The Los Angeles City Ethics Commission does routine audits of candidate campaign committees. This duty stems from the Los Angeles City Charter at §702(d). The results of these audits are presented by the Executive Director at the Commission’s bimonthly meetings, the next one of which is scheduled for Wednesday, August 18, at 9:30 AM. Here’s a copy of the agenda if you want to participate.
And here’s a copy of Executive Director David Tristan’s report (the two audit reports are at the end). On page 17 find the audit of John Lee For City Council 2019, which ran Lee’s campaign in the 2019 special election to fill Mitchell Englander’s seat, vacated so Englander could take a job as a lobbyist. On page 22 find the audit results from Lee’s Runoff election committee.
City law limits each contributor to an aggregate total of $800 in contributions per Councilmember per election and the auditors look for violations of this. They often find a few, but they’re not locking anyone up for them. According to the Ethics Commission’s Excess Contribution Policy if the candidate “cures” the violation by returning the contribution and any associated matching funds within a specified time after being caught by the audit they don’t get in trouble for it but the illegal contributions are still reported in the audits.
Lee had a few excess contributions to cure, and they’re pretty interesting. First of all, for the first special election we see former CD7 repster Felipe Fuentes, who resigned from City Council in 2016 to take a job as a lobbyist. Fuentes gave $800 on February 7, 2019 and then another $350 on May 30, 2019. Obviously he knew he gave the max in February so it’s hard to see this as anything but an attempt to sneak excess money past the regulators, since there are no consequences for getting caught.
Continue reading John Lee Had To Return A Number Of Illegal 2019 Campaign Contributions — From Former CD7 Rep Felipe Fuentes — Now Some Kind Of Creepy Sacramento Lobbyist — From Brenton Tesler — Now Lee’s Chief Of Staff — Tesler Only Gives Money To Lee By The Way — $3200 Since January 2019 — (Including The $800 Returned By Lee) — And Mega-Contributor Attorney Patricia Glaser — Who Makes A Good Living Defending Rapists Like Harvey Weinstein And Has Given More Than $85K To Local Candidates Over The Years
Yesterday the Los Angeles City Council considered and passed a long list of motions intended to alleviate some of the devastating effects of the coronavirus pandemic on our City. One of the most essential of these was CD11 rep Mike Bonin’s motion to stop evictions and ban late rent fees until the end of the emergency declaration and then give renters 24 months to pay missed rent.
The meeting itself was interminable and the public is excluded from City Hall and had to sit out on the front patio under a tent. But fortunately a number of extremely hard-working reporters were on the case, and it’s due to the incomparable Sahra Sulaiman‘s live-tweeting of this episode that I’m able to tell the story I’m telling here.
Sulaiman reported that Paul Krekorian, our second fashiest councilmember, was all about 24 months to repay being far, far too long:
Can’t tell who (Krekorian?) suggests that we are shifting loss bc if we give tenants too much time to pay back, the grace pd may extend beyond their lease and therefore end up being uncollectable. And that we need to consider more options, like applying security deposit to rent.
Krekorian went on to say that:
He acknowledges some folks will never be able to pay it back and that some landlords can absorb that, but others cannot, and that may have other negative consequences.
Got it? Paul Krekorian acknowledges that some landlords can absorb the loss from tenants not paying back rent while other landlords cannot absorb the loss. This is his reason for wanting to cut the repayment period down from 24 months to 6 months.
Hey, did you know that California state law requires public officials like Paul Krekorian to file annual disclosures of their financial interests? Well, it does. They’re called “Form 700s” and here’s Paul Krekorian’s from 2018. And as expected, rental income is income and thus counts as a financial interest to be listed on the form.
Continue reading Yesterday The Los Angeles City Council Eviscerated A Reasonably Good Eviction Moratorium Motion — On The Insistence Of Paul Krekorian And Herb Wesson — Who Kept Talking Up The Needs Of The So-Called Mom And Pop Landlords — Who In Everyone’s Fantasies About Capitalism On A Human Scale Are Not Insatiable Villainous Psychopaths Like Non Mom And Pop Landlords Are — And Somehow Neither Krekorian Nor Wesson Thought It Was Worth Mentioning That They Themselves Are Mom And Pop Landlords — As Is Paul Koretz — And Nury Martinez — And Curren Price — And Jose Huizar — And Mike Bonin’s Husband — Although Bonin Voted Against Krekorian’s Eviscerating Motion — So At Least There’s That
Last summer it was revealed that LAPD officers participated in various secretive vigilante anti-homeless Facebook groups. Stories ran in the press and LAPD Chief Michel Moore banned his officers from participating. At the time I was investigating the story through Public Records Act requests to various City departments, including all San Fernando Valley Council Districts.
Most of them complied, albeit reluctantly and with the usual idiotic foot-dragging obstructionism, but Council District 7, repped by Monica Rodriguez, actually just completely stopped communicating with me after some point. This is a typical tactic in the City of Los Angeles, and the only recourse provided by the law is to file a lawsuit seeking to compel compliance. So on Friday, January 17, 2020, assisted by fabulous and heroic attorneys Ian Stringham and Tasha Hill, that’s just what I did! Here’s a copy of the petition, and read on for transcribed excerpts!
Continue reading Los Angeles City Council District Seven — Repped By Councilmember Monica Rodriguez — Sued To Enforce Compliance With The California Public Records Act — Over Emails Concerning LAPD And Vigilante Anti-Homeless Facebook Groups In The San Fernando Valley — CD7 Ignored Requests For Months On End — Which Is Against The Damn Law!
For about two months now I’ve been looking into the practice of Twitter users being blocked or muted by official City of Los Angeles accounts. I’m still gathering evidence, but yesterday it came out that Police Commission president Steve Soboroff blocks a bunch of users who’ve never even interacted with him, so I thought it’d be timely to write up the information I have so far. This issue is of special interest in these latter days given that in 2018 a federal judge ruled that it is unconstitutional for Donald Trump to block users on Twitter.
What I can offer you today, friends, is Twitter block/mute information for eleven of the fifteen council districts, the City Attorney, the Mayor, and a small selection of official LAPD accounts. There’s also an interesting line of hypothetical bullshit from deputy city attorney Strefan Fauble about some pretty technical claims about CPRA exemptionism, but that, being übernerdlich, is way at the end of the post.
Most of the accounts blocked are porn or spam, but Jose Huizar and David Ryu are notable exceptions. Both reps block accounts that are obviously controlled by actual individual people. Huizar’s list is by far the most extensive, and includes wildly inappropriate blocks like @oscartaracena and @BHJesse.
My research on this question is ongoing, mostly hindered by the City of LA’s familiar foot-dragging CPRA methodology. Turn the page for a tabular summary of the results I have so far along with a brief discussion of how Strefan Fauble is still on his CPRA bullshit.
Continue reading Ever Wonder If You Are Blocked By Your Councilmember On The Twitter?! — We Have The Answer! — Also City Attorney! — Also The Mayor! — But Nury Martinez — And Herb Wesson — And Mike Bonin — And Mitch O’Farrell — They Won’t Even Answer The Damn Requests — Oh, Almost Forgot To Say! — Deputy City Attorney And Insufferable Rich Boy Strefan Fauble Wants To Be Sure You Know — Mike Feuer Isn’t Muting Any Twitter Users But If He Were — The List Would Be Exempt From Release Under The CPRA! — Yeah Right, Strefan Fauble! — Stick To Art Collecting And Leave The CPRA Lawyering To Others!