Tag Archives: Tom LaBonge

New Documents: More Emails Between Tara Devine and the L.A. City Clerk’s Office, More Emails Between LAPD Captain Peter Zarcone and the HPOA, A Bunch of CPRA Requests to L.A. Sanitation

What’s so funny, Captain? Peter Zarcone smiling with his eyes at a HPOA Joint Security Committee meeting in April 2015.
I spent about three hours yesterday in City Hall and at the LAPD Discovery office scanning stuff. There are thousands of pages of stuff here, some of it quite important. It will take a long time to go through it and write about the highlights, so I thought I’d put it up on the Archive in (very, very) raw form immediately. Here’s what we have today:

Probably On Basis Of Our Complaint, Scofflaw Lobbyist Marie Rumsey Has Been Nailed By Ethics Commission For Violating Post-Employment Restrictions, Provides Pathetically Implausible Excuse, Enforcement Staff Recommends She Be Let Off With Wrist Slap

Marie Rumsey in happier days at CD13 before she got hired on at the Central City Association and turned to a life of crime, infamy, and outlawry.
Marie Rumsey in happier days at CD13 before she got hired on at the Central City Association and turned to a life of crime, infamy, and outlawry.
My colleagues and I reported in January 2016 that former Mitch O’Farrell aide Marie Rumsey appeared to be in violation of Los Angeles Municipal Code §49.5.13.C.1. A few weeks later I submitted a report on the matter to the City Ethics Commission. Well, last night the CEC published its agenda for the December 6 meeting and, lo! A stipulation in the matter of Marie Rumsey is Item 5!

I submitted evidence of three violations, although there were clearly many others. They tagged her for two of them. She admitted that she’d broken the law, but gave as an exceedingly lame excuse that… well, let the CEC tell it:

Rumsey received inaccurate legal advice from CCA’s former legal counsel and mistakenly believed that she could attempt to influence any City agency except Councilmember O’Farrell’s office.

Because of this and because of her cooperation, CEC staff is recommending leniency:

The maximum administrative penalty for a violation of the City’s post-employment laws is the greater of $5,000 or three times the amount of compensation that was improperly received. Los Angeles City Charter § 706(c)(3). In this case, the two counts against Rumsey result in a maximum penalty of $14,250. We recommend a penalty of $7,125, which is equal to 50 percent of the maximum in this case. We believe the recommended penalty is appropriate, because it takes into consideration the serious nature of the violations while also encouraging cooperation with Ethics Commission investigations and the early resolution of violations.

These offers of 50% of the fine seem to be standard for people who cooperate with the CEC. And the $7,125 isn’t pocket change, even if the CCA ends up paying it for her.1 In this case, though, I think such a low offer is a mistake, not least because on analysis her excuse turns out to be unsupportable. For details on this, and some other interesting matters regarding this case, read on!
Continue reading Probably On Basis Of Our Complaint, Scofflaw Lobbyist Marie Rumsey Has Been Nailed By Ethics Commission For Violating Post-Employment Restrictions, Provides Pathetically Implausible Excuse, Enforcement Staff Recommends She Be Let Off With Wrist Slap

David Ryu’s Staff Evidently Considered and Rejected Lisa Schechter’s and Media District BID’s (Illegal, Unethical) Plea For A Council Motion Regarding Oversize Vehicle Parking In February 2016

Lisa Schechter in February 2016, right around the time that David Ryu's staff was quite sensibly deciding to ignore her illegal and unethical lobbying to ban RV's in the Media District.
Lisa Schechter in February 2016, right around the time that David Ryu’s staff was quite sensibly deciding to ignore her illegal and unethical lobbying to attack homeless people by banning RVs in the Media District.
Recall that in August 2016, Mitch O’Farrell and Mike Bonin introduced a motion in Council to attack the homeless by prohibiting RVs from parking overnight in the Media District BID. This was as a result of lobbying by Lisa Schechter, now executive directrix of the Hollywood Media District BID, but formerly Tom LaBonge’s high muckety-muck for something or another. The full story is here. At the time I wondered why David Ryu hadn’t seconded the motion, given that (a) Schechter had lobbied him heavily to do so, and (b) a significant part of the Media District BID is in CD4:

[His non-involvement] suggests the possibility that Ryu isn’t as invested in pleasing these BIDdies as O’Farrell is. Or maybe he’s sitting it out because his staff has made him aware that Schechter’s up to something sneaky.

Well, I recently obtained emails from CD4 that bear on the matter. These are heavily redacted, but interestingly, as is sometimes the case, the redactions themselves tell part of the story.
Continue reading David Ryu’s Staff Evidently Considered and Rejected Lisa Schechter’s and Media District BID’s (Illegal, Unethical) Plea For A Council Motion Regarding Oversize Vehicle Parking In February 2016

Crime Does Pay At City Hall: Anti-RV Resolution Introduced In Council This Morning At Behest of Media District BID Director Lisa Schechter, Acting in Apparent Violation of Her Post-Employment Lobbying Ban

RVs on Lillian Way between Santa Monica Blvd and Melrose Avenue
RVs on Lillian Way between Santa Monica Blvd and Melrose Avenue
This morning, CD13 Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell introduced a resolution seeking to impose restrictions on parking oversized vehicles in a semi-industrialized sliver of the Hollywood Media District BID located roughly between Cole Avenue and Vine Street west to east and Santa Monica Boulevard and Melrose Avenue north to south. There is a never-ending flow of these seemingly innocuous items in the agendas of our esteemed Council, but I just happen to know an awful lot about the backstory to this one, which is anything but innocuous, actually, and is the subject of today’s post.

The Media District BID is particularly attractive to people living in RVs because it’s industrialized, so no night-time neighbors to annoy, and it’s close to the center of Hollywood. Especially on Lillian Way and its cross streets, Romaine, Willoughby, and Waring, there has been a thriving but quiet community of RV-dwellers for years on end. But the Media District BID hates it. They just can’t deal with it. For instance, see this email chain from March 2015 where Hollywood cop Julie Nony discusses how to get rid of them with erstwhile Media District BID director Steven Whiddon and a bunch of overprivileged proprietors who don’t understand the concept of public space. But, probably not surprisingly, Steven Whiddon was unable to orchestrate any lasting action.

RVs on Lillian Way between Santa Monica Blvd and Melrose Avenue
RVs on Lillian Way between Santa Monica Blvd and Melrose Avenue

So enter Lisa Schechter, employed by erstwhile CD4 rep Tom LaBonge until June 30, 2015. Sometime between then and October 2015 she was hired by the Media District to replace the departed but unlamented Whiddon. Very soon after that, in fact on November 5, 2015, Schechter and current Media District Board President Laurie Goldman met with O’Farrell’s Hollywood Field Deputy, Daniel Halden. Dan was kind enough to supply me with a copy of his notes from that meeting, wherein (on the second page) one can read the portentous words: “Oversized vehicles Resolution — MAP.” There’s no question that this meeting between Halden, Goldman, and Schechter, is the genesis of the resolution introduced this morning by Mitch O’Farrell.
Continue reading Crime Does Pay At City Hall: Anti-RV Resolution Introduced In Council This Morning At Behest of Media District BID Director Lisa Schechter, Acting in Apparent Violation of Her Post-Employment Lobbying Ban

First Amendment Coalition Sues City of Los Angeles Over Tom LaBonge’s Illegal Records Destruction, Alleges Possible Felony Records Destruction, Eric Garcetti Still Not Held To Account For Similar Crimes

Current CD4 representative David Ryu, whose termed-out predecessor Tom LaBonge ordered the destruction of public records, leading to both an FAC lawsuit and a council motion to prevent this kind of thing in the future.
Current CD4 representative David Ryu, whose termed-out predecessor Tom LaBonge ordered the destruction of public records, leading to both an FAC lawsuit and a council motion to prevent this kind of thing in the future.
In January 2016 the Los Feliz Ledger broke the story that termed-out CD4 Councilmember Tom LaBonge had ordered the destruction of public records prior to his leaving office on June 30, 2015. Emily Alpert Reyes, writing in the Los Angeles Times reported on Thursday that the First Amendment Coalition had filed suit against the City of Los Angeles, claiming, among other things, that the destruction of this material either violated the California Public Records Act or else the fairly draconian Government Code section 6200. Thanks to FAC director Peter Scheer I have a copy of the petition to share with you, and you can read some further commentary after the break.
Continue reading First Amendment Coalition Sues City of Los Angeles Over Tom LaBonge’s Illegal Records Destruction, Alleges Possible Felony Records Destruction, Eric Garcetti Still Not Held To Account For Similar Crimes

New Chapter in Street Character Wars Begins Today as City Council Will, in Futile Attempt to Appease the Inappeasable Kerry Morrison, Set the Stage for More Huge Tax-Funded Payouts to Carol Sobel

Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell holds up copy of agreement with HPOA Executive Director Kerry Morrison announcing his willingness to cede control over the Sudetenland Hollywood and Highland to her in exchange for peace in our time.
Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, dressed as Neville Chamberlain and performing for tips on Hollywood Blvd, holds up a copy of agreement with HPOA Executive Director Kerry Morrison announcing his willingness to cede control over the Sudetenland Hollywood and Highland to her in exchange for peace in our time.
According to an article in today’s Times by Emily Alpert Reyes and Nina Agrawal, the Los Angeles City Council is set to act today1 on Council File 15-0798, opened last June by Mitch O’Farrell and Tom LaBonge, ordering Mike Feuer’s office to write a draft ordinance regulating street characters on Hollywood Boulevard between Highland and Orange.

Of course, this is a direct response to Hollywood Property Owners Alliance ED Kerry Morrison, who’s been obsessing about this issue for decades now, even to the point of bullying City officials and entering into crazed cross-continental conspiracies. The City last cracked down on street performance at the behest of Ms. Kerry Morrison in 2010, leading to a federal lawsuit filed in August of that year by the incomparable Carol Sobel. The initial complaint was followed a mere two months later by a restraining order against the City of Los Angeles and, four months after that, a payout of $100,000 in damages and fees to the street characters and Carol Sobel, who has continued to make well-earned megabucks from the idiocy of the City of Los Angeles.
Continue reading New Chapter in Street Character Wars Begins Today as City Council Will, in Futile Attempt to Appease the Inappeasable Kerry Morrison, Set the Stage for More Huge Tax-Funded Payouts to Carol Sobel

Hollywood Property Owners Alliance Formalizes Ongoing Document Destruction Policy Involving Thousands Upon Thousands of Public Records, Seemingly just to Thwart Our Investigations

Hollywood Property Owners Alliance staff members implementing their new document retention policy.  What have you got to hide, friends?!
Hollywood Property Owners Alliance staff members implementing their new document retention policy. What have you got to hide, friends?!
Longtime readers of this blog will recall that one of my very first successful CPRA requests of the HPOA yielded a bunch of emails between AI and the HPOA from October 1, 2014 through November 12, 2014. In fact there were 69 of them during this 43 day period, or more than 1.5 per day. There’s no reason that this period wouldn’t be representative, so we might expect over 500 emails total for 2014. However, I didn’t get around to asking for the rest of the 2014 emails until November of last year and didn’t receive them until January of this year. They are available here, all (only) 90 pages of them. Incredibly, HPOA supplied more distinct emails from October 1, 2014 through November 12, 2014 than they did for all the rest of 2014 when asked a year later. Statistically, therefore, it’s almost certain that they deleted a bunch of stuff. They handed over significantly more emails from 2015, almost 9 MB of them. In all cases there’s demonstrably material missing, e.g. only a small fraction of the weekly reports from AI are present. It wasn’t clear at all what was going on, although I certainly had my suspicions, until a few things happened:
Continue reading Hollywood Property Owners Alliance Formalizes Ongoing Document Destruction Policy Involving Thousands Upon Thousands of Public Records, Seemingly just to Thwart Our Investigations

Kerry Morrison Accuses Street Vending Proponents Collectively of “Almost Resembl[ing] a Circus,” Being “Completely Dysfunctional [and] Disrespectful,” and “Being Bused in,” Elides True Nature of Putative Coalition

Kerry Morrison at the July 9, 2015 meeting of the Joint Security Committee being the opposite of dysfunctional, disrespectful, and circus-like.
Kerry Morrison at the July 9, 2015 meeting of the Joint Security Committee looking mighty fed up with something while at the same time, of course, being nondysfunctional, nondisrespectful, and in no way resembling a circus.
We’ve written before about the HPOA’s crazed-and-at-the-mouth-foaming opposition to Councilmembers Huizar’s and Price’s proposed ordinance legalizing street vending in the city of Los Angeles. We’ve written about the HPOA’s scheme to send its agents to public meetings in the ill-concealed guise of concerned citizens opposing the ordinance. Today we report on Kerry Morrison’s recent discussion of her experience orchestrating that whole fiasco. We’ll analyze it line by line, and you can watch the whole thing here and/or read a transcription after the break.

there were a series of four hearings that the chief administrative office staff held on the… the sidewalk vending ordinance. … It’s just this kind of amorphous set of hearings, which were completely dysfunctional, disrespectful, and almost, um, resembled a circus.

This painting by Georges Seurat almost resembles a circus also, but, and this is a subtle point but sound, Cela ne veut pas un cirque.
This painting by Georges Seurat almost resembles a circus also, but, and this is a subtle point but sound, cela ne veut pas un cirque.

Kerry’s been on before about this issue, people not treating her agents provocateurs to what she delusorily imagines to be the duly appropriate level of forelock-tugging, although she hits a new high note1 here. We mean, we weren’t at the hearings, but it’s hard to imagine that they were dysfunctional. It’s easier to imagine that perhaps Kerry’s mistaken the purpose. It’s hard to see how a public hearing can be disrespectful without being told towards what or whom it’s disrespectful. Does she mean the hearing was disrespectful towards her minions? What is it that they’ve done to earn anyone’s respect? Perhaps she means something else. And as for the hearings “almost…resembl[ing] a circus,” well, we imagine that’s nothing more than the reaction of someone who has done her illegal best to make sure that the public doesn’t feel welcome at the meetings she’s the boss of to finding out that she’s not the boss of every meeting in Los Angeles and, just possibly, maybe not so welcome at all of them her own self.
Continue reading Kerry Morrison Accuses Street Vending Proponents Collectively of “Almost Resembl[ing] a Circus,” Being “Completely Dysfunctional [and] Disrespectful,” and “Being Bused in,” Elides True Nature of Putative Coalition

Mitch O’Farrell’s Abortive 2013 Conspiracy to Destroy the GWHFC: “The food line really has to go.” Rick Howard: How Many More Will the GWHFC Murder?!?

 Mitch O'Farrell giving a performative demonstration of the deep folkloric truth that when you have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.
Mitch O’Farrell giving a performative demonstration of the deep folkloric truth that when you have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.
As you may already know, in 2013, a baying, pitchfork-and-torch wielding, mob of Hollywood business owners and a few residents flipped the fuck out about the Greater West Hollywood Food Coalition and tried to get the city of Los Angeles to outlaw the free sharing of food in public. In order to better understand the mindset of these people you may read this set of 2013 emails to/from Council District 13 on the matter. O’Farrell, as willing a servant of the power elite as his predecessor Eric, not only opined that the GWHFC had to go, but instructed his staff to boast about his attacks on common decency “via press or social media.”

The main theme of these mobbies is their own fear but, as Robin DiAngelo has sagely noted, “whites often confuse comfort with safety.” For instance, read Alexander Polinsky, son of Paula Greenfield, prime mover of the George Harrison memorial tree in Griffith Park, as he trembles in fear of “scary psychotic homeless that terrorize us…the worst kind of people, people we worked hard to avoid by buying nice homes and paying taxes.” Polinsky is even terrified of GWHFC’s fairly saintly organizer, Ted Landreth, who, according to Polinsky, “…likes to tell people he was a marine, implying that he is able to kill and be tough instead of actually being compassionate…”

Rick Howard, Chief Operating Officer of Occidental Entertainment Group, HMD BID Board member, and howling-mob leader. The bloody foam on his slavering maw has evidently been photoshopped away.

Or see how Rick Howard, COO and VP of Occidental Entertainment, member of the board of directors of the Hollywood Media District BID, and master of delusio-inflammatory rhetoric, blamed the Food Coalition for a 2013 stabbing murder on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He warns all and sundry that obviously there will be many more murders if the feeding is allowed to continue:

Notably, not even the recent murder of a young woman on the Walk of Fame was sufficient to shake our local Council representatives into action, which is all the more disturbing since it is now known that the assailant formerly worked at the feeding program. … Was it not a matter of time before such a tragic event such as this took place? Must it happen again before someone acts?1

Not one for whom a rhetorical trope readily loses the freshness of its first bloom, Rick tells O’Farrell et al. in another email that

[the homeless] wander our streets and defecate, urinate, vomit, discard used hypodermic needles and condoms, set fire to trash bins, break into cars, harass and assault people—and now, as you know, one of the food line’s volunteers recently murdered a young woman over a dollar.

These guys are quite voluble, and there’s bunches more of this blethering in the emails. You can read it yourself if you care to. Sane people delete emails like this without reading, let alone acting on, their demands. But not Mitch O’Farrell!
Continue reading Mitch O’Farrell’s Abortive 2013 Conspiracy to Destroy the GWHFC: “The food line really has to go.” Rick Howard: How Many More Will the GWHFC Murder?!?

Hollywood Media District BID’s Shocking Conspiracy to Violate Lavan Injunction on Willoughby Avenue Abetted by Highest Levels of LA City Government

Homeless encampment on Cole Avenue south of Willoughby Avenue
Homeless encampment on Cole Avenue south of Willoughby Avenue in November, 2014
We have written before about the January 2015 conspiracy comprising indefatigably feckless dudebro Steven Whiddon and various city officials, including LA City Council District 13 field deputy Dan Halden, to (probably illegally, certainly immorally) use the threat of powerwashing sidewalks outside of the Public Storage building at the corner of Willoughby and Cole as a means of removing homeless people and their possessions, in violation of both human decency and the Lavan injunction. Today we have an email chain from November 2014 which illuminates the origins of the conspiracy and also demonstrates that LA City Council District 4 operatives as well were involved in the furtherance of these misdeeds.

Indefatigably feckless dudebro Steven Whiddon, wearing his sunglasses after the manner of his tribe.
The face of conspiracy: Indefatigably feckless dudebro Steven Whiddon, wearing his sunglasses after the manner of his tribe.

We join the sordid story on November 6, 2014, when someone named Marvin Cruz emailed Universal Protective Services security wallah John Irigoyen, CC-ing hmd.acevedo@yahoo.com, sgt.m4te@yahoo.com, and someone named Damien Reed, stating somewhat obscurely that:

There is alot [sic] of trash dumping here accross [sic] from 832 cole( public storage side). Also multiple 647I’s that block the aide [sic] walk. Can u [sic] contact HBT for the trash and maybe also lapd to come andtake [sic] contact with the idas.

Subseqently Captain John forwarded this report at 1:05 p.m. on November 7th to Steven Whiddon with the message “here is what you requested” prepended. A little over an hour later the conspiracy began to take shape.
Continue reading Hollywood Media District BID’s Shocking Conspiracy to Violate Lavan Injunction on Willoughby Avenue Abetted by Highest Levels of LA City Government