“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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What Does Progressive Darling Nithya Raman Have In Common With Despicable Developer-Loving Lickspittles Like Jack Weiss — Greig Smith — David Ryu — And Joe Buscaino? — All Five Of Them Support Giving Away A Specific Piece Of City Property In The Bird Streets — To An Anonymous LLC — Known As 5B Enterprises — Owned By Costa Mesa Zillionaire Rami Batal — Which Would Vastly Increase The Value Of A Particular Residential Lot — Batal’s LLC Is Represented By Land Use Lobbyist Randall Akers — Who Apparently Lobbied Raman Over This Matter — Even Though He Is Not Registered With The Ethics Commission — Meet The New Boss I Guess — Who Looks Awfully Darn Similar To The Old One!

In 2004 LA City Councilmembers Jack Weiss and Greig Smith initiated the process of giving away a piece of Thrush Way, up in the Bird Streets, to the owner of an adjacent parcel.1 As they will do, the City Council approved the motion in January 2005, but the property owner dropped the ball, missed some requirement or another, and the offer expired.2 The parcel used to be in CD5, which is why Weiss was involved, but now is in CD4.

According to ZIMAS the property was sold in 2014, apparently to an LLC owned by a Costa Mesa man named Rami Batal, known as 5B Enterprises. Batal3 hired land use lobbyist Randall Akers to revive the street vacation plan. In 2016 this actually happened, with a motion from Joe Buscaino, seconded by David Ryu.4 The new motion ended up in Council File 16-0566. It generated a ton of opposing public comment and apparently more than one lawsuit, which explains why, on March 22, 2017, the Council voted to continue and file the motion.5

And that’s about it! Oh, wait, that’s about it until four years later, on March 2, 2021, when Nithya Raman, who famously showed weirdo incumbent David Ryu a thing or two last year, filed a short but exceedingly consequential motion of her own, seeking to reactivate the council file. Nury Martinez didn’t fool around with this one, by the way. She didn’t send it to a committee, but rather, the very same day Raman filed it Martinez referred it to the full council and a few days later the Clerk put it on the agenda for April 6, 2021.6
Continue reading What Does Progressive Darling Nithya Raman Have In Common With Despicable Developer-Loving Lickspittles Like Jack Weiss — Greig Smith — David Ryu — And Joe Buscaino? — All Five Of Them Support Giving Away A Specific Piece Of City Property In The Bird Streets — To An Anonymous LLC — Known As 5B Enterprises — Owned By Costa Mesa Zillionaire Rami Batal — Which Would Vastly Increase The Value Of A Particular Residential Lot — Batal’s LLC Is Represented By Land Use Lobbyist Randall Akers — Who Apparently Lobbied Raman Over This Matter — Even Though He Is Not Registered With The Ethics Commission — Meet The New Boss I Guess — Who Looks Awfully Darn Similar To The Old One!

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LAPPL and LAPD have been negotiating a revision of the department’s use of force policy as applied to police dog bites in secret at least since November 2020 — Police Commissioners are involved in the discussions via the LAPC’s Use of Force Subcommittee — which does not meet in public — and is only one of multiple secret subcommittees — none of which comply with the Brown act — used by the Commission to evade public oversight


LAPD, often acting through the Los Angeles Police Protective League, warps just about every aspect of municipal politics to serve its own twisted ends. They’re famous for their blackmail files on local politicians and all sorts of other intimidation tactics in order to strongarm them into supporting every aspect of the cop-first agenda. But it turns out that I had no idea of how deeply the LAPPL has insinuated itself into the terms and conditions of policing in this City until I read this October 2020 memo from LAPD sergeant Joseph Fransen to Chief Bea Girmala.

The context is a meet-and-confer process involving LAPPL and LAPD brass about when police dog bites are counted as a “use of force.” This is an official label, and its application has consequences for the officer. Per Fransen “the LAPPL views something being a use of force as de facto ‘bad'” and therefore they want it made harder to rule that a police dog bite counts as such.1 A November 6, 2020 update, part of the same memo linked to above, reveals that Girmala recommended that LAPD partially address LAPPL’s concerns.

The proposal was discussed by the Police Commission’s Use of Force Subcommittee on November 10, 2020 and again on March 9, 2021. As far as I can see it has not yet been considered by the full Commission.2 In other words, LAPPL, high-ranking LAPD officers, the Inspector General, and two members of the Police Commission have spent more than six months holding secret discussions of the rules under which police dog handlers operate.
Continue reading LAPPL and LAPD have been negotiating a revision of the department’s use of force policy as applied to police dog bites in secret at least since November 2020 — Police Commissioners are involved in the discussions via the LAPC’s Use of Force Subcommittee — which does not meet in public — and is only one of multiple secret subcommittees — none of which comply with the Brown act — used by the Commission to evade public oversight

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Despicable Streets Of Shame Reporter Joel Grover Emailed LA Sanitation Boss Flackie Elena Stern Asking For A Bunch Of Info — Stern’s Subordinates Asked Her Why Didn’t She Make Him Use NextRequest — Stern Explained That “we have to decide whether or not it’s worth it to antagonize a reporter like Grover” — She Said: “because it’s him, I’m not making him go through CPRA” — Then She Sent Him The Goodies Via Return Email — So I Asked Her For The Same Stuff Just Yesterday — Via Email — And Her Response Was Quite Different — She Refused Me Stating That “all CPRAs are to be submitted through the NextRequest portal” — Because She — Or Her Masters In The Department Of Public Works — Like Joel Grover’s Reporting And They Don’t Like Mine — Which Is Egregious — And Illegal — And Immoral — And Entirely Normal For The City Of Los Angeles

Ask the LA City Bureau of Sanitation, popularly known as “LA San,” for public records and you’ll almost certainly be subjected to obstructions, delays, lies, and so on. And since LA San signed up for NextRequest, a despicable and useless public records platform, you’ll be forced to communicate with anonymous City staffers through a clunky script-heavy website that barely works on a computer and just forget about your phone all together.

Unless, of course, you happen to work for NBC Universal or the LA Times. Elena Stern, Senior Public Information Director with the Department of Public Works, which includes LA San, is happy to handle your CPRA requests informally via email. This is no accident, by the way. Stern clearly understands the utter uselessness of NextRequest, and the pain it causes. Here’s the story.
Continue reading Despicable Streets Of Shame Reporter Joel Grover Emailed LA Sanitation Boss Flackie Elena Stern Asking For A Bunch Of Info — Stern’s Subordinates Asked Her Why Didn’t She Make Him Use NextRequest — Stern Explained That “we have to decide whether or not it’s worth it to antagonize a reporter like Grover” — She Said: “because it’s him, I’m not making him go through CPRA” — Then She Sent Him The Goodies Via Return Email — So I Asked Her For The Same Stuff Just Yesterday — Via Email — And Her Response Was Quite Different — She Refused Me Stating That “all CPRAs are to be submitted through the NextRequest portal” — Because She — Or Her Masters In The Department Of Public Works — Like Joel Grover’s Reporting And They Don’t Like Mine — Which Is Egregious — And Illegal — And Immoral — And Entirely Normal For The City Of Los Angeles

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A Couple Of Newly Obtained Emails Reveal Hitherto Unknown Clues About The LA City Council’s Famously Habitual Brown Act Violations — All Fifteen Council District Chiefs Of Staff Held An Impromptu And Illegal Serial Meeting In March 2020 — The Statute Of Limitations Has Run But It’s Clearly A Violation And Clearly Neither The First Nor The Last Time This Has Happened — And Another Email — This From CD5 Enviro-Dude Andy Shrader To His Boss Koretz — Suggests That The Chiefs Aren’t The Only Staffers Doing This — He Mentions A “Daily Staff Meeting” That Includes Republicans Who Might Spill Beans To Other Councilmembers — Sounds Like Another Brown Act Violation To Me!

The Brown Act famously forbids the Los Angeles City Council and its committees from meeting in secret1 to conduct its public business. The prohibition is found at §54952.2(b)(1), which states categorically that:

A majority of the members of a legislative body shall not, outside a meeting authorized by this chapter, use a series of communications of any kind, directly or through intermediaries, to discuss, deliberate, or take action on any item of business that is within the subject matter jurisdiction of the legislative body.

But anyone who pays even a little attention to meetings of the Los Angeles City Council or its committees can see that there’s some kind of collusion going on behind the scenes. There are too many unanimous votes, too many obviously scripted comments by Councilmembers responding to scripted comments by other Councilmembers when there’s no legal way for them to have known what their colleagues were planning to say, and just too much foreknowledge of the course of legislation.

It’s really unlikely that the Councilmembers themselves make all the arrangements. Almost surely the collusion is done by their staff. This doesn’t make it any less against the law. It’s exactly the scenario contemplated in the phrase “directly or through intermediaries.” So for instance, if 15 staff members, one from each Council district, got together to discuss pending motions, votes, or anything else within the subject matter jurisdiction of the City Council and then relayed information from the discussion to their bosses it’s a violation.2

One of my very long term projects is finding proof that the City Council does in fact engage in these illegal meetings and also to understand the means by which they do it. It’s slow going, though, and not just because of the City’s general unwillingness to comply with the Public Records Act. What I’m looking for is evidence of habitual and chronic outlawry, so the City has even more pressing reasons to withhold the records.3 But from time to time I come across something interesting and suggestive, and today I actually have two!
Continue reading A Couple Of Newly Obtained Emails Reveal Hitherto Unknown Clues About The LA City Council’s Famously Habitual Brown Act Violations — All Fifteen Council District Chiefs Of Staff Held An Impromptu And Illegal Serial Meeting In March 2020 — The Statute Of Limitations Has Run But It’s Clearly A Violation And Clearly Neither The First Nor The Last Time This Has Happened — And Another Email — This From CD5 Enviro-Dude Andy Shrader To His Boss Koretz — Suggests That The Chiefs Aren’t The Only Staffers Doing This — He Mentions A “Daily Staff Meeting” That Includes Republicans Who Might Spill Beans To Other Councilmembers — Sounds Like Another Brown Act Violation To Me!

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Confidential Attorney Client Conversation Between Deputy City Attorneys Mike Dundas and Strefan Fauble And CD13 Staffer Dan Halden Reveal That The City Denies Requests As Burdensome Even Though They Know A Judge Wouldn’t Buy Such An Exemption Claim — That They Consider Whether A Requester Will Actually Sue Them When Deciding Whether Or Not To Deny As Burdensome — Which Is Intrinsically A Violation Of The CPRA — And That Mike Dundas Understands The CPRA Far Better Than Strefan Fauble

This post is about a confidential email conversation between Deputy City Attorneys Mike Dundas and Strefan Fauble and CD13 staffer Dan Halden about a CPRA request of mine. If you’d like to read the email without reading my nonsensical rantings about it you can find it here on Archive.Org.

If you spend any time at all asking the City of Los Angeles for copies of public records you’ll have realized that compliance with the Public Records Act is not a high priority of theirs. They violate it constantly, in small ways and large, intentionally and out of sheer careless indifference. They violate it because they can afford to pay out any number of settlements and most people won’t sue them. They violate it even though compliance with the CPRA is a fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution of California.1

And now, although I’ve long suspected it to be true, I have proof that the City Attorney’s office actually advises them to decide whether to violate it based on whether or not they think the requester will sue them which, as Strefan Fauble so succinctly puts it in a top-secret confidential April 2019 email conversation, “would involve a lot more work.”

But it takes resources to sue them, so effectively this policy favors rich requesters and corporate requesters, even though the Constitution2 guarantees access to every person, which clearly means equal access. It’s surely no coincidence that rich people and corporations are much, much less likely to be critical of the City. This story begins with a request I sent to Dan Halden on March 12, 2019. I asked Halden for:
Continue reading Confidential Attorney Client Conversation Between Deputy City Attorneys Mike Dundas and Strefan Fauble And CD13 Staffer Dan Halden Reveal That The City Denies Requests As Burdensome Even Though They Know A Judge Wouldn’t Buy Such An Exemption Claim — That They Consider Whether A Requester Will Actually Sue Them When Deciding Whether Or Not To Deny As Burdensome — Which Is Intrinsically A Violation Of The CPRA — And That Mike Dundas Understands The CPRA Far Better Than Strefan Fauble

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Soon-To-Be-Indicted Mitch Englander Resigned From LA City Council Effective January 1 2019 — By January 31 2019 Steve Soboroff — At That Time President Of The Police Commission — Was Conspiring With LAPD Chief Michel Moore And LA Police Foundation Board Member Warren Dern To Get Englander A Seat On The Police Foundation Board — Soboroff And Dern Had Lunch With Englander At Freaking La Scala To Discuss It — Although Nothing Seems To Have Come Of The Plan

December 31, 2018 was now-convicted felon Mitchell Englander’s last day on the Los Angeles City Council. He was all like “I am stepping down for a once in a lifetime career blah blah blah” but of course he was getting out ahead of his arrest, exposure, conviction, and sentencing for corruption. The impending disgrace, however, didn’t stop his zillionaire cronies from cushioning his landing with job offers and fancy lunches.

Most famously, of course, on January 1, 2019 he started his new career with the Oak View Group, which is a Los Angeles based “global advisory, development and investment company for the sports and live entertainment industries.” In other words, a perfect landing spot for an as-yet-unindicted former politician. Nothing hurts these politicos more than being forced out of the inner circles of power, though, and making a zillion dollars a year as a lobbyist doesn’t quite fill the kind of ego void created by public disgrace.1

And unhinged typewriter fetishist and perpetual inner power circle dweller Steve Soboroff, at that time president of the Los Angeles Police Commission, apparently understood this quite well. Which is probably why, on January 31, 2019, Soboroff fired off an email to Hollywood power lawyer Warren Dern, also a member of the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles Police Foundation:
Continue reading Soon-To-Be-Indicted Mitch Englander Resigned From LA City Council Effective January 1 2019 — By January 31 2019 Steve Soboroff — At That Time President Of The Police Commission — Was Conspiring With LAPD Chief Michel Moore And LA Police Foundation Board Member Warren Dern To Get Englander A Seat On The Police Foundation Board — Soboroff And Dern Had Lunch With Englander At Freaking La Scala To Discuss It — Although Nothing Seems To Have Come Of The Plan

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