Tag Archives: Skid Row

300-Ish Pages of Estela Lopez’s Emails From The Last Few Months, Including Discussions Of Homelessness, Skid Row NC, Why The Freaking LAPD Doesn’t Bust More Protest Marches Like BIDs Want Them To, Operation Clean Streets, The California Public Records Act, And So On And On And On…

I just recently received a few hundred pages of emails from Estela Lopez, voodoo queen of the Central City East Association, and they are available on Archive.Org and also directly from static storage. Most of it is the unmitigatedly tedious bullshit with which these BIDdies fill their lives and their inboxes, but, as usual, there are a few interesting items. I already wrote the other day about Estela Lopez’s aggressive foray into CPRAlandia, and here are a few other items that are worth looking at individually:

And turn the page for two more examples, and to learn why, which I bet you didn’t even know that they were doing, the LAPD was praying for rain in January!
Continue reading 300-Ish Pages of Estela Lopez’s Emails From The Last Few Months, Including Discussions Of Homelessness, Skid Row NC, Why The Freaking LAPD Doesn’t Bust More Protest Marches Like BIDs Want Them To, Operation Clean Streets, The California Public Records Act, And So On And On And On…

Skid Row Neighborhood Council Tentatively Rejected In Face Of DTLA Neighborhood Council Shenaniganistic Opposition. High-Powered Lobbyist, Criminal Conspirator, And Smoke-Filled Room Denizen Estela Lopez Apparently Uses Or Will Use California Public Records Act To Subvert Democratic Outcome

General Jeff Page in front of the Skid Row City Limits Mural.
According to the incomparable Gale Holland, writing in the L.A. Times, the initial balloting shows that the Skid Row Neighborhood Council has been defeated by a slim 62 vote margin. The NC election was the subject of extensive and disgusting opposition on Facebook and elsewhere.1 The fix was in, though, as the City Council voted a few weeks ago to allow online voting in this NC election only, according to Gale Holland. In a striking performative demonstration of the digital divide, the traditional paper ballots were 183 to 19 in favor of the SRNC, whereas online ballots were 807 to 581 against.
Screenshot of moronic facebook rants against the Skid Row NC accusing, among other stupidity, the LA Community Action Network of being part of a criminal conspiracy.

The NC proponents also suspect that the Downtown LA Neighborhood Council misused city funds to campaign against the election.2 Anyway, evidently a challenge is planned based on these considerations. The Department of Neighborhood Empowerment, overseer of the City’s neighborhood councils, is notorious for the number, length, and vituperativity of its appeals, so this process promises to be, at least, interesting.

And the other side is gearing up for policy-wonk-based battles as well. It seems that Estela Lopez herself, voodoo queen of the ongoing criminal conspiracy known as the Central City East Association, made a CPRA request to Grayce Liu of the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment in January on the subject of the SRNC, evidently to gather materials for the witch’s brew of revanchist zillionaire subversionism that’s presently bubbling, boiling, toiling, and troubling in her hellish cauldron out there on Crocker Street. Turn the page for a transcription and some discussion.
Continue reading Skid Row Neighborhood Council Tentatively Rejected In Face Of DTLA Neighborhood Council Shenaniganistic Opposition. High-Powered Lobbyist, Criminal Conspirator, And Smoke-Filled Room Denizen Estela Lopez Apparently Uses Or Will Use California Public Records Act To Subvert Democratic Outcome

Historic Core BID Executive Directrix Blair Besten Nominated For Measure HHH Citizens’ Oversight Committee, Opposed By Skid Row Organizers, Service Providers, and Sane People Everywhere

Blair Besten, Executive Directrix of the Historic Core BID, all decked out in her patented EZ-clutch pearl necklace.
L.A. voters recently approved Measure HHH, which will fund homeless services via the sale of $1.2 billion in bonds. Last December the City Council approved the creation of a citizens’ oversight committee to monitor the expenditure of this vast sum of money. That committee consists of seven people, three appointed by the Council and four appointed by the Mayor. The Mayor doesn’t seem to have nominated anyone yet, but last Friday the Council, in CF 16-1060-S1, nominated their three. The only weirdo in the bunch is Blair Besten, executive directrix of the Historic Core BID downtown.

Of course, anyone who follows the bad BIDness propagated by our City’s business improvement districts knows this is a bad, bad idea for any number of reasons. It was therefore heartening to see, tonight, explicit opposition to Blair Besten’s appointment coming from a coalition of Skid Row organizations and service providers. Their eloquent and well-argued letter hit the Council file mere moments ago. You can read the whole thing after the break if you don’t like PDFs. Now, I have to say that I agree with their reasoning, and from the point of view of sound public policy, I completely agree that her appointment is a terrible idea. However, for for purely selfish reasons I kind of hope she makes it on, because the potential for chaos is high. Note that this is up for a vote TOMORROW.
Continue reading Historic Core BID Executive Directrix Blair Besten Nominated For Measure HHH Citizens’ Oversight Committee, Opposed By Skid Row Organizers, Service Providers, and Sane People Everywhere

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

City of Los Angeles to Pay Almost a Million Dollars, Half to Carol Sobel, in Lavan Case and also Pete White and Hamid Khan v. City of LA

Carol Sobel (on right) is making a good living forcing the City of Los Angeles to pay for its nasty addiction to tormenting the homeless.  Have they hit bottom yet?  It doesn't look like it.
Carol Sobel (on right) is making a good living forcing the City of Los Angeles to pay for its nasty addiction to tormenting the homeless. Have they hit bottom yet? It doesn’t look like it.
According to an excellent article in yesterday’s Times by the incomparable Emily Alpert Reyes, the City Council agreed to pay out $947,000 in settlements in two cases brought by civil rights lawyer Carol Sobel. The article didn’t have much detail on either the cases or where the money was going, so I thought I’d fill some of it in here.

The first case is Lavan v. City of Los Angeles. I reported last December that this case seemed to be nearing settlement, and there was more news on this in March. Well, yesterday the Council approved Motion 16-0397, which authorizes the payment of $322,000 to Carol Sobel in legal fees and $500,000 for other purposes which aren’t clear from the motion. Nothing has hit PACER yet, so I don’t know how to get the rest of the story, but you’ll see it here as soon as I get some. You may want to subscribe to the Council file to keep up to date.

The second case is really interesting, and I haven’t written on it before. Evidently, in 2005 the Central City East Association began sponsoring tours of Skid Row for “…public officials, law enforcement, members of the judiciary, students, academics, local business owners, social service providers, and the media” so they can “…see for themselves and learn about the challenges, not through a windshield, but from the experience of walking through [Skid Row] and interacting with social service representatives, police, residents and business owners.”1 (Here is the 9th Circuit opinion on which this summary is based).
Continue reading City of Los Angeles to Pay Almost a Million Dollars, Half to Carol Sobel, in Lavan Case and also Pete White and Hamid Khan v. City of LA

City of Los Angeles asks Judge Otero to Clarify Last Month’s Preliminary Injunction Against Full Enforcement of LAMC 56.11

California-central(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).

Recall that last month Judge Otero issued a preliminary injunction forbidding the City of Los Angeles from confiscating the property of homeless people in and/or around Skid Row without following required due process. Today the City filed a motion asking Otero to clarify what he meant. They also filed a proposed order for the Judge’s signature which, I imagine, is mostly of value here as it shows what the City wishes the injunction means.

Additionally the city filed a map of Skid Row, a copy of LAMC 56.11, and a declaration of Scott Marcus, the assistant chief of the Civil Litigation Branch of the City Attorney’s office. Marcus’s main point seems to be that he met with Carol Sobel for four hours in the company of Magistrate Judge Carla Woerhle and they couldn’t come to a common understanding about what the order meant.
Continue reading City of Los Angeles asks Judge Otero to Clarify Last Month’s Preliminary Injunction Against Full Enforcement of LAMC 56.11

Plaintiffs File Opposition to City of LA’s Motion to Dismiss, Alleging Blatant Violations of Local Court Rules in Addition to All-Around Wrongness

California-central(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).

On April 5, 2016 the City of Los Angeles, defendant in Mitchell v. Los Angeles, the latest homeless-rights lawsuit to come off the line at Carol Sobel‘s magic workshop, filed a motion to dismiss, staking their position on the seemingly (even to me, who knows little to nothing about the legal issues at stake) very thin grounds that they had the right to destroy whatever they wanted to because they passed a law saying that they did.1

Today the plaintiffs filed a response to the City’s motion which was supported by a declaration of Carol Sobel and a bunch of exhibits. This stuff is pretty much too technical for me to even discuss, but, as always, I got the pleadings from PACER so I want to make them available here for you. However, I suppose that if the court has already found that the plaintiffs’ arguments are likely to succeed on their merits and issued an injunction, it’s not too very likely that he’s going to grant a motion to dismiss. Like I said, though, I have no idea what I’m talking about.2
Continue reading Plaintiffs File Opposition to City of LA’s Motion to Dismiss, Alleging Blatant Violations of Local Court Rules in Addition to All-Around Wrongness

Mitchell v. LA Plaintiffs Respond to City’s Opposition to Application for Temporary Restraining Order against Further Property Confiscation, City Files Opposition to Plaintiffs’ Application to Strike and/or Seal Publicly Filed Documents,

California-central(See Gale Holland’s excellent story in the Times for background).

Here’s a brief summary of what’s been going on in this turbulent case over the last week: On April 1 the plaintiffs in this already-hotly-contested suit against the City of Los Angeles for its policies regarding the confiscation of the property of the homeless on Skid Row asked the Court to issue a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) enjoining the City from further confiscations of their property. On April 6 the City filed a fragmentation grenade of a response accusing both plaintiffs and their attorneys of lying and asking that they be sanctioned by the court. The City’s pleadings had accusations that were sufficiently inflammatory that they prompted the plaintiffs the next day to lodge a request that some of the stuff the City filed be sealed due to privacy concerns.

This brings us to late Thursday afternoon, when the City filed its opposition to the plaintiffs’ application to seal along with a hypertechnical “clarification” that’s beyond my capacity to interpret. And yesterday, April 8, the plaintiffs filed a bunch of stuff in reply to the City’s opposition to the application for the restraining order. You can find it all here or see a list after the break. There’s too much going on for me to discuss it all, but the essential argument (and some pretty convincing photographic proof that the City is misrepresenting facts) can be found after the break.
Continue reading Mitchell v. LA Plaintiffs Respond to City’s Opposition to Application for Temporary Restraining Order against Further Property Confiscation, City Files Opposition to Plaintiffs’ Application to Strike and/or Seal Publicly Filed Documents,

City of LA Files No-Holds-Barred Opposition to Plaintiffs’ Application for Restraining Order Against Enforcement of LAMC 56.11; Accuses both Plaintiffs and their Attorneys of Lying, Requests Sanctions Against Them

California-central[Updated on April 9 to remove information that the plaintiffs have requested that the court place under seal. I’ll reevaluate this elision after the court rules.]

(See Gale Holland’s excellent story in the Times for background).

Recall that on April 1, the plaintiffs in Mitchell v. Los Angeles asked the court to enjoin the City from confiscating the plaintiffs’ property while the case was pending. Today the City filed its opposition to this application. The pleading pulls no punches:

Defendant City of Los Angeles hereby opposes the Plaintiffs’ request for a temporary restraining order. The grounds for the opposition are that the Plaintiffs have misrepresented the facts which led to the destruction of their property, there is no widespread practice violating federal law which requires enjoining, and there is no urgency justifying ex parte relief.

Further, should the Court deem it appropriate, the City requests that the Court set a Rule 11 briefing to determine an appropriate amount of sanctions against Plaintiffs and their counsel, jointly and severally, for submitting factual contentions which have no evidentiary support. In the alternative, the City requests that the Court set said hearing at least against Plaintiffs Escobedo and Roque and their counsel, jointly and severally.

The relevant part of Rule 11 seems to be:

(b) By presenting to the court a pleading, written motion, or other paper—whether by signing, filing, submitting, or later advocating it—an attorney or unrepresented party certifies that to the best of the person’s knowledge, information, and belief, formed after an inquiry reasonable under the circumstances:

(3) the factual contentions have evidentiary support or, if specifically so identified, will likely have evidentiary support after a reasonable opportunity for further investigation or discovery; and

The City also filed a number of other interesting items, which I have not yet have time to read in detail. You can find a list of them and some more detailed selections from the Opposition after the break.
Continue reading City of LA Files No-Holds-Barred Opposition to Plaintiffs’ Application for Restraining Order Against Enforcement of LAMC 56.11; Accuses both Plaintiffs and their Attorneys of Lying, Requests Sanctions Against Them

City Files Motion to Dismiss Mitchell v. Los Angeles, Hearing Set for Monday, May 9 at 10 a.m.

California-central(See Gale Holland’s excellent story in the Times for background).

Today the City of Los Angeles, defendant in Carol Sobel et al.’s latest suit on behalf of homeless people, filed a motion to dismiss many of the causes of action in the complaint. There is also an associated request for judicial notice regarding one of the facts recited in the motion. The issues seem mostly technical and beyond my capacity to interpret, but I will venture some comments on one claim by the City. They seem to assert (at p.5, L.9) that one of the causes should be dismissed because the initial complaint didn’t argue that the City didn’t have a valid reason for seizing and destroying the property at issue. Specifically that
Plaintiffs never plead that all of the property seized was lawful to possess, and was clean or at least uncontaminated by direct contact with or close proximity to the hazardous materials common on a Skid Row street – feces, rats, maggots, blood, etc. – such that the property did not pose an immediate hazard to health.
And further, that because it’s at least plausible that the property was contaminated just by being on Skid Row, the only allowed relief from the destruction of their property is money damages from the City. I don’t see how this can be right, though.
Continue reading City Files Motion to Dismiss Mitchell v. Los Angeles, Hearing Set for Monday, May 9 at 10 a.m.