Category Archives: Los Angeles City Council

City Of Los Angeles Sued Yet Again To Enforce Compliance With The Public Records Act — This Time It’s Over CD14’s Obstinate Refusal To Produce Emails Between Staffer Joella Hopkins And Various City Officials — Mostly Having To Do With Homeless Issues — CD14 Commo Deputy Isaiah Calvin Risibly Claimed That Dozens If Not Hundreds Of Emails Were Exempt As Attorney Client Privileged — But I Obtained Some Of These From Other Sources And — He’s Lying — Or Confused — Or Both — But That Doesn’t Matter Under The Law — Hence This Petition

This is just a very quick note to announce that due to CD14’s well-known and weirdly intransigent refusal to comply with even the most minimal mandates of the California Public Records Act I have been forced to file a writ petition against these outlaw City officials seeking to enforce my constitutional right to read their damn emails.

On December 30, 2018 I asked Paul Habib and some other Huizar staffies for “emails between joella.hopkins@lacity.org or ari.simon@lacity.org and at least one of 34490@lapd.online or 32511@lapd.online or gita.oneill@lacity.org or kurt.knecht@lacity.org.” Note that the two police there are Marc Reina and Deon Joseph respectively. They hummed, hemmed, hawed, and noped and eventually produced 62 pages of ludicrously incomplete emails. For instance, they produced the first page of a 14 page thread about Night on Broadway but not the other 13 pages. And crazy stuff like that.

And they claimed, possibly due to the inclusion of Deputy City Attorneys Gita O’Neill and Kurt Knecht in my request, that they had withheld some material under the attorney/client privilege. But you know, and this is good CPRA practice, when possible I like to hit up as many agencies as possible for the same or overlapping material. It’s the best way not only to get complete sets of stuff but also to check whether responses are honest. And, sadly, often they are not.
Continue reading City Of Los Angeles Sued Yet Again To Enforce Compliance With The Public Records Act — This Time It’s Over CD14’s Obstinate Refusal To Produce Emails Between Staffer Joella Hopkins And Various City Officials — Mostly Having To Do With Homeless Issues — CD14 Commo Deputy Isaiah Calvin Risibly Claimed That Dozens If Not Hundreds Of Emails Were Exempt As Attorney Client Privileged — But I Obtained Some Of These From Other Sources And — He’s Lying — Or Confused — Or Both — But That Doesn’t Matter Under The Law — Hence This Petition

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City Of Los Angeles Concedes Defeat In My California Public Records Act Petition Based On Cedillo Staffer Mel Ilomin’s Wildly Unsupportable Exemption Claims — They Settled Up And Paid $4,720 In Fees And Costs — It Seems To Me Personally That It Would Be More Efficient Just To Follow The Damn Law From The Get-Go — Rather Than Paying $5K Every Time Some Council Staffer Feels Like Throwing His Toys From The Pram — But I Am Willing To Admit That I Have Zero Experience In Running Major Cities — So Perhaps This Loss Is A Net Win For The City In Some Inscrutable Way That We Amateurs Have No Hope Of Unscrewing — Concluding With An Unscientific Postscript On What Bethelwel Wilson’s Petulance Reveals About Some Ad Hoc Bullshit CPRA Obstructionism That Mike Dundas Made Up One Time

Recall that in June of this year I was forced by the utterly indefensible intransigence of Gil Cedillo staffer Mel Ilomin, who would persist in his bizarre claims that some emails between his office and LAPD were exempt from production under the California Public Records Act, to file a writ petition seeking to enforce my rights under that hallowed law. And less than a month later the City caved and produced a bunch of emails.

Which, as you may know, makes me the prevailing party which, as you also may know, means that the City must pay my attorney’s fees and the court costs, which they just recently did to the tune of $4,720, and here is a copy of the settlement agreement laying out the terms.1 And one of the tragic aspects of this basically silly little case is that they have not mended their ways in the least. City offices continue to make totally bogus exemption claims for which the only remedy is another suit. And if that’s what the City wants, well, I’m not going to be the one to disappoint them.

Oh, yes, the interesting thing about that settlement!2 So the CPRA imposes various duties on local agencies, local agency being something of a term of art in CPRA-ology3 meaning “entity subject to the CPRA.” Like for instance, when a local agency receives a request, the local agency must respond in ten days.4 And when a local agency once releases some records to any member of the public, then by law the local agency has thenceforth and for all time waived the possibility of claiming exemptions and must therefore release that same record to anyone who asks for it.5
Continue reading City Of Los Angeles Concedes Defeat In My California Public Records Act Petition Based On Cedillo Staffer Mel Ilomin’s Wildly Unsupportable Exemption Claims — They Settled Up And Paid $4,720 In Fees And Costs — It Seems To Me Personally That It Would Be More Efficient Just To Follow The Damn Law From The Get-Go — Rather Than Paying $5K Every Time Some Council Staffer Feels Like Throwing His Toys From The Pram — But I Am Willing To Admit That I Have Zero Experience In Running Major Cities — So Perhaps This Loss Is A Net Win For The City In Some Inscrutable Way That We Amateurs Have No Hope Of Unscrewing — Concluding With An Unscientific Postscript On What Bethelwel Wilson’s Petulance Reveals About Some Ad Hoc Bullshit CPRA Obstructionism That Mike Dundas Made Up One Time

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Council District 8 Rep Marqueece Harris-Dawson Has A Private Gmail Account That He Uses To Conduct City Business — And His Chief Of Staff Solomon Rivera Uses City Resources To Arrange For Harris-Dawson To Purchase Rams Tickets — Straight From Joe Furin — The General Manager Of The Coliseum — And A Bunch Of Other Interesting Emails From CD8!

Council District 8 representative Marqueece Harris-Dawson has a private Gmail account at mharrisdawson@gmail.com that he uses to conduct official business. In this practice he is, sadly, not at all alone. Earlier investigations have revealed that at least four other City Councilmembers and one high-ranking LAPD officer use private email addresses in this way:

Mitch O’Farrell
David Ryu
Gil Cedillo
Greig Smith
Cory Palka

I learned about this from this June 2016 email conversation between Harris-Dawson’s chief of staff Solomon Rivera, his senior field deputy for Baldwin Hills and surrounding areas Dina Andrews,1 and Harris-Dawson himself at the Gmail address. This email, by the way, is part of a small but juicy set I got today from Rivera. You can browse the whole thing here on Archive.Org.

The subject matter of this particular email isn’t that interesting.2 It has to do with former actor Bennett Liss trying to get Harris-Dawson to be interviewed for a documentary directed by Liss’s son about how to cure homelessness by selling the backs of freeway signs for advertising.3 But what is of the utmost interest, of course, is that Andrews doesn’t use an lacity.org email address to communicate with Harris-Dawson. Instead she uses his Gmail address.

The use of private email addresses by public officials is a shameful and secretive practice, and ought to be, if it isn’t already, illegal. Fortunately the 2017 California Supreme Court opinion in City of San Jose v. Superior Court held that such emails were public records, no matter what kind of account they’re in or device they’re on,4 but in order to apply that holding it’s necessary to find the accounts in the first place. I have found a bunch of them, but it’s painful and time-consuming work.

Bunches of creepy Trumpian fascists are rightly and regularly criticized in the national press for exactly the same practice, and yet, at least so far, this is a complete nonstory in Los Angeles.5 And this is far from the only interesting item in this set. Just for instance, there’s a conversation between Rivera and Joe Furin, general manager of the Coliseum, and Sherry Caldwell, the Coliseum’s director of ticketing, trying to arrange for a pair of Rams tickets for Harris-Dawson to purchase at $255 each. Oh, and after all the talk, Harris-Dawson doesn’t even end up wanting the tickets!
Continue reading Council District 8 Rep Marqueece Harris-Dawson Has A Private Gmail Account That He Uses To Conduct City Business — And His Chief Of Staff Solomon Rivera Uses City Resources To Arrange For Harris-Dawson To Purchase Rams Tickets — Straight From Joe Furin — The General Manager Of The Coliseum — And A Bunch Of Other Interesting Emails From CD8!

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Newly Obtained Emails From CD13 Reveal Existence Of Hitherto-Unknown-To-Me LAPD Unit Called Coordinated Outreach Resource Enforcement — AKA CORE — Dedicated To “identifying wanted suspects of active investigations living within the homeless population of Hollywood” — And Potentially Other Divisions As Well — In 2018 There Were 8 Cops On This Job In Hollywood And A Supervising Sergeant — Shannon Geaney — They Seem To Go On Sweeps And Use Outreach As A Pretext For Warrant Searches — Thus Obviously Exacerbating And Increasing Distrust Of Their Motives — Which Legit Are Not Pure — Yet Another Reason To Remove Cops From Encampment Actions Of All Types — And Actually Institute The Demands Of The Services Not Sweeps Coalition — Not To Mention Some Idiotic Victim Blaming By Geaney — Who Proposes To Stop LAPD & LA Sanitation From Throwing Away Homeless People’s Property By Giving Them More Plastic Bags — And ” educat[ing] them on the importance of their role in safe guarding their property”

I have been spending a lot of time looking into how the City of Los Angeles organizes sweeps of homeless encampments on the most micro-level possible. The picture painted by the evidence is of an essentially complaint-driven process, with sweeps being called in mainly by Council offices, for the most part in response to constituent complaints or even to facilitate the illegal installation of hostile architecture. It’s possible, even likely, that there are other mechanisms, but I don’t yet have a clear idea of what they are.

Ideas aren’t guiding City policy, but personalities are, raw animal desire, hatred, anger, so it’s not likely that ideas, morality talk, and so on, could change the policy. It’s extremely important therefore to understand the processes at this personal level not least to learn what is motivating City policy, what kinds of pressures City officials feel that guide their choices, and so on. Whose anger counts.

And it’s surprising whose anger does count. Like see the crazed emails from Hollywood landlord and Kanye West operative Anthony Kilhoffer and the City’s reaction to them or these genocidal freaks who want to starve homeless human beings away from their properties. And yet City officials, police included, are deferential throughout their interactions. Without understanding how this happens, why it happens, it will be harder than it already is to change the way the City deals with the homeless, and it’s already impossibly hard.

The best tool I know for understanding City politics is, of course, the California Public Records Act.1 So I spend a lot of time collecting and reading rage-filled hateful screeds, written by self-righteous privileged housedwellers. And to collect these, well, the CPRA requires that a request “reasonably [describe] an identifiable record or records”.2 Which makes it a little tricky in that probably “all rage-filled hate screeds emailed by psychopathic housedwellers” is not a reasonable description of an identifiable record. It’s too subjective, not least because one person’s psychopathic housedweller is another person’s most honored campaign donor.

So to obtain emails, then, it’s best to provide search terms. These can be domain names, email addresses, words, phrases, anything. The presence or absence of a term in an email is objective, and therefore provides a reasonable description of an identifiable record. There’s still the problem, and it’s not trivial, of coming up with appropriate search terms for this particular genre of public records.

But recently I have come pretty close to what seems to be an ideal solution. At least the phrase I’ve been using turns up a lot of interesting stuff. My current best search term is “quality of life.” Indeed, this was probably3 made up by a bunch of broken windows theorists as a way to explain why their theories lead them to think it’s actually OK, actually desirable, to lock people up for an entire freaking year for pissing in an alley when sane people actually don’t know why pissing in alleys is even illegal.4

And this abhorrent circumlocution evidently serves its conscience-soothing function well, based on its popularity among that segment of psychopathic homeless-hating housedwellers who so desperately need their consciences soothed, or would if they had any. It’s freaking everywhere in precisely the emails I’m looking for. And just the other day I got a big stack of these quality of life emails from Mitch O’Farrell’s staff at CD13.5 And you can read all of them here on Archive.Org.6

And there is some good stuff in here, both interesting and important.7 I will be writing about it from time to time, and today I’m looking at this March 30, 2018 email from LAPD officer Shannon Geaney to a panoply of what passes for community leaders in Hollywood asking for their help in coordinating a distribution “one-thousand, high density, clear, zip-closure bags that will be printed “ESSENTIAL PERSONAL PROPERTY” with a box to write the owner’s name.” There’s a transcription of this entire essential email below.

The point, as you may well have guessed immediately, is that Geany has “heard the frequent complaint that important paperwork, documents, identification cards, birth certificates, citations, or medications are frequently lost during clean-ups or incident to arrest.” Note, by the way, the absolutely stunning level of deflection here as Geaney refuses to acknowledge that the property isn’t “lost” but is rather illegally confiscated by police or other City officials and illegally destroyed or thrown away.

And it gets worse. Why is Geaney concerned about police and sanitation workers confiscating and destroying people’s medicine and paperwork? Well, she says she “understand[s] how this can cause significant delay in a client’s case management and enrollment in appropriate programs.”8 Maybe it’s too much even in these latter days to expect a police to be concerned about violations of people’s constitutional rights because they’re violations of constitutional rights rather than for such absolutely demeaning reasons.9

And why is Geaney writing to these Hollywood thought leaders, providers of services, and, for some reason, the Hollywood Entertainment District BID? Well, because “It is [her] hope that each of you will want to distribute these bags to your clients and educate them on the importance of their role in safe guarding their property.” In short, because it helps her make the point that even though the LAPD and City Sanitation workers are the ones throwing away the property in question, and even though they’re doing it illegally, nevertheless the fact that it gets thrown away is the fault of the property owners. Because they don’t live in houses. Got it?

Good, because now finally we’re going to discuss the reason why this email is really important.10 It reveals an anti-homeless unit of the LAPD that I don’t know anything about yet. It’s called the Coordinated Outreach Resource Enforcement Unit, which because the City’s cute-names-for-tools-of-oppression policy seems to require it, is known as CORE. Tangentially, please read the whole email, transcribed below. There’s a lot of interesting stuff in there, very revealing of cop attitudes towards human beings forced to live on sidewalks, and I do not have time11 to discuss it all.
Continue reading Newly Obtained Emails From CD13 Reveal Existence Of Hitherto-Unknown-To-Me LAPD Unit Called Coordinated Outreach Resource Enforcement — AKA CORE — Dedicated To “identifying wanted suspects of active investigations living within the homeless population of Hollywood” — And Potentially Other Divisions As Well — In 2018 There Were 8 Cops On This Job In Hollywood And A Supervising Sergeant — Shannon Geaney — They Seem To Go On Sweeps And Use Outreach As A Pretext For Warrant Searches — Thus Obviously Exacerbating And Increasing Distrust Of Their Motives — Which Legit Are Not Pure — Yet Another Reason To Remove Cops From Encampment Actions Of All Types — And Actually Institute The Demands Of The Services Not Sweeps Coalition — Not To Mention Some Idiotic Victim Blaming By Geaney — Who Proposes To Stop LAPD & LA Sanitation From Throwing Away Homeless People’s Property By Giving Them More Plastic Bags — And ” educat[ing] them on the importance of their role in safe guarding their property”

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Paul Koretz’s Office Does Not Track Constituent Opinions On Issues — Or At Least They Have Not Done So In 2019 — This Is According To David Hersch — Koretz’s Deputy Chief Of Staff — So All That Dutiful Public Comment You’ve Been Submitting To CD5 O Best Beloved? — No One Over There Even Cares — Did You Call Or Email Koretz And Beg Him To Have A Damn Heart And Not Outlaw Vehicle Dwelling? — Your Thoughts Were Not Recorded — Along With The Story Of How I Learned This Tragic Fact — Which Illuminates The Uncaring Arrogance Of The City Of Los Angeles In Responding To Requests For Public Records

I can’t write yet about the City Council’s appalling behavior on Tuesday with respect to outlawing vehicle dwelling by renewing LAMC 85.02. It’s still too raw, and it’s too soon to have related records to publish. Local hero Lexis-Olivier Ray has an essential story on it in L.A. Taco, a story he inadvertently became a participant in when the police illegally forced him, a working journalist, to leave the room.

The day before the vote a lot of folks were calling their Councilmembers, leaving messages, sending emails, and so on, urging their repsters to vote against this abhorrent nonsense, much of it coordinated via Twitter. And to encourage action, @MamaWetzel told us that these calls do matter because there are staffers whose jobs it is to track public opinion on issues via spreadsheets and so on.1 And at that word, spreadsheets, well, my eyes just rolled back in my head with joy because, as you know, a spreadsheet is a public record!

So I immediately asked a few representative council offices for 2019 records used to track constituent opinion on issues, giving spreadsheets as an example but not limiting it just to spreadsheets.2 This, as I said, was on Monday, just a few days ago. In CPRAlandia that’s nothing, no time at all, an eyeblink. So I wasn’t, and still am not, expecting results soon. But despite that, yesterday, July 31, 2019, I did actually get some very interesting news from CD5, who is pretty easy to make requests of, being on NextRequest.

Their designated CPRA responder, David Hersch, initially told me that my request was “overboard, [sic] unduly burdensome and unfocused” because, he claimed, there were too many records responsive and that therefore he wouldn’t process it until I narrowed it down. This is a standard move in the City of Los Angeles and I discuss it in great detail below. I responded, as I typically do, by asking how many records there were and explaining that the request was exceedingly focused.

Hersch responded five hours later by saying that actually there were no records at all and that CD5 didn’t keep track of constituent opinions, or at least had not done so in 2019.3 This is pretty interesting news even apart from the interesting but technical matters regarding CPRA. It’s not like Koretz doesn’t do stuff on the Council. He’s famous for his animal rights work, the importance of which I am not discounting.

For instance, just recently he’s been spending a lot of time saving Billy the Elephant, and there was that vegan food thing from December. This year alone he’s sponsored 80 motions. But all those calls and letters you folks in CD5 have spent the time to send? All that public comment? No one over there is keeping track at all. Paul Koretz has his mind made up, he’s gonna do what he’s gonna do, and ain’t all your tears wash out a word of it.4

And at this point I won’t be surprised if none of them keep track. I will certainly be working on finding out, of course. Which would be an important part of an explanation as to why Los Quince Jefes can sit up on their dais so complacently day after clueless day fiddling with their phones while their computers automatically vote yes on oppression and the City prepares to burn. That’s today’s revelation and today’s rant. Read on for the CPRA wonkery!
Continue reading Paul Koretz’s Office Does Not Track Constituent Opinions On Issues — Or At Least They Have Not Done So In 2019 — This Is According To David Hersch — Koretz’s Deputy Chief Of Staff — So All That Dutiful Public Comment You’ve Been Submitting To CD5 O Best Beloved? — No One Over There Even Cares — Did You Call Or Email Koretz And Beg Him To Have A Damn Heart And Not Outlaw Vehicle Dwelling? — Your Thoughts Were Not Recorded — Along With The Story Of How I Learned This Tragic Fact — Which Illuminates The Uncaring Arrogance Of The City Of Los Angeles In Responding To Requests For Public Records

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The True History Of The Frederick Passageway Anti-Homeless Hostile Landscaping Project — Guided By Angry Self-Proclaimed Lawyer And Housedweller Saul Janson — And Revanchist Housedwelling Coffee Confectioner Allison Altschuler — And Housedwelling Zillionaire NBC News Producer Richard Adams — (Not The Guy With The Damn Bunnies But A Different One) — And Famous But Shockingly Untalented Cartoonist Rick Detorie — Assisted At Every Stage By Freaky Little Lying Former CD11 Field Deputy Taylor Bazley — Who Explicitly Told Jansen To Exclude Shade Trees Because Homeless People Like Sitting Under Them — And Told Altschuler To Collect Bullshit CYA Letters From Neighbors In Case The City Got Sued — All Of This Done At The Express Orders Of Little Man Behind The Curtain Mike Bonin — Revealed In Emails Released In Response To My CPRA Lawsuit Against CD11 — And This Is Just The Start Of The Releases, Friends!

I’ve been spending some time looking into the ways in which City Council offices materially support housedweller aggression against homeless residents of Los Angeles, including especially by facilitating illegal hostile architecture. Venice is one of the main theaters in which this drama is currently being performed, what with the proliferation of illegal planters and other, more idiosyncratic projects like for instance the Frederick Passageway, just west of the Penmar Golf Course. So naturally I’m spending a great deal of time sending requests to CD11 under the California Public Records Act.

And for a long time they completely ignored me, but then, by pure good fortune, in response to a request to LAPD, I received a stunning and unexpected email conversation between (now former) CD11 field deputy Taylor Bazley and various worthies proving conclusively that, despite many, many explicit denials from Mike Bonin’s flacks that there was any coordination at all between Bonin’s office and the outlaw planter-placers, Bazley was in fact directly involved in the process, even to the extent of calling in a sweep of a homeless encampment specifically so that illegal planters could be placed.

This discovery magnified the importance of the emails I’d requested from CD11 to the point where we all put on our hustle-hats and filed a petition splickety splat! And, as it turns out the City is wont to do, they pretty quickly started handing over records.1 You can take a look at the first batch here on Archive.Org. And these are all interesting, certainly, but the most interesting of all is this spool of emails between Taylor Bazley and various folks about the Frederick Passageway. There are two threads to the conversation here.

First there’s Bazley coordinating with angry housedwellers to ruin this public passageway by planting crap all over it to thwart the efforts of homeless human beings to survive, mostly because the housedwellers find them unaesthetic. Some of the identities of these housedwellers are known. For instance, there is ringleader Saul C. Janson, who claims to be some kind of lawyer. You can reach Saul at sacoja@aol.com and his phone number seems to be (310) 452-7978.

There is also self-proclaimed coffee confectioner Allison Altschuler, who can be contacted at allisonaltschuler@gmail.com. And shockingly untalented and shockingly well-known cartoonist Rick Detorie, who you can email at rdetorie@yahoo.com. Last but never ever ever least is zillionaire NBC news producer Richard Adams. Get in touch with Adams at Richard.Adams@nbcuni.com or via phone at his office, (818) 684-2873, or, for that more direct and personal touch, on his cell at (818) 391-7508.

Bazley spends months, years, encouraging them. He suggests places they can find funding for their aggressive anti-human project. Listens sympathetically to their crazed rants. Really gets into the details of hostile landscaping, e.g. suggesting that they avoid shade trees because the homeless will enjoy sitting under them. Accompanies them in person to City offices to help them obtain permits. Helps them collect astroturf letters of support for submission to the Bureau of Engineering, telling them they don’t have to be sincere or even have much content as the only purpose is ass-covering in the event that someone sues the City.

And so on, all done in the inimitably sycophantic and cynical Bazleyian manner. This material is an important addition to the history of anti-homeless landscaping in Venice. To date we didn’t really know who was behind the appropriation and destruction of this public street, and we certainly did not know the extent to which Bazley and CD11 were involved in coordinating it.2

But in addition to that conversation, which is new and important but at the same time fairly predictable, familiar in tone and content if not in specifics, there are also a bunch of emails between Bazley, Mike Bonin himself, who repeatedly orders Bazley to cater to the whims of the housedwellers, and Debbie Dyner Harris, at that time a district director for Bonin, also ordering Bazley to please get to work and please please the housedwellers.

This is a side of the process we very rarely get to see. Councilmembers either only send very few emails or else their offices routinely and illegally withhold them. And these few emails are terse. The staff knows what to do, they don’t need to be told explicitly. Records, after all, will end up on the Internet. Best, then, not to generate any. This material, while actually less sensational than the other, is equally if not more important for shining light on the internal processes of Bonin’s office.

Another fact, revealed for the first time by these newly released records, is that the housedwellers were looking to this project not just as a way to exclude some unaesthetic human beings by installing plants on a public street. They were actually looking to literally privatize the street by annexing parts of it and adjoining them to their lots, thereby increasing their property values. This unexpected but ultimately not surprising development demonstrates in a pretty stark way that most if not all anti-homeless housedweller rage is actually about money.

Usually, possibly, the financial gains from hostile architecture are framed as about how aesthetics and perceptions of homeless neighbors affect property values but, at least in this case, it’s about actual annexation of publicly owned land. Thus spake Taylor Bazley: “a lot of the adjacent property owners are looking to assume ten more feet of property through the process of street vacation.” Taylor doesn’t go along with this plan, but not because he sees anything wrong with it. It’s just, he assures his boss, that it takes too long.

But as much as is revealed by these emails, one of the central mysteries remains unexplained. You’ll see, if you read on to the transcripts below, that the complaints that initiated the multi-year process of installing hostile landscaping on the Frederick Passageway are so stupid as to be incoherent. Saul Janson is angry, e.g., that the homeless people in the encampment laugh, eat food from takeout containers, own cell phones, and so on. He compares homeless people’s possessions to cancer, saying that their “stuff metastasizes daily”>.

He thinks single women are more particularly vulnerable to the unspecified predations of the homeless than, I guess, men and non-single women? The man is a slime-oozing braindead ball of enraged emotional putrefaction, certainly no one to be taken seriously. Oh, I forgot to mention! Janson and his neighbors “are mostly caring and socially responsible people.” Just ask them! If he weren’t a housedweller the best he could hope for out of City officials would be to be ignored. The worst would involve throwing away his tent or his insulin, tasing him, jailing him, 5150ing him into oblivion, leaving him to die on the pavement in the rain.

But none of that happens here. Instead of mocking and ignoring him, Bonin writes to Bazley and Dyner Harris to tell them to take care of the guy’s concerns. We’ve seen this exact phenomenon in CD13, as well as in CD11 with a whole different Klown Kar Krew, so it’s not isolated. What I don’t understand, what I despair of understanding, is why Councilmembers are so solicitous of these housedwellers. They’re not necessarily big donors. For instance, according to the Ethics Commission, none of Janson, Altschuler, or Adams have ever given a penny to Bonin.3

They’re not influential, they’re not going to sway an election. And yet the CMs listen to them, sweep encampments, disrupt lives, at their request. Maybe it’s because they’re asking for something the CMs want to do anyway and so provide political cover? I legitimately don’t get it and nothing in these emails gives even a clue. Perhaps some day this premiere open question will be solved! Meanwhile, read on for transcribed selections with some commentary and links!
Continue reading The True History Of The Frederick Passageway Anti-Homeless Hostile Landscaping Project — Guided By Angry Self-Proclaimed Lawyer And Housedweller Saul Janson — And Revanchist Housedwelling Coffee Confectioner Allison Altschuler — And Housedwelling Zillionaire NBC News Producer Richard Adams — (Not The Guy With The Damn Bunnies But A Different One) — And Famous But Shockingly Untalented Cartoonist Rick Detorie — Assisted At Every Stage By Freaky Little Lying Former CD11 Field Deputy Taylor Bazley — Who Explicitly Told Jansen To Exclude Shade Trees Because Homeless People Like Sitting Under Them — And Told Altschuler To Collect Bullshit CYA Letters From Neighbors In Case The City Got Sued — All Of This Done At The Express Orders Of Little Man Behind The Curtain Mike Bonin — Revealed In Emails Released In Response To My CPRA Lawsuit Against CD11 — And This Is Just The Start Of The Releases, Friends!

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Interim Councilmember Greig Smith Has A Private Email Address — Conducts City Business Through It — citycouncilguy@yahoo.com — For Instance — Among Other Pretty Sleazy Things — Uses It To Communicate With Lobbyists At Englander Knabe & Allen — Founded By Harvey Englander — Uncle Of Smith’s Predecessor And Protege Mitch Englander — Like A Whole Trump Family Incestuous Secret Email Vibe Going On Out There In The Damn Valley Innit?!

With yesterday’s revelations that Betsy De Vos and seven other members of the Trump administration are being investigated by the House Oversight Committee for their illegal, unethical, appalling, and hypocritical use of private email addresses to conduct public business I thought it was a good time to catch you all up on the state of my investigation into private email use by our own local City Council folks, precisely none of whom are being investigated by anyone for this specific transgression.1

Previously I discovered and revealed that Mitch O’Farrell, David Ryu, and Gil Cedillo all have privately controlled email accounts through which they conduct City business. Jose Huizar also does this, but I didn’t break that story, the FBI did.2 And today, thanks to a huge set of emails I recently received from the ever-courtly Colin Sweeney, director of communications over at CD12, I can, for the first time of which I am aware, break the news that the name of Sweeney’s current boss, the infamous Greig Smith, belongs right smack on that list as well.

The email address in question is citycouncilguy@yahoo.com. The set linked to above only contained a few examples of Smith’s use of this email address to conduct City business, but then I only picked them up by accident. Thanks, as we know, to the monumental 2017 opinion in City of San Jose v. Superior Court, these emails are public records in themselves. Of course I have a request in already for the rest of them, but I imagine it could be a long process. Or maybe not, we’ll certainly see! Read on for links to the emails along with some commentary.
Continue reading Interim Councilmember Greig Smith Has A Private Email Address — Conducts City Business Through It — citycouncilguy@yahoo.com — For Instance — Among Other Pretty Sleazy Things — Uses It To Communicate With Lobbyists At Englander Knabe & Allen — Founded By Harvey Englander — Uncle Of Smith’s Predecessor And Protege Mitch Englander — Like A Whole Trump Family Incestuous Secret Email Vibe Going On Out There In The Damn Valley Innit?!

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News About My CPRA Suit Against The City Of Los Angeles Concerning Emails Between CD1 And LAPD — The City Has Abandoned Its Exemption Claims And Provided More Than 200 Pages Of Records — Which Is Good News On The Prevailing Party Front — And At Least One Of The Newly Released Emails Is Exceedingly Important — Not To Mention Appalling — Shows Gil Cedillo’s Deputy District Director Jose Rodriguez Calling In A Homeless Encampment Sweep — In February 2019 — At The Explicit Behest Of Sociopathic Developer Trammell Crow — Because The Mere Presence Of Displaceable Homeless Human Beings Was Interfering With A Project Schedule — Senior Vice President And Failed Screen Actor Alex Valente Has A Lot To Answer For — As Does Gil Freaking Cedillo — And Jose Rodriguez — And Everyone Else Involved In This Abuse Of Municipal Power

There are two parts to today’s story. First, recall that last month I was forced by the arbitrary, pointless, and utterly inscrutable intransigence of Gil Cedillo‘s Senior Policy Deputy Mel Ilomin to file yet another writ petition against the City of Los Angeles seeking to enforce compliance with the California Public Records Act. And I have some excellent news about this, which is that yesterday the City completely abandoned its indefensible exemption claims and produced more than 200 pages of material responsive to the request at issue. It came to me in two PDFs, which you can get copies of here:

CPRA emails part 1.pdf

CPRA emails part 2.pdf

You might recall that Ilomin, completely backstopped by ought-to-know-better Deputy City Attorney Strefan Fauble, had claimed that every single one of these emails was exempt due to that putative deliberative process nonsense that the City of Los Angeles loves so well. And I won’t belabor the details, but if you read through the yield, you’ll see that this exemption claim was entirely unfounded, indefensible, just utter nonsense. For instance, a nontrivial number of these emails are widely published announcements that there will be mobile showers available on various dates at Lincoln Park which, whatever the hell they may be, aren’t exempt from production under any theory acceptable to even the marginally sane.

And there’s some other reasonably interesting material in there, about some of which I might write at some point. But there is also one exceedingly important record, which is this February 2019 email conversation between Cedillo’s Deputy District Director Jose Rodriguez and a long list of LAPD officers, LAHSA staffers, and others, scheduling a sweep of homeless encampments along Llewellyn Street in Chinatown for the explicitly stated reason that they were impeding construction on a huge housing development owned by the Trammell Crow Company, done at the request of Trammell Crow’s senior vice president Alex Valente.

Now, you might recall an instance where an encampment was swept for no better reason than that Eric Garcetti was making a political appearance in the area later. This incident was reported in the Los Angeles Times and evoked the following quasi-denial from Garcetti’s spokesman Alex Comisar, who said it did “not reflect the mayor’s approach to interacting with Angelenos experiencing homelessness.” And this same tired implausible story of utter compassion is told by everyone involved with homelessness no matter how messed up their motives actually are. Our City officials, just ask them, do not use the vast municipal power entrusted to them to fuck up the lives of the unhoused for petty stupid venal purposes.

Even, no doubt, Gil Cedillo will tell you what a goddamned humanitarian he is on these lines. And yet when we look at what he does, what they all do, well, here is Cedillo’s staff arranging for homeless human beings to be displaced from their community just because some sociopathic zillionaire didn’t want his damned construction project to be held up. And the sweep did take place. In fact, on the very next day, February 26, 2019, as reported by Joanna Swan on Twitter, because that’s where the City’s priorities are, what their actions are, no matter what their empty words might suggest. Read a transcription below, and if you haven’t done so already, look into Services Not Sweeps.
Continue reading News About My CPRA Suit Against The City Of Los Angeles Concerning Emails Between CD1 And LAPD — The City Has Abandoned Its Exemption Claims And Provided More Than 200 Pages Of Records — Which Is Good News On The Prevailing Party Front — And At Least One Of The Newly Released Emails Is Exceedingly Important — Not To Mention Appalling — Shows Gil Cedillo’s Deputy District Director Jose Rodriguez Calling In A Homeless Encampment Sweep — In February 2019 — At The Explicit Behest Of Sociopathic Developer Trammell Crow — Because The Mere Presence Of Displaceable Homeless Human Beings Was Interfering With A Project Schedule — Senior Vice President And Failed Screen Actor Alex Valente Has A Lot To Answer For — As Does Gil Freaking Cedillo — And Jose Rodriguez — And Everyone Else Involved In This Abuse Of Municipal Power

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The Resurgence Of The Unhinged Grudge Informer — Anonymous CD5 Resident Threatens To Call ICE On Construction Workers Because They Don’t Speak English And The Constant Beeping Of Trucks Drives Her Crazy — And CD5 Staffer Debbie Dyner Harris Doesn’t Say A Critical Word About It — It’s All Normal In Quality-Of-Life-Land — If Our Society Creates And Weaponizes An Institution Like ICE It’s Certainly Not Unexpected That People Would Use It As A Weapon — But Can’t We Rely On Our Public Officials Not To Encourage It — If Only Through Their Invidious Silence?

Tomorrow, July 12, 2019, under the banner of Lights for Liberty, thousands of people across the country and across the world will be participating in vigils at American concentration camps run by ICE, protesting the murderous treatment of the prisoners held there. You can find an event near you here. There are any number of serious reasons to abolish ICE, you can even ask ICE agents about it.

And one of these reasons is that the very existence of this organization, which is empowered to lock people up and torture them on the barest suspicion that they’re somehow violating immigration laws, incites people to use that power to further their personal goals. Under the original Nazis concentration camps were not only a tool of state terror but were used regularly by ordinary people to settle entirely non-political grudges with their neighbors.

The very existence of the capability creates the irresistible urge to use it. The blade itself incites to violence.1 This behavior was so commonplace and so problematic for various reasons that there’s a term for those who engage in it, they’re grudge informers. As Colleen Murphy puts it in her fine book The Conceptual Foundations of Transitional Justice:

The term “grudge informers” refers to individuals who, during periods of conflict or repression, report personal enemies to authorities in order to get rid of them.2

Now, I’m not interested in rehashing the endlessly stupid discussions about the appropriacy of comparisons of ICE concentration camps to Nazi concentration camps nor, obviously, the appropriacy of the term “concentration camp” to refer to them. If it strikes you that there are two legitimate sides to that debate, you can go here and talk about it to your heart’s content.

I am, however, interested in talking about public records. In this case, a set of emails I obtained from the office of Paul Koretz, putatively esteemed CD5 repster, containing the phrase “quality of life.” I’m really interested in the kind of crazy shit that housedwellers gripe about to their council offices, and especially interested in the kind of terrorism that gets conjured up and poured down upon the tender heads of the helpless like so much molten lead from the ramparts as a result of such complaints.

Searches on this phrase seemed like a good way to find more of it, and oh boy, did that ever work out! Just for instance, if you have the heart, or the stomach, really, take a look at this endless series of constituent complaints from folks on Sweetzer Avenue in May of this year, really worked up about some construction noise created by an assuredly villainous outfit known as ETCO Homes.
Continue reading The Resurgence Of The Unhinged Grudge Informer — Anonymous CD5 Resident Threatens To Call ICE On Construction Workers Because They Don’t Speak English And The Constant Beeping Of Trucks Drives Her Crazy — And CD5 Staffer Debbie Dyner Harris Doesn’t Say A Critical Word About It — It’s All Normal In Quality-Of-Life-Land — If Our Society Creates And Weaponizes An Institution Like ICE It’s Certainly Not Unexpected That People Would Use It As A Weapon — But Can’t We Rely On Our Public Officials Not To Encourage It — If Only Through Their Invidious Silence?

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Remember Mike Bonin’s Former Venice Field Deputy Taylor Bazley? — The One Who Was Always Going On About How He — And His Boss — And The Rest Of The Damn Staff — Didn’t Have Anything To Do With Those Damn Planters? — But It Turned Out That He Did? — Well Now It Turns Out That He’s Been Encouraging Housedwellers To Place Planters At Least Since 2017 — To “Harden” Streets “From Future Encampments” — And Other Such Nasty Language — Never Once Mentioning Beauti-Freaking-Fication — And Those Recent Planters Behind Whole Foods On Lincoln? — The Venice Neighborhood Council Paid For Two Of Them! — Public Money Spent On Actually Illegal Things — This Is Very Not OK — Last Thing — Mark Ryavec Acknowledges In Writing How Much Help His Planter Placer Buddies Have Gotten From LAPD — The Whole Thing Is So Gross

Here’s a little self-quoting for background:

Everybody knows about those damn planters in Venice, but we’re just beginning to learn the depth of the City’s complicity with the angry housedwelling planter-placers. And fairly recently I obtained some emails that proved that Mike Bonin’s staff, if not Bonin himself, have been very complicit indeed, which led me to file a complaint with the City Ethics Commission against one of them, Taylor Bazley.

And today I have some serious new information about the planters. First, some planters were recently installed near the Whole Foods at Lincoln and Rose. It turns out that two of these planters, as illegal as all the rest of them, were paid for by the Venice Neighborhood Council, which allocated $600 for two of them at its meeting on January 8, 2019. You can read all about it in the minutes and agendas.

The process was initiated by solipsistic Venice housedweller Tatiana Morrison, whose ridiculous Go Fund Me is still at less than forty percent of its goal, with this formal request to VNC for money. Like so many of the zillionaire classes, when her pathetic attempts at putative self-reliance failed miserably, she was perfectly happy to misappropriate public funds to accomplish her misbegotten goals.

So here we have the City of Los Angeles, through its department the Venice Neighborhood Council, spending public money on things that violate actual laws. If they had spent the $600 on, say, cocaine, it would have been legally, ethically, morally, the same thing although much, much less harmful to society. I’m not exactly sure if there’s any recourse for this kind of thing, or at least any affordable recourse, but I’m thinking about it and I will be sure to let you know if anything presents itself.

Now on to your friendly neighborhood psychopath, Mark Ryavec. Everyone knows he and his Klown Kar Krew of Venice housedwellers have been one of the major forces behind the deluge of illegal planter placings and that the LAPD has been helping him out big time, even though LAPD Chief Michel Moore has publicly denied that his folks are involved at all. But nevertheless, documentary evidence of these well-known facts has been fairly sparse. That’s why this email exchange from August 2018 between Ryavec and Taylor Bazley, Mike Bonin’s former field deputy for Venice1 is so important. Here Ryavec, trying to cajole some money out of Bazley, makes the following admission against interest:2

We – the residents – have done allthe heavy lifting with the beautification effort, with the only real assistance from the City coming from the LAPD. To date we have raised over $35,000 for this effort and provided countless hours of volunteer labor. Can the City of Los Angeles at least make an effort to provide trash bins and regularty empty them?

And finally, now, on to the main thing.3 It’s also well-known that Taylor Bazley has repeatedly denied his involvement with the planters. And yet, behold this email conversation from December 2017 between Bazley and former VNC member and all-round sociopathic housedweller Matt Shaw about placing some planters on Third Avenue in Venice.4 And despite all the denials, it’s Bazley who’s the instigator: “Can we push this ball over the hill? lf we wait until the problem is back and there is urgency it might be too late…” And despite all the talk about beautification, Bazley’s very explicit about the purpose being anti-homeless: “I think that will harden 3rd significantly from future encampments.”
Continue reading Remember Mike Bonin’s Former Venice Field Deputy Taylor Bazley? — The One Who Was Always Going On About How He — And His Boss — And The Rest Of The Damn Staff — Didn’t Have Anything To Do With Those Damn Planters? — But It Turned Out That He Did? — Well Now It Turns Out That He’s Been Encouraging Housedwellers To Place Planters At Least Since 2017 — To “Harden” Streets “From Future Encampments” — And Other Such Nasty Language — Never Once Mentioning Beauti-Freaking-Fication — And Those Recent Planters Behind Whole Foods On Lincoln? — The Venice Neighborhood Council Paid For Two Of Them! — Public Money Spent On Actually Illegal Things — This Is Very Not OK — Last Thing — Mark Ryavec Acknowledges In Writing How Much Help His Planter Placer Buddies Have Gotten From LAPD — The Whole Thing Is So Gross

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