I reported a few weeks ago on how Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council Board member Dan Curnow violated the Brown Act in April 2017 along with his late, unlamented colleague, moral dumpster fire, and wannabe vigilante, Jacob Douglas Van Horn. Jacob Douglas VH, of course, famously resigned from DLANC under a cloud some time ago and, by doing so, perhaps placed himself beyond the suffering of consequences for his evil ways.1 Dan Curnow, as far as anyone around here knows, though, has not (yet) resigned from DLANC and so is eligible to be complained about in every possible venue.
As part of the investigation I’ve been seeking via the California Public Records Act various emails between CCEA’s board and staff. I’ve actually been asking for these for almost a year now. Estela Lopez has been consistently obstructionist, mostly claiming that all such emails are exempt due to the famously abused, mostly made up, so-called deliberative process exemption to the CPRA.1
This position is indefensible, of course, and there have been some demand letters exchanged between my lawyer and some attorneyesque dude known as Don Steier, who seems to be very buddy buddy with the CCEA conspiracy. The CCEA remains mostly uncooperative, although they did cough up about 50 pages of emails they’d formerly claimed were exempt.2 An even superficial perusal of the evidence will show conclusively that their original claim that this stuff was exempt is nonsense of the first water, and the material they released is mostly chaff.3
According to an extremely useful guide prepared by then-City-Attorney Rockard Delgadillo, in the context of the Brown Act a majority means a majority of a quorum. That is, the minimum number of members that can actually act on a motion. The DLANC has a 24 member board, and a quorum is 13. Hence these six members using email “…to discuss, deliberate, or take action on any item of business that is within the subject matter jurisdiction of…” DLANC is not a violation; a violation would require seven members to have been in on the discussion.
It’s a serious violation, too. The Brown Act at §54959 states that:
Each member of a legislative body who attends a meeting of that legislative body where action is taken in violation of any provision of this chapter, and where the member intends to deprive the public of information to which the member knows or has reason to know the public is entitled under this chapter, is guilty of a misdemeanor.
As far as I know, no one has ever been prosecuted under this clause, but if someone’s going to be first, I won’t be surprised if it turns out to be the infamously thuggish CCEA. And it’s a hard case to make that quality of life crimes, e.g. public drinking, are more harmful than this kind of covert conspiratorial shenanigans. One’s unaesthetic at worst. The other degrades the very fabric of our open society.
With all the recent revelations about how Estela Lopez ran United Downtown LA’s finances and how she used her official dlanc.com email address to send out an anti-SRNC email blast and how she and a bunch of her asshole buddies on the DLANC board seem to have lied to President Patti about their involvement with this shadowy anonymous gang, with all that, as I said, it may be easy to forget that these co-conspirators aren’t just a bunch of slavering zillionaire cannibals, blithely using their razor-sharp fangs to crack the bones of their victims that they may joyously slurp up the marrow and then slaking their thirst with long noisy draughts of the steaming blood of their prey. They’re that and so much more!
They’re also, it turns out, a band of jovial jokesters, merrily bantering with one another while they stir their witches’ brew. It being a lazy Sunday afternoon, I thought I’d take some time out from the hard-hitting journalistic salvos my loyal audience craves and look at one of these humorous moments. After all, one doesn’t know one’s enemy until one knows what they find funny.
Here’s the story, then. Recall, if you will, that all these conspirators were vying with one another to set up pop-up polls in the days leading up to the SRNC formation election. Emails were flying both thick and fast about who had gotten a new poll, who had hauled all their tenants off to vote at a poll, and so on. Now comes Karen Christopherson, some kind of real estate drone with a shadowy company known as A.I. Management, which seems to be the boss of an office building at 420 E. 3rd Street in Little Tokyo.
On May 3, 2017 the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment sponsored a hearing on challenges to the Skid Row Neighborhood Council formation election. One of the main issues was, of course, the shadowy anonymous front corporation United Downtown LA and the names of the people behind it.
At that meeting, Patricia Berman, self-proclaimed President for Life of the DLANC board of directors, was moved to deny all knowledge of the matter and to affirm her overwhelming desire to find out who was behind it so she could get them kicked off the board. But don’t take my word for it! You can watch and listen to her, and here’s what she said:
If indeed one of our board members was involved with United DTLA I would love to find out about it, because I bet we could get them off the board really fast. However, I have no idea who these people are. I don’t know anyone on my board who does, and we certainly have asked around. We had nothing to do with this. I’m sorry it caused such a big stink. But the truth is it didn’t come from our listserve and it’s not something that came from us.
Jacob Douglas Van Horn is off the board for reasons that are probably unrelated to United Downtown LA, but the others remain. The most egregious case among these after Estela Lopez herself is Robert Newman, who was not only involved with United Downtown LA but was standing right behind Patti Berman when she made the statement.
She said she asked around, so either she didn’t ask him, which seems unlikely, or he lied to her when she asked him, or she lied when she said no one on her board knows who was behind the situation. None of these options look good for President Patti. However, she can go an awful long way towards washing away her sins by sticking to her promise and getting these five remaining miscreants “…off the board really fast.”
The biggest as-yet-unsolved mystery associated with the coordinated zombie zillionaire campaign against the Skid Row Neighborhood Council formation process earlier this year is the identity of the shadowy Delaware-incorporated anonymous front group United Downtown Los Angeles LLC and the sneaky furtive creepy crawly zillionaire and zillionaire-ophile natural person or persons lurking behind the corporate facade.
You may recall that the first anyone heard publicly from this bunch of dimwits was on March 17, 2017, when Rockard Delgadillo, former City Attorney of Los Angeles and employee of lobbying firm Liner LLP, wrote his infamous letter to the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment demanding for various nonsensical reasons that they put a halt to the Skid Row Neighborhood Council formation process.