Category Archives: Los Angeles City Government

In February 2020 Judge Marshall Beckloff Ruled Against The Skid Row Neighborhood Council Formation Committee In Their Ongoing Effort To Separate From DLANC — On Friday The SRNC-FC Filed Their Opening Appellate Brief — Get Your Copy Here! — The City’s Response Is Due In 30 Days

Background: You can read my previous stories on the Skid Row Neighborhood Council formation effort and also see Jason McGahan’s article in the Weekly and Gale Holland’s article in the Times for more mainstream perspectives.

In February 2020 Los Angeles County Superior Court judge Marshall Beckloff denied the Skid Row Neighborhood Council Formation Committee petition against the City of Los Angeles over the City’s years-long egregiously illegal conspiracy to deny the residents and other stakeholders of Skid Row their own neighborhood council, separate from the famously corrupt Downtown Los Angeles NC. Here’s a copy of his judgment.

I planned to report on this at the time but historical circumstances intervened and I never got around to it. Which didn’t stop the case, of course. The SRNC-FC filed a notice of appeal on time last year. The wheels continued to turn, as wheels do, and then, two days ago, on April 16, 2021, they filed their opening appellate brief. The City’s response is due in 30 days.

I understand basically nothing about how the appeals process works, so I’ll spare you my amateur thoughts on technical legal issues,1 but as a matter of justice, as a matter of requiring the City of Los Angeles to follow its own laws, there’s no question that the SRNC’s arguments are strong and Beckloff’s judgment was wrong.2 Let’s see what happens!
Continue reading In February 2020 Judge Marshall Beckloff Ruled Against The Skid Row Neighborhood Council Formation Committee In Their Ongoing Effort To Separate From DLANC — On Friday The SRNC-FC Filed Their Opening Appellate Brief — Get Your Copy Here! — The City’s Response Is Due In 30 Days

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What Does Progressive Darling Nithya Raman Have In Common With Despicable Developer-Loving Lickspittles Like Jack Weiss — Greig Smith — David Ryu — And Joe Buscaino? — All Five Of Them Support Giving Away A Specific Piece Of City Property In The Bird Streets — To An Anonymous LLC — Known As 5B Enterprises — Owned By Costa Mesa Zillionaire Rami Batal — Which Would Vastly Increase The Value Of A Particular Residential Lot — Batal’s LLC Is Represented By Land Use Lobbyist Randall Akers — Who Apparently Lobbied Raman Over This Matter — Even Though He Is Not Registered With The Ethics Commission — Meet The New Boss I Guess — Who Looks Awfully Darn Similar To The Old One!

In 2004 LA City Councilmembers Jack Weiss and Greig Smith initiated the process of giving away a piece of Thrush Way, up in the Bird Streets, to the owner of an adjacent parcel.1 As they will do, the City Council approved the motion in January 2005, but the property owner dropped the ball, missed some requirement or another, and the offer expired.2 The parcel used to be in CD5, which is why Weiss was involved, but now is in CD4.

According to ZIMAS the property was sold in 2014, apparently to an LLC owned by a Costa Mesa man named Rami Batal, known as 5B Enterprises. Batal3 hired land use lobbyist Randall Akers to revive the street vacation plan. In 2016 this actually happened, with a motion from Joe Buscaino, seconded by David Ryu.4 The new motion ended up in Council File 16-0566. It generated a ton of opposing public comment and apparently more than one lawsuit, which explains why, on March 22, 2017, the Council voted to continue and file the motion.5

And that’s about it! Oh, wait, that’s about it until four years later, on March 2, 2021, when Nithya Raman, who famously showed weirdo incumbent David Ryu a thing or two last year, filed a short but exceedingly consequential motion of her own, seeking to reactivate the council file. Nury Martinez didn’t fool around with this one, by the way. She didn’t send it to a committee, but rather, the very same day Raman filed it Martinez referred it to the full council and a few days later the Clerk put it on the agenda for April 6, 2021.6
Continue reading What Does Progressive Darling Nithya Raman Have In Common With Despicable Developer-Loving Lickspittles Like Jack Weiss — Greig Smith — David Ryu — And Joe Buscaino? — All Five Of Them Support Giving Away A Specific Piece Of City Property In The Bird Streets — To An Anonymous LLC — Known As 5B Enterprises — Owned By Costa Mesa Zillionaire Rami Batal — Which Would Vastly Increase The Value Of A Particular Residential Lot — Batal’s LLC Is Represented By Land Use Lobbyist Randall Akers — Who Apparently Lobbied Raman Over This Matter — Even Though He Is Not Registered With The Ethics Commission — Meet The New Boss I Guess — Who Looks Awfully Darn Similar To The Old One!

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LAPPL and LAPD have been negotiating a revision of the department’s use of force policy as applied to police dog bites in secret at least since November 2020 — Police Commissioners are involved in the discussions via the LAPC’s Use of Force Subcommittee — which does not meet in public — and is only one of multiple secret subcommittees — none of which comply with the Brown act — used by the Commission to evade public oversight


LAPD, often acting through the Los Angeles Police Protective League, warps just about every aspect of municipal politics to serve its own twisted ends. They’re famous for their blackmail files on local politicians and all sorts of other intimidation tactics in order to strongarm them into supporting every aspect of the cop-first agenda. But it turns out that I had no idea of how deeply the LAPPL has insinuated itself into the terms and conditions of policing in this City until I read this October 2020 memo from LAPD sergeant Joseph Fransen to Chief Bea Girmala.

The context is a meet-and-confer process involving LAPPL and LAPD brass about when police dog bites are counted as a “use of force.” This is an official label, and its application has consequences for the officer. Per Fransen “the LAPPL views something being a use of force as de facto ‘bad'” and therefore they want it made harder to rule that a police dog bite counts as such.1 A November 6, 2020 update, part of the same memo linked to above, reveals that Girmala recommended that LAPD partially address LAPPL’s concerns.

The proposal was discussed by the Police Commission’s Use of Force Subcommittee on November 10, 2020 and again on March 9, 2021. As far as I can see it has not yet been considered by the full Commission.2 In other words, LAPPL, high-ranking LAPD officers, the Inspector General, and two members of the Police Commission have spent more than six months holding secret discussions of the rules under which police dog handlers operate.
Continue reading LAPPL and LAPD have been negotiating a revision of the department’s use of force policy as applied to police dog bites in secret at least since November 2020 — Police Commissioners are involved in the discussions via the LAPC’s Use of Force Subcommittee — which does not meet in public — and is only one of multiple secret subcommittees — none of which comply with the Brown act — used by the Commission to evade public oversight

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Despicable Streets Of Shame Reporter Joel Grover Emailed LA Sanitation Boss Flackie Elena Stern Asking For A Bunch Of Info — Stern’s Subordinates Asked Her Why Didn’t She Make Him Use NextRequest — Stern Explained That “we have to decide whether or not it’s worth it to antagonize a reporter like Grover” — She Said: “because it’s him, I’m not making him go through CPRA” — Then She Sent Him The Goodies Via Return Email — So I Asked Her For The Same Stuff Just Yesterday — Via Email — And Her Response Was Quite Different — She Refused Me Stating That “all CPRAs are to be submitted through the NextRequest portal” — Because She — Or Her Masters In The Department Of Public Works — Like Joel Grover’s Reporting And They Don’t Like Mine — Which Is Egregious — And Illegal — And Immoral — And Entirely Normal For The City Of Los Angeles

Ask the LA City Bureau of Sanitation, popularly known as “LA San,” for public records and you’ll almost certainly be subjected to obstructions, delays, lies, and so on. And since LA San signed up for NextRequest, a despicable and useless public records platform, you’ll be forced to communicate with anonymous City staffers through a clunky script-heavy website that barely works on a computer and just forget about your phone all together.

Unless, of course, you happen to work for NBC Universal or the LA Times. Elena Stern, Senior Public Information Director with the Department of Public Works, which includes LA San, is happy to handle your CPRA requests informally via email. This is no accident, by the way. Stern clearly understands the utter uselessness of NextRequest, and the pain it causes. Here’s the story.
Continue reading Despicable Streets Of Shame Reporter Joel Grover Emailed LA Sanitation Boss Flackie Elena Stern Asking For A Bunch Of Info — Stern’s Subordinates Asked Her Why Didn’t She Make Him Use NextRequest — Stern Explained That “we have to decide whether or not it’s worth it to antagonize a reporter like Grover” — She Said: “because it’s him, I’m not making him go through CPRA” — Then She Sent Him The Goodies Via Return Email — So I Asked Her For The Same Stuff Just Yesterday — Via Email — And Her Response Was Quite Different — She Refused Me Stating That “all CPRAs are to be submitted through the NextRequest portal” — Because She — Or Her Masters In The Department Of Public Works — Like Joel Grover’s Reporting And They Don’t Like Mine — Which Is Egregious — And Illegal — And Immoral — And Entirely Normal For The City Of Los Angeles

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A Couple Of Newly Obtained Emails Reveal Hitherto Unknown Clues About The LA City Council’s Famously Habitual Brown Act Violations — All Fifteen Council District Chiefs Of Staff Held An Impromptu And Illegal Serial Meeting In March 2020 — The Statute Of Limitations Has Run But It’s Clearly A Violation And Clearly Neither The First Nor The Last Time This Has Happened — And Another Email — This From CD5 Enviro-Dude Andy Shrader To His Boss Koretz — Suggests That The Chiefs Aren’t The Only Staffers Doing This — He Mentions A “Daily Staff Meeting” That Includes Republicans Who Might Spill Beans To Other Councilmembers — Sounds Like Another Brown Act Violation To Me!

The Brown Act famously forbids the Los Angeles City Council and its committees from meeting in secret1 to conduct its public business. The prohibition is found at §54952.2(b)(1), which states categorically that:

A majority of the members of a legislative body shall not, outside a meeting authorized by this chapter, use a series of communications of any kind, directly or through intermediaries, to discuss, deliberate, or take action on any item of business that is within the subject matter jurisdiction of the legislative body.

But anyone who pays even a little attention to meetings of the Los Angeles City Council or its committees can see that there’s some kind of collusion going on behind the scenes. There are too many unanimous votes, too many obviously scripted comments by Councilmembers responding to scripted comments by other Councilmembers when there’s no legal way for them to have known what their colleagues were planning to say, and just too much foreknowledge of the course of legislation.

It’s really unlikely that the Councilmembers themselves make all the arrangements. Almost surely the collusion is done by their staff. This doesn’t make it any less against the law. It’s exactly the scenario contemplated in the phrase “directly or through intermediaries.” So for instance, if 15 staff members, one from each Council district, got together to discuss pending motions, votes, or anything else within the subject matter jurisdiction of the City Council and then relayed information from the discussion to their bosses it’s a violation.2

One of my very long term projects is finding proof that the City Council does in fact engage in these illegal meetings and also to understand the means by which they do it. It’s slow going, though, and not just because of the City’s general unwillingness to comply with the Public Records Act. What I’m looking for is evidence of habitual and chronic outlawry, so the City has even more pressing reasons to withhold the records.3 But from time to time I come across something interesting and suggestive, and today I actually have two!
Continue reading A Couple Of Newly Obtained Emails Reveal Hitherto Unknown Clues About The LA City Council’s Famously Habitual Brown Act Violations — All Fifteen Council District Chiefs Of Staff Held An Impromptu And Illegal Serial Meeting In March 2020 — The Statute Of Limitations Has Run But It’s Clearly A Violation And Clearly Neither The First Nor The Last Time This Has Happened — And Another Email — This From CD5 Enviro-Dude Andy Shrader To His Boss Koretz — Suggests That The Chiefs Aren’t The Only Staffers Doing This — He Mentions A “Daily Staff Meeting” That Includes Republicans Who Might Spill Beans To Other Councilmembers — Sounds Like Another Brown Act Violation To Me!

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Confidential Attorney Client Conversation Between Deputy City Attorneys Mike Dundas and Strefan Fauble And CD13 Staffer Dan Halden Reveal That The City Denies Requests As Burdensome Even Though They Know A Judge Wouldn’t Buy Such An Exemption Claim — That They Consider Whether A Requester Will Actually Sue Them When Deciding Whether Or Not To Deny As Burdensome — Which Is Intrinsically A Violation Of The CPRA — And That Mike Dundas Understands The CPRA Far Better Than Strefan Fauble

This post is about a confidential email conversation between Deputy City Attorneys Mike Dundas and Strefan Fauble and CD13 staffer Dan Halden about a CPRA request of mine. If you’d like to read the email without reading my nonsensical rantings about it you can find it here on Archive.Org.

If you spend any time at all asking the City of Los Angeles for copies of public records you’ll have realized that compliance with the Public Records Act is not a high priority of theirs. They violate it constantly, in small ways and large, intentionally and out of sheer careless indifference. They violate it because they can afford to pay out any number of settlements and most people won’t sue them. They violate it even though compliance with the CPRA is a fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution of California.1

And now, although I’ve long suspected it to be true, I have proof that the City Attorney’s office actually advises them to decide whether to violate it based on whether or not they think the requester will sue them which, as Strefan Fauble so succinctly puts it in a top-secret confidential April 2019 email conversation, “would involve a lot more work.”

But it takes resources to sue them, so effectively this policy favors rich requesters and corporate requesters, even though the Constitution2 guarantees access to every person, which clearly means equal access. It’s surely no coincidence that rich people and corporations are much, much less likely to be critical of the City. This story begins with a request I sent to Dan Halden on March 12, 2019. I asked Halden for:
Continue reading Confidential Attorney Client Conversation Between Deputy City Attorneys Mike Dundas and Strefan Fauble And CD13 Staffer Dan Halden Reveal That The City Denies Requests As Burdensome Even Though They Know A Judge Wouldn’t Buy Such An Exemption Claim — That They Consider Whether A Requester Will Actually Sue Them When Deciding Whether Or Not To Deny As Burdensome — Which Is Intrinsically A Violation Of The CPRA — And That Mike Dundas Understands The CPRA Far Better Than Strefan Fauble

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Soon-To-Be-Indicted Mitch Englander Resigned From LA City Council Effective January 1 2019 — By January 31 2019 Steve Soboroff — At That Time President Of The Police Commission — Was Conspiring With LAPD Chief Michel Moore And LA Police Foundation Board Member Warren Dern To Get Englander A Seat On The Police Foundation Board — Soboroff And Dern Had Lunch With Englander At Freaking La Scala To Discuss It — Although Nothing Seems To Have Come Of The Plan

December 31, 2018 was now-convicted felon Mitchell Englander’s last day on the Los Angeles City Council. He was all like “I am stepping down for a once in a lifetime career blah blah blah” but of course he was getting out ahead of his arrest, exposure, conviction, and sentencing for corruption. The impending disgrace, however, didn’t stop his zillionaire cronies from cushioning his landing with job offers and fancy lunches.

Most famously, of course, on January 1, 2019 he started his new career with the Oak View Group, which is a Los Angeles based “global advisory, development and investment company for the sports and live entertainment industries.” In other words, a perfect landing spot for an as-yet-unindicted former politician. Nothing hurts these politicos more than being forced out of the inner circles of power, though, and making a zillion dollars a year as a lobbyist doesn’t quite fill the kind of ego void created by public disgrace.1

And unhinged typewriter fetishist and perpetual inner power circle dweller Steve Soboroff, at that time president of the Los Angeles Police Commission, apparently understood this quite well. Which is probably why, on January 31, 2019, Soboroff fired off an email to Hollywood power lawyer Warren Dern, also a member of the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles Police Foundation:
Continue reading Soon-To-Be-Indicted Mitch Englander Resigned From LA City Council Effective January 1 2019 — By January 31 2019 Steve Soboroff — At That Time President Of The Police Commission — Was Conspiring With LAPD Chief Michel Moore And LA Police Foundation Board Member Warren Dern To Get Englander A Seat On The Police Foundation Board — Soboroff And Dern Had Lunch With Englander At Freaking La Scala To Discuss It — Although Nothing Seems To Have Come Of The Plan

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July 2020 — Utterly Corrupt And Incompetent Police Commissioner Steve Soboroff Organized A Scheme To Have Some Zillionaires Pay His Buddy Tom Penn Of The LA Football Club $100K For 250K Face Masks For LAPD To Hand Out For Free — Pretty Shady But Then In August — With The Masks Ordered, Delivered, And In LAPD Possession — Michel Moore Announced “I’m asking for us to hold any distribution on masks until Josh has fully organized messaging for our people as well as externally” — Which Took Two Weeks — Until September 4, 2020 — How Many People Caught COVID During Those 14 Days? — Who Would Not Have If They’d Had A Mask? —How Many Of Them Died? — Who Thinks Messaging Is More Important Than Public Health? — Psychopaths — That’s Who

This post is about a series of emails involving Steve Soboroff and Michel Moore discussing the donation of 250K face masks in July 2020 for LAPD to hand out for publicity purposes. The whole collection is available here on Archive.Org. If you could use these in a usable format like MBOX or EML drop a line and I’ll work it out.

Zillionaire typewriter fetishist Steve Soboroff serves on the Los Angeles Police Commission. Officially his role consists of little besides acting as one of Michel Moore’s five voting proxy members and asking Jamie McBride how high whenever he’s instructed to jump. Unofficially, though, Soboroff seems to revel in the endless opportunities to fantasize that he and Moore are actual friends in real life and they’re hanging out like socially or something.1 Another of Soboroff’s favorite hobbies is sharing access to Moore with his zillionaire buddies, of course.

Not necessarily for social clout, although that’s not nothing, but often to arrange porkbarrel bucks for the ZBs. Like for instance on July 12, 2020 we find Soboroff emailing Michel Moore2 conveying an offer from Los Angeles Football Club supreme commander Tom Penn to sell a bunch of face masks to LAPD to hand out as a publicity stunt.3 Note that Soboroff doesn’t say word one about public health. It’s just not something that’s on his radar at all. But think how COOL it’s gonna be!!
Continue reading July 2020 — Utterly Corrupt And Incompetent Police Commissioner Steve Soboroff Organized A Scheme To Have Some Zillionaires Pay His Buddy Tom Penn Of The LA Football Club $100K For 250K Face Masks For LAPD To Hand Out For Free — Pretty Shady But Then In August — With The Masks Ordered, Delivered, And In LAPD Possession — Michel Moore Announced “I’m asking for us to hold any distribution on masks until Josh has fully organized messaging for our people as well as externally” — Which Took Two Weeks — Until September 4, 2020 — How Many People Caught COVID During Those 14 Days? — Who Would Not Have If They’d Had A Mask? —How Many Of Them Died? — Who Thinks Messaging Is More Important Than Public Health? — Psychopaths — That’s Who

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I Filed A Complaint Against Joey Buckets Staffer Amy Gebert In August 2020 — Which Apparently Flipped Her Out So Much That She Started Emailing Me Every Week Or Two Using An Alternate Account Designed — Unsuccessfully — To Conceal Her Identity — About How My Request Would Be Ready In A Week Or Two — And Then Cancelling And Postponing — She Did This Eight Times In Just A Few Weeks — Which Is About Twelve Times As Often As She Did It Before The Complaint — Then Stopped Abruptly In December 2020 — And Still Hasn’t Produced The Damn Records — So I Filed Another Complaint Against Her With The Ethics Commission — This One For Retaliating Against Me For Filing The First Complaint

Ultimately this post is about this complaint that I filed with the Ethics Commission today regarding CD15 staffer Amy Gebert’s retaliation against me for complaining about her last August. There is also a transcription below.


Flashback to those lazy hazy crazy days of Summer 2020, those days of COVID and ethics complaints against CD15 staffer Amy Gebert!1 Well, after I filed that complaint, Gebert flipped out and, using a fake email address,2 started emailing me every week or two telling me that my request would be ready in a week or two and then, on the last day, emailing me again to tell me that the production date was postponed.

Obviously she was doing this in response to my having filed a complaint against her. She started about a week after I filed it, and proceeded to send me 8 emails over the next few weeks at a rate almost 12 times more frequently than she had in the year prior to the complaint.

As obviously she was doing it to irritate me. What possible legitimate reason could she have for repeatedly lying about when the records, which by the way I still don’t have, would be ready? Sure, she could be withholding them to hide the criminal conspiracy conducted by her boss, Joey “Joe Buscaino” Buckets, but that has nothing to do with this compulsive notification/denotification.

And doing things to irritate people because they file complaints against you with the Ethics Commission is, it turns out, a separate violation of the Municipal Ethics Ordinance at LAMC §49.5.4(B), which tells us that:

City officials and agency employees shall not use or threaten to use any official authority or influence to effect any action as a reprisal against another person who reports a possible violation of law to the Ethics Commission or another governmental entity.

And so today I filed yet another complaint against Gebert with the Ethics Commission. You can read the complete complaint here, and there’s a transcription of the complaint, but without the exhibits, below.3
Continue reading I Filed A Complaint Against Joey Buckets Staffer Amy Gebert In August 2020 — Which Apparently Flipped Her Out So Much That She Started Emailing Me Every Week Or Two Using An Alternate Account Designed — Unsuccessfully — To Conceal Her Identity — About How My Request Would Be Ready In A Week Or Two — And Then Cancelling And Postponing — She Did This Eight Times In Just A Few Weeks — Which Is About Twelve Times As Often As She Did It Before The Complaint — Then Stopped Abruptly In December 2020 — And Still Hasn’t Produced The Damn Records — So I Filed Another Complaint Against Her With The Ethics Commission — This One For Retaliating Against Me For Filing The First Complaint

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Are You Reimagining Public Safety? — Well The Cops Are Too — And They Have Some Very Active Imaginations! — Get Every City Employee A Concealed Carry Permit! — So Strefan Fauble Can Take A Shot At You If You Get Off Topic — Or Joey Buckets Plinking Out Lights In The John Ferraro Council Chambers — Developer Doesn’t Pay Bribes On Time? — Blammo!!! — And Cameras At Every Major Intersection! — And Hire Better Lawyers To Defend Killer Cops Because We Keep Losing! — And Stop Calling Us Killer Cops! — Cause It Hurts Us In The Feelz! — Let’s Stop Protecting The Mayor! — And So On!!

Ever wonder how LAPD Officers might reimagine public safety? Well, wonder no longer. Behold the absolutely freaking bonkers results of a survey they did this Summer asking that very question! And right at the top it says that a bunch of suggestions they got were illegal, so they omitted them, leading Police Commissioner Dale Bonner asked his staff what those omitted illegal suggestions might have been.

This, in turn, led notorious criminal lawyer Lizabeth Rhodes to write to him a whole-ass memorandum explaining how criminal cops want to reimagine public safety by arming the City Council and other equally bonkers ideas. The most bonkers of a thoroughly bonkers bunch. This form of reimagining public safety is a stone cold bonkers paradigm shift.

Just for instance, your LAPD officers want to reenvision your public safety by Start with allowing City employees to apply for CCW permits. Can you even imagine? Public comment is hard enough in Los Angeles without having to worry about Joey Buckets shooting you because he doesn’t care for your attitude. Other stunners are:
Continue reading Are You Reimagining Public Safety? — Well The Cops Are Too — And They Have Some Very Active Imaginations! — Get Every City Employee A Concealed Carry Permit! — So Strefan Fauble Can Take A Shot At You If You Get Off Topic — Or Joey Buckets Plinking Out Lights In The John Ferraro Council Chambers — Developer Doesn’t Pay Bribes On Time? — Blammo!!! — And Cameras At Every Major Intersection! — And Hire Better Lawyers To Defend Killer Cops Because We Keep Losing! — And Stop Calling Us Killer Cops! — Cause It Hurts Us In The Feelz! — Let’s Stop Protecting The Mayor! — And So On!!

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