Category Archives: Los Angeles City Council

Huge Record Releases From Los Angeles Sanitation — Encampment Sweep Scheduling — And So On — CD13 Staffer Hector Vega Scheduled A Full-On Encampment Sweep After The City Had Announced It Was Stopping Them Due To COVID — Possibly Sacrificing Human Lives To Build Up His Favor Bank With LADOT Ticket-Fixer Freddie Nuño — And It Turns Out That LAPD Can Actually Choose Encampments To Target For Sweeps — Which Surprised Me Because Mostly People Talk As If LAPD’s Role Is Backing Up LAHSA And LA San — Not Choosing Sweep Targets — And Finally CD15 Staffers Gabriela Medina And Jacob Haik Gloat Gleefully About The Possibility Of Weaponizing Scheduled Street Resurfacing To Displace RV Dwellers During The Pandemic When It Would Probably Otherwise Be Illegal To Do So — And Whether Or Not It’s Illegal It’s Certainly Reprehensible — And More Than Reprehensible During The Pandemic

Over the last few days I’ve received a few massive releases of records from Los Angeles Sanitation about homeless encampment sweep authorizations. There’s far, far too much information here for one post but I want to get links published because the information is essential. The records illuminate a number of important issues, not least of which has to do with the sweep selection process.1

For the most part encampments to be swept are chosen by Council District offices, who make selections based on complaints from property owners and probably other reasons too. These records reveal something I hadn’t seen before, though, which is that on its own initiative LAPD can also select encampments to be swept. Here are links to the new material, followed by a story or two gleaned from it.

CD15 2020 sweep scheduling emails

Various CDs 2020 sweep scheduling emails

2020 Sanitation sweep completion reports
Continue reading Huge Record Releases From Los Angeles Sanitation — Encampment Sweep Scheduling — And So On — CD13 Staffer Hector Vega Scheduled A Full-On Encampment Sweep After The City Had Announced It Was Stopping Them Due To COVID — Possibly Sacrificing Human Lives To Build Up His Favor Bank With LADOT Ticket-Fixer Freddie Nuño — And It Turns Out That LAPD Can Actually Choose Encampments To Target For Sweeps — Which Surprised Me Because Mostly People Talk As If LAPD’s Role Is Backing Up LAHSA And LA San — Not Choosing Sweep Targets — And Finally CD15 Staffers Gabriela Medina And Jacob Haik Gloat Gleefully About The Possibility Of Weaponizing Scheduled Street Resurfacing To Displace RV Dwellers During The Pandemic When It Would Probably Otherwise Be Illegal To Do So — And Whether Or Not It’s Illegal It’s Certainly Reprehensible — And More Than Reprehensible During The Pandemic

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Remember Last Year When We Learned That LAPD Was Helping Psychopathic NIMBY Housedwellers To Install Illegal Anti-Encampment Planters — And I Filed A Complaint Against A Bunch Of Them From Pacific Division — Well In June 2020 LAPD Informed Me That They Had Completed Their Investigation And Declared My Complaint “Unfounded” — And Invited Me To Ask Them Questions If I Had Any — Which I Did — Namely Would They Release The Results Of The Investigation — And The Investigator — A Dude Known As Sergeant Paul Aeschliman — Told Me He Wasn’t Allowed To Release The Info — But He Didn’t Know Why He Wasn’t Allowed — And The Laws He Cited In Support Of His Position Actually Didn’t Forbid The Release Of The Documents — So That Discussion Is Ongoing Even If The Officers Aren’t Busted For Their Illegal Planter Placing — Or Not Yet Anyway!

It’s strange in these apocalyptic times to remember that just last year anti-encampment planters, illegally placed on sidewalks in utter antisocial defiance of the law, were such a huge part of the City’s discussions about the rights of the unhoused. The planters were set up by psychopathic NIMBYs like Mark Ryavec, assisted by the LAPD, the Venice Neighborhood Council, and CD11 rep Mike Bonin, who lied about his office’s involvement until emails revealed the deep complicity of his former Venice field deputy Taylor Bazley.1

I ended up reporting Bazley to the Los Angeles Ethics Commission and a bunch of LAPD officers to Internal Affairs. I haven’t heard back about Bazley yet2 but last month I did hear back from LAPD about the officers I’d complained about. Here’s their response, also transcribed below. Can you imagine?! LAPD investigated themselves and discovered that they were innocent! We knew it would happen, and it did. What turns out to be slightly more interesting is my subsequent conversation with Paul Aeschliman, the officer who conducted the investigation,
Continue reading Remember Last Year When We Learned That LAPD Was Helping Psychopathic NIMBY Housedwellers To Install Illegal Anti-Encampment Planters — And I Filed A Complaint Against A Bunch Of Them From Pacific Division — Well In June 2020 LAPD Informed Me That They Had Completed Their Investigation And Declared My Complaint “Unfounded” — And Invited Me To Ask Them Questions If I Had Any — Which I Did — Namely Would They Release The Results Of The Investigation — And The Investigator — A Dude Known As Sergeant Paul Aeschliman — Told Me He Wasn’t Allowed To Release The Info — But He Didn’t Know Why He Wasn’t Allowed — And The Laws He Cited In Support Of His Position Actually Didn’t Forbid The Release Of The Documents — So That Discussion Is Ongoing Even If The Officers Aren’t Busted For Their Illegal Planter Placing — Or Not Yet Anyway!

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In January 2017 — When The Mitch Englander CD12 Crime Conspiracy Must Already Have Been Busily Whirring Away — City Staffer B — Which Is To Say John Lee — Asked His Assistant Brandy Turnbow To Get A Copy Of His Detailed Phone Log From Verizon — Could He Have Been Using His Work Phone To Do Crimes? — Worried About What Lurid Or Incriminating Information He’d Spilled? — And Turnbow Did Get Them From Verizon — Via Email! — Which Is How I Came To Have Copies Of John Lee’s Phone Logs! — And Mitch Englander’s! — For November And December 2016 — Including Number Called And Location Of Lee/Englander At Time Of Call! — They’re Not Quite Formatted Enough To Search Or Sort Reliably — But Here They Are For To Exercise Your Detective Skills! — Like An Easter Egg Hunt For Grownups!

By now the whole world knows that John Lee, Los Angeles City Councilmember for District 12, formerly chief of staff to now-indicted former CD12 rep Mitch Englander, accompanied his boss to Las Vegas in June of 2017 to be plied with liquor, money, and sex in exchange for the usual list of favors to real estate developers. And Lee, known as City Staffer B in the indictments issued so far, admits going on the trip but denies receiving anything untoward or engaging in suspect or illegal activities.

And even though Englander’s indictment doesn’t mention anything leading up to that June 2017 trip, it’s clear that he and surely also John Lee had to have been conspiring with the developer for a while. Without a lot of prior discussion and understandings how would these conspirators have trusted one another enough to offer and accept such blatantly corrupt incentives? The indictment refers repeatedly to text messages between Englander, Lee, and the corrupt developers, so at least some of the pre-Vegas communication probably took place via cell phone.

And the City issues cell phones to Councilmembers and selected staff. While most criminals can probably understand that it’s a bad idea to arrange crimes on your work phone, it’s not impossible that Lee1 didn’t realize this at first. Regardless of the wily criminal tendencies of these political thugs they’re not bright people or at least have astonishingly poor impulse control. So perhaps early on Lee did use his work phone to communicate with his co-conspirators?2 And maybe at some point he realized that he might be leaving evidence by doing so? Which is speculation, of course.

But speculation or not it would certainly explain the highly suspicious fact that in January 2017 Lee asked his aide Brandy Turnbow if it were possible to get detailed billing records for his work phone from Verizon. By that time he’d worked for the City of Los Angeles for more than 20 years and yet the question hadn’t come up for him before his boss was running a criminal conspiracy out of City Hall. So Turnbow emailed Matthew Webster of Verizon asking him about it. And after a lot of tedious discussion he sent her the information she requested as an email attachment.

Which was tremendously good luck, because of course City emails and their attachments are public records. Which is how I laid hands on one of the most remarkable documents I’ve had the good fortune to receive during my long career of requesting public records. This is a detailed 300+ page3 call-by-call log of CD12 work phone activity from October 2016 through January 2017.4 It has all of Mitch Englander’s work phone calls, all of John Lee’s, and also other staffers. It includes not only the number called but the location of the caller’s phone when the call was made.
Continue reading In January 2017 — When The Mitch Englander CD12 Crime Conspiracy Must Already Have Been Busily Whirring Away — City Staffer B — Which Is To Say John Lee — Asked His Assistant Brandy Turnbow To Get A Copy Of His Detailed Phone Log From Verizon — Could He Have Been Using His Work Phone To Do Crimes? — Worried About What Lurid Or Incriminating Information He’d Spilled? — And Turnbow Did Get Them From Verizon — Via Email! — Which Is How I Came To Have Copies Of John Lee’s Phone Logs! — And Mitch Englander’s! — For November And December 2016 — Including Number Called And Location Of Lee/Englander At Time Of Call! — They’re Not Quite Formatted Enough To Search Or Sort Reliably — But Here They Are For To Exercise Your Detective Skills! — Like An Easter Egg Hunt For Grownups!

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Newly Obtained Emails Between Richelle Huizar And Various CD14 Staff Show Jose Huizar Grooming Her To Run The Family Business — She Met With Constituents — Consulted With Chief Of Staff Paul Habib On Motions — Including One Relating To Tenants In Caltrans 710 Houses — Attending Executive Staff Meetings — Et Freaking Cetera — And It All Came Crashing Down About Them — As Castles In The Air Built By Lying Psychopathic Criminal Cheaters Will Do From Time To Time

Los Angeles City Councilmember Jose Huizar will soon be spending pretty much all his time working out with his new Club Fed Golf Team buddies and Richelle Huizar probably won’t be joining him1 even though arranging for her election to the seat he’s termed out of was apparently one of the goals of his corrupt conspiracy.2 See this excellent story from yesterday’s Times for a timeline of her role in the CM’s troubles. And as you can imagine, I’ve been after records involving her for some time now.

But Jose Huizar, credibly accused of ordering staff to alter or destroy material responsive to pending public records requests, has not been very forthcoming. The only remedy the California Public Records Act provides to compel compliance is for a requester to file a lawsuit, and I’ve had to file three against Huizar’s office. Two of these involved emails between him or his staff and Richelle Huizar. This one against the City’s Information Technology Agency is still very much pending, but the City’s about to settle the other one.

And of course we don’t settle these things unless they hand over the goods, which in this case amounted to about 150 pages of emails in PDF format.3 You can take a look at here on Archive.Org. And it turns out that there’s nothing really incriminating in them4 but nevertheless these emails illuminate aspects of Richelle Huizar’s role in CD14’s operations that I wasn’t previously aware of. She communicated directly with high level staff about motions, met with constituents, attended executive staff meetings, and so on. The context is hard to understand but it’s clear that Jose Huizar was readying Richelle Huizar to take over the family business.

By the way, I’m not critical of that fact in itself. That is, I don’t have a problem with elected officials hiring their spouses or using them as informal advisors.5 The other aspect of this material that’s important is that Jose Huizar originally claimed it was exempt from release. As you read it, you’ll see that such a claim is not merely indefensible, it’s also ludicrous. In other words, the real lead here6 is that Jose Huizar is a liar.
Continue reading Newly Obtained Emails Between Richelle Huizar And Various CD14 Staff Show Jose Huizar Grooming Her To Run The Family Business — She Met With Constituents — Consulted With Chief Of Staff Paul Habib On Motions — Including One Relating To Tenants In Caltrans 710 Houses — Attending Executive Staff Meetings — Et Freaking Cetera — And It All Came Crashing Down About Them — As Castles In The Air Built By Lying Psychopathic Criminal Cheaters Will Do From Time To Time

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Homeless Residents Of Echo Park And Their Supporters Tried And Tried And Tried To Meet With Mitch O’Farrell Earlier This Year — To Discuss Essential Human Needs — Like Bathrooms — And Not Being Killed By Police — And Hygiene Supplies — And Other Equally Important Matters — But Mitch O’Farrell Wouldn’t Meet With Them — Or Direct His Staff To Meet — Meanwhile Both He And His Staff Met Repeatedly With Psychopathic Echo Park Housedwellers — To Discuss Their Idiotic Concerns — Like How Unpleasant It Is To See Homeless People — And Property Values — And Freaking Cholera — And How They Could Fuck Up The Lives Of The Unhoused Even More Than Usual — And Sometimes Just To Drop Off Gifts — Like Care Packages — And This Led To The Damn Housedwellers Exposing O’Farrell — And His Appalling Field Deputy Juan Fregoso — To COVID-19 In April 2020 — Which — Given That Cholera Business — Is A Level Of Irony Rarely Seen In Actual Reality

In January 2020 the unhoused residents of Echo Park came together to protest their displacement by an ongoing series of sweeps ordered by CD13 Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell. They wrote O’Farrell an exceedingly reasonable letter explaining their precarious situation, the dangers to which his sweeps exposed them, a number of proposals for assuaging the1 so-called concerns of the local housedwellers, and, for our purpose most crucially, a request to meet with him to discuss the burgeoning crisis.

This letter and the protests that inspired it turned out to be the beginning of an ongoing and still-active resistance movement in the Park, the story of which is ably told by Liam Fitzpatrick in Knock LA. This movement has merged seamlessly with the ongoing rebellion against police violence, as seen e.g. yesterday in a massive protest against LAPD and the City’s attacks on the unhoused residents, which culminated in a march to O’Farrell’s office, a series of really moving speeches calling out his weaponized incompetence, and an impressive display of art.

And over these six months of unrest, O’Farrell has repeatedly ignored the activists’ requests to meet, to discuss, to find solutions. According to Streetwatch LA, a group deeply involved in organizing the campaign, the only in-person contact O’Farrell’s office made with any of the activists consisted of O’Farrell’s absolutely despicable field deputy Juan Fregoso meeting with one resident of the Park and aggressively suggesting that the guy enter a shelter while continuing to ignore reasonable requests from these constituents for serious meetings to discuss policy.2

The City of Los Angeles is famous for using encampment sweeps and other violent tactics against unhoused residents in response to complaints, which are characteristically both deeply sociopathic and astonishingly trivial, from unhinged local housedwellers, and the Echo Park sweeps which catalyzed the protests are not an exception. I recently received a small but significant set of emails from CD13 on the subject which suggest that this particular round of violence was seeded by complaints in late 2019 from residents of Parkview Living, which is some kind of retirement home across the street from the Park.

The emails are heavily redacted, by the way, in accordance with a newly-adopted and highly illegal CD13 policy of hiding the identities of psychopathic anti-homeless constituents in order to encourage them to continue to freely express their psychopathic anti-homeless rage. Nevertheless it’s still possible to figure out what’s going on. The housedwellers are worried, as usual, about having to look at unhoused residents as well as the effect of a visible encampment on their property values. Not so much about the well-being, the health, or even the very lives of the unhoused residents.

Even more upsetting given his refusal to even talk to the actual unhoused residents is the fact that O’Farrell and his staff met repeatedly with these angry hypersensitive housedwellers to assuage their wounded sensibilities and to promise, accurately, to step up enforcement against the suffering residents of the Park. O’Farrell explicitly encouraged the Parkview housedwellers to bring their concerns to the media, presumably to bolster the appearance of public support for his violent encampment sweeps.

Fregoso, on the other hand, apparently validated their weird self-pity by telling them falsely that the City had in fact singled them out by specifically allowing encampments near Parkview, probably with the same goal.3 In addition to meetings O’Farrell and his staff apparently dropped by in person to give gifts to Parkview residents. Which foolishness, ironically, led to O’Farrell and Fregoso being exposed to COVID-19 in April 2020.
Continue reading Homeless Residents Of Echo Park And Their Supporters Tried And Tried And Tried To Meet With Mitch O’Farrell Earlier This Year — To Discuss Essential Human Needs — Like Bathrooms — And Not Being Killed By Police — And Hygiene Supplies — And Other Equally Important Matters — But Mitch O’Farrell Wouldn’t Meet With Them — Or Direct His Staff To Meet — Meanwhile Both He And His Staff Met Repeatedly With Psychopathic Echo Park Housedwellers — To Discuss Their Idiotic Concerns — Like How Unpleasant It Is To See Homeless People — And Property Values — And Freaking Cholera — And How They Could Fuck Up The Lives Of The Unhoused Even More Than Usual — And Sometimes Just To Drop Off Gifts — Like Care Packages — And This Led To The Damn Housedwellers Exposing O’Farrell — And His Appalling Field Deputy Juan Fregoso — To COVID-19 In April 2020 — Which — Given That Cholera Business — Is A Level Of Irony Rarely Seen In Actual Reality

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City Staffer B — John Lee — Sitting CD12 Representative — Admittedly Accompanied His Then-Boss Mitch Englander To Las Vegas In June 2017 Where Englander Was Bribed With Wine — And Women — And Hard Cold Bathroom Envelope Cash — And Lee Denies He Knew Any Of That Was Going On — And Very Specifically Denies That He Himself Was Bribed With Women — But He Did Not Put The Vegas Thing In His Appointment Calendar — Which To Me Screams Consciousness Of Freaking Guilt — Because This Is A Guy Who Obsessively Enters Every Trip He Takes — Work-Related Or Not — Including Three Trips To Competitive Cheerleading Events Between February And May 2017 — So Why Would He Leave Out The Sleazy Vegas Trip If He Wasn’t Trying To Keep It A Secret? — And Why Keep It A Secret If He Actually Thought It Was Legit As He Now Claims He Did?

By now the whole world knows that former Los Angeles City Councilmember Mitch Englander is a sleazy corrupt fellow who was in Las Vegas in 2017 on June 1, 2, and maybe 3 being bribed with cash, liquor, and women and that he was accompanied on this funhouse mirror hero’s journey by his as-yet-unindicted co-conspirator and then-chief-of-staff John S. Lee, sitting Councilmember for the Twelfth District, known in the ever-increasing number of official indictments and mockingly on Twitter as City Staffer B.1

Lee admits that he went along with Mitch on the trip, but he continues to maintain that he did nothing wrong and, says Lee, that he “was unaware of any illegal activities for which Councilmember Englander is being charged.”2 Not only did, according to himself, do nothing wrong but also, according to his spokesperson Grace Yao3 he especially “absolutely [was] not” supplied with women. It’s certainly curious that Lee denies everything but he extra-super-duper denies that part.

Almost as curious as the fact that Lee omitted that June 2017 trip to Las Vegas from his official 2017 appointment calendar, which I recently obtained from the City of Los Angeles via a Public Records Act request. You can see that he had a full day of actual work on June 1. Presumably he traveled to Las Vegas with Mitch that night. On June 2 he has nothing at all listed except a late-night 11 PM meeting with a mysterious as-yet-unidentified figure known as Justin Cruz.4
Continue reading City Staffer B — John Lee — Sitting CD12 Representative — Admittedly Accompanied His Then-Boss Mitch Englander To Las Vegas In June 2017 Where Englander Was Bribed With Wine — And Women — And Hard Cold Bathroom Envelope Cash — And Lee Denies He Knew Any Of That Was Going On — And Very Specifically Denies That He Himself Was Bribed With Women — But He Did Not Put The Vegas Thing In His Appointment Calendar — Which To Me Screams Consciousness Of Freaking Guilt — Because This Is A Guy Who Obsessively Enters Every Trip He Takes — Work-Related Or Not — Including Three Trips To Competitive Cheerleading Events Between February And May 2017 — So Why Would He Leave Out The Sleazy Vegas Trip If He Wasn’t Trying To Keep It A Secret? — And Why Keep It A Secret If He Actually Thought It Was Legit As He Now Claims He Did?

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Mitch O’Farrell And The California Public Records Act — Second Part Of A Series On His Outrageous Violations — He Has Instructed His Flunky — Dan Halden — To Redact The Names Of Constituents Who Send Him Insane Rage Rants Against Homeless Human Beings — Advocating Starvation — Forced Relocation — And Similar Genocidal Measures — And The Reason He Thinks He Can Hide Their Identities? — Because — Halden Says — Publicity Would “Chill” Their Willingness To Ask Mitch O’Farrell For “Help” — What He Means Is They Don’t Like Being Exposed And Mocked On The Internet For Their Sociopathy — At O’Farrell’s Bidding Halden Also Redacts The Names Of Actual Public Officials — Like Jittery Little Peruvian-Hating Psychopath Carol Massie — Of The Hollywood Property Owners’ Alliance — And Refuses To Explain Why — Although The Real Reason Is Obvious — O’Farrell Hates The Constitution — And He Hates The Law — And He’s Really Got To Go

Here’s another installment in my ongoing series of posts about the City of Los Angeles and the interesting ways in which its various departments violate the California Public Records Act.1 Today I’m looking once again at Los Angeles City Council District 13, repped by the fecklessly idiotic troll doll Mitch O’Farrell, and some of O’Farrell’s illegal email redaction policies.2 The story actually begins last March.

At that time I received some emails from CD13 containing conversations between staffers, LAPD officers, and local owners of commercial properties about homelessness. The discussions were filled with dehumanizing stereotypes and calls to starve the homeless, to use pressure-washing and illegal planter placement and other hostile measures to displace them, and so on. All of this not just uncriticized, not just accepted, but actively encouraged and facilitated by City staff and LAPD officers.

I found the whole scene appalling and wrote a number of posts exposing these privilege-addled sociopaths, the main one of which is here but this other one about Kanye West flunky Anthony Kilhoffer is also good. Some of them flipped out and threatened me and apparently others complained to CD13 that I had exposed their sociopathy to the world or that I was mean to them on the internet or whatever. Since then, clearly in response, CD13 has redacted email addresses of basically every correspondent who’s not using a government email address.3

Dan Halden, who’s responsible for handling some of my CD13 CPRA requests,4 has told me that such redactions are legally justified because exposing constituents to personal mockery for advocating genocide against the homeless would create a chilling effect on their willingness to contact their elected officials. Here’s one instance of Halden’s articulation of this novel5 legal theory:
Continue reading Mitch O’Farrell And The California Public Records Act — Second Part Of A Series On His Outrageous Violations — He Has Instructed His Flunky — Dan Halden — To Redact The Names Of Constituents Who Send Him Insane Rage Rants Against Homeless Human Beings — Advocating Starvation — Forced Relocation — And Similar Genocidal Measures — And The Reason He Thinks He Can Hide Their Identities? — Because — Halden Says — Publicity Would “Chill” Their Willingness To Ask Mitch O’Farrell For “Help” — What He Means Is They Don’t Like Being Exposed And Mocked On The Internet For Their Sociopathy — At O’Farrell’s Bidding Halden Also Redacts The Names Of Actual Public Officials — Like Jittery Little Peruvian-Hating Psychopath Carol Massie — Of The Hollywood Property Owners’ Alliance — And Refuses To Explain Why — Although The Real Reason Is Obvious — O’Farrell Hates The Constitution — And He Hates The Law — And He’s Really Got To Go

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Zillionaire Developer Albert Taban — Of The Famous Zillionaire Taban Klan — Is Building A Whole Block Mixed Use Monstrosity In CD14 — The Arts District — 2110 Bay Street — Which Needs Any Number Of General Plan Amendments — And Rezoning — And The Usual Load Of One-Off Ad Hoc Bespoke Exponential Property Value Multipliers Poured Out By Our City Council — Like Yummy Slop — Into The Piggy-Trough At Which These Developers Gorge — And So Taban Hired Lobbyists As These Zillionaires Will Do — But For Whatever Reason Jose Huizar Isn’t Pushing This One — So Eric Garcetti Took A Break From His Self-Declared State Of Emergency — And Sent It To The Planning And Land Use Management Committee Last Week — Which Might All Be Business As Usual — Who The Heck Even Knows? — But What’s Not So Usual Is That Stuart Waldman — LA Olympics Booster — LA 2028 Board Member — Supreme Commander Of Rightwing Fash Front Group VICA — Valley Industrial And Commercial Association — Who Is Not One Of The Lobbyists Hired By Taban — In Fact He’s Not A Registered Lobbyist At All — Actually Wrote The Damn Rezoning Resolution — That Got Submitted To Planning Commission Unchanged — Which Is Revealed By The Metadata — Waldman’s Not On Any Other Record As Being Involved In This — In Some Cities The Lunatics Are Running The Asylum — In Los Angeles The Piggies Are Running The Trough — Is It A Surprise Everything’s Falling To Pieces?

A couple months ago I wrote on how a massive development project in CD1 was approved. One of the aspects of the story most surprising to me was the intimate involvement of lobbyists at every stage of the process. Somehow I had thought that their role was more like influencing City officials, suggesting outcomes to them, talking to them, and so on. Something like ordinary public comment even if supercharged by highly enhanced access to official ears.

But it turned out to be far more than that. E.g. lobbyists actually write ordinances, resolutions, and motions which are then submitted to Council by Council District staff. The lobbyists understand City procedures much more clearly than electeds and staff.1 In some sense the lobbyists are actually running the planning and land use process with civil service staff effectively working for them. In the case I wrote about in March Gil Cedillo’s planning director, Gerald Gubatan, seemed to do little more than serve as a conduit between lobbyists for the developers and City civil service staff.2

And I’m sure this is the norm, but given the dedication with which City officials and staff flout the requirements of the California Public Records Act proof is pretty hard to obtain. However, despite such obstacles there are still a few clues available here and there. For instance, let’s take a look at a project, apparently pending at least since 2017, at 2110 and 2130 E. Bay Street in the Arts District in CD14.

This is a massive project with the usual nauseating mix of live/work and creative blah blah blah of the too-familiar type beloved of zombie urbanist flackmonsters like Urbanize LA. Like all such projects, this one requires bunches of spot-zonings, variances, general plan changes, and so on. In particular, in exchange for a mere 12 “restricted affordable units”3 the City is proposing to rezone the parcels from Heavy Industrial to Commercial Industrial.
Continue reading Zillionaire Developer Albert Taban — Of The Famous Zillionaire Taban Klan — Is Building A Whole Block Mixed Use Monstrosity In CD14 — The Arts District — 2110 Bay Street — Which Needs Any Number Of General Plan Amendments — And Rezoning — And The Usual Load Of One-Off Ad Hoc Bespoke Exponential Property Value Multipliers Poured Out By Our City Council — Like Yummy Slop — Into The Piggy-Trough At Which These Developers Gorge — And So Taban Hired Lobbyists As These Zillionaires Will Do — But For Whatever Reason Jose Huizar Isn’t Pushing This One — So Eric Garcetti Took A Break From His Self-Declared State Of Emergency — And Sent It To The Planning And Land Use Management Committee Last Week — Which Might All Be Business As Usual — Who The Heck Even Knows? — But What’s Not So Usual Is That Stuart Waldman — LA Olympics Booster — LA 2028 Board Member — Supreme Commander Of Rightwing Fash Front Group VICA — Valley Industrial And Commercial Association — Who Is Not One Of The Lobbyists Hired By Taban — In Fact He’s Not A Registered Lobbyist At All — Actually Wrote The Damn Rezoning Resolution — That Got Submitted To Planning Commission Unchanged — Which Is Revealed By The Metadata — Waldman’s Not On Any Other Record As Being Involved In This — In Some Cities The Lunatics Are Running The Asylum — In Los Angeles The Piggies Are Running The Trough — Is It A Surprise Everything’s Falling To Pieces?

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David Ryu Certainly Seems To Be Yet Another Landlord On The Los Angeles City Council — And Apparently Perfectly Comfortable Voting On Various Tenants’ Rights Issues Without Recusing Himself Or Even Mentioning It — He And His Sister Esther Bought A Four Unit Apartment Building In 2018 — And Immediately Signed It Over To A Shady Entity Called Daejopia LLC — Controlled By Their Brother Joseph — Ryu Acknowledged On His Form 700 That He Owns The Building — Although He Lists It By Parcel Number Rather Than Address — But Denies Receiving Any Rental Income From It — Which Seems Really Highly Unlikely Given That It Appears To Be Fully Occupied — But Maybe He’ll Explain Himself If For Some Unknown Reason It Is True — Did I Mention That Kenneth Yoon — Who Sold The Building To David And Esther Ryu — Turned Around And Gave Ryu An $800 Contribution A Month After The Deal Closed? — And That The Ryus Only Needed To Borrow $460K On What Was Apparently A $840K Transaction?

On Tuesday, March 17, 2020 the Los Angeles City Council considered an emergency ordinance to halt evictions and give renters 24 months to cover missed payments. Or at least that’s what the original motion, introduced by CD11 rep Mike Bonin, called for. During the debate,1 though, various other councilmembers, notably Paul Krekorian, Paul Koretz, and Herb Wesson, argued passionately against the harm that such an ordinance would do to the proverbial mom and pop landlords by giving these deadbeat tenants so damn long to settle up.

Two years is far long, they said. Mom and pops can’t afford to wait, they said. Will increase default rate, said they. They said all kinds of impassioned stuff in favor of reducing repayment time by a murderous 75%. But one of the things they didn’t say was that all three of these councilmembers are themselves landlords. It’s impossible to imagine that they weren’t thinking of their own interests while arguing to amend this motion. I wrote a piece on this a few days ago, the research for which also revealed that they weren’t the only three, by the way.

It turned out that Jose Huizar, Nury Martinez, and Curren Price are also landlords and also voted yes on the change to a 6 month grace period. My method of landlord discovery relied solely on Form 700s, which are annual financial disclosure forms required of elected officials in California. And rental income is a specific category which must be identified as such. For instance, consider the relevant section from Paul Krekorian’s most recent filing.

But it turned out that this method was flawed. Not flawed in the sense of producing false positives. The six that I identified are in fact landlords. Flawed, though, in the sense of producing false negatives based, as it is, on the disclosures being honest.2 And that’s how I missed the fact that CD4 representative David Ryu is also a landlord,3 although it’s certainly not obvious at all from his most recent Form 700. First, take a look at the relevant section:

He lists an assessor’s parcel number rather than an address. I didn’t previously look up the property, though, because he checked off the box indicating that he’d received no rental income. It turns out, though, that skipping this was a huge mistake on my part. I finally did look into the matter and it turns out that I had previously missed everything! Read on for the whole astonishingly sordid story of David Ryu and this property!
Continue reading David Ryu Certainly Seems To Be Yet Another Landlord On The Los Angeles City Council — And Apparently Perfectly Comfortable Voting On Various Tenants’ Rights Issues Without Recusing Himself Or Even Mentioning It — He And His Sister Esther Bought A Four Unit Apartment Building In 2018 — And Immediately Signed It Over To A Shady Entity Called Daejopia LLC — Controlled By Their Brother Joseph — Ryu Acknowledged On His Form 700 That He Owns The Building — Although He Lists It By Parcel Number Rather Than Address — But Denies Receiving Any Rental Income From It — Which Seems Really Highly Unlikely Given That It Appears To Be Fully Occupied — But Maybe He’ll Explain Himself If For Some Unknown Reason It Is True — Did I Mention That Kenneth Yoon — Who Sold The Building To David And Esther Ryu — Turned Around And Gave Ryu An $800 Contribution A Month After The Deal Closed? — And That The Ryus Only Needed To Borrow $460K On What Was Apparently A $840K Transaction?

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