Tag Archives: NextRequest

The Story Of A Request For Emails From LAPD — And All The Ridiculous Reasons They Propounded For Not Producing — And How They Then Produced!

On January 13, 2019 I asked the Los Angeles Police Department for emails between CD13 staffer Dan Halden and any LAPD employee from January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2018. Yesterday, eight months later, they produced emails from October and November 2018 with the promise of more to come. How we got to this point is the subject of today’s post.1 Here’s what the request said exactly:

Per my rights under the California Public Records Act, please provide all correspondence between anyone who works in the Los Angeles Police Department AND daniel.halden@lacity.org, for the time period of January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2018. Correspondence is defined as all emails, texts or other communications.

To be honest, when I made this request in January 2019 I was expecting LAPD to refuse to produce the records on technical grounds,2 And on January 18, 2019 they did exactly that. They gave two separate and mutually contradictory reasons for refusing to produce.

First they told me that “[y[our request does not describe the records sought clearly enough to permit my staff to determine whether any responsive documents exist.” This claim is based on the CPRA at §6253(b), which requires of requests that they “reasonably [describe] an identifiable record or records”. LAPD’s second reason for refusing to produce was that it would be too much work:

A search of email communications and correspondence for “anyone who works in the Department” would be unduly burdensome for the Department as interpreted in the “public interest” provision of section 6255 of the Act, and would require a separate search of each individual email account of approximately 14,400 Department email accounts.

Continue reading The Story Of A Request For Emails From LAPD — And All The Ridiculous Reasons They Propounded For Not Producing — And How They Then Produced!

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How To Use The California Public Records Act To Learn The Names Of LAPD Officers Who Responded To A Call — A Tutorial — These Techniques Are Useful For Other Purposes Also!

I recently learned how to use the California Public Records Act to learn the names of LAPD officers who respond to a call for service. This information is very useful to me, so probably it will be useful to others also. I didn’t previously know how to do it, and I wasn’t even sure it could be done. But it can! Which is important! And hence this post explaining how to do it! To get started you will need to know the date, time, and location of the call.1 That’s all that’s necessary.

In order to keep the explanation grounded I’m going to write about a concrete real-life example in parallel with the discussion of the general techniques. So imagine you were at Alpine Recreation Center in Chinatown on August 5, 2019 at about 10 p.m. and you saw a police car arrive and the officers talk to someone. We’re going to use the CPRA to learn who those officers were and various other facts about the call.

The first thing you have to do is find the reporting district that the location is in. The LAPD has the whole City divided up into these zones and most of their records are organized by them rather than by other more familiar systems. A little Googlism reveals that the address of the park is 817 Yale St., Los Angeles, CA 90012. The Los Angeles Times has a lovely map of the City organized according to LAPD stuff.2

It might be possible to search in that map, I don’t know, but you can also click down into it until you get to the location in question. Maybe it will take a visit to Google Maps to learn where the place is. And eventually you will learn that Alpine Rec Center is in Reporting District 111. Once you know the reporting district it’s time to make the CPRA request.

CPRA requests to LAPD go through the City’s NextRequest platform. This is self-explanatory and I won’t go into details about how to use it.3 Ask for all calls for service in your reporting district on or about your date/time. I don’t ever like to let slip exactly what I’m looking for, so in this case I asked for all calls for service in RD 111 for August 2019.
Continue reading How To Use The California Public Records Act To Learn The Names Of LAPD Officers Who Responded To A Call — A Tutorial — These Techniques Are Useful For Other Purposes Also!

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Paul Koretz’s Office Does Not Track Constituent Opinions On Issues — Or At Least They Have Not Done So In 2019 — This Is According To David Hersch — Koretz’s Deputy Chief Of Staff — So All That Dutiful Public Comment You’ve Been Submitting To CD5 O Best Beloved? — No One Over There Even Cares — Did You Call Or Email Koretz And Beg Him To Have A Damn Heart And Not Outlaw Vehicle Dwelling? — Your Thoughts Were Not Recorded — Along With The Story Of How I Learned This Tragic Fact — Which Illuminates The Uncaring Arrogance Of The City Of Los Angeles In Responding To Requests For Public Records

I can’t write yet about the City Council’s appalling behavior on Tuesday with respect to outlawing vehicle dwelling by renewing LAMC 85.02. It’s still too raw, and it’s too soon to have related records to publish. Local hero Lexis-Olivier Ray has an essential story on it in L.A. Taco, a story he inadvertently became a participant in when the police illegally forced him, a working journalist, to leave the room.

The day before the vote a lot of folks were calling their Councilmembers, leaving messages, sending emails, and so on, urging their repsters to vote against this abhorrent nonsense, much of it coordinated via Twitter. And to encourage action, @MamaWetzel told us that these calls do matter because there are staffers whose jobs it is to track public opinion on issues via spreadsheets and so on.1 And at that word, spreadsheets, well, my eyes just rolled back in my head with joy because, as you know, a spreadsheet is a public record!

So I immediately asked a few representative council offices for 2019 records used to track constituent opinion on issues, giving spreadsheets as an example but not limiting it just to spreadsheets.2 This, as I said, was on Monday, just a few days ago. In CPRAlandia that’s nothing, no time at all, an eyeblink. So I wasn’t, and still am not, expecting results soon. But despite that, yesterday, July 31, 2019, I did actually get some very interesting news from CD5, who is pretty easy to make requests of, being on NextRequest.

Their designated CPRA responder, David Hersch, initially told me that my request was “overboard, [sic] unduly burdensome and unfocused” because, he claimed, there were too many records responsive and that therefore he wouldn’t process it until I narrowed it down. This is a standard move in the City of Los Angeles and I discuss it in great detail below. I responded, as I typically do, by asking how many records there were and explaining that the request was exceedingly focused.

Hersch responded five hours later by saying that actually there were no records at all and that CD5 didn’t keep track of constituent opinions, or at least had not done so in 2019.3 This is pretty interesting news even apart from the interesting but technical matters regarding CPRA. It’s not like Koretz doesn’t do stuff on the Council. He’s famous for his animal rights work, the importance of which I am not discounting.

For instance, just recently he’s been spending a lot of time saving Billy the Elephant, and there was that vegan food thing from December. This year alone he’s sponsored 80 motions. But all those calls and letters you folks in CD5 have spent the time to send? All that public comment? No one over there is keeping track at all. Paul Koretz has his mind made up, he’s gonna do what he’s gonna do, and ain’t all your tears wash out a word of it.4

And at this point I won’t be surprised if none of them keep track. I will certainly be working on finding out, of course. Which would be an important part of an explanation as to why Los Quince Jefes can sit up on their dais so complacently day after clueless day fiddling with their phones while their computers automatically vote yes on oppression and the City prepares to burn. That’s today’s revelation and today’s rant. Read on for the CPRA wonkery!
Continue reading Paul Koretz’s Office Does Not Track Constituent Opinions On Issues — Or At Least They Have Not Done So In 2019 — This Is According To David Hersch — Koretz’s Deputy Chief Of Staff — So All That Dutiful Public Comment You’ve Been Submitting To CD5 O Best Beloved? — No One Over There Even Cares — Did You Call Or Email Koretz And Beg Him To Have A Damn Heart And Not Outlaw Vehicle Dwelling? — Your Thoughts Were Not Recorded — Along With The Story Of How I Learned This Tragic Fact — Which Illuminates The Uncaring Arrogance Of The City Of Los Angeles In Responding To Requests For Public Records

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Reefer Madness Is Alive And Well In The Hollywood Entertainment District BID! — Between 2016 and 2018 73% Of All Citations For Public Marijuana Use In the Entire City Of Los Angeles Were In the Hollywood BID — The Venice BID Is A Distant Second Place With 8% — Leaving A Mere 19% — Which Is Only 170 Citations — For The Entire Rest Of The City Of Los Angeles

Even though marijuana use in California was formally legalized recently, it’s still against the law to use it in public per the California Health and Safety Code at §11362.3. And apparently Lolita Lopez, investigative reporter at NBCLA, is doing a story on how this plays out in Los Angeles, because on February 2, 2019 she filed a CPRA request with the City for a list of citations under this law from 2016 to the present. Her request was successful, and a few days later the LAPD handed over this spreadsheet, organized by reporting district.1

And public marijuana use is one of those laws that’s custom-made for differential enforcement against homeless people. Thus it occurred to me to take a look at this data in conjuction with BIDs, which are one of the main engines of differential enforcement in Los Angeles. And the data revealed something really interesting. There were 887 citations in the two years covered by the data. Of these citations, 645 occurred in only 6 reporting districts, which precisely cover the Hollywood Entertainment District BID. Also 71 occurred in two others, which precisely cover the Venice Beach BID. The other 171 were spread out pretty evenly across the whole rest of the City.

This means that 72.7% of all citations for public marijuana use in the entire City of Los Angeles since 2016 were issued in the Hollywood Entertainment District BID. And 8% were issued in the Venice Beach BID. It doesn’t take any kind of fancy statistical analysis to prove that this is a really significant result, almost certainly linked to Kerry Morrison and her BID’s well-known tactic of arresting every homeless person that they can lay their hands on for the most trivial possible matters, such as drinking in public or urinating in public. Evidently now we can add smoking marijuana in public to this list of homeless-criminalizing tactics employed by the BID.

The HPOA BID Patrol is famous for its aggressive arrest policies. In 2013 they were responsible for more than 7% of the arrests of homeless people in the entire City of Los Angeles. Their arrest rate has dropped precipitously in the last few years, but it is still unbelievably high. But since 2016 they have refused to provide data on their individual arrests in response to CPRA requests, so it hasn’t been possible to tell who they were arresting and why.2

However, each arrest that the BID Patrol makes results in some kind of action by the LAPD. And given that the LAPD doesn’t seem to expend much effort in arresting anyone for public marijuana use outside the BID, it’s not unreasonable to assume that these figures are a proxy for the BID’s interest in the differential enforcement of this law. If they’re not making these arrests themselves then the arrests are the result of some BID policy.

The situation in Venice is a little less clear, as the Venice Beach BID only started its security work sometime in 2017, and the Boardwalk is a likely place for the LAPD to practice its own style of selective enforcement without needing a BID to encourage it. But the moral of the story is still very clear. It’s illegal to smoke marijuana in public in Los Angeles, but effectively it’s illegal only if you’re homeless and only if you’re in the Hollywood BID. Turn the page for maps and charts!
Continue reading Reefer Madness Is Alive And Well In The Hollywood Entertainment District BID! — Between 2016 and 2018 73% Of All Citations For Public Marijuana Use In the Entire City Of Los Angeles Were In the Hollywood BID — The Venice BID Is A Distant Second Place With 8% — Leaving A Mere 19% — Which Is Only 170 Citations — For The Entire Rest Of The City Of Los Angeles

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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

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