Tag Archives: CPRA 6253.9

Here Are Copies Of Many Of The Pleadings Filed With The California Supreme Court In The Monumentally Important California Public Records Act Case National Lawyers Guild V. City Of Hayward — It’s Extraordinarily Difficult To Get Copies Of Appellate Pleadings In California But I Found A Way To Do It — Which Is Also Explained Here If You’re Interested

The California Public Records Act generally mandates that every person has a right to take a look at any public record at no cost. Agencies are explicitly not allowed to charge requesters for the time it takes to search for records, organize them for inspection, or review and redact them for exempt information. The one major exception to this has to do with records stored in computers that require programming to extract information responsive to a request.1

For instance, in Los Angeles, the City Attorney maintains an SQL database of all its prosecutions. The database itself evidently contains too much data for it to be practicable for humans to review the whole thing for exemptions and produce it in its entirety. But the contents are inarguably public records, so to get access to them it’s necessary to run a query against the database. This must be written in SQL and the law allows the agency to charge the requester for the time it takes to write and run the query.

Although I do not particularly like this section of the law I can see the need for something like it. The CPRA does not in general require agencies to create new records in response to requests but in this case it has to or the public would be denied access to information in databases that were too big to review, among other records and it’s at least possible to argue that someone needs to pay for the construction of these new records. This process, by the way, is known as “extraction” in CPRA circles.

So in 2015 the National Lawyers Guild San Francisco Chapter asked the City of Hayward for access to some cop videos and the City said not only did they have to redact the videos but that video redaction required special software and thus it constituted extraction and could therefore be billed to the requester. The cost was in the thousands of dollars, which the NLG paid under protest and then filed a petition asking for a refund on the theory that the charge was illegal under the law because redaction is not extraction.

The NLG won in Superior Court, the City appealed the ruling and won in Appellate Court, and the case is now before the California Supreme Court. The case is now fully briefed and we’re just waiting for oral arguments to be scheduled. You can sign up for notifications at this link, but unlike many courts, it seems that the California Supreme Court does not publish copies of pleadings filed with it until after the Court rules on a case.

Which has been driving me absolutely crazy because this case is so important and reporters, even good ones,2 consistently get the facts wrong when writing about legal matters. There is no substitute for reading the primary sources. I’ve been reduced to writing begging emails to various lawyers pleading for PDFs. And occasionally they give them to me and I write about them.3

But on Thursday I made a huge breakthrough! I was downtown for various reasons and stopped in at the County Law Library to read cases on Westlaw and I learned that they collect appellate pleadings on their site, including ones from the California Supreme Court. I looked and they did in fact have PDFs of everything filed in this monumental case! And I could read it at the Law Library computer.

Now, generally Westlaw is very good about giving copies things to users. Like past published decisions are no problem, just click a button and put in your email address and it will send you a PDF of any published opinion. So I selected all these and hit the button and told it to email and …. got a damn error message saying that these PDFs were restricted and could only be printed on paper.

Which isn’t acceptable for any number of reasons, not least because there are hundreds of pages involved and it costs money to print on paper. This is not to mention the fact that it destroys the OCR and redoing the OCR invariably introduces errors. It’s horrible. But I fooled around some more and it turns out that when viewing the PDF on the library computer it’s possible to save a local copy.

Then, because the library is kind enough to provide access to a full-featured browser, it’s possible to upload the saved PDFs to a cloud service or something similar, and get copies that way. Or log into an email account and mail them to oneself as attachments So I did something like that, and got 18 new files, and published them all on Archive.Org for you right here! And also here is a list of the whole collection with links and brief descriptions.
Continue reading Here Are Copies Of Many Of The Pleadings Filed With The California Supreme Court In The Monumentally Important California Public Records Act Case National Lawyers Guild V. City Of Hayward — It’s Extraordinarily Difficult To Get Copies Of Appellate Pleadings In California But I Found A Way To Do It — Which Is Also Explained Here If You’re Interested

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A Coalition Of Poverty-Focused Community-Driven Advocacy And Legal Aid Organizations Filed An Amicus Brief With The California Supreme Court Asking That They Review The Abominable Court Of Appeals Opinion In National Lawyers Guild V. City Of Hayward — Which Held That Agencies Can Charge For Time Spent Redacting Electronic Records — Now Being Used By The LAPD To Functionally Deny Everyone Access To Emails — This Was In November 2018 But I Just Recently Got A Copy — The Supremes Did Agree To Hear It — And I Also Have A Copy Of The Stunning Opening Brief

Don’t know if you’re aware, but in September 2018 the California Court of Appeal held that local agencies could charge CPRA requesters for staff time for redacting electronic records. In particular, the City of Hayward charged the National Lawyers Guild more than $3,000 to redact some parts of bodycam videos. It’s well-established for paper records that agencies must allow inspection at no cost and if copies are requested, can charge only the direct cost of copying.

The Court of Appeals based its opinion on the CPRA’s much-abused §6253.9(b)(2) which states that an agency can charge a requester for the bare privilege of inspecting a record under a small set of very specific circumstances:

… the requester shall bear the cost of producing a copy of the record, including the cost to construct a record, and the cost of programming and computer services necessary to produce a copy of the record when … [t]he request would require data compilation, extraction, or programming to produce the record.

The court’s reasoning was that redaction of a video constitutes extraction required to produce the record. Sane people can see, however, that the video already exists. Nothing is required to produce it. This section is talking about e.g. running queries against databases, where the requester only wants certain information and the results of the query constitute a new record that “would require data compilation, extraction, or programming to produce.”

And as you can imagine, after this opinion was published, obstructionist anti-CPRA lawyers all over the state started drooling on their pillows in glee. For instance, Carol Humiston, the soon-to-be-disbarred Rasputinian ear-whisperer to transparency-averse business improvement districts all over Los Angeles, advised her clients on the basis of this decision to assert that if I wanted to see any more of their damn emails I would have to pay for them to buy Adobe Pro so that they could redact them.

She backed off on this outlandish claim after I pointed out repeatedly that emails weren’t found in the wild as PDFs so that there was no case to be made for purchasing an expensive PDF editor to do a job that the built-in text editors that come with every computer operating system could do better. However, the LAPD also glommed onto this case, and the City Attorney’s office began theorizing madly, and now if you submit a request to LAPD for emails through NextRequest you’re met with an aggressive notice warning you that you’re going to pay and pay and pay unless you withdraw your request right now, and the notice explicitly cites the case.

So yeah, this opinion sucks and sucks big time, and it doesn’t just suck in theory, it’s actively sucking in practice even now as I write these very words. But at least it was appealed to the California Supreme Court. And at least the Supreme Court agreed to hear it. And papers have been filed, but it turns out to be really hard to get pleadings out of the Supreme Court.

But recently I was lucky enough to obtain a couple of interesting items. Here’s an amicus letter from a coalition of public interest law firms and activist organizations explaining the harm that the decision is doing. And here’s the opening brief, which explains in well-reasoned and exceedinly convincing terms why the Court should reverse this extraordinarily bad appellate decision. Both are fabulously worth reading, and there’s a transcription of the amicus letter after the break.
Continue reading A Coalition Of Poverty-Focused Community-Driven Advocacy And Legal Aid Organizations Filed An Amicus Brief With The California Supreme Court Asking That They Review The Abominable Court Of Appeals Opinion In National Lawyers Guild V. City Of Hayward — Which Held That Agencies Can Charge For Time Spent Redacting Electronic Records — Now Being Used By The LAPD To Functionally Deny Everyone Access To Emails — This Was In November 2018 But I Just Recently Got A Copy — The Supremes Did Agree To Hear It — And I Also Have A Copy Of The Stunning Opening Brief

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Carol Humiston — The World’s Angriest CPRA Lawyer — Counseled The South Park BID To Thwart My CPRA Requests By Violating The Law — And It Is Against The Rules Of The California State Bar For An Attorney To Counsel A Client To Violate The Law — Which Is Why I Filed A Complaint Against Her Yesterday — And Maybe She’ll Get Disbarred — Which Would Be Pretty Appropriate In The Circumstances — Ironically I Only Have Evidence Of This Because The SPBID Was Honest Enough To Release It To Me In Response To A CPRA Request — But As Honest As That Might Be — Doesn’t Make Up For The Fact That SPBID Executive Directrix Ellen Riotto Enthusiastically Adopted Humiston’s Illegal Advice!

Carol Humiston, the world’s angriest CPRA lawyer, advises a bunch of L.A. business improvement districts on how to thwart my CPRA requests. She even held a seminar about me last summer for random BIDs that weren’t even her client to teach them her angry CPRA-thwarting methods. And, you know, I don’t like her methods, and I don’t like her clients, and I don’t like her. But I do like the fact that all people, even Satan-worshipping BIDdies who see violence against homeless people as a sacrament and guns as a masturbation aid, have a right to advice from counsel on how to further their goals within the bounds imposed by the law.

That last clause is essential, though. We do not want lawyers running around telling people that they ought to break the law and then using their special lawyerly powers to show them how to break it more effectively. In return for the powers granted to lawyers by society, they’re required to follow some minimal set of rules. And one of those rules is Rule 1.2.1, which states unequivocally that:

A lawyer shall not counsel a client to engage, or assist a client in conduct that the lawyer knows is criminal, fraudulent, or a violation of any law, rule, or ruling of a tribunal.

But some emails, ironically obtained from the South Park BID in response to a CPRA request, prove that that’s precisely what Carol Humiston has done. She explicitly counseled the South Park BIDdies to engage in conduct that she knew was a violation of the CPRA. And that, friends, is why, just yesterday afternoon, I filed this complaint against her with the California State Bar. You can read the painful details after the break, both of her advice and the sections of the CPRA she advised the South Park BID to violate, including copies of the actual emails in which she gave the advice.
Continue reading Carol Humiston — The World’s Angriest CPRA Lawyer — Counseled The South Park BID To Thwart My CPRA Requests By Violating The Law — And It Is Against The Rules Of The California State Bar For An Attorney To Counsel A Client To Violate The Law — Which Is Why I Filed A Complaint Against Her Yesterday — And Maybe She’ll Get Disbarred — Which Would Be Pretty Appropriate In The Circumstances — Ironically I Only Have Evidence Of This Because The SPBID Was Honest Enough To Release It To Me In Response To A CPRA Request — But As Honest As That Might Be — Doesn’t Make Up For The Fact That SPBID Executive Directrix Ellen Riotto Enthusiastically Adopted Humiston’s Illegal Advice!

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Some Eric Garcetti Staffers And The Venice Chamber Of Commerce Held A Private Meeting At The Hotel Erwin On March 1, 2019 — Which We Learned About From A Characteristically Whiny Privileged And Entitled Nextdoor Post By Gun-Toting Homeless Hating Ben And Jerry’s Franchise Owning Angry White Dude Klaus Moeller — We Now Have The List Of Attendees! — With Email Addresses! — And The List Of Speakers!

On March 1, 2019 Klaus Moeller, the extraordinarily whiny, privileged, and entitled owner of the extraordinarily anti-human Ben and Jerry’s franchise on the Boardwalk, posted some not-so-extraordinarily whiny, privileged, and entitled nonsense on the extraordinarily anti-human white supremacist bulletin board Nextdoor.Com.

And there among the assorted delusional rants about how the entire government of the City of Los Angeles is conspiring against the poor beleaguered zillionaires of Venice to prevent them from opening even more cute restaurants so that there will be more space for homeless people1 was an actual important piece of information. According to El Moeller, his “daughter just came back from a small round table meeting with 20 people at the Erwin Hotel. The meeting was called for by the Mayor’s office and the Venice Chamber of Commerce.”

So this is news, right? The Mayor’s office is holding top secret invite-only meetings with Venice zillionaires in the white supremacist paradise known as the Hotel Erwin! And other people were interested in the story besides me! And someone fired off a CPRA request to David Harrison, who seems to be one of the Mayor’s lawyers.2 And wow! Just yesterday the Office of the Mayor sent over 8 pages of emails explaining what happened, and containing a really unexpected gift!

What it was was a “business summit” organized by the Venice Chamber of Commerce in the person of Chamber CEO Donna Lasman. And what was it meant to be about? Well, here’s what Lasman said to Garcetti staffers Robert Park and Ami Fields-Meyer about it:

I am pleased to inform you that we have secured a location for our business summit on Friday, 3/01. The event will be at Hotel Erwin – 1697 Pacific Avenue = and will be organized into 2 sessions. The first session will be located in Larry’s Loft from 9:00 am – 1030 am and will consist of your presentation.

We have sent invitations to approximately 50 business leaders in the community from diverse business sectors and representing the various areas in Venice – Abbot Kinney, Lincoln Blvd., Ocean Front Walk, Rose Avenue and Washington Square. We expect approximately 30 people to attend.

As we discussed during our meeting, we are interested in hearing an assessment on the current business climate and trends for the Westside community, issues and initiatives that the Mayor’s office is working on, and how business leaders in Venice can partner with the Mayor’s office to work on issues that support a thriving economy in Venice.

Carol/George – please chime if there is more that you want to add.3

The second session from 10:30 am to 12:00 pm will be a focus group/planning session with about 15 stakeholders. Our goal for this segment is to identify priorities for our business community and create actionable items for mobilizing our business community. Though there is no need for you to stay, you are of course welcome to join

And another interesting fact revealed in these emails is the list of speakers. Here they are:

• Robert Park, Community Business Manager for Mayor Eric Garcetti

• Ami Fields-Meyer, West Area Representative for Mayor Eric Garcetti

• Bhavna Sivanand, Executive Director of lmpact@Anderson, UCLA Anderson School of Management

• Dion Wiltshire, Business Services Supervisor, West LA WorkSource

• Patti MacJennett, Senior Vice President for Business Affairs, Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board

But the real gem was this spreadsheet, which contains the RSVP list for the event, along with email addresses! The people listed here may not be the ones that ruined Venice in the first place, but they’re the ones who are keeping it ruined and ruining it even more! This is extraordinarily useful information! And there’s an auto-generated HTML version of the spreadsheet after the break. And also there’s the pretty interesting and enlightening full story of how I got the spreadsheet via the CPRA request, which you should definitely read if you’re interested in CPRA pragmatics!
Continue reading Some Eric Garcetti Staffers And The Venice Chamber Of Commerce Held A Private Meeting At The Hotel Erwin On March 1, 2019 — Which We Learned About From A Characteristically Whiny Privileged And Entitled Nextdoor Post By Gun-Toting Homeless Hating Ben And Jerry’s Franchise Owning Angry White Dude Klaus Moeller — We Now Have The List Of Attendees! — With Email Addresses! — And The List Of Speakers!

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Annals Of Public Records Act Bullying Tactics — Brooke Rios Of New Los Angeles Charter Schools Tries An Old Dodge — Sadly Commonplace Among CPRA Obstructionists — “Your Records Are Ready And You Can See Them As Soon As You Give Us $90” — But Then Backs Off In Less Than Two Hours After Being Told That The Law Requires Inspection For Free — Sadly, The Only Unusual Thing About This Episode Is The Short Time Frame

What with the recent unrest in the teacher/labor community which, as you know, led to a historic victory which, for the first time ever, led to the school board recommending a cap on charter schools in Los Angeles, well, and what with Xavier Becerra, the attorney general of California, just recently issuing a historic opinion stating definitively that charter schools are subject to both the Brown Act and the Public Records Act, yes, what with all that, I thought it might be interesting to hit up a few of these zillionaire-beloved trojan horses with some requests for information.1

And one of the ones I hit up in the first round was the New Los Angeles Charter Schools. You can read my request here, sent to NLA boss Brooke Rios, seeking information contained in emails about discussions their administration had about the UTLA strike.2 And roughly within the statutory time-frame, I received a response letter from Rios quoting a bunch of aggro copypasta lawyerese, citing the attorney/client privilege exemption, and informing me that they had 363 pages of responsive material and that I had to pony up $90.75 if I wanted to see the goods.3

Now, that’s $0.25 per page that she was proposing to charge me for copies. The CPRA at §6253(b) allows agencies to charge “fees covering direct costs of duplication,” which it’s doubtful that $0.25 is given that most copy machines cost about $0.02 per page and even FedEx Office only charges $0.13 per page, and they’re making a profit from that. I’m told by those who have reason to know, though, that this is essentially an unwinnable argument in court,4 given that, e.g., the Los Angeles County Superior Court charges about $1 per page for freaking PDFs, and those are the same judges one would be asking to declare $0.25 excessive.

Another problem with Rios’s problematic proposal is that emails are electronic documents. The CPRA at §6253.9(a) requires agencies to provide copies of electronic documents in electronic formats, whereas Rios has obviously printed these emails out on paper and wants to require me to accept and pay for paper copies. Of course, the “direct cost” of making copies of electronic files is $0.00, so her insistence on charging $0.25 for paper copies is a violation of that section as well.

But the real kicker is that the CPRA does not allow agencies to charge for access to records. They’re only allowed to charge for copies of records. This is codified in the CPRA at §6253(a), which states in pertinent part that “[p]ublic records are open to inspection at all times during the office hours of the state or local agency and every person has a right to inspect any public record, except as hereafter provided.” Nothing in the law says they can charge, and so they can’t charge. By insisting that I pay $90.75 before getting access to these records Rios was poised to violate this requirement of the law.

And sadly Rios isn’t the only public official in the world to think of this bushwa means of CPRA obstructionism. It’s commonplace, and it’s essential to push back on it whenever it’s encountered. Thus did I send Rios a response outlining these facts and offering her the choice of providing me with electronic copies for free or letting me come in and scan the records myself with my scanner.5 And although many public agencies take the untenable stance that they can charge exorbitant fees for access to records, not many back down as quickly as Brooke Rios did. It took her less than two hours to concede that I had the right to see the records and make my own copies at no charge.6

It is a very sad situation indeed that public agencies are allowed to attempt to intimidate people who want to look at records, and that it’s necessary not only to understand one’s rights thoroughly but be willing to push back against unsupportable CPRA aggression in order to be able to exercise the right to access public records. It doesn’t seem like the legislature is going to fix this7 any time soon, so right now we have no choice other than to know our rights and push back, push back, push back. And turn the page for transcriptions of everything!
Continue reading Annals Of Public Records Act Bullying Tactics — Brooke Rios Of New Los Angeles Charter Schools Tries An Old Dodge — Sadly Commonplace Among CPRA Obstructionists — “Your Records Are Ready And You Can See Them As Soon As You Give Us $90” — But Then Backs Off In Less Than Two Hours After Being Told That The Law Requires Inspection For Free — Sadly, The Only Unusual Thing About This Episode Is The Short Time Frame

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This Is What Feral Bureaucracy Looks Like — My Epic Journey To The Dept Of Alcoholic Beverage Control To Inspect Records — How I Got Illegally Asked For ID — How I Got Menaced By Gun-Carrying Super Special Agent In Charge Gerry Sanchez — Who By The Way Is A Liar — How I Got Told To Show Some Respect — How ABC Tried To Extort Me Into Paying For Copies — How They Paid Secondary Special Sub-Agent In Charge Maggie Phillips $114.48 To Watch Me Photograph Four Dollars Worth Of Records With My Phone

Good day, friends, and welcome to the backstory of a post I have not written yet. You see, on Thursday1 I rode various buses and trains up to 888 S. Figueroa Street to visit the office of the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control for the limited purpose of inspecting some records. Here before you is the story of the inspection, and although I will certainly be writing the story told by the records themselves, today is not the day for that. You can look at them here on Archive.Org, though, and they are certainly worth your time.

It all started on October 26 when I emailed PublicRecords@abc.ca.gov with my request. On November 14, an amazingly prompt 18 days later, Stephanie Eastwood (stephanie.eastwood@abc.ca.gov), who is some kind of ABC CPRA specialist, told me that there were 152 pages of responsive records and that I had to go to an ABC office to look at them. It may be worth looking at her email, if only to note that she doesn’t sign her last name, a fact which will become interesting later in the story.

I told her that LA Metro was closest and that I would need to use my scanner. I also pointed out that they could just give me exported electronic copies for free, which is required by the CPRA.2
Then she ignored me for a couple weeks3 and, when she responded, her email contained the remarkable claim that ABC’s email system was so old that it “does not use electronic files.” She also told me that according to most high and mighty special agent in charge Gerry Sanchez, there was no “secure area” at LA Metro to use my scanner but that if I went to the Long Beach office I could scan.

However, Long Beach is too far from me, both geographically and emotionally, so I told her LA Metro was best and I would just take pix with my phone. Then she said OK, I could come in on December 4.4 I told her that I couldn’t, that I had to work, and that I would be in on December 6 at 10 a.m. and could she confirm? Note that the CPRA explicitly states that records must be available during office hours for inspection.5

After more nudging, Stephanie Eastwood finally got back to me on December 4, informing me that I couldn’t come in on December 6 because ABC-agent-to-the-stars in charge Gerry Sanchez wasn’t available and I would have to come in on December 13 instead.6 I told her7 that I had to work on the 13th. I also pointed out, again, that the law required records to be available during office hours, not at the random convenience of SSAC Gerry Sanchez, superstar.8 It only took her five hours to concede to that one,9 which is how I found myself at the ABC LA Metro office at 10 a.m. on Thursday. And here my troubles began.
Continue reading This Is What Feral Bureaucracy Looks Like — My Epic Journey To The Dept Of Alcoholic Beverage Control To Inspect Records — How I Got Illegally Asked For ID — How I Got Menaced By Gun-Carrying Super Special Agent In Charge Gerry Sanchez — Who By The Way Is A Liar — How I Got Told To Show Some Respect — How ABC Tried To Extort Me Into Paying For Copies — How They Paid Secondary Special Sub-Agent In Charge Maggie Phillips $114.48 To Watch Me Photograph Four Dollars Worth Of Records With My Phone

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John Walker Of The Studio City BID Asked Rita Moreno Of The Clerk’s Office For Advice On A CPRA Request I Made And She Gave Him A Detailed, Thoughtful, Largely Correct Response Despite The Fact That Doing So Directly Contradicts Her Boss, The Mendacious Ms. Holly Wolcott, Who Has Asserted Time And Again That “the Clerk’s office [does not] have the authority to control/direct the records management practices of … BIDs”

In the great and good1 City of Los Angeles, business improvement districts are overseen by the City Clerk‘s office. They have a whole subsection of their website about BIDs; how to form one, what they are, and so on. And not only that, but as part of their oversight process, each BID signs a contract with the City Clerk’s office. These are all about the same as one another, and if you want to look at one, here’s a link to the Studio City BID’s contract.2

And, like every one of these contracts between the City and its BIDs, this one contains, in Section 16.3, the following fairly unequivocal requirement: “… Corporation and the Board of Directors are also subject to and must comply with the California Public Records Act.” Finally, buried deep down in this website, they have published a stunning little item called the Service Operations Summary, which purports to explain the City’s role in relation to its BIDs.

In particular, in Section 5, this document claims that:3 “THE [CLERK’S] OFFICE PROVIDES CONTINUOUS CONTRACT COMPLIANCE ASSISTANCE. Staff monitors the use of revenue in order to ensure that assessments paid by district members are used appropriately and in accordance with contractual, budgetary, statutory and City regulations and procedures.”

Now, it’s a tragic aspect of the CPRA that the only remedy for noncompliance that the legislature has seen fit to provide is a lawsuit. However, it seems at least plausible from the foregoing that if a BID is not complying with the CPRA, it’s the duty of the office of the Clerk to ensure that they do comply with it. Acting on this theory, and hoping to avoid a bunch of damn lawsuits,4 once upon a time in 2016 I tried to get Ms. Holly Wolcott to mediate between me and uppity non-CPRA-compliant BIDs.

But she, almost certainly acting on the advice of rogue deputy city attorney Michael Joseph Dundas, denied that the City had any power whatsoever to compel BIDs to comply with the law, despite what the above-quoted Service Operations Summary claimed. Despite the fact that the City has a contract with each BID and the contract requires CPRA compliance. And she didn’t just deny it, she denied it vehemently:, stating in an email to me5 that:“…the Clerk’s office [does not] have the authority to control/direct the records management practices of the various BIDs which are entities wholly separate from the City.”

Anyway, a couple weeks ago, I sent a CPRA request to the Studio City BID, asking for a bunch of stuff. When the material showed up yesterday, I found an exchange between John Walker and Rita Moreno, a City Clerk staffer in charge of many aspects of BIDs, discussing my request. Basically he was all like do we have to do it because expensive and time-consuming. And she was all like … well, turn the page to read all the emails and see exactly what she was all like, but suffice it to say she was all like DIRECTING him to do it because of the law. That is, she was doing precisely what her boss, the famous Ms. Holly Wolcott, said that the City would never do and didn’t even have the power to do.
Continue reading John Walker Of The Studio City BID Asked Rita Moreno Of The Clerk’s Office For Advice On A CPRA Request I Made And She Gave Him A Detailed, Thoughtful, Largely Correct Response Despite The Fact That Doing So Directly Contradicts Her Boss, The Mendacious Ms. Holly Wolcott, Who Has Asserted Time And Again That “the Clerk’s office [does not] have the authority to control/direct the records management practices of … BIDs”

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Massive Document Dump Concerning Shadowy BID Consultant Tara Devine — What Has She Been Up To Since Destroying Venice Beach And How She Is Probably In Way More Trouble Than Anyone Thought With Respect To Not Having Registered As A Lobbyist

Yesterday I took a little trip South on Flower Street to the dark horse Death Star of downtown, the South Park BID, to look over some public records that they’ve been holding out on since January 2017 and only coughed up because my lawyer can beat up their lawyer.1 I found a hot mess of, among many, many problems, bizarrely damaged emails printed to PDF in random order with unintelligible OCR, missing attachments, purposely scrambled pages, and misnamed and poorly divided files. It’s going to take quite a while to put this nonsense into any kind of useful state,2 but I know a lot of my readers are wondering what’s up with shadowy BID consultant Tara Devine,3 so I thought I’d get the information concerning her up as fast as possible, even though it’s not yet in an ideal format.

That’s the big news, and you can turn the page if you’re in the mood for more detail and discussion. Note, though, that I’ll be posting about this material again once I get it revised into a more useful form.
Continue reading Massive Document Dump Concerning Shadowy BID Consultant Tara Devine — What Has She Been Up To Since Destroying Venice Beach And How She Is Probably In Way More Trouble Than Anyone Thought With Respect To Not Having Registered As A Lobbyist

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Newly Obtained ICS File Proves That Estela Lopez Organized That March 20 Conference Call Between Her, Rena Leddy, And Rockard Delgadillo About Nuking The Skid Row Neighborhood Council And That It Was Organized No Later Than March 18

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.

About ten days ago I wrote about a March 20, 2017 conference call between Rena Leddy, Estela Lopez, and potentially illegal lobbyist and former City Attorney Rockard Delgadillo, the point of which was to discuss how they were going to destroy the Skid Row Neighborhood Council. At that time the only evidence I had about the meeting was an entry from Rena Leddy’s calendar, which she’d printed out and redacted with a black marker. This, of course, destroys what’s often the most interesting aspect of an electronic record, which is to say the metadata.

Now, the California Public Records Act has an exceedingly useful requirement with respect to electronic records. It’s found at §6253.9(a)(1), which states:

Unless otherwise prohibited by law, any agency that has information that constitutes an identifiable public record not exempt from disclosure pursuant to this chapter that is in an electronic format shall make that information available in an electronic format when requested by any person and, when applicable, shall comply with the following … The agency shall make the information available in any electronic format in which it holds the information.

Modern calendar applications almost universally use the ICS file format for their entries. So on June 28 I sent Rena Leddy an email asking her for the raw ICS file. She sent it to me yesterday, and now I’m making it available to you either as files or, as always, there’s a transcription after the break:

There are two crucial pieces of information revealed by the metadata. First of all, Estela Lopez created the event. That is, she organized the call with Rockard Delgadillo and subsequently invited Rena Leddy to join. At a minimum this fact will be useful in framing future CPRA requests.

Second, the event was created on March 18, 2017 at noon PST.1 Previously we’d only been able to pin down the beginning of Rockard Delgadillo’s involvement in anti-SRNC lobbying to 11 a.m. on March 20. This is a 47 hour improvement in the timeline I’m constructing. Turn the page for analysis and a transcription of the ICS file.
Continue reading Newly Obtained ICS File Proves That Estela Lopez Organized That March 20 Conference Call Between Her, Rena Leddy, And Rockard Delgadillo About Nuking The Skid Row Neighborhood Council And That It Was Organized No Later Than March 18

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