Tag Archives: CD5

Huge Release Of City Of Los Angeles Homeless Encampment Sweep Scheduling Emails Reveals Crucial Steps Of Planning Process — Including Scouting Reports — Time Estimates — Daily Schedules — Notice Posting — Obtained From LAHSA — This Is Essential And Fundamental Primary Source Material For Understanding The Encampment Sweep Scheduling Process — And Another Incremental Step Toward The Years-Long Struggle To Make Sweep Schedules Public

One of the most egregious ways in which the City of Los Angeles terrorizes and oppresses homeless human beings is with so-called encampment sweeps, in which City officials, guarded by police, swoop in and confiscate and dispose of people’s possessions, including in many cases life-essential materials such as medicine, official papers, tools, tents, bicycles, and so on.

This appalling practice has inspired a long chain of successful federal lawsuits against the City, the most recent one of which1 was filed on July 18, 2019.2 Human rights activists, for instance to name just a couple Streetwatch and Services Not Sweeps, have been trying for years to get advance notice of sweeps for many purposes, not least among which are monitoring and outreach to the victims.

Since 2016 I have also been trying to get the City to cough up advance notice via the California Public Records Act. I had one early success, thus proving that the concept at least could work, but since then the City has mostly ignored me. And even on one occasion worse than ignored me, they illegally denied me entry into the Public Works Building, thus preventing me from seeing advance schedules.3 I wrote about my progress a couple more times, once in October 2016 and again in November of that year. There haven’t been enough new developments since then for a post,4 until today, that is.

One of the key strategies in public records activism is making requests for the same materials from every possible agency that might hold records. This increases the odds of getting a complete set of responsive material in the face of obstruction.5 I have been working on getting access to sweep scheduling materials through LA Sanitation, who has ignored me since 2017, through LAPD, which is slightly better but still routinely takes up to a year to produce material, through various Council offices, the office of the Mayor, and so on.

But for some reason it never occurred to me before May 2019 to request records from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, which is also deeply implicated in the process of planning and carrying out sweeps. But request them then I did, and last week they released about 5% of a promised 16GB6 collection of emails between LAHSA operatives involved with sweeps and various complicit parties at the City of Los Angeles, and you can get your copies here on Archive.Org.
Continue reading Huge Release Of City Of Los Angeles Homeless Encampment Sweep Scheduling Emails Reveals Crucial Steps Of Planning Process — Including Scouting Reports — Time Estimates — Daily Schedules — Notice Posting — Obtained From LAHSA — This Is Essential And Fundamental Primary Source Material For Understanding The Encampment Sweep Scheduling Process — And Another Incremental Step Toward The Years-Long Struggle To Make Sweep Schedules Public

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The Resurgence Of The Unhinged Grudge Informer — Anonymous CD5 Resident Threatens To Call ICE On Construction Workers Because They Don’t Speak English And The Constant Beeping Of Trucks Drives Her Crazy — And CD5 Staffer Debbie Dyner Harris Doesn’t Say A Critical Word About It — It’s All Normal In Quality-Of-Life-Land — If Our Society Creates And Weaponizes An Institution Like ICE It’s Certainly Not Unexpected That People Would Use It As A Weapon — But Can’t We Rely On Our Public Officials Not To Encourage It — If Only Through Their Invidious Silence?

Tomorrow, July 12, 2019, under the banner of Lights for Liberty, thousands of people across the country and across the world will be participating in vigils at American concentration camps run by ICE, protesting the murderous treatment of the prisoners held there. You can find an event near you here. There are any number of serious reasons to abolish ICE, you can even ask ICE agents about it.

And one of these reasons is that the very existence of this organization, which is empowered to lock people up and torture them on the barest suspicion that they’re somehow violating immigration laws, incites people to use that power to further their personal goals. Under the original Nazis concentration camps were not only a tool of state terror but were used regularly by ordinary people to settle entirely non-political grudges with their neighbors.

The very existence of the capability creates the irresistible urge to use it. The blade itself incites to violence.1 This behavior was so commonplace and so problematic for various reasons that there’s a term for those who engage in it, they’re grudge informers. As Colleen Murphy puts it in her fine book The Conceptual Foundations of Transitional Justice:

The term “grudge informers” refers to individuals who, during periods of conflict or repression, report personal enemies to authorities in order to get rid of them.2

Now, I’m not interested in rehashing the endlessly stupid discussions about the appropriacy of comparisons of ICE concentration camps to Nazi concentration camps nor, obviously, the appropriacy of the term “concentration camp” to refer to them. If it strikes you that there are two legitimate sides to that debate, you can go here and talk about it to your heart’s content.

I am, however, interested in talking about public records. In this case, a set of emails I obtained from the office of Paul Koretz, putatively esteemed CD5 repster, containing the phrase “quality of life.” I’m really interested in the kind of crazy shit that housedwellers gripe about to their council offices, and especially interested in the kind of terrorism that gets conjured up and poured down upon the tender heads of the helpless like so much molten lead from the ramparts as a result of such complaints.

Searches on this phrase seemed like a good way to find more of it, and oh boy, did that ever work out! Just for instance, if you have the heart, or the stomach, really, take a look at this endless series of constituent complaints from folks on Sweetzer Avenue in May of this year, really worked up about some construction noise created by an assuredly villainous outfit known as ETCO Homes.
Continue reading The Resurgence Of The Unhinged Grudge Informer — Anonymous CD5 Resident Threatens To Call ICE On Construction Workers Because They Don’t Speak English And The Constant Beeping Of Trucks Drives Her Crazy — And CD5 Staffer Debbie Dyner Harris Doesn’t Say A Critical Word About It — It’s All Normal In Quality-Of-Life-Land — If Our Society Creates And Weaponizes An Institution Like ICE It’s Certainly Not Unexpected That People Would Use It As A Weapon — But Can’t We Rely On Our Public Officials Not To Encourage It — If Only Through Their Invidious Silence?

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It Turns Out That The Los Angeles Department Of Sanitation — Which Is A Key Player In The Raiding And Destruction Of Homeless Encampments — Will Provide “Community Dumpsters” For Housedweller Groups And Events — At The Behest Of Council Districts — And With A Huge Amount Of Attention And Time Devoted By City Staff — But None Of These Players — Not One — Will Provide Dumpsters For Homeless People Living On The Streets — These Are The Very Same Players Who Use Encampment Trash Accumulation To Justify Death-Dealing Sweeps — And It Is Supremely Ironic That Bladimir Campos — Of LA San — Is Involved In Both Activities

It’s well-known that pretty much the entire response of the City government of Los Angeles to our homelessness crisis is criminalization and its subsequent brutality, implemented at the hands of police and weaponized sanitation workers, driven never by sound policy, morality, or basic human decency, but rather by the incessant hateful complaints of psychopathic genocidal housedwellers.

This policy is manifested most visibly in notoriously savage encampment sweeps, during which tents, medicine, legal papers, and other possessions absolutely necessary for human life, are destroyed by City functionaries and cops. The claim is that sweeps are necessary to keep the streets clean, although the utter cynical falsity of this claim is revealed by two facts.

First, the sweepers often neglect to pick up actual trash while they’re destroying possessions and second, the City refuses to provide people living in encampments with the basic tools they need to keep their homes and neighborhoods clean in the first place, tools enjoyed by every housedweller in the City. Most important among these are trash receptacles and toilets. So crucially needed are toilets and trash cans and so cruel is the City’s refusal to provide them that an entire coalition of activist groups, Services Not Sweeps, exists to demand that the City provide them, among other things.

And not only that, but I recently obtained a big set of emails between staffers in Paul Koretz’s office and Bladimir Campos of LA Sanitation, who’s responsible for, among other things, coordinating encampment sweeps when Council Districts ask him to. I don’t know what excuses the City gives for their refusal to provide trash receptacles to encampments or even if they feel the need to excuse themselves, but one appalling fact I learned from these new emails is that the City actually has a whole system in place to deliver dumpsters to community events and pick them up afterwards.

Like all such perquisites in the City of Los Angeles, these so-called community dumpsters seem to be coordinated through Council offices, and you can read in this conversation and this other conversation exactly how much painstaking effort Koretz staffer Aviv Kleinman and a surprisingly large number of other City officials were willing to put in week after week after week after year after year to make sure that one of these dumpsters was made available by LA San for some community group’s event.

And don’t miss the supremely ironic fact that Kleinman’s correspondent at Sanitation was none other than Bladimir Campos. So not only does the City refuse to provide trash receptacles to people who desperately need them, not only does the City use the entirely predictable consequences that flow from a lack of receptacles, but the City is refusing to provide receptacles when they already have an entire functioning system in place for providing trash receptacles.

Nothing at all needs to be developed, no new funding needs to be put in place. All that has to happen is for City Councilmembers to understand or to be made to understand that the people living in an encampment are of equal value to the people in some other kind of community group with respect to City-provided trash receptacles, no matter what kind of housing situation they’re in. None of which is likely to happen, of course, because our public officials have no shame and no consciences. Read on for transcribed selections.
Continue reading It Turns Out That The Los Angeles Department Of Sanitation — Which Is A Key Player In The Raiding And Destruction Of Homeless Encampments — Will Provide “Community Dumpsters” For Housedweller Groups And Events — At The Behest Of Council Districts — And With A Huge Amount Of Attention And Time Devoted By City Staff — But None Of These Players — Not One — Will Provide Dumpsters For Homeless People Living On The Streets — These Are The Very Same Players Who Use Encampment Trash Accumulation To Justify Death-Dealing Sweeps — And It Is Supremely Ironic That Bladimir Campos — Of LA San — Is Involved In Both Activities

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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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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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Shadowy BID Consultant Tara Devine Moonlights As A Planning And Zoning Lobbyist, Also Unregistered!

A recently discovered shadowectomized portrait of shadowy BID consultant Tara Devine by French Fauvist painter Raoul Dufy, who never drew a shadow in his entire career.
As Karl Marx so wisely pointed out once upon a time1 crime is a career like any other. One reason is that there’s a learning curve. It takes some experience to be able to make crime pay. And the same, it seems, is true for unregistered lobbyists like our perennial subject, shadowy BID consultant Tara Devine. I reported last week that I had turned Tara Devine in to the Ethics Commission based on exhaustive research that indicated that she had spent more than 30 compensated hours over three consecutive months in 2016 lobbying for the Venice Beach BID without having registered with the City.

And I really thought I had found most of the relevant evidence,2 but it turns out that I was ever so wrong. Just last night I discovered, never mind how, that Tara Devine not only does shadowy BID consultancy, she also represents permission-seeking clients before planning boards. You can see details, dates, and so on after the break!
Continue reading Shadowy BID Consultant Tara Devine Moonlights As A Planning And Zoning Lobbyist, Also Unregistered!

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Lots of New Documents: CD5 Food Coalition Emails, CD13 HPOA Emails, Carol Schatz and Mike Feuer Material, 2016 Quarterly Reports From A Bunch Of BIDs

The subterranean archives at MK.org are filling up fast!
The subterranean archives at MK.org are filling up fast!
Just a quick post this fine Saturday morning before heading off to Canter’s for breakfast. I’ve been quietly uploading stuff to Archive.Org over the last few weeks, and there’s gotten to be quite a bit of unannounced material over there:

And turn the page for material to do with Carol Schatz, Mike Feuer, and a bunch of highly assorted quarterly BID reports from the first half of 2016.
Continue reading Lots of New Documents: CD5 Food Coalition Emails, CD13 HPOA Emails, Carol Schatz and Mike Feuer Material, 2016 Quarterly Reports From A Bunch Of BIDs

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Crime Does Pay At City Hall: Anti-RV Resolution Introduced In Council This Morning At Behest of Media District BID Director Lisa Schechter, Acting in Apparent Violation of Her Post-Employment Lobbying Ban

RVs on Lillian Way between Santa Monica Blvd and Melrose Avenue
RVs on Lillian Way between Santa Monica Blvd and Melrose Avenue
This morning, CD13 Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell introduced a resolution seeking to impose restrictions on parking oversized vehicles in a semi-industrialized sliver of the Hollywood Media District BID located roughly between Cole Avenue and Vine Street west to east and Santa Monica Boulevard and Melrose Avenue north to south. There is a never-ending flow of these seemingly innocuous items in the agendas of our esteemed Council, but I just happen to know an awful lot about the backstory to this one, which is anything but innocuous, actually, and is the subject of today’s post.

The Media District BID is particularly attractive to people living in RVs because it’s industrialized, so no night-time neighbors to annoy, and it’s close to the center of Hollywood. Especially on Lillian Way and its cross streets, Romaine, Willoughby, and Waring, there has been a thriving but quiet community of RV-dwellers for years on end. But the Media District BID hates it. They just can’t deal with it. For instance, see this email chain from March 2015 where Hollywood cop Julie Nony discusses how to get rid of them with erstwhile Media District BID director Steven Whiddon and a bunch of overprivileged proprietors who don’t understand the concept of public space. But, probably not surprisingly, Steven Whiddon was unable to orchestrate any lasting action.

RVs on Lillian Way between Santa Monica Blvd and Melrose Avenue
RVs on Lillian Way between Santa Monica Blvd and Melrose Avenue

So enter Lisa Schechter, employed by erstwhile CD4 rep Tom LaBonge until June 30, 2015. Sometime between then and October 2015 she was hired by the Media District to replace the departed but unlamented Whiddon. Very soon after that, in fact on November 5, 2015, Schechter and current Media District Board President Laurie Goldman met with O’Farrell’s Hollywood Field Deputy, Daniel Halden. Dan was kind enough to supply me with a copy of his notes from that meeting, wherein (on the second page) one can read the portentous words: “Oversized vehicles Resolution — MAP.” There’s no question that this meeting between Halden, Goldman, and Schechter, is the genesis of the resolution introduced this morning by Mitch O’Farrell.
Continue reading Crime Does Pay At City Hall: Anti-RV Resolution Introduced In Council This Morning At Behest of Media District BID Director Lisa Schechter, Acting in Apparent Violation of Her Post-Employment Lobbying Ban

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