Background: You can read my previous stories on the Skid Row Neighborhood Council formation effort and also see Jason McGahan’s article in the Weekly and Gale Holland’s article in the Times for more mainstream perspectives.
On May 3, 2017 the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment sponsored a hearing on challenges to the Skid Row Neighborhood Council formation election. One of the main issues was, of course, the shadowy anonymous front corporation United Downtown LA and the names of the people behind it.
At that meeting, Patricia Berman, self-proclaimed President for Life of the DLANC board of directors, was moved to deny all knowledge of the matter and to affirm her overwhelming desire to find out who was behind it so she could get them kicked off the board. But don’t take my word for it! You can watch and listen to her, and here’s what she said:
If indeed one of our board members was involved with United DTLA I would love to find out about it, because I bet we could get them off the board really fast. However, I have no idea who these people are. I don’t know anyone on my board who does, and we certainly have asked around. We had nothing to do with this. I’m sorry it caused such a big stink. But the truth is it didn’t come from our listserve and it’s not something that came from us.
Well, of course, as we know now, DLANC board member Estela Lopez was deeply involved with United DTLA and five additional board members were also involved to one degree or another:
- Josh Albrektson (email@example.com)
- Robert Newman (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Dan Curnow (email@example.com)
- Rena Leddy (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Jacob Douglas Van Horn (email@example.com)
Jacob Douglas Van Horn is off the board for reasons that are probably unrelated to United Downtown LA, but the others remain. The most egregious case among these after Estela Lopez herself is Robert Newman, who was not only involved with United Downtown LA but was standing right behind Patti Berman when she made the statement.
She said she asked around, so either she didn’t ask him, which seems unlikely, or he lied to her when she asked him, or she lied when she said no one on her board knows who was behind the situation. None of these options look good for President Patti. However, she can go an awful long way towards washing away her sins by sticking to her promise and getting these five remaining miscreants “…off the board really fast.”
Now, it’s occurred to me that I haven’t written much about how these folks in the intersection between the DLANC board and United DTLA were involved in United DTLA’s shenanigans. Obviously they were all involved to the extent that they were on Estela Lopez’s United DTLA mailing list1 Well, there’s tons of evidence in this set of emails from the Downtown Center BID but it can be fairly hard to sort through. Never fear, though! Turn the page for a play-by-play list of selected involvements of selected creepy DLANCkites, with evidence!
- Guided people to polling locations
- Lobbied DONE for more pop-up voting locations
- Investigated rumored election fraud — and randomly and seemingly without evidence accused Becky Dennison of Venice Community Housing of busing in homeless people to vote.
- Hung around the Skid Row polling place with a camera — to document procedures.
Jacob Douglas Van Horn:
- Famously shared a spreadsheet with voter information — for electioneering purposes. Did he not think to tell Patti Berman about that, or did she not ask?
- Monitored Facebook to find putative election fraud — Or whatever he was looking for, it’s hard to tell. Here’s a copy of the screenshot he’s talking about.
Rena Masten Leddy:
- Famously participated in a conference call with United DTLA honchos Rockard Delgadillo and Estela Lopez that that was planned just one day after the public debut of the shadowy Delaware front corporation. Did she not think to tell Patti Berman about that or did Patti Berman not ask?
- Sent out nastygrams like this little gem to her compatriots on the United DTLA mailing list.
- Participated in this email list with DLANC VP Robert Newman even after he, Dan Curnow, was elected DLANC Secretary on April 12 and thereby became a fellow member of DLANC’s executive committee. Did Patti Berman not ask Dan Curnow who was behind United DTLA or did he not tell her?
- Shared his expertise as DLANC representative with the United DTLA conspiracy to maximize the likelihood of their being able to vote. Again, did he not think to tell Patti Berman about this or did she not ask him?
- Helped out the cause by using the phrase “unique identifier” in a way that probably doesn’t make sense.
And last but never ever ever least, Estela Lopez was so involved with United DTLA that she was collecting donations on their behalf. Did Patti Berman not ask Estela Lopez who was behind the whole mishegoss or did Estela Lopez lie to her when she did ask? There’s no way not to know who people are if you’re collecting money for them, is there?
So Patti! You said that you would love to find out if one of your board members was involved with United DTLA and that you’d bet, if they were, you could get them off the board really fast. Please, President Patti! Live up to your promise!
P.s. If for whatever reason Patti Berman doesn’t get rid of these folks, it’s not impossible for them to be gotten rid of anyway. The DLANC Bylaws have a procedure for getting rid of board members without asking permission from the board. It’s found at Section 9(A) and it says:
Removal of Governing Board Members – DLANC shall consult with the Office of the City Attorney throughout any Board removal process. Directors may be removed in the following ways:
A. Petition by Stakeholders – A Director may be removed from office by the submission of a written petition to the Secretary, which includes: i) the identity of the Director to be removed, ii) a description, in detail, of the reason for removal, and iii) the valid signatures two-hundred (200) stakeholders.
1. Upon receipt of a written petition for removal, the Secretary shall cause the matter to be placed on the agenda for a vote of the Board at the next regular DLANC meeting.
2. Removal of the identified Director requires a two-thirds (2/3) majority of the present and voting Directors.
3. The Director who is the subject of the removal action shall have the right to deliver to Directors a written statement about the matter and/or to speak at the Board meeting prior to the vote, but shall not be counted as part of the quorum, nor allowed to vote on the matter.
Given that more than 700 people voted in favor of SRNC formation, how hard could it be to get 200 of them to sign a petition like this? It’s an interesting question, is it not? Maybe we’ll be lucky enough to learn the answer…