Tag Archives: City of Los Angeles

A Recent Contribution By Blair Besten To The Downtown Homelessness Discourse Briefly Reviewed Along With A Less Brief Discussion Of Why The Review Is So Brief

A recently discovered Roy Lichtenstein portrait of Blair Besten, Executive Directrix of the Historic Core BID and newly confirmed member of some nonsensical City Council sinecure funded by the homeless-industrial complex. It’s not discussed in this post, but one of Blair Besten’s favorite reasons for ignoring the statutory requirements of CPRA is that she’s just too freaking busy to deal with it.
When I set out to write this blog, I never imagined that the actual mechanics of the California Public Records Act would become such a big topic. However, it has indeed turned out that way, and for a number of reasons. Mostly it’s because I got really interested in the way the law works as well as in the benefits it provides. It turns out, also, that a lot of people read this blog because they’re interested in CPRA as a thing-in-itself. And finally, it turns out that my victims the objects of my attention, both BIDs and City, have become a whole lot more stubborn about handing over the goods, which leaves me to fill what might otherwise be holes in my publishing schedule due to sporadic document-production gaps by discussing their stubbornness.1
Blair Besten seems to have had some trouble understanding the law…

Anyway, somehow or another I learned of a workshop that BID-buddy Blair Besten‘s BID, the Historic Core BID, once co-sponsored with a bunch of LAPD and County DMH flunkies about craziness amongst the homeless downtown.2 So I asked Blair Besten to send me the goodies, and some time later, she sent me this set of 16 pages of emails. It turns out to mostly not be that interesting, although Blair Besten’s idea of what ought to be redacted is pretty cracked. For instance, you can see in the image that she redacted some guy’s whole name and then didn’t redact his first name in the very next paragraph. Is her hiding the fact that some guy named Andrew emailed her so much in the public interest that it’s obviously exempt? If so, why didn’t she cross out the very next instance of it?

And, as you can see, for whatever reason, Blair Besten has made a dedicated pseudonymous email address for responding to CPRA requests. It’s publicrecords@historiccore.bid, and she and her flunky Paola Flores use it interchangeably.3 This turn to pseudonymity seems to be a common instinct amongst those feeling hassled by their duties under CPRA. South Park has done it, the HPOA has done it, CD4 did it, and even the City of Los Angeles has flirted with the idea. It’s important for the sake of maximizing interhuman communicativity to identify one’s correspondents and converse with them under their actual names. Fortunately for the sake of meeting this goal, CPRA actually forbids anonymity under some circumstances. Take a look at §6253(d), which states in pertinent part:4
Continue reading A Recent Contribution By Blair Besten To The Downtown Homelessness Discourse Briefly Reviewed Along With A Less Brief Discussion Of Why The Review Is So Brief

Save Valley Village Vote-Trading Lawsuit Against LA City Council Dismissed With Prejudice Despite (Or Perhaps Because Of) Entirely Truthful Yet Delightfully Unhinged Pleading Filed By The Good Guys

Morning in Valley Village in 2007.
In September, local activist group Save Valley Village filed suit against the City of Los Angeles and the City Council alleging in their petition that

The Councilmembers of the Los Angeles City Council operate according to an agreement, i.e. The Vote Trading Pact, not to Vote No on any Council Project in another council district and said agreement by its very terms requires reciprocality, also called mutuality, whereby the agreement not to Vote No by one Councilmember is given in exchange for the other Councilmember’s not to vote No on a Council Project in his/her council district.

In October the City filed a demurrer,1 and then in the last couple weeks there have been a number of documents filed, leading up to the Court’s dismissing the case with prejudice.2 It’s a pity in one sense, because this is precisely one of the ways in which the City Council is corrupt. It ought to be against the law, and if the Court is correct in its ruling that there presently are no laws which it’s against, then such a law needs to be written. That it should be written is self evident. How to write it, how to enact it, these are not such easy questions to answer. Turn the page for links to all the recent filings, including the judge’s detailed ruling on why he dismissed the case as well as excerpts from the tragically, beautifully loony and also fairly convincing petitioners’ memorandum in opposition to demurrer.3
Continue reading Save Valley Village Vote-Trading Lawsuit Against LA City Council Dismissed With Prejudice Despite (Or Perhaps Because Of) Entirely Truthful Yet Delightfully Unhinged Pleading Filed By The Good Guys

Venice Residents File Suit Against City of L.A. Over Venice Beach BID!! Arguments Underlying Petition Will Have Broad Progressive Implications If Successful

There’s no place on earth like Venice, so why shouldn’t the destruction of BIDs in California begin in Venice?
A couple weeks ago, a group of brave and determined residents of Venice filed a writ petition against the City of Los Angeles and the Venice Beach BID asking the court to set aside the ordinance that created it, to force the City to redraw the BID’s boundaries in accordance with the law, and, most interestingly, to order the City to contest the assessments levied against City-owned properties in the BID. You can read a copy of the initial petition:

  • Here — direct download
  • Or here — on the new dedicated page, also available through the menu structure above.
  • Or here — directly from static storage; see the titles better!

They argue that their residential properties will get no special benefits from the BID, which violates the California Constitution. They argue that many of the proposed activities of the BID, specifically the security program, are inherently incapable of providing special benefits. And most interestingly from the point of view of general anti-BID theory, they argue that the City has a duty to its citizens to scrutinize the BID plan to be sure that City-owned parcels included in the BID actually benefit from being in the BID, and that by rubber-stamping the BID proposal, the City has abdicated this duty. If this argument succeeds it will shake the very foundations of BIDs in Los Angeles, which rely to various extents on the automatic yes votes provided by City-owned property. This automatic approval, by the way, was set up in 19981 via Council File 96-1972 which, in pertinent part, includes a directive to:

REQUIRE the City Clerk to sign off on Proposition 218 ballots and support petitions for property-based BIDs, unless the Council directs otherwise.

Anyway, this is an exciting and welcome development, and all of us here at MK.Org thank the plaintiffs and their lawyers for filing this petition. There are a few excerpts that caught my eye along with my usual uninformed and amateur commentaries after the break if you’re interested.
Continue reading Venice Residents File Suit Against City of L.A. Over Venice Beach BID!! Arguments Underlying Petition Will Have Broad Progressive Implications If Successful

Evidently a Settlement Has Been Finalized in LA Catholic Worker, LA CAN v. City of LA, Central City East Association

According to a document filed mere moments ago with the court, all parties to LA Catholic Worker and LA CAN v. City of LA, CCEA have agreed on a settlement. The terms of the settlement have not yet been announced, but they will be going to the LA City Council for approval “in the near future.” If you’re PDF-averse you can read salient selections after the break.
Continue reading Evidently a Settlement Has Been Finalized in LA Catholic Worker, LA CAN v. City of LA, Central City East Association

Defendant City of Los Angeles Files Motion To Dismiss Street Vending Lawsuit, Motion To Strike Putatively Irrelevant Material, Gratuitously Compares Street Vendors To Human Traffickers And Drug Dealers; Hearing Scheduled For November 21 At 1:30 P.M.

An image from a recent journey to the Fashion District, unrelated to anything discussed in this post or, for that matter, on this blog.
An image from a recent journey to the Fashion District, unrelated to anything discussed in this post or, for that matter, on this blog.
Recall that last week we learned that settlement talks in the Street Vendors lawsuit seemed to have fallen through, that the plaintiffs filed an amended complaint, and that the City of LA denies everything.1 Well, today a couple more items2 hit PACER, which are:

The motion to dismiss isn’t that different from the motion to dismiss that the City filed in May but then withdrew a few days later. It doesn’t seem plausible,3 and you can read it for yourself. The motion to strike is more interesting, and you can read about it after the break.
Continue reading Defendant City of Los Angeles Files Motion To Dismiss Street Vending Lawsuit, Motion To Strike Putatively Irrelevant Material, Gratuitously Compares Street Vendors To Human Traffickers And Drug Dealers; Hearing Scheduled For November 21 At 1:30 P.M.

Street Vending Lawsuit Settlement Talks Seem To Have Failed, Trial Seems To Be Gonna Happen, Fashion District BID Files Response To Complaint Consisting Of All Syntax, No Semantics

California-centralWhen last I wrote about the street vending lawsuit against the Fashion District BID and the City of Los Angeles, the parties were getting extension after extension based on their mutual representations that settlement talks were proceeding apace. Well, that’s all over with. In fact, at this point I feel like my amateurism has led me down the with-good-intentions-paved garden path like the cat i’ th’ adage and actually no one ever really thought anyone was going to settle, but this is just some ceremony that’s habitually performed for the first year of a federal lawsuit, and now that they have it over with they’re going to get down to tacky brass knuckles. I have no idea, but I do know that recently the following items have been filed on PACER:
Continue reading Street Vending Lawsuit Settlement Talks Seem To Have Failed, Trial Seems To Be Gonna Happen, Fashion District BID Files Response To Complaint Consisting Of All Syntax, No Semantics

City of Los Angeles Will Not (At This Time, Anyway) Oppose Class Action Certification in Chua v. City of LA

California-centralSee this article from the LA Times and our previous posts on the subject for the background to this post. All of the filings can be found here.

Last month the plaintiffs in Chua v. City of Los Angeles filed a ton of material asking for the case to be certified as a class action. Today the defendant, the City of Los Angeles, filed a notice of non-opposition to that request. They’re doing it for the most altruistic reasons ever:

…in order to conserve party and Court resources, Defendants hereby state that they do not oppose Plaintiffs’ Motion for Class Certification … at this time.

And what have they given up through their kind-hearted and selfless concern for the resources of the court? Well, pretty much nothing:

Since discovery has not yet commenced, Defendants reserve the right to seek decertification of the classes certified (in whole or in part) should discovery reveal that certification is not appropriate.

Obviously these are bog-standard opening moves in a federal class action suit, but they strike me1 as amusing, so I’m sharing with you, lucky reader!
Continue reading City of Los Angeles Will Not (At This Time, Anyway) Oppose Class Action Certification in Chua v. City of LA

Venice Beach BID Proponents Carl Lambert and Andy Layman Are Being Sued by City of LA For AirBnB Shenanigans, We Have Copies of The Complaints!

WWJMD?
WWJMD?
It’s well-known that two of the major proponents behind the nascent Venice Beach BID, Carl Lambert and Andy Layman, are being sued by the City of Los Angeles for illegal AirBnB activities. You can see the pro-BID petitions submitted by these two dimwits here: Lambert 1Lambert 2Layman 1. By the way, if you haven’t seen them yet, the full set of pro-BID petitions is also available.

Anyway, I wasn’t able to find copies of the complaints online, and the Superior Court charges one dollar per page for PDFs, which is not within our budgetary constraints. But fortunately, the ever-helpful Mike Dundas came charging over the metaphorical hill like the metaphorical cavalry this morning and sent me copies, which I’m now making available to you:

Note that Feuer’s office filed two other complaints against illegal AirBnBers, but as they’re not BID-related, I’m not discussing them here. However, I did publish all of them on the Archive. These make interesting reading, chock-full of accusatory goodness, and are worth your time. You can read them yourself, and there are some excerpts after the break.
Continue reading Venice Beach BID Proponents Carl Lambert and Andy Layman Are Being Sued by City of LA For AirBnB Shenanigans, We Have Copies of The Complaints!

Sixth Time’s a Charm: Judge O’Connell Yet Again Extends Deadline for City of LA, Fashion District BID to Respond to Initial Complaint in Street Vending Lawsuit

California-centralJust a brief note here to memorialize the fact that last week the parties to the street vending lawsuit brought against the Fashion District BID and the City of Los Angeles jointly requested that Judge O’Connell give the defendants more time to respond to the initial complaint. Today Judge O’Connell issued an order granting the request. The new deadline for the defendants’ response is September 12, 2016. As with the five previous extensions, the reason given is that settlement talks are still proceeding fruitfully. So that happened.

Plaintiffs File Opposition to City’s Motion to Dismiss, Include Certified Copy of Deed for Venice Boardwalk Proving that Abbott Kinney Gave it for Use as a Public Sidewalk and No Other Purpose

LAPD Bike officers on the Venice Boardwalk creating a chilling effect in the warm California sunshine.
LAPD Bike officers on the Venice Boardwalk creating a chilling effect in the warm California sunshine.
See this earlier post for some brief background on this case and this collection of pleadings in the case.

Late last night the plaintiffs filed a searing opposition to last month’s defendants motion to dismiss. Part of the plaintiffs’ argument relies on the fact that the Boardwalk is actually a public sidewalk, and in support of that argument they also filed a request for judicial notice that included a certified copy of the deed by means of which Abbott Kinney gave the boardwalk to the City (of Ocean Park; Los Angeles didn’t get it until 1926). To understand the issues it may be useful to look at the text of LAMC §42.15.

The issue is whether or not the Boardwalk is a public forum. If it is, the First Amendment places a very, very high barrier before the City’s attempt to regulate speech there at all. Sidewalks, as opposed to City-sponsored Disneylandesque bullshit tourist-trap money magnets, are quintessential public forums,1 and this is the heart of the argument:2

The Venice Boardwalk is a traditional public forum long recognized by the City as perhaps the most prominent free speech area in the City. Although called a “boardwalk,” this pedestrian passageway is a public sidewalk, deeded to the City as a sidewalk in perpetuity in 1906. See Plaintiffs’ Request for Judicial Notice and Exhibit 1.

Public sidewalks “occupy a ‘special position in terms of First Amendment protection’ because of their historic role as sites for discussion and debate[.]” They are the locations where people encounter speech they “might otherwise tune out.” “From time immemorial,” public sidewalks have been locations where “normal conversation and leafleting” have occurred as part of the First Amendment’s guarantee of “sharing ideas.” Indeed, public sidewalks are, perhaps, the most important traditional public forum because of their availability at any time at no cost.

It’s worth reading the whole response, and some selections that caught my eye appear after the break.
Continue reading Plaintiffs File Opposition to City’s Motion to Dismiss, Include Certified Copy of Deed for Venice Boardwalk Proving that Abbott Kinney Gave it for Use as a Public Sidewalk and No Other Purpose