Tag Archives: California Public Records Act

How Andrew Thomas And Carol Humiston Conspired To Spend At Least A Thousand Dollars Of Other People’s Money All To Teach Me A Lesson About The Costs Of Exercising My Rights Under The Public Records Act — How’s It Working Out For Them? — Probably Not So Well In The Long Run

NOTE: This post is turning out to be way longer than I thought, so I figured I’d better link to the actual public records it’s based on up here at the top. New for your perusal and edification are three contracts between the Westwood Village BID and various persons, including Exec Direc Andrew Lloyd Thomas and the BID security provider. Read ’em and weep, friends.

While you all have been enjoying my recent reporting on the Westwood Village BIDdies and their conspiracy with a bunch of UCLA students who feel like the boring homeowners on the Westwood Neighborhood Council don’t approve of enough liquor licenses and happy hours in the Village and whatnot, there has actually been a whole other story seething below the surface, some aspects of which I am writing today to tell you about!

You see, this isn’t just about me, the California Public Records Act, and Andrew Thomas, but also about Andrew Thomas’s lawyer, Carol Humiston, the ballistic barrister of Burbank.1 Carol Humiston,2 who lawyers for a lot of BIDs, has this CPRA system which she evidently believes is going to learn me not to bother her clients any more.3 Well, aside from the fact that no one’s managed to learn me anything since about 1974, her fanaticism ends up needlessly costing her clients a ton of money.4
Continue reading How Andrew Thomas And Carol Humiston Conspired To Spend At Least A Thousand Dollars Of Other People’s Money All To Teach Me A Lesson About The Costs Of Exercising My Rights Under The Public Records Act — How’s It Working Out For Them? — Probably Not So Well In The Long Run

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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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The Education Of Ms. Ellen Salome Riotto, Episode 837 — Another Brown Act Violation At South Park — Not To Mention A Copy Of A Presentation By Sonder™ — The World’s Creepiest Hotel Company — Well Beloved, Of Course, Of South Park, The World’s Fourth Creepiest BID

It’s beginning to feel like all I do around here is educate the freaking South Park BIDdies about their legal obligations under the Brown Act. These are people who are so lawyered up in their daily lives that they don’t even tell their kids they love them except on advice of counsel but for whatever reason they cannot or will not get reliable guidance on how to follow a single one of California’s government transparency laws.1

There was this episode in February, this episode in April, this other episode in April, and now here we are in July with yet another hilarious tale of egregious flouting of statutory obligations on the part of the South Parkers.2 You may well recall that the South Parkies had a board meeting last Thursday, June 28, and that I attended and recorded it. And Ms. Joella Hopkins was a highlight, but not the only highlight.

There were also two presentations, one from AEG and another from yet another creepy-as-fuck hotel industry disrupter, known as Sonder, whose main advantage over Motel 6 seems to be that they have listening devices in their hotel rooms so that if guests play music too loud the company can turn it down remotely. What could possibly go wrong with that? You can watch Sonder’s spiel starting here, and AEG’s starting here.

Both of these presentations had associated slide shows, which the presenters seemed to think were somehow confidential. Sonder’s had some statement on it about how it was tip-top-secret, and the AEG presenters actually asked if there were any media representatives in the room. Watch and listen here as the AEG lady asks directly albeit fairly incoherently: “Can I just ask for process oriented are there any media in the room today?”

But as far as I’m concerned, and the law tends to agree with me, once people show a slideshow in a meeting covered by the Brown Act, that slideshow is public property. So naturally I sent Ellen S. an email asking for copies of the goods, and turn the page for transcriptions, commentary, and to learn what ensued!
Continue reading The Education Of Ms. Ellen Salome Riotto, Episode 837 — Another Brown Act Violation At South Park — Not To Mention A Copy Of A Presentation By Sonder™ — The World’s Creepiest Hotel Company — Well Beloved, Of Course, Of South Park, The World’s Fourth Creepiest BID

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Two-Fer Tuesday: Westchester Town Center BID And Melrose BID Both Sued To Enforce Compliance With The California Public Records Act

Remember Don Duckworth? Big bad BID boss of both the Melrose BID and the Westchester Town Center BID?? We haven’t heard from Mr. Duckworth here on the blog in a long old time even though he is quite an interesting character, what with his BID analyst switcheroos and his kooky Brown-Act-flouting bylaws and that whole Calabasas episode and so forth.

His absence from my literary life has not, however, been by choice.1 The fact is that circa last June the guy just decided to stop responding to my CPRA requests altogether. No records, no answers, no nothing from Don Duckworth. Hence no joyously mocking blog posts and so on. Well, friends, that’s about to change, and change big-time!

You see, my lawyer, the incomparable Anna von Herrmann, recently filed two petitions, one for each of Duckworth’s BIDs, to compel compliance with the CPRA. You can find them here on Archive.Org on pages which I will update if/when the cases generate more paper:

Melrose BID petition
Westchester Town Center BID petition

And turn the page for some excerpts from the Melrose petition! And a little more commentary!!
Continue reading Two-Fer Tuesday: Westchester Town Center BID And Melrose BID Both Sued To Enforce Compliance With The California Public Records Act

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Venice Beach BID Public Records Are Pouring In Due To Our Writ Petition — Responses To Security RFP From Allied Universal, Street Plus, HELPER 2000 — AUS Proposal Has Incredibly Detailed Information On BID Patrol Training, Organization — Executed Contract Between BID And Allied — And If You Know The CPRA You Know That This Development Means They’ve Already Lost The Damn Case — And We, De Natch, Have Therefore Already Won It!

If you’ve been following my attempts to get public records out of the Venice Beach BID via the CPRA you’ll remember that Tara Devine’s sheer bloody-minded obstructionism led finally after more than a year of saint-like patience on my part to my being forced against my will to file a writ petition against the ornery BIDdies to compel compliance. Well, amazingly, it seems possible that the BIDdies aren’t going to litigate,1 and one of the major indicators is that they have already started handing over documents!2

And here’s what we have! First there’s the executed contract between Allied Universal and the BID for security services along with some flyers for their job fairs. Second, there are three proposals to provide BID security, found here on Archive.Org, from Streetplus, from HELPER 2000, and, of course, the successful proposal from Allied Universal.

This last item is absolutely the most important prize torn from the vaults of the zillionaire elite in this particular raid. It contains really detailed information about the operations of the Venice BID Patrol, their training, their hiring and retention practices, how they see their mission, what kinds of records they keep, their relations with property owners and the BID board and staff, and so on. It’s long, but it’s essential. Turn the page for some transcribed selections and commentary.
Continue reading Venice Beach BID Public Records Are Pouring In Due To Our Writ Petition — Responses To Security RFP From Allied Universal, Street Plus, HELPER 2000 — AUS Proposal Has Incredibly Detailed Information On BID Patrol Training, Organization — Executed Contract Between BID And Allied — And If You Know The CPRA You Know That This Development Means They’ve Already Lost The Damn Case — And We, De Natch, Have Therefore Already Won It!

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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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In 2016 The City Of Los Angeles Revised Its Standard BID Administration Contract To Remove Language About Complying With CPRA And The Brown Act — Which Is Yet Another Example Of The City Refusing To Hold BIDs Responsible For Complying With Any Laws Whatsoever — It’s Not Clear What Effect This Will Have On Anything — They Certainly Did It In Response To My Activities, Though, For What That’s Worth

Regular readers of this blog are well aware that business improvement districts in California are subject to the California Public Records Act and to the Brown Act by virtue of the Property and Business Improvement District Law at §36612, which states explicitly that BIDS … shall comply with the Ralph M. Brown Act … at all times when matters within the subject matter of the district are heard, discussed, or deliberated, and with the California Public Records Act … for all records relating to activities of the district.1

Also, maybe you recall that the standard contract that BIDs sign with the City of Los Angeles contains2 a clause basically repeating this requirement. There’s a transcription of this section after the break. So in March 2016, faced with blatant disregard of the CPRA by the Downtown Center BID, I wrote to the City Clerk, Holly Wolcott, asking her to enforce the terms of the City’s contract with this obstructionist BID.

And on March 14, 2016, she wrote back to me, stating pretty clearly that she wasn’t going to make sure that BIDs complied with the Public Records Act. Again, there’s a transcription of her response after the break, but her main argument was that the City wasn’t obligated by the contract to consider whether a given BID was complying with the CPRA.

And I thought that was the end of it, but I just recently discovered that actually, it’s likely that the City took my argument much more seriously than anyone was letting on. So seriously, in fact, that in April 2016 the City Attorney completely rewrote the standard contract between BIDs and the City to eliminate all language about CPRA and the Brown Act!
Continue reading In 2016 The City Of Los Angeles Revised Its Standard BID Administration Contract To Remove Language About Complying With CPRA And The Brown Act — Which Is Yet Another Example Of The City Refusing To Hold BIDs Responsible For Complying With Any Laws Whatsoever — It’s Not Clear What Effect This Will Have On Anything — They Certainly Did It In Response To My Activities, Though, For What That’s Worth

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Larchmont Village BID Fails To Answer My CPRA Petition By Deadline — What Can It Mean?

As you may recall, I was recently forced to file a petition against the Larchmont Village BID because they just won’t respond to California Public Records Act requests at all. The pleadings are collected here on Archive.Org, although there’s presently not much there. The BID was served on April 4, and they had 30 days to respond. For reasons known only to them they actually failed to file any kind of answer whatsoever.

I guess in an ordinary suit their failure to respond would mean that I just win automatically, but it turns out that the California Code of Civil Procedure at §1088 doesn’t allow a writ of mandate to issue by default. Anyway, the BID did finally decide to discuss it, it seems, as they held a closed session last Thursday, May 24, 2018, and the petition was the only item on the agenda. More news as I have it, of course.
Continue reading Larchmont Village BID Fails To Answer My CPRA Petition By Deadline — What Can It Mean?

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

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Update On The Willingness Of The California Board For Professional Engineers To Read And Consider Complaints Against Engineers Who Prepare Reports For BID Establishment — According To Boss Honcho Ric Moore They Not Only Will Read And Consider Them But He Personally Will Review And Clarify The Findings Of His Enforcement Staff — It’s Hard To Know If This Is Excellent, But It Is Way, Way, Way Better Than Nothing!

As you may know, I’ve been working on getting the California Board for Professional Engineers, which regulates the profession of engineering in California, to accept complaints against the engineers who write reports supporting BID formation. At first the Board’s position was that the preparation of such reports didn’t even constitute the practice of engineering and therefore all such complaints should be rejected a priori. After a few months of discussion, the Board seemed more entrenched than ever in this disappointing position.

However, in the last week or so, the Board, in the person of Executive Director Ric Moore, seems to have softened its position somewhat. In this email,1 Moore has made what strike me as two significant concessions:2

◈ Ric Moore stated that all complaints to the Board are read and responses reflect the actual factual allegations in the complaint.
◈ He also said that if the person filing the complaint doesn’t believe that this happened he, Ric Moore, will clarify and address the concerns.

This certainly is welcome news, and Ric Moore’s statements have had at least two immediate consequences. First, the Venice resident who filed the original complaint against BID engineer Ed Henning took Moore up on his officer to clarify and address concerns. Second, because Moore has committed his agency to reading all complaints and responding based on the factual allegations, I have determined to submit my own complaint against Ed Henning. I hope to have this done within four weeks, possibly sooner.

And I have updated this Archive.Org page with the additional emails (dated April 16 and 17, 2018). Turn the page for links to the new emails, transcriptions of all or part of the salient ones, and possibly a little more discussion of the issues.
Continue reading Update On The Willingness Of The California Board For Professional Engineers To Read And Consider Complaints Against Engineers Who Prepare Reports For BID Establishment — According To Boss Honcho Ric Moore They Not Only Will Read And Consider Them But He Personally Will Review And Clarify The Findings Of His Enforcement Staff — It’s Hard To Know If This Is Excellent, But It Is Way, Way, Way Better Than Nothing!

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