Tag Archives: LA Community Action Network

Who Do We Speak To When We Speak Truth To Power?

Last week USC hosted a celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti was invited to speak, but his speech was repeatedly interrupted by protesters from LA CAN, from the Skid Row Neighborhood Council Formation Committee, from NOlympics LA, and others.

This prompted an editorial from the L.A. Times entitled Shouting down Mayor Garcetti isn’t ‘speaking truth to power,’ the theme of which is well summarized by this excerpt:

But protesters can overplay their hands. These days, tolerance of other people’s views seems low, and there’s an unhealthy willingness to silence one’s opponents rather than engage them, debate them and out-argue them. That’s a shame.

Protesters who shout down a speaker — or shut down a public meeting — aren’t just expressing their own views; they’re making it impossible for others to share theirs.

It’s silly almost beyond comprehension to believe that Eric Garcetti can be silenced by protesters, that anyone interrupting him can make it impossible for him to share his views. Every word the man says is reported on extensively. His press releases are reprinted or recited verbatim by major news outlets. His press conferences are attended by reporters from all over the state, even the nation. A few people interrupting a speech isn’t making it impossible for Eric Garcetti to share his views.

And why in the world does the Times think there’s something wrong with protesters being unwilling to debate or out-argue Eric Garcetti? Do they really believe that if Eric Garcetti just hears the right argument he’ll stop allowing his LAPD thugs to kill young men for no good reason, stop sending them out to arrest homeless people and incinerate their belongings, that he’ll stop accepting campaign money from real estate developers in exchange for enabling them to destroy neighborhoods and cause more homelessness, that he’ll suddenly see the light and stop being evil?

It’s not going to happen like that. He’s heard the arguments already. If he hasn’t seen the damage he’s doing, the pain he’s causing, the killings he enables, all for the sake of his campaign coffers and his career, it’s because he doesn’t want to see. He knows his constituency and he’s giving them exactly what they want from him. No reasoned analysis is going to change that. These kind of repeated demands for civil discourse in the face of racist police murders, genocidal policies on homelessness, gentrification by force of arms, are incredibly disingenuous.

And strangely, it doesn’t seem to have occurred to the LA Times that the protesters already know they’re not going to change Eric Garcetti’s mind about anything. These protesters are accomplished, able, serious people, the value of whose contributions to civil society in Los Angeles is incomparable. None of them have done what they’ve been able to do by wasting their time trying to debate LA politicians into being nice. What, the LA Times pointedly did not even consider, might such protests actually accomplish?
Continue reading Who Do We Speak To When We Speak Truth To Power?

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Pete White v. City Of Los Angeles — Tons Of New Filings — The City Of LA — Evidently A Bunch Of Whiny Crybabies — Wants The Jury To Know That — (A) Pete White Is Really Really Mean And Is Not A Model Citizen Unlike Officer Kinney — (B) Pete White And LA CAN Hate The LAPD — (C) Pete White And LA CAN Have Made The Homeless Situation In LA Far Far Worse — (D) Pete White Has Made His Bed And Now He Must Lie In It — (E) Pete White Has A Potty Mouth And Therefore He Has Voluntarily Given Up All His Civil Rights

In May 2017 Pete White of the Los Angeles Community Action Network filed suit against the city of Los Angeles and the LAPD for violating his civil rights by arresting him for filming a homeless encampment cleanup. Last month White filed a number of motions seeking to exclude evidence that the City of LA sought to present to the jury. In the last week a bunch more paper has been filed in the case, including the City’s oppositions to those motions, White’s replies to those oppositions, and a lot of other more technical material. All of this and more is available here on Archive.Org and there are direct links to everything and some transcriptions after the break.

As before the most interesting material here has to do with the motions in limine, and in particular the City’s responses to them. If I’ve seen a more offensive and more presumptuous set of pleadings filed anywhere I couldn’t tell you where it was. The City stoops here to asserting, e.g., that Pete White has forfeited his civil rights because he swore at the cops who arrested them and repeatedly called one of them a murderer because he fired the bullet that killed Charly Keunang.

The author of these motions, presumably deputy city attorney Thomas H. Peters, explicitly blames Pete White and the LA Community Action Network for making the City’s homeless problem much worse. They repeatedly argue that Pete White hates the LAPD and therefore they should be allowed to present to the jury his past arrests and use of language that these snowflake cops find offensive. The arguments are forensically bankrupt and disgusting, the plaintiff’s replies are scathing and convincing, and there are links and quotes, as I said, after the break.
Continue reading Pete White v. City Of Los Angeles — Tons Of New Filings — The City Of LA — Evidently A Bunch Of Whiny Crybabies — Wants The Jury To Know That — (A) Pete White Is Really Really Mean And Is Not A Model Citizen Unlike Officer Kinney — (B) Pete White And LA CAN Hate The LAPD — (C) Pete White And LA CAN Have Made The Homeless Situation In LA Far Far Worse — (D) Pete White Has Made His Bed And Now He Must Lie In It — (E) Pete White Has A Potty Mouth And Therefore He Has Voluntarily Given Up All His Civil Rights

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Pete White V. City Of Los Angeles — Plaintiff Files Four Motions And A Declaration To Exclude Prejudicial Evidence That The City Wants To Present — Including Some Nonsense About Pete White Swearing After His Arrest Which The City Laughably Claims Shows “What The Officers Had To Deal With”

If you’re interested, here is the soundtrack to this evening’s post.

If you recall, Pete White filed suit against the City of Los Angeles in May 2017. The issue is that the LAPD arrested him for lawfully videotaping them interacting with homeless people on Skid Row in 2016, and you can find a generous selection of the pleadings here on Archive.Org. Not much has been happening with the case recently, but this afternoon, a whole bunch of motions and a declaration in support hit PACER and moved me to write this post.

The four motions are so-called motions in limine, which is to say that they’re asking the judge, James Otero, to exclude certain evidence that the City of Los Angeles is insisting on presenting at trial. There’s also a declaration by plaintiff’s attorney Catherine Sweetser explaining the course of negotiations between the parties with respect to the evidence. Here are links to the documents and brief descriptions. Turn the page for a transcription of one of the motions.

Motion to exclude evidence of past arrests

Motion to exclude evidence of past lawsuits

Motion to exclude defendants’ bodycam evidence — This is technically interesting. The plaintiffs actually want to have the cops’ bodycam evidence introduced, but the cops won’t let them see it in advance because they claim it’s privileged. If I understand the issue correctly, and I probably don’t, the claim is that if the City won’t let the plaintiffs see it in advance it can’t be introduced at trial.

Motion to exclude evidence of plaintiff’s cursing — This is both the most trivial and the most interesting to me of the four motions. Evidently Pete White told the arresting officer that he was a piece of shit for arresting him. The City wants to present this evidence to the jury because it illustrates “what the officers had to deal with.” To me it illustrates the shockingly low level of maturity and professionalism to be found among some LAPD officers, not to mention their implausible claim that being called names by people is somehow strange, unusual, unprecedented. They’ve had decades to get used to it, after all.

Declaration of Catherine Sweetser — Here one of the plaintiff’s attorneys explains what the City thinks this evidence means and gives various other reasons in support of its exclusion. This is the most essential item if you’re only going to read one.
Continue reading Pete White V. City Of Los Angeles — Plaintiff Files Four Motions And A Declaration To Exclude Prejudicial Evidence That The City Wants To Present — Including Some Nonsense About Pete White Swearing After His Arrest Which The City Laughably Claims Shows “What The Officers Had To Deal With”

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Today Judge Phillip Gutierrez Issued Final Order Dismissing LA Catholic Worker v. City Of LA, Central City East Association. Settlement With City Includes An LAPD Directive Applicable To ALL BIDs In The City Of Los Angeles Stating Explicitly, Among Other Crucial Things, That BID Security Has No More Authority Than Private People To Enforce The Law

A couple weeks ago the City Council approved a settlement with LA Catholic Worker, LA Community Action Network, and individual plaintiffs in the monumental case against the City and the Downtown Industrial District BID, which itself settled in March. This afternoon, Judge Phillip Gutierrez filed an order dismissing the case. Thus it’s all done except for the four years of judicial oversight to make sure that the defendants are adhering to the terms of the settlement.

The terms of the settlement with the CCEA are fairly strict, and I hadn’t seen a copy of the terms of the settlement with the City. But it turns out that on Wednesday the parties filed a a request for the case to be dismissed, which lays out the specifics. As I expected, the City agrees not to cooperate with the Downtown Industrial District security forces in confiscating property and they make some other important but not so surprising concessions.

To my mind, though, the most interesting part of what the City agreed to is this training bulletin, to be distributed to the LAPD’s central division. Although it’s a result of a suit arising from the City’s relationship with a specific BID, and although it’s only to be distributed in the one division, the wording applies to all BIDs in the City of Los Angeles. There’s a transcription after the break, but one crucial bit is this, which someone really should explain to the Hollywood BID Patrol:

BIDs are separate and distinct from the City. BID officers, employees, and representatives are not employees or agents of the City. Importantly, BID employees have no more authority than private citizens to enforce the law.

Amazingly, the bulletin also reminds police officers that they are required to treat reports of BID Patrol property confiscation as they do any other report of a theft. This settlement is a truly monumental accomplishment on the plaintiffs’ part, and our City is far, far better off for their work. They have a lot to be proud of here.
Continue reading Today Judge Phillip Gutierrez Issued Final Order Dismissing LA Catholic Worker v. City Of LA, Central City East Association. Settlement With City Includes An LAPD Directive Applicable To ALL BIDs In The City Of Los Angeles Stating Explicitly, Among Other Crucial Things, That BID Security Has No More Authority Than Private People To Enforce The Law

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In May 2017 Pete White, Represented By Carol Sobel, Filed Suit Against The City Of Los Angeles, Charlie Beck, And Officer Kenny For Arresting Him While He Was Filming Cops V. Homeless In 2016

Pete White being arrested while filming the LAPD on June 14, 2016.
In May 2017 Pete White of the Los Angeles Community Action Network, represented by Carol Sobel, filed suit in federal district court against the City of Los Angeles, Charlie Beck, and some cop named Officer Kenny. The basis of the complaint is that Kenny ordered Pete White’s 2016 arrest while he was lawfully filming LAPD interactions with homeless people on Skid Row. Pete White claims, and it seems right to me, that he was arrested in retaliation for his activism on behalf of homeless residents of Skid Row.

For some reason, this suit does not seem to have been reported on in the real news media, and I’m interested, so I’ll be at least collecting the pleadings here. You can find them:

Or, if you prefer, here is a copy of the initial complaint, which is the only item of consequence that’s presently available. There are selections after the break.
Continue reading In May 2017 Pete White, Represented By Carol Sobel, Filed Suit Against The City Of Los Angeles, Charlie Beck, And Officer Kenny For Arresting Him While He Was Filming Cops V. Homeless In 2016

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City Of Los Angeles Poised To Pay Half A Million Dollars To The Legal Aid Foundation Of Los Angeles To Settle Los Angeles Catholic Worker v. City Of LA, Central City East Association

As I reported last week, the City Council was scheduled today to go into closed session to consider a settlement of the monumental lawsuit brought by Los Angeles Catholic Worker and the LA Community Action Network against the Central City East Association and the City.

Well, today they met and approved a motion which authorizes the City Attorney to pay $495,000 out of the City’s Police Liability Fund to the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles as part of the settlement. Given the extensive behavioral restrictions on BID security and ongoing oversight by the court agreed to by the CCEA in its settlement, it seems likely that the money will turn out to be only part of the City’s settlement deal. The details of the rest will surely be hitting PACER soon enough, and you’ll read about them here first!

This is a huge win for LAFLA and its brave and talented attorneys: Fernando Gaytan, Shayla Myers, Paul Hoffman, and Catherine Sweetser. Cheers all round! And, although Carol Sobel didn’t work on this particular case, the outcome continues to confirm Mike Bonin’s prescient 2016 remark that if the City didn’t clean up its act with respect to the property of homeless people, “We may as well open up the keys to reserve funds to Carol Sobel”

Turn the page for a full transcription of the motion if you’re interested.
Continue reading City Of Los Angeles Poised To Pay Half A Million Dollars To The Legal Aid Foundation Of Los Angeles To Settle Los Angeles Catholic Worker v. City Of LA, Central City East Association

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LA Catholic Worker et al. V. City of LA, CCEA Settlement Terms To Go Before Full Council In Closed Session On June 14

The momentous 2014 lawsuit by LA Catholic Worker and the LA Community Action Network against the Central City East Association and the City of Los Angeles has been in the settlement process for more than six months now.1 The Central City East Association settled what seems like ages ago. The City of Los Angeles claimed in December that settlement terms had been reached, and then nothing happened for months.
Continue reading LA Catholic Worker et al. V. City of LA, CCEA Settlement Terms To Go Before Full Council In Closed Session On June 14

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LA Catholic Worker V. City Of Los Angeles Lawsuit Settlement Agreement Scheduled For Budget And Finance Committee Closed Session On Monday, June 5, 2017

The momentous 2014 lawsuit by LA Catholic Worker and the LA Community Action Network against the Central City East Association and the City of Los Angeles has been in the settlement process for more than six months now.1 Most recently, in March, the terms of CCEA’s part of the settlement were finalized by the court.2 Documents filed with the court as early as last December have announced that the terms of a settlement with the City of Los Angeles had been agreed on and were just pending City Council approval.

Well, Council is finally poised to approve the settlement terms. The matter is on the books as Council File 16-1449, and is scheduled for a closed session on Monday, June 5 at 2 p.m. in Room 1010 of City Hall at the Budget and Finance Committee. As is required by the Brown Act there will be an opportunity for public comment before the closed session. My feeling is that this is a fait accompli and not worth my time to attend, but you should certainly decide for yourself about that.

Given the fairly glacial pace at which the City has been moving, and given the fact that federal district courts move very slowly as well, it will probably be a while before the specific terms of the settlement with the City become public. However, given the stringent terms agreed to by the CCEA, this settlement is likely to include at the very least further restrictions on the City’s ability to enforce its reprehensible personal property ordinance, LAMC §56.11, and probably a lengthy period of oversight by the court as well. Stay tuned for details!
Continue reading LA Catholic Worker V. City Of Los Angeles Lawsuit Settlement Agreement Scheduled For Budget And Finance Committee Closed Session On Monday, June 5, 2017

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The LA CAN & Catholic Worker Lawsuit Has Cost The Central City East Association At Least $115,000 In Legal Fees And Costs (And How It Took Me Two Months Of Hardcore CPRAfaction To Discover This Fact)

Around these parts we refer to the California Public Records Act as CPRA, pronounced SIP-rah. The methodologies and practicalities of using CPRA are known as CPRAfaction, pronounced SIP-rah-faction.

You may recall that in March, the Central City East Association settled the momentous lawsuit brought against it by the Los Angeles Community Action Network and LA Catholic Worker.1 This was mere months after beloved Los Angeles gadfly Eric Preven and the incomparable ACLU of Southern California won a momentous decision in the California Supreme Court, which ruled essentially that once a legal case was finished the legal privilege exemption to CPRA2 no longer applied. No coincidences around here! So I fired off an email to Estela Lopez as follows:

Good afternoon, Estela, and happy Palm Sunday.

And congratulations on settling that 2014 lawsuit, namely LACW et al. v. Downtown Industrial District BID et al. (2:14-cv-07344-PSG-AJW). I would like to look at copies of all bills from all lawyers who worked for the CCEA on this case.

For the sake of efficiency, and in case you’re not already aware aware of this, here’s a link to an LA Times story on the recent Supreme Court decision declaring that once a case is resolved the bills become public records:

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-court-legal-bills-20161229-story.html

As you can imagine, there was a lot of back-and-forth, with her mostly refusing to hand over the legal bills, until this afternoon, when she did hand them over. The full story of that, with bunches of emails and also a reasonable amount of CPRA nerdview, can be found after the break if you’re interested.

But here are the actual bills to CCEA from their lawyers, Hill, Farrer, & Burrill. I spent a little time adding up the totals and their total legal bills, costs and fees, seem to have come to $89,782.54 over the last three years. Add this to the $25,000 they agreed to pay the plaintiffs in the settlement agreement and their whole bill comes to $114,782.54. This is over slightly less than three years, and the BID’s annual budget is roughly $2,000,000, so it’s relatively not that much.

According to Estela Lopez in 2015 there are more than 2000 homeless human beings living in the CCEA’s territory. Thus this lawsuit cost them a little more than $57 per potential harassment victim. I’m sure this seems cheap at the price. Anyway, that’s the substantive information. Turn the page for the story of how I got my hands on it!
Continue reading The LA CAN & Catholic Worker Lawsuit Has Cost The Central City East Association At Least $115,000 In Legal Fees And Costs (And How It Took Me Two Months Of Hardcore CPRAfaction To Discover This Fact)

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Skid Row Neighborhood Council Tentatively Rejected In Face Of DTLA Neighborhood Council Shenaniganistic Opposition. High-Powered Lobbyist, Criminal Conspirator, And Smoke-Filled Room Denizen Estela Lopez Apparently Uses Or Will Use California Public Records Act To Subvert Democratic Outcome

General Jeff Page in front of the Skid Row City Limits Mural.
According to the incomparable Gale Holland, writing in the L.A. Times, the initial balloting shows that the Skid Row Neighborhood Council has been defeated by a slim 62 vote margin. The NC election was the subject of extensive and disgusting opposition on Facebook and elsewhere.1 The fix was in, though, as the City Council voted a few weeks ago to allow online voting in this NC election only, according to Gale Holland. In a striking performative demonstration of the digital divide, the traditional paper ballots were 183 to 19 in favor of the SRNC, whereas online ballots were 807 to 581 against.
Screenshot of moronic facebook rants against the Skid Row NC accusing, among other stupidity, the LA Community Action Network of being part of a criminal conspiracy.

The NC proponents also suspect that the Downtown LA Neighborhood Council misused city funds to campaign against the election.2 Anyway, evidently a challenge is planned based on these considerations. The Department of Neighborhood Empowerment, overseer of the City’s neighborhood councils, is notorious for the number, length, and vituperativity of its appeals, so this process promises to be, at least, interesting.

And the other side is gearing up for policy-wonk-based battles as well. It seems that Estela Lopez herself, voodoo queen of the ongoing criminal conspiracy known as the Central City East Association, made a CPRA request to Grayce Liu of the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment in January on the subject of the SRNC, evidently to gather materials for the witch’s brew of revanchist zillionaire subversionism that’s presently bubbling, boiling, toiling, and troubling in her hellish cauldron out there on Crocker Street. Turn the page for a transcription and some discussion.
Continue reading Skid Row Neighborhood Council Tentatively Rejected In Face Of DTLA Neighborhood Council Shenaniganistic Opposition. High-Powered Lobbyist, Criminal Conspirator, And Smoke-Filled Room Denizen Estela Lopez Apparently Uses Or Will Use California Public Records Act To Subvert Democratic Outcome

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