Tag Archives: Homeless Encampments

Huge Release Of City Of Los Angeles Homeless Encampment Sweep Scheduling Emails Reveals Crucial Steps Of Planning Process — Including Scouting Reports — Time Estimates — Daily Schedules — Notice Posting — Obtained From LAHSA — This Is Essential And Fundamental Primary Source Material For Understanding The Encampment Sweep Scheduling Process — And Another Incremental Step Toward The Years-Long Struggle To Make Sweep Schedules Public

One of the most egregious ways in which the City of Los Angeles terrorizes and oppresses homeless human beings is with so-called encampment sweeps, in which City officials, guarded by police, swoop in and confiscate and dispose of people’s possessions, including in many cases life-essential materials such as medicine, official papers, tools, tents, bicycles, and so on.

This appalling practice has inspired a long chain of successful federal lawsuits against the City, the most recent one of which1 was filed on July 18, 2019.2 Human rights activists, for instance to name just a couple Streetwatch and Services Not Sweeps, have been trying for years to get advance notice of sweeps for many purposes, not least among which are monitoring and outreach to the victims.

Since 2016 I have also been trying to get the City to cough up advance notice via the California Public Records Act. I had one early success, thus proving that the concept at least could work, but since then the City has mostly ignored me. And even on one occasion worse than ignored me, they illegally denied me entry into the Public Works Building, thus preventing me from seeing advance schedules.3 I wrote about my progress a couple more times, once in October 2016 and again in November of that year. There haven’t been enough new developments since then for a post,4 until today, that is.

One of the key strategies in public records activism is making requests for the same materials from every possible agency that might hold records. This increases the odds of getting a complete set of responsive material in the face of obstruction.5 I have been working on getting access to sweep scheduling materials through LA Sanitation, who has ignored me since 2017, through LAPD, which is slightly better but still routinely takes up to a year to produce material, through various Council offices, the office of the Mayor, and so on.

But for some reason it never occurred to me before May 2019 to request records from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, which is also deeply implicated in the process of planning and carrying out sweeps. But request them then I did, and last week they released about 5% of a promised 16GB6 collection of emails between LAHSA operatives involved with sweeps and various complicit parties at the City of Los Angeles, and you can get your copies here on Archive.Org.
Continue reading Huge Release Of City Of Los Angeles Homeless Encampment Sweep Scheduling Emails Reveals Crucial Steps Of Planning Process — Including Scouting Reports — Time Estimates — Daily Schedules — Notice Posting — Obtained From LAHSA — This Is Essential And Fundamental Primary Source Material For Understanding The Encampment Sweep Scheduling Process — And Another Incremental Step Toward The Years-Long Struggle To Make Sweep Schedules Public

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City Of Los Angeles Sued Yet Again To Enforce Compliance With The Public Records Act — This Time It’s Over CD1’s Obstinate Refusal To Produce Emails Between Staffer Jose Rodriguez And Two LAPD Officers About Homeless Encampments In CD1 — On The Advice Of The City Attorney Cedillo Staffer Mel Ilomin Claimed A Series Of Bogus And Ever-Shifting Exemptions — But I Got Two Responsive Records From LAPD — Which Show The Utter Implausibility Of The Exemption Claims

As you know, one of my long-term projects is using the public records act to understand how and why the City of Los Angeles schedules sweeps of homeless encampments and related enforcement actions. Emails between Council offices and either LAPD or LA Sanitation have been essential in this effort. For instance, a monumental recent email release from LAPD revealed a number of essential facts.

First, that CD11 staffer Taylor Bazley, despite official denials, had been complicit in the illegal placement of anti-homeless planters in Venice. This revelation led, in turn, to my filing a complaint against a list of LAPD officers with the Internal Affairs Division and a complaint with the Ethics Commission against Bazley. These same emails revealed that CD11 itself had been illegally withholding incredibly important records in the face of a number of my pending CPRA requests, which led to my filing another writ petition against the City seeking to compel the release of those materials.

And also, there among these 1,200 pages of stuff, were a couple emails between CD1 staffer Jose Rodriguez and a couple of police officers, Arturo Siguenas and Ruben Arellano, about homeless encampments and sweep scheduling at an encampment on Avenue 61 between Figueroa Street and Piedmont Avenue, one block to the North. Here’s the first one and also the second one. These emails in themselves are fairly innocuous, but since other emails in the release had turned out to be so very consequential, and since CD1 is a particular interest of mine although not, so far, with respect to homelessness, the importance of tracing this thread further was quite clear.

Thus I sent a request for all emails between Rodriguez and these two officers from between January 1, 2018 and April 30, 2019, the day before the date of the request:1
Continue reading City Of Los Angeles Sued Yet Again To Enforce Compliance With The Public Records Act — This Time It’s Over CD1’s Obstinate Refusal To Produce Emails Between Staffer Jose Rodriguez And Two LAPD Officers About Homeless Encampments In CD1 — On The Advice Of The City Attorney Cedillo Staffer Mel Ilomin Claimed A Series Of Bogus And Ever-Shifting Exemptions — But I Got Two Responsive Records From LAPD — Which Show The Utter Implausibility Of The Exemption Claims

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MK.Org Exclusive! — On June 7, 2019 Los Angeles County Health Officer Muntu Davis Wrote To The City Of Los Angeles Telling Them To Clean Up Their Damn Act With Respect To Illegal Dumping Of Trash And Sanitation Around Homeless Encampments — This Was Duly Reported In The Los Angeles Times On June 8 — But They Did Not Publish The Letter Itself — Because “The County Declined To Release” It — We, However, Have Obtained A Copy! — And It Is Available To You Right Here! — Dear Readers! — For Download!

No one reading this blog needs a recap of the City’s persistent homelessness crisis or the pain, suffering, torment, and disease caused by the City government’s inaction and worse, although this LA Times editorial lays out the basic facts well. And on June 7, 2019, as reported by the Times on June 8, the County of Los Angeles public health officer Muntu Davis wrote a scathing letter to the City memorializing a June 5 meeting about illegal trash dumping in Skid Row, homelessness, associated health dangers, and the City’s utter failure in dealing with these matters.

For as-yet-unknown reasons, the Times did not obtain a copy of the letter itself, offering nothing more by way of explanation than the laconic statement that “[t]he county’s Department of Public Health declined to release the letter”. Well, this aggression will not stand, man, so I asked the County to cough up this essential piece of our City’s history and, yesterday, surprisingly quickly, they actually did! You can get your own copy of the letter here, and there’s a transcription below. They also sent an unasked-for but nevertheless welcome letter from Davis to the City about typhus outbreaks, sent in March 2019, and you can get a copy of that one here.

The June 7 letter is an essential document. Davis essentially lambastes the City for their failure to provide basic tools of sanitation — toilets, sinks, showers, trash receptacles — to people living on the street. He also notes the City’s failure to deal with illegal trash dumping and also notes that encampments are often very wrongly blamed for this severe problem, a fact that I have never seen any evidence that anyone from the City understands.

I don’t know what if any role this letter played in the City’s very recent conversion to many of the essential principles espoused by the heroic Services Not Sweeps Coalition. I suspect that that’s been longer in coming and that relentless and unanswerable pressure from activists is more responsible, although I don’t know. The letter, anyway, certainly didn’t hurt. It’s well worth the time it will take you to read it.
Continue reading MK.Org Exclusive! — On June 7, 2019 Los Angeles County Health Officer Muntu Davis Wrote To The City Of Los Angeles Telling Them To Clean Up Their Damn Act With Respect To Illegal Dumping Of Trash And Sanitation Around Homeless Encampments — This Was Duly Reported In The Los Angeles Times On June 8 — But They Did Not Publish The Letter Itself — Because “The County Declined To Release” It — We, However, Have Obtained A Copy! — And It Is Available To You Right Here! — Dear Readers! — For Download!

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It Turns Out That The Los Angeles Department Of Sanitation — Which Is A Key Player In The Raiding And Destruction Of Homeless Encampments — Will Provide “Community Dumpsters” For Housedweller Groups And Events — At The Behest Of Council Districts — And With A Huge Amount Of Attention And Time Devoted By City Staff — But None Of These Players — Not One — Will Provide Dumpsters For Homeless People Living On The Streets — These Are The Very Same Players Who Use Encampment Trash Accumulation To Justify Death-Dealing Sweeps — And It Is Supremely Ironic That Bladimir Campos — Of LA San — Is Involved In Both Activities

It’s well-known that pretty much the entire response of the City government of Los Angeles to our homelessness crisis is criminalization and its subsequent brutality, implemented at the hands of police and weaponized sanitation workers, driven never by sound policy, morality, or basic human decency, but rather by the incessant hateful complaints of psychopathic genocidal housedwellers.

This policy is manifested most visibly in notoriously savage encampment sweeps, during which tents, medicine, legal papers, and other possessions absolutely necessary for human life, are destroyed by City functionaries and cops. The claim is that sweeps are necessary to keep the streets clean, although the utter cynical falsity of this claim is revealed by two facts.

First, the sweepers often neglect to pick up actual trash while they’re destroying possessions and second, the City refuses to provide people living in encampments with the basic tools they need to keep their homes and neighborhoods clean in the first place, tools enjoyed by every housedweller in the City. Most important among these are trash receptacles and toilets. So crucially needed are toilets and trash cans and so cruel is the City’s refusal to provide them that an entire coalition of activist groups, Services Not Sweeps, exists to demand that the City provide them, among other things.

And not only that, but I recently obtained a big set of emails between staffers in Paul Koretz’s office and Bladimir Campos of LA Sanitation, who’s responsible for, among other things, coordinating encampment sweeps when Council Districts ask him to. I don’t know what excuses the City gives for their refusal to provide trash receptacles to encampments or even if they feel the need to excuse themselves, but one appalling fact I learned from these new emails is that the City actually has a whole system in place to deliver dumpsters to community events and pick them up afterwards.

Like all such perquisites in the City of Los Angeles, these so-called community dumpsters seem to be coordinated through Council offices, and you can read in this conversation and this other conversation exactly how much painstaking effort Koretz staffer Aviv Kleinman and a surprisingly large number of other City officials were willing to put in week after week after week after year after year to make sure that one of these dumpsters was made available by LA San for some community group’s event.

And don’t miss the supremely ironic fact that Kleinman’s correspondent at Sanitation was none other than Bladimir Campos. So not only does the City refuse to provide trash receptacles to people who desperately need them, not only does the City use the entirely predictable consequences that flow from a lack of receptacles, but the City is refusing to provide receptacles when they already have an entire functioning system in place for providing trash receptacles.

Nothing at all needs to be developed, no new funding needs to be put in place. All that has to happen is for City Councilmembers to understand or to be made to understand that the people living in an encampment are of equal value to the people in some other kind of community group with respect to City-provided trash receptacles, no matter what kind of housing situation they’re in. None of which is likely to happen, of course, because our public officials have no shame and no consciences. Read on for transcribed selections.
Continue reading It Turns Out That The Los Angeles Department Of Sanitation — Which Is A Key Player In The Raiding And Destruction Of Homeless Encampments — Will Provide “Community Dumpsters” For Housedweller Groups And Events — At The Behest Of Council Districts — And With A Huge Amount Of Attention And Time Devoted By City Staff — But None Of These Players — Not One — Will Provide Dumpsters For Homeless People Living On The Streets — These Are The Very Same Players Who Use Encampment Trash Accumulation To Justify Death-Dealing Sweeps — And It Is Supremely Ironic That Bladimir Campos — Of LA San — Is Involved In Both Activities

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Los Angeles County Homeless Encampment Policy Is Positively Humane Compared To The City Of Los Angeles — So In December 2018 When The County Found That It Had To Work With The City On An Encampment At Nadeau And Alameda They Said That If The City Was Going To Follow Its Usual Practices With Respect To The Homeless People’s Property The County Would Not Participate — Then Brian Buchner Of The Unified Homeless Response Center Flat-Out Lied About The Nature Of City Policies — If He’s Ashamed Of The True Confiscation Policy It Is Probably Time To Change It To Something That’s Not Shameful — Not Cruel — Not Inhumane — Not Litigation Bait — If We’re Going To Be Purely Practical

The City of Los Angeles is well-known for its particularly cruel policies towards homeless people living in encampments. City workers confiscate and destroy essential property like medicine and legal papers. They pointlessly force people to move by breaking up their encampments without offering alternatives, and so on. The City has been sued often and sued successfully many times for these practices, and they will be sued again and again and again.

And as immersed as I am in municipal politics, it’s easy to forget that there are many, many other local jurisdictions dealing with homelessness, even within the City of Los Angeles itself. There’s CalTrans, Metro, the County, and of course any number of other cities and authorities. And sometimes they have to work together for various reasons, like property administered by one agency that’s within the boundaries of another, and so on.

Last year the City created the Unified Homeless Response Center to implement its policies. The head of the UHRC is Brian Buchner, who’s some kind of staffer in Eric Garcetti’s office. And the other major departments involved with homelessness also have people assigned to the UHRC as well. For instance, LAPD’s Emada Tingirides and others. And I recently obtained a huge set of emails between Buchner and Tingirides, along with attachments.

This material is available here on Archive.Org. It’s already proving invaluable in understanding UHRC policies and procedures as well as the software tools they’re using in their responses to homelessness. It is an incredibly rich, incredibly complex set of stuff and I’m going to be analyzing and writing about this material for quite a while, but today’s post is based on a tiny fragment, which is this email conversation between Buchner and Michael Castillo, who’s with the Los Angeles County Homeless Initiative.

Here’s the short version of the story, and you can find a complete transcription of the emails below. Castillo was readying his team to dismantle an encampment at Nadeau and Alameda Streets. He’s careful to say that the County does not in fact destroy encampments as a matter of policy. In fact, he says, as a matter of policy they do not:

It is not the practice of Measure H funded teams to “shuffle” our homeless neighbors from one location to another, but instead to work with them where they are.

However, this particular encampment was very close to the train tracks along Alameda and so, he says, the County decided that they had to break it up. This required the involvement of the Alameda Corridor Transit Authority, and ACTA told Castillo that this particular encampment was on property belonging to the City of Los Angeles, which meant that LAMC 56.11 would be in force.

But Castillo wasn’t having it if what he’d heard was true. He was unwilling even to participate in encampment breaking under City of LA rules:

We, myself, Lt. Deedrick, and Measure H outreach supervisors, were informed that the plan under 56.11 would call for tearing down all structures and leaving them on the site for 90 days, i.e., store them on site in the open, which we feel is somewhat inhuman and could lead to a lawsuit. Lt. Deedrick, HOST lead, and I informed the ACTA that if this is the plan Measure H funded outreach teams and the HOST cannot be on site on January 7th.

Castillo was also really worried about the absolute necessity to distinguish between personal items and trash:

In addition, Lt. Deedrick and his team have been talking to the homeless persons on site at Nadeau this week to identify personal items versus trash and they’ve taken record of said conversations. This record will allow the cleaning crew to easily separate trash from personal items on January 7th.

And this kind of concern, this refusal to participate in immoral, inhuman, and liability-inducing activities, is admirable. If no one was willing to carry out the immoral and inhuman policies of the City of Los Angeles then the City of Los Angeles wouldn’t be immoral and inhuman. The only possible reason why things are different in the County is that the County must create an atmosphere where humanity and morality are expected. The opposite is true, obviously, with the City.

And you know, Brian Buchner didn’t have a good answer for this. At least he didn’t have a good true answer. But he had a good and patently false answer, which was that not only did the City not destroy the personal property of the homeless, not only did they store it safely in secure storage, but they would deliver it back to its owner at any time whenever they needed it:

Michael, that is an incorrect understanding or interpretation of the City’s policies and procedures under LAMC 56.11. We do not store people’s property “on site in the open” under any circumstances. We have dedicated storage sites across the City where we store all impounded property. When an individual needs access to their property, we deliver it directly to them within the hour no matter where in the City they are.

And there you have it. Brian Buchner is a liar. The Unified Homeless Response Center of the City of Los Angeles is being run by a liar.1 A liar who implements the inhuman policies of his masters at 200 N. Spring Street even while he’s lying about what those policies are. That’s where this City’s homelessness policy is now. Turn the page for a complete transcription of the conversation.
Continue reading Los Angeles County Homeless Encampment Policy Is Positively Humane Compared To The City Of Los Angeles — So In December 2018 When The County Found That It Had To Work With The City On An Encampment At Nadeau And Alameda They Said That If The City Was Going To Follow Its Usual Practices With Respect To The Homeless People’s Property The County Would Not Participate — Then Brian Buchner Of The Unified Homeless Response Center Flat-Out Lied About The Nature Of City Policies — If He’s Ashamed Of The True Confiscation Policy It Is Probably Time To Change It To Something That’s Not Shameful — Not Cruel — Not Inhumane — Not Litigation Bait — If We’re Going To Be Purely Practical

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Grammy Award Winning Housedwelling Kanye Album Producing Hollywood Landlord Anthony Kilhoffer And His Delusional Demented Psychopathic Anti-Homeless Rants — Addressed Mostly To Mitch O’Farrell’s Hollywood Minion Dan Halden — Who Listened Sympathetically — And Set Up Meetings For Kilhoffer With Himself — And Neighborhood Prosecutor Steve Houchin — And Supreme Hollywood Cop Commander Cory Palka — And Neighborhood Council People — And So On — Which Goes To Show That Being An Unhinged Lunatic Isn’t A Bar To Being Taken Seriously By The City Of Los Angeles About Homeless Policy — Not If You’re A Housedwelling Property Owner It’s Not — And Six Months Of Kilhoffer’s Screeching Produced A Sweep — And The Encampment Was Back In Less Than Three Months — And The Cycle Begins Again

One of the perennially interesting unsolved questions in the theory of Los Angeles1 is who gets to meet with City officials to express their concerns and how and why they do. Why is it that some people have to rant and wave puppets during open public comment while councilmembers ignore them as they fool with their phones playing candy crush or swiping right on their staffies while others get all the face time they ask for, monthly breakfasts with the field staff, meetings, coffee dates, and so on? As with many such questions I certainly have my suspicions about the answer, but evidence has been hard to come by.

Leaving aside the case of zillionaires, who obviously get to meet just because they’re zillionaires, there was this one interesting episode from 2016 where scumbag cat-kicking K-Town slumlord Bryan Kim offered to donate a lot of money to Mitch O’Farrell for having arranged an encampment sweep and then wanted to meet with El Mitch and El Mitch’s consigliere Marisol Rodriguez was all like is he respectful because if so maybe a meeting would be a good idea because it would create the impression that Mitch cares about his constituents.2

This gave me the feeling that in order to meet with these people, in order to have them take one’s concerns seriously, it was at least necessary to be willing to observe some social boundaries, willing to play along, to take a seat at the table, to have concerns the addressing of which would in some way create some direct or indirect political advantage for the council office. This would be disconcerting but, I guess, understandable given the incentives under which City electeds labor.

However, I just recently obtained a string of emails between O’Farrell flunky slash Hollywood button man Dan Halden and a couple of really angry, really unhinged housedwellers which pretty much shoots that theory all to hell. These housedwellers, who are, incidentally, famed Grammy-winning Kanye producer Anthony Kilhoffer and his wife Amy Taylor, want some homeless human beings scraped off the sidewalks on Cole Avenue between Lexington and Santa Monica Boulevard in order to increase the value of their rental property and to soothe their offended aesthetic sensibilities.

Interestingly, once Taylor hears that Dan Halden is going to deal with the matter, she’s very careful to reassure him that she’s a loving human being. This is a super-common trope in this genre. I love all mankind, but I’m scared, so morality no longer applies:

I want you to understand that I empathize with the issues regarding those who cannot afford homes/shelters in Los Angeles. We are not heartless nor.are we blind to the adversities facing low income individuals in these times. But when it becomes an issue of safety, our children’s play spaces, and sanitation -then we need to act quickly and aggressively.

Kilhoffer is not respectful, he’s not willing to play along, he’s not even freaking coherent. He rants about piss, shit, drugs, pimps, how the City encourages encampments in order to drive down property values so they can “redevelop” his property. He insults Mitch O’Farrell’s attention to eliminating Columbus Day in Los Angeles.3 He insists that the people who are upsetting him aren’t even “real” homeless people, whatever that means and they’re not “respectful” like homeless people used to be a few years ago.

But Halden doesn’t ignore Kilhoffer, he doesn’t make cracks about him to his colleagues,4 he doesn’t even tell the guy to calm down and stop making up stories about prostitution rings being run out of tents on the sidewalk. No, he doesn’t do any of that. Instead he talks to the guy on the phone, he introduces the guy to neighborhood prosecutor Steve Houchin and various luminaries from the local Neighborhood Council, he arranges phone calls between the guy and supreme Hollywood cop Commander Cory Palka, and so on.

Most upsetting of all, Halden treats Kilhoffer as if he’s sane. He validates his psychotic concerns as if his ranting makes any freaking sense whatsoever, has any connection, however remote, with actual objective reality. It does not. Kilhoffer’s unhinged anger has obviously driven him to a place almost beyond moral judgment. He’s not competent to stand trial.5 Shunning is almost the only adequate response.6 On the other hand, Halden’s behavior is despicable beyond words and most certainly not beyond moral judgment.

Halden is a professional, his job is ostensibly to serve the people of the City rather than to single out angry dangerous lunatics like Anthony Kilhoffer for special attention and care, to amplify their psychosis and use it to guide policy. We don’t entrust him and his boss and the rest of their damnable ilk with our vast municipal power so they can use it against helpless human beings at the direction of demented psychopaths like Anthony Kilhoffer. He ought to be ashamed of himself, although experience has shown that whether or not he is his behavior won’t be affected by it.

Finally, after six months of Kilhoffer’s abuse and lunatic ravings, Halden finally actually arranges for a sweep of the encampment. In case you were wondering, that’s how encampment sweeps get scheduled in Los Angeles. Oh, and two months later the encampment was back and, I guess, the whole cycle begins again. And what’s the point? I have no idea.7

And, as I said, this episode leaves me utterly without a theory as to who gets these people’s time, in whom they invest their resources, what constituent concerns catch their attention. Anyway, turn the page for a transcription of selections from this utterly off the chain email conversation.
Continue reading Grammy Award Winning Housedwelling Kanye Album Producing Hollywood Landlord Anthony Kilhoffer And His Delusional Demented Psychopathic Anti-Homeless Rants — Addressed Mostly To Mitch O’Farrell’s Hollywood Minion Dan Halden — Who Listened Sympathetically — And Set Up Meetings For Kilhoffer With Himself — And Neighborhood Prosecutor Steve Houchin — And Supreme Hollywood Cop Commander Cory Palka — And Neighborhood Council People — And So On — Which Goes To Show That Being An Unhinged Lunatic Isn’t A Bar To Being Taken Seriously By The City Of Los Angeles About Homeless Policy — Not If You’re A Housedwelling Property Owner It’s Not — And Six Months Of Kilhoffer’s Screeching Produced A Sweep — And The Encampment Was Back In Less Than Three Months — And The Cycle Begins Again

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Park Avenue Is A Venice Walk Street — Runs Between Speedway And Pacific — And In 2018 The Park Avenue Housedwellers Were Just Fed Up — They Were Feeling Really Overrun With Homeless And Bike Racks — And Their Homeless And Bike Problem Was On National TV! — And They Wrote To Bonin Venice Flunky-Boy Taylor Bazley — And Somehow Bonin Transpo Maven Alek Bartrosouf Got Involved! — Probably Cause Of The Bikes! — And Rec And Parks Boardwalk Hitler Bob Davis — And They Got Rid Of The Homeless! — And They Got Rid Of The Bikes! — And All The Park Avenue Housedwellers Were Happy For A Hot Second! — And Alek Bartrosouf Was All Like Now Get Planters! — And Here — Says Boutrosouf — Is Eric Garcetti’s Special Planter Catalog To Get Them From!

Well, dang! I already wrote the whole story in the title! Sorry! Except for one important bit, which is that it seems like there’s a little bit of evidence here that CD11 is actively encouraging housedwellers to put in planters to keep their neighbors away. Bonin’s transpo deputy, Alek Bartrosouf, spent months working with some housedwelling residents of Park Avenue getting rid of an encampment and, once it was gone, was all like “put in planters!” It’s not exactly conclusive but it is suggestive.

Here’s the background, part one. The other day I received a bunch of materials about homelessness from the Department of Recreation and Parks. The whole stack is up on Archive.Org. And here are links to some of the prominent items:

Emails between Bob Davis and CD11 folks — These are emails between Boardwalk Hitler Bob Davis of Rec and Parks and various minions at CD11.
Rec and Parks LAMC 63.44 Standard Operating Procedure — LAMC 63.44 is the equivalent of LAMC 56.11 for parks. This invaluable document explains RAP procedures for confiscating and destroying the property of homeless people located inside parks.
Park cleanup request flowchart — A one page decision guide for RAP personnel involved in property confiscation and destruction.
LAMC 63.44 — The text of the law.

And the background part two has to do with those appalling planters, placed illegally on sidewalks by housedwellers to prevent encampments from forming because they hate homeless people so much and have zero respect for the rule of law if it impedes the progress of their inhumanity. This is a huge problem in Venice and elsewhere around the City. And mostly, like I said, the planters are illegal.

And it’s obvious that the City of Los Angeles is aiding, abetting, and conspiring with the bloodthirsty housedwellers that install the damn things, but it has been pretty hard to find actual explicit evidence of the conspiracies,1 so we2 are forced to try to piece together proof of what’s going on. And in this email chain between Bonin’s Transportation Deputy, Alek Bartrosouf, and a bunch of housedwellers, there is just the tiniest bit, as I said, of evidence.

A great deal of the conversation is transcribed below, but the short version is that after months of helping the housedwellers get rid of the homeless encampment and some offensive bike racks, Bartrosouf emailed the ringleaders, one of whom is named Melba Levick (melbalevick@gmail.com), thus:

On Aug 27, 2018, at 18:24, Alek Bartrosouf <alek.bartrosouf@lacity.org> wrote:

Hi Melba,

I was happy to help, although it took a lot of people who contributed to making it happen seamlessly. I have spoken with Gail and Ira about how we can make that area even more beautiful with some landscaping ideas. It would be awesome to have some tree wells and planter boxes to ‘green’ the block but also create a welcoming environment for you, your neighbors, and guests of Venice. Hopefully something like that can be entertained in the near future, ideally with support and direction from the neighborhood council. It is outside my realm of work (I focus on transportation specifically) but happy to help however I can.

Have a great week!

Best,

Alek Bartrosouf

And a little later in the conversation Bartrosouf emailed a few other ringleaders with this charming little missive:

Lauren & Mark

I’ll just leave this here :)

http://peoplest-prod.azurewebsites.net/plaza/

The Kit of Parts is helpful and can be inspiring.

Best,

Alek

The Kit of Parts he mentions is this PDF, consisting of recommended outdoor furniture items for plazas in Los Angeles, including really heavy planters. It includes detailed information on how and where to buy them. Now, there’s a difference between this situation and most of the planters in Venice in that it’s not clear that Bartrosouf is recommending illegal placement. He seems to be recommending that the open space at the west end of Park Avenue between Speedway and the Boardwalk be somehow turned into a plaza and piled up legally with a bunch of junk to prevent re-encampment. But it’s what we have. Turn the page for a transcription of the months-long discussions between the City and the housedwellers that led to the planter-placement recommendation.
Continue reading Park Avenue Is A Venice Walk Street — Runs Between Speedway And Pacific — And In 2018 The Park Avenue Housedwellers Were Just Fed Up — They Were Feeling Really Overrun With Homeless And Bike Racks — And Their Homeless And Bike Problem Was On National TV! — And They Wrote To Bonin Venice Flunky-Boy Taylor Bazley — And Somehow Bonin Transpo Maven Alek Bartrosouf Got Involved! — Probably Cause Of The Bikes! — And Rec And Parks Boardwalk Hitler Bob Davis — And They Got Rid Of The Homeless! — And They Got Rid Of The Bikes! — And All The Park Avenue Housedwellers Were Happy For A Hot Second! — And Alek Bartrosouf Was All Like Now Get Planters! — And Here — Says Boutrosouf — Is Eric Garcetti’s Special Planter Catalog To Get Them From!

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Everyone Knows That LAMC 41.18(d) Outlaws Sitting Or Lying On A Sidewalk Or Street — At Least If You’re Homeless — But Did You Know That It’s Also Illegal Even To Stand Or Walk In An Alley? — At Least If You’re Homeless — Downtown Neighborhood Prosecutor Kurt Knecht Explains The Whole Thing To The LAPD — Who Aren’t Just Abstractly Interested In Legal Principles That Can’t Be Weaponized — And Clearly This One Can

One of the most shameful sections in the entire Los Angeles Municipal Code is the reprehensible LAMC 41.18(d), which says in its sinister understated way that “No person shall sit, lie or sleep in or upon any street, sidewalk or other public way.” The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in its monumental Jones decision, has called this “one of the most restrictive municipal laws regulating public spaces in the United States” because, unlike laws passed by sane people, it doesn’t even require blocking anything for a violation. Just sitting, lying, or sleeping.1

As you can imagine if you don’t already know, this law is certainly never enforced against anyone who’s not homeless. We’ve seen, e.g., how Hurricane Kerry Morrison, killer queen of the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance, can confess publicly to violating it with no consequences. There are many, many such instances. But maybe you’ve noticed the loophole? You can be sure that, as many homeless people as the LAPD’s able to arrest for violating LAMC 41.18(d), there are surely far, far too many who get away unarrested because they’re standing or walking. As long, that is, as they’re not sleepwalking or sleepstanding. Then they can still be arrested.

This is an important unsolved problem in the criminalization of homelessness, at least from the point of view of the criminalizers. That is to say, how can they illegalize not just most, but actually all positions that a homeless body can be in? They have evidently had their finest legal minds working on it, and it turns out that Downtown neighborhood prosecutor Kurt Knecht, has come up with a legal theory on which homeless people can be arrested for standing or walking as well as sitting or lying as long as they’re doing it in an alley that’s open to cars. It’s only a partial solution, to be sure, but it seems to be a new addition to the criminalization toolkit.

The context is found in this September 2017 email from Knecht to LAPD captains Marc Reina and Timothy Harrelson about a homeless encampment in an alley in the 700 block of South Hill Street:2
Continue reading Everyone Knows That LAMC 41.18(d) Outlaws Sitting Or Lying On A Sidewalk Or Street — At Least If You’re Homeless — But Did You Know That It’s Also Illegal Even To Stand Or Walk In An Alley? — At Least If You’re Homeless — Downtown Neighborhood Prosecutor Kurt Knecht Explains The Whole Thing To The LAPD — Who Aren’t Just Abstractly Interested In Legal Principles That Can’t Be Weaponized — And Clearly This One Can

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Surreal Episodes From CPRALand! — Cryptoracist Deputy City Attorney Gita O’Neill Calls Deon Joseph “Articulate”! — Crazed Sidewalk Colonizer Miguel Nelson “Really Needs To Hire Security Guards” According To Gita O’Neill — He Emails LAPD Far Too Much And “He Probably Has The Money” Says She — Homeless Encampment In CD14 Given Highest Cleanup Priority Because Someone Is Making A Movie There

Recall that yesterday I received a huge stack of records comprising emails and other materials from various LAPD officers, other City officials, and some property owners having to do mostly with homeless issues on Skid Row. The whole set is available here on Archive.Org.

I wrote one long post about it yesterday and will write some others soon enough, but today I thought I would tell you about a few short episodes that probably can’t support a whole post but are really interesting nonetheless. There’s no theme, no subtext, no larger purpose, no moral. Nothing but gossip, really, but interesting!

Return of Safer Cities? Gita O’Neill calls Deon Joseph “Articulate”

As you may know, the LAPD under Bill Bratton introduced a local version of the reprehensible broken windows theory in the form of the quantum reprehensibility shift known as the Safer Cities Initiative. This seems to have faded away for reasons I can’t determine, but long-time Skid Row cop Deon Joseph has evidently been drooling copiously for years dreaming of bringing it back.

And evidently present Chief Michael Moore is in favor of reviving this zombie jive crapola as well. At least that’s the frightening message found in this June 2018 email conversation between Deputy City Attorney Gita O’Neill and high LAPD muckety Marc Reina. And it’s not the only frightening thing in there. Here’s how O’Neill describes to Reina the role of Joseph, who is African American: “deon asked the question [about Safer Cities] to the chief, deon was very articulate”

And “articulate” is a problematic word indeed. As the New York Times said in 2007 after Joe Biden caused a scandal by calling Barack Obama articulate, when the word is used “in reference to blacks, it often carries a subtext of amazement, even bewilderment. It is similar to praising a female executive or politician by calling her “tough” or “a rational decision-maker.” “When people say it, what they are really saying is that someone is articulate … for a black person,” Ms. Perez1 said. Such a subtext is inherently offensive because it suggests that the recipient of the “compliment” is notably different from other black people. So, you know, evidently that’s what Gita O’Neill thinks of Deon Joseph.

And turn the page for more postcards from CPRAlandia!
Continue reading Surreal Episodes From CPRALand! — Cryptoracist Deputy City Attorney Gita O’Neill Calls Deon Joseph “Articulate”! — Crazed Sidewalk Colonizer Miguel Nelson “Really Needs To Hire Security Guards” According To Gita O’Neill — He Emails LAPD Far Too Much And “He Probably Has The Money” Says She — Homeless Encampment In CD14 Given Highest Cleanup Priority Because Someone Is Making A Movie There

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Massive Record Release — Including Emails Between Skid Row LAPD, Deputy City Attorneys, Council Staffers, Property Owners — Shows Among Many Other Things Extensive City Collusion In Skid Row Anti-Homeless Landscaping Projects — Like Miguel Nelson’s North Sea Horror Show — Encampment Cleanups Scheduled To Suit Needs Of Property Owners — Photographs, Briefing Documents, Sanitation Cleanup Schedules — And So Much Else It’s Not Possible To List

I recently obtained part of a vast set of records from the LAPD, comprising emails between four officers and a long list of people involved with homeless issues on Skid Row as well as a wide variety of other materials which was attached to the emails. The officers are Marc Reina, Aloaf Walker, Robert Arcos, and Keith Bertonneau. Their correspondents are many, but in particular property owner Miguel Nelson, deputy city attorneys Kurt Knecht and Gita O’Neill, and LA Sanitation staffer Bladimir Campos.

This is an incredibly rich, incredibly complex set of material. The whole thing, or as much as I have so far as I am told there is more to come, is here on Archive.Org. There are many, many enlightening stories to be told from these sources, and I will be posting on some of them over the next few days.1 Also, I hope to publish a list of some of this stuff soon with brief descriptions. But I have extracted one important story for you this evening.

There’s been a lot in the news lately about anti-homeless planters in Venice of one sort or another, installed illegally and passively tolerated or even actively assisted by the City of Los Angeles. But the latest round of weaponized agriculture started last year in Skid Row with the so-called North Sea Project, which also involved giant heavy planters taking up the sidewalk to prevent people from sleeping there.

This North Sea installation was guided mostly by local property owner Miguel Nelson.2 According to KCRW Nelson obtained permits from the City for his hostile landscaping, unlike the copycats in Venice. The purpose of these planters, anti-homeless and pro-gentrification, was widely reported in the international press. Even the SRNC Formation Committee’s own General Jeff weighed in on the anti-human motivation behind these abominations.

But what I haven’t seen reported on anywhere is the astonishing level of City complicity in the installation of these Skid Row planters, which exceeds at least what we know about parallel issues in Venice.3 The evidence shows that the City of Los Angeles conspired with Miguel Nelson to coordinate the installation of sidewalk fencing on the east side of Towne Avenue between Fourth and Fifth streets with an Operation Healthy Streets raid.

Bladimir Campos of LA Sanitation gave Nelson five days advance notice of the cleanup so that he would have time to schedule his fence crew to barricade off the public sidewalk to prevent encampments from returning before he had a chance to install the planters. Note that five days is even more notice than the people living in the encampment got! Further, on the day that the cleanup crew was working Campos instructed his subordinates to give Nelson real-time estimates of their arrival. There’s no reason to suspect that this level of cooperation wasn’t in play through the whole North Sea installation process.

This is in sharp contrast to the City’s refusal, which continues to this day, to give homeless rights advocates advance notice of cleanups so that they can be observed and recorded. Interestingly, the City is expressly forbidden by the California Public Records Act from releasing or refusing to release information based on the purpose it’s to be used for,4 and yet that is exactly what they’ve done in this case by releasing it to be used against homeless people but withholding it from those who would use it to defend their rights.

It’s also in sharp contrast to the City’s stated purpose for Operation Healthy Streets, which like most5 such tools placed in the hands of the City has been weaponized to serve the interests of property owners. The mission at one time seems to have been fairly humane. Nothing to do with clearing out encampments so that property owners can colonize the space with planters:

Operation Healthy Streets (OHS) was implemented in 2012 as a robust homeless community outreach program designed to provide adequate notice and identify high-risk people in need of services and assistance.

As always, turn the page for links to and transcriptions of the actual evidence.
Continue reading Massive Record Release — Including Emails Between Skid Row LAPD, Deputy City Attorneys, Council Staffers, Property Owners — Shows Among Many Other Things Extensive City Collusion In Skid Row Anti-Homeless Landscaping Projects — Like Miguel Nelson’s North Sea Horror Show — Encampment Cleanups Scheduled To Suit Needs Of Property Owners — Photographs, Briefing Documents, Sanitation Cleanup Schedules — And So Much Else It’s Not Possible To List

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