Tag Archives: José Huizar

City Of Los Angeles Sued Yet Again To Enforce Compliance With The Public Records Act — This Time It’s Over CD14’s Obstinate Refusal To Produce Emails Between Staffer Joella Hopkins And Various City Officials — Mostly Having To Do With Homeless Issues — CD14 Commo Deputy Isaiah Calvin Risibly Claimed That Dozens If Not Hundreds Of Emails Were Exempt As Attorney Client Privileged — But I Obtained Some Of These From Other Sources And — He’s Lying — Or Confused — Or Both — But That Doesn’t Matter Under The Law — Hence This Petition

This is just a very quick note to announce that due to CD14’s well-known and weirdly intransigent refusal to comply with even the most minimal mandates of the California Public Records Act I have been forced to file a writ petition against these outlaw City officials seeking to enforce my constitutional right to read their damn emails.

On December 30, 2018 I asked Paul Habib and some other Huizar staffies for “emails between joella.hopkins@lacity.org or ari.simon@lacity.org and at least one of 34490@lapd.online or 32511@lapd.online or gita.oneill@lacity.org or kurt.knecht@lacity.org.” Note that the two police there are Marc Reina and Deon Joseph respectively. They hummed, hemmed, hawed, and noped and eventually produced 62 pages of ludicrously incomplete emails. For instance, they produced the first page of a 14 page thread about Night on Broadway but not the other 13 pages. And crazy stuff like that.

And they claimed, possibly due to the inclusion of Deputy City Attorneys Gita O’Neill and Kurt Knecht in my request, that they had withheld some material under the attorney/client privilege. But you know, and this is good CPRA practice, when possible I like to hit up as many agencies as possible for the same or overlapping material. It’s the best way not only to get complete sets of stuff but also to check whether responses are honest. And, sadly, often they are not.
Continue reading City Of Los Angeles Sued Yet Again To Enforce Compliance With The Public Records Act — This Time It’s Over CD14’s Obstinate Refusal To Produce Emails Between Staffer Joella Hopkins And Various City Officials — Mostly Having To Do With Homeless Issues — CD14 Commo Deputy Isaiah Calvin Risibly Claimed That Dozens If Not Hundreds Of Emails Were Exempt As Attorney Client Privileged — But I Obtained Some Of These From Other Sources And — He’s Lying — Or Confused — Or Both — But That Doesn’t Matter Under The Law — Hence This Petition

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Interim Councilmember Greig Smith Has A Private Email Address — Conducts City Business Through It — citycouncilguy@yahoo.com — For Instance — Among Other Pretty Sleazy Things — Uses It To Communicate With Lobbyists At Englander Knabe & Allen — Founded By Harvey Englander — Uncle Of Smith’s Predecessor And Protege Mitch Englander — Like A Whole Trump Family Incestuous Secret Email Vibe Going On Out There In The Damn Valley Innit?!

With yesterday’s revelations that Betsy De Vos and seven other members of the Trump administration are being investigated by the House Oversight Committee for their illegal, unethical, appalling, and hypocritical use of private email addresses to conduct public business I thought it was a good time to catch you all up on the state of my investigation into private email use by our own local City Council folks, precisely none of whom are being investigated by anyone for this specific transgression.1

Previously I discovered and revealed that Mitch O’Farrell, David Ryu, and Gil Cedillo all have privately controlled email accounts through which they conduct City business. Jose Huizar also does this, but I didn’t break that story, the FBI did.2 And today, thanks to a huge set of emails I recently received from the ever-courtly Colin Sweeney, director of communications over at CD12, I can, for the first time of which I am aware, break the news that the name of Sweeney’s current boss, the infamous Greig Smith, belongs right smack on that list as well.

The email address in question is citycouncilguy@yahoo.com. The set linked to above only contained a few examples of Smith’s use of this email address to conduct City business, but then I only picked them up by accident. Thanks, as we know, to the monumental 2017 opinion in City of San Jose v. Superior Court, these emails are public records in themselves. Of course I have a request in already for the rest of them, but I imagine it could be a long process. Or maybe not, we’ll certainly see! Read on for links to the emails along with some commentary.
Continue reading Interim Councilmember Greig Smith Has A Private Email Address — Conducts City Business Through It — citycouncilguy@yahoo.com — For Instance — Among Other Pretty Sleazy Things — Uses It To Communicate With Lobbyists At Englander Knabe & Allen — Founded By Harvey Englander — Uncle Of Smith’s Predecessor And Protege Mitch Englander — Like A Whole Trump Family Incestuous Secret Email Vibe Going On Out There In The Damn Valley Innit?!

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Mayra Alvarez Files Absolutely Smashing Opposition To Jose Huizar’s Motion To Stay Proceedings — “[Huizar] is merely using seductive—albeit empty—rhetoric to goad this Court into granting him a reprieve from further public scrutiny and embarrassment — The Court should decline such invitation and deny Defendant’s motion” — Hearing Scheduled For June 24, 2019 at 8:30 AM — Stanley Mosk Courthouse Dept 17

OK, remember that former council aide Mayra Alvarez is suing all-round creepy councilbro Jose Huizar for workplace creepism and at the same time the FBI is raiding dude’s house and making him and, more generally, pretty much everyone on the fourth floor of 200 N Spring Street really freaking nervous? And so Huizar filed a motion recently asking the court to put a hold on Alvarez’s civil lawsuit against him because he wouldn’t be able to defend himself without compromising his defense in the FBI stuff. And yesterday Alvarez filed an absolutely smashing opposition to Huizar’s motion. Just hammered the dude, hammered him.

The argument is essentially that Huizar never established that there is even a criminal case against him. He never said what this putative criminal case might be about. His best evidence that there is a criminal case seems to come from the LA Times. So unless he’s either charged or coughs up some evidence that he’s likely to be charged, says Alvarez, the court should let the case go on.

The argument cites, clearly, Alvarez’s interest in having the case go forward so that she’s not denied justice through delay, but, interestingly, also invokes the interest of other City employees and the public at large in having Huizar’s workplace misdeeds exposed. There’s a transcription of selections below, but if you only read one part, read this:

So, Huizar’s desire to stay this matter pending a vaguely described “criminal investigation”—one with an unnamed target and undescribed purpose—is simply a stall tactic so that the Councilmember can ride out the rest of his term while continuing to shield his misdeeds from the citizens of this City and continuing to collect a taxpayer-funded paycheck.

But, “the fact that a man is indicted cannot give him a blank check to block all civil litigation on the same or related underlying subject matter. Justice is meted out in both civil and criminal litigation.” And, here, Huizar has not even been indicted. The bottom line is: Huizar has not been charged with a crime; his motion does not affirmatively state that he himself is the target of the FBI’s investigation (as opposed to a peripheral witness or subject); nor does Huizar’s motion come even remotely close to describing what the FBI is actually investigating such that he can reasonably represent to the Court that criminal charges against him are even possible. Thus, at this point, Huizar’s motion appears to be based purely on conjecture, and he is merely using seductive—albeit empty—rhetoric to goad this Court into granting him a reprieve from further public scrutiny and embarrassment. The Court should decline such invitation and deny Defendant’s motion unless and until Huizar is either charged with a crime or proffers affirmative evidence that he is the target of the FBI’s investigation.

Continue reading Mayra Alvarez Files Absolutely Smashing Opposition To Jose Huizar’s Motion To Stay Proceedings — “[Huizar] is merely using seductive—albeit empty—rhetoric to goad this Court into granting him a reprieve from further public scrutiny and embarrassment — The Court should decline such invitation and deny Defendant’s motion” — Hearing Scheduled For June 24, 2019 at 8:30 AM — Stanley Mosk Courthouse Dept 17

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Jose Huizar Files Actual Motion Asking For Permission To File His Motion To Stay The Proceedings In Mayra Alvarez’s Workplace Creepiness Suit Against Him Till After The Criminal Case Is Done — He Lays Out Line By Line Which Parts Of The Motion To Stay Reveal Secrets — Hearing On This Is May 16 At 8:30 AM — Stanley Mosk Courthouse Department 17

The quick background is this: Soon-to-be-former Councilbro Jose Huizar is being sued by two former employees for generally egregious workplace creepiness. One suit was filed by Mayra Alvarez and the other by Pauline Medina. Of course, he’s also being investigated by the FBI for general criminal kingpinitude. And, according to Huizar, he can’t defend himself against Alvarez and Medina without revealing information that will harm his defense in the not-yet-filed criminal case against him.

Thus did he announce recently that he will be filing motions to stay both civil cases until after the criminal case is over with. However, according to Huizar, he can’t even adequately explain why the civil cases ought to be stayed without revealing the same secrets, so recently he filed motions asking the two civil case judges to allow him to file his motions to stay under seal. The Medina judge denied his request outright but the Alvarez judge scheduled a hearing1 to allow Huizar to present his case.

And so on April 19 Huizar filed his motion asking the court to allow him to file his motion to stay under seal, and you can read the motion here. Interestingly Huizar also requests that, if the court won’t let him file the whole motion in secret, that he be allowed to file only parts in secret, and the parts are listed line by line by line. Interestingly, he also refuses to actually admit that there’s a criminal case being built against him, referring in the motion to a “purported criminal investigation initiated by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation”

Huizar also somewhat disingenuously argues that he’s not seeking to keep all the paper filed in the case secret, but only this one single motion. He doesn’t mention that the motion he’s seeking to conceal would have the effect of stopping the case, so there won’t be any more papers filed to keep secret.

There is also a transcription of selections after the break. I’m not sure when the opposition to this motion is due, but I’ll post a copy when it shows up. Also, according to the Los Angeles Times, their lawyers plan to intervene and ask the judge not to allow the motion to be sealed. If and when they file any pleadings I’ll post copies of those as well.
Continue reading Jose Huizar Files Actual Motion Asking For Permission To File His Motion To Stay The Proceedings In Mayra Alvarez’s Workplace Creepiness Suit Against Him Till After The Criminal Case Is Done — He Lays Out Line By Line Which Parts Of The Motion To Stay Reveal Secrets — Hearing On This Is May 16 At 8:30 AM — Stanley Mosk Courthouse Department 17

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Jose Huizar Wants To Stay Proceedings In The Pauline Medina Suit Against Him — And He Wants To File His Motion To Stay Under Seal Just Like With The Alvarez Case — So Last Week He Asked The Judge To Hear The Motion To File The Motion To Seal Before The Motion To Stay Was Due — Just Like With Alvarez — But This Judge Said No Way, Jose! — Denied His Request For An Early Hearing — Presumably This Means He Will Have To File Motion To Stay Publicly — So We Get To Read It!

Yesterday I reported that Jose Huizar wanted to put Mayra Alvarez’s lawsuit against him on hold until after his pending criminal problems are done. The reason is that he can’t defend himself without revealing secret info about his criminal case. But he claims that he can’t even support his motion to stay the proceedings without revealing secrets, so he asked the Alvarez judge to grant him an expedited hearing to ask to be allowed to file the motion to stay under seal. That judge granted his request and the hearing will be held on May 16.

But obviously he has the exact same problem with Pauline Medina’s case against him. And not surprisingly he’s trying to set up the exact same solution. His motion to stay the proceedings is due on May 24 but he can’t get a hearing on his application to seal the motion until June, leaving him no choice but to file the motion to stay in public, which, he says, will reveal his secrets to the world, not to mention the FBI.

So he asked the (different) judge to grant him an expedited hearing to consider his application to file the motion to stay under seal. He used the exact same reasoning. But this judge said “No way, Jose!” So presumably he will have to file his motion to stay the proceedings on May 24 in public and we’ll all get to read it. Stay tuned! And turn the page for some links and excerpts.
Continue reading Jose Huizar Wants To Stay Proceedings In The Pauline Medina Suit Against Him — And He Wants To File His Motion To Stay Under Seal Just Like With The Alvarez Case — So Last Week He Asked The Judge To Hear The Motion To File The Motion To Seal Before The Motion To Stay Was Due — Just Like With Alvarez — But This Judge Said No Way, Jose! — Denied His Request For An Early Hearing — Presumably This Means He Will Have To File Motion To Stay Publicly — So We Get To Read It!

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Jose Huizar Wants To Put Mayra Alvarez’s Case Against Him On Hold Because In Order To Defend Himself He Will Have To Reveal Dark Secrets About His Criminal Behavior — So He’s Going To File A Motion To Stay The Proceedings — But The Motion To Stay Will Also Contain Dark Secrets About His Criminal Case — So He’s Filing A Motion To Allow Him To File The Motion To Stay Under Seal — And That Motion Will Be Heard On May 16 At 8:30 AM

Last week soon-to-be-incarcerated Los Angeles City Councilmember Jose Huizar filed a motion with the court that is hearing his former employee Mayra Alvarez’s lawsuit against him for creating a hostile work environment and engaging in a remarkable number of really creepy behaviors. He says that he will be filing a motion to stay the proceedings because he can’t defend himself without revealing secret stuff about his criminal case.

The same, he says, will be true about the motion to stay itself, so he wants permission to file THAT motion under seal. Last week he asked for and obtained permission from the court to have a hearing on the motion to file the motion to stay under seal. That hearing will take place at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse on Thursday, May 16, 2019 at 8:30 a.m. in Department 17. Here are links to the records, and turn the page for transcribed selections.

Declaration of Carmen Aguado in support of motion

Huizar Application for order to set hearing on motion to file under seal

Order to set hearing

Notice of order
Continue reading Jose Huizar Wants To Put Mayra Alvarez’s Case Against Him On Hold Because In Order To Defend Himself He Will Have To Reveal Dark Secrets About His Criminal Behavior — So He’s Going To File A Motion To Stay The Proceedings — But The Motion To Stay Will Also Contain Dark Secrets About His Criminal Case — So He’s Filing A Motion To Allow Him To File The Motion To Stay Under Seal — And That Motion Will Be Heard On May 16 At 8:30 AM

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Ever Wonder If You Are Blocked By Your Councilmember On The Twitter?! — We Have The Answer! — Also City Attorney! — Also The Mayor! — But Nury Martinez — And Herb Wesson — And Mike Bonin — And Mitch O’Farrell — They Won’t Even Answer The Damn Requests — Oh, Almost Forgot To Say! — Deputy City Attorney And Insufferable Rich Boy Strefan Fauble Wants To Be Sure You Know — Mike Feuer Isn’t Muting Any Twitter Users But If He Were — The List Would Be Exempt From Release Under The CPRA! — Yeah Right, Strefan Fauble! — Stick To Art Collecting And Leave The CPRA Lawyering To Others!

For about two months now I’ve been looking into the practice of Twitter users being blocked or muted by official City of Los Angeles accounts. I’m still gathering evidence, but yesterday it came out that Police Commission president Steve Soboroff blocks a bunch of users who’ve never even interacted with him, so I thought it’d be timely to write up the information I have so far. This issue is of special interest in these latter days given that in 2018 a federal judge ruled that it is unconstitutional for Donald Trump to block users on Twitter.

What I can offer you today, friends, is Twitter block/mute information for eleven of the fifteen council districts, the City Attorney, the Mayor, and a small selection of official LAPD accounts.1 There’s also an interesting line of hypothetical bullshit from deputy city attorney Strefan Fauble2 about some pretty technical claims about CPRA exemptionism,3 but that, being übernerdlich, is way at the end of the post.

Most of the accounts blocked are porn or spam, but Jose Huizar and David Ryu are notable exceptions. Both reps block accounts that are obviously controlled by actual individual people. Huizar’s list is by far the most extensive, and includes wildly inappropriate blocks like @oscartaracena and @BHJesse.

My research on this question is ongoing, mostly hindered by the City of LA’s familiar foot-dragging CPRA methodology. Turn the page for a tabular summary of the results I have so far along with a brief discussion of how Strefan Fauble is still on his CPRA bullshit.
Continue reading Ever Wonder If You Are Blocked By Your Councilmember On The Twitter?! — We Have The Answer! — Also City Attorney! — Also The Mayor! — But Nury Martinez — And Herb Wesson — And Mike Bonin — And Mitch O’Farrell — They Won’t Even Answer The Damn Requests — Oh, Almost Forgot To Say! — Deputy City Attorney And Insufferable Rich Boy Strefan Fauble Wants To Be Sure You Know — Mike Feuer Isn’t Muting Any Twitter Users But If He Were — The List Would Be Exempt From Release Under The CPRA! — Yeah Right, Strefan Fauble! — Stick To Art Collecting And Leave The CPRA Lawyering To Others!

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The FBI Searched José Huizar’s Personal Email Account — And I Asked The South Park BID Board Of Directors For Their Emails To/From That Very Account — And BID Directrix Ellen Salome Riotto Told The Board Members To Talk To Their Lawyers Before Handing Over Responsive Records — Because That’s Exactly How Innocent People Behave

Back in January of this year PACER wizard Seamus Hughes, in a stunning application of the inscrutable sorcery which he alone has mastered, discovered that in February 2017 the FBI had searched one of José Huizar’s personal email accounts, josehuizar@sbcglobal.net, and seized more than 1,400 records. And I immediately thought of my dear friends at the South Park BID, where they’re building all those really really really tall buildings of the very sort that basically require a criminal conspiracy to get built at all.

And so I fired off a little CPRA request to the BIDdies asking them for, amongst other things, their communications with that email account of Huizar’s. And it turned out that none of them would admit to having any, which, of course, is not surprising given the fact that the BID’s lawyer, Carol Ann Humiston, basically advised the Boardies that there would be no consequence to them for lying. But nevertheless the request was not without results, just not direct results.

For, you see, in response to a whole different request, the BID sent over a little slap in the face, which is to say this email from BID Executive Director Ellen Salome Riotto advising the BID Boardies on responding to the earlier request. Basically she told them that because the FBI is investigating their buddy Huizar they should talk to their damn lawyers before sending over any records, which to this legal amateur looks a whole freaking heck of a damn lot like consciousness of guilt. But she can speak for herself better than I could speak for her:
Continue reading The FBI Searched José Huizar’s Personal Email Account — And I Asked The South Park BID Board Of Directors For Their Emails To/From That Very Account — And BID Directrix Ellen Salome Riotto Told The Board Members To Talk To Their Lawyers Before Handing Over Responsive Records — Because That’s Exactly How Innocent People Behave

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Skid Row Neighborhood Council Online Voting Contractor Everyone Counts Seems To Have Gone Out Of Business — Which Seems To Be Making It Impossible For The Formation Committee To Get Evidence For Their Ongoing Lawsuit Against The City Of Los Angeles — So Yesterday They Filed A Motion Asking The Judge To Compel The City To Produce — Or Else To Reject All Online Votes Because They Can’t Be Verified — Which Would Cause SRNC-FC To Win! — Perhaps A Long Shot — But An Audacious One

You may recall that in 2017 Skid Row held an election seeking to form a new neighborhood council as a subdivision of DLANC but Jose Huizar and a bunch of corrupt downtown zillionaires and business improvement districts conspired to illegally thwart their effort by allowing illegal online voting and illegal out-of-district polling locations. The whole mishegoss is the subject of an ongoing and monumental lawsuit.

The evil plan worked as intended with the subdivision proposal putatively defeated by a mere 60 votes out of more than 1,500 with the online voters markedly skewed against formation. Thus information about these online votes is essential evidence for the plaintiffs. The paper ballots ran 183 to 19 in favor of formation whereas the online ballots, at least according to the City of Los Angeles, ran 583 in favor and 807 against.

But Everyone Counts, the contractor hired by the City of Los Angeles to run the online part of the election, was recently bought by a company called Votem, which turned around and went out of business. And the City of Los Angeles has therefore been unable to track down the required evidence. This failure led the SRNC proponents to file an audacious motion with the court yesterday seeking to compel the City to hand over the evidence.

Or, if they remain unable to do so, to void the online ballots as a remedy for the fact that there’s no way for them to analyze the evidence and to compensate them for the fact that the City failed in its duty to preserve evidence. Of course, voiding these ballots would give the election to the Skid Row Neighborhood Council proponents. And of course, that would be a good thing, and in the interests of truth and justice.

To quote the SRNC-FC’s lawyer, Grant Beuchel, “Los Angeles is a pay to play city, and my clients do not have enough money to play.” The hearing for this motion is on the calendar in Department 86 on July 12, 2019 at 9:30 a.m. in the Stanley Mosk Courthouse. Maybe we’ll see you there! And turn the page for transcribed selections.
Continue reading Skid Row Neighborhood Council Online Voting Contractor Everyone Counts Seems To Have Gone Out Of Business — Which Seems To Be Making It Impossible For The Formation Committee To Get Evidence For Their Ongoing Lawsuit Against The City Of Los Angeles — So Yesterday They Filed A Motion Asking The Judge To Compel The City To Produce — Or Else To Reject All Online Votes Because They Can’t Be Verified — Which Would Cause SRNC-FC To Win! — Perhaps A Long Shot — But An Audacious One

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Annals Of Utter Abject Mind-Numbing Shamelessness — Morrie Goldman Wants To Know If Gil Cedillo Will Be At PLUM Next Week — Cause He Needs Him For A Quorum — Cause Englander Is Gonna Be Out — Debby Kim Has Nothing More To Say Beyond “He Will Be There :)” — Yes, The Smiley Face Is Part Of The Quote — Even The Damn Rats Are Embarrassed At This Point

Background first. There’s Morrie Goldman. Lobbyist who runs Urban Solutions LLC, a lobbying firm. Famously caught up in the slow motion putrefaction of what was, at one time, known as Jose Huizar’s political career. Well-known friend of Gil Cedillo, at least as the word is understood at 200 N. Spring Street. Favor asker. Supplicant. Then there’s Gil Cedillo. Career politician. Wielder of vast power. Mover. Shaker. Favor granter. Supplicatee.

Or, you know, that’s how I always thought things worked in City Hall. The Councilmembers were in charge and the lobbyists asked them for goodies on behalf of clients and paid them off for their cooperation. But I recently obtained a steaming heap of emails between CD1 staffers and various lobbyists, and amongst them was this email conversation from 2015 between Morrie Goldman and Cedillo chief of staff Debby Kim1 which forces a quantum-level re-envisioning of that narrative, featuring Morrie Goldman as Keyser Soze and Cedillo with nothing more than some kind of walk-on role in his own career.

The whole exchange is just four emails long. Only the first two really matter. A week before the meeting, Goldman emails Kim to ask if Cedillo will be at PLUM on June 23, 2015. He says “We have an item coming to PLUM that day and need him for a quorum. Englander is out.” Kim’s reply? “He will be there :)” So yeah, in case you hadn’t realized, lobbyists don’t only tell Councilmembers how to vote and then deliver payola in return. They also call roll in advance and make sure the reps show up when they’re needed to vote. It’s unexpected and creepy at the same time.

And conceivably it’s also a Brown Act violation, since at that time the entire PLUM committee consisted of Jose Huizar, Cedillo, and Englander. Communications through intermediaries between a majority of the members, which would be two of them, constitutes an illegal serial meeting.2 So Goldman insinuating to Cedillo’s staff that Englander would have voted in favor is probably not OK. The statute of limitations is long gone, though.

And of course, the question of what issue Goldman needed Cedillo present to vote on is an essential one. I don’t yet know for sure, but here’s the PLUM agenda from June 23, 2015. The only matter on there of any consequence is CF 15-0721, which has to do with a CEQA appeal against the AMPAS project on Wilshire, which is likely to be the vote Goldman was worried about. Oh, one more thing! Notice how Goldman doesn’t even have to ask how Cedillo’s voting? That’s all been settled already.

And that’s the sordid little story of who’s calling the shots in the relationships between lobbyists and their pet councilmembers. Turn the page for a transcription of the emails themselves, so ordinary and yet so shocking.
Continue reading Annals Of Utter Abject Mind-Numbing Shamelessness — Morrie Goldman Wants To Know If Gil Cedillo Will Be At PLUM Next Week — Cause He Needs Him For A Quorum — Cause Englander Is Gonna Be Out — Debby Kim Has Nothing More To Say Beyond “He Will Be There :)” — Yes, The Smiley Face Is Part Of The Quote — Even The Damn Rats Are Embarrassed At This Point

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