Category Archives: Central City East Association

How The Central City East Association Violated The Brown Act Twice In One Meeting On Thursday Morning So I Reported Them To The Los Angeles County District Attorney


As you know, the Central City East Association held a meeting the other day.1 And a lot of interesting stuff went down. For instance, watch and listen here as Estela Lopez, the voodoo queen of Skid Row herself, explains to the Board that for some reason having to do with the much-discussed trash ordinance, they need to rewrite part of their contract with their street-cleaning contractor Chrysalis. There’s a transcription of the whole discussion after the break, but it’s easy to summarize what happens.

Estela Lopez is all like guys, we gotta redo the contract because reasons and then some random Board member is all like I have a motion because Roberts, and then Mark Shinbane, the Fabulous Freaking Fishmonger himself, is all like I second the motion and let’s vote. Unanimous? Done! The only problem? There’s not a word about it on the damn agenda. And this wasn’t the only instance of this kind of behavior at the meeting.

Just take a look here as freaking Bob Smiland, honcho supremo of Inner City Arts, quintessentially opposite-of-Silas-Lapham paint zillionaire, and unanimously acclaimed most galootish CCEA board member of all freaking time, responds to dictator-for-life Mark Shinbane’s rhetorical question about if there’s anything else before he adjourns the damn meeting by going off on a tangent so freaking tangential that his fellow totalitarian zillionaires were left in dropped-jaw silence as he rambled on about tourist brochures for Skid Row to be left in upscale hotel lobbies and god knows WTF else.2 And … you guessed it! Not a word about it on the damn agenda.

And what’s the problem with all this, you may well ask? Why can’t a few good old white supremacist buddies get together on a Thursday morning at ground zero of the homeless crisis in the United States of America and talk about any random crap that pops into their little zillionaire-addled heads? Well, as it happens, it is against the freaking law, that’s why!

Because business improvement districts have voluntarily chosen to benefit from coercively collected assessments, the State Legislature has passed Streets and Highways Code §36612, which makes all these BID boards of directors subject to the Brown Act. The good old Brown Act contains many treasures, and not least amongst these is good old §54954.2(a)(3), which states unequivocally that: “No action or discussion shall be undertaken on any item not appearing on the posted agenda.”

Mark Shinbane, of course, is famous for his criminal ways and he’s no stranger to violating the Brown Act, but this, to the best of my knowledge, is the first time he’s ever done it on camera. Turn the page for a little more evidence, transcriptions of the relevant bits, and, best of all, a copy of the report I sent to the LA County DA this morning turning these creepers in for their criminal ways.
Continue reading How The Central City East Association Violated The Brown Act Twice In One Meeting On Thursday Morning So I Reported Them To The Los Angeles County District Attorney

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MK.Org World Exclusive News Flash!! LAPD Deputy Chief Robert Arcos Announces That He Will Be Applying To Replace Charlie Beck As Chief Of The LAPD

I’m not a reporter, and I don’t seek out news, but once in a while, like the hog in the adage, I stumble across what seems to my amateur sensibilities to be an actual news story. And that’s exactly what happened this morning at the February Board meeting of the Central City East Association when LAPD Deputy Chief Robert Arcos, in response to a characteristically sycophantic question from CCEA Executive Directrix Estela Lopez, announced that he will be applying to replace soon-to-be-retired Charlie Beck as chief of the LAPD.

I recorded the whole meeting,1 and you can watch the exchange between Estela Lopez and Robert Arcos starting here. You can read a transcription of the important parts after the break.2 And remember, you read it here first!
Continue reading MK.Org World Exclusive News Flash!! LAPD Deputy Chief Robert Arcos Announces That He Will Be Applying To Replace Charlie Beck As Chief Of The LAPD

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The Central City East Association Had To Fire 30% Of Its BID Security Officers After Failed Background Checks In 2016–2017! CCEA Security Überhoncho Greg Foster Confirms That Resumed Police Commission Oversight Of BID Patrol Officers Was Due To MK.Org Investigation!

On Monday morning I was honored to attend the 2017 annual meeting of the Central City East Association, run by the voodoo queen of Skid Row, Estela Lopez herself. Of course I recorded the whole thing,1 and you can watch it either on YouTube or else on Archive.Org, depending on your personal preference. I usually can’t make it to the CCEA’s meetings because of having to go to my damned job, but for whatever reason my schedule was open Monday morning, and how lucky that turned out to be!

You may recall that in 2016 I discovered that the City of Los Angeles had failed to enforce LAMC §52.34 against BID security for more than fifteen years and that due to my reporting the City resumed enforcement in 2017. But aside from one phone call from Police Commission officer Ernesto Vicencio, who was in charge of the reimplementation of the law, the City has refused to provide me with any information about the process.2 So how fascinating it was to hear Greg Foster, who’s CCEA’s chief of security,3 explicitly attribute the change to my work! As he said:

… the website, [unintelligible], MichaelKohlhaas.Org, began to generate documentation that this particular municipal code is not being adhered to by the City of Los Angeles, and it should be. For many many years this went on, in and out of regulation. A gentleman by the name of [Mike] began to get a bit of momentum and challenge the City in 2016 to have this reinstated.

You can listen to this segment here and of course there’s a transcription after the break. Now, LAMC §52.34 has two main effects. First, it establishes Police Commission oversight of BID security officers. Second, it requires all BID security officers to undergo annual background checks before they can be permitted to operate on public streets. The most stunning, and brand-new, piece of information to come from Greg Foster’s revelations, was this:

That day on June first, 2017, every public safety BID across the City had to go before the Police Commission and have every single public safety officer vetted and pass the background check. As you can imagine, that was challenging, not just to our particular BID but to every BID across the City. There was a drop of thirty percent of personnel staff for Allied’s [unintelligible].

That is to say, before the City reimplemented enforcement on June 1 of this year, 30% of CCEA’s security officers were unfit for duty according to the law. Remember THAT the next time you hear some damned BIDdies ranting and raving about how much they respect the damned law! BIDs love to go about the place crowing about how their damnable security patrols make the City’s streets safer, but it seems that before my work removed illegal, unqualified officers from our public streets, the BIDdies were actually making things more damned dangerous! OK, yay! And you’re welcome, City of Los Freaking Angeles, amirite fam?!
Continue reading The Central City East Association Had To Fire 30% Of Its BID Security Officers After Failed Background Checks In 2016–2017! CCEA Security Überhoncho Greg Foster Confirms That Resumed Police Commission Oversight Of BID Patrol Officers Was Due To MK.Org Investigation!

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Estela Lopez’s Exclusion Of Andy Bales, Other Board Members, From Secret Email Discussion Of Skid Row Neighborhood Council Not Anomalous — Bales, Gardner, Kavoukjian Regularly Left Out Of Group Emails From Lopez To CCEA Board Members — What’s Lopez Hiding And Why Is She Hiding It?

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.

Recently I reported that nine out of the twelve members of the Board of Directors of the Central City East Association egregiously violated the Brown Act during their weeks-long participation in the anti-Skid-Row-Neighborhood-Council conspiracy centered around the shadowy anonymous Delaware-incorporated entity United Downtown Los Angeles LLC. Well, I’ve been continuing to investigate this matter, not only with respect to the involvement of CCEA executive directrix and Skid Row voodoo queen Estela Lopez and the CCEA board of directors, but from many other angles as well.

As part of the investigation I’ve been seeking via the California Public Records Act various emails between CCEA’s board and staff. I’ve actually been asking for these for almost a year now. Estela Lopez has been consistently obstructionist, mostly claiming that all such emails are exempt due to the famously abused, mostly made up, so-called deliberative process exemption to the CPRA.1

This position is indefensible, of course, and there have been some demand letters exchanged between my lawyer and some attorneyesque dude known as Don Steier, who seems to be very buddy buddy with the CCEA conspiracy. The CCEA remains mostly uncooperative, although they did cough up about 50 pages of emails they’d formerly claimed were exempt.2 An even superficial perusal of the evidence will show conclusively that their original claim that this stuff was exempt is nonsense of the first water, and the material they released is mostly chaff.3

However, there is still some interesting information to be gleaned from this release. In particular, the fact that Estela Lopez was involved in extensive secret email discussions with 9 out of 12 CCEA directors, excluding Andy Bales, Richard Gardner, and Sylvia Kavoukjian, was in fact not an anomaly. It seems that she habitually sends emails to everyone but those three.4 I have no idea at this point why those three directors are excluded on a regular basis. Perhaps someone more up on Downtown politics will be able to figure it out. Anyway, turn the page for some examples, some discussion, and some mockery of Don Steier, the CCEA’s lawyerlike co-conspirator.5
Continue reading Estela Lopez’s Exclusion Of Andy Bales, Other Board Members, From Secret Email Discussion Of Skid Row Neighborhood Council Not Anomalous — Bales, Gardner, Kavoukjian Regularly Left Out Of Group Emails From Lopez To CCEA Board Members — What’s Lopez Hiding And Why Is She Hiding It?

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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

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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!

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Why Does Shadowy Anonymous United Downtown Have The Same Phone Number As The Central City East Association?

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.

I reported a couple days ago that Liner LLP, the lobbying firm hired by the shadowy anonymous entity known as United Downtown for the purpose of killing the Skid Row Neighborhood Council formation, had finally disclosed their client via their Q2 report. I didn’t realize then that Liner had also filed an amended 2017 registration statement showing United Downtown as a client, which they had previously failed to do.

And there’s a crucial detail in these disclosures that I missed. I was alerted to this matter by a source who spoke to me on condition of anonymity. Take a look at the disclosure statement. In particular, the phone number that Liner gives for United Downtown is (213) 228-8484. Now take a look at Central City East’s contact info (and here’s a screenshot should it become necessary). Their phone number is (213) 228-8484 as well! This would go a long way towards explaining the outsized role played by Estela Lopez in this fiasco as early as January 2017.
Continue reading Why Does Shadowy Anonymous United Downtown Have The Same Phone Number As The Central City East Association?

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Today Judge Phillip Gutierrez Issued Final Order Dismissing LA Catholic Worker v. City Of LA, Central City East Association. Settlement With City Includes An LAPD Directive Applicable To ALL BIDs In The City Of Los Angeles Stating Explicitly, Among Other Crucial Things, That BID Security Has No More Authority Than Private People To Enforce The Law

A couple weeks ago the City Council approved a settlement with LA Catholic Worker, LA Community Action Network, and individual plaintiffs in the monumental case against the City and the Downtown Industrial District BID, which itself settled in March. This afternoon, Judge Phillip Gutierrez filed an order dismissing the case. Thus it’s all done except for the four years of judicial oversight to make sure that the defendants are adhering to the terms of the settlement.

The terms of the settlement with the CCEA are fairly strict, and I hadn’t seen a copy of the terms of the settlement with the City. But it turns out that on Wednesday the parties filed a a request for the case to be dismissed, which lays out the specifics. As I expected, the City agrees not to cooperate with the Downtown Industrial District security forces in confiscating property and they make some other important but not so surprising concessions.

To my mind, though, the most interesting part of what the City agreed to is this training bulletin, to be distributed to the LAPD’s central division. Although it’s a result of a suit arising from the City’s relationship with a specific BID, and although it’s only to be distributed in the one division, the wording applies to all BIDs in the City of Los Angeles. There’s a transcription after the break, but one crucial bit is this, which someone really should explain to the Hollywood BID Patrol:

BIDs are separate and distinct from the City. BID officers, employees, and representatives are not employees or agents of the City. Importantly, BID employees have no more authority than private citizens to enforce the law.

Amazingly, the bulletin also reminds police officers that they are required to treat reports of BID Patrol property confiscation as they do any other report of a theft. This settlement is a truly monumental accomplishment on the plaintiffs’ part, and our City is far, far better off for their work. They have a lot to be proud of here.
Continue reading Today Judge Phillip Gutierrez Issued Final Order Dismissing LA Catholic Worker v. City Of LA, Central City East Association. Settlement With City Includes An LAPD Directive Applicable To ALL BIDs In The City Of Los Angeles Stating Explicitly, Among Other Crucial Things, That BID Security Has No More Authority Than Private People To Enforce The Law

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On March 20, 2017 Fashion District BID Exec Direc Rena Leddy and CCEA Exec Direc Estela Lopez Had A Conference Call With Unregistered-As-A-Lobbyist Liner LLP Partner Rockard Delgadillo To Discuss The Skid Row Neighborhood Council

The first part of the quote in Rockard Delgadillo’s mouth is from 2006 when he was hypocritically suing Rockstar Games, makers of Grand Theft Auto, for some Easter egg porn. Now he’s producing and starring in zillionaire porn. Just goes to show… The text in the box is from a poem by Charles Bukowski.
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.

You will certainly, if you’ve been following the issue, recall the fact that the zillionaire-sponsored effort to subvert by any means necessary the Skid Row Neighborhood Council formation effort was in full bloom by early 2017. And the Downtown BIDs were deeply involved in the whole mishegoss. In January, Blair “I don’t know nothin’ ’bout no Brown Act compliance” Besten of the Historic Core BID, Estela Lopez of the Downtown Industrial District, and furtive hereditary downtown zillionaire Michael Delijani were meeting with their sorry little Councilboy, encouraging him to ignore both law and decency in his effort to stop the SRNC.

By March, as we’ve seen, the zillionaires had formed an anonymous Delaware LLC known as United DTLA and hired walking morality-free-zone and former Los Angeles City Attorney Rockard Delgadillo to lobby the City against the SRNC. March 20, 2017 was a milestone day in the campaign. On this day, Fashion District BID executive directrix Rena Leddy began sending out emails to the property owners in her district to rally them against the SRNC. She sent this one out at 11:44 a.m.. At 12:24 p.m. she sent this one out, complete with a copy of Rockard Delgadillo’s infamous letter to the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment, which is the locus classicus of the arguments which ultimately prevailed over the SRNC.

Rena Leddy’s calendar entries for March 20, 2017, showing 11 a.m. conference call with Estela Lopez and Rockard Delgadillo. Click to enlarge.

And today, thanks to the fruits of a Public Records Act request for the 2017 appointment calendars of everyone in the Fashion District BID,1 I’m able to extend our knowledge of the events of that fateful day back 45 more minutes to 11 a.m. Take a look at Rena Leddy’s appointments for March 20, 2017. See that at 11 a.m. she had a conference call with Rockard Delgadillo and Estela Lopez for a “Skid Row Neighborhood Council update.” And, as we’ve seen, right after this, Rena Leddy commenced to rallying her troops against the SRNC.
Continue reading On March 20, 2017 Fashion District BID Exec Direc Rena Leddy and CCEA Exec Direc Estela Lopez Had A Conference Call With Unregistered-As-A-Lobbyist Liner LLP Partner Rockard Delgadillo To Discuss The Skid Row Neighborhood Council

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The LA CAN & Catholic Worker Lawsuit Has Cost The Central City East Association At Least $115,000 In Legal Fees And Costs (And How It Took Me Two Months Of Hardcore CPRAfaction To Discover This Fact)

Around these parts we refer to the California Public Records Act as CPRA, pronounced SIP-rah. The methodologies and practicalities of using CPRA are known as CPRAfaction, pronounced SIP-rah-faction.

You may recall that in March, the Central City East Association settled the momentous lawsuit brought against it by the Los Angeles Community Action Network and LA Catholic Worker.1 This was mere months after beloved Los Angeles gadfly Eric Preven and the incomparable ACLU of Southern California won a momentous decision in the California Supreme Court, which ruled essentially that once a legal case was finished the legal privilege exemption to CPRA2 no longer applied. No coincidences around here! So I fired off an email to Estela Lopez as follows:

Good afternoon, Estela, and happy Palm Sunday.

And congratulations on settling that 2014 lawsuit, namely LACW et al. v. Downtown Industrial District BID et al. (2:14-cv-07344-PSG-AJW). I would like to look at copies of all bills from all lawyers who worked for the CCEA on this case.

For the sake of efficiency, and in case you’re not already aware aware of this, here’s a link to an LA Times story on the recent Supreme Court decision declaring that once a case is resolved the bills become public records:

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-court-legal-bills-20161229-story.html

As you can imagine, there was a lot of back-and-forth, with her mostly refusing to hand over the legal bills, until this afternoon, when she did hand them over. The full story of that, with bunches of emails and also a reasonable amount of CPRA nerdview, can be found after the break if you’re interested.

But here are the actual bills to CCEA from their lawyers, Hill, Farrer, & Burrill. I spent a little time adding up the totals and their total legal bills, costs and fees, seem to have come to $89,782.54 over the last three years. Add this to the $25,000 they agreed to pay the plaintiffs in the settlement agreement and their whole bill comes to $114,782.54. This is over slightly less than three years, and the BID’s annual budget is roughly $2,000,000, so it’s relatively not that much.

According to Estela Lopez in 2015 there are more than 2000 homeless human beings living in the CCEA’s territory. Thus this lawsuit cost them a little more than $57 per potential harassment victim. I’m sure this seems cheap at the price. Anyway, that’s the substantive information. Turn the page for the story of how I got my hands on it!
Continue reading The LA CAN & Catholic Worker Lawsuit Has Cost The Central City East Association At Least $115,000 In Legal Fees And Costs (And How It Took Me Two Months Of Hardcore CPRAfaction To Discover This Fact)

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