Tag Archives: LAMC 49.5.5

It Seems That Piratical Swashbuckling Downtown Real Estate Vigilante Jacob Douglas Van Horn Supplied Anti-Skid-Row-Neighborhood-Council Conspirators With Patti Berman’s Copy Of A DLANC Voter Registration List In Advance Of The Subdivision Election For Purposes Of Electioneering, Thereby Potentially Misusing His Power As A Member Of DLANC’s Board

Background: You can read my previous stories on the Skid Row Neighborhood Council formation effort and also see Jason McGahan’s article in the Weekly and Gale Holland’s article in the Times for more mainstream perspectives.

You may recall that one of the major issues raised in the Skid Row Neighborhood Council Formation Committee’s appeal to the Board of Neighborhood Commissioners over probably illegal, certainly immoral, shenanigans in the horrifically shady campaign against the SRNC was the question of whether DLANC had illegally opposed formation by sending out emails via its Mailchimp account. The turning point, though, was when the opposition convinced CD14 repster José Huizar to allow online voting at the last minute and to automatically register all people who’d voted in the last DLANC election.

The fact that Huizar decided to allow online voting meant that contact information for all the automatically registered voters suddenly became very valuable. I haven’t uncovered any new information on the Mailchimp front, but one of the emails from yesterday’s release of records from the Downtown Center BID reveals that on April 3, just three days before the hotly contested election, then-DLANC-Board-member Jacob Douglas van Horn,1 sent DLANC’s copy of the registered voter list to a rogues’ gallery of anti-SRNC conspirators. Here is the email and here’s what it says:

Attached is a spreadsheet with the list of pre-registered voters from the last election. All of these people have already been sent a login and pin by DONE. For many it is ending up in their spam email box. Please every take a few minutes to look over this list. If you know anyone on the list please follow up with them and make sure they have voted.

And turn the page for a discussion of what may be wrong with Jacob Douglas van Horn sending this to his co-conspirators, who those co-conspirators were, and how I know that this is DLANC’s copy of the spreadsheet.
Continue reading It Seems That Piratical Swashbuckling Downtown Real Estate Vigilante Jacob Douglas Van Horn Supplied Anti-Skid-Row-Neighborhood-Council Conspirators With Patti Berman’s Copy Of A DLANC Voter Registration List In Advance Of The Subdivision Election For Purposes Of Electioneering, Thereby Potentially Misusing His Power As A Member Of DLANC’s Board

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OK, Estela Lopez Doesn’t Like Paul Solomon And Yuval Bar-Zemer, We Get That. But (A) Are We In Freaking Junior High School? And (B) Why Is This Any Of Miranda Paster’s Freaking Business?? And (C) Why Is Miranda Paster Soliciting Defamatory Statements About Property Owners And Passing Them Around To Random BID Directors, E.G. Freaking Laurie Hughes??!

Friend, you gotta just click to enlarge because it’s only possible to minimize this issue so much and still have it make sense!
If I have learned anything about L.A. BIDs in my many years of deeply immersive anti-BID scholarship, it’s that they are run by a bunch of freaking short-sighted intellectually impaired amateurish morons, made mean and stupid by their wealth, who hire mean and stupid people to do their mean and stupid bidding and that the City government of Los Angeles, which thrives and grows fat on mean and short-sighted zillionaire stupidity, likes it this way.

And the story I’m here to tell you this morning certainly does not contradict that narrative, but it adds a surreal tinge of unprofessional immature junior-high-schoolistic tattle-tale-ing that I really haven’t seen before. In short, a guy named Paul Solomon bought some property in the Gateway to LA BID. Executive Directrix Laurie Hughes, thinking she recognized his name, asked Miranda Paster for the scoop on him. Miranda Paster emailed freaking Estela Lopez for more info. Estela Lopez, evidently still smarting from the whole Arts District debacle, which put her out of a job in 2013, flipped the fuck out, defamed Paul Solomon every which way, and Miranda Paster facilitated, solicited, and encouraged the whole mess. You can read the entire email chain here. And you can turn the page for an introduction to the cast and crew, a discussion of the issues, and, of course, a transcription of the salient bits of the PDF.
Continue reading OK, Estela Lopez Doesn’t Like Paul Solomon And Yuval Bar-Zemer, We Get That. But (A) Are We In Freaking Junior High School? And (B) Why Is This Any Of Miranda Paster’s Freaking Business?? And (C) Why Is Miranda Paster Soliciting Defamatory Statements About Property Owners And Passing Them Around To Random BID Directors, E.G. Freaking Laurie Hughes??!

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A Case Study In Towing The Zillionaire’s Car — Ticket Fixing in the Hollywood Media District BID. Or: How LADOT Dances Willingly To The Tune Called By Those Who Pay The Piper. Or: “HELP…. Stakeholders are asking why???”

If you don’t like what the street signs say you can just knock them down and ignore them, friend.
There are two main reasons why I am not a professional journalist. The first is that on career day at Venice High way back in the 1970s, those of us who ventured east to the venerated southwest corner of First and Spring found, well…never mind what we found,1 discretion prevents me from discussing it, but it sure didn’t make me want to join the ranks despite the fact that the paper was more than a decade into its renaissance under the sainted guidance of Otis Chandler himself. And the second reason is that I have never, ever, in my entire life been able to understand the inverted pyramid — or maybe I understand it and I just have no freaking idea what’s most newsworthy in any given story. This interpretation is borne out by the fact that I’m starting this evening’s tale off with a bunch of half-invented, half-remembered, half-plagiarized, nonsense about my high school career day.2

For instance, does the inverted pyramid suggest that we next analyze the founding principles of BIDs? I have no idea. But the locus classicus of BIDs, their founding text, which is to say the California Streets and Highways Code at §36601(e), tells us that amongst the benefits provided by BIDs are crime reduction, business attraction, business retention, economic growth, and new investments. Note the conspicuous absence from this list of parking ticket fixing for zillionaire BID stakeholders. However, despite the fact that parking violation fines are a major social justice issue in Los Angeles and yet another example of covert regressive taxation, apparently a major use that zillionaires, that is to say those for whom the fine attached to a parking violation is not a significant fraction of their annual income, have found for their BIDs is to serve as a vehicle for interfering on their behalf with the normal statutory operation of the City’s parking enforcement apparatus.

We saw this, e.g., last year when Ms. Kerry Morrison, outraged3 by the fact that her good friend and stakeholder, zillionaire white real estate capitalist running dog lackey Evan Kaizer, was ticketed on Hollywood Boulevard for meter-feeding, fired off an email to LADOT honcho-ette Seleta Reynolds, putatively asking for an explanation but really, as everyone could see, providing an opening for the whole thing to go away. It doesn’t seem to have happened that the ticket got fixed, but that particular toys-from-pram episode ended up interbreeding with a sort of free-floating generalized zillionaire rage over vibrant urban spaces,4 eventually begetting a conceptual exploration, fueled by outraged privilege, of the possibility of using this state-law-mandated meter-feeding prohibition to attack the very existence of food trucks.

See why I’m not a professional journalist? Here we are at the fourth “graf5 and I haven’t even started the actual story. Here’s the short version: Some zillionairess didn’t know how to read parking signs and got her car towed. Lisa Schechter, chief directico-executrix of the Hollywood Media District BID, emailed a bunch of functionaries and things got done and done fast in a way they will never get done for non-zillionaires! Details and emails after the break!
Continue reading A Case Study In Towing The Zillionaire’s Car — Ticket Fixing in the Hollywood Media District BID. Or: How LADOT Dances Willingly To The Tune Called By Those Who Pay The Piper. Or: “HELP…. Stakeholders are asking why???”

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Latest Entry in LAMC 49.5.5(A) Project: Hollywood Media District BID Seems To Have Paid LAPD Hollywood Division SLO Eddie Guerra $400 In Exchange For Homeless Encampment Cleanups (Ostensibly As A Charitable Donation), But Why Was The Check Made Out To Him Personally?

Eddie Guerra, kicking ass and taking checks from the Media District BID, $400 at a time.
How much does a private nonprofit organization have to pay an LAPD officer in exchange for him running off some homeless people who are having a barbecue on the sidewalk and scaring the neighborhood zillionaires? Newly received evidence suggests that the going rate is $200 per running-off incident.

It has been more than two months since the last entry in our ongoing LAMC 49.5.5(A) project, in which we report various City employees to the Ethics Commission in an attempt to discover exactly what the most fascinating ordinance ever,1 LAMC 49.5.5(A), actually prohibits. It’s high time for another report, and this is it. First, recall what the law actually says:

City officials, agency employees, appointees awaiting confirmation by the City Council, and candidates for elected City office shall not misuse or attempt to misuse their positions or prospective positions to create or attempt to create a private advantage or disadvantage, financial or otherwise, for any person.

Our story begins with a six-month long email chain between Hollywood Division Senior Lead Officer Eddie Guerra and a number of people associated with the Media District BID about scary sidewalk-barbecuing homeless people:
Continue reading Latest Entry in LAMC 49.5.5(A) Project: Hollywood Media District BID Seems To Have Paid LAPD Hollywood Division SLO Eddie Guerra $400 In Exchange For Homeless Encampment Cleanups (Ostensibly As A Charitable Donation), But Why Was The Check Made Out To Him Personally?

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California Government Code Section 1222 Is A New (To Us) Governmental Integrity Law Of Which Chad Molnar’s CPRA Shenanigans Constitute A Violation, Making Him Not Only Unethical But An Actual Criminal And Potentially Even Subject To Citizen’s Arrest!!

Chad Molnar in June 2016, just smiling away because it hasn't yet occurred to him that he is going to jail.
Chad Molnar in June 2016, just smiling away because it hasn’t yet occurred to him that he is going to jail.
Perhaps you’ve been following along with our LAMC 49.5.5(A) project, in which we turn various City officials and employees in to the LA City Ethics Commission for violating that most lovely government accountability ordinance, LAMC 49.5.5(A) by misusing their positions in various ways. Well, just recently, via the fine folks at the Coalition to Preserve L.A., I learned of a possibly even more funner law, which may allow City employees not only to get fined by the CEC for violating CPRA, but actually locked up for it! Ladies and gentlemen, loyal MK.Org readers, may I present to you the stunning law known to the world as California Government Code Section 1222, which states in full:

Every wilful omission to perform any duty enjoined by law upon any public officer, or person holding any public trust or employment, where no special provision is made for the punishment of such delinquency, is punishable as a misdemeanor.

The potential here is astounding. You see, there is “no special provision…made for the punishment of” a failure to comply with CPRA. This is in contrast to, e.g., the Brown Act, which does contain a clause making certain kinds of violations misdemeanors.1 However, the duty to comply with CPRA is “enjoined by law upon” public officers. For instance, the California Constitution at Article I, section 3(b) states pretty unequivocally that:

In order to ensure public access to the meetings of public bodies and the writings of public officials and agencies, as specified in paragraph (1), each local agency is hereby required to comply with the California Public Records Act …

Now, this law requires2 that the failure to act be wilful. But, of course, that’s where we have Chad Molnar dead to rights. If you didn’t read the whole story, you can at least read the smoking gun, in which Chad Molnar actually states explicitly that he’s not going to comply with CPRA and that he doesn’t think he has to comply. And note that this is not just him not complying with some vague part of the law, proof of violation of which would require a fact-finder, but him not complying with objectively clear, explicitly mandated, response deadlines. He just flat-out says he’s not going to respond as required. It’s hard to imagine a more wilful violation than that.

So anyway, as soon as possible, I hope this weekend, I’m going to write up a complaint and figure out what to do with it. Perhaps I’ll try the neighborhood prosecutor in Venice. They do handle misdemeanors, after all. This probably won’t work so well, and then I’ll send it to Jackie Lacey’s Public Integrity Division. I’ll keep you up-to-date. And if you’re still interested, turn the page for even more wildly uninformed speculation.3
Continue reading California Government Code Section 1222 Is A New (To Us) Governmental Integrity Law Of Which Chad Molnar’s CPRA Shenanigans Constitute A Violation, Making Him Not Only Unethical But An Actual Criminal And Potentially Even Subject To Citizen’s Arrest!!

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CD13 Field Deputy Aram Taslagyan’s Homeless Encampment Cleanup For Property Manager Bryan Kim Is Latest Entry In Our LAMC 49.5.5(A) Project

Council District 13 Field Deputy Aram Taslagyan.
Council District 13 Field Deputy Aram Taslagyan.
This evening I’m pleased to present the third installment in our ongoing LAMC 49.5.5(A) project, in which we report various City employees to the Ethics Commission in an attempt to discover exactly what the most fascinating ordinance ever,1 LAMC 49.5.5(A), actually prohibits. It says:

City officials, agency employees, appointees awaiting confirmation by the City Council, and candidates for elected City office shall not misuse or attempt to misuse their positions or prospective positions to create or attempt to create a private advantage or disadvantage, financial or otherwise, for any person.

Now, if you’ve been following the saga of Bryan Kim and Aram Taslagyan here on this blog,2 you’ll have noted these essential elements of the story:
Continue reading CD13 Field Deputy Aram Taslagyan’s Homeless Encampment Cleanup For Property Manager Bryan Kim Is Latest Entry In Our LAMC 49.5.5(A) Project

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Street Vendors Reply To City of LA’s Motions To Strike And To Dismiss, Also Important Records From Department Of Sanitation, Including The City’s Standard Operating Procedure For Cleaning Up Homeless Encampments

The Fashion District, September 2016.
The Fashion District, September 2016.
Good evening, Friends! I haven’t had time to write much recently and I won’t have time for another day or two because the latest installment in the MK.Org LAMC 49.5.5 project is turning out to be more complex than I’d anticipated. I expect to have it done with by the end of this week. This is just a short interim post to announce some new records.

First, you may recall that a couple weeks ago the City of LA filed a couple of motions in the street vending lawsuit. These were:

Tonight the plaintiffs filed their responses to these motions:

And turn the page for some material from the Department of Sanitation relating to homeless encampment cleanups. Most importantly, there is the City-Attorney-approved Standard Operating Procedure manual for cleanups. This is stunning, essential information.
Continue reading Street Vendors Reply To City of LA’s Motions To Strike And To Dismiss, Also Important Records From Department Of Sanitation, Including The City’s Standard Operating Procedure For Cleaning Up Homeless Encampments

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Update On Attempts To Use CPRA To Get LA Sanitation To Provide Advance Notice Of Homeless Encampment Cleanups

Los Angeles Public Works building at 1149 S. Broadway.
Los Angeles Public Works building at 1149 S. Broadway.
Last Summer it occurred to me that it should be possible to use the California Public Records Act to get advance notice of City of LA homeless encampment cleanup actions. After an inordinate amount of bitching and moaning on my part, three weeks ago they actually handed over a schedule one day in advance. Since then, though, the person who gave me that record has been removed from my case1 and the new person assigned to it, Veretta Everheart, Senior Management Analyst with the Department of Public Works, is as obstructionist as everyone else I’ve dealt with at LA Sanitation (although perfectly friendly and delightful to deal with). In other words, no new advance schedules have been forthcoming.

On a slightly hopeful note, though, Veretta Everheart did actually tell me explicitly that they weren’t going to give me advance schedules.2 The reason she gave is that they “are living documents” which are “not retained.”3 Although she doesn’t say so explicitly, this is evidently a nod in the direction of an exemption enumerated in CPRA at Section 6254(a), which states that it’s not required to release

Preliminary drafts, notes, or interagency or intra-agency memoranda that are not retained by the public agency in the ordinary course of business, if the public interest in withholding those records clearly outweighs the public interest in disclosure.

Now, if this is actually what she’s claiming,4 it’s probably not going to fly. First of all, even if these calendars are in fact drafts, there’s a solid argument that the public interest in disclosure outweighs the public interest in withholding. In fact, there’s no discernable public interest in withholding these.5 Not only that, but all of these calendars, drafts and preliminary versions included, are, in fact, retained, making the applicability of this exemption even more implausible.
Continue reading Update On Attempts To Use CPRA To Get LA Sanitation To Provide Advance Notice Of Homeless Encampment Cleanups

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Yet Another Possible Strategy For Forcing The City Of Los Angeles To Comply With CPRA Without Hiring A Lawyer: A Complaint With Internal Affairs Against The Officers In Charge Of The LAPD Discovery Section

Dominic Choi, commanding officer of LAPD's Risk Management Division, which includes the LAPD Discovery Section, which is ultimately responsible for handling CPRA requests.
Dominic Choi, commanding officer of LAPD’s Risk Management Division, which includes the LAPD Discovery Section, which is ultimately responsible for handling CPRA requests.
The City of Los Angeles is notorious for ignoring its duties under the California Public Records Act. Among City agencies, the LAPD is probably the worst at responding to requests in a timely, comprehensive manner. One of the worst aspects of CPRA is that filing a lawsuit1 is the only recourse if an agency refuses to comply. This is the strategy being pursued by the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition.2

So anyway, my own CPRA experiences with LAPD confirm this general impression. For instance, on February 10, 2015, I sent them this:

I’d like to request a list of all active stay-away orders for the Hollywood Entertainment District or maybe you could suggest documents I could request that would allow me to assemble such a list myself? I’m interested in how many there are and what crimes were committed by the people subject to them.

I won’t bother you with a detailed timeline of all my ignored follow-up inquiries and their occasional non-responsive answers to them, but in more than 20 months after my making this request they still had supplied no records in response.3

Well, as you may be aware, I’m presently working through a theory on whether Los Angeles Municipal Ethics laws, specifically LAMC 49.5.5(A), can be used to force the City to comply with CPRA without having to go to court. A description of this project can be found here. Now, LAMC 49.5.5(A) states:

City officials, agency employees, appointees awaiting confirmation by the City Council, and candidates for elected City office shall not misuse or attempt to misuse their positions or prospective positions to create or attempt to create a private advantage or disadvantage, financial or otherwise, for any person.

And the general theory with respect to CPRA is that when a City employee willfully denies someone their rights under CPRA they may well be violating this law, since being denied rights is a disadvantage. You can see a a specific application of this theory here. This law does apply to the LAPD, but my feeling is that the LAPD problem with CPRA compliance is not amenable to an LAMC-49.5.5(A)-based strategy. Read on for details and a potential solution.
Continue reading Yet Another Possible Strategy For Forcing The City Of Los Angeles To Comply With CPRA Without Hiring A Lawyer: A Complaint With Internal Affairs Against The Officers In Charge Of The LAPD Discovery Section

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Administrative Law Judge Samuel Reyes Finds That Jim Parker Violated LAMC 49.5.5(A) As Alleged By City Ethics Commission, Which Is A Good Sign For Our Ongoing Project

You can find a good summary of the background to this post by Jasmyne Cannick on her most excellent blog or by Kate Mather writing in the L.A. Times.

Maybe you remember that former LAPD Sergeant Jim Parker was charged by the City Ethics Commission with violating LAMC 49.5.5(A) based on his release of an audio tape proving that charges of racial profiling by actress Daniele Watts were fabricated. Well, today administrative law judge Samuel Reyes issued a proposed decision in the matter, where “proposed” seems to mean that the Ethics Commission has the power to reject it if they want to. He found Parker not guilty of some of the charges, but, importantly for our purposes, guilty of violating LAMC 49.5.5(A):

Respondent1 was in possession of the audiotape by virtue of his position as an LAPD sergeant. Since he released the recording to TMZ in violation of LAMC section 49.5.3, the disclosure constitutes “misuse” under LAMC section 49.5.5, subdivision (A). Respondent released the audiotape to defend himself and LAPD against allegations of racial profiling. The release created a private advantage for Respondent, as it protected his reputation against allegations of racism.

And maybe you recall our LAMC 49.5.5(A) project, in which we are filing complaints against various City employees for what seem to us to be violations of this law, in an effort to, not only get them to stop their bad behavior, but to find ways for citizens to force City employees to do their duty by utilizing already-existing City agencies, laws, and processes rather than having to hire lawyers for everything. This is a good sign for our success, and there’s more detail on this after the break.
Continue reading Administrative Law Judge Samuel Reyes Finds That Jim Parker Violated LAMC 49.5.5(A) As Alleged By City Ethics Commission, Which Is A Good Sign For Our Ongoing Project

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