Tag Archives: Brown Act

United Downtown Los Angeles Conspiracy: How The Entire Board Of Directors Of The Central City East Association Egregiously Violated The Brown Act Except For Andy Bales, Richard Gardner, And Sylvia Kavoukjian, Who Don’t Seem To Have Been Invited Into The Secret Clubhouse For Some Reason — And How I Will Ask Them Nicely Never To Do It Again!

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.

Perhaps you’ve been following the story of the recent massive release of emails from the Downtown Center BID that has, so far, led to such revelations as the fact that Estela Lopez was at the heart of the United Downtown LA conspiracy, that she used her DLANC email address to further the conspiracy, and not least that six DLANC board members were covertly involved in that same conspiracy.

But we’re not done with the material yet! There’s still tons of interesting information to be gleaned. For instance, it turns out that 9 out of the 12 members of the Board of Directors of the infamous Central City East Association are on the United Downtown Los Angeles conspiracy mailing list.1 This, of course, makes the email discussion an awful lot like an illegal meeting of the board, according to the Brown Act.

It’s a serious violation, too. The Brown Act at §54959 states that:

Each member of a legislative body who attends a meeting of that legislative body where action is taken in violation of any provision of this chapter, and where the member intends to deprive the public of information to which the member knows or has reason to know the public is entitled under this chapter, is guilty of a misdemeanor.

As far as I know, no one has ever been prosecuted under this clause, but if someone’s going to be first, I won’t be surprised if it turns out to be the infamously thuggish CCEA. And it’s a hard case to make that quality of life crimes, e.g. public drinking, are more harmful than this kind of covert conspiratorial shenanigans. One’s unaesthetic at worst. The other degrades the very fabric of our open society.

Keep that in mind the next time you hear a bunch of BIDdies bitching about crime Downtown and turn the page for the evidence and a detailed analysis of the violation!
Continue reading United Downtown Los Angeles Conspiracy: How The Entire Board Of Directors Of The Central City East Association Egregiously Violated The Brown Act Except For Andy Bales, Richard Gardner, And Sylvia Kavoukjian, Who Don’t Seem To Have Been Invited Into The Secret Clubhouse For Some Reason — And How I Will Ask Them Nicely Never To Do It Again!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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How I Reported The Los Feliz Village BID To The LA County District Attorney’s Public Integrity Unit For Brown Act Violations

You may recall that a couple weeks ago I published a big stack of emails from the famed Los Feliz Village BID. Amongst these were this little gem of an email chain, wherein the entire Board of Directors of the LFVBID, over the course of about two weeks in May 2017, discuss some nonsense relating to something called Urban Air Market. The facts themselves are as tedious as can be but, as I noted previously, the Brown Act at §54952.2(b)(1) explicitly forbids this kind of thing:

A majority of the members of a legislative body shall not, outside a meeting authorized by this chapter, use a series of communications of any kind, directly or through intermediaries, to discuss, deliberate, or take action on any item of business that is within the subject matter jurisdiction of the legislative body.

Well, I’ve been so busy working on matters related to the revisions to the Municipal Lobbying Ordinance that’s presently being worked on by the Ethics Commission that I’ve barely had time to think of anything else. Yesterday, though, I needed a little break from lobbying and decided to take the time to write up a report to the LA County DA’s Public Integrity Division regarding this egregious violation. You can download a copy of the complaint or read a reasonably faithful transcription after the break.1
Continue reading How I Reported The Los Feliz Village BID To The LA County District Attorney’s Public Integrity Unit For Brown Act Violations

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A Bunch Of Emails Between The Los Feliz Village BID And The City Of Los Angeles Reveal A Number Of Interesting Issues, Not Least Of Which Is City BID Analyst Giving The BID Legal Advice On CPRA Requests Contrary To Holly Wolcott’s Position That This Does Not Happen

The other day I received a big pile of emails between the Board of the Los Feliz Village BID and people at the City of Los Angeles. They’re available here on Archive.Org. Note that the BID produced these by using some kind of bulk forwarding utility for Gmail to send these to their attorney, uniquely repetitive chair of the famed Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Jeffrey Charles Briggs Esq.

Attorney Briggs then exported the forwarded emails as MSG files and passed them along to me. Unfortunately this process mangled the metadata and made it more trouble than it seems to be worth to sort and rename the files by date and time. Sr. Briggs seems to be willing at least to consider instructing his clients to provide actual exact copies of emails in the future, but for now we’ll work with what we got, especially since the whole process has taken more than six months to get to this point. Anyway, turn the page for discussion of a few highlights.
Continue reading A Bunch Of Emails Between The Los Feliz Village BID And The City Of Los Angeles Reveal A Number Of Interesting Issues, Not Least Of Which Is City BID Analyst Giving The BID Legal Advice On CPRA Requests Contrary To Holly Wolcott’s Position That This Does Not Happen

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More Than A Gigabyte Of Emails Between The San Pedro BID, The Port Of Los Angeles, And Some Other Random Seeming Parties!

This is just a short note to announce the availability of 1.3 GB of emails between the San Pedro BID and the Port of LA. Because the Port has a seat on the BID’s Board of Directors this request picked up a ton of intra-Board emails, which are fascinating. Here’s a link to the goodies on Archive.Org:

This is a rich, rich release, and you’ll be hearing about details of it for many posts to come. But for now, turn the page to read some inconsequential silliness about the nonsense in Board President Jonathan Williams’s mouth in the cartoon at the head of this post.
Continue reading More Than A Gigabyte Of Emails Between The San Pedro BID, The Port Of Los Angeles, And Some Other Random Seeming Parties!

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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 Temptations Of The Gangsta Life Were Too Strong: Blair Besten’s Brief Attempt To Live As A Productive, Law-Abiding Citizen Lasts Less Than 24 Hours Before She Embarked On Another Crime Spree

Just yesterday we asked you, our loyal audience, to join with us in a sympathetic moment of silence for Blair Besten, executive directrix of the Historic Core BID, who was forced by circumstances to quit her outlaw ways and follow the law for just once in her professional life.

Well, I’m sorry to have to report that she’s back to living la vida loca on the mean streets of DTLA, unsurprisingly I suppose, as white collar crimes have such a very high recidivism rate. Blair Besten’s attempt at walking the strait and narrow path lasted about 6 minutes short of 24 hours, at which point she busted out in yet another crime spree. Here’s the background: This afternoon, a few of your loyal staff members rode the good old Red Line to Pershing Square to attend the June meeting of the Historic Core BID’s Board of Directors. We filmed the whole thing, if you’re interested.

When we arrived, we were greeted by the BID’s marketing specialist, Paola Flores, who invited us to sign in on the sign-in sheet. We declined, as we always do, and noted that the sheet was in violation of the Brown Act. This was the first (and least important) of three violations, the technical details of which along with the usual slew of goodies you shall find after the break.
Continue reading The Temptations Of The Gangsta Life Were Too Strong: Blair Besten’s Brief Attempt To Live As A Productive, Law-Abiding Citizen Lasts Less Than 24 Hours Before She Embarked On Another Crime Spree

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Please Join The Staff Of This Blog In A Moment Of Silence For Blair Besten, Who Was Forced Against Her Will To Follow A Law. Let’s Hope The Damage To Her Self Respect, Her Reputation, Her Emotional Stability, And Her Employability Is Not Permanent.

Maybe you’re familiar with §54954.1 of the Brown Act, which requires BIDs1 to notify anyone in advance of their meetings and send them agendas and other materials at the same time this material is distributed to the BID’s board.2 Another crucial bit is found at §54954.2(a)(1), which requires posting of agendas on BIDs’ websites.3

And it will be no surprise to anyone who reads this blog to discover that Blair Besten and her weirdo criminal conspiracy, the Historic Core BID, have consistently ignored these two requirements since time immemorial. Of course, no shock. Many members of the BID’s board of directors are criminals. Blair Besten herself breaks the law with relish and impunity.

So I asked Blair Besten in May to inform me of the BID’s meetings. She ignored me for the May meeting. I asked her yet again.4 She ignored me again. A little bird told me that they had a meeting scheduled for tomorrow, June 29, so I walked by the BID office yesterday, where they had partially complied with the law by posting an agenda in the window. Too much!
Continue reading Please Join The Staff Of This Blog In A Moment Of Silence For Blair Besten, Who Was Forced Against Her Will To Follow A Law. Let’s Hope The Damage To Her Self Respect, Her Reputation, Her Emotional Stability, And Her Employability Is Not Permanent.

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Hundreds Of Emails Between Melrose BID And The City Of LA Include (1) Definitive Proof That Executive Director Don Duckworth Violated The Municipal Lobbying Ordinance In 2013 But Unfortunately The Statute Of Limitations Has Effectively Run And (2) More Brown-Act-Violating Bylaws That No One At The Clerk’s Office, For Shame, Seems To Have Even Noticed

Donald Duckworth, who runs both the Westchester Town Center BID and the Melrose BID, is slow but, it seems, pretty steady about fulfilling my incessant CPRA requests. And thus, just yesterday I received from him four jumbo-sized mbox files just chock-full of gooey email goodness! This batch comprises 2016 emails between the City of LA and the Melrose BID, and can be found in various useful formats here on Archive.Org.

I will be writing about various items in this document dump soon enough,1 but today I just want to focus on a couple of interesting items, supplied to me as attachments to some of these emails and cleaned up a little for ease of reading.2 Here’s the short version, and you can find details and the usual ranting mockery after the break:

  • Melrose BID Formation Project Hourly Charge Breakdown — Don Duckworth not only runs the Melrose BID, he was also the consultant who oversaw its establishment, for which he seems to have been paid $80,000 by the City. This is a detailed breakdown of his hours and charges over the course of the project formation. If you’ve been following my ongoing project, aimed at turning in BID consultants for not registering as lobbyists,3 you’ll recognize how astonishing and how important this document is. Unfortunately Don Duckworth’s work on this project wound down in the Summer of 2013, which means that the four year statute of limitations for violations of the Municipal Lobbying Ordinance has essentially run out. The document will be endlessly useful, though, in estimating time spent by consultants on their other projects.
  • Melrose Business Improvement Association bylaws — The Melrose Business Improvement Association is the property owners’ association that administers the Melrose BID. These are their bylaws. I discovered recently that the freaking Larchmont Village BID had bylaws that directly contradicted the Brown Act. Now it turns out that the Melrose BID has precisely the same problem. It’s possible that Larchmont Village changed their ways, but so far, anyway, there’s no reason to suspect that Melrose has done.

Continue reading Hundreds Of Emails Between Melrose BID And The City Of LA Include (1) Definitive Proof That Executive Director Don Duckworth Violated The Municipal Lobbying Ordinance In 2013 But Unfortunately The Statute Of Limitations Has Effectively Run And (2) More Brown-Act-Violating Bylaws That No One At The Clerk’s Office, For Shame, Seems To Have Even Noticed

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