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:
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.→