Tag Archives: LAMC 49.5.13

Buscaino Staffer And Erstwhile CD9 Candidate David Anthony Roberts Doesn’t Just Expedite The Usual City Permits And Similar Chump-Change Jive For His San Pedro Zillionaire BID Buddies, He Also Sends Them His Resume And Hits Them Up For A Job Using His Official City of Los Angeles Email Address, All While Running An Eponymous Freaking Lobbying Firm As A Side Gig

In the high and far off times, O best beloved, there was a candidate for Los Angeles City Council District 9, endorsed by the L.A. Times in 2013 and a favorite of both Bernard Parks and Jan Perry. Well, nothing works out like one expects in this mean old world and in these latter days our hero, whose name, by the way, is David Anthony Roberts, rather than having his own council district to do with as he might please, is instead some kind of high mückety-mücklischer poo-bah type guy in Joe Buscaino‘s employ over at CD 15.

And of course, if you’re going to be on Joe Buscaino’s staff you’re going to spend a lot of time working with the San Pedro Historic Waterfront BID. It goes with the territory. If the BID or its constituent conspirators need to get criminal trash-dumping charges fixed or maybe if they need to get criminal dog-grooming charges fixed or, I don’t know, need some bodies weighted down and dumped into the deeps off Terminal 26 or something, CD15 staff are gonna get a call or an email from Lorena Parker, San Pedro BIDdie extraordinaire. And, just because it goes with the job and stuff, sometimes the staffie under the gun is going to be David Anthony Roberts.
Continue reading Buscaino Staffer And Erstwhile CD9 Candidate David Anthony Roberts Doesn’t Just Expedite The Usual City Permits And Similar Chump-Change Jive For His San Pedro Zillionaire BID Buddies, He Also Sends Them His Resume And Hits Them Up For A Job Using His Official City of Los Angeles Email Address, All While Running An Eponymous Freaking Lobbying Firm As A Side Gig

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Worst-Of-The-Bunch Ethics Commission Veep Serena Oberstein, Who’s Paid $87,500 Annually By Her 501(c)(3) Employer Vision To Learn, Both Of Whom Were Poised To Reap Benefit From Version Of Municipal Lobbying Ordinance Revision Pushed Hard By Serena Oberstein, Suspiciously Neglected To Mention This Fact In Any Of The Literally Zillions Of Public Forums Held On The Matter

It hasn’t even been two weeks since the Los Angeles Ethics Commission put our City’s Municipal Lobbying Ordinance in danger of being made meaningless, primarily at the instigation of worst-of-the-bunch Commission Veep Serena Oberstein, with respect to 501(c)(3) nonprofits, so it’s not surprising that all the ramifications of their misfeasance have not yet been completely understood. Along those lines, therefore, here’s another episode from the ethical Twilight Zone in which at least some members of the Commission seem to dwell in these latter days.

You see, Serena Oberstein is not just the City’s most corrupt Ethics Commissioner, what with her sub rosa agenda-pushing for her nonprofit buddies Shyaam Subramanian1 and Nancy Berlin, amongst others, not to mention her refusal to agendize a perfectly reasonable request that her Commission disclose their ex parte communications,2 she’s also the Chief Operating Officer of some Westside do-gooder outfit called Vision to Learn.

And while I had some inchoate notion that her involvement with 501(c)(3) nonprofits might explain at least some of her motivations in the recent fiasco, whereby mostly at Serena Oberstein’s instigation, the Commission ended up recommending to the Council that all 501(c)(3)s with gross annual revenues under $2 million be exempt from registration as lobbyists, I hadn’t taken the time to investigate. But recently it occurred to me to look at Vision to Learn’s3 Form 990s to see how the modifications pushed by Serena Oberstein would affect her employer.4 I published the last few years here on Archive.Org, or you can go directly to the PDFs here:

So take a look at the evidence yourself, or turn the page to see what I found!
Continue reading Worst-Of-The-Bunch Ethics Commission Veep Serena Oberstein, Who’s Paid $87,500 Annually By Her 501(c)(3) Employer Vision To Learn, Both Of Whom Were Poised To Reap Benefit From Version Of Municipal Lobbying Ordinance Revision Pushed Hard By Serena Oberstein, Suspiciously Neglected To Mention This Fact In Any Of The Literally Zillions Of Public Forums Held On The Matter

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Video Of First Interested Persons Meeting Now Available — See John Howland And Bill Delvac Discuss Whether Neighborhood Council Assent Is Necessary For Development Projects (TL,DR: Yes). This Revelation Makes BID Control Of DLANC Seem Even More Unsavory Than It Already Did

Yesterday afternoon the Ethics Commission held the first in a series of three meetings to gather even more input from interested parties concerning proposed revisions to the Municipal Lobbying Ordinance. I recorded the whole thing for posterity and you can watch it here:

I’ll be commenting on this and the next meeting1 from time to time, and today I just want to point out an interesting response from seasoned Los Angeles lobbyists John Howland and Bill Delvac2 to an interesting question from Ethics Commission ED Heather Holt. One of the proposals on the table is a requirement that lobbyists report attempts to influence neighborhood councils in addition to the other City agencies they’re already required to disclose information about. In the context of this discussion, Holt asked the lobbyists:

Just out of curiosity, for development projects, is there a general sense that you need a neighborhood council buy-in for it to go anywhere?

In response to this, über-düber lobbyist John Howland smirked and emitted an inarticulate snort, seemingly in disbelief that the boss of the Ethics Commission could ask such a silly question, before saying “yes.” This response was echoed by Bill Delvac, with Howland interjecting the occasional assent:

BD: We’re happy when we get to neutral.
JH: Yeah. Well, yeah.
BD:
[Unintelligible] … the Charter and the Code, they’re really not binding. But it matters more to some Councilmen [sic] than it does to others and often [unintelligible] you wanna get their support. I wouldn’t have written the Charter that way, but …

This interchange certainly supports the Ethics Commission’s proposal to subject lobbying directed at neighborhood councils to disclosure, and, interestingly, there didn’t seem to be any actual opposition to this proposal from the lobbyists. So maybe, no matter what gets compromised out of the rest of the proposals, this one will make it through the gauntlet, which is a good thing.3

And turn the page for a discussion of some potential implications, possibly as-yet unconsidered, of this proposal having to do with the fact that, probably uniquely among NCs, the DLANC has a ton of BID staffers on its board of directors.
Continue reading Video Of First Interested Persons Meeting Now Available — See John Howland And Bill Delvac Discuss Whether Neighborhood Council Assent Is Necessary For Development Projects (TL,DR: Yes). This Revelation Makes BID Control Of DLANC Seem Even More Unsavory Than It Already Did

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City Council Approves Update To Ethics Laws Which, Among Other Changes, Imposes At Long Last A Duty On City Officials And Employees To Report Violations To The Ethics Commission Within Ten Days — A Law Like This Will Cut Down On Apparent Collusion By City Officials Or At Least Provide Another Fruitful Channel For Reporting Them

The Los Angeles Ethics Commission is charged not only with enforcing ethics laws and regulations but also with reviewing and revising them periodically. Because the City Council is subject to these laws it wouldn’t make much sense for them to be able to alter them at will. The temptation to exempt themselves and their creepy zillionaire buddies would ultimately be too much for their corrupt vestigial little senses of morality to bear and we’d end up without any ethics laws at all.

Thus the process, as described in the City Charter at §703(a), requires the Ethics Commission to propose the changes and gives the City Council the authority only to disapprove but not to modify them.1 This strikes me as a quite clever way to balance the competing interests involved:

The commission may adopt, amend and rescind rules and regulations, subject to Council approval without modification, to carry out the purposes and provisions of the Charter and ordinances of the City relating to campaign finance, conflicts of interest, lobbying, and governmental ethics and to govern procedures of the commission.2

So at its meeting in February, the Ethics Commission approved a bunch of revised enforcement regulations. You can read the original proposal. This was duly sent up to the City Council, where it was placed in Council File 14-0049-S1. Well, on Thursday, after the Mayor’s concurrence was received, the Council finalized the matter and the new regulations are approved and will take effect on August 14.3

There were bunches of changes, mostly technical in nature, and beyond my capacity to evaluate. But the one that really excites me is that the new ordinance requires City departments and appointees to report violations of the Ethics laws or the Municipal Lobbying Ordinance within ten days. This is a huge development! Read on for details and for a number of horrific instances in which the lack of a mandate to report created absolutely nauseating scenarios involving law-flouting lobbyists and City officials.
Continue reading City Council Approves Update To Ethics Laws Which, Among Other Changes, Imposes At Long Last A Duty On City Officials And Employees To Report Violations To The Ethics Commission Within Ten Days — A Law Like This Will Cut Down On Apparent Collusion By City Officials Or At Least Provide Another Fruitful Channel For Reporting Them

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New Documents: Lisa Trifiletti and Omar Pulido Emails, Wilshire Center BID And East Hollywood BID Emails To/From City Of LA From February 2017

This is just a short note to announce three new sets of documents for your entertainment, your edification, and, if you’re interested, a little puzzle for you to solve.

First we have a couple of monthly sets of emails between BIDs and the City of Los Angeles. This turns out to be a useful request for keeping finger on pulse, often leading to unexpected discoveries, so I make it every month of all my favorite BIDs.1 Perhaps there are some lurking here:

And turn the page for the most interesting item of all for today!
Continue reading New Documents: Lisa Trifiletti and Omar Pulido Emails, Wilshire Center BID And East Hollywood BID Emails To/From City Of LA From February 2017

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Historic Core BID Executive Directrix Blair Besten Nominated For Measure HHH Citizens’ Oversight Committee, Opposed By Skid Row Organizers, Service Providers, and Sane People Everywhere

Blair Besten, Executive Directrix of the Historic Core BID, all decked out in her patented EZ-clutch pearl necklace.
L.A. voters recently approved Measure HHH, which will fund homeless services via the sale of $1.2 billion in bonds. Last December the City Council approved the creation of a citizens’ oversight committee to monitor the expenditure of this vast sum of money. That committee consists of seven people, three appointed by the Council and four appointed by the Mayor. The Mayor doesn’t seem to have nominated anyone yet, but last Friday the Council, in CF 16-1060-S1, nominated their three. The only weirdo in the bunch is Blair Besten, executive directrix of the Historic Core BID downtown.

Of course, anyone who follows the bad BIDness propagated by our City’s business improvement districts knows this is a bad, bad idea for any number of reasons. It was therefore heartening to see, tonight, explicit opposition to Blair Besten’s appointment coming from a coalition of Skid Row organizations and service providers. Their eloquent and well-argued letter hit the Council file mere moments ago. You can read the whole thing after the break if you don’t like PDFs. Now, I have to say that I agree with their reasoning, and from the point of view of sound public policy, I completely agree that her appointment is a terrible idea. However, for for purely selfish reasons I kind of hope she makes it on, because the potential for chaos is high. Note that this is up for a vote TOMORROW.
Continue reading Historic Core BID Executive Directrix Blair Besten Nominated For Measure HHH Citizens’ Oversight Committee, Opposed By Skid Row Organizers, Service Providers, and Sane People Everywhere

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Open Letter to the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission on the proposed stipulation in Case No. 2016-13, In the Matter of Marie Rumsey

Herb Wesson being way, way, way too friendly with Marie Rumsey on November 17, 2015.
Herb Wesson being way, way, way too friendly with Marie Rumsey on November 17, 2015.
I reported on Friday that the City Ethics Commission is slated to consider the case of Marie Rumsey, formerly of CD13 but now working as a lobbyist for the Central City Association, and her repeated violations of the City’s revolving door ordinance, found at LAMC 49.5.13(C)(1). As I noted then, she admitted guilt and excused herself in a particularly implausible way, according to the CEC’s report:

Rumsey received inaccurate legal advice from CCA’s former legal counsel and mistakenly believed that she could attempt to influence any City agency except Councilmember O’Farrell’s office.

Well, I’ve been thinking and thinking about it, and it occurred to me that, since Rumsey spoke before the Council a number of times, it ought to be possible to track down evidence that she had actually attempted to influence Darth Four-Eyes1 himself. So the first piece of evidence I found was this speaker card from the City Council meeting of November 17, 2015. Marie Rumsey signed up to speak on CF 14-1656-S1.2 Next, I had to track down the item on the Council video of that meeting. Well, I did track it down, and here is a link right to her comment. Not only does she address the Council in violation of the law, not only does Mitch O’Farrell end up voting yes on the matter before the Council after she asked him to in violation of the law, but Herb Wesson, who really ought to know better, welcomes her before she violates the law by saying “Ms. Ramsey, [sic] welcome home, good to see you.”

Well, that’s too much. Not only was it against the law for Marie Rumsey to be speaking in front of the Council, not only does it make a mockery of her explanation that her lawyer told her she was only forbidden from trying to influence Mitch O’Farrell’s office,3 but it shows Herb Wesson to be an even bigger idiot than previously suspected. Thus I resolved to write to the Ethics Commission urging them to reject their staff’s proposed stipulation, carry out further investigations, charge Marie Rumsey with ALL of her violations of the revolving door ordinance, and to consider whether Wesson and/or O’Farrell were in violation of LAMC 49.5.16(A)(1)(c), which prohibits aiding and abetting violations of the rest of the Government Ethics Ordinance. So I spent this evening writing this letter to the CEC and submitting it as a public comment for Tuesday’s meeting.4 You can also read it after the break if you’re on mobile or for some other reason prefer not to deal with a PDF.
Continue reading Open Letter to the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission on the proposed stipulation in Case No. 2016-13, In the Matter of Marie Rumsey

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Probably On Basis Of Our Complaint, Scofflaw Lobbyist Marie Rumsey Has Been Nailed By Ethics Commission For Violating Post-Employment Restrictions, Provides Pathetically Implausible Excuse, Enforcement Staff Recommends She Be Let Off With Wrist Slap

Marie Rumsey in happier days at CD13 before she got hired on at the Central City Association and turned to a life of crime, infamy, and outlawry.
Marie Rumsey in happier days at CD13 before she got hired on at the Central City Association and turned to a life of crime, infamy, and outlawry.
My colleagues and I reported in January 2016 that former Mitch O’Farrell aide Marie Rumsey appeared to be in violation of Los Angeles Municipal Code §49.5.13.C.1. A few weeks later I submitted a report on the matter to the City Ethics Commission. Well, last night the CEC published its agenda for the December 6 meeting and, lo! A stipulation in the matter of Marie Rumsey is Item 5!

I submitted evidence of three violations, although there were clearly many others. They tagged her for two of them. She admitted that she’d broken the law, but gave as an exceedingly lame excuse that… well, let the CEC tell it:

Rumsey received inaccurate legal advice from CCA’s former legal counsel and mistakenly believed that she could attempt to influence any City agency except Councilmember O’Farrell’s office.

Because of this and because of her cooperation, CEC staff is recommending leniency:

The maximum administrative penalty for a violation of the City’s post-employment laws is the greater of $5,000 or three times the amount of compensation that was improperly received. Los Angeles City Charter § 706(c)(3). In this case, the two counts against Rumsey result in a maximum penalty of $14,250. We recommend a penalty of $7,125, which is equal to 50 percent of the maximum in this case. We believe the recommended penalty is appropriate, because it takes into consideration the serious nature of the violations while also encouraging cooperation with Ethics Commission investigations and the early resolution of violations.

These offers of 50% of the fine seem to be standard for people who cooperate with the CEC. And the $7,125 isn’t pocket change, even if the CCA ends up paying it for her.1 In this case, though, I think such a low offer is a mistake, not least because on analysis her excuse turns out to be unsupportable. For details on this, and some other interesting matters regarding this case, read on!
Continue reading Probably On Basis Of Our Complaint, Scofflaw Lobbyist Marie Rumsey Has Been Nailed By Ethics Commission For Violating Post-Employment Restrictions, Provides Pathetically Implausible Excuse, Enforcement Staff Recommends She Be Let Off With Wrist Slap

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Law-and-Order-Touting Anti-Street-Vending Central City Association Flack Marie Rumsey is a Hypocritical Defier of the Revolving Door Ordinance of the City of Los Angeles

Marie Rumsey in happier days back at CD13.
Marie Rumsey in happier days back at CD13.
When last we wrote of Marie Rumsey, late of CD13 but now moved on to greener pastures with the revoltingly Schatzian nightmare horror-show the Central City Association, she was introducing thuggish opposite-of-Alinsky Jessica Borek of the not-so-very-law-abiding-their-own-selves Rodriguez Strategies to the Board of Directors of the racketeer influenced criminal conspiracy known as the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance.

Since that time we’ve learned a little bit about the government ethics laws of the City of Los Angeles, such as they are, and, amazingly, it turns out that Marie Rumsey is, was, and, for all we know, shall be violating them big-time. This, you will remember, is the woman who, in March 2015, went on and on and on and on about how there would be no way to enforce health codes and laws if street vending were to be legalized and how desperately bad that would be for everyone. Well, let us now enlighten you about the law Marie Rumsey was breaking even as she spoke those fateful words.
Continue reading Law-and-Order-Touting Anti-Street-Vending Central City Association Flack Marie Rumsey is a Hypocritical Defier of the Revolving Door Ordinance of the City of Los Angeles

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