Category Archives: Los Angeles City Government

In August 2016 Lorena Parker Of The San Pedro Historic Waterfront BID Interceded With Joe Buscaino’s Staff To Try To Fix Pending Criminal Charges Against Property Owners, Probably Including BID Board President Eric Eisenberg, Stemming From Ongoing Unsanitary Dumpster Conditions, Which Seems Not Only Unethical, But Also Like An Illegal Use Of Assessment Funds

In July 2016, San Pedro Historic Waterfront BID executive directrix Lorena Parker contacted CD15 staffers Ryan Ferguson and Jacob Haik1 apparently in an attempt to have them fix pending citations and criminal charges against local property owners, possibly including BID board president Eric Eisenberg, stemming from sanitation violations involving dumpsters. You can read the details in this email chain (as always, there’s a transcription after the break).2 This episode quite possibly involves the dumpster next to the Cabrillo Hotel, the filthy state of which has been obsessively3 chronicled by Bruce Ecker at The Renaissance Dump website.

We here at MK.Org have discussed at length the much-violated requirement that business improvement districts only spend their money on activities that are approved by the City Council at the time the BIDs are established.4 These preapproved activities are enshrined in the so-called Management District Plan. The San Pedro BID’s MDP can be found here (Careful — huge PDF download). You can read it over and over again and you will find no mention whatsoever of paying Lorena Parker a salary so that she can try to get Joe Buscaino’s staff to try to make criminal charges go away.

And why would anyone think this is OK? Aside from the fact that having Lorena Parker act as a fixer isn’t listed in the MDP, there’s the simple fact that if people have criminal charges pending against them based on the unsanitary state of their dumpsters, they ought not to be seeking intercession to halt the proceedings. Instead, they ought to clean up their damn dumpsters. This is citizenship 101.5 And the elected officials of the City ought to be enforcing the City’s laws for the benefit of its citizens, rather than meeting with zillionaires in an attempt to subvert them.
Continue reading In August 2016 Lorena Parker Of The San Pedro Historic Waterfront BID Interceded With Joe Buscaino’s Staff To Try To Fix Pending Criminal Charges Against Property Owners, Probably Including BID Board President Eric Eisenberg, Stemming From Ongoing Unsanitary Dumpster Conditions, Which Seems Not Only Unethical, But Also Like An Illegal Use Of Assessment Funds

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Housing Committee Hears Cedillo/Harris-Dawson Just Cause Eviction Motion, Public Comments From Opposition Continue To Make No Damn Sense Whatsoever, Motion Scheduled For Full Council On June 28

This is just a short (very late, sorry) report on the progress of the Cedillo/Harris-Dawson motion (found in CF 17-0454) to extend the same protections against arbitrary evictions granted to tenants in buildings covered by the Rent Stabilization Ordinance to all tenants in the City. The motion was heard by the Housing Committee at its June 21 meeting. A report was approved (transcription after the break) and sent to the full Council, where it is on the calendar for June 28.1 The motion instructs HCIDLA to report back to the Council on the feasibility of preparing an ordinance. It looks like it’s headed for passage, and it looks like Cedillo is pushing it hard, but there’s a lot to be done before we have a law in place.

Anyway, I downloaded the audio of the meeting from the City and put it up on Archive.Org if you’re interested. This item starts at 1:28:58.2 It’s definitely worth a listen. Both Cedillo and Harris-Dawson are actually willing to argue with the opposing comment-makers, which is refreshing behavior from our Council, and they don’t seem willing to compromise about this ordinance, which bodes well for its success.3 In particular, Gil Cedillo repeatedly makes the point that it makes no sense at all to have one level of protection for poorer tenants in RSO buildings and another, weaker level for tenants in non-RSO buildings.

Meanwhile, it’s instructive to listen to the opposing public comments, if only to understand the class rage and the sense of entitlement of the property-owning classes in Los Angeles. They’re so used to getting their way that they don’t seem to even feel like their arguments have to make sense. Just for instance, listen to this comment by Valley landlord and former bandleader Horace Heidt, Jr. (transcription after the break). His argument seems to be that if they’re required to have reasons for evicting tenants, the construction of new units will halt completely. It’s not the worst comment, it’s not the meanest comment, but it’s unique in that he makes no attempt whatsoever to connect the two propositions. Why would this happen? Being a zillionaire, it seems, means never having to explain what the heck you’re talking about.
Continue reading Housing Committee Hears Cedillo/Harris-Dawson Just Cause Eviction Motion, Public Comments From Opposition Continue To Make No Damn Sense Whatsoever, Motion Scheduled For Full Council On June 28

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Why Is The City Of Los Angeles Paying More Than Six Million Dollars To Registered Lobbying Firm Liner LLP, Recently Famous For Violating The Municipal Lobbying Ordinance In The Course Of Helping To Sink The Skid Row Neighborhood Council?

Powerhouse zillionaire litigation and lobbying firm Liner LLP has come up a lot around here recently, mostly due to the fact that shady anonymous Delaware-registered probably-a-front-for-Capital-Foresight shell corporation United DTLA hired Liner, and specifically ethically challenged non-lobbyist Liner partner Rockard Delgadillo, to violate a bunch of laws in the course of convincing1 suprisingly humanlike CD14 repster Jose Huizar to change up all the rules at the last minute in a truly shameless yet tragically successful effort to torpedo the recent Skid Row Neighborhood Council formation effort.

So what a surprise it was to see Liner LLP come up in yesterday’s crop of automated emails from the City Clerk,2 specifically here in Council File 17-0648. It turns out that Liner has been acting as outside defense counsel for the City in the recently settled DWP class action lawsuit. According to this letter from DWP to the City Council they have blown through the original allocation of $4,800,000 and need another $1,622,200 to finish the job. To do this they evidently need the Council to adopt this amendment to the contract, and the issue is on the calendar for June 30.
Continue reading Why Is The City Of Los Angeles Paying More Than Six Million Dollars To Registered Lobbying Firm Liner LLP, Recently Famous For Violating The Municipal Lobbying Ordinance In The Course Of Helping To Sink The Skid Row Neighborhood Council?

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Emails First Published Here Used As Source In LA Weekly Story On Skid Row Neighborhood Council, Just Published Today!

Hot off the presses! How the Skid Row Neighborhood Council was Defeated by Jason McGahan published mere hours ago in the L.A. Weekly. Tells the same sad story you’ve been reading here, there, and everywhere, but with an actual discussion of the reprehensible involvement of Scott Gray, Capital Foresight, Liner Law, Rocky Delgadillo, and the rest of the zillionaire Klown Kar Krew.1 It’s a rare experience for me to read an article in a newspaper where I understand the subject thoroughly and not see any errors at all.2 This is a fine piece of work. Read it!

This story is in no way about us, but we’re thrilled to have been able to help.
Continue reading Emails First Published Here Used As Source In LA Weekly Story On Skid Row Neighborhood Council, Just Published Today!

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A Potential Solution To A Perennial Problem At The Nexus Of Los Angeles Business Improvement Districts, The Municipal Lobbying Ordinance, And A Few Widely Abused Exemptions To The California Public Records Act

The life-cycle of a request for documents under the California Public Records Act goes like this: A member of the public asks to see records held by some agency. The agency has ten days1 to respond with a determination which states whether the agency has any such records and, if so, when the agency will be ready to hand them over.2 In general agencies are required to produce all requested records.

However, CPRA lists certain classes of records which are exempt from production. Some of these so-called exemptions are weirdly specific, e.g. at §6253.5 we read:

…statewide, county, city, and district initiative, referendum, and recall petitions … and all memoranda prepared by the county elections officials in the examination of the petitions indicating which registered voters have signed particular petitions shall not be deemed to be public records…

One of the two most important sections of CPRA with respect to exemptions is found at §6254, which consists of innumerable sections, each listing an exemption or a broad class of exemptions. And as completely in favor of absolute government transparency as I am, it’s clear that at least some of these are absolutely justified. For instance, §6254(r) exempts:

Records of Native American graves, cemeteries, and sacred places and records of Native American places, features, and objects … maintained by, or in the possession of, the Native American Heritage Commission, another state agency, or a local agency.

And there are sections which exempt such things as reports on vulnerabilities to terrorism, library circulation records, certain financial data that people are required by law to submit, and so on. These are mostly noncontroversial. Others, however, are much less defensible, at least as applied.
Continue reading A Potential Solution To A Perennial Problem At The Nexus Of Los Angeles Business Improvement Districts, The Municipal Lobbying Ordinance, And A Few Widely Abused Exemptions To The California Public Records Act

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Hundreds Of Emails Between Melrose BID And The City Of LA Include (1) Definitive Proof That Executive Director Don Duckworth Violated The Municipal Lobbying Ordinance In 2013 But Unfortunately The Statute Of Limitations Has Effectively Run And (2) More Brown-Act-Violating Bylaws That No One At The Clerk’s Office, For Shame, Seems To Have Even Noticed

Donald Duckworth, who runs both the Westchester Town Center BID and the Melrose BID, is slow but, it seems, pretty steady about fulfilling my incessant CPRA requests. And thus, just yesterday I received from him four jumbo-sized mbox files just chock-full of gooey email goodness! This batch comprises 2016 emails between the City of LA and the Melrose BID, and can be found in various useful formats here on Archive.Org.

I will be writing about various items in this document dump soon enough,1 but today I just want to focus on a couple of interesting items, supplied to me as attachments to some of these emails and cleaned up a little for ease of reading.2 Here’s the short version, and you can find details and the usual ranting mockery after the break:

  • Melrose BID Formation Project Hourly Charge Breakdown — Don Duckworth not only runs the Melrose BID, he was also the consultant who oversaw its establishment, for which he seems to have been paid $80,000 by the City. This is a detailed breakdown of his hours and charges over the course of the project formation. If you’ve been following my ongoing project, aimed at turning in BID consultants for not registering as lobbyists,3 you’ll recognize how astonishing and how important this document is. Unfortunately Don Duckworth’s work on this project wound down in the Summer of 2013, which means that the four year statute of limitations for violations of the Municipal Lobbying Ordinance has essentially run out. The document will be endlessly useful, though, in estimating time spent by consultants on their other projects.
  • Melrose Business Improvement Association bylaws — The Melrose Business Improvement Association is the property owners’ association that administers the Melrose BID. These are their bylaws. I discovered recently that the freaking Larchmont Village BID had bylaws that directly contradicted the Brown Act. Now it turns out that the Melrose BID has precisely the same problem. It’s possible that Larchmont Village changed their ways, but so far, anyway, there’s no reason to suspect that Melrose has done.

Continue reading Hundreds Of Emails Between Melrose BID And The City Of LA Include (1) Definitive Proof That Executive Director Don Duckworth Violated The Municipal Lobbying Ordinance In 2013 But Unfortunately The Statute Of Limitations Has Effectively Run And (2) More Brown-Act-Violating Bylaws That No One At The Clerk’s Office, For Shame, Seems To Have Even Noticed

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Gil Cedillo and Marqueece Harris-Dawson Introduce Measure To Prohibit Evictions Of Renters In Non-Stabilized Units Except For Just Cause As Defined In The RSO

This story is way off my beat, but it’s interesting and I haven’t seen it covered anywhere else, so I thought I’d write a short note about it.1 On April 19, Gil Cedillo and Marqueece Harris-Dawson initiated Council File 17-0454 with this motion, which instructs HCIDLA to recommend to the Council an ordinance which would prohibit landlords from evicting tenants in units NOT subject to the Rent Stabilization Ordinance without “just cause.”2

Just cause would be defined as it is in the RSO, which at §151.09 gives a list of 14 allowable reasons for eviction. Laws like this are being adopted throughout the Bay Area, and the motion instructs HCIDLA to ask cities up there how they’re doing it.

This ordinance won’t solve everything, and of course there are some loopholes, most notably in paragraph 10, which essentially duplicates the much-abused, much-reviled Ellis Act, allowing evictions in case the owner is going to demolish the structure or remove it from the rental market. But nothing’s perfect, and a law like this would be far, far better than nothing. It will be interesting to see what kind of pushback the zillionaires apply. My guess is that it’s too politically harmful for them to come out explicitly against it, so they’ll support it and rely on loopholes and an always-sympathetic City government to be sure that it won’t actually apply to them at all.

Turn the page for the complete text of the motion.
Continue reading Gil Cedillo and Marqueece Harris-Dawson Introduce Measure To Prohibit Evictions Of Renters In Non-Stabilized Units Except For Just Cause As Defined In The RSO

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At Various Hearings Grayce Liu Seems To Have Concealed The Fact That Homeless People Faced Documentation-Based Obstacles To Online Voting In Skid Row Neighborhood Council Election In Addition To Lack Of Internet Access. She And Her Minions Also Gave Personalized Registration Assistance To Scott Gray And Carol Schatz. What’s Wrong With This Picture?

Background: You can read my previous stories on the Skid Row Neighborhood Council formation effort and also see Gale Holland’s article in the Times for a more mainstream perspective.

Recently I obtained a few emails which shed even more light on the already unbelievable injustice worked upon the Skid Row Neighborhood Council Formation Committee by CD14 rep José Huizar. As has already been widely reported he unilaterally imposed online voting less than two weeks before the election. He did this in the face of explicit testimony that homeless residents would be irremediably disadvantaged by their relative lack of access to the Internet, a problem known as the digital divide.

He also ignored the serious problem that allowing online voting automatically registered more than 1,000 voters who could reasonably be expected to vote against the SRNC formation effort.1 These 1,000 voters obviously determined the outcome of the election given that, according to Gale Holland of the LA Times, there were 1,398 online ballots cast and 807 were cast against the SRNC.

Now, in addition to these trangressions, newly obtained emails reveal the fact that homeless people without adequate documentation were forbidden from voting online. Also, even non-homeless people, even people as powerful as Carol Schatz and Scott Gray,2 who did have adequate documentation had trouble registering to vote online and were assisted on an individual basis by Department of Neighborhood Empowerment staffers Stephen Box and Mike Fong. How much more difficult, then, was it for homeless people who weren’t on a first name basis with City staff, to register?

Finally, an email from Grayce Liu reveals that online registration was cut off at 11:59 p.m. on April 2, four days before the election. It appears from the Council File that the Council’s approval of online voting wasn’t finalized until March 28, which means that it ran for less than a week. This shows the role of the preregistered 1,000 voters mentioned above to be even more crucial than previously thought, given that proponents had to start essentially from scratch with the difficult process of online registration.
Continue reading At Various Hearings Grayce Liu Seems To Have Concealed The Fact That Homeless People Faced Documentation-Based Obstacles To Online Voting In Skid Row Neighborhood Council Election In Addition To Lack Of Internet Access. She And Her Minions Also Gave Personalized Registration Assistance To Scott Gray And Carol Schatz. What’s Wrong With This Picture?

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Why In The World Did City Employees Avak Sarafian And Huizar Staffer Kevin Ocubillo Attempt To Get The Historic Core BID An Illegitimate Waiver From Its Statutory And Contractual Obligation To Disclose The Profits It Made From Slavery?!

In 2003 the City of Los Angeles passed a Slavery Disclosure Ordinance,1 which, in short, requires most firms that contract with the City to disclose any profits they2 made from American slavery prior to 1865. The L.A. Times published a good contemporaneous summary of the issues, which is worth a read.

This measure was promoted by pro-reparations advocates as a (mostly) symbolic expression of the City’s opposition to slavery. It’s mostly symbolic in, first, that it only requires disclosure. In fact, the only actual tangible requirement of the law is that contractors complete a disclosure affadavit. No firms that profited from slavery are prevented from doing business with the City. Also, any number of types of firms are exempt from the law. An exhaustive list of exceptions can be found at §10.41.3.

Among these are, most crucially, financial institutions. Since banks, stockbrokers, and other such firms doing business in finance are likely either to have existed prior to the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment or else to have acquired financial firms that were, and since every major business in the U.S. during slavery times made money from the stolen labor of slaves,3 this is no minor exception.

Another huge exception is that the law only applies to slavery in the United States before 1865.4 Of course, slavery in present-day Los Angeles is not only rampant, it’s not only tolerated, but is probably pretty acceptable, at least to elected City officials given the likely level of campaign contributions made by slavers. After all, it’s not poor people buying those slaves, and probably not politically uninvolved people, either. Just for instance, between them, modern-day slaveholders Ray and Ghada Irani have given more than $22,000 to various candidates.5 Given the obsessive contribution-seeking behavior of our Councilmembers, this is more than enough explanation for the narrow scope of the law.6

And finally, for whatever reason, §10.41.3(E) exempts 501(c)(3) corporations, and that brings us to this morning’s actual subject, which, believe it or not, is the Historic Core Business Improvement District.
Continue reading Why In The World Did City Employees Avak Sarafian And Huizar Staffer Kevin Ocubillo Attempt To Get The Historic Core BID An Illegitimate Waiver From Its Statutory And Contractual Obligation To Disclose The Profits It Made From Slavery?!

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New MK.Org Coffee Mug Honoring Leron Gubler And The Hollywood Chamber Of Commerce For Being Extra Super Duper Law Abiding, Also Tons Of New Fashion District BID Emails

My recent post about the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and its lobbying disclosure activity was so popular, or at least the picture that accompanied the post was so popular, that, effectively although not actually by popular demand, we here at MK.Org created yet another souvenir gift mug, an accessory with which you too can tell the world that you’re opposed to bad BIDness in Los Angeles and also is very handy for the drinking of coffee and other hot beverages! We here at MK.Org feel that this item has the potential to outsell our current bestselling item, the Blair Besten anti-CPRA award mug. Help us make that dream come true, friends!

Turn the page for link to newly obtained emails from the Fashion District.
Continue reading New MK.Org Coffee Mug Honoring Leron Gubler And The Hollywood Chamber Of Commerce For Being Extra Super Duper Law Abiding, Also Tons Of New Fashion District BID Emails

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