Tag Archives: Chief Legislative Analyst

Ever Wonder How One Of These Super-Sized Construction Projects Downtown Gets Built? — Here Is An Unprecedented Look Into How City Councilmembers And Developers Work As Partners To Subvert And Sideline Civil Service Staff And Basically Give Away Piece After Irreplaceable Piece Of Our City To Further Their Own Interests — Laid Out Step By Covert And Appalling Step — In The Case — Still Ongoing — Of 1330 W. Pico In CD1 — From Gil Cedillo’s First Meeting In August 2017 With Zillionaire Eri Kroh Of Sandstone Properties — Through Three Distinct Motions — Every Last One Of Which Signed By Cedillo But Written By A Lobbyist — And Sheparded Through City Staff — And Council Committees — And Council — By Cedillo’s Planning Director Gerald Gubatan — Who Insulted And Belittled Any Civil Service Staff Who Dared To Question Any Aspect Of The Project — Through CD1 Assistant Chief Of Staff Tony Ricasa’s Apparent Derailment Of Matt Szabo’s Plan To Use The Building For Homeless Housing — And Much Much More — Including Links To Hundreds Of Emails — And Draft Motions — And So On

Here in Los Angeles we read a lot of news about real estate development, real estate being the sun about which every local planet orbits. And this reporting mostly tells the truth, and probably nothing but the truth, but for the most part never the whole truth. Just for instance, consider the property at 1330 W. Pico Blvd. This parcel has been in the news since October 2017, when real estate developer Sandstone Properties bought it for $42 million, planning to build yet another hotel. Here’s The Real Deal’s story on the purchase.

The next reported-on milestone was in June 2018 when Gil Cedillo, in whose Council District the property is, introduced a rezoning motion allowing a hotel to be built at the address. Here’s The Real Deal’s story on that, and at this point Urbanize.LA1 initiated coverage with this equally superficial story. A few months later Cedillo moved to give the hotel hefty tax incentives,2 which was covered in the Downtown News as well as the two previous rags. And that’s the whole story, according to the local media.

The reporting rightly focuses on the motions themselves, although, interestingly, not all the motions.3 After all, without the motions, the rezonings, the tax incentives, and so on, the projects couldn’t get built. What all of these stories about this Sandstone project lack, though, what most such stories about all such projects are missing, is any sense of where the motions come from, how Council offices and developers collaborate to obtain the myriad permissions required for something like this proposed hotel to get built.4

And that story is amazing, really unexpectedly appalling.5 It’s revealed in astonishing detail by a massive set of emails I recently received from CD1, spanning more than two and a half years of discussions between lobbyists from at least three distinct firms6 repping Eri Kroh and Sandstone, CD1 planning director Gerald Gubatan, and various City of LA staffers in City Planning and elsewhere beginning in August 2017 and continuing to this day.

The lobbyists actually write and revise the motions that Cedillo introduces to further their cause.7 Gubatan works closely with the lobbyists basically in opposition to City civil service staff’s attempts to enforce the City’s laws and rules, and is outright contemptuous of their abilities.8 Cedillo himself stays distant from the process, but in no way detached. He met with the project’s zillionaire developer Eri Kroh and lobbyist Lali DeAztlan in August 2017, two months before the purchase was final. Presumably this is when Cedillo greenlighted the project.

In a post-meeting email to Gerald Gubatan DeAztlan shared her pleasure with the result: ” I think it went well, the Councilmember and the Owner Eri seem to speak the same language, and that gets us off to a great start.” After that Cedillo seems to have been briefed only once9 and otherwise didn’t have to do anything else once he’d set things moving except, of course, to sign the motions.10 The story is complicated and best understood by reading through the records themselves,11 but read on for a moderately detailed outline with link after link after link to the primary sources.
Continue reading Ever Wonder How One Of These Super-Sized Construction Projects Downtown Gets Built? — Here Is An Unprecedented Look Into How City Councilmembers And Developers Work As Partners To Subvert And Sideline Civil Service Staff And Basically Give Away Piece After Irreplaceable Piece Of Our City To Further Their Own Interests — Laid Out Step By Covert And Appalling Step — In The Case — Still Ongoing — Of 1330 W. Pico In CD1 — From Gil Cedillo’s First Meeting In August 2017 With Zillionaire Eri Kroh Of Sandstone Properties — Through Three Distinct Motions — Every Last One Of Which Signed By Cedillo But Written By A Lobbyist — And Sheparded Through City Staff — And Council Committees — And Council — By Cedillo’s Planning Director Gerald Gubatan — Who Insulted And Belittled Any Civil Service Staff Who Dared To Question Any Aspect Of The Project — Through CD1 Assistant Chief Of Staff Tony Ricasa’s Apparent Derailment Of Matt Szabo’s Plan To Use The Building For Homeless Housing — And Much Much More — Including Links To Hundreds Of Emails — And Draft Motions — And So On

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Sneaky Shit-Sneakers Sneakily Sneak Sneaky Shit Into Current Version Of Street Vending Legalization Process, Setting The Stage For Continued Persecution of Vendors in Business Improvement Districts

Yum, danger dogs!
So today the City Council moved forward with CF 13-1493, which, of course, is the famed street vending thing. For a good, objective,1 discussion of today’s developments, take a look at this article in today’s Times by the incomparable Emily Alpert Reyes.2 This is just a brief post to note the fact that the various anti-human opponents of legalized street vending won a major, seemingly unnoticed by anyone but me, victory via amendment in the current version of the motion.

Today’s motion doesn’t actually legalize street vending. What it does is direct the City Attorney, the Chief Legislative Analyst, and the City Administrative Officer to put together a proposed ordinance. This was to be based on this detailed set of recommendations from the Public Works and Gang Reduction Committee report. This report was amended in Council today before being adopted, and at least two of the amended recommendations are quite sneaky, and, I predict, will undermine the future ordinance in quite underhanded ways that will please business improvement districts and other business interests who have been working tirelessly to keep street vending illegal for years now. See the details and some3 predictions after the break.
Continue reading Sneaky Shit-Sneakers Sneakily Sneak Sneaky Shit Into Current Version Of Street Vending Legalization Process, Setting The Stage For Continued Persecution of Vendors in Business Improvement Districts

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Scanned Archival Documents About BID Implementation and Policy From 1998 Now Available

Somehow BIDs, like everything else, are all Richard Riordan's fault.
Somehow BIDs, like everything else, are all Richard Riordan’s fault.
Recall that last month last month I raised the question of where the City Clerk gets the authority to vote all of the City’s property in favor of BID formation, and about two weeks ago, this question was answered by Miranda Paster, who pointed me towards Council File 96-1972, part of which is the ordinance that directs the Clerk how to vote the City’s parcels. Well, the file is too old to include online material, but a couple days ago I had a chance to visit the L.A. City Archives over on Ramirez Street to look through the file. There was a lot of stuff, most of it not that interesting,1 but I did copy a few items, and here they are for your sake and the sake of history! You can get them at Archive.Org for one thing. Also here in the menu structure, and finally directly here. They’re also linked-to and discussed a little bit after the break.
Continue reading Scanned Archival Documents About BID Implementation and Policy From 1998 Now Available

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First Amendment Coalition Sues City of Los Angeles Over Tom LaBonge’s Illegal Records Destruction, Alleges Possible Felony Records Destruction, Eric Garcetti Still Not Held To Account For Similar Crimes

Current CD4 representative David Ryu, whose termed-out predecessor Tom LaBonge ordered the destruction of public records, leading to both an FAC lawsuit and a council motion to prevent this kind of thing in the future.
Current CD4 representative David Ryu, whose termed-out predecessor Tom LaBonge ordered the destruction of public records, leading to both an FAC lawsuit and a council motion to prevent this kind of thing in the future.
In January 2016 the Los Feliz Ledger broke the story that termed-out CD4 Councilmember Tom LaBonge had ordered the destruction of public records prior to his leaving office on June 30, 2015. Emily Alpert Reyes, writing in the Los Angeles Times reported on Thursday that the First Amendment Coalition had filed suit against the City of Los Angeles, claiming, among other things, that the destruction of this material either violated the California Public Records Act or else the fairly draconian Government Code section 6200. Thanks to FAC director Peter Scheer I have a copy of the petition to share with you, and you can read some further commentary after the break.
Continue reading First Amendment Coalition Sues City of Los Angeles Over Tom LaBonge’s Illegal Records Destruction, Alleges Possible Felony Records Destruction, Eric Garcetti Still Not Held To Account For Similar Crimes

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Kerry Morrison Tries, Fails, to Serve Two Masters, Unfolding Events Yield Two Pressing Reasons for Her to Resign from LAHSA Immediately

Kerry Morrison chooses which of the two masters she's gonna love and, consequently, which she's gonna hate.
Kerry Morrison chooses which of the two masters she’s gonna love and, consequently, which she’s gonna hate.
In the last two weeks, two cataclysmic changes in the the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority‘s mission have made it, in not just our opinion but in the opinion of any sane observer, impossible for Kerry Morrison to ethically continue to serve as both a LAHSA Commissioner and the executive directrix of the HPOA. Since as of a few years ago she was earning $192,794 per annum1 from the HPOA we’re guessing it’s not that job she’s gonna quit. What happened is this: both the Los Angeles City Council and the Department of Housing and Urban Development are poised to ask LAHSA to (a) decide where across the city to locate service centers for the homeless and (b) to stop breaking up homeless encampments.
Kerry Morrison counting a homeless person, no doubt using the local methodology that "[f]ederal officials are disputing," according to the Los Angeles Times.
Kerry Morrison counting a homeless person, no doubt using the local methodology that “[f]ederal officials are disputing,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

Unfortunately, Kerry’s masters on the BID Boards expect her to target the homeless for hyperenforcement even as they scoff at the very idea that homeless human beings have rights and, accordingly, she’s directed her flunkies (we’re talking about you, Steve Seyler) to arrest homeless people in encampments and for any other random thing that pops into their heads. She can’t ethically do both, for, as a wise man once said:2

No one can serve two masters, for either he
will hate the one and love the other; or else
he will be devoted to one and despise the
other. You can’t serve both God and Mammon.

Well, we’re not cynics, not at all, so we’re not going to predict what she’s going to do. We are, however, going to write much more about the choices she’s facing right below the fold!
Continue reading Kerry Morrison Tries, Fails, to Serve Two Masters, Unfolding Events Yield Two Pressing Reasons for Her to Resign from LAHSA Immediately

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The True Facts About the May 28, 2015, Community Sidewalk Vending Meeting at Boyle Heights City Hall Revealed Here (With Audio) for All to Hear and Judge and Opinionate Upon! Part 1: Alyssa Van Breene

The Boyle Hotel at 101 N. Boyle Avenue, appearing here because we don't have a picture of the Boyle Heights City Hall, which is about half a mile west on First Street from the corner of First and Boyle.
The Boyle Hotel at 101 N. Boyle Avenue, appearing here because we don’t have a picture of the Boyle Heights City Hall, which is about half a mile west on First Street from the corner of First and Boyle, that being the location of this building.
We recently wrote about Kerry Morrison’s description of the series of public meetings sponsored by the Chief Legislative Analyst of the city of Los Angeles regarding the framework for legalizing street vending that’s being studied by the City Council. Well, interestingly enough, it turns out that the Council’s Economic Development committee has a website set up devoted to the issue and found thereupon are audio recordings of three of the four meetings held to-date.1 Astute readers will no doubt recall Kerry’s description of these meetings:
there were a series of four hearings that the chief administrative office staff held on the… the sidewalk vending ordinance. … It’s just this kind of amorphous set of hearings, which were completely dysfunctional, disrespectful, and almost, um, resembled a circus.
Wanna know what "frabjous" means?  You gotta ask Mr. Humpty Dumpty, or look it up in the Dictionary, for God's sake.
Wanna know what “frabjous” means? You gotta ask Mr. Humpty Dumpty, or look it up in the Dictionary, for God’s sake.

Well, frabjous day, friends! We have listened to the first of these, held at the Boyle Heights City Hall on May 28, 2015, and clipped out some representative bits for your audiosthetic pleasure and we’re sharing them with you here. First listen to HPOA Board Member Alyssa Van Breene (transcriptions after the break if, like us, you’d rather read than hear):

Listened up? Good! Let’s take this nonsense one lie at a time, shall we?
Continue reading The True Facts About the May 28, 2015, Community Sidewalk Vending Meeting at Boyle Heights City Hall Revealed Here (With Audio) for All to Hear and Judge and Opinionate Upon! Part 1: Alyssa Van Breene

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HPOA-Backed Anti-Street-Vending Agents Provocateurs Exposed, Mocked in Boyle Heights; Kerry Morrison Characteristically Misses Point, Whines About Incivility

Kerry Morrison, who uses gun-wielding thugs as tools to terrorize, kidnap, torment, and ridicule people but nevertheless expects herself and her henchmen to be treated with politesse on all occasions
Kerry Morrison, who uses gun-wielding thugs as tools to terrorize, kidnap, torment, and ridicule people but nevertheless expects herself and her henchmen to be treated with politesse on all occasions
The release of the HPOA’s quarterly newsletter is always an interesting time here at MK.org secret headquarters. On the one hand we’re always aghast at the latest stupidity, cupidity, mental rigidity, and white privilegidity on display. On the other hand, we always end up with a bunch of topics about which to write. The Summer 2015 issue is no exception.

As every regular reader of this blog knows by now, the HPOA is hysterically opposed to the legalization of street vending in Los Angeles. They’ve entered into conspiracies with the abhorrent Central City Association to subvert the democratic process through astroturfing and mendacity. And, according to Kerry Morrison, writing in the newsletter:

Devin Strecker, Alyssa Van Breene, Kerry Morrison, and a bunch of unindicted co-conspirators
Devin Strecker, Alyssa Van Breene, Kerry Morrison, and a bunch of unindicted co-conspirators


Before an ordinance is drafted, the CLA [Chief Legislative Analyst] staff presided over a series of public hearings to gain input from the community. Staff representing both BIDs, along with board members, attended each of these hearings and expressed the concerns of the business community. However, members of the business community were outnumbered easily 10:1 at these hearings.

Hollywood board member Alyssa Van Breene and staffer Devin Strecker attended the first meeting on May 28 in Boyle Heights. When they tried to share their concerns the audience booed. Though there were no boos or hissing at the second hearing on June 11 in Van Nuys, the audience was unruly and disrespectful to those testifying against the ordinance or speaking on behalf of small business.

Now, Kerry is well-known for her bluenosed Mrs. Grundyism, and we’ve grown somewhat accustomed to it, but this is really over the top, even for her. Let’s restate this in human language, shall we?
Continue reading HPOA-Backed Anti-Street-Vending Agents Provocateurs Exposed, Mocked in Boyle Heights; Kerry Morrison Characteristically Misses Point, Whines About Incivility

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