Tag Archives: Mitchell Englander

Herb Wesson Has Evidently Completely Lost His Shit Due To City Hall Gadflies — He Introduced A Motion In Council Today To Amend Rules To Allow For Escalating Penalties For Disrupting Council Meetings — Just Like In Grade School — Almost Certainly A Violation Of The Brown Act And The State Constitution — But Herb Wesson Hasn’t Let That Stop Him In The Past So Why Would He Worry Now?

UPDATE 2: This malcriado piece of crap has now received a CF number. It is CF 16-1104-S1. Subscribe and track, friends.

UPDATE: Emily Alpert-Reyes and David Zahniser, following up on my work,1 have published an excellent article in the Times on this very matter.

Herb Wesson, our putatively esteemed City Council president, is infamous for his inability to maintain his dignity in the face of criticism. He’s arranged for the City Attorney to trump up charges against Wayne Spindler, the guy with the puppets. He’s tried to instigate violence to cause the ejection of Armando Herman, the guy who makes faces. Wesson has spent years now tweaking Council rules to thwart members of the public who hurt his delicate feelings during public comment. His minion Mitch Englander, of course, is no better. The two of them even tried to amend the LAMC last year to make it easier to have putatively disruptive commenters arrested, although that particular unconstitutional abortion seems to have withered and died.

So it was shocking but not surprising to find this steaming little heap of a motion in today’s transmission from the City Clerk, wherein Wesson, seconded by Englander and a bunch of other folks who failed civics class, seeks to amend Council rules to allow ever-lengthening penalties for people who have been ejected from public meetings for disruption. If someone’s ejected from one meeting they’re ejected from all meetings for that day. The next time they’re banned for three days, and so on. You can read the entire text after the break.

The problem is that this rule almost certainly violates the state constitution, which guarantees via the Brown Act the right to attend and comment at public meetings. One can’t really be deprived of constitutional rights without due process, so Herb Wesson’s unilateral decision that one is being disruptive at one meeting can’t sensibly be enough to get one banned from other meetings. If this rule goes into effect it’ll give Herb Wesson the unilateral power to ban commenters from meeting for six days.

Of course there’s no principled distinction between six days and two weeks, between two weeks and a month, between a month and a year, between a year and forever. Obviously Herb Wesson doesn’t have the unilateral power to ban someone from public meetings forever, so he can’t do it for six days either. The Brown Act explicitly gives legislative bodies the power to clear the room for disruption, so obviously also the power to eject disruptive individuals.2 But there’s no law that allows the City Council to bar people from attending a different meeting because they allegedly disrupted an earlier meeting.

The state constitution, on the other hand, explicitly gives them the right to attend the later meeting. Now, of course, I’m not a lawyer, and I’m just shooting off my mouth about this, but you’ll see, I am correct. Turn the page for a transcription of the motion.
Continue reading Herb Wesson Has Evidently Completely Lost His Shit Due To City Hall Gadflies — He Introduced A Motion In Council Today To Amend Rules To Allow For Escalating Penalties For Disrupting Council Meetings — Just Like In Grade School — Almost Certainly A Violation Of The Brown Act And The State Constitution — But Herb Wesson Hasn’t Let That Stop Him In The Past So Why Would He Worry Now?

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A Motion In City Council Asks The HHH Citizens’ Oversight Committee To Recommend Ways To Speed Up Development Of Housing For The Homeless, Creating An Unacknowledged But Not Unexpected Conflict Of Interest For Members Kerry Morrison And Blair Besten, Whose Salaries Are Paid By Real Estate Developers For The Express Purpose Of Advocating For Their Interests With The City

In November 2016 the voters of Los Angeles approved Measure HHH, which provided a huge amount of funding for housing homeless people. The measure also created a Citizens’ Oversight Committee, putatively for the purpose of making sure the money was well-spent. Subsequently, Eric Garcetti appointed Hollywood BIDdie and famous mayoral pookie-pie Kerry Morrison and some other people to the Committee and the City Council appointed Downtown BIDdie and famous José Huizar pookie-pie Blair Besten to the Committee.

These appointments meant that 2 of 7 committee members work for business improvement districts,1 which was bad enough in itself given that one of the main purposes of BIDs is to banish the homeless from their districts and to basically waste public money in the form of their assessments while doing that. But on Wednesday matters got immeasurably worse.

What happened is that Marqueece Harris-Dawson and Mitchell Englander introduced a motion proposing to expand the remit of the CoC to include making

comprehensive recommendations to the Homelessness and Poverty Committee regarding changes to the permanent supportive housing process and funding structure to enable a more expedited delivery of homeless housing.

That is, the Committee is now charged with weakening the funding process and the permitting and building approval process for projects that will help house the homeless. This sounds superficially like a good thing, but there’s at least one huge problem with it. Blair Besten’s employers, Kerry Morrison’s employers, are huge commercial property owners and developers and weakened processes are their bread and butter. They know exactly how to turn weakened processes into strengthened profit margins.

At least some of them, e.g. Ruben Islas, make immense amounts of money from building and owning housing for the homeless. Blair Besten has lobbied the City intensively on relaxing zoning codes and on granting psychotically expansive tax breaks to such developers. This new proposal, therefore, would grant Blair Besten and Kerry Morrison the power to make recommendations directly to City Council on issues that they are already paid by developers and property owners to lobby the City over.
Continue reading A Motion In City Council Asks The HHH Citizens’ Oversight Committee To Recommend Ways To Speed Up Development Of Housing For The Homeless, Creating An Unacknowledged But Not Unexpected Conflict Of Interest For Members Kerry Morrison And Blair Besten, Whose Salaries Are Paid By Real Estate Developers For The Express Purpose Of Advocating For Their Interests With The City

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City Of Los Angeles Poised To Spend $150,000 To Settle Street Vending Lawsuit Over Englander’s Opposition, Pending Only Garcetti’s Signature, Which It Seems Will Settle It For The Fashion District BID As Well

You can read up on the background in this 2015 LA times story and also in our multiple stories on the subject. Most of the paper filed in the case is available here.

Towards the end of September the parties to this monumental lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles and the Fashion District BID filed papers with the court announcing that a settlement was in the works and asking that the calendar be put on hold.

Today and yesterday a few things happened with respect to this process. Today the parties filed a status report with the court announcing that the settlement process was on track but they needed until December 30 to work out the details. This was closely followed by an order from Judge André Birotte extending the time as requested.

More interestingly, though, yesterday the City Council went into closed session to discuss the terms of the settlement.1 They passed this motion authorizing the expenditure of $150,000 to fund the settlement, at least some of which is going, with good cause, straight to Carol Sobel. Interestingly, and the reason’s not clear, Mitch Englander voted against the motion.

It’s also interesting that the motion was put forth by Paul Krekorian and seconded by Paul Koretz. It’s my unscientific impression that in the ordinary course of events this would have been moved by José Huizar, since the events which precipitated the case happened in his district. Who knows what’s going on? Maybe it’s because Krekorian and Koretz are on the committee which gave its preliminary approval to the motion? Anyway, the whole matter is in Garcetti’s hands now, and he has until December 18 to sign off. There’s a transcription of the motion after the break.
Continue reading City Of Los Angeles Poised To Spend $150,000 To Settle Street Vending Lawsuit Over Englander’s Opposition, Pending Only Garcetti’s Signature, Which It Seems Will Settle It For The Fashion District BID As Well

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Venice Beach BID Hearing Roundup: Bonin Jettisons Deference, Implicatively Slams Hollywood, Downtown BIDs: “There’ve Been Good BIDs And There’ve Been Bad BIDs” And Hollywood? And Downtown? Not Good BIDs. Wesson/Englander Totalitarian Style Almost Causes Third Do-Over

A battle-weary Mike Bonin graciously acknowledges his ultimate victory this afternoon at the Venice Beach BID hearing.
A battle-weary Mike Bonin graciously acknowledges his ultimate victory this afternoon at the Venice Beach BID hearing.
Quick summary: Venice Beach BID hearing in August was messed up due to habitual arrogance of City Council. Heroic civil rights lawyer calls bullshit. City Attorney sees potential liability for City and advises a do-over. A bunch of other shenanigans, too many to name-check at this point, ensue. This morning the do-over hearing was held. You can watch it here on YouTube.

So everyone made their comments, and they weren’t all that different from the first time, although Mike Bonin managed not to lose his shit and compare the BID opposition to Trump supporters.1 But nevertheless, there were a few surprising moments. Recall that the first hearing was invalidated because third-smartest-guy-in-the-room Herb Wesson cut off public comment too early. So this time, Mitch Englander, who is Council president pro tem,2 after all the speaker cards had been called, announced to the world at large:3

Mitch Englander on the dais getting whispered advice from a deputy city attorney.  What does it say about our City that almost 15% of our Councilmembers are named Mitch?  Nothing good, friends, nothing good.
Mitch Englander on the dais getting whispered advice from a deputy city attorney. What does it say about our City that almost 15% of our Councilmembers are named Mitch? Nothing good, friends, nothing good.


I wanna be extra careful on this one given the problems with the last public hearing. Is there anybody here who filled out a card or tried to speak or
[unintelligible] has not been heard yet?

And then the other one, Wesson or Englander, seeing that sanest of habitual gadflies, Eric Preven, indicating that he would like to speak, announced:

Ah, Mr. Preven, you actually spoke to the Council already for your maximum of three minutes per the Council rules.

And Preven said no. And everyone in the room wondered whether they were really going to take the risk of messing everything up for a second time just to prevent Eric Preven from speaking for one more minute after we’d all been there almost an hour already. Well, the Deputy City Attorney told the two prezzes to CTFO, and they folded, for Christ’s sake, and let Eric Preven speak.

But far more interesting than that was Bonin’s victory speech.4 In particular, maybe since he was feeling a little conciliatory, he said:
Continue reading Venice Beach BID Hearing Roundup: Bonin Jettisons Deference, Implicatively Slams Hollywood, Downtown BIDs: “There’ve Been Good BIDs And There’ve Been Bad BIDs” And Hollywood? And Downtown? Not Good BIDs. Wesson/Englander Totalitarian Style Almost Causes Third Do-Over

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Mike Bonin’s Gift Journals 2013-2015: All The Pretty People They’re All Drinking, Thinking That They’ve Got It Made / Exchanging All Precious Gifts, But You Better Take Your “Basket with Locally Made Pickles, Honey, Kale Chips,” You Better Pawn It Babe

More gifts to Mike Bonin, prominently displayed in his City Hall office on Wednesday, October 12, 2016.
More gifts to Mike Bonin, prominently displayed in his City Hall office on Wednesday, October 12, 2016.
Did you even know that the members of our esteemed City Council all send one another and various other people gifts in the putative holiday season? Well they do, and evidently it’s just another thing that the pretty people do when they’re all drinking, thinking that they got it made.1

The City Ethics Commission requires City officials to keep track of these presents, and so, in response to a CPRA request, I received these records from Chad Molnar the other day, despite his claim that fulfilling my more substantial requests would make CD11 constituents suffer. Perhaps he sent these items along because they aren’t likely to make the constituents, who thrive in darkness and secrecy and evidently include outlaw BID proponents Mark Sokol and Carl Lambert, suffer too much, because they have very little content. However, what they do have is fairly amusing. You can get them:

Another purpose of this post is to announce the reorganization of the menu structure, which was getting a little top-heavy. Also, the inauguration of our new CD11 Page, which doesn’t have much on it now, but it will soon, I hope. Turn the page for direct links to the gift journals along with a little bit of relatively restrained mockery.
Continue reading Mike Bonin’s Gift Journals 2013-2015: All The Pretty People They’re All Drinking, Thinking That They’ve Got It Made / Exchanging All Precious Gifts, But You Better Take Your “Basket with Locally Made Pickles, Honey, Kale Chips,” You Better Pawn It Babe

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