Tag Archives: Gil Cedillo

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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July 1, 2013 — Gil Cedillo’s First Day In Office — Ultra-Corrupt Lobbyist Morrie Goldman Needed A Favor Right Away — Senior Staffer Arturo Chavez Was All Like — None Of Our Office Machines Are Even Working Yet But For You Morrie Anything! — Setting The Tone For The Rest Of Cedillo’s Term

Been six weeks or so since last I wrote about selections from this stinking heap consisting of 242 PDF pages of problematic ethical situations involving Gil Cedillo’s senior staff advisor Arturo Chavez and a rampaging gang of corrupt lobbyists. And first among these corrupt rampagers is Mister Corruption himself, Morrie Freaking Goldman. Talked of in FBI offices alongside Jose Huizar, buddy of Gil Cedillo.

And today we have a small story of a single day in the CD1-repping life of Gil Cedillo. But not just any day. It was the first day of the rest of Cedillo’s term. July 1, 2013. The fax wasn’t even working yet.1 But the influence machine was working, and that’s how Morrie Goldman came to leave a message for Arturo Chavez on July 1, 2013 asking for a favor and later following up by email: “Did you get my message re: 1111 Wilshire CUB hearing?”

And these 1111 Wilshire people didn’t just parachute in out of nowhere. They were heavily invested in the CD1 race that Cedillo ultimately won. At first they weren’t interested in Cedillo at all, but rather his opponent, Jose Gardea. As Ed Reyes’s chief of staff Gardea was doubtless the establishment candidate and presumptive heir of the moment, which is doubtless why two separate anonymous LLCs named after 1111 Wilshire gave Gardea a total of $2,100 in the 2013 CD1 campaign.

But at some point they evidently realized that they’d better hedge their bets, so in June of 2013 they gave Cedillo $700 as well. And that, children, is doubtless why Morrie Goldman had Arturo Chavez’s phone number on the first day of Gil Cedillo’s term. And doubtless why Arturo Chavez answered Goldman’s demands. And told him that yes, Cedillo was writing a letter, and yes, he could pick it up in the morning.

And that, friends, is what $700 buys you from Gil Cedillo, and that, friends, is how Gil Cedillo and his senior staff spent their first day at 200 N. Spring Street. And every other day since then, looks like. Turn the page for a transcription of the entire email conversation and please, take a look at the whole spool because there are doubtless unmined gems lurking in there!
Continue reading July 1, 2013 — Gil Cedillo’s First Day In Office — Ultra-Corrupt Lobbyist Morrie Goldman Needed A Favor Right Away — Senior Staffer Arturo Chavez Was All Like — None Of Our Office Machines Are Even Working Yet But For You Morrie Anything! — Setting The Tone For The Rest Of Cedillo’s Term

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In April 2017 Cedillo Minion Bill Cody Told Yami Duarte Of The Department Of Cultural Affairs About CD1’s Plans For That Frank Romero Mural — And She Told Cody That There Were Also Plans For A Mural By Zender On The Same Wall — And The Procedure In That Case Was To Present Both Murals To The Cultural Affairs Commission At A Public Hearing — And He Told Duarte That Cedillo Wouldn’t Want To Do It That Way — It Seems That Rules And Procedures Are For Other People In Cedillo’s And Cody’s CD1 — Especially If They Interfere With Cody’s Mad Thirst For Vengeance

Last week I wrote about how CD1 staffer Bill Cody used his position with the City to revenge himself against Highland Park community art activists Brenda Perez and Yaya Castillo by trying to get City funding pulled from a mural because a compatriot of theirs, muralist John Zender, was involved in the project. That happened in June 2018, and the backstory is well-summarized in that post, so I won’t repeat it here. The very short version is that Bill Cody was pushing a mural by Frank Romero of Los Four at least in part to silence community agitation at the destruction of a mural by Zender at the behest of the reprehensible Highland Park Business Improvement District.

Well, it turns out that in April 2018, when Cody was beginning the process of organizing Frank Romero’s new pro-Olympics mural, there was also a project by Zender proposed for the same City-owned wall. It turns out that the Cultural Affairs Commission, which must approve murals on City property,1 has a process in place to resolve just this kind of situation. Which they would have to have, of course, because the City property belongs to everyone. If more than one artist wants to put a mural somewhere there has to be a fair method of choosing.

Accordingly, Yami Duarte of the Department of Cultural Affairs told Bill Cody that all murals on City property must be approved by the CAC and that the DCA “Director is apprised that there may be another mural proposal for the same location by artist Mr. John Zender Estrada, and recommends that both projects be presented side by side to the Commission.” By the way, I don’t think that it has been previously reported that Zender had plans for a mural where Romero’s mural was going to be painted. The story is told in this brief email conversation, of which there is a complete transcription after the break.2

But, as we’ve seen, Cody really had it in for Zender, so he wasn’t having that. And he wasn’t owning his not having it either, as he attributed his unwillingness to follow the rules and let the CAC decide which mural ought to be placed on the wall to Gil Cedillo.3 Thus spake Bill Cody: “I do not think the Councilmember will want to do it that way and I think we should have a conversation about this.” Of course, the vengeful Cody doesn’t want to do anything any way that might result in some democratically empowered body such as the CAC choosing something other than what he had planned, which is keeping Zender’s work off walls in Highland Park. And of course he invokes Cedillo, the source of his power.

Cody evidently had his way with the mural, although the details are still unknown. For whatever reason Romero’s mural didn’t come up before the CAC until its January 9, 2019 meeting. Take a look at the agenda for yourself and notice that there’s nothing at all about Zender on there. And that’s the story. Sure, it’s more low key than all that lurid nonsense about Cody punishing constituents for attacking his office on Facebook, but it’s just as corrosive of democratic principles. So turn the page for a transcription and also to take a look at how the Department of Cultural Affairs thinks it’s somehow appropriate to redact the name and email address of City staffer Rebeca Guerrero.4 I asked them why, but they declined to respond.
Continue reading In April 2017 Cedillo Minion Bill Cody Told Yami Duarte Of The Department Of Cultural Affairs About CD1’s Plans For That Frank Romero Mural — And She Told Cody That There Were Also Plans For A Mural By Zender On The Same Wall — And The Procedure In That Case Was To Present Both Murals To The Cultural Affairs Commission At A Public Hearing — And He Told Duarte That Cedillo Wouldn’t Want To Do It That Way — It Seems That Rules And Procedures Are For Other People In Cedillo’s And Cody’s CD1 — Especially If They Interfere With Cody’s Mad Thirst For Vengeance

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Weirdo Cedillo Staffer Bill Cody Tried To Withhold Money From A City-Funded Highland Park Mural Because Renowned Highland Park Muralist John Zender Estrada Was Involved — On The Basis Of A Bizarre Grudge Against HLP Heroines Yaya Castillo And Brenda Perez — Like The Freaking Mural Mafia Of CD1 — Cody: “We’re Not Really Big On Giving Grants To Folks Who Are Involved With People Who Have Been Attacking The Council Office On Social Media”

This Highland Park mural story gets more convoluted and appalling by the day. You’ll recall that in concert with the Highland Park Business Improvement District Cedillo staffer Bill Cody worked with the Department of Cultural Affairs to allow the BID to destroy two well-loved murals in Highland Park. One of these was by renowned HLP muralist John Zender.

This episode led to community protests, organized by among others HLP heroes and heroines Brenda Perez, Yaya Castillo, and Mando Medina, who ended up being surveilled and stalked by Cody, as well as the establishment of radical pro-mural/anti-gentrification group Restorative Justice for the Arts by Perez. Oh, and did I mention this petition calling Bill Cody out for his serially harassing ways?

Cody also has a long-stewing grievance against Perez, Castillo, and Medina, based on something to do with Chicken Boy, Amy Inouye, and Stuart Rapeport, that I do not understand and it really seems like he made it all up, which is not uncharacteristic of the fellow. So there’s a lot of tension swirling around HLP these days with respect to murals and the people involved with them.

And then there’s Kathy Gallegos, executive director of HLP art scene fixture Avenue 50 Studio. The studio accepts funding from the Department of Cultural Affairs, and apparently one thing that Gallegos does with the money is arrange for murals to be painted around HLP. And it seems that in June 2018 Gallegos had a contract with DCA to organize a mural by Anthony Ortega and some of the funds were provided by CD1, with Bill Cody staffing the matter.1 The story is told in this email conversation of which, as always, there is a transcription after the break.

But then Cody discovered that Gallegos had subcontracted with Zender, along with a number of other respected HLP artists. And Cody flipped out and sent an at-the-mouth-frothing email to Yami Duarte and Felicia Filer of DCA interrogating them on this development, demanding that Zender be removed from the project and threatening to withdraw CD1’s funding. Why? Because Zender was known to be friendly with Castillo and Perez and, according to Cody:

The grant was approved by myself and I never would have involved the parties that have been attacking the local constituents. I am told Brenda Perez and Yaya Castillo have been involved and at this point I would like the contract redone with John’s name removed for many, many reasons.

And Cody made it very clear that he views CD1’s cultural funding as a way to reward his friends and punish his enemies:

We’re not really big on giving grants to folks who are involved with people who have been attacking the Council Office on Social Media. We’ll definitely want to make sure that does not happen in the future.

And the trouble with this? There are so many troubles. [A]ttacking the Council Office on Social Media is what we do in America. It’s none of Cody’s damn business who’s attacking the Council Office. And if CD1 is going to be giving out grants, they’re certainly not allowed to choose the recipients based on their political opinions. That’s just a straight-up violation of the First Amendment.

And it’s a betrayal of the public trust. CD1 doesn’t have all that money so their staffers can play favorites and hand it out to their smoochy-face friendsy-wendsies. They have it so that they can keep things running and make the City better. If that means following the rules and paying people who attack the Council Office on social media, well, that’s the kind of thing that grownups have to do sometimes.

And not only is this illegal, not only is it a betrayal, not only is it immature, but like everything about Bill Cody, it’s also stupid in the kind of floridly bizarre way that’s essentially the guy’s signature at this point. For reasons only he understands Cedillo hasn’t fired the guy for being a serial harasser, but maybe he’ll fire him for making him look like such a chump. In any case, turn the page for transcriptions of the emails.
Continue reading Weirdo Cedillo Staffer Bill Cody Tried To Withhold Money From A City-Funded Highland Park Mural Because Renowned Highland Park Muralist John Zender Estrada Was Involved — On The Basis Of A Bizarre Grudge Against HLP Heroines Yaya Castillo And Brenda Perez — Like The Freaking Mural Mafia Of CD1 — Cody: “We’re Not Really Big On Giving Grants To Folks Who Are Involved With People Who Have Been Attacking The Council Office On Social Media”

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Annals Of Utter Abject Mind-Numbing Shamelessness — Morrie Goldman Wants To Know If Gil Cedillo Will Be At PLUM Next Week — Cause He Needs Him For A Quorum — Cause Englander Is Gonna Be Out — Debby Kim Has Nothing More To Say Beyond “He Will Be There :)” — Yes, The Smiley Face Is Part Of The Quote — Even The Damn Rats Are Embarrassed At This Point

Background first. There’s Morrie Goldman. Lobbyist who runs Urban Solutions LLC, a lobbying firm. Famously caught up in the slow motion putrefaction of what was, at one time, known as Jose Huizar’s political career. Well-known friend of Gil Cedillo, at least as the word is understood at 200 N. Spring Street. Favor asker. Supplicant. Then there’s Gil Cedillo. Career politician. Wielder of vast power. Mover. Shaker. Favor granter. Supplicatee.

Or, you know, that’s how I always thought things worked in City Hall. The Councilmembers were in charge and the lobbyists asked them for goodies on behalf of clients and paid them off for their cooperation. But I recently obtained a steaming heap of emails between CD1 staffers and various lobbyists, and amongst them was this email conversation from 2015 between Morrie Goldman and Cedillo chief of staff Debby Kim1 which forces a quantum-level re-envisioning of that narrative, featuring Morrie Goldman as Keyser Soze and Cedillo with nothing more than some kind of walk-on role in his own career.

The whole exchange is just four emails long. Only the first two really matter. A week before the meeting, Goldman emails Kim to ask if Cedillo will be at PLUM on June 23, 2015. He says “We have an item coming to PLUM that day and need him for a quorum. Englander is out.” Kim’s reply? “He will be there :)” So yeah, in case you hadn’t realized, lobbyists don’t only tell Councilmembers how to vote and then deliver payola in return. They also call roll in advance and make sure the reps show up when they’re needed to vote. It’s unexpected and creepy at the same time.

And conceivably it’s also a Brown Act violation, since at that time the entire PLUM committee consisted of Jose Huizar, Cedillo, and Englander. Communications through intermediaries between a majority of the members, which would be two of them, constitutes an illegal serial meeting.2 So Goldman insinuating to Cedillo’s staff that Englander would have voted in favor is probably not OK. The statute of limitations is long gone, though.

And of course, the question of what issue Goldman needed Cedillo present to vote on is an essential one. I don’t yet know for sure, but here’s the PLUM agenda from June 23, 2015. The only matter on there of any consequence is CF 15-0721, which has to do with a CEQA appeal against the AMPAS project on Wilshire, which is likely to be the vote Goldman was worried about. Oh, one more thing! Notice how Goldman doesn’t even have to ask how Cedillo’s voting? That’s all been settled already.

And that’s the sordid little story of who’s calling the shots in the relationships between lobbyists and their pet councilmembers. Turn the page for a transcription of the emails themselves, so ordinary and yet so shocking.
Continue reading Annals Of Utter Abject Mind-Numbing Shamelessness — Morrie Goldman Wants To Know If Gil Cedillo Will Be At PLUM Next Week — Cause He Needs Him For A Quorum — Cause Englander Is Gonna Be Out — Debby Kim Has Nothing More To Say Beyond “He Will Be There :)” — Yes, The Smiley Face Is Part Of The Quote — Even The Damn Rats Are Embarrassed At This Point

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A Tale Of Two Lunches! — How Gil Cedillo Invited Then-USC-President Max Nikias To Lunch In 2017 “To Catch Up On All Things” — And They Were Gonna Eat At The California Club — But USC Staffer Catherine Kuriyama Told Cedillo’s Chief Of Staff Debby Kim About Gift Reporting Laws — And Debby Kim Was All Like Don’t Wanna Report That Lunch! — And No Wonder I Guess Since Cedillo Has Accepted More Than $10K In Gifts From Lobbyists During His Time On The City Council — Including Another Lunch With Max Along With Debby Kim And Jay Cortez Which Did Get Reported — Cause Cedillo Only Paid Two Dollars For It

When lobbyists spend money on officials in Los Angeles the LAMC at §48.04 requires them to report it to the Ethics Commission.1 And for any number of reasons lately I’ve been really interested in Gil Cedillo. So here’s a list of all reported expenditures that benefitted Cedillo since he took office in 2013, total $10,229.39.2 Sadly, these disclosure forms don’t require any detail really, so if we want to learn what went on we have to request records.

But, as you know, that’s what we live for around here! It’s a slow process, though, and we won’t understand everything on that list for a while yet. However, I did recently acquire a bunch of emails between CD1 and the University of Southern California, and these shed some interesting light on two lunches enjoyed over the years by Cedillo in the company of then-USC-president Max Nikias, now no-confidenced right out the door.3 One of them is on the disclosure form and the other is not. This is the story of those two lunches.

The first lunch, which took place on September 28, 2017 at the California Club, was instigated by Cedillo himself. The story is told in this extraordinarily disorganized string of emails. And when USC informed Cedillo staffer Debby Kim4 that the lunch was worth $39 and that they would have to report it to the Ethics Commission unless Cedillo reimbursed USC for the food, Kim flipped out to some extent and asked to change the venue to some place where it wouldn’t have to be reported. USC told her that if Cedillo reimbursed them for it they wouldn’t have to report, which she said CD1 would do. Evidently CD1 did, or something, because this lunch doesn’t appear on the disclosures linked to above.

The second lunch, in April 2018, was at the request of Nikias himself, and is revealed in this also-scrambled email conversation. Cedillo planned to bring along Kim and his communications director Jay Cortez. USC told Kim that the lunches were worth $34 each, so that the three of them would be valued at $102. There’s a limit of $100 per calendar year,5 so USC also told Kim that they’d have to pay back $2 to keep it legal. Charmingly,6 neither Kim nor USC wanted to bother Max Nikias with these street-level legalities nor to dirty his august hands with cash money, so that even though Kim brought the money to lunch, no one was there to accept it and she evidently had to mail it in later. This lunch does in fact appear on the disclosure list with a value of $100, so evidently the money did dirty someone’s hands, maybe august, maybe not.

That’s the short version, and turn the page for the long version along, of course, with transcriptions of the essential parts of the conversation, helpfully rearranged into a sensible order for ease of reading!
Continue reading A Tale Of Two Lunches! — How Gil Cedillo Invited Then-USC-President Max Nikias To Lunch In 2017 “To Catch Up On All Things” — And They Were Gonna Eat At The California Club — But USC Staffer Catherine Kuriyama Told Cedillo’s Chief Of Staff Debby Kim About Gift Reporting Laws — And Debby Kim Was All Like Don’t Wanna Report That Lunch! — And No Wonder I Guess Since Cedillo Has Accepted More Than $10K In Gifts From Lobbyists During His Time On The City Council — Including Another Lunch With Max Along With Debby Kim And Jay Cortez Which Did Get Reported — Cause Cedillo Only Paid Two Dollars For It

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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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Gil Cedillo, Morrie Goldman, George Yu — CD1’s Unholy Trinity — Cedillo Met With Corrupt Huizar-Linked Lobbyist Goldman 25 Times Since Taking Office In July 2013 — George Yu Of The Chinatown BID Is A Client Of Goldman’s — They Eat Lunch With Cedillo And Hate On Street Vendors — Same Old Story At 200 N Spring Street — And Bonus Sleaze! — Morrie Goldman Brings Lightstone To Meet With Cedillo About A Giant Hotel Project Not Even In His District! — Cause Why Should Huizar Get All The Dirty Money?! — But There Are Things Too Sleazy Even For Cedillo! — Read On To Find Out What!

Morrie Goldman is a former Council staffer who now runs a lobbying firm called Urban Solutions. Of course lately he’s much-discussed because of his person-of-interest flavored links to José Huizar. And it turns out that Goldman hasn’t just been spending quality time with Huizar, but that he’s a regular dining companion of Gil Cedillo as well.

I recently obtained a whole slew of calendars from some of Cedillo’s staffies and, importantly, Cedillo himself. Take a look at what I have so far and especially see Cedillo’s appointment calendar from 2013 through 2018. The PDF is searchable, and just for kicks, search it for “Morrie.” You’ll see 25 hits, all for meetings with Morrie Goldman, at the finest restaurants, with clients, for drinks, and so on. This, of course, is evidence. It’ s just not yet clear what it’s evidence of.

Some of the clients are listed, e.g. Clear Channel is in there a lot, probably because everyone who’s not a politician hates them. United American Properties, which was, maybe still is, developing property in Westlake, also makes an appearance. But many of the listings don’t identify the issues to be discussed, some don’t even identify the clients whose issues Goldman is to lobby Cedillo on. Which is why calendars are always just a starting point. Emails are what’s needed!1

And not only did I manage to obtain these calendars, but I also got this fabulous spool of emails, mostly between Debbie Kim and Morrie Goldman, with special guest appearances by Goldman’s fellow Huizar-scandal-person-of-interest Art Gastelum!2 And there’s all kind of action in those emails, believe me! And some of the action involves an old friend of this blog, everybody’s favorite psychopathic rageball, Mr. George Yu of the Chinatown BID! Apparently the BID, or to be precise the property owners association, is Goldman’s client.3

And Goldman goes with Yu to meet Cedillo and eat lunch and talk about things like street vending, which all BIDdies hate, but which Yu hates more than the average BIDdie, cause, in addition to rage, Yu is just that much more than average filled with hate. From the evidence I have Goldman and Yu met with Cedillo three times since 2015 over street vending (one, two, and three). And what did Cedillo have to say about it to the BIDdies, especially given that he’s on the record as supporting legal street vending in Los Angeles? Well, I don’t know.4

And the emails also show that on January 29, 2016 Goldman sought a meeting for representatives from Lightstone with Cedillo. Lightstone is, of course, famous for its Fig + Pico project, right smack in the middle of Huizar’s CD14. This is the project for which the City agreed to more than $100 million in tax rebates. And why was Goldman so eager to introduce his clients to Cedillo when they were building in CD14?

Well, Goldman says in the emails that it’s because “they are actively looking at other sites” but I’m willing to bet some money that it had more to do with the fact that at that time Cedillo was on the Economic Development Committee, which voted to move the project forward on February 9, 2016, less than two weeks after Goldman started arranging the meeting.5

And finally there’s this snazzy little number from 2017, wherein Morrie Goldman invites Gil Cedillo to take part in a press conference that his client Clear Channel, the most criminally inclined billboard company in the history of billboard companies, is putting together to celebrate National Missing Children’s Day.6 But Cedillo staffers Fredy Ceja and Arturo Chavez, even though they agree that missing children are a good cause and so on, don’t think “the perception” is good for their boss. Turn the page to read a transcription of that one!
Continue reading Gil Cedillo, Morrie Goldman, George Yu — CD1’s Unholy Trinity — Cedillo Met With Corrupt Huizar-Linked Lobbyist Goldman 25 Times Since Taking Office In July 2013 — George Yu Of The Chinatown BID Is A Client Of Goldman’s — They Eat Lunch With Cedillo And Hate On Street Vendors — Same Old Story At 200 N Spring Street — And Bonus Sleaze! — Morrie Goldman Brings Lightstone To Meet With Cedillo About A Giant Hotel Project Not Even In His District! — Cause Why Should Huizar Get All The Dirty Money?! — But There Are Things Too Sleazy Even For Cedillo! — Read On To Find Out What!

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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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