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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We Learned Recently That Various LAPD Officers Have Been Helping Venice Housedwellers Store Their Illegal Bulky Items Planters On The Public Sidewalk — But Police Are Supposed To Enforce The Law — Not Help A Bunch Of Persons Temporarily Experiencing Housedwellingness To Violate It — So I Turned Them All In To Internal Affairs — And You Can Read The Complaint Right Here!

Recently I obtained some emails which proved that the Los Angeles Police Department was complicit in the placement of illegal anti-homeless planters in Venice. Officers coordinated with local housedwellers to remove homeless encampments in order to facilitate planter installation. You can read that story here.

The planters are illegal for a number of reasons, but two interesting laws being violated in this context are LAMC 56.11 and LAMC 56.12. LAMC 56.11 is, of course, the famous anti-homeless ordinance banning the storage of so-called bulky items on public sidewalks. The other section, LAMC 56.12, requires property owners or other people in control of property1 to keep adjacent sidewalks free of unpermitted obstructions.

Not only that, but LAMC 11.00(m) states that “[e]very violation of this Code is punishable as a misdemeanor unless provision is otherwise made…” It turns out that LAMC 56.11 does make another provision, so that violation of that section isn’t a misdemeanor, but this isn’t the case with 56.12. If a property owner allows unpermitted planters to stay on the sidewalk they’re committing a misdemeanor.

And thus when the police ask homeless people to move so that unpermitted planters can be placed, or even when they hang around watching while Sanitation destroys encampments so that unpermitted planters can be placed, they’re facilitating the commission of a whole series of misdemeanors by the people who own or control the property adjacent to the planters.

And it’s even worse than that. LAMC 11.00(j) declares that “[w]henever in this Code any act or omission is made unlawful it shall include causing, permitting, aiding, abetting, suffering or concealing the fact of the act or omission.” That is, not only does LAMC 56.12 forbid property owners from leaving the planters in place, it actually forbids any person from “permitting, aiding, abetting, [or] suffering” the planters to remain.

So when the police do nothing about the planters, they’re actually violating LAMC 56.12 themselves. And per 11.00(m) this violation is a misdemeanor. So it’s really much worse than it would be if LAPD officers were merely complicit in other people’s violations of the law, which is already intolerable. They are themselves violating the law.

It is intolerable to have police, given extraordinary powers up to and including the power of killing people in the service of their goals, violating the very laws they’re sworn to enforce. So I wrote this complaint against all the police I know to be involved and sent it to LAPD Internal Affairs, asking them to investigate the officers and punish them if appropriate. Turn the page for some transcribed selections and stay tuned for updates!
Continue reading We Learned Recently That Various LAPD Officers Have Been Helping Venice Housedwellers Store Their Illegal Bulky Items Planters On The Public Sidewalk — But Police Are Supposed To Enforce The Law — Not Help A Bunch Of Persons Temporarily Experiencing Housedwellingness To Violate It — So I Turned Them All In To Internal Affairs — And You Can Read The Complaint Right Here!

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AB1819 Passes Assembly — Now On To Senate — A Tiny But Essential Improvement To The California Public Records Act — Will Require Agencies To Allow Requesters To Copy Records At No Charge — Using Their Own Equipment — Includes Electronic Files — Take That, Department Of Alcoholic Freaking Beverage Control!

Assembly Bill 1819, which would require agencies to allow requesters to copy records using their own equipment at no charge, was unanimously passed by the Assembly yesterday and now it’s on to the Senate. As I wrote in March when the bill was introduced, most agencies already do this for paper records, although there are some which, in their frenzied desire to obstruct oversight by the very citizens they were created to serve, do not.

Most notable among these in my experience is the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control which, in addition to being plagued by unchecked corruption, is also imbued with the kind of paranoiac institutional culture that enables heavily armed power junkies like Special Agent In Charge Gerry Sanchez of the Los Angeles Metro Office to feed their need to control by forbidding requesters to take photographs of records during the inspection process.

As amended the bill will also require local agencies to allow copying of electronic records using the requester’s own equipment unless to do so “would result in…[u]nauthorized access to the agency’s computer systems or secured networks by using software or any other technology capable of accessing, altering, or compromising the agency’s electronic records.”

This clause is much more consequential for my own work, as many, many, many business improvement districts, mostly under the baleful influence of Carol Humiston, the world’s angriest CPRA attorney, refuse to allow me to copy electronic records during inspection unless I pay them outrageous fees for expensive storage media.

Humiston designed this policy explicitly to impede access to records by driving up the costs, an illegal plan for which she is presently under investigation by the State Bar. Her BIDdies certainly can’t argue convincingly that use of the requester’s own equipment, e.g. a USB drive, WOULD result in compromised security (as opposed to MIGHT so result in some feverishly imagined world) this bill will likely put an end to Humiston’s illegal nonsense.

And interestingly this bill has drawn no significant opposition, not even from the California Downtown Association or other assorted BID fronts that habitually oppose even the mildest and most unobjectionable improvements in the Public Records Act.1 E.g. this year Todd Gloria’s AB 1184, which merely clarifies that existing state records retention law applies to emails.

Anyway, passing the Assembly unanimously is a good sign, and fingers crossed for the Senate. You’ll find no pre-hatch chicken counting around here, though. We saw in 2017 how determined coalitions of well-funded shadow-dwelling BIDdies can sink even very well-supported bills in the reconciliation process long after they’ve passed one house or another. Turn the page for a transcription of selections from the Assembly floor analysis of the bill.
Continue reading AB1819 Passes Assembly — Now On To Senate — A Tiny But Essential Improvement To The California Public Records Act — Will Require Agencies To Allow Requesters To Copy Records At No Charge — Using Their Own Equipment — Includes Electronic Files — Take That, Department Of Alcoholic Freaking Beverage Control!

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You Know Those Illegal Anti-Homeless Planters All Over Venice — And No One Knows Who Installed Them — Or Why The Cops Won’t Remove Them — Or Arrest Anyone — Well Here Is Proof That Venice Stakeholders Association Boss Mark Ryavec Worked With Mike Bonin Staffie Taylor Bazley — And LAPD Officers — And Bazley Worked With LA Sanitation — And Brian Freaking Buchner — To Coordinate Encampment Sweeps With Planter Installation — And Taylor Bazley Knew They Were Illegal — And Bazley Told Constituents That The Council Office Wasn’t Involved — And Taylor Bazley Is A Liar! — Of Course We Knew That But Now We Have Proof!

The anti-homeless planters placed all over Venice by hitherto unknown parties have received a great deal of media coverage in the last year, from the Hollywood Reporter to LA Magazine to Capital and Main to KFI radio to Venice Update. There’s no question that these planters are illegal. The Los Angeles Municipal Code at §62.118.2 requires revocable permits for any installations on public sidewalks. Los Angeles Magazine has reported that not only do these planters not have permits, but that the City’s Bureau of Engineering states that they would not issue permits for them.1

And although that Venice Update story names Venice Gauleiter Mark Ryavec as a funding source for the planters at Lincoln and Palms, the other stories are careful either to avoid saying who’s responsible for planter installation or else to state explicitly that no one knows who’s putting them in. It seems obvious that some factions in the City of Los Angeles have been involved in planter installation, though. LA Sanitation’s sweeps of encampments in places targeted for planters seem coordinated with installation, and the LAPD seems always to have representatives present when the sweeps are happening.

And if you’re familiar with the way the City of Los Angeles is run you know that it is actually not possible that projects like these can be implemented, that there could be any kind of coordination between departments, that illegal planters could persist, without at least the passive support of the local Councilmember. In the case of Venice, which is in CD11, that is Mike Bonin. And yet Bonin’s office has consistently denied that it is involved at all.

For instance, in November 2018, KFI reported that “A spokesman for Councilman Mike Bonin, who represents the area, said he was not aware of any city department’s involvement in the placing of the planter boxes.” In May 2018 Bonin staffie Taylor Bazley explicitly told a concerned resident, Adam Smith, that CD11 “certainly [is] not involved” in planter installation. Here you can watch Chief Michel Moore stating that the planters are not an area of LAPD responsibility.

However, an email conversation that I recently obtained from the City via the California Public Records Act shows conclusively that both Bonin’s unnamed spokesperson and his loyal staffie Taylor Bazley were lying when they said CD11 was not involved. Bazley was involved, Mark Ryavec was involved, and LAPD officers James Roberts, James Setzer, Javier Ramirez, and Kristan Delatori were involved.

Michel Moore may not have been lying when he said that LAPD wasn’t responsible for planters, but these emails show that he was at least misinformed or uninformed by his subordinates at Pacific Division. For instance, LAPD Captain James Roberts enlisted Mark Ryavec’s aid in asking Taylor Bazley to authorize LAPD to move homeless people away from an installation site.2 These emails are evidence, therefore, that multiple City offices are working together to violate the law in order to placate angry housedwellers and that at least Mike Bonin’s office is lying about it.

And there’s a lot of other important information here. For instance, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority is required by City protocol to participate in all encampment sweeps in the City. They’re widely touted as playing “a critical role in minimizing any negative health effects in our communities, while also offering our homeless neighbors access to a path out of homelessness.” Bazley, however, in an email to anti-homeless psychopath Mark Ryavec, describes their role quite differently: “LAHSA needs to attempt to demonstrate rendering of services by visiting the site 3 documented times”3 There’s a real contrast between “offering our homeless neighbors access to a path out of homelessness” and “attempt[ing] to demonstrate rendering of services.”

The emails also reveal the identities and email addresses of a number of NIMBY housedwellers from Venice besides Mark Ryavec who are involved in planter installations. Turn the page for a list of these haters as well as transcriptions of all the emails.
Continue reading You Know Those Illegal Anti-Homeless Planters All Over Venice — And No One Knows Who Installed Them — Or Why The Cops Won’t Remove Them — Or Arrest Anyone — Well Here Is Proof That Venice Stakeholders Association Boss Mark Ryavec Worked With Mike Bonin Staffie Taylor Bazley — And LAPD Officers — And Bazley Worked With LA Sanitation — And Brian Freaking Buchner — To Coordinate Encampment Sweeps With Planter Installation — And Taylor Bazley Knew They Were Illegal — And Bazley Told Constituents That The Council Office Wasn’t Involved — And Taylor Bazley Is A Liar! — Of Course We Knew That But Now We Have Proof!

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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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George Yu And The Chinatown Business Improvement District Continue To Refuse To Participate In Our CPRA Lawsuit Against Them — Motion To Compel Response To Discovery Filed Yesterday — Along With Ex Parte Motion To Set An Earlier Date For Hearing Motion To Compel — How Did Anyone Decide That This Whiny Little Poobutt Should Be In Charge Of A Multi-Zillion Dollar Publicly Funded Enterprise?!

I mean, at this point all these posts about our1 lawsuit against the Chinatown Business Improvement District are turning out about the same. We do something and he ignores it and doesn’t show up for court or file papers or do whatever he was supposed to do. And the last such item was the discovery we served on the BID in January. And he just wouldn’t answer!

Well, the trial is coming up on July 24 and our lawyers have to have the opening brief in on May 24. So yesterday we filed a motion to compel the BID to answer the discovery and also to pay $3,160 in costs incurred because of Yu’s intransigence. But there’s an extra problem, which is that there’s no room on the court’s calendar for hearing the motion until July.

This would leave no time to incorporate the discovery information into the opening brief, so we’re doing an ex parte application to hold the hearing on the motion to compel sooner.2 It’ll be heard this Thursday, May 2, at 8:30 am in Department 86 of the Mosk Courthouse. Turn the page for some excerpts from the lawyer’s declaration explaining what a bad, bad boy George Yu has been.
Continue reading George Yu And The Chinatown Business Improvement District Continue To Refuse To Participate In Our CPRA Lawsuit Against Them — Motion To Compel Response To Discovery Filed Yesterday — Along With Ex Parte Motion To Set An Earlier Date For Hearing Motion To Compel — How Did Anyone Decide That This Whiny Little Poobutt Should Be In Charge Of A Multi-Zillion Dollar Publicly Funded Enterprise?!

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Since 2016 Eleven CPRA Lawsuits Against The City Of Los Angeles Have Been Disposed Of — The City Lost Two At Trial And Paid Up — And Settled Eight Before Trial And Paid Up — And The Only One They Didn’t Lose Was The One Wrongly Filed In Federal Court By A Pro Se Litigant — For A Total Of $662,722 — And Given That They’re About To Pay More Than $324,000 To The ACLU To Settle Another Loser — This Is More Than A Million Dollars In Less Than Four Years That They Wasted Because They Can Not Or They Will Not Comply With The Law — For That Kind Of Money They Could Hire A Damn CPRA Coordinator — And Some Staff — And Stop The Bleeding

If you make requests of the City of Los Angeles under the California Public Records Act you will have learned by now that they fail to comply in almost every possible way. They delay access to records, they wrongfully withhold records as exempt, they fail to respond to requests at all, they say that there are no responsive records when in fact there are, they manipulate requesters into asking for far less than they have a right to by wrongly citing authorities, they insist on printing electronic records onto paper and then charge for copies, and so on and on and on. It’s a real nightmare.

Some of the City’s shenanigans are due to the fact that the state legislature, in its wisdom, has made judicial action the only means of enforcing the CPRA. The City, probably with reason, assumes that most requesters don’t have the resources or the tenacity to follow through with a lawsuit, so the expected consequences for their abject noncompliance are pretty minimal. And that may be an accurate assessment, it’s hard to tell because I don’t have access to all the data.

But not having access to all doesn’t mean it’s impossible to get access to some, so I have been investigating CPRA suits against the City of Los Angeles. I first started thinking about this matter in 2015 but was at that time told by Deputy City Attorney Mike Dundas1 that the City had no way of listing CPRA suits against it. But after all that nonsense happened in San Diego recently, what with their City Attorney,2 Mara Elliot, tricking Senator Ben Hueso into introducing his appalling and since-withdrawn CPRA-gutting SB 615 and then some people got a spreadsheet showing how much the City of San Diego had spent on CPRA suits since 2010.

So I thought I’d ask Mike Dundas again and what do you know!? He came through and also informed me that the City Attorney3 had assigned a cause code to CPRA suits in 2016 so that it was now possible to track them individually.4 And then, kablooie! He produced this list of ten closed cases with payouts since 2016!5 And then later he told me that there was this one other closed case that didn’t involve a payout since the City was dismissed from it on a motion.6 And according to him he will be producing7 a list of the currently open cases.8

And just the bare numbers here are really interesting, but not a good look for the City of Los Angeles. Since 2016 eleven CPRA cases against the City have been disposed of. The City went to trial on two of these and lost, paying a total of $558,690.57 to petitioners’ lawyers. The City unfavorably settled eight of them before trial, paying a total of $104,032 to petitioners’ lawyers. And the City got itself dismissed from one before trial, but only because the petitioner mistakenly filed the case in federal court.

I obtained copies of all ten of the properly filed petitions, and you can find them here on the Archive and there are also links to the individual files below. From a practical point of view, those eight cases that the City settled without going to trial are the most interesting of all. First of all, they were all avoidable. None of them hinged on any subtle interpretations of the statute. If the City had just followed the explicit requirements of the law none of them would have been brought in the first place.

I describe each of them briefly below, by the way. The City has really come to rely on not being sued, and I don’t think we have any hope at all of improving their compliance without a lot more petitions being filed. It’s my hope that these statistics along with access to these cases will encourage more lawyers to get involved in suing the City over CPRA violations. It really looks like there’s some money to be made.

But, much, much more importantly, it looks like it might be not only practically possible, not only morally desirable, but also economically feasible to get the damn City of Los Angeles to just comply with the damn CPRA in some kind of predictable way. The money they spend settling these cases could easily fund a Citywide CPRA coordinator and another staff member just to keep all the City departments on track so that we get access to our records and the City avoids an endless parade of these entirely avoidable suits.
Continue reading Since 2016 Eleven CPRA Lawsuits Against The City Of Los Angeles Have Been Disposed Of — The City Lost Two At Trial And Paid Up — And Settled Eight Before Trial And Paid Up — And The Only One They Didn’t Lose Was The One Wrongly Filed In Federal Court By A Pro Se Litigant — For A Total Of $662,722 — And Given That They’re About To Pay More Than $324,000 To The ACLU To Settle Another Loser — This Is More Than A Million Dollars In Less Than Four Years That They Wasted Because They Can Not Or They Will Not Comply With The Law — For That Kind Of Money They Could Hire A Damn CPRA Coordinator — And Some Staff — And Stop The Bleeding

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Exceedingly Strong Trial Brief Filed In My CPRA Suit Against The Fashion District BID — The BID’s Reply Is Due In 30 Days — Trial Set For June 26, 2019 At 9:30 AM — Department 86 — Stanley Mosk Courthouse

It’s been a while since I wrote about the lawsuit that I was forced to file in August 2018 by the unhinged intransigence of the Fashion District BID, pursued by them in line with the unhinged intransigence of their soon-to-be-disbarred attorney, the world’s angriest CPRA lawyer, Ms. Carol Ann Humiston, in order to enforce my rights to read their damn emails. But time rolls on and the trial, scheduled for June 26, 2019 at 9:30 a.m. in Department 86 of the Stanley Mosk Courthouse, is rapidly approaching.

Thus did my attorneys, Abenicio Cisneros and Karl Olson, file the trial brief with the court on Friday. The arguments are overwhelmingly powerful, and you can read substantial excerpts after the break. If I were the Fashion District after reading this I’d be ready to settle up and settle up quick. But they’re clearly on some kind of a mission with an axe to grind and a point to prove and I certainly don’t expect them to start acting sensible at this point. After all, it’s not their own money they’re squandering on Ms. Humiston’s exorbitant fees.1

As I said, you can read the specifics in the excerpts below, but there are two main general issues at stake. First is the fact that the BID relies heavily on the so-called catch-all exemption to the CPRA, found at section 6255(a), which allows agencies to withhold records when they can show “that on the facts of the particular case the public interest served by not disclosing the record clearly outweighs the public interest served by disclosure of the record.” The key thing here is that they have to make a showing of public interest in withholding the record.

This is hard enough to do in general, and the BID hasn’t even made an attempt, but our argument is that in the City of Los Angeles such a showing is even more difficult to pull off because (a) the BID is deeply involved in attempts to influence municipal legislation and (b) the Municipal Lobbying Ordinance at LAMC §48.01 establishes an extraordinarily high public interest in disclosure of information about attempts to influence:

The citizens of the City of Los Angeles have a right to know the identity of interests which attempt to influence decisions of City government, as well as the means employed by those interests.

Complete public disclosure of the full range of activities by and financing of lobbyists and those who employ their services is essential to the maintenance of citizen confidence in the integrity of local government.

The argument is essentially that the BID can’t even show that there’s any significant public interest in withholding the records they withheld, but given that the subject of these records concerns the means they employ to attempt to influence municipal decisions, they really especially can’t meet this extra-high local bar.

The other main argument is against some nonsense that the BID just made up in their reply to my petition. Many of the emails they refused to turn over are in the possession of their board members Linda Becker and Mark Chatoff. They wouldn’t even search for these because it’s Carol Humiston’s opinion that board members aren’t subject to the CPRA.

You can read the technical details below, but basically our argument is that the law that makes BIDs subject to the CPRA, which is Streets and Highways Code §36612, explicitly makes the owners’ associations subject. It makes no sense as a matter of law and as of a matter of common sense that a corporation could be subject to the CPRA while its board members were not subject. A corporation only does anything through the actions of the people who run it. And that’s the quick and dirty summary. As I keep saying, read on for the excerpts!
Continue reading Exceedingly Strong Trial Brief Filed In My CPRA Suit Against The Fashion District BID — The BID’s Reply Is Due In 30 Days — Trial Set For June 26, 2019 At 9:30 AM — Department 86 — Stanley Mosk Courthouse

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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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Business Improvement Districts And A Bunch Of Backwater Small Towns Oppose Assemblymember Todd Gloria’s AB1184 — Which Will Require Local Agencies To Retain Emails For Two Years — Read Their Letters Of Opposition And See What Shameless Liars They Are — Especially Suzanne Holley Of The Downtown Center BID — Who Argues With A Straight Face That Allowing Them To Delete Emails Will Increase Public Access To Information Because They Will Only Save The Important Stuff — By The Way Though I Have Proof That Holley’s BID Has Intentionally Deleted Very Important Emails In The Past — Icky Sticky BIDdie Boy Andrew Thomas Of Westwood Village BID Also Opposes — And He’s Also An Email Deleting Liar

Assemblymember Todd Gloria introduced AB 1184, which would clarify an ambiguity in state law by requiring public agencies to retain emails for a minimum of two years. You can read my earlier article on it here. Well, on Wednesday the bill was amended1 and passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee with a 10 to 1 tally in favor.2 It’s really worth reading the Judiciary Committee Counsel’s analysis of the bill, by the way.

And I also have copies of support and opposition letters. Powerful support comes from the California News Publishers Association and the First Amendment Coalition. Here are their letters:

California News Publishers Association support for AB1184
First Amendment Coalition support for AB1184

The opposition letters are predictably stupid, self-serving, and dishonest. They mostly take the position that it will cost too damn much to store two years worth of emails. Obviously, though, none of them provide any evidence because it’s just not true.3 Here are the links:

City of San Carlos opposition to AB1184
City of West Hollywood opposition to AB1184
Various BIDdie Associations opposition to AB1184
Downtown Center BID opposition to AB1184

And, probably unsurprisingly, this last one, penned by Downtown Center BID executive director Suzanne Holley, already known to be one of the most mendacious of an exceedingly mendacious crew of Los Angeles BIDdies, is perhaps the most twisted, the most dishonest, and the most ineffective, it turns out, out of all of them. There is a transcription after the break, but behold a few highlights with commentary and counterpoint.

Suzanne, why is your BID opposed to this? “Agencies would be forced to maintain an onerous amount of data.” And why is this not in the public interest, Suzanne? “the public would need to sort through thousands of emails to find the relevant needle in the haystack.” Suzanne! See that little box in your email client with a magnifying glass in it? If you put words in there and click on something the computer will sort through the emails for you! I use mine all the time!

Explain again, Suzanne! “Requiring the retention of tens of thousands of emails will bury relevant information…” And what is your answer to this imaginary problem, Suzanne? ” we believe the bill can be amended to ensure that the retention only apply to information relevant to the public business.” Of course, Suzanne, the problem is that on your scheme, YOU would be the one who decides what the public business is when obviously it’s the public that needs to decide.

And what kind of stuff would Suzanne delete if allowed? Here’s what she says doesn’t need to be retained: “Every email, regardless of how irrelevant would need to be retained. … Even an email asking a colleague out to lunch would fall under the purview of this bill.” See? Suzanne is asking the public to trust her to determine which emails it’s in the public interest to retain. She seems to be saying she’s just going to delete a lot of emails about lunch dates.

Leaving aside serious arguments that such emails may be very important indeed, let me tell you a little story about what kinds of emails Suzanne Holley actually does in fact delete. Remember all those emails I got in 2017 about BID involvement in the destruction of the Skid Row Neighborhood Council? That Jason McGahan, then of the LA Weekly, used in his blockbuster article? That are now evidence in the lawsuit against the City for illegally tampering with the subdivision election? Well, I got the first batch of those emails from Suzanne Holley at the Downtown Center BID.
Continue reading Business Improvement Districts And A Bunch Of Backwater Small Towns Oppose Assemblymember Todd Gloria’s AB1184 — Which Will Require Local Agencies To Retain Emails For Two Years — Read Their Letters Of Opposition And See What Shameless Liars They Are — Especially Suzanne Holley Of The Downtown Center BID — Who Argues With A Straight Face That Allowing Them To Delete Emails Will Increase Public Access To Information Because They Will Only Save The Important Stuff — By The Way Though I Have Proof That Holley’s BID Has Intentionally Deleted Very Important Emails In The Past — Icky Sticky BIDdie Boy Andrew Thomas Of Westwood Village BID Also Opposes — And He’s Also An Email Deleting Liar

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