Tag Archives: CD5

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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