Tag Archives: Joanne Kumamoto

Not Only Did CD1 Senior Planning Deputy Gerald Gubatan Organize Little Tokyo Business Interests To Attend Council Meetings And Give Public Comment In Favor Of Parker Center Demolition But He Also Told Them They Ought To Place An Op-Ed In The Times As Part Of The Campaign — Of Course As A Member Of Gil Cedillo’s Senior Staff He Could Write An Op-Ed Himself — Or For That Matter Cedillo Could Write One — He’s Done It Before — But That Wouldn’t Contribute To The Illusion Of Community Buy-In — Hints Of The Connection Between Gubatan And Little Tokyo — A Preschool Couldn’t Pass Fire Inspection — Gubatan Helped Fix It

I recently wrote about the process whereby in 2017 José Huizar’s staff arranged for an ersatz show of community buy-in with respect to the demolition of Parker Center in what the putative buyers-in at least saw as a quid pro quo deal. And for reasons that remain unclear Gerald Gubatan, who is Gil Cedillo’s senior planning deputy, also participated in the ginning-up-of-support process, advising the astroturfers in embarrassingly painstaking detail on the ways and means of astroturfing.

Some newly obtained emails between Gubatan and various people in the Little Tokyo business community show that his advice extended further than previously known, to the point where he was suggesting that they write an op-ed for the L.A. Times pushing Cedillo’s view of Parker Center demolition and that they coordinate its appearance with Council hearings on the matter.

Certainly Gubatan or even Cedillo could write their own op-eds for the L.A. Times. A search in Proquest’s LA Times database shows that Cedillo’s published nine over the years.1 But of course, that wouldn’t have had the desired effect, not least because it would require Cedillo to reveal that he’d already made up his mind before the vote. It certainly wouldn’t have created and maintained the illusion of community buy-in on the creation of which CD1 was working so hard. Thus, if op-eds were to be written, it was imperative to find authors apparently independent of Cedillo’s office.

As this February 2017 email conversation shows, Gubatan chose his friends in Little Tokyo, Dean Matsubayashi of the Little Tokyo Service Center and Joanne Kumamoto of the Little Tokyo Business Improvement District to hit up for an op-ed. And Gubatan didn’t just tell them to write an op-ed, he told them that “ideally [it should] be timed with the City Council vote.”

Here’s that entire email. After the break find transcriptions of the rest of the conversation, along with more emails about an interesting 2016 episode involving the Little Tokyo Service Center a preschool that couldn’t get a fire permit and how Gerald Gubatan interceded with the Fire Department on behalf of the LTSC.

Gerald Gubatan <gerald.gubatan@lacity.org> Wed, Feb 8, 2017 at 3:47 PM

To: Dean Matsubayashi <DMatsubayashi@ltsc.org>, Joanne Kumamoto <jkumamoto@aol.com>

Dean, Joanne,

When one Googles “Parker Center,” the narratives which appear are mainly by the LA Times, JD Waldie, the LA Conservancy.

One does not find the perspectives articulated at the recent PLUM Committee hearing.

If there is a good, knowledgeable and articulate writer who has the time and energy to author such a perspective and forward the LA Times for publication, ideally to be timed with the City Council vote, I believe the narrative could fill an informational gap in the larger civic engagement.

Just a thought,

Gerald

Gerald G. Gubatan
Senior Planning Deputy
Office of Council Member Gilbert Cedillo
Council District 1
City Hall, Room 460
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Tel: 213.473.7001
gerald.gubatan@lacity.org
http://cd1.lacity.org/

Continue reading Not Only Did CD1 Senior Planning Deputy Gerald Gubatan Organize Little Tokyo Business Interests To Attend Council Meetings And Give Public Comment In Favor Of Parker Center Demolition But He Also Told Them They Ought To Place An Op-Ed In The Times As Part Of The Campaign — Of Course As A Member Of Gil Cedillo’s Senior Staff He Could Write An Op-Ed Himself — Or For That Matter Cedillo Could Write One — He’s Done It Before — But That Wouldn’t Contribute To The Illusion Of Community Buy-In — Hints Of The Connection Between Gubatan And Little Tokyo — A Preschool Couldn’t Pass Fire Inspection — Gubatan Helped Fix It

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How José Huizar Was Desperate In 2017 — Gil Cedillo Too — For Anyone — Anyone At All — To Support Demolishing Parker Center Cause Everyone — Like Everyone! — Wanted To Preserve It — So Huizar Flunkies Megan Teramoto And Ari Simon — Who Used A Secret Email Address By The Way — And Cedillo Flunky Gerald Gubatan — Ginned Up Support From A Bunch Of Little Tokyo Business And Property Owners — Coached Them In How To Comment — And The Little Tokyo-Ites Did It To Gain Huizar’s Support For Their Favored Projects — And That Is How Community Buy-In Is Bought And Sold At 200 N. Spring Street


To get some context for the events discussed herein, take a look at this excellent preservation-minded timeline.

In late 2016 the erstwhile LAPD headquarters known as Parker Center was yet again threatened with demolition.1 CD14 repster José Huizar made some pretty noises about preserving it, but really, there’s no money in that for anyone, and by January of 2017, when a crucial series of hearings began, he had thrown the full weight of his councilmanic power behind the wrecking ball.

And even though the decision on Parker Center was strictly up to the City Council, which can unilaterally override every City commission or board, and that means that the decision was strictly up to Huizar alone,2 for whatever reason Huizar apparently was reluctant to tear the building down based on nothing more than his raw desire and power to do so.

It’s hard to say why this was the case. Possibly because the Cultural Heritage Commission had taken the fairly unprecedented step of recommending Historic-Cultural Monument status on their own motion, or maybe because the mostly reliably subservient Los Angeles Times had editorialized against demolition, or possibly because phone calls to his office were disproportionately in favor of not tearing the damn building down.

In fact, according to Kristin Fukushima of the Little Tokyo Community Council quoting an unnamed Huizar staffer, CD14 had “gotten like 20 calls this am telling us to preserve it and none to demo it. Also extremely expecting like 40 ppl tomorrow to show up supporting preservation.” In a city with a functioning representative democracy we might at this point expect Huizar to change his position given that no one seemed to support him.3 But this is Los Angeles, friends, which is why instead of changing his position he did what Councilmembers always do when faced with this dilemma.

That is, he ordered his staff to go out and gin up some supporters to come give favorable comment at some meetings in favor of his already-determined position. Comments from the public in favor of whatever a given CM has already decided to do are pearls of great price at 200 N. Spring Street, the preferred medium of exchange, the Fort Knox gold that backs the currency in which political capital is measured.4 Such comments, along with letters to council files, and similar things, are collectively known as community buy-in. A Los Angeles City Councilmember can generally do whatever they want to do, but with community buy-in they can do it with impunity.5

So Huizar’s aides set out to buy some buy-in. They hit up people from business improvement districts and like-minded nonprofits, e.g. the Little Tokyo BID, the Downtown Center BID, the Little Tokyo Service Center, and the Little Tokyo Community Council. And these paid commenters6 showed up in force and did what they were expected to do. And I’ve obtained dozens of emails showing the coordination,7 the use of Gmail addresses by at least one Huizar staffer, the unexplained participation of Gil Cedillo’s planning deputy Gerald Gubatan, and the expected quid pro quo in the form of Huizar’s anticipated support for various Little-Tokyo-centric pet projects. Turn the page for links to and transcriptions of selections from these emails, arranged into an epistolary narrative!
Continue reading How José Huizar Was Desperate In 2017 — Gil Cedillo Too — For Anyone — Anyone At All — To Support Demolishing Parker Center Cause Everyone — Like Everyone! — Wanted To Preserve It — So Huizar Flunkies Megan Teramoto And Ari Simon — Who Used A Secret Email Address By The Way — And Cedillo Flunky Gerald Gubatan — Ginned Up Support From A Bunch Of Little Tokyo Business And Property Owners — Coached Them In How To Comment — And The Little Tokyo-Ites Did It To Gain Huizar’s Support For Their Favored Projects — And That Is How Community Buy-In Is Bought And Sold At 200 N. Spring Street

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