Tag Archives: CD12

Interim Councilmember Greig Smith Has A Private Email Address — Conducts City Business Through It — citycouncilguy@yahoo.com — For Instance — Among Other Pretty Sleazy Things — Uses It To Communicate With Lobbyists At Englander Knabe & Allen — Founded By Harvey Englander — Uncle Of Smith’s Predecessor And Protege Mitch Englander — Like A Whole Trump Family Incestuous Secret Email Vibe Going On Out There In The Damn Valley Innit?!

With yesterday’s revelations that Betsy De Vos and seven other members of the Trump administration are being investigated by the House Oversight Committee for their illegal, unethical, appalling, and hypocritical use of private email addresses to conduct public business I thought it was a good time to catch you all up on the state of my investigation into private email use by our own local City Council folks, precisely none of whom are being investigated by anyone for this specific transgression.1

Previously I discovered and revealed that Mitch O’Farrell, David Ryu, and Gil Cedillo all have privately controlled email accounts through which they conduct City business. Jose Huizar also does this, but I didn’t break that story, the FBI did.2 And today, thanks to a huge set of emails I recently received from the ever-courtly Colin Sweeney, director of communications over at CD12, I can, for the first time of which I am aware, break the news that the name of Sweeney’s current boss, the infamous Greig Smith, belongs right smack on that list as well.

The email address in question is citycouncilguy@yahoo.com. The set linked to above only contained a few examples of Smith’s use of this email address to conduct City business, but then I only picked them up by accident. Thanks, as we know, to the monumental 2017 opinion in City of San Jose v. Superior Court, these emails are public records in themselves. Of course I have a request in already for the rest of them, but I imagine it could be a long process. Or maybe not, we’ll certainly see! Read on for links to the emails along with some commentary.
Continue reading Interim Councilmember Greig Smith Has A Private Email Address — Conducts City Business Through It — citycouncilguy@yahoo.com — For Instance — Among Other Pretty Sleazy Things — Uses It To Communicate With Lobbyists At Englander Knabe & Allen — Founded By Harvey Englander — Uncle Of Smith’s Predecessor And Protege Mitch Englander — Like A Whole Trump Family Incestuous Secret Email Vibe Going On Out There In The Damn Valley Innit?!

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Ever Wonder If You Are Blocked By Your Councilmember On The Twitter?! — We Have The Answer! — Also City Attorney! — Also The Mayor! — But Nury Martinez — And Herb Wesson — And Mike Bonin — And Mitch O’Farrell — They Won’t Even Answer The Damn Requests — Oh, Almost Forgot To Say! — Deputy City Attorney And Insufferable Rich Boy Strefan Fauble Wants To Be Sure You Know — Mike Feuer Isn’t Muting Any Twitter Users But If He Were — The List Would Be Exempt From Release Under The CPRA! — Yeah Right, Strefan Fauble! — Stick To Art Collecting And Leave The CPRA Lawyering To Others!

For about two months now I’ve been looking into the practice of Twitter users being blocked or muted by official City of Los Angeles accounts. I’m still gathering evidence, but yesterday it came out that Police Commission president Steve Soboroff blocks a bunch of users who’ve never even interacted with him, so I thought it’d be timely to write up the information I have so far. This issue is of special interest in these latter days given that in 2018 a federal judge ruled that it is unconstitutional for Donald Trump to block users on Twitter.

What I can offer you today, friends, is Twitter block/mute information for eleven of the fifteen council districts, the City Attorney, the Mayor, and a small selection of official LAPD accounts.1 There’s also an interesting line of hypothetical bullshit from deputy city attorney Strefan Fauble2 about some pretty technical claims about CPRA exemptionism,3 but that, being übernerdlich, is way at the end of the post.

Most of the accounts blocked are porn or spam, but Jose Huizar and David Ryu are notable exceptions. Both reps block accounts that are obviously controlled by actual individual people. Huizar’s list is by far the most extensive, and includes wildly inappropriate blocks like @oscartaracena and @BHJesse.

My research on this question is ongoing, mostly hindered by the City of LA’s familiar foot-dragging CPRA methodology. Turn the page for a tabular summary of the results I have so far along with a brief discussion of how Strefan Fauble is still on his CPRA bullshit.
Continue reading Ever Wonder If You Are Blocked By Your Councilmember On The Twitter?! — We Have The Answer! — Also City Attorney! — Also The Mayor! — But Nury Martinez — And Herb Wesson — And Mike Bonin — And Mitch O’Farrell — They Won’t Even Answer The Damn Requests — Oh, Almost Forgot To Say! — Deputy City Attorney And Insufferable Rich Boy Strefan Fauble Wants To Be Sure You Know — Mike Feuer Isn’t Muting Any Twitter Users But If He Were — The List Would Be Exempt From Release Under The CPRA! — Yeah Right, Strefan Fauble! — Stick To Art Collecting And Leave The CPRA Lawyering To Others!

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Annals Of Utter Abject Mind-Numbing Shamelessness — Morrie Goldman Wants To Know If Gil Cedillo Will Be At PLUM Next Week — Cause He Needs Him For A Quorum — Cause Englander Is Gonna Be Out — Debby Kim Has Nothing More To Say Beyond “He Will Be There :)” — Yes, The Smiley Face Is Part Of The Quote — Even The Damn Rats Are Embarrassed At This Point

Background first. There’s Morrie Goldman. Lobbyist who runs Urban Solutions LLC, a lobbying firm. Famously caught up in the slow motion putrefaction of what was, at one time, known as Jose Huizar’s political career. Well-known friend of Gil Cedillo, at least as the word is understood at 200 N. Spring Street. Favor asker. Supplicant. Then there’s Gil Cedillo. Career politician. Wielder of vast power. Mover. Shaker. Favor granter. Supplicatee.

Or, you know, that’s how I always thought things worked in City Hall. The Councilmembers were in charge and the lobbyists asked them for goodies on behalf of clients and paid them off for their cooperation. But I recently obtained a steaming heap of emails between CD1 staffers and various lobbyists, and amongst them was this email conversation from 2015 between Morrie Goldman and Cedillo chief of staff Debby Kim1 which forces a quantum-level re-envisioning of that narrative, featuring Morrie Goldman as Keyser Soze and Cedillo with nothing more than some kind of walk-on role in his own career.

The whole exchange is just four emails long. Only the first two really matter. A week before the meeting, Goldman emails Kim to ask if Cedillo will be at PLUM on June 23, 2015. He says “We have an item coming to PLUM that day and need him for a quorum. Englander is out.” Kim’s reply? “He will be there :)” So yeah, in case you hadn’t realized, lobbyists don’t only tell Councilmembers how to vote and then deliver payola in return. They also call roll in advance and make sure the reps show up when they’re needed to vote. It’s unexpected and creepy at the same time.

And conceivably it’s also a Brown Act violation, since at that time the entire PLUM committee consisted of Jose Huizar, Cedillo, and Englander. Communications through intermediaries between a majority of the members, which would be two of them, constitutes an illegal serial meeting.2 So Goldman insinuating to Cedillo’s staff that Englander would have voted in favor is probably not OK. The statute of limitations is long gone, though.

And of course, the question of what issue Goldman needed Cedillo present to vote on is an essential one. I don’t yet know for sure, but here’s the PLUM agenda from June 23, 2015. The only matter on there of any consequence is CF 15-0721, which has to do with a CEQA appeal against the AMPAS project on Wilshire, which is likely to be the vote Goldman was worried about. Oh, one more thing! Notice how Goldman doesn’t even have to ask how Cedillo’s voting? That’s all been settled already.

And that’s the sordid little story of who’s calling the shots in the relationships between lobbyists and their pet councilmembers. Turn the page for a transcription of the emails themselves, so ordinary and yet so shocking.
Continue reading Annals Of Utter Abject Mind-Numbing Shamelessness — Morrie Goldman Wants To Know If Gil Cedillo Will Be At PLUM Next Week — Cause He Needs Him For A Quorum — Cause Englander Is Gonna Be Out — Debby Kim Has Nothing More To Say Beyond “He Will Be There :)” — Yes, The Smiley Face Is Part Of The Quote — Even The Damn Rats Are Embarrassed At This Point

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On Monday Serena Oberstein Quit Her Position As Ethics Commission President — Evidently To Run For Mitch Englander’s Council Seat — She Was A Corrupt And Horrible Commissioner And Would Doubtless Be A Corrupt And Horrible Councilmember — But At Least Some Supporters Of Her Likely Opponent Brad Smith Are A Zillion Times Worse — Repellent Misogynist Neanderthal Piggies Who Think She Shouldn’t Run Because She Has A Young Child — And Other Attack Vectors Too Gross To Put In A Headline — As Bad As She Is There Are Worse Things Out There

According to the incomparable Emily Alpert Reyes, worst-of-the-bunch Los Angeles City Ethics commissioner Serena Oberstein resigned her position on Monday, apparently to prepare a run for Mitch Englander’s to-be-vacated seat as Council District 12 repster. As an Ethics Commissioner Oberstein was so horrible, so corrupt, so willing to betray the interests of the City in favor of her own interests, the interests of her employer, and the interests of her weirdo buddies in the non-profit community, that I have no doubt she’ll fit right in on the Council, at least until the inevitable FBI raid.

And it looks like Brad Smith, who ran unsuccessfully against Mitch Englander in 2011 is going to run against her for the seat.1 And yesterday, evidently because of my incisive, revelatory, and critical reporting2 on Serena Oberstein’s corrupt and destructive habits, I was contacted by some guy calling himself Howard P. Cohen and claiming to be involved with Brad Smith’s campaign and asking for my help to defeat Serena Oberstein.

So I agreed to help cause Brad Smith was endorsed by Democrats last time he ran so that’s good, and she’s so bad. But then later in the day I was CCed on this email from Howard P. Cohen explaining exactly why he thinks Serena Oberstein should be defeated, which seems to boil down to the facts that first, she’s “a YOUNG JEWISH FEMALE,”3 and second, that she, as a woman, shouldn’t run for office, shouldn’t “prioritize POWER,” because she has a young child. In his estimation this makes her a bad mother and therefore unfit to serve on City Council. This is wrong on so many levels it’s really hard to express.

First, it doesn’t make her a bad mother to run for office or to seek power no matter what the age of her child. Second, what about her husband, who has the same kid she has and also has a high power high visibilty political job. Where’s the attack on him for being a bad father? Third, even if she were a bad mother who freaking cares? The only relevant question is whether she’s a good politician. I’m sure there have been plenty of bad mothers who were good politicians. God knows there’ve been plenty of bad fathers.

And there’s worse, which I don’t even want to soil my keyboard by discussing. The email is transcribed after the break, though. And now I can’t have anything to do with either of these people. Howard P. Cohen and anyone who associates with the guy politically are at least a zillion times worse than Serena Oberstein. She will be bad for the City of Los Angeles in the kind of mainstream sell-out way that our City’s mainstream politicians have been bad for us since Harry Chandler invented Los Angeles.

The office of Councilmember in Los Angeles was purposely designed by Chandler and his criminal cronies to encourage selling out to developers, so it’s not a surprise that the job attracts sell-outs. We can survive her like we’ve been surviving people like her for well over a century. But anyone who associates with people who think like Howard P. Cohen thinks will be bad for the City in deep, cosmic, existential ways.

A campaign opposing Serena Oberstein’s candidacy because she’s Jewish and a woman and a mother seeking power rather than because she’s a corrupt politician is intrinsically damaging and is unsupportable by sane people. That’s surely no reason to vote for Serena Oberstein, but it’s certainly a reason not to vote for Brad Smith. And as I said, turn the page for a transcription of the email.
Continue reading On Monday Serena Oberstein Quit Her Position As Ethics Commission President — Evidently To Run For Mitch Englander’s Council Seat — She Was A Corrupt And Horrible Commissioner And Would Doubtless Be A Corrupt And Horrible Councilmember — But At Least Some Supporters Of Her Likely Opponent Brad Smith Are A Zillion Times Worse — Repellent Misogynist Neanderthal Piggies Who Think She Shouldn’t Run Because She Has A Young Child — And Other Attack Vectors Too Gross To Put In A Headline — As Bad As She Is There Are Worse Things Out There

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