Tag Archives: Abenicio Cisneros

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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Los Angeles Police Department Sued To Enforce Compliance With California Public Records Act — At Issue Are Two Classes Of Records — Both Of Which LAPD Claims Are Investigative And So Exempt From Release — First Are Private Person’s Arrest Forms — Necessary To Track BID Patrol Arrests — Second Are Reports From RPPICS — Some Kind Of Top Secret Cop Tracking And Discussion System — Putatively For Anti-Terrorism

The LAPD has been notoriously bad at complying with the California Public Records Act. So much so that in 2017 the ACLU sued them for systemic violations of the law, which is in addition to any number of small-scale suits based on individual violations, like e.g. Stop LAPD Spying has had to sue them twice, once in 2015 and again in 2018.

These suits were based on the LAPD’s longstanding habit of completely ignoring CPRA requests, often for years at a time. However, since the City of LA started using the NextRequest CPRA platform the LAPD has gotten quite a bit more responsive, although they can still take a maddeningly long time to respond and produce records.

This welcome improvement in LAPD responsiveness does not mean that all is well in Cop-CPRAlandia. They will still arbitrarily deny requests and then cut off the conversation, and they did this to me twice in 2018. Sadly, the CPRA provides no recourse at all for arbitrary unjustified denials beyond the filing of a lawsuit,1 which is what the path I was forced to follow by the LAPD’s extraordinary and unsupportable intransigence. You can read the complaint here, written by the incomparable Abenicio Cisneros, and/or see transcribed selections below the break.

There are two issues at stake. In the first place, remember back in 2016 when Kerry Morrison and her merry gang of curb-stomping thugs at Andrews International Security altered their contract to be able to withhold public records from me? That left me with no way to tell exactly who said curb-stomping thuggie boys arrested, information they naturally wanted to obscure from me because they tend to arrest the wrong people and rather than mend their ways they prefer to cover up their misdeeds.

But last year I discovered that every time the BID Patrol arrests someone they fill out a form for the LAPD. Here is an example of one. As it’s essential to find out not only how many arrests the BID Patrol makes2 but who they’re actually arresting, I requested that the LAPD give me all of these forms from Hollywood from 2018. They refused, and that is my first cause of action.

The other issue has to do with some Orwellian slab of web app crap known as the Regional Public Private Infrastructure Collaboration System. I learned about this from some emails I got from the Downtown Center BID in response to a CPRA request. You can see the emails here on Archive.Org, but they’re not that interesting. They mostly just announce that new information is available on RPPICS, and since they won’t give up the goods, there’s no way to tell what that is.

But this kind of public/private collaboration sharing between police and security is famous for being misused for political surveillance and other illegal and antihuman activities. The LAPD and private security already get up to enough of this in open emails, as does the freaking BID Patrol. Imagine what they’re doing in secret. But we don’t have to imagine, we can make CPRA requests! Which is what I did, asking LAPD for a year’s worth of postings so as to learn what the heck these people were up to in their little secret world. Again, they denied my request, and this is my second cause of action.

And turn the page, if you will, for a few technicalities about the LAPD’s exemption claims and transcribed selections from the petition itself.
Continue reading Los Angeles Police Department Sued To Enforce Compliance With California Public Records Act — At Issue Are Two Classes Of Records — Both Of Which LAPD Claims Are Investigative And So Exempt From Release — First Are Private Person’s Arrest Forms — Necessary To Track BID Patrol Arrests — Second Are Reports From RPPICS — Some Kind Of Top Secret Cop Tracking And Discussion System — Putatively For Anti-Terrorism

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Psychopathic Rageball George Yu Of The Chinatown Business Improvement District Continues To Refuse To Participate In The Case Against Him — So We Slapped A Bunch Of Written Discovery On Him — Including A Set Of Requests For Admission — Which He’s Got To Answer Or Else Look Out George Yu! — Sample: “Admit that YOU have a pattern and practice of failing to lawfully respond to California Public Records Act” — Let’s See What You Make Of That, George Yu!

Let’s have a recap! In August of 2018 Katherine McNenny and I filed a petition against psychopathic rageball George Yu, the supreme leader of the Chinatown BID, for his failure to respond at all to a whole series of requests for records under the California Public Records Act. Then in September the BID failed to file a response to the petition before the deadline and in November no one from the BID showed up at the trial setting conference.

And to this very day George Yu has done nothing at all to even acknowledge that there’s this case pending against his damn BID. Of course a legal system isn’t a viable proposition if people can just ignore it. Obviously at some point they can be made to participate. And according to the lawyers,1 step one towards this end is to serve a bunch of discovery on them! And that is just what they did this very day! Today’s kind of discovery comes in three flavors, and here they are:

  • Requests for Admission — This kind of written discovery, as explained by the Wiki, is “a set of statements sent from one litigant to an adversary, for the purpose of having the adversary admit or deny the statements or allegations therein.” I find these super-entertaining, so there’s a transcription after the break.
  • Special interrogatories — This is a list of questions that the BID has to answer, like e.g. “Please state ALL actions YOU took prior to August 15, 2018 to locate ALL of the RECORDS that Petitioners requested.”
  • Requests for production of documents — Just like what it sounds like — Hand over the goodies, NOW!

Anyway, one hopes that this will get things moving over at the BID. George Yu can’t go on ignoring the situation forever, and there’s no such thing as a psychopathic rageball defense, at least not in a civil matter. The next step is a motion to compel, and after that, who freaking knows?! What we really want here is the records and to establish a viable workflow for future requests. If there’s a grownup in the room over in Chinatown, now would be the time to put them in charge. Turn the page for a transcription of (most of) the requests for admission.
Continue reading Psychopathic Rageball George Yu Of The Chinatown Business Improvement District Continues To Refuse To Participate In The Case Against Him — So We Slapped A Bunch Of Written Discovery On Him — Including A Set Of Requests For Admission — Which He’s Got To Answer Or Else Look Out George Yu! — Sample: “Admit that YOU have a pattern and practice of failing to lawfully respond to California Public Records Act” — Let’s See What You Make Of That, George Yu!

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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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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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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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Larchmont Village Trial Setting Conference Today Essentially Anticlimactic But With A Few Interesting Aspects — Judge Mary Strobel Grants Respondents 30 Days Extra To File Response

As I’m sure you recall, in April I was forced by their bizarro antisocial intransigence and utter failure to comply with the California Public Records Act to file a petition for writ of mandate against the kooky little backwater Larchmont Village BID in the heart of South Central Hollywood. They don’t seem to be interested in settling right now, and so this morning we all had to haul our tired bones out to the Stanley Mosk courthouse for the trial setting conference.1

It was the incomparable Abenicio Cisneros appearing for me and for the BID it was some dude who goes about the place passing himself off as J. Thomas Cairns, although I don’t know anyone who’s seen his ID. You may already know, but these conferences tend to be fairly routine, although sometimes something interesting happens, and a couple things happened here.
Continue reading Larchmont Village Trial Setting Conference Today Essentially Anticlimactic But With A Few Interesting Aspects — Judge Mary Strobel Grants Respondents 30 Days Extra To File Response

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Little Tokyo BID Sued To Enforce Compliance With California Public Records Act — And To Put An End To Their “secrecy, obstruction, and lawlessness”

This time not by me but by the intrepid Katherine McNenny. It’s the same old story, though. As you may remember, the Little Tokyo BID was chin-deep in the anti-SRNC conspiracy coordinated by the Voodoo queen of Skid Row herself, Ms. Estela Lopez. Thus it was natural for Katherine McNenny, one of the SRNC proponents, to try to discover more about the BID’s role using the California Public Records Act.

Ellen Endo, BID president and chief apologist, wasn’t having it, though. It took her almost a year to even respond, and even then she didn’t respond appropriately.1 Even worse than not responding, at no time did she produce any records. She still hasn’t. As we’ve all come to learn, most tragically, our esteemed legislature has left citizens in this position with no recourse but to file a petition in Superior Court, and that’s just what Katherine McNenny did!

Here’s a link to the petition itself, which is well worth reading for many reasons, not least of which is its stirring defense of the very weighty public interest in seeing fair play in the SRNC election process. Selections of this latest triumph by the incomparable Abenicio Cisneros are transcribed after the break, and you might keep an eye on this page on Archive.Org for future developments. If you don’t have time for all that deep dive jive, though, just read this one stunning paragraph:

In denying access to the requested records, the BID has obscured its role in a matter of public significance. The residents of Skid Row labored and organized to create a local governing body for the purpose of better coordinating with City government to meet the needs of some of Los Angeles’ most imperiled and dispossessed residents. The formation of the SRNC was opposed by United DTLA, a secretive organization employing a prominent-and no doubt expensive-lobbyist, which apparently enjoyed funding and in-kind support by Respondent and other Business Improvement Districts. Petitioner, after obtaining glimpses of Respondent’s involvement, lawfully requested records which, if disclosed, will throw into the full light of day the nature and scope of Respondent’s efforts to defeat Skid Row residents’ hopes for a neighborhood council of their own. When faced with this exposure, Respondent refused access and opted instead for secrecy, obstruction, and lawlessness. Respondent neglected every obligation imposed by the CPRA and refused to provide even a single record, in clear violation of the law.

Continue reading Little Tokyo BID Sued To Enforce Compliance With California Public Records Act — And To Put An End To Their “secrecy, obstruction, and lawlessness”

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Venice Beach BID Sued To Enforce Compliance With The Public Records Act

Yeah, perhaps you recall that in February 2017 I sent a public records act request to the newborn Venice Beach BID and executive directrix Tara Devine has been conscientiously ignoring it ever since. And so I hired a lawyer. And the lawyer filed this petition in Los Angeles County Superior Court. And served the petition on the BID yesterday.

Of course, this is the same course of action that the Larchmont Village BID recently thrust upon me. I wish there was some way to get these BIDdies to follow the law other than by filing petitions against them but the State Legislature, in its inscrutable wisdom, has made this the only remedy. Sad but true. Stay tuned for more information and turn the page for some excerpts from the petition.
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Larchmont Village BID Sued To Enforce Compliance With The California Public Records Act

It’s been two-ish years now since I sent my first CPRA request to the kooky little South Central Hollywood gang of white supremacist law-flouting gangster thugs known to the world as the Larchmont Village Business Improvement District.

That first time they ignored me and they ignored me and they ignored me until finally I had to hire a lawyer and pry the goodies out of their creepy grasping fingers by main force. But, as we know, the thug life is a powerful draw, and gangsters get hooked on lawbreaking like a drug. Despite being given every chance by society to reform their outlaw ways, these hardcore BIDdies sadly persisted in their chosen life of crime.

As you may recall, they’ve never managed to comply with the damn Brown Act, despite occasional signals that either they were going to start complying or maybe that the City of Los Angeles was going to force them to comply. And after that one time in 2016 they’ve never managed to comply with the CPRA again. I sent them a few requests in May 2017 which they ignored and ignored and ignored.

And so, as before, I hired a lawyer. And the lawyer filed this petition in Los Angeles County Superior Court. And served the petition on Tom Kneafsey earlier this week. And served a letter to Cap’n Tom along with the petition. I wish there was some way to get these BIDdies to follow the law other than by filing petitions against them but the State Legislature, in its inscrutable wisdom, has made this the only remedy. Sad but true. Stay tuned for more information and turn the page for some excerpts from the petition.
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