Tag Archives: Robert Newman

How I Reported DLANC Board Member Dan Curnow To The LA County DA For Violating The Brown Act And Also Filed A Grievance Against Him For Violating DLANC Bylaws

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.

I reported a few weeks ago on how Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council Board member Dan Curnow violated the Brown Act in April 2017 along with his late, unlamented colleague, moral dumpster fire, and wannabe vigilante, Jacob Douglas Van Horn. Jacob Douglas VH, of course, famously resigned from DLANC under a cloud some time ago and, by doing so, perhaps placed himself beyond the suffering of consequences for his evil ways.1 Dan Curnow, as far as anyone around here knows, though, has not (yet) resigned from DLANC and so is eligible to be complained about in every possible venue.

First of all, then, I sent this complaint about him to the Public Integrity Division of the Los Angeles County District Attorney, which is charged with enforcing Brown Act compliance in L.A. There’s not a whole lot of information in there which wasn’t in my original story, but maybe you’ll find it worth reading. The bigger news, though, is that I also filed a grievance with DLANC against Dan Curnow for violating the Brown Act. This is a new direction for me, and there’s a detailed discussion of the issues after the break.
Continue reading How I Reported DLANC Board Member Dan Curnow To The LA County DA For Violating The Brown Act And Also Filed A Grievance Against Him For Violating DLANC Bylaws

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United DTLA Conspiracy: How DLANC Board Members Dan Curnow And Jacob Douglas Van Horn Violated The Brown Act In March 2017

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.

A few days ago I published a story on how the massive release of emails from the Downtown Center BID revealed massive, egregious Brown Act violations by the Central City East Association Board of Directors. The issue is that the Brown Act explicitly1 forbids a majority of a Board from using “…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.”

There were also six members of the DLANC Board in on the conspiracy:

According to an extremely useful guide prepared by then-City-Attorney Rockard Delgadillo, in the context of the Brown Act a majority means a majority of a quorum. That is, the minimum number of members that can actually act on a motion. The DLANC has a 24 member board, and a quorum is 13. Hence these six members using email “…to discuss, deliberate, or take action on any item of business that is within the subject matter jurisdiction of…” DLANC is not a violation; a violation would require seven members to have been in on the discussion.

However, the Brown Act also applies to standing committees of bodies which are subject to its requirements. In particular, consider DLANC’s Livability Committee. That this is a standing committee is stated explicitly in DLANC’s bylaws2 Also, in March 2017 the members of the Livability Committee were none other than Dan Curnow, Jacob Douglas Van Horn, and Jacki Breger. For instance, take a look at the minutes from March 16, 2017.
Continue reading United DTLA Conspiracy: How DLANC Board Members Dan Curnow And Jacob Douglas Van Horn Violated The Brown Act In March 2017

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At The SRNC Appeal Hearing DLANC President Patti Berman Said “If One Of Our Board Members Was Involved With United DTLA…I Bet We Could Get Them Off The Board Really Fast” — Patti! News Flash!! Six Of Your Freaking Board Members Were Involved, Including Bob Newman, Who Was Standing Right Behind You When You Said This! One’s Gone, Now Get The Others Off Really Fast Please!!!

DLANC President Patti Berman on May 3, 2017 denying that any DLANC board members were involved with United Downtown Los Angeles while DLANC board member Bob Newman, who was in fact involved with United Downtown Los Angeles, lurks silently, as is his wont, in the dark background.
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.

On May 3, 2017 the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment sponsored a hearing on challenges to the Skid Row Neighborhood Council formation election. One of the main issues was, of course, the shadowy anonymous front corporation United Downtown LA and the names of the people behind it.

At that meeting, Patricia Berman, self-proclaimed President for Life of the DLANC board of directors, was moved to deny all knowledge of the matter and to affirm her overwhelming desire to find out who was behind it so she could get them kicked off the board. But don’t take my word for it! You can watch and listen to her, and here’s what she said:

If indeed one of our board members was involved with United DTLA I would love to find out about it, because I bet we could get them off the board really fast. However, I have no idea who these people are. I don’t know anyone on my board who does, and we certainly have asked around. We had nothing to do with this. I’m sorry it caused such a big stink. But the truth is it didn’t come from our listserve and it’s not something that came from us.

Well, of course, as we know now, DLANC board member Estela Lopez was deeply involved with United DTLA and five additional board members were also involved to one degree or another:

Jacob Douglas Van Horn is off the board for reasons that are probably unrelated to United Downtown LA, but the others remain. The most egregious case among these after Estela Lopez herself is Robert Newman, who was not only involved with United Downtown LA but was standing right behind Patti Berman when she made the statement.

She said she asked around, so either she didn’t ask him, which seems unlikely, or he lied to her when she asked him, or she lied when she said no one on her board knows who was behind the situation. None of these options look good for President Patti. However, she can go an awful long way towards washing away her sins by sticking to her promise and getting these five remaining miscreants “…off the board really fast.”

Now, it’s occurred to me that I haven’t written much about how these folks in the intersection between the DLANC board and United DTLA were involved in United DTLA’s shenanigans. Obviously they were all involved to the extent that they were on Estela Lopez’s United DTLA mailing list1 Well, there’s tons of evidence in this set of emails from the Downtown Center BID but it can be fairly hard to sort through. Never fear, though! Turn the page for a play-by-play list of selected involvements of selected creepy DLANCkites, with evidence!
Continue reading At The SRNC Appeal Hearing DLANC President Patti Berman Said “If One Of Our Board Members Was Involved With United DTLA…I Bet We Could Get Them Off The Board Really Fast” — Patti! News Flash!! Six Of Your Freaking Board Members Were Involved, Including Bob Newman, Who Was Standing Right Behind You When You Said This! One’s Gone, Now Get The Others Off Really Fast Please!!!

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On April 15, 2017 DLANC Board Member Estela Lopez Used Her dlanc.com Address To Email 52 Anti-Skid-Row-Neighborhood-Council Conspirators Associated With United Downtown Los Angeles LLC

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.

The headline pretty much says it. Here is the email and there’s a transcription after the break. After the essential part, that Estela Lopez sent this email from estela.lopez@dlanc.com rather than her personal email address, beatus821@gmail.com, that she had been using previously, the next most important thing is the distribution list. It’s the same bunch of people that Estela Lopez had been emailing since March 20 on behalf of United Downtown LA.

It’s interesting to note, by the way, that, in addition to Estela Lopez herself, the following DLANC board members were on the list:

This is six of them, which is one short of a Brown Act violation,1 so they dodged that bullet. So is Estela Lopez’s use of her official DLANC email address to send out a United DTLA email a violation of some rule? It’s hard to say. It probably depends on why she used the official email account, and at this late date it’s dubious that there’s any proof of motive.2 So I’m just letting the fact speak for itself.
Continue reading On April 15, 2017 DLANC Board Member Estela Lopez Used Her dlanc.com Address To Email 52 Anti-Skid-Row-Neighborhood-Council Conspirators Associated With United Downtown Los Angeles LLC

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United Downtown Los Angeles LLC Seems To Have Been Controlled If Not Created By Estela Lopez

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.

The biggest as-yet-unsolved mystery associated with the coordinated zombie zillionaire campaign against the Skid Row Neighborhood Council formation process earlier this year is the identity of the shadowy Delaware-incorporated anonymous front group United Downtown Los Angeles LLC and the sneaky furtive creepy crawly zillionaire and zillionaire-ophile natural person or persons lurking behind the corporate facade.

You may recall that the first anyone heard publicly from this bunch of dimwits was on March 17, 2017, when Rockard Delgadillo, former City Attorney of Los Angeles and employee of lobbying firm Liner LLP, wrote his infamous letter to the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment demanding for various nonsensical reasons that they put a halt to the Skid Row Neighborhood Council formation process.

The next milestone was a meeting between Estela Lopez of the Central City East Association, Rena Leddy of the Fashion District BID, and Rockard Delgadillo. This took place at 11 a.m. on March 20 and was actually organized by Estela Lopez, who scheduled the meeting on March 18. Less than an hour after this meeting ended, Rena Leddy was emailing her property owners with the gospel of the birth of United Downtown Los Angeles.

Finally, in July I learned that United Downtown LA has the same phone number as the Central City East Association. This is all reasonably strong but not conclusive evidence in favor of the proposition that Estela Lopez was in control of United Downtown, if not its actual founder. And that brings our story to the present day.
Continue reading United Downtown Los Angeles LLC Seems To Have Been Controlled If Not Created By Estela Lopez

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Video Of First Interested Persons Meeting Now Available — See John Howland And Bill Delvac Discuss Whether Neighborhood Council Assent Is Necessary For Development Projects (TL,DR: Yes). This Revelation Makes BID Control Of DLANC Seem Even More Unsavory Than It Already Did

Yesterday afternoon the Ethics Commission held the first in a series of three meetings to gather even more input from interested parties concerning proposed revisions to the Municipal Lobbying Ordinance. I recorded the whole thing for posterity and you can watch it here:

I’ll be commenting on this and the next meeting1 from time to time, and today I just want to point out an interesting response from seasoned Los Angeles lobbyists John Howland and Bill Delvac2 to an interesting question from Ethics Commission ED Heather Holt. One of the proposals on the table is a requirement that lobbyists report attempts to influence neighborhood councils in addition to the other City agencies they’re already required to disclose information about. In the context of this discussion, Holt asked the lobbyists:

Just out of curiosity, for development projects, is there a general sense that you need a neighborhood council buy-in for it to go anywhere?

In response to this, über-düber lobbyist John Howland smirked and emitted an inarticulate snort, seemingly in disbelief that the boss of the Ethics Commission could ask such a silly question, before saying “yes.” This response was echoed by Bill Delvac, with Howland interjecting the occasional assent:

BD: We’re happy when we get to neutral.
JH: Yeah. Well, yeah.
BD:
[Unintelligible] … the Charter and the Code, they’re really not binding. But it matters more to some Councilmen [sic] than it does to others and often [unintelligible] you wanna get their support. I wouldn’t have written the Charter that way, but …

This interchange certainly supports the Ethics Commission’s proposal to subject lobbying directed at neighborhood councils to disclosure, and, interestingly, there didn’t seem to be any actual opposition to this proposal from the lobbyists. So maybe, no matter what gets compromised out of the rest of the proposals, this one will make it through the gauntlet, which is a good thing.3

And turn the page for a discussion of some potential implications, possibly as-yet unconsidered, of this proposal having to do with the fact that, probably uniquely among NCs, the DLANC has a ton of BID staffers on its board of directors.
Continue reading Video Of First Interested Persons Meeting Now Available — See John Howland And Bill Delvac Discuss Whether Neighborhood Council Assent Is Necessary For Development Projects (TL,DR: Yes). This Revelation Makes BID Control Of DLANC Seem Even More Unsavory Than It Already Did

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