Tag Archives: Bradley & Gmelich

Studio City BID Issues Dishonest And Combative But Mostly (Although Not Entirely) Submissive Response To My Brown Act Demand Letter — BID President Tony Richman Signs His Name To A Bunch Of Ill-Tempered Truculent Lies Probably Written By Ill-Tempered Truculent BID Lawyer Carol Humiston — Does That Make Tony Richman An Ill-Tempered Truculent Liar Also? — Maybe — But Also Maybe Just A Patsy

A few weeks ago I sent the Studio City BID a Brown Act demand letter insisting that they stop breaking the law in four specific ways. According to the Brown Act at §54960.2 the BID can avoid litigation by responding to such a demand with an unconditional commitment to refrain from violating the specific statutory sections in the future. And on Monday, October 15, the SCBID Board met and decided to do just that.

And amazingly enough, the next day, this letter showed up in my inbox! So they weren’t just blowing smoke, it seems. The BID hired Bradley & Gmelich to represent them, which definitely means Carol Freaking Humiston, the world’s angriest Brown Act attorney, almost certainly wrote the letter. And it is written in her inimitable style,1 which essentially consists of variations on the following narrative in six acts:

  1. You’re wrong about what the law says.
  2. Because you’re stupid.
  3. Nothing in the law requires us to do what you demand.
  4. You thought it did because you’re wrong and stupid.
  5. So shut up.
  6. We’re complying with your demand.

The four issues I raised in the letter were first that IDs were required to attend the Board meeting, second that the Board didn’t adequately describe the subject of its closed session, third that the Board didn’t reconvene in open session after the closed session, and fourth that a majority of the Board members had at one time discussed a matter via email instead of in public.

The BID’s response letter was overflowing with a lot of sound and fury2 and belligerent bluster but essentially contained adequate unconditional commitments never ever to do three out of the four. The third item, though, on reconvening in open session, for some reason they declined to commit not to violate. With respect to that, well, I’m studying my options and stay tuned for updates.

For more details about the contents of the letter, the usual amateur analysis, and a modicum of mockery, turn the damn page!
Continue reading Studio City BID Issues Dishonest And Combative But Mostly (Although Not Entirely) Submissive Response To My Brown Act Demand Letter — BID President Tony Richman Signs His Name To A Bunch Of Ill-Tempered Truculent Lies Probably Written By Ill-Tempered Truculent BID Lawyer Carol Humiston — Does That Make Tony Richman An Ill-Tempered Truculent Liar Also? — Maybe — But Also Maybe Just A Patsy

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Studio City BID Holds Special Board Meeting — Capitulates To Demand Letter — Votes 7 to 1 To Issue Unconditional Commitment To Stop Violating The Freaking Brown Act — Hires Bradley & Freaking Gmelich At $400 Per Hour To Advise And Write Response For Them — Ben Besley Reads The Motion Like A Robot — Michael Sitkin Then Proceeds To Violate The Brown Act In A Whole New Way — Watch For New Demand Letter Coming Soonish!

Ah, the Studio City Business Improvement District! As you may recall, a few weeks ago I sent them a demand letter insisting that they stop violating the damn Brown Act by requiring ID to get into their meetings, by not describing their closed session business adequately, by failing to reconvene in open session after a closed session, and by discussing issues by email outside of an open meeting. You can read the actual letter here if you are so inclined.

This project is based on the Brown Act at §54960.2, which allows the BID to avoid litigation by issuing an unconditional commitment never again to violate the particular sections of the law in contention.1 One of the interesting aspects of this section is that it requires the BID to approve the sending of the letter in an open session of a publicly noticed meeting,2 and that’s just what the BID did yesterday! You can watch a video of the whole meeting, all eleven minutes of it, here on YouTube or if you prefer here on Archive.Org.

I don’t have an actual letter from the BID in hand yet, so I’m going to refrain from commenting on or speculating about what it’s going to contain. You can watch Ben Besley make the motion here and he goes on to describe what the letter will be about. Also watch Mike Sitkin ask for clarification and then watch as Dr. John Walker Ph.D. explains everything exactly wrong!

This bit is worth transcribing, and you can find not only that, but a bunch of other interesting stuff after the break! Not least is the episode where after the Board votes to commit to not violating the Brown Act in those specific ways in the future, they go ahead and violate it in a whole new way! Gonna send them another letter quite soon! After I have this one in the bag, that is.
Continue reading Studio City BID Holds Special Board Meeting — Capitulates To Demand Letter — Votes 7 to 1 To Issue Unconditional Commitment To Stop Violating The Freaking Brown Act — Hires Bradley & Freaking Gmelich At $400 Per Hour To Advise And Write Response For Them — Ben Besley Reads The Motion Like A Robot — Michael Sitkin Then Proceeds To Violate The Brown Act In A Whole New Way — Watch For New Demand Letter Coming Soonish!

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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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One Outcome Of The Unholy Alliance Between North Westwood Neighborhood Council Subdivision Advocate Michael Skiles And Dresses-Like-A-Child-Molester Biddy-Boy Andrew Thomas Was That Skiles Changed The Bylaws To Give Zillionaires Even More Representation Just Cause Thomas Asked Him To — Which Might Be The Kind Of Thing That Andrew Thomas Wants To Cover Up Via His Myriad Surreal CPRA Violations — Although That Relies On Dubious Assumption That The Guy Feels Shame

Maybe you heard about the movement to subdivide the Westwood Neighborhood Council and form the North Westwood Neighborhood Council. This subdivision was led by UCLA students calling themselves Westwood Forward, with incipient philosopher Michael Skiles, whose academic specialty is, of all things, action theory, at the helm. The City held an election in May and the subdivision was approved.

However, unlike the heartrending pain created by the sinister schemings of zillionaires in Skid Row and environs last year, the local Westwood zillionaires were all eleventy jillion percent in favor of this particular subdivision. The reason seems to be a widely shared perception that students will be much more in favor of building more residential megaplexes and handing out more liquor licenses than the mostly über-füddy-düddy single family house dwellers on the regular Westwood NC have proved to be over the last few decades.1

Knowing all this, it occurred to me in March 2018 that the Westwood Village BID might be involved in this whole subdivision thing and, with that in mind, I fired off a CPRA request to them asking for the goodies. After many painful months of lawyers, recriminations, stupidity, frustration, and whatever,2 Andrew Thomas, the BID’s executive director, who, incidentally, dresses surprisingly like a child molester,3 finally coughed up some small percentage of the records to which I’m entitled.

Check out the whole collection here on Archive.Org. In particular, though, for tonight’s sermon, take a look at this little gem (of which there is a transcription after the break), which reveals Andrew Thomas as the puppet master pulling the strings that make Michael Skiles dance. And the tune he’s dancing to is, you’ll not be surprised to learn, all about more seats for zillionaires on the new neighborhood council’s board of directors. And Michael Skiles not only dances to the tune, but he dances like he likes dancing! He’ll go far in academia, friends.
Continue reading One Outcome Of The Unholy Alliance Between North Westwood Neighborhood Council Subdivision Advocate Michael Skiles And Dresses-Like-A-Child-Molester Biddy-Boy Andrew Thomas Was That Skiles Changed The Bylaws To Give Zillionaires Even More Representation Just Cause Thomas Asked Him To — Which Might Be The Kind Of Thing That Andrew Thomas Wants To Cover Up Via His Myriad Surreal CPRA Violations — Although That Relies On Dubious Assumption That The Guy Feels Shame

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Even Funnier The Second Time Around! Ellen Riotto And/Or Manic Minion Katie Kiefer Of The South Park BID Continue To Follow Open-Sourced Wiki-Legal Advice From Internet Randoms At Your Favorite Blog Evers!!

It seems like forever ago by now, but maybe you recall that in February the South Parkers sent around an agenda announcing a closed session that was so freaking out of compliance with the Brown Act that I could not, despite mom’s best advice, keep my mouth shut. Thus I emailed the Parkies and hilarity and agenda revisions ensued!

Well, these Southies have another meeting coming up this very Thursday, and imagine my joy when I received a copy of the agenda! And imagine my horror when I noticed the bit about teleconferencing! Here’s what it said:

CONFERENCE DIAL-IN :
If you cannot join the meeting physically but wish to join via phone, meeting dial-in details:
Conference number: 857 – 216-3930
Conference PIN: 45426

Please notify Katie Kiefer. Director of Operations, at least 48-hours in advance if you will be dialing in. Contact her via email, Katie@SouthPark.LA, or by phone, (213) 663-1120.

We’ve been through this crapola before with the East Hollywood BID. The plain fact is that the Brown Act forbids teleconferencing unless it’s happening from a teleconference location where members of the public can go to participate. You can read all about it in §54953(b). It’s just not OK to assume that all members of the public who wish to participate have phones.

Also, the Brown Act at §54953.3 forbids local agencies1 to require members of the public to identify themselves as a condition of attending the meeting. This made me pretty sure that the BID’s requiring would-be teleconferencers to register their names with Ellen Riotto’s manic minion Katie Kiefer was another violation.

So anyway, usually I would just wait around for the BIDdies to actually break the damn law and then turn them in to the Public Integrity Division of the Los Angeles County District Attorney like I did with the Los Felizites and more recently with the Central City East Association. But it was so entertaining the last time I warned them and they actually took my advice that I thought I’d give that another try.

So I sent them an email saying essentially hey friends you’re about to break the law again! And what do you know? A couple hours later they sent me an email2 saying essentially hey friend, you’re right! We’ll change everything! And then a couple-few days later, that is, this morning, they sent out a revised agenda stating definitively that:

NOTE: Teleconferencing into this meeting will not be enabled.

So woo-freaking-hoo, amirite?! Turn the page for transcriptions of the emails.
Continue reading Even Funnier The Second Time Around! Ellen Riotto And/Or Manic Minion Katie Kiefer Of The South Park BID Continue To Follow Open-Sourced Wiki-Legal Advice From Internet Randoms At Your Favorite Blog Evers!!

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Ahahahaha And LOL!!! Ellen Riotto Of The South Park BID Is Now Taking Sensitive Legal Advice From Internet Randoms At This Blog!!!

The Brown Act contains many wonderful treasures, but one of the wonderfullest is to be found at §54954.1, which states unambiguously that:

Any person may request that a copy of the agenda, or a copy of all the documents constituting the agenda packet, of any meeting of a legislative body be mailed to that person. … Upon receipt of the written request, the legislative body or its designee shall cause the requested materials to be mailed at the time the agenda is posted pursuant to Section 54954.2 and 54956 or upon distribution to all, or a majority of all, of the members of a legislative body, whichever occurs first.

I ask many of my BID friends to send me these notifications and their agenda packets. It really seems to piss most of them off.1 I don’t feel bad for asking BIDs to comply with the law, though. After all, it’s voluntary on their part and they’re making an awful damn lot of money out of it.

So anyway, our friends at the South Park BID are reasonably cooperative about complying with the law. They invited me to sign up for their public mailing list, which I did. It’s an open question as to whether this is compliance, since the law requires notifications to be sent at the time that the board receives them, but this presently seems too minor to quibble over. On the other hand they spout an awful lot of spam through that account, and clearly I shouldn’t be required to sort through the junk just to be able to receive notifications that they’re legally mandated to send. Again, though, this is an argument for another day.

However, it turns out that the South Park BID does distribute packets to its board of directors in advance of the meetings and also that those are not available via the public mailing list. I only found out about this recently, so I wrote to the BID boss ladies and asked them to send them goodies my way!

After some nonsense with them interrogating me mercilessly about which email address I wanted the board packets sent to,2 we got all the details ironed out. And after that, my friends, it must follow, as the night the day, that I ended up sending Ellen Riotto some of my sage legal advice and, amazingly, she ended up taking it!3 Read on for the details and a bunch of emails!
Continue reading Ahahahaha And LOL!!! Ellen Riotto Of The South Park BID Is Now Taking Sensitive Legal Advice From Internet Randoms At This Blog!!!

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How I Reported Shadowy BID Consultant Tara Devine To The City Ethics Commission For Failing To Register As A Lobbyist Based On Her Work For The South Park BID In 2017

So you may recall that I’ve been working on establishing the fact that BID consulting constitutes lobbying as defined in the Municipal Lobbying Ordinance. I kicked off this project in February with shadowy BID consultant Tara Devine, whom I reported to the Ethics Commission for working as a lobbyist but failing to register as a lobbyist. Meanwhile, if you have no idea what I’m talking about, here is a reasonable introduction to the concepts of both BID consultancy and why it’s almost certainly the kind of thing for which registration with the Ethics Commission is required.

My theory gained some credibility with the discovery that some BID consultants in Los Angeles do register as lobbyists. Since February I’ve been collecting evidence against Ed Henning for his work with the San Pedro BID and also against Urban Place Consulting for their work on Fashion District BID renewal and also Media District BID renewal.

And, of course, against Tara Devine for her ongoing work with the South Park BID. Finally, a few weeks ago I completed a generic argument1 that BID consultancy constitutes lobbying. And this morning I’m pleased to announce that, despite the twisted CPRA-defying machinations of South Park BID director of operations2 Katie Kiefer and her less-than-competent lawyers,3 I have submitted yet another complaint to the Ethics Commission against Tara Devine, this time for her BID consulting for South Park. You can read the whole complaint here.

And turn the page for a technical discussion of an interesting issue which came up while I was putting this complaint together. Note that I discussed this same issue the other day, so if you read that post, you might want to just skip the rest of this one.
Continue reading How I Reported Shadowy BID Consultant Tara Devine To The City Ethics Commission For Failing To Register As A Lobbyist Based On Her Work For The South Park BID In 2017

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Massive Document Dump Concerning Shadowy BID Consultant Tara Devine — What Has She Been Up To Since Destroying Venice Beach And How She Is Probably In Way More Trouble Than Anyone Thought With Respect To Not Having Registered As A Lobbyist

Yesterday I took a little trip South on Flower Street to the dark horse Death Star of downtown, the South Park BID, to look over some public records that they’ve been holding out on since January 2017 and only coughed up because my lawyer can beat up their lawyer.1 I found a hot mess of, among many, many problems, bizarrely damaged emails printed to PDF in random order with unintelligible OCR, missing attachments, purposely scrambled pages, and misnamed and poorly divided files. It’s going to take quite a while to put this nonsense into any kind of useful state,2 but I know a lot of my readers are wondering what’s up with shadowy BID consultant Tara Devine,3 so I thought I’d get the information concerning her up as fast as possible, even though it’s not yet in an ideal format.

That’s the big news, and you can turn the page if you’re in the mood for more detail and discussion. Note, though, that I’ll be posting about this material again once I get it revised into a more useful form.
Continue reading Massive Document Dump Concerning Shadowy BID Consultant Tara Devine — What Has She Been Up To Since Destroying Venice Beach And How She Is Probably In Way More Trouble Than Anyone Thought With Respect To Not Having Registered As A Lobbyist

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Remember That Cost Matrix That Rena Leddy And Urban Place Consulting Claimed In March 2017 Was A Trade Secret And Even Hired A Lawyer To Prevent Its Release Under CPRA? Well, Rena Leddy Herself Released It Into The Public Domain In October 2016. The Proper Response Is (a) WTF?! (b) Is Paying Lawyers To Fight Already-Lost Battles An Acceptable Use Of The BID’s Money? (c) All Of The Above

A couple days ago I published a collection of Rena Leddy’s reports to the Board of Directors of the Fashion District BID. This is turning out to be an incredibly rich source of information, revealing, e.g., that a marketing consultant hired by the BID thinks, among other deeply stupid thoughts, that lobster rolls confuse Latinos. And today I have another gem, but, for good or for ill, this one’s more technical although no less interesting.

Perhaps you recall that Urban Place Consulting is working for the Fashion District coordinating the BID’s pending renewal with the City. I obtained UPC’s contract with the BID from Rena Leddy via the California Public Records Act, but she claimed that the chart showing the actual hourly rates of UPC bossboy Steve Gibson and his assorted flunkies was exempt from release because it was a trade secret. Then we spent three months arguing about it and everybody got lawyered up and eventually she gave in and sent me an unredacted copy of the contract showing how much money all the UPC folks were getting paid.

Well, it turns out it was all for nothing. You see, in October 2016, UPC submitted a proposal to the BID for the consulting job. Here is a copy (transcription after the break, as always). And Rena Leddy included this proposal in the November 2016 Board Packet. And the proposal contained an unredacted copy of the cost matrix. To see why this action of Rena Leddy’s obviated our entire subsequent dispute about whether or not the cost matrix was exempt, turn the page, friend!
Continue reading Remember That Cost Matrix That Rena Leddy And Urban Place Consulting Claimed In March 2017 Was A Trade Secret And Even Hired A Lawyer To Prevent Its Release Under CPRA? Well, Rena Leddy Herself Released It Into The Public Domain In October 2016. The Proper Response Is (a) WTF?! (b) Is Paying Lawyers To Fight Already-Lost Battles An Acceptable Use Of The BID’s Money? (c) All Of The Above

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The Fascinating Story Of How It Took Three Months And A Demand Letter From An Attorney To Get Rena Leddy To Disclose That The Fashion District BID Is Paying Steve Gibson Of Urban Place Consulting $215 Per Hour For BID Renewal Consulting, Which Is Less Than Larry Kosmont Gets But More Than Ed Henning

Late last year it occurred to me that BID consultants, who help BIDs with the City processes necessary to establish or renew a BID, are essentially engaging in lobbying activity as defined in the Municipal Lobbying Ordinance at LAMC §48.02 and yet none of them1 seemed to be registered with the Ethics Commission as required by LAMC §48.07(A).

I then spent months piecing together over 100 pages of evidence to show that BID consultant Tara Devine had violated this law. Subsequently it occurred to me that the contracts that the consultants sign with BIDs would provide essential evidence that they’d been acting as lobbyists, so I determined to request these from many renewing BIDs. This led me to the discovery, thanks to the incomparable Laurie Hughes of the Gateway to LA BID, that GTLA’s BID consultant, Larry Kosmont, actually was registered as a lobbyist and had disclosed his BID consultancy as lobbying in his required reporting. The San Pedro BID is also up for renewal, and has recently released a fairly complete set of BID renewal records.

This brings us to the Fashion District. On February 21, 2017 I emailed Rena Leddy to request, among other material:

… all records associated with the renewal process, including but not limited to communications between the BID and the consultant and/or the engineer, contracts with and invoices from the consultant or the engineer, materials prepared by the consultant or the engineer for the renewal process, databases and mailing lists prepared or used by the consultant or the engineer, and also any communications between the consultant and the engineer that aren’t already responsive to the first part of this request.

The story of what happened after that stretched out over three months and generated many many megabytes of discussion. Read on for a (far too) detailed and exceedingly well-documented narrative recounting, complete with a happy, happy ending!
Continue reading The Fascinating Story Of How It Took Three Months And A Demand Letter From An Attorney To Get Rena Leddy To Disclose That The Fashion District BID Is Paying Steve Gibson Of Urban Place Consulting $215 Per Hour For BID Renewal Consulting, Which Is Less Than Larry Kosmont Gets But More Than Ed Henning

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