Tag Archives: City Council

Department Of Neighborhood Empowerment Recommends That Online Voting In Future Neighborhood Council Elections Be Optional

Background: You can read my previous stories on the Skid Row Neighborhood Council formation effort and also see Jason McGahan’s article in the Weekly and Gale Holland’s article in the Times for more mainstream perspectives.

Yesterday the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment submitted a report on online voting in neighborhood council elections to the Los Angeles City Council’s Health, Education, and Neighborhood Councils Committee.1 Here’s a link to the report, but be careful as it’s a massive PDF. After the great injustice and great pain caused by José Huizar and DONE by imposing online voting on the Skid Row Neighborhood Council effort one might think that DONE would have displayed some consciousness of the damage they’d created.

But that didn’t happen. In an unfortunately characteristic display of block-headed indifference to both morality and reality, the sole lesson DONE seems to have learned is that online voting increases voter participation:

The potential of online voting and voter registration to engage more stakeholders in Neighborhood Council elections was clear in the 2016 pilot as noted in the January 17, 2017 report and confirmed in the subdivision election for Skid Row Neighborhood Council this year where 1,388 votes were cast online out of a total of 1,592.

It’s disgusting indeed that they don’t even mention the fact that online voting increases participation among non-homeless people while actively decreasing it among the homeless, even though they are well aware of this fact. And their recommendation to the City Council, which will almost surely be adopted verbatim? It’s that online voting should not be imposed on any other neighborhood councils but that they be allowed to opt into it if they so choose:

[DONE recommends that Council i]nstruct the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment and Office of the City Clerk to make online voting an option available for the Neighborhood Councils whose online voting platforms are already built out …

Additionally, they recommend that neighborhood council terms be extended in order to match the new Los Angeles city election schedule. Turn the page for a transcription of the summary of the report
Continue reading Department Of Neighborhood Empowerment Recommends That Online Voting In Future Neighborhood Council Elections Be Optional

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United Downtown LA Paid Liner LLP More Than $45,000 To Lobby Against Skid Row Neighborhood Council In Q2 2017. Payments From First Quarter Are Still Undisclosed

Background: You can read my previous stories on the Skid Row Neighborhood Council formation effort and also see Jason McGahan’s article in the Weekly and Gale Holland’s article in the Times for more mainstream perspectives.

You may recall that shady downtown municipal lobbying firm Liner LLP was hired by the even shadier anonymous Delaware incorporated United Downtown LA to lobby against the Skid Row Neighborhood Council formation effort and that I turned them in to the City Ethics Commission for failing to amend their disclosure forms to disclose United Downtown as a client as required by LAMC §48.07.

Well, yesterday was the filing deadline for Second Quarter disclosures, and Liner filed theirs on time. It’s required by law for lobbying firms like Liner to disclose their clients and also how much money they got paid by each client. This time they actually did list United DTLA1 and it turns out that they were paid a stunning total of $45,010.40 to lobby against the SRNC. And this is just for Q2.2 It’s likely, or at least possible, that when the Ethics Commission gets around to investigating my complaint they’ll find that Liner was paid even more in Q1.

Oh, and check out the address that they put on the form for United Downtown. That’s Liner’s address. Full-service anonymization going on. That this much money was spent to stop a neighborhood council suggests that the NC system is really badly broken somehow.
Continue reading United Downtown LA Paid Liner LLP More Than $45,000 To Lobby Against Skid Row Neighborhood Council In Q2 2017. Payments From First Quarter Are Still Undisclosed

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City Council Approves Update To Ethics Laws Which, Among Other Changes, Imposes At Long Last A Duty On City Officials And Employees To Report Violations To The Ethics Commission Within Ten Days — A Law Like This Will Cut Down On Apparent Collusion By City Officials Or At Least Provide Another Fruitful Channel For Reporting Them

The Los Angeles Ethics Commission is charged not only with enforcing ethics laws and regulations but also with reviewing and revising them periodically. Because the City Council is subject to these laws it wouldn’t make much sense for them to be able to alter them at will. The temptation to exempt themselves and their creepy zillionaire buddies would ultimately be too much for their corrupt vestigial little senses of morality to bear and we’d end up without any ethics laws at all.

Thus the process, as described in the City Charter at §703(a), requires the Ethics Commission to propose the changes and gives the City Council the authority only to disapprove but not to modify them.1 This strikes me as a quite clever way to balance the competing interests involved:

The commission may adopt, amend and rescind rules and regulations, subject to Council approval without modification, to carry out the purposes and provisions of the Charter and ordinances of the City relating to campaign finance, conflicts of interest, lobbying, and governmental ethics and to govern procedures of the commission.2

So at its meeting in February, the Ethics Commission approved a bunch of revised enforcement regulations. You can read the original proposal. This was duly sent up to the City Council, where it was placed in Council File 14-0049-S1. Well, on Thursday, after the Mayor’s concurrence was received, the Council finalized the matter and the new regulations are approved and will take effect on August 14.3

There were bunches of changes, mostly technical in nature, and beyond my capacity to evaluate. But the one that really excites me is that the new ordinance requires City departments and appointees to report violations of the Ethics laws or the Municipal Lobbying Ordinance within ten days. This is a huge development! Read on for details and for a number of horrific instances in which the lack of a mandate to report created absolutely nauseating scenarios involving law-flouting lobbyists and City officials.
Continue reading City Council Approves Update To Ethics Laws Which, Among Other Changes, Imposes At Long Last A Duty On City Officials And Employees To Report Violations To The Ethics Commission Within Ten Days — A Law Like This Will Cut Down On Apparent Collusion By City Officials Or At Least Provide Another Fruitful Channel For Reporting Them

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City Of Los Angeles Poised To Pay Half A Million Dollars To The Legal Aid Foundation Of Los Angeles To Settle Los Angeles Catholic Worker v. City Of LA, Central City East Association

As I reported last week, the City Council was scheduled today to go into closed session to consider a settlement of the monumental lawsuit brought by Los Angeles Catholic Worker and the LA Community Action Network against the Central City East Association and the City.

Well, today they met and approved a motion which authorizes the City Attorney to pay $495,000 out of the City’s Police Liability Fund to the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles as part of the settlement. Given the extensive behavioral restrictions on BID security and ongoing oversight by the court agreed to by the CCEA in its settlement, it seems likely that the money will turn out to be only part of the City’s settlement deal. The details of the rest will surely be hitting PACER soon enough, and you’ll read about them here first!

This is a huge win for LAFLA and its brave and talented attorneys: Fernando Gaytan, Shayla Myers, Paul Hoffman, and Catherine Sweetser. Cheers all round! And, although Carol Sobel didn’t work on this particular case, the outcome continues to confirm Mike Bonin’s prescient 2016 remark that if the City didn’t clean up its act with respect to the property of homeless people, “We may as well open up the keys to reserve funds to Carol Sobel”

Turn the page for a full transcription of the motion if you’re interested.
Continue reading City Of Los Angeles Poised To Pay Half A Million Dollars To The Legal Aid Foundation Of Los Angeles To Settle Los Angeles Catholic Worker v. City Of LA, Central City East Association

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LA Catholic Worker et al. V. City of LA, CCEA Settlement Terms To Go Before Full Council In Closed Session On June 14

The momentous 2014 lawsuit by LA Catholic Worker and the LA Community Action Network against the Central City East Association and the City of Los Angeles has been in the settlement process for more than six months now.1 The Central City East Association settled what seems like ages ago. The City of Los Angeles claimed in December that settlement terms had been reached, and then nothing happened for months.
Continue reading LA Catholic Worker et al. V. City of LA, CCEA Settlement Terms To Go Before Full Council In Closed Session On June 14

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LA Catholic Worker V. City Of Los Angeles Lawsuit Settlement Agreement Scheduled For Budget And Finance Committee Closed Session On Monday, June 5, 2017

The momentous 2014 lawsuit by LA Catholic Worker and the LA Community Action Network against the Central City East Association and the City of Los Angeles has been in the settlement process for more than six months now.1 Most recently, in March, the terms of CCEA’s part of the settlement were finalized by the court.2 Documents filed with the court as early as last December have announced that the terms of a settlement with the City of Los Angeles had been agreed on and were just pending City Council approval.

Well, Council is finally poised to approve the settlement terms. The matter is on the books as Council File 16-1449, and is scheduled for a closed session on Monday, June 5 at 2 p.m. in Room 1010 of City Hall at the Budget and Finance Committee. As is required by the Brown Act there will be an opportunity for public comment before the closed session. My feeling is that this is a fait accompli and not worth my time to attend, but you should certainly decide for yourself about that.

Given the fairly glacial pace at which the City has been moving, and given the fact that federal district courts move very slowly as well, it will probably be a while before the specific terms of the settlement with the City become public. However, given the stringent terms agreed to by the CCEA, this settlement is likely to include at the very least further restrictions on the City’s ability to enforce its reprehensible personal property ordinance, LAMC §56.11, and probably a lengthy period of oversight by the court as well. Stay tuned for details!
Continue reading LA Catholic Worker V. City Of Los Angeles Lawsuit Settlement Agreement Scheduled For Budget And Finance Committee Closed Session On Monday, June 5, 2017

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Revealed: The Actual Technical Means By Which José Huizar, Who By The Way Is A Liar And A Deceptive Sneaky Little Creep, Destroyed The Skid Row Neighborhood Council Formation Effort, Quite Possibly At The Behest Of Michael Delijani, Whose Family Has Given José Huizar $25,000 Over The Years


When I first started working on this post, I meant it to be a typical humorous take on a comment that Grayce Liu made at the March 20 meeting of the Board of Neighborhood Commissioners, much like the nonsense I wrote the other day.

But in preparation for mocking the arrogant rich white supremacists who turned out at every meeting about the SRNC to bumble their whiny way through their idiotic decontextualized lies about “outreach” and “voter participation” and “united Downtown” and fucking “inadequate notification,” I listened to a recording of the March 22 meeting of the Rules and Elections Committee, which sickened me to the point that I lost any taste for making jokes about any of this.1 Huizar’s behavior is not funny, and I’m in no state of mind to make fun.2 He is a horrible person.3

In particular, here’s what I learned. Much of this information has been published before, but as far as I can tell, not all of it has:

  • Huizar decided to change the rules for the SRNC formation election to allow online voting. The change took place merely two weeks before voting began, even though he almost certainly had his mind made up weeks if not months earlier. If he had implemented the decision when he had made it at least there would have been time for the SRNC proponents to address this dispositive change in the rules.
  • He did this in the face of explicit testimony that online voting would disadvantage homeless people, who have extremely limited internet access. Even worse, he knew that the online voting system to be used by the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment would preregister more than 1000 DLANC and HCNC voters from 2016, thereby overwhelming any online voters that the SRNC-FC might manage to register in two weeks and thus dooming any SRNC-FC online registration effort to irrelevance.
  • Huizar made this change unilaterally. It’s true that it was passed by the Rules and Elections Committee and then by the full Council, but if you listen to the recording.4 You will hear Huizar reading out his proposal and Herb Wesson pronouncing it adopted with neither discussion nor a vote.
  • Huizar ignored all the warnings he heard against allowing online voting with respect to the SRNC, but he took them all into account for other NC elections by stating explicitly that SRNC would be the only election to use online voting until further notice. This proves yet again that as far as the City of Los Angeles is concerned, rules do not apply to poor people. They’re not usually this overt about it, though.
  • Somehow Huizar allowed multiple polling locations distributed widely in both space and time. He did this in the face of Grayce Liu’s explicit statement that one polling place open for four hours is absolutely standard in NC elections. Again, Huizar unilaterally changed the rules for Skid Row.

Turn the page for the full, detailed story with links to and transcriptions of the audio of the meeting.
Continue reading Revealed: The Actual Technical Means By Which José Huizar, Who By The Way Is A Liar And A Deceptive Sneaky Little Creep, Destroyed The Skid Row Neighborhood Council Formation Effort, Quite Possibly At The Behest Of Michael Delijani, Whose Family Has Given José Huizar $25,000 Over The Years

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Complaint Filed This Morning With City Ethics Commission About Liner Law’s Failure To Disclose So-Called United DTLA As Client. Also Matthew Nichols Appears To Have Lobbied Before Incorporation Of United DTLA, Possibly Requiring Disclosure Of Actual Human Clients As Well

Last weekend I outlined what seem to be serious violations of the Municipal Lobbying Ordinance by registered lobbying firm Liner Law and its sleazeballs-for-hire Rockard J. Delgadillo and his creepy little sadly-not-imaginary playmate, Mr. Matthew T. Nichols in the course of the zillionaire downtown real estate cabal’s cowardly moronic greedheaded campaign against the Skid Row Neighborhood Council. Well, this morning I finished up an actual complaint on this matter and filed it with the Ethics Commission, and it is available on Archive.Org for your reading pleasure!

If you read my earlier article most of this material will be familiar to you, but there’s at least one major new thing, which only occurred to me yesterday. Recall that according to Delgadillo and Nichols, the client who was paying them to oppose the Skid Row Neighborhood Council was a shady anonymous Delaware-incorporated LLC known as United DTLA. According to Delaware state records, United DTLA was incorporated on March 3, 2017.

Matthew Nichols monitoring a City meeting on SRNC formation on February 15, 2017, almost three weeks before United DTLA was even incorporated. This is potentially huge! Click to enlarge.
This means that if and when Liner, Matthew Nichols, and Rockard Delgadillo file their required client disclosures for lobbying that they carried out after March 3, they’re going to disclose nothing more than United DTLA, that shady anonymous Delaware corporation. However, that shady anonymous Delaware corporation did not exist on February 15, 2017, on which day Matthew T. Nichols attended a Town Hall meeting about the Skid Row Neighborhood Council sponsored by the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment. And according to the definition of “lobbying activity” found in the Municipal Lobbying Ordinance at LAMC §48.02, the following is included:

… attending or monitoring City meetings, hearings or other events.

So if Matthew Nichols was carrying out compensated lobbying activities on February 15 but his putative client wasn’t even conjured into existence until March 3, he’s going to have to disclose someone other than United DTLA. And what’s the chance that this other client will be anonymous? Very low, I’m guessing, since if the zillionaires already had an anonymous entity through which to hire lobbyists, why would they go and invent a new one a few weeks later? I suppose we’ll find out, although don’t hold breath, friends. The Ethics Commission moves slowly, but it certainly does move.

And another newly uncovered bit of information is that both Delgadillo and Nichols not only attended the March 22, 2017 meeting of City Council’s Rules and Elections Committee, but they both spoke. Although Nichols didn’t say much. His entire speech is quoted in the cartoon that decorates the beginning of this post. As a special bonus for reading this far, turn the page for images of the speaker cards filled out by these two dimwits and also actual audio recordings of their comments!
Continue reading Complaint Filed This Morning With City Ethics Commission About Liner Law’s Failure To Disclose So-Called United DTLA As Client. Also Matthew Nichols Appears To Have Lobbied Before Incorporation Of United DTLA, Possibly Requiring Disclosure Of Actual Human Clients As Well

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Mitch O’Farrell Endorses Upstart Hipster Bike Rider Joe Bray-Ali In Stunning Vindication Of MK.Org Prediction! Our Editorial Policy Is That Mitch O’Farrell Is Always Wrong!! Therefore We Endorse Gil Cedillo!!!

A few weeks ago we predicted that Mitch O’Farrell was endorsing Joe Bray-Ali for City Council in CD1 based on the fact that O’Farrell’s cowering toady scheduler Dave Cano had donated $125 to Bray-Ali in February.1 Well, today our prediction was vindicated beyond our wildest dreams by the fact that Mitch O’Farrell himself actually made his endorsement explicitly in the LA Times. 2 Our next prediction is that O’Farrell’s toadying staff, who’ve been taught by the charismatic but fecklessly idiotic leader of their cult that money equals love, will all start donating money to Joe Bray-Ali. Stay tuned here for details!
Continue reading Mitch O’Farrell Endorses Upstart Hipster Bike Rider Joe Bray-Ali In Stunning Vindication Of MK.Org Prediction! Our Editorial Policy Is That Mitch O’Farrell Is Always Wrong!! Therefore We Endorse Gil Cedillo!!!

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It Appears That East Hollywood BID Director Nicole Shahenian Lied To Los Angeles City Clerk Holly Wolcott About The Circumstances Of The Preparation Of The EHBID’s 2015 Annual Planning Report And, As Shahenian Was A Registered Lobbyist At The Time, Thereby Violated LAMC 48.04(B)

Nicole Shahenian, you got some splainin’ to do!
The background to this post is unavoidably technical and lengthy. If you’re already familiar with the Annual Planning Report process for BIDs as mandated by Streets and Highways Code §36650, you may want to skip directly to the report I submitted to the City Ethics Commission this morning.

One requirement that the Property and Business Improvement District Law places on BIDs, found at §36650, is the submission of annual planning reports (“APRs”) to the City Council:

The owners’ association shall cause to be prepared a report for each fiscal year, except the first year, for which assessments are to be levied and collected to pay the costs of the improvements, maintenance, and activities described in the report. … The report shall be filed with the clerk … The city council may approve the report as filed by the owners’ association or may modify any particular contained in the report and approve it as modified.

And it seems that the BID isn’t allowed to spend money on stuff that’s not discussed in the APR, so it’s not a trivial matter.

The way this piece of code plays out in Los Angeles is that, first, a BID director submits the APR to the Clerk along with a formulaic cover letter. For instance, here is the one submitted by Nicole Shahenian on December 30, 2014 to accompany the East Hollywood BID’s APR for 2015. This is essentially the same letter submitted by all BIDs:

Dear Ms. Wolcott:
As required by the Property and Business Improvement District Law of 1994, California Streets and Highways Code Section 36650, the Board of Directors of the East Hollywood Business Improvement District has caused this East Hollywood Business Improvement District Annual Planning Report to be prepared at its meeting of December 29, 2014.

And don’t forget that state law requires the City Council to adopt the report either with or without modifications. In Los Angeles this part of the process is initiated by the Clerk sending another form letter to City Council, recommending that they adopt the BID’s APR. It’s my impression that the Clerk doesn’t recommend modifications to the report at this stage. These seem to be handled by Miranda Paster before the APR is submitted to Council, as in this example involving the Media District BID. Anyway, take a look at Holly Wolcott’s January 14, 2015 recommendation to City Council with respect to the East Hollywood BID’s APR. Like every such document, this states:

The attached Annual Planning Report, which was approved by the District’s Board at their meeting on December 29, 2014, complies with the requirements of the State Law and reports that programs will continue, as outlined in the Management District Plan adopted by the District property owners.

And it goes on from there to recommend:

That the City Council:

  1. FIND that the attached Annual Planning Report for the East Hollywood Property Business Improvement District’s 2015 fiscal year complies with the requirements of the State Law.
  2. ADOPT the attached Annual Planning Report for the East Hollywood Property Business Improvement District’s 2015 fiscal year, pursuant to the State Law.


But there are a number of problems with this story. First, it appears that the East Hollywood BID Board of Directors did not actually meet on December 29, 2014. In fact, it appears that they did not meet at all in December 2014. Of course, it’s notoriously difficult to prove a negative, but I’m going to give it a go.
Continue reading It Appears That East Hollywood BID Director Nicole Shahenian Lied To Los Angeles City Clerk Holly Wolcott About The Circumstances Of The Preparation Of The EHBID’s 2015 Annual Planning Report And, As Shahenian Was A Registered Lobbyist At The Time, Thereby Violated LAMC 48.04(B)

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