Tag Archives: Sunshine Ordinances

How Andrew Thomas And Carol Humiston Conspired To Spend At Least A Thousand Dollars Of Other People’s Money All To Teach Me A Lesson About The Costs Of Exercising My Rights Under The Public Records Act — How’s It Working Out For Them? — Probably Not So Well In The Long Run

NOTE: This post is turning out to be way longer than I thought, so I figured I’d better link to the actual public records it’s based on up here at the top. New for your perusal and edification are three contracts between the Westwood Village BID and various persons, including Exec Direc Andrew Lloyd Thomas and the BID security provider. Read ’em and weep, friends.

While you all have been enjoying my recent reporting on the Westwood Village BIDdies and their conspiracy with a bunch of UCLA students who feel like the boring homeowners on the Westwood Neighborhood Council don’t approve of enough liquor licenses and happy hours in the Village and whatnot, there has actually been a whole other story seething below the surface, some aspects of which I am writing today to tell you about!

You see, this isn’t just about me, the California Public Records Act, and Andrew Thomas, but also about Andrew Thomas’s lawyer, Carol Humiston, the ballistic barrister of Burbank.1 Carol Humiston,2 who lawyers for a lot of BIDs, has this CPRA system which she evidently believes is going to learn me not to bother her clients any more.3 Well, aside from the fact that no one’s managed to learn me anything since about 1974, her fanaticism ends up needlessly costing her clients a ton of money.4
Continue reading How Andrew Thomas And Carol Humiston Conspired To Spend At Least A Thousand Dollars Of Other People’s Money All To Teach Me A Lesson About The Costs Of Exercising My Rights Under The Public Records Act — How’s It Working Out For Them? — Probably Not So Well In The Long Run

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Experimental CPRA Request To San Francisco County Supervisor Aaron Peskin For Emails To/From Union Square BID Director Karin Flood On A Subject Found In Her Lobbying Disclosure Demonstrate The Utility Of Detailed Contact Reporting By Registered Lobbyists

One of the major issues in the currently ongoing process of revising this City’s Municipal Lobbying Ordinance has to do with the level of detail about their contacts with City officials that lobbyists should be required to disclose. Currently they don’t have to disclose much, but there’s a proposal on the table to require them to disclose each contact with a City official including which issue was discussed.

Naturally, the lobbyists hate this idea. Their big argument against it, which has, to their everlasting shame, been echoed by a number of Ethics Commissioners, is that this level of disclosure would require so much work that the entire lobbying industry in Los Angeles would be driven into bankruptcy. This, of course, is ridiculous, not least because, just for instance, our silicon-addled redheaded step-cousins up North in the City and County of San Francisco require precisely this information on their disclosure forms without, obviously, having driven the industry into the ground. It’s fascinating to look at these disclosures, by the way. Check out San Francisco’s lobbyist directory for links to all of it.1

And one of the major arguments in favor of requiring lobbyists to disclose each contact with a City official and the issue discussed is that it would facilitate requesting records of the City via the California Public Records Act, and thus promote transparency. This is a great argument in the abstract, but concrete arguments are always more persuasive.2 Oh, I forgot to mention it, but in San Francisco, BID staffers register as lobbyists, unlike in Los Angeles.3 So, in keeping with the blog’s BID theme, I thought I’d try out my little test on Karin Flood, executive directrix of San Francisco’s Union Square BID. Turn the page to find out what happened!
Continue reading Experimental CPRA Request To San Francisco County Supervisor Aaron Peskin For Emails To/From Union Square BID Director Karin Flood On A Subject Found In Her Lobbying Disclosure Demonstrate The Utility Of Detailed Contact Reporting By Registered Lobbyists

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Berkeley Police Department Fulfills Experimental CPRA Request in 59 Days

Anymore, the astonishing beauty of the city of Berkeley is only skin deep.
Anymore, the astonishing beauty of the city of Berkeley is only skin deep.
Long-time readers of this blog will recall that, due to the stunning reluctance of the LAPD to comply with the simple mandates of the California Public Records Act, I’m running an experiment in which I requested 100 emails to and from BIDs from each of three California police departments. The SFPD was the clear winner here, supplying me with the goods in a mere 23 days. Late last week the city of Berkeley weighed in with two sets of emails (one and two). Most of the content isn’t especially interesting if you don’t know the dramatis personae; it’s the same old song about the homeless, about behaviors, about activities, about protecting investments, and so on and on and on. I did spot one interesting episode, which I discuss after the break. Also, I will note that the Long Beach PD still has not fulfilled my request (although they are discussing it with me), and of course the LAPD ignores everyone and they’re still being sued because of that. Is it a coincidence that the two cities that follow the law have municipal sunshine ordinances while the two that do not lack such laws? I doubt it very much.
Continue reading Berkeley Police Department Fulfills Experimental CPRA Request in 59 Days

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