Tag Archives: California State Legislature

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 Checkered History Of Streets And Highways Code §36612 — How The California Court Of Appeals Made BIDs Cry By Holding That They Were Subject To The Brown Act And The Public Records Act — And How Bad BIDmother Jackie Goldberg Soothed Their Hurt Feelings By Passing A Law Stating That They Weren’t Public Officials — Is It Constitutional? — It Hasn’t Been Adjudicated So Who Knows?!

The only reason that this blog even exists is that business improvement districts in California are subject to the California Public Records Act. And the first part of the story of how this came to be is fairly well known. In 1998 Hollywood property owner Aaron Epstein wanted to attend meetings of the Hollywood Property Owners’ Alliance1 and Kerry Morrison, who then as now would willingly brook no interference in her proprietary demesne, told him to go pound sand.

Instead of slapping the silica, though, Epstein filed suit against the BID, and the process culminated in the lovely holding, in Epstein v. Hollywood Entertainment District BID, that BIDs2 were subject to the Brown Act and the CPRA. This ushered anti-BID activists into a paradise from which we are unlikely to be expelled. Kerry Morrison didn’t take this outcome with any grace whatsoever and has been pissing and moaning about it from the outset all the way to the present day.

But that opinion isn’t the only authority that subjects BIDs to transparency laws. There is also the famous §36612 of the PBID Law of 1994, which states in no uncertain terms that BIDs are subject to both the Brown Act and the CPRA.3 It also states explicitly (and ominously) that BID board members and staff are not public officials. Obviously this section was added by the legislature after the Epstein ruling, but I never took the time to investigate the history.

Until now, that is. And what an obvious-after-the-fact surprise it was to find that the bill that added that section was written by none other than Jackie Goldberg, who as CD13 Councilmember during the formation of the Hollywood Entertainment District BID was known to have a great deal of blood on her hands already.4 But by March 2001, when Epstein was finally decided, Goldberg was in the Assembly, so naturally it was to her that the BIDdies, emotionally traumatized by the court’s decision,5 went running for comfort.

And in response to their pleas Goldberg introduced AB 1021 (2001) to coat the bitter pill of Epstein with some soothing syrup and to codify these changes in §36612 of the PBID law even while acknowledging that the legislature wasn’t going to be able to change the court’s holding 6 And I recently obtained a copy of the bill analysis prepared at the time for the Assembly’s Committee on Local Government to help them understand what they were voting for.7 Therein are laid out not only the provisions of the new law, but the complaints of the BIDdies, so the connection is perfectly clear.

The main concessions to the BIDdie agenda found in the code section are the explicit statement that BIDs are private corporations and that neither BID boards nor staff can be considered public officials for any reason. This last bit is tied in to the BIDs’ fear that board members might be subject to California’s political reform act and to Government Code §1090 and therefore to various ethics restrictions and financial disclosure requirements, although it’s not really clear to me that the language has that effect. I’m no kind of expert, though.

Another sop to the BIDdies provided here by Goldberg was the authorization of 10 year renewals. Previously BIDs could only renew for up to five years. In any case, turn the page for more detail, more non-expert discussion and, as always, a transcription of the document.
Continue reading The Checkered History Of Streets And Highways Code §36612 — How The California Court Of Appeals Made BIDs Cry By Holding That They Were Subject To The Brown Act And The Public Records Act — And How Bad BIDmother Jackie Goldberg Soothed Their Hurt Feelings By Passing A Law Stating That They Weren’t Public Officials — Is It Constitutional? — It Hasn’t Been Adjudicated So Who Knows?!

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SB-946, Ricardo Lara’s Monumental Street Vending Legalization Bill, Approved By Legislature — Now On To Governor!

On Monday the Assembly passed Ricardo Lara’s monumental street vending regulation bill, SB 946, and sent it back to the Senate for re-approval, a step which was made necessary by some minor amendments. Yesterday, putting a successful end to a seven month legislative process, the Senate approved it 24 to 12. It is now in the hands of the governor.

This bill, if signed by Jerry Brown, will put severe limits on the ability of cities to regulate or ban street vending. In particular, it will make it impossible to ban them from certain areas without objective health and safety concerns and it will make it impossible for any city’s regulatory scheme to include approval by surrounding businesses or property owners. It explicitly defines the allowable range of “objective” concerns to exclude community animus.

These two clauses alone will radically alter the situation in Los Angeles, where zillionaires of all stripes, but especially BIDs, have fought long and hard to include them in any street vending law here probably because they’re so easily abused. This bill would, among many, many other consequential effects, overturn the City’s ridiculously specific bans on street vending on Hollywood Blvd and prohibit individual City Councilmembers from unilaterally banning vending in their districts at the behest of BIDs and other zillionaire-aligned interest groups.

Turn the page for a transcription of the legislature’s analysis of the final version of the bill.
Continue reading SB-946, Ricardo Lara’s Monumental Street Vending Legalization Bill, Approved By Legislature — Now On To Governor!

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Ricardo Lara’s Street Vending Bill SB-946 Passed By Assembly — Now Back To Senate For Approval Of Amendments — Then On To The Governor’s Office

For background take a look at this fine article in the Times by Emily Alpert Reyes.

Ricardo Lara’s monumental street vending regulation bill, SB-946, was read in the Assembly for the third time yesterday and passed 56 to 17 on a straight party-line vote.1 Because it was amended in the Assembly, notably here and here, it has to go back to the Senate for one more vote before heading to the Governor’s office.

The bill is universally opposed by Los Angeles BIDdies. Led by Carol Schatz of the Central City Association, they have been opposing it vigorously since its introduction in January 2018. Their overwrought terror of this bill is a natural consequence of their unhinged, years-long opposition to street vending in Los Angeles despite the essential role it plays in the social and cultural life of this City.

Surprisingly, the political juice of the BIDdies has availed them not in this particular struggle. We’ve seen how they’re able to reach out even all the way to Sacramento to kill off bills that threaten their plutocratic reign over almost every aspect of our daily life. But here, it’s not working. Even Miguel Freaking Santiago, their flunky in every possible situation, voted for SB-946.

A veto from Jerry Brown is their last hope. And maybe they’ll get it, who knows? You can bet what passes for good money in these latter days of the economy that they’re working on him right now. And if they manage to talk him around to their point of view, it’s the end of the matter, since our esteemed legislature is never ever going to override him. Anyway, I don’t know how long it’ll take for this to come up before the Senate, but you’ll hear about it here when it does!
Continue reading Ricardo Lara’s Street Vending Bill SB-946 Passed By Assembly — Now Back To Senate For Approval Of Amendments — Then On To The Governor’s Office

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Ricardo Lara’s Sanity In Street Vending Bill, SB-946, Amended Slightly And Not Substantially, Ordered To House For Third And Final Reading Before Vote

The last we heard about Ricardo Lara’s monumental street vending regulation bill, SB-946, it had been sent up to the full assembly from the Committee on Local Government with a “do pass” recommendation. This was in June, just before the legislature adjourned for the entire month of July. Things have been pretty quiet with respect to this bill lately, and I admit that I was getting a little worried that really destructive amendments were in the works.1

But it turns out, or at least it appears, that all is well. Yesterday the bill was amended, but the changes were fairly unsubstantial. There were a number of stylistic adjustments and a separate fine schedule was added for people who vend without a permit in cities which do have a permitting process in place. Given the fact that Los Angeles has been arguing about permitting vendors for decades without being able to arrive at an actual process, none of this is likely to apply here.

The bill was then ordered to the Assembly floor for a third and final reading before a vote. I don’t know enough about the legislature to figure out when that might happen, but my feeling is that it’s likely to pass as currently written, since they ought to have worked out all the kinks by now, eh? Then it’s up to the governor, and I have no idea what he’ll do with it. Maybe organized opposition by zillionaires and their sleazy advocates has more weight with him than it’s had with the legislature so far?

I don’t know, but turn the page for a transcription of the section on fines with the newly added material in blue.
Continue reading Ricardo Lara’s Sanity In Street Vending Bill, SB-946, Amended Slightly And Not Substantially, Ordered To House For Third And Final Reading Before Vote

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How Kerry Freaking Morrison And A Bunch Of Other Bad BIDdies Helped Gut AB-1479, An Essential Improvement To The California Public Records Act, And It Seems, If You Believe Them (Although Why Would You, Really?), To Be All My Freaking Fault For Being So Freaking Mean To Them On The Freaking Internet And Being “Intent On Bringing [Their Freaking] Organization To Its [Freaking] Demise”!

In February 2017, California State Assemblymember Rob Bonta of Oakland introduced AB-1479, which would have amended the California Public Records Act to allow judges to assess civil penalties of between $1,000 and $5,000 to punish flagrant CPRA violations. The bill sailed through the Assembly and almost made it through the Senate until a shitstorm of opposition, including from many Los Angeles BIDs, some of whom cited this blog as part of their parade of horribles, hired high-powered lobbyists Gonzalez, Hunter, Quintana, & Cruz and thereby sank the most important part of the bill, leaving only a tragic and fairly useless husk.

According to a staffer of Bonta’s who is in charge of this bill it’s essentially irredeemable this term, but they’re going to try again next year. Also, she was kind enough to send me a huge selection of letters received, pro and con, including a bunch from many of our Los Angeles BID friends. If we can’t beat them, well, at least we can publish their ravings and then mock them, right? The whole collection is available on Archive.Org. You should definitely read through it if you’re interested. The support letters are fabulous, but I don’t have time to discuss them here.

And turn the page for a more comprehensive description of exactly what happened, of how the BIDs, as usual, missed the whole point, and an exceedingly, painstakingly, obsessively, mockingly detailed analysis of this characteristically delusional, narcissistic, crackle-pated nonsense from our own Ms. Kerry Morrison.1
Continue reading How Kerry Freaking Morrison And A Bunch Of Other Bad BIDdies Helped Gut AB-1479, An Essential Improvement To The California Public Records Act, And It Seems, If You Believe Them (Although Why Would You, Really?), To Be All My Freaking Fault For Being So Freaking Mean To Them On The Freaking Internet And Being “Intent On Bringing [Their Freaking] Organization To Its [Freaking] Demise”!

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