Category Archives: California State Government

Yesterday — March 6, 2019 — The Assembly Committee On The Judiciary Introduced AB-1819 — Would Require Agencies Subject To The California Public Records Act To Allow Requesters To Copy Records With Their Own Equipment At No Charge — Mostly Agencies Already Allow This But Some Incredibly Obstinate Obstructionists Do Not — Looking At You, Alcoholic Beverage Control — Hence This Law Is — Sadly — Incredibly Necessary

The California Public Records Act presently requires agencies to allow anyone to “inspect” records at no charge.1 This is an incredibly important right, tempered only slightly by the fact that the law also allows agencies to charge people for copies of the records.2 The ability to charge is used by too many agencies as a way to discourage free inspection, and one way that they do this is to forbid people from making their own copies with their own equipment.

This has been an issue in California for decades,3 but it’s become much more prominent with the widespread use of phones and extremely portable document scanners. These days pretty much every member of the public already owns photographic equipment capable of making sufficiently high quality reproductions of paper records. So not only is it extremely disconcerting when an agency forbids photography of records, but the refusal affects many more people than it might have in the past.

Just for instance, probably in response to the paranoid psychosis of Special Agent in Charge Gerry Sanchez, the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control has recently begun to forbid me from photographing records, justifying their obvious obstruction with various nonsensically unsupportable claims about security and cell phones. So what a pleasant surprise to learn yesterday of the introduction in the Assembly of AB-1819, which would amend the CPRA to state explicitly that agencies must allow people to make their own copies at no charge.

The bill was introduced by the entire Assembly Committee on the Judiciary, so I imagine that that means it has pretty widespread support. Even the three Republican members of the Committee are listed among the sponsors. And it’s hard to imagine what legitimate reasons there might be for opposing this. But it never hurts to speak up, so consider getting in touch with your representatives and supporting this essential bill. And turn the page for a red-line version showing the proposed changes.
Continue reading Yesterday — March 6, 2019 — The Assembly Committee On The Judiciary Introduced AB-1819 — Would Require Agencies Subject To The California Public Records Act To Allow Requesters To Copy Records With Their Own Equipment At No Charge — Mostly Agencies Already Allow This But Some Incredibly Obstinate Obstructionists Do Not — Looking At You, Alcoholic Beverage Control — Hence This Law Is — Sadly — Incredibly Necessary

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Senator Ben Hueso Introduced SB615 Yesterday — Would Gut California Public Records Act By Requiring Proof That Noncompliant Agencies Knowingly And Willfully Withheld Records — This Would Make It Extremely Difficult For Requesters To Recover Fees — Which Would Make It Extremely Difficult For Requesters To Hire A Lawyer — Which Would Decimate The Already Lousy Compliance Level

Yesterday, February 22, 2019, Senator Ben Hueso introduced SB 615, a bill which would rewrite the California Public Records Act to make it radically more difficult for requesters to file and win petitions against noncompliant public agencies. As it stands, a petition filed in Superior Court is the only mechanism for enforcement of this essential law. Most people can’t afford lawyers, of course, but the CPRA at least tries to ameliorate this flaw by making it relatively easy for requesters to recover attorney’s fees from noncompliant agencies.

The law presently says that a requester wins a CPRA suit if the suit induces the agency to produce a record that was previously withheld. It’s not necessary to prove that the agency withheld the record on purpose. In fact, in Community Youth Athletic Center v. National City the California Court of Appeals specifically held that even incompetence or neglect were not valid excuses for not producing. Hueso’s bill would nullify this opinion and many others like it and require requesters to show that agencies “knowingly, willfully, and without substantial justification failed to respond to a request for records.”

In my extensive experience, agencies are already expert at denying access to records without ever saying that that’s what they’re doing. Instead they create an endless series of delays, errors, failures to respond quickly, and so on, which add up to a denial. I have had public agencies shine me on for years this way. And sadly judges are generally so deferential to public agencies that it’s already nearly impossible to prove that an agency involved in this kind of disingenuous delay is in violation. If it becomes necessary to prove that they’re doing it on purpose in order to recover fees there will be even fewer lawyers than there already are willing to take on these cases.

The bill would add a few other ways for a requester to prevail. Most of these are bad or neutral, but one is somewhat positive. That is the statement that petitioner wins by showing that “[t]he agency unreasonably delayed providing the contents of a record subject to disclosure in part or in whole.” Currently the CPRA says that agencies can’t delay access but it doesn’t explicitly create a cause of action for delay. Again, in my experience, judges’ deference makes attorneys reluctant to file such petitions. Maybe this would improve that situation.

That one potential improvement is not worth the destruction, though. If this bill passes into law look for already obstructionist agencies to ramp up their obstruction. Look for the already small number of lawyers willing to take CPRA cases on an affordable basis to decline sharply. Look for the already slow flow of records to decrease drastically.

Interestingly, the right of access to public records is written into the California Constitution at Article I Section 3, and in subpart (b)(2) it requires that “A statute, court rule, or other authority adopted after the effective date of this subdivision that limits the right of access shall be adopted with findings demonstrating the interest protected by the limitation and the need for protecting that interest.” Hueso’s bill contains some boilerplate language about this, but it doesn’t demonstrate anything, it just states it. The bill would clearly limit access, though, so maybe it would end up being unconstitutional.

And turn the page for a transcription of the legislative counsel’s summary and of the actual proposed changes. And then find your legislator and write in opposition to this crappy and dangerous bill.
Continue reading Senator Ben Hueso Introduced SB615 Yesterday — Would Gut California Public Records Act By Requiring Proof That Noncompliant Agencies Knowingly And Willfully Withheld Records — This Would Make It Extremely Difficult For Requesters To Recover Fees — Which Would Make It Extremely Difficult For Requesters To Hire A Lawyer — Which Would Decimate The Already Lousy Compliance Level

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Senator Bob Wieckowski Introduces SB518, Which Would Exempt CPRA Petitions From CCP §998 — A Hardball Negotiating Tactic Which Might Induce Petitioners’ Lawyers To Settle For Far Less In Fees Than They Deserve — Thus Undermining The Only CPRA Enforcement Mechanism Created By The Legislature — This Is An Obscure And Technical Improvement To The CPRA — But An Extremely Important One — Thank You, Senator Bob!

California Code of Civil Procedure §998 authorizes a particularly hardball negotiating tactic in lawsuits in California. One party can make what’s called a 998 settlement offer to the other. If the other party wins but doesn’t get awarded more money than in the 998 offer, the losing party doesn’t have to pay more than the offer. The idea is to encourage parties to seriously consider reasonable settlement offers rather than litigating for the sake of litigation.

And don’t forget that the only mechanism for enforcing the California Public Records Act is by filing a petition. The legislature has made this financially possible by including a mandatory award of attorney’s fees to the requester if they win.1 This is at §6259(d).2 There are built-in protections for requesters as well. Most notably that public agencies can’t recover their own costs from requesters even if they win, except under very rare circumstances.3 This is also found at §6259(d).

Without this potential award of attorney’s fees having court cases be the only mechanism for enforcement would be really unfair. Requesters would have to pay lawyers up front and public agencies would end up ignoring the CPRA altogether except if they thought requesters could afford expensive lawyers. And that would be a really bad outcome. As the CPRA itself says, right up at the top in §6250, “In enacting this chapter, the Legislature, mindful of the right of individuals to privacy, finds and declares that access to information concerning the conduct of the people’s business is a fundamental and necessary right of every person in this state.”

Finally, it is not unheard of for lawyers representing public agencies to make 998 offers.4 When such an offer is received it’s necessary to put some careful thought into rejecting it, because it could end up costing the attorney a lot of money if the fee award ends up being less than the offer. And the serious problem with this is that it could well induce plaintiffs’ attorneys to settle for less money than the case is worth.

In turn, this makes it more difficult for lawyers to be able to afford to take these cases, and this ends up eroding the financial viability of the only CPRA enforcement mechanism available. But judicial enforcement of the CPRA protects a “fundamental and necessary right of every person in this state.” So it’s bad public policy to allow 998 offers in CPRA cases.

Enter state senator Bob Wieckowski. He’s well-known for his attention to essential yet technical flaws in the CPRA. Just for instance, last year he introduced a bill to widen access to records and protect requesters from financial retaliation by public agencies who inadvertently released privileged records. Some aspects of it didn’t survive the legislative process, but it did accomplish its main goal.

And in keeping with this tradition, yesterday, February 21, he introduced SB 518, whose purpose is to outlaw 998 offers in CPRA cases.5 This is really important for all the reasons given above and probably some others that didn’t occur to me. Turn the page for a transcription of the legislative counsel’s digest and of the changes to the statute being proposed.
Continue reading Senator Bob Wieckowski Introduces SB518, Which Would Exempt CPRA Petitions From CCP §998 — A Hardball Negotiating Tactic Which Might Induce Petitioners’ Lawyers To Settle For Far Less In Fees Than They Deserve — Thus Undermining The Only CPRA Enforcement Mechanism Created By The Legislature — This Is An Obscure And Technical Improvement To The CPRA — But An Extremely Important One — Thank You, Senator Bob!

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Assemblymember Laura Friedman Introduced AB700 Yesterday — Would Add Exemption To Public Records Act For Information About Public College Profs In California — Including Their Calendars And Appointment Logs — This Is A Really Really Bad Idea — Is Possibly Pushback Against Animal Rights Groups And Other Activists — But Too Early To Tell

California State Assemblymember Laura Friedman introduced AB700 yesterday, which would add an exemption to the California Public Records Act allowing public colleges to withhold specified information about faculty members. The to-be-exempted information includes home addresses and telephone numbers, calendars, office assignments, and room assignments.

The fundamental principle of the CPRA is that all records are subject to release unless specifically exempted, which is why this bill is necessary to prevent the release of this information. But the exemptions that this bill would add are either unnecessary or very, very wrong.

First of all, sure, don’t tell people where the professors live or what their phone numbers are. But this is already covered by §6254.3(a), which tells us that “[t]he home addresses, home telephone numbers, personal cellular telephone numbers, and birth dates of all employees of a public agency shall not be deemed to be public records and shall not be open to public inspection…” We don’t need a new law to allow that information to be withheld.

And the rest of the information that would be exempted here absolutely ought to remain public. I don’t know but I’m reasonably sure that this bill is in response to various groups and individuals, including PETA, as well as other people critical of faculty research that have used CPRA to obtain information about professors.

Some professors have been targets of violent protests, so I suppose that seems like a reason to exempt their appointment calendars. But it really isn’t. Appointment calendars are an essential tool in understanding what public employees are up to. Who they’ve met with, how long and how often they’ve met with them, and so on, are quintessential public information. Professors are subject to influence by interest groups just like anyone is, and this information must be available so that that influence can be analyzed.

And it’s not just professors’ schedules at stake here. If we exempt these using security as an excuse it won’t be long before all public employees schedules are exempted. Just for instance, ultra-corrupt Los Angeles City Councilmember Jose Huizar famously ordered his staff to alter his calendars in response to CPRA requests from the LA Times. How much more expedient for him would it have been to have an actual exemption written into the law?

Also, this bill is far too broad. It would exempt “records relating to the physical location of faculty members.” Again, I suppose the idea is to protect the security of the faculty. But faculty teaching schedules, office assignments, and so on are typically posted on the open internet. The CPRA at §6254.5 requires the release of all previously released information, and publishing information on the open internet is about as released as information can get. So most exemptions for this information will have been waived. What a logistical nightmare for universities to comply with.1

So yeah, I’m against AB700. Stay tuned for further developments. And turn the page for the legislative counsel’s digest and the proposed text to be added to the law.
Continue reading Assemblymember Laura Friedman Introduced AB700 Yesterday — Would Add Exemption To Public Records Act For Information About Public College Profs In California — Including Their Calendars And Appointment Logs — This Is A Really Really Bad Idea — Is Possibly Pushback Against Animal Rights Groups And Other Activists — But Too Early To Tell

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State Legislators Connie Leyva And Patrick O’Donnell Introduce SB126 — To Clarify That Charter Schools In California Are Subject To The Public Records Act — And The Brown Act — And The Political Reform Act — This Will Formalize And Extend Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s Recent Published Opinion On The Matter

You may recall that California State Attorney General Xavier Becerra issued an opinion in December 2018 stating that charter schools in California were subject to the Brown Act and the Public Records Act. And recently, despite some ill-founded pushback, I was able to use the CPRA to get some pretty interesting information out of a local charter school, New Los Angeles.

But AG opinions aren’t law, and evidently there is still some uncertainty about the matter, for instance see this article by Tony Butka in CityWatch LA. So yesterday, state legislators Connie Leyva and Patrick O’Donnell introduced SB126, which states explicitly that charter schools and the organizations which run them are in fact subject to the Brown Act, to the Public Records Act, to the Political Reform Act of 1974, and to certain ethics laws.1

If this passes into law, and why should it not, it will be an incredibly useful tool for activists, the fruits of which you’ll be reading about here and elsewhere for the foreseeable future. Turn the page for the legislative analyst’s description of what the bill would do.
Continue reading State Legislators Connie Leyva And Patrick O’Donnell Introduce SB126 — To Clarify That Charter Schools In California Are Subject To The Public Records Act — And The Brown Act — And The Political Reform Act — This Will Formalize And Extend Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s Recent Published Opinion On The Matter

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When A Neighborhood Has More Liquor Licenses Than Are Ordinarily Allowed It’s Still Possible To Get New Licenses — It’s Just Necessary To Give Reasons Why The New Licenses Will “serve a public convenience and necessity” — And It Turns Out That The Alcoholic Beverage Control Department Accepts Gentrification — Which In This Context Is Called “Revitalization” Or “Resurgence” — As A Reason — Not To Mention The Fact That Already Vital Neighborhoods Can’t “Revitalize” — Unless Of Course The Wrong Kinds Of Vitalizers Are Ignored

The social control of alcohol is one of the eternal sites of contention in our City’s gentrification forever war. Zillionaires conspire with the City to shut down bars that attract people of color in Hollywood at the same time as they’re conspiring with the LAPD to overlook CUP violations by white-oriented bars.

Council offices intervene with the ABC on behalf of hipster-friendly alcohol-soaked events while supporting business improvement districts that arrest thousands of homeless people for drinking beer on the sidewalk, often right next to happy hipsters swilling $20 craft cocktails, also on the sidewalk but immunized against arrest by nothing more than a velvet rope.

This idea, this fundamental tenet of the zillionaire elite, that poor people, that people of color, can’t be trusted with access to alcohol but that young white hipsters and techbros on whom the zillies rely to buy flipped houses and small lot subdivision units, to fill their luxury apartments, to patronize the painfully edgy establishments that attract more and more of their kind, not only can be trusted with alcohol, but virtually thrive on it, is an important component in the gentrification toolkit.

The truth, of course, is not that they don’t cause trouble when drinking, but that the trouble they cause isn’t perceived as such. The alcohol/gentrification cocktail is an issue across the City, even the country, e.g. from Westlake to Boyle Heights all the way to Brooklyn, where an overconcentration of bars in general, and of specifically gentrification-themed bars in particular, are easily understood to be part of the zillionaire recolonization agenda.

And as the Los Angeles Times famously observed of Highland Park in 2014, “[i]n the endless debate over gentrification in Los Angeles, [it’s] ground zero,” so it’s not surprising to find the same disputes, the same tensions reproduced there. According to KPCC Highland Park comprises four square miles and had, in 2016, 60 liquor licenses, 20 of which were issued between 2013 and 2016. And this is an abnormally high number. There are pretty many more licenses in Highland Park than are allowed by standard measures used by the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

That doesn’t mean that they won’t issue new licenses, though. It just means that new licenses are subject to a more rigorous vetting process, which must include a showing that there are good reasons for the overconcentration, that the new license will “serve a public convenience and necessity,” and that it won’t contribute to or create new alcohol-related problems in the area. This is all laid out in Chapter 6, Article 1 of the California Alcoholic Beverage Control Act.

In order to begin to understand how this process plays out in Highland Park, I recently obtained detailed application information for six of these new licenses, at Cafe Birdie, Kitchen Mouse, The Lodge Room, The Greyhound, The Gold Line Bar, and Highland Park Bowl. And it turns out that, in an astonishing display of circular reasoning, the fact that the area is gentrifying is in itself evidence that additional licenses granted to gentrification bars are both desirable and necessary.

The applicants don’t call the process gentrification, by the way. They call it revitalization, which term, in a stunning act of passive erasure, assumes that Highland Park wasn’t plenty vital before they showed up. Turn the page for links to and transcribed selections from some of the applicants’ arguments.
Continue reading When A Neighborhood Has More Liquor Licenses Than Are Ordinarily Allowed It’s Still Possible To Get New Licenses — It’s Just Necessary To Give Reasons Why The New Licenses Will “serve a public convenience and necessity” — And It Turns Out That The Alcoholic Beverage Control Department Accepts Gentrification — Which In This Context Is Called “Revitalization” Or “Resurgence” — As A Reason — Not To Mention The Fact That Already Vital Neighborhoods Can’t “Revitalize” — Unless Of Course The Wrong Kinds Of Vitalizers Are Ignored

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The Checkered History Of Streets And Highways Code §36612 — How The California Court Of Appeals Made BIDs Cry By Holding That They Were Subject To The Brown Act And The Public Records Act — And How Bad BIDmother Jackie Goldberg Soothed Their Hurt Feelings By Passing A Law Stating That They Weren’t Public Officials — Is It Constitutional? — It Hasn’t Been Adjudicated So Who Knows?!

The only reason that this blog even exists is that business improvement districts in California are subject to the California Public Records Act. And the first part of the story of how this came to be is fairly well known. In 1998 Hollywood property owner Aaron Epstein wanted to attend meetings of the Hollywood Property Owners’ Alliance1 and Kerry Morrison, who then as now would willingly brook no interference in her proprietary demesne, told him to go pound sand.

Instead of slapping the silica, though, Epstein filed suit against the BID, and the process culminated in the lovely holding, in Epstein v. Hollywood Entertainment District BID, that BIDs2 were subject to the Brown Act and the CPRA. This ushered anti-BID activists into a paradise from which we are unlikely to be expelled. Kerry Morrison didn’t take this outcome with any grace whatsoever and has been pissing and moaning about it from the outset all the way to the present day.

But that opinion isn’t the only authority that subjects BIDs to transparency laws. There is also the famous §36612 of the PBID Law of 1994, which states in no uncertain terms that BIDs are subject to both the Brown Act and the CPRA.3 It also states explicitly (and ominously) that BID board members and staff are not public officials. Obviously this section was added by the legislature after the Epstein ruling, but I never took the time to investigate the history.

Until now, that is. And what an obvious-after-the-fact surprise it was to find that the bill that added that section was written by none other than Jackie Goldberg, who as CD13 Councilmember during the formation of the Hollywood Entertainment District BID was known to have a great deal of blood on her hands already.4 But by March 2001, when Epstein was finally decided, Goldberg was in the Assembly, so naturally it was to her that the BIDdies, emotionally traumatized by the court’s decision,5 went running for comfort.

And in response to their pleas Goldberg introduced AB 1021 (2001) to coat the bitter pill of Epstein with some soothing syrup and to codify these changes in §36612 of the PBID law even while acknowledging that the legislature wasn’t going to be able to change the court’s holding 6 And I recently obtained a copy of the bill analysis prepared at the time for the Assembly’s Committee on Local Government to help them understand what they were voting for.7 Therein are laid out not only the provisions of the new law, but the complaints of the BIDdies, so the connection is perfectly clear.

The main concessions to the BIDdie agenda found in the code section are the explicit statement that BIDs are private corporations and that neither BID boards nor staff can be considered public officials for any reason. This last bit is tied in to the BIDs’ fear that board members might be subject to California’s political reform act and to Government Code §1090 and therefore to various ethics restrictions and financial disclosure requirements, although it’s not really clear to me that the language has that effect. I’m no kind of expert, though.

Another sop to the BIDdies provided here by Goldberg was the authorization of 10 year renewals. Previously BIDs could only renew for up to five years. In any case, turn the page for more detail, more non-expert discussion and, as always, a transcription of the document.
Continue reading The Checkered History Of Streets And Highways Code §36612 — How The California Court Of Appeals Made BIDs Cry By Holding That They Were Subject To The Brown Act And The Public Records Act — And How Bad BIDmother Jackie Goldberg Soothed Their Hurt Feelings By Passing A Law Stating That They Weren’t Public Officials — Is It Constitutional? — It Hasn’t Been Adjudicated So Who Knows?!

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Remember Those Underpass Homeless Encampments Outside The South Park BID Boundaries? — The BID Is Not Only Paying Staff To Photograph Them — Also They Are Paying Staff To Lobby Miguel Santiago’s Office To Get CalTrans And CHP To Clear Them Out — Why Is A Member Of The California State Assembly Ignoring The BID’s Lawless Behavior? — Probably For Money, Doncha Think? — Or Because — With The Recent Fall Of The House Of Huizar — Santiago Feels His Path To CD14 Is Wide Freaking Open

OK, remember how there are these underpasses with a bunch of homeless encampments in them that are not in the South Park BID but the BIDdies wanted to clean them up anyway except Ellen Riotto said they couldn’t cause it was against the law but then she sent her staffies out to gather photographic evidence of the encampments which is clearly also against the law? OK, this is another episode in that story!

And it’s worth taking a moment to review just why the BID can’t spend money on stuff going on outside its boundaries, never forgetting for a moment that dedicating staff time to a matter is spending money on it, which is to say the money paid the staff member. It’s all due to the Property and Business Improvement District Act at §36625(a)(6), which states unequivocally that:

The revenue from the levy of assessments within a district shall not be used to provide improvements, maintenance, or activities outside the district or for any purpose other than the purposes specified in the resolution of intention

Oh, also, keep in mind that the problem, from the BID’s point of view, with these underpasses is that the City of LA seems not to be allowed to evict homeless people from under them, evidently because it’s state property under there. Thus Caltrans and the Highway Patrol somehow have to do it, and the BID just doesn’t have the influence with them that they do with the City, I guess, which apparently makes it a separate and ongoing problem for the BID.

So the other day I received a big pile of emails from the Parkies comprising correspondence between them and any email address at ca.gov or its subdomains. You can gaze lovingly upon the whole steaming heap of them here on Archive.Org. And amongst these are email after email after email between South Park BID staff and staffers in the office of Assemblymember Miguel Santiago, in whose district the BID situates, having to do with those damn underpasses.

That is to say there is plenty of evidence in there of repeated violations of §36625(a)(6). But who does one complain to about it? We’ve already seen that the Los Angeles City Clerk, which putatively oversees our BIDs, will take complaints about insufficient brutality towards the homeless, but not, it seems, about violations of the law by the BIDs themselves. And it’s disconcerting to say the least to see an actual Assemblymember conspiring to violate the laws which he and his colleagues have sworn to defend.1

Although I suppose it’s not surprising that Miguel Santiago would be involved in such a scheme, given his demonstrated proclivity for selling the best interests of the people of California down the river just cause some BIDs asked him to. As I’ve said many times, I wasn’t cynical at all before I started learning about BIDs, but the BIDdies have made me so. Turn the page, if you will, for as much of the chronology as I have, links to the emails, and a few select transcriptions.
Continue reading Remember Those Underpass Homeless Encampments Outside The South Park BID Boundaries? — The BID Is Not Only Paying Staff To Photograph Them — Also They Are Paying Staff To Lobby Miguel Santiago’s Office To Get CalTrans And CHP To Clear Them Out — Why Is A Member Of The California State Assembly Ignoring The BID’s Lawless Behavior? — Probably For Money, Doncha Think? — Or Because — With The Recent Fall Of The House Of Huizar — Santiago Feels His Path To CD14 Is Wide Freaking Open

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The Hollywood Forever Cemetery Violated Alcohol Laws Or Regulations For Years While Will Salao Was Running The LA Metro Office — And Then Gerry Sanchez Took Over In 2017 After Will Salao Was Arrested For Corruption And Tried To Restore Compliance — And Marisol Rodriguez From CD13 And Julie Nony From The LAPD Attacked Him And Snitched To Kevin DeLeon On Him — And Gerry Sanchez Just Caved Under Pressure — Said He Would “Eat Shit And Walk It Back” — Didn’t He Take An Oath To Uphold The Freaking Law??

NOTE: The records discussed in this post tell an interesting story. But the story of how I got my hands on these records is also interesting, and you can read it here.

If you’ve spent much time in Hollywood you’ve noticed the wildly popular movie screenings at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. They’re sponsored by Cinespia and have been going on since 2002. These events have been the subject of sycophantic only-in-Los-Angeles style coverage in local news outlets since forever. E.g. in 2015 the L.A. Times explained:

As the smell of popcorn and weed wafted through the air, DJ Ana Calderon spun “Sweet Caroline” and smiling hipsters lined up to snap shots in a candy-festooned photo booth that had been designed by pop artist Alia Penner…

Or the L.A. Weekly:

There’s even a cute deejay girl spinning a pitch-perfect assortment of swinging 1960s classics while 4,000 moviegoers trickle their way into the “theater,” picnic baskets, blankets and beach chairs in tow.

“Want some, Dani?” asks the cool mom to my left, extending a plastic cup filled with red wine my way.

Bring your own weed! Bring your own wine! Cute deejay girl! Cool mom! Famous dead people! You can even buy drinks from the bar! What could be more pleasant on a beautiful summer’s night in Los Angeles?! Who could ask for anything more??!

Well, evidently the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control could ask for anything more. Remember Will Salao? Ultracorrupt former ABC district manager, indicted by the feds for bribery and abuse of authority and probably a federal snitch? It seems that for years Will Salao pointedly did not worry about any problems with the drunk movies at the cemetery.

But his 2017 replacement, putatively new broom and special agent in charge Gerry Sanchez, immediately noticed something funny about these events at the Cemetery that evidently had been just fine with bribe-accepting Will Salao. They were breaking the damn law by letting people bring booze in, or at least Gerry Sanchez thought they were breaking the law, or maybe it was a regulation. No one ever seems to have identified the specific law they were breaking. And he did what seems to be his job and told them that it was against the law for people to bring their own alcohol in to the movie screenings and they would have to stop.

And you can guess what happened next, right? The cemetery bitched and moaned and complained to their elected representatives and so forth but then the LAPD and the City government stepped up in favor of everyone following the damn law! We’ve seen how diligent they were in conspiring against nightclubs on Hollywood Blvd, for instance, with LAPD, CD13, and City Planning teaming up to get them all shut down on the basis of obsessively compiled lists of violations. So why wouldn’t they defend the law in this instance as well? You remember the law, don’t you? It’s that thing we’re all equal under.

Actually, nope. It seems that when you’ve got 4,000 palefaced happy hipsters swilling wine and smoking weed on the lawn things work very, very differently from situations with a different color scheme. In this case, rather than spending years trying to shut down the putative violators with every creepy cop trick known to the power elite, CD13’s Marisol Rodriguez, the LAPD’s Julie Nony, and Baydsar Thomasian of Kevin DeLeon’s office basically swarmed special agent in charge Gerry Sanchez and yelled at him until he gave up and decided to let the cemetery continue breaking the law. That is, if there even was a law broken.

And then, because the guy’s no hero, he spent the next few days whining about it to his superiors instead of honoring the oath he took to defend the law. Or instead of realizing that no law had been broken and owning up to that. Either way, the guy’s a loser, but then we already knew that. Turn the page, of course, for every last detailed piece of this no-heroes-involved story, told, as usual, by means of transcribed emails.
Continue reading The Hollywood Forever Cemetery Violated Alcohol Laws Or Regulations For Years While Will Salao Was Running The LA Metro Office — And Then Gerry Sanchez Took Over In 2017 After Will Salao Was Arrested For Corruption And Tried To Restore Compliance — And Marisol Rodriguez From CD13 And Julie Nony From The LAPD Attacked Him And Snitched To Kevin DeLeon On Him — And Gerry Sanchez Just Caved Under Pressure — Said He Would “Eat Shit And Walk It Back” — Didn’t He Take An Oath To Uphold The Freaking Law??

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