Lunada Bay Boys Plaintiffs Motion To Compel Sang Lee And Jeff Kepley To Get Busy And Cough Up The Damn Discovery Is Denied On Highly Technical Grounds By Magistrate Judge Rozella Oliver

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.

On Tuesday of this week, the Lunada Bay Boys Plaintiffs filed a motion asking magistrate judge Rozella Oliver to compel defendants Sang “Friend N A Pirate” Lee and Jeff “On Admin Leave” Kepley to get busy and comply with their discovery obligations. The very next day, Wednesday, August 9, Oliver issued an order denying the plaintiffs’ motions.1 As always, there’s a transcription of the order after the break. The reasons for denying the motions are pretty technical2 but seem to hinge on the principle that a decision on them is beyond the authority of the magistrate judge and the plaintiffs have to bring their motions to Judge Otero instead. Not much of a loss, then, it seems.
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Lunada Bay Boys Plaintiffs Ask Otero To Deny Defense Motions Due To Evasion Of Discovery Obligations Which Made It Impossible To Meaningfully Oppose, Also Lengthy Excerpts From Sang Lee’s Deposition! Also Transcript Of A Mindblowingly Weird Telephone Conference With Rozella Oliver About Why Ferraras Didn’t Comply With Discovery Obligations!

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.

This case is getting ultra-Byzantine, but if you’re following along, you may recall that the defendants have really not been complying with their discovery obligations. There’s a summary of some of the nonsense available. Also, all the defendants have filed motions for summary judgment, an outline of which and links to various stories on is also available. The Bay Boys based their motions for summary judgment on claims that the plaintiffs haven’t produced any actual evidence against them. At the time, plaintiffs’ lawyer Victor Otten warned them that their failure to comply would be grounds for moving to deny their motions.

And yesterday, that’s exactly what happened. Victor Otten filed this motion for administrative relief, claiming that the failure to comply with discovery has not only made it impossible to reply effectively to the motions for summary judgment, but in fact created the very grounds on which those motions rely:

Plaintiffs’ motion is made on the grounds that, due Defendants’ wrongful withholding of discovery—including withholding discovery that Magistrate Judge Oliver ordered them to produce—Plaintiffs have not had the opportunity to present the entirety of the factual record in opposition to Defendants’ motions. Indeed, Defendants’ basis for summary judgment is a purported lack of evidence; but to grant summary judgment at this stage would be to reward Defendants’ discovery misconduct.

The plaintiffs’ motion is based on Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 56(d), which states in part:

If a nonmovant shows by affidavit or declaration that, for specified reasons, it cannot present facts essential to justify its opposition, the court may … defer considering the motion or deny it …

A hearing on this motion is scheduled for September 5, 2017 in James Otero’s courtroom 10C in the First Street Federal Courthouse. The hearing on all the motions for summary judgment is scheduled for 10 a.m., and some of the paper filed yesterday gives 10 a.m. as the time for the motion to deny. One of the filings gives the time as 9 a.m. That’s probably wrong, but I don’t know for sure.

And there was a bunch of other good stuff filed as well. One of the two absolutely do-not-miss items are a transcript of a telephonic conference with magistrate judge Rozella Oliver concerning Charlie and Frank Ferrara’s failure to comply with discovery orders. This features defense attorney Tiffany Bacon and a bunch of deeply lame excuses for noncompliance. The judge seems dumbfounded that an actual professional lawyer would make these excuses out loud.

Plaintiffs’ lawyer Victor Otten also makes a plausible accusation that the defendants conspired to destroy evidence and an impassioned plea for sanctions against them. The other essential item is a set of lengthy excerpts from Sang Lee’s deposition including a bunch of really damning emails, some of which are quoted in the cartoon above. Turn the page for brief descriptions and links to a bunch of other items.
Continue reading Lunada Bay Boys Plaintiffs Ask Otero To Deny Defense Motions Due To Evasion Of Discovery Obligations Which Made It Impossible To Meaningfully Oppose, Also Lengthy Excerpts From Sang Lee’s Deposition! Also Transcript Of A Mindblowingly Weird Telephone Conference With Rozella Oliver About Why Ferraras Didn’t Comply With Discovery Obligations!

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Lunada Bay Boys Plaintiffs File Motions To Compel Defendants Sang Lee And Jeff Kepley To Produce Records, Allege Malicious Destruction Of Evidence, Ask For Sanctions And Attorneys’ Fees! Hearing Set For September 6

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 constant theme in the Lunada Bay Boys zillionaire surf thuggery case has been the glacially like-teeth-pulling pace at which the Bay Boys1 have complied with their discovery obligations. The parties have had innumerable telephonic hearings with the Honorable Rozella Oliver, magistrate judge in the case, who has had order meet-and-confers, and order the parties to submit briefs on their attempts to get through discovery, and issue orders, and issue even more orders.

Well today, at least with respect to defendants Sang Lee and Jeff Kepley, matters have evidently reached the point that the plaintiffs have filed motions to compel production of discovery materials and they’re also asking for fees and costs. Here are copies of the two motions along with associated so-called proposed joint statements, which are actually more interesting, containing as they do the facts behind the motions:

The issues, in short, are as follows. With respect to Sang Lee, he improperly withheld text messages, produced an unintelligible privilege log, lied about what he redacted, and so on. With respect to Jeff Kepley, he produced the wrong stuff, produced it in the form of unsearchable image files,2 made improper arguments for not producing stuff, and, crucially, never produced the phone records of various PVE cops who are alleged to be asshole buddies with the Bay Boys.

A hearing on these motions is scheduled for Wednesday, September 6 at 10:00 a.m. in Judge Rozella Oliver’s courtroom F on the 9th floor of the Spring Street federal courthouse at 312 N. Spring Street. Also, a bunch of fairly interesting supplementary material was filed in support of the motions, and you can find links and brief descriptions after the break.
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San Pedro BID Renewal Petition Drive Materials Available Including Blank Petitions And Information Sheets

This is just a quick note to announce the availability of a first batch of renewal materials from the San Pedro Historic Waterfront BID. They’re available here on Archive.Org. These are from the petition phase, where property owners holding $1 more than 50% of the total assessed value have to petition City Council to renew their BID. I’m collecting material like this as part of a long-term project to send out countermailings when BIDs send out mailings in favor of establishment or renewal. They uniformly send blank petitions on which the only choice is to vote yes. See this sample, for instance.1

I think it would be reasonable, effective, and entertaining to send out petitions on which the only choice was no. Of course, the way the petition phase of BID renewal/establishment is structured, not voting is the same as voting no, but nevertheless, it would be politically valuable to see that property owners have a choice. In order to carry out this plan, it will also be necessary to have quick access to natively formatted copies of the mailing lists that the BIDs use. They have historically been exceedingly reluctant to give up this information.

You may, e.g., recall the fact that it took me five months of nagging Miranda Paster at the City Clerk’s office to get her to give me the mailing list for Venice Beach.2 In that case as in every other case where I’ve actually managed to obtain mailing lists, it came too late to be useful. But at some point, and this is the main reason this is a long term project, I will have convinced the BIDdies3 that they have to hand over mailing lists promptly so that they’re still politically useful.

Naturally, when sending out alt-petition forms, it will be necessary to send out alt-propaganda. Just take a look at the San Pedro BID’s info sheet that they sent out along with the petitions. Count the lies. Imagine an alt-petition that not only invites property owners to vote no on the BID but also informs them what their money’s really being spent for like, e.g., to to keep criminals from getting arrested because they can’t put out their own damn dumpster fires!

Every BID wastes its money on exactly that kind of nonsense, never publicized. This kind of campaign probably won’t stop any BIDs, but it may well increase the protest rate, which would be interesting indeed! And turn the page for links to all the items with a little bit of commentary.
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In Which I Present A General Argument That BID Consultancy Is Lobbying Activity In Order To Simplify And Regularize The Process Of Reporting BID Consultants To The Ethics Commission For Failure To Register

It’s a long term project of mine to turn in as many BID consultants as possible to the City Ethics Commission for failing to register as lobbyists. So far, though, I’ve only managed to report Tara Devine for her work on the Venice Beach BID because the work is so involved. Such a report has two essential components:

  1. An argument that BID consultancy satisfies the definition of lobbying activity found in the the Municipal Lobbying Ordinance at LAMC §48.02.
  2. An argument that a specific BID consultant was paid for sufficiently many hours over sufficiently few months to trigger the registration requirement found in the MLO at LAMC §48.07(A).

It occurred to me recently that the first argument will be the same for all BID consultants, and that therefore it would be possible to streamline the reporting process by writing it up in a generic format that would apply to any given BID consultant. So that’s what I did, and you can read the result here. I will be using this to make a number of complaints against BID consultants in the near future, which I will report on here.

Meanwhile, if you have no idea what I’m talking about, you can find explanations of everything after the break, along with a fairly detailed summary of the argument that BID consultancy qualifies as lobbying under the MLO.
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Lunada Bay Boys Plaintiffs File Tons Of Stuff In Opposition To Individual Defendants’ Various Motions For Summary Judgment Including Excerpts From The Long Awaited Deposition Of Jalian Johnston!

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.

You may well recall that recently all the defendants in the Lunada Bay Boys case filed motions for summary judgment:

And this afternoon the plaintiffs filed their opposition to all these motions along with a ton of supporting paper. The opposition is well worth reading, and there are selections after the break. There’s also a list of all the other documents filed, and if you only read one of these, make it these selections from Jalian Johnston’s deposition. You may well remember that it was close to impossible to schedule this damn depo. Well, for sheer weirdness, it was worth the wait.

Some items are quoted verbatim in the cartoon at the head of this post, but there’s lots, lots, lots more in there. It’s also worth taking a look at the Plaintiffs’ Additional Material Facts in Opposition, which constitutes a good guide to all the dozens of other items filed tonight and previously.
Continue reading Lunada Bay Boys Plaintiffs File Tons Of Stuff In Opposition To Individual Defendants’ Various Motions For Summary Judgment Including Excerpts From The Long Awaited Deposition Of Jalian Johnston!

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Department Of Neighborhood Empowerment Recommends That Online Voting In Future Neighborhood Council Elections Be Optional

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.

Yesterday the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment submitted a report on online voting in neighborhood council elections to the Los Angeles City Council’s Health, Education, and Neighborhood Councils Committee.1 Here’s a link to the report, but be careful as it’s a massive PDF. After the great injustice and great pain caused by José Huizar and DONE by imposing online voting on the Skid Row Neighborhood Council effort one might think that DONE would have displayed some consciousness of the damage they’d created.

But that didn’t happen. In an unfortunately characteristic display of block-headed indifference to both morality and reality, the sole lesson DONE seems to have learned is that online voting increases voter participation:

The potential of online voting and voter registration to engage more stakeholders in Neighborhood Council elections was clear in the 2016 pilot as noted in the January 17, 2017 report and confirmed in the subdivision election for Skid Row Neighborhood Council this year where 1,388 votes were cast online out of a total of 1,592.

It’s disgusting indeed that they don’t even mention the fact that online voting increases participation among non-homeless people while actively decreasing it among the homeless, even though they are well aware of this fact. And their recommendation to the City Council, which will almost surely be adopted verbatim? It’s that online voting should not be imposed on any other neighborhood councils but that they be allowed to opt into it if they so choose:

[DONE recommends that Council i]nstruct the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment and Office of the City Clerk to make online voting an option available for the Neighborhood Councils whose online voting platforms are already built out …

Additionally, they recommend that neighborhood council terms be extended in order to match the new Los Angeles city election schedule. Turn the page for a transcription of the summary of the report
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Carol Sobel Tries To Serve Summons On LAPD Sgt. Edward Kinney In Pete White’s Lawsuit, LAPD Responds: We Never Heard Of Him, He Doesn’t Work Here, His Name Is Spelled Wrong, Your Summons Is Missing His Serial Number, Your Summons Is Missing A Comma, Therefore We Cannot Accept Service. Take That, Carol Sobel!!

In May of this year Pete White sued the City of Los Angeles, Charlie Beck, and a cop named Edward Kinney for civil rights violations committed while arresting him for filming an encampment cleanup in Skid Row last year. Of course, it’s early days as far as federal lawsuits go, so not much is happening right now. However, one ultimately inconsequential but nevertheless interesting document showed up on PACER early this morning. It’s a declaration of Carol Sobel outlining the pulling-teeth level runaround she got from the LAPD while trying to serve a summons on defendant Edward Kinney.1

In short, she tried to serve him at the Central Police Station. The desk told the process server that he didn’t work there. She called personnel to find out where he worked. They told her that no one by that name was employed by the LAPD. She thought maybe she’d gotten the name wrong so asked for close matches. They gave her someone in Pacific Division. She tried to serve him but they wouldn’t accept service because the summons was lacking the officer’s serial number.

She found out that she had indeed spelled the name wrong, so called personnel again. Again they told her that no one by that name worked for the LAPD. She cited multiple news articles available via Google quoting the guy and they agreed to accept service.2 There were a few more twists, which you can read about in the transcript after the break, and the summons still isn’t served.3
Continue reading Carol Sobel Tries To Serve Summons On LAPD Sgt. Edward Kinney In Pete White’s Lawsuit, LAPD Responds: We Never Heard Of Him, He Doesn’t Work Here, His Name Is Spelled Wrong, Your Summons Is Missing His Serial Number, Your Summons Is Missing A Comma, Therefore We Cannot Accept Service. Take That, Carol Sobel!!

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Lunada Bay Boys Private Investigator’s Report On Who Blew The PVEPD Sting Filed Unredacted! Jeff Kepley Seems To Acknowledge Existence Of Bay Boys As A Settled Fact! Tony Dahlerbruch Evidently Don’t Know Nothing ‘Bout Nothing!

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.

So a couple days ago the plaintiffs in the Lunada Bay Boys case filed a ton of papers to go along with their opposition to the City of PVE’s motion for summary judgment. Among this stuff was a totally redacted copy of the private investigator’s report on who leaked advance notice of a planned PVEPD sting operation to catch some Bay Boys.

The City claimed that the contents were confidential, hence the redactions. The plaintiffs disagreed, and asked Judge Otero to make it public. Yesterday Otero agreed, and today the judge filed yet another order requiring the redacted report to be made public. And, subsequently, the plaintiffs filed the whole unredacted report! (As usual, there’s a transcription of this lengthy PDF after the break).

The report is completely inconclusive and basically says that too many people knew about the sting, so it’s not possible to figure out who leaked it. There’s a lot of interesting stuff in there, though. In particular, PVE chief of police Jeff Kepley speaks about the Bay Boys as if their existence is an established fact. Turn the page for some more commentary and, as usual, a transcription of the report itself.
Continue reading Lunada Bay Boys Private Investigator’s Report On Who Blew The PVEPD Sting Filed Unredacted! Jeff Kepley Seems To Acknowledge Existence Of Bay Boys As A Settled Fact! Tony Dahlerbruch Evidently Don’t Know Nothing ‘Bout Nothing!

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Lunada Bay Boys Judge James Otero Rejects The City Of PVE’s Contention That The Private Investigator’s Report On Who Blew The Undercover Op Is Top Secret, Orders It To Be Filed Publicly!

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.

Today there were more items filed in the Lunada Bay Boys case. After yesterday’s mass of documents though I hardly have the heart to go through this batch, or even download the ones that appear to be repetitive. But there were a few interesting and new items filed, including an order by Judge James Otero.

A couple months ago the parties were arguing over whether a private investigator’s report on who blew a PVEPD undercover operation was discoverable. The magistrate judge ordered everyone to brief the issue but then the City just handed it over. Then there was some kind of effort by the City to keep it secret, and yesterday it came out with all the other pleadings but the entire thing was redacted, that is, it’s filed under seal.

This is evidently at the behest of the City of PVE, which claims it’s top secret. This led to the plaintiffs today petitioning the court to file documents under seal and at the same time filing a proposed order asking Judge Otero to deny their application. Thus, they’re asking for the documents to be filed publicly. Oh, I forgot to say that in addition to this investigator’s report, Jalian Johnston’s text messages were partly sealed, mostly as to third parties’ phone numbers, it seems.

Anyway, the big news is that this evening James Otero did file an order stating that the investigator’s report was not secret and must be filed publicly, but that the text messages were properly filed under seal. As always, there’s a transcription of the order after the break. Thus I’m guessing we will soon get to read the actual investigator’s report, which ought to be quite interesting.
Continue reading Lunada Bay Boys Judge James Otero Rejects The City Of PVE’s Contention That The Private Investigator’s Report On Who Blew The Undercover Op Is Top Secret, Orders It To Be Filed Publicly!

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A collaborative denunciation of Business Improvement Districts in Los Angeles