Tag Archives: David Ryu

Conscience-Shocking Huizar/Ryu/Koretz Online Voting Pilot Program At Budget And Finance Committee On Monday August 13 — It Was Only Moved Less Than Two Weeks Ago — Unseemly And Uncharacteristic Haste Prevents Neighborhood Councils From Filing Community Impact Statements — Which Is Certainly Intentional

Recall that because Jose Huizar just cannot give up on online voting in neighborhood council elections after he used it to such zillionaire-jeans-creamsing effect in 2017, he, David Ryu, and Paul Koretz introduced a motion on August 2, 2018 ordering the City Clerk to report back on the feasibility of running a 2019 pilot program involving 10 councils.

And now, in a move that adds further layers of weirdo insanity to the whole situation, the motion has been scheduled for consideration this very Monday, August 13, 2018, at 2:00 p.m. at the meeting of the Budget and Finance Committee in City Hall Room 1010. Here’s the agenda. This kind of fast-tracking is virtually unheard of with the City Council. On this schedule it’s extremely unlikely that neighborhood councils, who are of course the most concerned with and knowledgeable about the issue, will have time to meet and file community impact statements. What are Huizar and his creepy co-conspirators trying to hide?

Finally, though, they didn’t manage to sneak it past everyone. Stalwart Los Angeles activist and heroine Laura Velkei, neighborhood councilor and guiding genius behind the essential Department of Neighborhood Empowerment watchdog group DONEwatch, wrote the Council a blistering letter opposing this abortion of a motion.

Turn the page for a transcription of the whole thing, and consider sending your own letter as well. See you Monday, activist friends!
Continue reading Conscience-Shocking Huizar/Ryu/Koretz Online Voting Pilot Program At Budget And Finance Committee On Monday August 13 — It Was Only Moved Less Than Two Weeks Ago — Unseemly And Uncharacteristic Haste Prevents Neighborhood Councils From Filing Community Impact Statements — Which Is Certainly Intentional

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The Hollywood Property Owners’ Alliance In Cahoots With CD13 Is Removing Ficus Trees From Hollywood — Why Has The City Of Los Angeles Ceded Its Duty To Care For Our Trees To A Bunch Of Nihilistic Zillionaires Who Don’t Even Live In Hollywood?

The Hollywood Property Owners’ Alliance, which runs the major Hollywood BID, has a long and troubled relationship with the City of Los Angeles and tree regulations. For instance, remember when that billboard company illegally cut down all those trees in Silver Lake in 2016 and the whole City flipped out even to the extent of revenge vandalism? This crisis somehow catapulted Mitch O’Farrell and David Ryu into a rare moment of sanity and they initiated CF 15-0467-S4, in which they asked for report-backs from the City Attorney and the Bureau of Street Services on how to prevent future rogue tree removals.

And the Bureau of Street Services came in with a pretty strong set of recommendations, which included requiring before-and-after photos of tree maintenance done by private parties as well as requiring the presence of City tree surgeons. Well, as you may recall, the BID absolutely flipped out over this in their characteristically privileged manner, which included typically unsubstantiated claims of their unparalleled arboreal competence and even featured archetypal BID genius Mark Echevarria of Musso & Frank giggling like a six-fingered chucklehead cause he never heard of tree surgeons.1

And over the last two years the issue of the wanton destruction of our City’s trees has not died down. In fact it’s getting worse and worse. For a good overview see this fine article by Alissa Walker in Curbed LA. The unwarranted removal of trees has emerged as a significant social justice issue with serious ecological ramifications. And political action can save trees. But political action is impossible if the City sneaks around and removes trees covertly.

And of course, the City’s favorite way to sneak around and do anything covertly is to palm it off onto the damn BIDs.2 Thus it was no surprise to discover a newly released email conversation between Marisol Rodriguez and Dan Halden of Mitch O’Farrell’s staff and Kerry Morrison and Rich Sarian of the HPOA which shows that the BID is in fact involved in secret tree destruction in Hollywood with the advice and consent of CD13.

It’s pretty clear that these actions are shady. It’s plausible that they’re illegal. Turn the page for transcriptions of as much of the record as we have available.
Continue reading The Hollywood Property Owners’ Alliance In Cahoots With CD13 Is Removing Ficus Trees From Hollywood — Why Has The City Of Los Angeles Ceded Its Duty To Care For Our Trees To A Bunch Of Nihilistic Zillionaires Who Don’t Even Live In Hollywood?

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Jose Huizar, David Ryu, and Paul Koretz Introduce Motion In Council Ordering City Clerk To Report Back On How To Hire Everyone Counts To Run Online Voting Pilot In Ten Neighborhood Council Elections In 2019

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.

This is the very shortest of notes to announce that on Thursday esteemed councilcreeps Huizar, Ryu, and Koretz introduced a motion in Council ordering the City Clerk to report back in 60 days about the feasibility of hiring discredited election software vendor Everyone Counts to run an online voting pilot program in 2019 to be used in ten neighborhood council elections. The associated council file is CF 1022-S3.

Of course you will recall how the morally bankrupt Jose Huizar forced through a last-minute ordinance allowing online voting to be used in last year’s Skid Row Neighborhood Council subdivision election for the sole purpose of stealing the election. This is famously now the subject of a monumental lawsuit.

Since then responsibility for administering NC elections has been removed from the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment and given to the Clerk’s office. The Clerk, famously, has way higher standards for election security than DONE, so it’s disconcerting to see City Council ordering them to continue to deal with the shady and discredited Everyone Counts. Anyway, turn the page for the complete text of the motion. This one definitely bears watching.
Continue reading Jose Huizar, David Ryu, and Paul Koretz Introduce Motion In Council Ordering City Clerk To Report Back On How To Hire Everyone Counts To Run Online Voting Pilot In Ten Neighborhood Council Elections In 2019

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Open Letter To The Los Angeles Ethics Commission Asking Them To Consider Adopting A Policy On Disclosure Of Ex Parte Communications

I reported last week that Serena Oberstein, Vice President of the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission, had engaged in undisclosed ex parte communications with a couple of (unregistered) lobbyists regarding a proposal to revise the Municipal Lobbying Ordinance. Of course, at present, there’s no requirement for any City commissioners, except Harbor Commissioners, to disclose such communication.

However, the example of the Board of Harbor Commissioners shows that it is possible for City commissions to adopt more stringent requirements than the rest of City government is subject to. Given the role of the Ethics Commission in defending the public interest in transparency and disclosure, it seems like a natural candidate for such a policy.

Hence, as promised, I’ve written a letter to the Commission asking them to put an item on the agenda for December 19 asking the staff to draft a policy proposal for such a requirement. Here’s a copy of the letter, and you can read a transcription after the break. If you’re moved to write about this yourself, you can, as far as I know, send communications to the Commission at ethics.commission@lacity.org.
Continue reading Open Letter To The Los Angeles Ethics Commission Asking Them To Consider Adopting A Policy On Disclosure Of Ex Parte Communications

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Ethics Commissioner Serena Oberstein’s Undisclosed Ex Parte Communication With Lobbyists Shyaam Subramanian and Nancy Berlin In Hallway Fifteen Minutes Before Ethics Commission Meeting Casts Some Doubt On Everyone’s Commitment To Transparency

Shyaam Subramanian and Nancy Berlin talking to Ethics Commissioner Serena Z. Oberstein in the hallway before Tuesday’s Ethics Commission meeting. She thanked them for giving her language, presumably to do with the MLO, and actually took notes on it in her phone. Click to enlarge.

In August the Ethics Commission continued the multiyear discussion about revising the Municipal Lobbying Ordinance. The next stage in the process was three interested persons’ meetings held in September, and then on to more discussion at yesterday’s Ethics Commission meeting. The meeting was essentially interminable,1 and I recorded the whole lobbying discussion. You can watch it either on Archive.Org or on YouTube:

Part IPart IIPart IIIPart IV •.

Ethics Commissioner Serena Z. Oberstein taking notes on “language” provided to her by lobbyists Shyaam Subramanian and Nancy Berlin. Click to enlarge.

I hope to write about the outcome of the discussion as soon as possible, although things are ultra-busy here at MK.Org secret headquarters. The short version is that the Commission accepted most of what staff recommended with a few changes and two items to be discussed even more at the December meeting. In any case, it turns out that the most interesting part of the meeting, and I don’t think this is so uncommon in City Hall, took place in the hallway fifteen minutes before the call to order.

There, I was lucky enough to witness lobbyists2 Shyaam Subramanian of Bolder Advocacy and Nancy Berlin of CalNonprofits engaged in an intense conversation with Ethics Commissioner Serena Z. Oberstein about proposed revisions to the MLO involving nonprofit corporations, whose interests both of them are compensated to represent to the City. At one point she even thanked them for giving her “language,” presumably having to do with their preferred outcome in the upcoming meeting, and went so far as to take notes on it in her phone!
Continue reading Ethics Commissioner Serena Oberstein’s Undisclosed Ex Parte Communication With Lobbyists Shyaam Subramanian and Nancy Berlin In Hallway Fifteen Minutes Before Ethics Commission Meeting Casts Some Doubt On Everyone’s Commitment To Transparency

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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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New Documents: January 2017 Emails Between East Hollywood BID and City of LA, Also Gateway To LA BID By-Vendor Reports

Just a brief note to announce a couple more sets of documents:

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Almost 200 Emails Between the City Of LA And the East Hollywood BID. Also, Lunada Bay Boys Hearing Tomorrow And Also Ethics Commission Meeting!

Dwarf bottlebrush plant from some plans that the East Hollywood BID exchanged with a bunch of lackeys at the City of LA in preparation for planting them along Vermont Avenue, most likely to thwart the homeless in some manner.
Tonight I had the pleasure of receiving from self-proclaimed active member of the revitalized Hollywood community1 Jeffrey Charles Briggs almost 200 emails between the East Hollywood Business Improvement District and various far-too-friendly folks at the City of Los Angeles. For now these are available here on Archive.Org. They’re PDFs, but they’re that super-PDF-format that one can make with genuine Adobe software that embeds attachments right in there with clickable links.2 I have only been able to give these a cursory look-over, but I can already see a few crucial items. I’ll be writing on these matters as soon as I possibly can, but if you want a preview of one of them take a look at this juicy little number.

And tomorrow is a huge day at the Civic Center. In the morning there is a hearing in the Lunada Bay Boys case, featuring Palos Verdes Peninsula zillionaire surf-localism-thuggery at its most flamboyantly weird. In the afternoon there is an essential meeting of the Ethics Commission. Turn the page for times, locations, and brief descriptions. Perhaps I’ll see you there!
Continue reading Almost 200 Emails Between the City Of LA And the East Hollywood BID. Also, Lunada Bay Boys Hearing Tomorrow And Also Ethics Commission Meeting!

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Cracks Show In LA City Council Unanimity (At Least On Staff Level) As David Ryu’s Director Of Policy, Nicholas Greif, Comes Out Publicly Against Mitch O’Farrell’s Moronic Playground Motion

Nicholas Greif evidently agrees with his fellow Palms NC Board members that Mitch O’Farrell’s anti-playground motion is evil, evil, evil… which may be embarrassing for Nicholas Greif’s boss, David Ryu, who will have to vote for the motion if it ever comes up before Council…which it almost certainly will not at this point.
BACKGROUND: Recall, if you will, that this L.A. Times editorial kicked off a somewhat misguided firestorm of opposition to Mitch O’Farrell’s recent Council motion 16-1456 seeking to develop a legal tool for banning adults without children from playgrounds in parks in the City of Los Angeles.

So just tonight the Palms Neighborhood Council filed yet another Community Impact Statement opposing Mitch O’Farrell’s Kerry-Morrison-behested anti-playground motion. And like the Eagle Rock NC and the Lincoln Heights NC and the Los Feliz NC before them, they’ve made a well-reasoned and articulate argument:

This measure would penalize lawful park users and would result in discriminatory enforcement. Such a ban improperly assumes that adult park users in a children’s playground area are there solely for nefarious purposes and seeks to ban lawful conduct. Simply being present in a park and enjoying the surroundings is not illegal. There are already criminal laws on the books to address any improper conduct in these areas.

Again, as with all of the others with the minor exception of Los Feliz,1 this statement was adopted unanimously, leaving Mitch continuing to flounder around in the pool of shit into which he impulsively flung himself just because Kerry Morrison said it would please her to watch him jump. And there is one thing about the Palms Neighborhood Council which makes tonight’s Community Impact Statement marginally more impactful than the others. You see, Mr. Nicholas Greif is not only the chair of the Palms NC Executive Board and therefore part of the unanimous majority that approved the CIS, but he is also David Ryu’s director of Policy and Legislation.
Continue reading Cracks Show In LA City Council Unanimity (At Least On Staff Level) As David Ryu’s Director Of Policy, Nicholas Greif, Comes Out Publicly Against Mitch O’Farrell’s Moronic Playground Motion

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Minutes and Agendas From Wilshire Center BID 2015-2016, In Which We Learn, e.g., That The LAPD Is Attempting To Mitigate Homelessness Amongst Mentally Ill Criminals By Being “Nurturing” and “Helping Out By Giving Socks”

A beautiful office building at 3701 Wilshire Boulevard which, I think, is in the Wilshire Center BID.
A super-short note to announce the availability of two years worth of minutes and agendas from the Wilshire Center BID Board of Directors. These are available both via Archive.Org and also in local static storage. These are interesting for the usual reasons, e.g. understanding connections between BIDs and City agencies, what BIDs are up to with respect to public policy, and so forth. And, as usual, there’s also some weirdness to mock, although, sadly, nothing even approaching the real-estate-agents-on-acid weirdness of the Pacific Palisades BID. For instance, in the October 2015 minutes we read:

The question of why homelessness is worsening was discussed. Early release of criminals, mental illness, and service resistant individuals are some of the major reasons. By using a nurturing approach, more of the homeless may be helped. Getting to know individuals, helping out by giving socks, asking if they would like help, are some of the ways the LAPD is breaking through.

The principle of charity leads me to assume that these are the kind of socks one wears on one’s feet rather than the kind one might expect the LAPD to be handing out to the homeless if one were to consider their long, long history of violence.

By July 2016 we have learned that the BID is working with its Council Offices, but they don’t know how to spell David Ryu’s name and they seem to think Herb Wesson’s name is Justin:1

The BID will continue to work closely with the LAPD and the Council Offices, CD4 (Councilman David Ru) and CD10 (Justin Wesson) to help mitigate problems in our area.

Finally, if you’re interested in extreme CPRA geekery, turn the page for a brief discussion of how the WCBID violated the law by exporting these minutes from Microsoft Word as PDFs, sending me only the PDFs, and then refusing2 to send me the Word documents.
Continue reading Minutes and Agendas From Wilshire Center BID 2015-2016, In Which We Learn, e.g., That The LAPD Is Attempting To Mitigate Homelessness Amongst Mentally Ill Criminals By Being “Nurturing” and “Helping Out By Giving Socks”

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