Tag Archives: Chad Molnar

In Which I Use The Palisades BID As A Test-Case For A New Tactic In The Neverending Quest To Find Some Way To Force Business Improvement Districts To Comply With The California Public Records Act Without Having To File Yet Another Freaking Writ Petition

Laurie Sale is a sympathetic character, no doubt, but if we start letting our personal feelings towards people stand in the way of enforcing the law then anarchy will follow as surely as the night follows the day, so we’re not gonna do that! Plus even sympathetic characters, if they’re lawless, can still pose to be dangerous!
Here’s the short version of this post: Laurie Sale of the Palisades BID has been telling me for months that she is too busy to work on my CPRA requests. Yesterday she turns out to be too busy to send copies of emails in a reasonable format. She continues to be too busy to provide an estimated date of production even though CPRA requires it. She keeps telling me she only works half-time. BIDs sign a contract with the City which requires them to maintain staffing adequate for the completion of required work in a timely manner. CPRA compliance is required work. Being too busy to do it is not doing it in a timely manner. Too busy for CPRA, BIDs?? Breach of freaking contract!!

And here is a quick recap of how we got to this place. About 80% of the staff of this website grew up in Venice, so we all got really interested in the Venice Beach BID. Unfortunately, CD11 staffie Chad Molnar took offense at the use I made of the fruits of a couple CPRA requests and stopped complying with the law altogether, forcing me to turn him in to the City Ethics Commission. That’s going to take forever to resolve, though.

Thus thwarted in my attempts to learn about the inner workings of Mike Bonin’s weirdo little empire directly, I have turned to requesting materials of all the BIDs in his district, which are Westchester Town Center, Brentwood Village, Gateway to LA, and last, but never ever least, the Pacific Palisades BID,1 which was explicitly called out by Mike Bonin himself on the floor of the Council Chambers as one of the good BIDs. I have received some material from these halfwits-by-the-sea, which provided raw material for our most popular post in the month of January, but mostly their executive directrix, Laurie Sale, keeps telling me that she’s too damned busy to send stuff in a timely manner.

And finally, yesterday, she condescended to transmit a bunch of emails to me by forwarding them, with her own typed annotations prepended. I had asked for them in native format,2 and providing them in native format is required by CPRA.3 It’s important to get emails this way because it preserves the integrity of the headers and also it ensures that attachments arrive in precisely their native formats as well.4 I habitually request emails in native formats and most BIDs have figured out how to comply with this requirement. So I told Laurie Sale that her forwarded emails weren’t acceptable and could she please figure out how to send them in the right format. I can tell from her headers that she uses Outlook, so I sent her a link to Microsoft Support which explains how to export emails to a PST file. It’s not hard.

But she was having none of it. She fired back this cranky little number, stating:
Continue reading In Which I Use The Palisades BID As A Test-Case For A New Tactic In The Neverending Quest To Find Some Way To Force Business Improvement Districts To Comply With The California Public Records Act Without Having To File Yet Another Freaking Writ Petition

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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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New Documents: Central City East Association Tax Returns 2012-2015, Westchester Town Center BID Agendas and Minutes

Once and future queen of the Central City East Association, Ms. Estela Lopez herself yammering on about something to someone.
I have a couple new sets of documents to announce tonight. First there are tax returns from the Central City East Association from 2014 and 2015, and you can get them:

There’s a little puzzle hidden away in the two new ones. If you can spot it, drop me a line before I write a post on it1 and win a prize! I won’t approve any comments that give it away, though. No spoilers!

Also, in the face of the incredible, probably illegal, intransigence displayed by CD11 Councilmember Mike Bonin and his weirdo staff with respect to CPRA requests, I am making requests of the BIDs in CD11 for emails to/from lacity.org. Most of these are likely to be with Bonin or his staff, which will let us keep track of what’s going on in the District Office even if CD11 just actually won’t answer CPRA requests at all. It might be interesting, it might be useful, but there’s no way to know until we get the goods. The very first installment of this material comes from the Westchester Town Center BID, specifically from its Executive Director Donald Duckworth.2 Just tonight he handed over minutes and agendas from 2016, with a promise of a lot of emails to follow. For now this is only available on Archive.Org.
Continue reading New Documents: Central City East Association Tax Returns 2012-2015, Westchester Town Center BID Agendas and Minutes

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California Government Code Section 1222 Is A New (To Us) Governmental Integrity Law Of Which Chad Molnar’s CPRA Shenanigans Constitute A Violation, Making Him Not Only Unethical But An Actual Criminal And Potentially Even Subject To Citizen’s Arrest!!

Chad Molnar in June 2016, just smiling away because it hasn't yet occurred to him that he is going to jail.
Chad Molnar in June 2016, just smiling away because it hasn’t yet occurred to him that he is going to jail.
Perhaps you’ve been following along with our LAMC 49.5.5(A) project, in which we turn various City officials and employees in to the LA City Ethics Commission for violating that most lovely government accountability ordinance, LAMC 49.5.5(A) by misusing their positions in various ways. Well, just recently, via the fine folks at the Coalition to Preserve L.A., I learned of a possibly even more funner law, which may allow City employees not only to get fined by the CEC for violating CPRA, but actually locked up for it! Ladies and gentlemen, loyal MK.Org readers, may I present to you the stunning law known to the world as California Government Code Section 1222, which states in full:

Every wilful omission to perform any duty enjoined by law upon any public officer, or person holding any public trust or employment, where no special provision is made for the punishment of such delinquency, is punishable as a misdemeanor.

The potential here is astounding. You see, there is “no special provision…made for the punishment of” a failure to comply with CPRA. This is in contrast to, e.g., the Brown Act, which does contain a clause making certain kinds of violations misdemeanors.1 However, the duty to comply with CPRA is “enjoined by law upon” public officers. For instance, the California Constitution at Article I, section 3(b) states pretty unequivocally that:

In order to ensure public access to the meetings of public bodies and the writings of public officials and agencies, as specified in paragraph (1), each local agency is hereby required to comply with the California Public Records Act …

Now, this law requires2 that the failure to act be wilful. But, of course, that’s where we have Chad Molnar dead to rights. If you didn’t read the whole story, you can at least read the smoking gun, in which Chad Molnar actually states explicitly that he’s not going to comply with CPRA and that he doesn’t think he has to comply. And note that this is not just him not complying with some vague part of the law, proof of violation of which would require a fact-finder, but him not complying with objectively clear, explicitly mandated, response deadlines. He just flat-out says he’s not going to respond as required. It’s hard to imagine a more wilful violation than that.

So anyway, as soon as possible, I hope this weekend, I’m going to write up a complaint and figure out what to do with it. Perhaps I’ll try the neighborhood prosecutor in Venice. They do handle misdemeanors, after all. This probably won’t work so well, and then I’ll send it to Jackie Lacey’s Public Integrity Division. I’ll keep you up-to-date. And if you’re still interested, turn the page for even more wildly uninformed speculation.3
Continue reading California Government Code Section 1222 Is A New (To Us) Governmental Integrity Law Of Which Chad Molnar’s CPRA Shenanigans Constitute A Violation, Making Him Not Only Unethical But An Actual Criminal And Potentially Even Subject To Citizen’s Arrest!!

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Newly Obtained Email Proves That Mike Bonin Considered Moving Venice Beach BID Hearing To November 29 From Disputed Date of November 8

Mike Bonin, shown here with the Jesus-halo sidelighting he evidently prefers.
Mike Bonin, shown here with the Jesus-halo sidelighting he evidently prefers.
After a chaotic hearing on the Venice Beach BID in August,1 after Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles powerhouse attorney Shayla Myers pointed out that the process was legally flawed, and after City Attorney Mike Feuer accepted her argument and told the City Council that they’d better have a do-over, after all that, the rehearing on the abhorrent BID was scheduled to be approved considered in Council on November 8, 2016. This, of course, is also the day that Americans will be deciding the future of the world, which takes up a lot of time. Venice being Venice, there has been a lot of speculation about whether Bonin did this on purpose to make it difficult for detractors to testify. Venice also being Venice, there has been an organized effort to get Bonin to postpone the hearing.

Such protests usually fall on what seem like deaf ears, but in this case, an email that I obtained last night from the City Clerk’s office proves that, in September 2016, Mike Bonin was considering moving the hearing from the disputed date of November 8 to the presumably more acceptable dates of November 29 and 30. Read on for details.
Continue reading Newly Obtained Email Proves That Mike Bonin Considered Moving Venice Beach BID Hearing To November 29 From Disputed Date of November 8

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Update On Attempts To Use CPRA To Get LA Sanitation To Provide Advance Notice Of Homeless Encampment Cleanups

Los Angeles Public Works building at 1149 S. Broadway.
Los Angeles Public Works building at 1149 S. Broadway.
Last Summer it occurred to me that it should be possible to use the California Public Records Act to get advance notice of City of LA homeless encampment cleanup actions. After an inordinate amount of bitching and moaning on my part, three weeks ago they actually handed over a schedule one day in advance. Since then, though, the person who gave me that record has been removed from my case1 and the new person assigned to it, Veretta Everheart, Senior Management Analyst with the Department of Public Works, is as obstructionist as everyone else I’ve dealt with at LA Sanitation (although perfectly friendly and delightful to deal with). In other words, no new advance schedules have been forthcoming.

On a slightly hopeful note, though, Veretta Everheart did actually tell me explicitly that they weren’t going to give me advance schedules.2 The reason she gave is that they “are living documents” which are “not retained.”3 Although she doesn’t say so explicitly, this is evidently a nod in the direction of an exemption enumerated in CPRA at Section 6254(a), which states that it’s not required to release

Preliminary drafts, notes, or interagency or intra-agency memoranda that are not retained by the public agency in the ordinary course of business, if the public interest in withholding those records clearly outweighs the public interest in disclosure.

Now, if this is actually what she’s claiming,4 it’s probably not going to fly. First of all, even if these calendars are in fact drafts, there’s a solid argument that the public interest in disclosure outweighs the public interest in withholding. In fact, there’s no discernable public interest in withholding these.5 Not only that, but all of these calendars, drafts and preliminary versions included, are, in fact, retained, making the applicability of this exemption even more implausible.
Continue reading Update On Attempts To Use CPRA To Get LA Sanitation To Provide Advance Notice Of Homeless Encampment Cleanups

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Administrative Law Judge Samuel Reyes Finds That Jim Parker Violated LAMC 49.5.5(A) As Alleged By City Ethics Commission, Which Is A Good Sign For Our Ongoing Project

You can find a good summary of the background to this post by Jasmyne Cannick on her most excellent blog or by Kate Mather writing in the L.A. Times.

Maybe you remember that former LAPD Sergeant Jim Parker was charged by the City Ethics Commission with violating LAMC 49.5.5(A) based on his release of an audio tape proving that charges of racial profiling by actress Daniele Watts were fabricated. Well, today administrative law judge Samuel Reyes issued a proposed decision in the matter, where “proposed” seems to mean that the Ethics Commission has the power to reject it if they want to. He found Parker not guilty of some of the charges, but, importantly for our purposes, guilty of violating LAMC 49.5.5(A):

Respondent1 was in possession of the audiotape by virtue of his position as an LAPD sergeant. Since he released the recording to TMZ in violation of LAMC section 49.5.3, the disclosure constitutes “misuse” under LAMC section 49.5.5, subdivision (A). Respondent released the audiotape to defend himself and LAPD against allegations of racial profiling. The release created a private advantage for Respondent, as it protected his reputation against allegations of racism.

And maybe you recall our LAMC 49.5.5(A) project, in which we are filing complaints against various City employees for what seem to us to be violations of this law, in an effort to, not only get them to stop their bad behavior, but to find ways for citizens to force City employees to do their duty by utilizing already-existing City agencies, laws, and processes rather than having to hire lawyers for everything. This is a good sign for our success, and there’s more detail on this after the break.
Continue reading Administrative Law Judge Samuel Reyes Finds That Jim Parker Violated LAMC 49.5.5(A) As Alleged By City Ethics Commission, Which Is A Good Sign For Our Ongoing Project

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Mike Bonin’s Gift Journals 2013-2015: All The Pretty People They’re All Drinking, Thinking That They’ve Got It Made / Exchanging All Precious Gifts, But You Better Take Your “Basket with Locally Made Pickles, Honey, Kale Chips,” You Better Pawn It Babe

More gifts to Mike Bonin, prominently displayed in his City Hall office on Wednesday, October 12, 2016.
More gifts to Mike Bonin, prominently displayed in his City Hall office on Wednesday, October 12, 2016.
Did you even know that the members of our esteemed City Council all send one another and various other people gifts in the putative holiday season? Well they do, and evidently it’s just another thing that the pretty people do when they’re all drinking, thinking that they got it made.1

The City Ethics Commission requires City officials to keep track of these presents, and so, in response to a CPRA request, I received these records from Chad Molnar the other day, despite his claim that fulfilling my more substantial requests would make CD11 constituents suffer. Perhaps he sent these items along because they aren’t likely to make the constituents, who thrive in darkness and secrecy and evidently include outlaw BID proponents Mark Sokol and Carl Lambert, suffer too much, because they have very little content. However, what they do have is fairly amusing. You can get them:

Another purpose of this post is to announce the reorganization of the menu structure, which was getting a little top-heavy. Also, the inauguration of our new CD11 Page, which doesn’t have much on it now, but it will soon, I hope. Turn the page for direct links to the gift journals along with a little bit of relatively restrained mockery.
Continue reading Mike Bonin’s Gift Journals 2013-2015: All The Pretty People They’re All Drinking, Thinking That They’ve Got It Made / Exchanging All Precious Gifts, But You Better Take Your “Basket with Locally Made Pickles, Honey, Kale Chips,” You Better Pawn It Babe

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Chad Molnar’s Explicit Refusal To Comply With The California Public Records Act Provides Raw Material For The Latest Installment In Our LAMC 49.5.5(A) Project

Chad Molnar is Mike Bonin's campaign treasurer and also does odd jobs of some sort around the Council District offices.
Chad Molnar is Mike Bonin’s campaign treasurer and also does odd jobs of some sort around the Council District offices.
A couple of days ago I announced MK.Org’s latest project, which aims to experimentally determine the scope of the extraordinary LAMC 49.5.5(A), which states, rather succinctly, that:

City officials, agency employees, appointees awaiting confirmation by the City Council, and candidates for elected City office shall not misuse or attempt to misuse their positions or prospective positions to create or attempt to create a private advantage or disadvantage, financial or otherwise, for any person.

Anyway, today’s episode involves the California Public Records Act and Mike Bonin’s Chief of Staff, Chad Molnar. Since August, I’ve been making CPRA requests of CD11. At first they more or less complied with the law, but after the chaos at the first Council hearing in August and the subsequent humiliation caused by the City’s having to redo the whole BID approval process, they completely stopped complying.

In fact, they not only stopped complying, but when I wrote to them asking them if they were going to comply, Chad Molnar wrote back with one of the most extraordinarily confused responses I’ve ever received to a CPRA status request. He not only agreed that they hadn’t complied, but he said explicitly that they weren’t going to comply, and that he believed that they did not have to comply because to comply would make their constituents suffer, and he didn’t think that the intent of CPRA was to make their constituents suffer. I’m not kidding, that’s what he said. Read it yourself, and turn the page for more of my amateurish legal theories, and another complaint!
Continue reading Chad Molnar’s Explicit Refusal To Comply With The California Public Records Act Provides Raw Material For The Latest Installment In Our LAMC 49.5.5(A) Project

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