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
On September 24, 2020 the directors of six Downtown Los Angeles business improvement districts met with incoming City Councilmember Kevin de León. The BIDs involved were South Park, Historic Core, Downtown Center, Downtown Industrial District, Arts District, and Little Tokyo and the meeting was arranged by South Park BID director Ellen Riotto.
Riotto got in touch with de León’s office on July 27 asking to meet, and by September was working with de León staffer Sarah Flaherty to schedule it. On September 23, the night before the meeting, Riotto sent an agenda to Flaherty along with a note about how darn thrilled they all were. The agenda was fairly bland:
DTLA BIDs & Councilmember-elect Kevin de León
September 24, 2020
Zoom Meeting Agenda
I. Welcome and introductions
II. Downtown BIDs
• Who we are
• What we do
• Key stats
III. Our priorities
• Economic recovery
• Long-term planning
IV. Council District 14’s priorities
V. Working together and lessons learned
VI. Next steps
But you know and I know that these BIDdies are sneaky as sneaky can be. Very sneaky. Of course they had a hidden agenda as well as a public one. No, like an actual hidden agenda. Literally a hidden agenda. An agenda, but they hid it from de León. And here is a copy of it! They had a lot more planned for that meeting than they told their incoming CM! Their purpose:
Continue reading Ellen Riotto — Executive Director Of The South Park BID — Contacted Kevin de León’s Office In July 2020 To Set Up A Meeting With All The Downtown LA BIDdies — She Worked It Out With Sarah Flaherty — Now A CD14 Field Deputy — And The Meeting Happened On September 24 — Riotto And Her Fellow BIDdies Had A Secret Agenda Though — Like Literally A Secret Agenda — That They Didn’t Share With de León — But I Have A Copy — And It Is Very Asky — And Demandy — One Big Thing With Them Is “How Often Do We Have Facetime With The CM? Monthly?” — Listed Twice On The Hidden Agenda — And They Want To Base Their Relationship With The CM On “Trust, Accountability, and Shared Vision” — Accountability?! Facetime?! Monthly?! — These BIDdies Live In A Different World