Category Archives: Los Angeles City Government

Baldwin Hills Elementary School Parents Present Resolution To West Adams Neighborhood Council Declaring School A “Charter Free Zone” — Co-Locating Privatizers From New Los Angeles Charter Schools Speak In Opposition — But ‘Twas All In Vain As the Neighborhood Council Approved The Resolution — Which Of Course Is Advisory But This Is An Important Symbolic Victory For Public Education In Los Angeles

Since January I’ve been following the story of New Los Angeles Charter Elementary School and its forcible colonization of Baldwin Hills Elementary School. I was inspired by the UTLA strike and this fine article by Daniel Hernandez of LA Taco. And after a relatively minimal amount of fuss I managed to obtain a small cache of emails that revealed a great deal of tension between the privatizers and the public school, which inspired the privatizers to seek another school site for the 2019-2020 year.

However and sadly they were unable to do so and hence are forced to spend at least one more year being universally scorned on the BHES campus. Which brings us up to last Monday, March 18, 2019, when a brave and determined group of BHES parents brought a resolution to the West Adams Neighborhood Council asking them to declare the BHES campus a “charter-free zone.” There is a transcription of this remarkable document after the break.

So I attended the meeting and made video of the BHES segment.1 And you can watch the whole thing here on YouTube or here on Archive.Org, which is extra good if you want to download it. The NC Board gave each side seven minutes to speak on their positions. Also, Vernail Skaggs of LAUSD spoke to explain how the co-location process works. There was vigorous public comment as well, and in the end the Board voted 8 to 3 in favor of supporting the resolution and declaring Baldwin Hills Elementary School a “charter free zone.”

NC resolutions are advisory even on the City of Los Angeles, and since LAUSD is completely independent of the City government, they’re even less than advisory in that context. Nevertheless, this is an important victory. The more NCs and other community groups in Los Angeles speak out against charter schools the more incentive City politicians will have to oppose them. The school board and the legislature take the opinions of our City pols seriously,2 so even though this resolution is symbolic in itself, it’s nevertheless an important piece of a large-scale anti-charter movement in Los Angeles.

Like I said, the whole video is definitely worth watching. But it is over an hour long. Turn the page for links into the highlights with a little commentary, not to mention a little mockery. There’s also a transcription of the resolution itself.
Continue reading Baldwin Hills Elementary School Parents Present Resolution To West Adams Neighborhood Council Declaring School A “Charter Free Zone” — Co-Locating Privatizers From New Los Angeles Charter Schools Speak In Opposition — But ‘Twas All In Vain As the Neighborhood Council Approved The Resolution — Which Of Course Is Advisory But This Is An Important Symbolic Victory For Public Education In Los Angeles

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July 1, 2013 — Gil Cedillo’s First Day In Office — Ultra-Corrupt Lobbyist Morrie Goldman Needed A Favor Right Away — Senior Staffer Arturo Chavez Was All Like — None Of Our Office Machines Are Even Working Yet But For You Morrie Anything! — Setting The Tone For The Rest Of Cedillo’s Term

Been six weeks or so since last I wrote about selections from this stinking heap consisting of 242 PDF pages of problematic ethical situations involving Gil Cedillo’s senior staff advisor Arturo Chavez and a rampaging gang of corrupt lobbyists. And first among these corrupt rampagers is Mister Corruption himself, Morrie Freaking Goldman. Talked of in FBI offices alongside Jose Huizar, buddy of Gil Cedillo.

And today we have a small story of a single day in the CD1-repping life of Gil Cedillo. But not just any day. It was the first day of the rest of Cedillo’s term. July 1, 2013. The fax wasn’t even working yet.1 But the influence machine was working, and that’s how Morrie Goldman came to leave a message for Arturo Chavez on July 1, 2013 asking for a favor and later following up by email: “Did you get my message re: 1111 Wilshire CUB hearing?”

And these 1111 Wilshire people didn’t just parachute in out of nowhere. They were heavily invested in the CD1 race that Cedillo ultimately won. At first they weren’t interested in Cedillo at all, but rather his opponent, Jose Gardea. As Ed Reyes’s chief of staff Gardea was doubtless the establishment candidate and presumptive heir of the moment, which is doubtless why two separate anonymous LLCs named after 1111 Wilshire gave Gardea a total of $2,100 in the 2013 CD1 campaign.

But at some point they evidently realized that they’d better hedge their bets, so in June of 2013 they gave Cedillo $700 as well. And that, children, is doubtless why Morrie Goldman had Arturo Chavez’s phone number on the first day of Gil Cedillo’s term. And doubtless why Arturo Chavez answered Goldman’s demands. And told him that yes, Cedillo was writing a letter, and yes, he could pick it up in the morning.

And that, friends, is what $700 buys you from Gil Cedillo, and that, friends, is how Gil Cedillo and his senior staff spent their first day at 200 N. Spring Street. And every other day since then, looks like. Turn the page for a transcription of the entire email conversation and please, take a look at the whole spool because there are doubtless unmined gems lurking in there!
Continue reading July 1, 2013 — Gil Cedillo’s First Day In Office — Ultra-Corrupt Lobbyist Morrie Goldman Needed A Favor Right Away — Senior Staffer Arturo Chavez Was All Like — None Of Our Office Machines Are Even Working Yet But For You Morrie Anything! — Setting The Tone For The Rest Of Cedillo’s Term

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Skid Row Neighborhood Council Online Voting Contractor Everyone Counts Seems To Have Gone Out Of Business — Which Seems To Be Making It Impossible For The Formation Committee To Get Evidence For Their Ongoing Lawsuit Against The City Of Los Angeles — So Yesterday They Filed A Motion Asking The Judge To Compel The City To Produce — Or Else To Reject All Online Votes Because They Can’t Be Verified — Which Would Cause SRNC-FC To Win! — Perhaps A Long Shot — But An Audacious One

You may recall that in 2017 Skid Row held an election seeking to form a new neighborhood council as a subdivision of DLANC but Jose Huizar and a bunch of corrupt downtown zillionaires and business improvement districts conspired to illegally thwart their effort by allowing illegal online voting and illegal out-of-district polling locations. The whole mishegoss is the subject of an ongoing and monumental lawsuit.

The evil plan worked as intended with the subdivision proposal putatively defeated by a mere 60 votes out of more than 1,500 with the online voters markedly skewed against formation. Thus information about these online votes is essential evidence for the plaintiffs. The paper ballots ran 183 to 19 in favor of formation whereas the online ballots, at least according to the City of Los Angeles, ran 583 in favor and 807 against.

But Everyone Counts, the contractor hired by the City of Los Angeles to run the online part of the election, was recently bought by a company called Votem, which turned around and went out of business. And the City of Los Angeles has therefore been unable to track down the required evidence. This failure led the SRNC proponents to file an audacious motion with the court yesterday seeking to compel the City to hand over the evidence.

Or, if they remain unable to do so, to void the online ballots as a remedy for the fact that there’s no way for them to analyze the evidence and to compensate them for the fact that the City failed in its duty to preserve evidence. Of course, voiding these ballots would give the election to the Skid Row Neighborhood Council proponents. And of course, that would be a good thing, and in the interests of truth and justice.

To quote the SRNC-FC’s lawyer, Grant Beuchel, “Los Angeles is a pay to play city, and my clients do not have enough money to play.” The hearing for this motion is on the calendar in Department 86 on July 12, 2019 at 9:30 a.m. in the Stanley Mosk Courthouse. Maybe we’ll see you there! And turn the page for transcribed selections.
Continue reading Skid Row Neighborhood Council Online Voting Contractor Everyone Counts Seems To Have Gone Out Of Business — Which Seems To Be Making It Impossible For The Formation Committee To Get Evidence For Their Ongoing Lawsuit Against The City Of Los Angeles — So Yesterday They Filed A Motion Asking The Judge To Compel The City To Produce — Or Else To Reject All Online Votes Because They Can’t Be Verified — Which Would Cause SRNC-FC To Win! — Perhaps A Long Shot — But An Audacious One

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LAPD Produces Three Records From The Regional Public Private Infrastructure Collaboration System In Response To My CPRA Suit!

In February, my hand forced by the mindless obstructionism of the City of Los Angeles with respect to compliance with the California Public Records Act, I filed a petition asking a judge to compel them to hand over two classes of records. First were private person’s arrest forms generated in Hollywood in 2018. The point here is to be able once again to track arrests by the BID patrol after their appalling 2016 contract amendment took these records, at least for now, out of the reach of the CPRA.

The second kind of records I’m seeking in the suit are postings to the Regional Public Private Infrastructure Collaboration System, familiarly known as RPPICS. This is some kind of cop bulletin board that a lot of BIDs have access to, and the LAPD claimed that everything on the system could be withheld from me under the so-called investigative materials exemption to the CPRA, found at §6254(f).

And it’s these last ones that seem to have cracked the case. Last Thursday the City of Los Angeles, in the person of Deputy City Attorney Jonathan Bislig, sent over this letter admitting that the City possessed responsive RPPICS material that was not exempt and yet had not been produced. And they attached four pages of material, constituting three responsive records. There’s a transcription of the letter and of one of the RPPICS items after the break, and here are links to all three:

This is not only hugely important because we finally get to see some material from the hitherto top secret RPPICS, but also because the fact that the City released previously withheld material as a result of a suit means that I’m the “prevailing party” and therefore that the City has to pay my lawyer. This was held in the monumental 1991 case Belth v. Garamendi, which interpreted §6259(d) of the CPRA thus:

In this case we hold that Government Code section 6259, subdivision (d), mandates an award of court costs and reasonable attorney fees to a plaintiff who prevails in litigation filed under the California’s Public Records Act. We further hold that the plaintiff has prevailed within the meaning of the statute when he or she files an action which results in defendant releasing a copy of a previously withheld document.

This release is also hugely important because it shows really clearly that LAPD’s original denial was completely bogus. There’s nothing investigative at all about these three records. They falsely characterized them that way purely so they didn’t have to produce them, or even search for them, for that matter. It’s shameful that LAPD, and the City of Los Angeles as a whole, treats its mandated duties under the CPRA so lightly. It’s also shameful that the only means to enforce compliance is a lawsuit.

Together, these shameful facts mean that the only possible strategy is to keep suing them until they get their act together. It’s going to be expensive for taxpayers, who have to foot the City’s legal bill and also the requester’s in successful cases, but as Sigmund Freud famously said, if you don’t pay you don’t get better. More news as I have it, and turn the page for some transcriptions.
Continue reading LAPD Produces Three Records From The Regional Public Private Infrastructure Collaboration System In Response To My CPRA Suit!

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It Appears That The University Of Southern California Is In Violation Of Its Memorandum Of Understanding With LAPD — USC Police Are Required To Submit Regular Reports Describing Their Activities And Giving Various Statistics — According To LAPD Discovery In Response To A CPRA Request There Are No Reports — Given The Vast Off-Campus Area That USC Cops Cover It Is Disconcerting That There Is No Way To Know What They’re Doing — And It Is A Massive Dereliction Of LAPD’s Duty To The People Of Los Angeles That They Evidently Are Allowing USC To Shirk Its Legal Reporting Duties

So it turns out that security guards at private universities can actually be peace officers under California law if certain conditions are satisfied. This is authorized by the Penal Code at §830.75, which lists the fairly minimal conditions. They include a requirement that “[t]he institution of higher education and the appropriate local law enforcement agency have entered into a memorandum of understanding.” Once the conditions are met, the law allows the security guards to act as police officers on public property within a mile of their campus.

And the University of Southern California has taken full advantage of this opportunity, entering into the appropriate MOU with the Los Angeles Police Department so that its security guards, collectively known as the Department of Public Safety, have the arrest power and are allowed to exercise it within the boundaries of the map shown above. I obtained a copy of this MOU from LAPD under the CPRA, and it’s well worth reading.

If you’re paying attention at all you’ll have heard that this situation, with USC policing a vast off-campus area in neighborhoods whose residents are mostly poor, mostly black or brown, is intolerably abusive. Sahra Sulaiman, for one, has been writing about it for years on Streetsblog. See e.g. this 2013 overview and this more recent description of yet another appalling incident.

When the LAPD is involved in activities like this, well, it’s not so easy to stop them, but it is at least possible to use the Public Records Act to try understand what they’re up to. This is not so clearly possible with USC, since they’re a private school and not prima facie subject to the CPRA.1 But the MOU does provide for some transparency about USC operations.

In particular take a look at Article 5, which requires all kinds of reporting about police activities by USC, all of it to be submitted to LAPD.2 USC DPS is required to submit reports of significant incidents, daily reports of calls, weekly crime statistics, monthly reports of all activities pertaining to the exercise of the powers granted by the MOU, and other stuff besides.

So naturally I asked LAPD for copies of all of these reports from 2018 and 2019 under the CPRA.3 And imagine my surprise when the LAPD told me this afternoon that they didn’t have any records. They even said that they asked Southwest Division to look for them, which was the right thing to do as they’re the designated recipients under the MOU.

So if LAPD Discovery is telling the truth and no one actually has copies of all these reports that USC is supposed to submit, then USC is in violation of the MOU and they certainly ought to stop patrolling off-campus immediately and have all the powers granted to them under its terms suspended until they come back into compliance.

This isn’t just some kind of technicality, either. If USC DPS is going to operate on public property, detain and arrest citizens of Los Angeles who aren’t remotely interacting with USC property or employees, and so on, then we have a right to keep track of what exactly they’re up to. If they actually haven’t been submitting these reports, or if LAPD isn’t retaining them or is hiding them, then it’s impossible for us to understand USC’s operations on our streets, which is unacceptable.

On the other hand, obviously, it’s possible that LAPD is either lying or mistaken, either of which would be completely not at all surprising to anyone who’s dealt with them before. So I asked Southwest Division to put me in touch with whoever is their USC liason, and I asked USC senior vice something or other Todd Dickey, who signed the most recent amendment to the MOU, to please let me know what’s going on. If and when I hear back from them well, you’ll read about it here. Meanwhile, turn the page for all the transcriptions.
Continue reading It Appears That The University Of Southern California Is In Violation Of Its Memorandum Of Understanding With LAPD — USC Police Are Required To Submit Regular Reports Describing Their Activities And Giving Various Statistics — According To LAPD Discovery In Response To A CPRA Request There Are No Reports — Given The Vast Off-Campus Area That USC Cops Cover It Is Disconcerting That There Is No Way To Know What They’re Doing — And It Is A Massive Dereliction Of LAPD’s Duty To The People Of Los Angeles That They Evidently Are Allowing USC To Shirk Its Legal Reporting Duties

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Emails From CD13 Reveal Identities Of People Who Installed Anti-Homeless Planters In Hollywood Along Cahuenga Blvd And Lillian Way — And Their Absolutely Appalling Conversations About — For Instance — Denying Homeless People Food To Encourage Them To Move — So Far There’s No Evidence That CD13 Was Directly Complicit — But They Sure Didn’t Do Anything To Stop Them — And Hollywood SLO Eddie Guerra — The Illegal Donation Solicitor — Certainly Was Complicit — Eddie Guerra: “Unfortunately We Are In The Displacement Business” — Eddie Guerra: “[Homeless Displacement] Is Too Sensitive To Discuss Over Email.” — Eddie Guerra: “Power Washing Doesn’t Chase Away Homeless, It Just Makes The Sidewalks Cleaner And They Like It!”

A quintessential slogan of my mother’s generation of feminists is that the personal is political. And this is as true and as profound as it ever was. But it’s also worth remembering that the political is personal. The powers of government are tools, weapons, wielded by individual human beings making daily conscious choices to use these public resources to further their personal goals, no matter how much they want to pretend otherwise, that they’re doing the will of the people or some other abominable abstraction.

And one of the things I do here at MK.Org is to expose these choicemakers, to smoke them out of the holes in which they huddle, all carefully camouflaged round with weighty principles and abstract whatnot, to reveal the little men crouching behind those shimmering curtains.1 This project is viable because, well, you know all that bad stuff that “the City of Los Angeles” does? It’s all being done by individual people, mostly organized via email, and therefore subject to the California Public Records Act.

And one of these bad things that these privilege-addled sociopaths do is to install illegal and appalling planters and fences on our public sidewalks so that there’s no room for tents. They’ve done this in Venice, they’re doing it in Koreatown, and they’re doing it in Hollywood as well. So I asked my good friends at CD132 if they could give me all their emails about these Hollywood ones and, today, they gave me a bunch!3 You can find them all here on Archive.Org, along with a bunch of pictures I took of the planters.4

One of the things we learn from these emails is that the people who attack homeless residents of our streets by installing these antisocial planters do it for really stupid reasons. For instance, Jennifer Mullen of Quixote Studios just doesn’t like the smell of marijuana, at least not if homeless people are smoking it. She thinks it gives customers the wrong impression of her business. Her email address is jenniferm@quixote.com.

And Andrea Kim of Lucky Scent, located at 726 N. Cahuenga Blvd 90038, doesn’t like the fact that homeless people own bikes and sometimes ask people for money. Even people who arrive in Ubers! Her colleagues Adam Eastwood and Franco Wright agree with her that this is intolerable behavior. Their email addresses are, respectively, andrea@luckyscent.com, adam@luckyscent.com, and franco@luckyscent.com.

As for Abbey Jackloski of the Hollywood Production Center, well, she doesn’t even feel like she needs to give reasons for her hatred of the homeless residents of Lillian Way.5 She just tells the thoroughly corrupt LAPD officer Eddie Guerra that “that would be amazing” if he could just get rid of them so they can install more planters. Her email address is abbey@hollywoodpc.com.

And last but in no way at all least we have the freakishly hip post-creatives6 at HQ Creative Office Freaking Space, who own this rusty space alien at 720 N. Cahuenga Blvd. And they also don’t need a reason. Their in-house sorceress of hipness, Na’ama Termechi, sends an email to disgraced SLO Eddie Guerra and is all like “Homeless exist. Squelch them, please.” And he does and says put in some plants when they’re gone and then Termechi and her conspirators put in the meanest, rustiest, horriblest appropriators of public space imaginable, as pictured at the top of the post. Her email address is naama@hqdevelopment.net.

But none of that nonsense is as interesting as this months-long email conversation7 between LAPD officer Eddie Guerra and a bunch of people who own property along Cahuenga Blvd and Lillian way north of Melrose and south of Santa Monica Blvd. He tells them to put in planters, he tells them how to put them in, and off they go, talking about getting donations from local nurseries and pushing homeless people away to somewhere else.
Continue reading Emails From CD13 Reveal Identities Of People Who Installed Anti-Homeless Planters In Hollywood Along Cahuenga Blvd And Lillian Way — And Their Absolutely Appalling Conversations About — For Instance — Denying Homeless People Food To Encourage Them To Move — So Far There’s No Evidence That CD13 Was Directly Complicit — But They Sure Didn’t Do Anything To Stop Them — And Hollywood SLO Eddie Guerra — The Illegal Donation Solicitor — Certainly Was Complicit — Eddie Guerra: “Unfortunately We Are In The Displacement Business” — Eddie Guerra: “[Homeless Displacement] Is Too Sensitive To Discuss Over Email.” — Eddie Guerra: “Power Washing Doesn’t Chase Away Homeless, It Just Makes The Sidewalks Cleaner And They Like It!”

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52.4% Of All Arrests In The Entire City Of Los Angeles For Public Urination/Defecation From 2009 Through February 2019 Were Made In Just Six LAPD Reporting Districts In The Hollywood Entertainment District BID — Yet More Proof That Business Improvement Districts Oppress Homeless People Through Selective Enforcement — And More Proof That The Hollywood BID Patrol Is Completely Off The Chain — And Has Been Running A Private Police State For Years — With The City’s Full Blessing And Collusion Of Course

A few weeks ago I learned from some data released by the LAPD that 73% of all arrests for public marijuana use in the entire City of Los Angeles between 2016 and 2018 took place in the Hollywood Entertainment District BID.1 This is obviously a crime much more likely to be committed by homeless people, since they don’t have a private place to smoke marijuana. Here’s what I said then about the BID’s outrageous rate of arresting homeless residents:

The HPOA BID Patrol is famous for its aggressive arrest policies. In 2013 they were responsible for more than 7% of the arrests of homeless people in the entire City of Los Angeles. Their arrest rate has dropped precipitously in the last few years, but it is still unbelievably high. But since 2016 they have refused to provide data on their individual arrests in response to CPRA requests, so it hasn’t been possible to tell who they were arresting and why.2

And it turns out that LAPD will release these spreadsheets pretty quickly, and just recently they released a couple containing all arrests for violating LAMC 41.47.2, which is the public urination law. And a quick analysis reveals a very similar result. That is, there are essentially six LAPD reporting districts in the Hollywood Entertainment District BID. They are 636, 637, 645, 646, 647, and 666. There are 1135 reporting districts in the City, but these six in the BID accounted for 52.4% of all the public urination arrests in the City from 2009 through 2019, a total of 887 arrests out of 1,693.

Contrast this with Skid Row, which is encompassed by 11 reporting districts.3 Between 2009 and 2019 these 11 reporting districts accounted for only 35 arrests for public urination. That is less than 4% of the arrests in the Hollywood Entertainment District. Obviously the difference isn’t due to less public urination in Skid Row, it’s due to extreme differential enforcement. It’s really unlikely that the LAPD on its own would create such a disparity. If the BID patrol isn’t making all these arrests, nevertheless the BID must be the ultimate cause.

It’s worth noting here, by the way, that public urination was not even illegal in Los Angeles until 2003. Even at the time it was opposed by LACAN and others because the intention was obviously to further the criminalization of homelessness. In response, “Council members pledged that people would be prosecuted only in cases when there is a public toilet nearby that they failed to use.” But such pledges aren’t worth the toilet paper that’s smeared with them, and, as everyone who’s paying attention knows, the law has only been used as the anti-homeless weapon it was obviously intended to be.4

And, it turns out, mostly so used by the most toxic BID in the City, the Hollywood Entertainment District BID. Turn the page for some nifty maps showing the relationship of these six reporting districts to the BID boundaries as well as a histogram showing the freakishly uneven distribution. Click the image to enlarge.
Continue reading 52.4% Of All Arrests In The Entire City Of Los Angeles For Public Urination/Defecation From 2009 Through February 2019 Were Made In Just Six LAPD Reporting Districts In The Hollywood Entertainment District BID — Yet More Proof That Business Improvement Districts Oppress Homeless People Through Selective Enforcement — And More Proof That The Hollywood BID Patrol Is Completely Off The Chain — And Has Been Running A Private Police State For Years — With The City’s Full Blessing And Collusion Of Course

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In April 2017 Cedillo Minion Bill Cody Told Yami Duarte Of The Department Of Cultural Affairs About CD1’s Plans For That Frank Romero Mural — And She Told Cody That There Were Also Plans For A Mural By Zender On The Same Wall — And The Procedure In That Case Was To Present Both Murals To The Cultural Affairs Commission At A Public Hearing — And He Told Duarte That Cedillo Wouldn’t Want To Do It That Way — It Seems That Rules And Procedures Are For Other People In Cedillo’s And Cody’s CD1 — Especially If They Interfere With Cody’s Mad Thirst For Vengeance

Last week I wrote about how CD1 staffer Bill Cody used his position with the City to revenge himself against Highland Park community art activists Brenda Perez and Yaya Castillo by trying to get City funding pulled from a mural because a compatriot of theirs, muralist John Zender, was involved in the project. That happened in June 2018, and the backstory is well-summarized in that post, so I won’t repeat it here. The very short version is that Bill Cody was pushing a mural by Frank Romero of Los Four at least in part to silence community agitation at the destruction of a mural by Zender at the behest of the reprehensible Highland Park Business Improvement District.

Well, it turns out that in April 2018, when Cody was beginning the process of organizing Frank Romero’s new pro-Olympics mural, there was also a project by Zender proposed for the same City-owned wall. It turns out that the Cultural Affairs Commission, which must approve murals on City property,1 has a process in place to resolve just this kind of situation. Which they would have to have, of course, because the City property belongs to everyone. If more than one artist wants to put a mural somewhere there has to be a fair method of choosing.

Accordingly, Yami Duarte of the Department of Cultural Affairs told Bill Cody that all murals on City property must be approved by the CAC and that the DCA “Director is apprised that there may be another mural proposal for the same location by artist Mr. John Zender Estrada, and recommends that both projects be presented side by side to the Commission.” By the way, I don’t think that it has been previously reported that Zender had plans for a mural where Romero’s mural was going to be painted. The story is told in this brief email conversation, of which there is a complete transcription after the break.2

But, as we’ve seen, Cody really had it in for Zender, so he wasn’t having that. And he wasn’t owning his not having it either, as he attributed his unwillingness to follow the rules and let the CAC decide which mural ought to be placed on the wall to Gil Cedillo.3 Thus spake Bill Cody: “I do not think the Councilmember will want to do it that way and I think we should have a conversation about this.” Of course, the vengeful Cody doesn’t want to do anything any way that might result in some democratically empowered body such as the CAC choosing something other than what he had planned, which is keeping Zender’s work off walls in Highland Park. And of course he invokes Cedillo, the source of his power.

Cody evidently had his way with the mural, although the details are still unknown. For whatever reason Romero’s mural didn’t come up before the CAC until its January 9, 2019 meeting. Take a look at the agenda for yourself and notice that there’s nothing at all about Zender on there. And that’s the story. Sure, it’s more low key than all that lurid nonsense about Cody punishing constituents for attacking his office on Facebook, but it’s just as corrosive of democratic principles. So turn the page for a transcription and also to take a look at how the Department of Cultural Affairs thinks it’s somehow appropriate to redact the name and email address of City staffer Rebeca Guerrero.4 I asked them why, but they declined to respond.
Continue reading In April 2017 Cedillo Minion Bill Cody Told Yami Duarte Of The Department Of Cultural Affairs About CD1’s Plans For That Frank Romero Mural — And She Told Cody That There Were Also Plans For A Mural By Zender On The Same Wall — And The Procedure In That Case Was To Present Both Murals To The Cultural Affairs Commission At A Public Hearing — And He Told Duarte That Cedillo Wouldn’t Want To Do It That Way — It Seems That Rules And Procedures Are For Other People In Cedillo’s And Cody’s CD1 — Especially If They Interfere With Cody’s Mad Thirst For Vengeance

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New Los Angeles Charter Elementary School To Continue To Co-Locate At Baldwin Hills Elementary School For The 2019-2020 School Year Even Though Everyone Is Unhappy About It — LAUSD Gave NLA No Other Choice According To Executive Director Brooke Rios — But In Order To Assuage Tension New LA Will Not Use Any Additional Classroom Space — Will Be Forced To Increase Class Size To Accomplish This — Desperate Search For New Site Continues With Formation Of Board Committee

You may recall that the recent UTLA strike inspired me to spend a little time using the public records act to look into the state of charter schools in Los Angeles, and one of the ones I’m looking into a little is New Los Angeles Charter Schools. After a little of the usual nonsense I was able to obtain a bunch of emails relating to the strike.

The story behind the story, well-told in LA Taco by Daniel Hernandez, is that the public Baldwin Hills Elementary School is forced by state law to cede part of its campus to New Los Angeles Charter Elementary School, a process called co-location. It’s never been a comfortable arrangement but the strike brought everything to the surface, and the emails revealed that New Los Angeles executive director Brooke Rios didn’t think it was possible to continue co-locating there given that everyone hated them:

It is clear that the strike gave voice to the mounting tension between Baldwin Hills and New LA. To be frank—we are not welcomed there. Our Prop 39 offer will be issued on February 1, and it is likely that we will be offered one more classroom at Baldwin for 18-19. It is difficult to imagine another year on that campus after this week, and I am eager to consider other solutions.

Proposition 39 created this co-location system, and the Prop 39 offer that Rios talks about there is a formal offer from LAUSD allocating public school space to a charter school. And given that the offer would issue on February 1, I made plans to attend the next meeting of the board of directors to see what was going to happen. And if I’m going to attend, I’m going to film, of course.

So last night they held the meeting out at their secret headquarters on Washington Blvd. just east of Hauser. I rode the bus all the way out there and taped the whole damn thing. So behold! Eighty four minutes of mind-numbing mumbling with a few really interesting things interspersed. Watch it at your peril, but also take a look here where Brooke Rios discusses the Prop 39 offer. To everyone’s dismay New Los Angeles was offered space at Baldwin Hills Elementary School and given no choice at all in the matter.

And Rios announces that New Los Angeles will seek not to exacerbate the tension any further by not taking up any more classroom space than they have been taking. So they’re not leaving, but they’re not expanding into more classrooms. This is going to require a significant increase in class size, which Rios and some board members anticipate will make parents pretty unhappy and might even induce some of them to move their kids to another school. How does Rios propose to deal with this desperate situation? Like any good bureaucrat, she’s forming a committee of the board! The committee will be looking for affordable privately-owned space that doesn’t involve co-location, which has turned out to be unreliable.

It was interesting but not surprising that throughout the discussion at the board meeting, no one on the primarily white board of directors or staff even mentioned the racial aspects of the situation, well explained by Hernandez, which is that the charter school is taking up space that could be used to serve the primarily African-American student body at Baldwin Hills.

It’s heartening to see that protests, shunning, and similar social action1 can actually lead to charters leaving co-located schools, or at least really trying their best to leave! There really aren’t other tools available to the parents of public school children to rid their campuses of privatizers, forced on them by state law. Nothing got settled at last night’s meeting, but I will continue to follow the story. Turn the page for a transcription of some of the discussion.
Continue reading New Los Angeles Charter Elementary School To Continue To Co-Locate At Baldwin Hills Elementary School For The 2019-2020 School Year Even Though Everyone Is Unhappy About It — LAUSD Gave NLA No Other Choice According To Executive Director Brooke Rios — But In Order To Assuage Tension New LA Will Not Use Any Additional Classroom Space — Will Be Forced To Increase Class Size To Accomplish This — Desperate Search For New Site Continues With Formation Of Board Committee

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How Ellen Riotto And Wallis Locke Of The South Park BID Conspired With Michael Shilstone Of The Central City Association, Kevin James Of The Board Of Public Works, Lee Zeidman Of Staples Center, And A Bunch Of AEG Worldwide Stooges — Including Shelby Russell — To Encourage People To Call LAPD On Vendors And Hang Up Anti-Vending Signs Around LA Live — With A Generous Special Bonus Helping Of My Steaming Hot Amateur Theories On Why The Damn Signs Are Illegitimate And Will Ultimately Be Mostly Removed If Not Completely

The other day LA Taco tweeted out this picture of a no-vending sign near Staples Center and a lot of people were angry and confused. This is the story of how and why1 those signs appeared recently. The story begins with Ricardo Lara‘s monumental Sanity in Street Vending Bill, passed by the California Legislature last year over the strident objections of zillionaires and their BIDdie minions all over the state. The law essentially legalized street vending everywhere, while leaving some really minimal regulatory powers to cities.

One of the regulatory powers that the law allows is the establishment of no-vending zones. But these can’t be established on a mere whim, or just because people hate vendors. Rather any such restriction must be “directly related to objective health, safety, or welfare concerns.”2 But the City of Los Angeles never met a loophole that it couldn’t stretch into a six lane freeway at the behest of the local zillionaires, and our esteemed Councilmembers jumped all over this one.

They went into an embarrassing frenzy of zillionaire-pleasuring and directed the City Attorney to figure out how to establish no-vending zones everywhere any BID or anyone else with enough influence asked them to. The list ended up including the Hollywood Bowl, the Venice Boardwalk, most of Hollywood Blvd, and, of interest to us today, the area around Staples Center.

Lara’s bill took effect on January 1, 2019, so prior to that, in preparation for what they saw as the impending Vendorgeddon, zillionaires all over the City began preparing for vigorously psychotic enforcement of these last few no-vending zones they’d managed to preserve, at least for now. As I said, today we’re focusing on Staples Center, but I’m sure the same kind of thing is happening in all the putative no-vending zones.

I’ve managed to uncover two distinct phases of the process so far. In early January 2019, Ellen Riotto of the South Park Business Improvement District, in which Staples Center situates, notified businesses in the no-vending zone and encouraged them to call LAPD on vendors. A little later, around January 20, 2019, Lee Zeidman, president of Staples Center and member of the board of directors of the South Park BID, used his considerable political power, focused by his flunky Riotto, to harangue City staff about the need for superexponentially increased anti-vending enforcement along with no-vending signs.

He also threatened to hire private security to enforce anti-vending laws on public streets if the City didn’t start enforcing the law itself. And all this focused power ultimately had its effect with the placement of the signs, as we have seen. I don’t presently know if enforcement was in fact stepped up, but I am continuing to look into the matter. Turn the page for a detailed account along with links to and transcriptions of selections from the relevant emails.
Continue reading How Ellen Riotto And Wallis Locke Of The South Park BID Conspired With Michael Shilstone Of The Central City Association, Kevin James Of The Board Of Public Works, Lee Zeidman Of Staples Center, And A Bunch Of AEG Worldwide Stooges — Including Shelby Russell — To Encourage People To Call LAPD On Vendors And Hang Up Anti-Vending Signs Around LA Live — With A Generous Special Bonus Helping Of My Steaming Hot Amateur Theories On Why The Damn Signs Are Illegitimate And Will Ultimately Be Mostly Removed If Not Completely

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