This Morning In The Anti-SB1421 Petition Case Brought By The Los Angeles Police Protective League — Judge James Chalfant Ruled That The ACLU Of Southern California — Representing Valerie Rivera — Could Intervene — And So Can The First Amendment Coalition And Various Newspapers — Although In A More Limited Way — Oh, And The City Of Los Angeles Did Actually File An Opposition To The LAPPL’s Position — So That’s Good

Yesterday the First Amendment Coalition filed a request to be allowed to intervene in the reprehensible petition filed on December 31 by the reprehensible Los Angeles Police Protective League seeking to bar retroactive enforcement of the monumental SB1421, which took effect on January 1 and is meant to require the release of records relating to serious cases of police misconduct.

It turns out that, unknown to me before this morning’s hearing, the ACLU of Southern California also filed a request to be allowed to intervene. They’re representing Valerie Rivera, mother of Eric Rivera, killed by the LAPD in 2017. She requested records relating to the investigation of the officer who killed her son and was denied on the basis of the LAPPL’s restraining order.

And there was a hearing this morning on these requests before James Chalfant, so off I went downtown to the good old Stanley Mosk Courthouse to see and hear what went on. Before the hearing really got going, by the way, it came out that the City of Los Angeles has actually filed an opposition to the LAPPL’s petition, although I don’t yet have a copy. This is news because in other cases like this one the governmental agencies have not all opposed the suits. I also learned that the LAPPL’s lawyer, Richard Levine, is filing scads of these cases, county by county by county. Which is interesting and, I’m sure, worth a lot of money to him.

Anyway, after a lot of discussion Chalfant decided that the ACLU could intervene in the case but that the FAC and its gaggle of newspapers could only intervene in a limited way. This is because he found that Ms. Rivera had a more compelling interest in the outcome than did the media. The FAC and the newspapers are required to file their opposition brief jointly with the ACLU so that Chalfant doesn’t have to read too much stuff,1 and they’re not allowed to seek attorney’s fees from the LAPPL. The ACLU will be allowed to seek fees.

At first Chalfant seemed inclined to postpone the upcoming February 5 hearing,2 but ultimately he did not. And here’s a copy of the minute order detailing what went on. Turn the page for a transcription.
Continue reading This Morning In The Anti-SB1421 Petition Case Brought By The Los Angeles Police Protective League — Judge James Chalfant Ruled That The ACLU Of Southern California — Representing Valerie Rivera — Could Intervene — And So Can The First Amendment Coalition And Various Newspapers — Although In A More Limited Way — Oh, And The City Of Los Angeles Did Actually File An Opposition To The LAPPL’s Position — So That’s Good

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First Amendment Coalition Files Ex Parte Application For Leave To Intervene In Los Angeles Police Protective League Anti-SB1421 Case — Joined By The L.A. Times, The California Newspaper Publishers’ Association, And Many Other Esteemed Journalistic Groups — Hearing On This Application Tomorrow Morning At 8:30 A.M. In Dept. 85 Stanley Mosk Courthouse

Today the First Amendment Coalition and a bunch of newspapers and newspaper-adjacent organizations filed an ex parte application for leave to intervene in the appalling case initiated by the Los Angeles Police Protective League seeking to prevent California’s new police transparency law, SB1421, from applying retroactively to records of police misconduct prior to 2019. This same crapola was already tried elsewhere and decisively shot down by the California Supreme Court, but, for whatever reason, in Los Angeles County the case must go on.

FAC is seeking to intervene in the case, even though they’re not parties to it. This is evidently sometimes allowed, according to the Wiki, when “a judgment in a particular case may affect the rights of nonparties, who ideally should have the right to be heard.” Here’s the pleading filed by the FAC. It’s called an ex parte application because they’re asking the judge to decide whether they should be allowed into the case without requiring the other parties to be present at the hearing, which is tomorrow morning at 8:30 a.m. in Department 85 of the Stanley Mosk Courthouse.

Because they aren’t parties to the case, they have to convince the judge that the interests of justice are served by allowing them to become parties. This argument is a huge part of their filing. They also argue that neither of the actual parties to the case, the PPL and the City, have any interest in ensuring that the public has access to records. In fact, they argue, it’s possible that the City may not file a response to the petition. Also, I guess to save time, they include the briefing that they’re proposing to file if the judge allows them to. It’s a powerful piece of writing, and you can find transcribed selections after the break.
Continue reading First Amendment Coalition Files Ex Parte Application For Leave To Intervene In Los Angeles Police Protective League Anti-SB1421 Case — Joined By The L.A. Times, The California Newspaper Publishers’ Association, And Many Other Esteemed Journalistic Groups — Hearing On This Application Tomorrow Morning At 8:30 A.M. In Dept. 85 Stanley Mosk Courthouse

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South Park BID Brown Act Demand Letter Leads To Complete, Total, Abject, Sniveling, Obsequious Concession To Every Last One Of My Demands! — Will They Be Able To Pull It Off? — I Doubt It — But Benefit Of The Doubt Is The Order Of Today — Not Of Every Day, Though

Today’s episode in our ongoing Brown Act Enforcement Project, which you can read all about right here on this page entitled Our Work is the abject and total capitulation of the South Park BID to every last one of the demands made in the letter I sent them on December 14, 2018. This is a not-unexpected move, since doing so obviates the chance of an expensive lawsuit which they’d be sure to lose and possibly would have to pay my litigation costs as well as their own.

Like so many of our local BIDdies they were advised in the process by the world’s angriest BID attorney, Carol Freaking Humiston of Bradley & Freaking Gmelich. And really, more than advised as she clearly wrote the letter of capitulation that Board Chair Robin Freaking Bieker sent out to me over his own signature yesterday. It’s got every known Humistonian trope on parade, e.g. “You don’t know what you’re talking about and whatever it is you’re totally wrong but nevertheless we’ll do what you demand but not for any reason.”1

And unlike the previous Brown Act transgressions I’ve spotted and skooshed out with these demand letters, there is a really complex violation here. The SPBID has maintained a secret committee, the Executive Committee, that meets in private and votes by email. The BID has agreed not to do this any more, but my impression from their emails is that it’s really essential to the way they function. It’ll be interesting to see how they get along with out it.

Although it’s as if not more likely that they’ll keep breaking that particular bit of the law and try to cover it up by claiming that all relevant emails are exempt from production, quite likely due to the nebulous and mostly made up deliberative process privilege. Well, we’ll certainly see what happens. Meanwhile, turn the page for a transcription of the articles of surrender.
Continue reading South Park BID Brown Act Demand Letter Leads To Complete, Total, Abject, Sniveling, Obsequious Concession To Every Last One Of My Demands! — Will They Be Able To Pull It Off? — I Doubt It — But Benefit Of The Doubt Is The Order Of Today — Not Of Every Day, Though

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A Detailed Analysis Of The Cash Flowing In And Out Of Mitch O’Farrell’s Public Benefits Slush Fund — Developers Pay Hundreds Of Thousands Of Dollars For The Privilege Of Building Out-Of-Code Projects — O’Farrell Spends The Money On Projects That Please His Political Supporters — It Seems Unlikely That There’s Any Net Benefit To Anyone But Zillionaires — This Is No Way To Run A City

A developer wants to build a building that’s taller than the local zoning allows, or has less parking than required. Maybe there are pesky historical structures on the proposed site or the new building will attract enough additional traffic to gridlock the streets around it. There are any number of reasons why a given building might not be allowed. It’ll still get built, though.

The developer will just have to pay hundreds of thousands, even millions, of dollars to the appropriate councilmember to get it approved. And these payments are inextricably integrated into our City’s building approval process. One might even suspect, and not without reason, that the ultimate purpose of zoning codes in Los Angeles is to induce developers to pay for exceptions to them.

And it’s not bribery, at least not the illegal kind. The CM doesn’t get to pocket the money. Instead it goes into one of the dozens of City trust funds set up specifically for receiving such monies. Just for instance, Mitch O’Farrell, CD13 repster, has one called the “Council District 13 Public Benefits Trust Fund.” It’s authorized by the Los Angeles Administrative Code at §5.414 ” for the receipt, retention and disbursement of gifts, contributions and bequests for the support of police and community activities within Council District 13.”

The fees are imposed on developers by the City Council at the behest of the relevant CM. To see an example of how this works take a look at CF 07-1379, wherein some developers sought permission to build another mixed-use monstrosity in Hollywood, this one at 1540 N. Vine Street.1 The developers got what they came for, which was Ordinance Number 178,836, authorizing construction. And in there, buried among other conditions, will be found paragraphs 26 and 27, stating how much money they’re going to give to Mitch O’Farrell in exchange for their zoning changes:
Continue reading A Detailed Analysis Of The Cash Flowing In And Out Of Mitch O’Farrell’s Public Benefits Slush Fund — Developers Pay Hundreds Of Thousands Of Dollars For The Privilege Of Building Out-Of-Code Projects — O’Farrell Spends The Money On Projects That Please His Political Supporters — It Seems Unlikely That There’s Any Net Benefit To Anyone But Zillionaires — This Is No Way To Run A City

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Proposed West Adams BID Would Run From La Brea To Genesee — Favorable Polling So Far Dominated By CIM Group — Bizarre Questionnaire Reveals Racist Conceptions Of Safety Underlying The Felt Need For A BID — Just Bad News All Round

It was just revealed a few weeks ago that New City America, a BID consultancy helmed by noted legal scholar1 and raging psychopath Marco Li Mandri, has been planning a business improvement district for West Adams in concert with co-conspirators CIM Group. And yesterday I finally managed to lay my hands on a little more specific information. This all comes from this 11 page packet, handed out at the most recent meeting of the proposed BID’s steering committee.

Of the most immediate import is this map of the proposed district. For the first time we know that, at least at the end of October 2018 it was planned to run along West Adams from La Brea to Genesee. There’s also this summary showing that, again as of October 2018, the property owners were polling at 39% in favor of BID establishment. Don’t forget, though, that per the Property and Business Improvement District Act at §36621(a) they’re not counting individual property owners, but weighting them by assessments to be paid.2 This document is also essential because it exposes a long list of hitherto unknown LLCs that CIM uses to own its various properties.

If that sounds high, well, it’s not surprising. See this list of parcels in the proposed BID sorted by whether the owners are in favor or not. See that Catherine Randall, who is VP in charge of some damn crapola at CIM group, is the designated representative for a full 33 parcels. Sadly, without more information than I’ve been able to gather, I’m not able to determine what percent of the voting power this will give CIM group. But it’s going to be high. They’re the largest single owner in the proposed district.3 The only thing we can be sure of is that they hold less than 39% of the total square footage.

And the last important bit of documentation to be found here is this copy of a questionnaire that Marco Li Mandri sent out to the property owners. This one has a tally of the responses to the various questions, which is also interesting. The City of LA requires this kind of polling before they’ll get behind a BID establishment process, but you can see from this instance that there is no kind of quality control at all. Just for freaking instance, the very first question asks “In terms of security and public safety, do you feel that West Adams District is…? (a) safe and orderly (b) Relatively safe, may suffer from unsafe image (c) Unsafe

This, friends, is a highly problematic question. Most of the the things that are wrong with business improvement districts are somehow reflected in this question. It is … well, turn the page for some discussion…
Continue reading Proposed West Adams BID Would Run From La Brea To Genesee — Favorable Polling So Far Dominated By CIM Group — Bizarre Questionnaire Reveals Racist Conceptions Of Safety Underlying The Felt Need For A BID — Just Bad News All Round

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José Huizar Files Totally Formulaic Response To Medina Complaint — Also Challenges Assigned Judge Barbara Meiers — Affirming That She Is So Biased That He “cannot, or believes that he cannot, have a fair and impartial trial or hearing before” Her! — What’s Up With That?!

Unaccountably-not-yet-resigned City Councilmember José Huizar has two lawsuits pending against him, filed by former employees. Both of them most plausibly allege at least 31 flavors of harassment, outlawry, and workplace insanity against him. One was filed by Mayra Alvarez, his former scheduler, and you can read about it here. The other, filed a week later by Pauline Medina, is discussed here.

And last week Huizar filed his response to Medina’s complaint, and I got a copy of it yesterday (and added it to my growing collection of pleadings here on Archive.Org). And it’s not that interesting. These first answers to complaints rarely are. It’s basically just a list of reasons why Huizar denies everything. In fact, the most interesting thing about it is that it’s essentially cribbed from his answer to Alvarez, filed the week before it. I suppose if he’s going to make a habit of inducing these kind of lawsuits, he might as well save money by developing a generic response form.

But that wasn’t the only thing filed last week. Huizar also filed this peremptory challenge to Judge Barbara Meiers. The California Code of Civil Procedure at §170.6(a) allows any litigant to file such a challenge to one judge per case by affirming that the judge is biased against the party. It’s not required to present evidence for this.

I’m not sure what it is that Huizar has against Meier, and there’s not much on the Internet that tends to enlighten. Meier’s reviews on the Robing Room are pretty uniformly abysmal, but that’s true for most judges, it seems, so we’re probably never going to know the facts. Turn the page to read the actual code section!
Continue reading José Huizar Files Totally Formulaic Response To Medina Complaint — Also Challenges Assigned Judge Barbara Meiers — Affirming That She Is So Biased That He “cannot, or believes that he cannot, have a fair and impartial trial or hearing before” Her! — What’s Up With That?!

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On December 31, 2018 The Los Angeles Police Protective League Asked For And Obtained A Court Order Preventing LAPD From Applying SB1421 Retroactively — Thus While The Rest Of The State Has Access To Records Of Police Misconduct Los Angeles Is Left In The Dark — At Least Until The Scheduled February 5, 2019 Hearing — City Of LA Opposition Is Due By January 22 — I Have Copies Of The LAPPL Petition — And Craig Freaking Lally’s Declaration In Support — And All Other Pleadings!

If you’re reading this blog you’re very likely aware that on January 1, 2019 the monumental SB1421 took effect, basically ending exemptions which, until now, have prevented the release of records documenting even the most extreme cases of police misconduct. Police agencies all over the state are freaking out about this, and some even asked the California Supreme Court to declare that the law didn’t reply retroactively. The justices shot down that malarkey last week, and then upped the stakes by asking to be briefed on whether the new law required the release of even more material than had been anticipated.

And thus police departments are beginning to release these records. For instance, there’s this case of an officer in Burlingame who’d been fired for offering to help a drunk driver with her charge in exchange for sex. And this newly released information evidently has the San Mateo County D.A. reconsidering his earlier decision not to criminally charge the officer. Which is how this law is supposed to work. And it seems that that’s how it is working.

Except, it turns out, in the City of Los Angeles. It doesn’t seem to have been widely reported on,1 but it seems that here, the Los Angeles Police Protective League filed an emergency petition on December 31, 2018, asking the Superior Court to stop the LAPD from applying SB1421 retroactively. And shockingly, astoundingly, appallingly, the court agreed and issued an order to that very effect, which is in effect at least until the scheduled hearing on February 5, 2019.2

The LAPPL’s whole argument seems to be that officers have made crucial career decisions relying on the privacy of the records, and that therefore it would be manifestly unfair to publish them now. For instance, according to Craig Lally in a sworn declaration, police officers often agree not to appeal findings of misconduct even though they think they’re innocent just to get things settled quickly and not disrupt operations. But, says Lally, they would never have done this had they known that the records would be published at some point.3

And apparently there’s really nothing to be done about this until the hearing. We are just not going to get these records right away. Oh, except it’s possible to read all the pleadings filed in the case. The City of Los Angeles hasn’t yet responded, but I obtained copies of everything that there is so far and published it here on Archive.Org. It’s upsetting, but it’s better to know. Turn the page for a linked list of everything and a transcription of selections from Lally’s declaration.
Continue reading On December 31, 2018 The Los Angeles Police Protective League Asked For And Obtained A Court Order Preventing LAPD From Applying SB1421 Retroactively — Thus While The Rest Of The State Has Access To Records Of Police Misconduct Los Angeles Is Left In The Dark — At Least Until The Scheduled February 5, 2019 Hearing — City Of LA Opposition Is Due By January 22 — I Have Copies Of The LAPPL Petition — And Craig Freaking Lally’s Declaration In Support — And All Other Pleadings!

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Eddie Guerra Update Finally! — He’s The Cop Who Took A Personal Check In 2016 For $400 From The Media District BID Ostensibly For Some Charity — And Then I Wrote About It In January 2017 — And Filed A Complaint With The Ethics Commission — Who Didn’t Do Anything As Usual — But Cory Palka Read That Blog Post! — And Told Now-Chief Michel Moore! — And Guerra Was Moderately Busted! — And I Just Found This Out Because It Took The LAPD Two Freaking Years To Fulfill My CPRA Request — And A Special Surprise! — Cory Palka Uses A Private Email Address To Conduct City Business!

In the Fall of 2016 LAPD officer Eddie Guerra asked the Hollywood Media District BID to give him $400 ostensibly for some charity. He asked by return email right after they thanked him for getting rid of some homeless people at their express request. Context matters, and this struck me as particularly shady, so I did three things. First, I turned Officer Guerra into the Ethics Commission for violating LAMC 49.5.5(a), which forbids misusing public power for private gain. Second, I wrote a blog post about the incident. And third, I made a request to the LAPD for more records.

And because the LAPD is slow as paint when it comes to filling CPRA requests they didn’t get back to me until two years later on December 31, 2018,1 when they sent me this little spool of puckey in response. And, as is often the case with released records, most of them are completely worthless or else I already had them. But, as is also often the case with released records, some of this material was really essential!

Just, for instance, take a look at this series of emails between Hollywood mega-muckety Cory Palka, friend of white supremacists and of scientologists, and his superior officers, including now-chief Michel Moore, wherein Palka sends links and gives credit to this very blog (!) for breaking the story of Guerra’s misfeasance and they end up recommending a 1.28, which is evidently some kind of LAPD complaint form. Michel Moore, the current chief of police, agreed and then said that “corrective action/training/counseling is warranted.”

Oh, snap, amirite?! Now that I know he reads this blog and sends links to future chiefs of police, well, next goal, get @CoryPalka to follow me on Twitter! And amazingly enough, Cowboy Cory Palka is revealed by these emails to use the private email address cpalka@me.com to conduct City business, which puts him in the august company of Mitch O’Farrell, David Ryu, Gil Cedillo, and (spoiler alert) Paul Koretz!2 You will definitely be hearing more about this, but not necessarily soon.

Anyway, turn the page for transcriptions of all the emails including, of course, Cory Palka’s suprisingly lucid summary of the situation and shout-out to your very own MK.Org!
Continue reading Eddie Guerra Update Finally! — He’s The Cop Who Took A Personal Check In 2016 For $400 From The Media District BID Ostensibly For Some Charity — And Then I Wrote About It In January 2017 — And Filed A Complaint With The Ethics Commission — Who Didn’t Do Anything As Usual — But Cory Palka Read That Blog Post! — And Told Now-Chief Michel Moore! — And Guerra Was Moderately Busted! — And I Just Found This Out Because It Took The LAPD Two Freaking Years To Fulfill My CPRA Request — And A Special Surprise! — Cory Palka Uses A Private Email Address To Conduct City Business!

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L.A. Times 2018 Move To El Segundo Left Reporters With Insufficient Office Space Downtown — Reduced Them To Begging City Departments For Places To Work — Perhaps It’s Not So Easy To Maintain Journalistic Independence When You Have To Ask The LAPD For Permission To Charge Your Phone In Their Building — And They Tell You “Sure But Not Every Day, K?”

Remember in April 2018 when Patrick Soon-Shiong bought the L.A. Times and promptly announced that he was moving the headquarters from the historic building at First and Spring, which Tribune Media sold to Canadian real estate developers Onni Group in 2016, to El Freaking Segundo because Onni had proposed to jack up their rent by one million dollars per month? And soon thereafter Executive Editor Norman Pearlstine attempted to assuage everyone’s fears by telling the Columbia Journalism Review stuff like this:

… we are keeping a presence downtown. We will have an office with several dozen seats in it, and I would expect we’d probably have a pretty senior editor here responsible for it. Secondly, without taking away from the importance of physical location of where your desk is, it’s more important to talk about where your reporters are.

But recently I laid my hands on a big pile of emails between Times reporters and the LAPD’s Media Relations Division. You can browse these here on Archive.Org, and there is a ton of interesting stuff in there, although it’s mostly if not wholly off-topic for this blog. And there is also this email conversation from July 2018 between LA Times police reporter Cindy Chang and Media Relations commander in chief Patricia Sandoval. And this tells a slightly different story than Norman Pearlstine’s Pollyannaistic whiggery!1

From: Chang, Cindy
Sent: Monday, July 02, 2018 10:36 AM
To: Patricia Sandoval <25981@lapd.online>
Cc: Joshua Rubenstein <n5373@lapd.online>
Subject: press office at LAPD

Hi Trish,

There’s a press office on the first floor of PAB, correct? As we’re moving to El Segundo, we’re trying to tabulate the office space available in the agencies we cover. Our downtown bureau won’t have many seats, so other options will be helpful.

I’m off the early part of this week. Would it be possible to see the space later this week or next week?

Cindy Chang

Staff writer, Los Angeles Times
cindv.chanq@latimes.com

213.237.7016

And turn the page for the rest of the story!
Continue reading L.A. Times 2018 Move To El Segundo Left Reporters With Insufficient Office Space Downtown — Reduced Them To Begging City Departments For Places To Work — Perhaps It’s Not So Easy To Maintain Journalistic Independence When You Have To Ask The LAPD For Permission To Charge Your Phone In Their Building — And They Tell You “Sure But Not Every Day, K?”

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A Random Selection Of Emails Between Carl Lambert Or Mark Sokol And Various Cops Reveal Some Interesting Stuff About Venice — Lambert Divides Venice Neighborhood Council Members Into “Friendlies” And Otherwise — Sokol Arranged A Hotel Room For Officer Peggy Thusing In 2013 — The Venice BID Formation Process — Which Lambert Declared Began “Renaissance Of Venice” — Was Bankrolled By Brian Dror — Lambert Raised Money For Slavering Psychopath Mark Ryavec By Telling Homeless Horror Stories

I recently obtained a small collection of emails between Venice beat cops Kristan Delatori, Peggy Thusing, and the recently self-destructed Nicole Alberca1 and those fan favorite BIDdies Mark Sokol and Carl Lambert. You can peruse the whole set here on Archive dot Org, and in today’s post I’ll discuss a few high/low-lights!

OK, remember the Venice Neighborhood Council election in 2016? The outcome was widely interpreted by sane people as being yet another death blow administered to the longtime rotting corpse of Venice. And now, thanks to this June 2016 day-after email from Carl Lambert to undisclosed recipients including Nicole Alberca we learn that Lambert divides the winners up into friendlies and not-friendlies.

And we learn who the friendlies are! And that there is a supermajority of them! And we also learn that Carl Lambert sends late-night texts to Nicole Alberca! And they make her smile! All these Venice zillionaires and their pet cops are really far too cozy for our safety and comfort, I think.

Oh yes, of course you want to know the names! Well, the friendlies are: George Francisco, Melissa Diner, Matt Kline, Evan White, Matt Royce, Matt Shaw, Robert Thibodeau, Will Hawkins, John Reed, Steve Livigni, Sunny Bak, Cayley Lambur, Jim Murez, Michelle Meepos, and Laurie Burns. And the not friendly? They are Ira Koslow, Hugh Harrison, Ilana Marosi, Erin Darling, Colleen Saro, and Gina Maslow. Got it? And turn the page for more, more, more!
Continue reading A Random Selection Of Emails Between Carl Lambert Or Mark Sokol And Various Cops Reveal Some Interesting Stuff About Venice — Lambert Divides Venice Neighborhood Council Members Into “Friendlies” And Otherwise — Sokol Arranged A Hotel Room For Officer Peggy Thusing In 2013 — The Venice BID Formation Process — Which Lambert Declared Began “Renaissance Of Venice” — Was Bankrolled By Brian Dror — Lambert Raised Money For Slavering Psychopath Mark Ryavec By Telling Homeless Horror Stories

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Business Improvement Districts in Los Angeles — Satan, Your Kingdom Must Come Down!