Tag Archives: Los Angeles City Attorney

In 2016 LAPD Bomb Detection Canine Section Officer Raymond Garvin’s Supervisor Kathryn Meek Demoted And Transferred Him Out Of His Prestige Position — In 2018 Garvin Sued The City of LA For Unfair Employment Practices And Retaliation — In September 2020 Deputy City Attorney Marianne Fratianne Recommended That City Council Pay $700K To Settle The Suit — Which They Did — Fratianne Identified The “Root Cause” Of The Lawsuit And Recommended A Single Preventative Correction — Out Of A Long Lurid List Of LAPD Transgressions Fratianne Identified Only The Single Most Anodyne — Out Of A Myriad Of Potential Preventative Measures Fratianne Recommended Only The Least Effective — How Will The City Government Of Los Angeles Reform LAPD Even A Little If Officials Are Completely Unwilling To Criticize Them — Even In Confidence — LAPD Is Completely Unable To Reform Itself Given The Level Of Internal Workplace Chaos They Evidently Find Normal And Acceptable

Synopsis:  LAPD officer Garvin sued the City because his superior officer Meek, who had a “romantic relationship” with another one of her subordinates, conspired with Deputy Chief Frank to get him demoted and transferred. Meek solicited damaging info from Garvin’s subordinates and used “completely fabricated” complaints against him to accomplish this goal. In a confidential report to LA City Council Deputy City Attorney Marianne Fratianne recommended that the City settle for $700K because Meek was not a credible witness but Garvin was.

From a long and lurid list of LAPD transgressions Fratianne chose only to recommend that the City avoid future liability by having LAPD supervisors think carefully about using the technical loophole in the complaint resolution process that allowed Meek to demote Garvin on the basis of fabricated complaints. This innocuous choice suggests that the City Attorney’s office is unwilling to recommend effective LAPD reforms to City Council even when they can recommend in secret and even when such reforms would be purely internal.

Continue reading In 2016 LAPD Bomb Detection Canine Section Officer Raymond Garvin’s Supervisor Kathryn Meek Demoted And Transferred Him Out Of His Prestige Position — In 2018 Garvin Sued The City of LA For Unfair Employment Practices And Retaliation — In September 2020 Deputy City Attorney Marianne Fratianne Recommended That City Council Pay $700K To Settle The Suit — Which They Did — Fratianne Identified The “Root Cause” Of The Lawsuit And Recommended A Single Preventative Correction — Out Of A Long Lurid List Of LAPD Transgressions Fratianne Identified Only The Single Most Anodyne — Out Of A Myriad Of Potential Preventative Measures Fratianne Recommended Only The Least Effective — How Will The City Government Of Los Angeles Reform LAPD Even A Little If Officials Are Completely Unwilling To Criticize Them — Even In Confidence — LAPD Is Completely Unable To Reform Itself Given The Level Of Internal Workplace Chaos They Evidently Find Normal And Acceptable

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Developers Aren’t The Only Ones Making Money From Gentrification In Los Angeles — There Is A Whole Gentrification Service Sector Also Cashing In — In Both Cases With The Active Support Of The City Of Los Angeles — For Instance Before The City Attorney Files A Nuisance Abatement Petition They Meet With The Property Owner — And Make Demands Of Them — Like That They Hire A Property Management Company — And/Or A Private Security Patrol — But They Have A Very Short List Of Approved Companies To Use — Which They Claim Not To Endorse — But In The Coercive Context Of Such Meetings This Means Nothing At All


It’s well known that the City of Los Angeles actively supports gentrification and thereby transfers an appalling amount of wealth to real estate developers. But it might not be as well known that a lot of people who aren’t developers, many of them not even in the real estate business, also with the active support of the City, make a lot of money from gentrification. E.g. the official police garages1 or the vast array of PR consultants who function as the set dressers of gentrification by “repositioning” so-called “up and coming neighborhoods” to make them cozy and attractive to the new residents.2

And very recently I learned about a new3 aspect of this process related to the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Citywide Nuisance Abatement Program. The City uses its municipal power to bring such suits to directly support the gentrification of specific neighborhoods. For instance see the (apparently) ongoing prosecution of a nuisance case against Nipsey Hussle’s property at Crenshaw and Slauson As with the police garages and the neighborhood branding consultants, here too there are nondevelopers, in this case property management companies and private security patrols, making good money from gentrification with the open assistance of the City of Los Angeles.
Continue reading Developers Aren’t The Only Ones Making Money From Gentrification In Los Angeles — There Is A Whole Gentrification Service Sector Also Cashing In — In Both Cases With The Active Support Of The City Of Los Angeles — For Instance Before The City Attorney Files A Nuisance Abatement Petition They Meet With The Property Owner — And Make Demands Of Them — Like That They Hire A Property Management Company — And/Or A Private Security Patrol — But They Have A Very Short List Of Approved Companies To Use — Which They Claim Not To Endorse — But In The Coercive Context Of Such Meetings This Means Nothing At All

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Three Depositions Of LAPD Officers Reveal Interesting Facts About The City Attorney’s Gentrification-Enhancing Nuisance Abatement Program — They Force Property Owners To Install Surveillance Cameras And Give LAPD Immediate Access To The Feed — E.g. Holiday Liquor At 4966 W. Adams Has Cameras That Cops Can Watch You On 24/7 Without Even Asking Anyone — And It Really Sounds Like These Cops Made Up Stories About Whatever Bad Stuff Was Happening At The Liquor Store — And Those Damn Gang Classes LAPD Teaches…

Nuisance abatement suits are brought by the Los Angeles City Attorney against homeowners or commercial landlords or tenants who allegedly allow their property to be used to further criminal activity. The City of Los Angeles notoriously uses such suits along with gang injunctions and the myriad of laws criminalizing homelessness to effect and defend the progress of gentrification.1

The suits benefit the City on a number of levels. More broadly they’re a way to terrorize poor property owners by reminding them that they can be randomly targeted and forced to sell their homes. Nuisance suits also give the City a way to change the character of a neighborhood by targeting businesses that don’t suit the image being created by gentrifying developers. Most pragmatically, most cynically, the City also uses them to increase its surveillance capacities in gentrifying neighborhoods.

For instance, prior to bringing suit the City often demands that property owners install street-facing surveillance cameras and give LAPD full-time at-will access to the video feed. If you’re walking by Holiday Liquor at 4966 W. Adams, e.g., smile for the camera because LAPD is watching you! This phenomenon, among many others, is discussed in an essential recent paper by Ananya Roy, Terra Graziani, and Pamela Stephens, who note that in the infamous 2017 Chesapeake Apartments nuisance case, the City sought a number of concessions of this sort from the owner:

the establishment of extensive security systems at the property with direct access by the Los Angeles Police Department to these systems of monitoring and surveillance. … including video monitoring and electronic access control systems and private security guards.

Continue reading Three Depositions Of LAPD Officers Reveal Interesting Facts About The City Attorney’s Gentrification-Enhancing Nuisance Abatement Program — They Force Property Owners To Install Surveillance Cameras And Give LAPD Immediate Access To The Feed — E.g. Holiday Liquor At 4966 W. Adams Has Cameras That Cops Can Watch You On 24/7 Without Even Asking Anyone — And It Really Sounds Like These Cops Made Up Stories About Whatever Bad Stuff Was Happening At The Liquor Store — And Those Damn Gang Classes LAPD Teaches…

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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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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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LA City Attorney’s Office Admits That There Is No Evidence Outside Their Own Heads That Their Gang Nuisance Lawsuits “Improve” Neighborhoods — Whatever They Even Mean By “Improve” — And Jonathan Cristall — Supreme Commander Of The Gang Nuisance Prosecution Crew — Fails To Produce Evidence That He Actually Recieved Any Of The Series Of Honors He — Formerly — Listed On His Amazon Author Page — Which Of Course Doesn’t Mean He Didn’t Receive Them — But It Is Certainly Interesting How Much These Prosecutors Want People To Take On Faith Given The Fact That Their Cases Are Based On The Untested Word Of LAPD Gang Officers — A Famously Mendacious Bunch

As you may already know, I’ve been looking into civil nuisance abatement lawsuits and their relation to gentrification in Los Angeles. The City files dozens of these cases each year and they’re based on really flimsy but also mostly unchallenged evidence. A big part of this project is collecting copies of the complaints themselves, and so far I’ve obtained them for 2015 and 2016 and 2017-2019.

Apparently, though, the City Attorney inadvertently omitted1 a few of these from earlier productions and I just got copies of those the other day. They’re available here on Archive.Org. We’re still waiting for 2014 and earlier. And I have a bunch of other requests pending, of course, and I will certainly let you know if any of them are successful and result in interesting stuff!

But also sometimes even unsuccessful requests have interesting results! And that’s the main subject of today’s post! But first, some background! You may recall that Supreme Nuisance Prosecutor Jonathan Cristall and his unindicted co-conspirator Liora Forman-Echols published a really insidious how-to/why-to guide in the National Gang Center Bulletin in 2009, which I wrote about recently.

And this pernicious little document contains some really implausible claims. Just for instance, on page 6, Cristall and Forman-Echols state, without supporting evidence, that “[i]n most instances, the abatement of the nuisance at the property has a ripple effect, positively improving the surrounding neighborhood.” Oh, and also! Seasoned Supreme Gang Nuisance Prosecutor Cristall is not only a self-proclaimed expert on abating nuisances for fun and profit, he’s also a self-proclaimed expert on raising teenagers!
Continue reading LA City Attorney’s Office Admits That There Is No Evidence Outside Their Own Heads That Their Gang Nuisance Lawsuits “Improve” Neighborhoods — Whatever They Even Mean By “Improve” — And Jonathan Cristall — Supreme Commander Of The Gang Nuisance Prosecution Crew — Fails To Produce Evidence That He Actually Recieved Any Of The Series Of Honors He — Formerly — Listed On His Amazon Author Page — Which Of Course Doesn’t Mean He Didn’t Receive Them — But It Is Certainly Interesting How Much These Prosecutors Want People To Take On Faith Given The Fact That Their Cases Are Based On The Untested Word Of LAPD Gang Officers — A Famously Mendacious Bunch

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Since 2016 The City Of Los Angeles Has Paid Out More Than $1.7 Million To Settle Public Records Act Litigation — Most Of Which Could Have Been Avoided By Taking Compliance Seriously — This Is Not Only A Betrayal Of The Public Trust But It’s A Huge Damn Waste Of Money — If Only There Were A City Official Charged With Reducing Waste Who Could Look Into This — Oh Wait Of Course There Is! — The City Controller! — So This Morning I Sent Him A Letter Asking Him To Use His Audit Power To Evaluate The City’s CPRA Policies — And Assess The Risk And Liability Created By Noncompliance — And Recommend Ways To Avoid This Waste In The Future — Including The Creation Of A Centralized CPRA Coordinator For The City — And You Can Read That Letter Here! — Along With A Bunch Of Other Nonsense!

As you may well know, the City of Los Angeles has a really, really hard time complying with its obligations under the California Public Records Act. And as you may also know, the only remedy for noncompliance provided by the Legislature is to file a lawsuit against the violators. If the requester prevails1 the law requires the judge to award litigation costs and lawyers’ fees to the requester.

And, it turns out, the City of Los Angeles not only has a hard time complying with the CPRA but they get sued a lot over it. And they usually settle quickly but when they don’t they lose. A lot. And they pay a lot of money to requesters’ attorneys. In fact, since 2016 they’ve paid off in 26 cases to the total tune of more than $1.7 million. Here’s a list of all of these cases, both as a PDF and in the original XLSX.

Probably some of these cases involve legitimate controversies over the City’s decision to withhold records from release, but as you know if you follow this blog, most of them are due to very little more than the incompetence, indifference, or intransigence of City departments. Most of these cases could have been avoided if the City had just released records that they ended up releasing anyway as a result of the suit. Many could have been avoided if someone had just explained to a few City staffers what their obligations under the law actually were.

So not only does the City’s continual, habitual flouting of the CPRA deprive citizens of our constitutionally guaranteed right to access public records promptly,2 but it also costs the City an immense amount of money. All of which is wasted since had the City just followed the law in the first place they wouldn’t have had to pay any of it. Or to pay the salaries of the Deputy City Attorneys who had to handle these cases after they were filed.3

The City doesn’t even have a CPRA compliance policy, but if it did and if it followed it, none of this money would be wasted. The City of San Diego, it turns out, has a very similar problem, which I only found out about because they have an officer called the City Auditor. He recently investigated San Diego’s CPRA practices and policies and made recommendations for improvement.

Which reminded me that here in Los Angeles there is a also City official whose charge includes the right to audit and investigate the expenditures of City departments and to recommend policy changes to stop money wasting. This, of course, is the Controller, whose powers and duties are defined by the City Charter at §260 et seq. and which include the ability to “conduct performance audits of all departments and may conduct performance audits of City programs, including suggesting plans for the improvement and management of the revenues and expenditures of the City.”4

So he’s empowered to look into this matter, but of course, how’s he going to know to do that unless someone brings it up? Thus did I write Galperin a letter this morning asking him to get on it and audit the City’s CPRA compliance and policies and make recommendations. In particular I asked him not only to consult with requesters about needed policy changes, but also to consider recommending that the City create a central CPRA coordinator whose job would include receiving, processing, and assigning requests to departments and then tracking and ensuring compliance. Read on for a transcription and stay tuned to find out if anything comes of it!
Continue reading Since 2016 The City Of Los Angeles Has Paid Out More Than $1.7 Million To Settle Public Records Act Litigation — Most Of Which Could Have Been Avoided By Taking Compliance Seriously — This Is Not Only A Betrayal Of The Public Trust But It’s A Huge Damn Waste Of Money — If Only There Were A City Official Charged With Reducing Waste Who Could Look Into This — Oh Wait Of Course There Is! — The City Controller! — So This Morning I Sent Him A Letter Asking Him To Use His Audit Power To Evaluate The City’s CPRA Policies — And Assess The Risk And Liability Created By Noncompliance — And Recommend Ways To Avoid This Waste In The Future — Including The Creation Of A Centralized CPRA Coordinator For The City — And You Can Read That Letter Here! — Along With A Bunch Of Other Nonsense!

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A Couple Of Newly Obtained Documents Reveal Details Of How And Why The LA City Attorney Uses Nuisance Abatement Suits As Part Of The Same Gentrification Process As Gang Injunctions — Low Evidentiary Bar In Civil Cases — No Juries — No Public Defenders — Comparably Low Burden Of Proof — And The City’s Revealing — And Appalling — Choice Of Illustrations — And Of Targets — And Of Rhetorical Strategies — Reveal The Delusional And Ultraracist Conceptual Underpinnings Of The Project — Basically Superpredators 2.0

The City of Los Angeles famously uses civil nuisance abatement lawsuits against property owners and residents in areas of the City being prepped for gentrification. These suits are yet another of the million superficially more acceptable forms into which old-fashioned urban renewal was reincarnated after it became clear to the world that James Baldwin was spot-on in his characterization of it as Negro removal.

For the most part news coverage of the hundreds of such suits filed by Mike Feuer’s office when there’s coverage at all has been uncritically accepting of the City’s unsupported-by-evidence story that these actions fight crime and increase safety.1 But the revelation after the murder of Nipsey Hussle that the City Attorney had been working towards filing such an action against Hussle’s property at Crenshaw and Slauson seems to have opened the door for much more critical coverage.2

Complaints that actually get filed, it turns out, are just a small part of the nuisance abatement program. The City Attorney sends out hundreds of demand letters to targeted property owners, most of which lead to settlements, evictions, and other such results sought by the City without ever having to file anything in court. I’ve been investigating this process via the California Public Records Act. The City Attorney denied my request for copies of the demand letters3 but they are in the process of producing copies of all the actually filed complaints.4

And just recently they turned over a couple of other interesting items. The first is a 2009 how-to why-to article by Los Angeles nuisance abatement pioneers Jonathan Cristall5 and Liora Forman-Echols called Property Abatements — The Other Gang Injunction. The other is a PDF version of an undated PowerPoint presentation about the nuisance abatement program. the PowerPoint thing doesn’t have much intentional content6 but the endless parade of photographs put the barely tacit racism of the whole project on vivid pictorial display. Some choice slides appear at the end of this post.
Continue reading A Couple Of Newly Obtained Documents Reveal Details Of How And Why The LA City Attorney Uses Nuisance Abatement Suits As Part Of The Same Gentrification Process As Gang Injunctions — Low Evidentiary Bar In Civil Cases — No Juries — No Public Defenders — Comparably Low Burden Of Proof — And The City’s Revealing — And Appalling — Choice Of Illustrations — And Of Targets — And Of Rhetorical Strategies — Reveal The Delusional And Ultraracist Conceptual Underpinnings Of The Project — Basically Superpredators 2.0

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In 2018 and 2019 The Los Angeles City Attorney Sent Out 479 Demand Letters In Nuisance Abatement Cases — And Filed 30 Cases In Court — According To Deputy City Attorney Bethelwel Wilson An LAPD Gang Officer’s Referral Is Sufficient To Open A Case File — Gang Officers Of Course Were Recently Revealed To Engage In Widespread Lying — And None Of The Demands And Almost None Of The Filed Complaints Get Litigated — So Almost None Of The City’s Allegations Ever Get Tested Adversarially — The City Is Already Reviewing Criminal Cases That The Lying Officers Were Involved In — But Who Will Review These Civil Nuisance Cases?

The Los Angeles City Attorney’s Citywide Nuisance Abatement Program ostensibly attacks gang crime by filing civil lawsuits against property owners whose properties are allegedly involved in ongoing criminal activity. And even though there are obviously people committing all kinds of crimes, dealing drugs, shooting guns, hanging out listening to music,1 in houses and apartments all over the City, the vast majority of these suits are brought in South Los Angeles, a significant fraction in East and Northeast LA, and almost none in other areas.

These disparities support the widely held view that nuisance abatement suits are used as an aggressive gentrification tool. The neighborhoods targeted are gentrifying neighborhoods. The settlement conditions, and by far most of these cases settle, support gentrification and displacement by, among other things, forcing property owners to sell or to evict putatively undesirable tenants or to install surveillance equipment or otherwise function as LAPD informants. Most of the cases are brought against owners of single family homes or small multifamily or commercial properties, maybe because they’re less likely to have the resources to defend themselves.2

I’ve had some trouble learning how the City Attorney picks its targets, but recently, Deputy City Attorney Bethelwel Wilson, in an important series of emails, revealed that for the most part they’re chosen as a result of referrals from residents or law enforcement.3 According to Wilson, irrespective of the source of the referral, an LAPD “gang officer’s communication would be sufficient for the DCA4 to open a case on the property.” And the information supporting the case also comes from LAPD, according to Wilson: “The criminal activity at the property would have to be chronic and well-documented by LAPD before a DCA would even consider filling nuisance abatement action.”

And it turns out that for the City, filing a case essentially amounts to winning it. I recently obtained almost a hundred of these nuisance petitions, filed since 2015, from the CA via the California Public Records Act.5 and for the most part the targets don’t fight back. I checked all 67 of the cases opened between 2017 and 2019 and no more than ten involved any significant defense before settling essentially on the City’s terms.6 This means that the allegations in the petitions almost never get tested adversarially.

There’s no cross-examination, no documentation, and, surprisingly, not even testimony under penalty of perjury. In California Civil Procedure7 a petition is called verified when the complainant asserts belief in the truth of the allegations under penalty of perjury. For whatever reason nuisance abatement petitions are unverified, so no one even gets in trouble if parts of the cases turn out to be made up.8
Continue reading In 2018 and 2019 The Los Angeles City Attorney Sent Out 479 Demand Letters In Nuisance Abatement Cases — And Filed 30 Cases In Court — According To Deputy City Attorney Bethelwel Wilson An LAPD Gang Officer’s Referral Is Sufficient To Open A Case File — Gang Officers Of Course Were Recently Revealed To Engage In Widespread Lying — And None Of The Demands And Almost None Of The Filed Complaints Get Litigated — So Almost None Of The City’s Allegations Ever Get Tested Adversarially — The City Is Already Reviewing Criminal Cases That The Lying Officers Were Involved In — But Who Will Review These Civil Nuisance Cases?

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Annals Of Police Misconduct And The Public Records Request – The Painfully Detailed Story Of SB1421 And The Los Angeles World Airport Police Department – Almost A Year Of Block-Headed Pointless Resource-Wasting Obstructionism – Delay – Lies – And So On – Even More Evidence That This City Badly Needs A Working CPRA Policy – Also Included – Instructions On How You Can Receive – By Mail Even – As Many Free USB Drives As You Want From The City Of Los Angeles

Wonder what this lovely aerial photograph of LAX has to do with the fact that SB1421 required California police departments to release certain records relating to police misconduct? Without the passage of that law in 2018 I would never have received this image. What’s the story? Read on, friends!
On January 1, 2019, Senator Nancy Skinner‘s monumental police accountability law, known as SB1421, went into effect, requiring police agencies in California to release detailed records of investigations of certain kinds of officer misconduct that had previously been exempt from production via the California Public Records Act. People immediately requested all newly available records from every police agency possible, police unions sued in vain to stop the law from taking effect, and one year into the new era an incredible amount of important and previously secret information has come out.

And even as judges across the state ruled against various attempts to block the law, police departments have developed a vast range of techniques to frustrate requesters by imposing countless obstacles, time-sinks, outrageous charges, and the like. There’s been a lot of discussion of this in the press, of course, the press being immediately affected by such tactics. And open discussion of these tactics is essential for any number of reasons. Just for instance it allows requesters to be able to respond effectively and legislators to be able to identify fixes. And, maybe, just maybe it might shame some of these obstructionist police departments to stop fooling around and follow the damn law.

And that is why today I have for you a detailed account of the ludicrously extreme SB1421 compliance obstruction tactics practiced by the Los Angeles World Airports Police Department, told through our email correspondence over the last year! On January 21, 2019 I sent a request to the Airport Police Department (APD, as they call it over there) for all records newly made available through SB1421.1 After about six weeks of delay and nonresponse, I finally got an email from Deputy City Attorney Karen Majovski in which she belatedly acknowledged receipt of my request and also insisted on discussing it with me over the phone under the guise of seeking clarification.
Continue reading Annals Of Police Misconduct And The Public Records Request – The Painfully Detailed Story Of SB1421 And The Los Angeles World Airport Police Department – Almost A Year Of Block-Headed Pointless Resource-Wasting Obstructionism – Delay – Lies – And So On – Even More Evidence That This City Badly Needs A Working CPRA Policy – Also Included – Instructions On How You Can Receive – By Mail Even – As Many Free USB Drives As You Want From The City Of Los Angeles

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