Tag Archives: Gerald Gubatan

How Huizar-Connected Lobbyist Tony Cabral Helped Ultra-Corrupt Beverly Hills Zillionaire Michael Delijani Lobby Gil Cedillo In 2017 To Encourage Amazon To Build Their Ruinous HQ2 Project In CD1 — Where Delijani Evidently Owns A Bunch Of Land — Which, According To Cabral, “Would Represent The Best Site For Such A New Campus”

Man, it’s been a while since I’ve thought about über-corrupt Beverly Hills zillionaire Michael Delijani, who, in early 2017, you may recall, proudly took a place along with his Downtown gentrification buddies in the front lines of the bloodthirsty covert battle to subvert the Skid Row Neighborhood Council. Delijani is also famous for his criminal friends, like for instance disgraced jailbird former LA County tax assessor John Noguez, for whom Delijani hosted actual bribe-giving parties at his secret zillionaire lair in Beverly Hills.

Now, think back to September 2017, when Amazon announced a national contest whose prize would be Amazon’s auxiliary headquarters and zillionaires and their pet politicians in metropolitan areas all over the country were all afroth with their ante-hatch egg counting while visions of gratuitous tax incentives, overflowing entitlements, gentrification, and less affordable housing danced in their greedy little heads like so many sugar-PLUMs.

And Delijani, who is one of those guys who owns stuff for a living, evidently owns a lot of land in Gil Cedillo’s racketeery fiefdom, CD1. And Delijani has a notoriously greedy little head, notoriously vision-dancing-achock, wherein wet dreams of Amazon’s headquarters could evidently flourish. Or that’s the news revealed by this newly obtained set of emails betweed CD1 staffers Debbie Kim and Gerald Gubatan and various lobbyists working for Michael Delijani.

See in particular this lengthy exchange between Debbie Kim, who is Cedillo’s chief of staff, and Tony Cabral, who’s some kind of high voltage zillionaire minion, also famous for being thanked by Jose Huizar his own self on the Twitter on the occasion of Ms. Jose’s announcing her short-lived candidacy to replace her soon-to-be-indicted hubby-pie. The unctuous Cabral kicked it off with an email seeking a meeting between Delijani and Cedillo, the subject of which was to be:

Amazon’s search for a new 2nd major headquarters where they are looking to accommodate up to 50,000 new employees. Michael Delijani believes that his existing property, along with other land around it, all within the 1st District, would represent the best site for such a new campus.

And with the recent news that activist opposition to Amazon’s death-star-landing-zone plans for Brooklyn may have succeeded in provoking them to reconsider their choice of location, perhaps Delijani will get another chance to consummate his erotic land-use fantasies. I’ll be here with the goodies if so. Meanwhile, turn the page to read a transcription of the whole nauseating discussion. And, while reading, just imagine yourself trying to get an appointment to meet with Gil Cedillo. It’s not gonna work out like this, I promise you that!
Continue reading How Huizar-Connected Lobbyist Tony Cabral Helped Ultra-Corrupt Beverly Hills Zillionaire Michael Delijani Lobby Gil Cedillo In 2017 To Encourage Amazon To Build Their Ruinous HQ2 Project In CD1 — Where Delijani Evidently Owns A Bunch Of Land — Which, According To Cabral, “Would Represent The Best Site For Such A New Campus”

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Ingrid Lee Was Fined $16,455 In December 2017 By The Ethics Commission For Making Excess Campaign Contributions Through Front Corporations — Including Injae LLC And Coastland Project LLC — $1,700 Of That Money Went To Gil Cedillo — So Why Was Dean Matsubayashi Of The Little Tokyo Service Center Carrying Messages Between Injae And Gerald Gubatan — Cedillo’s Senior Planning Director — In 2016? — And Why Were They So Vague In Their Emails — Repeatedly Insisting On Talking Via Phone?

You’ll recall that this incredibly useful trove of emails between Cedillo staffer Gerald Gubatan and various Little Tokyo folks has contributed significantly to the story of José Huizar’s famously cooked-up community buy-in Parker Center demolition thing, not just in the main story but also, e.g., in this little tidbit about op-ed placement. And, it turns out, there is one more story to be squeezed out of this seething mass of information.

Take a look at this email conversation from 2016 between our friend, Gerald Gubatan, and his behind-scenes buddy Dean Matsubayashi of the Little Tokyo Service Center. And I mean, you can read it, and of course there is a transcription after the break, but the apparent content is a rounding error away from nothing. Gubatan and Matsubayashi go on and on about some entity called Injae LLC and how they need to discuss something on the phone.

That, of course, is a veritable without-which-not1 for political shadiness. There’s nothing in the genre of political communications which portends corruption and impending exposure, contempt, mockery, and disgrace quite like a series of emails each of which says essentially nothing more than “call me.” And we’re never gonna know what they talked about on the phone, but let’s take a look at this Injae LLC thing, yes?

This California LLC, which is still active, is a front for real estate developer In Soo Lee, aka Ingrid Lee through which she funneled contributations over the legally allowed amount to Gil Cedillo and Monica Rodriguez. This was reported in the L.A. Times in December 2017 when the Ethics Commission fined Lee $16,455 for her willful evasion of municipal election laws. The article also reveals the fact that Coastland Project LLC was another of Lee’s contribution fronts.

And Cedillo accepted contributions from both Injae and Coastland. Take a look at the Ethics Commission’s reports on Injae and on Coastland Project to see that Injae gave him $500 in 2014 and $700 in 2015 and that Coastland gave him $500 in 2014. And after taking all this money, evidently Gerald Gubatan had some top secret business with Injae and Dean Matsubayashi, so sensitive that neither of them would commit details to writing.

After all, shady criminal developers like Ingrid Lee ultimately want something from their vendidos in exchange for their illegal money, don’t they? Too bad we’re really unlikely ever to learn what it was. Turn the page to read the emails!
Continue reading Ingrid Lee Was Fined $16,455 In December 2017 By The Ethics Commission For Making Excess Campaign Contributions Through Front Corporations — Including Injae LLC And Coastland Project LLC — $1,700 Of That Money Went To Gil Cedillo — So Why Was Dean Matsubayashi Of The Little Tokyo Service Center Carrying Messages Between Injae And Gerald Gubatan — Cedillo’s Senior Planning Director — In 2016? — And Why Were They So Vague In Their Emails — Repeatedly Insisting On Talking Via Phone?

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Not Only Did CD1 Senior Planning Deputy Gerald Gubatan Organize Little Tokyo Business Interests To Attend Council Meetings And Give Public Comment In Favor Of Parker Center Demolition But He Also Told Them They Ought To Place An Op-Ed In The Times As Part Of The Campaign — Of Course As A Member Of Gil Cedillo’s Senior Staff He Could Write An Op-Ed Himself — Or For That Matter Cedillo Could Write One — He’s Done It Before — But That Wouldn’t Contribute To The Illusion Of Community Buy-In — Hints Of The Connection Between Gubatan And Little Tokyo — A Preschool Couldn’t Pass Fire Inspection — Gubatan Helped Fix It

I recently wrote about the process whereby in 2017 José Huizar’s staff arranged for an ersatz show of community buy-in with respect to the demolition of Parker Center in what the putative buyers-in at least saw as a quid pro quo deal. And for reasons that remain unclear Gerald Gubatan, who is Gil Cedillo’s senior planning deputy, also participated in the ginning-up-of-support process, advising the astroturfers in embarrassingly painstaking detail on the ways and means of astroturfing.

Some newly obtained emails between Gubatan and various people in the Little Tokyo business community show that his advice extended further than previously known, to the point where he was suggesting that they write an op-ed for the L.A. Times pushing Cedillo’s view of Parker Center demolition and that they coordinate its appearance with Council hearings on the matter.

Certainly Gubatan or even Cedillo could write their own op-eds for the L.A. Times. A search in Proquest’s LA Times database shows that Cedillo’s published nine over the years.1 But of course, that wouldn’t have had the desired effect, not least because it would require Cedillo to reveal that he’d already made up his mind before the vote. It certainly wouldn’t have created and maintained the illusion of community buy-in on the creation of which CD1 was working so hard. Thus, if op-eds were to be written, it was imperative to find authors apparently independent of Cedillo’s office.

As this February 2017 email conversation shows, Gubatan chose his friends in Little Tokyo, Dean Matsubayashi of the Little Tokyo Service Center and Joanne Kumamoto of the Little Tokyo Business Improvement District to hit up for an op-ed. And Gubatan didn’t just tell them to write an op-ed, he told them that “ideally [it should] be timed with the City Council vote.”

Here’s that entire email. After the break find transcriptions of the rest of the conversation, along with more emails about an interesting 2016 episode involving the Little Tokyo Service Center a preschool that couldn’t get a fire permit and how Gerald Gubatan interceded with the Fire Department on behalf of the LTSC.

Gerald Gubatan <gerald.gubatan@lacity.org> Wed, Feb 8, 2017 at 3:47 PM

To: Dean Matsubayashi <DMatsubayashi@ltsc.org>, Joanne Kumamoto <jkumamoto@aol.com>

Dean, Joanne,

When one Googles “Parker Center,” the narratives which appear are mainly by the LA Times, JD Waldie, the LA Conservancy.

One does not find the perspectives articulated at the recent PLUM Committee hearing.

If there is a good, knowledgeable and articulate writer who has the time and energy to author such a perspective and forward the LA Times for publication, ideally to be timed with the City Council vote, I believe the narrative could fill an informational gap in the larger civic engagement.

Just a thought,

Gerald

Gerald G. Gubatan
Senior Planning Deputy
Office of Council Member Gilbert Cedillo
Council District 1
City Hall, Room 460
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Tel: 213.473.7001
gerald.gubatan@lacity.org
http://cd1.lacity.org/

Continue reading Not Only Did CD1 Senior Planning Deputy Gerald Gubatan Organize Little Tokyo Business Interests To Attend Council Meetings And Give Public Comment In Favor Of Parker Center Demolition But He Also Told Them They Ought To Place An Op-Ed In The Times As Part Of The Campaign — Of Course As A Member Of Gil Cedillo’s Senior Staff He Could Write An Op-Ed Himself — Or For That Matter Cedillo Could Write One — He’s Done It Before — But That Wouldn’t Contribute To The Illusion Of Community Buy-In — Hints Of The Connection Between Gubatan And Little Tokyo — A Preschool Couldn’t Pass Fire Inspection — Gubatan Helped Fix It

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The Los Angeles City Council Violated The Brown Act Prior To Its Hearing On Designation Of Parker Center As A Historic-Cultural Monument — Huizar Staff Evidently Polled All Other Council Offices To Learn How They Would Vote — Which Constitutes An Illegal Serial Meeting According To The California Attorney General And The Court Of Appeals — If Little Tokyo Bigwig Kristin Fukushima Is To Be Believed, Anyway — And Why Would She Lie?

In his 2017 rush to destroy Parker Center, not only did José Huizar direct his staff to organize a series of phony performances of public support at various hearings as part of a twisted quid pro quo deal with various Little Tokyo luminaries, but on February 13, 2017 or thereabouts his office also violated California’s open meeting law, the Brown Act, by polling all the other Council offices on how they intended to vote the next day on the designation of the building as a historic-cultural monument.

The evidence is right here in this email conversation between Kristin Fukushima, Little Tokyo anti-Parker-Center coconspirator, and Gerald Gubatan, who is Gil Cedillo’s planning director:1

On Mon, Feb 13, 2017 at 2:03 PM, Kristin Fukushima <kristin@littletokyola.org> wrote:

Hi everyone,

Gerald, just letting you know – I spoke with CD 14 this morning, and apparently they checked in with all the offices and have confirmed that they are expecting everyone on City Council tomorrow to vote in approval of PLUM’s recommendation against HCM nomination for Parker Center. To be safe, a handful of us will still be there tomorrow, but good news nonetheless!

Thanks!

If she’s telling the truth about CD14 checking in with all the offices, and why would she not be, then the City Council violated the Brown Act by holding a meeting that the public had no access to. It’s not surprising, of course. We’ve seen significant circumstantial evidence that such violations happen regularly, but man, has it been hard to claw that proof out of the City.2

This kind of lawless behavior in no way seems uncharacteristic of Huizar. It wouldn’t have seemed so even before his enormous capacity for lawlessness and illicitry was made even more manifest than anyone could have expected.3 Sadly, there’s nothing at all to be done about it at this point. The Brown Act has very short built-in time limitations for taking action, and this is far past all of them.

By the way, it may not seem obvious that a staff member from one Council office contacting all the other offices and asking how they’re planning to vote on an agenda item constitutes a meeting, but it’s clear under the law that it does. For all the wonky details, laid out in full wonky splendor, turn the page. You know you wanna!
Continue reading The Los Angeles City Council Violated The Brown Act Prior To Its Hearing On Designation Of Parker Center As A Historic-Cultural Monument — Huizar Staff Evidently Polled All Other Council Offices To Learn How They Would Vote — Which Constitutes An Illegal Serial Meeting According To The California Attorney General And The Court Of Appeals — If Little Tokyo Bigwig Kristin Fukushima Is To Be Believed, Anyway — And Why Would She Lie?

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How José Huizar Was Desperate In 2017 — Gil Cedillo Too — For Anyone — Anyone At All — To Support Demolishing Parker Center Cause Everyone — Like Everyone! — Wanted To Preserve It — So Huizar Flunkies Megan Teramoto And Ari Simon — Who Used A Secret Email Address By The Way — And Cedillo Flunky Gerald Gubatan — Ginned Up Support From A Bunch Of Little Tokyo Business And Property Owners — Coached Them In How To Comment — And The Little Tokyo-Ites Did It To Gain Huizar’s Support For Their Favored Projects — And That Is How Community Buy-In Is Bought And Sold At 200 N. Spring Street


To get some context for the events discussed herein, take a look at this excellent preservation-minded timeline.

In late 2016 the erstwhile LAPD headquarters known as Parker Center was yet again threatened with demolition.1 CD14 repster José Huizar made some pretty noises about preserving it, but really, there’s no money in that for anyone, and by January of 2017, when a crucial series of hearings began, he had thrown the full weight of his councilmanic power behind the wrecking ball.

And even though the decision on Parker Center was strictly up to the City Council, which can unilaterally override every City commission or board, and that means that the decision was strictly up to Huizar alone,2 for whatever reason Huizar apparently was reluctant to tear the building down based on nothing more than his raw desire and power to do so.

It’s hard to say why this was the case. Possibly because the Cultural Heritage Commission had taken the fairly unprecedented step of recommending Historic-Cultural Monument status on their own motion, or maybe because the mostly reliably subservient Los Angeles Times had editorialized against demolition, or possibly because phone calls to his office were disproportionately in favor of not tearing the damn building down.

In fact, according to Kristin Fukushima of the Little Tokyo Community Council quoting an unnamed Huizar staffer, CD14 had “gotten like 20 calls this am telling us to preserve it and none to demo it. Also extremely expecting like 40 ppl tomorrow to show up supporting preservation.” In a city with a functioning representative democracy we might at this point expect Huizar to change his position given that no one seemed to support him.3 But this is Los Angeles, friends, which is why instead of changing his position he did what Councilmembers always do when faced with this dilemma.

That is, he ordered his staff to go out and gin up some supporters to come give favorable comment at some meetings in favor of his already-determined position. Comments from the public in favor of whatever a given CM has already decided to do are pearls of great price at 200 N. Spring Street, the preferred medium of exchange, the Fort Knox gold that backs the currency in which political capital is measured.4 Such comments, along with letters to council files, and similar things, are collectively known as community buy-in. A Los Angeles City Councilmember can generally do whatever they want to do, but with community buy-in they can do it with impunity.5

So Huizar’s aides set out to buy some buy-in. They hit up people from business improvement districts and like-minded nonprofits, e.g. the Little Tokyo BID, the Downtown Center BID, the Little Tokyo Service Center, and the Little Tokyo Community Council. And these paid commenters6 showed up in force and did what they were expected to do. And I’ve obtained dozens of emails showing the coordination,7 the use of Gmail addresses by at least one Huizar staffer, the unexplained participation of Gil Cedillo’s planning deputy Gerald Gubatan, and the expected quid pro quo in the form of Huizar’s anticipated support for various Little-Tokyo-centric pet projects. Turn the page for links to and transcriptions of selections from these emails, arranged into an epistolary narrative!
Continue reading How José Huizar Was Desperate In 2017 — Gil Cedillo Too — For Anyone — Anyone At All — To Support Demolishing Parker Center Cause Everyone — Like Everyone! — Wanted To Preserve It — So Huizar Flunkies Megan Teramoto And Ari Simon — Who Used A Secret Email Address By The Way — And Cedillo Flunky Gerald Gubatan — Ginned Up Support From A Bunch Of Little Tokyo Business And Property Owners — Coached Them In How To Comment — And The Little Tokyo-Ites Did It To Gain Huizar’s Support For Their Favored Projects — And That Is How Community Buy-In Is Bought And Sold At 200 N. Spring Street

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As Previously Reported — On May 15, 2018 Bill Cody, The World’s Oldest Field Deputy, Told Jesse Rosas And The Highland Park Business Improvement District That Gil Cedillo Had Hired Barrio Planners To Help Displaced Small Businesses — But Newly Obtained Emails Reveal That On May 20, 2018 Bill Cody Emailed Barrio Planners And Asked Them To Help The Businesses — Bill Cody, We Wouldn’t Want To Accuse You Of Having Lied On May 15, Friend — Probably It Seemed True While You Were Saying It — And Then You Kinda Made It Be True Later — So It’s Kinda OK I Guess

Anyone who’s paying attention to Los Angeles politics recently knows about the hipster apocalypse presently unfolding in Highland Park. I had occasion yesterday morning to walk south on Figueroa Street this morning from Avenue 61 to Avenue 501 and it’s basically like hipster Jim Crow, with businesses duplicated on every block and divided starkly along racial lines. A hipster tonsorial salon2 next to a Latino barber, hipster clothing next to work shoes or ropas segundas, hipster cold-press juice bars next to stands selling jugos naturales, and so on.

Weirdest of all is the situation with coffee places. Over and over and over again one sees a hipster coffee place full of tattooed young white people right next to a panaderia full of brown people. Both places serve coffee and baked goods and yet somehow there’s evidently no way that one place can satisfy both crowds. It makes absolutely no sense to me, probably not to any sane people.3 These coffee places, three or four to the block, are a stark and clear symbol of the holocaust that so-called legacy businesses along Figueroa Street are undergoing and which those along York Boulevard have already undergone baby gone.

And because hipster-serving establishments charge prices that are many times the prices the older businesses can sustain, they can afford rents high enough to drive the older places out of business. And the landlords are thrilled by this, of course, because they pocket the extra money with extra outlay of neither capital nor labor on their part. It’s a zillionaire’s wet dream.4 And it’s also not a mystery. It’s well-covered in the press. Rents go up and very soon after the vultures start feathering their nests.

And because it’s not a mystery, and because it’s a subject of deep import to many constituents in CD1, it’s entirely fitting and proper that residents would share their concern with their Council staffers and entirely fitting and proper that said Council staffers would respond. And we have already seen that something like this happened with the world’s oldest field deputy, Bill Cody, the crankiest and most bellicose flunky ever to rep Gil Cedillo or, for that matter, any other Councilmember in the entire damn history of Los Angeles.

At the May 15 meeting of the North Figueroa Association, which is the property owners’ association for the infamous Highland Park BID, he was questioned pretty intensely by Jesse Rosas about this very issue and responded in a rather mealy-mouthed fashion by claiming that his boss, Gil Cedillo, was taking care of it by hiring some kind of a firm, known as Barrio Planners, that presumably knows how to take care of such things:

And I’m always worried about that. Oh, one more thing. We have Barrio Planners, who’s been helping a lot of the local businesses to try to find placement for some of the ones who, um, … a couple of properties have changed situations and … I have been working with all those businesses, I [unintelligible] them together with Barrio Planners, they’ll work on that issue, we pay them to do that. So, we’re very, very concerned about that and we’ve been working tirelessly on that issue.

And since that day, more than five months ago at this point, my compatriots and I have been trying to figure out exactly what the heck Bill Freaking Cody was talking about. And because the CPRA mill grinds slowly we didn’t get much action for quite a while, but because the CPRA mill does grind, CD1 finally handed over some emails. You can read all of them here on Archive.Org, and turn the page for selections that reveal that despite the good game talked by Bill Cody, the Council District’s intervention via Barrio Planners on behalf of these threatened businesses seems to have been quite minimal and therefore the subject of wild overhyping by Bill Cody when e.g. he claims that they have “been working tirelessly on that issue.”
Continue reading As Previously Reported — On May 15, 2018 Bill Cody, The World’s Oldest Field Deputy, Told Jesse Rosas And The Highland Park Business Improvement District That Gil Cedillo Had Hired Barrio Planners To Help Displaced Small Businesses — But Newly Obtained Emails Reveal That On May 20, 2018 Bill Cody Emailed Barrio Planners And Asked Them To Help The Businesses — Bill Cody, We Wouldn’t Want To Accuse You Of Having Lied On May 15, Friend — Probably It Seemed True While You Were Saying It — And Then You Kinda Made It Be True Later — So It’s Kinda OK I Guess

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