On October 10, 2020, LAPD Chief Michel Moore sent an email to a bunch of police luminaries with the subject line CM Marqueece Harris-Dawson Tweet – Ridiculous. The outline is in the headline and the full text is below. But first, is anyone still wondering who actually runs this City?
But late last year they settled a major CPRA case with the ACLU and part of the agreement required the Department to adopt a policy stating explicitly that LAPD employees, both sworn and nonsworn, were subject to discipline for willful violations of the law. And since they will no longer produce records in response to my requests I’ve been using the time I would have spent reviewing and writing about their records to file complaints against them instead.
Also as usual they produced emails and their attachments as huge, unwieldy, non-text-searchable PDFs with highly degraded quality even though I asked them for MBOX files and the law requires them to produce MBOX files.2 They also produced attachments this way. You can see from the image what this process does to image files3 but imagine how incredibly useless it makes a spreadsheet! The CPRA’s requirement, found at §6253.9, is clear:
6253.9. (a) Unless otherwise prohibited by law, any agency that has information that constitutes an identifiable public record not exempt from disclosure pursuant to this chapter that is in an electronic format shall make that information available in an electronic format when requested by any person and, when applicable, shall comply with the following:
(1) The agency shall make the information available in any electronic format in which it holds the information.
(2) Each agency shall provide a copy of an electronic record in the format requested if the requested format is one that has been used by the agency to create copies for its own use or for provision to other agencies. The cost of duplication shall be limited to the direct cost of producing a copy of a record in an electronic format.
They refuse to do it, though, as they have been refusing since at least 2014. They change their reasons all the time, often in response to my pointing out that they’re lying about their capabilities. These days they’re not denying that they can produce MBOX files because everyone knows by now that they can do it even they used to say explicitly that it was impossible.4 Their current argument, also a lie, is that it’s impossible to redact MBOXes, so they can only produce as PDFs, which they can redact.
I can’t remember where I learned that the Office of the Chief Legislative Analyst writes briefing notes for each meeting of each City Council committee, but obviously as soon as I heard I started trying to get copies via the California Public Records Act. And so on June 24, 2020 I fired off a request asking for a few years worth.
And you know how the City of LA is. I didn’t get a response at all until September 29, when CLA staffer Karen Kalfayan sent me this ill-considered bit of crapola, claiming that she would have denied my request as “overly broad” but that instead she was denying it as so-called “deliberative process,” a court-created interpretation of the CPRA at §6255(a):
With regard to your request for briefing notes for the period January 1, 2016 through June 24, 2020, please be advised that this Office has made its determination on your request as required by Government Code section 6253(c).
Please note that the request is overly broad, and normally we would request you to clarify your request in order for us to search for specific records. However, please be advised that records may be withheld under Government Code Section 6255 because they would show the officials’ deliberative process. As to these documents, Government Code Section 6255 permits nondisclosure because the public interest served by protecting the official’s decision-making process clearly outweighs the public interest served by the records’ disclosure.
I’ve been tracking a nuisance abatement case filed by the Los Angeles City Attorney against a West Adams liquor store, Holiday Liquors, on Adams a little east of La Brea. West Adams is gentrifying super fast,1 of course, and this nuisance abatement suit is clearly part of the plan. New residents in all of LA’s gentrification battlegrounds are obsessed with access to upscale retail choices2 and also are famously terrified of many of the original inhabitants.
Liquor stores like Holiday impede gentrification by scaring new residents, by not being cute succulents-n-linen shops or brunch spots, and by being useful to the original residents. One way in which the City uses nuisance abatement suits to promote gentrification is by attacking impediments like Holiday Liquor.3 Gentrification funnels money to real estate developers who turn around and show their pleasure by sending a small percentage back to elected officials. Mike Feuer needs this kind of support for his 2022 mayoral campaign, so nuisance suits like this are to be expected.
This is not a baseless fear. Councilmembers universally try to gain the approval of unhinged anti-shelter housedwellers by promising intensified criminalization of homelessness. O’Farrell did precisely that in 2018 with the Hollywood Bridge Housing project, for instance.
Which, as was very recently revealed, was certainly not the whole truth. Furthermore, I recently obtained this email chain involving LAPD CPRA analyst Masoomeh Cheraghi. She responded in May 2020 to a February 2020 email announcing various LAPD facial recognition policies, announced that she was working on my request,1 and was told by LAPD staff that there was in fact a Detective Bureau Notice on the subject.