Remember Last Year When We Learned That LAPD Was Helping Psychopathic NIMBY Housedwellers To Install Illegal Anti-Encampment Planters — And I Filed A Complaint Against A Bunch Of Them From Pacific Division — Well In June 2020 LAPD Informed Me That They Had Completed Their Investigation And Declared My Complaint “Unfounded” — And Invited Me To Ask Them Questions If I Had Any — Which I Did — Namely Would They Release The Results Of The Investigation — And The Investigator — A Dude Known As Sergeant Paul Aeschliman — Told Me He Wasn’t Allowed To Release The Info — But He Didn’t Know Why He Wasn’t Allowed — And The Laws He Cited In Support Of His Position Actually Didn’t Forbid The Release Of The Documents — So That Discussion Is Ongoing Even If The Officers Aren’t Busted For Their Illegal Planter Placing — Or Not Yet Anyway!

It’s strange in these apocalyptic times to remember that just last year anti-encampment planters, illegally placed on sidewalks in utter antisocial defiance of the law, were such a huge part of the City’s discussions about the rights of the unhoused. The planters were set up by psychopathic NIMBYs like Mark Ryavec, assisted by the LAPD, the Venice Neighborhood Council, and CD11 rep Mike Bonin, who lied about his office’s involvement until emails revealed the deep complicity of his former Venice field deputy Taylor Bazley.1

I ended up reporting Bazley to the Los Angeles Ethics Commission and a bunch of LAPD officers to Internal Affairs. I haven’t heard back about Bazley yet2 but last month I did hear back from LAPD about the officers I’d complained about. Here’s their response, also transcribed below. Can you imagine?! LAPD investigated themselves and discovered that they were innocent! We knew it would happen, and it did. What turns out to be slightly more interesting is my subsequent conversation with Paul Aeschliman, the officer who conducted the investigation,
Continue reading Remember Last Year When We Learned That LAPD Was Helping Psychopathic NIMBY Housedwellers To Install Illegal Anti-Encampment Planters — And I Filed A Complaint Against A Bunch Of Them From Pacific Division — Well In June 2020 LAPD Informed Me That They Had Completed Their Investigation And Declared My Complaint “Unfounded” — And Invited Me To Ask Them Questions If I Had Any — Which I Did — Namely Would They Release The Results Of The Investigation — And The Investigator — A Dude Known As Sergeant Paul Aeschliman — Told Me He Wasn’t Allowed To Release The Info — But He Didn’t Know Why He Wasn’t Allowed — And The Laws He Cited In Support Of His Position Actually Didn’t Forbid The Release Of The Documents — So That Discussion Is Ongoing Even If The Officers Aren’t Busted For Their Illegal Planter Placing — Or Not Yet Anyway!

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The Latest Episode In My Sporadic Brown Act Demand Letter Project! — The White Savior Charter Conspiracy Known As The Accelerated Schools — Hired A Self-Proclaimed Lawyer — Name Of Wayne Strumpfer — Who Apparently Never Learned In Law School That You Gotta Read The Damn Statute Before You Go Advising Your Clients On A Course Of Action — But Fortunately For All — Even Though I Never Went To Law School — I Do In Fact Know How And When To Read — So When Strumpfer Says Something Super-Crazy Like That The Brown Act Doesn’t Apply To Committees — Here I Am To Save The Doggone Day — With Yet Another Brown Act Demand Letter — Read It Here!

The Brown Act, California’s open meetings law, imposes a long list of requirements on local government agencies and among these are a duty to send copies of meeting agendas to members of the public who request this service.1 Both I and heroic public education activist Hilda Rodriguez-Guzman have asked this of that local white savior charter conspiracy known as The Accelerated Schools (“TAS”).

And on June 16, 2020 the TAS Board’s Finance Committee held a meeting2 but notified neither Hilda nor me in advance. A couple days later I sent an inquiry via email to Wayne Strumpfer, one of TAS’s many lawyers,3 this one in particular of counsel4 to California charter school law powerhouse Young Minney Corr, basically asking “hey friends, what the freaking heck?!”

And five days later, certainly long enough so that we can discount impulsivity as an explanation, Strumpfer sent me his response. In this remarkably idiotic document Strumpfer argues that while the Brown Act may indeed require agencies to send copies of Board agendas to members of the public it imposes no such requirement with respect to committee meetings. In particular, thus spake Strumpfer: “This code section relates to any meeting of a legislative body — i.e., The Accelerated Schools Board. There is nothing in the code section that mentions committee meetings.”

Which is an interesting statement. Strumpfer is correct in the sense that the word “committee” does not appear in the Brown Act at §54954.1. But he’s about as wrong as can be when he equates “legislative bodies” with “The Accelerated Schools Board.” The term “legislative body” is a term of art in the Brown Act. Whatever it may mean in a naive sense is overridden by the law’s extensive definition, found at §54952(b), which states in part that:

“legislative body” means
[among other things]:

A commission, committee, board, or other body of a local agency, whether permanent or temporary, decisionmaking or advisory, created by charter, ordinance, resolution, or formal action of a legislative body. … standing committees of a legislative body, irrespective of their composition, which have a continuing subject matter jurisdiction, or a meeting schedule fixed by charter, ordinance, resolution, or formal action of a legislative body are legislative bodies for purposes of this chapter.

In other words, committees are legislative bodies. Therefore the Brown Act requires TAS to send copies of committee agendas to members of the public who so request. Also TAS violated the Brown Act by not sending agendas for the June 16, 2020 meeting of the Finance Committee. And Wayne Strumpfer, despite the big bucks he’s paid, apparently didn’t bother to read the law before advising his clients on a course of action.5

One of the tragic aspects of the Brown Act, though, is that essentially the only way its enforced is via litigation. And while county district attorneys have standing to file such suits, at least here in Los Angeles County they rarely if ever do. But private citizens also have standing to challenge violations. According to §54960.2 such a suit must be preceded by a demand letter giving the local agency a chance to “unconditionally commit” not to violate the law in the specified manner ever again.6

I send these letters out from time to time when an agency violates the law egregiously enough. The last one I sent was in December 2019, also to TAS, which did at that time7 capitulate to my demand and unconditionally agree not to violate the law in the specified manner ever again. But that violation was very different from the current one. These shenanigans with the Finance Committee don’t violate their earlier unconditional commitment.

And thus another demand letter is in order, which is why I sent one this morning via email to Strumpfer and TAS Supreme Commander Dr. Grace Lee Chang.8 A transcription follows and now we wait to see whether they capitulate!
Continue reading The Latest Episode In My Sporadic Brown Act Demand Letter Project! — The White Savior Charter Conspiracy Known As The Accelerated Schools — Hired A Self-Proclaimed Lawyer — Name Of Wayne Strumpfer — Who Apparently Never Learned In Law School That You Gotta Read The Damn Statute Before You Go Advising Your Clients On A Course Of Action — But Fortunately For All — Even Though I Never Went To Law School — I Do In Fact Know How And When To Read — So When Strumpfer Says Something Super-Crazy Like That The Brown Act Doesn’t Apply To Committees — Here I Am To Save The Doggone Day — With Yet Another Brown Act Demand Letter — Read It Here!

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It Took Me Two Months To Get Even A Minimal Amount Of The Story Behind A May 7 Copaganda Tweet From LAPD Central Division Supreme Commander Timothy Scott Harrelson — With A Public Records Act Request That I Filed Pretending To Be A Reporter At Blue Line News — Which I Made Up And Bought A Domain For To Use For Email — And — Even Though Obvious — The Ploy Worked Briefly In That Commander Harrelson Apparently Told LAPD Discovery Staff That He Was Going To Call Me — Me Being The Made Up Reporter Rose Olsen From Blue Line News — But Then He Didn’t Call — And LAPD Apparently Caught On To The Ruse — But I Did At Least Learn The Names Of The Arrested People — And The Location Of The Arrests — All Of Which Turns Out To Be Less Interesting Than The Process — Which Is Just How It Goes Sometimes

About two months ago, on May 7, 2020, the incomparable Lexis-Olivier Ray alerted me to the fact that, from his putatively safe haven in Simi Valley,1 Los Angeles Police Department Commander Timothy Scott Harrelson had just tweeted triumphantly about an LAPD raid on a “luxury apartment” Downtown due to “illegal cannabis sales.”2 But maybe you heard that cannabis is now legal in California? So this is essentially an arrest for tax evasion. Which is not something that ought to be at the top of any law enforcement priority list in the middle of a pandemic, right?3

So I thought I’d look into the circumstances, and how better to do that than using the California Public Records Act?! There’s a problem, though, and that is the sad but true fact that the Los Angeles Police Department has completely stopped responding to my requests.4 When they first stopped I invented a few pseudonyms to make requests under, and this worked for a while.5 But then I started to file lawsuits over some of my pseudonymous requests so they caught on. Soon, I believe, they started tracking my pseudonyms as they identified them6 and then refusing to respond to those requests.

They are pretty prompt when the LA Times makes a request, though, which is part of the reason I think they’re singling out my requests for inaction.7 But this matter seemed important. Not only important enough for a new pseudonym, but for an actual backstory! And given LAPD’s responsiveness to the Times I thought of being a reporter.8 And from a sympathetic-sounding news outlet. And for a more convincing, at least superficially so, email address than the usual randomname3442@gmail.com. So I bought bluelinenews.org, fired up the random name generator and, using its suggestion, Rose Olsen, on May 9, 2020 I filed a CPRA request9 at lacity.nextrequest.com:
Continue reading It Took Me Two Months To Get Even A Minimal Amount Of The Story Behind A May 7 Copaganda Tweet From LAPD Central Division Supreme Commander Timothy Scott Harrelson — With A Public Records Act Request That I Filed Pretending To Be A Reporter At Blue Line News — Which I Made Up And Bought A Domain For To Use For Email — And — Even Though Obvious — The Ploy Worked Briefly In That Commander Harrelson Apparently Told LAPD Discovery Staff That He Was Going To Call Me — Me Being The Made Up Reporter Rose Olsen From Blue Line News — But Then He Didn’t Call — And LAPD Apparently Caught On To The Ruse — But I Did At Least Learn The Names Of The Arrested People — And The Location Of The Arrests — All Of Which Turns Out To Be Less Interesting Than The Process — Which Is Just How It Goes Sometimes

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More Detail On Mitch O’Farrell’s April 2020 Coronavirus Exposure — Which Happened Because He Insisted On Meeting In Person With Angry Psychopathic Housedwellers In Echo Park — But Still Wouldn’t Talk To The Unhoused Community — And If You Read As Many CD13 Emails As I Do — You’re Aware That O’Farrell Rarely Commits Himself In Writing — Or His Staff Is A Bunch Of Lying CPRA Violators And Withholds What He Writes — I’m Pretty Sure Both Are True — But When He’s In Fear For His Own Life — It Seems More Real To Him Somehow — And Now The Dude Cannot Shut Up — But Quizzes Juan Fregoso About Where The Guy Who Tested Positive Was Standing — And How Close Did He Get — And What Color Shirt Was He Wearing? — It’s Pretty Clear That O’Farrell Saves His Deepest — His Most Sincere — Concern For Himself Only — But Then His Damn Voting Record Already Told Us That

A couple weeks ago I reported that in April 2020, smack in the middle of a pandemic no less, Los Angeles City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell had an in-person meeting with a bunch of unhinged housedwellers about how much they hated having to look at unhoused people living in Echo Park. And this all was going on at the same time that both O’Farrell and his staff were, despite their pleas and letters, refusing to meet with the unhoused people themselves, refusing to meet with activists who were organizing them, refusing to discuss public health with anyone, and refusing even to discuss the reasons for his refusal.

And not only that but O’Farrell was exposed to coronavirus at his meeting with these angry housedwellers. And by now it seems pretty ironic that actually they were the ones spreading disease. You may recall that in their list of demands to O’Farrell, one of the housedwellers’ reasons for demanding the eviction of the Echo Park homeless encampment was the threat to their health created by its presence: “[t]here is a high risk due to human waste and illegal drug waste, which is a haven for an epidemic of Cholera, dysentery,hepatitis A & E, typhus, and even leprosy.”1

The bare fact of the exposure was all I knew of when I wrote that earlier post. But since then CD13 has produced a little more material, all of which you can find here on Archive.Org,2 and among this stuff is an email conversation in which O’Farrell quizzes his nightmare field deputy Juan Fregoso about who had it, where he was standing, was he likely to have transmitted it, and so on.3 It’s the kind of thing you might expect from a guy like Mitch O’Farrell, and there’s a transcript below. There’s no big news here, no breakthrough explanations of the characteristic feckless idiocy with which O’Farrell conducts all his public business.

But if you read as many of these City staff emails as I do you’ll recognize that O’Farrell is being weirdly talkative here. It’s so rare to get anything in writing out of CD13 that’s actually from the Councilmember. Either O’Farrell is consciously not putting things in writing or his staff is way, way overclaiming exemptions to withhold all of it.4 There’s certainly plenty of evidence that they do that. And of course if you’re the wrong kind of constituent he doesn’t have a single word for you nor a single moment in which to speak it. But here he is, in fear for his life,5 and all of a sudden he’s got plenty to say.
Continue reading More Detail On Mitch O’Farrell’s April 2020 Coronavirus Exposure — Which Happened Because He Insisted On Meeting In Person With Angry Psychopathic Housedwellers In Echo Park — But Still Wouldn’t Talk To The Unhoused Community — And If You Read As Many CD13 Emails As I Do — You’re Aware That O’Farrell Rarely Commits Himself In Writing — Or His Staff Is A Bunch Of Lying CPRA Violators And Withholds What He Writes — I’m Pretty Sure Both Are True — But When He’s In Fear For His Own Life — It Seems More Real To Him Somehow — And Now The Dude Cannot Shut Up — But Quizzes Juan Fregoso About Where The Guy Who Tested Positive Was Standing — And How Close Did He Get — And What Color Shirt Was He Wearing? — It’s Pretty Clear That O’Farrell Saves His Deepest — His Most Sincere — Concern For Himself Only — But Then His Damn Voting Record Already Told Us That

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Already Heavily Rent Burdened Los Angeles Tenants Struggle To Make Payments — While City Council Whines About Its Own Impotence — Refuses To Implement Meaningful Relief — Creates An Inadequate — Overly Complex — Litigation Inducing — Contemptuous — Half-Assed — Relief Program — That’s So Underfunded The Money Will Be Distributed By Lottery — Of All Damn Things — But When It Comes To Commercial Property Owners — Whose Properties Are Located In Business Improvement Districts — Who Therefore Owe Tax Payments To The City — The Situation Is Quite Different — Apparently Without Any Difficulty — Without Any Whining Or Idiotic Reports From Idiotic Deputy City Attorney David Michaelson — The City Is Allowing Them To Pay Late Without Penalty — Without Proving Anything — Without Litigation — Because They Love Zillionaires More Than They Love You And Me — And Because They’re Not Ashamed Of Their Own Hypocrisy

It’s well-known that the economic destruction wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic is putting already severely rent-burdened tenants at even greater risk of eviction and homelessness. Activists have been pleading with Los Angeles City officials for months now to find ways to mitigate this looming crisis while the officials spend their time whining about how they don’t have the power to solve the problem.

The very few measures the City has actually implemented are overly complex, slanted towards landlord interests, half-assed, and very likely to require court intervention as part of the process.1 Not only are the City’s putative solutions entirely insufficient to meet the looming need, but the City only allocated $100 million to the program, which is so inadequate an amount that the City is going to distribute it by lottery.

Our present situation highlights about as clearly as can be the complete contempt, or at least clueless indifference, with which City officials approach the needs of non-zillionaire angelenos. And it’s not just residential tenants that are economically endangered by the pandemic. It’s also been hell on retail businesses, who are also having possibly insurmountable problems covering the rent.

In turn this threatens the income of their zillionaire commercial-property-owning landlords, who are therefore worried about their ability to cover their own expenses, including mortgages and property taxes. But the City government of Los Angeles is neither contemptuous not cluelessly indifferent towards the interests of zillionaires, of course, and their lack of contempt is demonstrated clearly by their attitude toward business improvement district (“BID”) assessments in the City.

The City of Los Angeles has more than forty BIDs. These operations are funded by assessments paid by commercial property owners in the districts. The assessments are not voluntary. They appear on the owners’ county property tax bills and are subject to the same kinds of draconian collection measures used to enforce payment of any tax. But unlike ordinary property taxes, which are paid to and collectable by the County of Los Angeles, these BID assessments belong to the City.

Which I suppose gives City officials some power over how and when they’re collected, or at least that’s the only way I can make sense of a statement made by Dr. Kris Larson, executive director of the Hollywood Property Owners’ Alliance at their recent board meeting. Larson told his board that “while property owners are technically still on the hook to pay their assessments the City is not penalizing those that are late collected.”
Continue reading Already Heavily Rent Burdened Los Angeles Tenants Struggle To Make Payments — While City Council Whines About Its Own Impotence — Refuses To Implement Meaningful Relief — Creates An Inadequate — Overly Complex — Litigation Inducing — Contemptuous — Half-Assed — Relief Program — That’s So Underfunded The Money Will Be Distributed By Lottery — Of All Damn Things — But When It Comes To Commercial Property Owners — Whose Properties Are Located In Business Improvement Districts — Who Therefore Owe Tax Payments To The City — The Situation Is Quite Different — Apparently Without Any Difficulty — Without Any Whining Or Idiotic Reports From Idiotic Deputy City Attorney David Michaelson — The City Is Allowing Them To Pay Late Without Penalty — Without Proving Anything — Without Litigation — Because They Love Zillionaires More Than They Love You And Me — And Because They’re Not Ashamed Of Their Own Hypocrisy

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In January 2017 — When The Mitch Englander CD12 Crime Conspiracy Must Already Have Been Busily Whirring Away — City Staffer B — Which Is To Say John Lee — Asked His Assistant Brandy Turnbow To Get A Copy Of His Detailed Phone Log From Verizon — Could He Have Been Using His Work Phone To Do Crimes? — Worried About What Lurid Or Incriminating Information He’d Spilled? — And Turnbow Did Get Them From Verizon — Via Email! — Which Is How I Came To Have Copies Of John Lee’s Phone Logs! — And Mitch Englander’s! — For November And December 2016 — Including Number Called And Location Of Lee/Englander At Time Of Call! — They’re Not Quite Formatted Enough To Search Or Sort Reliably — But Here They Are For To Exercise Your Detective Skills! — Like An Easter Egg Hunt For Grownups!

By now the whole world knows that John Lee, Los Angeles City Councilmember for District 12, formerly chief of staff to now-indicted former CD12 rep Mitch Englander, accompanied his boss to Las Vegas in June of 2017 to be plied with liquor, money, and sex in exchange for the usual list of favors to real estate developers. And Lee, known as City Staffer B in the indictments issued so far, admits going on the trip but denies receiving anything untoward or engaging in suspect or illegal activities.

And even though Englander’s indictment doesn’t mention anything leading up to that June 2017 trip, it’s clear that he and surely also John Lee had to have been conspiring with the developer for a while. Without a lot of prior discussion and understandings how would these conspirators have trusted one another enough to offer and accept such blatantly corrupt incentives? The indictment refers repeatedly to text messages between Englander, Lee, and the corrupt developers, so at least some of the pre-Vegas communication probably took place via cell phone.

And the City issues cell phones to Councilmembers and selected staff. While most criminals can probably understand that it’s a bad idea to arrange crimes on your work phone, it’s not impossible that Lee1 didn’t realize this at first. Regardless of the wily criminal tendencies of these political thugs they’re not bright people or at least have astonishingly poor impulse control. So perhaps early on Lee did use his work phone to communicate with his co-conspirators?2 And maybe at some point he realized that he might be leaving evidence by doing so? Which is speculation, of course.

But speculation or not it would certainly explain the highly suspicious fact that in January 2017 Lee asked his aide Brandy Turnbow if it were possible to get detailed billing records for his work phone from Verizon. By that time he’d worked for the City of Los Angeles for more than 20 years and yet the question hadn’t come up for him before his boss was running a criminal conspiracy out of City Hall. So Turnbow emailed Matthew Webster of Verizon asking him about it. And after a lot of tedious discussion he sent her the information she requested as an email attachment.

Which was tremendously good luck, because of course City emails and their attachments are public records. Which is how I laid hands on one of the most remarkable documents I’ve had the good fortune to receive during my long career of requesting public records. This is a detailed 300+ page3 call-by-call log of CD12 work phone activity from October 2016 through January 2017.4 It has all of Mitch Englander’s work phone calls, all of John Lee’s, and also other staffers. It includes not only the number called but the location of the caller’s phone when the call was made.
Continue reading In January 2017 — When The Mitch Englander CD12 Crime Conspiracy Must Already Have Been Busily Whirring Away — City Staffer B — Which Is To Say John Lee — Asked His Assistant Brandy Turnbow To Get A Copy Of His Detailed Phone Log From Verizon — Could He Have Been Using His Work Phone To Do Crimes? — Worried About What Lurid Or Incriminating Information He’d Spilled? — And Turnbow Did Get Them From Verizon — Via Email! — Which Is How I Came To Have Copies Of John Lee’s Phone Logs! — And Mitch Englander’s! — For November And December 2016 — Including Number Called And Location Of Lee/Englander At Time Of Call! — They’re Not Quite Formatted Enough To Search Or Sort Reliably — But Here They Are For To Exercise Your Detective Skills! — Like An Easter Egg Hunt For Grownups!

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Newly Obtained Emails Between Richelle Huizar And Various CD14 Staff Show Jose Huizar Grooming Her To Run The Family Business — She Met With Constituents — Consulted With Chief Of Staff Paul Habib On Motions — Including One Relating To Tenants In Caltrans 710 Houses — Attending Executive Staff Meetings — Et Freaking Cetera — And It All Came Crashing Down About Them — As Castles In The Air Built By Lying Psychopathic Criminal Cheaters Will Do From Time To Time

Los Angeles City Councilmember Jose Huizar will soon be spending pretty much all his time working out with his new Club Fed Golf Team buddies and Richelle Huizar probably won’t be joining him1 even though arranging for her election to the seat he’s termed out of was apparently one of the goals of his corrupt conspiracy.2 See this excellent story from yesterday’s Times for a timeline of her role in the CM’s troubles. And as you can imagine, I’ve been after records involving her for some time now.

But Jose Huizar, credibly accused of ordering staff to alter or destroy material responsive to pending public records requests, has not been very forthcoming. The only remedy the California Public Records Act provides to compel compliance is for a requester to file a lawsuit, and I’ve had to file three against Huizar’s office. Two of these involved emails between him or his staff and Richelle Huizar. This one against the City’s Information Technology Agency is still very much pending, but the City’s about to settle the other one.

And of course we don’t settle these things unless they hand over the goods, which in this case amounted to about 150 pages of emails in PDF format.3 You can take a look at here on Archive.Org. And it turns out that there’s nothing really incriminating in them4 but nevertheless these emails illuminate aspects of Richelle Huizar’s role in CD14’s operations that I wasn’t previously aware of. She communicated directly with high level staff about motions, met with constituents, attended executive staff meetings, and so on. The context is hard to understand but it’s clear that Jose Huizar was readying Richelle Huizar to take over the family business.

By the way, I’m not critical of that fact in itself. That is, I don’t have a problem with elected officials hiring their spouses or using them as informal advisors.5 The other aspect of this material that’s important is that Jose Huizar originally claimed it was exempt from release. As you read it, you’ll see that such a claim is not merely indefensible, it’s also ludicrous. In other words, the real lead here6 is that Jose Huizar is a liar.
Continue reading Newly Obtained Emails Between Richelle Huizar And Various CD14 Staff Show Jose Huizar Grooming Her To Run The Family Business — She Met With Constituents — Consulted With Chief Of Staff Paul Habib On Motions — Including One Relating To Tenants In Caltrans 710 Houses — Attending Executive Staff Meetings — Et Freaking Cetera — And It All Came Crashing Down About Them — As Castles In The Air Built By Lying Psychopathic Criminal Cheaters Will Do From Time To Time

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Homeless Residents Of Echo Park And Their Supporters Tried And Tried And Tried To Meet With Mitch O’Farrell Earlier This Year — To Discuss Essential Human Needs — Like Bathrooms — And Not Being Killed By Police — And Hygiene Supplies — And Other Equally Important Matters — But Mitch O’Farrell Wouldn’t Meet With Them — Or Direct His Staff To Meet — Meanwhile Both He And His Staff Met Repeatedly With Psychopathic Echo Park Housedwellers — To Discuss Their Idiotic Concerns — Like How Unpleasant It Is To See Homeless People — And Property Values — And Freaking Cholera — And How They Could Fuck Up The Lives Of The Unhoused Even More Than Usual — And Sometimes Just To Drop Off Gifts — Like Care Packages — And This Led To The Damn Housedwellers Exposing O’Farrell — And His Appalling Field Deputy Juan Fregoso — To COVID-19 In April 2020 — Which — Given That Cholera Business — Is A Level Of Irony Rarely Seen In Actual Reality

In January 2020 the unhoused residents of Echo Park came together to protest their displacement by an ongoing series of sweeps ordered by CD13 Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell. They wrote O’Farrell an exceedingly reasonable letter explaining their precarious situation, the dangers to which his sweeps exposed them, a number of proposals for assuaging the1 so-called concerns of the local housedwellers, and, for our purpose most crucially, a request to meet with him to discuss the burgeoning crisis.

This letter and the protests that inspired it turned out to be the beginning of an ongoing and still-active resistance movement in the Park, the story of which is ably told by Liam Fitzpatrick in Knock LA. This movement has merged seamlessly with the ongoing rebellion against police violence, as seen e.g. yesterday in a massive protest against LAPD and the City’s attacks on the unhoused residents, which culminated in a march to O’Farrell’s office, a series of really moving speeches calling out his weaponized incompetence, and an impressive display of art.

And over these six months of unrest, O’Farrell has repeatedly ignored the activists’ requests to meet, to discuss, to find solutions. According to Streetwatch LA, a group deeply involved in organizing the campaign, the only in-person contact O’Farrell’s office made with any of the activists consisted of O’Farrell’s absolutely despicable field deputy Juan Fregoso meeting with one resident of the Park and aggressively suggesting that the guy enter a shelter while continuing to ignore reasonable requests from these constituents for serious meetings to discuss policy.2

The City of Los Angeles is famous for using encampment sweeps and other violent tactics against unhoused residents in response to complaints, which are characteristically both deeply sociopathic and astonishingly trivial, from unhinged local housedwellers, and the Echo Park sweeps which catalyzed the protests are not an exception. I recently received a small but significant set of emails from CD13 on the subject which suggest that this particular round of violence was seeded by complaints in late 2019 from residents of Parkview Living, which is some kind of retirement home across the street from the Park.

The emails are heavily redacted, by the way, in accordance with a newly-adopted and highly illegal CD13 policy of hiding the identities of psychopathic anti-homeless constituents in order to encourage them to continue to freely express their psychopathic anti-homeless rage. Nevertheless it’s still possible to figure out what’s going on. The housedwellers are worried, as usual, about having to look at unhoused residents as well as the effect of a visible encampment on their property values. Not so much about the well-being, the health, or even the very lives of the unhoused residents.

Even more upsetting given his refusal to even talk to the actual unhoused residents is the fact that O’Farrell and his staff met repeatedly with these angry hypersensitive housedwellers to assuage their wounded sensibilities and to promise, accurately, to step up enforcement against the suffering residents of the Park. O’Farrell explicitly encouraged the Parkview housedwellers to bring their concerns to the media, presumably to bolster the appearance of public support for his violent encampment sweeps.

Fregoso, on the other hand, apparently validated their weird self-pity by telling them falsely that the City had in fact singled them out by specifically allowing encampments near Parkview, probably with the same goal.3 In addition to meetings O’Farrell and his staff apparently dropped by in person to give gifts to Parkview residents. Which foolishness, ironically, led to O’Farrell and Fregoso being exposed to COVID-19 in April 2020.
Continue reading Homeless Residents Of Echo Park And Their Supporters Tried And Tried And Tried To Meet With Mitch O’Farrell Earlier This Year — To Discuss Essential Human Needs — Like Bathrooms — And Not Being Killed By Police — And Hygiene Supplies — And Other Equally Important Matters — But Mitch O’Farrell Wouldn’t Meet With Them — Or Direct His Staff To Meet — Meanwhile Both He And His Staff Met Repeatedly With Psychopathic Echo Park Housedwellers — To Discuss Their Idiotic Concerns — Like How Unpleasant It Is To See Homeless People — And Property Values — And Freaking Cholera — And How They Could Fuck Up The Lives Of The Unhoused Even More Than Usual — And Sometimes Just To Drop Off Gifts — Like Care Packages — And This Led To The Damn Housedwellers Exposing O’Farrell — And His Appalling Field Deputy Juan Fregoso — To COVID-19 In April 2020 — Which — Given That Cholera Business — Is A Level Of Irony Rarely Seen In Actual Reality

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City Staffer B — John Lee — Sitting CD12 Representative — Admittedly Accompanied His Then-Boss Mitch Englander To Las Vegas In June 2017 Where Englander Was Bribed With Wine — And Women — And Hard Cold Bathroom Envelope Cash — And Lee Denies He Knew Any Of That Was Going On — And Very Specifically Denies That He Himself Was Bribed With Women — But He Did Not Put The Vegas Thing In His Appointment Calendar — Which To Me Screams Consciousness Of Freaking Guilt — Because This Is A Guy Who Obsessively Enters Every Trip He Takes — Work-Related Or Not — Including Three Trips To Competitive Cheerleading Events Between February And May 2017 — So Why Would He Leave Out The Sleazy Vegas Trip If He Wasn’t Trying To Keep It A Secret? — And Why Keep It A Secret If He Actually Thought It Was Legit As He Now Claims He Did?

By now the whole world knows that former Los Angeles City Councilmember Mitch Englander is a sleazy corrupt fellow who was in Las Vegas in 2017 on June 1, 2, and maybe 3 being bribed with cash, liquor, and women and that he was accompanied on this funhouse mirror hero’s journey by his as-yet-unindicted co-conspirator and then-chief-of-staff John S. Lee, sitting Councilmember for the Twelfth District, known in the ever-increasing number of official indictments and mockingly on Twitter as City Staffer B.1

Lee admits that he went along with Mitch on the trip, but he continues to maintain that he did nothing wrong and, says Lee, that he “was unaware of any illegal activities for which Councilmember Englander is being charged.”2 Not only did, according to himself, do nothing wrong but also, according to his spokesperson Grace Yao3 he especially “absolutely [was] not” supplied with women. It’s certainly curious that Lee denies everything but he extra-super-duper denies that part.

Almost as curious as the fact that Lee omitted that June 2017 trip to Las Vegas from his official 2017 appointment calendar, which I recently obtained from the City of Los Angeles via a Public Records Act request. You can see that he had a full day of actual work on June 1. Presumably he traveled to Las Vegas with Mitch that night. On June 2 he has nothing at all listed except a late-night 11 PM meeting with a mysterious as-yet-unidentified figure known as Justin Cruz.4
Continue reading City Staffer B — John Lee — Sitting CD12 Representative — Admittedly Accompanied His Then-Boss Mitch Englander To Las Vegas In June 2017 Where Englander Was Bribed With Wine — And Women — And Hard Cold Bathroom Envelope Cash — And Lee Denies He Knew Any Of That Was Going On — And Very Specifically Denies That He Himself Was Bribed With Women — But He Did Not Put The Vegas Thing In His Appointment Calendar — Which To Me Screams Consciousness Of Freaking Guilt — Because This Is A Guy Who Obsessively Enters Every Trip He Takes — Work-Related Or Not — Including Three Trips To Competitive Cheerleading Events Between February And May 2017 — So Why Would He Leave Out The Sleazy Vegas Trip If He Wasn’t Trying To Keep It A Secret? — And Why Keep It A Secret If He Actually Thought It Was Legit As He Now Claims He Did?

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The California Commission On Peace Officer Standards And Training — POST — Publishes 124 Different Police Training Videos — POST Staffer Phil Caporale Refused To Release 45 Of Them In Response To My Request For Public Records — Claiming That To Do So Would Endanger Public And Officer Safety — But He’s Ignoring The Law — Which Requires Him To Balance That Putative Public Interest Against The Public Interest In Releasing These Training Materials — And In A Week Where California Police Have Attacked — Tortured — Beaten — Arrested — Shot — Killed — Peacefully Assembled Protesters — The Public Interest In Seeing How Cops Are Trained In Crowd Management — Crowd Control — And How That Training Compares To Their Actual Violent Behavior — Is So Cosmically High That It’s Basically Insurmountable — Not That This Truth Matters To Caporale — Who Like So Many Antisocial Public Officials Is Just Making Stuff Up To Justify His Predetermined Outcome — Just Mumbling Meaningless Words — Which Is Also Contempt For The Public — Which Also Endangers Our Safety

The California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training, known as POST, publishes well over a hundred video training courses for local police forces. I learned recently that POST is subject1 to the California Public Records Act and a couple weeks ago I sent them a request for all their training videos.2 There are 124 of these videos, and ultimately POST agreed to send 79 of them.

However, Phil Caporale, the POST staffer who’s handling the request, claimed that the other 45 were exempt from release. His first attempt at an explanation for withholding them was that they “are deemed Law Enforcement sensitive”3 and that therefore they were exempt from release via the infamous §6255(a) catch-all exemption. Also at first he didn’t tell me how many videos he was withholding or which ones they were.

Now, §6255(a) is by far the most often abused section of the law. It allows agencies to withhold records without a specific authorizing exemption when “on the facts of the particular case the public interest served by not disclosing the record clearly outweighs the public interest served by disclosure of the record.”4 But the section is very clear that “the facts of the particular case” must support the decision to withhold. It’s not enough, not at all, for an agency to make something up, like that they “are deemed Law Enforcement sensitive,” as a justification for invoking 6255(a).

After I pressed him a little he informed me that to release these 45 videos would endanger the safety of both the public and of officers. He also listed the 45 videos he was proposing to withhold.5 The list is transcribed at the end of this post and you can also find it in this PDF of Caporale’s email. But that bit in §6255(a) about the “facts of the particular case” isn’t in there for nothing. It requires agencies to have an explanation for each withheld record that’s based on specific facts about that record.6
Continue reading The California Commission On Peace Officer Standards And Training — POST — Publishes 124 Different Police Training Videos — POST Staffer Phil Caporale Refused To Release 45 Of Them In Response To My Request For Public Records — Claiming That To Do So Would Endanger Public And Officer Safety — But He’s Ignoring The Law — Which Requires Him To Balance That Putative Public Interest Against The Public Interest In Releasing These Training Materials — And In A Week Where California Police Have Attacked — Tortured — Beaten — Arrested — Shot — Killed — Peacefully Assembled Protesters — The Public Interest In Seeing How Cops Are Trained In Crowd Management — Crowd Control — And How That Training Compares To Their Actual Violent Behavior — Is So Cosmically High That It’s Basically Insurmountable — Not That This Truth Matters To Caporale — Who Like So Many Antisocial Public Officials Is Just Making Stuff Up To Justify His Predetermined Outcome — Just Mumbling Meaningless Words — Which Is Also Contempt For The Public — Which Also Endangers Our Safety

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