Category Archives: Homeless Issues

Rebecca Cooley v. City Of Los Angeles — On October 21, 2018 Carol Sobel Filed Yet Another Federal Suit Against The City Of Los Angeles — Alleging The Illegal Confiscation And Destruction Of The Property Of Rebecca Cooley, Benjamin Hubert, And Casimir Zoroda — Three Disabled Homeless People Living In Venice At The Time — Seeks Class Action Status For Approximately 60 Others Similarly Situated

On October 21, 2018 Carol Sobel filed suit in federal court against the City of Los Angeles on behalf of three named homeless people along with about sixty others similarly situated. The three, Rebecca Cooley, her husband Benjamin Hubert, and Casimir Zaroda, are homeless people who were living on the streets in Venice in September 2017 when the City of Los Angeles, without notice and without any kind of process, confiscated and destroyed their property, including tents, blankets, essential paperwork, transit passes, and other items essential to the maintenance of human life. The suit comes just as the City is resuming its horrific, indiscriminate sweeps of homeless encampments outside of neighborhoods covered by the various injunctions.

The initial complaint claims that the City’s actions violate constitutional bans on takings and on unlawful seizure as well as the constitutional guarantee of due process. These familiar theories have been consistently upheld by federal courts up to and including the Ninth Circuit,1 all of which have been willing to issue and/or uphold injunctions against the City’s property confiscation and destruction policies. So it’s hard to imagine that the City can prevail on these issues.

Also, because two of the three named plaintiffs are disabled along with many of the similarly situated unnamed plaintiffs, the complaint also alleges that the City violated the Americans With Disabilities Act by confiscating their essential papers and means of transportation, by storing confiscated property in locations and facilities not properly accessible to disabled people, and, in general, by following policies and practices with respect to homeless people’s property that disproportionately burden disabled people.

Turn the page for transcriptions of selections from the initial complaint.
Continue reading Rebecca Cooley v. City Of Los Angeles — On October 21, 2018 Carol Sobel Filed Yet Another Federal Suit Against The City Of Los Angeles — Alleging The Illegal Confiscation And Destruction Of The Property Of Rebecca Cooley, Benjamin Hubert, And Casimir Zoroda — Three Disabled Homeless People Living In Venice At The Time — Seeks Class Action Status For Approximately 60 Others Similarly Situated

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Rex Schellenberg v. City Of Los Angeles — In September 2018 Carol Sobel Filed Yet Another Federal Suit Against The City Of Los Angeles — Alleging Summary Confiscation And Destruction Of The Property Of An Elderly Disabled Homeless Man — And Seeking An Injunction Against These Practices — For Some Reason This Has Not Been Covered At All In The Media — Read The Initial Complaint Here

On September 3, 2018 Carol Sobel filed suit in federal court against the City of Los Angeles, alleging that Rex Schellenberg, a homeless man living in the San Fernando Valley, stepped away from his property briefly only to have it confiscated and much of it destroyed by the LAPD and LA Sanitation personnel. I can’t find anything about this case in the media, in contrast to Sobel’s other pending case on the matter, Mitchell v. City of LA, which is covered extensively. You can read and get copies of the pleadings here on Archive.Org. I’ll update the collection as more stuff is filed.

The facts of the case are simple. Schellenberg, an elderly man homeless in Los Angeles for more than twenty years and disabled as well, lives in the San Fernando Valley. In July 2017 he left his property momentarily unattended to visit a convenience store and employees of the City of Los Angeles summarily confiscated and destroyed Schellenberg’s neatly stored possessions. In its monumental decision in Lavan v. City of LA, the Ninth Circuit had this to say about this practice:

As we have repeatedly made clear, “[t]he government may not take property like a thief in the night; rather, it must announce its intentions and give the property owner a chance to argue against the taking.” This simple rule holds regardless of whether the property in question is an Escalade or [a tent], a Cadillac or a cart. The City demonstrates that it completely misunderstands the role of due process by its contrary suggestion that homeless persons instantly and permanently lose any protected property interest in their possessions by leaving them momentarily unattended in violation of a municipal ordinance. As the district court recognized, the logic of the City’s suggestion would also allow it to seize and destroy cars parked in no-parking zones left momentarily unattended.

As with all of Sobel’s writing, the initial complaint makes compelling reading. You can get a copy of the PDF here, or turn the page for a transcription of selections.
Continue reading Rex Schellenberg v. City Of Los Angeles — In September 2018 Carol Sobel Filed Yet Another Federal Suit Against The City Of Los Angeles — Alleging Summary Confiscation And Destruction Of The Property Of An Elderly Disabled Homeless Man — And Seeking An Injunction Against These Practices — For Some Reason This Has Not Been Covered At All In The Media — Read The Initial Complaint Here

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Miguel Santiago’s BID-Inspired Horror-Show Anti-Homeless Bill Is Dead For This Year — It Would Have Made It Far Easier To Intern Homeless People In Los Angeles County — Placed On Inactive File Yesterday As Legislature Adjourns For The Year

In January of this year Assemblymember Miguel Santiago introduced AB-1971, which was meant to expand the legal definition of a gravely disabled person essentially to allow at-will internment of homeless human beings. This pernicious nonsense was eagerly supported by Los Angeles City Councillors and their BIDdie co-conspirators. The bill met vigorous opposition from homeless people, their advocates, civil rights supporters, people who see how such a law could be weaponized against the elderly, and so on. A coalition of the sane, that is.

Last month, in a particularly cynical move, the bill was amended to only apply in Los Angeles County. However, even that concession to the opposition evidently wasn’t enough to save it. Yesterday, on the last day of the 2018 legislative session, the bill was placed on the inactive file. I don’t pretend to understand much about the arcane workings of the legislature, but it seems that this means it’s not dead, it could come back for further politicking next year, but that it’s not going to pass into law in 2018 and therefore will not take effect in 2019.1

Of course the bill’s supporters presented it publicly as a compassionate measure to save homeless people who would otherwise die on the street. Regardless of their stated intentions, though, it’s clear that, if passed, this bill would have given police and BIDs a powerful tool for clearing homeless people off the streets and into carceral institutions, the better to effectuate their goal of cleansing the streets of Los Angeles of people who they see as no better than trash.

This perspective is supported by the lists of opposers and supporters, consisting of mostly governments, police, and Kerry Morrison’s wholly-controlled subsidiaries, which you will find after the break.
Continue reading Miguel Santiago’s BID-Inspired Horror-Show Anti-Homeless Bill Is Dead For This Year — It Would Have Made It Far Easier To Intern Homeless People In Los Angeles County — Placed On Inactive File Yesterday As Legislature Adjourns For The Year

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In 2017 Kerry Morrison — Whose Experience Of Mental Health Policy Seems To Consist Mainly Of Illegally Locking Up Homeless People In Hollywood — Was Asked By County Mental Health Staff To Name Potential Commissioners — Among Others She Identified Steve Seyler — Whose Experience With Mental Health Policy Seems To Consist Of Bossing A Heavily Armed Gang Of Thugs In Hollywood Responsible For Incarcerating The Homeless At An Astonishing Rate — And Who Doesn’t Even Live In L.A. County, For That Matter

As you’re surely aware, our old friend Kerry Morrison has managed over the last twenty two years to position herself as some kind of neutral expert on homelessness in Los Angeles and thereby to be appointed to all kinds of influential positions even though actually, as executive director of the Hollywood Property Owners’ Alliance, she earns her salary by overseeing the arrest of homeless residents of Hollywood at an astonishing rate as part of her ultimate goal of moving them out of her BIDs by any means necessary.

For instance, as a result, former CD13 rep Eric Garcetti felt free to appoint her to the LAHSA Commission and subsequently to the Prop HHH Citizens’ oversight committee.1 The fact that Kerry Morrison is a politically viable candidate for such appointments despite the fact that her positions differ not at all in any pragmatic way from those of e.g. open advocate for violence, slavering anti-homeless psychopath, and manifestly unappointable-to-anything Mark Ryavec shows the disheartening extent to which she’s managed, through deception and the inattention of journalists to BIDs in Los Angeles, to maintain her public image as some kind of local Mother Teresa figure.2

Kerry Morrison’s genius for reputation-laundering reached a kind of apotheosis in 2016 when she wangled herself a Stanton Fellowship, which is some kind of grant awarded by the Durfee Foundation3 to “allow leaders to test a hunch,” whatever that means.4 And regardless of what it means to the Foundation, it’s also very convenient for Ms. Kerry Morrison as yet another way to fail to acknowledge her paymasters at the BID.5

Given all this it was no surprise to discover that in 2017 Kerry Morrison somehow found her way onto something called the Los Angeles County Mental Health Commission‘s Ad Hoc Committee on LA County’s Board And Care System. When I learned of this in February, naturally I went ahead and sent a CPRA request to the County for all relevant emails. After an astonishing level of obstructionist shenanigans6 they finally released some subset of what I asked for, and you can read the whole set here on Archive.Org.

One moderately interesting item lurking amongst the chaff is the actual report prepared by the Ad Hockies. It’s mostly expected platitudes and stuff, though. The most interesting part is that, as discussed above, Kerry Morrison gives her institutional affiliation as “Stanton Fellow 2016-17” rather than as something honest like, e.g., queen homeless killer for the HPOA.

And there is a lot to write about in this set of records, but the text for today’s sermon is this June 12, 2017 email from Kerry Morrison7 to her gang of yes-people on the Hollywood 4WRD mailing list8 asking if any of them want to be appointed to the County Mental Health Commission. Turn the page for links to the emails, transcriptions thereof, and some commentary!
Continue reading In 2017 Kerry Morrison — Whose Experience Of Mental Health Policy Seems To Consist Mainly Of Illegally Locking Up Homeless People In Hollywood — Was Asked By County Mental Health Staff To Name Potential Commissioners — Among Others She Identified Steve Seyler — Whose Experience With Mental Health Policy Seems To Consist Of Bossing A Heavily Armed Gang Of Thugs In Hollywood Responsible For Incarcerating The Homeless At An Astonishing Rate — And Who Doesn’t Even Live In L.A. County, For That Matter

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Miguel Santiago’s BID-Inspired Bill Redefining Grave Disability Amended Yesterday To Expire In 2024, Apply Only In Los Angeles County — Revealing With Even More Clarity That This Is Nothing But Cynical Pandering To The Anti-Homeless, Anti-Human Zillionaires Of Los Angeles

You may recall that Assemblymember Miguel Santiago, a through-and-through creature of the BIDs of Downtown Los Angeles, has been pushing a bill, AB-1971, to redefine grave disability in California in order to allow cities to lock up homeless people on even more superficial pretexts than are currently available to them.

The prospect of this, of course, has BIDs all over the City messing their jeans in joy, and therefore has our esteemed councilbabies messing theirs at the thought of the copious contributions soon to swell their officeholder accounts.1 So much did this unconstitutional jive mean to our Council that they memorialized their support in Council File 18-0002-S11 and also went about the place giving dog-whistle-filled speeches to their BIDdie constituencies.

But despite Santiago and the BIDs and the LA City Council dressing the proposal up as somehow related to compassion or other human emotions, it was pretty clear to everyone that it was nothing more than another tool to facilitate the detention and removal of homeless human beings from our streets. Thus did opposition begin to build, even to the point where, last week, the Los Angeles Times Editorial Board, in no way known for its leftie firebrandism, came out against the bill for precisely the right reasons:

… it’s odd that so much attention is devoted instead to making it easier for authorities to force mentally ill homeless people into involuntary treatment even if they are not an immediate danger to themselves or to others. Once we grab them — and remove them from whatever comfort or support structure they have managed to create — where do we put them? If we force them into hospitals for medical treatment they say they don’t want, then what?

Well, evidently the opposition grew strong enough that yesterday Miguel Santiago felt forced to amend his cynical creation. Amazingly, though, he didn’t change its substance, but only its scope. The new version, if adopted, would expire on January 1, 2024 and, most bizarrely, would apply only in Los Angeles County. Turn the page for some more commentary and a red-lined summary version of yesterday’s changes.
Continue reading Miguel Santiago’s BID-Inspired Bill Redefining Grave Disability Amended Yesterday To Expire In 2024, Apply Only In Los Angeles County — Revealing With Even More Clarity That This Is Nothing But Cynical Pandering To The Anti-Homeless, Anti-Human Zillionaires Of Los Angeles

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At Eager Prompting Of Scofflaw Board Member, Brand New South Park BID Homeless Outreach Coordinator Angela De Los Santos Admits On Camera To Violations Of State Law Regarding Where BID Activities Can Take Place

You may recall that I regularly write about the South Park BID and the seemingly endless parade of their wanton violations of the Brown Act. It seems like every meeting brings another violation and the last meeting involved at least two distinct violations. Thus it will come as a welcome change of pace, I am sure, to learn that this post is about the South Park BID violating the law, to be sure, since that’s pretty much what they do over there, but at least it’s not about them violating the Brown Act!

The law in question here is the Property and Business Improvement District Law of 1994, which states at §36625(a)(6) that “[t]he revenue from the levy of assessments within a district shall not be used to provide improvements, maintenance, or activities outside the district…” And yet, at the April 26, 2018 meeting of the South Park BID, funding activities outside the BID is precisely what was discussed. But I’m getting ahead of my story!

See, what happened is that on April 9, 2018 the South Park BID hired a homeless outreach coordinator, Angela De Los Santos, who was introduced to the BID on the 26th by executive Directrix Ellen Salome Riotto. Angela De Los Santos passed out a handout (which stated that there were only 18 homeless people in the South Park BID), talked about her duties for a while, and then took questions from the Board.

One of the questions was about “the underpasses just outside the South Park BID borders,” and that’s where things got interesting! You can watch the exchange here, although parts of it are hard to hear. Turn the page for transcriptions, discussions, and some more documentary evidence.
Continue reading At Eager Prompting Of Scofflaw Board Member, Brand New South Park BID Homeless Outreach Coordinator Angela De Los Santos Admits On Camera To Violations Of State Law Regarding Where BID Activities Can Take Place

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A Motion In City Council Asks The HHH Citizens’ Oversight Committee To Recommend Ways To Speed Up Development Of Housing For The Homeless, Creating An Unacknowledged But Not Unexpected Conflict Of Interest For Members Kerry Morrison And Blair Besten, Whose Salaries Are Paid By Real Estate Developers For The Express Purpose Of Advocating For Their Interests With The City

In November 2016 the voters of Los Angeles approved Measure HHH, which provided a huge amount of funding for housing homeless people. The measure also created a Citizens’ Oversight Committee, putatively for the purpose of making sure the money was well-spent. Subsequently, Eric Garcetti appointed Hollywood BIDdie and famous mayoral pookie-pie Kerry Morrison and some other people to the Committee and the City Council appointed Downtown BIDdie and famous José Huizar pookie-pie Blair Besten to the Committee.

These appointments meant that 2 of 7 committee members work for business improvement districts,1 which was bad enough in itself given that one of the main purposes of BIDs is to banish the homeless from their districts and to basically waste public money in the form of their assessments while doing that. But on Wednesday matters got immeasurably worse.

What happened is that Marqueece Harris-Dawson and Mitchell Englander introduced a motion proposing to expand the remit of the CoC to include making

comprehensive recommendations to the Homelessness and Poverty Committee regarding changes to the permanent supportive housing process and funding structure to enable a more expedited delivery of homeless housing.

That is, the Committee is now charged with weakening the funding process and the permitting and building approval process for projects that will help house the homeless. This sounds superficially like a good thing, but there’s at least one huge problem with it. Blair Besten’s employers, Kerry Morrison’s employers, are huge commercial property owners and developers and weakened processes are their bread and butter. They know exactly how to turn weakened processes into strengthened profit margins.

At least some of them, e.g. Ruben Islas, make immense amounts of money from building and owning housing for the homeless. Blair Besten has lobbied the City intensively on relaxing zoning codes and on granting psychotically expansive tax breaks to such developers. This new proposal, therefore, would grant Blair Besten and Kerry Morrison the power to make recommendations directly to City Council on issues that they are already paid by developers and property owners to lobby the City over.
Continue reading A Motion In City Council Asks The HHH Citizens’ Oversight Committee To Recommend Ways To Speed Up Development Of Housing For The Homeless, Creating An Unacknowledged But Not Unexpected Conflict Of Interest For Members Kerry Morrison And Blair Besten, Whose Salaries Are Paid By Real Estate Developers For The Express Purpose Of Advocating For Their Interests With The City

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Report From Yesterday’s Historic Core BID Annual Meeting: Huizar Announces Council’s Support For Revision To State Definition Of “Gravely Disabled” But Is Unwilling To Say Explicitly That The Goal Is To Make It Easier To Lock Up Homeless People — BID Board Member Ed Rosenthal Misses The Point And Asks If This Will Make It Easier To Lock Up Homeless People


Well, well, well! The Historic Core BID, third weirdest of the minor Downtown BIDs and the exclusive demesne of batty little fusspot queen Blair Besten,1 held its Annual Meeting yesterday in the crown jewel of Michael Delijani’s Broadway empire, the Los Angeles Theatre. The local zillionaires were blessed by the heavens opening and, well, maybe not the angels of God descending,2 but at least they got José Huizar in all his freaking Councilmanic3 glory.

Of course I taped the whole damn thing, and you can watch it here.4 There are a lot of interesting episodes here, not least these slavering remarks from the meanest woman in BIDlandia, President Tara Devine, who’s handling the Historic Core BID’s ongoing renewal.

Oh, and remember that adenoidal twerp who told the SRNC proponents that they needed to get an education? Well, it turns out that that adenoidal twerp has a name, although I can’t recall it right now and I can’t freaking be bothered to look, but here he is at yesterday’s meeting spewing yet another load of his characteristically adenoidal twerpery all over José Huizar’s new suit.5

However, the very most interestingest bit was José Huizar’s announcement that he and his colleagues had just dropped a motion allowing the City to seek to have the Lanterman Act6 amended so that the the definition of “gravely disabled”7 includes refusing medical services. The whole mess can be found in CF 18-0002-S11.8 You can watch Jose Huizar talking about it and also there’s a transcription and some more snarky discussion after the break.
Continue reading Report From Yesterday’s Historic Core BID Annual Meeting: Huizar Announces Council’s Support For Revision To State Definition Of “Gravely Disabled” But Is Unwilling To Say Explicitly That The Goal Is To Make It Easier To Lock Up Homeless People — BID Board Member Ed Rosenthal Misses The Point And Asks If This Will Make It Easier To Lock Up Homeless People

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Update On Using CPRA To Get Advance Notice Of Homeless Encampment Cleanups: In Theory It’s Working Fine, But In Practice Not So Much


Previous installments in this series:


LA Sanitation getting honored in City Hall in 2015.  Just one time maybe they could try cleaning up 200 N. Spring Street and catering a meal at a homeless encampment instead of the other way around.  We'd all be better off, friends.
LA Sanitation getting honored in City Hall in 2015. Just one time maybe they could try cleaning up 200 N. Spring Street and catering a meal at a homeless encampment instead of the other way around. We’d all be better off, friends.
This morning I have to report to you two developments in my ongoing project to use the California Public Records Act to get the City of Los Angeles to publicly release advance notice of its planned cleanups of homeless encampments. First of all, on October 31 I made yet another request for various kinds of records dated in the future. On November 8, Letitia Gonzalez sent me a number of items, which I’ll share with you below. You may recall that Letitia was responsible for my one success so far in this project, sending me notice on September 28 of a cleanup on September 29. However, this time, not so much. After the break there’s a list of what she sent, what I asked for, and what I think it means.1 There are also some emails from the Central City East Association (part of the material published on Thursday) showing that LA Sanitation does give advance notice of cleanups in some cases.
Continue reading Update On Using CPRA To Get Advance Notice Of Homeless Encampment Cleanups: In Theory It’s Working Fine, But In Practice Not So Much

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Kerry Morrison’s Fallibility Exposed Publicly By Park La Brea News As Greater West Hollywood Food Coalition Move To Hollywood Salvation Army Is Finalized But She (Almost) Keeps Stiff Upper Lip. Mitch O’Farrell, On The Other Hand, Still Doesn’t Get This Whole “Free Country” Thing…

444px-salvation_army_world_war_i_posterAt least since February 2016, the Greater West Hollywood Food Coalition has been publicly discussing a move away from its long-time ground zero at Sycamore and Romaine. Of course, Ms. Kerry Morrison does not like this one bit and, in her rage,1 in May, went off in a tizzy crying to Salvation Army Board member Hank Hilty, whose family owns the Northeast corner of Third and Fairfax,2 and to the Salvation Army Southern California chief-directorate-for-something-or-another in Long Beach, saying something like “Hey fellow zillionaires! We don’t like this so can you please put a stop to it?”

And just watch her little speech on the matter from May. See how her affect just screams competence, omnipotence, every-kind-of-cence-but-common-sense? Well, according to the Park La Brea News, the Food Coalition’s move is a done deal and they will start serving meals there on January 1st. So much for Kerry Morrison’s back-channel-zillionaire-solidarity methodology. But does she just admit that she’s been trying to stop this development for almost a year now and has failed utterly? Nope! She’s quoted right in the article, speaking as if from her metaphorical dais, that imaginary place of calm, controlled, power. Also sprach die Königin von Hollywood:

“[The GWHFC and Salvation Army] don’t perceive it will be much of a net increase of people coming to Hollywood, but we will have to see. I don’t necessarily buy that,” Morrison said. “The concern is not about the meal program, it’s what happens before and afterwards. When you are embarking on a project like this that is not self-contained, it is going to have implications for the surrounding neighborhood. We definitely will be watching. We will be tracking to see if there is any increase [in homeless people coming to Hollywood]. If we are 60 days into it and there is no impact, then we are golden.”

The tacit assumption here is that anyone cares whether or not she is “golden.” In fact, if anyone at all cared, she would have been able to stop the whole thing in January, when she first started tracking it, or in May, when she first started whining about it in public. But she couldn’t, so why would she be able to now? She’s putting up a good front, but she’s putting up a front.

And that’s not all! Note how she says that ” We definitely will be watching. We will be tracking to see if there is any increase [in homeless people coming to Hollywood].” Well, she’s talking about the BID Patrol watching, obviously, and that presents an interesting legal problem for her. Also, recall that CD13 Councildude and Darth Four-Eyes Mitch O’Farrell has been trying to get the Food Coalition shut down since about 20 minutes after he took office in 2013. He has something silly to say about the whole thing too. Read on, friends, for details!
Continue reading Kerry Morrison’s Fallibility Exposed Publicly By Park La Brea News As Greater West Hollywood Food Coalition Move To Hollywood Salvation Army Is Finalized But She (Almost) Keeps Stiff Upper Lip. Mitch O’Farrell, On The Other Hand, Still Doesn’t Get This Whole “Free Country” Thing…

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