Tag Archives: Government Code 54960.1

Kicking Off Our New Brown Act Enforcement Project With A Demand Letter To The Byzantine Latino Quarter BID Insisting That Their Advisory Board Of Directors Stop Discussing Public Business In Secret Via Email — With A Writ Petition To Follow If They Won’t Unconditionally Commit To Following The Damn Law In The Future

Long-time readers of this blog will recall that one of our constant themes has been the exposure of an unrelenting series of violations of the Brown Act by the various BIDs of Los Angeles. I started the blog in October 2014 and that very month caught the Sunset Vine BID and its dear leader, Ms. Kerry Morrison, requiring IDs in order to attend meetings, which is a violation of §54953.3.

Since then it’s just been one damn thing after another, what with the South Park BIDdies refusing to share documents considered by their board at a meeting, or requiring meeting attendees to sign in, or their teleconferencing fiasco, or the Venice Beach BID’s deficient agenda descriptions, or the Central City East Association‘s discussing and voting on matters that were not agendized, or the East Hollywood BID‘s teleconferencing violations, and those aren’t even the worst of the bunch.

One of the most important prohibitions imposed by the Brown Act is found at §54952.2(b), which states that “[a] majority of the members of a legislative body shall not, outside a meeting authorized by this chapter, use a series of communications of any kind, directly or through intermediaries, to discuss, deliberate, or take action on any item of business that is within the subject matter jurisdiction of the legislative body.”

In the past we have seen shameless, egregious violations of this section, e.g. the Pacific Palisades BID in 2016, or also by the Central City East Association as part of their relentlessly immoral, illegal campaign against the formation of a Skid Row Neighborhood Council, and by the Los Feliz Village BID, whose violation of §54952.2(b) was bad enough that it actually earned them a written rebuke from the Public Integrity Division of the Los Angeles County District Attorney.

That last outcome has been an anomaly, though. Despite my having filed multiple reports against BIDs for serious violations of the Brown Act, the District Attorney has, to date, ignored all of them but the Los Feliz one.1 But the legislature, oh wise and omniscient!, has determined that Brown Act enforcement is too important to be left only up to the whims of County District Attorneys. They’ve also allowed for private citizens to enforce the law as well!

So this time, when I discovered dispositive evidence that the Byzantine Latino Quarter BID had violated §54952.2(b) of the Brown Act on at least two occasions earlier this year by discussing BID business in private via email I decided that I would take matters into my own hands rather than relying on the County DA to handle the violation. And the violations are really extreme and also somewhat lurid. One involves BID board member and Greek Orthodox priest Father John Bakas arguing against homeless shelters on the grounds that homeless people are dangerous and incorrigible, e.g.

Of course, it took some time and effort to study the law, get professional advice, and generally prepare an infrastructure for the private prosecution of such violations. Now that it’s all set up, it’s not just good for this one violation, but will work for all future violations that come to my attention. Thus it is with a great deal of pride that I announce an ongoing project to force the BIDs of Los Angeles to stop violating the Brown Act by prosecuting them myself if necessary! Turn the page for the legal theories involved and the specific details of the BLQBID’s violations!
Continue reading Kicking Off Our New Brown Act Enforcement Project With A Demand Letter To The Byzantine Latino Quarter BID Insisting That Their Advisory Board Of Directors Stop Discussing Public Business In Secret Via Email — With A Writ Petition To Follow If They Won’t Unconditionally Commit To Following The Damn Law In The Future

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Pacific Palisades BID In 2016 — Newly Obtained Emails Reveal The Most Egregious Violation Of The Brown Act I Have Ever Seen In The Wild — Zeck Dreck Laurie Sale — Who Sadly Is Highly Unlikely To Be Prosecuted For Her Criminal Ways — Conducted An Actual Vote On An Actual Motion By Email — Not One Single Board Member Objected — The Statute Of Limitations Has Run So They’re Not Going To Jail — But Obviously They’re Still Going To Hell — Cause There Ain’t No Statute That Can Limit The Freaking Wrath Of God!

I know some of you out there have been remembering such classics as the story of the angry scary fat black homeless male man or the story of the gang members escaping the seething urban hellscape of Santa Freaking Monica and thereby wondering just why it is that it’s been since March freaking 2017 since I last posted any full frontal mockery of the halfwits-by-the-sea out in Northwest Zillionaireville. I’m speaking of course of the Pacific Palisades Business Improvement District, Mike Freaking Bonin’s platonic ideal of a good BID.

And it’s certainly no coincidence that my last few posts about these coastal dimwits had to do with Laurie Freaking Sale’s weirdo Humistonian CPRA aggression. For instance there was the incident of Ms. Laurie Sale’s being too busy to follow the law, a theory which doesn’t work so well for non-zillionaires.1 Then there was the case of board member Rick Freaking Lemmo explaining how they were going to spend 3% of their annual assessments on lawyers to keep records out of my hands.

Well, it turns out that that’s not working out so well,2 because earlier this week I took a trek all the way out to the damn Palisades on public transit3 to finally inspect some records after fifteen tooth-pullingly painful months trying to talk some sense into Ms. Laurie Sale and then a few more months of my lawyer trying to talk some sense into the world’s angriest CPRA attorney, Ms. Carol F. Humiston.4

And good lord, friends! The craziness in these records is beyond fever pitch! It’s beyond Ebola pitch! Can’t easily be measured by disease slash pitch comparisons is how crazy it is! For various technical reasons it’s going to take a long time to prep this steaming pile o’ puckey for publication, so I’ll be dribbling it out a bit at a time. Today’s installment consists of 44 pages of emails amongst the BID Board, which can be found here on Archive.Org.

And amongst the millionish sharp little shards of crazy to be found here is the single most egregious violation of the Brown Act that I’ve ever known to be committed by a BID.5 In January 2016 BID zeck dreck Laurie Sale6 emailed her board with a motion to approve a contract and one by one they all voted yes by reply-all. This is beyond bad, beyond obvious. Turn the page for a discussion of the section that this violates, of what can be done about it now,7 and transcriptions of and links to all the evidence.
Continue reading Pacific Palisades BID In 2016 — Newly Obtained Emails Reveal The Most Egregious Violation Of The Brown Act I Have Ever Seen In The Wild — Zeck Dreck Laurie Sale — Who Sadly Is Highly Unlikely To Be Prosecuted For Her Criminal Ways — Conducted An Actual Vote On An Actual Motion By Email — Not One Single Board Member Objected — The Statute Of Limitations Has Run So They’re Not Going To Jail — But Obviously They’re Still Going To Hell — Cause There Ain’t No Statute That Can Limit The Freaking Wrath Of God!

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Minuscule Release Of Emails From Venice Beach BID Nevertheless Reveals Likely Brown Act Violations Along With Interesting Operational Details — Tara Devine Adopts Radically Different Personae Depending On Which Email Address She’s Sending From — Ultimately Successful Security Vendor Allied Universal Employed Powerhouse Lobbying Firm Cerrell To Help Win VBBID Contract — Possibly It Didn’t Help Them Win The Contract But Not Enough Evidence To Say For Sure (Yet!)

So in April 2018 I had to file a petition against the Venice Beach BID seeking to enforce compliance with the California Public Records Act because they’re so damn obstructionist that they had, at that time, been ignoring my requests for 14 months. Well, a few weeks after my lawyer filed the petition, Tara Devine started producing records1 and recently I received another set, this consisting of 45 emails between Devine and various parties on the subject of the BID’s search for a security provider. The whole set is available here on Archive.Org.

Unfortunately, there’s very little of specific interest here, although not nothing, and the interest is most certainly not nothing. Most importantly, there’s yet more circumstantial evidence that the VBBID engaged in systematic and egregious violations of the Brown Act during 2017. On a more personal level, but still interesting for the insight they yield into the weirdo mindset of BID executive director Tara Devine, there are records here demonstrating the radically different modes of address she uses depending on which email account she’s using to communicate.

For instance, she addresses Becky Dennison as “Becky” when sending from her tara@venicebeachbid.com or her tara@devine-strategies.com accounts, but when sending anonymously from admin@venicebeachbid.com she calls her “Ms. Dennison.” Note that this phenomenon may or may not be related to the semantic oddities of Kerrymorrisonese.

It’s also interesting that the ultimately successful bidder for the BID’s security contract, Allied Universal, hired Los Angeles superlobbyists Cerrell to influence the BID’s choicemaking process. Unfortunately the emails contain just enough information to show that this happened while remaining silent on why it happened or how it played out in the selection process. Hopefully further research will shed light on these issues.

And turn the page for links to and transcriptions of specific emails!
Continue reading Minuscule Release Of Emails From Venice Beach BID Nevertheless Reveals Likely Brown Act Violations Along With Interesting Operational Details — Tara Devine Adopts Radically Different Personae Depending On Which Email Address She’s Sending From — Ultimately Successful Security Vendor Allied Universal Employed Powerhouse Lobbying Firm Cerrell To Help Win VBBID Contract — Possibly It Didn’t Help Them Win The Contract But Not Enough Evidence To Say For Sure (Yet!)

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Burbank BID Violated Brown Act In 2016 By Voting To Donate $50,000 To A Political Campaign Without Having Agendized The Matter — Local Activist David Spell Calls For Disestablishment — Burbank City Attorney Forced To Address The Question Of Whether BID Assessments Are Public Funds — Answers With A Resounding “Maybe”!


So it turns out that a major scandal involving a business improvement district has been brewing up in Burbank since September 2016. The short version of the story is that a Burbank BID violated the Brown Act and may have violated State laws forbidding the use of public funds in political campaigns. A local activist, David Spell, turned them in to the LA County DA and the Fair Political Practices Commission.1

In December 2016 the Burbank City Attorney published a fascinating report on the episode,2 which may shine a great deal of light on the legal status of BID assessments as public funds. Furthermore, Spell called for the Burbank City Council to hold a disestablishment hearing as required by Streets and Highways Code §36670(a)(1).3

If this money does turn out to be public, a lot of really interesting consequences would ensue, which is another part of what makes this episode so important. As always when BIDs and the law intersect, the details are unavoidably technical, which is no doubt why the L.A. Times skips over them and also why I’m hiding them below the fold!
Continue reading Burbank BID Violated Brown Act In 2016 By Voting To Donate $50,000 To A Political Campaign Without Having Agendized The Matter — Local Activist David Spell Calls For Disestablishment — Burbank City Attorney Forced To Address The Question Of Whether BID Assessments Are Public Funds — Answers With A Resounding “Maybe”!

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United Downtown Los Angeles Conspiracy: How The Entire Board Of Directors Of The Central City East Association Egregiously Violated The Brown Act Except For Andy Bales, Richard Gardner, And Sylvia Kavoukjian, Who Don’t Seem To Have Been Invited Into The Secret Clubhouse For Some Reason — And How I Will Ask Them Nicely Never To Do It Again!

Background: You can read my previous stories on the Skid Row Neighborhood Council formation effort and also see Jason McGahan’s article in the Weekly and Gale Holland’s article in the Times for more mainstream perspectives.

Perhaps you’ve been following the story of the recent massive release of emails from the Downtown Center BID that has, so far, led to such revelations as the fact that Estela Lopez was at the heart of the United Downtown LA conspiracy, that she used her DLANC email address to further the conspiracy, and not least that six DLANC board members were covertly involved in that same conspiracy.

But we’re not done with the material yet! There’s still tons of interesting information to be gleaned. For instance, it turns out that 9 out of the 12 members of the Board of Directors of the infamous Central City East Association are on the United Downtown Los Angeles conspiracy mailing list.1 This, of course, makes the email discussion an awful lot like an illegal meeting of the board, according to the Brown Act.

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.

Keep that in mind the next time you hear a bunch of BIDdies bitching about crime Downtown and turn the page for the evidence and a detailed analysis of the violation!
Continue reading United Downtown Los Angeles Conspiracy: How The Entire Board Of Directors Of The Central City East Association Egregiously Violated The Brown Act Except For Andy Bales, Richard Gardner, And Sylvia Kavoukjian, Who Don’t Seem To Have Been Invited Into The Secret Clubhouse For Some Reason — And How I Will Ask Them Nicely Never To Do It Again!

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Rafik Ghazarian And His Criminal Cronies From The Los Feliz Village BID Saved From Prosecution And Their Infernal BID From Dissolution On The Merest Of Mere Technicalities

One month ago today, you may recall, I reported the Los Feliz Village BID to the Public Integrity Division of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.1 I had exceedingly strong smoking gun level evidence, and you can read the original complaint here. Well, this morning I was semi-pleased to receive a copy of a letter from Alan Yochelson of the D.A.’s office to the BID’s attorney, Mr. Hollywood himself, Jeffrey Charles Briggs.

You can read a transcription after the break, but the upshot is that, as the DA received my complaint 91 days after the incident, they were barred by the Brown Act, which requires action within 90 days, from doing anything about it. However, Alan Yochelson, who handles Brown Act matters for the DA, saw fit to advise Jeffrey Charles Briggs to tell his client, the LFVBID, that such discussions as were had outside of duly noticed public meetings by the BIDdies, were against the fricking law.

The stakes were high, as it’s at least theoretically possible to force the dissolution of a BID if they’re found to have violated any law. Hence I expect that they’ll probably pay close attention to the Brown Act’s requirements in the future. I know I’ll pay very close attention to the deadline, which I didn’t know about, more’s the pity!
Continue reading Rafik Ghazarian And His Criminal Cronies From The Los Feliz Village BID Saved From Prosecution And Their Infernal BID From Dissolution On The Merest Of Mere Technicalities

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