Tag Archives: Paul Koretz

It Turns Out That The Los Angeles Department Of Sanitation — Which Is A Key Player In The Raiding And Destruction Of Homeless Encampments — Will Provide “Community Dumpsters” For Housedweller Groups And Events — At The Behest Of Council Districts — And With A Huge Amount Of Attention And Time Devoted By City Staff — But None Of These Players — Not One — Will Provide Dumpsters For Homeless People Living On The Streets — These Are The Very Same Players Who Use Encampment Trash Accumulation To Justify Death-Dealing Sweeps — And It Is Supremely Ironic That Bladimir Campos — Of LA San — Is Involved In Both Activities

It’s well-known that pretty much the entire response of the City government of Los Angeles to our homelessness crisis is criminalization and its subsequent brutality, implemented at the hands of police and weaponized sanitation workers, driven never by sound policy, morality, or basic human decency, but rather by the incessant hateful complaints of psychopathic genocidal housedwellers.

This policy is manifested most visibly in notoriously savage encampment sweeps, during which tents, medicine, legal papers, and other possessions absolutely necessary for human life, are destroyed by City functionaries and cops. The claim is that sweeps are necessary to keep the streets clean, although the utter cynical falsity of this claim is revealed by two facts.

First, the sweepers often neglect to pick up actual trash while they’re destroying possessions and second, the City refuses to provide people living in encampments with the basic tools they need to keep their homes and neighborhoods clean in the first place, tools enjoyed by every housedweller in the City. Most important among these are trash receptacles and toilets. So crucially needed are toilets and trash cans and so cruel is the City’s refusal to provide them that an entire coalition of activist groups, Services Not Sweeps, exists to demand that the City provide them, among other things.

And not only that, but I recently obtained a big set of emails between staffers in Paul Koretz’s office and Bladimir Campos of LA Sanitation, who’s responsible for, among other things, coordinating encampment sweeps when Council Districts ask him to. I don’t know what excuses the City gives for their refusal to provide trash receptacles to encampments or even if they feel the need to excuse themselves, but one appalling fact I learned from these new emails is that the City actually has a whole system in place to deliver dumpsters to community events and pick them up afterwards.

Like all such perquisites in the City of Los Angeles, these so-called community dumpsters seem to be coordinated through Council offices, and you can read in this conversation and this other conversation exactly how much painstaking effort Koretz staffer Aviv Kleinman and a surprisingly large number of other City officials were willing to put in week after week after week after year after year to make sure that one of these dumpsters was made available by LA San for some community group’s event.

And don’t miss the supremely ironic fact that Kleinman’s correspondent at Sanitation was none other than Bladimir Campos. So not only does the City refuse to provide trash receptacles to people who desperately need them, not only does the City use the entirely predictable consequences that flow from a lack of receptacles, but the City is refusing to provide receptacles when they already have an entire functioning system in place for providing trash receptacles.

Nothing at all needs to be developed, no new funding needs to be put in place. All that has to happen is for City Councilmembers to understand or to be made to understand that the people living in an encampment are of equal value to the people in some other kind of community group with respect to City-provided trash receptacles, no matter what kind of housing situation they’re in. None of which is likely to happen, of course, because our public officials have no shame and no consciences. Read on for transcribed selections.
Continue reading It Turns Out That The Los Angeles Department Of Sanitation — Which Is A Key Player In The Raiding And Destruction Of Homeless Encampments — Will Provide “Community Dumpsters” For Housedweller Groups And Events — At The Behest Of Council Districts — And With A Huge Amount Of Attention And Time Devoted By City Staff — But None Of These Players — Not One — Will Provide Dumpsters For Homeless People Living On The Streets — These Are The Very Same Players Who Use Encampment Trash Accumulation To Justify Death-Dealing Sweeps — And It Is Supremely Ironic That Bladimir Campos — Of LA San — Is Involved In Both Activities

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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!

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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

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The City Council Seems To Have Lost Its Grip On Reality With Its Latest Motions On Street Vending — They Want To Keep All Previously Proposed Exclusionary Zones But Change Justification From “Zillionaires Asked For It” To “Objective Health, Safety, Or Welfare Concerns” — And Paul Koretz — Who Evidently Doesn’t Believe That Words Have Meaning — Wants To Exclude A Bunch Of BIDs On The Same Implausible Grounds — This Is Obviously Going To End Up In Court

As you no doubt know, the City of Los Angeles has been arguing about legalizing street vending for years in the face of fiercely unhinged opposition to the very idea from business improvement districts and other organized gangs of zillionaire thugs. But then the whole debate was mooted by a lightning strike from Sacramento in the form of Ricardo Lara’s SB-946, signed into law by Jerry Brown in September, which imposed a set of really stringent restrictions on the form that municipal street vending regulation can take. And not surprisingly, pretty much every dirty trick that the BIDs and their buddies forced into our City’s proposal was banned by Lara’s bill.

In particular, the BIDdies had managed to get the Council to agree that street vending could be banned in any neighborhood in Los Angeles merely because their councilmember asked for it. This serves BIDdies well, of course, because their repsters will do whatever it is that they ask in order to keep the firehose of campaign contributions turned up to eleven. By the end there they’d managed to enshrine such indefensible no-vending zones as Hollywood Boulevard and recommend that BIDs should be able to charge vendors for the privilege of operating on public streets.1

But this nonsense was switched right off by Lara’s bill, which states unequivocally that:

A local authority shall not require a sidewalk vendor to operate within specific parts of the public right-of-way, except when that restriction is directly related to objective health, safety, or welfare concerns.

And right after the bill was signed it appeared as though our esteemed City Council was taking this matter seriously. They passed a motion ordering the City Attorney to draft an ordinance that would comply with Lara’s law. But such sporadic spurts of sanity swiftly scatter around here.

And thus it wasn’t really a surprise to hear renowned bigamist and CD9 repster Curren Price on the radio yesterday talking about how Council would be able to keep all the previously proposed no-vending zones and even add more and the only difference would be, according to super-genius Curren Price, that “now we’re going to have to base them on health, safety, and welfare concerns.”2 And turn the page to read all about the drastically deep dive into the crazy vat revealed by this one little stray comment!
Continue reading The City Council Seems To Have Lost Its Grip On Reality With Its Latest Motions On Street Vending — They Want To Keep All Previously Proposed Exclusionary Zones But Change Justification From “Zillionaires Asked For It” To “Objective Health, Safety, Or Welfare Concerns” — And Paul Koretz — Who Evidently Doesn’t Believe That Words Have Meaning — Wants To Exclude A Bunch Of BIDs On The Same Implausible Grounds — This Is Obviously Going To End Up In Court

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Conscience-Shocking Huizar/Ryu/Koretz Online Voting Pilot Program At Budget And Finance Committee On Monday August 13 — It Was Only Moved Less Than Two Weeks Ago — Unseemly And Uncharacteristic Haste Prevents Neighborhood Councils From Filing Community Impact Statements — Which Is Certainly Intentional

Recall that because Jose Huizar just cannot give up on online voting in neighborhood council elections after he used it to such zillionaire-jeans-creamsing effect in 2017, he, David Ryu, and Paul Koretz introduced a motion on August 2, 2018 ordering the City Clerk to report back on the feasibility of running a 2019 pilot program involving 10 councils.

And now, in a move that adds further layers of weirdo insanity to the whole situation, the motion has been scheduled for consideration this very Monday, August 13, 2018, at 2:00 p.m. at the meeting of the Budget and Finance Committee in City Hall Room 1010. Here’s the agenda. This kind of fast-tracking is virtually unheard of with the City Council. On this schedule it’s extremely unlikely that neighborhood councils, who are of course the most concerned with and knowledgeable about the issue, will have time to meet and file community impact statements. What are Huizar and his creepy co-conspirators trying to hide?

Finally, though, they didn’t manage to sneak it past everyone. Stalwart Los Angeles activist and heroine Laura Velkei, neighborhood councilor and guiding genius behind the essential Department of Neighborhood Empowerment watchdog group DONEwatch, wrote the Council a blistering letter opposing this abortion of a motion.

Turn the page for a transcription of the whole thing, and consider sending your own letter as well. See you Monday, activist friends!
Continue reading Conscience-Shocking Huizar/Ryu/Koretz Online Voting Pilot Program At Budget And Finance Committee On Monday August 13 — It Was Only Moved Less Than Two Weeks Ago — Unseemly And Uncharacteristic Haste Prevents Neighborhood Councils From Filing Community Impact Statements — Which Is Certainly Intentional

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Jose Huizar, David Ryu, and Paul Koretz Introduce Motion In Council Ordering City Clerk To Report Back On How To Hire Everyone Counts To Run Online Voting Pilot In Ten Neighborhood Council Elections In 2019

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.

This is the very shortest of notes to announce that on Thursday esteemed councilcreeps Huizar, Ryu, and Koretz introduced a motion in Council ordering the City Clerk to report back in 60 days about the feasibility of hiring discredited election software vendor Everyone Counts to run an online voting pilot program in 2019 to be used in ten neighborhood council elections. The associated council file is CF 1022-S3.

Of course you will recall how the morally bankrupt Jose Huizar forced through a last-minute ordinance allowing online voting to be used in last year’s Skid Row Neighborhood Council subdivision election for the sole purpose of stealing the election. This is famously now the subject of a monumental lawsuit.

Since then responsibility for administering NC elections has been removed from the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment and given to the Clerk’s office. The Clerk, famously, has way higher standards for election security than DONE, so it’s disconcerting to see City Council ordering them to continue to deal with the shady and discredited Everyone Counts. Anyway, turn the page for the complete text of the motion. This one definitely bears watching.
Continue reading Jose Huizar, David Ryu, and Paul Koretz Introduce Motion In Council Ordering City Clerk To Report Back On How To Hire Everyone Counts To Run Online Voting Pilot In Ten Neighborhood Council Elections In 2019

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Open Rebellion In The Melrose BID! Duckworth On The Defensive!! Refuses To Give Board Email Addresses To Property Owners!!! Even Though He Already Gave Them To Me!!!! And Don’t Forget He And He Alone Got The Damn BID Sued!!!!! And For This They Are Paying Him $72,000 Per Year To Work 20 Hours Per Week???!?

Sadly, for he is one of the most satirogenic figures in all of BIDlandia, we have not heard much from pirate king Donald Duckworth around these parts lately except, of course, for the fact that he, complacently steeped in his outlaw ways, forced me to file a pair of writ petitions against two of his baby BIDs because he, complacently steeped in his unhinged arrogance, flat-out and unaccountably refuses to comply with his statutory obligations under the California Public Records Act1 even though, if the past is prologue,2 it’s very likely to cost his BIDs a lot of damn money that they can probably ill afford to waste.

But regardless of Cap’n Donald’s law-flouting noncompliance it is occasionally possible to obtain records, or at least emails, involving him by the simple expedient of getting them from the other side of the correspondence.3 And recently a friend of this blog got a small pile of emails between Mr. Don Duckworth and Los Angeles City Clerk staff, and you can read the whole set here on Archive.Org.4 And there’s pretty much interesting stuff in there, but tonight I’m focusing on just three items.

June 9, 2018 email from Don Duckworth to Laura Aflalo about record inspection — Melrose property owners Laura Aflalo and Richard Jebejian want to come inspect records. Don Duckworth says sure you can but why would you want to, isn’t it a waste of your time?

June 9, 2018 emails between Duckworth and Aflalo about her questions about BID operation — Like why do the BID bylaws violate the Brown Act? And why can’t she have the Board members’ email addresses? And why won’t Don Duckworth just answer the damn questions?!

June 9, 2018 Duckworth to Aflalo with a detailed breakdown of how he spends the BID’s money — It’s detailed and evasive at the same time, a Duckworthian superpower, evidently.

And turn the page for some commentary, some mockery, and some highly selected transcriptions of at least the first two items. The third is going to have to wait till another time because it’s getting late around here!
Continue reading Open Rebellion In The Melrose BID! Duckworth On The Defensive!! Refuses To Give Board Email Addresses To Property Owners!!! Even Though He Already Gave Them To Me!!!! And Don’t Forget He And He Alone Got The Damn BID Sued!!!!! And For This They Are Paying Him $72,000 Per Year To Work 20 Hours Per Week???!?

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Newly Published Emails From Westwood Village BID Reveal Lobbyists’ Interest In Westwood Neighborhood Council Subdivision Process — BID Zeck Dreck Andrew Thomas’s Clueless Ideas About Role Of BIDs In Civic Life — Michael Skiles Gets Cast As The Savior Of His People And Finds That, In His Opinion Anyway, The Role Really Suits Him! — Oh, P.S.! In His Crack-Headed Zealous Attempt To Obstruct My Free Inspection Of Records Andrew Thomas Ends Up Costing The BID $4.50 Per Page For Me To Obtain Copies For Free

I published a first batch of emails from the Westwood Village BID last month, and they’re available here on Archive.Org. As you’ll recall, Andrew Thomas, duly following the nonsensical instructions of the BID’s lawyer, the ballistical barrister of Burbank and anger-management poster child, that is to say Ms. Carol F. Humiston,1 insisted on printing out 90% of these emails, crossing out about one email address per page to justify his unsupportable foolishness, and then proposing to charge me $0.10 per page for copies of the paper.

Of course, they can’t prevent one from inspecting for free,2 and thus, because I now understand the issues involved in the whole Westwood Forward debacle far better as a result of reading the records I already obtained,3 and could therefore benefit greatly from additional review of this material, I zipped out to the Village yesterday morning to look through the goodies yet again!

And although in June, when we first began this quiet slow motion struggle, Andrew Thomas, in clear violation of the law, forbade me from photographing records, evidently Ms. Carol Humiston has cleared that up in his minionesque little mind, and so now, while he and his security guard are sitting there burning $125 per hour watching me inspect, I am able to copy the records for free.4

And that’s exactly what I did yesterday morning, and I came away with 44 pages of exceedingly interesting material, which you can peruse here on Archive.Org. It’s all good stuff, and I’ll be writing about all of it eventually, but today there are three especially interesting subjects to cover. They’re outlined in the headline, of course, and turn the page for the gory-glory details!
Continue reading Newly Published Emails From Westwood Village BID Reveal Lobbyists’ Interest In Westwood Neighborhood Council Subdivision Process — BID Zeck Dreck Andrew Thomas’s Clueless Ideas About Role Of BIDs In Civic Life — Michael Skiles Gets Cast As The Savior Of His People And Finds That, In His Opinion Anyway, The Role Really Suits Him! — Oh, P.S.! In His Crack-Headed Zealous Attempt To Obstruct My Free Inspection Of Records Andrew Thomas Ends Up Costing The BID $4.50 Per Page For Me To Obtain Copies For Free

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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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Open Letters to Nine Los Angeles City Council Members, Mayor Eric Garcetti, and Controller Ron Galperin Asking Them To Recuse From The Venice Beach BID Formation Process And To Return Tainted Donations

There aren't nearly enough pictures of Ron Galperin on this blog.
There aren’t nearly enough pictures of Ron Galperin on this blog.
You may recall that I’ve been writing about potentially illegal campaign contributions made by Venice Beach BID propenents Mark Sokol and Carl Lambert. That’s the supply side. Tonight I’m hitting up the demand side. Here are PDFs of three letters I sent this evening (all cc-ed to Mike Feuer just in case), and you can read the one to the nine sitting members of the City Council who accepted donations from Sokol and Lambert below. I hope to have a complaint in to the City Ethics Commission by the end of the week.

September 17, 2016

Honorable Los Angeles City Councilmembers Krekorian, Bonin, Harris-Dawson, Huizar, Martinez, Ryu, Price, Cedillo, and Koretz:

I am writing to urge you to recuse yourself from the upcoming vote on the Venice Beach BID ordinance of intention and from all future matters concerning Council File 16-0749.
Continue reading Open Letters to Nine Los Angeles City Council Members, Mayor Eric Garcetti, and Controller Ron Galperin Asking Them To Recuse From The Venice Beach BID Formation Process And To Return Tainted Donations

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