In 2017 the ACLU of Southern California sued the Los Angeles Police Department over their habitual egregious violations of the California Public Records Act. The City settled the case in September 2019 by paying the ACLU $57K and signing an extensive agreement which included a number of conditions regarding LAPD’s CPRA practices.
One of the conditions requires LAPD to use a web platform for handling CPRA requests, to publish the requests so that they’re searchable, and to publish records produced as well. The full text of this clause is transcribed below. The City addressed this requirement by adopting NextRequest, but so far LAPD has failed to publish requests consistently, and even when they do publish them, they often won’t publish the released documents or the conversation with the requester, both of which the settlement requires them to do.
In particular, at the time of writing, requests 19-4413 and 19-4414 remain unpublished and the released documents remain unavailable and unsearchable for anyone but the logged-in requester. It’s essential that LAPD publish all published requests, but I have a particular interest in these two given that recently LAPD Chief Michel Moore publicly accused me of making requests that “are intentionally designed to be unclear, confounding, and/or overbroad.”
The evidence Moore cited is based on these two requests, which are none of the things he accuses me of intentionally designing them to be. So a couple weeks ago I asked LAPD Lt. Marla Ciuffetelli, new boss of the CPRA Unit, to publish them. She has so far completely ignored my request despite the fact that LAPD is subject to a court order requiring publication and despite the fact that the requests are themselves public records, which I requested.
But one of the other clauses in the agreement says that LAPD officers who willfully violate the CPRA may be subject to discipline. So yesterday I filed this complaint against Ciuffetelli with Bryan Lium, her superior officer, which is also transcribed below. I am sure that as they usually do they’ll kick it around for a year or two and then exonerate Ciuffetelli, but maybe not. In any case, I will certainly let you know what happens!
Continue reading Lt. Marla Ciuffetelli Runs LAPD’s Public Records Unit — And She Refuses To Publish CPRA Requests On NextRequest — So That They Remain Unreadable And Unsearchable By The Public — This Is A Direct Violation Of A Settlement Agreement LAPD Signed Last Year To Settle A Monumental CPRA Case — So I Filed A Complaint With LAPD About Ciuffetelli’s Transgressions — Which You Can Read Here — Of Course!
There is a lot of interesting stuff in the Los Angeles City Charter! And I didn’t realize it before, but the same is true of the Los Angeles Administrative Code! It turns out that the LAAC includes a local version of the California Public Records Act. This differs here and there from State law, and some of the differences are really interesting.
Let’s take a look at LAAC §12.21. This is the local version of CPRA §6254, which is the main list of exemptions. The infamous §6254(f) is the so-called investigative exemption, which basically allows the cops to refuse to release any records which can properly be described as “investigatory or security files.” And the local LA version, found at LAAC §12.21(f), is roughly the same albeit localized.
With at one exceedingly important exception! But before that, some background! The LAPD Public Disorder Intelligence Division was established by Chief Edward Davis in 1970, apparently as a reaction to the Watts Uprising in 1965. The PDID infiltrated hundreds of progressive political groups and also spied on electeds from the Mayor to the City Council. According to historian Max Felker-Kanter:
The PDID operated as an updated Red Squad gathering “practically all” information on “potential threats” and storing as much information as possible. It was, in other words, a comprehensive surveillance program that significantly expanded the department’s intelligence operations.
Continue reading In 1983 Public Opposition To The LAPD Political Espionage Unit — Public Disorder Intelligence Division — Was Strong Enough That The Police Commission Dissolved It — And Then-CD5 Repster Zev Yaroslavsky — One Of The Politicians Spied On By LAPD — Sponsored An Ordinance Which Excluded PDID Intelligence Files From The Much-Hated Investigative Exemption — Which Means All Of Them Must Be Released On Request! — Unless They’re Exempt For Other Reasons Than Investigative — But Even More Interesting — Maybe One Of The Most Interesting Things About The Los Angeles Administrative Code — Is That Yaroslavsky Specifically Precluded LAPD From Making A Burdensomeness Exemption Claim — Which Says That In 1983 LAPD Was Making Exactly The Same Kinds Of Bogus Exemption Claims They Love So Much Now — But Not About These Spy Records!!
One of the key components of last year’s AB1505, which modified the California law authorizing the existence of charter schools, is a requirement that chartering authorities must revoke the charters of any schools ranked “low performing” by the California Department of Education for two years in a row. The CDE released its rankings last month, and twenty-two of LAUSD-authorized charters ranked “low performing.”
If any one of these 22 schools ranks low next year LAUSD must revoke their charters. The California Charter School Association famously picks a few very low-performing schools each year and publicly advocates at LAUSD meetings for their revocation. This is a very, very friendly process the point of which is pure propaganda. The difference here is that no one’s asking CCSA’s opinion and there’s no opportunity for CCSA to spin this in their favor.
And these aren’t just a bunch of random unheard-of charter schools, either. Many of them are run by big name charter management organizations like KIPP, Animo, PUC, Para Los Ninos, and Magnolia. For extra schadenfreude, many of these schools are run by some of the most vocal privatizers, who will go on and on and on without evidence about their educational superpowers. Here’s a list of all 22 of the LAUSD-authorized charters that are halfway to their mandatory charter revocations. A bunch of these are sure to go down next year, so let’s keep watching!
Continue reading The California Department Of Education Released Its 2020 List Of School Rankings — And AB1505 — One Of Last Year’s Charter-Control Measures — Requires LAUSD To Revoke Charters Of Any School Ranked Low Performing Two Years In A Row — The List Contains 22 LAUSD-Authorized Schools Ranked Low Performing — Which Means They Are Halfway To Mandatory Dissolution — Big Names On The List Include KIPP — Animo — Para Los Ninos — Magnolia — Convicted Felon Ref Rodriguez’s Baby PUC — And Many Many More — Schadenfreude Much??!
You want to know how angry the LAPD is at me? Well, they are so angry that Chief Michel Moore, who apparently reads my blog obsessively but fails to understand most of it, wrote me a really aggressive, really disrespectful letter about how freaking mean I am to everybody and they’re not going to work very hard on my requests for public records going forward. No, really, read the letter! Cut through all the nonsense in there and all it really says is that they’re going to continue not filling my requests and lying about the reasons. But of course they’re doing that anyway, so it’s not much of a threat.
But let’s talk about why Moore is so angry at me! Start with the quality of my requests, and remember, this is Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore speaking: you frequently submit CPRA requests to the Department that are complex, vague, and/or overbroad, which create considerable burdens for the Department, and which significantly constrain the ability of some of the Department’s staff to fulfill their other work responsibilities and efficiently serve other members of the public.
This is interesting, because much of what he says is wrong. Some of it’s actually incredibly deceptive. First of all, I never write vague requests. I just don’t. What would be the point? Second, my requests are not overbroad, a word which in any case does not have an objective meaning in relation to the CPRA. Finally, it’s possible that some of my requests are complex, although I doubt it. I can’t think of any that aren’t straightforward.
Continue reading Michel Moore Sent Me A Really Aggressive Letter — Saying That I Ask For Too Many Records — And They Can’t Understand My Requests — Because I Intentionally Make Them Impossible To Understand — And Moore Reads My Blog! — And Doesn’t Understand What He’s Reading! — Or Pretends Not To — And Throws My Own Words Back At Me — The Ones That Don’t Say What He Apparently Thinks Or Pretends To Think They Say —And Yet In 2012 When Some USC Prof Asked LAPD For 762,000 Pages — Yes — You Read That Right — LAPD Was All Like Sure Thing Herr Doctor Professor! — Is 6,000 Pages A Week OK With You Good Sir? — And A Quick Calculation Reveals That All My Requests To The City Probably Don’t Total This Much — And I Don’t Work At USC — So No Records For Me!
A couple days ago it came out on Twitter that a lot of people in Los Angeles don’t understand how homeless encampment sweeps get scheduled and why, in particular how encampments to be swept are chosen. I promised to write a post about it, and here we are! Part of the reason for the delay is that the story is really complex, so I’m just going to talk qualitatively about how encampments end up being targeted by Council Districts and leave the rest for another post or two. For instance, the City has two kinds of sweep teams, which are CARE and CARE+, but I’m not going to talk about the differences, which are probably important, but not for this post.
Each Council Office has a staffer whose job is to work out their District’s sweep schedule with LA Sanitation. I think that ordinarily every request for a sweep in a given District goes through this San contact. The scheduling is done by email as well as by editing Google Docs, and the emails occasionally reveal the reason a given encampment is being targeted. Here are the sets of records this post is mostly based on. If you’re interested in the subject it’s really worth looking at these. There’s a lot more information there than I’m using here:
⬟ Some 2020 Emails Between CDs and LA San
⬟ Housedweller Complaints to Juan Fregoso About Echo Park Encampments — From 2019 and 2020
⬟ CD15 Emails With LA Sanitation — January through May 2020
Continue reading A Brief Discussion Of How Homeless Encampment Sweeps Are Scheduled In The City Of Los Angeles — Or At Least Part Of The Process — The Whole Thing Is Driven By Housedweller Complaints — Filtered Through Council Districts As Political Patronage — LAHSA Involvement — Every Kind Of Outreach — Is Basically A Cover For Relocation — The Only Actual Goal