Tag Archives: Herb Wesson

How Herb Wesson Arranged For His Constituents To Pack A Council File With Phony Astroturf Letters Supporting His K-Town Homeless Shelter — And The Letters Were Written By Herb Wesson’s Assistant Chief Deputy Andrew Westall

One of the important topics we study here is the function of business improvement districts as lobbyists, not least as tools that the City uses to lobby itself in order to create the illusion of popular support for its initiatives. We recently saw an excellent example of this trope when Eric Garcetti used the Wilshire Center BID to supply a speaker putatively from the community to support his and Herb Wesson’s proposed Koreatown homeless shelter.

And it seems that Eric Garcetti was not the only LA Politician engaged in astroturfing support for this project. Just yesterday I obtained a huge trove of emails from the Byzantine Latino Quarter BID along Pico Blvd. The most interesting item in there1 is a May 15, 2018 email from Herb Wesson’s field deputy Cairo Rodriguez to Moises Gomez, BLQ BID director, asking him to submit a letter supporting the shelter.

But the most amazing, unexpected part of Cairo Rodriguez’s appeal is that it came with a letter of support attached, just waiting for the blanks to be filled in. See here for the original DOCX file, and here for a PDF, and there’s a transcription after the break. This is so peculiar, isn’t it? Obviously Herb Wesson’s not trying to convince himself to vote for the shelter, and he doesn’t have to convince his colleagues, because they’ll vote for anything he supports in his own district, so what’s the point of these letters? So strange.

According to the metadata this faked-up letter of support was written by Andrew Westall, one of Herb Wesson’s senior staff members. And a glimpse at Council File 18-0392 shows that a lot of copies of this astroturf letter were in fact submitted by a lot of different organizations on letterhead, with signatures.2 There are links to samples after the break.
Continue reading How Herb Wesson Arranged For His Constituents To Pack A Council File With Phony Astroturf Letters Supporting His K-Town Homeless Shelter — And The Letters Were Written By Herb Wesson’s Assistant Chief Deputy Andrew Westall

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An Interesting Example From Wilshire Center Showing How Eric Garcetti Used The BID To Supply A Tame Businessperson To Speak For Herb Wesson’s Proposed K-Town Homeless Shelter — Revealing At Least One Of The Ways In Which The City Of Los Angeles Relies On BIDs To Manufacture An Appearance Of Community Support For Its Projects — Did I Mention The City Told The BID A Week Before They Told The News Media And Asked The BID To Keep Quiet About It?!

It’s been clear for a long time now that one of the uses that the City gets out of BIDs is to encourage them to lobby it, thus creating an appearance of community support for projects that the City intended to do all along. It’s easy to see the results of this process at any City Council meeting where a bunch of BIDdies line up to speak in favor of random proposal X that they don’t have any organic reason for caring about.

However, it’s not so easy to see the lead-up to the lobbying events. Obviously City officials are reluctant to release the evidence, and perhaps the BIDdies are as well.1 That’s why today’s documents are so very interesting! The emails I’m presenting are part of a larger release from the Wilshire Center BID, and you can get the original MBOX file or PDFs if you prefer here on Archive.Org.

The story is about the by-now famous homeless shelter proposed for Koreatown by CD10 repster Herb Wesson. The world found out about this project on May 2, 2018 at a joint press conference held by Wesson and Eric Garcetti, as Gale Holland explains in this characteristically excellent story in the Times.2

But amazingly, City staffers told the BID about the proposal on April 26, a full week before anyone else knew. BID board members were asked to keep quiet about it and also to propose a businessperson to speak at the May 2 press conference in support of the shelter. Real Estate zillionaire Mike Hakim volunteered himself to speak at BID director Mike Russell’s request but was, it seems, ignored by everyone, no doubt due to his shady, universally hated skyscraper project in Koreatown.

Instead, Mike Russell nominated Greenbridge Investments flunky Brenda Arianpour, a real estate zillionaire whom Russell misrepresented as a small business owner. After thorough vetting by Garcetti’s communications flacks, Arianpour was chosen to speak in favor of the project. Although not, of course, to speak in her own unscrutinized words. Garcetti’s flacks were sure to discuss “talking points” with her in advance.

The emails by which this was arranged are linked to and transcribed below.
Continue reading An Interesting Example From Wilshire Center Showing How Eric Garcetti Used The BID To Supply A Tame Businessperson To Speak For Herb Wesson’s Proposed K-Town Homeless Shelter — Revealing At Least One Of The Ways In Which The City Of Los Angeles Relies On BIDs To Manufacture An Appearance Of Community Support For Its Projects — Did I Mention The City Told The BID A Week Before They Told The News Media And Asked The BID To Keep Quiet About It?!

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Herb Wesson Introduces Motion In Council This Morning Decrying Donald Trump’s Use Of The Digital Divide To Disenfranchise “Low-Income And Immigrant Communities” While Never Even Mentioning How He And His Demonic Cronies Used Online Voting Against The Skid Row Neighborhood Council To Do The Same Freaking Thing

UPDATE JANUARY 31, 2018: This morning the motion that’s the subject of this post was assigned to Council File CF 18-0002-S8 if you want to track it.

A few days ago, Herb Wesson and his brain-dead gang-of-fifteen cronies at 200 N Spring Street introduced a motion to outlaw civil rights violations in Los Angeles, all without mentioning their dark and bloody work disenfranchising the Skid Row Neighborhood Council formation effort in opposition to everyone’s civil rights. One of the main techniques they used in this nightmarish project was online voting, introduced at the last minute in the face of explicit testimony that electronic politics disenfranchises people who can’t afford computers.

Well, not that anyone who’s paying attention expects consistency out of the Fifteen Lords and Ladies of our City, but when their hypocrisy reaches a certain feverishly hysterical pitch I find there’s nothing for it but to speak up. You see, evidently the Census Bureau in 2020 is going to use online response forms for the first time ever.

And for some reason, the badness of this, the fact of the digital divide and the role it might play in helping the government to erase the presence of the poor, the immigrant, is not lost on our City Council president, Herb Wesson, in this case. That’s why, it appears, that he and Gil Cedillo introduced a motion this morning (transcription after the break) positioning the City to oppose the Census Bureau’s intention to use this new electronic form to ask respondents about citizenship. In particular, saith Herb Wesson:

WHEREAS , the 2020 Census is the first Census that will be performed primarily electronically, which creates additional barriers for low-income and immigrant communities …

So it’s on the record now. Herb Wesson and Gil Cedillo are opposed to using online political forms because they tend to oppress low-income and immigrant communities. Unless, of course, it’s necessary to oppress low-income and immigrant communities at the behest of local zillionaires and campaign donors. Then they’re all for it. Turn the page for the complete text of the motion.
Continue reading Herb Wesson Introduces Motion In Council This Morning Decrying Donald Trump’s Use Of The Digital Divide To Disenfranchise “Low-Income And Immigrant Communities” While Never Even Mentioning How He And His Demonic Cronies Used Online Voting Against The Skid Row Neighborhood Council To Do The Same Freaking Thing

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Wesson, Cedillo, and Martinez Introduce Motion Instructing City Attorney To Write A Civil Rights Law Prohibiting Various Kinds Of Discrimination And Establishing A Commission To Enforce It — Demonstrating Yet Again How Our City Council Members Are Liars Even When Every Word Out Of Their Mendacious Mouths Is True

This is just a quick note to call attention to this motion, introduced in Council this morning by Herb Wesson, Gil Cedillo, and Nury Martinez (there’s a transcription of the PDF after the break). The motion, which has been assigned CF 18-0086, instructs the City Attorney with assistance from some other offices to draft a new civil rights law. The proposed law has two main parts.

First, it would prohibit “discrimination, prejudice, intolerance and bigotry that results in denial of equal treatment of any individual” and would do this by banning discrimination based on:

  • race
  • color
  • ethnicity
  • creed
  • age
  • national origin
  • citizenship status or perceived status
  • gender
  • gender identity or expression
  • sexual orientation or perceived orientation
  • disability
  • marital status
  • partnership status
  • employment status
  • source of income

in the areas of

  • employment
  • housing
  • medical services
  • businesses
  • other establishments1

Second, it would establish a new commission, to be called the Civil and Human Rights Commission, which would enforce the law. Now, I am completely opposed to all these kinds of discrimination, and, as you might have guessed, I’m completely in favor of establishing any kind of new venue for me to complain about BIDs to.2 However, as is so often the case with our City Council, things are probably not exactly what they seem to be on the surface.
Continue reading Wesson, Cedillo, and Martinez Introduce Motion Instructing City Attorney To Write A Civil Rights Law Prohibiting Various Kinds Of Discrimination And Establishing A Commission To Enforce It — Demonstrating Yet Again How Our City Council Members Are Liars Even When Every Word Out Of Their Mendacious Mouths Is True

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City Council Approves Update To Ethics Laws Which, Among Other Changes, Imposes At Long Last A Duty On City Officials And Employees To Report Violations To The Ethics Commission Within Ten Days — A Law Like This Will Cut Down On Apparent Collusion By City Officials Or At Least Provide Another Fruitful Channel For Reporting Them

The Los Angeles Ethics Commission is charged not only with enforcing ethics laws and regulations but also with reviewing and revising them periodically. Because the City Council is subject to these laws it wouldn’t make much sense for them to be able to alter them at will. The temptation to exempt themselves and their creepy zillionaire buddies would ultimately be too much for their corrupt vestigial little senses of morality to bear and we’d end up without any ethics laws at all.

Thus the process, as described in the City Charter at §703(a), requires the Ethics Commission to propose the changes and gives the City Council the authority only to disapprove but not to modify them.1 This strikes me as a quite clever way to balance the competing interests involved:

The commission may adopt, amend and rescind rules and regulations, subject to Council approval without modification, to carry out the purposes and provisions of the Charter and ordinances of the City relating to campaign finance, conflicts of interest, lobbying, and governmental ethics and to govern procedures of the commission.2

So at its meeting in February, the Ethics Commission approved a bunch of revised enforcement regulations. You can read the original proposal. This was duly sent up to the City Council, where it was placed in Council File 14-0049-S1. Well, on Thursday, after the Mayor’s concurrence was received, the Council finalized the matter and the new regulations are approved and will take effect on August 14.3

There were bunches of changes, mostly technical in nature, and beyond my capacity to evaluate. But the one that really excites me is that the new ordinance requires City departments and appointees to report violations of the Ethics laws or the Municipal Lobbying Ordinance within ten days. This is a huge development! Read on for details and for a number of horrific instances in which the lack of a mandate to report created absolutely nauseating scenarios involving law-flouting lobbyists and City officials.
Continue reading City Council Approves Update To Ethics Laws Which, Among Other Changes, Imposes At Long Last A Duty On City Officials And Employees To Report Violations To The Ethics Commission Within Ten Days — A Law Like This Will Cut Down On Apparent Collusion By City Officials Or At Least Provide Another Fruitful Channel For Reporting Them

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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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Complaint Filed This Morning With City Ethics Commission About Liner Law’s Failure To Disclose So-Called United DTLA As Client. Also Matthew Nichols Appears To Have Lobbied Before Incorporation Of United DTLA, Possibly Requiring Disclosure Of Actual Human Clients As Well

Last weekend I outlined what seem to be serious violations of the Municipal Lobbying Ordinance by registered lobbying firm Liner Law and its sleazeballs-for-hire Rockard J. Delgadillo and his creepy little sadly-not-imaginary playmate, Mr. Matthew T. Nichols in the course of the zillionaire downtown real estate cabal’s cowardly moronic greedheaded campaign against the Skid Row Neighborhood Council. Well, this morning I finished up an actual complaint on this matter and filed it with the Ethics Commission, and it is available on Archive.Org for your reading pleasure!

If you read my earlier article most of this material will be familiar to you, but there’s at least one major new thing, which only occurred to me yesterday. Recall that according to Delgadillo and Nichols, the client who was paying them to oppose the Skid Row Neighborhood Council was a shady anonymous Delaware-incorporated LLC known as United DTLA. According to Delaware state records, United DTLA was incorporated on March 3, 2017.

Matthew Nichols monitoring a City meeting on SRNC formation on February 15, 2017, almost three weeks before United DTLA was even incorporated. This is potentially huge! Click to enlarge.
This means that if and when Liner, Matthew Nichols, and Rockard Delgadillo file their required client disclosures for lobbying that they carried out after March 3, they’re going to disclose nothing more than United DTLA, that shady anonymous Delaware corporation. However, that shady anonymous Delaware corporation did not exist on February 15, 2017, on which day Matthew T. Nichols attended a Town Hall meeting about the Skid Row Neighborhood Council sponsored by the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment. And according to the definition of “lobbying activity” found in the Municipal Lobbying Ordinance at LAMC §48.02, the following is included:

… attending or monitoring City meetings, hearings or other events.

So if Matthew Nichols was carrying out compensated lobbying activities on February 15 but his putative client wasn’t even conjured into existence until March 3, he’s going to have to disclose someone other than United DTLA. And what’s the chance that this other client will be anonymous? Very low, I’m guessing, since if the zillionaires already had an anonymous entity through which to hire lobbyists, why would they go and invent a new one a few weeks later? I suppose we’ll find out, although don’t hold breath, friends. The Ethics Commission moves slowly, but it certainly does move.

And another newly uncovered bit of information is that both Delgadillo and Nichols not only attended the March 22, 2017 meeting of City Council’s Rules and Elections Committee, but they both spoke. Although Nichols didn’t say much. His entire speech is quoted in the cartoon that decorates the beginning of this post. As a special bonus for reading this far, turn the page for images of the speaker cards filled out by these two dimwits and also actual audio recordings of their comments!
Continue reading Complaint Filed This Morning With City Ethics Commission About Liner Law’s Failure To Disclose So-Called United DTLA As Client. Also Matthew Nichols Appears To Have Lobbied Before Incorporation Of United DTLA, Possibly Requiring Disclosure Of Actual Human Clients As Well

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Minutes and Agendas From Wilshire Center BID 2015-2016, In Which We Learn, e.g., That The LAPD Is Attempting To Mitigate Homelessness Amongst Mentally Ill Criminals By Being “Nurturing” and “Helping Out By Giving Socks”

A beautiful office building at 3701 Wilshire Boulevard which, I think, is in the Wilshire Center BID.
A super-short note to announce the availability of two years worth of minutes and agendas from the Wilshire Center BID Board of Directors. These are available both via Archive.Org and also in local static storage. These are interesting for the usual reasons, e.g. understanding connections between BIDs and City agencies, what BIDs are up to with respect to public policy, and so forth. And, as usual, there’s also some weirdness to mock, although, sadly, nothing even approaching the real-estate-agents-on-acid weirdness of the Pacific Palisades BID. For instance, in the October 2015 minutes we read:

The question of why homelessness is worsening was discussed. Early release of criminals, mental illness, and service resistant individuals are some of the major reasons. By using a nurturing approach, more of the homeless may be helped. Getting to know individuals, helping out by giving socks, asking if they would like help, are some of the ways the LAPD is breaking through.

The principle of charity leads me to assume that these are the kind of socks one wears on one’s feet rather than the kind one might expect the LAPD to be handing out to the homeless if one were to consider their long, long history of violence.

By July 2016 we have learned that the BID is working with its Council Offices, but they don’t know how to spell David Ryu’s name and they seem to think Herb Wesson’s name is Justin:1

The BID will continue to work closely with the LAPD and the Council Offices, CD4 (Councilman David Ru) and CD10 (Justin Wesson) to help mitigate problems in our area.

Finally, if you’re interested in extreme CPRA geekery, turn the page for a brief discussion of how the WCBID violated the law by exporting these minutes from Microsoft Word as PDFs, sending me only the PDFs, and then refusing2 to send me the Word documents.
Continue reading Minutes and Agendas From Wilshire Center BID 2015-2016, In Which We Learn, e.g., That The LAPD Is Attempting To Mitigate Homelessness Amongst Mentally Ill Criminals By Being “Nurturing” and “Helping Out By Giving Socks”

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Everybody’s Favorite Puppet-Wielding Crackpot Wayne Spindler Files Yet Another Federal Suit Against The City Of Los Angeles Alleging Violations Of Constitutional Rights — Here Are Copies Of The Pleadings

Wayne Spindler in normal clothes in 2010.
Habitual City Council commenter Wayne Spindler, he of the don’t-go-near-Herb-Wesson restraining order and the subsequent entirely righteous we’re-not-gonna-prosecute-because-being-an-asshole-isn’t-illegal decision by L.A. County D.A. Jackie Lacey’s office,1 has filed a federal suit against the City of Los Angeles for violating various Constitutional rights in connection with his May 2016 arrest.

The incomparable Emily Alpert Reyes has the story in this morning’s Times and we have the primary sources, hot off of PACER! As long as I was getting these pleadings, I figured I’d go ahead and get the ones from the case he filed last July as well,2 and all of them are available here:

I’ll collect the papers in those directories as they’re filed because the cases interest me, but I probably won’t be writing more about them unless something extraordinary occurs. Spindler is an attorney3 and seems to be acting pro se in both these cases. As always, this makes for some fairly lively legal writing, samples of which you can find after the break if you, like so many these days, are PDF-averse.4
Continue reading Everybody’s Favorite Puppet-Wielding Crackpot Wayne Spindler Files Yet Another Federal Suit Against The City Of Los Angeles Alleging Violations Of Constitutional Rights — Here Are Copies Of The Pleadings

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Open Letter to the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission on the proposed stipulation in Case No. 2016-13, In the Matter of Marie Rumsey

Herb Wesson being way, way, way too friendly with Marie Rumsey on November 17, 2015.
Herb Wesson being way, way, way too friendly with Marie Rumsey on November 17, 2015.
I reported on Friday that the City Ethics Commission is slated to consider the case of Marie Rumsey, formerly of CD13 but now working as a lobbyist for the Central City Association, and her repeated violations of the City’s revolving door ordinance, found at LAMC 49.5.13(C)(1). As I noted then, she admitted guilt and excused herself in a particularly implausible way, according to the CEC’s report:

Rumsey received inaccurate legal advice from CCA’s former legal counsel and mistakenly believed that she could attempt to influence any City agency except Councilmember O’Farrell’s office.

Well, I’ve been thinking and thinking about it, and it occurred to me that, since Rumsey spoke before the Council a number of times, it ought to be possible to track down evidence that she had actually attempted to influence Darth Four-Eyes1 himself. So the first piece of evidence I found was this speaker card from the City Council meeting of November 17, 2015. Marie Rumsey signed up to speak on CF 14-1656-S1.2 Next, I had to track down the item on the Council video of that meeting. Well, I did track it down, and here is a link right to her comment. Not only does she address the Council in violation of the law, not only does Mitch O’Farrell end up voting yes on the matter before the Council after she asked him to in violation of the law, but Herb Wesson, who really ought to know better, welcomes her before she violates the law by saying “Ms. Ramsey, [sic] welcome home, good to see you.”

Well, that’s too much. Not only was it against the law for Marie Rumsey to be speaking in front of the Council, not only does it make a mockery of her explanation that her lawyer told her she was only forbidden from trying to influence Mitch O’Farrell’s office,3 but it shows Herb Wesson to be an even bigger idiot than previously suspected. Thus I resolved to write to the Ethics Commission urging them to reject their staff’s proposed stipulation, carry out further investigations, charge Marie Rumsey with ALL of her violations of the revolving door ordinance, and to consider whether Wesson and/or O’Farrell were in violation of LAMC 49.5.16(A)(1)(c), which prohibits aiding and abetting violations of the rest of the Government Ethics Ordinance. So I spent this evening writing this letter to the CEC and submitting it as a public comment for Tuesday’s meeting.4 You can also read it after the break if you’re on mobile or for some other reason prefer not to deal with a PDF.
Continue reading Open Letter to the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission on the proposed stipulation in Case No. 2016-13, In the Matter of Marie Rumsey

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