Our City Council Could Easily Build Public Housing In Los Angeles — Instead Of Giving Away Public Property To Private Developers For Putatively Affordable Housing — But Instead They Say Public Housing Is Illegal — They Say They Can’t Do It — This Is A Lie — Here Are Concrete Steps We Can Take To Force Them To At Least Try To Build Some

The Los Angeles City Council is very fond of giving away publicly owned property to real estate developers to build what passes for affordable housing.1 Judging by the fact that they never do it, they’re decidedly unfond of building public housing.2 At least some Councilmembers, though, are also fond of lying about their ability to build public housing at all — ask one about it and maybe they’ll tell you that new public housing projects are illegal in California.3

This is a lie, by the way. An utterly shameless lie. In fact they could easily use City land for City-owned housing. Here are some steps we might take to force them to do it. But first let’s talk about the origin of this illegal public housing lie. It’s based on Article 34 of the California Constitution.4 The key part says:
Continue reading Our City Council Could Easily Build Public Housing In Los Angeles — Instead Of Giving Away Public Property To Private Developers For Putatively Affordable Housing — But Instead They Say Public Housing Is Illegal — They Say They Can’t Do It — This Is A Lie — Here Are Concrete Steps We Can Take To Force Them To At Least Try To Build Some

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Washington DC Folks Love To Ride ATVs On Public Streets — The Washington Metropolitan Police Department Has Been Spending Beaucoup De Bucks Actively Surveilling — Investigating — And Arresting Riders — For Years On End — Not Only That But Sworn Officers Swear To Warrant Affadavits With Copy/Paste Errors — Casting A Great Deal Of Doubt On Their Veracity — All This In Service Of White Supremacy — When If Anyone In Power Saw Poor Black Residents As Human Beings This Could Be Worked Out Easily With No Cops Involved — And The Money Could Then Be Spent On Something Socially Desirable

This post is based on records taken from the recent ransomware attack on the Washington Metropolitan Police Department. The material is incredibly sensitive, so I’m not publishing any of it unredacted. I will share it with people who will promise credibly to use it responsibly. Email me if you’re interested.

The Washington Metropolitan Police Department was recently attacked by a ransomware gang, which ended up dumping more than 150 gigabytes of really sensitive data online. Most of it is unsuitable for responsible publication, but it’s still possible to draw interesting conclusions publicly.

In particular, of the approximately 165 gigabytes released, 49 had to do with human resources and the other 116 with what people generally think of as real police work. Of that material 47 gigabytes, which is about 40%, has to do with a years-long investigation into illegal ATV use on DC streets.

The ATV issue is essentially fueled by race and class conflict. Powerful politicos in the District bitch and moan about outlawry, visible signs of disorder, laxity in putatively permissive DC courts, and disrespect of police officers while more sensible people realize that what appears to be a problem to the uncritical or dishonest observer is in fact created by the laws against it, that it has many positive and essentially human aspects, and advocate for their repeal.

The investigation, which is apparently ongoing, involves surveillance photos and video, taken on both public streets and private property.1 There are hundreds of arrest warrants, powerpoint presentations announcing rewards, and so on. This is a major police operation and it must be incredibly resource-intensive both in money and time.

The photographs were taken by multiple detectives, all of whom were paid to take them. The arrest warrants were written and filed by multiple officers, also of course paid for their time. And they appear to take up a lot of time. Here are four examples, all issued in 2019 and 2020 for the same person:2
Continue reading Washington DC Folks Love To Ride ATVs On Public Streets — The Washington Metropolitan Police Department Has Been Spending Beaucoup De Bucks Actively Surveilling — Investigating — And Arresting Riders — For Years On End — Not Only That But Sworn Officers Swear To Warrant Affadavits With Copy/Paste Errors — Casting A Great Deal Of Doubt On Their Veracity — All This In Service Of White Supremacy — When If Anyone In Power Saw Poor Black Residents As Human Beings This Could Be Worked Out Easily With No Cops Involved — And The Money Could Then Be Spent On Something Socially Desirable

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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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