Tag Archives: LA Taco

Paul Koretz’s Office Does Not Track Constituent Opinions On Issues — Or At Least They Have Not Done So In 2019 — This Is According To David Hersch — Koretz’s Deputy Chief Of Staff — So All That Dutiful Public Comment You’ve Been Submitting To CD5 O Best Beloved? — No One Over There Even Cares — Did You Call Or Email Koretz And Beg Him To Have A Damn Heart And Not Outlaw Vehicle Dwelling? — Your Thoughts Were Not Recorded — Along With The Story Of How I Learned This Tragic Fact — Which Illuminates The Uncaring Arrogance Of The City Of Los Angeles In Responding To Requests For Public Records

I can’t write yet about the City Council’s appalling behavior on Tuesday with respect to outlawing vehicle dwelling by renewing LAMC 85.02. It’s still too raw, and it’s too soon to have related records to publish. Local hero Lexis-Olivier Ray has an essential story on it in L.A. Taco, a story he inadvertently became a participant in when the police illegally forced him, a working journalist, to leave the room.

The day before the vote a lot of folks were calling their Councilmembers, leaving messages, sending emails, and so on, urging their repsters to vote against this abhorrent nonsense, much of it coordinated via Twitter. And to encourage action, @MamaWetzel told us that these calls do matter because there are staffers whose jobs it is to track public opinion on issues via spreadsheets and so on.1 And at that word, spreadsheets, well, my eyes just rolled back in my head with joy because, as you know, a spreadsheet is a public record!

So I immediately asked a few representative council offices for 2019 records used to track constituent opinion on issues, giving spreadsheets as an example but not limiting it just to spreadsheets.2 This, as I said, was on Monday, just a few days ago. In CPRAlandia that’s nothing, no time at all, an eyeblink. So I wasn’t, and still am not, expecting results soon. But despite that, yesterday, July 31, 2019, I did actually get some very interesting news from CD5, who is pretty easy to make requests of, being on NextRequest.

Their designated CPRA responder, David Hersch, initially told me that my request was “overboard, [sic] unduly burdensome and unfocused” because, he claimed, there were too many records responsive and that therefore he wouldn’t process it until I narrowed it down. This is a standard move in the City of Los Angeles and I discuss it in great detail below. I responded, as I typically do, by asking how many records there were and explaining that the request was exceedingly focused.

Hersch responded five hours later by saying that actually there were no records at all and that CD5 didn’t keep track of constituent opinions, or at least had not done so in 2019.3 This is pretty interesting news even apart from the interesting but technical matters regarding CPRA. It’s not like Koretz doesn’t do stuff on the Council. He’s famous for his animal rights work, the importance of which I am not discounting.

For instance, just recently he’s been spending a lot of time saving Billy the Elephant, and there was that vegan food thing from December. This year alone he’s sponsored 80 motions. But all those calls and letters you folks in CD5 have spent the time to send? All that public comment? No one over there is keeping track at all. Paul Koretz has his mind made up, he’s gonna do what he’s gonna do, and ain’t all your tears wash out a word of it.4

And at this point I won’t be surprised if none of them keep track. I will certainly be working on finding out, of course. Which would be an important part of an explanation as to why Los Quince Jefes can sit up on their dais so complacently day after clueless day fiddling with their phones while their computers automatically vote yes on oppression and the City prepares to burn. That’s today’s revelation and today’s rant. Read on for the CPRA wonkery!
Continue reading Paul Koretz’s Office Does Not Track Constituent Opinions On Issues — Or At Least They Have Not Done So In 2019 — This Is According To David Hersch — Koretz’s Deputy Chief Of Staff — So All That Dutiful Public Comment You’ve Been Submitting To CD5 O Best Beloved? — No One Over There Even Cares — Did You Call Or Email Koretz And Beg Him To Have A Damn Heart And Not Outlaw Vehicle Dwelling? — Your Thoughts Were Not Recorded — Along With The Story Of How I Learned This Tragic Fact — Which Illuminates The Uncaring Arrogance Of The City Of Los Angeles In Responding To Requests For Public Records

Share

Baldwin Hills Elementary School Parents Present Resolution To West Adams Neighborhood Council Declaring School A “Charter Free Zone” — Co-Locating Privatizers From New Los Angeles Charter Schools Speak In Opposition — But ‘Twas All In Vain As the Neighborhood Council Approved The Resolution — Which Of Course Is Advisory But This Is An Important Symbolic Victory For Public Education In Los Angeles

Since January I’ve been following the story of New Los Angeles Charter Elementary School and its forcible colonization of Baldwin Hills Elementary School. I was inspired by the UTLA strike and this fine article by Daniel Hernandez of LA Taco. And after a relatively minimal amount of fuss I managed to obtain a small cache of emails that revealed a great deal of tension between the privatizers and the public school, which inspired the privatizers to seek another school site for the 2019-2020 year.

However and sadly they were unable to do so and hence are forced to spend at least one more year being universally scorned on the BHES campus. Which brings us up to last Monday, March 18, 2019, when a brave and determined group of BHES parents brought a resolution to the West Adams Neighborhood Council asking them to declare the BHES campus a “charter-free zone.” There is a transcription of this remarkable document after the break.

So I attended the meeting and made video of the BHES segment.1 And you can watch the whole thing here on YouTube or here on Archive.Org, which is extra good if you want to download it. The NC Board gave each side seven minutes to speak on their positions. Also, Vernail Skaggs of LAUSD spoke to explain how the co-location process works. There was vigorous public comment as well, and in the end the Board voted 8 to 3 in favor of supporting the resolution and declaring Baldwin Hills Elementary School a “charter free zone.”

NC resolutions are advisory even on the City of Los Angeles, and since LAUSD is completely independent of the City government, they’re even less than advisory in that context. Nevertheless, this is an important victory. The more NCs and other community groups in Los Angeles speak out against charter schools the more incentive City politicians will have to oppose them. The school board and the legislature take the opinions of our City pols seriously,2 so even though this resolution is symbolic in itself, it’s nevertheless an important piece of a large-scale anti-charter movement in Los Angeles.

Like I said, the whole video is definitely worth watching. But it is over an hour long. Turn the page for links into the highlights with a little commentary, not to mention a little mockery. There’s also a transcription of the resolution itself.
Continue reading Baldwin Hills Elementary School Parents Present Resolution To West Adams Neighborhood Council Declaring School A “Charter Free Zone” — Co-Locating Privatizers From New Los Angeles Charter Schools Speak In Opposition — But ‘Twas All In Vain As the Neighborhood Council Approved The Resolution — Which Of Course Is Advisory But This Is An Important Symbolic Victory For Public Education In Los Angeles

Share

How Ellen Riotto And Wallis Locke Of The South Park BID Conspired With Michael Shilstone Of The Central City Association, Kevin James Of The Board Of Public Works, Lee Zeidman Of Staples Center, And A Bunch Of AEG Worldwide Stooges — Including Shelby Russell — To Encourage People To Call LAPD On Vendors And Hang Up Anti-Vending Signs Around LA Live — With A Generous Special Bonus Helping Of My Steaming Hot Amateur Theories On Why The Damn Signs Are Illegitimate And Will Ultimately Be Mostly Removed If Not Completely

The other day LA Taco tweeted out this picture of a no-vending sign near Staples Center and a lot of people were angry and confused. This is the story of how and why1 those signs appeared recently. The story begins with Ricardo Lara‘s monumental Sanity in Street Vending Bill, passed by the California Legislature last year over the strident objections of zillionaires and their BIDdie minions all over the state. The law essentially legalized street vending everywhere, while leaving some really minimal regulatory powers to cities.

One of the regulatory powers that the law allows is the establishment of no-vending zones. But these can’t be established on a mere whim, or just because people hate vendors. Rather any such restriction must be “directly related to objective health, safety, or welfare concerns.”2 But the City of Los Angeles never met a loophole that it couldn’t stretch into a six lane freeway at the behest of the local zillionaires, and our esteemed Councilmembers jumped all over this one.

They went into an embarrassing frenzy of zillionaire-pleasuring and directed the City Attorney to figure out how to establish no-vending zones everywhere any BID or anyone else with enough influence asked them to. The list ended up including the Hollywood Bowl, the Venice Boardwalk, most of Hollywood Blvd, and, of interest to us today, the area around Staples Center.

Lara’s bill took effect on January 1, 2019, so prior to that, in preparation for what they saw as the impending Vendorgeddon, zillionaires all over the City began preparing for vigorously psychotic enforcement of these last few no-vending zones they’d managed to preserve, at least for now. As I said, today we’re focusing on Staples Center, but I’m sure the same kind of thing is happening in all the putative no-vending zones.

I’ve managed to uncover two distinct phases of the process so far. In early January 2019, Ellen Riotto of the South Park Business Improvement District, in which Staples Center situates, notified businesses in the no-vending zone and encouraged them to call LAPD on vendors. A little later, around January 20, 2019, Lee Zeidman, president of Staples Center and member of the board of directors of the South Park BID, used his considerable political power, focused by his flunky Riotto, to harangue City staff about the need for superexponentially increased anti-vending enforcement along with no-vending signs.

He also threatened to hire private security to enforce anti-vending laws on public streets if the City didn’t start enforcing the law itself. And all this focused power ultimately had its effect with the placement of the signs, as we have seen. I don’t presently know if enforcement was in fact stepped up, but I am continuing to look into the matter. Turn the page for a detailed account along with links to and transcriptions of selections from the relevant emails.
Continue reading How Ellen Riotto And Wallis Locke Of The South Park BID Conspired With Michael Shilstone Of The Central City Association, Kevin James Of The Board Of Public Works, Lee Zeidman Of Staples Center, And A Bunch Of AEG Worldwide Stooges — Including Shelby Russell — To Encourage People To Call LAPD On Vendors And Hang Up Anti-Vending Signs Around LA Live — With A Generous Special Bonus Helping Of My Steaming Hot Amateur Theories On Why The Damn Signs Are Illegitimate And Will Ultimately Be Mostly Removed If Not Completely

Share

Emails From New Los Angeles Charter Schools About The UTLA Strike Shine Some Light On Various Interesting Matters — Uncomfortable New LA Charter Co-Location At Baldwin Hills Elementary School Will Probably End Soon Due To Tensions Exposed By Pickets — “We Are Not Welcomed There” Says New LA Charter Boss Brooke Rios — Speaking Of Pickets, New LA Charter Staff Filmed UTLA Strikers At Baldwin Hills Elementary — And Copies Of CCSA Anti-Union Propaganda And Some Info About Astroturf Demonstration — And A Poignant Little Episode — New LA Charter Teachers Quasi-Union Asks Rios If They Might Please Also Maybe Get A Raise Too If UTLA Does — Pretty Please?

I hadn’t thought much about charter schools in Los Angeles for quite a while, but as happened for many people the dazzling success of the UTLA strike brought them back into my attention. Combine that with the fact that they are subject to the California Public Records Act and the next step was inevitable! And the first of the many many requests I have out came in recently! Part of which I wrote about the other day!

After a little of the usual back and forth about what’s required by the law, New Los Angeles Charter Schools head honcho Brooke Rios actually did hand over the goods. And thus did I drag myself all the way out to the corner of Washington and Burnside, where they have their secret headquarters, and sit in the office of operations director Xochitl Lira and scan a ton of paper! And it’s all available on Archive.Org!1

I chose New LA because of this fine LA Taco article by Daniel Hernandez about the tensions created by that school’s so-called co-location on the campus of Baldwin Hills Elementary School. To summarize Hernandez’s piece is to degrade it, so read it, but co-location, in which LAUSD schools are forced by the 2000 Proposition 39 to yield space to charter schools if it’s not actually being used to house an actual class, is the main site of contention.2

It has really hurt the LAUSD schools who lose space to charters. And the space lost to New Los Angeles Charter was a big issue with UTLA picketers at Baldwin Hills Elementary, who shouted slogans like “Privatization leads to segregation” and “Privatizers take a hike!” And, according to some of the emails I obtained today, it looks like the pickets were successful in that New Los Angeles will be looking for a new space for next year.

The emails also demonstrate the tension there during the strike, with police being called, with New LA staff filming the picketers, and so on. There are links and transcriptions below the break. Also below the break are links to a wide variety of fascinating emails about other strike-related topics. There are propaganda pieces from the California Charter Schools Association, giving talking points, tips for handling worried parents, polemics on how bad it is that everyone hates charter schools, and so on.

There are rumors about charter school kids being targeted on public transportation and so on, leading New LA to suspend its dress code during the strike, there are organizational communications having to do with the astroturf pro-charter rally that the CCSA organized outside the LAUSD board meeting where a recommendation for a charter cap was voted on.

And, most poignant of all, there’s a pleading letter from something called “The Teacher Collective” asking Brooke Rios in a markedly subservient tone if New Los Angeles teachers will also get a raise if the UTLA teachers win one in their strike. Sounds like some folks are ripe to be organized! Turn the page for links to everything and transcriptions of some things!
Continue reading Emails From New Los Angeles Charter Schools About The UTLA Strike Shine Some Light On Various Interesting Matters — Uncomfortable New LA Charter Co-Location At Baldwin Hills Elementary School Will Probably End Soon Due To Tensions Exposed By Pickets — “We Are Not Welcomed There” Says New LA Charter Boss Brooke Rios — Speaking Of Pickets, New LA Charter Staff Filmed UTLA Strikers At Baldwin Hills Elementary — And Copies Of CCSA Anti-Union Propaganda And Some Info About Astroturf Demonstration — And A Poignant Little Episode — New LA Charter Teachers Quasi-Union Asks Rios If They Might Please Also Maybe Get A Raise Too If UTLA Does — Pretty Please?

Share