All posts by Mike

United DTLA Conspiracy: How DLANC Board Members Dan Curnow And Jacob Douglas Van Horn Violated The Brown Act In March 2017

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.

A few days ago I published a story on how the massive release of emails from the Downtown Center BID revealed massive, egregious Brown Act violations by the Central City East Association Board of Directors. The issue is that the Brown Act explicitly1 forbids a majority of a Board from using “…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.”

There were also six members of the DLANC Board in on the conspiracy:

According to an extremely useful guide prepared by then-City-Attorney Rockard Delgadillo, in the context of the Brown Act a majority means a majority of a quorum. That is, the minimum number of members that can actually act on a motion. The DLANC has a 24 member board, and a quorum is 13. Hence these six members using email “…to discuss, deliberate, or take action on any item of business that is within the subject matter jurisdiction of…” DLANC is not a violation; a violation would require seven members to have been in on the discussion.

However, the Brown Act also applies to standing committees of bodies which are subject to its requirements. In particular, consider DLANC’s Livability Committee. That this is a standing committee is stated explicitly in DLANC’s bylaws2 Also, in March 2017 the members of the Livability Committee were none other than Dan Curnow, Jacob Douglas Van Horn, and Jacki Breger. For instance, take a look at the minutes from March 16, 2017.
Continue reading United DTLA Conspiracy: How DLANC Board Members Dan Curnow And Jacob Douglas Van Horn Violated The Brown Act In March 2017

Share

Lunada Bay Boys Case: Charlie And Frank Ferrara Withdraw Motion For Summary Judgment, City Of PVE Releases A Bunch Of Formerly Confidential Material Proving Among Other Things That Former Police Chief Jeff Kepley Wanted To Charge Bay Boys As A Gang, More Papayans Text Messages, Powerful Plaintiffs’ Opposition To City Defendants’ Motion

For background take a look at this excellent article from the Times on this lawsuit. Also see here to download all pleadings in this case. You can also read all my posts on the case.

There’s so much going on right now that I barely have time to list the recent paper filed in the Lunada Bay Boys case, but there’s a lot of interesting stuff here.

• First of all, recall that during last week’s hearing on sanctions against defendants Charlie Ferrara, Frank Ferrara, and Sang Lee, magistrate judge the honorable Rozella Oliver strongly hinted to the Ferraras’ attorney, Alison K. Hurley, that she really ought to consider withdrawing her clients’ motion for summary judgment. Well, I suppose that when judges hint, smart people listen, and, additionally, it seems that Alison K. Hurley does as well. Thus on Monday the Ferraras filed this notice of withdrawal of their previous motion.

• Next we have the Plaintiffs’ supplemental brief in opposition to City defendants’ motion for summary judgment. The overarching issue is that the City of PVE has been so remiss in its duties to release documents that they’ve made it impossible for the plaintiffs to respond effectively to this motion for summary judgment. This is worth reading, and there’s a partial transcription at the end of this post.

• Also, this item comes with a statement of supplemental facts and a bunch of exhibits. These contain tons of super-interesting, formerly confidential, documentary evidence. The point is to enumerate all the ways in which the City defendants failure to provide this new evidence, some of it obtained as recently as yesterday, hindered the plaintiffs’ response. The new evidence is fascinating. There’s a list of links and descriptions after the break.

• Finally, there’s a supplemental brief in opposition to the individual defendants’ motions for summary judgment, which plays a role parallel to the analogous document for the City defendants. This too is well worth your attention, and there’s a partial transcription after the break. This also comes with a statement of supplemental facts, also worth reading, with lots of new creepy Bay Boy texts and so on.
Continue reading Lunada Bay Boys Case: Charlie And Frank Ferrara Withdraw Motion For Summary Judgment, City Of PVE Releases A Bunch Of Formerly Confidential Material Proving Among Other Things That Former Police Chief Jeff Kepley Wanted To Charge Bay Boys As A Gang, More Papayans Text Messages, Powerful Plaintiffs’ Opposition To City Defendants’ Motion

Share

Ethics Commissioner Serena Oberstein’s Undisclosed Ex Parte Communication With Lobbyists Shyaam Subramanian and Nancy Berlin In Hallway Fifteen Minutes Before Ethics Commission Meeting Casts Some Doubt On Everyone’s Commitment To Transparency

Shyaam Subramanian and Nancy Berlin talking to Ethics Commissioner Serena Z. Oberstein in the hallway before Tuesday’s Ethics Commission meeting. She thanked them for giving her language, presumably to do with the MLO, and actually took notes on it in her phone. Click to enlarge.

In August the Ethics Commission continued the multiyear discussion about revising the Municipal Lobbying Ordinance. The next stage in the process was three interested persons’ meetings held in September, and then on to more discussion at yesterday’s Ethics Commission meeting. The meeting was essentially interminable,1 and I recorded the whole lobbying discussion. You can watch it either on Archive.Org or on YouTube:

Part IPart IIPart IIIPart IV •.

Ethics Commissioner Serena Z. Oberstein taking notes on “language” provided to her by lobbyists Shyaam Subramanian and Nancy Berlin. Click to enlarge.

I hope to write about the outcome of the discussion as soon as possible, although things are ultra-busy here at MK.Org secret headquarters. The short version is that the Commission accepted most of what staff recommended with a few changes and two items to be discussed even more at the December meeting. In any case, it turns out that the most interesting part of the meeting, and I don’t think this is so uncommon in City Hall, took place in the hallway fifteen minutes before the call to order.

There, I was lucky enough to witness lobbyists2 Shyaam Subramanian of Bolder Advocacy and Nancy Berlin of CalNonprofits engaged in an intense conversation with Ethics Commissioner Serena Z. Oberstein about proposed revisions to the MLO involving nonprofit corporations, whose interests both of them are compensated to represent to the City. At one point she even thanked them for giving her “language,” presumably having to do with their preferred outcome in the upcoming meeting, and went so far as to take notes on it in her phone!
Continue reading Ethics Commissioner Serena Oberstein’s Undisclosed Ex Parte Communication With Lobbyists Shyaam Subramanian and Nancy Berlin In Hallway Fifteen Minutes Before Ethics Commission Meeting Casts Some Doubt On Everyone’s Commitment To Transparency

Share

Get To The Bay And Rouste [sic] Those Kooks! Newly Obtained Papayans Text Messages Prove Bay Boy Conspiracy To Deny Cory Spencer Access To The Water — Also, News From Thursday’s Hearing On Sanctions Against Charlie And Frank Ferrara And Sang Lee For, Among Other Things, Destroying Evidence

For background take a look at this excellent article from the Times on this lawsuit. Also see here to download all pleadings in this case.

I apologize for having neglected the Lunada Bay Boys case lately, but I’ve just been so overwhelmed with the Skid Row Neighborhood Council matter that I haven’t had time for much else. There have, however, been a number of interesting developments in this matter as well.

First of all, recall that the cell phone of Bay Boys defendant Michael Papayans was in LAPD custody after his notorious arrest for beating up a man in the parking lot of Dodger Stadium. Once the LAPD gets its hands on evidence it seems that they don’t give it up so very easily, and thus, in July, the Honorable Rozella Oliver, magistrate judge in the case, ordered them to hand it over for analysis. Well, they evidently did so, and, on October 9, a bunch of text messages from the phone were filed with the court. You must read these texts! It seems to me that they pretty much prove the plaintiffs’ case. Here are some highlights:

  • Yeah get down there I’ll be up as soon as I can my dad should be going out soon
  • Yea, only 5 guys out and he’s out, I’m going
  • I hate this guy
  • Are they in the water
  • He’s in the water. Only five guys out. Get down here boys. I’m out there
  • Kooks up there
  • Get him Charlie, just go shake his hand, tell him we missed him and can’t believe he didn’t make any of these latest headlines, he should be ashamed
  • Lol ok I’m on my way !
  • Michelle get to the bay and rouste [sic] those kooks
  • there are two kooks he’s got a little baldheaded white guy with them he looks like a boogie board or to fuck what a joke!
  • The kook is here at the bay right now
  • I don’t know how I get put on these threads but its hilarious :)


And the other news is that the hearing on sanctions against defendants Charlie and Frank Ferrara and Sang Lee for discovery shenanigans took place on Thursday as scheduled. What a wild ride!
Continue reading Get To The Bay And Rouste [sic] Those Kooks! Newly Obtained Papayans Text Messages Prove Bay Boy Conspiracy To Deny Cory Spencer Access To The Water — Also, News From Thursday’s Hearing On Sanctions Against Charlie And Frank Ferrara And Sang Lee For, Among Other Things, Destroying Evidence

Share

United Downtown Los Angeles Conspiracy: How Chris Loos, King Of The DTLA Fedora-Bro Robo-Hipsters, Got Invited Into The Top Secret United DTLA Email Conspiracy In April 2017, Just Two Days After His Stink-Tongued Lopez-Schatz-Parroting SRNC Hit Piece Appeared On His Post-Ethical Website Urbanize.LA

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.

Some of you may know Chris Loos, web designer to zillionaires, or at least to their zombie marionette cheerleaders slash anti-homeless hit squad over at the Central City East Association. He and his asshole buddy Steve Sharp1 run this zillionaire-front post-ethical propaganda outlet known as Urbanize.LA which is mostly famous for having published a Loos-lipped slab of crapola-deluxe about the Skid Row Neighborhood Council. Skid Row Voodoo Queen Estela Lopez was so pleased with Loos’s work that she fired off an email to her co-conspirators on the very day of its publication drawing their attention to it.

And I’m sure Estela Lopez was impressed by the ease with which Loos pulled off the fairly accomplished feat of taking her propaganda talking points and spreading them out over various sources so as to make it appear that she was speaking with four independent voices. Subsequently she rewarded him by letting him join the top secret conspiracy against the SRNC. Oh, what fun the zillionaires have Downtown! How very incestuous are their frolics! Turn the page for the sordid details.
Continue reading United Downtown Los Angeles Conspiracy: How Chris Loos, King Of The DTLA Fedora-Bro Robo-Hipsters, Got Invited Into The Top Secret United DTLA Email Conspiracy In April 2017, Just Two Days After His Stink-Tongued Lopez-Schatz-Parroting SRNC Hit Piece Appeared On His Post-Ethical Website Urbanize.LA

Share

United Downtown Los Angeles Conspiracy: How The Entire Board Of Directors Of The Central City East Association Egregiously Violated The Brown Act Except For Andy Bales, Richard Gardner, And Sylvia Kavoukjian, Who Don’t Seem To Have Been Invited Into The Secret Clubhouse For Some Reason — And How I Will Ask Them Nicely Never To Do It Again!

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.

Perhaps you’ve been following the story of the recent massive release of emails from the Downtown Center BID that has, so far, led to such revelations as the fact that Estela Lopez was at the heart of the United Downtown LA conspiracy, that she used her DLANC email address to further the conspiracy, and not least that six DLANC board members were covertly involved in that same conspiracy.

But we’re not done with the material yet! There’s still tons of interesting information to be gleaned. For instance, it turns out that 9 out of the 12 members of the Board of Directors of the infamous Central City East Association are on the United Downtown Los Angeles conspiracy mailing list.1 This, of course, makes the email discussion an awful lot like an illegal meeting of the board, according to the Brown Act.

It’s a serious violation, too. The Brown Act at §54959 states that:

Each member of a legislative body who attends a meeting of that legislative body where action is taken in violation of any provision of this chapter, and where the member intends to deprive the public of information to which the member knows or has reason to know the public is entitled under this chapter, is guilty of a misdemeanor.

As far as I know, no one has ever been prosecuted under this clause, but if someone’s going to be first, I won’t be surprised if it turns out to be the infamously thuggish CCEA. And it’s a hard case to make that quality of life crimes, e.g. public drinking, are more harmful than this kind of covert conspiratorial shenanigans. One’s unaesthetic at worst. The other degrades the very fabric of our open society.

Keep that in mind the next time you hear a bunch of BIDdies bitching about crime Downtown and turn the page for the evidence and a detailed analysis of the violation!
Continue reading United Downtown Los Angeles Conspiracy: How The Entire Board Of Directors Of The Central City East Association Egregiously Violated The Brown Act Except For Andy Bales, Richard Gardner, And Sylvia Kavoukjian, Who Don’t Seem To Have Been Invited Into The Secret Clubhouse For Some Reason — And How I Will Ask Them Nicely Never To Do It Again!

Share

Estela Lopez Is Off The DLANC Board Of Directors!

As much as I’d like to be able to take credit for this stunning development, I think it’s probably unrelated to my work. Or at least it’s not provably related. Anyway, here’s what happened. Estela Lopez missed the DLANC board meetings in July, August, and September. According to the bylaws:1

Any Board Member who misses three (3) consecutive regularly scheduled DLANC Board meetings or four (4) total Board meetings during any twelve (12) month period will be automatically removed from the Board. Each DLANC Director’s absence shall be recorded in the DLANC’s meeting minutes or other manner of Board record keeping, and that, upon missing the specified number of Board meetings for removal, the President shall notify the Board Director, copy the Board, and announce at the next regular Board meeting that their seat has been declared vacant.

Of course, President-for-life Patti Berman is not a rule-follower, but for whatever reason she seems to be following this one. Check the agenda for tomorrow’s meeting of the Board of Directors. Estela Lopez is not on the roster. Presumably PFL Patti will announce the vacancy tomorrow night as specified in item 1.

So that’s two down, four to go. Turn the page for links to the relevant sets of minutes.
Continue reading Estela Lopez Is Off The DLANC Board Of Directors!

Share

The Lighter Side Of White Supremacy: A Moment Of Levity In The Anti Skid Row Neighborhood Council Conspiracy, And Some Serious Stuff Too, Namely That United DTLA Was Preparing Challenges Of Their Own Had The Election Gone Against Them, Hypocritically To Be Based On The Inadequacy Of The Online Voting Platform, Which They Already Knew About When They Beseiged José Huizar With Their Bloody Pleas To Allow Online Voting

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.

With all the recent revelations about how Estela Lopez ran United Downtown LA’s finances and how she used her official dlanc.com email address to send out an anti-SRNC email blast and how she and a bunch of her asshole buddies on the DLANC board seem to have lied to President Patti about their involvement with this shadowy anonymous gang, with all that, as I said, it may be easy to forget that these co-conspirators aren’t just a bunch of slavering zillionaire cannibals, blithely using their razor-sharp fangs to crack the bones of their victims that they may joyously slurp up the marrow and then slaking their thirst with long noisy draughts of the steaming blood of their prey. They’re that and so much more!

They’re also, it turns out, a band of jovial jokesters, merrily bantering with one another while they stir their witches’ brew. It being a lazy Sunday afternoon, I thought I’d take some time out from the hard-hitting journalistic salvos my loyal audience craves and look at one of these humorous moments. After all, one doesn’t know one’s enemy until one knows what they find funny.

Here’s the story, then. Recall, if you will, that all these conspirators were vying with one another to set up pop-up polls in the days leading up to the SRNC formation election. Emails were flying both thick and fast about who had gotten a new poll, who had hauled all their tenants off to vote at a poll, and so on. Now comes Karen Christopherson, some kind of real estate drone with a shadowy company known as A.I. Management, which seems to be the boss of an office building at 420 E. 3rd Street in Little Tokyo.

On April 3 at 1:05 p.m. she fired off this little number, announcing that she was having a pop-up in her building and that she’d instructed security to validate parking for the event. Look carefully for the joke, cause it’s easy to miss! (And there’s a transcription after the break, of course).
Continue reading The Lighter Side Of White Supremacy: A Moment Of Levity In The Anti Skid Row Neighborhood Council Conspiracy, And Some Serious Stuff Too, Namely That United DTLA Was Preparing Challenges Of Their Own Had The Election Gone Against Them, Hypocritically To Be Based On The Inadequacy Of The Online Voting Platform, Which They Already Knew About When They Beseiged José Huizar With Their Bloody Pleas To Allow Online Voting

Share

At The SRNC Appeal Hearing DLANC President Patti Berman Said “If One Of Our Board Members Was Involved With United DTLA…I Bet We Could Get Them Off The Board Really Fast” — Patti! News Flash!! Six Of Your Freaking Board Members Were Involved, Including Bob Newman, Who Was Standing Right Behind You When You Said This! One’s Gone, Now Get The Others Off Really Fast Please!!!

DLANC President Patti Berman on May 3, 2017 denying that any DLANC board members were involved with United Downtown Los Angeles while DLANC board member Bob Newman, who was in fact involved with United Downtown Los Angeles, lurks silently, as is his wont, in the dark background.
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:

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!
Continue reading At The SRNC Appeal Hearing DLANC President Patti Berman Said “If One Of Our Board Members Was Involved With United DTLA…I Bet We Could Get Them Off The Board Really Fast” — Patti! News Flash!! Six Of Your Freaking Board Members Were Involved, Including Bob Newman, Who Was Standing Right Behind You When You Said This! One’s Gone, Now Get The Others Off Really Fast Please!!!

Share

On April 15, 2017 DLANC Board Member Estela Lopez Used Her dlanc.com Address To Email 52 Anti-Skid-Row-Neighborhood-Council Conspirators Associated With United Downtown Los Angeles LLC

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.

The headline pretty much says it. Here is the email and there’s a transcription after the break. After the essential part, that Estela Lopez sent this email from estela.lopez@dlanc.com rather than her personal email address, beatus821@gmail.com, that she had been using previously, the next most important thing is the distribution list. It’s the same bunch of people that Estela Lopez had been emailing since March 20 on behalf of United Downtown LA.

It’s interesting to note, by the way, that, in addition to Estela Lopez herself, the following DLANC board members were on the list:

This is six of them, which is one short of a Brown Act violation,1 so they dodged that bullet. So is Estela Lopez’s use of her official DLANC email address to send out a United DTLA email a violation of some rule? It’s hard to say. It probably depends on why she used the official email account, and at this late date it’s dubious that there’s any proof of motive.2 So I’m just letting the fact speak for itself.
Continue reading On April 15, 2017 DLANC Board Member Estela Lopez Used Her dlanc.com Address To Email 52 Anti-Skid-Row-Neighborhood-Council Conspirators Associated With United Downtown Los Angeles LLC

Share