Tag Archives: Stanley Mosk Courthouse

Exceedingly Strong Trial Brief Filed In My CPRA Suit Against The Fashion District BID — The BID’s Reply Is Due In 30 Days — Trial Set For June 26, 2019 At 9:30 AM — Department 86 — Stanley Mosk Courthouse

It’s been a while since I wrote about the lawsuit that I was forced to file in August 2018 by the unhinged intransigence of the Fashion District BID, pursued by them in line with the unhinged intransigence of their soon-to-be-disbarred attorney, the world’s angriest CPRA lawyer, Ms. Carol Ann Humiston, in order to enforce my rights to read their damn emails. But time rolls on and the trial, scheduled for June 26, 2019 at 9:30 a.m. in Department 86 of the Stanley Mosk Courthouse, is rapidly approaching.

Thus did my attorneys, Abenicio Cisneros and Karl Olson, file the trial brief with the court on Friday. The arguments are overwhelmingly powerful, and you can read substantial excerpts after the break. If I were the Fashion District after reading this I’d be ready to settle up and settle up quick. But they’re clearly on some kind of a mission with an axe to grind and a point to prove and I certainly don’t expect them to start acting sensible at this point. After all, it’s not their own money they’re squandering on Ms. Humiston’s exorbitant fees.1

As I said, you can read the specifics in the excerpts below, but there are two main general issues at stake. First is the fact that the BID relies heavily on the so-called catch-all exemption to the CPRA, found at section 6255(a), which allows agencies to withhold records when they can show “that on the facts of the particular case the public interest served by not disclosing the record clearly outweighs the public interest served by disclosure of the record.” The key thing here is that they have to make a showing of public interest in withholding the record.

This is hard enough to do in general, and the BID hasn’t even made an attempt, but our argument is that in the City of Los Angeles such a showing is even more difficult to pull off because (a) the BID is deeply involved in attempts to influence municipal legislation and (b) the Municipal Lobbying Ordinance at LAMC §48.01 establishes an extraordinarily high public interest in disclosure of information about attempts to influence:

The citizens of the City of Los Angeles have a right to know the identity of interests which attempt to influence decisions of City government, as well as the means employed by those interests.

Complete public disclosure of the full range of activities by and financing of lobbyists and those who employ their services is essential to the maintenance of citizen confidence in the integrity of local government.

The argument is essentially that the BID can’t even show that there’s any significant public interest in withholding the records they withheld, but given that the subject of these records concerns the means they employ to attempt to influence municipal decisions, they really especially can’t meet this extra-high local bar.

The other main argument is against some nonsense that the BID just made up in their reply to my petition. Many of the emails they refused to turn over are in the possession of their board members Linda Becker and Mark Chatoff. They wouldn’t even search for these because it’s Carol Humiston’s opinion that board members aren’t subject to the CPRA.

You can read the technical details below, but basically our argument is that the law that makes BIDs subject to the CPRA, which is Streets and Highways Code §36612, explicitly makes the owners’ associations subject. It makes no sense as a matter of law and as of a matter of common sense that a corporation could be subject to the CPRA while its board members were not subject. A corporation only does anything through the actions of the people who run it. And that’s the quick and dirty summary. As I keep saying, read on for the excerpts!
Continue reading Exceedingly Strong Trial Brief Filed In My CPRA Suit Against The Fashion District BID — The BID’s Reply Is Due In 30 Days — Trial Set For June 26, 2019 At 9:30 AM — Department 86 — Stanley Mosk Courthouse

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LAUSD Has About 60,000 Employees — Doctor Pamela Magee — Supreme Boss Of The Palisades Charter High School — Makes More Money Than All But Three Of Them — Which Certainly Proves Something — But Not Anything Good — Presenting Salaries Of All Pali High Employees — And Employment Contracts For Senior Staff — And Pleadings From Roya Saghafi’s Civil Rights Lawsuit Against The School — Which Makes Allegations Both Lurid And Extensive — And Entirely Freaking Believable If You Know The Palisades At All

As you may recall I’ve been working on obtaining public records from charter schools in Los Angeles, with some success.1 And one of my prime targets presently is that spider’s nest of privatizing privilege, the Palisades Charter High School. A few weeks ago, for instance, a small set of PCHS boss-lady Doctor Pam Magee’s emails revealed some interesting and reprehensible shenanigans on the part of the interesting and reprehensible California Charter School Association.

And just yesterday the Palisadesean privatizers released another small batch of goodies, which you can get your hands on here on Archive.Org. This set consists of copies of the employment contracts of PCHS senior administrators as well as a list of all PCHS employees by name, salary, and total compensation. The contracts aren’t that interesting, but there’s some good info in the list of salaries, the utility of which is a little attenuated by the fact that for whatever reason2 PCHS Director of Human Capital Exploitation Amy Nguyen3 didn’t include any of these folks’ job titles.

I have a new request in for that essential information, but irrespective of that, we do learn the fairly stunning fact that Dr.4 Pamela A. Magee is paid $218,855 per year for her labors.5 Now, everything I know about salaries at charter schools I learned from this fine article by the incomparable Red Queen in LA. And the folks she talks about there make an awful lot of money. Cosmic money. More money than Doctor P.A.M.

But they’re not actually running individual charter schools like Doctor Magee.6 So I thought I’d check out how much LAUSD pays its principals, you know, for the sake of comparison. A little Googlism7 revealed this LAUSD administrative salary schedule and this organizational chart. And what these documents reveal is pretty surprising. It turns out that there are only three LAUSD employees out of more than 60,0008 that earn more annually than Dr. Pamela A. Magee. Those are:

☆ Chief Academic Officer Frances Gipson — $255,000
☆ Deputy Superintendent Vivian Ekchian — $262,500
☆ Superindendent Austin Beutner — $350,000

So what does this mean? Well, I don’t know. The familiar things about how charter schools suck public money out of public use and use it to enrich the already-rich, I guess. About how zillionaires, intent on destroying the public realm, pay their minions well. Whatever it means, though, it’s a pretty nice illustration of one of the central paradoxes of value with LAUSD employees playing the role of water and Dr. Magee that of diamonds.

And here’s my candidate for the non-sequiturish-segue-of-the-moment, which is that whatever it is that Dr. Pam Magee is doing out there in Northwest Zillionaireville9 to earn10 her bread in the sweat of her brow, she doesn’t seem to have been able to put an end to a years-long series of despicable racist shenanigans directed against former PCHS teacher and current civil rights litigant Roya Saghafi by various PCHS employees and students and described in this complaint, filed in Superior Court in June 2018.11

And you know how we love lawsuits around these parts! I’m collecting pleadings from this one over here on the Archive. And not only that, but the trial is scheduled for July 29, 2019 at 10 a.m. in Department 72 at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse. I expect to attend, and maybe I’ll see you there! Meanwhile, turn the page for some transcribed selections from the complaint.
Continue reading LAUSD Has About 60,000 Employees — Doctor Pamela Magee — Supreme Boss Of The Palisades Charter High School — Makes More Money Than All But Three Of Them — Which Certainly Proves Something — But Not Anything Good — Presenting Salaries Of All Pali High Employees — And Employment Contracts For Senior Staff — And Pleadings From Roya Saghafi’s Civil Rights Lawsuit Against The School — Which Makes Allegations Both Lurid And Extensive — And Entirely Freaking Believable If You Know The Palisades At All

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Jose Huizar Wants To Put Mayra Alvarez’s Case Against Him On Hold Because In Order To Defend Himself He Will Have To Reveal Dark Secrets About His Criminal Behavior — So He’s Going To File A Motion To Stay The Proceedings — But The Motion To Stay Will Also Contain Dark Secrets About His Criminal Case — So He’s Filing A Motion To Allow Him To File The Motion To Stay Under Seal — And That Motion Will Be Heard On May 16 At 8:30 AM

Last week soon-to-be-incarcerated Los Angeles City Councilmember Jose Huizar filed a motion with the court that is hearing his former employee Mayra Alvarez’s lawsuit against him for creating a hostile work environment and engaging in a remarkable number of really creepy behaviors. He says that he will be filing a motion to stay the proceedings because he can’t defend himself without revealing secret stuff about his criminal case.

The same, he says, will be true about the motion to stay itself, so he wants permission to file THAT motion under seal. Last week he asked for and obtained permission from the court to have a hearing on the motion to file the motion to stay under seal. That hearing will take place at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse on Thursday, May 16, 2019 at 8:30 a.m. in Department 17. Here are links to the records, and turn the page for transcribed selections.

Declaration of Carmen Aguado in support of motion

Huizar Application for order to set hearing on motion to file under seal

Order to set hearing

Notice of order
Continue reading Jose Huizar Wants To Put Mayra Alvarez’s Case Against Him On Hold Because In Order To Defend Himself He Will Have To Reveal Dark Secrets About His Criminal Behavior — So He’s Going To File A Motion To Stay The Proceedings — But The Motion To Stay Will Also Contain Dark Secrets About His Criminal Case — So He’s Filing A Motion To Allow Him To File The Motion To Stay Under Seal — And That Motion Will Be Heard On May 16 At 8:30 AM

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First Amendment Coalition Files Ex Parte Application For Leave To Intervene In Los Angeles Police Protective League Anti-SB1421 Case — Joined By The L.A. Times, The California Newspaper Publishers’ Association, And Many Other Esteemed Journalistic Groups — Hearing On This Application Tomorrow Morning At 8:30 A.M. In Dept. 85 Stanley Mosk Courthouse

Today the First Amendment Coalition and a bunch of newspapers and newspaper-adjacent organizations filed an ex parte application for leave to intervene in the appalling case initiated by the Los Angeles Police Protective League seeking to prevent California’s new police transparency law, SB1421, from applying retroactively to records of police misconduct prior to 2019. This same crapola was already tried elsewhere and decisively shot down by the California Supreme Court, but, for whatever reason, in Los Angeles County the case must go on.

FAC is seeking to intervene in the case, even though they’re not parties to it. This is evidently sometimes allowed, according to the Wiki, when “a judgment in a particular case may affect the rights of nonparties, who ideally should have the right to be heard.” Here’s the pleading filed by the FAC. It’s called an ex parte application because they’re asking the judge to decide whether they should be allowed into the case without requiring the other parties to be present at the hearing, which is tomorrow morning at 8:30 a.m. in Department 85 of the Stanley Mosk Courthouse.

Because they aren’t parties to the case, they have to convince the judge that the interests of justice are served by allowing them to become parties. This argument is a huge part of their filing. They also argue that neither of the actual parties to the case, the PPL and the City, have any interest in ensuring that the public has access to records. In fact, they argue, it’s possible that the City may not file a response to the petition. Also, I guess to save time, they include the briefing that they’re proposing to file if the judge allows them to. It’s a powerful piece of writing, and you can find transcribed selections after the break.
Continue reading First Amendment Coalition Files Ex Parte Application For Leave To Intervene In Los Angeles Police Protective League Anti-SB1421 Case — Joined By The L.A. Times, The California Newspaper Publishers’ Association, And Many Other Esteemed Journalistic Groups — Hearing On This Application Tomorrow Morning At 8:30 A.M. In Dept. 85 Stanley Mosk Courthouse

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On December 31, 2018 The Los Angeles Police Protective League Asked For And Obtained A Court Order Preventing LAPD From Applying SB1421 Retroactively — Thus While The Rest Of The State Has Access To Records Of Police Misconduct Los Angeles Is Left In The Dark — At Least Until The Scheduled February 5, 2019 Hearing — City Of LA Opposition Is Due By January 22 — I Have Copies Of The LAPPL Petition — And Craig Freaking Lally’s Declaration In Support — And All Other Pleadings!

If you’re reading this blog you’re very likely aware that on January 1, 2019 the monumental SB1421 took effect, basically ending exemptions which, until now, have prevented the release of records documenting even the most extreme cases of police misconduct. Police agencies all over the state are freaking out about this, and some even asked the California Supreme Court to declare that the law didn’t reply retroactively. The justices shot down that malarkey last week, and then upped the stakes by asking to be briefed on whether the new law required the release of even more material than had been anticipated.

And thus police departments are beginning to release these records. For instance, there’s this case of an officer in Burlingame who’d been fired for offering to help a drunk driver with her charge in exchange for sex. And this newly released information evidently has the San Mateo County D.A. reconsidering his earlier decision not to criminally charge the officer. Which is how this law is supposed to work. And it seems that that’s how it is working.

Except, it turns out, in the City of Los Angeles. It doesn’t seem to have been widely reported on,1 but it seems that here, the Los Angeles Police Protective League filed an emergency petition on December 31, 2018, asking the Superior Court to stop the LAPD from applying SB1421 retroactively. And shockingly, astoundingly, appallingly, the court agreed and issued an order to that very effect, which is in effect at least until the scheduled hearing on February 5, 2019.2

The LAPPL’s whole argument seems to be that officers have made crucial career decisions relying on the privacy of the records, and that therefore it would be manifestly unfair to publish them now. For instance, according to Craig Lally in a sworn declaration, police officers often agree not to appeal findings of misconduct even though they think they’re innocent just to get things settled quickly and not disrupt operations. But, says Lally, they would never have done this had they known that the records would be published at some point.3

And apparently there’s really nothing to be done about this until the hearing. We are just not going to get these records right away. Oh, except it’s possible to read all the pleadings filed in the case. The City of Los Angeles hasn’t yet responded, but I obtained copies of everything that there is so far and published it here on Archive.Org. It’s upsetting, but it’s better to know. Turn the page for a linked list of everything and a transcription of selections from Lally’s declaration.
Continue reading On December 31, 2018 The Los Angeles Police Protective League Asked For And Obtained A Court Order Preventing LAPD From Applying SB1421 Retroactively — Thus While The Rest Of The State Has Access To Records Of Police Misconduct Los Angeles Is Left In The Dark — At Least Until The Scheduled February 5, 2019 Hearing — City Of LA Opposition Is Due By January 22 — I Have Copies Of The LAPPL Petition — And Craig Freaking Lally’s Declaration In Support — And All Other Pleadings!

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Pyschopathic Rageball George Yu Was Nowhere To Be Seen — Neither Was Anyone Else From The Damn BID — Chinatown BID Completely Skips Yesterday’s Court Hearing — What Are They Thinking? — These Things Don’t Just Go Away On Their Own — Don’t Grownups Know That?

So you might recall that in August Katherine McNenny and I were forced by the unhinged intransigence of psychopathic rageball George Yu of the Chinatown BID to file a writ petition asking that the court compel him and his thuggish little weirdo henchies in the BID to obey the freaking law and hand over the records we asked for. And then you might recall that in September he and his damnable minions failed to even answer the petition.

Well, yesterday was the trial setting conference, way up north in the Stanley Mosk courthouse, in good old Department 86.1 And the Chinatown BID didn’t change up its strategy at all. No one showed up. Neither George Yu nor minion nor henchie nor lawyer nor counselor nor advocate nor consigliere. Just nobody. And did the judge do anything to them? Punish them in any way for their continued failure to respond? Nope. He continued the hearing until December 26. If they don’t get in trouble, how are they ever gonna learn? I guess we’ll find out.2
Continue reading Pyschopathic Rageball George Yu Was Nowhere To Be Seen — Neither Was Anyone Else From The Damn BID — Chinatown BID Completely Skips Yesterday’s Court Hearing — What Are They Thinking? — These Things Don’t Just Go Away On Their Own — Don’t Grownups Know That?

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Fashion District BID Lawsuit — Motion Filed To Compel BID To Explain Just What The Heck They Were Talking About When They Claimed All Those Exemptions — Carol Humiston Says “No Way — You Can’t Make Us Tell You” — Hearing Scheduled For November 16 At 9:30 AM

In August I had to file suit against the Fashion District BID to compel them to comply with the California Public Records Act. One of the main issues in the suit is a bunch of various really implausible exemption claims by FDBID executive director Rena Leddy. Now, it’s well understood that the burden of proving that an exemption claim allows a record to be withheld lies entirely on the withholding agency. The CPRA says explicitly at §6255(a) that:

The agency shall justify withholding any record by demonstrating that the record in question is exempt under express provisions of this chapter or that on the facts of the particular case the public interest served by not disclosing the record clearly outweighs the public interest served by disclosure of the record.

At the time that Leddy denied my requests I asked her to justify her decisions to withhold but she refused to do so even though the law clearly requires it.1 But it sure is hard to dispute the BID’s exemption claims if no one knows what the heck they’re basing them on and they won’t explain. My lawyer asked Carol Humiston, the world’s angriest CPRA lawyer, if she’d mind listing all the withheld records and explaining why the BID withheld them.2 You can read his email here.

But Humiston, who’s not only the angriest but also pretty much tied for first place as the most obstructionist,3 wasn’t having it. Here’s what she had to say for herself in this email here:

I have considered your request for a “Vaughn Index,” which of course in
[sic] a Federal procedure, and I do not believe it is either necessary or appropriate at this time. I know of nothing that requires the BID to produce such an index. Once you have filed your brief in support of the Writ, the Court and I will have a better understanding of the issues you are raising and the appropriate course to take.

So we filed a motion asking the judge to compel the BID to produce a list of all withheld emails. This motion will be heard on November 16, 2018 at the trial setting conference at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse in Department 86 before the Honorable Amy Hogue. There’s a transcription of the motion after the break.
Continue reading Fashion District BID Lawsuit — Motion Filed To Compel BID To Explain Just What The Heck They Were Talking About When They Claimed All Those Exemptions — Carol Humiston Says “No Way — You Can’t Make Us Tell You” — Hearing Scheduled For November 16 At 9:30 AM

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Fashion District BID Files Timely Response To My Writ Petition — Denies Everything — World’s Angriest CPRA Lawyer Carol Humiston Handling Matters For Them — Trial Setting Conference On November 16, 2018 At 9:30 AM In Department 86 — Stanley Mosk Courthouse

So you’ll remember possibly that in August I was forced by their unhinged intransigence to file a writ petition against the Fashion Freaking District BID asking a judge to boss them about until they began to comply with their statutorily mandated duties under the California Public Records Act. Well, it seems they’re not going to go quietly into that good night, so they went out and hired themselves the world’s angriest CPRA lawyer, which is to say Carol Freaking Humiston of Bradley & Freaking Gmelich, and she went and filed a timely response to my petition.

And you can read the damn thing by clicking here if you want to. But I have to say, as much as I enjoy reading legal pleadings of all varieties and subject matters, these replies leave me cold. Take a look and you’ll see. They deny everything, but they don’t even say what they’re denying. It’s all like “As to the allegations in paragraph 17, we deny the first three, state that the fourth and the ninth require no response insofar as they assert legal conclusions, and the fifth through the seventh, even if true, do not allege a violation. Insofar as we fail to deny, thus far do we admit.”
Continue reading Fashion District BID Files Timely Response To My Writ Petition — Denies Everything — World’s Angriest CPRA Lawyer Carol Humiston Handling Matters For Them — Trial Setting Conference On November 16, 2018 At 9:30 AM In Department 86 — Stanley Mosk Courthouse

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Stop LAPD Spying CPRA Case Hearing Set for Tuesday, November 22, 2016 at 1:30 p.m., Stanley Mosk Courthouse Department 85

stop LAPD spying logoLast month (on May 5) Judge James Chalfant, who’s presiding over the CPRA lawsuit filed by the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition to address the LAPD’s utterly lawless noncompliance with the California Public Records Act, entered an order setting the hearing date to Tuesday, November 22, 2016 at 1:30 p.m. This will be in Chalfant’s courtroom, which is Department 85 (room 834) in the Stanley Mosk Courthouse at 111 North Hill Street. I’m sorry for the late notice, but the LA County Superior Courts don’t offer an RSS feed or any other way to be notified of new filings.

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