This morning I have to report to you two developments in my ongoing project to use the California Public Records Act to get the City of Los Angeles to publicly release advance notice of its planned cleanups of homeless encampments. First of all, on October 31 I made yet another request for various kinds of records dated in the future. On November 8, Letitia Gonzalez sent me a number of items, which I’ll share with you below. You may recall that Letitia was responsible for my one success so far in this project, sending me notice on September 28 of a cleanup on September 29. However, this time, not so much. After the break there’s a list of what she sent, what I asked for, and what I think it means.1 There are also some emails from the Central City East Association (part of the material published on Thursday) showing that LA Sanitation does give advance notice of cleanups in some cases. Continue reading Update On Using CPRA To Get Advance Notice Of Homeless Encampment Cleanups: In Theory It’s Working Fine, But In Practice Not So Much→
This evening I’m pleased to present the third installment in our ongoing LAMC 49.5.5(A) project, in which we report various City employees to the Ethics Commission in an attempt to discover exactly what the most fascinating ordinance ever,1LAMC 49.5.5(A), actually prohibits. It says:
City officials, agency employees, appointees awaiting confirmation by the City Council, and candidates for elected City office shall not misuse or attempt to misuse their positions or prospective positions to create or attempt to create a private advantage or disadvantage, financial or otherwise, for any person.
LA Sanitation Homeless Encampment Materials. Note the crappy quality of these things. That’s because, even though CPRA says both clearly and explicitly that if records are stored electronically they must be released in an electronic format, not only does LASAN refuse to do this, insisting on printing these low quality black and white copies from the electronic color originals, but they won’t even answer my emails about this, even though CPRA also compels them to answer. Ah, sigh, right?
BID Feasibility Reports. It seems that BID consultants are supposed to prepare these reports before the BID formation process starts. It also seems that this rule is not enforced. When I asked Miranda Paster for all of these, she sent me only these two: San Pedro and Pacoima. Perhaps these are all there are, in which case yet another rule is being broken.
Good evening, Friends! I haven’t had time to write much recently and I won’t have time for another day or two because the latest installment in the MK.Org LAMC 49.5.5 project is turning out to be more complex than I’d anticipated. I expect to have it done with by the end of this week. This is just a short interim post to announce some new records.
Last Summer it occurred to me that it should be possible to use the California Public Records Act to get advance notice of City of LA homeless encampment cleanup actions. After an inordinate amount of bitching and moaning on my part, three weeks ago they actually handed over a schedule one day in advance. Since then, though, the person who gave me that record has been removed from my case3 and the new person assigned to it, Veretta Everheart, Senior Management Analyst with the Department of Public Works, is as obstructionist as everyone else I’ve dealt with at LA Sanitation (although perfectly friendly and delightful to deal with). In other words, no new advance schedules have been forthcoming.
On a slightly hopeful note, though, Veretta Everheart did actually tell me explicitly that they weren’t going to give me advance schedules.4 The reason she gave is that they “are living documents” which are “not retained.”5 Although she doesn’t say so explicitly, this is evidently a nod in the direction of an exemption enumerated in CPRA at Section 6254(a), which states that it’s not required to release
Preliminary drafts, notes, or interagency or intra-agency memoranda that are not retained by the public agency in the ordinary course of business, if the public interest in withholding those records clearly outweighs the public interest in disclosure.
This is just a quick announcement of some interesting new collections of records, with minimal commentary. First of all, there’s a collection of emails between City Attorney spokesman8 Rob Wilcox and various L.A. Times Reporters. You can get the whole batch here:
Also I have a full set of reports9 from the Bureau of Sanitation on the cleanups of three homeless encampments on March 22, 2016. It took almost three months for them to hand over this material, which won’t surprise anyone who’s been following my recent interactions with them. This is likewise available from:
I don’t presently have much to say about the sanitation reports. At this point I’m collecting as much material as possible in order to (a) figure out what kind of material is available so that I’ll be able to make focused, effective requests in the future, (b) learn what kinds of arguments they make against handing over records so that I can make focused, effective counterarguments against them, and (c) understand all the players in the HE10 game and the roles they’re playing. I hope to be able to synthesize all of this at some point, but meanwhile I want to make the records available because I know smarter people than I are also reading them.
This is just a quick post to announce the availability of tons of new records (with more to come this weekend, I hope!) These are available both on Archive.Org and locally through the menu structure above or directly from our document storage.
My recent success in using CPRA to get advance notice of an encampment clean-up from the City reminded me that I had a number of emails to/from Council District 13 organizing such operations between January and April 2016 that I still hadn’t prepared for publication.1 So I spent this morning getting them into shape and putting them up on the Internet. This material sheds new light on the City’s still-mysterious encampment-breaking system. Also, some of the attachments to these emails reveal crucial information about the computer database(s) used by the City to coordinate the process. I discuss this matter, along with some other issues, after the break. Meanwhile, here are the locations of these emails:
On the Internet Archive — As usual, this has the advantage that you can get the whole batch via BitTorrent if that’s useful. By later today, also, there should be OCRed PDFs there, and text versions.
This summer, thinking about the important role that LACAN’s pictures and video of LA Sanitation’s aggressive clean-ups of homeless encampments downtown have played in e.g. Mitchell v. Los Angeles, it occurred to me that it ought to be possible to get advance notice of encampment cleaning actions from the City via the California Public Records Act. Well, like everything involving CPRA, it turned out to be far more complicated than one might expect in advance.
Amazingly, Sanitation did supply me with materials. It was just the part about getting them in advance of the clean ups that was difficult. On August 5 I asked for the first time. On August 17 they asked for an extension. On September 13, after a certain amount of wheedling on my part, they sent me material for July and August, and a few days later, partial material for September. Still nothing in advance, though: