Tag Archives: Mitchell v. City of Los Angeles

South Park BID Board Member Terry Rubenroit Used Central City Association Chief Jessica Lall’s Name In Vain — While Importuning Deputy City Attorney Gita O’Neill Not To Settle Mitchell V. City Of LA — So Jessica Lall Had To Fire A Thunderbolt Down From Her Heavenly Perch And Smite The Holy Crap Out Of Terry Rubenroit — Who Says She Learned Her Lesson Because She Knows What All These Downtown Zillionaires Know — That It May Be Safe To Ignore Jesus But It’s Not Safe To Ignore Jessica Lall

Of course you’re aware that the City of Los Angeles agreed on March 6, 2019 to settle the monumental civil rights case Mitchell v. Los Angeles brought against it on behalf of homeless people whose property has been seized and destroyed by the police and other agents of the City. Settling was the only prudent course for the City to take because the City, clearly and provably guilty of all they were accused of, was going to lose and lose big if it went to trial.

That this is so has been clear enough to all sane observers at least since 2016 when the federal court issued a preliminary injunction preventing the City from seizing the property of its homeless victims. But of course, in the City of Los Angeles not all the observers are sane, and thus at least since the Summer of 2018 the certified domestic terrorist organization known as the Central City Association of Los Angeles led a concerted lobbying effort to convince the City to take the case to trial rather than settling.

And one of the effects of this campaign and its fairly crazed propaganda was the sorry spectacle of zillionaires and their minions swarming by the tens and dozens to every possible public forum where they could bitch, moan, and piss about how settling Mitchell would cause typhus epidemics, leprosy, locust plagues, an oversupply of crack-smoking prostitutes, and wanton smiting of presumptive unsmitables. The commentary spanned the entire gamut of zillionaire affective styles, all the way from slavering insanity to third generation liberal-inflected psychopathy.

And one of the favored means by which these kings and queens of our City make their displeasure known is by writing to their pet officials and demanding meetings. Just for instance, behold this pallid little number by South Park BID Board member Terry Rubenroit to Deputy City Attorney for the Placation of Rich People WRT Homelessophobia Gita O’Neill. Also be sure to behold the fact that Rubenroit CCed Jessica Lall, who is Eternal Queen of Downtown but not in a good way Carol Schatz’s handpicked successor to the CCALA throne.

And that, friends, was Rubenroit’s first mistake! And her last! Jessica Lall flipped out on her and told her to never ever ever do that again because it messed with the incomprehensible-to-minions-such-as-Rubenroit eleven dimensional chess being played by Lall and her elite peers on the eleventy-first floors of the skyscraping towers of Downtown Los Angeles. And then Rubenroit rolled over and bared her throat in a quantum-level appeasement display! And then Lall accepted her submission! Read on for transcriptions of all of it!
Continue reading South Park BID Board Member Terry Rubenroit Used Central City Association Chief Jessica Lall’s Name In Vain — While Importuning Deputy City Attorney Gita O’Neill Not To Settle Mitchell V. City Of LA — So Jessica Lall Had To Fire A Thunderbolt Down From Her Heavenly Perch And Smite The Holy Crap Out Of Terry Rubenroit — Who Says She Learned Her Lesson Because She Knows What All These Downtown Zillionaires Know — That It May Be Safe To Ignore Jesus But It’s Not Safe To Ignore Jessica Lall

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“They’re Saying It’s A Constitutional Right To Have Stuff” — More Performative Insanity From Batty Little Fusspot Blair Besten — The Finest Legal Mind Of Her Generation — As She Explains The Mitchell Injunction To You — From The Point Of View Of A Whiny Entitled Privileged Stupid Person — A Constituency That Doesn’t Get Nearly Enough Attention In Los Angeles — That’s Sarcasm — They’re In Charge Of The Damn Asylum — And Listen To Her Run Her Poormouth About How Her Putatively Underfunded BID Makes Do With Low Budgets By Being More Efficient Than The Fashion District — Which Spends Proportionately Half Of What Besten Spends On Administration — Lie Or Incompetence? — The Perennial Besten Question

It’s been a long while since we here at the blog have heard from Blair Besten, the half-pint Norma Desmond of the Historic Core.1 Well, it’s because, like with El Duckworth, she is so convinced that she is above the law that I haven’t gotten any substantial records out of her infernal BID in ever so long, and without records I will not, I can not, mock.

And of course, as you know, I’m in the process of suing her and her damnable BID to enforce compliance with the Public Records Act. And she’s going to lose, because losing is what she does best. So at some point the records will be rolling in again and the full-time mockery will resume. Until then, though, well, I have always relied on the kindness of strangers, and they are strangely kind to me.

In particular, just recently, unsolicited, was handed to me2 an audio track of an unscheduled appearance made by Ms. Besten at some bullshit meeting conducted at some bullshit Downtown residential bullshit location, having something to do with some bullshit or other. So I made it into a video3 and you can listen here on YouTube and here on Archive.Org, where you can also download it more easily. And of course there’s also a complete transcription after the break!

And best of all, this unexpected bit of Besteniana means that it’s gonna be like the good old days around here what with all the mere mockery unloosed upon the world! Gonna mock around the clock tonight! Turn the page, I’m gonna lay it on you in increments, but before then let’s just spoil the ending and take a look at the single most incomprehensibly lobotomized proclamation proclaimed by Ms. Blair Besten in a long unbroken chain of incomprehensibly lobotomized proclamity!

What, you may ask, does Ms. Blair Besten think that the plaintiffs in the lawsuit Mitchell v. Los Angeles are so freaking wrong about? Why “they’re saying that it’s a constitutional right to have stuff in Skid Row.” If you stop and think about it, Ms. Besten, that’s kind of like, almost, what the Fourteenth Amendment to the constitution is saying with all that jive about “nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”

See the part about property? That’s what grownups call “stuff.” And I don’t see anything about it not being true in Skid Row. In fact, all kinds of people have “stuff” in Skid Row. Like e.g. all those property owners in the Downtown Industrial District BID. Gonna tell them they can’t have stuff there?

And the amendment goes on to say that states may not “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” They seem to have left out the not in Skid Row bit there too. So on Blair Besten’s testimony it’s hard to see why she’s so upset at the prospect of the City settling Mitchell. But she is very upset. Can see how it might get confusing to folks like Besten. And listen, lest you think I’m being pointlessly mean to Blair Besten, please keep in mind that this is not just some kook spouting her theories to the waves on Venice Beach.

She is the head of a major Downtown Business Improvement District, hand-picked by Jose Huizar over the objections of its board of directors to administer its outrageously high $2.2 million budget. She is widely considered by City officials to be some kind of expert on homelessness, to the point where they appointed her to the damn HHH citizens’ oversight committee over the objections of a lot of sane and accomplished people. She’s not just a kook, although she is a kook. She’s a dangerous kook with a lot of power. So yeah, I’m being mean to Blair Besten, but not pointlessly mean. Anyway, read on, friends!
Continue reading “They’re Saying It’s A Constitutional Right To Have Stuff” — More Performative Insanity From Batty Little Fusspot Blair Besten — The Finest Legal Mind Of Her Generation — As She Explains The Mitchell Injunction To You — From The Point Of View Of A Whiny Entitled Privileged Stupid Person — A Constituency That Doesn’t Get Nearly Enough Attention In Los Angeles — That’s Sarcasm — They’re In Charge Of The Damn Asylum — And Listen To Her Run Her Poormouth About How Her Putatively Underfunded BID Makes Do With Low Budgets By Being More Efficient Than The Fashion District — Which Spends Proportionately Half Of What Besten Spends On Administration — Lie Or Incompetence? — The Perennial Besten Question

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Rebecca Cooley v. City Of Los Angeles — On October 21, 2018 Carol Sobel Filed Yet Another Federal Suit Against The City Of Los Angeles — Alleging The Illegal Confiscation And Destruction Of The Property Of Rebecca Cooley, Benjamin Hubert, And Casimir Zoroda — Three Disabled Homeless People Living In Venice At The Time — Seeks Class Action Status For Approximately 60 Others Similarly Situated

On October 21, 2018 Carol Sobel filed suit in federal court against the City of Los Angeles on behalf of three named homeless people along with about sixty others similarly situated. The three, Rebecca Cooley, her husband Benjamin Hubert, and Casimir Zaroda, are homeless people who were living on the streets in Venice in September 2017 when the City of Los Angeles, without notice and without any kind of process, confiscated and destroyed their property, including tents, blankets, essential paperwork, transit passes, and other items essential to the maintenance of human life. The suit comes just as the City is resuming its horrific, indiscriminate sweeps of homeless encampments outside of neighborhoods covered by the various injunctions.

The initial complaint claims that the City’s actions violate constitutional bans on takings and on unlawful seizure as well as the constitutional guarantee of due process. These familiar theories have been consistently upheld by federal courts up to and including the Ninth Circuit,1 all of which have been willing to issue and/or uphold injunctions against the City’s property confiscation and destruction policies. So it’s hard to imagine that the City can prevail on these issues.

Also, because two of the three named plaintiffs are disabled along with many of the similarly situated unnamed plaintiffs, the complaint also alleges that the City violated the Americans With Disabilities Act by confiscating their essential papers and means of transportation, by storing confiscated property in locations and facilities not properly accessible to disabled people, and, in general, by following policies and practices with respect to homeless people’s property that disproportionately burden disabled people.

Turn the page for transcriptions of selections from the initial complaint.
Continue reading Rebecca Cooley v. City Of Los Angeles — On October 21, 2018 Carol Sobel Filed Yet Another Federal Suit Against The City Of Los Angeles — Alleging The Illegal Confiscation And Destruction Of The Property Of Rebecca Cooley, Benjamin Hubert, And Casimir Zoroda — Three Disabled Homeless People Living In Venice At The Time — Seeks Class Action Status For Approximately 60 Others Similarly Situated

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Rex Schellenberg v. City Of Los Angeles — In September 2018 Carol Sobel Filed Yet Another Federal Suit Against The City Of Los Angeles — Alleging Summary Confiscation And Destruction Of The Property Of An Elderly Disabled Homeless Man — And Seeking An Injunction Against These Practices — For Some Reason This Has Not Been Covered At All In The Media — Read The Initial Complaint Here

On September 3, 2018 Carol Sobel filed suit in federal court against the City of Los Angeles, alleging that Rex Schellenberg, a homeless man living in the San Fernando Valley, stepped away from his property briefly only to have it confiscated and much of it destroyed by the LAPD and LA Sanitation personnel. I can’t find anything about this case in the media, in contrast to Sobel’s other pending case on the matter, Mitchell v. City of LA, which is covered extensively. You can read and get copies of the pleadings here on Archive.Org. I’ll update the collection as more stuff is filed.

The facts of the case are simple. Schellenberg, an elderly man homeless in Los Angeles for more than twenty years and disabled as well, lives in the San Fernando Valley. In July 2017 he left his property momentarily unattended to visit a convenience store and employees of the City of Los Angeles summarily confiscated and destroyed Schellenberg’s neatly stored possessions. In its monumental decision in Lavan v. City of LA, the Ninth Circuit had this to say about this practice:

As we have repeatedly made clear, “[t]he government may not take property like a thief in the night; rather, it must announce its intentions and give the property owner a chance to argue against the taking.” This simple rule holds regardless of whether the property in question is an Escalade or [a tent], a Cadillac or a cart. The City demonstrates that it completely misunderstands the role of due process by its contrary suggestion that homeless persons instantly and permanently lose any protected property interest in their possessions by leaving them momentarily unattended in violation of a municipal ordinance. As the district court recognized, the logic of the City’s suggestion would also allow it to seize and destroy cars parked in no-parking zones left momentarily unattended.

As with all of Sobel’s writing, the initial complaint makes compelling reading. You can get a copy of the PDF here, or turn the page for a transcription of selections.
Continue reading Rex Schellenberg v. City Of Los Angeles — In September 2018 Carol Sobel Filed Yet Another Federal Suit Against The City Of Los Angeles — Alleging Summary Confiscation And Destruction Of The Property Of An Elderly Disabled Homeless Man — And Seeking An Injunction Against These Practices — For Some Reason This Has Not Been Covered At All In The Media — Read The Initial Complaint Here

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City of Los Angeles Files Unconvincing Response To Carol Sobel’s Opposition To City’s Motion For Clarification Of Judge Otero’s Preliminary Injunction Against Confiscation Of Homeless People’s Property In Skid Row, Basically Ask Court To Allow Them To Confiscate Incident To Arrest Even If There’s A Third Party To Take Property Cause Cops Don’t Have Time To Do The Right Thing

See Gale Holland’s excellent story in the Times on Mitchell v. LA as well as our other stories on the subject for the background to this post. See here to download most of the papers filed in the case.

Last week it came out that ongoing settlement talks in Mitchell v. City of Los Angeles had broken down, leading to the plaintiffs filing an opposition to the City’s motion for clarification of Judge Otero’s April 2016 preliminary injunction against the City. Yesterday the City filed a reply to Sobel’s opposition (PDF, transcription after the break).

The City’s argument is based on the highly dubious assertion that “Throughout all of its efforts, the City strives to balance the need of all of the City’s residents to have clean, sanitary, and accessible public areas, including sidewalks, with the needs of “the City’s large and vulnerable homeless population” and they just need clarification “…to ensure that its employees who are responsible for protecting the health, safety, and welfare of every person living or working in the Skid Row area clearly understand, and are in a position to successfully implement, the terms of the Court’s Order.”

Of course, it’s much, much more likely that the City’s goal is to harass homeless people so mercilessly that they all leave, freeing up the valuable real estate of Skid Row for the Downtown developers who hungering so fiercely for it. And I apologize that I can’t go into more detail, but, as I said, there’s a transcription after the break.
Continue reading City of Los Angeles Files Unconvincing Response To Carol Sobel’s Opposition To City’s Motion For Clarification Of Judge Otero’s Preliminary Injunction Against Confiscation Of Homeless People’s Property In Skid Row, Basically Ask Court To Allow Them To Confiscate Incident To Arrest Even If There’s A Third Party To Take Property Cause Cops Don’t Have Time To Do The Right Thing

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Discussions On City Of LA’s Motion For Clarification Of Otero’s Preliminary Injunction Forbidding Confiscation Of Homeless Property In Skid Row Finally Break Down, Leading Plaintiffs’ Attorneys To File Scathing Opposition — Hearing Set For September 11 At 10 a.m.

See Gale Holland’s excellent story in the Times on Mitchell v. LA as well as our other stories on the subject for the background to this post. See here to download most of the papers filed in the case.

It’s been over a year since anything tangible happened in Mitchell v. City of LA, which is the most recent lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles challenging the City’s abhorrent enforcement of the abhorrent LAMC 56.11 as an abhorrent justification for the illegal and immoral confiscation of the personal property of homeless people in Los Angeles. Here’s a brief timeline of what’s been going on:

  • April 2016 — Judge Otero issues a preliminary injunction severely limiting the City’s enforcement of LAMC 56.11 in Skid Row.
  • May 2016 — The City of Los Angeles asks Otero to clarify his injunction. In particular, the City wanted to know the boundaries within which the injunction applies and also how the community caretaking exception to the Fourth Amendment is to be exercised in relation to homeless people’s property.
  • Subsequently the City and the plaintiffs spent over a year trying to come to an agreement on the motion for clarification.

Well, yesterday Carol Sobel filed this opposition announcing that, while the parties were able to agree on the boundaries within which the injunction applies and some other matters, they most certainly were not able to agree on the community caretaking matter and neither were they able to agree on the City’s proposal for what constitutes a removable “bulky item.” The agreed-upon boundaries, by the way, are:

Second Street to the north, Eighth Street to the South, Alameda Street to the east and Spring Street to the west.

According to the American Bar Association Journal,

The idea behind community caretaking is that police do not always function as law enforcement officials investigating and ferreting out wrongdoing, but sometimes may act as community caretakers designed to prevent harm in emergency situations.

When they’re functioning in that role, the theory goes, they can seize cars without due process, or search houses without a warrant, and so on, as long as they’re “caring for the community” rather than investigating. Thus the community caretaking function justifies some specific exceptions to the Fourth Amendment prohibition on warrantless searches and seizures of property.

And I’m sure you can imagine just what kinds of mischief the City of Los Angeles is capable of getting up to with a tool like that. In particular they’re arguing that they ought to be able to confiscate people’s property when they’re arrested even if the arrestee has someone at the scene who can take custody of the property. The City says yes, sane people say no.

This matter is scheduled for a hearing at 10 a.m. on Monday, September 11, in Otero’s Courtroom 10C in the First Street Federal Courthouse. Anyway, turn the page for some excerpts from the filing which explain things better than I’m capable of doing.
Continue reading Discussions On City Of LA’s Motion For Clarification Of Otero’s Preliminary Injunction Forbidding Confiscation Of Homeless Property In Skid Row Finally Break Down, Leading Plaintiffs’ Attorneys To File Scathing Opposition — Hearing Set For September 11 At 10 a.m.

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