Category Archives: Los Angeles City Council

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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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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Weirdo Cedillo Staffer Bill Cody Tried To Withhold Money From A City-Funded Highland Park Mural Because Renowned Highland Park Muralist John Zender Estrada Was Involved — On The Basis Of A Bizarre Grudge Against HLP Heroines Yaya Castillo And Brenda Perez — Like The Freaking Mural Mafia Of CD1 — Cody: “We’re Not Really Big On Giving Grants To Folks Who Are Involved With People Who Have Been Attacking The Council Office On Social Media”

This Highland Park mural story gets more convoluted and appalling by the day. You’ll recall that in concert with the Highland Park Business Improvement District Cedillo staffer Bill Cody worked with the Department of Cultural Affairs to allow the BID to destroy two well-loved murals in Highland Park. One of these was by renowned HLP muralist John Zender.

This episode led to community protests, organized by among others HLP heroes and heroines Brenda Perez, Yaya Castillo, and Mando Medina, who ended up being surveilled and stalked by Cody, as well as the establishment of radical pro-mural/anti-gentrification group Restorative Justice for the Arts by Perez. Oh, and did I mention this petition calling Bill Cody out for his serially harassing ways?

Cody also has a long-stewing grievance against Perez, Castillo, and Medina, based on something to do with Chicken Boy, Amy Inouye, and Stuart Rapeport, that I do not understand and it really seems like he made it all up, which is not uncharacteristic of the fellow. So there’s a lot of tension swirling around HLP these days with respect to murals and the people involved with them.

And then there’s Kathy Gallegos, executive director of HLP art scene fixture Avenue 50 Studio. The studio accepts funding from the Department of Cultural Affairs, and apparently one thing that Gallegos does with the money is arrange for murals to be painted around HLP. And it seems that in June 2018 Gallegos had a contract with DCA to organize a mural by Anthony Ortega and some of the funds were provided by CD1, with Bill Cody staffing the matter.1 The story is told in this email conversation of which, as always, there is a transcription after the break.

But then Cody discovered that Gallegos had subcontracted with Zender, along with a number of other respected HLP artists. And Cody flipped out and sent an at-the-mouth-frothing email to Yami Duarte and Felicia Filer of DCA interrogating them on this development, demanding that Zender be removed from the project and threatening to withdraw CD1’s funding. Why? Because Zender was known to be friendly with Castillo and Perez and, according to Cody:

The grant was approved by myself and I never would have involved the parties that have been attacking the local constituents. I am told Brenda Perez and Yaya Castillo have been involved and at this point I would like the contract redone with John’s name removed for many, many reasons.

And Cody made it very clear that he views CD1’s cultural funding as a way to reward his friends and punish his enemies:

We’re not really big on giving grants to folks who are involved with people who have been attacking the Council Office on Social Media. We’ll definitely want to make sure that does not happen in the future.

And the trouble with this? There are so many troubles. [A]ttacking the Council Office on Social Media is what we do in America. It’s none of Cody’s damn business who’s attacking the Council Office. And if CD1 is going to be giving out grants, they’re certainly not allowed to choose the recipients based on their political opinions. That’s just a straight-up violation of the First Amendment.

And it’s a betrayal of the public trust. CD1 doesn’t have all that money so their staffers can play favorites and hand it out to their smoochy-face friendsy-wendsies. They have it so that they can keep things running and make the City better. If that means following the rules and paying people who attack the Council Office on social media, well, that’s the kind of thing that grownups have to do sometimes.

And not only is this illegal, not only is it a betrayal, not only is it immature, but like everything about Bill Cody, it’s also stupid in the kind of floridly bizarre way that’s essentially the guy’s signature at this point. For reasons only he understands Cedillo hasn’t fired the guy for being a serial harasser, but maybe he’ll fire him for making him look like such a chump. In any case, turn the page for transcriptions of the emails.
Continue reading Weirdo Cedillo Staffer Bill Cody Tried To Withhold Money From A City-Funded Highland Park Mural Because Renowned Highland Park Muralist John Zender Estrada Was Involved — On The Basis Of A Bizarre Grudge Against HLP Heroines Yaya Castillo And Brenda Perez — Like The Freaking Mural Mafia Of CD1 — Cody: “We’re Not Really Big On Giving Grants To Folks Who Are Involved With People Who Have Been Attacking The Council Office On Social Media”

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Creepy Little Venice Zillionaire George Francisco Wanted A Homeless Man Evicted For The Sake Of His Sign Lighting Event — So He Got Creepy Little Venice Field Deputy Taylor Bazley To Look Into “Commanding” The Homeless Man To Leave — Mayoral Flunky Brian Buchner Turned Out To Be The Grownup In The Room And Put The Nix On This Plan — So Much For The Theory That Encampment Cleanups Target Health And Safety Problems — Given That Bazley And Francisco Value A “High Profile Event” More Than A Human Being’s Residence

Ask the City’s powerful and you’ll hear a familiar story. That breaking up and cleaning out homeless encampments promotes health, promotes safety, is even good for the people whose homes are being destroyed. Just ask Estela Lopez, the executive director of the Downtown Industrial District BID, who will tell you that these cleanups are good for the very people who are getting cleaned up. Ask famous-on-Facebook homelessness hero Betsy Starman, who’ll tell you that even arresting homeless people is for their own damn good. Ask LAPD’s HOPE team, who will tell you the whole thing is for the benefit of the victims.

Heck, ask zillionaire property owner, serial plagiarist, and erstwhile president of the board of directors of the whole damn Hollywood Property Owners Alliance John Tronson, who will tell you that arresting the homeless isn’t just necessary to help them, but it’s actually good for them. Ask Tronson’s once-upon-a-time BID Patrol minion Mike Coogle, who at one point responded to a social worker’s worries about a man who wasn’t 5150-eligible but who she still wanted to lock up with an offer to arrest him as much as possible so that eventually warrants would issue and she would be able to help him whether he wanted it or not. How’s that for arrests being good for the homeless?!

And this is a good narrative, I guess, or at least a useful one. It lets people who just want the homeless moved out and away and don’t give a damn about the pain and destruction to feel like they’re helping people while helping themselves, to feel like they at least appear that they do give a damn about human suffering. It strains the credulity of the sane, though, to believe that arresting homeless people, that breaking up their camps and destroying their possessions, is actually good for anyone, let alone the people it’s happening to. Or even that anyone actually intends it to be good.

There are just too many episodes like the one about CD13’s scheduling a cleanup because some zillionaire landlord had a property inspection coming up or the one about CD14 arranging a cleanup in advance of a movie company’s planned filming. It sure seems like, no matter what the lies the powerful are telling themselves in the morning mirror, the motives for evicting the homeless are really not humane at all.1

And today I have another example, albeit with a twist this time, which is the involvement of Garcetti homelessness staffer Brian Buchner who, if not humane, at least understands how to manage appearances. The whole story is told in this email conversation between CD11 field deputy Taylor Bazley,2 Brian Buchner, Dominic Choi, Emada Tingirides, and Garcetti’s latest magic bullet, the Unified Homelessness Response Center. The subject is universally-reviled-by-sane-people Venice zillionaire George Francisco and his infernal Venice Sign comma lighting ceremony therefor, scheduled last year for Saturday, December 1, 2018. You can read the special event permit here.

And the problem? Well, there was a human being living on the sidewalk where this very special event was to take place. And George Francisco wasn’t having it. So he had Taylor Bazley email a bunch of LAPDs and ask the eternal burning question, which is how can we get the homeless person out of the way of the zillionaire party? Turn the page for a transcription of this and the rest of the discussion, and don’t ever believe them again when they tell you they’re arresting homeless people for their own damn good.
Continue reading Creepy Little Venice Zillionaire George Francisco Wanted A Homeless Man Evicted For The Sake Of His Sign Lighting Event — So He Got Creepy Little Venice Field Deputy Taylor Bazley To Look Into “Commanding” The Homeless Man To Leave — Mayoral Flunky Brian Buchner Turned Out To Be The Grownup In The Room And Put The Nix On This Plan — So Much For The Theory That Encampment Cleanups Target Health And Safety Problems — Given That Bazley And Francisco Value A “High Profile Event” More Than A Human Being’s Residence

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Annals Of Utter Abject Mind-Numbing Shamelessness — Morrie Goldman Wants To Know If Gil Cedillo Will Be At PLUM Next Week — Cause He Needs Him For A Quorum — Cause Englander Is Gonna Be Out — Debby Kim Has Nothing More To Say Beyond “He Will Be There :)” — Yes, The Smiley Face Is Part Of The Quote — Even The Damn Rats Are Embarrassed At This Point

Background first. There’s Morrie Goldman. Lobbyist who runs Urban Solutions LLC, a lobbying firm. Famously caught up in the slow motion putrefaction of what was, at one time, known as Jose Huizar’s political career. Well-known friend of Gil Cedillo, at least as the word is understood at 200 N. Spring Street. Favor asker. Supplicant. Then there’s Gil Cedillo. Career politician. Wielder of vast power. Mover. Shaker. Favor granter. Supplicatee.

Or, you know, that’s how I always thought things worked in City Hall. The Councilmembers were in charge and the lobbyists asked them for goodies on behalf of clients and paid them off for their cooperation. But I recently obtained a steaming heap of emails between CD1 staffers and various lobbyists, and amongst them was this email conversation from 2015 between Morrie Goldman and Cedillo chief of staff Debby Kim1 which forces a quantum-level re-envisioning of that narrative, featuring Morrie Goldman as Keyser Soze and Cedillo with nothing more than some kind of walk-on role in his own career.

The whole exchange is just four emails long. Only the first two really matter. A week before the meeting, Goldman emails Kim to ask if Cedillo will be at PLUM on June 23, 2015. He says “We have an item coming to PLUM that day and need him for a quorum. Englander is out.” Kim’s reply? “He will be there :)” So yeah, in case you hadn’t realized, lobbyists don’t only tell Councilmembers how to vote and then deliver payola in return. They also call roll in advance and make sure the reps show up when they’re needed to vote. It’s unexpected and creepy at the same time.

And conceivably it’s also a Brown Act violation, since at that time the entire PLUM committee consisted of Jose Huizar, Cedillo, and Englander. Communications through intermediaries between a majority of the members, which would be two of them, constitutes an illegal serial meeting.2 So Goldman insinuating to Cedillo’s staff that Englander would have voted in favor is probably not OK. The statute of limitations is long gone, though.

And of course, the question of what issue Goldman needed Cedillo present to vote on is an essential one. I don’t yet know for sure, but here’s the PLUM agenda from June 23, 2015. The only matter on there of any consequence is CF 15-0721, which has to do with a CEQA appeal against the AMPAS project on Wilshire, which is likely to be the vote Goldman was worried about. Oh, one more thing! Notice how Goldman doesn’t even have to ask how Cedillo’s voting? That’s all been settled already.

And that’s the sordid little story of who’s calling the shots in the relationships between lobbyists and their pet councilmembers. Turn the page for a transcription of the emails themselves, so ordinary and yet so shocking.
Continue reading Annals Of Utter Abject Mind-Numbing Shamelessness — Morrie Goldman Wants To Know If Gil Cedillo Will Be At PLUM Next Week — Cause He Needs Him For A Quorum — Cause Englander Is Gonna Be Out — Debby Kim Has Nothing More To Say Beyond “He Will Be There :)” — Yes, The Smiley Face Is Part Of The Quote — Even The Damn Rats Are Embarrassed At This Point

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A Tale Of Two Lunches! — How Gil Cedillo Invited Then-USC-President Max Nikias To Lunch In 2017 “To Catch Up On All Things” — And They Were Gonna Eat At The California Club — But USC Staffer Catherine Kuriyama Told Cedillo’s Chief Of Staff Debby Kim About Gift Reporting Laws — And Debby Kim Was All Like Don’t Wanna Report That Lunch! — And No Wonder I Guess Since Cedillo Has Accepted More Than $10K In Gifts From Lobbyists During His Time On The City Council — Including Another Lunch With Max Along With Debby Kim And Jay Cortez Which Did Get Reported — Cause Cedillo Only Paid Two Dollars For It

When lobbyists spend money on officials in Los Angeles the LAMC at §48.04 requires them to report it to the Ethics Commission.1 And for any number of reasons lately I’ve been really interested in Gil Cedillo. So here’s a list of all reported expenditures that benefitted Cedillo since he took office in 2013, total $10,229.39.2 Sadly, these disclosure forms don’t require any detail really, so if we want to learn what went on we have to request records.

But, as you know, that’s what we live for around here! It’s a slow process, though, and we won’t understand everything on that list for a while yet. However, I did recently acquire a bunch of emails between CD1 and the University of Southern California, and these shed some interesting light on two lunches enjoyed over the years by Cedillo in the company of then-USC-president Max Nikias, now no-confidenced right out the door.3 One of them is on the disclosure form and the other is not. This is the story of those two lunches.

The first lunch, which took place on September 28, 2017 at the California Club, was instigated by Cedillo himself. The story is told in this extraordinarily disorganized string of emails. And when USC informed Cedillo staffer Debby Kim4 that the lunch was worth $39 and that they would have to report it to the Ethics Commission unless Cedillo reimbursed USC for the food, Kim flipped out to some extent and asked to change the venue to some place where it wouldn’t have to be reported. USC told her that if Cedillo reimbursed them for it they wouldn’t have to report, which she said CD1 would do. Evidently CD1 did, or something, because this lunch doesn’t appear on the disclosures linked to above.

The second lunch, in April 2018, was at the request of Nikias himself, and is revealed in this also-scrambled email conversation. Cedillo planned to bring along Kim and his communications director Jay Cortez. USC told Kim that the lunches were worth $34 each, so that the three of them would be valued at $102. There’s a limit of $100 per calendar year,5 so USC also told Kim that they’d have to pay back $2 to keep it legal. Charmingly,6 neither Kim nor USC wanted to bother Max Nikias with these street-level legalities nor to dirty his august hands with cash money, so that even though Kim brought the money to lunch, no one was there to accept it and she evidently had to mail it in later. This lunch does in fact appear on the disclosure list with a value of $100, so evidently the money did dirty someone’s hands, maybe august, maybe not.

That’s the short version, and turn the page for the long version along, of course, with transcriptions of the essential parts of the conversation, helpfully rearranged into a sensible order for ease of reading!
Continue reading A Tale Of Two Lunches! — How Gil Cedillo Invited Then-USC-President Max Nikias To Lunch In 2017 “To Catch Up On All Things” — And They Were Gonna Eat At The California Club — But USC Staffer Catherine Kuriyama Told Cedillo’s Chief Of Staff Debby Kim About Gift Reporting Laws — And Debby Kim Was All Like Don’t Wanna Report That Lunch! — And No Wonder I Guess Since Cedillo Has Accepted More Than $10K In Gifts From Lobbyists During His Time On The City Council — Including Another Lunch With Max Along With Debby Kim And Jay Cortez Which Did Get Reported — Cause Cedillo Only Paid Two Dollars For It

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How Huizar-Connected Lobbyist Tony Cabral Helped Ultra-Corrupt Beverly Hills Zillionaire Michael Delijani Lobby Gil Cedillo In 2017 To Encourage Amazon To Build Their Ruinous HQ2 Project In CD1 — Where Delijani Evidently Owns A Bunch Of Land — Which, According To Cabral, “Would Represent The Best Site For Such A New Campus”

Man, it’s been a while since I’ve thought about über-corrupt Beverly Hills zillionaire Michael Delijani, who, in early 2017, you may recall, proudly took a place along with his Downtown gentrification buddies in the front lines of the bloodthirsty covert battle to subvert the Skid Row Neighborhood Council. Delijani is also famous for his criminal friends, like for instance disgraced jailbird former LA County tax assessor John Noguez, for whom Delijani hosted actual bribe-giving parties at his secret zillionaire lair in Beverly Hills.

Now, think back to September 2017, when Amazon announced a national contest whose prize would be Amazon’s auxiliary headquarters and zillionaires and their pet politicians in metropolitan areas all over the country were all afroth with their ante-hatch egg counting while visions of gratuitous tax incentives, overflowing entitlements, gentrification, and less affordable housing danced in their greedy little heads like so many sugar-PLUMs.

And Delijani, who is one of those guys who owns stuff for a living, evidently owns a lot of land in Gil Cedillo’s racketeery fiefdom, CD1. And Delijani has a notoriously greedy little head, notoriously vision-dancing-achock, wherein wet dreams of Amazon’s headquarters could evidently flourish. Or that’s the news revealed by this newly obtained set of emails betweed CD1 staffers Debbie Kim and Gerald Gubatan and various lobbyists working for Michael Delijani.

See in particular this lengthy exchange between Debbie Kim, who is Cedillo’s chief of staff, and Tony Cabral, who’s some kind of high voltage zillionaire minion, also famous for being thanked by Jose Huizar his own self on the Twitter on the occasion of Ms. Jose’s announcing her short-lived candidacy to replace her soon-to-be-indicted hubby-pie. The unctuous Cabral kicked it off with an email seeking a meeting between Delijani and Cedillo, the subject of which was to be:

Amazon’s search for a new 2nd major headquarters where they are looking to accommodate up to 50,000 new employees. Michael Delijani believes that his existing property, along with other land around it, all within the 1st District, would represent the best site for such a new campus.

And with the recent news that activist opposition to Amazon’s death-star-landing-zone plans for Brooklyn may have succeeded in provoking them to reconsider their choice of location, perhaps Delijani will get another chance to consummate his erotic land-use fantasies. I’ll be here with the goodies if so. Meanwhile, turn the page to read a transcription of the whole nauseating discussion. And, while reading, just imagine yourself trying to get an appointment to meet with Gil Cedillo. It’s not gonna work out like this, I promise you that!
Continue reading How Huizar-Connected Lobbyist Tony Cabral Helped Ultra-Corrupt Beverly Hills Zillionaire Michael Delijani Lobby Gil Cedillo In 2017 To Encourage Amazon To Build Their Ruinous HQ2 Project In CD1 — Where Delijani Evidently Owns A Bunch Of Land — Which, According To Cabral, “Would Represent The Best Site For Such A New Campus”

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Gil Cedillo, Morrie Goldman, George Yu — CD1’s Unholy Trinity — Cedillo Met With Corrupt Huizar-Linked Lobbyist Goldman 25 Times Since Taking Office In July 2013 — George Yu Of The Chinatown BID Is A Client Of Goldman’s — They Eat Lunch With Cedillo And Hate On Street Vendors — Same Old Story At 200 N Spring Street — And Bonus Sleaze! — Morrie Goldman Brings Lightstone To Meet With Cedillo About A Giant Hotel Project Not Even In His District! — Cause Why Should Huizar Get All The Dirty Money?! — But There Are Things Too Sleazy Even For Cedillo! — Read On To Find Out What!

Morrie Goldman is a former Council staffer who now runs a lobbying firm called Urban Solutions. Of course lately he’s much-discussed because of his person-of-interest flavored links to José Huizar. And it turns out that Goldman hasn’t just been spending quality time with Huizar, but that he’s a regular dining companion of Gil Cedillo as well.

I recently obtained a whole slew of calendars from some of Cedillo’s staffies and, importantly, Cedillo himself. Take a look at what I have so far and especially see Cedillo’s appointment calendar from 2013 through 2018. The PDF is searchable, and just for kicks, search it for “Morrie.” You’ll see 25 hits, all for meetings with Morrie Goldman, at the finest restaurants, with clients, for drinks, and so on. This, of course, is evidence. It’ s just not yet clear what it’s evidence of.

Some of the clients are listed, e.g. Clear Channel is in there a lot, probably because everyone who’s not a politician hates them. United American Properties, which was, maybe still is, developing property in Westlake, also makes an appearance. But many of the listings don’t identify the issues to be discussed, some don’t even identify the clients whose issues Goldman is to lobby Cedillo on. Which is why calendars are always just a starting point. Emails are what’s needed!1

And not only did I manage to obtain these calendars, but I also got this fabulous spool of emails, mostly between Debbie Kim and Morrie Goldman, with special guest appearances by Goldman’s fellow Huizar-scandal-person-of-interest Art Gastelum!2 And there’s all kind of action in those emails, believe me! And some of the action involves an old friend of this blog, everybody’s favorite psychopathic rageball, Mr. George Yu of the Chinatown BID! Apparently the BID, or to be precise the property owners association, is Goldman’s client.3

And Goldman goes with Yu to meet Cedillo and eat lunch and talk about things like street vending, which all BIDdies hate, but which Yu hates more than the average BIDdie, cause, in addition to rage, Yu is just that much more than average filled with hate. From the evidence I have Goldman and Yu met with Cedillo three times since 2015 over street vending (one, two, and three). And what did Cedillo have to say about it to the BIDdies, especially given that he’s on the record as supporting legal street vending in Los Angeles? Well, I don’t know.4

And the emails also show that on January 29, 2016 Goldman sought a meeting for representatives from Lightstone with Cedillo. Lightstone is, of course, famous for its Fig + Pico project, right smack in the middle of Huizar’s CD14. This is the project for which the City agreed to more than $100 million in tax rebates. And why was Goldman so eager to introduce his clients to Cedillo when they were building in CD14?

Well, Goldman says in the emails that it’s because “they are actively looking at other sites” but I’m willing to bet some money that it had more to do with the fact that at that time Cedillo was on the Economic Development Committee, which voted to move the project forward on February 9, 2016, less than two weeks after Goldman started arranging the meeting.5

And finally there’s this snazzy little number from 2017, wherein Morrie Goldman invites Gil Cedillo to take part in a press conference that his client Clear Channel, the most criminally inclined billboard company in the history of billboard companies, is putting together to celebrate National Missing Children’s Day.6 But Cedillo staffers Fredy Ceja and Arturo Chavez, even though they agree that missing children are a good cause and so on, don’t think “the perception” is good for their boss. Turn the page to read a transcription of that one!
Continue reading Gil Cedillo, Morrie Goldman, George Yu — CD1’s Unholy Trinity — Cedillo Met With Corrupt Huizar-Linked Lobbyist Goldman 25 Times Since Taking Office In July 2013 — George Yu Of The Chinatown BID Is A Client Of Goldman’s — They Eat Lunch With Cedillo And Hate On Street Vendors — Same Old Story At 200 N Spring Street — And Bonus Sleaze! — Morrie Goldman Brings Lightstone To Meet With Cedillo About A Giant Hotel Project Not Even In His District! — Cause Why Should Huizar Get All The Dirty Money?! — But There Are Things Too Sleazy Even For Cedillo! — Read On To Find Out What!

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The Deep State In Los Angeles — How Dennis Zine Wanted To Take $30,000 Out Of His Salary In 2013 And Give It To The LAPD’s Mounted Platoon — To Buy A Tractor, Of All Things — Possibly For Anti-Terrorism Purposes — Or Maybe Just For Moving Horseshit From One Place To Another — But Holly Wolcott — At That Time Executive Officer In The Clerk’s Office — Did Some Weird Back-Channel Voodoo On The Council File — Put It Into “Continuation Pergatory [sic] Never To Be Agendized Again” — Which Certainly Raises A Question As To Who’s In Charge Over At 200 N. Spring Street

I recently obtained a huge batch of emails between former City Clerk June Lagmay and present City Clerk Holly Wolcott back when she had Shannon Hoppes’s job as Executive Officer. I haven’t managed to prep them all for publication yet, but there’s a lot of interesting stuff in there. See e.g. this recent post about lawsuits against the Downtown Center BID and how the City propped them up for five years by refunding a half million dollars in assessments to an angry plaintiff.

Today’s topic, also based on selections from this material, is a vignette about an attempt by former Councilmember Dennis Zine to donate $30,000 from his salary to the LAPD’s Mounted Platoon to buy a replacement tractor, maybe to move horseshit around?1 The Council File is 13-0064-S4, and you can read the LAPD’s report on the donation as well. On February 11, 2013 Holly Wolcott emailed Karen Kalfayan, possibly with the office of the Chief Legislative Analyst,2 to ask if the money was coming out of Zine’s salary as Councilmember.3

Subsequently Lagmay emailed Wolcott to alert her that the item would be heard in committee on February 22. After the meeting Lagmay emailed Wolcott under the subject line “interesting” to tell her that the item was continued to an unspecified future date, and then Wolcott replied, taking credit for the whole thing: “Yes, that was due entirely to my intervention…….since I couldn’t keep it off the agenda that is what we all decided to do with it. … It will die in continuation pergatory, [sic] never to be agendized again hell now. [sic] Lagmay’s reply expresses pure admiration: “You one powerful woman.” And who is “we all” in Wolcott’s narrative? Some anti-tractor cabal? Isn’t the Committee in charge? Very weird.

That’s the story! And I don’t know if it’s good or bad for Dennis Zine to give a tractor to the LAPD. It’s probably bad, because what good are the cops gonna get up to with heavy equipment?4 But good or bad, ideally the City is run by elected officials exercising their lawful powers lawfully granted to them by the people rather than by appointed functionaries using scheduling jujitsu to kill off properly introduced motions by leaving them to “die in continuation pergatory, [sic] never to be agendized again hell now. [sic] And turn the page for transcriptions of everything!
Continue reading The Deep State In Los Angeles — How Dennis Zine Wanted To Take $30,000 Out Of His Salary In 2013 And Give It To The LAPD’s Mounted Platoon — To Buy A Tractor, Of All Things — Possibly For Anti-Terrorism Purposes — Or Maybe Just For Moving Horseshit From One Place To Another — But Holly Wolcott — At That Time Executive Officer In The Clerk’s Office — Did Some Weird Back-Channel Voodoo On The Council File — Put It Into “Continuation Pergatory [sic] Never To Be Agendized Again” — Which Certainly Raises A Question As To Who’s In Charge Over At 200 N. Spring Street

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Ingrid Lee Was Fined $16,455 In December 2017 By The Ethics Commission For Making Excess Campaign Contributions Through Front Corporations — Including Injae LLC And Coastland Project LLC — $1,700 Of That Money Went To Gil Cedillo — So Why Was Dean Matsubayashi Of The Little Tokyo Service Center Carrying Messages Between Injae And Gerald Gubatan — Cedillo’s Senior Planning Director — In 2016? — And Why Were They So Vague In Their Emails — Repeatedly Insisting On Talking Via Phone?

You’ll recall that this incredibly useful trove of emails between Cedillo staffer Gerald Gubatan and various Little Tokyo folks has contributed significantly to the story of José Huizar’s famously cooked-up community buy-in Parker Center demolition thing, not just in the main story but also, e.g., in this little tidbit about op-ed placement. And, it turns out, there is one more story to be squeezed out of this seething mass of information.

Take a look at this email conversation from 2016 between our friend, Gerald Gubatan, and his behind-scenes buddy Dean Matsubayashi of the Little Tokyo Service Center. And I mean, you can read it, and of course there is a transcription after the break, but the apparent content is a rounding error away from nothing. Gubatan and Matsubayashi go on and on about some entity called Injae LLC and how they need to discuss something on the phone.

That, of course, is a veritable without-which-not1 for political shadiness. There’s nothing in the genre of political communications which portends corruption and impending exposure, contempt, mockery, and disgrace quite like a series of emails each of which says essentially nothing more than “call me.” And we’re never gonna know what they talked about on the phone, but let’s take a look at this Injae LLC thing, yes?

This California LLC, which is still active, is a front for real estate developer In Soo Lee, aka Ingrid Lee through which she funneled contributations over the legally allowed amount to Gil Cedillo and Monica Rodriguez. This was reported in the L.A. Times in December 2017 when the Ethics Commission fined Lee $16,455 for her willful evasion of municipal election laws. The article also reveals the fact that Coastland Project LLC was another of Lee’s contribution fronts.

And Cedillo accepted contributions from both Injae and Coastland. Take a look at the Ethics Commission’s reports on Injae and on Coastland Project to see that Injae gave him $500 in 2014 and $700 in 2015 and that Coastland gave him $500 in 2014. And after taking all this money, evidently Gerald Gubatan had some top secret business with Injae and Dean Matsubayashi, so sensitive that neither of them would commit details to writing.

After all, shady criminal developers like Ingrid Lee ultimately want something from their vendidos in exchange for their illegal money, don’t they? Too bad we’re really unlikely ever to learn what it was. Turn the page to read the emails!
Continue reading Ingrid Lee Was Fined $16,455 In December 2017 By The Ethics Commission For Making Excess Campaign Contributions Through Front Corporations — Including Injae LLC And Coastland Project LLC — $1,700 Of That Money Went To Gil Cedillo — So Why Was Dean Matsubayashi Of The Little Tokyo Service Center Carrying Messages Between Injae And Gerald Gubatan — Cedillo’s Senior Planning Director — In 2016? — And Why Were They So Vague In Their Emails — Repeatedly Insisting On Talking Via Phone?

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