It’s a serious violation, too. The Brown Act at §54959 states that:
Each member of a legislative body who attends a meeting of that legislative body where action is taken in violation of any provision of this chapter, and where the member intends to deprive the public of information to which the member knows or has reason to know the public is entitled under this chapter, is guilty of a misdemeanor.
As far as I know, no one has ever been prosecuted under this clause, but if someone’s going to be first, I won’t be surprised if it turns out to be the infamously thuggish CCEA. And it’s a hard case to make that quality of life crimes, e.g. public drinking, are more harmful than this kind of covert conspiratorial shenanigans. One’s unaesthetic at worst. The other degrades the very fabric of our open society.
This is just a short note to announce two massive sets of emails that I’ve obtained over the last couple weeks. There’s so much material here that it’s taken an unusual amount of time to get it processed and published. I will be writing about this material over the next few weeks. There’s so much, and it’s so rich, that it’s going to take me a while to get it all sorted out, so I thought it’d be best to make it available to you right away:
Downtown Santa Monica BID — Emails between the City of Santa Monica and the Downtown Santa Monica BID from January 1 through September 8, 2017.
Last night a panel consisting of three neighborhood council presidents from around the City heard General Jeff’s appeal of the election that defeated the Skid Row Neighborhood Council separation from DLANC last month. You can read the whole appeal here, including DONE boss Grayce Liu’s recommendations to the panel. The gist of it is that someone sent around an email that looked like it came from DLANC urging people to vote against the SRNC. If this had been a candidate for a neighborhood council office this evidence would have been enough to incur sanctions from the City based on the rules in the official election manual.
As it was, though, the panel unambiguously recommended that DONE either hold another election without the exceedingly contentious online voting that was unaccountably allowed in this election.1 Note that you can also read a less impressionistic version of this story than mine by Gale Holland, writing in this morning’s Times.
The meeting was well-attended and the level of interest and excitement was high. Unfortunately I had to leave after only three hours, long before anything was decided, but what I did see was well worth the trip. Most exciting was the public comments, which, at least while I was there, were all but one in favor of Skid Row. They were insightful, heartfelt, moving, convincing, enough to restore understandably flagging faiths in democracy. The one guy who was against the new NC was…well, his comments are summarized in the image that appears at the start of this post. It may seem like a joke, but it was not.
Well, just tonight it’s come to my attention that General Jeff and Katherine McNenny have discovered that Patti Berman, chief boss-lady of the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council, or anyway someone with access to DLANC computer accounts, evidently used City resources to campaign against the SRNC. You can watch them here explaining the proof. It boils down to the fact that DLANC used their Mailchimp account to send out email blasts, which incorporated the City logo, urging people to vote against SRNC. This is bad and creepy and probably illegal. General Jeff promises in the video to use it to challenge the outcome of the election.
I just recently received a few hundred pages of emails from Estela Lopez, voodoo queen of the Central City East Association, and they are available on Archive.Org and also directly from static storage. Most of it is the unmitigatedly tedious bullshit with which these BIDdies fill their lives and their inboxes, but, as usual, there are a few interesting items. I already wrote the other day about Estela Lopez’s aggressive foray into CPRAlandia, and here are a few other items that are worth looking at individually:
According to the incomparable Gale Holland, writing in the L.A. Times, the initial balloting shows that the Skid Row Neighborhood Council has been defeated by a slim 62 vote margin. The NC election was the subject of extensive and disgusting opposition on Facebook and elsewhere.1 The fix was in, though, as the City Council voted a few weeks ago to allow online voting in this NC election only, according to Gale Holland. In a striking performative demonstration of the digital divide, the traditional paper ballots were 183 to 19 in favor of the SRNC, whereas online ballots were 807 to 581 against.
The NC proponents also suspect that the Downtown LA Neighborhood Council misused city funds to campaign against the election.2 Anyway, evidently a challenge is planned based on these considerations. The Department of Neighborhood Empowerment, overseer of the City’s neighborhood councils, is notorious for the number, length, and vituperativity of its appeals, so this process promises to be, at least, interesting.
On the front page of the Summer 2015 issue of the HPOA newsletter, our heroine and perennial source of subject matter, Kerry Morrison, has an article cynically entitled Discouraging News About Homelessness Surprises No One. Her subject is the 2015 homeless count results, released last month and showing that homelessness in Los Angeles County has increased by 12% over 2013, the year of the last count. In her piece, Kerry gives a number of delusional speculations on why this might have happened: more crazy people, good weather in LA, Prop 47 (srsly), people who, following the example of Jesus Christ, give money to panhandlers, the FREAKING ACLU?!!3