Who Do We Speak To When We Speak Truth To Power?

Last week USC hosted a celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti was invited to speak, but his speech was repeatedly interrupted by protesters from LA CAN, from the Skid Row Neighborhood Council Formation Committee, from NOlympics LA, and others.

This prompted an editorial from the L.A. Times entitled Shouting down Mayor Garcetti isn’t ‘speaking truth to power,’ the theme of which is well summarized by this excerpt:

But protesters can overplay their hands. These days, tolerance of other people’s views seems low, and there’s an unhealthy willingness to silence one’s opponents rather than engage them, debate them and out-argue them. That’s a shame.

Protesters who shout down a speaker — or shut down a public meeting — aren’t just expressing their own views; they’re making it impossible for others to share theirs.

It’s silly almost beyond comprehension to believe that Eric Garcetti can be silenced by protesters, that anyone interrupting him can make it impossible for him to share his views. Every word the man says is reported on extensively. His press releases are reprinted or recited verbatim by major news outlets. His press conferences are attended by reporters from all over the state, even the nation. A few people interrupting a speech isn’t making it impossible for Eric Garcetti to share his views.

And why in the world does the Times think there’s something wrong with protesters being unwilling to debate or out-argue Eric Garcetti? Do they really believe that if Eric Garcetti just hears the right argument he’ll stop allowing his LAPD thugs to kill young men for no good reason, stop sending them out to arrest homeless people and incinerate their belongings, that he’ll stop accepting campaign money from real estate developers in exchange for enabling them to destroy neighborhoods and cause more homelessness, that he’ll suddenly see the light and stop being evil?

It’s not going to happen like that. He’s heard the arguments already. If he hasn’t seen the damage he’s doing, the pain he’s causing, the killings he enables, all for the sake of his campaign coffers and his career, it’s because he doesn’t want to see. He knows his constituency and he’s giving them exactly what they want from him. No reasoned analysis is going to change that. These kind of repeated demands for civil discourse in the face of racist police murders, genocidal policies on homelessness, gentrification by force of arms, are incredibly disingenuous.

And strangely, it doesn’t seem to have occurred to the LA Times that the protesters already know they’re not going to change Eric Garcetti’s mind about anything. These protesters are accomplished, able, serious people, the value of whose contributions to civil society in Los Angeles is incomparable. None of them have done what they’ve been able to do by wasting their time trying to debate LA politicians into being nice. What, the LA Times pointedly did not even consider, might such protests actually accomplish?
Continue reading Who Do We Speak To When We Speak Truth To Power?

Share

Latest And Most Ambitious Episode In Our Brown Act Enforcement Project Targets South Park BID For Three Violations — Requiring Sign-In To Attend Meeting — Voting By Email — And Most Egregious Of All — Maintaining A Standing Committee Which Meets Only In Secret — Never Posts Agendas — Never Announces Meetings To Public — Votes By Email Regularly — This Is About The Worst Ongoing Brown Act Violation I Have Ever Seen Among BIDs!

For a few months now I’ve been running a project aimed at getting the BIDs of Los Angeles to comply with the Brown Act. This certainly ought to be the job of the City of Los Angeles, but they have completely abdicated all responsibility, so it seems to be more or less just up to me. The system relies on §54960.2 of the Brown Act, which allows any interested party, such as me, to allege that a BID1 violated the Brown Act and demand that they cease and desist from violating it in the future.

The BID then has the choice of issuing an unconditional commitment not to repeat the alleged violations2 within 30 days of the letter or else face a lawsuit. I’ve done four of these since August, the first three resulting in complete and utter capitulation by the BIDs involved, and the fourth I just sent out yesterday morning to the South Park BID. Here’s a list of the old ones:

Now, the South Park BID has had its problems in the past complying with the Brown Act, but on the other hand, Ellen Salome Riotto has been relatively willing to learn from her mistakes. Usually I just drop her a line and she fixes the problem.3 However, I recently learned of two new violations which are far, far too serious to be left to the kind of informal mole whackery in which I’ve so far been willing to engage. These are the subject of this demand letter which I sent yesterday morning to the BID.

The letter alleges violations of three sections of the Brown Act. The first is that they required me to sign in to a meeting in April. I’ve written about this incident before and they seem to have stopped doing it, but it’s worth including here to get them to formally commit not to doing it any more. The second violation is that in November the BID Board actually voted on an item via email at the instigation of Ellen Salome Riotto. This is so freaking illegal, so freaking contrary to the very essence of the Brown Act, that I’m utterly astonished that it happened. And yet it does seem to be a genuine error rather than malfeasance.

The sad irony is that Ellen Salome Riotto explicitly arranged this illegal vote in order to avoid violating the Brown Act’s mandates about teleconferencing. And that she seemed to think that it would be OK because it was justified by the BID’s bylaws, as if state law could be nullified by some two-bit corporation unilaterally announcing that they weren’t subject to it. The whole situation would be tragic if these careless, ignorant people weren’t granted so much public trust.

And the final violation is just stunning in its scope and its audacity. The Brown Act clearly states that committees must also follow open meeting requirements.4 The South Park BID, however, has an executive committee which doesn’t post agendas, meets in secret, and discusses, deliberates, and takes action via email, by phone, and at their secret meetings. It’d be easier to list the parts of the Brown Act that this doesn’t violate!

Secret actions by a public agency like the BID are untenable. This is how democracy dies, so I can’t allow it to continue. And in this case Ellen Salome Riotto has ignored my questions about the violations. Hence the necessity of the demand letter. Turn the page for transcriptions, links to the evidence and code sections, and maybe even some more of my moralistic ranting!
Continue reading Latest And Most Ambitious Episode In Our Brown Act Enforcement Project Targets South Park BID For Three Violations — Requiring Sign-In To Attend Meeting — Voting By Email — And Most Egregious Of All — Maintaining A Standing Committee Which Meets Only In Secret — Never Posts Agendas — Never Announces Meetings To Public — Votes By Email Regularly — This Is About The Worst Ongoing Brown Act Violation I Have Ever Seen Among BIDs!

Share

Mitch O’Farrell’s Secret Email Account Yields The First Concrete Evidence I’m Aware Of Concerning Staff-Mediated Back-Room Collusion Between City Council Members — Suggests Brown Act Violations On A Massive Scale — Consistent With Serial Meetings Coordinated Via Council Staff — Contributes To A Theory Of Staged City Council Debates Invariably Ending In Yet Another Unanimous Vote — At Very Least Yields Many Potentially Fruitful Leads For Future CPRA Requests

If you’ve ever attended a meeting of the Los Angeles City Council it’s very likely that you’ve seen one of the fully scripted performances that pass for debate with that body, ending, as always, with a unanimous vote in favor of yet another preordained conclusion. It’s a sickening spectacle, more worthy of a for-show-only parliament of some backwater bargain-bin Ruritanian dictatorship than of the legislators who are putatively leading our great City. This phenomenon is the subject of much discussion here in Los Angeles, and was the basis for at least one sadly ill-fated lawsuit.

If you haven’t seen an example of this spooky kabuki, you can take a look at this August 23, 2016 debate on whether the City should support or oppose some state bill about taxi regulation.1 After the break you’ll find a detailed chronology with links into the video, which will save you a lot of time because the whole thing is more than 30 minutes long and it is mind-numbing. There’s no conceivable way that episodes like this one could happen other than through prior discussion, collusion, and agreement among the Councilmembers. It’s completely implausible that it could be otherwise.

The problem with that, of course, is that prior discussion, collusion, and agreement among Councilmembers are illegal in California. It’s even illegal for Council staffers to discuss things and then report back to their bosses about other CMs’ opinions as reported by their respective staffs. The law mandates real public debates and forbids scripted performances whose conclusions are predetermined in back rooms. In particular, the Brown Act at §54952.2(b)(1) states explicitly that:

A majority of the members of a legislative body shall not, outside a meeting authorized by this chapter, use a series of communications of any kind, directly or through intermediaries, to discuss, deliberate, or take action on any item of business that is within the subject matter jurisdiction of the legislative body.

As far as I know there’s never been a successful Brown Act complaint against the City Council on these grounds. Courts will not, I’m under the impression, accept arguments based on the fact that it’s totally obvious what’s going on. Without sufficient proof of out-of-meeting communications no action is possible. And there just has not hitherto been any proof to be found, or none that I know of. But it appears that, buried deep within the recent release of emails from Mitch O’Farrell’s toppest secretest privatest email account, there are some hints of how this coordination might be accomplished.

There’s no proof there of a Brown Act violation, but there’s evidence that in 2013 David Giron, who is Mitch O’Farrell’s legislative director, coordinated with CD5 and CD8 regarding the positions of Paul Koretz and Bernard Parks2 with respect to fracking in Los Angeles and then communicated the intentions of those other CMs to Mitch O’Farrell. This is the kind of thing that the Brown Act forbids if it takes place among the majority of the Council, or even the majority of a Council committee.3

There’s no hint in the evidence that this discussion is any kind of anomaly, so it may be the first piece of the puzzle of how the City Council builds consensus out of view of the public. It certainly gives me hope that the truth will be brought out eventually.4 Take a look at the email exchange here, which is on the surface about Mitch O’Farrell’s position on CF 13-0002-S108, having to do with a State Senate bill on fracking. There are transcriptions and detailed discussion of the issues involved right after the break.
Continue reading Mitch O’Farrell’s Secret Email Account Yields The First Concrete Evidence I’m Aware Of Concerning Staff-Mediated Back-Room Collusion Between City Council Members — Suggests Brown Act Violations On A Massive Scale — Consistent With Serial Meetings Coordinated Via Council Staff — Contributes To A Theory Of Staged City Council Debates Invariably Ending In Yet Another Unanimous Vote — At Very Least Yields Many Potentially Fruitful Leads For Future CPRA Requests

Share

David Ryu Is The Third City Councilmember Revealed To Be Using A Private Email Address To Conduct City Business — In Fact He’s Sending Emails To Mitch O’Farrell’s Private Email Account — Cause Of Course He Is

Within the last few weeks we have learned that Mitch O’Farrell conducts City business through a Gmail account and so does Gil Cedillo. Now for the first time it is revealed that David Ryu also has a secret private email account that he uses to conduct City business. The email address is david@davidryu.com. Drop him a line, I’m sure he’ll appreciate it, especially if you can Paypal him $800 for the old officeholder account.

In an interesting twist, I learned of the existence of David Ryu’s private email account because he used it to email Mitch O’Farrell in April and the email, which you can read here (and there’s a transcription after the break), was produced by CD13 in response to the Hollywood Sunshine Coalition’s CPRA request. And as for what the email is about, well, it’s hard to tell.

It’s about a $200 million building project at Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital and who’s invited to the groundbreaking ceremony and did they go and pay court to Mitch O’Farrell like David Ryu told them they had to? I’m sure it all makes sense to people who know exactly whose hand is down whose pants at 200 N. Spring Street. To the rest of us, although the connotations of corruption are clear, the actual meaning is obscure.

The real value in this revelation, at least the real immediate value, is twofold. First it exposed David Ryu’s secret email address, which is of intrinsic public interest. Second, it shows that not only are our councilmembers hiding their nefarious work from us by communicating with their special friends and lobbyists via private unscrutinized channels, but they’re also doing the same thing with one another. Did you ever wonder how those extraordinary unanimous outcomes are created in Council meetings over and over and over again? I believe I’m on the verge of really understanding it, and this is an essential piece of the puzzle.

Oh, did I mention that our friends at the Hollywood Sunshine Coalition have asked David Ryu’s office for the goodies? Well they have, and just as Mitch O’Farrell’s sinister gatekeeper Jeanne Min tried to claim that CD13 didn’t have to hand over anything cause it would be too darn much work, David Ryu’s sad-sack minion Andrew Suh is taking the same tack. CD4 is on NextRequest, so you have to look at a PDF of the request as it’s presently unpublished. Stay tuned for news as we get it and turn the page for a transcription of the email.
Continue reading David Ryu Is The Third City Councilmember Revealed To Be Using A Private Email Address To Conduct City Business — In Fact He’s Sending Emails To Mitch O’Farrell’s Private Email Account — Cause Of Course He Is

Share

First Look At Emails From Mitch O’Farrell’s Secret Gmail Account! — Fascinating Material! — For Instance Registered Lobbyist James Litz Emailed Him There In April 2018 Attempting To Influence Today’s AirBnB Vote! — While Losers Like You And Me And The Rest Of Us Had To Email Him At His Probably Unattended City Email Address — And A Bunch More Stuff Besides! — Oh, Did I Mention That O’Farrell Chief Of Staff Jeanne Min Is A Big Whiny-Baby?

OK, remember that our friends over at the Hollywood Sunshine Coalition discovered recently that CD13 repster Mitch O’Freaking Farrell has a top secret Gmail account that he uses to conduct City business? And remember how they sent CD13 a CPRA request asking for all public records in this account? And remember how Mitch O’Farrell’s fairly sinister chief of staff, Jeanne Min, was all like no way, friend, go pound sand? And then the brave and untrammeled souls over at the Coalition were all like, way, friend, if sand is to be pounded, you pound it!

Well, apparently some part of that message got through to Ms. Jeanne Min, cause evidently yesterday CD13 supplied HSC with a bunch of emails! And they passed them to us!1 And in the typically passive aggressive attitude that the City of LA adopts when complying with CPRA requests the PDFs had pages randomly rotated, interspersed with random blank pages, and so on, making them fairly unreadable. But I’m a whiz with PDFs and I cleaned them all up and published them on Archive.Org right here so you can read all 101 pages of them. Here’s a link straight through to the clean PDF and the original files are also available so you can compare if you’re interested.

And there is a ton of good stuff even just in this small selection. I aim to write at least three more posts highlighting various aspects of it, and I’m sure if you read through it you’ll find gems that completely escaped my notice. The episode you’re reading now is particularly timely, given that it has to do with today’s contentious vote on AirBnB regulation. Did you have an opinion on that? Did you communicate your opinion to your Council rep? Well, you didn’t get to communicate it as well as some people did!

It seems that on April 27, 2018 James W. Litz, then working for the sinister-sounding Beverly Hills/Greater Los Angeles Association of Realtors, and himself a lobbyist registered with the City Ethics Commission, sent an email to the usual list of public-facing Councilfolk email addresses ending with lacity.org telling all of them that his employer, the BHGLAAR, supported the AirBnB regulations proposed in CF 14-1635-S2 as long as they didn’t let people living in rent stabilized units rent out their homes and let building owners forbid their tenants from participating if they wanted to. This email is transcribed after the break.

And then, certainly because as you yourself have no doubt suspected, nobody actually reads a damn thing that comes in to those “councilmember.wtf@lacity.org” addresses, less than two minutes later James W. Litz turned around and forwarded the email to Mitch O’Farrell at the secret Gmail address, which is to say mitchof13@gmail.com, with a personal note:
Continue reading First Look At Emails From Mitch O’Farrell’s Secret Gmail Account! — Fascinating Material! — For Instance Registered Lobbyist James Litz Emailed Him There In April 2018 Attempting To Influence Today’s AirBnB Vote! — While Losers Like You And Me And The Rest Of Us Had To Email Him At His Probably Unattended City Email Address — And A Bunch More Stuff Besides! — Oh, Did I Mention That O’Farrell Chief Of Staff Jeanne Min Is A Big Whiny-Baby?

Share

Some Guy Complains To Clerk’s Office About “Deteriorating Conditions” In The Wilshire Center BID — Rick Scott Informs Jose Flores That It’s The BID’s Job To Handle Angries — But Admits That The City Will Intervene “To Try To Resolve” If The BID Doesn’t Deal With It — But The City Won’t Intervene When BIDs Violate CPRA — Or The Brown Act — So What Rick Scott Means Is The City Will Mostly Intervene If BIDs Don’t Persecute Homeless Enough — Also Around 200 Other Emails From Wilshire Center!

It’s been a while since I’ve asked for records from the Wilshire Center BID, in fact we haven’t heard from them since the whole sad clown Mike Hakim episode last summer. But just the other day I got about 200 new emails from the always cooperative Mr. Mike Russell, their doughty zeck dreck, and as always you can peruse them at your leisure and pleasure here on Archive.Org. And there are no blockbusters in there, but you might enjoy looking through the usual rattle and hum of the daily BIDness.

However, there is one really interesting, at least from a technical BIDological point of view, item, and that is this October 2, 2018 email from Rick Scott of the City Clerk’s BID division to Jose Flores, his subordinate, CCed to Mr. Mike Russell and, in a particularly cruel touch of bureaucratic passive aggression, every last one of Jose Flores’s supervisors. It seems that some internet random known as nezabudka1937@gmail.com fired off an angry little missive to the Clerk’s BID division at Clerk.NBID@lacity.org complaining about homelessness and urban decay in K-Town (of course there’s a transcription of everything after the break).

Jose Flores, who’s apparently tasked with sifting through the chaff,1 forwarded it to Rick Scott, and Rick Scott was all like, Jose! Send it to Mr. Mike Russell next time! Why? Here’s where things get strange. Thus all-caps-icalized Rick Scott:

With ANY stakeholder issue the BID is always the first entity they should contact. If their issue isn’t resolved after a reasonable time we will contact the BID to try to resolve it. The BIDs don’t work for us. They are paid to address stakeholders’ concerns.

Wow. Just wow. First of all, the angry email was from an unidentified internet random. It’s big if true that Rick Scott’s correct that BIDs are paid to address the concerns of internet randoms as long as he calls them stakeholders. But I’m pretty sure it’s not true.2 BIDs are paid to address the concerns of their boards of directors, not even the concerns of the people who pay their assessments. And it gets worse. Lots worse.
Continue reading Some Guy Complains To Clerk’s Office About “Deteriorating Conditions” In The Wilshire Center BID — Rick Scott Informs Jose Flores That It’s The BID’s Job To Handle Angries — But Admits That The City Will Intervene “To Try To Resolve” If The BID Doesn’t Deal With It — But The City Won’t Intervene When BIDs Violate CPRA — Or The Brown Act — So What Rick Scott Means Is The City Will Mostly Intervene If BIDs Don’t Persecute Homeless Enough — Also Around 200 Other Emails From Wilshire Center!

Share

This Is What Feral Bureaucracy Looks Like — My Epic Journey To The Dept Of Alcoholic Beverage Control To Inspect Records — How I Got Illegally Asked For ID — How I Got Menaced By Gun-Carrying Super Special Agent In Charge Gerry Sanchez — Who By The Way Is A Liar — How I Got Told To Show Some Respect — How ABC Tried To Extort Me Into Paying For Copies — How They Paid Secondary Special Sub-Agent In Charge Maggie Phillips $114.48 To Watch Me Photograph Four Dollars Worth Of Records With My Phone

Good day, friends, and welcome to the backstory of a post I have not written yet. You see, on Thursday1 I rode various buses and trains up to 888 S. Figueroa Street to visit the office of the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control for the limited purpose of inspecting some records. Here before you is the story of the inspection, and although I will certainly be writing the story told by the records themselves, today is not the day for that. You can look at them here on Archive.Org, though, and they are certainly worth your time.

It all started on October 26 when I emailed PublicRecords@abc.ca.gov with my request. On November 14, an amazingly prompt 18 days later, Stephanie Eastwood (stephanie.eastwood@abc.ca.gov), who is some kind of ABC CPRA specialist, told me that there were 152 pages of responsive records and that I had to go to an ABC office to look at them. It may be worth looking at her email, if only to note that she doesn’t sign her last name, a fact which will become interesting later in the story.

I told her that LA Metro was closest and that I would need to use my scanner. I also pointed out that they could just give me exported electronic copies for free, which is required by the CPRA.2
Then she ignored me for a couple weeks3 and, when she responded, her email contained the remarkable claim that ABC’s email system was so old that it “does not use electronic files.” She also told me that according to most high and mighty special agent in charge Gerry Sanchez, there was no “secure area” at LA Metro to use my scanner but that if I went to the Long Beach office I could scan.

However, Long Beach is too far from me, both geographically and emotionally, so I told her LA Metro was best and I would just take pix with my phone. Then she said OK, I could come in on December 4.4 I told her that I couldn’t, that I had to work, and that I would be in on December 6 at 10 a.m. and could she confirm? Note that the CPRA explicitly states that records must be available during office hours for inspection.5

After more nudging, Stephanie Eastwood finally got back to me on December 4, informing me that I couldn’t come in on December 6 because ABC-agent-to-the-stars in charge Gerry Sanchez wasn’t available and I would have to come in on December 13 instead.6 I told her7 that I had to work on the 13th. I also pointed out, again, that the law required records to be available during office hours, not at the random convenience of SSAC Gerry Sanchez, superstar.8 It only took her five hours to concede to that one,9 which is how I found myself at the ABC LA Metro office at 10 a.m. on Thursday. And here my troubles began.
Continue reading This Is What Feral Bureaucracy Looks Like — My Epic Journey To The Dept Of Alcoholic Beverage Control To Inspect Records — How I Got Illegally Asked For ID — How I Got Menaced By Gun-Carrying Super Special Agent In Charge Gerry Sanchez — Who By The Way Is A Liar — How I Got Told To Show Some Respect — How ABC Tried To Extort Me Into Paying For Copies — How They Paid Secondary Special Sub-Agent In Charge Maggie Phillips $114.48 To Watch Me Photograph Four Dollars Worth Of Records With My Phone

Share

The Board For Professional Engineers Finally Acknowledged Receipt Of My Complaint Against Incompetent BID Engineer Ed Henning — Only Four Months After I Submitted It — They Hired The Complaint Out To An Independent Expert For Review — Cause Obviously It’s Too Hot A Potato For Them To Handle In-House!

Here’s a quick summary of the background. BID formations are required by the Property and Business Improvement District Law of 1994 to be supported by a report prepared by a licensed engineer.1 Putatively licensed engineer Ed Henning wrote the report for the ill-born Venice Beach BID.2 The California Board for Professional Engineers regulates the engineering profession and can investigate allegations of incompetence or negligence. Ed Henning’s report for the Venice Beach BID is awful, negligent, and incompetent. The fact that this nightmare of a BID was established on the basis of this horror show of a report is another sprinkling of salt on the writhing slug into which the money-driven fucked-upification of Venice has transformed my heart.

A complaint was made against Henning by a citizen of Venice but was rejected by the Board without being read because they claimed that writing BID reports didn’t constitute the practice of engineering. After a great deal of discussion with BPELSG executive officer Ric Moore, he agreed that in the future his office would not dismiss such complaints unread and therefore I took the time to submit a complaint against Henning to the Board.3 You can get a copy of the complaint itself here on Archive.Org.

Well, that was in August 2018 and I heard nothing and I heard nothing and I heard nothing and a couple of times I sent polite little emails to Mr. Ric Moore just asking him could he confirm that he’d received the complaint and so forth and I heard nothing and nothing and nothing. Until this afternoon, which is when I received an email from our old friend Ms. Tiffany Criswell.

And Ms. Tiffany Criswell’s email informed me that not only had they received the complaint but that it had been given a code number and, most interesting of all, that the “complaint has been referred to an independent Expert Consultant for review.” Ms. Criswell was also careful to state that it’s essentially going to take forever to review and I shouldn’t hold my breath and so on. But damn! It feels like quite an accomplishment even to get this far. After the break you can read a full transcription of this email from Tiffany Criswell.
Continue reading The Board For Professional Engineers Finally Acknowledged Receipt Of My Complaint Against Incompetent BID Engineer Ed Henning — Only Four Months After I Submitted It — They Hired The Complaint Out To An Independent Expert For Review — Cause Obviously It’s Too Hot A Potato For Them To Handle In-House!

Share

Gil Cedillo has a Private Email Account Through Which He Conducts City Business — And Our Friends At The Hollywood Sunshine Coalition Have Made A Request For The Emails! — Evidently CD1 Staff Believes There Is A CPRA Exemption Which Allows Them To Redact This Secret Email Address! — Pro-Tip — There Is Not

Man, it is top-secret Councilmember email address season in the City of Angels! We are in the midst of a veritable top-secret-email-address-a-palooza round here! First there were a bunch of politicians from somewhere east of San Bernardino, don’t exactly recall their names.1 And then there was Mitch O’Freaking Farrell, revealed by this very blog in a hard-hitting piece of hard-newsical investigative reportitude to be corresponding with all and sundry members of the 0.1% out of the public view using a Gmail account at mitchof13@gmail.com.2

And now, this very day, it’s my pleasure to reveal unto you that Gil Cedillo of CD1 is the second Councilmember that we know of using a secret Gmail address to conduct City business. This was discovered by accident, lurking in this email chain between famous Los Angeles artist Frank Romero, who CD1 has evidently hired to paint a mural in Highland Park, probably as an attempt to resolve their unbearable shame and guilt.3

The content of the emails is interesting. It seems that as part of the mural project Frank Romero rented a studio from Lincoln Heights supervillain Eric Ortiz, big-time Lincoln Heights storage honcho and, probably not coincidentally, vice president of the Lincoln Heights Industrial Zone BID. Then Eric Ortiz cheated Frank Romero somehow, which is only to be expected cause how does anyone think zillionaires get to be zillionaires, anyway?4 And then Frank Romero, who signs his emails “yours in the struggle,” asked Gil Cedillo to intercede.

We don’t know the end of the story, and we may never know the end of the story, but for our purposes, the real story is that Frank Romero sent his emails to Gil at gilcedillo45@gmail.com, which is the newly discovered secret email address! And then Gil Cedillo forwarded Frank Romero’s emails to his chief of staff at debby.kim@lacity.org for her to deal with, which proves that it’s City business being conducted. As you’re no doubt aware, in California it’s the content and purpose of emails that makes them public records rather than who owns the account. Thus these emails are public records.

And interestingly, Gil Cedillo’s staff redacted some instances of this newly-found secret email address but, fortunately, not all of them. This is discussed, with pictures, after the break. Also, our good friends at the Hollywood Sunshine Coalition, who are pushing hard on CD13 for copies of Mitch O’Farrell’s secret emails, have made a request to CD1 for these other secret emails. There is also a transcription of that after the break.
Continue reading Gil Cedillo has a Private Email Account Through Which He Conducts City Business — And Our Friends At The Hollywood Sunshine Coalition Have Made A Request For The Emails! — Evidently CD1 Staff Believes There Is A CPRA Exemption Which Allows Them To Redact This Secret Email Address! — Pro-Tip — There Is Not

Share

Stuart Rapeport — Vice President Of The North Figueroa Association — Told Wendy Newell Of The Boulevard Sentinel That The Business Improvement District He Helps Run Did Not Paint Over Any Murals In Highland Park — But The BID Did Paint Over The Murals — So Is Stuart Rapeport A Liar Or Is He Asleep On The Job? — Enquiring Minds Wanna Know, Stuart!!

So remember how some murals got painted over in Highland Park in 2017 and a lot of people were pretty sure that the Highland Park BID was responsible for their destruction but there wasn’t really any proof and then in June 2018 LA Magazine wrote a story about it and, inspired by that, I was able to get some emails from the Department of Cultural Affairs that demonstrated conclusively that the BID did in fact paint over the murals?

Well, a couple of recently obtained emails between Wendy Newell of the Boulevard Sentinel and some staffies at CD1 show that she was also looking into this matter as early as April 2018, ultimately leading to this April 29, 2018 story. As part of her investigation Newell contacted Stuart Rapeport, vice president of the North Figueroa Association, which is the owners’ association for the Highland Park BID, and he told her that the murals had been painted over by the City of Los Angeles rather than his BID buddies. Of course, we now know that this is not true.

The murals were in fact painted over by the Highland Park BID with the City’s explicit permission. So what’s the explanation for Stuart Rapeport’s denial, then? I can only think of two plausible stories. Maybe he’s a liar. This wouldn’t surprise any Los Angeles BIDologists. These BIDdies all lie. Or maybe even though he’s the vice president he nevertheless doesn’t have the first clue what his BID is doing with the money he and his fellow Board members have been entrusted with. Also this wouldn’t surprise. Boards of directors are meant to oversee the expenditure of the compulsory assessments, but often they don’t oversee anything, give their staff complete license to do whatever, and mostly just show up to Board meetings for the free coffee.

We’re probably never going to know which scenario explains Stuart Rapeport’s false statements to Wendy Newell, but neither looks good for him. Also not a surprise. Very little of what BIDdies do looks good for them when the public is looking. Turn the page for a transcription of the two emails.
Continue reading Stuart Rapeport — Vice President Of The North Figueroa Association — Told Wendy Newell Of The Boulevard Sentinel That The Business Improvement District He Helps Run Did Not Paint Over Any Murals In Highland Park — But The BID Did Paint Over The Murals — So Is Stuart Rapeport A Liar Or Is He Asleep On The Job? — Enquiring Minds Wanna Know, Stuart!!

Share

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