Category Archives: Los Angeles County Government

MK.Org Exclusive! — On June 7, 2019 Los Angeles County Health Officer Muntu Davis Wrote To The City Of Los Angeles Telling Them To Clean Up Their Damn Act With Respect To Illegal Dumping Of Trash And Sanitation Around Homeless Encampments — This Was Duly Reported In The Los Angeles Times On June 8 — But They Did Not Publish The Letter Itself — Because “The County Declined To Release” It — We, However, Have Obtained A Copy! — And It Is Available To You Right Here! — Dear Readers! — For Download!

No one reading this blog needs a recap of the City’s persistent homelessness crisis or the pain, suffering, torment, and disease caused by the City government’s inaction and worse, although this LA Times editorial lays out the basic facts well. And on June 7, 2019, as reported by the Times on June 8, the County of Los Angeles public health officer Muntu Davis wrote a scathing letter to the City memorializing a June 5 meeting about illegal trash dumping in Skid Row, homelessness, associated health dangers, and the City’s utter failure in dealing with these matters.

For as-yet-unknown reasons, the Times did not obtain a copy of the letter itself, offering nothing more by way of explanation than the laconic statement that “[t]he county’s Department of Public Health declined to release the letter”. Well, this aggression will not stand, man, so I asked the County to cough up this essential piece of our City’s history and, yesterday, surprisingly quickly, they actually did! You can get your own copy of the letter here, and there’s a transcription below. They also sent an unasked-for but nevertheless welcome letter from Davis to the City about typhus outbreaks, sent in March 2019, and you can get a copy of that one here.

The June 7 letter is an essential document. Davis essentially lambastes the City for their failure to provide basic tools of sanitation — toilets, sinks, showers, trash receptacles — to people living on the street. He also notes the City’s failure to deal with illegal trash dumping and also notes that encampments are often very wrongly blamed for this severe problem, a fact that I have never seen any evidence that anyone from the City understands.

I don’t know what if any role this letter played in the City’s very recent conversion to many of the essential principles espoused by the heroic Services Not Sweeps Coalition. I suspect that that’s been longer in coming and that relentless and unanswerable pressure from activists is more responsible, although I don’t know. The letter, anyway, certainly didn’t hurt. It’s well worth the time it will take you to read it.
Continue reading MK.Org Exclusive! — On June 7, 2019 Los Angeles County Health Officer Muntu Davis Wrote To The City Of Los Angeles Telling Them To Clean Up Their Damn Act With Respect To Illegal Dumping Of Trash And Sanitation Around Homeless Encampments — This Was Duly Reported In The Los Angeles Times On June 8 — But They Did Not Publish The Letter Itself — Because “The County Declined To Release” It — We, However, Have Obtained A Copy! — And It Is Available To You Right Here! — Dear Readers! — For Download!

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The Los Angeles County Sheriff Has Exactly One Memorandum Of Understanding With An Institution Of Higher Learning — Granting Their Security Guards Limited Police Powers — With BIOLA University — And It Explicitly States That They Are Not Allowed To Operate Off-Campus — Contrast This With The LAPD/USC Agreement — Which Allows Them To Arrest People As Much As A Mile Away From Their Borders — What The Hell, LAPD?!

The California Penal Code at §830.75 allows law enforcement agencies to grant limited police powers to university security guards by means of a memorandum of understanding. This document lays out the limits on these extraordinary powers.

The University of Southern California very famously operates a racist paramilitary police force that the LAPD has granted the power to operate and even to arrest people as much as a mile from the campus. This arrangement has far-reaching and pernicious consequences, and I’m spending some time investigating it.

One of the questions I’m looking into is whether off-campus operations are a standard concession in such agreements. To do this I’m working on getting copies of MOUs that other local law enforcement agencies have with universities. As will all CPRA-based investigations the going is really slow, but this morning I did receive some interesting material from the Los Angeles County Sheriff.

They told me that they have only one such MOU, with BIOLA University. Here’s a copy of it. And, importantly, this agreement explicitly limits BIOLA campus security to on-campus operations. They have no powers at all, let alone arrest powers, off campus.

So far, then, I have two of these MOUs. One allows wide-ranging operations on public streets. The other explicitly forbids this. It’s not enough data to draw any conclusions, but, as always, stay tuned! And turn the page for some transcribed selections from the BIOLA MOU.
Continue reading The Los Angeles County Sheriff Has Exactly One Memorandum Of Understanding With An Institution Of Higher Learning — Granting Their Security Guards Limited Police Powers — With BIOLA University — And It Explicitly States That They Are Not Allowed To Operate Off-Campus — Contrast This With The LAPD/USC Agreement — Which Allows Them To Arrest People As Much As A Mile Away From Their Borders — What The Hell, LAPD?!

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Los Angeles County Homeless Encampment Policy Is Positively Humane Compared To The City Of Los Angeles — So In December 2018 When The County Found That It Had To Work With The City On An Encampment At Nadeau And Alameda They Said That If The City Was Going To Follow Its Usual Practices With Respect To The Homeless People’s Property The County Would Not Participate — Then Brian Buchner Of The Unified Homeless Response Center Flat-Out Lied About The Nature Of City Policies — If He’s Ashamed Of The True Confiscation Policy It Is Probably Time To Change It To Something That’s Not Shameful — Not Cruel — Not Inhumane — Not Litigation Bait — If We’re Going To Be Purely Practical

The City of Los Angeles is well-known for its particularly cruel policies towards homeless people living in encampments. City workers confiscate and destroy essential property like medicine and legal papers. They pointlessly force people to move by breaking up their encampments without offering alternatives, and so on. The City has been sued often and sued successfully many times for these practices, and they will be sued again and again and again.

And as immersed as I am in municipal politics, it’s easy to forget that there are many, many other local jurisdictions dealing with homelessness, even within the City of Los Angeles itself. There’s CalTrans, Metro, the County, and of course any number of other cities and authorities. And sometimes they have to work together for various reasons, like property administered by one agency that’s within the boundaries of another, and so on.

Last year the City created the Unified Homeless Response Center to implement its policies. The head of the UHRC is Brian Buchner, who’s some kind of staffer in Eric Garcetti’s office. And the other major departments involved with homelessness also have people assigned to the UHRC as well. For instance, LAPD’s Emada Tingirides and others. And I recently obtained a huge set of emails between Buchner and Tingirides, along with attachments.

This material is available here on Archive.Org. It’s already proving invaluable in understanding UHRC policies and procedures as well as the software tools they’re using in their responses to homelessness. It is an incredibly rich, incredibly complex set of stuff and I’m going to be analyzing and writing about this material for quite a while, but today’s post is based on a tiny fragment, which is this email conversation between Buchner and Michael Castillo, who’s with the Los Angeles County Homeless Initiative.

Here’s the short version of the story, and you can find a complete transcription of the emails below. Castillo was readying his team to dismantle an encampment at Nadeau and Alameda Streets. He’s careful to say that the County does not in fact destroy encampments as a matter of policy. In fact, he says, as a matter of policy they do not:

It is not the practice of Measure H funded teams to “shuffle” our homeless neighbors from one location to another, but instead to work with them where they are.

However, this particular encampment was very close to the train tracks along Alameda and so, he says, the County decided that they had to break it up. This required the involvement of the Alameda Corridor Transit Authority, and ACTA told Castillo that this particular encampment was on property belonging to the City of Los Angeles, which meant that LAMC 56.11 would be in force.

But Castillo wasn’t having it if what he’d heard was true. He was unwilling even to participate in encampment breaking under City of LA rules:

We, myself, Lt. Deedrick, and Measure H outreach supervisors, were informed that the plan under 56.11 would call for tearing down all structures and leaving them on the site for 90 days, i.e., store them on site in the open, which we feel is somewhat inhuman and could lead to a lawsuit. Lt. Deedrick, HOST lead, and I informed the ACTA that if this is the plan Measure H funded outreach teams and the HOST cannot be on site on January 7th.

Castillo was also really worried about the absolute necessity to distinguish between personal items and trash:

In addition, Lt. Deedrick and his team have been talking to the homeless persons on site at Nadeau this week to identify personal items versus trash and they’ve taken record of said conversations. This record will allow the cleaning crew to easily separate trash from personal items on January 7th.

And this kind of concern, this refusal to participate in immoral, inhuman, and liability-inducing activities, is admirable. If no one was willing to carry out the immoral and inhuman policies of the City of Los Angeles then the City of Los Angeles wouldn’t be immoral and inhuman. The only possible reason why things are different in the County is that the County must create an atmosphere where humanity and morality are expected. The opposite is true, obviously, with the City.

And you know, Brian Buchner didn’t have a good answer for this. At least he didn’t have a good true answer. But he had a good and patently false answer, which was that not only did the City not destroy the personal property of the homeless, not only did they store it safely in secure storage, but they would deliver it back to its owner at any time whenever they needed it:

Michael, that is an incorrect understanding or interpretation of the City’s policies and procedures under LAMC 56.11. We do not store people’s property “on site in the open” under any circumstances. We have dedicated storage sites across the City where we store all impounded property. When an individual needs access to their property, we deliver it directly to them within the hour no matter where in the City they are.

And there you have it. Brian Buchner is a liar. The Unified Homeless Response Center of the City of Los Angeles is being run by a liar.1 A liar who implements the inhuman policies of his masters at 200 N. Spring Street even while he’s lying about what those policies are. That’s where this City’s homelessness policy is now. Turn the page for a complete transcription of the conversation.
Continue reading Los Angeles County Homeless Encampment Policy Is Positively Humane Compared To The City Of Los Angeles — So In December 2018 When The County Found That It Had To Work With The City On An Encampment At Nadeau And Alameda They Said That If The City Was Going To Follow Its Usual Practices With Respect To The Homeless People’s Property The County Would Not Participate — Then Brian Buchner Of The Unified Homeless Response Center Flat-Out Lied About The Nature Of City Policies — If He’s Ashamed Of The True Confiscation Policy It Is Probably Time To Change It To Something That’s Not Shameful — Not Cruel — Not Inhumane — Not Litigation Bait — If We’re Going To Be Purely Practical

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Massive Release Of Emails Between Los Angeles County Sheriff And Kevin Kearney — Who Is The Manager Of The City Of Bradbury — A Creepy Little Horse Suburb East Of Monrovia — Which Contracts With LASD For Municipal Policing — If You Want To Understand How Cops Interact With Citizens In The Complete Absence Of Authorized Killables Then Start Reading! — Oh! — Wanna Know What LASD Has Been Spending All Its Ill-Gotten Asset Forfeiture Money On Over The Years? — Freaking Middle School Propaganda Is What! — As Forfeiture Became Harder They Had To Bump Up The Cost To Schools More Than Thirty Five Percent!

I don’t do much with County politics because the City is already more than I have time to deal with, but John Motter’s fabulous work on the cost of policing in LA County got me interested in the City of Bradbury, which I had actually never heard of before. I looked at their Wikipedia page, found out that they had a population of 1,048 people and about twice that many horses,1 that the City had three homeowners’ associations which were listed on the damn City website, and knew I had to find out what these people were up to out there. So I asked them for a bunch of records, and tonight I’m releasing the first installment!

It consists of 339 emails between Kevin Kearney, the City Manager, and people at the Los Angeles County Sheriff, with which Bradbury contracts for its local coppery. You can browse them here at Archive.Org as PDFs along with extracted attachments, and I also exported them as an MBOX for a more authentic email experience. There are a ton of stories in there, but here I’m only telling one in some detail. It seems, you see, that the LASD has this youth outreach program called the STAR Unit, which I guess is like the LAPD’s DARE thing, but stands for “Stop Tripping And Reform!” or some such nonsense.2 And they send deputies into schools to propagandize the youth about matters that seem important to them as cops, like e.g. hello fellow kids! Cops are your friends! And it turns out that the schools pay LASD for this service.

And we also have to talk about civil asset forfeiture. This is an evil process that cops all over the country use to steal people’s money and valuables and use it for their own cop purposes. It’s a huge source of money for law enforcers and pirates. California cops were as big on this as any cops anywhere until 2016, when Jerry Brown signed a bill requiring that someone actually be convicted of a crime before cops could confiscate all their worldly goods. It seems uncontroversial, and maybe it was, but cops all over the state soon began feeling the pinch!

And one of the victims of the pinch was evidently the STAR Unit, which according to one of these emails, had been heavily subsidized by forfeiture money. To this email was attached a new STAR rate schedule, showing increases of more than 35% over the already shockingly high hourly costs. That’s how much money the LASD was diverting from civil asset forfeitures to STAR Unit propagandizing, it seems! It’s bad enough that cops steal huge amounts of money from innocent people, but then to learn that they’re using it to indoctrinate a bunch of children into thinking that cops have their best interests at heart and therefore probably making them less likely as adults to oppose civil asset forfeiture. It’s not only self-reinforcing, it’s also really appalling. Turn the page for a transcription of these emails!
Continue reading Massive Release Of Emails Between Los Angeles County Sheriff And Kevin Kearney — Who Is The Manager Of The City Of Bradbury — A Creepy Little Horse Suburb East Of Monrovia — Which Contracts With LASD For Municipal Policing — If You Want To Understand How Cops Interact With Citizens In The Complete Absence Of Authorized Killables Then Start Reading! — Oh! — Wanna Know What LASD Has Been Spending All Its Ill-Gotten Asset Forfeiture Money On Over The Years? — Freaking Middle School Propaganda Is What! — As Forfeiture Became Harder They Had To Bump Up The Cost To Schools More Than Thirty Five Percent!

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In 2017 Kerry Morrison — Whose Experience Of Mental Health Policy Seems To Consist Mainly Of Illegally Locking Up Homeless People In Hollywood — Was Asked By County Mental Health Staff To Name Potential Commissioners — Among Others She Identified Steve Seyler — Whose Experience With Mental Health Policy Seems To Consist Of Bossing A Heavily Armed Gang Of Thugs In Hollywood Responsible For Incarcerating The Homeless At An Astonishing Rate — And Who Doesn’t Even Live In L.A. County, For That Matter

As you’re surely aware, our old friend Kerry Morrison has managed over the last twenty two years to position herself as some kind of neutral expert on homelessness in Los Angeles and thereby to be appointed to all kinds of influential positions even though actually, as executive director of the Hollywood Property Owners’ Alliance, she earns her salary by overseeing the arrest of homeless residents of Hollywood at an astonishing rate as part of her ultimate goal of moving them out of her BIDs by any means necessary.

For instance, as a result, former CD13 rep Eric Garcetti felt free to appoint her to the LAHSA Commission and subsequently to the Prop HHH Citizens’ oversight committee.1 The fact that Kerry Morrison is a politically viable candidate for such appointments despite the fact that her positions differ not at all in any pragmatic way from those of e.g. open advocate for violence, slavering anti-homeless psychopath, and manifestly unappointable-to-anything Mark Ryavec shows the disheartening extent to which she’s managed, through deception and the inattention of journalists to BIDs in Los Angeles, to maintain her public image as some kind of local Mother Teresa figure.2

Kerry Morrison’s genius for reputation-laundering reached a kind of apotheosis in 2016 when she wangled herself a Stanton Fellowship, which is some kind of grant awarded by the Durfee Foundation3 to “allow leaders to test a hunch,” whatever that means.4 And regardless of what it means to the Foundation, it’s also very convenient for Ms. Kerry Morrison as yet another way to fail to acknowledge her paymasters at the BID.5

Given all this it was no surprise to discover that in 2017 Kerry Morrison somehow found her way onto something called the Los Angeles County Mental Health Commission‘s Ad Hoc Committee on LA County’s Board And Care System. When I learned of this in February, naturally I went ahead and sent a CPRA request to the County for all relevant emails. After an astonishing level of obstructionist shenanigans6 they finally released some subset of what I asked for, and you can read the whole set here on Archive.Org.

One moderately interesting item lurking amongst the chaff is the actual report prepared by the Ad Hockies. It’s mostly expected platitudes and stuff, though. The most interesting part is that, as discussed above, Kerry Morrison gives her institutional affiliation as “Stanton Fellow 2016-17” rather than as something honest like, e.g., queen homeless killer for the HPOA.

And there is a lot to write about in this set of records, but the text for today’s sermon is this June 12, 2017 email from Kerry Morrison7 to her gang of yes-people on the Hollywood 4WRD mailing list8 asking if any of them want to be appointed to the County Mental Health Commission. Turn the page for links to the emails, transcriptions thereof, and some commentary!
Continue reading In 2017 Kerry Morrison — Whose Experience Of Mental Health Policy Seems To Consist Mainly Of Illegally Locking Up Homeless People In Hollywood — Was Asked By County Mental Health Staff To Name Potential Commissioners — Among Others She Identified Steve Seyler — Whose Experience With Mental Health Policy Seems To Consist Of Bossing A Heavily Armed Gang Of Thugs In Hollywood Responsible For Incarcerating The Homeless At An Astonishing Rate — And Who Doesn’t Even Live In L.A. County, For That Matter

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