At The SRNC Appeal Hearing DLANC President Patti Berman Said “If One Of Our Board Members Was Involved With United DTLA…I Bet We Could Get Them Off The Board Really Fast” — Patti! News Flash!! Six Of Your Freaking Board Members Were Involved, Including Bob Newman, Who Was Standing Right Behind You When You Said This! One’s Gone, Now Get The Others Off Really Fast Please!!!

DLANC President Patti Berman on May 3, 2017 denying that any DLANC board members were involved with United Downtown Los Angeles while DLANC board member Bob Newman, who was in fact involved with United Downtown Los Angeles, lurks silently, as is his wont, in the dark background.
Background: You can read my previous stories on the Skid Row Neighborhood Council formation effort and also see Jason McGahan’s article in the Weekly and Gale Holland’s article in the Times for more mainstream perspectives.

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.

Well, of course, as we know now, DLANC board member Estela Lopez was deeply involved with United DTLA and five additional board members were also involved to one degree or another:

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.”

Now, it’s occurred to me that I haven’t written much about how these folks in the intersection between the DLANC board and United DTLA were involved in United DTLA’s shenanigans. Obviously they were all involved to the extent that they were on Estela Lopez’s United DTLA mailing list1 Well, there’s tons of evidence in this set of emails from the Downtown Center BID but it can be fairly hard to sort through. Never fear, though! Turn the page for a play-by-play list of selected involvements of selected creepy DLANCkites, with evidence!
Continue reading At The SRNC Appeal Hearing DLANC President Patti Berman Said “If One Of Our Board Members Was Involved With United DTLA…I Bet We Could Get Them Off The Board Really Fast” — Patti! News Flash!! Six Of Your Freaking Board Members Were Involved, Including Bob Newman, Who Was Standing Right Behind You When You Said This! One’s Gone, Now Get The Others Off Really Fast Please!!!

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On April 15, 2017 DLANC Board Member Estela Lopez Used Her dlanc.com Address To Email 52 Anti-Skid-Row-Neighborhood-Council Conspirators Associated With United Downtown Los Angeles LLC

Background: You can read my previous stories on the Skid Row Neighborhood Council formation effort and also see Jason McGahan’s article in the Weekly and Gale Holland’s article in the Times for more mainstream perspectives.

The headline pretty much says it. Here is the email and there’s a transcription after the break. After the essential part, that Estela Lopez sent this email from estela.lopez@dlanc.com rather than her personal email address, beatus821@gmail.com, that she had been using previously, the next most important thing is the distribution list. It’s the same bunch of people that Estela Lopez had been emailing since March 20 on behalf of United Downtown LA.

It’s interesting to note, by the way, that, in addition to Estela Lopez herself, the following DLANC board members were on the list:

This is six of them, which is one short of a Brown Act violation,1 so they dodged that bullet. So is Estela Lopez’s use of her official DLANC email address to send out a United DTLA email a violation of some rule? It’s hard to say. It probably depends on why she used the official email account, and at this late date it’s dubious that there’s any proof of motive.2 So I’m just letting the fact speak for itself.
Continue reading On April 15, 2017 DLANC Board Member Estela Lopez Used Her dlanc.com Address To Email 52 Anti-Skid-Row-Neighborhood-Council Conspirators Associated With United Downtown Los Angeles LLC

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United Downtown Los Angeles LLC Seems To Have Been Controlled If Not Created By Estela Lopez

Background: You can read my previous stories on the Skid Row Neighborhood Council formation effort and also see Jason McGahan’s article in the Weekly and Gale Holland’s article in the Times for more mainstream perspectives.

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.

The next milestone was a meeting between Estela Lopez of the Central City East Association, Rena Leddy of the Fashion District BID, and Rockard Delgadillo. This took place at 11 a.m. on March 20 and was actually organized by Estela Lopez, who scheduled the meeting on March 18. Less than an hour after this meeting ended, Rena Leddy was emailing her property owners with the gospel of the birth of United Downtown Los Angeles.

Finally, in July I learned that United Downtown LA has the same phone number as the Central City East Association. This is all reasonably strong but not conclusive evidence in favor of the proposition that Estela Lopez was in control of United Downtown, if not its actual founder. And that brings our story to the present day.
Continue reading United Downtown Los Angeles LLC Seems To Have Been Controlled If Not Created By Estela Lopez

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Lunada Bay Boys Magistrate Judge Rozella Oliver Rules That Mostly Plaintiffs Can File Supplemental Oppositions To Individual Defendants’ Motions For Summary Judgment But Not In The Case Of City Defendants For Some Damn Reason

For background take a look at this excellent article from the Times on this lawsuit. Also see here to download all pleadings in this case.

The discovery problems in this case are getting exceedingly hard to follow. At this point they seem to be divisible into two main categories. There are the motions for sanctions, which are set for a hearing next week. And then there is the plaintiffs’ motion for administrative relief, which is based on the various and sundry motions for summary judgment filed by the various and sundry defendants in combination with the fact that those various and same defendants have not been forthcoming with discovery materials. The argument is that without access to the discovery material the plaintiffs haven’t been able to adequately respond to the motions for summary judgment.
Continue reading Lunada Bay Boys Magistrate Judge Rozella Oliver Rules That Mostly Plaintiffs Can File Supplemental Oppositions To Individual Defendants’ Motions For Summary Judgment But Not In The Case Of City Defendants For Some Damn Reason

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It Seems That Piratical Swashbuckling Downtown Real Estate Vigilante Jacob Douglas Van Horn Supplied Anti-Skid-Row-Neighborhood-Council Conspirators With Patti Berman’s Copy Of A DLANC Voter Registration List In Advance Of The Subdivision Election For Purposes Of Electioneering, Thereby Potentially Misusing His Power As A Member Of DLANC’s Board

Background: You can read my previous stories on the Skid Row Neighborhood Council formation effort and also see Jason McGahan’s article in the Weekly and Gale Holland’s article in the Times for more mainstream perspectives.

You may recall that one of the major issues raised in the Skid Row Neighborhood Council Formation Committee’s appeal to the Board of Neighborhood Commissioners over probably illegal, certainly immoral, shenanigans in the horrifically shady campaign against the SRNC was the question of whether DLANC had illegally opposed formation by sending out emails via its Mailchimp account. The turning point, though, was when the opposition convinced CD14 repster José Huizar to allow online voting at the last minute and to automatically register all people who’d voted in the last DLANC election.

The fact that Huizar decided to allow online voting meant that contact information for all the automatically registered voters suddenly became very valuable. I haven’t uncovered any new information on the Mailchimp front, but one of the emails from yesterday’s release of records from the Downtown Center BID reveals that on April 3, just three days before the hotly contested election, then-DLANC-Board-member Jacob Douglas van Horn,1 sent DLANC’s copy of the registered voter list to a rogues’ gallery of anti-SRNC conspirators. Here is the email and here’s what it says:

Attached is a spreadsheet with the list of pre-registered voters from the last election. All of these people have already been sent a login and pin by DONE. For many it is ending up in their spam email box. Please every take a few minutes to look over this list. If you know anyone on the list please follow up with them and make sure they have voted.

And turn the page for a discussion of what may be wrong with Jacob Douglas van Horn sending this to his co-conspirators, who those co-conspirators were, and how I know that this is DLANC’s copy of the spreadsheet.
Continue reading It Seems That Piratical Swashbuckling Downtown Real Estate Vigilante Jacob Douglas Van Horn Supplied Anti-Skid-Row-Neighborhood-Council Conspirators With Patti Berman’s Copy Of A DLANC Voter Registration List In Advance Of The Subdivision Election For Purposes Of Electioneering, Thereby Potentially Misusing His Power As A Member Of DLANC’s Board

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More Than Ten Thousand Emails! Downtown Santa Monica BID And Downtown Center BID! Two Unbelievably Rich Sets Of Records!

This is just a short note to announce two massive sets of emails that I’ve obtained over the last couple weeks. There’s so much material here that it’s taken an unusual amount of time to get it processed and published. I will be writing about this material over the next few weeks. There’s so much, and it’s so rich, that it’s going to take me a while to get it all sorted out, so I thought it’d be best to make it available to you right away:

  • Downtown Santa Monica BID — Emails between the City of Santa Monica and the Downtown Santa Monica BID from January 1 through September 8, 2017.
  • Downtown Center BID — Assorted emails from the Downtown Center BID, mostly from 2017.

Like I said, there’s so much here that it will take a while to get it sorted through. Meanwhile, though, turn the page for some interesting stuff you can begin to look for on your own.
Continue reading More Than Ten Thousand Emails! Downtown Santa Monica BID And Downtown Center BID! Two Unbelievably Rich Sets Of Records!

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Rafik Ghazarian And His Criminal Cronies From The Los Feliz Village BID Saved From Prosecution And Their Infernal BID From Dissolution On The Merest Of Mere Technicalities

One month ago today, you may recall, I reported the Los Feliz Village BID to the Public Integrity Division of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.1 I had exceedingly strong smoking gun level evidence, and you can read the original complaint here. Well, this morning I was semi-pleased to receive a copy of a letter from Alan Yochelson of the D.A.’s office to the BID’s attorney, Mr. Hollywood himself, Jeffrey Charles Briggs.

You can read a transcription after the break, but the upshot is that, as the DA received my complaint 91 days after the incident, they were barred by the Brown Act, which requires action within 90 days, from doing anything about it. However, Alan Yochelson, who handles Brown Act matters for the DA, saw fit to advise Jeffrey Charles Briggs to tell his client, the LFVBID, that such discussions as were had outside of duly noticed public meetings by the BIDdies, were against the fricking law.

The stakes were high, as it’s at least theoretically possible to force the dissolution of a BID if they’re found to have violated any law. Hence I expect that they’ll probably pay close attention to the Brown Act’s requirements in the future. I know I’ll pay very close attention to the deadline, which I didn’t know about, more’s the pity!
Continue reading Rafik Ghazarian And His Criminal Cronies From The Los Feliz Village BID Saved From Prosecution And Their Infernal BID From Dissolution On The Merest Of Mere Technicalities

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I Don’t Know Much About The Law But This Latest Pleading Filed By The City Of PVE Seems Pretty Crackpot To Me — Are They Really Arguing That Mark Velez Was Automatically Named As A Party To The Case When Jeff Kepley Resigned And Therefore It Is Vexatious Harassment To Suggest To The Court That Mark Velez Be Named As A Party?!

For background take a look at this excellent article from the Times on this lawsuit. Also see here to download all pleadings in this case.

A couple weeks ago the plaintiffs in this most Byzantine of cases filed “a suggestion” to the court, which evidently is a genuine type of pleading, noting that because Jeff Kepley was being sued in his official capacity and had resigned as chief of the PVEPD, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 25(d) required that he be automatically dropped as a party to the suit and his successor, who is Mark Velez, acting chief of the PVEPD, be substituted in.

Well, on Tuesday, the City filed a response to the suggestion which, I think, claims that because FRCP 25(d) provides that Jeff Kepley was automatically substituted out and Mark Velez substituted in, the court need not do anything and therefore the suggestion “serves no purpose other than to harass Captain Velez by subjecting him to the publicity of being named as a defendant in this lawsuit” when he’s going to be removed as chief in a few weeks.

I mean, I admit I’m not a lawyer and that I only have a tenuous grasp of what’s going on in many of these papers, but this one seems particularly crazy to me. Everyone admits that Kepley is no longer a party and that Velez is now a party and that this happened automatically when Kepley resigned. Everyone admits that it doesn’t matter what the judge does about it.

So why is it wrong to bring Jeff Kepley’s resignation to the attention of the Judge? How’s he supposed to find out about it if no one tells him? Why does mentioning Mark Velez’s appearance as a defendent constitute harassment after it has already happened? Well, the answer is probably, as is often the case with these people, “who freaking knows?!” There’s a transcription, as always, after the break.
Continue reading I Don’t Know Much About The Law But This Latest Pleading Filed By The City Of PVE Seems Pretty Crackpot To Me — Are They Really Arguing That Mark Velez Was Automatically Named As A Party To The Case When Jeff Kepley Resigned And Therefore It Is Vexatious Harassment To Suggest To The Court That Mark Velez Be Named As A Party?!

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How I Reported Fashion District BID Executive Director Rena Leddy To The Ethics Commission For (a) Failing To Register As A Lobbyist And (b) Failing To Recuse From A DLANC Vote For Conflict Of Interest

As you may already know quite well, in the City of Los Angeles, people are required by the Municipal Lobbying Ordinance to register with the Ethics Commission if they’re compensated for 30 hours of lobbying activity over three consecutive months.1 This year I’ve been working on reporting BID consultants to the Ethics Commission for failure to comply. So far I’ve filed two complaints, both against Tara Devine, one for her work on the Venice Beach BID and another for her work on the South Park BID.

But consultants aren’t the only BID people who spend their time trying to influence municipal legislation.2 BID staff actually spend a huge amount of time on this as well, and they never ever register as lobbyists. Also, they have never, in the entire history of Los Angeles, ever been called to account for failing to register. In fact, they’ve fought vigorously against the very idea that their work is even subject to the MLO.3

Consequently I’ve been working on expanding my unregistered lobbyist reporting project to BID staff as well. I kicked off the modern era of this project4 today by filing a complaint against Rena Leddy, executive directrix of the Fashion District BID, for failing to register and also for violating conflict of interest laws. You can read the whole complaint if you wish, and there’s a detailed discussion after the break.5
Continue reading How I Reported Fashion District BID Executive Director Rena Leddy To The Ethics Commission For (a) Failing To Register As A Lobbyist And (b) Failing To Recuse From A DLANC Vote For Conflict Of Interest

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Judge James Otero Issues Order Denying City Of LA’s Motion To Clarify His Preliminary Injunction Against Enforcement Of LAMC §56.11 In Skid Row

See Gale Holland’s excellent story in the Times on Mitchell v. LA as well as our other stories on the subject for the background to this post. See here to download most of the papers filed in the case.

Recall that in May 2016 the City of Los Angeles filed a motion asking Judge James Otero to clarify his preliminary injunction against enforcement of the abhorrent LAMC §56.11 within the boundaries of Skid Row. Recently plaintiffs’ attorney Carol Sobel filed a scathing opposition to the City’s motion. Otero then ruled that he could dispose of the motion without a hearing.

Earlier today he filed an order doing just that. He denied the City’s motion entirely and accused them of asking him to rule on abstractions and complex constitutional issues which had not yet come up in practice in this case. This he declined to do, rightly in my opinion, leaving the City with no option but to buckle down and follow the freaking law for once. There’s a transcription after the break.
Continue reading Judge James Otero Issues Order Denying City Of LA’s Motion To Clarify His Preliminary Injunction Against Enforcement Of LAMC §56.11 In Skid Row

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A collaborative denunciation of Business Improvement Districts in Los Angeles