Tag Archives: Carol Sobel

Rex Schellenberg v. City Of Los Angeles — In September 2018 Carol Sobel Filed Yet Another Federal Suit Against The City Of Los Angeles — Alleging Summary Confiscation And Destruction Of The Property Of An Elderly Disabled Homeless Man — And Seeking An Injunction Against These Practices — For Some Reason This Has Not Been Covered At All In The Media — Read The Initial Complaint Here

On September 3, 2018 Carol Sobel filed suit in federal court against the City of Los Angeles, alleging that Rex Schellenberg, a homeless man living in the San Fernando Valley, stepped away from his property briefly only to have it confiscated and much of it destroyed by the LAPD and LA Sanitation personnel. I can’t find anything about this case in the media, in contrast to Sobel’s other pending case on the matter, Mitchell v. City of LA, which is covered extensively. You can read and get copies of the pleadings here on Archive.Org. I’ll update the collection as more stuff is filed.

The facts of the case are simple. Schellenberg, an elderly man homeless in Los Angeles for more than twenty years and disabled as well, lives in the San Fernando Valley. In July 2017 he left his property momentarily unattended to visit a convenience store and employees of the City of Los Angeles summarily confiscated and destroyed Schellenberg’s neatly stored possessions. In its monumental decision in Lavan v. City of LA, the Ninth Circuit had this to say about this practice:

As we have repeatedly made clear, “[t]he government may not take property like a thief in the night; rather, it must announce its intentions and give the property owner a chance to argue against the taking.” This simple rule holds regardless of whether the property in question is an Escalade or [a tent], a Cadillac or a cart. The City demonstrates that it completely misunderstands the role of due process by its contrary suggestion that homeless persons instantly and permanently lose any protected property interest in their possessions by leaving them momentarily unattended in violation of a municipal ordinance. As the district court recognized, the logic of the City’s suggestion would also allow it to seize and destroy cars parked in no-parking zones left momentarily unattended.

As with all of Sobel’s writing, the initial complaint makes compelling reading. You can get a copy of the PDF here, or turn the page for a transcription of selections.
Continue reading Rex Schellenberg v. City Of Los Angeles — In September 2018 Carol Sobel Filed Yet Another Federal Suit Against The City Of Los Angeles — Alleging Summary Confiscation And Destruction Of The Property Of An Elderly Disabled Homeless Man — And Seeking An Injunction Against These Practices — For Some Reason This Has Not Been Covered At All In The Media — Read The Initial Complaint Here

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Venice Justice Committee Free Speech Lawsuit — City Of Los Angeles Settles — Agrees To Rewrite Beach Ordinance To Expressly Permit Leafletting, Petitioning, And So Forth On Boardwalk Until Midnight — And To Pay Carol Sobel $80,000 — When Will They Ever Learn?

Peggy Lee Kennedy and the Venice Justice Committee advocate for the rights of homeless people on the Venice Boardwalk. The LAPD has regularly threatened Kennedy with arrest for illegal vending in violation of the ordinance regulating such activities on the Boardwalk, that is to say, LAMC §42.15. Thus in February 2016 Carol Sobel filed suit in federal court on behalf of the activists. The suit survived a motion to dismiss after an August 2016 hearing in which not only did the City’s oral arguments seem pathetically pro forma but the judge, Dean Pregerson, seemed openly skeptical of the City’s position.

And that’s pretty much where things stood for over two years until yesterday, Wednesday, October 10, 2018, when the City of Los Angeles passed a motion agreeing to settle the case. The terms are excellent for the plaintiffs. The City agrees to rewrite the relevant section of LAMC 42.15 to explicitly state that activities protected by the First Amendment, including the use of a table, are expressly allowed on the Boardwalk until midnight. The City will also pay Carol Sobel’s office $80,000 for her excellent work on this matter. Turn the page for the full text of the motion. You can also read most of the pleadings here on Archive.Org.
Continue reading Venice Justice Committee Free Speech Lawsuit — City Of Los Angeles Settles — Agrees To Rewrite Beach Ordinance To Expressly Permit Leafletting, Petitioning, And So Forth On Boardwalk Until Midnight — And To Pay Carol Sobel $80,000 — When Will They Ever Learn?

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Amicus Briefs Filed In Orange County Catholic Worker Case In Support Of Injunction Against Evictions, Hearing On Tuesday Morning, February 13

For background, see Luke Money‘s excellent coverage in the Times, starting with this January 29 article on the Lawsuit and continuing with this article on the February 13 hearing. You can also download selected pleadings in the case from our Archive.Org site.

Last week Judge Carter issued a temporary restraining order prohibiting Orange County, the City of Anaheim, and anyone else who might be minded to do so from arresting anyone on the bed of the Santa Ana River for trespassing, camping, and similar anti-homeless offenses. Prior to this, on February 4, in the order setting the fast-approaching February 13 hearing1 on the plaintiffs’ original application for a restraining order, Carter invited a broad range of non-parties to appear at Tuesday’s hearing:

The Court also welcomes attendance at the hearing and written briefing by any amicus groups, which may include veterans’ organizations, service providers, abused women’s protection and housing organizations, and other cities affected by the homelessness crisis in Orange County that are not named as Defendants in this case.

Well, beginning last Friday and continuing on through tonight, a number of amicus briefs were filed. You can find a list and links to the actual pleadings after the break. Also, although I’m not really committing myself to covering every aspect of this case, it’s been really interesting so far, so I went ahead and set up a page on the Archive to collect pleadings.
Continue reading Amicus Briefs Filed In Orange County Catholic Worker Case In Support Of Injunction Against Evictions, Hearing On Tuesday Morning, February 13

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In Response To Emergency Motion Filed Yesterday By Plaintiffs, Last Night Federal Judge David Carter Issued Temporary Injunction Forbidding Orange County From Arresting Homeless People On The Santa Ana Riverbed Pending The Scheduled Hearing On February 13

For background, see Luke Money‘s excellent coverage in the Times, starting with this January 29 article on the Lawsuit and continuing with Monday’s article on the February 13 hearing.

UPDATE: The Times (finally) got around to covering this development this afternoon. Here’s their story on the temporary restraining order.

I’m not really covering the lawsuit, filed on January 29, by the Orange County Catholic Worker and Carol Sobel’s law firm against Orange County for civil rights violations incurred against homeless human beings living on the bed of the Santa Ana River.1 You can read the initial complaint here to get an idea of what’s going on.

Yesterday afternoon the plaintiffs asked the County when they were going to start arresting people living on the riverbed and the County replied at 5:31 p.m. that arrests would begin today, February 7. Read the entire email exchange here:

Consequently, beginning tomorrow morning, OCSD personnel will begin advising people remaining on the District Santa Ana Riverbed property that they must vacate or may be cited and/or arrested for trespassing.

This prompted the plaintiffs to file an Emergency Request to Stay Arrests with the court. The metadata of that PDF suggests it was written at 5:59 yesterday, about half an hour after the County’s reply. There is a transcription after the break.

This, in turn, prompted the court to issue an Order Granting Temporary Restraining Order forbidding the County from arresting homeless human beings on the riverbed for trespassing, loitering, or camping, until the hearing on February 13. The metadata of that PDF suggests that it was written at 11:11 p.m. yesterday. There is a transcription after the break.
Continue reading In Response To Emergency Motion Filed Yesterday By Plaintiffs, Last Night Federal Judge David Carter Issued Temporary Injunction Forbidding Orange County From Arresting Homeless People On The Santa Ana Riverbed Pending The Scheduled Hearing On February 13

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Street Vending Lawsuit Teetering On Brink Of Settlement: Check Cut By City And Plaintiffs Have Signed Release But Defendants Have Not Yet Signed — Carol Sobel Anticipates Dismissal Within Two Weeks

You can read up on the background in this 2015 LA times story and also in our multiple stories on the subject. Most of the paper filed in the case is available here.

About five weeks ago a pending settlement was announced in the monumental street vending case brought by brave local civil rights attorneys on behalf of a number of street vendors against the diabolical forces of the City of Los Angeles and the Fashion District BID.

Well, nothing moves fast in Federal Court, so it’s no surprise that it’s taken this long to even get a hint of what’s happening behind the scenes. However, finally, yesterday afternoon plaintiffs’ attorney Carol Sobel filed a status report (transcription of this PDF after the break) with the court stating that things are moving along, that the City has cut a check for the settlement amount, presumably $150,000 as previously announced, and that the plaintiffs have signed the release. The defendants have not yet signed, but she anticipates that everything will be finished and the case will be dismissed within two weeks.1
Continue reading Street Vending Lawsuit Teetering On Brink Of Settlement: Check Cut By City And Plaintiffs Have Signed Release But Defendants Have Not Yet Signed — Carol Sobel Anticipates Dismissal Within Two Weeks

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City Of Los Angeles Poised To Spend $150,000 To Settle Street Vending Lawsuit Over Englander’s Opposition, Pending Only Garcetti’s Signature, Which It Seems Will Settle It For The Fashion District BID As Well

You can read up on the background in this 2015 LA times story and also in our multiple stories on the subject. Most of the paper filed in the case is available here.

Towards the end of September the parties to this monumental lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles and the Fashion District BID filed papers with the court announcing that a settlement was in the works and asking that the calendar be put on hold.

Today and yesterday a few things happened with respect to this process. Today the parties filed a status report with the court announcing that the settlement process was on track but they needed until December 30 to work out the details. This was closely followed by an order from Judge André Birotte extending the time as requested.

More interestingly, though, yesterday the City Council went into closed session to discuss the terms of the settlement.1 They passed this motion authorizing the expenditure of $150,000 to fund the settlement, at least some of which is going, with good cause, straight to Carol Sobel. Interestingly, and the reason’s not clear, Mitch Englander voted against the motion.

It’s also interesting that the motion was put forth by Paul Krekorian and seconded by Paul Koretz. It’s my unscientific impression that in the ordinary course of events this would have been moved by José Huizar, since the events which precipitated the case happened in his district. Who knows what’s going on? Maybe it’s because Krekorian and Koretz are on the committee which gave its preliminary approval to the motion? Anyway, the whole matter is in Garcetti’s hands now, and he has until December 18 to sign off. There’s a transcription of the motion after the break.
Continue reading City Of Los Angeles Poised To Spend $150,000 To Settle Street Vending Lawsuit Over Englander’s Opposition, Pending Only Garcetti’s Signature, Which It Seems Will Settle It For The Fashion District BID As Well

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Tentative Settlement Reached In Street Vending Lawsuit Against Fashion District BID And City Of Los Angeles

You can read up on the background in this 2015 LA times story and also in our multiple stories on the subject. Most of the paper filed in the case is available here.

The monumental lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles and the Fashion District BID for their abominable treatment of street vendors was set for trial in January. However, papers filed with the court yesterday announce that the plaintiffs have reached a settlement with the City and as soon as it’s approved, a process which can take many months for it to work its way through Committees and Council, they will drop the case against both the City and the BID. Hence they asked Judge Beverly Reid O’Connell to put the calendar on hold until the settlement is approved.

Today Virginia Phillips, Chief Judge of the local federal district, issued an order vacating the schedule in anticipation of this settlement. You can read the joint notice of pending settlement that inspired the order, and, as always, there’s a transcript of both documents after the break.
Continue reading Tentative Settlement Reached In Street Vending Lawsuit Against Fashion District BID And City Of Los Angeles

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More Scenes From The First Interested Persons’ Meeting — Über-Lobbyist Bill Delvac Reveals That His Clients Tactically Report Their Opponents In The Land Use Wars To The Ethics Commission As Unregistered Lobbyists But No Action Is Ever Taken — Heather Holt Corrects Him With Provocative Obliquity: “Perhaps No Public Action,” Quoth She

Oh dear, CPRA material from various BIDs, fascinating stuff, is pouring in as usual and just piling up on my metaphorical desk while I write post after post after post about the Ethics Commission‘s ongoing effort to revise the Municipal Lobbying Ordinance. Well, it can’t be helped, because the MLO is essential.1 Part of the process is holding a bunch of meetings to seek input, the first of which took place last Thursday.2 I’ve also posted my take on the various proposals. I’ll get to the BID stuff as soon as possible, friends, but meanwhile, here’s yet another MLO post.3

If you’ve been following the conversation you’ll know that the lobbyists opposing the proposed revisions have argued consistently that the City doesn’t need more regulations imposed on lobbyists who, according to them anyway, desperately want to follow the law but instead needs to register the herds of unregistered and unregulated lobbyists swarming around City Hall.4

They’re not wrong that there are far, far too many unregistered lobbyists. Turning these people in to the Ethics Commission is one of the main purposes of this blog and I have, uncharacteristically, to agree with the registered lobbyists that there are an awful lot of unregistered lobbyists haunting 200 N. Spring Street and that the ease with which they can be detected is astonishing.5

Where they are wrong is in their claim that there’s some kind of dichotomy between registering the unregistered and revising the laws. Mostly the people pushing this idea, that somehow revising the law and registering the unregistered are mutually exclusive, seem to be doing it only to distract everyone’s attention from how badly the present law needs revision and, possibly, how badly their subterranean activities might be exposed were the law to be revised.

At least that’s how it sounded in last week’s meeting when John Howland, late of the CCALA but more recently employed by Arnie Berghoff and Associates, broke out with the same old routine, of which I’ll spare you a transcription, because it’s essentially content-free. However, at that same meeting supervillainesque land use attorney Bill Delvac also had quite a lot to say, most of which, in contrast to the self-serving contributions of his fellow flacks in the so-called regulated community, was quite interesting.

On the subject of unregistered lobbyists, for instance, Bill Delvac asserted that not only were there bunches of them, but that many of the lawyers who professionally oppose development projects are engaged in lobbying, and that essentially none of them are registered. He also, surprisingly to me, revealed that many of his clients had reported such lawyers to the Ethics Commission but that no action had been taken. Heather Holt, executive director of the Commission, corrected him, saying “perhaps no public action.”

And turn the page for some comments on the more technical parts of what Bill Delvac had to say, including the only colorable argument I’ve ever heard against a compensation-based definition as the main criterion for registration as a lobbyist.6 There is also, as usual, a transcription of all relevant remarks.
Continue reading More Scenes From The First Interested Persons’ Meeting — Über-Lobbyist Bill Delvac Reveals That His Clients Tactically Report Their Opponents In The Land Use Wars To The Ethics Commission As Unregistered Lobbyists But No Action Is Ever Taken — Heather Holt Corrects Him With Provocative Obliquity: “Perhaps No Public Action,” Quoth She

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City of Los Angeles Files Unconvincing Response To Carol Sobel’s Opposition To City’s Motion For Clarification Of Judge Otero’s Preliminary Injunction Against Confiscation Of Homeless People’s Property In Skid Row, Basically Ask Court To Allow Them To Confiscate Incident To Arrest Even If There’s A Third Party To Take Property Cause Cops Don’t Have Time To Do The Right Thing

See Gale Holland’s excellent story in the Times on Mitchell v. LA as well as our other stories on the subject for the background to this post. See here to download most of the papers filed in the case.

Last week it came out that ongoing settlement talks in Mitchell v. City of Los Angeles had broken down, leading to the plaintiffs filing an opposition to the City’s motion for clarification of Judge Otero’s April 2016 preliminary injunction against the City. Yesterday the City filed a reply to Sobel’s opposition (PDF, transcription after the break).

The City’s argument is based on the highly dubious assertion that “Throughout all of its efforts, the City strives to balance the need of all of the City’s residents to have clean, sanitary, and accessible public areas, including sidewalks, with the needs of “the City’s large and vulnerable homeless population” and they just need clarification “…to ensure that its employees who are responsible for protecting the health, safety, and welfare of every person living or working in the Skid Row area clearly understand, and are in a position to successfully implement, the terms of the Court’s Order.”

Of course, it’s much, much more likely that the City’s goal is to harass homeless people so mercilessly that they all leave, freeing up the valuable real estate of Skid Row for the Downtown developers who hungering so fiercely for it. And I apologize that I can’t go into more detail, but, as I said, there’s a transcription after the break.
Continue reading City of Los Angeles Files Unconvincing Response To Carol Sobel’s Opposition To City’s Motion For Clarification Of Judge Otero’s Preliminary Injunction Against Confiscation Of Homeless People’s Property In Skid Row, Basically Ask Court To Allow Them To Confiscate Incident To Arrest Even If There’s A Third Party To Take Property Cause Cops Don’t Have Time To Do The Right Thing

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Discussions On City Of LA’s Motion For Clarification Of Otero’s Preliminary Injunction Forbidding Confiscation Of Homeless Property In Skid Row Finally Break Down, Leading Plaintiffs’ Attorneys To File Scathing Opposition — Hearing Set For September 11 At 10 a.m.

See Gale Holland’s excellent story in the Times on Mitchell v. LA as well as our other stories on the subject for the background to this post. See here to download most of the papers filed in the case.

It’s been over a year since anything tangible happened in Mitchell v. City of LA, which is the most recent lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles challenging the City’s abhorrent enforcement of the abhorrent LAMC 56.11 as an abhorrent justification for the illegal and immoral confiscation of the personal property of homeless people in Los Angeles. Here’s a brief timeline of what’s been going on:

  • April 2016 — Judge Otero issues a preliminary injunction severely limiting the City’s enforcement of LAMC 56.11 in Skid Row.
  • May 2016 — The City of Los Angeles asks Otero to clarify his injunction. In particular, the City wanted to know the boundaries within which the injunction applies and also how the community caretaking exception to the Fourth Amendment is to be exercised in relation to homeless people’s property.
  • Subsequently the City and the plaintiffs spent over a year trying to come to an agreement on the motion for clarification.

Well, yesterday Carol Sobel filed this opposition announcing that, while the parties were able to agree on the boundaries within which the injunction applies and some other matters, they most certainly were not able to agree on the community caretaking matter and neither were they able to agree on the City’s proposal for what constitutes a removable “bulky item.” The agreed-upon boundaries, by the way, are:

Second Street to the north, Eighth Street to the South, Alameda Street to the east and Spring Street to the west.

According to the American Bar Association Journal,

The idea behind community caretaking is that police do not always function as law enforcement officials investigating and ferreting out wrongdoing, but sometimes may act as community caretakers designed to prevent harm in emergency situations.

When they’re functioning in that role, the theory goes, they can seize cars without due process, or search houses without a warrant, and so on, as long as they’re “caring for the community” rather than investigating. Thus the community caretaking function justifies some specific exceptions to the Fourth Amendment prohibition on warrantless searches and seizures of property.

And I’m sure you can imagine just what kinds of mischief the City of Los Angeles is capable of getting up to with a tool like that. In particular they’re arguing that they ought to be able to confiscate people’s property when they’re arrested even if the arrestee has someone at the scene who can take custody of the property. The City says yes, sane people say no.

This matter is scheduled for a hearing at 10 a.m. on Monday, September 11, in Otero’s Courtroom 10C in the First Street Federal Courthouse. Anyway, turn the page for some excerpts from the filing which explain things better than I’m capable of doing.
Continue reading Discussions On City Of LA’s Motion For Clarification Of Otero’s Preliminary Injunction Forbidding Confiscation Of Homeless Property In Skid Row Finally Break Down, Leading Plaintiffs’ Attorneys To File Scathing Opposition — Hearing Set For September 11 At 10 a.m.

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