Tag Archives: Mitch O’Farrell

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!

Share

In 2018 LAPD Hollywood Division Senior Lead Officer Paul Jordan Threatened A Homeless Man — Intimidated Him Into Moving To Another Neighborhood — To Please A Mob Of Angry Delusional Homeowners — Who Along With The LAPD Characteristically Think That A Bunch Of Crap They Just Made Up Is More Important Than People’s Actual Lives — And Dan Halden — Mitch O’Farrell’s Hollywood Field Flunky — And David Ryu Flunkies Catherine Landers And Rachel Fox — And Deputy City Attorney Steve Houchin — And Hollywood Division Chief Boss Cory Palka — All Of Them Read Jordan’s Account Of This Threat — And Were Silent

I just received a reasonably large set of emails from the LAPD involving Hollywood zillionaire, racist police-caller, and Hollywood Media District BIDdie Ferris Wehbe1 and LAPD Hollywood Division Senior Lead Officer Paul Jordan. I was looking for material involving the Hollywood Forever Cemetery fiasco but ended up with a bunch more evidence about what the LAPD motto means with respect to our homeless brothers and sisters when the cops think no one is watching but the hateful homedwellers to the whims of whom they’re paid to pander.

You’ll find a lot of interesting stuff in there, but the text for today’s sermon is this conversation from February and March 2018. The participants are the usual rageball gang of housedwellers, possessed with the usual heaping dose of what passes for righteous wrath among the propertied classes, Hollywood cop Jordan, and various City staffers, including Mitch O’Farrell flunky Dan Halden, a couple of jokers from CD4, deputy city attorney and, at that time, Hollywood neighborhood prosecutor Steve Houchin, and Hollywood Division Commander Cory Palka.

There’s really nothing atypical about the story. It begins, as so many of these episodes do, with an imaginary claim that things are getting worse, that the median melanin level in a previously placid caucasian paradise is rising, crime is exploding, turpitude is raining down like the mighty waters, and so on. The florid semiliteracy of this initial cri de coeur, though, is kind of unique and so is presented here with the weirdo capitalization, made-up words, and idiosyncratic spelling all intact, is not standard:

Seems Like there’s this sergeancy of Brazen Homeless youth and some older that are wondering around the De Longpre Park neighborhood looking for Crimes of Opportunity!

The fear and anger and hate escalate through familiar delusional stages albeit with uniquely weird particular details. Homeless people are shitting in the bushes! They’re naked in the driveway and showering with the hose! They’re having sex on the lawn! At eleven in the morning! The church attracts them by handing out free food! The 7-11 attracts them by selling hot food!

They’re drinking beer! They’re making people nervous! They’re setting up tents in permit parking neighborhoods, which everyone knows is not allowed!2 They don’t pay property taxes! And bills! Like normal people! We need to form armed vigilante gangs! Like we had in the good old days! Let’s have a neighborhood meeting!3

And eventually they focus their rage on one particular tent, although it’s certainly not clear that the person living there has had anything to do with the enumerated atrocities.4 And in one of the most explicitly articulate statements of official City policy towards the homeless we’re likely to see, Hollywood Division Senior Lead Officer Paul Jordan explains what happened next:

On Feb 21, 2018, at 3:46 PM, Paul P Jordan <32285@lapd.online> wrote:

Hi Judy,

I had a nice conversation with the young man inside the tent today. Needless to say, his tent is gone and he will not be returning to that location. I also went to the LGBT Center and spoke with Andrew, who is now aware of this individual, and will be spoken to by the LGBT staff. Please keep me posted if he decides to return.

PJ

And then? Well, Officer Jordan gets the immediate gush of goopy approval that such thuggie boys live for5 and the very next day David Ryu flunky Catherine Landers is back to discussing the terms of the upcoming neighborhood meeting. There’s no outrage from these City staffers, no note to Paul Jordan telling him that it’s against the law for police to go around threatening homeless people to get them to move, no nothing.

And no surprise from me, either, because I’ve just read too many emails exactly like these ones to be surprised anymore. But I’m still mad that this is the level our City government is at, that not only do they break the law and oppress the poor to placate the rich but they don’t even try to hide it. Turn the page for a transcription of the conversation.
Continue reading In 2018 LAPD Hollywood Division Senior Lead Officer Paul Jordan Threatened A Homeless Man — Intimidated Him Into Moving To Another Neighborhood — To Please A Mob Of Angry Delusional Homeowners — Who Along With The LAPD Characteristically Think That A Bunch Of Crap They Just Made Up Is More Important Than People’s Actual Lives — And Dan Halden — Mitch O’Farrell’s Hollywood Field Flunky — And David Ryu Flunkies Catherine Landers And Rachel Fox — And Deputy City Attorney Steve Houchin — And Hollywood Division Chief Boss Cory Palka — All Of Them Read Jordan’s Account Of This Threat — And Were Silent

Share

Newly Obtained 2016 Emails Show That Senior Assistant City Attorney Valerie Flores And Chief Assistant City Attorney David Michaelson Agreed With This Blog That Banning Adults Without Children From Selma Park Was Illegal — Even As Flores Caustically Blamed Rec And Parks For Removing Signs She Had Tacitly Admitted Should Have Been Removed — No Matter What Kerry Morrison, Eric Garcetti, And Mitch O’Farrell Said About It — Further Evidence Linking O’Farrell’s Universally Mocked 2016 Proposal To Ban Adults From City Parks With Reopening Of Selma Park — Also New Info On The Content Of Mitch O’Farrell’s Feverish Delusions About Drug Dealers Overrunning The Largely Vacant Real Estate In His Head

OK, brief recap1 on the situation with Selma Park in Hollywood! In September 2015 I discovered that the Hollywood Entertainment District BID had illegally placed signs on the outer fence of the Park stating that adults without children were banned and in October 2015 Rec and Parks removed the illegal signs. Morrison engineered this years-long illegal exclusion of the people of Los Angeles from their public park because, despite her stridently self-proclaimed Christianity, she was angry that people were using the park to share food with one another.

Subsequent investigations showed that dozens of people had been arrested in the park for violating these illegal restrictions, although none were prosecuted and that current school board candidate and former Public Works Commissioner Heather Repenning, at that time a staffer for Eric Garcetti back when he was repping CD13, was deeply involved with Kerry Morrison, the BID’s very own Ilse Koch, in the illegal park closure process.

Documents proved that Morrison’s gestapo wannabes, the Andrews International BID Patrol, had been deeply involved in the ongoing series of civil rights violations engendered by the illegal park closure, not only by chasing people out of the park who had every right to be there, but by making actual custodial arrests as well, contrary to Morrison’s vehement but mendacious denial that this had ever occurred.

Subsequently, in December 2016, Mitch O’Farrell introduced a motion in Council seeking to amend the Los Angeles Municipal Code to allow the City to ban adults without children from playgrounds in LA Parks. He linked this explicitly to the reopening of Selma Park. This crapola motion was supported by Kerry Morrison, whose idea it must have been, but universally mocked and opposed by all sane people in Los Angeles and some not so sane ones as well. Even people who live east of San Bernardino took some notice of O’Farrell’s incipient crackpot fascism. And thus did the proposal die in committee in December 2018.

And just recently I received a massive set of emails between people at RAP and Mitch O’Farrell’s Hollywood field deputy Daniel Halden.2 And buried amonst them was this lengthy email conversation from November 2016 between various folks at RAP, Daniel Halden of CD13, and Valerie Flores and David Michaelson of the City Attorney’s office discussing Selma Park, those illegal signs, this blog, and, interestingly enough, me, who, like the bloody-handed henchman she is, Flores calls “a serial CPRA abuser.”3

And interestingly enough, more than a year after the signs came down, Valerie Flores tells RAP to put the signs back up, but only on the playground, not on the park itself. Which is pretty ridiculous, since they never took the signs down from the playground and no one, to my knowledge, ever complained about the signs on the playground. The discussion even escalated to Chief Assistant City Attorney David Michaelson, who also stated definitively that the City could not ban adults from the entire park, but only the playground.

Given that they’re falling over themselves here to admit that I was right all along about the damn signs, you’d think that instead of calling me names these people might have been grateful to me for merely calling attention, rather than leaving them to get sued, to the fact that in the City’s nauseating eagerness to do whatever random crapola Kerry Morrison demanded of them, they’d been violating people’s civil rights for a freaking decade4 by arresting them for being in a park they had every right to be in.

Also interesting is the fact that Flores quoted Mitch O’Farrell on the reason for the signs going back up:5 “According to the Council Member, after the sign was removed, the Selma Park became overrun with drug dealers and other criminal elements.” If you know the area, you’ll know this is a lie. You’ll also suspect that Mitch O’Farrell has never been near that park in his life and that the lie was almost certainly put into his mouth by Kerry Morrison.

And, shedding some light on the genesis of the universally mocked CF 16-1456, Flores announces that “Next week we will work with RAP to discuss options for the area of Selma Park that does not include the children’s play area.” Of course, by now it’s clear that there are no such options or they would have banned everyone but the damn cops from that poor beleaguered little park by now. The whole conversation is very, very much worth your time, and if you turn the page you’ll find a transcription, reordered chronologically for ease of reading.
Continue reading Newly Obtained 2016 Emails Show That Senior Assistant City Attorney Valerie Flores And Chief Assistant City Attorney David Michaelson Agreed With This Blog That Banning Adults Without Children From Selma Park Was Illegal — Even As Flores Caustically Blamed Rec And Parks For Removing Signs She Had Tacitly Admitted Should Have Been Removed — No Matter What Kerry Morrison, Eric Garcetti, And Mitch O’Farrell Said About It — Further Evidence Linking O’Farrell’s Universally Mocked 2016 Proposal To Ban Adults From City Parks With Reopening Of Selma Park — Also New Info On The Content Of Mitch O’Farrell’s Feverish Delusions About Drug Dealers Overrunning The Largely Vacant Real Estate In His Head

Share

A Detailed Analysis Of The Cash Flowing In And Out Of Mitch O’Farrell’s Public Benefits Slush Fund — Developers Pay Hundreds Of Thousands Of Dollars For The Privilege Of Building Out-Of-Code Projects — O’Farrell Spends The Money On Projects That Please His Political Supporters — It Seems Unlikely That There’s Any Net Benefit To Anyone But Zillionaires — This Is No Way To Run A City

A developer wants to build a building that’s taller than the local zoning allows, or has less parking than required. Maybe there are pesky historical structures on the proposed site or the new building will attract enough additional traffic to gridlock the streets around it. There are any number of reasons why a given building might not be allowed. It’ll still get built, though.

The developer will just have to pay hundreds of thousands, even millions, of dollars to the appropriate councilmember to get it approved. And these payments are inextricably integrated into our City’s building approval process. One might even suspect, and not without reason, that the ultimate purpose of zoning codes in Los Angeles is to induce developers to pay for exceptions to them.

And it’s not bribery, at least not the illegal kind. The CM doesn’t get to pocket the money. Instead it goes into one of the dozens of City trust funds set up specifically for receiving such monies. Just for instance, Mitch O’Farrell, CD13 repster, has one called the “Council District 13 Public Benefits Trust Fund.” It’s authorized by the Los Angeles Administrative Code at §5.414 ” for the receipt, retention and disbursement of gifts, contributions and bequests for the support of police and community activities within Council District 13.”

The fees are imposed on developers by the City Council at the behest of the relevant CM. To see an example of how this works take a look at CF 07-1379, wherein some developers sought permission to build another mixed-use monstrosity in Hollywood, this one at 1540 N. Vine Street.1 The developers got what they came for, which was Ordinance Number 178,836, authorizing construction. And in there, buried among other conditions, will be found paragraphs 26 and 27, stating how much money they’re going to give to Mitch O’Farrell in exchange for their zoning changes:
Continue reading A Detailed Analysis Of The Cash Flowing In And Out Of Mitch O’Farrell’s Public Benefits Slush Fund — Developers Pay Hundreds Of Thousands Of Dollars For The Privilege Of Building Out-Of-Code Projects — O’Farrell Spends The Money On Projects That Please His Political Supporters — It Seems Unlikely That There’s Any Net Benefit To Anyone But Zillionaires — This Is No Way To Run A City

Share

Mitch O’Farrell’s Secret Email Account Yields The First Concrete Evidence I’m Aware Of Concerning Staff-Mediated Back-Room Collusion Between City Council Members — Suggests Brown Act Violations On A Massive Scale — Consistent With Serial Meetings Coordinated Via Council Staff — Contributes To A Theory Of Staged City Council Debates Invariably Ending In Yet Another Unanimous Vote — At Very Least Yields Many Potentially Fruitful Leads For Future CPRA Requests

If you’ve ever attended a meeting of the Los Angeles City Council it’s very likely that you’ve seen one of the fully scripted performances that pass for debate with that body, ending, as always, with a unanimous vote in favor of yet another preordained conclusion. It’s a sickening spectacle, more worthy of a for-show-only parliament of some backwater bargain-bin Ruritanian dictatorship than of the legislators who are putatively leading our great City. This phenomenon is the subject of much discussion here in Los Angeles, and was the basis for at least one sadly ill-fated lawsuit.

If you haven’t seen an example of this spooky kabuki, you can take a look at this August 23, 2016 debate on whether the City should support or oppose some state bill about taxi regulation.1 After the break you’ll find a detailed chronology with links into the video, which will save you a lot of time because the whole thing is more than 30 minutes long and it is mind-numbing. There’s no conceivable way that episodes like this one could happen other than through prior discussion, collusion, and agreement among the Councilmembers. It’s completely implausible that it could be otherwise.

The problem with that, of course, is that prior discussion, collusion, and agreement among Councilmembers are illegal in California. It’s even illegal for Council staffers to discuss things and then report back to their bosses about other CMs’ opinions as reported by their respective staffs. The law mandates real public debates and forbids scripted performances whose conclusions are predetermined in back rooms. In particular, the Brown Act at §54952.2(b)(1) states explicitly that:

A majority of the members of a legislative body shall not, outside a meeting authorized by this chapter, use a series of communications of any kind, directly or through intermediaries, to discuss, deliberate, or take action on any item of business that is within the subject matter jurisdiction of the legislative body.

As far as I know there’s never been a successful Brown Act complaint against the City Council on these grounds. Courts will not, I’m under the impression, accept arguments based on the fact that it’s totally obvious what’s going on. Without sufficient proof of out-of-meeting communications no action is possible. And there just has not hitherto been any proof to be found, or none that I know of. But it appears that, buried deep within the recent release of emails from Mitch O’Farrell’s toppest secretest privatest email account, there are some hints of how this coordination might be accomplished.

There’s no proof there of a Brown Act violation, but there’s evidence that in 2013 David Giron, who is Mitch O’Farrell’s legislative director, coordinated with CD5 and CD8 regarding the positions of Paul Koretz and Bernard Parks2 with respect to fracking in Los Angeles and then communicated the intentions of those other CMs to Mitch O’Farrell. This is the kind of thing that the Brown Act forbids if it takes place among the majority of the Council, or even the majority of a Council committee.3

There’s no hint in the evidence that this discussion is any kind of anomaly, so it may be the first piece of the puzzle of how the City Council builds consensus out of view of the public. It certainly gives me hope that the truth will be brought out eventually.4 Take a look at the email exchange here, which is on the surface about Mitch O’Farrell’s position on CF 13-0002-S108, having to do with a State Senate bill on fracking. There are transcriptions and detailed discussion of the issues involved right after the break.
Continue reading Mitch O’Farrell’s Secret Email Account Yields The First Concrete Evidence I’m Aware Of Concerning Staff-Mediated Back-Room Collusion Between City Council Members — Suggests Brown Act Violations On A Massive Scale — Consistent With Serial Meetings Coordinated Via Council Staff — Contributes To A Theory Of Staged City Council Debates Invariably Ending In Yet Another Unanimous Vote — At Very Least Yields Many Potentially Fruitful Leads For Future CPRA Requests

Share

David Ryu Is The Third City Councilmember Revealed To Be Using A Private Email Address To Conduct City Business — In Fact He’s Sending Emails To Mitch O’Farrell’s Private Email Account — Cause Of Course He Is

Within the last few weeks we have learned that Mitch O’Farrell conducts City business through a Gmail account and so does Gil Cedillo. Now for the first time it is revealed that David Ryu also has a secret private email account that he uses to conduct City business. The email address is david@davidryu.com. Drop him a line, I’m sure he’ll appreciate it, especially if you can Paypal him $800 for the old officeholder account.

In an interesting twist, I learned of the existence of David Ryu’s private email account because he used it to email Mitch O’Farrell in April and the email, which you can read here (and there’s a transcription after the break), was produced by CD13 in response to the Hollywood Sunshine Coalition’s CPRA request. And as for what the email is about, well, it’s hard to tell.

It’s about a $200 million building project at Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital and who’s invited to the groundbreaking ceremony and did they go and pay court to Mitch O’Farrell like David Ryu told them they had to? I’m sure it all makes sense to people who know exactly whose hand is down whose pants at 200 N. Spring Street. To the rest of us, although the connotations of corruption are clear, the actual meaning is obscure.

The real value in this revelation, at least the real immediate value, is twofold. First it exposed David Ryu’s secret email address, which is of intrinsic public interest. Second, it shows that not only are our councilmembers hiding their nefarious work from us by communicating with their special friends and lobbyists via private unscrutinized channels, but they’re also doing the same thing with one another. Did you ever wonder how those extraordinary unanimous outcomes are created in Council meetings over and over and over again? I believe I’m on the verge of really understanding it, and this is an essential piece of the puzzle.

Oh, did I mention that our friends at the Hollywood Sunshine Coalition have asked David Ryu’s office for the goodies? Well they have, and just as Mitch O’Farrell’s sinister gatekeeper Jeanne Min tried to claim that CD13 didn’t have to hand over anything cause it would be too darn much work, David Ryu’s sad-sack minion Andrew Suh is taking the same tack. CD4 is on NextRequest, so you have to look at a PDF of the request as it’s presently unpublished. Stay tuned for news as we get it and turn the page for a transcription of the email.
Continue reading David Ryu Is The Third City Councilmember Revealed To Be Using A Private Email Address To Conduct City Business — In Fact He’s Sending Emails To Mitch O’Farrell’s Private Email Account — Cause Of Course He Is

Share

First Look At Emails From Mitch O’Farrell’s Secret Gmail Account! — Fascinating Material! — For Instance Registered Lobbyist James Litz Emailed Him There In April 2018 Attempting To Influence Today’s AirBnB Vote! — While Losers Like You And Me And The Rest Of Us Had To Email Him At His Probably Unattended City Email Address — And A Bunch More Stuff Besides! — Oh, Did I Mention That O’Farrell Chief Of Staff Jeanne Min Is A Big Whiny-Baby?

OK, remember that our friends over at the Hollywood Sunshine Coalition discovered recently that CD13 repster Mitch O’Freaking Farrell has a top secret Gmail account that he uses to conduct City business? And remember how they sent CD13 a CPRA request asking for all public records in this account? And remember how Mitch O’Farrell’s fairly sinister chief of staff, Jeanne Min, was all like no way, friend, go pound sand? And then the brave and untrammeled souls over at the Coalition were all like, way, friend, if sand is to be pounded, you pound it!

Well, apparently some part of that message got through to Ms. Jeanne Min, cause evidently yesterday CD13 supplied HSC with a bunch of emails! And they passed them to us!1 And in the typically passive aggressive attitude that the City of LA adopts when complying with CPRA requests the PDFs had pages randomly rotated, interspersed with random blank pages, and so on, making them fairly unreadable. But I’m a whiz with PDFs and I cleaned them all up and published them on Archive.Org right here so you can read all 101 pages of them. Here’s a link straight through to the clean PDF and the original files are also available so you can compare if you’re interested.

And there is a ton of good stuff even just in this small selection. I aim to write at least three more posts highlighting various aspects of it, and I’m sure if you read through it you’ll find gems that completely escaped my notice. The episode you’re reading now is particularly timely, given that it has to do with today’s contentious vote on AirBnB regulation. Did you have an opinion on that? Did you communicate your opinion to your Council rep? Well, you didn’t get to communicate it as well as some people did!

It seems that on April 27, 2018 James W. Litz, then working for the sinister-sounding Beverly Hills/Greater Los Angeles Association of Realtors, and himself a lobbyist registered with the City Ethics Commission, sent an email to the usual list of public-facing Councilfolk email addresses ending with lacity.org telling all of them that his employer, the BHGLAAR, supported the AirBnB regulations proposed in CF 14-1635-S2 as long as they didn’t let people living in rent stabilized units rent out their homes and let building owners forbid their tenants from participating if they wanted to. This email is transcribed after the break.

And then, certainly because as you yourself have no doubt suspected, nobody actually reads a damn thing that comes in to those “councilmember.wtf@lacity.org” addresses, less than two minutes later James W. Litz turned around and forwarded the email to Mitch O’Farrell at the secret Gmail address, which is to say mitchof13@gmail.com, with a personal note:
Continue reading First Look At Emails From Mitch O’Farrell’s Secret Gmail Account! — Fascinating Material! — For Instance Registered Lobbyist James Litz Emailed Him There In April 2018 Attempting To Influence Today’s AirBnB Vote! — While Losers Like You And Me And The Rest Of Us Had To Email Him At His Probably Unattended City Email Address — And A Bunch More Stuff Besides! — Oh, Did I Mention That O’Farrell Chief Of Staff Jeanne Min Is A Big Whiny-Baby?

Share

Mitch O’Farrell Has A Private Gmail Account Through Which He Conducts City Business — And His Chief Of Staff, Jeanne Min, Refuses To Release All Emails From This Account — Insists That There Is More Public Interest In Withholding Them — But No One Actually Believes That — Probably Not Even Her

In the last few years a number of public officials have been criticized extensively1 for using privately controlled email accounts to conduct public business. Hillary Clinton was famously investigated by the FBI for this. And just yesterday it was revealed that Ivanka Trump has done the same thing. Thus we were fascinated to learn recently that CD13’s own Mitch O’Farrell also uses a privately owned Gmail account, mitchof13@gmail.com, to conduct City business and, doubtless, to evade scrutiny.

This was discovered recently by our friends at the Hollywood Sunshine Coalition, who passed us the material on which this post is based. And this revelation settles a big mystery. As you know, I personally have obtained many thousands of pages of emails from CD13 on any number of subjects, and there are never any at all from O’Farrell himself. Previously I had thought that either Dan Halden, who handled most of my requests, was purposely omitting emails from his boss or else that O’Farrell was communicating in ways that didn’t leave traces, like phone calls. Now it seems likely that he has been evading scrutiny by using this secret email address.

The HSC has been making public records act requests for emails from this account. There are two ways to approach this. The first, and so far the only successful, way is to find correspondents who are subject to the CPRA and ask them for emails involving O’Farrell’s secret email address. This led to request number 18-2976 on the City’s newish CPRA platform, which is called Nextrequest.2 For some reason the City has made the request page available for public view but not the records provided. They turned over 21 highly duplicative PDF pages of emails between O’Farrell and various officers and, interestingly, some members of the Hollywood Studio District Neighborhood Council. You can read these 21 pages here. Apparently the HSC has other such requests pending.

But the HSC’s other strategy has turned to be much more interesting, even though it hasn’t gotten them any actual records yet. It’s based on last year’s absolutely monumental California Supreme Court opinion in City of San Jose v. Superior Court, which found that the emails and text messages of public officials are subject to the CPRA even if they are held in private accounts.

Based on this principle, on November 7 the HSC sent this CPRA request to CD13, asking for all emails held in the account from July 1, 2013 through the present.3 And yesterday, probably unsurprisingly, O’Farrell’s chief of staff, Jeanne Min, replied with the usual mush-mouthed nonsense, the TL;DR of which is “fuck you no records.” The HSC responded pretty scathingly, and then responded again for good measure. They’ve promised to keep me in the loop with respect to further developments. After the break you can find transcriptions of most of these emails along with some technical discussion of the CPRA issues implicated.

Meanwhile I’m told by those who ought to know that the HSC will not drop this request and that they are prepared to litigate if necessary. We’ll see what happens, I guess. Whatever happens, it’s clear that the public interest is very much against allowing Mitch O’Farrell to get away with maintaining this secret side channel for communicating with his favored few and with secreting emails away from public scrutiny and the City’s record retention policies.
Continue reading Mitch O’Farrell Has A Private Gmail Account Through Which He Conducts City Business — And His Chief Of Staff, Jeanne Min, Refuses To Release All Emails From This Account — Insists That There Is More Public Interest In Withholding Them — But No One Actually Believes That — Probably Not Even Her

Share

Jocelyn Duarte Wrote A Letter To Mitch O’Farrell Supporting Herb Wesson’s Anti-Gadfly Motion — In Fact It Was Her Kid Whose Ears Famously Got Covered Due To Armando Herman’s Foul Mouth — Duarte Is The Interim Executive Director Of The Salvadoran-American Leadership And Educational Fund — O’Farrell Staffie David Giron Is SALEF’s Vice President — Who Presumably Will Decide If Her Position Is Made Permanent — Astroturfing Much? — Daily Irony Supplement: A Bunch Of Angry Rich White People Disrupt Public Meeting — Scream At David Ryu About Homeless Shelters — Don’t Get Banned From Future Meetings — Let Alone Ejected From That One — Or Even Arrested For Violating §403 PC

Oh man, the whole damn city is buzzing over Herb Wesson’s latest attempt to use the U.S. and the California Constitutions as so much toilet paper just in order to score an ephemeral point or two against his nemeses Armando Herman and Wayne Spindler. Noted civil rights lawyer Stephen Rohde, who’s grown rich and fat from our City Council’s previous transgressions against freedom and decency, even had a piece in City Watch about it.

Kerry Morrison of the Hollywood Property Owners’ Alliance, who never met a fascist she didn’t worship the walking-on-ground of,1 predictably wrote an intensely stupid letter to the Times supporting Wesson. And the interim executive of the Salvadoran-American Leadership and Educational Fund, Jocelyn Duarte, famously had to cover her kid’s ears to keep out Armando Herman’s admittedly foul language and then she wrote this letter to Mitch O’Farrell begging him to think of the damn children.2

Herb Wesson famously solicited the letter from Duarte, just as this master of astroturfing famously solicits letters of support for all manner of his crackpot ideas.3 But this letter from Jocelyn Duarte is astroturfed in a whole different dimension. Take another look at the actual letter. See the board of directors on the left. Notice Mitch O’Freaking Farrell’s legislative director David Giron listed there. Note that Jocelyn Duarte is the interim executive director. And who else but David Giron and his board cronies is going to be filling the permanent position? Oh, of course, Mitch O’Farrell, who also never met a fascist he didn’t adore, seconded Wesson’s motion.

In one sense there’s nothing that shocking here. Our City’s council files are, it turns out, just full to the very rim with this kind of stage-managed illusion of popular support for every random whim of every random Council repster, submitted on demand in the hope of currying favor for God knows what sinister purposes. In another sense, it really is shocking, or at least interesting enough for me to keep writing about! Of course there’s a transcription of the letter after the break.

Before that, though, watch this video of a bunch of angry rich white anti-homeless people screaming at David Ryu last night to the point where he could no longer speak. See the cops standing around watching? No one’s getting clubbed, tased, banned from future meetings, arrested, or even ejected, which is amazing because, unlike saying “fuck” at a Council meeting, this kind of thing is actually a freaking crime.4 But of course these rich angry white people don’t bother Herb Wesson and the rest of them at all. No need to pass new laws against them or even to enforce existing ones. These angry rich white people make freaking campaign contributions!
Continue reading Jocelyn Duarte Wrote A Letter To Mitch O’Farrell Supporting Herb Wesson’s Anti-Gadfly Motion — In Fact It Was Her Kid Whose Ears Famously Got Covered Due To Armando Herman’s Foul Mouth — Duarte Is The Interim Executive Director Of The Salvadoran-American Leadership And Educational Fund — O’Farrell Staffie David Giron Is SALEF’s Vice President — Who Presumably Will Decide If Her Position Is Made Permanent — Astroturfing Much? — Daily Irony Supplement: A Bunch Of Angry Rich White People Disrupt Public Meeting — Scream At David Ryu About Homeless Shelters — Don’t Get Banned From Future Meetings — Let Alone Ejected From That One — Or Even Arrested For Violating §403 PC

Share

The Hollywood Property Owners’ Alliance In Cahoots With CD13 Is Removing Ficus Trees From Hollywood — Why Has The City Of Los Angeles Ceded Its Duty To Care For Our Trees To A Bunch Of Nihilistic Zillionaires Who Don’t Even Live In Hollywood?

The Hollywood Property Owners’ Alliance, which runs the major Hollywood BID, has a long and troubled relationship with the City of Los Angeles and tree regulations. For instance, remember when that billboard company illegally cut down all those trees in Silver Lake in 2016 and the whole City flipped out even to the extent of revenge vandalism? This crisis somehow catapulted Mitch O’Farrell and David Ryu into a rare moment of sanity and they initiated CF 15-0467-S4, in which they asked for report-backs from the City Attorney and the Bureau of Street Services on how to prevent future rogue tree removals.

And the Bureau of Street Services came in with a pretty strong set of recommendations, which included requiring before-and-after photos of tree maintenance done by private parties as well as requiring the presence of City tree surgeons. Well, as you may recall, the BID absolutely flipped out over this in their characteristically privileged manner, which included typically unsubstantiated claims of their unparalleled arboreal competence and even featured archetypal BID genius Mark Echevarria of Musso & Frank giggling like a six-fingered chucklehead cause he never heard of tree surgeons.1

And over the last two years the issue of the wanton destruction of our City’s trees has not died down. In fact it’s getting worse and worse. For a good overview see this fine article by Alissa Walker in Curbed LA. The unwarranted removal of trees has emerged as a significant social justice issue with serious ecological ramifications. And political action can save trees. But political action is impossible if the City sneaks around and removes trees covertly.

And of course, the City’s favorite way to sneak around and do anything covertly is to palm it off onto the damn BIDs.2 Thus it was no surprise to discover a newly released email conversation between Marisol Rodriguez and Dan Halden of Mitch O’Farrell’s staff and Kerry Morrison and Rich Sarian of the HPOA which shows that the BID is in fact involved in secret tree destruction in Hollywood with the advice and consent of CD13.

It’s pretty clear that these actions are shady. It’s plausible that they’re illegal. Turn the page for transcriptions of as much of the record as we have available.
Continue reading The Hollywood Property Owners’ Alliance In Cahoots With CD13 Is Removing Ficus Trees From Hollywood — Why Has The City Of Los Angeles Ceded Its Duty To Care For Our Trees To A Bunch Of Nihilistic Zillionaires Who Don’t Even Live In Hollywood?

Share