Category Archives: CD13

In May 2018 Mitch O’Farrell Held Secret Invite-Only Meetings With So-Called “Key Community Stakeholders” To Build Buy-In For Hollywood Bridge Housing — Larchmont Charter School Supreme Commander-For-Life Amy Dresser Held Was Among Those Invited — She Then Helped Orchestrate Community Meetings With Dan Halden To “Clear Up Any Misconceptions” — And Listen To More Made-Up Anti-Homeless Housedweller Grievances — And Hear His Promises Of “Additional Enforcement Tools” Against Homeless Human Beings — In Exchange He Proceeded To Spend Months Doing Special Little Favors For These Whiny And Entitled LCS Privatizers

Readers of this blog surely don’t need me to explain how Prop HHH money, meant to establish so-called bridge housing to help alleviate our crisis of homelessness, has at best been spent far too slowly and too ineffectively and at the worst corruptly and in secret. But despite all that, creepy little CD13 repster Mitch O’Farrell did manage to organize one of these projects in Hollywood.

And his flack Tony Arranaga’s inordinately superficial press release on the subject, touting the only-from-an-inordinately-superficial-perspective success of this project is well worth reading.1 And of particular interest in that slew/slough of whah-whah-whahwawawa, there is this little number right here:

The office of Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell has championed this project from the start: Councilmember O’Farrell originally introduced the motion which paved the way to build the project on the City-owned parking lot; his office led the community outreach before and during construction; and the office served as the liaison between City departments, partnering agencies, and local stakeholders.

This business about the community outreach and the liaison between City departments, partnering agencies, and local stakeholders is of the utmost interest. I’ve spent a little time looking into the processes by which Los Quince Jefes construct the appearance of community buy-in for their pet projects, most notably as orchestrated by Jose Huizar and by Gil Cedillo in the notorious case of the demolition of Parker Center.

And of course another interesting line of inquiry I’m presently working on is charter schools. I don’t know enough about them yet to narrow2 my inquiries, but I’m learning, mostly via my usual technique of reading3 their damn emails. I recently got gigantic set of goodies from Larchmont Charter School, in particular from their supreme commander Amy Dresser Held. These have so far yielded up a couple of really interesting stories.4

Like for instance the one about how Amy Dresser Held used her personal connections with high-powered senior staffies of LAUSD school boardie Icky Sticky Nicky Melvoin to get a luxe internship for a family friend or the one about how Amy Dresser Held and the Icky Sticky one had a mutually satisfying comfort sesh about how mean and crazy the charter-haters were being. And today, before your very eye, friends, these different lines of inquiry have merged into one!

You see, among all those emails sent to me by LCS were well over a hundred between Most High Brigadier-in-charge Amy Dresser Held and Mitch O’Farrell’s chameleonic Hollywood button man, Dan X. Halden.5 You can browse through the whole subset here on Archive.Org, and turn the page for transcriptions and discussion, the better to relate the tale so adroitly summarized for you in the headline above!
Continue reading In May 2018 Mitch O’Farrell Held Secret Invite-Only Meetings With So-Called “Key Community Stakeholders” To Build Buy-In For Hollywood Bridge Housing — Larchmont Charter School Supreme Commander-For-Life Amy Dresser Held Was Among Those Invited — She Then Helped Orchestrate Community Meetings With Dan Halden To “Clear Up Any Misconceptions” — And Listen To More Made-Up Anti-Homeless Housedweller Grievances — And Hear His Promises Of “Additional Enforcement Tools” Against Homeless Human Beings — In Exchange He Proceeded To Spend Months Doing Special Little Favors For These Whiny And Entitled LCS Privatizers

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In Which Demented Grammy-Winning Housedwelling Psychopath Anthony Kilhoffer Wants Us To Know That We Are “In Violation Of Defamation Of Character” For Calling Him A Psychopath — And Blah Blah Blah Lawyers Blah Blah Blah Demands Blah Blah Blah Shit Bags Blah Blah Blah — And We’re Used To That Kind Of Blustery Crapola From Our Friends And Subjects — Especially The Psychopathic Ones — But Dude Doesn’t Like Our Cartoons?!? — That Really Hurts!

Oh Lord! Remember a few weeks ago when we published some demented rants by mouth-frother and crazed homeless-hating Hollywood capitalist Anthony Kilhoffer? The point of which was that it doesn’t matter how absolutely incoherently dementedly psychopathic are the rants of homeless-hating housedwellers, City officials will nevertheless treat them with the utmost consideration, greet them, meet them, respect them, call in sweeps and displace suffering homeless human beings merely to placate them in their unreasoning rage, and so on.

But homeless-hating housedwelling psychopaths are not generally very perceptive, thoughtful, aware of things outside their heads, and so on. And why should they be given that they can get whatever it is they want through blind rage? On the basis of this theoretical framework, then, it makes perfect sense that Kilhoffer, on discovering my publication of his publicly available rage rants, wouldn’t reflect on the fact that he chose to display his psychopathy in public, but would instead choose to call me a bunch of mean names and then threaten me with legal action?

And that’s just what he did! With A WHOLE LOT OF CAPITAL LETTERS!!! And you can read the two emails here and here, and of course, there are transcriptions below! Stay tuned for more news as we get it!
Continue reading In Which Demented Grammy-Winning Housedwelling Psychopath Anthony Kilhoffer Wants Us To Know That We Are “In Violation Of Defamation Of Character” For Calling Him A Psychopath — And Blah Blah Blah Lawyers Blah Blah Blah Demands Blah Blah Blah Shit Bags Blah Blah Blah — And We’re Used To That Kind Of Blustery Crapola From Our Friends And Subjects — Especially The Psychopathic Ones — But Dude Doesn’t Like Our Cartoons?!? — That Really Hurts!

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Grammy Award Winning Housedwelling Kanye Album Producing Hollywood Landlord Anthony Kilhoffer And His Delusional Demented Psychopathic Anti-Homeless Rants — Addressed Mostly To Mitch O’Farrell’s Hollywood Minion Dan Halden — Who Listened Sympathetically — And Set Up Meetings For Kilhoffer With Himself — And Neighborhood Prosecutor Steve Houchin — And Supreme Hollywood Cop Commander Cory Palka — And Neighborhood Council People — And So On — Which Goes To Show That Being An Unhinged Lunatic Isn’t A Bar To Being Taken Seriously By The City Of Los Angeles About Homeless Policy — Not If You’re A Housedwelling Property Owner It’s Not — And Six Months Of Kilhoffer’s Screeching Produced A Sweep — And The Encampment Was Back In Less Than Three Months — And The Cycle Begins Again

One of the perennially interesting unsolved questions in the theory of Los Angeles1 is who gets to meet with City officials to express their concerns and how and why they do. Why is it that some people have to rant and wave puppets during open public comment while councilmembers ignore them as they fool with their phones playing candy crush or swiping right on their staffies while others get all the face time they ask for, monthly breakfasts with the field staff, meetings, coffee dates, and so on? As with many such questions I certainly have my suspicions about the answer, but evidence has been hard to come by.

Leaving aside the case of zillionaires, who obviously get to meet just because they’re zillionaires, there was this one interesting episode from 2016 where scumbag cat-kicking K-Town slumlord Bryan Kim offered to donate a lot of money to Mitch O’Farrell for having arranged an encampment sweep and then wanted to meet with El Mitch and El Mitch’s consigliere Marisol Rodriguez was all like is he respectful because if so maybe a meeting would be a good idea because it would create the impression that Mitch cares about his constituents.2

This gave me the feeling that in order to meet with these people, in order to have them take one’s concerns seriously, it was at least necessary to be willing to observe some social boundaries, willing to play along, to take a seat at the table, to have concerns the addressing of which would in some way create some direct or indirect political advantage for the council office. This would be disconcerting but, I guess, understandable given the incentives under which City electeds labor.

However, I just recently obtained a string of emails between O’Farrell flunky slash Hollywood button man Dan Halden and a couple of really angry, really unhinged housedwellers which pretty much shoots that theory all to hell. These housedwellers, who are, incidentally, famed Grammy-winning Kanye producer Anthony Kilhoffer and his wife Amy Taylor, want some homeless human beings scraped off the sidewalks on Cole Avenue between Lexington and Santa Monica Boulevard in order to increase the value of their rental property and to soothe their offended aesthetic sensibilities.

Interestingly, once Taylor hears that Dan Halden is going to deal with the matter, she’s very careful to reassure him that she’s a loving human being. This is a super-common trope in this genre. I love all mankind, but I’m scared, so morality no longer applies:

I want you to understand that I empathize with the issues regarding those who cannot afford homes/shelters in Los Angeles. We are not heartless nor.are we blind to the adversities facing low income individuals in these times. But when it becomes an issue of safety, our children’s play spaces, and sanitation -then we need to act quickly and aggressively.

Kilhoffer is not respectful, he’s not willing to play along, he’s not even freaking coherent. He rants about piss, shit, drugs, pimps, how the City encourages encampments in order to drive down property values so they can “redevelop” his property. He insults Mitch O’Farrell’s attention to eliminating Columbus Day in Los Angeles.3 He insists that the people who are upsetting him aren’t even “real” homeless people, whatever that means and they’re not “respectful” like homeless people used to be a few years ago.

But Halden doesn’t ignore Kilhoffer, he doesn’t make cracks about him to his colleagues,4 he doesn’t even tell the guy to calm down and stop making up stories about prostitution rings being run out of tents on the sidewalk. No, he doesn’t do any of that. Instead he talks to the guy on the phone, he introduces the guy to neighborhood prosecutor Steve Houchin and various luminaries from the local Neighborhood Council, he arranges phone calls between the guy and supreme Hollywood cop Commander Cory Palka, and so on.

Most upsetting of all, Halden treats Kilhoffer as if he’s sane. He validates his psychotic concerns as if his ranting makes any freaking sense whatsoever, has any connection, however remote, with actual objective reality. It does not. Kilhoffer’s unhinged anger has obviously driven him to a place almost beyond moral judgment. He’s not competent to stand trial.5 Shunning is almost the only adequate response.6 On the other hand, Halden’s behavior is despicable beyond words and most certainly not beyond moral judgment.

Halden is a professional, his job is ostensibly to serve the people of the City rather than to single out angry dangerous lunatics like Anthony Kilhoffer for special attention and care, to amplify their psychosis and use it to guide policy. We don’t entrust him and his boss and the rest of their damnable ilk with our vast municipal power so they can use it against helpless human beings at the direction of demented psychopaths like Anthony Kilhoffer. He ought to be ashamed of himself, although experience has shown that whether or not he is his behavior won’t be affected by it.

Finally, after six months of Kilhoffer’s abuse and lunatic ravings, Halden finally actually arranges for a sweep of the encampment. In case you were wondering, that’s how encampment sweeps get scheduled in Los Angeles. Oh, and two months later the encampment was back and, I guess, the whole cycle begins again. And what’s the point? I have no idea.7

And, as I said, this episode leaves me utterly without a theory as to who gets these people’s time, in whom they invest their resources, what constituent concerns catch their attention. Anyway, turn the page for a transcription of selections from this utterly off the chain email conversation.
Continue reading Grammy Award Winning Housedwelling Kanye Album Producing Hollywood Landlord Anthony Kilhoffer And His Delusional Demented Psychopathic Anti-Homeless Rants — Addressed Mostly To Mitch O’Farrell’s Hollywood Minion Dan Halden — Who Listened Sympathetically — And Set Up Meetings For Kilhoffer With Himself — And Neighborhood Prosecutor Steve Houchin — And Supreme Hollywood Cop Commander Cory Palka — And Neighborhood Council People — And So On — Which Goes To Show That Being An Unhinged Lunatic Isn’t A Bar To Being Taken Seriously By The City Of Los Angeles About Homeless Policy — Not If You’re A Housedwelling Property Owner It’s Not — And Six Months Of Kilhoffer’s Screeching Produced A Sweep — And The Encampment Was Back In Less Than Three Months — And The Cycle Begins Again

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How I Went To The Bureau Of Engineering To Check On Permits For Anti-Homeless Planters On Cahuenga Boulevard — And Discovered That There Were No Freaking Permits — And Not Only That But The Man Who Helped Me Said That Planters Aren’t The Kind Of Thing They Issue Permits For Anyway

Remember those infernal anti-homeless planters that are appearing on our sidewalks across the City from Venice out to Hollywood and beyond? Well, the Los Angeles Municipal Code is very, very clear about private people installing stuff on the damn sidewalk. It is required to get a permit before the installation goes in. This requirement is found at LAMC 62.118.2.

And it turns out that the existence of such a permit, called an R-permit, is completely a matter of public record. So I determined to check out the legality of the four arrays of planters on Lillan Way and Cahuenga Boulevard that I wrote about on Twitter at the end of February. Last week, mislead by the damn internet, I went to the Public Works Building at 12th and Broadway, but that turned out to be totally the wrong place.

The people there were really helpful, though, and they told me the department I wanted was at 201 N. Figueroa. I didn’t have time that day to continue the journey, but this morning I did. I found the right office and talked to two really helpful people, both of whom confirmed that none of these planters had permits, and that therefore none of them were legal.

Here’s a list of the addresses with illegal planters, and the next stop is the Bureau of Street Services to try to get an investigator out there. Also, read on for a description of the exact steps I took to check on permits, so you can do it too. Note that the relevant code section, LAMC 62.45, requires permits for fences, too. So you can check these out if you’re interested.

• 6350 Santa Monica Blvd. — NO PERMIT — ILLEGAL!
• 1000 N. Cahuenga Blvd. — NO PERMIT — ILLEGAL!
• 720 N. Cahuenga Blvd. — NO PERMIT — ILLEGAL!
• 706 N. Cahuenga Blvd. — NO PERMIT — ILLEGAL!
Continue reading How I Went To The Bureau Of Engineering To Check On Permits For Anti-Homeless Planters On Cahuenga Boulevard — And Discovered That There Were No Freaking Permits — And Not Only That But The Man Who Helped Me Said That Planters Aren’t The Kind Of Thing They Issue Permits For Anyway

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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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A Detailed Analysis Of The Cash Flowing In And Out Of Mitch O’Farrell’s Public Benefits Slush Fund — Developers Pay Hundreds Of Thousands Of Dollars For The Privilege Of Building Out-Of-Code Projects — O’Farrell Spends The Money On Projects That Please His Political Supporters — It Seems Unlikely That There’s Any Net Benefit To Anyone But Zillionaires — This Is No Way To Run A City

A developer wants to build a building that’s taller than the local zoning allows, or has less parking than required. Maybe there are pesky historical structures on the proposed site or the new building will attract enough additional traffic to gridlock the streets around it. There are any number of reasons why a given building might not be allowed. It’ll still get built, though.

The developer will just have to pay hundreds of thousands, even millions, of dollars to the appropriate councilmember to get it approved. And these payments are inextricably integrated into our City’s building approval process. One might even suspect, and not without reason, that the ultimate purpose of zoning codes in Los Angeles is to induce developers to pay for exceptions to them.

And it’s not bribery, at least not the illegal kind. The CM doesn’t get to pocket the money. Instead it goes into one of the dozens of City trust funds set up specifically for receiving such monies. Just for instance, Mitch O’Farrell, CD13 repster, has one called the “Council District 13 Public Benefits Trust Fund.” It’s authorized by the Los Angeles Administrative Code at §5.414 ” for the receipt, retention and disbursement of gifts, contributions and bequests for the support of police and community activities within Council District 13.”

The fees are imposed on developers by the City Council at the behest of the relevant CM. To see an example of how this works take a look at CF 07-1379, wherein some developers sought permission to build another mixed-use monstrosity in Hollywood, this one at 1540 N. Vine Street.1 The developers got what they came for, which was Ordinance Number 178,836, authorizing construction. And in there, buried among other conditions, will be found paragraphs 26 and 27, stating how much money they’re going to give to Mitch O’Farrell in exchange for their zoning changes:
Continue reading A Detailed Analysis Of The Cash Flowing In And Out Of Mitch O’Farrell’s Public Benefits Slush Fund — Developers Pay Hundreds Of Thousands Of Dollars For The Privilege Of Building Out-Of-Code Projects — O’Farrell Spends The Money On Projects That Please His Political Supporters — It Seems Unlikely That There’s Any Net Benefit To Anyone But Zillionaires — This Is No Way To Run A City

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

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

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

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

Or the L.A. Weekly:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Mitch O’Farrell’s Secret Email Account Yields The First Concrete Evidence I’m Aware Of Concerning Staff-Mediated Back-Room Collusion Between City Council Members — Suggests Brown Act Violations On A Massive Scale — Consistent With Serial Meetings Coordinated Via Council Staff — Contributes To A Theory Of Staged City Council Debates Invariably Ending In Yet Another Unanimous Vote — At Very Least Yields Many Potentially Fruitful Leads For Future CPRA Requests

If you’ve ever attended a meeting of the Los Angeles City Council it’s very likely that you’ve seen one of the fully scripted performances that pass for debate with that body, ending, as always, with a unanimous vote in favor of yet another preordained conclusion. It’s a sickening spectacle, more worthy of a for-show-only parliament of some backwater bargain-bin Ruritanian dictatorship than of the legislators who are putatively leading our great City. This phenomenon is the subject of much discussion here in Los Angeles, and was the basis for at least one sadly ill-fated lawsuit.

If you haven’t seen an example of this spooky kabuki, you can take a look at this August 23, 2016 debate on whether the City should support or oppose some state bill about taxi regulation.1 After the break you’ll find a detailed chronology with links into the video, which will save you a lot of time because the whole thing is more than 30 minutes long and it is mind-numbing. There’s no conceivable way that episodes like this one could happen other than through prior discussion, collusion, and agreement among the Councilmembers. It’s completely implausible that it could be otherwise.

The problem with that, of course, is that prior discussion, collusion, and agreement among Councilmembers are illegal in California. It’s even illegal for Council staffers to discuss things and then report back to their bosses about other CMs’ opinions as reported by their respective staffs. The law mandates real public debates and forbids scripted performances whose conclusions are predetermined in back rooms. In particular, the Brown Act at §54952.2(b)(1) states explicitly that:

A majority of the members of a legislative body shall not, outside a meeting authorized by this chapter, use a series of communications of any kind, directly or through intermediaries, to discuss, deliberate, or take action on any item of business that is within the subject matter jurisdiction of the legislative body.

As far as I know there’s never been a successful Brown Act complaint against the City Council on these grounds. Courts will not, I’m under the impression, accept arguments based on the fact that it’s totally obvious what’s going on. Without sufficient proof of out-of-meeting communications no action is possible. And there just has not hitherto been any proof to be found, or none that I know of. But it appears that, buried deep within the recent release of emails from Mitch O’Farrell’s toppest secretest privatest email account, there are some hints of how this coordination might be accomplished.

There’s no proof there of a Brown Act violation, but there’s evidence that in 2013 David Giron, who is Mitch O’Farrell’s legislative director, coordinated with CD5 and CD8 regarding the positions of Paul Koretz and Bernard Parks2 with respect to fracking in Los Angeles and then communicated the intentions of those other CMs to Mitch O’Farrell. This is the kind of thing that the Brown Act forbids if it takes place among the majority of the Council, or even the majority of a Council committee.3

There’s no hint in the evidence that this discussion is any kind of anomaly, so it may be the first piece of the puzzle of how the City Council builds consensus out of view of the public. It certainly gives me hope that the truth will be brought out eventually.4 Take a look at the email exchange here, which is on the surface about Mitch O’Farrell’s position on CF 13-0002-S108, having to do with a State Senate bill on fracking. There are transcriptions and detailed discussion of the issues involved right after the break.
Continue reading Mitch O’Farrell’s Secret Email Account Yields The First Concrete Evidence I’m Aware Of Concerning Staff-Mediated Back-Room Collusion Between City Council Members — Suggests Brown Act Violations On A Massive Scale — Consistent With Serial Meetings Coordinated Via Council Staff — Contributes To A Theory Of Staged City Council Debates Invariably Ending In Yet Another Unanimous Vote — At Very Least Yields Many Potentially Fruitful Leads For Future CPRA Requests

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First Look At Emails From Mitch O’Farrell’s Secret Gmail Account! — Fascinating Material! — For Instance Registered Lobbyist James Litz Emailed Him There In April 2018 Attempting To Influence Today’s AirBnB Vote! — While Losers Like You And Me And The Rest Of Us Had To Email Him At His Probably Unattended City Email Address — And A Bunch More Stuff Besides! — Oh, Did I Mention That O’Farrell Chief Of Staff Jeanne Min Is A Big Whiny-Baby?

OK, remember that our friends over at the Hollywood Sunshine Coalition discovered recently that CD13 repster Mitch O’Freaking Farrell has a top secret Gmail account that he uses to conduct City business? And remember how they sent CD13 a CPRA request asking for all public records in this account? And remember how Mitch O’Farrell’s fairly sinister chief of staff, Jeanne Min, was all like no way, friend, go pound sand? And then the brave and untrammeled souls over at the Coalition were all like, way, friend, if sand is to be pounded, you pound it!

Well, apparently some part of that message got through to Ms. Jeanne Min, cause evidently yesterday CD13 supplied HSC with a bunch of emails! And they passed them to us!1 And in the typically passive aggressive attitude that the City of LA adopts when complying with CPRA requests the PDFs had pages randomly rotated, interspersed with random blank pages, and so on, making them fairly unreadable. But I’m a whiz with PDFs and I cleaned them all up and published them on Archive.Org right here so you can read all 101 pages of them. Here’s a link straight through to the clean PDF and the original files are also available so you can compare if you’re interested.

And there is a ton of good stuff even just in this small selection. I aim to write at least three more posts highlighting various aspects of it, and I’m sure if you read through it you’ll find gems that completely escaped my notice. The episode you’re reading now is particularly timely, given that it has to do with today’s contentious vote on AirBnB regulation. Did you have an opinion on that? Did you communicate your opinion to your Council rep? Well, you didn’t get to communicate it as well as some people did!

It seems that on April 27, 2018 James W. Litz, then working for the sinister-sounding Beverly Hills/Greater Los Angeles Association of Realtors, and himself a lobbyist registered with the City Ethics Commission, sent an email to the usual list of public-facing Councilfolk email addresses ending with lacity.org telling all of them that his employer, the BHGLAAR, supported the AirBnB regulations proposed in CF 14-1635-S2 as long as they didn’t let people living in rent stabilized units rent out their homes and let building owners forbid their tenants from participating if they wanted to. This email is transcribed after the break.

And then, certainly because as you yourself have no doubt suspected, nobody actually reads a damn thing that comes in to those “councilmember.wtf@lacity.org” addresses, less than two minutes later James W. Litz turned around and forwarded the email to Mitch O’Farrell at the secret Gmail address, which is to say mitchof13@gmail.com, with a personal note:
Continue reading First Look At Emails From Mitch O’Farrell’s Secret Gmail Account! — Fascinating Material! — For Instance Registered Lobbyist James Litz Emailed Him There In April 2018 Attempting To Influence Today’s AirBnB Vote! — While Losers Like You And Me And The Rest Of Us Had To Email Him At His Probably Unattended City Email Address — And A Bunch More Stuff Besides! — Oh, Did I Mention That O’Farrell Chief Of Staff Jeanne Min Is A Big Whiny-Baby?

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Mitch O’Farrell Has A Private Gmail Account Through Which He Conducts City Business — And His Chief Of Staff, Jeanne Min, Refuses To Release All Emails From This Account — Insists That There Is More Public Interest In Withholding Them — But No One Actually Believes That — Probably Not Even Her

In the last few years a number of public officials have been criticized extensively1 for using privately controlled email accounts to conduct public business. Hillary Clinton was famously investigated by the FBI for this. And just yesterday it was revealed that Ivanka Trump has done the same thing. Thus we were fascinated to learn recently that CD13’s own Mitch O’Farrell also uses a privately owned Gmail account, mitchof13@gmail.com, to conduct City business and, doubtless, to evade scrutiny.

This was discovered recently by our friends at the Hollywood Sunshine Coalition, who passed us the material on which this post is based. And this revelation settles a big mystery. As you know, I personally have obtained many thousands of pages of emails from CD13 on any number of subjects, and there are never any at all from O’Farrell himself. Previously I had thought that either Dan Halden, who handled most of my requests, was purposely omitting emails from his boss or else that O’Farrell was communicating in ways that didn’t leave traces, like phone calls. Now it seems likely that he has been evading scrutiny by using this secret email address.

The HSC has been making public records act requests for emails from this account. There are two ways to approach this. The first, and so far the only successful, way is to find correspondents who are subject to the CPRA and ask them for emails involving O’Farrell’s secret email address. This led to request number 18-2976 on the City’s newish CPRA platform, which is called Nextrequest.2 For some reason the City has made the request page available for public view but not the records provided. They turned over 21 highly duplicative PDF pages of emails between O’Farrell and various officers and, interestingly, some members of the Hollywood Studio District Neighborhood Council. You can read these 21 pages here. Apparently the HSC has other such requests pending.

But the HSC’s other strategy has turned to be much more interesting, even though it hasn’t gotten them any actual records yet. It’s based on last year’s absolutely monumental California Supreme Court opinion in City of San Jose v. Superior Court, which found that the emails and text messages of public officials are subject to the CPRA even if they are held in private accounts.

Based on this principle, on November 7 the HSC sent this CPRA request to CD13, asking for all emails held in the account from July 1, 2013 through the present.3 And yesterday, probably unsurprisingly, O’Farrell’s chief of staff, Jeanne Min, replied with the usual mush-mouthed nonsense, the TL;DR of which is “fuck you no records.” The HSC responded pretty scathingly, and then responded again for good measure. They’ve promised to keep me in the loop with respect to further developments. After the break you can find transcriptions of most of these emails along with some technical discussion of the CPRA issues implicated.

Meanwhile I’m told by those who ought to know that the HSC will not drop this request and that they are prepared to litigate if necessary. We’ll see what happens, I guess. Whatever happens, it’s clear that the public interest is very much against allowing Mitch O’Farrell to get away with maintaining this secret side channel for communicating with his favored few and with secreting emails away from public scrutiny and the City’s record retention policies.
Continue reading Mitch O’Farrell Has A Private Gmail Account Through Which He Conducts City Business — And His Chief Of Staff, Jeanne Min, Refuses To Release All Emails From This Account — Insists That There Is More Public Interest In Withholding Them — But No One Actually Believes That — Probably Not Even Her

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