Zillionaire Beverly Hills Developers Fig Crossing LLC Pledge Informally Not To Destroy Highland Park’s Beloved Tenochtitlan Mural — They Sent A Letter Apparently To The Historic HLP Neighborhood Council To This Effect — NC President Stephanie Maynetto-Jackson Seems To Have Shared This Letter With Some Folks But Refused To Share It With Others — Which If True Is An Outright Violation Of The California Public Records Act — We Have A Copy Of The Letter Though Because Gil Cedillo Got His Hands On It At Some Point — And Whatever His Other Flaws At Least His Staff Was Ultra-Compliant With The CPRA In This Particular Case

Tenochtitlan, The Wall That Speaks is one of the many murals in Highland Park threatened by gentrification. And HLP heroine Brenda Perez of Restorative Justice for the Arts organized a blessing ceremony, which took place last Sunday,1 to call attention to the peril into which the mural was tossed by Fig Crossing LLC’s recent purchase of the building.

The attention must have rattled the zillionaire Beverly Hills developers because the Thursday before the ceremony2 they had sent Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council President Stephanie Maynetto-Jackson a letter stating that they did not intend to destroy the mural after all.

Apparently Maynetto-Jackson shared this letter with at least one member of the public because it popped up here and there on social media and eventually made its way via the world’s oldest field deputy and famous CD1 attack toad Bill Cody to Gil Cedillo’s Instagram.

And as word spread, well, other people wanted to take a look at this letter as well. So it came to pass that Perez asked Maynetto-Jackson for a copy but Maynetto-Jackson told her sorry, no, it’s confidential, you can’t see it.

Now, it’s a common misconception about the California Public Records Act that there’s some kind of formal process required to make a request for records. This is totally wrong. All that’s required is that a member of the public ask someone who has control over the records to let them take a look at them.

That’s a request under the law and the public official is required to respond accordingly. In particular, according to §6255(a), if they’re not going to give access to the record they must cite an actual exemption from the CPRA that authorizes them to withhold it. And as you may have guessed, “confidential” is not one of these.3

So yeah, it sure looks like Stephanie Maynetto-Jackson broke the law by refusing to hand over the letter. And meanwhile, it’s nice to have an informal non-binding promise from the zillionaire developers not to mess up the mural, but an actual contract, something with some teeth, is necessary. Let’s see what develops, shall we?


Image of Stephanie Maynetto-Jackson is ©2020 MichaelKohlhaas.Org and then of course there’s one in every crowd.

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The Charter School Industry Famously Wants To Shut Down Schools That Don’t Measure Up To Various Putatively Objective Standards — Part Of Their Narrative Of Government Inefficiency — Lack Of Incentives To Excel — The Usual Nonsense — And — Apparently To Demonstrate Ideological Consistency Or Something — Each Year The California Charter School Association Picks A Few Charter Schools And Publicly Advocates For Their Closure — In 2017 They Targeted Lou Dantzler Elementary School — A Co-Located South LA School Run By White Savior Charter Conspiracy The Inner City Education Foundation — But ICEF Unilaterally Closed The School Rather Than Undergo The Humiliation Of CCSA Openly Calling For Its Closure — Never Mentioned In The Discussion — The Trauma And Disruption In The Students’ Lives Caused By The High-Level Politicking Of These Charter School Geniuses — It’s Almost As If That Kids First Nonsense Is Nothing More Than Empty Sloganeering

One argument we see over and over and over again from school privatizers is that charter schools are more effective than public schools because public schools are not accountable for their performance. Because their funding, their very existence, are guaranteed by the government they have no incentive to improve.

That last sentence, by the way, reads very easily even without an explicit statement of what it is, according to privatizer propaganda, that the public schools don’t have an incentive to improve. Which is a sign of how thoroughly public discourse about public schools has been shaped by the charter school industry.

There’s no satisfying answer to this question of what public schools need to improve, at least not one that satisfies anyone who sees children, students, as actual human beings, of fully equal value to every one of the disrupting grifters corruptly siphoning off billions in public funds meant to educate these kids.

Privatizers try to make this narrative hang together by using vague nouns like “outcomes,” “results,” “accountability.” What is it that public schools need to be accountable for improving? Outcomes and results! But the story doesn’t really work, not to the extent that they need it to work, without there being some concrete, some superficially objective,1 way to measure this putative non-improvance.

The technical details of the actual metrics don’t matter much since all that’s needed to serve the purpose is a bunch of numbers. You can read about them here online if you want to but feel free not to as they’re all lies and also quite boring. And the flip side of this narrative is that charter schools are nimble2 and run like businesses3 unlike the public schools they’re out to destroy. To really underscore this last point it turns out to be politically expedient for charter proponents to once in a while toss one of their schools off the sleigh to be devoured by the hungry wolves that follow.

Which is exactly what the mainline charter conspiracy does in California. The California Charter School Association, premiere privatizer lobbying conspiracy, has a program called Public Calls for Non-Renewal whose sole purpose is to pick off a few schools each year that miss their benchmarks and publicly, that is in front of the authorizing entities, advocate against their targets being renewed. They openly justify this program, this process with an appeal to nothing more than its political expedience for their movement:

We applaud the many charter schools that are among the highest-performing schools in the state. However, we believe that a small number of chronically underperforming charter schools threatens the overall success of the broader charter school movement.

And this is a really disconcerting position to be taken by people who will not for an instant shut up about how they put kids first, how they’re the most overwhelmingly efficient educators in history, how they are the only ones who can save children from the horrors of government incompetence. This kind of realpolitik calculus is fine4 when all the parties involved are adults, are responsible and able to look after their own interests. But real human children are gravely harmed when their schools close down.
Continue reading The Charter School Industry Famously Wants To Shut Down Schools That Don’t Measure Up To Various Putatively Objective Standards — Part Of Their Narrative Of Government Inefficiency — Lack Of Incentives To Excel — The Usual Nonsense — And — Apparently To Demonstrate Ideological Consistency Or Something — Each Year The California Charter School Association Picks A Few Charter Schools And Publicly Advocates For Their Closure — In 2017 They Targeted Lou Dantzler Elementary School — A Co-Located South LA School Run By White Savior Charter Conspiracy The Inner City Education Foundation — But ICEF Unilaterally Closed The School Rather Than Undergo The Humiliation Of CCSA Openly Calling For Its Closure — Never Mentioned In The Discussion — The Trauma And Disruption In The Students’ Lives Caused By The High-Level Politicking Of These Charter School Geniuses — It’s Almost As If That Kids First Nonsense Is Nothing More Than Empty Sloganeering

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El Rio Community School — A Gentrification-Enabling Charter In Highland Park — ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■

Yes, this post is about ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■!

Charter schools in Los Angeles1 serve a variety of social functions. There are white savior charter schools which operate in majority black/brown neighborhoods and seem to mostly consist of real estate and tax scams thinly overlain with implausible social justice rhetoric and toxic moral complacency. The Accelerated Schools are a paradigmatic example of this variety. There are zillionaire-serving schools, which play essentially the same role in 21st Century Los Angeles as segregation academies did in their day. Pali High and Granada Hills Charter High are good examples of this sort.

And then there are gentrification-enabling charters.2 Once the gentrification of a neighborhood has moved past the edgy urban pioneer stage and the pre-existing residents have been pacified to a sufficient extent, young families start to move in. Or the original edgies get smoothed down a little and start having kids. All these new arrivals need schools to send their kids to, and the neighborhood public schools generally won’t do for all the obvious reasons. The same reasons that the so-called legacy bars and restaurants won’t do.

The gentrification process requires new establishments with craft cocktails and $37 nitro cold brew lynx poop coffee drinks to satisfy the settlers, and the equivalent replacements for neighborhood public schools. Charters are an ideal (and recognized) way to fill this need, given that they can be relatively easily started from scratch and the kids of the soon-to-be-displaced so-called legacy residents relatively easily excluded. And they can be spiffed up with all kinds of shiny hipster-appealing educational baubles, like e.g. Waldorf or Montessori.3

And of course Highland Park has been and is one of the most gentrificationally contested neighborhoods in Los Angeles. And the gentrification bars are there in force. And the coffee. And now, therefore, it is time for the gentrification charters to move in. Which brings us to the subject of today’s post, that is El Rio Community School, a Waldorf charter establishment approved by LAUSD last year and set to open in Highland Park in the Fall of 2020.

This school is in the intersection of three of my favorite subjects to investigate via the California Public Records Act,4 ■ ■ ■ ■ ■■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■■ ■ ■ ■ ■■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■■ ■ ■ ■ ■■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■■ ■ ■ ■ ■■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■. ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■
Continue reading El Rio Community School — A Gentrification-Enabling Charter In Highland Park — ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■

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PUC Charter Schools — Former Home Of Convicted Felon And Disgraced Former School Board Member Ref Rodriguez — Sued To Enforce Compliance With The California Public Records Act — They Refused To Respond At All And Now They Will Have To Pay — And Comply!

In January 2019 I started investigating Los Angeles charter schools using the California Public Records Act and immediately ran into the typical block-headed obstructionism so beloved of CPRA-subject public agencies. I got some pretty interesting material early on, when I was still focusing on how charters reacted to the UTLA strike. As I began to understand the issues better I started looking into co-locations in general and learned, e.g., a lot of important stuff about GANAS academy.

This material ultimately helped to some extent supporters of their co-location target, Catskill Elementary School, fight off their co-location attempt, which really started to show me the utility of the CPRA not just to scholars and journalists, but to anti-charter activists as well. But things really took off in June 2019 when I received a massive release of emails from Green Dot Charter Schools containing explosive correspondence with the California Charter Schools Association.

These documents revealed, among many, many other things, that LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner allowed CCSA lobbyists to vet and edit an advance copy of his first major policy speech. That board member Nick Melvoin asked CCSA lobbyists to write a board resolution for him that would facilitate charters expanding control over LAUSD facilities. That Melvoin shared confidential legal information with CCSA while they were actively suing the District.

That former Board member and now convicted felon Ref Rodriguez also allowed CCSA lobbyists to edit and vet at least one Board resolution. That CCSA intended to put all California students in charter schools by 2030. Revelations from this material were widely covered in the press, including the Los Angeles Times, and Capital and Main, and Diane Ravitch’s blog, and elsewhere. The ramifications of these revelations are still unfolding even now, more than six months later.
Continue reading PUC Charter Schools — Former Home Of Convicted Felon And Disgraced Former School Board Member Ref Rodriguez — Sued To Enforce Compliance With The California Public Records Act — They Refused To Respond At All And Now They Will Have To Pay — And Comply!

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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!

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,1 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!

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North Figueroa Association — AKA Highland Park BID — And Lincoln Heights BID — Sued To Enforce Compliance With The California Public Records Act — After I Exposed Their Mural Erasures — And Social Media Stalking — And Attacks On Street Vendors — In 2018 They Lawyered Up — And Stopped Complying With The Law — Apparently Litigation Is The Only Way To Get These Outlaws To Comply With Their Damn Obligations

It’s been a while since I’ve written about our old friends at the Highland Park BID but that’s certainly not because I lost interest in them! You’ll recall that in early 2018 they released a really rich set of emails in response to some requests made under the California Public Records Act. These records revealed, among other things, the BID’s complicity in the ongoing hurricane-force gentrification of Highland Park, using tactics like mural erasure and harassment of street vendors. The emails also showed the BID’s creepy Facebook stalking of local antigentrification activists, coordinated with weirdo CD1 staffer Bill Cody.

The Highland Park BID’s executive director, Misty Iwatsu, is also the ED of the Lincoln Heights BID.1 Lincoln Heights isn’t as under the gentrification gun as Highland Park, but it’s going to be very soon. So in May 2018 I sent some CPRA requests to the LHBID, seeking to understand their role in changing the neighborhood and also to understand their BID renewal process, which was just beginning. But by the middle of that month Iwatsu’s two BIDs had evidently had their damn fill of transparency.2 They hired ritzy Manhattan Beach lawyer Mark Abramson, who on their behalf immediately stopped complying with the CPRA.

And as usual I spent some time trying to convince the guy to straighten up and follow the law, but he simply would not do it. The previously smooth flow of records ceased. Abramson announced vague far-in-the-future deadlines for production and then blew through them, sent corrupted files and denied they were corrupted, and all the usual tactics that obstructionist agencies rely on. At some point it became clear that no one at either of these BIDs was planning to comply with the law, so on Monday, January 13, 2020, I filed a petition in L.A. County Superior Court asking the judge to compel them.

The public interest in accessing this material is huge even apart from the general public interest in having public agencies comply with the Public Records Act. The BID’s role in mural erasure was covered in L.A. Magazine and The Boulevard Sentinel and local activists Restorative Justice for the Arts have organized in opposition. The Lincoln Heights BID is actually involved somehow in the planned gentrification of that neighborhood, which has also been covered in the press. And in the 18 months since the BIDs stopped complying we’ve been kept in the dark about whatever else these publicly funded entities are getting up to. This cannot be allowed to continue! Read on for selections from the petition!
Continue reading North Figueroa Association — AKA Highland Park BID — And Lincoln Heights BID — Sued To Enforce Compliance With The California Public Records Act — After I Exposed Their Mural Erasures — And Social Media Stalking — And Attacks On Street Vendors — In 2018 They Lawyered Up — And Stopped Complying With The Law — Apparently Litigation Is The Only Way To Get These Outlaws To Comply With Their Damn Obligations

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In 2018 and 2019 The Los Angeles City Attorney Sent Out 479 Demand Letters In Nuisance Abatement Cases — And Filed 30 Cases In Court — According To Deputy City Attorney Bethelwel Wilson An LAPD Gang Officer’s Referral Is Sufficient To Open A Case File — Gang Officers Of Course Were Recently Revealed To Engage In Widespread Lying — And None Of The Demands And Almost None Of The Filed Complaints Get Litigated — So Almost None Of The City’s Allegations Ever Get Tested Adversarially — The City Is Already Reviewing Criminal Cases That The Lying Officers Were Involved In — But Who Will Review These Civil Nuisance Cases?

The Los Angeles City Attorney’s Citywide Nuisance Abatement Program ostensibly attacks gang crime by filing civil lawsuits against property owners whose properties are allegedly involved in ongoing criminal activity. And even though there are obviously people committing all kinds of crimes, dealing drugs, shooting guns, hanging out listening to music,1 in houses and apartments all over the City, the vast majority of these suits are brought in South Los Angeles, a significant fraction in East and Northeast LA, and almost none in other areas.

These disparities support the widely held view that nuisance abatement suits are used as an aggressive gentrification tool. The neighborhoods targeted are gentrifying neighborhoods. The settlement conditions, and by far most of these cases settle, support gentrification and displacement by, among other things, forcing property owners to sell or to evict putatively undesirable tenants or to install surveillance equipment or otherwise function as LAPD informants. Most of the cases are brought against owners of single family homes or small multifamily or commercial properties, maybe because they’re less likely to have the resources to defend themselves.2

I’ve had some trouble learning how the City Attorney picks its targets, but recently, Deputy City Attorney Bethelwel Wilson, in an important series of emails, revealed that for the most part they’re chosen as a result of referrals from residents or law enforcement.3 According to Wilson, irrespective of the source of the referral, an LAPD “gang officer’s communication would be sufficient for the DCA4 to open a case on the property.” And the information supporting the case also comes from LAPD, according to Wilson: “The criminal activity at the property would have to be chronic and well-documented by LAPD before a DCA would even consider filling nuisance abatement action.”

And it turns out that for the City, filing a case essentially amounts to winning it. I recently obtained almost a hundred of these nuisance petitions, filed since 2015, from the CA via the California Public Records Act.5 and for the most part the targets don’t fight back. I checked all 67 of the cases opened between 2017 and 2019 and no more than ten involved any significant defense before settling essentially on the City’s terms.6 This means that the allegations in the petitions almost never get tested adversarially.

There’s no cross-examination, no documentation, and, surprisingly, not even testimony under penalty of perjury. In California Civil Procedure7 a petition is called verified when the complainant asserts belief in the truth of the allegations under penalty of perjury. For whatever reason nuisance abatement petitions are unverified, so no one even gets in trouble if parts of the cases turn out to be made up.8
Continue reading In 2018 and 2019 The Los Angeles City Attorney Sent Out 479 Demand Letters In Nuisance Abatement Cases — And Filed 30 Cases In Court — According To Deputy City Attorney Bethelwel Wilson An LAPD Gang Officer’s Referral Is Sufficient To Open A Case File — Gang Officers Of Course Were Recently Revealed To Engage In Widespread Lying — And None Of The Demands And Almost None Of The Filed Complaints Get Litigated — So Almost None Of The City’s Allegations Ever Get Tested Adversarially — The City Is Already Reviewing Criminal Cases That The Lying Officers Were Involved In — But Who Will Review These Civil Nuisance Cases?

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The West Adams BID Formation Process Has Officially Begun — The Council File Is Opened — And The Draft Ordinance Of Intention Is Published — Largely Promoted By Supervillain Developers CIM Group — The Petitions Are In And Property Owners Holding 50.4% Of The Assessed Value Approve — The Management District Plan Proves That The BID’s Main Purpose Is To Support The Ongoing Tornado-Force Gentrification Of This Vulnerable Neighborhood — Almost Certainly This BID Can’t Be Stopped And Will Start Its Wicked Work On January 1, 2021

A business improvement district that has been in the works in rapidly gentrifying West Adams at least since the Summer of 2018 is finally moving forward and is very likely to be created by the City later this year and begin operations on January 1, 2021. The formation effort is largely backed by supervillainesque developer CIM group, which owns a huge plurality of the commercial property in the proposed district, slated to run along Adams from La Brea to Hauser.1 The formation materials are currently contained in Council File 20-0020.

Recall that a BID is a geographical area within which commercial property owners2 pay extra taxes3 to fund various services. The formal BID creation process begins with a group of property owners4 petitioning the City to allow a BID to be formed. It’s required by the Property and Business Improvement District Act of 1994, which is the authority under which BIDs are created and administered in California, that these petitions represent property owners “who will pay more than 50 percent of the assessments proposed to be levied”5

According to the report placed in the Council File by the City Clerk they received petitions representing $106,034.65 out of a total assessed value in the proposed district of $210,388.90, which is 50.4%. The report doesn’t say how many distinct owners signed petitions nor who they were, but I’m working on finding out. The next stage in the formal process is for City Council to pass a so-called Ordinance of Intention, the draft of which is available here.

Once this is passed the City Clerk will mail out ballots to all the property owners and if enough of them, again weighted by assessment amounts, vote in favor of the BID City Council will pass another ordinance creating the BID. Before this can happen the owners have to know what services their extra taxes are going to fund, which is laid out in great detail in the so-called Management District Plan.6 When a BID is created this document7 is incorporated into the law establishing it and then they can’t spend money for anything not enumerated in the plan. The proposed West Adams BID’s MDP is here.

The West Adams BID’s proposed activities are limited in the MDP to “Sidewalk Operations, District Identity and Placemaking, and Administration Services.” The MDP makes it very clear that the BID is being formed to support gentrification, though, stating that its “services would be needed to accommodate hundreds of new apartments and businesses opening in 2019 and 2020, and these services would be needed by the beginning of 2021.” The surprise omission here is funding for security guards. During the pre-formation process CIM Group’s support-building outreach focused to a great extent on property owners’ perceptions of safety in the area.
Continue reading The West Adams BID Formation Process Has Officially Begun — The Council File Is Opened — And The Draft Ordinance Of Intention Is Published — Largely Promoted By Supervillain Developers CIM Group — The Petitions Are In And Property Owners Holding 50.4% Of The Assessed Value Approve — The Management District Plan Proves That The BID’s Main Purpose Is To Support The Ongoing Tornado-Force Gentrification Of This Vulnerable Neighborhood — Almost Certainly This BID Can’t Be Stopped And Will Start Its Wicked Work On January 1, 2021

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The Accelerated Schools Issue A Complete — Utter — Abject Capitulation To My Demand That They Stop Violating The Damn Brown Act By Illegally Requiring People To Sign In As A Condition Of Attendance — They Unconditionally Commit Never To Do It Any More Ever Again — And Wayne K. Strumpfer — Their Lying Ideologue Of A Lawyer — Asserts That They Were Only Ever Making People Sign In Because It Prevents School Shootings — Which Sounds Not Only Implausible To Me But Actually Moronic — But Probably That’s Only Because I’m Not A Galaxy Brain Privatizing Charter Genius Like Strumpfer And His Clients

In October 2019, as you may recall, the infamous white savior rogue charter conspiracy known as The Accelerated Schools held a board meeting at which they committed three distinct and shocking violations of California’s quintessential government transparency law, the Brown Act. One of the most appalling of this series of thoroughly appalling transgressions was their requirement that members of the public sign their names to a sheet in order to enter the public meeting.

This, of course, is explicitly forbidden by the Brown Act at §54953.3.1 TAS attempted to excuse this outlawry by claiming that they weren’t requiring a signature to attend the meeting, but just to enter the school grounds on which the meeting was being held. This is nonsense, of course, but nevertheless typical of the kind of empty technical loopholes that arrogant privileged zillionaires and their minions seem to believe are all it takes for them to evade their legal obligations.2

And so on December 18, 2019, in accordance with the procedures mandated by the Brown Act,3 I sent them a letter demanding that they unconditionally commit never to ever require people to sign in to attend their meetings and informing them that if they didn’t completely obey me within 30 days I was going to file a petition asking a judge to (metaphorically) slap some damn sense into them.

And lo! Just yesterday, TAS’s metaphorically mobbed up lawyer Wayne K. Strumpfer of privatizing powerhouse law firm Young Minney & Corr, who’s basically a liar and enabler of outlawry but evidently knows a losing position when his clients manage to back themselves into one, sent me a letter utterly and abjectly capitulating to my demand!

But before he got around to the utter abjection Dr. Strumpfer went on and on and on explaining to me that The Accelerated Schools actually did nothing wrong, that I pretty much made everything up, that his clients only acted according to the very highest motivations, and that requiring people to sign in to attend meetings is how TAS prevents school shootings! And I guess that that’s working because as far as I know they haven’t had any.

On that subject, it’s interesting that Strumpfer doesn’t say a word about the fact that TAS chooses to have its meetings on school grounds during school hours when schoolchildren are present even after parents have been pleading with the board literally for years to have meetings in the evening so that working people have a chance to attend. One might think that having meetings at times when no kids were around would be a more effective way to protect the kids than having people sign a piece of paper, but admittedly I know nothing whatsoever about whatever kind of eleven dimensional galaxy brain hypercrapola in which these TAS people and their shyster lawyer have earned an average of 2.7 Ph.Ds each.4

In any case Dr. Wayne finally gets around to the actual point, which is that they don’t want to get sued by me so dammit, they concede everything! The only actual concrete effect of this concession5 is that if they ever require people to sign in to their meetings I can sue them without giving them notice or even asking them to stop. Which I totally will do, by the way! So that’s a little victory over the satanic minions of privatization. Read on for a complete transcription of Wayne K. Strumpfer’s jittery little surrender letter!
Continue reading The Accelerated Schools Issue A Complete — Utter — Abject Capitulation To My Demand That They Stop Violating The Damn Brown Act By Illegally Requiring People To Sign In As A Condition Of Attendance — They Unconditionally Commit Never To Do It Any More Ever Again — And Wayne K. Strumpfer — Their Lying Ideologue Of A Lawyer — Asserts That They Were Only Ever Making People Sign In Because It Prevents School Shootings — Which Sounds Not Only Implausible To Me But Actually Moronic — But Probably That’s Only Because I’m Not A Galaxy Brain Privatizing Charter Genius Like Strumpfer And His Clients

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Joe Buscaino Moves To Sell Off Two City-Owned Parcels In CD15 To Private Developers For Some Nonsensical Purpose He’s Calling Economic Development – And They’re In Freaking Opportunity Zones So Not Only Is The Grift Turned Up To Eleven But The Sale Will Likely Support Gentrification And Displacement – And Half The Money From Such Sales Goes Straight Into The Councilmember’s Discretionary Slush Funds – Which Are Used Among Other Things For Projects To Boost Incumbent Popularity Before Elections – This Is What City Councilmembers Do With Our Public Land – Enrich Themselves And Their Zillionaire Cronies – Instead Of Building Social Housing On It – And A Loophole In Council’s Recent Motion To Require City Property To Be Used For Affordable Housing Is Finally Revealed!

In 2017 the Federal Government created the latest entry in a long series of programs leveraging various combinations of tax cuts and economic incentives to enrich zillionaires at the expense of poor urban communities of color. The current incarnation is known as an Opportunity Zone. Opportunity Zones, like their predecessors, use powerful economic and policy tools to promote displacement, to incentivize gentrification, and to siphon money from the treasury to zillionaire coffers. The heroic economic justice activists in SAJE have done a great deal of deep and fundamental research into this program, including its likely effects on Los Angeles, published in a blockbuster report called Displacement Zones.

The Los Angeles muncipal government, which can fruitfully be conceptualized as an incredibly efficient alchemical process for transformatively combining human misery and real estate into zillionaire gold,1 is, as you’d expect, right on top of this newly created opportunity for grift. And, also as you’d expect, they’ve hidden many parts of the process from the public, not by carrying them out in the proverbial but by now outmoded smoke-filled rooms, but by obscuring them beneath multiple layers of semantically empty words, distributing pieces of the process across multiple council files, mostly supplementary, in the effectively-unsearchable-by-design Council File Management System, and so on.2

But with careful attention to the City’s various announcements and close reading of motions it’s occasionally possible to become aware of some of their moves. This is how I learned that in June 2019 Joe Buscaino introduced a couple of motions with the phrase “City Economic Development / Asset Management Framework Review” in their titles, each along with a specific address. These are Council File 12-1549-S14, which is about 500 S. Mesa Street and Council File 12-1549-S15, which is about 1845 E. 103rd Street. Both motions note that the properties are located in Opportunity Zones. The motions instruct various City departments to evaluate the properties “for economic development purposes” according to some set of criteria called “the Asset Management Framework” and then report back to Council on their findings.

The report-backs hit the Council Files a few weeks ago (500 S. Mesa Street and 1845 E. 103rd Street). Both recommend, as they seem to have been intended to do, that the City issue a request for proposals to use the properties for economic development, potentially through private development. The fact that the two reports are identically worded except for a few specific details about the properties suggests that not much care was taken in their creation. This supports the view that the outcomes of the evaluations were predetermined. The fact that the criteria for what counts as economic development are so vague supports the view that the ultimate point is to sell these valuable parcels off to some developer with a superficially plausible story about tax benefits or whatever.

And the fact that the City is going to sell the properties to private developers3 supports the view that the goal is grift rather than using City-owned resources to help residents of the City. It’s not like the City of Los Angeles itself can’t develop its properties for commercial use, which would support economic development just as much as if a private developer owned the land, or more because more of the money would go to the City. Just for instance, the City owns plenty of parking garages, many of which have retail space at street level. The City offers these for lease to commercial tenants, a proposition which must be of more value to the City than if a private developer is involved in any capacity and taking out profits.
Continue reading Joe Buscaino Moves To Sell Off Two City-Owned Parcels In CD15 To Private Developers For Some Nonsensical Purpose He’s Calling Economic Development – And They’re In Freaking Opportunity Zones So Not Only Is The Grift Turned Up To Eleven But The Sale Will Likely Support Gentrification And Displacement – And Half The Money From Such Sales Goes Straight Into The Councilmember’s Discretionary Slush Funds – Which Are Used Among Other Things For Projects To Boost Incumbent Popularity Before Elections – This Is What City Councilmembers Do With Our Public Land – Enrich Themselves And Their Zillionaire Cronies – Instead Of Building Social Housing On It – And A Loophole In Council’s Recent Motion To Require City Property To Be Used For Affordable Housing Is Finally Revealed!

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