Tag Archives: Eric Garcetti

Since 2016 Eleven CPRA Lawsuits Against The City Of Los Angeles Have Been Disposed Of — The City Lost Two At Trial And Paid Up — And Settled Eight Before Trial And Paid Up — And The Only One They Didn’t Lose Was The One Wrongly Filed In Federal Court By A Pro Se Litigant — For A Total Of $662,722 — And Given That They’re About To Pay More Than $324,000 To The ACLU To Settle Another Loser — This Is More Than A Million Dollars In Less Than Four Years That They Wasted Because They Can Not Or They Will Not Comply With The Law — For That Kind Of Money They Could Hire A Damn CPRA Coordinator — And Some Staff — And Stop The Bleeding

If you make requests of the City of Los Angeles under the California Public Records Act you will have learned by now that they fail to comply in almost every possible way. They delay access to records, they wrongfully withhold records as exempt, they fail to respond to requests at all, they say that there are no responsive records when in fact there are, they manipulate requesters into asking for far less than they have a right to by wrongly citing authorities, they insist on printing electronic records onto paper and then charge for copies, and so on and on and on. It’s a real nightmare.

Some of the City’s shenanigans are due to the fact that the state legislature, in its wisdom, has made judicial action the only means of enforcing the CPRA. The City, probably with reason, assumes that most requesters don’t have the resources or the tenacity to follow through with a lawsuit, so the expected consequences for their abject noncompliance are pretty minimal. And that may be an accurate assessment, it’s hard to tell because I don’t have access to all the data.

But not having access to all doesn’t mean it’s impossible to get access to some, so I have been investigating CPRA suits against the City of Los Angeles. I first started thinking about this matter in 2015 but was at that time told by Deputy City Attorney Mike Dundas1 that the City had no way of listing CPRA suits against it. But after all that nonsense happened in San Diego recently, what with their City Attorney,2 Mara Elliot, tricking Senator Ben Hueso into introducing his appalling and since-withdrawn CPRA-gutting SB 615 and then some people got a spreadsheet showing how much the City of San Diego had spent on CPRA suits since 2010.

So I thought I’d ask Mike Dundas again and what do you know!? He came through and also informed me that the City Attorney3 had assigned a cause code to CPRA suits in 2016 so that it was now possible to track them individually.4 And then, kablooie! He produced this list of ten closed cases with payouts since 2016!5 And then later he told me that there was this one other closed case that didn’t involve a payout since the City was dismissed from it on a motion.6 And according to him he will be producing7 a list of the currently open cases.8

And just the bare numbers here are really interesting, but not a good look for the City of Los Angeles. Since 2016 eleven CPRA cases against the City have been disposed of. The City went to trial on two of these and lost, paying a total of $558,690.57 to petitioners’ lawyers. The City unfavorably settled eight of them before trial, paying a total of $104,032 to petitioners’ lawyers. And the City got itself dismissed from one before trial, but only because the petitioner mistakenly filed the case in federal court.

I obtained copies of all ten of the properly filed petitions, and you can find them here on the Archive and there are also links to the individual files below. From a practical point of view, those eight cases that the City settled without going to trial are the most interesting of all. First of all, they were all avoidable. None of them hinged on any subtle interpretations of the statute. If the City had just followed the explicit requirements of the law none of them would have been brought in the first place.

I describe each of them briefly below, by the way. The City has really come to rely on not being sued, and I don’t think we have any hope at all of improving their compliance without a lot more petitions being filed. It’s my hope that these statistics along with access to these cases will encourage more lawyers to get involved in suing the City over CPRA violations. It really looks like there’s some money to be made.

But, much, much more importantly, it looks like it might be not only practically possible, not only morally desirable, but also economically feasible to get the damn City of Los Angeles to just comply with the damn CPRA in some kind of predictable way. The money they spend settling these cases could easily fund a Citywide CPRA coordinator and another staff member just to keep all the City departments on track so that we get access to our records and the City avoids an endless parade of these entirely avoidable suits.
Continue reading Since 2016 Eleven CPRA Lawsuits Against The City Of Los Angeles Have Been Disposed Of — The City Lost Two At Trial And Paid Up — And Settled Eight Before Trial And Paid Up — And The Only One They Didn’t Lose Was The One Wrongly Filed In Federal Court By A Pro Se Litigant — For A Total Of $662,722 — And Given That They’re About To Pay More Than $324,000 To The ACLU To Settle Another Loser — This Is More Than A Million Dollars In Less Than Four Years That They Wasted Because They Can Not Or They Will Not Comply With The Law — For That Kind Of Money They Could Hire A Damn CPRA Coordinator — And Some Staff — And Stop The Bleeding

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Ever Wonder If You Are Blocked By Your Councilmember On The Twitter?! — We Have The Answer! — Also City Attorney! — Also The Mayor! — But Nury Martinez — And Herb Wesson — And Mike Bonin — And Mitch O’Farrell — They Won’t Even Answer The Damn Requests — Oh, Almost Forgot To Say! — Deputy City Attorney And Insufferable Rich Boy Strefan Fauble Wants To Be Sure You Know — Mike Feuer Isn’t Muting Any Twitter Users But If He Were — The List Would Be Exempt From Release Under The CPRA! — Yeah Right, Strefan Fauble! — Stick To Art Collecting And Leave The CPRA Lawyering To Others!

For about two months now I’ve been looking into the practice of Twitter users being blocked or muted by official City of Los Angeles accounts. I’m still gathering evidence, but yesterday it came out that Police Commission president Steve Soboroff blocks a bunch of users who’ve never even interacted with him, so I thought it’d be timely to write up the information I have so far. This issue is of special interest in these latter days given that in 2018 a federal judge ruled that it is unconstitutional for Donald Trump to block users on Twitter.

What I can offer you today, friends, is Twitter block/mute information for eleven of the fifteen council districts, the City Attorney, the Mayor, and a small selection of official LAPD accounts.1 There’s also an interesting line of hypothetical bullshit from deputy city attorney Strefan Fauble2 about some pretty technical claims about CPRA exemptionism,3 but that, being übernerdlich, is way at the end of the post.

Most of the accounts blocked are porn or spam, but Jose Huizar and David Ryu are notable exceptions. Both reps block accounts that are obviously controlled by actual individual people. Huizar’s list is by far the most extensive, and includes wildly inappropriate blocks like @oscartaracena and @BHJesse.

My research on this question is ongoing, mostly hindered by the City of LA’s familiar foot-dragging CPRA methodology. Turn the page for a tabular summary of the results I have so far along with a brief discussion of how Strefan Fauble is still on his CPRA bullshit.
Continue reading Ever Wonder If You Are Blocked By Your Councilmember On The Twitter?! — We Have The Answer! — Also City Attorney! — Also The Mayor! — But Nury Martinez — And Herb Wesson — And Mike Bonin — And Mitch O’Farrell — They Won’t Even Answer The Damn Requests — Oh, Almost Forgot To Say! — Deputy City Attorney And Insufferable Rich Boy Strefan Fauble Wants To Be Sure You Know — Mike Feuer Isn’t Muting Any Twitter Users But If He Were — The List Would Be Exempt From Release Under The CPRA! — Yeah Right, Strefan Fauble! — Stick To Art Collecting And Leave The CPRA Lawyering To Others!

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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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Newly Obtained 2016 Emails Show That Senior Assistant City Attorney Valerie Flores And Chief Assistant City Attorney David Michaelson Agreed With This Blog That Banning Adults Without Children From Selma Park Was Illegal — Even As Flores Caustically Blamed Rec And Parks For Removing Signs She Had Tacitly Admitted Should Have Been Removed — No Matter What Kerry Morrison, Eric Garcetti, And Mitch O’Farrell Said About It — Further Evidence Linking O’Farrell’s Universally Mocked 2016 Proposal To Ban Adults From City Parks With Reopening Of Selma Park — Also New Info On The Content Of Mitch O’Farrell’s Feverish Delusions About Drug Dealers Overrunning The Largely Vacant Real Estate In His Head

OK, brief recap1 on the situation with Selma Park in Hollywood! In September 2015 I discovered that the Hollywood Entertainment District BID had illegally placed signs on the outer fence of the Park stating that adults without children were banned and in October 2015 Rec and Parks removed the illegal signs. Morrison engineered this years-long illegal exclusion of the people of Los Angeles from their public park because, despite her stridently self-proclaimed Christianity, she was angry that people were using the park to share food with one another.

Subsequent investigations showed that dozens of people had been arrested in the park for violating these illegal restrictions, although none were prosecuted and that current school board candidate and former Public Works Commissioner Heather Repenning, at that time a staffer for Eric Garcetti back when he was repping CD13, was deeply involved with Kerry Morrison, the BID’s very own Ilse Koch, in the illegal park closure process.

Documents proved that Morrison’s gestapo wannabes, the Andrews International BID Patrol, had been deeply involved in the ongoing series of civil rights violations engendered by the illegal park closure, not only by chasing people out of the park who had every right to be there, but by making actual custodial arrests as well, contrary to Morrison’s vehement but mendacious denial that this had ever occurred.

Subsequently, in December 2016, Mitch O’Farrell introduced a motion in Council seeking to amend the Los Angeles Municipal Code to allow the City to ban adults without children from playgrounds in LA Parks. He linked this explicitly to the reopening of Selma Park. This crapola motion was supported by Kerry Morrison, whose idea it must have been, but universally mocked and opposed by all sane people in Los Angeles and some not so sane ones as well. Even people who live east of San Bernardino took some notice of O’Farrell’s incipient crackpot fascism. And thus did the proposal die in committee in December 2018.

And just recently I received a massive set of emails between people at RAP and Mitch O’Farrell’s Hollywood field deputy Daniel Halden.2 And buried amonst them was this lengthy email conversation from November 2016 between various folks at RAP, Daniel Halden of CD13, and Valerie Flores and David Michaelson of the City Attorney’s office discussing Selma Park, those illegal signs, this blog, and, interestingly enough, me, who, like the bloody-handed henchman she is, Flores calls “a serial CPRA abuser.”3

And interestingly enough, more than a year after the signs came down, Valerie Flores tells RAP to put the signs back up, but only on the playground, not on the park itself. Which is pretty ridiculous, since they never took the signs down from the playground and no one, to my knowledge, ever complained about the signs on the playground. The discussion even escalated to Chief Assistant City Attorney David Michaelson, who also stated definitively that the City could not ban adults from the entire park, but only the playground.

Given that they’re falling over themselves here to admit that I was right all along about the damn signs, you’d think that instead of calling me names these people might have been grateful to me for merely calling attention, rather than leaving them to get sued, to the fact that in the City’s nauseating eagerness to do whatever random crapola Kerry Morrison demanded of them, they’d been violating people’s civil rights for a freaking decade4 by arresting them for being in a park they had every right to be in.

Also interesting is the fact that Flores quoted Mitch O’Farrell on the reason for the signs going back up:5 “According to the Council Member, after the sign was removed, the Selma Park became overrun with drug dealers and other criminal elements.” If you know the area, you’ll know this is a lie. You’ll also suspect that Mitch O’Farrell has never been near that park in his life and that the lie was almost certainly put into his mouth by Kerry Morrison.

And, shedding some light on the genesis of the universally mocked CF 16-1456, Flores announces that “Next week we will work with RAP to discuss options for the area of Selma Park that does not include the children’s play area.” Of course, by now it’s clear that there are no such options or they would have banned everyone but the damn cops from that poor beleaguered little park by now. The whole conversation is very, very much worth your time, and if you turn the page you’ll find a transcription, reordered chronologically for ease of reading.
Continue reading Newly Obtained 2016 Emails Show That Senior Assistant City Attorney Valerie Flores And Chief Assistant City Attorney David Michaelson Agreed With This Blog That Banning Adults Without Children From Selma Park Was Illegal — Even As Flores Caustically Blamed Rec And Parks For Removing Signs She Had Tacitly Admitted Should Have Been Removed — No Matter What Kerry Morrison, Eric Garcetti, And Mitch O’Farrell Said About It — Further Evidence Linking O’Farrell’s Universally Mocked 2016 Proposal To Ban Adults From City Parks With Reopening Of Selma Park — Also New Info On The Content Of Mitch O’Farrell’s Feverish Delusions About Drug Dealers Overrunning The Largely Vacant Real Estate In His Head

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Who Do We Speak To When We Speak Truth To Power?

Last week USC hosted a celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti was invited to speak, but his speech was repeatedly interrupted by protesters from LA CAN, from the Skid Row Neighborhood Council Formation Committee, from NOlympics LA, and others.

This prompted an editorial from the L.A. Times entitled Shouting down Mayor Garcetti isn’t ‘speaking truth to power,’ the theme of which is well summarized by this excerpt:

But protesters can overplay their hands. These days, tolerance of other people’s views seems low, and there’s an unhealthy willingness to silence one’s opponents rather than engage them, debate them and out-argue them. That’s a shame.

Protesters who shout down a speaker — or shut down a public meeting — aren’t just expressing their own views; they’re making it impossible for others to share theirs.

It’s silly almost beyond comprehension to believe that Eric Garcetti can be silenced by protesters, that anyone interrupting him can make it impossible for him to share his views. Every word the man says is reported on extensively. His press releases are reprinted or recited verbatim by major news outlets. His press conferences are attended by reporters from all over the state, even the nation. A few people interrupting a speech isn’t making it impossible for Eric Garcetti to share his views.

And why in the world does the Times think there’s something wrong with protesters being unwilling to debate or out-argue Eric Garcetti? Do they really believe that if Eric Garcetti just hears the right argument he’ll stop allowing his LAPD thugs to kill young men for no good reason, stop sending them out to arrest homeless people and incinerate their belongings, that he’ll stop accepting campaign money from real estate developers in exchange for enabling them to destroy neighborhoods and cause more homelessness, that he’ll suddenly see the light and stop being evil?

It’s not going to happen like that. He’s heard the arguments already. If he hasn’t seen the damage he’s doing, the pain he’s causing, the killings he enables, all for the sake of his campaign coffers and his career, it’s because he doesn’t want to see. He knows his constituency and he’s giving them exactly what they want from him. No reasoned analysis is going to change that. These kind of repeated demands for civil discourse in the face of racist police murders, genocidal policies on homelessness, gentrification by force of arms, are incredibly disingenuous.

And strangely, it doesn’t seem to have occurred to the LA Times that the protesters already know they’re not going to change Eric Garcetti’s mind about anything. These protesters are accomplished, able, serious people, the value of whose contributions to civil society in Los Angeles is incomparable. None of them have done what they’ve been able to do by wasting their time trying to debate LA politicians into being nice. What, the LA Times pointedly did not even consider, might such protests actually accomplish?
Continue reading Who Do We Speak To When We Speak Truth To Power?

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Mike Hakim, Zillionaire Carpetbagging Developer From Beverly Hills, Tried To Sell His Soul To Eric Garcetti But — Most Unkindest Cut Of All! — No Matter How He Begged And Pleaded Eric Garcetti Wasn’t Buying Cause Brenda Arianpour’s Soul Was Way Cuter — Too Bad So Sad Mike Hakim!

I wrote last month about an interesting incident in which Eric Garcetti asked Mike Russell of the Wilshire Center BID to arrange for a tame zillionaire1 to speak at the joint Garcetti/Wesson press conference announcing the star-crossed Koreatown homeless shelter which was, at that time, being proposed by Wesson. Mike Hakim, Beverly Hills zillionaire and proponent of a universally reviled K-Town skyscraper, volunteered but Mike Russell and Eric Garcetti went with Beverly Hills zillionairette Brenda Arianpour instead.

Well, the other day I got a whole new set of emails from Mr. Mike Russell,2 which you can read all of right here on the Archive. And amongst these were some that told the rest of the story. It seems that after Mike Hakim volunteered, while Mike Russell and Eric Garcetti’s communications staff were busy fluffing Brenda Arianpour for her big day, no one bothered to tell Mike Hakim that his contributions were unwanted.

Finally, days later, like the little sad clown he tries so hard not to be, he emailed Mike Russell reminding him that he was willing to speak. Mike Russell, never one to waste an opportunity, told Mike Hakim that Eric Garcetti liked Brenda Arianpour better, even though mostly Mike Russell chose her, and then had the nerve to tell Mike Hakim that the Mayor still wanted him to show up and act like he supported the whole thing.

The record doesn’t show that Mike Hakim responded, but day of he regained some of his highly compromised personal dignity and said he couldn’t make it because traffic. And that, friends, is the whole tragedy laid out for your sympathy. Don’t ever think those zillionaire developers from Beverly Hills have it easy. Their lives are harder than yours in ways you can’t even imagine until you’ve earned or inherited your first zillion.

Turn the page, as always, for transcriptions of everything.
Continue reading Mike Hakim, Zillionaire Carpetbagging Developer From Beverly Hills, Tried To Sell His Soul To Eric Garcetti But — Most Unkindest Cut Of All! — No Matter How He Begged And Pleaded Eric Garcetti Wasn’t Buying Cause Brenda Arianpour’s Soul Was Way Cuter — Too Bad So Sad Mike Hakim!

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Senior Lead LAPD Officer Julie Nony Says LAPD Continues Along The Path To Peace Paved 60 Years Ago By Ghandi [sic] And MLK — Senior Lead LAPD Officer Julie Nony Is Surprised That UCLA Students Drag Feet With Respect To Hosting Cop Discussion Group Because “This Seems Unusual For A School That Usually Participates In Protests” — Evidently Senior Lead LAPD Officer Julie Nony Is Now Assigned To The “Community Relationship Division” Of The LAPD Trying To Head Off Riots Before They Begin — TLDR: Senior Lead LAPD Officer Julie Nony Is A Lizard-Loving Moron

As you’re probably aware I have been trying to understand the situation with the Westwood Village BID and the Westwood Neighborhood Council and all them uppity UCLA students who want more bars open more hours.1 But, as you’re probably also aware, Westwood Village BID Boss BIDdie Andrew Lloyd Thomas, probably under the reeking influence of his lawyer, the ballistic barrister of Burbank, which is to say Carol Freaking Humiston, is really, really less than forthcoming with public records.2

One useful strategy for combating the kind of rabid knee-jerk obstructionism practiced by Carol Humiston’s zombie clients is to request records involving them from every possible agency that might have any. This may give access to the records more quickly.3 It’s also possible that this strategy will reveal interesting but hitherto unsuspected issues.

And that’s exactly what happened when I hit up UCLA for emails between their campus coppers and the WVBID. I threw in LAPD for good measure because LAPD is always interesting, and I got a small pile of emails, which you can find here on Archive.Org. Surprisingly, there were a bunch of emails between an old frenemy of this blog, Senior Lead Officer Julie Nony, a UCPD cop name of Kevin Kilgore, and a bunch of random undergraduate student government types.4

The short version is that Julie Nony was trying to get the students to host some blabbermouth jive known as Days of Dialogue and she was surprised that students were dragging their feet about it because everyone knows they’re a bunch of damn bomb throwing radical firebrands who would totally be interested in sitting down with some cops and having a conversation like this:

  1. Non-cops: Hey, we’re scared you’re going to kill us when we’re just walking to the corner to buy milk.
  2. Cops: I hear what you’re saying which is that you’re scared we’re going to kill you when you’re just walking to the corner to buy some milk.
  3. ????
  4. World Peace!!

Turn the page for the long version and transcriptions of the relevant emails.
Continue reading Senior Lead LAPD Officer Julie Nony Says LAPD Continues Along The Path To Peace Paved 60 Years Ago By Ghandi [sic] And MLK — Senior Lead LAPD Officer Julie Nony Is Surprised That UCLA Students Drag Feet With Respect To Hosting Cop Discussion Group Because “This Seems Unusual For A School That Usually Participates In Protests” — Evidently Senior Lead LAPD Officer Julie Nony Is Now Assigned To The “Community Relationship Division” Of The LAPD Trying To Head Off Riots Before They Begin — TLDR: Senior Lead LAPD Officer Julie Nony Is A Lizard-Loving Moron

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How Herb Wesson Arranged For His Constituents To Pack A Council File With Phony Astroturf Letters Supporting His K-Town Homeless Shelter — And The Letters Were Written By Herb Wesson’s Assistant Chief Deputy Andrew Westall

One of the important topics we study here is the function of business improvement districts as lobbyists, not least as tools that the City uses to lobby itself in order to create the illusion of popular support for its initiatives. We recently saw an excellent example of this trope when Eric Garcetti used the Wilshire Center BID to supply a speaker putatively from the community to support his and Herb Wesson’s proposed Koreatown homeless shelter.

And it seems that Eric Garcetti was not the only LA Politician engaged in astroturfing support for this project. Just yesterday I obtained a huge trove of emails from the Byzantine Latino Quarter BID along Pico Blvd. The most interesting item in there1 is a May 15, 2018 email from Herb Wesson’s field deputy Cairo Rodriguez to Moises Gomez, BLQ BID director, asking him to submit a letter supporting the shelter.

But the most amazing, unexpected part of Cairo Rodriguez’s appeal is that it came with a letter of support attached, just waiting for the blanks to be filled in. See here for the original DOCX file, and here for a PDF, and there’s a transcription after the break. This is so peculiar, isn’t it? Obviously Herb Wesson’s not trying to convince himself to vote for the shelter, and he doesn’t have to convince his colleagues, because they’ll vote for anything he supports in his own district, so what’s the point of these letters? So strange.

According to the metadata this faked-up letter of support was written by Andrew Westall, one of Herb Wesson’s senior staff members. And a glimpse at Council File 18-0392 shows that a lot of copies of this astroturf letter were in fact submitted by a lot of different organizations on letterhead, with signatures.2 There are links to samples after the break.
Continue reading How Herb Wesson Arranged For His Constituents To Pack A Council File With Phony Astroturf Letters Supporting His K-Town Homeless Shelter — And The Letters Were Written By Herb Wesson’s Assistant Chief Deputy Andrew Westall

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An Interesting Example From Wilshire Center Showing How Eric Garcetti Used The BID To Supply A Tame Businessperson To Speak For Herb Wesson’s Proposed K-Town Homeless Shelter — Revealing At Least One Of The Ways In Which The City Of Los Angeles Relies On BIDs To Manufacture An Appearance Of Community Support For Its Projects — Did I Mention The City Told The BID A Week Before They Told The News Media And Asked The BID To Keep Quiet About It?!

It’s been clear for a long time now that one of the uses that the City gets out of BIDs is to encourage them to lobby it, thus creating an appearance of community support for projects that the City intended to do all along. It’s easy to see the results of this process at any City Council meeting where a bunch of BIDdies line up to speak in favor of random proposal X that they don’t have any organic reason for caring about.

However, it’s not so easy to see the lead-up to the lobbying events. Obviously City officials are reluctant to release the evidence, and perhaps the BIDdies are as well.1 That’s why today’s documents are so very interesting! The emails I’m presenting are part of a larger release from the Wilshire Center BID, and you can get the original MBOX file or PDFs if you prefer here on Archive.Org.

The story is about the by-now famous homeless shelter proposed for Koreatown by CD10 repster Herb Wesson. The world found out about this project on May 2, 2018 at a joint press conference held by Wesson and Eric Garcetti, as Gale Holland explains in this characteristically excellent story in the Times.2

But amazingly, City staffers told the BID about the proposal on April 26, a full week before anyone else knew. BID board members were asked to keep quiet about it and also to propose a businessperson to speak at the May 2 press conference in support of the shelter. Real Estate zillionaire Mike Hakim volunteered himself to speak at BID director Mike Russell’s request but was, it seems, ignored by everyone, no doubt due to his shady, universally hated skyscraper project in Koreatown.

Instead, Mike Russell nominated Greenbridge Investments flunky Brenda Arianpour, a real estate zillionaire whom Russell misrepresented as a small business owner. After thorough vetting by Garcetti’s communications flacks, Arianpour was chosen to speak in favor of the project. Although not, of course, to speak in her own unscrutinized words. Garcetti’s flacks were sure to discuss “talking points” with her in advance.

The emails by which this was arranged are linked to and transcribed below.
Continue reading An Interesting Example From Wilshire Center Showing How Eric Garcetti Used The BID To Supply A Tame Businessperson To Speak For Herb Wesson’s Proposed K-Town Homeless Shelter — Revealing At Least One Of The Ways In Which The City Of Los Angeles Relies On BIDs To Manufacture An Appearance Of Community Support For Its Projects — Did I Mention The City Told The BID A Week Before They Told The News Media And Asked The BID To Keep Quiet About It?!

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You Know Those Proclamations From The City Of Los Angeles That Hyperconnected Zillionaires Like Laurie Goldman All Hang On Their Office Walls? — Well, Here’s How You Get One! — Have Your Minions Ask The Mayor’s Staff — Be Sure To Call Him MEG Cause That’s What The In-Crowd Calls Him! — And Two Days Later Go Pick Up The Proclamation! — Did I Mention Your Minions Have To Write The Damn Thing? — Don’t Have Any Minions? — No Proclamation For You!!

The proclamations! You’ve probably seen them hanging on the walls of people’s offices, they’re in famous restaurants, like e.g. Musso and Frank has one, The Pantry has one, and so on. Here’s a nice picture of one. Well, here I am, hanging around this City more or less continuously since 1963 and I never knew, never even wondered, where or they came from or why.1 Amazingly, though, in a set of records recently handed over by the Media District BID,2 all was revealed!

Here’s the process, at least as it pertains to the office of the Mayor. First, have your minion email Yolanda Flores at y.flores@lacity.org. She’s actually his staffie in charge of proclamations! Don’t forget to refer to her boss as MEG, which is evidently what the cool kids call him! After she gives you the nod, have your minion write the damn proclamation! That’s it, you can pick it up next Thursday!

Does it seem too simple? Don’t believe it’s that easy? Can’t credit that actual3 grownups call the guy MEG with a straight face? Want to read the genuine one-and-only proclamation that unreconstructed criminal Lisa Schechter of the Media District BID wrote for former president Laurie Goldman that was subsequently issued by MEG? See the emails by means of which the whole mishegoss was arranged? Well, what are you waiting for?! Turn the damn page!!
Continue reading You Know Those Proclamations From The City Of Los Angeles That Hyperconnected Zillionaires Like Laurie Goldman All Hang On Their Office Walls? — Well, Here’s How You Get One! — Have Your Minions Ask The Mayor’s Staff — Be Sure To Call Him MEG Cause That’s What The In-Crowd Calls Him! — And Two Days Later Go Pick Up The Proclamation! — Did I Mention Your Minions Have To Write The Damn Thing? — Don’t Have Any Minions? — No Proclamation For You!!

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