Tag Archives: Brown Act

That Time In 2018 When Wallis Locke Told Ellen Riotto How The South Park BID Could Just Ignore The Brown Act By Putting Some Magic Words On The Agenda — Cause The Foothill Municipal Water District Did It — So Anyone Could Do It — Even The South Park BID — But Then Ellen Riotto — Being Uncharacteristically Prudent — Asked Carol Humiston If It Was OK — And Carol Humiston Was All Like No Freaking Way That Is Crazy! — Except She Said It Nicer Cause After All They Are Paying Her A Lot Of Damn Money!

It’s basically very easy for public government agencies such as business improvement districts to comply with the Brown Act. All they have to do is not be sneaky and stop trying to hide what they’re doing from the public. But of course, that concept is actually impossible for BIDdies to understand, so they’re perennially surprised by what the law requires of them. The general zillionaire rule of statutory interpretation, which is to assume that laws do in fact say whatever rich white people imagine that they ought to say, is accurate 99.99% of the time, but it fails with the Brown Act for some reason.1

Which is why about this time last year we were spending a lot of blog time educating Ellen Riotto, executive directrix of the South Park BID, about the duties required of her organization by the Brown Act. She’d schedule a closed session but wouldn’t explain what the Board was going to talk about during it and I’d be like no, can’t do that, and she’d be like OK thank you for pointing that out! And then she’d be all like board members are going to phone into the meeting from random unannounced locations around the globe and I’d be like no, can’t do that, and she’d be like OK thank you for pointing that out!

And now, thanks to some emails kindly supplied to me in response to a request for public records by the South Park BIDdies, I can reveal for the first time that there was at least one other instance in early 2018 when Ellen Riotto completely misunderstood the Brown Act and was on the verge of implementing yet another completely illegal policy. Wallis Locke sent an email to Ellen Riotto and was all like I know a guy named Dan and he’s involved with the Foothill Municipal Water District and they have some kind of voodoo on their agendas that basically lets them talk about whatever they want to without having to announce it publicly in advance!

And Ellen Riotto was all like I wanna get me some of that! The voodoo, by the way, has to do with the fact that the Brown Act at §54954.2(b) allows public government agencies like BIDs to make last minute additions to their agendas if there is an actual emergency. However, in this case, maybe because my constant scrutiny made her a little more circumspect, she decided to ask the BID’s attorney Ms. Carol Humiston if her theory was a good one.

And Ms. Humiston, despite the fact that she’s famous for counseling her clients to violate the law at every opportunity in contravention of the enforceable expectations of both God and the California State Bar, was all like WHOA! Emergencies mean like earthquakes, fires, and so on! Not some booshwah that you just made up! You can’t freaking do that and you would be crazy even to try so step back from the ledge! And Ellen Riotto was like darn it! But step back from the ledge she did, leaving nothing but this email conversation, a transcription of which you can find after the break!
Continue reading That Time In 2018 When Wallis Locke Told Ellen Riotto How The South Park BID Could Just Ignore The Brown Act By Putting Some Magic Words On The Agenda — Cause The Foothill Municipal Water District Did It — So Anyone Could Do It — Even The South Park BID — But Then Ellen Riotto — Being Uncharacteristically Prudent — Asked Carol Humiston If It Was OK — And Carol Humiston Was All Like No Freaking Way That Is Crazy! — Except She Said It Nicer Cause After All They Are Paying Her A Lot Of Damn Money!

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Donald “El Duckie” Duckworth — Pirate King Of The Melrose Avenue BID — Takes Himself And His BIDdie Buddies Out To Lunch On The BID’s Dime All The Freaking Time — And Probably Violates The Brown Act While He’s Doing It — Think I’m Exaggerating? — Try $133 For A Committee Meeting At Off Vine — A Restaurant That Is Not In The Melrose BID — So It’s Illegal For The BID To Meet There — And Why The Hell Don’t They Buy Their Own Lunch?!

It’s been a damn month now since last I wrote about BIDological freak show specimen Donald R. Duckworth, the pirate king1 of the Melrose Avenue Business Improvement District. But it’s El Duckie’s own damn fault that he’s not getting the publicity he craves from MK.Org.

For whatever reason, the baleful influence of Carol Humiston, his own mulishly porcine intransigence, something as-yet-unguessed-at, he is chronically unable to comply with the tender mandates of the California Public Records Act. And I can’t very well mock him without public records, the very fuel and the flavor of MK.Org-style mockery.2

But recently I managed to lay hands on an interesting set of goodies, which are all of El Duckie’s requests for reimbursement from Melrose BID coffers for the last few years.3 I originally asked for these because last summer the property owners of Melrose were in open and fiery rebellion against the Duckworthian regime and one of the underlying causes was Duckworth’s irrepressible profligacy.

If you don’t want to or can’t read the PDF, there’s an html conversion at the end of this post.4 And it reveals that Duckworth and his BIDdie buddies, most especially the notorious Weintraub gang, Deny and Sylvia, are indeed basically flinging the property owners’ assessments to the winds like rain.5

Just for instance, on January 19, 2018 the BID bought Duckworth, the Weintraubs, and a couple other BIDdies lunch to the tune of $122.09. Sure, that’s not over the top for lunch for five, but why is the BID buying lunch in the first place? I have to go to work meetings all the damn time and no one buys me lunch. But I, for my part, have to ask an accountant for permission. Donald R. Duckwalk just has to ask Deny Weintraub, and Deny Weintraub is right there at the trough with him.

Or see on November 29, 2017 when The Duckster put in for $75.07 for a “work session” with Kim Sudhalter. Kim Sudhalter is the BID’s social media flunkie, so she already gets paid for the work she does. As does Donald R. Duckandcover. So what was the 75 bucks for? More food for the work session? The usual arrangement, Duckfellow, is to pay for your own food when you’re working.

And there are plenty of these instances, where Duckworth, the Weintraubs, and sometimes an unindicted co-conspirator or two, will go out to lunch at some ritzy place and charge it off to the BID. But the most egregious of these are the ones that are labeled as committee meetings. Because, as we know, the BID is bound by the Brown Act, and the Brown Act has very strict rules about where and how committee meetings can be held. And it’s likely that these violate them.

In particular, on September 1, 2017 Duckworth, the Weintraubs, and Kim Sudhalter spent $133.89 on lunch at a committee meeting at Off Vine, a super-ritz joint near the southeast corner of Vine and Sunset. This is highly problematic, friends, and turn the page to see why!
Continue reading Donald “El Duckie” Duckworth — Pirate King Of The Melrose Avenue BID — Takes Himself And His BIDdie Buddies Out To Lunch On The BID’s Dime All The Freaking Time — And Probably Violates The Brown Act While He’s Doing It — Think I’m Exaggerating? — Try $133 For A Committee Meeting At Off Vine — A Restaurant That Is Not In The Melrose BID — So It’s Illegal For The BID To Meet There — And Why The Hell Don’t They Buy Their Own Lunch?!

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State Legislators Connie Leyva And Patrick O’Donnell Introduce SB126 — To Clarify That Charter Schools In California Are Subject To The Public Records Act — And The Brown Act — And The Political Reform Act — This Will Formalize And Extend Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s Recent Published Opinion On The Matter

You may recall that California State Attorney General Xavier Becerra issued an opinion in December 2018 stating that charter schools in California were subject to the Brown Act and the Public Records Act. And recently, despite some ill-founded pushback, I was able to use the CPRA to get some pretty interesting information out of a local charter school, New Los Angeles.

But AG opinions aren’t law, and evidently there is still some uncertainty about the matter, for instance see this article by Tony Butka in CityWatch LA. So yesterday, state legislators Connie Leyva and Patrick O’Donnell introduced SB126, which states explicitly that charter schools and the organizations which run them are in fact subject to the Brown Act, to the Public Records Act, to the Political Reform Act of 1974, and to certain ethics laws.1

If this passes into law, and why should it not, it will be an incredibly useful tool for activists, the fruits of which you’ll be reading about here and elsewhere for the foreseeable future. Turn the page for the legislative analyst’s description of what the bill would do.
Continue reading State Legislators Connie Leyva And Patrick O’Donnell Introduce SB126 — To Clarify That Charter Schools In California Are Subject To The Public Records Act — And The Brown Act — And The Political Reform Act — This Will Formalize And Extend Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s Recent Published Opinion On The Matter

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The Los Angeles City Council Violated The Brown Act Prior To Its Hearing On Designation Of Parker Center As A Historic-Cultural Monument — Huizar Staff Evidently Polled All Other Council Offices To Learn How They Would Vote — Which Constitutes An Illegal Serial Meeting According To The California Attorney General And The Court Of Appeals — If Little Tokyo Bigwig Kristin Fukushima Is To Be Believed, Anyway — And Why Would She Lie?

In his 2017 rush to destroy Parker Center, not only did José Huizar direct his staff to organize a series of phony performances of public support at various hearings as part of a twisted quid pro quo deal with various Little Tokyo luminaries, but on February 13, 2017 or thereabouts his office also violated California’s open meeting law, the Brown Act, by polling all the other Council offices on how they intended to vote the next day on the designation of the building as a historic-cultural monument.

The evidence is right here in this email conversation between Kristin Fukushima, Little Tokyo anti-Parker-Center coconspirator, and Gerald Gubatan, who is Gil Cedillo’s planning director:1

On Mon, Feb 13, 2017 at 2:03 PM, Kristin Fukushima <kristin@littletokyola.org> wrote:

Hi everyone,

Gerald, just letting you know – I spoke with CD 14 this morning, and apparently they checked in with all the offices and have confirmed that they are expecting everyone on City Council tomorrow to vote in approval of PLUM’s recommendation against HCM nomination for Parker Center. To be safe, a handful of us will still be there tomorrow, but good news nonetheless!

Thanks!

If she’s telling the truth about CD14 checking in with all the offices, and why would she not be, then the City Council violated the Brown Act by holding a meeting that the public had no access to. It’s not surprising, of course. We’ve seen significant circumstantial evidence that such violations happen regularly, but man, has it been hard to claw that proof out of the City.2

This kind of lawless behavior in no way seems uncharacteristic of Huizar. It wouldn’t have seemed so even before his enormous capacity for lawlessness and illicitry was made even more manifest than anyone could have expected.3 Sadly, there’s nothing at all to be done about it at this point. The Brown Act has very short built-in time limitations for taking action, and this is far past all of them.

By the way, it may not seem obvious that a staff member from one Council office contacting all the other offices and asking how they’re planning to vote on an agenda item constitutes a meeting, but it’s clear under the law that it does. For all the wonky details, laid out in full wonky splendor, turn the page. You know you wanna!
Continue reading The Los Angeles City Council Violated The Brown Act Prior To Its Hearing On Designation Of Parker Center As A Historic-Cultural Monument — Huizar Staff Evidently Polled All Other Council Offices To Learn How They Would Vote — Which Constitutes An Illegal Serial Meeting According To The California Attorney General And The Court Of Appeals — If Little Tokyo Bigwig Kristin Fukushima Is To Be Believed, Anyway — And Why Would She Lie?

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South Park BID Brown Act Demand Letter Leads To Complete, Total, Abject, Sniveling, Obsequious Concession To Every Last One Of My Demands! — Will They Be Able To Pull It Off? — I Doubt It — But Benefit Of The Doubt Is The Order Of Today — Not Of Every Day, Though

Today’s episode in our ongoing Brown Act Enforcement Project, which you can read all about right here on this page entitled Our Work is the abject and total capitulation of the South Park BID to every last one of the demands made in the letter I sent them on December 14, 2018. This is a not-unexpected move, since doing so obviates the chance of an expensive lawsuit which they’d be sure to lose and possibly would have to pay my litigation costs as well as their own.

Like so many of our local BIDdies they were advised in the process by the world’s angriest BID attorney, Carol Freaking Humiston of Bradley & Freaking Gmelich. And really, more than advised as she clearly wrote the letter of capitulation that Board Chair Robin Freaking Bieker sent out to me over his own signature yesterday. It’s got every known Humistonian trope on parade, e.g. “You don’t know what you’re talking about and whatever it is you’re totally wrong but nevertheless we’ll do what you demand but not for any reason.”1

And unlike the previous Brown Act transgressions I’ve spotted and skooshed out with these demand letters, there is a really complex violation here. The SPBID has maintained a secret committee, the Executive Committee, that meets in private and votes by email. The BID has agreed not to do this any more, but my impression from their emails is that it’s really essential to the way they function. It’ll be interesting to see how they get along with out it.

Although it’s as if not more likely that they’ll keep breaking that particular bit of the law and try to cover it up by claiming that all relevant emails are exempt from production, quite likely due to the nebulous and mostly made up deliberative process privilege. Well, we’ll certainly see what happens. Meanwhile, turn the page for a transcription of the articles of surrender.
Continue reading South Park BID Brown Act Demand Letter Leads To Complete, Total, Abject, Sniveling, Obsequious Concession To Every Last One Of My Demands! — Will They Be Able To Pull It Off? — I Doubt It — But Benefit Of The Doubt Is The Order Of Today — Not Of Every Day, Though

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Latest And Most Ambitious Episode In Our Brown Act Enforcement Project Targets South Park BID For Three Violations — Requiring Sign-In To Attend Meeting — Voting By Email — And Most Egregious Of All — Maintaining A Standing Committee Which Meets Only In Secret — Never Posts Agendas — Never Announces Meetings To Public — Votes By Email Regularly — This Is About The Worst Ongoing Brown Act Violation I Have Ever Seen Among BIDs!

For a few months now I’ve been running a project aimed at getting the BIDs of Los Angeles to comply with the Brown Act. This certainly ought to be the job of the City of Los Angeles, but they have completely abdicated all responsibility, so it seems to be more or less just up to me. The system relies on §54960.2 of the Brown Act, which allows any interested party, such as me, to allege that a BID1 violated the Brown Act and demand that they cease and desist from violating it in the future.

The BID then has the choice of issuing an unconditional commitment not to repeat the alleged violations2 within 30 days of the letter or else face a lawsuit. I’ve done four of these since August, the first three resulting in complete and utter capitulation by the BIDs involved, and the fourth I just sent out yesterday morning to the South Park BID. Here’s a list of the old ones:

Now, the South Park BID has had its problems in the past complying with the Brown Act, but on the other hand, Ellen Salome Riotto has been relatively willing to learn from her mistakes. Usually I just drop her a line and she fixes the problem.3 However, I recently learned of two new violations which are far, far too serious to be left to the kind of informal mole whackery in which I’ve so far been willing to engage. These are the subject of this demand letter which I sent yesterday morning to the BID.

The letter alleges violations of three sections of the Brown Act. The first is that they required me to sign in to a meeting in April. I’ve written about this incident before and they seem to have stopped doing it, but it’s worth including here to get them to formally commit not to doing it any more. The second violation is that in November the BID Board actually voted on an item via email at the instigation of Ellen Salome Riotto. This is so freaking illegal, so freaking contrary to the very essence of the Brown Act, that I’m utterly astonished that it happened. And yet it does seem to be a genuine error rather than malfeasance.

The sad irony is that Ellen Salome Riotto explicitly arranged this illegal vote in order to avoid violating the Brown Act’s mandates about teleconferencing. And that she seemed to think that it would be OK because it was justified by the BID’s bylaws, as if state law could be nullified by some two-bit corporation unilaterally announcing that they weren’t subject to it. The whole situation would be tragic if these careless, ignorant people weren’t granted so much public trust.

And the final violation is just stunning in its scope and its audacity. The Brown Act clearly states that committees must also follow open meeting requirements.4 The South Park BID, however, has an executive committee which doesn’t post agendas, meets in secret, and discusses, deliberates, and takes action via email, by phone, and at their secret meetings. It’d be easier to list the parts of the Brown Act that this doesn’t violate!

Secret actions by a public agency like the BID are untenable. This is how democracy dies, so I can’t allow it to continue. And in this case Ellen Salome Riotto has ignored my questions about the violations. Hence the necessity of the demand letter. Turn the page for transcriptions, links to the evidence and code sections, and maybe even some more of my moralistic ranting!
Continue reading Latest And Most Ambitious Episode In Our Brown Act Enforcement Project Targets South Park BID For Three Violations — Requiring Sign-In To Attend Meeting — Voting By Email — And Most Egregious Of All — Maintaining A Standing Committee Which Meets Only In Secret — Never Posts Agendas — Never Announces Meetings To Public — Votes By Email Regularly — This Is About The Worst Ongoing Brown Act Violation I Have Ever Seen Among BIDs!

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Mitch O’Farrell’s Secret Email Account Yields The First Concrete Evidence I’m Aware Of Concerning Staff-Mediated Back-Room Collusion Between City Council Members — Suggests Brown Act Violations On A Massive Scale — Consistent With Serial Meetings Coordinated Via Council Staff — Contributes To A Theory Of Staged City Council Debates Invariably Ending In Yet Another Unanimous Vote — At Very Least Yields Many Potentially Fruitful Leads For Future CPRA Requests

If you’ve ever attended a meeting of the Los Angeles City Council it’s very likely that you’ve seen one of the fully scripted performances that pass for debate with that body, ending, as always, with a unanimous vote in favor of yet another preordained conclusion. It’s a sickening spectacle, more worthy of a for-show-only parliament of some backwater bargain-bin Ruritanian dictatorship than of the legislators who are putatively leading our great City. This phenomenon is the subject of much discussion here in Los Angeles, and was the basis for at least one sadly ill-fated lawsuit.

If you haven’t seen an example of this spooky kabuki, you can take a look at this August 23, 2016 debate on whether the City should support or oppose some state bill about taxi regulation.1 After the break you’ll find a detailed chronology with links into the video, which will save you a lot of time because the whole thing is more than 30 minutes long and it is mind-numbing. There’s no conceivable way that episodes like this one could happen other than through prior discussion, collusion, and agreement among the Councilmembers. It’s completely implausible that it could be otherwise.

The problem with that, of course, is that prior discussion, collusion, and agreement among Councilmembers are illegal in California. It’s even illegal for Council staffers to discuss things and then report back to their bosses about other CMs’ opinions as reported by their respective staffs. The law mandates real public debates and forbids scripted performances whose conclusions are predetermined in back rooms. In particular, the Brown Act at §54952.2(b)(1) states explicitly that:

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.

As far as I know there’s never been a successful Brown Act complaint against the City Council on these grounds. Courts will not, I’m under the impression, accept arguments based on the fact that it’s totally obvious what’s going on. Without sufficient proof of out-of-meeting communications no action is possible. And there just has not hitherto been any proof to be found, or none that I know of. But it appears that, buried deep within the recent release of emails from Mitch O’Farrell’s toppest secretest privatest email account, there are some hints of how this coordination might be accomplished.

There’s no proof there of a Brown Act violation, but there’s evidence that in 2013 David Giron, who is Mitch O’Farrell’s legislative director, coordinated with CD5 and CD8 regarding the positions of Paul Koretz and Bernard Parks2 with respect to fracking in Los Angeles and then communicated the intentions of those other CMs to Mitch O’Farrell. This is the kind of thing that the Brown Act forbids if it takes place among the majority of the Council, or even the majority of a Council committee.3

There’s no hint in the evidence that this discussion is any kind of anomaly, so it may be the first piece of the puzzle of how the City Council builds consensus out of view of the public. It certainly gives me hope that the truth will be brought out eventually.4 Take a look at the email exchange here, which is on the surface about Mitch O’Farrell’s position on CF 13-0002-S108, having to do with a State Senate bill on fracking. There are transcriptions and detailed discussion of the issues involved right after the break.
Continue reading Mitch O’Farrell’s Secret Email Account Yields The First Concrete Evidence I’m Aware Of Concerning Staff-Mediated Back-Room Collusion Between City Council Members — Suggests Brown Act Violations On A Massive Scale — Consistent With Serial Meetings Coordinated Via Council Staff — Contributes To A Theory Of Staged City Council Debates Invariably Ending In Yet Another Unanimous Vote — At Very Least Yields Many Potentially Fruitful Leads For Future CPRA Requests

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Palisades BID Brown Act Demand Letter Leads To Complete And Total Victory! — Elliot “Cabeza De Calabaza” Zorensky And His Merry Gang Of Freaks Out In Northwest Zillionaireville Issue An Unconditional Commitment To Stop Breaking The Damn Law!

Of course you remember my ongoing Brown Act enforcement project, whereby I use threats of imminent lawsuits to try to get our City’s various business improvement districts to just follow the damn law for once. And a few weeks ago I sent the Pacific Palisades BID a sternly-worded demand letter outlining an egregious violation of the Brown Act involving illegal meetings via email and insisting, per statute, that they unconditionally commit to never breaking that particular requirement of the law again.

Well, they got the letter, and then they had two closed sessions and an open session to figure out what to do about it. You can read the agendas here. No doubt they had to have so many discussions because Elliot Zorensky is the second ragiest rageball in all of BIDlandia1 and probably had to have his oversized head wrapped in pressure bandages to keep it from exploding during the discussions and a mummy-style noggin and an impending privilege-violation-induced aneurysm are not elements highly congenial to rational, reasoned, efficient discussion.

But whatever the circumstances, it seems that reason did in fact ultimately prevail, and, them not having any other reasonable option, they decided to send me the required letter. And thus it was that, after many a twixt-lip-slip involving USPS protocols for receiving certified mail, I did finally lay my hands on a copy of said letter. And it says all the stuff it’s supposed to say. In other words, it’s another great victory for the rule of law and a great defeat for those parochial weirdo zillionaires out in the Palisades.

There is nothing like a little cheerful gravedancing on a Friday afternoon, friends! I can recommend it highly! And not only that, but there’s a transcription of their letter of capitulation after the break so you can read it too. And if you want to do a little gravedancing of your own I can highly recommend this little number right here as the soundtrack!
Continue reading Palisades BID Brown Act Demand Letter Leads To Complete And Total Victory! — Elliot “Cabeza De Calabaza” Zorensky And His Merry Gang Of Freaks Out In Northwest Zillionaireville Issue An Unconditional Commitment To Stop Breaking The Damn Law!

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This Is To Confirm That The Studio City BID Did In Fact Hire Vicki Nussbaum As New Zeck Dreck — And She’s Leaving Her Job At The Sherman Oaks BID — And Refusing To Complete Tasks Assigned To Her By Board President Leslie Elkans — Cause Why Not She’s Already Gone — Her Excuse Is That She’s Too Busy Reading About The Brown Act — Ironically The Studio City BID Violated The Brown Act When Hiring Her — Wonder If She Got That From Her Reading?

You remember last month we were still trying to figure out if the damn Studio City BID had hired erstwhile Sherman Oaks BIDdie-boss Vicki Freaking Nussbaum to replace outgoing zeck dreck Dr. John Walker Ph.D. and it pretty much looked like they had cause of some cryptic-ish emails between Vicki Nussbaum and SCBID Board dominus Tony Freaking Richman but at the same time it was kinda hard to be sure?

Well, last week, on Monday, November 5,1 the good old Studio City BID held a damn board meeting,2 and right there on the agenda, right there under item 3 was this little gem right here: “President’s Comments and introduction of new Executive Director: Vicki Nussbaum.” So out we rode,3 northwest bound on a dizzying sequence of buses and trains, to watch the meeting. And of course we filmed it for you. And of course you can watch it here on YouTube or else here on Archive.Org.4

And here you can watch Tony Richman introducing her, and here you can watch her own introductory remarks. And it’s all pretty tedious, and certainly not worth transcribing. But there’s a context, and the context makes it interesting. You see, first of all, Vicki Nussbaum is not just joining the Studio City BID, she is also leaving the Village at Sherman Oaks BID.

And you know how it is when you’re leaving a job. Your boss can email you and be all hey friend do this little task that you’re being paid to do and you can email back and be all like sorry friend I have my feet up on the desk and I’m on the clock drinking horchata and reading random websites about lemurs and what are you going to do about it, fire me? And it seems that that’s just what’s going on in this case with Vicki Nussbaum and the VSOBID President Leslie Elkans!

You see, on September 21, 2018, Vicki Nussbaum emailed SCBID President Tony Richman to ask did she get the new job and Tony Richman told her yep friend you did get it. Read that exchange here. And by October 3, 2018 she and Tony Richman were negotiating her start date. Read that email here. So by October 14, 2018, when Leslie Elkans sent this little email to Vicki Nussbaum, making a simple request, it really seems that Vicki Nussbaum was not having any of it, in her response being all like no I will not do it, I’m at home reading up on the damn Brown Act thx bye.

And turn the page for, as always, transcriptions of the emails, analysis, and some really melodramatic irony!
Continue reading This Is To Confirm That The Studio City BID Did In Fact Hire Vicki Nussbaum As New Zeck Dreck — And She’s Leaving Her Job At The Sherman Oaks BID — And Refusing To Complete Tasks Assigned To Her By Board President Leslie Elkans — Cause Why Not She’s Already Gone — Her Excuse Is That She’s Too Busy Reading About The Brown Act — Ironically The Studio City BID Violated The Brown Act When Hiring Her — Wonder If She Got That From Her Reading?

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Latest Episode In The Brown Act Enforcement Project Targets Pacific Palisades BID For Secret Email Meeting Violation — They Do This Kind Of Thing All The Time But They’re So Incredibly Slow To Respond To CPRA Requests That I’ve Never Caught Them Within The Nine Month Enforcement Window — Until Now! — Smarmy Caruso Puppet And Self-Proclaimed Board Member Rick Lemmo Channels Donald Trump Even As He Aids And Abets Brown Act Violations — Typical! — Sad!

Yesterday morning the Pacific Palisades BID became the third lucky winner in our ongoing Brown Act enforcement project, following in the hallowed footsteps of the Byzantine Latino Quarter BID and the Studio City BID after them. I sent the BIDdies this demand letter, based as usual on the Brown Act at §54960.2, which gives civic outlaws like the Palisades BIDdies the chance to avoid getting sued back to the Stone Age by issuing an unconditional commitment never to break the same law again no more.

The Byzantinios caved and issued such a letter, and the Studio Citizens did too, at least with respect to three out of the four violations of which I accused them.1 And there’s a reasonable chance that the Palisadesean BIDdies will cave as well, in the fierce face of my ferociously convincing rhetoric. But maybe they won’t, cause BID boss Elliot Zorensky is a stone cold psychopath whose anger, it seems, has so far overmastered his prudence that he will cheerfully drown his own metaphorical babies merely in the hope of splashing some metaphorical bathwater on the metaphorical silken neckties of his quite literal enemies. Hard core, yes. Sustainable? Certainly not.

And of course, to faithful readers of this blog the fact that the Palisadeseans have violated the Brown Act won’t even seem like news. They are locally famous for scoffing in the face of the Brown Act. There was that time in January 2016 when they went and held a vote by email, and that other time in April 2016 when they went and held a vote over the telephone, and that other other time in April 2016 when Sue Pascoe of the Palisades News had the damn nerve to tell Laurie Sale that the Brown Act required them to post their damn agendas where people could see them and Laurie Sale flipped out and cried on Rick Scott’s shoulder all night long.

But the problem with all those episodes in relation to the enforcement project is that good old §54960.2 requires one to start the legal process with a demand letter sent within nine months of the violation. I made my first CPRA request of the PPBID in January 2017 but because they’re a bunch of law-flouting privilege monkeys, they didn’t hand over many if any records until July 2018,2 so that the Brown Act enforcement deadlines for all those 2016 violations were past before I even learned of them.

However, in that steaming heap of records that Elliot Zorensky handed over to me in July3 there was a crucial exchange of emails between Board members that adds up to a big fat violation of the Brown Act at §54952.2(b)(1), which says:

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.

And not only that, but the conversation took place in May 2018, so we are well within the nine month deadline. And it’s that conversation, the details of which are interesting in themselves and are to be found after the break, that forms the basis of today’s demand letter. The BID now has thirty days to respond or else we’re going to court, and you will read all about it here if you want to!
Continue reading Latest Episode In The Brown Act Enforcement Project Targets Pacific Palisades BID For Secret Email Meeting Violation — They Do This Kind Of Thing All The Time But They’re So Incredibly Slow To Respond To CPRA Requests That I’ve Never Caught Them Within The Nine Month Enforcement Window — Until Now! — Smarmy Caruso Puppet And Self-Proclaimed Board Member Rick Lemmo Channels Donald Trump Even As He Aids And Abets Brown Act Violations — Typical! — Sad!

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