Prosecutor Sean Hassett — Who Is Such A Bumbling Doofus That He Was Publicly Rebuked In 2016 By Judge Kathleen Kennedy — Who Accused Him On The Record Of Metaphorically “Tripping Over His Feet And Falling On His Face” — Is Putatively Progressive Prosecutor George Gascón’s Choice To Head The Public Integrity Unit — Where He Continues His Dangerous Bumbling — By Mishandling A Brown Act Complaint Vs. The City Of Los Angeles — Contrary To His Division’s Policy Manual He Seems To Have Passed It Along To Mike Feuer’s Office For “Review And Comment” — Which Is Like Letting The Accused Control The Investigation — Not Due Process In Any Way — At Least In This Narrow Sense Gascón Is No Better Than Lacey


The Los Angeles County District Attorney‘s Public Integrity Division is responsible for, among other things, investigating and prosecuting complaints from the public about Brown Act violations. The procedure for doing so is found in Chapter 5 of the Division Manual. This office did a really terrible job under Jackie Lacey which — as you can imagine — is no surprise. People who won’t prosecute actual killers just because they’re cops can’t really be expected to care about protecting the rule of law.

But, sadly, it turns out that things aren’t better under putatively progressive prosecutor George Gascón and Sean Hassett, Gascón’s choice to head up the PID. Hassett, whose moronic blundering performance in a recent corruption case was so incredibly, blindingly, idiotically, amateurish that Judge Kathleen Kennedy publicly rebuked him, stating that he was “just tripping over [his] feet and falling on [his face].” And this is a reasonably accurate description of the incredibly messed-up manner in which Hassett is handling my recent complaint about the Police Commission’s Brown Act violations in relation to their Use of Force Committee.
Continue reading Prosecutor Sean Hassett — Who Is Such A Bumbling Doofus That He Was Publicly Rebuked In 2016 By Judge Kathleen Kennedy — Who Accused Him On The Record Of Metaphorically “Tripping Over His Feet And Falling On His Face” — Is Putatively Progressive Prosecutor George Gascón’s Choice To Head The Public Integrity Unit — Where He Continues His Dangerous Bumbling — By Mishandling A Brown Act Complaint Vs. The City Of Los Angeles — Contrary To His Division’s Policy Manual He Seems To Have Passed It Along To Mike Feuer’s Office For “Review And Comment” — Which Is Like Letting The Accused Control The Investigation — Not Due Process In Any Way — At Least In This Narrow Sense Gascón Is No Better Than Lacey

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David Ryu Appointed Former CD13 Rep Mike Woo To The Redistricting Commission — When Nithya Raman Trounced Ryu Woo Tendered His Resignation To Raman — And Then Tried To Convince Her To Reappoint Him — By Explaining To Her How They Could Evade The Ban On Ex Parte Communications — And Explaining To Her That There’s No Place For Equity Or Justice In The Redistricting Process — Except When The Feds Investigate Civil Rights Violations — And Explaining To Her That It’s All About Political Self Interest And Treachery — That She Should Hire Her Own Consultant Because The Ones That Nury Martinez Wants Won’t Have Raman’s Interests In Mind — Woo Is An Expert At Working The System — Who Never Seems To Have Considered That Maybe The System Is Bad — Spoiler Alert! — Raman Fired Woo And Put Her Own Person — Alexandra Suh — On The Commission Instead

Redistricting in the City of Los Angeles is handled by a commission whose members are appointed by municipal elected officials. Presumably the commissioners are expected to be somewhat fair and independent, or at least to appear so,1 but as you can imagine the process is deeply corrupt. It’s at least plausible that if the commissioners carried out their work via an adversarial process the result wouldn’t be precisely tailored to the idiosyncratic interests of the electeds who appointed them, but in practice, as you can imagine, this doesn’t happen.

Everyone involved, from commissioners to electeds, has an overriding interest in helping their colleagues attain their individual goals so that they’ll get the same consideration in return. The one rule that might prevent absolute coordination between the commissioners and the electeds who appointed them is the ban on ex parte communications. However, some emails I recently obtained show that even this regulation is easily evaded.

Last September unlamentedly former CD4 repster David Ryu appointed former CD13 rep Mike Woo to the Commission. On September 29, 2020 Woo emailed Ryu’s also-now-former Chief of Staff Nick Greif with a draft statement for some required form. But most interesting was Woo’s postscript:

P.S. At some point I need to discuss with you how we should deal with the likely restrictions on ex parte communications. It also would be helpful to me if we could have a longer conversation, including the Councilmember, about his redistricting priorities.

But, as the whole world knows, Nithya Raman quite handily kicked David Ryu’s metaphorical ass at the November election which, among other things, unhatched Woo’s already-counted Commission-involved chickens. After Ryu conceded Woo emailed Raman tendering his resignation but, at the same time, making it clear that he was willing to continue to serve and also giving her some (astonishingly man-splainy, by the way) reasons for choosing him:
Continue reading David Ryu Appointed Former CD13 Rep Mike Woo To The Redistricting Commission — When Nithya Raman Trounced Ryu Woo Tendered His Resignation To Raman — And Then Tried To Convince Her To Reappoint Him — By Explaining To Her How They Could Evade The Ban On Ex Parte Communications — And Explaining To Her That There’s No Place For Equity Or Justice In The Redistricting Process — Except When The Feds Investigate Civil Rights Violations — And Explaining To Her That It’s All About Political Self Interest And Treachery — That She Should Hire Her Own Consultant Because The Ones That Nury Martinez Wants Won’t Have Raman’s Interests In Mind — Woo Is An Expert At Working The System — Who Never Seems To Have Considered That Maybe The System Is Bad — Spoiler Alert! — Raman Fired Woo And Put Her Own Person — Alexandra Suh — On The Commission Instead

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How To Discover And Access Ransomware Data Dumps On The Dark Web

Since I was cited recently in Harriet Ryan’s article for the LA Times about the recent Azusa Police ransomware data dump I’ve gotten a few requests for info on how to access this kind of material. This post is a practical guide, so I’m relegating background material to footnotes. There’s a quick guide for beginners and a more advanced guide for people comfortable with the Linux command line and similar techniques.
Continue reading How To Discover And Access Ransomware Data Dumps On The Dark Web

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November 2020 — The Last Days Of David Ryu — Registered Lobbyists Currying Favors By Forwarding Job Announcements Around To Soon-To-Be-Former CD4 Staff — Soon-To-Be-Former CD4 Staff Agonizing Over Whether They Should Submit Resumes To Raman’s Transition Team — Zillionaire Trust Fund Baby Nick Greif Floating Above The Fray — Submitting Gracious — But Still Condescending — Recommendations To Raman’s Camp — Along With Weirdly Patronizing Advice — From A Guy Whose Boss Had Just Lost An Election No Less

Former City of Los Angeles staffers are super-famous for their seamlessly corrupt transitions between public service and the lobbying industry, so much so that we had to create a so-called revolving door ordinance to (very lightly) regulate the practice. As with so many of the rules putatively enforced by our beleaguered and underfunded Ethics Commission, though, this ordinance is widely ignored.

We’ve seen many examples of this revolving door phenomenon, for instance, Marie Rumsey moving from CD13 to the Central City Association in 2015, but I’m not aware of much information on what goes on when the door is opened and the former staffers prepare to step across the transom. Some light is shed on this phase of the process by a newly acquired email conversation from November 12 and 13, 2020, though.

The discussion is between registered lobbyist Dwayne Gathers and soon-to-be-former CD4 Chief of Staff Nick Greif. It also sheds light on the fate of an ousted CM’s staff, as they struggle with divided and dividing loyalties while deciding whether to submit their resumes to the new regime after their boss David Ryu conceded to Nithya Raman on November 6.
Continue reading November 2020 — The Last Days Of David Ryu — Registered Lobbyists Currying Favors By Forwarding Job Announcements Around To Soon-To-Be-Former CD4 Staff — Soon-To-Be-Former CD4 Staff Agonizing Over Whether They Should Submit Resumes To Raman’s Transition Team — Zillionaire Trust Fund Baby Nick Greif Floating Above The Fray — Submitting Gracious — But Still Condescending — Recommendations To Raman’s Camp — Along With Weirdly Patronizing Advice — From A Guy Whose Boss Had Just Lost An Election No Less

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October 2020 — Former David Ryu Staffer Nick Greif Used City Email To Send A Copy Of Ryu’s Unhinged Campaign Talking Points To His Private Account — Along With Notes To Himself Concerning Revisions — Which Suggests That This Well-Known Hatchetman Had A Significant Role In Developing Ryu’s Desperate Attack Messaging — Either Way Though This Is A Violation Of LAMC 49.5.5(B)(4) — Which Forbids The Use Of City Resources For Campaign Purposes — So Not Only Did I Report Him To The Ethics Commission — But I Have A Copy Of The Talking Points Memo As Well!

Last fall former Los Angeles City Councilmember David Ryu was fighting ultimately successful challenger Nithya Raman for his job repping CD4. He lost by four points in November, so it’s easy to imagine that in October his internal poll numbers were terrifying him.1 This situation no doubt also contributed to the remarkably negative turn his messaging took around that time.

Los Angeles elections are regulated, albeit not heavily, by the Municipal Code. In particular, LAMC §49.5.5(B)(4) forbids [u]sing City equipment, vehicle, supplies, or resources, including but not limited to mailing and distribution lists, electronic mail, and electronic data.

So you can imagine my surprise when a friend of this blog passed me a copy of this October 8, 2020 email sent by former Ryu staffer Nick Greif using his City email account to himself at a private account. The email has an attachment, which is an MS Word document entitled 09.30.20_TPs for Supporters.docx, and a note from Greif to himself on planned revisions.

This is about as clear a violation of the code section as I’ve ever seen, even without the Word document’s metadata.2 so this morning I reported Greif to the LA Ethics Commission and we’ll see what comes of that! Meanwhile, read this ridiculously desperate memorandum! Or read on for images!
Continue reading October 2020 — Former David Ryu Staffer Nick Greif Used City Email To Send A Copy Of Ryu’s Unhinged Campaign Talking Points To His Private Account — Along With Notes To Himself Concerning Revisions — Which Suggests That This Well-Known Hatchetman Had A Significant Role In Developing Ryu’s Desperate Attack Messaging — Either Way Though This Is A Violation Of LAMC 49.5.5(B)(4) — Which Forbids The Use Of City Resources For Campaign Purposes — So Not Only Did I Report Him To The Ethics Commission — But I Have A Copy Of The Talking Points Memo As Well!

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On May 4, 2021 The Los Angeles Sunshine Coalition Filed A California Public Records Act Petition — Against The City Of Los Angeles — Over Violations By The Los Angeles Police Department — Involving Improper Redactions And Refusal To Release Other Required Records — Get A Copy Of The Petition Here!

This post is about a petition filed by the Los Angeles Sunshine Coalition to enforce compliance with the California Public Records Act by the City of Los Angeles. If you want to read the petition but not the nonsense you can get a copy right here.

On Tuesday, May 4, 2021 the Los Angeles Sunshine Coalition, represented by the incomparable Anna von Herrmann, filed a writ petition against the City of Los Angeles seeking to enforce compliance with the California Public Records Act. There are two basic issues at stake.
Continue reading On May 4, 2021 The Los Angeles Sunshine Coalition Filed A California Public Records Act Petition — Against The City Of Los Angeles — Over Violations By The Los Angeles Police Department — Involving Improper Redactions And Refusal To Release Other Required Records — Get A Copy Of The Petition Here!

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“The overall morale at the LAPD Northeast Division can best be described as being in the TOILET” — Anonymous Letter From LAPD Northeast Officers Accuse Station Brass — Arturo Sandoval — Cesar Rivas — Gina Paialii — Of Rigging A Raffle So That Sandoval Won — And Of Running An Illegal Lottery Right In The Station — It Looks Like Sandoval And Friends Committed At Least Five Other Misdemeanors — The Letter Also Claims That Internal Affairs Is Too Corrupt To Investigate The Complaint — And That Sandoval And Others Are Raising Funds For A Slush Fund They Control — And On And On And On — Did I Mention That We Have A Copy Of This Letter?!?

In March 2021 self-proclaimed LAPD Northeast Division rank and file officers sent an anonymous complaint to the Attorney General of California against their leaders Arturo Sandoval, Cesar Rivas, and Gina Paialii over a couple of 2020 fundraising raffles widely believed to have been rigged by Sandoval. Here’s a copy of their letter.

They allege that Sandoval rigged the first raffle so that he won the big prize, which was half the money collected. Subsequently, due to the fact that everyone thought the first one was rigged, they held a second raffle a few months later. The complaining rank-and-filers don’t have evidence of rigging, though, although who’d be surprised if it were true?

What they do have evidence of, what’s clear on its face, is that Sandoval, Rivas, and Paialii organized the two raffles on their own, without a non-profit organization being involved. This is, as the complainants note, a crime in California. The Penal Code at §320 forbids lotteries,1 although at §320.5 and §320.6 it has exceptions for appropriate private non-profit organizations, which can hold lotteries for certain enumerated reasons.

The reasons and the criteria aren’t important in this case, though, because the law is very clear that the non-profit must be private, which LAPD is not.2 There are a bunch of other requirements as well, including that the private non-profit must register annually with the state as a lottery-conductor3 before engaging in lottery-conducting. So if Sandoval and the others really did organize these lotteries they did violate §320 PC,4 which is a misdemeanor.
Continue reading “The overall morale at the LAPD Northeast Division can best be described as being in the TOILET” — Anonymous Letter From LAPD Northeast Officers Accuse Station Brass — Arturo Sandoval — Cesar Rivas — Gina Paialii — Of Rigging A Raffle So That Sandoval Won — And Of Running An Illegal Lottery Right In The Station — It Looks Like Sandoval And Friends Committed At Least Five Other Misdemeanors — The Letter Also Claims That Internal Affairs Is Too Corrupt To Investigate The Complaint — And That Sandoval And Others Are Raising Funds For A Slush Fund They Control — And On And On And On — Did I Mention That We Have A Copy Of This Letter?!?

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Los Angeles Police Department Inspector General Mark Smith Is Supposed To Investigate LAPD To See That They Comply With The Law — Which Is Pretty Hypocritical Since His Office Intentionally And Egregiously Violates The California Public Records Act — Which Is A Violation Of Requesters’ Constitutional Rights — I Made A Request In September 2020 — His Staffer Julie Buchwald Had The Records Ready By October 2020 — She Messed Around And Didn’t Produce The Records Until April 16 2021 — If Smith Doesn’t Know That Buchwald Is A Liar And An Outlaw Then He’s Incompetent — If He Does Know He’s A Co-Conspirator — Either Way He Has No Business Whatsoever Overseeing Anything Related To Obeying The Law — Especially The Police — He Is A Hypocrite And Ought To Resign Immediately — He Probably Exonerates Every Cop He Investigates To Sooth His Conscience Over His Own Lawbreaking — Even Cops Ought To Refuse To Be Overseen By This Guy — Who At This Point Has Zero Credibility — Did I Mention He Ought To Resign?

On September 20, 2020, I sent a request for some old reports to Mark Smith, the Inspector General of the Los Angeles Police Department. On April 16, 2021 Smith produced the responsive records. This is the story of what happened in the seven months between the request and the production!1

On September 22, 2020, just two days after receiving my request, Police Commission Executive Director Richard Tefank emailed Deputy City Attorney Soraya Kelly who, along with Carlos De La Guerra, staffs CPRA requests for the Commission and the OIG. He wanted legal advice, and he had some very … colorful … ideas about my work:2

Good Morning Again Soraya,

So now I receive this email from [Kohlhaas].

From what he is doing to my office and the OIG I feel this guy is harassing us via CPRA requests. Is there any action that can be taken. Quite frankly I don’t have the time for these games.

Richard

It’s clear from this that Tefank and Mark Smith had been talking, and they weren’t happy with me! Their default attitude towards people who expect them to follow the law they voluntarily made themselves subject to is that they’re being harassed. Meanwhile, on September 29, 2020, precisely when required to do so by law, Smith sent me a letter claiming a 14 day extension to respond, in which he stated that he would in fact respond by October 13, 2020.3

And Tefank’s anxiety about my requests got worse! Just three days after Smith sent me that extension letter Tefank sent a heartbreakingly plaintive email to Smith,4 LAPD Constitutional Cop5 Lizabeth Rhodes, CPRA cops Bryan Lium and Marla Ciuffetelli, and a bunch of deputy city attorneys, including Soraya Kelly, Julie Raffish, Debra Gonzalez, and Carlos de la Guerra:
Continue reading Los Angeles Police Department Inspector General Mark Smith Is Supposed To Investigate LAPD To See That They Comply With The Law — Which Is Pretty Hypocritical Since His Office Intentionally And Egregiously Violates The California Public Records Act — Which Is A Violation Of Requesters’ Constitutional Rights — I Made A Request In September 2020 — His Staffer Julie Buchwald Had The Records Ready By October 2020 — She Messed Around And Didn’t Produce The Records Until April 16 2021 — If Smith Doesn’t Know That Buchwald Is A Liar And An Outlaw Then He’s Incompetent — If He Does Know He’s A Co-Conspirator — Either Way He Has No Business Whatsoever Overseeing Anything Related To Obeying The Law — Especially The Police — He Is A Hypocrite And Ought To Resign Immediately — He Probably Exonerates Every Cop He Investigates To Sooth His Conscience Over His Own Lawbreaking — Even Cops Ought To Refuse To Be Overseen By This Guy — Who At This Point Has Zero Credibility — Did I Mention He Ought To Resign?

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The Los Angeles Police Commission Has A Use Of Force Committee — Which Meets In Secret — Which Is Against The Law Since It’s Pretty Clearly Subject To The Brown Act — So Today I Sent A Complaint To The Public Integrity Division Of The Los Angeles County District Attorney — Which Meant Essentially Nothing When Jackie Lacey Was In Charge — But Conceivably Things Are Different Now — Maybe?

This post is about a complaint I sent to the Public Integrity Division of the Los Angeles County District Attorney alleging that the Use of Force Committee of the Los Angeles City Police Commission violates the Brown Act by meeting in secret. If you want a copy of the complaint without having to wade through my nonsense, here it is!

The Los Angeles Police Commission does not hold its meetings in a public-friendly manner. They severely limit comment time, for instance, and they also, at least pre-COVID, regularly have members of the public arrested. But as bad as they are they mostly don’t violate the Brown Act while doing it.1

However, it turns out that they have a bunch of committees, and it really looks like at least one of them, the Use of Force Committee, is itself subject to the Brown Act. But it meets in secret, and has done at least since 2011. This is against the law, of course, so today I sent this complaint about it to the Public Integrity Division of the LA County District Attorney’s Office.

Under Jackie Lacey these Public Integrity jokers didn’t do much,2 but perhaps things are different now? I guess we’ll find out! Read on for an html version of the complaint, although you’ll have to look at the PDF to see the evidence.
Continue reading The Los Angeles Police Commission Has A Use Of Force Committee — Which Meets In Secret — Which Is Against The Law Since It’s Pretty Clearly Subject To The Brown Act — So Today I Sent A Complaint To The Public Integrity Division Of The Los Angeles County District Attorney — Which Meant Essentially Nothing When Jackie Lacey Was In Charge — But Conceivably Things Are Different Now — Maybe?

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In February 2020 Judge Marshall Beckloff Ruled Against The Skid Row Neighborhood Council Formation Committee In Their Ongoing Effort To Separate From DLANC — On Friday The SRNC-FC Filed Their Opening Appellate Brief — Get Your Copy Here! — The City’s Response Is Due In 30 Days

Background: You can read my previous stories on the Skid Row Neighborhood Council formation effort and also see Jason McGahan’s article in the Weekly and Gale Holland’s article in the Times for more mainstream perspectives.

In February 2020 Los Angeles County Superior Court judge Marshall Beckloff denied the Skid Row Neighborhood Council Formation Committee petition against the City of Los Angeles over the City’s years-long egregiously illegal conspiracy to deny the residents and other stakeholders of Skid Row their own neighborhood council, separate from the famously corrupt Downtown Los Angeles NC. Here’s a copy of his judgment.

I planned to report on this at the time but historical circumstances intervened and I never got around to it. Which didn’t stop the case, of course. The SRNC-FC filed a notice of appeal on time last year. The wheels continued to turn, as wheels do, and then, two days ago, on April 16, 2021, they filed their opening appellate brief. The City’s response is due in 30 days.

I understand basically nothing about how the appeals process works, so I’ll spare you my amateur thoughts on technical legal issues,1 but as a matter of justice, as a matter of requiring the City of Los Angeles to follow its own laws, there’s no question that the SRNC’s arguments are strong and Beckloff’s judgment was wrong.2 Let’s see what happens!
Continue reading In February 2020 Judge Marshall Beckloff Ruled Against The Skid Row Neighborhood Council Formation Committee In Their Ongoing Effort To Separate From DLANC — On Friday The SRNC-FC Filed Their Opening Appellate Brief — Get Your Copy Here! — The City’s Response Is Due In 30 Days

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