Tag Archives: Central City East Association

The Story Of A Request For Emails From LAPD — And All The Ridiculous Reasons They Propounded For Not Producing — And How They Then Produced!

On January 13, 2019 I asked the Los Angeles Police Department for emails between CD13 staffer Dan Halden and any LAPD employee from January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2018. Yesterday, eight months later, they produced emails from October and November 2018 with the promise of more to come. How we got to this point is the subject of today’s post.1 Here’s what the request said exactly:

Per my rights under the California Public Records Act, please provide all correspondence between anyone who works in the Los Angeles Police Department AND daniel.halden@lacity.org, for the time period of January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2018. Correspondence is defined as all emails, texts or other communications.

To be honest, when I made this request in January 2019 I was expecting LAPD to refuse to produce the records on technical grounds,2 And on January 18, 2019 they did exactly that. They gave two separate and mutually contradictory reasons for refusing to produce.

First they told me that “[y[our request does not describe the records sought clearly enough to permit my staff to determine whether any responsive documents exist.” This claim is based on the CPRA at §6253(b), which requires of requests that they “reasonably [describe] an identifiable record or records”. LAPD’s second reason for refusing to produce was that it would be too much work:

A search of email communications and correspondence for “anyone who works in the Department” would be unduly burdensome for the Department as interpreted in the “public interest” provision of section 6255 of the Act, and would require a separate search of each individual email account of approximately 14,400 Department email accounts.

Continue reading The Story Of A Request For Emails From LAPD — And All The Ridiculous Reasons They Propounded For Not Producing — And How They Then Produced!

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Remember That CPRA Request That Estela Lopez Made About The Skid Row Neighborhood Council In January 2017? — To The Department Of Neighborhood Empowerment About The Election? — Well Newly Obtained Information Shows That Less Than Ten Days After She Sent It She Complained To José Huizar Personally That They Hadn’t Responded — This From A Woman Who Can’t Comply With The CPRA To Save Her Life — Complaining To A Councilmember Who Also Can’t Comply With The CPRA — Or Federal Anti-Corruption Laws For That Matter

This is a new piece of an old story. You may recall that in January 2017, right after the Skid Row Neighborhood Council subdivision effort was certified by the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment, Skid Row’s own high priestess of Satan and associated evil deities, that is to say Estela Lopez, made a request under the public records act seeking various bits of information to toss into the wicked potion then, unbeknownst to the side of the angels, bubbling away in her reeking cauldron and with which she and her killer klown krew of slithy minions and halfwit henchies would later put the SRNC into a coma just like Snow Freaking White.1

That’s old news, of course,2 but still interesting. You can read Estela Lopez’s request right here and there’s a transcription of that PDF somewhere down the page in this old post. But what’s new this morning is this just-obtained email from Estela Lopez to CD14 repster José Huizar,3 in which, after a little obligatory sycophancy, she complains to José Huizar that DONE didn’t answer her request on time:

From: Estela Lopez <ELopez@centralcityeast.org>
To: josé huizar <jose.huizar@lacity.org>
Cc: Ari Simon <ari.simon@lacity.org>, Martin Schlageter <Martin.Schlageter@lacity.org>
Date: Fri, Jan 27, 2017 at 5:13 PM

Dear Jose, thanks so much for today’s meeting. Below is the request I submitted to DONE on January 17. I have not received a reply. Today represents the 10-day deadline for at least an initial response to a CPRA request.

Have a good weekend. See you on Broadway!

Cordially,

Estela Lopez

I mean, really. The sheer platonically ideal chutzpah of this woman just boggles.4 She’s complaining to José Huizar that DONE didn’t answer her request within the legal deadline when (a) she herself is one of the City’s worst violaters of the CPRA,5 (b) José Huizar is also essentially incapable of complying with the CPRA,6 (c) most of us don’t have access to our councilmembers to encourage City departments to comply with the CPRA,7 and, worst of all, (d) DONE wasn’t actually in violation of the law at that point, so she really had nothing to complain about.

Not that this kind of clueless exploitation of privilege is anything surprising at this point, but it is what we write about here. Turn the page for a discussion of the technical aspects of the CPRA relating to Estela Lopez’s complaint!
Continue reading Remember That CPRA Request That Estela Lopez Made About The Skid Row Neighborhood Council In January 2017? — To The Department Of Neighborhood Empowerment About The Election? — Well Newly Obtained Information Shows That Less Than Ten Days After She Sent It She Complained To José Huizar Personally That They Hadn’t Responded — This From A Woman Who Can’t Comply With The CPRA To Save Her Life — Complaining To A Councilmember Who Also Can’t Comply With The CPRA — Or Federal Anti-Corruption Laws For That Matter

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Remember That Time In February When The Central City East Association Violated The Brown Act By Voting On An Item That Wasn’t On The Agenda? — Well Now Their Lawyer Lied About It To The District Attorney — And Estela Lopez Retroactively Edited The Minutes From February — Which Is The Kind Of People The City Contracts With To Run Their BIDs — And That’s Why The District Attorney Isn’t Prosecuting Them

OK, in February of this year Estela Lopez introduced a motion at the Central City East Association Board meeting that wasn’t on the agenda. This is a violation of the Brown Act at §54954.2(a)(3), which states unequivocally that: “No action or discussion shall be undertaken on any item not appearing on the posted agenda.” Naturally I turned them in to the District Attorney immediately. And you might think that because the whole mishegoss was captured on actual video the DA might actually do something about it.

But you’d be wrong. It seems that the willingness of the CCEA’s lawyer to lie to the face of a deputy DA and Estela Lopez’s willingness to alter the minutes of the meeting months after the fact is enough to escape from any consequences of this violation. This kind of outcome is precisely why I found it necessary to start my own Brown Act enforcement program.

And because I have this new capability, of private Brown Act enforcement, on August 20, 2018, having heard nothing for six months, I sent an email to Alan Yochelson, who runs the DA’s Brown Act enforcement program, asking him what was up with my complaint and telling him that I would take action myself if the DA wasn’t going to do so.

On August 21, 2018 he emailed me back and said that he hadn’t decided yet but he would let me know in seven days, on August 28. Yochelson ended up talking to CCEA’s lawyer, who I think would have been Don Steier, but I don’t know for sure. The lawyer seems to have told Yochelson that he immediately pointed out the violation to the Board and they immediately revoked their illegal action.

Estela Lopez definitely edited the February minutes on August 23, which now confirm the lawyer’s version. The trouble with the story is that, as I said, I have the whole meeting on video and nothing like this happened at that meeting. In any case, these conversations between Yochelson and CCEA ended up with the DA’s office declining to take action, as explained in this determination letter, sent out on Monday.

Of course I still have the option to take action privately, and I’m in the process of evaluating that option. The section I’d use, §54960.2 allows nine months after the violation, which is November 22, 2018, to initiate the process. Watch this space for further developments, and turn the page for a more detailed narrative along with links to and transcriptions of all the evidence.
Continue reading Remember That Time In February When The Central City East Association Violated The Brown Act By Voting On An Item That Wasn’t On The Agenda? — Well Now Their Lawyer Lied About It To The District Attorney — And Estela Lopez Retroactively Edited The Minutes From February — Which Is The Kind Of People The City Contracts With To Run Their BIDs — And That’s Why The District Attorney Isn’t Prosecuting Them

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Kicking Off Our New Brown Act Enforcement Project With A Demand Letter To The Byzantine Latino Quarter BID Insisting That Their Advisory Board Of Directors Stop Discussing Public Business In Secret Via Email — With A Writ Petition To Follow If They Won’t Unconditionally Commit To Following The Damn Law In The Future

Long-time readers of this blog will recall that one of our constant themes has been the exposure of an unrelenting series of violations of the Brown Act by the various BIDs of Los Angeles. I started the blog in October 2014 and that very month caught the Sunset Vine BID and its dear leader, Ms. Kerry Morrison, requiring IDs in order to attend meetings, which is a violation of §54953.3.

Since then it’s just been one damn thing after another, what with the South Park BIDdies refusing to share documents considered by their board at a meeting, or requiring meeting attendees to sign in, or their teleconferencing fiasco, or the Venice Beach BID’s deficient agenda descriptions, or the Central City East Association‘s discussing and voting on matters that were not agendized, or the East Hollywood BID‘s teleconferencing violations, and those aren’t even the worst of the bunch.

One of the most important prohibitions imposed by the Brown Act is found at §54952.2(b), which states that “[a] majority of the members of a legislative body shall not, outside a meeting authorized by this chapter, use a series of communications of any kind, directly or through intermediaries, to discuss, deliberate, or take action on any item of business that is within the subject matter jurisdiction of the legislative body.”

In the past we have seen shameless, egregious violations of this section, e.g. the Pacific Palisades BID in 2016, or also by the Central City East Association as part of their relentlessly immoral, illegal campaign against the formation of a Skid Row Neighborhood Council, and by the Los Feliz Village BID, whose violation of §54952.2(b) was bad enough that it actually earned them a written rebuke from the Public Integrity Division of the Los Angeles County District Attorney.

That last outcome has been an anomaly, though. Despite my having filed multiple reports against BIDs for serious violations of the Brown Act, the District Attorney has, to date, ignored all of them but the Los Feliz one.1 But the legislature, oh wise and omniscient!, has determined that Brown Act enforcement is too important to be left only up to the whims of County District Attorneys. They’ve also allowed for private citizens to enforce the law as well!

So this time, when I discovered dispositive evidence that the Byzantine Latino Quarter BID had violated §54952.2(b) of the Brown Act on at least two occasions earlier this year by discussing BID business in private via email I decided that I would take matters into my own hands rather than relying on the County DA to handle the violation. And the violations are really extreme and also somewhat lurid. One involves BID board member and Greek Orthodox priest Father John Bakas arguing against homeless shelters on the grounds that homeless people are dangerous and incorrigible, e.g.

Of course, it took some time and effort to study the law, get professional advice, and generally prepare an infrastructure for the private prosecution of such violations. Now that it’s all set up, it’s not just good for this one violation, but will work for all future violations that come to my attention. Thus it is with a great deal of pride that I announce an ongoing project to force the BIDs of Los Angeles to stop violating the Brown Act by prosecuting them myself if necessary! Turn the page for the legal theories involved and the specific details of the BLQBID’s violations!
Continue reading Kicking Off Our New Brown Act Enforcement Project With A Demand Letter To The Byzantine Latino Quarter BID Insisting That Their Advisory Board Of Directors Stop Discussing Public Business In Secret Via Email — With A Writ Petition To Follow If They Won’t Unconditionally Commit To Following The Damn Law In The Future

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José Huizar Told A Bunch Of Zillionaires At The Fashion District BID Annual Meeting That It Is “Unfortunate” That BID Security Guards Are Not Allowed To Steal Homeless People’s Property — Evidently José Huizar Thinks The City Of Los Angeles Has Not Yet Paid Carol Sobel Enough Money

Last Thursday the Fashion District BID held its annual meeting. You may recall that Assemblymember Miguel Santiago gave a reprehensible little speech to kick things off, but CD14 repster José Huizar was the keynote speaker. You can watch his whole speech here, but the parts I’m specifically interested in tonight are his remarks about homeless encampments and, especially, his discussion with some guy whose name I didn’t get on the same subject. Of course there are transcriptions of all this poppycock after the break, as usual.

About homeless encampments, well, it was the usual jive. We’re going to build a lot of shelters and housing and of course, once we have enough shelters and housing we can start arresting the homeless again, so that’s good!1 Unsurprisingly, though, things got more interesting during the questions. An unnamed guy asked José Huizar about the homeless fires problem.2 After some chit-chat, the questioner asked José Huizar who, exactly, was allowed to remove the property of homeless people from the sidewalk. In response José Huizar said:

The police department. Not the fire department, the police department. They don’t give that right to the BIDs, unfortunately. But the LAPD can remove it if it is blocking the right of way.

What is the guy thinking? Is he thinking that the City and the BIDs haven’t been sued enough by Carol Sobel, LAFLA, and the National Lawyers Guild? There is a really good reason that only police are allowed to remove the property of homeless people, and that is because society endows sworn officers with extraordinary powers to take actions that would be and should be absolutely illegal for anyone else to do. Like kill people,3 or kidnap them,4 or take their stuff off the sidewalk, which is theft when anyone but an officer does it. This is why BID officers aren’t allowed to remove people’s property, because they’re just ordinary people and it would be stealing. Does he think it’s “unfortunate” that ordinary people can’t steal stuff? Maybe he also thinks it’s “unfortunate” that BID officers can’t kidnap and kill homeless people like the police are allowed to do.5 Bizarre.

And ironically, he’s speaking to the Fashion District, which famously was sued in Federal Court in 2015 for conspiring with the City to illegally confiscate the property of street vendors.6 The Fashion District is right next door to the Downtown Industrial District BID, also in José Huizar’s district, sued in Federal Court in 2014 for the very thing that José Huizar is lamenting the impossibility of here. The City ended up paying half a million dollars to LAFLA because the BID Patrol can’t keep its grubby hands off other people’s stuff and José Huizar thinks this is unfortunate? It’s not his money, of course, but still…

And, as usual, turn the page for transcriptions of the relevant remarks and a little more mockery!
Continue reading José Huizar Told A Bunch Of Zillionaires At The Fashion District BID Annual Meeting That It Is “Unfortunate” That BID Security Guards Are Not Allowed To Steal Homeless People’s Property — Evidently José Huizar Thinks The City Of Los Angeles Has Not Yet Paid Carol Sobel Enough Money

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Additional Confirmation That This Blog Was Instrumental In The Resumption Of City-Wide Registration Of BID Patrol Officers With The LAPD Comes From A Whiny Little Email From Anti-SRNC Conspirator George Yu Of The Chinatown BID To Rita Moreno Of The City Clerk’s Office

You may recall that in 2016 our work here at MK.Org led to the City of Los Angeles resuming enforcement of a law that had been ignored for more than 15 years which requires security guards, including BID security, who operate on public streets to register with the Police Commission and thus be subject to some public oversight.

In December 2017 I got powerful independent confirmation that the City’s renewed enforcement was due to the work of this blog when Greg Foster, security honcho for the downtown criminal conspiracy known as the Central City East Association, stated in an open and public meeting that such was the case.

And yesterday I received a copy of this June 2017 email from Chinatown BID boss George Yu to City BID analyst Rita Moreno bitching and moaning about the requirement and thereby providing even more confirmation. In fact George Yu sent Rita Moreno a link to this very blog!1 And he introduced the link with the following statement: “Please see link below on what lead up to this.” How’s that for confirmation?!

This was part of a massive dump of material that was obtained from the City Clerk via the California Public Records Act and subsequently shared with me. I’ll be writing about the rest of the material from time to time, and of course there’s a transcription of the entire exchange after the break along with some inconsequential commentary. Why not take a peek, friend?!
Continue reading Additional Confirmation That This Blog Was Instrumental In The Resumption Of City-Wide Registration Of BID Patrol Officers With The LAPD Comes From A Whiny Little Email From Anti-SRNC Conspirator George Yu Of The Chinatown BID To Rita Moreno Of The City Clerk’s Office

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How The Central City East Association Violated The Brown Act Twice In One Meeting On Thursday Morning So I Reported Them To The Los Angeles County District Attorney


As you know, the Central City East Association held a meeting the other day.1 And a lot of interesting stuff went down. For instance, watch and listen here as Estela Lopez, the voodoo queen of Skid Row herself, explains to the Board that for some reason having to do with the much-discussed trash ordinance, they need to rewrite part of their contract with their street-cleaning contractor Chrysalis. There’s a transcription of the whole discussion after the break, but it’s easy to summarize what happens.

Estela Lopez is all like guys, we gotta redo the contract because reasons and then some random Board member is all like I have a motion because Roberts, and then Mark Shinbane, the Fabulous Freaking Fishmonger himself, is all like I second the motion and let’s vote. Unanimous? Done! The only problem? There’s not a word about it on the damn agenda. And this wasn’t the only instance of this kind of behavior at the meeting.

Just take a look here as freaking Bob Smiland, honcho supremo of Inner City Arts, quintessentially opposite-of-Silas-Lapham paint zillionaire, and unanimously acclaimed most galootish CCEA board member of all freaking time, responds to dictator-for-life Mark Shinbane’s rhetorical question about if there’s anything else before he adjourns the damn meeting by going off on a tangent so freaking tangential that his fellow totalitarian zillionaires were left in dropped-jaw silence as he rambled on about tourist brochures for Skid Row to be left in upscale hotel lobbies and god knows WTF else.2 And … you guessed it! Not a word about it on the damn agenda.

And what’s the problem with all this, you may well ask? Why can’t a few good old white supremacist buddies get together on a Thursday morning at ground zero of the homeless crisis in the United States of America and talk about any random crap that pops into their little zillionaire-addled heads? Well, as it happens, it is against the freaking law, that’s why!

Because business improvement districts have voluntarily chosen to benefit from coercively collected assessments, the State Legislature has passed Streets and Highways Code §36612, which makes all these BID boards of directors subject to the Brown Act. The good old Brown Act contains many treasures, and not least amongst these is good old §54954.2(a)(3), which states unequivocally that: “No action or discussion shall be undertaken on any item not appearing on the posted agenda.”

Mark Shinbane, of course, is famous for his criminal ways and he’s no stranger to violating the Brown Act, but this, to the best of my knowledge, is the first time he’s ever done it on camera. Turn the page for a little more evidence, transcriptions of the relevant bits, and, best of all, a copy of the report I sent to the LA County DA this morning turning these creepers in for their criminal ways.
Continue reading How The Central City East Association Violated The Brown Act Twice In One Meeting On Thursday Morning So I Reported Them To The Los Angeles County District Attorney

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MK.Org World Exclusive News Flash!! LAPD Deputy Chief Robert Arcos Announces That He Will Be Applying To Replace Charlie Beck As Chief Of The LAPD

I’m not a reporter, and I don’t seek out news, but once in a while, like the hog in the adage, I stumble across what seems to my amateur sensibilities to be an actual news story. And that’s exactly what happened this morning at the February Board meeting of the Central City East Association when LAPD Deputy Chief Robert Arcos, in response to a characteristically sycophantic question from CCEA Executive Directrix Estela Lopez, announced that he will be applying to replace soon-to-be-retired Charlie Beck as chief of the LAPD.

I recorded the whole meeting,1 and you can watch the exchange between Estela Lopez and Robert Arcos starting here. You can read a transcription of the important parts after the break.2 And remember, you read it here first!
Continue reading MK.Org World Exclusive News Flash!! LAPD Deputy Chief Robert Arcos Announces That He Will Be Applying To Replace Charlie Beck As Chief Of The LAPD

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Venice Beach BID To Hold First Public Meeting On Friday, January 5, Inaugurating Both A Quantum Freaking Leap And A Sea Freaking Change In The Illegal Freaking Bullshitization Of Venice — Please Attend And Tell These Shameless, Already-Being-Sued, Law-Flouting Creeps What You Think Of Their Nonsense — Also, If You’re Able To Film The Meeting, Please Do So!

Perhaps you recall that the infamous Venice Beach Business Improvement District has been nonoperational for an entire year after the second-time’s-a-charm reapproval by City Council, whose blindingly arrogant indifference to both law and decency necessitated this expensive and amateurish do-over.

Well, they’re operational now, friends! Yesterday morning the VBBID CEO, AKA President-For-Life Tara Devine, transmitted in interstate commerce1 an announcement of the BID’s first-ever meeting. Here are the documents involved:

The meeting is on Friday morning at 10 a.m. If you’re able and willing to attend and film the entire meeting, which is your absolute right under the Brown Act, please do so, as various prior commitments prevent me from attending. If you’d like some tips on how to film Brown Act meetings effectively, please get in touch!

Meanwhile, turn the page for a critical analysis of selections from these woefully deficient documents as well as some special bonus info on how and why President Tara Devine and her co-conspirators are so arrogantly outlaw.
Continue reading Venice Beach BID To Hold First Public Meeting On Friday, January 5, Inaugurating Both A Quantum Freaking Leap And A Sea Freaking Change In The Illegal Freaking Bullshitization Of Venice — Please Attend And Tell These Shameless, Already-Being-Sued, Law-Flouting Creeps What You Think Of Their Nonsense — Also, If You’re Able To Film The Meeting, Please Do So!

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The Central City East Association Had To Fire 30% Of Its BID Security Officers After Failed Background Checks In 2016–2017! CCEA Security Überhoncho Greg Foster Confirms That Resumed Police Commission Oversight Of BID Patrol Officers Was Due To MK.Org Investigation!

On Monday morning I was honored to attend the 2017 annual meeting of the Central City East Association, run by the voodoo queen of Skid Row, Estela Lopez herself. Of course I recorded the whole thing,1 and you can watch it either on YouTube or else on Archive.Org, depending on your personal preference. I usually can’t make it to the CCEA’s meetings because of having to go to my damned job, but for whatever reason my schedule was open Monday morning, and how lucky that turned out to be!

You may recall that in 2016 I discovered that the City of Los Angeles had failed to enforce LAMC §52.34 against BID security for more than fifteen years and that due to my reporting the City resumed enforcement in 2017. But aside from one phone call from Police Commission officer Ernesto Vicencio, who was in charge of the reimplementation of the law, the City has refused to provide me with any information about the process.2 So how fascinating it was to hear Greg Foster, who’s CCEA’s chief of security,3 explicitly attribute the change to my work! As he said:

… the website, [unintelligible], MichaelKohlhaas.Org, began to generate documentation that this particular municipal code is not being adhered to by the City of Los Angeles, and it should be. For many many years this went on, in and out of regulation. A gentleman by the name of [Mike] began to get a bit of momentum and challenge the City in 2016 to have this reinstated.

You can listen to this segment here and of course there’s a transcription after the break. Now, LAMC §52.34 has two main effects. First, it establishes Police Commission oversight of BID security officers. Second, it requires all BID security officers to undergo annual background checks before they can be permitted to operate on public streets. The most stunning, and brand-new, piece of information to come from Greg Foster’s revelations, was this:

That day on June first, 2017, every public safety BID across the City had to go before the Police Commission and have every single public safety officer vetted and pass the background check. As you can imagine, that was challenging, not just to our particular BID but to every BID across the City. There was a drop of thirty percent of personnel staff for Allied’s [unintelligible].

That is to say, before the City reimplemented enforcement on June 1 of this year, 30% of CCEA’s security officers were unfit for duty according to the law. Remember THAT the next time you hear some damned BIDdies ranting and raving about how much they respect the damned law! BIDs love to go about the place crowing about how their damnable security patrols make the City’s streets safer, but it seems that before my work removed illegal, unqualified officers from our public streets, the BIDdies were actually making things more damned dangerous! OK, yay! And you’re welcome, City of Los Freaking Angeles, amirite fam?!
Continue reading The Central City East Association Had To Fire 30% Of Its BID Security Officers After Failed Background Checks In 2016–2017! CCEA Security Überhoncho Greg Foster Confirms That Resumed Police Commission Oversight Of BID Patrol Officers Was Due To MK.Org Investigation!

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