The City of Los Angeles famously and frequently violates the California Public Records Act. One of the most difficult-to-counter ways in which they do this is to deny that they have responsive records at all. It’s pernicious because the only recourse for violations is to file a petition in Los Angeles County Superior Court but the statute only authorizes petitions when:
it is made to appear by verified petition … that certain public records are being improperly withheld from a member of the public.
That is, if the City says there are no records and there’s no evidence to the contrary it’s likely a judge will believe the City’s claim and deny the petition. Which means it’s often useful to have evidence that responsive records exist even before requesting them. It’s also really important to duplicate requests to as many City departments as may have copies, since they all have different search methods.
Fairly regularly one City department will say that there are no responsive records while another one will produce proof that the first was lying. For a recent and spectacular example of this phenomenon take a look at this stunningly good Twitter thread from @LANCWatch.
Sometimes even the same department will produce proof that they themselves are lying, an example of which is the subject of today’s post! On June 19, 2021 I asked LA Sanitation for some information about ride-alongs on their CARE/CARE+ homeless encampment sweeps:
Continue reading LA City Sanitation Blatantly Lied In A Response To A CPRA Request For Information About Ride-Alongs With CARE/CARE+ Encampment Sweep Teams — They Said They Didn’t Do Ride-Alongs — But I Already Knew — And Could Prove — Using Evidence Produced By LA San In Response To Another Request — That They Did Before I Made The Request — This Kind Of Dishonest Nonsense Completely Derails Requests From People Who Don’t Know That They Lie About CPRA Requests All The Time — And Is The Zillionth Reason We So Badly Need A Municipal Sunshine Law In The City Charter
But first some background! In June 2020 Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority supervisor Kristy Lovich sent an email to all LAHSA employees calling for the agency to stop working with police during homeless encampment sweeps and seeking signatures on a petition. She was screamed at by her bosses over this and they ended up firing her over it in July. I recently obtained a copy of a June disciplinary report filed against Lovich by Victor Hinderliter, her supervisor.
I also obtained a formal memo from Hinderliter to LAHSA Director Heidi Marston from July recommending that Lovich be fired. There’s also a strangely formatted email conversation from June between Lovich and Hinderliter in which she responds to the accusations he would later include in both reports, in part by listing examples of HInderliter supporting her in precisely the kinds of activities he used to advocate that she be fired.
Hinderliter apparently even knew about Lovich’s all-staff email in advance and failed to advise her not to send it, a fact which did not deter him from later listing it as a reason for firing her. One of the most surprising aspects of this fiasco is the extent to which Lovich’s superiors at LAHSA and also random staffers in the Mayor’s office monitored her social media usage, which Hinderliter quoted from extensively in his recommendation. Read on for a transcription of the July memo:
Continue reading On July 13, 2020 Victor Hinderliter of LAHSA Wrote A Formal Memo To Director Heidi Marston Recommending That Kristy Lovich Be Fired — Here Is A Copy Of The Memo — Hinderliter Had Disciplined Lovich In June — And Here’s A Copy Of That Disciplinary Action Report — And Lovich’s Response To It — Which Reveals That Hinderliter Knew In Advance About Her Fateful All-Staff Email — The One She Was Fired For Sending — And Yet Did Not Advise Her Not To Send It — Hinderliter And Staff From The Mayor’s Office Monitored Lovich’s Social Media Usage — And Cited Posts In The Firing Recommendation — Including The Accusation That She Tweeted About A Post On This Blog!
I recently obtained a few huge sets of records from the Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation and wrote about them here. The most important record in the set, by far, is this 96 slide Powerpoint presentation from September 2019. The date is significant as that’s when,thanks to the indefatigable Services Not Sweeps Coalition, the City implemented a new and putatively more humane version of its encampment sweep policy.
The point of this training is to explain these new policies to the Sanitation staff responsible for conducting the actual sweeps, how they’re expected to behave, when to call in LAPD, and so on. In July 2020 the City Council apparently abandoned this ostensibly humane approach, with predictably appalling results, making at least some of the information in the Powerpoint file outdated, but the organizational information is likely to still be accurate. Also note that the claims about the City’s humanitarian goals were false at the time and by now they’ve actually dropped the pretense. So while it’s tempting to expose the hypocrisy in detail it’s not useful enough for me to spend the time on it.
Continue reading September 2019 CARE/CARE+ Team Training Powerpoint From LA Bureau Of Sanitation Reveals Incredible Detail About Team Organization — Including Daily Schedules — Team Roles And Size Of Teams — Differences Between CARE And CARE+ — Guidelines For How To Do Outreach To Encampment Residents — When To Call In LAPD — Role Of Unified Homelessness Response Center — SECZ Rules — Some Of This Has Changed Recently But Much Of The Structural Info Is Probably Still Good — And It’s Fascinating To Compare The City’s Humanitarian Self-Presentation With The Actual Reality Of Encampment Sweeps
I recently obtained a huge pile of records from LA Sanitation about encampment sweeps and some other issues. Most of them are current versions of the kind of things we’ve seen before, but there are also a few unexpected and incredibly interesting items.
The most important, the most shocking of these is a 96 slide powerpoint presentation prepared by LA San to train its homeless encampment sweep teams in the new protocols adopted by the City of Los Angeles in September 2019. I wrote a separate post just on this one item. The others are job descriptions of the various roles in the encampment sweep teams. Here are links to the three full sets:
◎ CARE/CARE+ job descriptions — These are from November 2019. The relevant ones are:
▸ Environmental Compliance Inspector
▸ Maintenance Laborer
▸ Refuse Collection Truck Operator
▸ Senior Environmental Compliance Inspector
◎ LA San training materials — This looks like the most important set of the three right now. Four of these came to me as Powerpoint files, and I exported those to PDF for convenience and they’re what’s linked to below. The rest were PDFs originally.
▸ 56.11 Public Information Powerpoint — From October 2016, so completely outdated by now, but of historical interest.
▸ Biological Agents Decontamination Policy
▸ Bloodborne Pathogens PPT — Perhaps made by OSHA?
▸ CARE/CARE+ Training Powerpoint September 2019 — This is an immensely important document. I’ll be writing about it separately.
▸ Human Waste Cleanup Policy — From February 2019.
▸ LA San 56.11 Standard Operating Procedure — From 2018 so only of historical interest now.
▸ Clean Harbors Staff Enforcement Manual — I’m not sure what this is.
▸ LA San Operation Healthy Streets Bloodborne Pathogen Control Plan — From 2018.
▸ Bloodborne Pathogen Training Course Outline — I’m also not sure what this is.
◎ Spreadsheets from LA Sanitation — Sanitation does a lot of its sweep scheduling and planning via spreadsheets, many stored on the City’s Google Drive account so they can be collaboratively edited. This is a set of 44 spreadsheets of various kinds. There is a lot to be learned from these, but I’m not going to write about them in detail.
Continue reading Huge Set Of Records From LA Bureau Of Sanitation — Including A 96 Slide Training Powerpoint For The CARE/CARE+ Team Revisions In September 2019 — And Job Descriptions For CARE/CARE+ Staff — And An Incredibly Rich But Sadly Mostly Pretty Old Spreadsheets From LA San’s Livability Services Division — Which Coordinates Encampment Sweeps — Lots Of Stuff To Look At Here