Category Archives: Public Records Act Pragmatics

Fashion District BID Files Timely Response To My Writ Petition — Denies Everything — World’s Angriest CPRA Lawyer Carol Humiston Handling Matters For Them — Trial Setting Conference On November 16, 2018 At 9:30 AM In Department 86 — Stanley Mosk Courthouse

So you’ll remember possibly that in August I was forced by their unhinged intransigence to file a writ petition against the Fashion Freaking District BID asking a judge to boss them about until they began to comply with their statutorily mandated duties under the California Public Records Act. Well, it seems they’re not going to go quietly into that good night, so they went out and hired themselves the world’s angriest CPRA lawyer, which is to say Carol Freaking Humiston of Bradley & Freaking Gmelich, and she went and filed a timely response to my petition.

And you can read the damn thing by clicking here if you want to. But I have to say, as much as I enjoy reading legal pleadings of all varieties and subject matters, these replies leave me cold. Take a look and you’ll see. They deny everything, but they don’t even say what they’re denying. It’s all like “As to the allegations in paragraph 17, we deny the first three, state that the fourth and the ninth require no response insofar as they assert legal conclusions, and the fifth through the seventh, even if true, do not allege a violation. Insofar as we fail to deny, thus far do we admit.”
Continue reading Fashion District BID Files Timely Response To My Writ Petition — Denies Everything — World’s Angriest CPRA Lawyer Carol Humiston Handling Matters For Them — Trial Setting Conference On November 16, 2018 At 9:30 AM In Department 86 — Stanley Mosk Courthouse

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Hollywood Media District BID, The Hapless Client Of Hapless Hollywood Superlawyer Jeffrey Charles Briggs, Actually Hands Over Thirty Thousand Actual Dollars To My Lawyer As They Were Ordered To Do By The Judge! — Commemorative Mug Issued For This Historic Occasion! — Get Yours Today! — Maybe This’ll Learn Some Of His Other Clients That They Oughta Just Gimme The Damn Records — Talking To You Los Feliz Village BID, East Hollywood BID, Historic Core BID, And, Believe It Or Not, The Media District BID All Over Again

Of course you remember in July 2018 when Superior Court judge Mary Strobel splained in terms that were anything at all but uncertain to Hollywood Superlawyer Jeffrey Charles Briggs that his client, the freaking Hollywood Media District BID, was going to have to pay my lawyer $30,000 in fees essentially because both they and their lawyer are a bunch of loserific morons?1

Anyway, since the ruling, Jeffrey Charles Briggs and, presumably, his clients, have been stumbling about the place not paying and mumbling semicomprehensible nonsense about how they were going to appeal, about perversions of justice,2 and so on, the upshot of all of which mumbling is that, by God, they weren’t gonna pay. But a court order is a scary, scary thing. So yesterday, September 26, 2018, they paid the damn money to my lawyer, the incomparable Colleen Flynn!

And in honor of their new-found, belated and, sadly, coerced, commitment to actually following the damn law and also to making it continue to be economically feasible for lawyers to help me encourage the City of Los Angeles and its damnable business improvement districts to actually follow the laws that regulate them, I have issued this commemorative coffee mug! Get yours today! And look at all the other mugs while you’re at the store!! And stay tuned for more BID news, as always!!
Continue reading Hollywood Media District BID, The Hapless Client Of Hapless Hollywood Superlawyer Jeffrey Charles Briggs, Actually Hands Over Thirty Thousand Actual Dollars To My Lawyer As They Were Ordered To Do By The Judge! — Commemorative Mug Issued For This Historic Occasion! — Get Yours Today! — Maybe This’ll Learn Some Of His Other Clients That They Oughta Just Gimme The Damn Records — Talking To You Los Feliz Village BID, East Hollywood BID, Historic Core BID, And, Believe It Or Not, The Media District BID All Over Again

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Chinatown BID Fails To File Answer To CPRA Writ Petition Before Deadline — Maybe George Yu Considers Himself Beyond The Reach Of The Law — Which Certainly Wouldn’t Be Uncharacteristic Of That Thuggish Little Weirdo

I mean I don’t know what it is with these thuggish little business improvement districts around Los Angeles. They won’t comply with the public records act and when I am thereby forced to file petitions against them they won’t even respond. This famously happened in May with that wonky little gang of white supremacists out in the Larchmont Village BID and now it just happened again with the Chinatown BID, due to the off-the-chain intransigence of which we were forced in August to file a petition.

Of course George Yu is well-known in these parts to be a screamer, a bully, and a freaking self-proclaimed criminal, so it’s not strange to learn that he doesn’t feel like he has to play by other rules of civil society. And for all that, the consequences of these failures may be minimal. In ordinary lawsuits if you don’t answer on time you just lose, but the California Code of Civil Procedure at §1088 rules out this result for writs of mandate, which is what we’re seeking. Also in July at the trial setting conference for the Larchmont BID petition, the judge granted the BID an extra 30 days to reply without them even having to explain their lapse.

So like I said, there may not be any consequences, or any serious consequences. But on the other hand there may be. We’ll see! Stay tuned and you can see also!
Continue reading Chinatown BID Fails To File Answer To CPRA Writ Petition Before Deadline — Maybe George Yu Considers Himself Beyond The Reach Of The Law — Which Certainly Wouldn’t Be Uncharacteristic Of That Thuggish Little Weirdo

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VICTORY!! On Advice Of Carol Humiston, The World’s Angriest CPRA Lawyer, Melrose And Westchester BIDs Both Agree To Pay My Even-Tempered Attorney, The Incomparable Anna von Herrmann, Beaucoup De Bucks To Settle CPRA Petitions Brought Due To The Weirdo Incompetence Of Donald Freaking Duckworth, Their Hatchet-Faced Goblin Of A Zeck Dreck — Perhaps They Will Be More Compliant In The Future? — Perhaps The City Of Los Angeles Will Intervene And Enforce Compliance To Stop BIDs Bleeding Public Money Out Of Arrogance And Inability? — Probably Not, But I Can Dream

Of course you recall that in June of this year, my hand forced by the bizarro-world intransigence of BIDdological freak show specimen Donald Duckworth, executive director of both the Westchester Town Center BID and the Melrose BID, I had no recourse but to file a couple of writ petitions asking a judge to splain them that it wasn’t cool to openly flout the California Public Records Act just because they happen to be a gang of zillionaires and zillionare-associated minions. Soon thereafter El Duckworth suffered a severe attack of conscience and handed over all the disputed records.1

This development was good in at least two senses. First of all and most importantly it was good for the immortal soul of Mr. Duckworth, although as he was pretty clearly motivated by his anticipation of exposure and/or punishment his contrition was imperfect. Second of all it was good for my case because if a previously noncompliant agency, such as a BID, hands over records as a result of a petition being filed, the petitioner, such as me, automatically wins and the judge is required to award attorney’s fees.

This nondiscretionary outcome gives the respondent a powerful motive to hurry up and settle once records have been produced. Since they’re going to have to pay the petitioner’s attorney their best move is to minimize the amount of work done by opposing counsel. El Duckie’s two BIDs hired Carol Humiston, the world’s angriest CPRA attorney. And those, after a lot of characteristically Humistonian bluster and bullshit, are precisely the lines along which she seems to have advised her clients, which is why they have agreed to hand over a lot of damn money in exchange for settling the case.

This of course is a great victory for the forces of good, the side of the better angels of this City of Angels, and so on. Now let’s hope that this development along with the high costs that other BIDs have already paid,2 will convince them that it’s cheaper, easier, and more responsible to just hand over the damn records when I ask for them rather than fooling about wasting other people’s money in a series of ultimately futile and expensive attempts to keep the goods away from me just because they don’t like being called mean names on the Internet.

Also we can hope that this victory along with the others, past and future, will convince the City that if the BIDs can’t act responsibly they need to be made to do so. Whatever happens, of course you’ll read about it here! And turn the page for a rare and coveted image of MK.Org secret headquarters this very night just after we got the news! And here’s the damn soundtrack!
Continue reading VICTORY!! On Advice Of Carol Humiston, The World’s Angriest CPRA Lawyer, Melrose And Westchester BIDs Both Agree To Pay My Even-Tempered Attorney, The Incomparable Anna von Herrmann, Beaucoup De Bucks To Settle CPRA Petitions Brought Due To The Weirdo Incompetence Of Donald Freaking Duckworth, Their Hatchet-Faced Goblin Of A Zeck Dreck — Perhaps They Will Be More Compliant In The Future? — Perhaps The City Of Los Angeles Will Intervene And Enforce Compliance To Stop BIDs Bleeding Public Money Out Of Arrogance And Inability? — Probably Not, But I Can Dream

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Fashion District BID Sued In Order To Enforce Compliance With The Public Records Act — Noted CPRA Attorney Karl Olsen Co-Counsels With Abenicio Cisneros To See That Justice Is Done In This Egregious Attempt To Withhold Information About, Among Other Crucial Matters, The BID’s Role In Torpedoing The Skid Row Neighborhood Council — Novel Legal Issues Raised Regarding The Effect Of The Municipal Lobbying Ordinance On CPRA Exemptions In Los Angeles

On August 15, 2018, faced with Rena Leddy’s unhinged intransigence and chronic disregard of the law, I was forced to file a petition asking a judge to require the Fashion District BID to comply with the California Public Records Act. Most of the petitions I’ve filed recently have had only to do with BIDs ignoring my requests altogether1 but this one raises interesting and possibly novel issues of how exemptions to the CPRA are to be interpreted in general and in Los Angeles in particular. I’m represented by Abenicio Cisneros and Karl Olson.2

There are four classes of records at issue in this petition. Those are:3

  • Emails between the FDBID and either the South Park BID or DLANC
  • Emails in the possession of BID Board president Mark Chatoff
  • Emails between the BID and Urban Place Consulting
  • Emails in the possession of BID renewal committee chair Linda Becker

Rena Leddy claimed either that such records didn’t exist or that, if they did, the BID could withhold them on the basis of the so-called deliberative process exemption.4 In each of the four cases either there’s independent evidence that responsive records exist or else it defies belief that no records exist. For instance it is not plausible at all that Linda Becker, chair of the BID’s renewal committee, does not possess a single email relevant to the conduct of the BID’s business.5

Thus the petition focuses on debunking the exemption claims as it’s going to be hard for the BID to argue that no records exist. Turn the page for some details and some transcribed excerpts!
Continue reading Fashion District BID Sued In Order To Enforce Compliance With The Public Records Act — Noted CPRA Attorney Karl Olsen Co-Counsels With Abenicio Cisneros To See That Justice Is Done In This Egregious Attempt To Withhold Information About, Among Other Crucial Matters, The BID’s Role In Torpedoing The Skid Row Neighborhood Council — Novel Legal Issues Raised Regarding The Effect Of The Municipal Lobbying Ordinance On CPRA Exemptions In Los Angeles

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Thousands Of Pages Of 2016 LAPD Emails Shed Light On Hollywood Nightclub Racism And Creepy Cop Tricks — Including Targeted Enforcement Against Minority-Serving Establishments — Sending People “To Jail Before They Commit Crimes” — Explicit Targeting Of Putatively Chronic Offenders — Not To Mention Bizarro-World Redaction Policies Which Shed Some Light On The LAPD’s Contempt For The Public Records Act

Friends, cast your minds back to the Spring of 2015! Kerry Morrison’s various BIDs were all in a psychotic tizzy about dark-skinned people coming to Hollywood on the weekends to drink and dance and have some damn fun. Kerry Morrison and her yes-mob started a campaign against the nightclubs on Hollywood Blvd whose patrons were insufficiently lacking in melanin.1 This led, by the Fall of 2015, to Hollywood’s itchy skritchy little Council-snitchy, the one, the only, Mitch O’Freaking Farrell, starting a high-profile public campaign to shut down every nightspot that made Ms. Kerry Freaking Morrison wrinkle her freaking nose in disdain.

There was some pushback from the club owners in 2016, e.g. from the owner of the Rusty Mullet, whose lawyers played video from this blog at a Council hearing, and the organizers of the #blackhollywoodmatters campaign who, notably, convinced Marqueece Harris-Dawson to vote against the wishes of his smarmy little buddy from CD13 in a committee hearing, although naturally he reversed himself at the full Council vote. But in the usual way of things these minor victories didn’t have much of an effect,2 and by the end of August 2016 Kerry Morrison was, like Grendel’s momma, sitting around her reeking lair counting her ill-gotten victories on her poisonous and twisted little talons.

Around this time, that is, in August 2016, I filed a public records act request with the LAPD asking for emails related to these matters. And because the LAPD is basically a criminal conspiracy with respect to CPRA and just will not comply with the freaking law, which is why they get sued under the CPRA all the freaking time, it took them two whole years to hand over the goods. But they finally did produce thousands of pages3 and I recently published the whole pile on Archive.Org for your pleasure and edification.

At this late date, of course, and this was doubtless the City’s intention, the battle for the soul of Hollywood Blvd is pretty much over, with the reprehensible frightening whitening brightening of its nightlife essentially complete. However, history is interesting as well as political science, so I plan to write on these emails from time to time as there’s a lot of really disturbing and important material in there. The texts for today’s sermon come from this set here, and turn the page for the details!
Continue reading Thousands Of Pages Of 2016 LAPD Emails Shed Light On Hollywood Nightclub Racism And Creepy Cop Tricks — Including Targeted Enforcement Against Minority-Serving Establishments — Sending People “To Jail Before They Commit Crimes” — Explicit Targeting Of Putatively Chronic Offenders — Not To Mention Bizarro-World Redaction Policies Which Shed Some Light On The LAPD’s Contempt For The Public Records Act

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Chinatown Business Improvement District Sued To Enforce Compliance With California Public Records Act — The Brick-By-Brick Dismantling Of Pyschopathic Rageball George Yu’s Backwater Cult-Like Totalitarian Empire Has Begun!

On Friday a petition was filed in LA County Superior Court against George Yu’s corrupt little empire, the Chinatown Business Improvement District. You’ll recall George Yu, of course,as the caudillo of Chinatown, the man who screams at people for legally filming his meetings without approval, the man who had me ejected from his glorified strip mall for daring to defy his unlawful orders, the man who smugly admits to serious legal violations on camera because history has taught him that there will be no consequences.

Well, it turns out that he’s also the man who thinks that he can ignore people’s requests for public records for more than a year without even answering. We’re hoping this petition, which is a little different from most of the ones I report on here in that Katherine McNenny and I filed it jointly, will teach him the error of his ways, at least with respect to the CPRA.

The whole thing started in May 2017 when, after it became clear that George Yu had played a central role in the Downtown BIDs’ underhanded conspiracy to torpedo the Skid Row Neighborhood Council subdivision effort, Katherine McNenny requested a bunch of records on this topic from the Chinatown BID.1 He did not even respond, and has not responded yet, which is a clear violation of the law.2

Independently of Katherine McNenny’s requests but for the same purpose, in March 2018 I sent George Yu three requests also, slightly broader than hers but still focused on the SRNC formation effort and George Yu’s role in sinking it. He also ignored these requests. To date he has not even made the initial response required by §6253(c). For reasons I will never understand George Yu3 thinks its better to break the law repeatedly and then pay potentially tens of thousands of dollars as a consequence than to just comply in the first damn place.

And that’s what’s going on with the Chinatown BID. Turn the page for some transcribed excerpts!
Continue reading Chinatown Business Improvement District Sued To Enforce Compliance With California Public Records Act — The Brick-By-Brick Dismantling Of Pyschopathic Rageball George Yu’s Backwater Cult-Like Totalitarian Empire Has Begun!

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Historic Core BID Sued To Enforce Compliance With The California Public Records Act

I know some of my readers have been wondering why I haven’t written much lately about batty little fusspot Blair Besten, the nattering sociopathic zeck dreck of the Historic Core, third weirdest of the minor downtown BIDs. Well, the reason for that is simple yet appalling. After a reasonably good run in early 2017,1 in May 2017 she just up and stopped producing records in response to my requests. And being the weirdo little liar that she is, she didn’t just stop producing, she randomly cancelled existing appointments, said she’d mail records and never did, claimed bizarro and indefensible lists of exemptions and so on. But then things really took a turn for the weird.

In October 2017 La Besten and/or her shadowy puppetmasters on the BID Board hired self-proclaimed Hollywood Superlawyer Jeffrey Charles Briggs who, at that time, was seen by the BIDs as a reasonably competent obstructer of CPRA requests.2 And after that, once everything was placed in the unclean hands of El Briggs, I received essentially no records.3 And being the weirdo little liar that he is, he didn’t just continue not to produce. Instead he announced an endless series of broken promises, imaginary technical difficulties, unnecessary test transmissions, ignored deadlines, and gratuitous lies.

That, of course, all started almost a year ago, and that’s too long given that the CPRA requires public agencies like BIDs to produce records promptly and without delay.4 Hence, yesterday, we filed this verified petition against Blair Besten’s infernal BID, asking the court to order them to hand over the damn goods post-haste and stop messing around in the future. Turn the page for selected bits!
Continue reading Historic Core BID Sued To Enforce Compliance With The California Public Records Act

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Newly Published Emails From Westwood Village BID Reveal Lobbyists’ Interest In Westwood Neighborhood Council Subdivision Process — BID Zeck Dreck Andrew Thomas’s Clueless Ideas About Role Of BIDs In Civic Life — Michael Skiles Gets Cast As The Savior Of His People And Finds That, In His Opinion Anyway, The Role Really Suits Him! — Oh, P.S.! In His Crack-Headed Zealous Attempt To Obstruct My Free Inspection Of Records Andrew Thomas Ends Up Costing The BID $4.50 Per Page For Me To Obtain Copies For Free

I published a first batch of emails from the Westwood Village BID last month, and they’re available here on Archive.Org. As you’ll recall, Andrew Thomas, duly following the nonsensical instructions of the BID’s lawyer, the ballistical barrister of Burbank and anger-management poster child, that is to say Ms. Carol F. Humiston,1 insisted on printing out 90% of these emails, crossing out about one email address per page to justify his unsupportable foolishness, and then proposing to charge me $0.10 per page for copies of the paper.

Of course, they can’t prevent one from inspecting for free,2 and thus, because I now understand the issues involved in the whole Westwood Forward debacle far better as a result of reading the records I already obtained,3 and could therefore benefit greatly from additional review of this material, I zipped out to the Village yesterday morning to look through the goodies yet again!

And although in June, when we first began this quiet slow motion struggle, Andrew Thomas, in clear violation of the law, forbade me from photographing records, evidently Ms. Carol Humiston has cleared that up in his minionesque little mind, and so now, while he and his security guard are sitting there burning $125 per hour watching me inspect, I am able to copy the records for free.4

And that’s exactly what I did yesterday morning, and I came away with 44 pages of exceedingly interesting material, which you can peruse here on Archive.Org. It’s all good stuff, and I’ll be writing about all of it eventually, but today there are three especially interesting subjects to cover. They’re outlined in the headline, of course, and turn the page for the gory-glory details!
Continue reading Newly Published Emails From Westwood Village BID Reveal Lobbyists’ Interest In Westwood Neighborhood Council Subdivision Process — BID Zeck Dreck Andrew Thomas’s Clueless Ideas About Role Of BIDs In Civic Life — Michael Skiles Gets Cast As The Savior Of His People And Finds That, In His Opinion Anyway, The Role Really Suits Him! — Oh, P.S.! In His Crack-Headed Zealous Attempt To Obstruct My Free Inspection Of Records Andrew Thomas Ends Up Costing The BID $4.50 Per Page For Me To Obtain Copies For Free

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Judge Mary Strobel Rules That The Media District BID Must Pay $30,000 In Fees To My Attorney In My CPRA Case Against Them!! — Huge Fail For Hollywood Superlawyer Jeffrey Charles Briggs And His Bizarro-World Argument That I Deserve To Lose Cause I Am So Mean To His BIDdie BFFs — Briggs’s Other BID Clients Ought To See That It Is Time To Choose Between Coughing Up The Records And Coughing Up The Benjamins!!

As I’m sure you’re aware I was forced in 2016 by the arrogant intransigence of the Hollywood Media District BID to file a writ petition against them asking that they be ordered to follow the damn law.1 The petition was granted in part on January 30, 2018 and the BIDdies had to hand over some emails to me. I wrote about those goodies here and here.

What happens then is exceedingly clear under the law. The CPRA §6259(d) states that: The court shall award court costs and reasonable attorney fees to the plaintiff should the plaintiff prevail in litigation filed pursuant to this section.

The “shall” means that a fee award is mandatory. The judge is not allowed not to award fees to the requester if the requester prevails. Of course, we have to consider what it means to prevail, but this has been settled by the courts in Belth v. Garamendi, which states: We further hold that the plaintiff has prevailed within the meaning of the statute when he or she files an action which results in defendant releasing a copy of a previously withheld document.

So the fact that the judge ordered the BID to give me those emails in February pretty much sealed their fate. Of course, they weren’t going down without a fight. My lawyer, the incomparable Colleen Flynn, asked them for $48,000 in fees. Briggs filed a response saying essentially that we shouldn’t get any fees but if we did it shouldn’t be nearly that much.

Flynn filed a simply brilliant rejoinder to that, and this very morning the judge rejected every last one of Hollywood Superlawyer Jeffrey Charles Briggs’s arguments, including his incredibly, embarrassingly whiny oral argument, and handed down a ruling awarding $30,000 in fees to Flynn. Ironically, before the ruling, Flynn offered to settle for significantly less than that and was roundly rejected by Attorney Briggs. Turn the page for a transcription of the ruling and a little more commentary.
Continue reading Judge Mary Strobel Rules That The Media District BID Must Pay $30,000 In Fees To My Attorney In My CPRA Case Against Them!! — Huge Fail For Hollywood Superlawyer Jeffrey Charles Briggs And His Bizarro-World Argument That I Deserve To Lose Cause I Am So Mean To His BIDdie BFFs — Briggs’s Other BID Clients Ought To See That It Is Time To Choose Between Coughing Up The Records And Coughing Up The Benjamins!!

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