The latest development in the ongoing saga of Katherine McNenny’s and my California Public Records Act suit against the Chinatown Business Improvement District is that the judge signed a judgment granting our petition for a writ of mandate.1 You can get a copy here on Archive.Org.2 This gives the BID 30 days to comply, and we shall certainly see what happens.
Note that the signing of this judgment is not unexpected news, as we prevailed in court last month, but without this step, putting last month’s order into force, there’s no way to compel the BID to comply, which it seems pretty clearly is going to be necessary since they have shown no signs of being willing to comply in the absence of compulsion.
Here’s the latest episode in the continuing story of the unholy obsession of psychopathic rageball George Yu, commander in chief of the Krazy Kriminal Konspiracy known as the Chinatown Business Improvement District, Los Angeles neighborhood prosecutor Tia Strozier, and LAPD senior lead officer Elizabeth Ortega, with the very existence of Chinatown resident Theo Henderson. You can read a report on this through May 2019 here.
The short version is that at Yu’s behest, Strozier and Ortega, with the cooperation of other City officials from CD1 and Rec and Parks have been trying unsuccessfully for months to arrest Henderson or at least find a way to ban him from Alpine Recreation Center. They have subjected him to police hyperscrutiny in the hope of finding actionable violations and aggressively try to impose “services” on him as a way to forcibly relocate him. Today’s post will bring the story up through July.1
One of the favored tactics George Yu and his minions at the City of Los Angeles2 use against the homeless people they’re targeting is involuntary mental health commitments. So it’s no surprise to see Ortega reassuring Yu via email on June 3, 2019 that she’s arranged for the County Department of Mental Health to “speak to Theo” What’s slightly surprising, though, is to see the putatively professional Ortega telling ostensibly private citizen Yu what seems like private medical information about Henderson. This ethical lapse certainly highlights the fact that the point of the intervention Ortega has arranged has little to do with Henderson’s well-being and lots to do with Yu’s vendetta.
Not that it needs to be highlighted. The fact that anyone with any training whatsoever, or even with any common sense, could sincerely think that Theo Henderson has any mental health problems at all, is completely implausible. It’s ridiculous. There is no legitimate reason for any competent person to call DMH about Henderson, who is among the sanest people I know. If you haven’t had the pleasure of meeting him, and want to judge for yourself3 you can watch him speaking some truth to Yu at a recent BID meeting.
But Jake, even though it is Chinatown, we aren’t about to forget it. So I thought I’d spend a little of this precious weekend covering a couple interesting items from this set of Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Prosecutor Tia Strozier’s emails about Chinatown. One is from George Yu to some guy named Peter about crime in Chinatown. The sky is falling, the apocalypse is upon us, “the City outside Los Angeles is functionally and irreversibly broken” and crime in Chinatown is, according to Yu, who is evidently living in his own worst nightmare, higher than crime across the street in El Pueblo.
We were seeking a writ of mandate from the judge ordering Yu to hand over the documents. It turns out that, in California at least, courts are not allowed to issue such orders merely because the respondents don’t show up.1 It’s still required that the petitioners prove their case. Which, of course, we were able to do, because it was righteous. So last Wednesday, July 24, 2019, the trial was held, before which the judge issued a tentative ruling granting us our every wish.
The whole trial lasted about 30 seconds and consisted of the judge asking our lawyer if he wished to be heard on the tentative. He said that he did not. The judge adopted the tentative as final and told the lawyer we could have our notebook back. You can get a copy of the tentative ruling here and a copy of the minute order showing that it was adopted as final here.
George Yu, executive director for life of the Chinatown Business Improvement District, is well-known for his defiance of the law in BID-related matters. For instance, he has utterly refused to participate in a lawsuit brought against the BID to enforce the California Public Records Act.1 And he cannot keep his mouth shut about his outlaw proclivities, like for instance last year at a BID board meeting he announced that he had broken the law by spending BID money on harassing homeless human beings outside the boundaries of the BID.2
So, you know, I went to today’s meeting expecting more of the usual George Yu crapola. But what actually happened was far, far more important than the stuff on the agenda. During the section of the meeting on public safety, long-time Chinatown residents Zen Sekizawa and Mario Correa had a few things to say to Yu and to the public at large about multiple attacks on them by George Yu and, at his direction and with his support, the BID’s off-the-chain security forces. I filmed the whole meeting, of course, and you can download a copy here from Archive.Org or watch it here on YouTube. The chaos starts at 23:19
It’s been a fluff piece about how great this gentleman is, however, what I have understood is that he has an antipathy against unhoused people. He calls them bums. He stalks. He surveils. He does everything in his power to make it uncomfortable. I am the gentleman that was on that quality of life issue the previous meeting. So I decided to come and have my side of the story because obviously this [unintelligible] has been posted everywhere. I have heard several different crazy stories. If I had not known it was about me I would be understandably afraid. So let us not excuse his behavior and try to de-escalate or invalidate these people’s concerns. These are legitimate. These are homeowners. These are community members. I have been a community member. I have lived over here over ten years before I became unhoused. So I have as much of a right as anybody else in here. He doesn’t even live here. He lives way out in some gated community. So this is the issue that community members that sit here and listen to him and hang on to his every word need to understand. We do not want him or his business improvement district employees here. He is a terrorist to people that are working class, an elitist, and an outright bully. And it is unacceptable. I am tired of it, and I want the community to understand and to do something about it.
George Yu did not like what he heard. Not. At. All. George Yu argued, accused, tried to derail, and when he could not shut down the flow of truth, adjourned the meeting unexpectedly and rose out of his chair in anger and walked aggressively toward Theo Henderson, another member of the public giving comment. This is a turning point in the history of this BID, maybe of all BIDs in Los Angeles. George Yu has long been unhinged, but now he’s decompensating.
So yesterday I went all over the damn City fetching public records from various agencies and told the story in this Twitter thread. And one of my stops was at the City Attorney’s office in City Hall East where I was menaced by a cop and subjected to extensive elevator therapy and then no one knew where the records were so I had to leave and then come back and finally I got them! And now you can get them too, right here on Archive.Org!
What I asked for here were emails to and from Tia Strozier, who is a newly appointed neighborhood prosecutor in Downtown Los Angeles. In that role, despite the mendacious utopian rhetoric of her lying boss Mike Feuer, she mostly works as an abject minion to business improvement districts and other zillionaire-facing organizations, her main job being to direct the full majesty of the law against whoever the zillionares desire, mostly homeless human beings who happen to live within the effective range of the considerable legal weaponry at her disposal.
One such person is Theo Henderson, a resident of Chinatown who, for reasons best known to the imaginary psychiatrist of unhinged racist1 psychopathic rageball and Chinatown BID kingpin George Yu, found himself squarely in the crosshairs of Yu’s rage. So much so, in fact, that activist residents of Chinatown rallied around Henderson, among other things, starting a Facebook group to discuss his plight.
And the story that these newly-obtained emails tell about George Yu, Tia Strozier, and the toxic misuse of municipal power, is not a pretty story. It shows Strozier marshalling her resources, convening meetings with Yu, other BIDdies, LAPD officer Elizabeth Ortega and other cops, City officials from Recreation and Parks, Ricardo Flores from CD1 representative Gil Cedillo‘s office, and so on, to discuss how to persecute Henderson.
You can read transcribed selections below and here’s a super-short summary. The Chinatown BID is a major player in municipal politics. This includes George’s Yu’s participation in the conspiracy against the Skid Row Neighborhood Council. Through our CPRA requests we sought to understand the BID’s role in this and their relationship with the City in general.
Well, the trial is coming up on July 24 and our lawyers have to have the opening brief in on May 24. So yesterday we filed a motion to compel the BID to answer the discovery and also to pay $3,160 in costs incurred because of Yu’s intransigence. But there’s an extra problem, which is that there’s no room on the court’s calendar for hearing the motion until July.
And to this very day George Yu has done nothing at all to even acknowledge that there’s this case pending against his damn BID. Of course a legal system isn’t a viable proposition if people can just ignore it. Obviously at some point they can be made to participate. And according to the lawyers,1 step one towards this end is to serve a bunch of discovery on them! And that is just what they did this very day! Today’s kind of discovery comes in three flavors, and here they are:
Requests for Admission — This kind of written discovery, as explained by the Wiki, is “a set of statements sent from one litigant to an adversary, for the purpose of having the adversary admit or deny the statements or allegations therein.” I find these super-entertaining, so there’s a transcription after the break.
Special interrogatories — This is a list of questions that the BID has to answer, like e.g. “Please state ALL actions YOU took prior to August 15, 2018 to locate ALL of the RECORDS that Petitioners requested.”