Category Archives: Los Angeles City Council

City Of Los Angeles Staff Lie All The Time About The Public Records Act — And Also Did You Know That The Chief Legislative Analyst Prepares Briefing Notes For Council Committees? — Two Sets For Each Meeting — One Is For The Chair — The Other For The Members — And CLA Staffer Karen Kalfayan Had The Nerve To Claim These Were Exempt From Production — Even Though The Brown Act States Specifically That They Are Not Exempt And Must Be Released Immediately On Request

I can’t remember where I learned that the Office of the Chief Legislative Analyst writes briefing notes for each meeting of each City Council committee, but obviously as soon as I heard I started trying to get copies via the California Public Records Act. And so on June 24, 2020 I fired off a request asking for a few years worth.

And you know how the City of LA is. I didn’t get a response at all until September 29, when CLA staffer Karen Kalfayan sent me this ill-considered bit of crapola, claiming that she would have denied my request as “overly broad” but that instead she was denying it as so-called “deliberative process,” a court-created interpretation of the CPRA at §6255(a):

With regard to your request for briefing notes for the period January 1, 2016 through June 24, 2020, please be advised that this Office has made its determination on your request as required by Government Code section 6253(c).

Please note that the request is overly broad, and normally we would request you to clarify your request in order for us to search for specific records. However, please be advised that records may be withheld under Government Code Section 6255 because they would show the officials’ deliberative process. As to these documents, Government Code Section 6255 permits nondisclosure because the public interest served by protecting the official’s decision-making process clearly outweighs the public interest served by the records’ disclosure.

But, you know, I had a thought about this. These briefing notes must be distributed to committee members, otherwise what’s the point? And the Brown Act, not the Public Records Act, contains a really important, really useful bit at §54957.5, also worth quoting:
Continue reading City Of Los Angeles Staff Lie All The Time About The Public Records Act — And Also Did You Know That The Chief Legislative Analyst Prepares Briefing Notes For Council Committees? — Two Sets For Each Meeting — One Is For The Chair — The Other For The Members — And CLA Staffer Karen Kalfayan Had The Nerve To Claim These Were Exempt From Production — Even Though The Brown Act States Specifically That They Are Not Exempt And Must Be Released Immediately On Request

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In June 2020 Paul Koretz Was One Of Only Three LA City Councilmembers To Vote Against Even Studying An Absurdly Minuscule LAPD Budget Reduction — He Told The Daily News That He Had Heard From People On Both Sides Of The Issue — Creating The Impression That He Was Balancing The Conflicting Wishes Of His Constituents — But I Just Got Copies Of All The June 2020 Constituent Emails To Him On Police Defunding — Can’t Count Precisely But There Are Around 270 In Favor Of Defunding — And One — Yes, One — Against — So It Looks Like Koretz Was Confused — Which Is A Politely Sarcastic Way To Describe What Koretz Really Is — About Who He Represents


On June 16, 2020 Council District 5 rep Paul Koretz was one of only three Councilmembers to vote against asking City staff to report back on ways to cut a mere $150M from the LAPD budget.1 For some background check out this excellent essay by Jacob Woocher in Knock-LA. Koretz defended his position both before and after the vote by admitting that he’d received public comments urging him to support the cuts but also, according to Elizabeth Chou of the Daily News, “Koretz said he’s heard “emphatic” calls to defund the police dept, but he said he’s also heard from others who “feel very differently, and for whom public safety is a very high priority.” Those people fear “slower response times” from police”.

Koretz wants to show the world that he’s representing his constituents, rather than voting the straight LA Police Protective League line in opposition to his constituents’ desires. But doesn’t he sound like he’s lying? So I thought I’d check it out by asking CD5 for the communications from the public, hoping to learn how many of these folks who, according to Koretz, “feel very differently, and for whom public safety is a very high priority” actually did get in touch with Koretz.
Continue reading In June 2020 Paul Koretz Was One Of Only Three LA City Councilmembers To Vote Against Even Studying An Absurdly Minuscule LAPD Budget Reduction — He Told The Daily News That He Had Heard From People On Both Sides Of The Issue — Creating The Impression That He Was Balancing The Conflicting Wishes Of His Constituents — But I Just Got Copies Of All The June 2020 Constituent Emails To Him On Police Defunding — Can’t Count Precisely But There Are Around 270 In Favor Of Defunding — And One — Yes, One — Against — So It Looks Like Koretz Was Confused — Which Is A Politely Sarcastic Way To Describe What Koretz Really Is — About Who He Represents

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Mitch O’Farrell Introduced A Motion To Put A Homeless Shelter In The Hollywood Recreation Center At Lexington And Cole — Heroic Activist Org KTown For All Rightly Wonders If This Will Lead To Intensified Enforcement Of Anti-Homeless Laws Around The Park — Which Seems Likely To Me Given CD13’s Appalling Deference To The Well-Organized Unhinged Local NIMBY Psychopaths — Who Would Have To Have Been Placated Before The Motion — This Klown Kar Krew Includes Kanye Producer Anthony Kilhoffer — Who Threatened Sean Starkey With Vigilante Action If The City Didn’t Get Rid Of The Unhoused Human Beings — “If it’s not handled in a week I’ll go through [throw] them out myself”


The Los Angeles City Council Homelessness and Poverty Committee met today, October 8, 2020 and considered, among other things, a Mitch O’Farrell motion to use the Hollywood Recreation Center as interim housing for the homeless. The incomparable Ktown for All livetweeted the meeting and raised the possibility that O’Farrell would use such housing as an excuse for enhanced enforcement of anti-homeless laws in the vicinity.

This is not a baseless fear. Councilmembers universally try to gain the approval of unhinged anti-shelter housedwellers by promising intensified criminalization of homelessness. O’Farrell did precisely that in 2018 with the Hollywood Bridge Housing project, for instance.

Also, the Hollywood Rec center is gang turf, claimed by a particularly violent crew of absolutely genocidal NIMBYs who continually threaten to attack homeless encampments near the park. This deranged mob is led by weirdo Kanye West producer Anthony Kilhoffer, who owns a rental property at 1149 Cole Avenue, directly across the street from the Rec Center.
Continue reading Mitch O’Farrell Introduced A Motion To Put A Homeless Shelter In The Hollywood Recreation Center At Lexington And Cole — Heroic Activist Org KTown For All Rightly Wonders If This Will Lead To Intensified Enforcement Of Anti-Homeless Laws Around The Park — Which Seems Likely To Me Given CD13’s Appalling Deference To The Well-Organized Unhinged Local NIMBY Psychopaths — Who Would Have To Have Been Placated Before The Motion — This Klown Kar Krew Includes Kanye Producer Anthony Kilhoffer — Who Threatened Sean Starkey With Vigilante Action If The City Didn’t Get Rid Of The Unhoused Human Beings — “If it’s not handled in a week I’ll go through [throw] them out myself”

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My Letter To The Los Angeles City Council Opposing The Renewal Of The Chinatown Business Improvement District — The Hearing Is In Eleven Days — On September 29, 2020 — Still Time To Get Your Comments In!

If you follow business improvement districts in Los Angeles you’ll already know that the Chinatown BID, run by the strange, violent, and unhinged George Yu, is one of the City’s worst. The BID is up for renewal this year, and the hearing is to be held on September 29, 2020. Such hearings are not regulated by the Brown Act, by the way, but by another code section entirely, which allows for unlimited public comment.

BIDs are established by a balloting process, but the City Council is not required to establish a BID even if balloting is successful. BID renewal has been mostly pro forma in Los Angeles, with the notable exception of the Venice Beach BID in 2016. Yu’s BID has less support than any BID in recent memory, and may in fact be vulnerable to City Council denial or extreme modification. Therefore I think public comment is essential. The renewal is in Council File 12-0489, and you can drop a comment there using the icon that says “NEW”.

And this morning I sent my own letter of opposition for the file to Gil Cedillo. Here’s a copy of my letter, mostly about Yu’s financially irresponsible defiance of the California Public Records Act and the harm it’s done to the civic life of our City. I also touch on Yu’s sadistic sense of humor regarding the electrocution of homeless residents of Chinatown. Read on for a transcription if you don’t prefer PDFs.
Continue reading My Letter To The Los Angeles City Council Opposing The Renewal Of The Chinatown Business Improvement District — The Hearing Is In Eleven Days — On September 29, 2020 — Still Time To Get Your Comments In!

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How To Discover And Keep Track Of Motions And Other Matters Before The Los Angeles City Council

This post is based on a Twitter thread I wrote recently.

The Los Angeles City Council uses the Council File Management System, or CMFS, to keep track of every matter pending before them. This is terrible software. There are so many things wrong with it, the worst of which is that the search function is completely broken. I’ve been told by more than one Council District staffer that they also find the CMFS search function to be useless, so I’m probably not imagining it.

The City is famous for making it difficult or impossible for the public to access information, and I have no doubt that if they didn’t purposely design the CMFS to prevent people from finding stuff, at least they’re not fixing it because they rely1 on its brokenness.2 It’s broken, but it’s what we have if we want to keep track of what the Council is up to, and we certainly do want to. This post is about how to discover pending matters that interest you and keep track of them through the entire process.
Continue reading How To Discover And Keep Track Of Motions And Other Matters Before The Los Angeles City Council

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Chinatown BID Renewal Hearing Scheduled For September 29 At 10 AM — BID Renewal Hearings Are Regulated By Government Code §53753 Rather Than The Brown Act — The Main Difference Is That The City Is Not Allowed To Limit The Time For Public Comment At Such Hearings — The Law Explicitly Mandates That All Objections Must Be Heard — The City Ignored This In 2016 — And Thereby Messed Up The Venice Beach BID Establishment — It Is Also Essential For Anti-BID Property Owners To Return Ballots Opposing The BID — Because Of Quirks In The Law Unreturned Ballots Essentially Count As Yes Votes


For a little while it looked like George Yu had messed up the Chinatown BID renewal process and that there would be no BID for 2021. But Yu and Gil Cedillo, acting through his flunky Hugo Ortiz, maneuvering behind the scenes and off the record, managed to get the process back on track somehow and ballots have been issued announcing a hearing on September 29, 2020 to solemnize the renewal and allow the BID to continue operations in 2021.1

There are two essential things for activists to understand about this part of the process. First, anti-BID property owners MUST vote no and return their ballots. The BID will be established unless received votes against outweigh received votes in favor. Unreturned ballots essentially count as yes votes.2

The second thing is that BID renewal hearings are not regulated by the Brown Act. Instead they’re covered by Government Code §53753 The main difference is that, as Los Angeles activists know all too well, the Brown Act allows City Council to limit the total time for public comment but §53753(d) specifically forbids such a limitation:

At the time, date, and place stated in the notice mailed pursuant to subdivision (b), the agency shall conduct a public hearing upon the proposed assessment. At the public hearing, the agency shall consider all objections or protests, if any, to the proposed assessment. At the public hearing, any person shall be permitted to present written or oral testimony. The public hearing may be continued from time to time.

The City messed this up in 2016 when the Venice BID was being established. Herb Wesson, then president of the Council, cut off public comment and thus didn’t allow everyone to talk, as if it were an ordinary Brown Act hearing. The incomparable Shayla Myers of LAFLA wrote a demand letter to the City explaining the problem, and the City repealed the ordinance establishing the Venice BID and had to redo the entire process.

In any case, on September 29, when the Council is hearing objections or protests to the renewal of the Chinatown BID, they will have to hear all of them, every last one. Everybody gets to convey their feelings about the BID and about why it is a terrible idea to keep funding and empowering George Yu. And if there’s not time for everyone to talk on September 29, well, as the law says, “[t]he public hearing may be continued from time to time.” Here are a few things that might be worth mentioning, but there is so much more:
Continue reading Chinatown BID Renewal Hearing Scheduled For September 29 At 10 AM — BID Renewal Hearings Are Regulated By Government Code §53753 Rather Than The Brown Act — The Main Difference Is That The City Is Not Allowed To Limit The Time For Public Comment At Such Hearings — The Law Explicitly Mandates That All Objections Must Be Heard — The City Ignored This In 2016 — And Thereby Messed Up The Venice Beach BID Establishment — It Is Also Essential For Anti-BID Property Owners To Return Ballots Opposing The BID — Because Of Quirks In The Law Unreturned Ballots Essentially Count As Yes Votes

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CD15 PR Flack Amy Gebert Told Me In 2019 That It Would Take Her 21 Months To Produce 10,000 Pages Of Emails — Where “Produce” Means To Print 200 Pages On Paper Every Six Months — And Then Scan Them To Gigantic Unsearchable PDFs In Random Order — And To Deny That CD15 Is Able To Produce Emails Any Other Way — Which Actually Is A Lie Since ITA Will Produce Any Quantity Of Emails In MBOX Format For Any City Department That Asks Them To — And Deputy City Attorney Bethelwel Wilson Apparently Advised Her To Lie In Precisely This Way — I Have Neither Time Nor Capacity To Sue The City For Every One Of Its Hundreds Of CPRA Violations — And That Doesn’t Help Against Lawyers Anyway — So I Filed A Complaint With The Ethics Commission — Against Both Of These Miscreants — For Misusing Their Positions To Create A Private Disadvantage For Me — A Violation Of LAMC 49.5.5(A) — And You Can Get A Copy Of The Complaint Right Here!

TL;DR I filed a complaint with the Ethics Commission against CD15 staffer Amy Gebert and Deputy City Attorney Bethelwel Wilson and you can get a copy of it right here.

In June 2019 I asked Joe Buscaino’s PR flack Amy Gebert for some emails. After wasting three months on bad-faith arguments she agreed to produce 10,000 pages by April 2021. In March 2020 she produced the first two hundred1 pages, printed out on paper, in an untidy stack, and told me I’d have to pay $0.10 per page to obtain copies.

Then earlier this month she produced another few hundred pages, many not even responsive, although this time she printed them on paper and scanned them to PDFs for me.2 When I asked her to follow the law and produce them as MBOX files she lied and told me that CD15 didn’t have the technical capacity to do that. Bethelwel Wilson of the City Attorney’s Office apparently told her to use that excuse.
Continue reading CD15 PR Flack Amy Gebert Told Me In 2019 That It Would Take Her 21 Months To Produce 10,000 Pages Of Emails — Where “Produce” Means To Print 200 Pages On Paper Every Six Months — And Then Scan Them To Gigantic Unsearchable PDFs In Random Order — And To Deny That CD15 Is Able To Produce Emails Any Other Way — Which Actually Is A Lie Since ITA Will Produce Any Quantity Of Emails In MBOX Format For Any City Department That Asks Them To — And Deputy City Attorney Bethelwel Wilson Apparently Advised Her To Lie In Precisely This Way — I Have Neither Time Nor Capacity To Sue The City For Every One Of Its Hundreds Of CPRA Violations — And That Doesn’t Help Against Lawyers Anyway — So I Filed A Complaint With The Ethics Commission — Against Both Of These Miscreants — For Misusing Their Positions To Create A Private Disadvantage For Me — A Violation Of LAMC 49.5.5(A) — And You Can Get A Copy Of The Complaint Right Here!

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A Brief Discussion Of How Homeless Encampment Sweeps Are Scheduled In The City Of Los Angeles — Or At Least Part Of The Process — The Whole Thing Is Driven By Housedweller Complaints — Filtered Through Council Districts As Political Patronage — LAHSA Involvement — Every Kind Of Outreach — Is Basically A Cover For Relocation — The Only Actual Goal

A couple days ago it came out on Twitter that a lot of people in Los Angeles don’t understand how homeless encampment sweeps get scheduled and why, in particular how encampments to be swept are chosen. I promised to write a post about it, and here we are!1 Part of the reason for the delay is that the story is really complex, so I’m just going to talk qualitatively about how encampments end up being targeted by Council Districts and leave the rest for another post or two.2 For instance, the City has two kinds of sweep teams, which are CARE and CARE+, but I’m not going to talk about the differences,3 which are probably important, but not for this post.

Each Council Office has a staffer whose job is to work out their District’s sweep schedule with LA Sanitation. I think that ordinarily every request for a sweep in a given District goes through this San contact.4 The scheduling is done by email as well as by editing Google Docs, and the emails occasionally reveal the reason a given encampment is being targeted. Here are the sets of records this post is mostly5 based on. If you’re interested in the subject it’s really worth looking at these. There’s a lot more information there than I’m using here:

Some 2020 Emails Between CDs and LA San

Housedweller Complaints to Juan Fregoso About Echo Park Encampments — From 2019 and 2020

CD15 Emails With LA Sanitation — January through May 2020
Continue reading A Brief Discussion Of How Homeless Encampment Sweeps Are Scheduled In The City Of Los Angeles — Or At Least Part Of The Process — The Whole Thing Is Driven By Housedweller Complaints — Filtered Through Council Districts As Political Patronage — LAHSA Involvement — Every Kind Of Outreach — Is Basically A Cover For Relocation — The Only Actual Goal

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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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