Tag Archives: City of San Jose v. Superior Court

Interim Councilmember Greig Smith Has A Private Email Address — Conducts City Business Through It — citycouncilguy@yahoo.com — For Instance — Among Other Pretty Sleazy Things — Uses It To Communicate With Lobbyists At Englander Knabe & Allen — Founded By Harvey Englander — Uncle Of Smith’s Predecessor And Protege Mitch Englander — Like A Whole Trump Family Incestuous Secret Email Vibe Going On Out There In The Damn Valley Innit?!

With yesterday’s revelations that Betsy De Vos and seven other members of the Trump administration are being investigated by the House Oversight Committee for their illegal, unethical, appalling, and hypocritical use of private email addresses to conduct public business I thought it was a good time to catch you all up on the state of my investigation into private email use by our own local City Council folks, precisely none of whom are being investigated by anyone for this specific transgression.1

Previously I discovered and revealed that Mitch O’Farrell, David Ryu, and Gil Cedillo all have privately controlled email accounts through which they conduct City business. Jose Huizar also does this, but I didn’t break that story, the FBI did.2 And today, thanks to a huge set of emails I recently received from the ever-courtly Colin Sweeney, director of communications over at CD12, I can, for the first time of which I am aware, break the news that the name of Sweeney’s current boss, the infamous Greig Smith, belongs right smack on that list as well.

The email address in question is citycouncilguy@yahoo.com. The set linked to above only contained a few examples of Smith’s use of this email address to conduct City business, but then I only picked them up by accident. Thanks, as we know, to the monumental 2017 opinion in City of San Jose v. Superior Court, these emails are public records in themselves. Of course I have a request in already for the rest of them, but I imagine it could be a long process. Or maybe not, we’ll certainly see! Read on for links to the emails along with some commentary.
Continue reading Interim Councilmember Greig Smith Has A Private Email Address — Conducts City Business Through It — citycouncilguy@yahoo.com — For Instance — Among Other Pretty Sleazy Things — Uses It To Communicate With Lobbyists At Englander Knabe & Allen — Founded By Harvey Englander — Uncle Of Smith’s Predecessor And Protege Mitch Englander — Like A Whole Trump Family Incestuous Secret Email Vibe Going On Out There In The Damn Valley Innit?!

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Hollywood LAPD Captain-To-The-Freaking-Stars Cory Palka Uses A Personal Email Address For Official Department Business — cpalka@me.com — Here Are A Bunch Of Emails From That Account — How He Got A Blue Check For His Twitter — Police Protective League Collective Bargaining Demands — His Notes From A Workshop By Cop Cult Leader Dave Anderson — FBI Security Notes On 2018 Oscars — Which Comes With A Freaking “Intelligence Products Customer Satisfaction Survey” — I Swear I Am Not Making That Up — Notes On How To Spin Drop In Hollywood Hills Burglary Arrests — Blame Homeless Encampments Of Course — Oh! — And A Cory Palka Trivia Quiz! — Twenty-Two Pages Of It!

One of my long-running projects is identifying Los Angeles City officials who’re using private email accounts to conduct public business and, per the transcendentally monumental 2017 opinion in City of San Jose v. Superior Court, obtaining copies via the California Public Records Act. So far I’ve learned that Mitch O’Farrell does this, as do both David Ryu and Gil Cedillo as well. I also have some suggestive but not conclusory evidence that Eric Garcetti uses ericgarcetti@gmail.com for public business, and I am continuing to investigate.

And today I have another account to reveal, along with a set of emails. The account is cpalka@me.com, belonging to LAPD Hollywood Division Captain Cory Palka, famous for, among other things, following any number of white nationalists and Trumpistas with his blue-checked LAPD Twitter as well as sharing a warped racist sense of humor with a bunch of white supremacist BIDdies. You can browse and download the release on Archive.Org and read on for some selected gems!
Continue reading Hollywood LAPD Captain-To-The-Freaking-Stars Cory Palka Uses A Personal Email Address For Official Department Business — cpalka@me.com — Here Are A Bunch Of Emails From That Account — How He Got A Blue Check For His Twitter — Police Protective League Collective Bargaining Demands — His Notes From A Workshop By Cop Cult Leader Dave Anderson — FBI Security Notes On 2018 Oscars — Which Comes With A Freaking “Intelligence Products Customer Satisfaction Survey” — I Swear I Am Not Making That Up — Notes On How To Spin Drop In Hollywood Hills Burglary Arrests — Blame Homeless Encampments Of Course — Oh! — And A Cory Palka Trivia Quiz! — Twenty-Two Pages Of It!

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My California Public Records Act Lawsuit Against The Fashion District BID Is Now Fully Briefed In Anticipation Of The Trial — Which Will Take Place On Wednesday June 26, 2019 At 9:30 AM At The Stanley Mosk Courthouse Department 86 — Get Copies Of Everything Here — And Maybe I’ll See You There!

Recall that last August I was forced by the unhinged intransigence of the Fashion District BID to file a petition asking a judge to force them to comply with the California Public Records Act. Things are moving towards the end, and the trial will take place on Wednesday, June 26, 2019 at 9:30 AM at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse in Department 86 before Judge Mitchell Beckloff. It looks to be a barn burner, friends, because these BIDdies are really, really angry.

And the way these trials work is that sixty days before trial my lawyer, the incomparable Abenicio Cisneros, files a so-called opening brief, which lays out the case, only outlined in the initial petition, in full detail with all the evidence, argument, and citations to relevant cases. Then thirty days before the opposition files their reply brief, in full detail with all the obstructionist bullshit for which they’re famous. Finally, fifteen days before, we file a reply to the reply and that’s that.

All that briefing is done now, and below find links to everything. There’s a lot of it, and I’m not going to comment on any of it to avoid jinxes, but I will note that the Fashion District’s reply, written by one or both of Bradley & Gmelich galaxy-brains Barry Bradley and Carol Humiston, is an extraordinarily careless piece of work. They consistently misspell the names of cases they’re citing and in one especially egregious case they not only get the name of the case completely wrong, but they get the year wrong too.1

This would be inconsequential if the case weren’t central to everyone’s arguments in this trial and if it weren’t a key component of their argument that the case was decided after I made the requests at issue here. In fact the case was decided before the requests. It’s really unbelievable that seasoned putative professionals made this kind of error, but it seems that they did. Anyway, I hope to see you at the trial, and I’ll be happy to buy you lunch when it’s over if you want to hang out!
Continue reading My California Public Records Act Lawsuit Against The Fashion District BID Is Now Fully Briefed In Anticipation Of The Trial — Which Will Take Place On Wednesday June 26, 2019 At 9:30 AM At The Stanley Mosk Courthouse Department 86 — Get Copies Of Everything Here — And Maybe I’ll See You There!

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Gil Cedillo has a Private Email Account Through Which He Conducts City Business — And Our Friends At The Hollywood Sunshine Coalition Have Made A Request For The Emails! — Evidently CD1 Staff Believes There Is A CPRA Exemption Which Allows Them To Redact This Secret Email Address! — Pro-Tip — There Is Not

Man, it is top-secret Councilmember email address season in the City of Angels! We are in the midst of a veritable top-secret-email-address-a-palooza round here! First there were a bunch of politicians from somewhere east of San Bernardino, don’t exactly recall their names.1 And then there was Mitch O’Freaking Farrell, revealed by this very blog in a hard-hitting piece of hard-newsical investigative reportitude to be corresponding with all and sundry members of the 0.1% out of the public view using a Gmail account at mitchof13@gmail.com.2

And now, this very day, it’s my pleasure to reveal unto you that Gil Cedillo of CD1 is the second Councilmember that we know of using a secret Gmail address to conduct City business. This was discovered by accident, lurking in this email chain between famous Los Angeles artist Frank Romero, who CD1 has evidently hired to paint a mural in Highland Park, probably as an attempt to resolve their unbearable shame and guilt.3

The content of the emails is interesting. It seems that as part of the mural project Frank Romero rented a studio from Lincoln Heights supervillain Eric Ortiz, big-time Lincoln Heights storage honcho and, probably not coincidentally, vice president of the Lincoln Heights Industrial Zone BID. Then Eric Ortiz cheated Frank Romero somehow, which is only to be expected cause how does anyone think zillionaires get to be zillionaires, anyway?4 And then Frank Romero, who signs his emails “yours in the struggle,” asked Gil Cedillo to intercede.

We don’t know the end of the story, and we may never know the end of the story, but for our purposes, the real story is that Frank Romero sent his emails to Gil at gilcedillo45@gmail.com, which is the newly discovered secret email address! And then Gil Cedillo forwarded Frank Romero’s emails to his chief of staff at debby.kim@lacity.org for her to deal with, which proves that it’s City business being conducted. As you’re no doubt aware, in California it’s the content and purpose of emails that makes them public records rather than who owns the account. Thus these emails are public records.

And interestingly, Gil Cedillo’s staff redacted some instances of this newly-found secret email address but, fortunately, not all of them. This is discussed, with pictures, after the break. Also, our good friends at the Hollywood Sunshine Coalition, who are pushing hard on CD13 for copies of Mitch O’Farrell’s secret emails, have made a request to CD1 for these other secret emails. There is also a transcription of that after the break.
Continue reading Gil Cedillo has a Private Email Account Through Which He Conducts City Business — And Our Friends At The Hollywood Sunshine Coalition Have Made A Request For The Emails! — Evidently CD1 Staff Believes There Is A CPRA Exemption Which Allows Them To Redact This Secret Email Address! — Pro-Tip — There Is Not

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Mitch O’Farrell Has A Private Gmail Account Through Which He Conducts City Business — And His Chief Of Staff, Jeanne Min, Refuses To Release All Emails From This Account — Insists That There Is More Public Interest In Withholding Them — But No One Actually Believes That — Probably Not Even Her

In the last few years a number of public officials have been criticized extensively1 for using privately controlled email accounts to conduct public business. Hillary Clinton was famously investigated by the FBI for this. And just yesterday it was revealed that Ivanka Trump has done the same thing. Thus we were fascinated to learn recently that CD13’s own Mitch O’Farrell also uses a privately owned Gmail account, mitchof13@gmail.com, to conduct City business and, doubtless, to evade scrutiny.

This was discovered recently by our friends at the Hollywood Sunshine Coalition, who passed us the material on which this post is based. And this revelation settles a big mystery. As you know, I personally have obtained many thousands of pages of emails from CD13 on any number of subjects, and there are never any at all from O’Farrell himself. Previously I had thought that either Dan Halden, who handled most of my requests, was purposely omitting emails from his boss or else that O’Farrell was communicating in ways that didn’t leave traces, like phone calls. Now it seems likely that he has been evading scrutiny by using this secret email address.

The HSC has been making public records act requests for emails from this account. There are two ways to approach this. The first, and so far the only successful, way is to find correspondents who are subject to the CPRA and ask them for emails involving O’Farrell’s secret email address. This led to request number 18-2976 on the City’s newish CPRA platform, which is called Nextrequest.2 For some reason the City has made the request page available for public view but not the records provided. They turned over 21 highly duplicative PDF pages of emails between O’Farrell and various officers and, interestingly, some members of the Hollywood Studio District Neighborhood Council. You can read these 21 pages here. Apparently the HSC has other such requests pending.

But the HSC’s other strategy has turned to be much more interesting, even though it hasn’t gotten them any actual records yet. It’s based on last year’s absolutely monumental California Supreme Court opinion in City of San Jose v. Superior Court, which found that the emails and text messages of public officials are subject to the CPRA even if they are held in private accounts.

Based on this principle, on November 7 the HSC sent this CPRA request to CD13, asking for all emails held in the account from July 1, 2013 through the present.3 And yesterday, probably unsurprisingly, O’Farrell’s chief of staff, Jeanne Min, replied with the usual mush-mouthed nonsense, the TL;DR of which is “fuck you no records.” The HSC responded pretty scathingly, and then responded again for good measure. They’ve promised to keep me in the loop with respect to further developments. After the break you can find transcriptions of most of these emails along with some technical discussion of the CPRA issues implicated.

Meanwhile I’m told by those who ought to know that the HSC will not drop this request and that they are prepared to litigate if necessary. We’ll see what happens, I guess. Whatever happens, it’s clear that the public interest is very much against allowing Mitch O’Farrell to get away with maintaining this secret side channel for communicating with his favored few and with secreting emails away from public scrutiny and the City’s record retention policies.
Continue reading Mitch O’Farrell Has A Private Gmail Account Through Which He Conducts City Business — And His Chief Of Staff, Jeanne Min, Refuses To Release All Emails From This Account — Insists That There Is More Public Interest In Withholding Them — But No One Actually Believes That — Probably Not Even Her

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