Tag Archives: Department of Neighborhood Empowerment

Remember That CPRA Request That Estela Lopez Made About The Skid Row Neighborhood Council In January 2017? — To The Department Of Neighborhood Empowerment About The Election? — Well Newly Obtained Information Shows That Less Than Ten Days After She Sent It She Complained To José Huizar Personally That They Hadn’t Responded — This From A Woman Who Can’t Comply With The CPRA To Save Her Life — Complaining To A Councilmember Who Also Can’t Comply With The CPRA — Or Federal Anti-Corruption Laws For That Matter

This is a new piece of an old story. You may recall that in January 2017, right after the Skid Row Neighborhood Council subdivision effort was certified by the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment, Skid Row’s own high priestess of Satan and associated evil deities, that is to say Estela Lopez, made a request under the public records act seeking various bits of information to toss into the wicked potion then, unbeknownst to the side of the angels, bubbling away in her reeking cauldron and with which she and her killer klown krew of slithy minions and halfwit henchies would later put the SRNC into a coma just like Snow Freaking White.1

That’s old news, of course,2 but still interesting. You can read Estela Lopez’s request right here and there’s a transcription of that PDF somewhere down the page in this old post. But what’s new this morning is this just-obtained email from Estela Lopez to CD14 repster José Huizar,3 in which, after a little obligatory sycophancy, she complains to José Huizar that DONE didn’t answer her request on time:

From: Estela Lopez <ELopez@centralcityeast.org>
To: josé huizar <jose.huizar@lacity.org>
Cc: Ari Simon <ari.simon@lacity.org>, Martin Schlageter <Martin.Schlageter@lacity.org>
Date: Fri, Jan 27, 2017 at 5:13 PM

Dear Jose, thanks so much for today’s meeting. Below is the request I submitted to DONE on January 17. I have not received a reply. Today represents the 10-day deadline for at least an initial response to a CPRA request.

Have a good weekend. See you on Broadway!

Cordially,

Estela Lopez

I mean, really. The sheer platonically ideal chutzpah of this woman just boggles.4 She’s complaining to José Huizar that DONE didn’t answer her request within the legal deadline when (a) she herself is one of the City’s worst violaters of the CPRA,5 (b) José Huizar is also essentially incapable of complying with the CPRA,6 (c) most of us don’t have access to our councilmembers to encourage City departments to comply with the CPRA,7 and, worst of all, (d) DONE wasn’t actually in violation of the law at that point, so she really had nothing to complain about.

Not that this kind of clueless exploitation of privilege is anything surprising at this point, but it is what we write about here. Turn the page for a discussion of the technical aspects of the CPRA relating to Estela Lopez’s complaint!
Continue reading Remember That CPRA Request That Estela Lopez Made About The Skid Row Neighborhood Council In January 2017? — To The Department Of Neighborhood Empowerment About The Election? — Well Newly Obtained Information Shows That Less Than Ten Days After She Sent It She Complained To José Huizar Personally That They Hadn’t Responded — This From A Woman Who Can’t Comply With The CPRA To Save Her Life — Complaining To A Councilmember Who Also Can’t Comply With The CPRA — Or Federal Anti-Corruption Laws For That Matter

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On March 14, 2017 Grayce Liu Was Already Working Out Details Of Online Voting For The SRNC Subdivision Election With Everyone Counts Two Weeks Before City Council Even Approved The Plan — Obviously We Already Knew Representative Democracy In Los Angeles Is Highly Stylized Semantically Empty Performance Art Rather Than A Deliberative Or Even A Political Process — But Usually It’s Not Thrown So Boldly In Our Faces

I recently received almost three hundred pages of emails from 2017 between Los Angeles City Clerk Holly Wolcott and Department of Neighborhood Empowerment boss lady Grayce Liu. These are available here on Archive.Org. There’s a lot of quite interesting material there, most of it far off my beat, but there’s this one item in particular which is quite relevant.

It’s a March 14, 2017 email from Grayce Liu to Bill Kuncz of Everyone Counts informing him, among other things, of the fact that the City of Los Angeles would be using online voting for the April 6, 2017 Skid Row Neighborhood Council subdivision election. She told him “… that we would be able to move forward with using the online voting and voter registration platform for our subdivision election in a few weeks.”

The main problem with this, of course, is that the question of allowing online voting didn’t even come before the Board of Neighborhood Commissioners until March 20, 2017. It didn’t come before City Council’s Rules and Elections Committee until March 22, 2017, and it wasn’t finally approved by City Council until March 28, 2017.

You may well remember that at that March 22, 2017 meeting José Huizar announced his decision to allow online voting by reading a pre-written statement, showing conclusively that he’d made up his mind even before hearing public comment. This email shows that he’d made up his mind at least eight days before the meeting even took place.

To be sure, there’s nothing illegal about this behavior. There’s possibly nothing even immoral about it. But in the culture of the Los Angeles City Council, where no one votes against their colleagues’ desires for intra-district issues, it makes it even more glaringly clear that our local representative democracy is not functioning at all. A couple of zillionaires went to see Huizar in January 2017 and convinced him to destroy the SNRC and that’s all it took.

The decision was essentially finalized at that point with no public input, no deliberation, and no chance that wiser heads on the City Council would prevail. There are no wiser heads.1 No one even had the decency to tell Grayce Liu to wait for the formalism of City Council approval before acting on Huizar’s unilateral decision. Sadly, it’s business as usual. Turn the page for a transcription.
Continue reading On March 14, 2017 Grayce Liu Was Already Working Out Details Of Online Voting For The SRNC Subdivision Election With Everyone Counts Two Weeks Before City Council Even Approved The Plan — Obviously We Already Knew Representative Democracy In Los Angeles Is Highly Stylized Semantically Empty Performance Art Rather Than A Deliberative Or Even A Political Process — But Usually It’s Not Thrown So Boldly In Our Faces

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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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Skid Row Neighborhood Council Formation Committee Files Blistering Petition In Superior Court — Asks Court To “Reestablish The Rule Of Law” — And Require The City Of Los Angeles To Award Skid Row “its well-deserved Neighborhood Council”

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.

I haven’t reported on it before, but maybe you’re aware nevertheless that the Skid Row Neighborhood Council Formation Committee along with founding members General Jeff and Katherine McNenny are suing the City of Los Angeles over their egregious, illegal, and immoral vote suppression and other horrors during the subdivision election last year.

And just yesterday they filed a second amended petition, which lays out the evil shenanigans committed by the City of Los Angeles in collusion with Estela Lopez, Rena Leddy, and other Downtown zillionaires and zillionaire lackeys, This is a blistering and righteous piece of legal writing. I highly recommend that you read all of it, although here are the main issues, and as always there are transcribed selections after the break.

◈ The City prohibited homeless voters from voting online or at any of the twelve pop-up polls, which seriously advantaged the anti-subdivision side.

◈ The City’s voter registration requirements disenfranchised the largely black homeless population of Skid Row, which violates the Voting Rights Act.

◈ The City’s last minute implementation of online voting and secret alterations of pop-up poll timing unfairly advantaged the anti-subdivision side.

◈ Online voting violated California Elections Code §19205, which states unambiguously that “No part of [a] voting system shall be connected to the Internet at any time.”

◈ DONE’s pop-up polls violated §22.820 of the Los Angeles Administrative Code, which requires that neighborhood council subdivision elections be held solely within the proposed boundaries.

And the main thing they’re asking the judge to do to remedy these and the other violations is to discount online votes and votes submitted at pop-up polls and award the SRNC formation committee their neighborhood council. There is much, much more, all of it, as I said, worth your time to read and understand. Turn the page for transcribed selections from the petition.
Continue reading Skid Row Neighborhood Council Formation Committee Files Blistering Petition In Superior Court — Asks Court To “Reestablish The Rule Of Law” — And Require The City Of Los Angeles To Award Skid Row “its well-deserved Neighborhood Council”

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How Andrew Thomas, The Famous-For-Dressing-Like-A-Child-Molester Exec-Direc Of The Westwood Village BID, Conspired With Michael Skiles To Hold The North Westwood NC Subdivision Election On A Weekday — And How The City Clerk Ruled Out Multiple Election Days Due To Security Concerns — Which The City Government Probably Gleefully Intended For The Skid Row Subdivision Election

You may recall that I recently received a moderately sized set of public records from the Westwood Village BID, some of which I wrote about the other day. You can look at the whole collection here on Archive.Org,1 and one of these is the text for today’s sermon, a conversation amongst Michael Skiles, Grayce Liu of the Department Of Neighborhood Empowerment, and Lisa Chapman, president of the Westwood Neighborhood Council.

There’s a transcription and more commentary after the break, of course, but here’s a brief summary of what went on. Lisa Chapman wrote to Grayce Liu telling her that she heard Michael Skiles say that Westwood Forward did not choose the date of the election, which was not on a weekend as NC elections usually are. Grayce Liu wrote back in her inimitably condescending manner saying some nonsense that sane people can barely credit.

Michael Skiles wrote to Grayce Liu thanking her in his inimitably sycophantic manner and explaining that weekday elections were agreed on by him and Andrew Freaking Thomas, who sane people want to know why is this guy involved at all? What, we all want to know, do BIDs have to do with making detailed decisions like this about NC matters?

Then, the absolute kicker, Grayce Liu wrote back to Michael Skiles stating that the City Clerk forbade subdivision elections to be spread out over multiple days “because of voter security issues.” Of course, this is horrific and shocking given that for the Skid Row NC subdivision election Grayce Liu herself allowed putative pop-up polls to take place on multiple days in multiple locations including restricted access buildings emphatically NOT open to the public. And now no one at the City can actually audit the votes cast in that election, which suggests strongly that there were very serious, as yet undiscovered, “voter security issues,” which no one at the City cares about.

But of course, “voter security issues” are going to be cosmically important in elections like this Westwood one, where zillionaires and their financial interests fall on both sides of the question. In a case like Westwood, because zillionares disagree, every vote truly does count, so the most secure practices must be followed by the City, and the City recognizes this. In a case like Skid Row, where the zillionaires were unified on one side, voter security would have just gotten in the way of stealing the election. Anyway, read on for the details.
Continue reading How Andrew Thomas, The Famous-For-Dressing-Like-A-Child-Molester Exec-Direc Of The Westwood Village BID, Conspired With Michael Skiles To Hold The North Westwood NC Subdivision Election On A Weekday — And How The City Clerk Ruled Out Multiple Election Days Due To Security Concerns — Which The City Government Probably Gleefully Intended For The Skid Row Subdivision Election

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One Outcome Of The Unholy Alliance Between North Westwood Neighborhood Council Subdivision Advocate Michael Skiles And Dresses-Like-A-Child-Molester Biddy-Boy Andrew Thomas Was That Skiles Changed The Bylaws To Give Zillionaires Even More Representation Just Cause Thomas Asked Him To — Which Might Be The Kind Of Thing That Andrew Thomas Wants To Cover Up Via His Myriad Surreal CPRA Violations — Although That Relies On Dubious Assumption That The Guy Feels Shame

Maybe you heard about the movement to subdivide the Westwood Neighborhood Council and form the North Westwood Neighborhood Council. This subdivision was led by UCLA students calling themselves Westwood Forward, with incipient philosopher Michael Skiles, whose academic specialty is, of all things, action theory, at the helm. The City held an election in May and the subdivision was approved.

However, unlike the heartrending pain created by the sinister schemings of zillionaires in Skid Row and environs last year, the local Westwood zillionaires were all eleventy jillion percent in favor of this particular subdivision. The reason seems to be a widely shared perception that students will be much more in favor of building more residential megaplexes and handing out more liquor licenses than the mostly über-füddy-düddy single family house dwellers on the regular Westwood NC have proved to be over the last few decades.1

Knowing all this, it occurred to me in March 2018 that the Westwood Village BID might be involved in this whole subdivision thing and, with that in mind, I fired off a CPRA request to them asking for the goodies. After many painful months of lawyers, recriminations, stupidity, frustration, and whatever,2 Andrew Thomas, the BID’s executive director, who, incidentally, dresses surprisingly like a child molester,3 finally coughed up some small percentage of the records to which I’m entitled.

Check out the whole collection here on Archive.Org. In particular, though, for tonight’s sermon, take a look at this little gem (of which there is a transcription after the break), which reveals Andrew Thomas as the puppet master pulling the strings that make Michael Skiles dance. And the tune he’s dancing to is, you’ll not be surprised to learn, all about more seats for zillionaires on the new neighborhood council’s board of directors. And Michael Skiles not only dances to the tune, but he dances like he likes dancing! He’ll go far in academia, friends.
Continue reading One Outcome Of The Unholy Alliance Between North Westwood Neighborhood Council Subdivision Advocate Michael Skiles And Dresses-Like-A-Child-Molester Biddy-Boy Andrew Thomas Was That Skiles Changed The Bylaws To Give Zillionaires Even More Representation Just Cause Thomas Asked Him To — Which Might Be The Kind Of Thing That Andrew Thomas Wants To Cover Up Via His Myriad Surreal CPRA Violations — Although That Relies On Dubious Assumption That The Guy Feels Shame

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DONEWatch Launched! No Longer Will The City Of Los Angeles Be Allowed To Manipulate And Marginalize Neighborhood Councils Unscrutinized — “The Time Has Come to Watch the Watchers!”

Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows that the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment, the City agency that exists seemingly only to boss about Neighborhood Councils, although no one really knows whether or not they have the authority to do that, is pretty much the embodiment of evil.1 Just look at our tag archive for Grayce Liu to see the pernicious role these people played in the Skid Row Neighborhood Council debacle.

Grayce Liu was at the forefront of the mishandling of the SRNC appeal process, she played a major role in the use of online voting to torpedo the SRNC election, and so on. And it’s not all about Skid Row. DONE has been involved in controversy after controversy, all of them relating to their habit of undermining the power, such as it is, of the City’s neighborhood councils. And to date they have been able to do this in a fairly covert manner. No one has really been paying much attention.

Well, those days are done. Yesterday a group of citizens announced the launch of a new watchdog group known as DONEWatch! They also have a Facebook page!! If you care about the fate of our neighborhood council system, or the functionality of our City government, or just about minor tangential issues like the rule of law in a free society, you should check this out! Turn the page for a stirring quote on the mission of this brave devoted band!
Continue reading DONEWatch Launched! No Longer Will The City Of Los Angeles Be Allowed To Manipulate And Marginalize Neighborhood Councils Unscrutinized — “The Time Has Come to Watch the Watchers!”

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Yesterday’s Grievance Against Dandy Dan Curnow Invalidated By Some Random Ordinance Passed In 2015 Which, Although Unincorporated In DLANC Bylaws, Nevertheless Seems To Override Them, Proving Yet Again That The Sheer Overwhelming Incompetence And Habitual, Almost Mannered, Inaction Of DLANC President For Life Patricia X. Berman In The Face Of Any Matter That’s Not A Real Estate Development Approval Is More Than Mere Fecklessness, It’s Actually Some Kind Of Highly Evolved Defensive Tactic

Well, good lord friends! It seems like just yesterday that I filed a grievance against Dandy Dan Curnow, DLANC secretary and law-flouting bow-tie wearing flower-arranging dude about Skid Row for his egregious violations of the Brown Act in concert with piratical POS Jacob Douglas Van Horn. And, mostly, that’s because it was just yesterday.

So imagine my shocked surprise to receive, this very afternoon, less than 24 hours after I filed the durned thing, an email from DLANC President for Life Patti Berman informing me that, despite the fact that I had followed the procedures given in DLANC’s infernal bylaws to the very letter, nevertheless that procedure was in fact invalidated by some random law I’d never heard of and which has remained unincorporated in the Bylaws since it was passed by the City Council in May 2015. Unfortunately it turns out that she didn’t just make the whole thing up, and you can turn the page for a few details. Fortunately for the sane and the righteous, though, this complaint to the DA against Dandy Dan is still active.
Continue reading Yesterday’s Grievance Against Dandy Dan Curnow Invalidated By Some Random Ordinance Passed In 2015 Which, Although Unincorporated In DLANC Bylaws, Nevertheless Seems To Override Them, Proving Yet Again That The Sheer Overwhelming Incompetence And Habitual, Almost Mannered, Inaction Of DLANC President For Life Patricia X. Berman In The Face Of Any Matter That’s Not A Real Estate Development Approval Is More Than Mere Fecklessness, It’s Actually Some Kind Of Highly Evolved Defensive Tactic

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At The SRNC Appeal Hearing DLANC President Patti Berman Said “If One Of Our Board Members Was Involved With United DTLA…I Bet We Could Get Them Off The Board Really Fast” — Patti! News Flash!! Six Of Your Freaking Board Members Were Involved, Including Bob Newman, Who Was Standing Right Behind You When You Said This! One’s Gone, Now Get The Others Off Really Fast Please!!!

DLANC President Patti Berman on May 3, 2017 denying that any DLANC board members were involved with United Downtown Los Angeles while DLANC board member Bob Newman, who was in fact involved with United Downtown Los Angeles, lurks silently, as is his wont, in the dark background.
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.

On May 3, 2017 the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment sponsored a hearing on challenges to the Skid Row Neighborhood Council formation election. One of the main issues was, of course, the shadowy anonymous front corporation United Downtown LA and the names of the people behind it.

At that meeting, Patricia Berman, self-proclaimed President for Life of the DLANC board of directors, was moved to deny all knowledge of the matter and to affirm her overwhelming desire to find out who was behind it so she could get them kicked off the board. But don’t take my word for it! You can watch and listen to her, and here’s what she said:

If indeed one of our board members was involved with United DTLA I would love to find out about it, because I bet we could get them off the board really fast. However, I have no idea who these people are. I don’t know anyone on my board who does, and we certainly have asked around. We had nothing to do with this. I’m sorry it caused such a big stink. But the truth is it didn’t come from our listserve and it’s not something that came from us.

Well, of course, as we know now, DLANC board member Estela Lopez was deeply involved with United DTLA and five additional board members were also involved to one degree or another:

Jacob Douglas Van Horn is off the board for reasons that are probably unrelated to United Downtown LA, but the others remain. The most egregious case among these after Estela Lopez herself is Robert Newman, who was not only involved with United Downtown LA but was standing right behind Patti Berman when she made the statement.

She said she asked around, so either she didn’t ask him, which seems unlikely, or he lied to her when she asked him, or she lied when she said no one on her board knows who was behind the situation. None of these options look good for President Patti. However, she can go an awful long way towards washing away her sins by sticking to her promise and getting these five remaining miscreants “…off the board really fast.”

Now, it’s occurred to me that I haven’t written much about how these folks in the intersection between the DLANC board and United DTLA were involved in United DTLA’s shenanigans. Obviously they were all involved to the extent that they were on Estela Lopez’s United DTLA mailing list1 Well, there’s tons of evidence in this set of emails from the Downtown Center BID but it can be fairly hard to sort through. Never fear, though! Turn the page for a play-by-play list of selected involvements of selected creepy DLANCkites, with evidence!
Continue reading At The SRNC Appeal Hearing DLANC President Patti Berman Said “If One Of Our Board Members Was Involved With United DTLA…I Bet We Could Get Them Off The Board Really Fast” — Patti! News Flash!! Six Of Your Freaking Board Members Were Involved, Including Bob Newman, Who Was Standing Right Behind You When You Said This! One’s Gone, Now Get The Others Off Really Fast Please!!!

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United Downtown Los Angeles LLC Seems To Have Been Controlled If Not Created By Estela Lopez

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.

The biggest as-yet-unsolved mystery associated with the coordinated zombie zillionaire campaign against the Skid Row Neighborhood Council formation process earlier this year is the identity of the shadowy Delaware-incorporated anonymous front group United Downtown Los Angeles LLC and the sneaky furtive creepy crawly zillionaire and zillionaire-ophile natural person or persons lurking behind the corporate facade.

You may recall that the first anyone heard publicly from this bunch of dimwits was on March 17, 2017, when Rockard Delgadillo, former City Attorney of Los Angeles and employee of lobbying firm Liner LLP, wrote his infamous letter to the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment demanding for various nonsensical reasons that they put a halt to the Skid Row Neighborhood Council formation process.

The next milestone was a meeting between Estela Lopez of the Central City East Association, Rena Leddy of the Fashion District BID, and Rockard Delgadillo. This took place at 11 a.m. on March 20 and was actually organized by Estela Lopez, who scheduled the meeting on March 18. Less than an hour after this meeting ended, Rena Leddy was emailing her property owners with the gospel of the birth of United Downtown Los Angeles.

Finally, in July I learned that United Downtown LA has the same phone number as the Central City East Association. This is all reasonably strong but not conclusive evidence in favor of the proposition that Estela Lopez was in control of United Downtown, if not its actual founder. And that brings our story to the present day.
Continue reading United Downtown Los Angeles LLC Seems To Have Been Controlled If Not Created By Estela Lopez

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