Tag Archives: Grayce Liu

On March 14, 2017 Grayce Liu Was Already Working Out Details Of Online Voting For The SRNC Subdivision Election With Everyone Counts Two Weeks Before City Council Even Approved The Plan — Obviously We Already Knew Representative Democracy In Los Angeles Is Highly Stylized Semantically Empty Performance Art Rather Than A Deliberative Or Even A Political Process — But Usually It’s Not Thrown So Boldly In Our Faces

I recently received almost three hundred pages of emails from 2017 between Los Angeles City Clerk Holly Wolcott and Department of Neighborhood Empowerment boss lady Grayce Liu. These are available here on Archive.Org. There’s a lot of quite interesting material there, most of it far off my beat, but there’s this one item in particular which is quite relevant.

It’s a March 14, 2017 email from Grayce Liu to Bill Kuncz of Everyone Counts informing him, among other things, of the fact that the City of Los Angeles would be using online voting for the April 6, 2017 Skid Row Neighborhood Council subdivision election. She told him “… that we would be able to move forward with using the online voting and voter registration platform for our subdivision election in a few weeks.”

The main problem with this, of course, is that the question of allowing online voting didn’t even come before the Board of Neighborhood Commissioners until March 20, 2017. It didn’t come before City Council’s Rules and Elections Committee until March 22, 2017, and it wasn’t finally approved by City Council until March 28, 2017.

You may well remember that at that March 22, 2017 meeting José Huizar announced his decision to allow online voting by reading a pre-written statement, showing conclusively that he’d made up his mind even before hearing public comment. This email shows that he’d made up his mind at least eight days before the meeting even took place.

To be sure, there’s nothing illegal about this behavior. There’s possibly nothing even immoral about it. But in the culture of the Los Angeles City Council, where no one votes against their colleagues’ desires for intra-district issues, it makes it even more glaringly clear that our local representative democracy is not functioning at all. A couple of zillionaires went to see Huizar in January 2017 and convinced him to destroy the SNRC and that’s all it took.

The decision was essentially finalized at that point with no public input, no deliberation, and no chance that wiser heads on the City Council would prevail. There are no wiser heads.1 No one even had the decency to tell Grayce Liu to wait for the formalism of City Council approval before acting on Huizar’s unilateral decision. Sadly, it’s business as usual. Turn the page for a transcription.
Continue reading On March 14, 2017 Grayce Liu Was Already Working Out Details Of Online Voting For The SRNC Subdivision Election With Everyone Counts Two Weeks Before City Council Even Approved The Plan — Obviously We Already Knew Representative Democracy In Los Angeles Is Highly Stylized Semantically Empty Performance Art Rather Than A Deliberative Or Even A Political Process — But Usually It’s Not Thrown So Boldly In Our Faces

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Skid Row Neighborhood Council Formation Committee Files Blistering Petition In Superior Court — Asks Court To “Reestablish The Rule Of Law” — And Require The City Of Los Angeles To Award Skid Row “its well-deserved Neighborhood Council”

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.

I haven’t reported on it before, but maybe you’re aware nevertheless that the Skid Row Neighborhood Council Formation Committee along with founding members General Jeff and Katherine McNenny are suing the City of Los Angeles over their egregious, illegal, and immoral vote suppression and other horrors during the subdivision election last year.

And just yesterday they filed a second amended petition, which lays out the evil shenanigans committed by the City of Los Angeles in collusion with Estela Lopez, Rena Leddy, and other Downtown zillionaires and zillionaire lackeys, This is a blistering and righteous piece of legal writing. I highly recommend that you read all of it, although here are the main issues, and as always there are transcribed selections after the break.

◈ The City prohibited homeless voters from voting online or at any of the twelve pop-up polls, which seriously advantaged the anti-subdivision side.

◈ The City’s voter registration requirements disenfranchised the largely black homeless population of Skid Row, which violates the Voting Rights Act.

◈ The City’s last minute implementation of online voting and secret alterations of pop-up poll timing unfairly advantaged the anti-subdivision side.

◈ Online voting violated California Elections Code §19205, which states unambiguously that “No part of [a] voting system shall be connected to the Internet at any time.”

◈ DONE’s pop-up polls violated §22.820 of the Los Angeles Administrative Code, which requires that neighborhood council subdivision elections be held solely within the proposed boundaries.

And the main thing they’re asking the judge to do to remedy these and the other violations is to discount online votes and votes submitted at pop-up polls and award the SRNC formation committee their neighborhood council. There is much, much more, all of it, as I said, worth your time to read and understand. Turn the page for transcribed selections from the petition.
Continue reading Skid Row Neighborhood Council Formation Committee Files Blistering Petition In Superior Court — Asks Court To “Reestablish The Rule Of Law” — And Require The City Of Los Angeles To Award Skid Row “its well-deserved Neighborhood Council”

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How Andrew Thomas, The Famous-For-Dressing-Like-A-Child-Molester Exec-Direc Of The Westwood Village BID, Conspired With Michael Skiles To Hold The North Westwood NC Subdivision Election On A Weekday — And How The City Clerk Ruled Out Multiple Election Days Due To Security Concerns — Which The City Government Probably Gleefully Intended For The Skid Row Subdivision Election

You may recall that I recently received a moderately sized set of public records from the Westwood Village BID, some of which I wrote about the other day. You can look at the whole collection here on Archive.Org,1 and one of these is the text for today’s sermon, a conversation amongst Michael Skiles, Grayce Liu of the Department Of Neighborhood Empowerment, and Lisa Chapman, president of the Westwood Neighborhood Council.

There’s a transcription and more commentary after the break, of course, but here’s a brief summary of what went on. Lisa Chapman wrote to Grayce Liu telling her that she heard Michael Skiles say that Westwood Forward did not choose the date of the election, which was not on a weekend as NC elections usually are. Grayce Liu wrote back in her inimitably condescending manner saying some nonsense that sane people can barely credit.

Michael Skiles wrote to Grayce Liu thanking her in his inimitably sycophantic manner and explaining that weekday elections were agreed on by him and Andrew Freaking Thomas, who sane people want to know why is this guy involved at all? What, we all want to know, do BIDs have to do with making detailed decisions like this about NC matters?

Then, the absolute kicker, Grayce Liu wrote back to Michael Skiles stating that the City Clerk forbade subdivision elections to be spread out over multiple days “because of voter security issues.” Of course, this is horrific and shocking given that for the Skid Row NC subdivision election Grayce Liu herself allowed putative pop-up polls to take place on multiple days in multiple locations including restricted access buildings emphatically NOT open to the public. And now no one at the City can actually audit the votes cast in that election, which suggests strongly that there were very serious, as yet undiscovered, “voter security issues,” which no one at the City cares about.

But of course, “voter security issues” are going to be cosmically important in elections like this Westwood one, where zillionaires and their financial interests fall on both sides of the question. In a case like Westwood, because zillionares disagree, every vote truly does count, so the most secure practices must be followed by the City, and the City recognizes this. In a case like Skid Row, where the zillionaires were unified on one side, voter security would have just gotten in the way of stealing the election. Anyway, read on for the details.
Continue reading How Andrew Thomas, The Famous-For-Dressing-Like-A-Child-Molester Exec-Direc Of The Westwood Village BID, Conspired With Michael Skiles To Hold The North Westwood NC Subdivision Election On A Weekday — And How The City Clerk Ruled Out Multiple Election Days Due To Security Concerns — Which The City Government Probably Gleefully Intended For The Skid Row Subdivision Election

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On April 3, 2017, Batty Little Fusspot Blair Besten Tried To Use Her Business Card As ID To Register To Vote Online Against The Skid Row Neighborhood Council — When This Was Unsurprisingly Rejected By DONE Patti Berman And Bob Newman Pleaded For An Exception — And Grayce Liu Granted One In The Form Of Extra Time To Upload Acceptable Documents — Which She Did With 16 Minutes To Spare — Were Pro Skid Row Voters Given The Same Opportunity?

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.

Here’s the whole story in a nutshell, taken from this fabulous little gem of an email exchange (of course there’s a transcription after the break!) On April 3, 2017 Blair Besten, batty little fusspot director of the Historic Core Business Improvement District, third weirdest of the minor Downtown BIDs, tried to register online to vote against the Skid Row Neighborhood Council in solidarity with her fellow zillionaires and their minions. As I’m sure you’re aware, registering to vote online at that time required one to upload a photo of an ID. Blair Besten uploaded a picture of her business card instead.

Not acceptable, said the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment! So then DLANC president-for-life Patti Berman1 and weirdo-about-town, male-for-rent, and some kinda damn social worker Bob Freaking Newman2 emailed everybody saying please guys! Let Blair Besten register please!! And not only that, but Patti Berman used her dlanc.com email address during the conversation even though DLANC was required by City law to be neutral. Helping Blair Besten register is not neutral.

And then Grayce Liu, the famous führerin of DONE, said OK! Even though people who think their business card counts as ID usually have to show up in person to vote we will make an exception for Blair Besten! If she uploads her real ID in the next 51 minutes we will allow her to vote online!! And she did!! So she got to vote!! Mission accomplished and those are some helpful-ass City Officials, amirite?!
Continue reading On April 3, 2017, Batty Little Fusspot Blair Besten Tried To Use Her Business Card As ID To Register To Vote Online Against The Skid Row Neighborhood Council — When This Was Unsurprisingly Rejected By DONE Patti Berman And Bob Newman Pleaded For An Exception — And Grayce Liu Granted One In The Form Of Extra Time To Upload Acceptable Documents — Which She Did With 16 Minutes To Spare — Were Pro Skid Row Voters Given The Same Opportunity?

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DONEWatch Launched! No Longer Will The City Of Los Angeles Be Allowed To Manipulate And Marginalize Neighborhood Councils Unscrutinized — “The Time Has Come to Watch the Watchers!”

Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows that the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment, the City agency that exists seemingly only to boss about Neighborhood Councils, although no one really knows whether or not they have the authority to do that, is pretty much the embodiment of evil.1 Just look at our tag archive for Grayce Liu to see the pernicious role these people played in the Skid Row Neighborhood Council debacle.

Grayce Liu was at the forefront of the mishandling of the SRNC appeal process, she played a major role in the use of online voting to torpedo the SRNC election, and so on. And it’s not all about Skid Row. DONE has been involved in controversy after controversy, all of them relating to their habit of undermining the power, such as it is, of the City’s neighborhood councils. And to date they have been able to do this in a fairly covert manner. No one has really been paying much attention.

Well, those days are done. Yesterday a group of citizens announced the launch of a new watchdog group known as DONEWatch! They also have a Facebook page!! If you care about the fate of our neighborhood council system, or the functionality of our City government, or just about minor tangential issues like the rule of law in a free society, you should check this out! Turn the page for a stirring quote on the mission of this brave devoted band!
Continue reading DONEWatch Launched! No Longer Will The City Of Los Angeles Be Allowed To Manipulate And Marginalize Neighborhood Councils Unscrutinized — “The Time Has Come to Watch the Watchers!”

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Department Of Neighborhood Empowerment Recommends That Online Voting In Future Neighborhood Council Elections Be Optional

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.

Yesterday the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment submitted a report on online voting in neighborhood council elections to the Los Angeles City Council’s Health, Education, and Neighborhood Councils Committee.1 Here’s a link to the report, but be careful as it’s a massive PDF. After the great injustice and great pain caused by José Huizar and DONE by imposing online voting on the Skid Row Neighborhood Council effort one might think that DONE would have displayed some consciousness of the damage they’d created.

But that didn’t happen. In an unfortunately characteristic display of block-headed indifference to both morality and reality, the sole lesson DONE seems to have learned is that online voting increases voter participation:

The potential of online voting and voter registration to engage more stakeholders in Neighborhood Council elections was clear in the 2016 pilot as noted in the January 17, 2017 report and confirmed in the subdivision election for Skid Row Neighborhood Council this year where 1,388 votes were cast online out of a total of 1,592.

It’s disgusting indeed that they don’t even mention the fact that online voting increases participation among non-homeless people while actively decreasing it among the homeless, even though they are well aware of this fact. And their recommendation to the City Council, which will almost surely be adopted verbatim? It’s that online voting should not be imposed on any other neighborhood councils but that they be allowed to opt into it if they so choose:

[DONE recommends that Council i]nstruct the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment and Office of the City Clerk to make online voting an option available for the Neighborhood Councils whose online voting platforms are already built out …

Additionally, they recommend that neighborhood council terms be extended in order to match the new Los Angeles city election schedule. Turn the page for a transcription of the summary of the report
Continue reading Department Of Neighborhood Empowerment Recommends That Online Voting In Future Neighborhood Council Elections Be Optional

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At Various Hearings Grayce Liu Seems To Have Concealed The Fact That Homeless People Faced Documentation-Based Obstacles To Online Voting In Skid Row Neighborhood Council Election In Addition To Lack Of Internet Access. She And Her Minions Also Gave Personalized Registration Assistance To Scott Gray And Carol Schatz. What’s Wrong With This Picture?

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

Recently I obtained a few emails which shed even more light on the already unbelievable injustice worked upon the Skid Row Neighborhood Council Formation Committee by CD14 rep José Huizar. As has already been widely reported he unilaterally imposed online voting less than two weeks before the election. He did this in the face of explicit testimony that homeless residents would be irremediably disadvantaged by their relative lack of access to the Internet, a problem known as the digital divide.

He also ignored the serious problem that allowing online voting automatically registered more than 1,000 voters who could reasonably be expected to vote against the SRNC formation effort.1 These 1,000 voters obviously determined the outcome of the election given that, according to Gale Holland of the LA Times, there were 1,398 online ballots cast and 807 were cast against the SRNC.

Now, in addition to these trangressions, newly obtained emails reveal the fact that homeless people without adequate documentation were forbidden from voting online. Also, even non-homeless people, even people as powerful as Carol Schatz and Scott Gray,2 who did have adequate documentation had trouble registering to vote online and were assisted on an individual basis by Department of Neighborhood Empowerment staffers Stephen Box and Mike Fong. How much more difficult, then, was it for homeless people who weren’t on a first name basis with City staff, to register?

Finally, an email from Grayce Liu reveals that online registration was cut off at 11:59 p.m. on April 2, four days before the election. It appears from the Council File that the Council’s approval of online voting wasn’t finalized until March 28, which means that it ran for less than a week. This shows the role of the preregistered 1,000 voters mentioned above to be even more crucial than previously thought, given that proponents had to start essentially from scratch with the difficult process of online registration.
Continue reading At Various Hearings Grayce Liu Seems To Have Concealed The Fact That Homeless People Faced Documentation-Based Obstacles To Online Voting In Skid Row Neighborhood Council Election In Addition To Lack Of Internet Access. She And Her Minions Also Gave Personalized Registration Assistance To Scott Gray And Carol Schatz. What’s Wrong With This Picture?

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Revealed: The Actual Technical Means By Which José Huizar, Who By The Way Is A Liar And A Deceptive Sneaky Little Creep, Destroyed The Skid Row Neighborhood Council Formation Effort, Quite Possibly At The Behest Of Michael Delijani, Whose Family Has Given José Huizar $25,000 Over The Years




When I first started working on this post, I meant it to be a typical humorous take on a comment that Grayce Liu made at the March 20 meeting of the Board of Neighborhood Commissioners, much like the nonsense I wrote the other day.

But in preparation for mocking the arrogant rich white supremacists who turned out at every meeting about the SRNC to bumble their whiny way through their idiotic decontextualized lies about “outreach” and “voter participation” and “united Downtown” and fucking “inadequate notification,” I listened to a recording of the March 22 meeting of the Rules and Elections Committee, which sickened me to the point that I lost any taste for making jokes about any of this.1 Huizar’s behavior is not funny, and I’m in no state of mind to make fun.2 He is a horrible person.3

In particular, here’s what I learned. Much of this information has been published before, but as far as I can tell, not all of it has:

  • Huizar decided to change the rules for the SRNC formation election to allow online voting. The change took place merely two weeks before voting began, even though he almost certainly had his mind made up weeks if not months earlier. If he had implemented the decision when he had made it at least there would have been time for the SRNC proponents to address this dispositive change in the rules.
  • He did this in the face of explicit testimony that online voting would disadvantage homeless people, who have extremely limited internet access. Even worse, he knew that the online voting system to be used by the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment would preregister more than 1000 DLANC and HCNC voters from 2016, thereby overwhelming any online voters that the SRNC-FC might manage to register in two weeks and thus dooming any SRNC-FC online registration effort to irrelevance.
  • Huizar made this change unilaterally. It’s true that it was passed by the Rules and Elections Committee and then by the full Council, but if you listen to the recording.4 You will hear Huizar reading out his proposal and Herb Wesson pronouncing it adopted with neither discussion nor a vote.
  • Huizar ignored all the warnings he heard against allowing online voting with respect to the SRNC, but he took them all into account for other NC elections by stating explicitly that SRNC would be the only election to use online voting until further notice. This proves yet again that as far as the City of Los Angeles is concerned, rules do not apply to poor people. They’re not usually this overt about it, though.
  • Somehow Huizar allowed multiple polling locations distributed widely in both space and time. He did this in the face of Grayce Liu’s explicit statement that one polling place open for four hours is absolutely standard in NC elections. Again, Huizar unilaterally changed the rules for Skid Row.

Turn the page for the full, detailed story with links to and transcriptions of the audio of the meeting.
Continue reading Revealed: The Actual Technical Means By Which José Huizar, Who By The Way Is A Liar And A Deceptive Sneaky Little Creep, Destroyed The Skid Row Neighborhood Council Formation Effort, Quite Possibly At The Behest Of Michael Delijani, Whose Family Has Given José Huizar $25,000 Over The Years

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Why Did Estela Lopez, Blair Besten, and Michael Delijani Meet With José Huizar Just A Few Days After Estela Lopez’s Infamous CPRA Request To Grayce Liu Asking For Records About The Skid Row Neighborhood Council?

Perhaps you recall that on January 17, 2017, very soon after the friendly neighborhood zillionaires realized that Skid Row was trying to get its own neighborhood council and resolved to crush it by any means necessary, Ms. Estela Lopez, the famously Wicked Queen of Crocker Street, made herself a merry little CPRA request to Grayce Liu, she of the famed Department of Neighborhood Empowerment of the City of Los Angeles, asking for all manner of records to do with the Skid Row NC Formation Committee’s efforts. Well, what she was up to there is anyone’s guess, although the smart money is on yet another shenaniganistic anti-SRNC operation carried out at the behest of the zillionaire elite of whom she is so very willing a flunky.

But, perhaps as interestingly, it seems that by one day later, January 18, 2017, she, her counterpart from the Historic Core BID with the slightly less sinister smile, that is to say the famously batty little fusspot Blair Besten, and presumptively lunatic zillionaire developer, DLANCker, HCBID Board member, and shadowy heir to a DTLA real estate empire, Michael Delijani himself, right after that CPRA request went out, had arranged for a meeting with that well-known gentleman from sole to crown, clean favored and imperially slim, quietly arrayed, admirably schooled in every grace, the real power in Downtown Los Angeles, that is to say, Mr. José Huizar himself. Note that Patti Berman was NOT invited!

What they spoke of we will probably never know, and, untrue to form, I haven’t even any insinuations.1 What I have is this email chain and an unadorned, unedited, uncommented-upon transcription of it after the break. You, dear reader, are to make of it what you will.
Continue reading Why Did Estela Lopez, Blair Besten, and Michael Delijani Meet With José Huizar Just A Few Days After Estela Lopez’s Infamous CPRA Request To Grayce Liu Asking For Records About The Skid Row Neighborhood Council?

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Patti Berman, Estela Lopez, Rena Leddy, Unite DTLA, Rocky Delgadillo, Tentatively Foiled In Their Evil Plan: Skid Row Neighborhood Council Victory In Sight As Hearing Panel Recommends Do-Over Of One Sort Or Another!

Some guy whose name I didn’t catch last night at the SRNC appeal hearing speaking what evidently passes for truth in some circles these days, although I’m not sure what circles those are.
Background: Last month the Skid Row Neighborhood Council failed to be formed and then General Jeff Page, head of the formation committee, and his colleague Katherine McNenny discovered some very shady looking activity and filed an appeal with the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment. You can also read a more balanced version of the story by Gale Holland of the Times.

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 hearing panel.

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.

I’m pleased to note, also, that at least one public commenter mentioned my recent public records request on the SRNC, connecting up the immoral, probably illegal anti-partition campaign with the nefarious activities of Downtown Business Improvement Districts and their cross-appointed-to-DLANC executive directors Rena Leddy and Estela Lopez. Even puppet-wielding crackpot Wayne Spindler, evidently seeing the gravity of the situation, laid his creepy-moronic pig-performance aside and said something important in favor of the SRNC, and was applauded. Anyway, that’s the news. Find a little unfounded speculative nerdview material after the break.
Continue reading Patti Berman, Estela Lopez, Rena Leddy, Unite DTLA, Rocky Delgadillo, Tentatively Foiled In Their Evil Plan: Skid Row Neighborhood Council Victory In Sight As Hearing Panel Recommends Do-Over Of One Sort Or Another!

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