Tag Archives: Los Angeles City Attorney

How Downtown Neighborhood Prosecutor Tia Strozier — And LAPD Officer Elizabeth Ortega — And CD1 Council Staffer Ricardo Flores — And Albert Torres of Rec And Parks Police — And A Bunch Of Other Housedwelling City Officials — Used The Full Force Of The Municipal Power Entrusted To Them For Legitimate Purposes To Target Unhoused Chinatown Resident Theo Henderson — Just Because Unhinged Racist Psychopathic Rageball — And Director Of The Chinatown Business Improvement District — George Yu — Asked Them To

So yesterday I went all over the damn City fetching public records from various agencies and told the story in this Twitter thread. And one of my stops was at the City Attorney’s office in City Hall East where I was menaced by a cop and subjected to extensive elevator therapy and then no one knew where the records were so I had to leave and then come back and finally I got them! And now you can get them too, right here on Archive.Org!

What I asked for here were emails to and from Tia Strozier, who is a newly appointed neighborhood prosecutor in Downtown Los Angeles. In that role, despite the mendacious utopian rhetoric of her lying boss Mike Feuer, she mostly works as an abject minion to business improvement districts and other zillionaire-facing organizations, her main job being to direct the full majesty of the law against whoever the zillionares desire, mostly homeless human beings who happen to live within the effective range of the considerable legal weaponry at her disposal.

One such person is Theo Henderson, a resident of Chinatown who, for reasons best known to the imaginary psychiatrist of unhinged racist1 psychopathic rageball and Chinatown BID kingpin George Yu, found himself squarely in the crosshairs of Yu’s rage. So much so, in fact, that activist residents of Chinatown rallied around Henderson, among other things, starting a Facebook group to discuss his plight.

And the story that these newly-obtained emails tell about George Yu, Tia Strozier, and the toxic misuse of municipal power, is not a pretty story. It shows Strozier marshalling her resources, convening meetings with Yu, other BIDdies, LAPD officer Elizabeth Ortega and other cops, City officials from Recreation and Parks, Ricardo Flores from CD1 representative Gil Cedillo‘s office, and so on, to discuss how to persecute Henderson.

And perhaps the most offensive part of this offensive, possibly unlawful, series of events is Strozier’s weaponization of the language of compassion, so common and yet still so appalling, among anti-homeless forces in Los Angeles, evinced here in her repeated insistence that she’s arranging for “outreach” for Henderson when it’s clear from the context that what she means by “outreach” is ultimately forcible removal from Chinatown, his neighborhood, where he lives. Anyway, read on for links, transcriptions, and so on!
Continue reading How Downtown Neighborhood Prosecutor Tia Strozier — And LAPD Officer Elizabeth Ortega — And CD1 Council Staffer Ricardo Flores — And Albert Torres of Rec And Parks Police — And A Bunch Of Other Housedwelling City Officials — Used The Full Force Of The Municipal Power Entrusted To Them For Legitimate Purposes To Target Unhoused Chinatown Resident Theo Henderson — Just Because Unhinged Racist Psychopathic Rageball — And Director Of The Chinatown Business Improvement District — George Yu — Asked Them To

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In The Wake Of Federal Lawsuits Against The City Of Los Angeles For Its Outrageous Unsupportable Illegal Pretextual Arrests At 2014 Protests Over The Murder Of Michael Brown City Attorney Mike Feuer Issued Detailed Confidential Case Filing Guidelines Explaining Precisely Which Crimes To Arrest Protesters For — And Exactly What Information Had To Be In The Police Reports In Order To Prosecute Successfully — Which Looks To The Even Mildly Cynical Eye As A List Of Suggested Lies For The Cops To Include — And Here — Friends — Is A Copy Of Feuer’s Confidential Report — All Eighteen Pages Of It — And Special Bonus! — LAPD Enforcement Guidelines For LAMC 55.07 — Which Regulates How Big Your Signs Can Be At Protests And Forbids Glass Bottles — Among Other Things

In 2014 a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri murdered Michael Brown. On November 24, 2014 a grand jury announced its decision not to indict the officer and, in response, civil unrest broke out across the United States, including in Los Angeles, where hundreds of protesters were arrested by the LAPD. And it’ll be no surprise to anyone paying attention that the police here used illegal tactics, arrested people who weren’t breaking the law, and so on.

These allegations were the subject of at least three federal civil rights suits against the City. One by Charmaine Chua, filed in January 2016, was eventually certified as a class action, and seems poised to settle fairly soon. Another, by Patti Beers and others, seems to have settled already. The third, filed by Girmay Amha, has particularly vivid descriptions of LAPD misconduct, and it’s really worth your time to read to find out exactly the kind of crap the cops pulled.

So evidently, and this is supported by the fact that none of these cases seem likely to go to trial and the fact that evidently few if any of the arrestees were ever charged, the City realized that they had incurred significant liability due to LAPD misconduct. In defending the City against these multiple suits, and also having been involved in the decisions not to charge most or all of the protesters, the City Attorney’s office would have had to had a deep look into LAPD’s arrest policies at protests.

The lack of charges certainly suggests that they didn’t like what they found. It’s possible, therefore, although I don’t (yet) have direct proof, that LAPD behavior at the Michael Brown protests was the cause of the fact that in October 2017 Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer released an extensive and detailed set of filing guidelines related to arrests made at protests. I recently obtained a copy of this putatively confidential document, you can get your own copy here, and there’s a transcription below.1

This remarkable document lists 16 distinct violations that the City Attorney recommends LAPD arrest protesters for. It includes “evidentiary recommendations” for each crime, which read like nothing more than winking advice to police about what kinds of things they have to make up in order to avoid future debacles. There are also notes to filing deputies city attorneys for some of the violations. In all it’s a technical but absolutely fascinating document, and surely the time spent reading it will be repaid manyfold.

And included in the same document release from which I obtained this record, there was also this other notice from the Chief of Detectives, entitled “Enforcement Guidelines for Violations of LAMC §55.07.” This law regulates what kinds of items are forbidden to possess at protests, like sign poles that are too thick, or sharpened, and so on. It breaks down the division of responsibilities among different command levels for arresting people for violations, and includes a copy of the mandatory warning, in both English and Spanish, which must be read by officers before they start arresting people for violations. Very, very interesting stuff.
Continue reading In The Wake Of Federal Lawsuits Against The City Of Los Angeles For Its Outrageous Unsupportable Illegal Pretextual Arrests At 2014 Protests Over The Murder Of Michael Brown City Attorney Mike Feuer Issued Detailed Confidential Case Filing Guidelines Explaining Precisely Which Crimes To Arrest Protesters For — And Exactly What Information Had To Be In The Police Reports In Order To Prosecute Successfully — Which Looks To The Even Mildly Cynical Eye As A List Of Suggested Lies For The Cops To Include — And Here — Friends — Is A Copy Of Feuer’s Confidential Report — All Eighteen Pages Of It — And Special Bonus! — LAPD Enforcement Guidelines For LAMC 55.07 — Which Regulates How Big Your Signs Can Be At Protests And Forbids Glass Bottles — Among Other Things

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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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LAPD Produces Three Records From The Regional Public Private Infrastructure Collaboration System In Response To My CPRA Suit!

In February, my hand forced by the mindless obstructionism of the City of Los Angeles with respect to compliance with the California Public Records Act, I filed a petition asking a judge to compel them to hand over two classes of records. First were private person’s arrest forms generated in Hollywood in 2018. The point here is to be able once again to track arrests by the BID patrol after their appalling 2016 contract amendment took these records, at least for now, out of the reach of the CPRA.

The second kind of records I’m seeking in the suit are postings to the Regional Public Private Infrastructure Collaboration System, familiarly known as RPPICS. This is some kind of cop bulletin board that a lot of BIDs have access to, and the LAPD claimed that everything on the system could be withheld from me under the so-called investigative materials exemption to the CPRA, found at §6254(f).

And it’s these last ones that seem to have cracked the case. Last Thursday the City of Los Angeles, in the person of Deputy City Attorney Jonathan Bislig, sent over this letter admitting that the City possessed responsive RPPICS material that was not exempt and yet had not been produced. And they attached four pages of material, constituting three responsive records. There’s a transcription of the letter and of one of the RPPICS items after the break, and here are links to all three:

This is not only hugely important because we finally get to see some material from the hitherto top secret RPPICS, but also because the fact that the City released previously withheld material as a result of a suit means that I’m the “prevailing party” and therefore that the City has to pay my lawyer. This was held in the monumental 1991 case Belth v. Garamendi, which interpreted §6259(d) of the CPRA thus:

In this case we hold that Government Code section 6259, subdivision (d), mandates an award of court costs and reasonable attorney fees to a plaintiff who prevails in litigation filed under the California’s Public Records Act. We further hold that the plaintiff has prevailed within the meaning of the statute when he or she files an action which results in defendant releasing a copy of a previously withheld document.

This release is also hugely important because it shows really clearly that LAPD’s original denial was completely bogus. There’s nothing investigative at all about these three records. They falsely characterized them that way purely so they didn’t have to produce them, or even search for them, for that matter. It’s shameful that LAPD, and the City of Los Angeles as a whole, treats its mandated duties under the CPRA so lightly. It’s also shameful that the only means to enforce compliance is a lawsuit.

Together, these shameful facts mean that the only possible strategy is to keep suing them until they get their act together. It’s going to be expensive for taxpayers, who have to foot the City’s legal bill and also the requester’s in successful cases, but as Sigmund Freud famously said, if you don’t pay you don’t get better. More news as I have it, and turn the page for some transcriptions.
Continue reading LAPD Produces Three Records From The Regional Public Private Infrastructure Collaboration System In Response To My CPRA Suit!

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Newly Obtained 2016 Emails Show That Senior Assistant City Attorney Valerie Flores And Chief Assistant City Attorney David Michaelson Agreed With This Blog That Banning Adults Without Children From Selma Park Was Illegal — Even As Flores Caustically Blamed Rec And Parks For Removing Signs She Had Tacitly Admitted Should Have Been Removed — No Matter What Kerry Morrison, Eric Garcetti, And Mitch O’Farrell Said About It — Further Evidence Linking O’Farrell’s Universally Mocked 2016 Proposal To Ban Adults From City Parks With Reopening Of Selma Park — Also New Info On The Content Of Mitch O’Farrell’s Feverish Delusions About Drug Dealers Overrunning The Largely Vacant Real Estate In His Head

OK, brief recap1 on the situation with Selma Park in Hollywood! In September 2015 I discovered that the Hollywood Entertainment District BID had illegally placed signs on the outer fence of the Park stating that adults without children were banned and in October 2015 Rec and Parks removed the illegal signs. Morrison engineered this years-long illegal exclusion of the people of Los Angeles from their public park because, despite her stridently self-proclaimed Christianity, she was angry that people were using the park to share food with one another.

Subsequent investigations showed that dozens of people had been arrested in the park for violating these illegal restrictions, although none were prosecuted and that current school board candidate and former Public Works Commissioner Heather Repenning, at that time a staffer for Eric Garcetti back when he was repping CD13, was deeply involved with Kerry Morrison, the BID’s very own Ilse Koch, in the illegal park closure process.

Documents proved that Morrison’s gestapo wannabes, the Andrews International BID Patrol, had been deeply involved in the ongoing series of civil rights violations engendered by the illegal park closure, not only by chasing people out of the park who had every right to be there, but by making actual custodial arrests as well, contrary to Morrison’s vehement but mendacious denial that this had ever occurred.

Subsequently, in December 2016, Mitch O’Farrell introduced a motion in Council seeking to amend the Los Angeles Municipal Code to allow the City to ban adults without children from playgrounds in LA Parks. He linked this explicitly to the reopening of Selma Park. This crapola motion was supported by Kerry Morrison, whose idea it must have been, but universally mocked and opposed by all sane people in Los Angeles and some not so sane ones as well. Even people who live east of San Bernardino took some notice of O’Farrell’s incipient crackpot fascism. And thus did the proposal die in committee in December 2018.

And just recently I received a massive set of emails between people at RAP and Mitch O’Farrell’s Hollywood field deputy Daniel Halden.2 And buried amonst them was this lengthy email conversation from November 2016 between various folks at RAP, Daniel Halden of CD13, and Valerie Flores and David Michaelson of the City Attorney’s office discussing Selma Park, those illegal signs, this blog, and, interestingly enough, me, who, like the bloody-handed henchman she is, Flores calls “a serial CPRA abuser.”3

And interestingly enough, more than a year after the signs came down, Valerie Flores tells RAP to put the signs back up, but only on the playground, not on the park itself. Which is pretty ridiculous, since they never took the signs down from the playground and no one, to my knowledge, ever complained about the signs on the playground. The discussion even escalated to Chief Assistant City Attorney David Michaelson, who also stated definitively that the City could not ban adults from the entire park, but only the playground.

Given that they’re falling over themselves here to admit that I was right all along about the damn signs, you’d think that instead of calling me names these people might have been grateful to me for merely calling attention, rather than leaving them to get sued, to the fact that in the City’s nauseating eagerness to do whatever random crapola Kerry Morrison demanded of them, they’d been violating people’s civil rights for a freaking decade4 by arresting them for being in a park they had every right to be in.

Also interesting is the fact that Flores quoted Mitch O’Farrell on the reason for the signs going back up:5 “According to the Council Member, after the sign was removed, the Selma Park became overrun with drug dealers and other criminal elements.” If you know the area, you’ll know this is a lie. You’ll also suspect that Mitch O’Farrell has never been near that park in his life and that the lie was almost certainly put into his mouth by Kerry Morrison.

And, shedding some light on the genesis of the universally mocked CF 16-1456, Flores announces that “Next week we will work with RAP to discuss options for the area of Selma Park that does not include the children’s play area.” Of course, by now it’s clear that there are no such options or they would have banned everyone but the damn cops from that poor beleaguered little park by now. The whole conversation is very, very much worth your time, and if you turn the page you’ll find a transcription, reordered chronologically for ease of reading.
Continue reading Newly Obtained 2016 Emails Show That Senior Assistant City Attorney Valerie Flores And Chief Assistant City Attorney David Michaelson Agreed With This Blog That Banning Adults Without Children From Selma Park Was Illegal — Even As Flores Caustically Blamed Rec And Parks For Removing Signs She Had Tacitly Admitted Should Have Been Removed — No Matter What Kerry Morrison, Eric Garcetti, And Mitch O’Farrell Said About It — Further Evidence Linking O’Farrell’s Universally Mocked 2016 Proposal To Ban Adults From City Parks With Reopening Of Selma Park — Also New Info On The Content Of Mitch O’Farrell’s Feverish Delusions About Drug Dealers Overrunning The Largely Vacant Real Estate In His Head

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In 2017 Nonprofit Housing Provider — Retirement Housing Foundation — Sued The Downtown Center BID And The City Of LA Seeking To Invalidate The BID And Lost — RHF Sued In 2012 Also And A Confidential City Attorney Report Reveals That The City Felt Sure RHF Would Win That Case — Victory Would Endanger All Other BIDs In LA — And So Sought To Settle — Ended Up Refunding $500,000 In Assessments To The Nonprofit — When DCBID Renewed In 2017 The City Declined To Renew The Settlement — Hence The Second Lawsuit — Get Copies Of All Pleadings Filed — Including Notice Of Appeal Filed On Wednesday

The Retirement Housing Foundation owns and operates a variety of low-income housing facilities around the country, including two, Angelus Plaza and Angelus Plaza North, which are located within the Downtown Center Business Improvement District. In 2012 RHF sued the DCBID and the City of Los Angeles, arguing that because they were a nonprofit provider of low-income housing none or few of the BID’s activities benefited them and that therefore under requirements of the California Constitution they could not be required to pay BID assessments.1

A confidential 2013 report to the City Council by Deputy City Attorney Daniel Whitley, a copy of which I recently obtained, states that the City Attorney’s office considered the City’s case extremely weak.2 However, the report continues:

Because of the many Business Improvement Districts that would potentially be affected by either litigation or settlement, initially we were instructed to defend the City in this litigation but also to attempt to settle the matter so as to protect other Business Improvement Districts.

In accordance with this instruction, the City Attorney negotiated a settlement with RHF in which the City would refund all assessments paid to RHF, to the tune of a little more than $100K per year over the five year life of the BID. Whitley recommended to Council that they approve it. His reasoning was stark:

Given that the City will almost certainly lose this litigation (as we discussed earlier), should the City wish for the DCBID to continue in operation, we recommend approval of the settlement.

This settlement was approved by City Council on February 13, 2013. And the City did pay the money. But then the DCBID expired and was renewed starting in 2018.3 And RHF asked the City to renew the settlement, and the City refused. So RHF filed suit again in 2017. Turn the page for the sordid details.
Continue reading In 2017 Nonprofit Housing Provider — Retirement Housing Foundation — Sued The Downtown Center BID And The City Of LA Seeking To Invalidate The BID And Lost — RHF Sued In 2012 Also And A Confidential City Attorney Report Reveals That The City Felt Sure RHF Would Win That Case — Victory Would Endanger All Other BIDs In LA — And So Sought To Settle — Ended Up Refunding $500,000 In Assessments To The Nonprofit — When DCBID Renewed In 2017 The City Declined To Renew The Settlement — Hence The Second Lawsuit — Get Copies Of All Pleadings Filed — Including Notice Of Appeal Filed On Wednesday

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City Of Los Angeles Files A Creditable Brief In Opposition To Appalling Los Angeles Police Protective League Anti-SB1421 Petition

Last week in the appalling lawsuit filed by the appalling Los Angeles Police Protective League seeking to prevent the LAPD from releasing records newly made public by SB1421, the City of Los Angeles filed a surprisingly unappalling opposition brief arguing that the records ought in fact to be released.

The LAPPL’s lawyers, Rains Lucia Stern St. Phalle & Silver, have been filing these lawsuits all over Southern California, and so far they’ve managed to get injunctions against releasing the records in San Bernardino and Orange Counties as well as, of course, in the City of Los Angeles. I thought I heard somewhere that not every government has opposed these suits, but I can’t verify it, so forget that! But, as I said, the City of L.A. did file an opposition, and you can find a transcription of selections below.

You may recall that the LAPPL’s argument is that it’s unfair to apply the law retroactively because officers made career decisions based on the confidentiality of these records. The City of Los Angeles, in response, says that releasing the records would not in fact be retroactive application because the law applies to records that the City has in its possession now.

They also argue that it wouldn’t be a retroactive application of a law because it doesn’t change the consequences attached to the actions of the officers related in the records. They argue that releasing old records was the intention of the legislature, and finally that the legislature does have the authority to change privacy protections that apply to existing records.
Continue reading City Of Los Angeles Files A Creditable Brief In Opposition To Appalling Los Angeles Police Protective League Anti-SB1421 Petition

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Mike Bonin Instructs City Planning And City Attorney To Study Possibility Of Using Zoning To Protect Local Independent Businesses In Venice With Goal Of Preserving Unique Neighborhood Character — Where Are Gil Cedillo With Highland Park And José Huizar With Boyle Heights In This Conversation? — There’s An Ungodly Amount Of Money At Stake In All Three Neighborhoods But Only In Venice Are Zillionaires Losing Their Community Character

UPDATE: This motion now has a council file number, which is CF 07-0629-S1. Note that this is a supplemental file and the original motion was by Bill Rosendahl (!) in 2007 to accomplish the same thing, but it died on the vine. The original file was CF 07-0629 and Rosendahl’s original motion is here.

Well, for God’s sake. Mike Bonin, councilcrumpet in charge of that formerly holiest of holy neighborhoods, the late lamented Venice, seems to have just noticed that independent businesses as opposed to chain stores can contribute a great deal to the character of the community. With that in mind he introduced this motion in Council this morning instructing the City Planning Department and the City Attorney to study the possibility of preventing chain stores from ruining everything even more than it’s already ruined by copying San Francisco’s anti-chain-store zoning laws.

And as much as I hate Mike Bonin, and as much as I don’t go to Venice any more because I’m not a freaking necrophiliac, I think these kind of laws are a good thing. The City of Los Angeles gives so much power to zillionaires and their BIDological sock puppets to shape the character of the neighborhoods they’ve colonized and almost no power at all to the residents. Super-restrictive zoning laws like the ones proposed here can take some of that power away from the property owners and shift it over to individual non-zillionaire residents who, after all, are the ones that made their neighborhoods desirable and so whose opinions really ought to be heeded.

So even though I’m sure that Mike Bonin’s motives are despicable, and even though I’m sure all his reasons are wrong, toxic, and repellent, nevertheless, even as a hundred monkeys with typewriters sometimes produce a coherent blog post,1 so it seems does Mike Bonin occasionally propose an at least superficially laudable motion. The big question though that this raises is where is Gil Cedillo? Where is José Huizar?2

Highland Park, mostly in CD1, and Boyle Heights in CD14, also two of the holiest holy neighborhoods of this grand and holy City, are being raped, killed, and eaten just as Venice was raped, killed, and eaten starting some thirty years ago. But it’s not too late to stop the damage there before it’s irreversible. Cedillo and Huizar have the opportunity to do what e.g. Ruth Galanter, on whose watch Venice started circling the drain down which it’s long since disappeared, was unwilling to do to save these irreplaceable neighborhoods with whose care they’ve been entrusted.

Why aren’t they right up there with Mike Bonin asking staff to study how to save Highland Park, how to save Boyle Heights? Why aren’t they seconding Bonin’s motion instead of Paul Freaking Krekorian? Rhetorical questions, of course. They’re not saving Highland Park or Boyle Heights because it’s worth too much money to destroy them. Because Bonin’s zillionaire Venice constituents will get what they want but the poor, the working class, residents of Highland Park and Boyle Heights have no money and therefore no leverage at all with their Councilmembers. In thirty years, no doubt, their successors will be proposing exactly this same kind of motion, too late to raise the reeking corpses. As usual there’s a transcription of the motion after the break.
Continue reading Mike Bonin Instructs City Planning And City Attorney To Study Possibility Of Using Zoning To Protect Local Independent Businesses In Venice With Goal Of Preserving Unique Neighborhood Character — Where Are Gil Cedillo With Highland Park And José Huizar With Boyle Heights In This Conversation? — There’s An Ungodly Amount Of Money At Stake In All Three Neighborhoods But Only In Venice Are Zillionaires Losing Their Community Character

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Bye Bye BIDdies! — City Of Los Angeles Finally Concedes The Street Vending Battle As Curren Price And José Huizar Move In Council Today To Instruct The City Attorney To Draft An Ordinance That’s Consistent With Lara’s Safe Street Vending Act

As you know the City of Los Angeles has been arguing over how to regulate street vending for pretty much forever now, with business improvement districts and chambers of commerce and other such-like weaponized implements of zillionaire-aligned white supremacy using every last bit of their political juice to introduce all kinds of complex conditions like opt-in districts, opt-out districts, permission from business owners, limitations on number of vendors per block, immediate confiscation of equipment, fees paid to BIDs, and on and on and on, all obviously designed for the sole purpose of continuing the wholesale arrest of street vendors.

But as I’m sure you also know just last week governor Jerry Brown signed Ricardo Lara’s Safe Street Vending Bill into law, severely limiting the power of cities to regulate vending. This bill has been working its way through the legislature since January 2018 and was well known to have an excellent chance of becoming law, and obviously voids pretty much every single feature of the City’s proposals, and yet nevertheless the City Council didn’t even start thinking about it officially until August.

But oh, they do have to think about it now. If the City doesn’t have an actual regulatory ordinance in place by January 1, 2019 they won’t have the power to regulate vendors at all. This, I guess, was enough to move them to action, and therefore this morning Councilmembers Curren Price And José Huizar introduced a motion in Council instructing the City Attorney to draft an ordinance that would comply with SB-946. The whole deal is memorialized in Council File 13-1493-S5.

And the BIDdies don’t have any leverage over this ordinance because state law compels all the essential features. This is a huge blow for our City’s business improvement districts and other nasty, selfish opponents of vending, and a huge win for humanity. We’re going to see some snakey creepy nasty rhetoric from the BIDs over this, you wait and see! Turn the page for the complete text of Price and Huizar’s motion.
Continue reading Bye Bye BIDdies! — City Of Los Angeles Finally Concedes The Street Vending Battle As Curren Price And José Huizar Move In Council Today To Instruct The City Attorney To Draft An Ordinance That’s Consistent With Lara’s Safe Street Vending Act

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In 1995 The City Attorney And The Fair Political Practices Commission Both Agreed That BIDs Were Government Agencies And Their Board Members Were Public Officials Subject To The Brown Act And The CPRA — So When Aaron Epstein Sued The City And The Hollywood BID In 1999 Why Did The City Take Kerry Morrison’s Side Even Though They Already Knew Epstein Was Right? — Probably Yet Another Case Of Yielding To Her Every Damn Whim No Matter How Dire The Consequences — Ironically The Same Lawyer, Patricia Tubert, Argued Both Contradictory Sides Of The Dispute

I’ve written many times about the monumental case Epstein v. Hollywood Entertainment District BID and will, I have no doubt, write about it many more times to come. The issue in 1998 was that Hollywood property owner Aaron Epstein thought that he ought to be able to attend BID meetings whereas executive director Kerry Morrison, then at the very dawn of her BIDdological career but as characteristically secretive as ever, refused to let him in to watch his money being spent.

He sued in 1999, claiming that the BID1 was required to comply with the Brown Act by virtue of §54952(c)(1)(A), which makes an entity of the following type subject to its transparency requirements:

A board, commission, committee, or other multimember body that governs a private corporation, limited liability company, or other entity that … [i]s created by the elected legislative body in order to exercise authority that may lawfully be delegated by the elected governing body to a private corporation, limited liability company, or other entity.

The case yielded a monumental opinion from the Court of Appeal, dripping with sarcasm and barely disguised contempt for the weak arguments of the defendants. It’s worth reading in its entirety, or take a look here for selections. But for our purposes here it’s enough to know that both the BID, driven by Ms. Kerry Morrison and her absolute disgust at the possibility of public oversight of her publicly funded activities, and the City of Los Angeles in the person of then-deputy-City-Attorney Patricia Tubert, argued vehemently that the BID was not in any way subject to the Brown Act.

So what a surprise it was, the other day, to obtain a copy of this 1995 report from the Los Angeles City Attorney, authored by none other than Patricia Tubert, which explicitly stated that in the opinion of the City Attorney BIDs were in fact subject to the Brown Act, exactly as the Court of Appeal ruled in 2001 over the City’s objections. And attached to this report was a 1994 opinion issued by the Fair Political Practices Commission in response to an explicit request from none other than the Los Angeles City Attorney which reached precisely the same conclusion.

And not only that but both agencies agreed that BID board members are in fact public officials with respect to these laws and also subject to state prohibitions on conflicts of interest.2 So it’s really a mystery now why in 1998 when Aaron Epstein wanted to attend BID meetings the City of Los Angeles didn’t just tell Kerry Morrison and her infernal board of directors that they had to let him in. Why they spent three long and undoubtedly expensive years defending a position that they already knew to be wrong.

At this late date and because the attorney client privilege between the City and the City Attorney is doubtlessly implicated, we are probably never going to know for sure why they made the obviously wrong decision to defend an indefensible position. But if they were thinking about Kerry Morrison and her weirdo schemes back then like they are now, and why wouldn’t they have been, they wouldn’t have needed any more of a reason beyond Kerry Morrison’s request. Shameful. And harmful. But not a surprise. Turn the page for selected transcriptions.
Continue reading In 1995 The City Attorney And The Fair Political Practices Commission Both Agreed That BIDs Were Government Agencies And Their Board Members Were Public Officials Subject To The Brown Act And The CPRA — So When Aaron Epstein Sued The City And The Hollywood BID In 1999 Why Did The City Take Kerry Morrison’s Side Even Though They Already Knew Epstein Was Right? — Probably Yet Another Case Of Yielding To Her Every Damn Whim No Matter How Dire The Consequences — Ironically The Same Lawyer, Patricia Tubert, Argued Both Contradictory Sides Of The Dispute

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