committee has raised $405,000 from LA's top civic players and Kevin James over $100,000 from LA's middle-class and grass-roots donors, the two men stated today in separate, dueling pressers that accentuated the differences in approach between these two mayoral candidates.

The Beutner campaign cited "a coalition including former Mayor Dick Riordan, philanthropist Eli Broad, former LA Chamber of Commerce Chair David Fleming and a cross-section of the entertainment, business and civic communities" in their press release. Kevin James suggested his donations came from grassroots and middle class types, "from every-day hard-working Angelenos and small business owners to former prosecutors and local community leaders."

Bucket Brigade douses McOsker momentum




The bucket brigade dumped a large pail of cold water on Pat McOsker's early hopes to glide into a Council seat today, as the United Firefighters of Los Angeles City voted not to endorse any candidate for office in Council District 15.

The union also gave itself an escape clause, perchance revisiting the issue with rank and file again in September.

A union head running for a Council seat presents the public with a three-ring circus of situational ethics. On on July 22 McOsker showed that he had no ethical concerns for strong-arming his own union by sending out official union correspondence admonishing members of the Union "to show up for that [today's] meeting, to ask questions, and to participate in this important decision. In the mean time, please be skeptical of the flood of anonymous, unverifiable or irresponsible e-mails floating around our Department."

EARLIER:

Orlov: Firefighters urge McOsker to step down
McOsker campaign off to predictable start
Where are the women in San Pedro?
Shallman, McOsker leap at chance for CD15

Nick Nuch for CD15 rumors swirl

Names in the news



Councilman Richard Alarcón gets a quick escort from a constituent at the Northeast Valley Neighborhood City Hall, where they dedicated a mural by Ignacio Gomez at the new facility yesterday. Alarcón wants to re-name the building the "Frank del Olmo Neighborhood City Hall." Ritchie Valens is featured in the mural along with many other local celebrites. Photo by Becca Doten.

50 for 50



So my gal pal Colleen Wainwright is turning 50 in seven weeks and owning it. Not only owning it--look what she's doing about it. It'll help LA schools.

A prominent land use attorney in town turned 50 a few years back and walked 50 miles over the weekend, and raised about this much money too for organizations--about $50K. But you don't have to be a prominent land use attorney to do something when you hit a milestone.

Writegirl.org is here. Colleen is here. Enjoy both!

Excelsior, &c.

My name is so-and-so, and I indeed approve of this message.

I don't think I make more than a few mistakes in any given hour myself, and I probably miss more things than I catch in aggregate too. But this kind of level-headed statement and the attendant possibility of political reconciliations between otherwise diametrically opposed political people is the whole reason I invested a lot of personal political capital in the idea of MayorSam six years ago, even at a time when many other in media would not, and why I retain hope for it today too.

The City of Los Angeles needed a tabloid in 2005 and it needs one even more today. Mainstream media do not even provide us with nearly enough water-cooler fodder, let alone real political discourse, to make politics a vital enough component of our Angenelo daily life. We need an outlet that plays a bit more fast and loose than other outlets, and it's worth much to have one, even when things get messy.

There remains much good to be said about the people at MayorSam--indeed, maybe we have had our disputes, but throughout the go-arounds I have also learned how vibrantly and how deeply the blog extends into our everyday civic discourse. Readers, political consultants, politico desperados, lobbyists, and everyone else involved in civic life should keep it going--and keep going strong, Michael, Joe and Scott.

Amy Jade



The first to be heard from in a generation are the first to depart. Now we have some people who came of age in the postmillenial era for whom time is up, and Amy Jade Winehouse is a very notable departure.

She oozed both complexity and sincerity, two qualities that forge dynamism in personality when they intertwine. Yet she was also a throwback, even derivative. Part of the reason she was familiar to people outside her age group was because we recognized people like Sarah Vaughn in her sound. She was playing to type and playing against it, a tatted angry strumpet with Jagger-level lips and punk trimmings, yet fronting a large band that often sounded and even looked like it was ready to play the Biltmore grand ballroom. She cut her heroin with chandeliers.

She looked pure rock, even in Fendi, lived and drank pure rock junk, and sang pure American soul. Like nearly all the great English rock performers, she subtly strip-mined a private lode of uniquely American music for something that she could both pay tender homage and make her very own.

And like those others, she was a hybrid that was impossible to knock off. I always thought that a large part of her identity--the part that made her act a sincere one--was being conscious of the irony of performing on television, singing songs that could work on television, in the Age of Google/YouTube.

Thanks to Google/YouTube, she was hated as much as she was loved. Here, I suspect, was her real appeal to people her own age, who are always hearing that they don't measure up in some way, usually from people who don't measure up themselves. For dealing with that role alone while remaining true to her path, I both mourn her and admire her. Her death, like Morrison's or Cobian's, is a shocking but also an unrepentant one.

Free Zuma, &c.




Beach day. Here's a handy guide to the public beaches along the twenty miles of the Malibu.

Community outreach, Sunland Tujunga style



How should a Neighborhood Council conduct community outreach in the hopes of growing membership and interest?

Or maybe the question should be: How shouldn't a Neighborhood Council conduct community outreach in the hopes of growing membership and interest?

Certainly one of the worst ways to attempt to generate interest in the local neighborhood council is this: videotape a hastily-called executive committee meeting discussing community outreach in the hopes of vilifying those responsible for community outreach.

Welcome to Sunland Tujunga! You too might be subjected to lingering, excruciating close-ups, vilified, and made a mockery of in the local community online forum--if you don't agree with us!

Gee, who wouldn't want to sign up for that?

EARLIER:

How it works in Sunland Tujunga
Aggressive camera tactics prove thorny for NCs, DONE
Sunland Tujunga responds
Sunland Tujunga clamor turns trenchant

Getting down to specifics in Sunland Tujunga
Reversal of field in Sunland Tujunga
Krekorian's office: No change of legal status if FBC Specific Plan is opened

Sunland Tujunga Specific Plan dispute turns clamorous
Elaine Brown's forbidden comments
The Sunland Tujunga NC/Alliance letter

Deputy City Attorney pleads: lack of time




In one of the most truly bizarre and lethargic filings made by a deputy city attorney in recent years, one Claudia Martin has made a Declaration of a lack of adequate time to prepare a Respondent's Brief.

Ms. Martin says in her Declaration:
I have previously been one of seven (7) attorneys covering West Bureau and now I am the only one covering multiple divisions. Due to budget cuts, only one attorney (myself) remains and so my courtroom obligations have increased.
One attorney wonders if Ms. Martin would have been able to respond had she made as much effort penetrating the details of the instant matter as she did explaining why she had no time to do so.

The Declaration comes concomitant to action taken by City Council to scrutinize City Attorney Carmen Trutanich's management of office. Council wonders why Trutanich's office can't deliver what is routinely delivered in other metropolitan areas throughout the United States.

Lively discussion follows at the engaging Clown-bashing site Los Angeles Dragnet.

And what of Downtown Art Walk--again?




Eric Richardson of blogdowntown doesn't want Art Walk to turn into a block party, and I don't blame him.

While the increased attention that last week's tragedy put on pedestrian safety is great to see and Marcello's death was heartbreaking, putting an official stamp on Art Walk's transformation into a street party would be a tragedy for Downtown and the Historic Core...

My Downtown is one that balances all the different demographics that you need to make a healthy community. My Downtown is one that is never afraid to shut the streets down for a great event like Red Bull's Soapbox Race or the X Games, but that also understands that residents won't stay residents if every month you tell them that they can not get to their garages or you allow too many bars and clubs to empty patrons out into the streets at 2am.

My own downtown is one where Sandy Koufax signed a copy of his autobiography for me at May Co. In short, it has disappeared, entirely. But this memory from forty-six years ago is instructive too. My own downtown didn't shut down the streets for Koufax--they don't have to for Art Walk.

Break in Stow case follows reward increase

If suspects have been taken into custody the same day that the old suspect is exonerated, which has happened in the past three hours, it would appear that the LAPD have a very good case against present suspects in the beating of Brian Stow.

The news comes a day after County Supervisors upped the reward in the case by $15,000, which brought the reward total to the unusual sum of $225,000. It almost looks like someone with credible information had a specific amount in mind.

Unfortunately Stow took a turn for the worse just yesterday, experiencing two long seizures owing to "massive amounts of fluid building up" in his brain.

McOsker campaign off to predictable start



From an unreliable source we kinda like:
I just called Pat and asked him the following questions, here is a quick summation of the very contentious conversation:

Do you believe that you can run for City Council and run the UFLAC Board as President at the same time?

Pat's response - Yes I can, I am going to rely on the Executive Board to fill in.

Have you asked all members of the Executive Board if they are going to cover for you?

Pat's response - Yes, I have talked to "all" of them and they are going to cover for me.

Pat's response - "Is this a fucking interrogation, who do you think you are?

My response - No. this is not an interrogation, I personally do not believe that you can do both at the same time..

Pat's response - Who the Fuck do you think you are, you have no idea what the I can do and not do.

My response - Pat, I do not believe that you can do both and I am asking you to step-down from the UFLAC Board.

Pat's response - You can go Fuck yourself.

Addendum: I don't know about you guys, but I did not appreciate the mannerism, profanity and un-professional response that I received.

Anyways. Seems credible to me!

EARLIER:

Where are the women in San Pedro?
Shallman, McOsker leap at chance for CD15
Nick Nuch for CD15 rumors swirl

Sidewalk Shuffle sleazes back to committees in September

"It is difficult not to write satire."--Juvenal

Here are the ten points of discussion and even contention in the City's exploitative sidewalk shuffle, in which it hopes to transfer repair fees and even fines to property owners, as provided by activist Glenn Bailey.

1. Explicit enforcement (repairs within 90 days)
2. Point-of-Service (or Sale) and Building Permits (requiring a “Safe Sidewalk Certificate” prior to utility connection)
3. Point-of-Service (or Sale) and Explicit Enforcement in Commercial Zones (priority enforcement in commercial zones)
4. Point-of-Service (or Sale) and 50-50 Voluntary Sidewalk Repair Program (City matching funds)
5. Compliance Based on Liability Risks (target trip and fall claim locations with complaint driven effort)
6. Explicit Enforcement along Major and Secondary Highways (approximately 25% of the sidewalks)
7. Explicit Enforcement Adjacent to Sidewalk Trip and Fall (enforced against property owners where claims have been filed)
8. ???? (missing from copies provided to the public)
9. Sidewalk Assessment District(s) (20% cost to administer $500,000+ in size; 60% administrative cost for smaller districts)
10. No Implementation At This Time Option (self explanatory)
And here are some "options" being discussed:
1. City Counterclaims Against Homeowner’s Insurance (City pursue reimbursement with property owner’s insurance company; premium increases???)
2. City Position Regarding Uncooperative Property Owners (up front funding source until “recovery” of monies from homeowners)
3. City Position Regarding Property Owners Unable to Pay for Sidewalk Improvements (construction loans, payment plans for low income, moderate income, and hardship exemptions???)

Mostly, it looks like another camera-ticket scam is snaking its way through City skunkworks. Huizar, whose district has literally thousands of potential tickets in the offing, generally supports, wants to button down these details. Englander, it appears, whose district has the highest ratio of homeowners of any in the City, is ready to cut to the chase right now and not even wait for reports.

Opinion: if you are relying on the Neighborhood Council system to stop this fiasco, surrender now. The NCs can't get it done--it has to enter mainstream media discourse. You have to demonstrate not just to homeowners but to renters that this is just another kleptocratic scam.

State of Independence conference at REDCAT this weekend




This weekend, across both Saturday and Sunday, REDCAT hosts a free conference that should be of interest to people who have ideas but think they lack the space to execute them. "State of Independence: A Global Forum on Alternative Practice" especially draws from contemporary artists and curators in Asia and Latin America; they'll share what they do and what they know.
The conference engages the relevance and sustainability of alternative practice today in regions where art, commerce, and cultural infrastructure are taking new forms. Alternative spaces grow out of necessity and in response to local conditions. They are experimental by nature, often temporary and operate as a provocation to the status quo. As such, the forum examines various independent strategies (spaces, archives, schools, events) as innovative models for imagining curatorial practice and artistic production, while looking closely at specific local situations in Asia and Latin America, in regions where art infrastructures are still developing, to question the possibility of more sustainable futures.

Of course, someone who fled Los Angeles long ago is the patron of the conference: it's being sponsored by Joel Wachs's Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Thank you in advance again, Joel.

Sidewalk Shuffle Extortion

The Public Works and Budget and Finance committees of the City of Los Angeles meet in joint session today to discuss the proposal to transfer responsibility of "sidewalks, curbs, and driveways damaged by tree roots" to individual property owners.

As Trutanich's office wrote the ordinance, should the City issue a citation for a property owner, the property owner would have 90 days to comply at a cost to them "estimated to be between $3,500 to $7,000 per property owner. Don't comply and you'll be fined 40% of the repair cost.

The meeting is at City Hall today at 3 p.m.

Jackson lashes Trutanich early



With this Internet ad, Alan Jackson's campaign for DA leaves little doubt about their present strategy. They're going after Carmen Trutanich.

This is indeed an attack ad. In one segment, there is gratuitous reference to Steve Lopez referring to Trutanich as "LA's Mubarek." But in truth, pretty much all the ad does is state facts.

Meanwhile, there's subtext too: they've turned the chest-thumping 800-pound gorilla on the sidelines into a screeching 50-pound lemur on the periphery. Clever, that.

EARLIER: Alan Jackson: Action Figure

Like a River

Profile: Once a City planner and a planning deputy, District 1 Councilman Ed Reyes now taps lessons learned from his early vocational moorings--in a district that was ripe for someone with Reyes's specialized urbanist background. His final term in office is likely to witness a special focus on Los Angeles River rehabilitation and development.


It is the first day of his final two-year session as a Councilman. Ed Reyes staff whisks us behind the ropes to meet the Councilman right at his chair on the horseshoe in Council Chamber.

There's little room in Reyes' own agenda for savoring the moment or acknowledging plaudits on this, the first day of the Forty-Fourth Los Angeles City Council. In fact, Reyes is anxious to get on with things. After the Friday morning choir moment in Chamber--at the very first moment it's polite to do so--he sends an aide to greet us, shakes our hand assertively, walks us through the antechamber to Council, and opens up a conference room on City Hall's south side. Then he stands until we take our seats, and takes a seat himself as though ready for work.

Sitting down with Reyes, you jot down a few things that you don't typically hear from politicians. He will often sound more professorial than political on crime, for instance, noting that community outrage is often short-lived. And sometimes, when pressed about a tough political subject, he says "I was told that..." far more readily than most career politicians are usually willing to say.

No, Ed Reyes (photo, left, by Debbie Lopez) is not really a politician by trade.

So how did such a man, unashamed of his intellectual qualities, and with such a strong work ethic but few political instincts, come to City Council?

Former City Councilmembers Gloria Molina and Mike Hernandez recognized in Reyes, a planner who worked with both, a sui generis. Reyes's longstanding knowledge of the district in addition to his talents of a planner made him someone who would possibly be able to handle the special problems CD 1 with more understanding than a better-known public figure.

And in 2001 the special urban problems in the district were legion. What to do about Pico Union's gang problem. What to do about vendors in MacArthur Park. What to do about under-utilized Echo Park. What to do about blight in Lincoln Heights. What to do about the Los Angeles River's ungainly passage through the heart of the district. What to do about Chinatown's half-completed CRA rehabilitation. What to do about the coming Metro stops in Chinatown and Cypress Park. What to do about a district the size of St. Louis in population but in which only a few thousand people voted.

They were all classic problems for an urbanist to face, especially an urbanist with deep roots in the district.

Reyes came into Council in 2001 without any other attendant political ambitions. He drew from his urbanist tool-kit far more than on political wheeling-and-dealing to work on the district's problems. For example, early on, he conducted community meetings early on in Pico Union and around MacArthur Park, as a politician might have. But ever the urbanist, he also worked with Building and Safety to assure the cleanup of crack houses and gang homes through pressing landlords with code violations.

There have been many achievements along the way. Lincoln Heights has become far safer than it has been in local memory. Pico Union and MacArthur Park are safer too. The Metro Gold Line, which Reyes had worked on as a planner, opened for business, servicing Chinatown and Cypress Park. Echo Park has witnessed an astonishing flourishing of merchant activity--and much of it is homespun and locally owned. The first wave of the CRA's work in Chinatown has been completed to excellent success. Ditto the Cornfield. The revisiting and reshaping of Community Plans, which Reyes has left his personal mark on from his long road from city planner to chair of the Planning and Land Use Management Committee. The LA River segment that runs through the district is far less barren than it was 10 years ago.

But none of these please Ed Reyes as much as the fact that now, all through the district, people make demands on, argue with, and demand results from...Ed Reyes.

"The thing that pleases me most is, all the tigers in the district. We now have activists!" he grins. "There are arguments--people are engaged, people are arguing. We have far more community involvement."

This achievement--taking pride in the district's various clamorings--most of all brands him as someone who is a not really a politician.

Some of the argument Reyes encounters centers around the Los Angeles River, a project of special interest to Reyes throughout his tenure of office. There have been great strides in rehabilitation and returning nature to the flow of what was known two centuries ago as El Río de Nuestra Señora La Reina de Los Ángeles de Porciúncula. But some in the district also worry that development of the river might mean overdevelopment.

During the long process of rehabilitation, Reyes has visited over seventy urban river settings around the country. He much admires Denver's riverfront, where the long-neglected South Platte became part of the city's much heralded greenbelt revolution in the 1990's.

Local political luminaries acknowledge Reyes' work on the river as especially exemplary of his urbanist visions as a Councilman, and expect him to finish his term of office with a Porciúncula flourish.

"Ed Reyes' planning background certainly pays off when it comes to Los Angeles River renovation," County Supervisor Gloria Molina told street-hassle in an email. "It requires someone with vision, practical know-how, and the patience to coordinate all the bureaucratic agencies necessary to make river revitalization actually materialize. Ed has it."


Work on the River, east of Fletcher.

The Supervisor especially notes the quality of patience, and that is the quality that comes up again and again when people are describing Ed Reyes. While returning Porciúncula to nature is in itself a Herculean task, appropriating development for it is even thornier.

How does Reyes, coming from one of LA's most faceless districts, have success in working with the various agencies necessary to translate vision into action?

Political consultant Mike Trujillo says "He's like a samurai warrior with a long sword who walks quietly."

The Councilman himself offers something less picturesque yet equally emphatic of the need for persistence and patience.

"It's style and work ethic. You have to say, 'This is what I want, this is what I need,'" Reyes says. "It's about learning how to get in there."

While his district has experienced the same kinds of decline in crime that the rest of the City has experienced, there have been significant flare-ups this year. Two high-profile crimes, the beating of Brian Stow at Dodger Stadium and the killing of Trader Joe's employee on Sunset in Echo Park, rocked the sense of security in the neighborhood. There has historically been tension between privileged Anglos and underprivileged Latinos in the neighborhood.

"They have the ability to co-exist until there's a crisis," Reyes says of conflicts in Echo Park. "But a crisis does pass, and then people learn to respect each other again."

"Now people are walking their dogs at night in Lincoln Heights," he also notes. "People didn't do that ten years ago."

He doesn't give the impression that he will even run for office again after his present term expires.

"The future? I'm very focused on how to get my kids through college," Reyes laughs.

He describes the characteristics of who might make a good Councilman to follow him, and they sound a lot like those of Jose Gardea, his chief of staff.

"Yes," he nods, when I ask if he will support Gardea. "Yes."

And then Ed Reyes re-joins his Council meeting, a man determined to keep asking for what he wants; a man determined to keep on getting in there.

LA libraries open today

The City Maven Alice Waters reported that LA's libraries were open today, and will be on Mondays going forward.

Murdoch, Moloch

LA's quotidian editors and scribes are well known for putting pettifoggery above information. Even so, I still don't know why the local fishwraps and especially local bloggers haven't picked up on Ron Kaye's reminisces of Rupert Murdoch circa 1975.

My impassioned pleas to stand up for the First Amendment as if there was a Bill of Rights in Australia and to defend freedom of the press and the integrity of our work seemed to be falling on largely deaf ears as if my American English was truly a foreign language.

But then a drunken columnist with the tabloid Mirror started jeering and disrupting the meeting, denouncing me in rhyming slang as a "septic tank," meaning dirty Yank and the room began to turn.
It might be that our local media pool have no idea about rhyming Cockney slang, or what print journalism was like in 1975--one of the increasingly distant years when it mattered much in America. But I found Kaye's piece a compelling read.

Meanwhile, Sean Hoare, the early Murdoch scandal whistleblower who said Andy Coulson "encouraged him to hack phones" is found dead. Police say there is no evidence of foul play.

Jolene Combs memorial set

A public memorial service has been set for Jolene Combs. It is

Friday, July 22, 2011
3 p.m.
Riviera United Methodist Church
375 Palos Verdes Blvd.
Redondo Beach, CA 90277

Jolene passed away suddenly last Wednesday. She was a beloved figure in local journalism education.

Comageddon and after


Not yet in letterbox.


While local media fell over each other to own Comageddon (a non-event this blog robustly ignored), it was in fact quite an informative weekend for people who puzzle about California and its problematic density, development, and growth. Hopefully, many had a chance to read some of theise pieces while they were spending some time at home avoiding whatever it was (horrific urban planning? absurd density?) that was supposed to annihilate their weekends but likely only made them richer.

Our exposé on "The way things work in Sunland Tujunga" explored the way a small handful of local merchants have co-opted key neighborhood organizations in a bedroom community of 60,000 for the sake of revisiting the community's commercial strip. This is an ongoing story we'll continue to work in upcoming weeks.

The Downtown News gave a little background on the coming redevelopment of the key acreage around Union Station. Supervisor Gloria Molina may have different ideas than the MTA regarding what gets built there.

We also caught a badly-neglected press release issued by the Mayor's office last week, calling for the city's services to become even more of a developer doormat than it has been previously, setting up a concierge team to usher in any and all development in the name of construction jobs.

[And how much of a developer doormat has the Planning Department been previously? See Goodbye Gail, Saturday Evening Post, Gail Goldberg--developer-doormat optimist, Our New Evelyn Mulray, and the 2008 classic Lost! Special Edition: Gail "GPS" Goldberg.]

Then there was this developer-friendly piece at the former fishwrap of record about how apartments have somehow become the favored residential development around town. They will become the favored development every time City Planning Department allows more residential density via zoning. The City's owner-occupied-to-rental ratio is 60-38 renters, but the City keeps permitting--and encouraging--more rentals.

And finally, we featured an intensive study of the way it works in San Francisco, where the greening of the Bay has often come at the expense of the people of color who live in the redevelopment zones.

Redeveloping Union Station acreage



What will be done to the areas adjacent to Union Station? County Supervisor Gloria Molina wants the acreage devoted to servicing commuters. Some will undoubtedly want more residential units. Office buildings, hotels...Richard Guzmán in the Downtown News discusses the shaping of a Union Station Master Plan.

Whatever happens will be set on a fast track.
The report states that Metro will initiate a design competition between real estate, planning and architectural institutions to create the master plan; about five finalists will be selected by October, and they will then be asked to provide their approach and vision for master planning the property. Public presentations are scheduled for February 2012. The full master plan is slated to be ready in August 2013.
&c. An introductory Request for Information and Qualifications (RFIQ) to be followed by a Request for Proposals (RFP) commenced July 13.

Clean the Bay and make it white




Liberal hypocrisy and the white return-flight. "Greening" a city often means pushing other "colors" out...
It's chock-full of green goodies: parks, mass transit upgrades and a "green tech" campus. Thirty-two percent of the housing will be sold at prices well below the city's sky-high market rates. It's the kind of mixed-use, mixed-income development that sprawl-weary environmentalists have cheered from Denver to Portland -- dense, transit-oriented, and built on reclaimed brownfields near the city center.

But many locals have received the plan with deep ambivalence. "The project is flawed from stem to stern," says Saul Bloom, executive director of Arc Ecology. The local nonprofit has advocated for the Shipyard's cleanup and redevelopment since 1984, but contends that the current plan won't benefit the community.

&c. The piece is on San Francisco's last black community and the threat of redevelopment in the name of green. You could do a piece like this on LA but it would have to be 60 pages, not six, as Villaraigosa and Garcetti swallowed not one but all Riordan baits over the past six years.

EARLIER:

Madeline Janis in the headlights

CRA downtown deal derails as agency feels more heat

"The Development Services Office"


Waxleaf privets are ready to go....


A badly neglected press release issued this week from the Mayor's office announced that
The new office is part of a Citywide strategy to streamline the review process and create jobs by making LA more attractive to developers. Development represents a critical source of employment in Los Angeles: the $3.3 billion in permit valuation approved annually represents 23,500 construction jobs.
Construction remains a critical source of employment for the people who were hanging drywall and planting waxleaf privets for house flippers five years ago.

How it works in Sunland Tujunga



Residents allege that ordinary community checks and balances are skirted in Sunland Tujunga, where the Neighborhood Council shares many officers with the Chamber of Commerce (overlap). The Sunland Tujunga Alliance has also co-signed a document calling for revisiting the Foothill Boulevard Corridor Specific Plan with members of the Chamber of Commerce and Neighborhood Council. Neither the Neighborhood Council nor the Chamber of Commerce receive the bulk of their finance money from ordinary residents; the Alliance's funding sources are unknown.* The voices of community residents are squeezed out, many allege.


UPDATED 8/1


As residents of the community of Sunland Tujunga scrutinize relationships taken for granted among local organization officials, they are increasingly coming to one conclusion: the residents themselves aren't being represented by the key organizations.

"The facts are clear: Sunland-Tujunga is a bedroom community of over 60,000 inhabitants and approximately 300 business owners ," Kathleen Travers, a resident of Sunland Tujunga since 2002, told me earlier this week.

"Businesses shouldn't have the grossly unequal representation they've been accorded, on this issue [Foothill Boulevard planning and zoning] or any other," Travers insists. "We're so tired of neighborhood council reps, councilmembers, the mayor and city planning all stacked up against us, the only voices that should matter."

Travers believes that the interests of ordinary residents are being sacrificed for the interests of a small handful of merchants who hope to grow business development along Foothill Boulevard.

How effective the various organizations are at squeezing out and even harassing ordinary community residents, or at conducting meaningful dialog with the allied groups was on display earlier this week, when the Neighborhood Council's Executive Committee met in a hastily called session purportedly to discuss the matter of volunteer recruitment.

Chamber of Commerce president Sonia Tatulian and others from the Chamber were on hand to watch the Neighborhood Council execs levy accusations of failure to perform against a Specific Plan dissenter, David Cain, and a volunteer from the community named Terre Ashmore. Neighborhood Council Secretary Cindy Cleghorn, who has held leadership positions in both groups, led the charges.

The Sunland Tujunga Neighborhood Council, the Alliance, and the Chamber of Commerce all signed documents in June requesting Councilman Krekorian's office to revisit the Foothill Boulevard Corridor Specific Plan. The groups claim that they notified the community in a duly diligent way, but community residents insist that due notification did not occur.

This week, co-director of the organization Sunland Tujunga Alliance, Joe Barrett, posted to a community forum his intention to "educate the public" regarding the Foothill Boulevard Corridor Specific Plan. He also called for the meeting to be "drama-free," indicating another hope to squash community dissent from the three-pronged alliance.



Earlier this year, Barrett approached Sunland Tujunga businesses that advertised in a local publication hostile to Barrett, admonishing them to pull their advertising in the publication, a Foothill Boulevard business manager confirmed to me yesterday. Chamber of Commerce and Neighborhood Council members also purportedly called for a boycott of businesses that advertised in the paper; they would not respond to street-hassle's inquiries yesterday.

[*UPDATE 8/1: This post, which originally appeared on 7/15, originally called the Sunland Tujunga Alliance a "closed-books organization" and said that its books "were closed to the public." On 8/1, Joe Barrett of the Sunland Tujunga Alliance contended that this was wrong; at a new blog, he claimed that the organization's books "are always open and always have been."]

EARLIER:

Aggressive camera tactics prove thorny for NCs, DONE
Sunland Tujunga responds
Sunland Tujunga clamor turns trenchant

Getting down to specifics in Sunland Tujunga
Reversal of field in Sunland Tujunga
Krekorian's office: No change of legal status if FBC Specific Plan is opened

Sunland Tujunga Specific Plan dispute turns clamorous
Elaine Brown's forbidden comments
The Sunland Tujunga NC/Alliance letter

Jolene Combs

Memorial: A public memorial service for Jolene has been set for Friday, July 22, at 3 p.m. at Riviera United Methodist Church on Palos Verdes Blvd. in Redondo Beach.


A much beloved figure in local journalism education, Jolene Combs, passed away two nights ago, suddenly and unexpectedly.

A graduate of USC and much a part of the Trojan family, Jolene was a lifelong local journalism education figure who ran a very popular journalism program at El Camino College in the South Bay. The program's alumni are scattered at newspapers throughout California and the US.

Jolene had been retired for about three years from her community college perch but became deeply involved in high school journalism curriculum planning almost immediately. Last year, she co-anchored a program that brought journalism back to 10 LAUSD high schools, training advisers as well as students. She was also much involved with the Journalism Education Association's national conference for high school students, last held this past April in Anaheim.

The Daily Breeze profiled Jolene when she retired in March 2008; and once again, because of LANG's anti-archiving policy, the profile is no longer online.

A spokesperson for the family told me this morning that the cause of Jolene's death was a heart attack, brought on by a severe pneumonia that was aggravated by an advanced but previously undiagnosed lung cancer.

A memorial service is pending.

District where?




Can anyone in the whole State of California explain the above map to me? That's the map the State's redistricting commission is offering to you as the next map of Assembly district boundaries (?).

Oh, sure, you can click around and get a more precise map or two, and learn that the pluses and minuses have nothing to do with redistricting at all. If you're an Internet obsessive, you can learn that with some time.

[I always thought the purpose of putting things online was to make them clearer, not more opaque.]

But before explaining the above map to me, and why it stands in lieu of real redistricting information, you should first listen to Patt Morrison's KPCC segment on redistricting yesterday. Listen in while the hat lady lobs a redistricting commissioner obsequious softball after obsequious softball, and trashes everyone else.

And as a helpful reminder, here's how the Redistricting Commission wants to lump Los Feliz and Silver Lake together with their neighbors at Farmer John's slaughterhouse in Vernon:



EARLIER:

Latino-dominated State Redistricting Commission shafts blacks again, caucus says

"La Raza Democrats" dominate redistricting commission

Where are the women in San Pedro?


Camilla, fit and ready.

There is a persistent theme among the opportunists who immediately jumped at a chance to replace Councilwoman Janice Hahn in District 15: they are all men. On the distaff side of the distinguished family, Council will soon be down to Jan Perry.

And that field of men certainly lacks luster. Rudy Svorinich has already done this job and in fact was termed out once. Warren Furukani has shown signs of not taking his job seriously--in fact, he's only been an Assemblyman three years, and they have been mostly distinguished by an embarrassing tango on the floor of the State Legislature. Pleasant LAPD officer Joe Buscaino, a jaycee type, has been angling for a broad if nutty political role as "Honorary Mayor of San Pedro"--an office of his own devising [UPDATE: no, it's not of his own devising--the title has been around for a long time]. And a few months ago, top City leaders were saying that people like Pat McOsker were the largest part of the City's problems, not part of its solutions.

After representation from Ol' Blue Eyes for the past decade, and Congressional representation from Jane Harman for longer still, I think the district is certainly well-positioned to entertain the possibility of another woman as its next representative. Names that come to mind are Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council's Linda Alexander and popular San Pedro Chamber of Commerce President Camilla Townsend, who is conveniently resigning her post at the end of August. Ladies?

Portantino lonely now?



The puffy pol from Pasadena was the lone Assembly Democrat to vote against one incarnation of a Sacto budget deal--now he wonders if he's being singled out.

Shallman, McOsker leap at chance for CD 15




John Shallman sends out a press release announcing Pat McOsker's candidacy to fill Janice Hahn's City Council seat even before Ramona Hahn's funeral is conducted. It might have been more decorous to wait a week.

Hahn, Huey will each top out around $35/vote

UPDATE: Mail-in ballots are counted and Janice Hahn runs out to a whopping lead.
JANICE HAHN            DEM                  21,365    54.24
CRAIG HUEY REP 18,025 45.76
UPDATE II: Hahn also built a little on her lead with 10% precincts reporting.
JANICE HAHN            DEM                  22,736    54.08
CRAIG HUEY REP 19,303 45.92 TOTAL PRECINCTS 261 PRECINCTS REPORTING 27 10.34
There are likely around 30,000 more votes to count as of 10 p.m.

UPDATE III: Final tallies. Not close, and within half a point of street-hassle projection. Hahn spends $31.26 a vote, and Huey $31.75.
JANICE HAHN            DEM                   41,585    54.56
CRAIG HUEY REP 34,636 45.44

TOTAL PRECINCTS 261 PRECINCTS REPORTING 261 100.00
REGISTRATION 342,492

° ° ° ° °

Janice Hahn raised $1.3 million in her race for Jane Harman's vacated House of Representatives seat in the South Bay.

Tea Party Republican Craig Huey raised $1.1 million, including a reported $883,000 in self-financing.
According to a MapLight analysis of campaign finance data from the Federal Elections Commission (FEC), Hahn has raised just over $1.3 million dollars, with over $871,000 coming from contributions provided by individuals and $438,000 coming from PACs. Huey has raised over $1.1 million, including over $883,000 in self-financing. The remainder of Huey's contributions are comprised of almost $153,000 from individuals and over $31,000 from PACs.
Both candidates will end up spending somewhere around $35 per vote in this election.

Aggressive camera tactics prove thorny for NCs, DONE



A meeting was called in Sunland Tujunga a few days back, set for yesterday afternoon, for the Neighborhood Council's executive committee to address the matter of community outreach.

In the view of some, the odd meeting was called for the sake of retaliating against David Cain. Cain, who wrote a controversial letter regarding the Foothill Boulevard Specific Plan that appeared in a small community newspaper two weeks ago, is currently the head of community outreach efforts for the NC.

This morning, I received the following version of what went on at this bizarre meeting from Terre Ashmore, who was involved in community outreach at a community Fourth of July event.

Secretary Cindy Cleghorn tells me via email that official meeting minutes won't be available for a week. Cleghorn and Tomi Lyn Bowling were also invited to respond to some matters touched upon by others but did not respond. ST Chamber of Commerce president Sonia Tatulian, not a member of the NC, did speak to me about the meeting.

Ashmore's anecdotal report of last night's meeting follows.

The operation of the Outreach Committee has been placed under the direction of the Executive Committee on a trial basis for three months. David Cain remains "In Charge" of his Outreach Committee but as he put it: "like a paper tiger". Cindy Cleghorn tried to officially take it away from David with language like "assumes control of" in her motion but was prevented by Dan McManus who had her change that to "assists with" and "trial basis". The meetings will run concurrently with two agendas (so they can monitor what David does) and there was much discussion about voting members and overlapping quorums. A representative from DONE was in the audience and gave input re: those issues but after much debate I don't know what the outcome was regarding voting...

Dan McManus admitted he had had no better results with garnering numbers of volunteers when he was in charge of Outreach so it could not be laid at David's doorstep that the low volunteer count was his fault. Deby Ray, a former STNC member suggested from the audience some very practical approaches and also resisted efforts to defame David. She suggested back to back meetings to solve voting issues. Again no resolution appeared to have been reached re: that problem. David inquired repeatedly what the Brown Act covers in this instance and no one seemed to know.

I told them of my experiences re: the task I was assigned to get volunteers for the parade and 4th of July and how Sonia Tatulian the CofC president called me to ridicule and demand an accounting of my efforts and ordered me not to do so as she would not provide wristbands to allow STNC volunteers in for "her" free fireworks. Dan said I was not a STNC member and unfortunately had no authority to do the activity I was given by David to do (this appears to be true) but just when Sonia started to applaud my discredit he told her she also was not an STNC member either and had had no authority to back her actions against me.

Robin Seigel Meares repeatedly walked behind me and hit me in the back everytime she passed supposedly by accident* [see update below]. When a candidate for the vacant rep seat (Barbara Johnson, Robins friend resigned) was introduced as a local attorney, Joe Barrett jumped up and yelled "hooray! Do you do slander suits?" and looked pointedly at David and Doc. When I said that was inappropriate, Joe grabbed his video camera and held it 2 feet from my face for 10-15 minutes* [see update below] and when I objected Dan said he had the right to film the meeting but he was filming me while the meeting went on behind him. I said it was a form of assault but no one came to my aid and Joe just held the camera full in my face and laughed out loud for a while.

There were 14 stakeholders in attendance (including current reps and former board members, Joe, Robin, and Barbara all itching for a fight, and Doc and camera crew) and 5 Board Members: Dan McManus, Mark Seigel, Cindy Cleghorn, Tomi Lyn Bowling and David Cain. (Mark Seigel arrived very late and had to have everything repeated). The vote to accept the motion was unanamous and they adjourned at 6:45pm (started at 5:30pm)

[*UPDATE: Ashmore writes in comments: My apologies. I have a correction... Doc tells me Joe had the camera in my face less than five minutes, it felt longer because it was abusive and I asked him repeatedly to stop and asked Dan to make him stop. As for Robin she walked too close to me and may have just been clumsy.]

Dan McManus responded to Ashmore's concern about the cameras with the following email:
It is not my job or any chairperson's job to control every move of every person in the audience at a meeting. In case you didn't notice, I did tell Robin Meares to behave when she said Shut Up to you. She quieted down after that. As far as the cameras go, they are are either allowed for everyone or not allowed for everyone. City policies allow for the photographing or videotaping of any public meeting. If you believe that any person is inappropriately videotaping you... or harassing you... you can address it directly with them or, if you choose, press charges when appropriate. My job is to run the meeting as effectively as possible. I do my best but am not perfect. I will not get into the middle of all of the juvenile shenanigans going on at the moment, except when they hinder our ability to conduct STNC business or violate our procedures.

Thank you for attending the meeting tonight. Your comments were helpful.
After receiving this report, I subsequently spoke to the DONE rep at the meeting, Tom Soong, and also to Chamber of Commerce president Sonia Tatulian. Soong tells me of the cameras that "I think that's always a tricky issue"--and adds that cameras are sometimes held uncomfortably close to him too. He adds that when you're finished speaking and the camera's still on you, it doesn't seem to accomplish anything to keep it pointed at you. He hoped the Neighborhood Council would further discuss the matter, and maybe restrict the cameras to a certain area.

ST Chamber of Commerce president Tatulian told me she didn't observe anything unusual at the meeting, and no unusual level of conflict. Tatulian denies that there was retaliation against David Cain because of his recently expressed views on the Specific Plan.

EARLIER:

Sunland Tujunga responds
Sunland Tujunga clamor turns trenchant

Getting down to specifics in Sunland Tujunga
Reversal of field in Sunland Tujunga
Krekorian's office: No change of legal status if FBC Specific Plan is opened

Sunland Tujunga Specific Plan dispute turns clamorous
Elaine Brown's forbidden comments
The Sunland Tujunga NC/Alliance letter