Tag Archives: CPRA 6253(c)

LA City Sanitation Blatantly Lied In A Response To A CPRA Request For Information About Ride-Alongs With CARE/CARE+ Encampment Sweep Teams — They Said They Didn’t Do Ride-Alongs — But I Already Knew — And Could Prove — Using Evidence Produced By LA San In Response To Another Request — That They Did Before I Made The Request — This Kind Of Dishonest Nonsense Completely Derails Requests From People Who Don’t Know That They Lie About CPRA Requests All The Time — And Is The Zillionth Reason We So Badly Need A Municipal Sunshine Law In The City Charter

The City of Los Angeles famously and frequently violates the California Public Records Act. One of the most difficult-to-counter ways in which they do this is to deny that they have responsive records at all. It’s pernicious because the only recourse for violations is to file a petition in Los Angeles County Superior Court but the statute only authorizes petitions when:

it is made to appear by verified petition … that certain public records are being improperly withheld from a member of the public.1

That is, if the City says there are no records and there’s no evidence to the contrary it’s likely a judge will believe the City’s claim and deny the petition.2 Which means it’s often useful to have evidence that responsive records exist even before requesting them. It’s also really important to duplicate requests to as many City departments as may have copies, since they all have different search methods.3

Fairly regularly one City department will say that there are no responsive records while another one will produce proof that the first was lying. For a recent and spectacular example of this phenomenon take a look at this stunningly good Twitter thread from @LANCWatch.

Sometimes even the same department will produce proof that they themselves are lying, an example of which is the subject of today’s post! On June 19, 2021 I asked LA Sanitation for some information about ride-alongs on their CARE/CARE+ homeless encampment sweeps:
Continue reading LA City Sanitation Blatantly Lied In A Response To A CPRA Request For Information About Ride-Alongs With CARE/CARE+ Encampment Sweep Teams — They Said They Didn’t Do Ride-Alongs — But I Already Knew — And Could Prove — Using Evidence Produced By LA San In Response To Another Request — That They Did Before I Made The Request — This Kind Of Dishonest Nonsense Completely Derails Requests From People Who Don’t Know That They Lie About CPRA Requests All The Time — And Is The Zillionth Reason We So Badly Need A Municipal Sunshine Law In The City Charter

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Los Angeles Police Department Inspector General Mark Smith Is Supposed To Investigate LAPD To See That They Comply With The Law — Which Is Pretty Hypocritical Since His Office Intentionally And Egregiously Violates The California Public Records Act — Which Is A Violation Of Requesters’ Constitutional Rights — I Made A Request In September 2020 — His Staffer Julie Buchwald Had The Records Ready By October 2020 — She Messed Around And Didn’t Produce The Records Until April 16 2021 — If Smith Doesn’t Know That Buchwald Is A Liar And An Outlaw Then He’s Incompetent — If He Does Know He’s A Co-Conspirator — Either Way He Has No Business Whatsoever Overseeing Anything Related To Obeying The Law — Especially The Police — He Is A Hypocrite And Ought To Resign Immediately — He Probably Exonerates Every Cop He Investigates To Sooth His Conscience Over His Own Lawbreaking — Even Cops Ought To Refuse To Be Overseen By This Guy — Who At This Point Has Zero Credibility — Did I Mention He Ought To Resign?

On September 20, 2020, I sent a request for some old reports to Mark Smith, the Inspector General of the Los Angeles Police Department. On April 16, 2021 Smith produced the responsive records. This is the story of what happened in the seven months between the request and the production!1

On September 22, 2020, just two days after receiving my request, Police Commission Executive Director Richard Tefank emailed Deputy City Attorney Soraya Kelly who, along with Carlos De La Guerra, staffs CPRA requests for the Commission and the OIG. He wanted legal advice, and he had some very … colorful … ideas about my work:2

Good Morning Again Soraya,

So now I receive this email from [Kohlhaas].

From what he is doing to my office and the OIG I feel this guy is harassing us via CPRA requests. Is there any action that can be taken. Quite frankly I don’t have the time for these games.

Richard

It’s clear from this that Tefank and Mark Smith had been talking, and they weren’t happy with me! Their default attitude towards people who expect them to follow the law they voluntarily made themselves subject to is that they’re being harassed. Meanwhile, on September 29, 2020, precisely when required to do so by law, Smith sent me a letter claiming a 14 day extension to respond, in which he stated that he would in fact respond by October 13, 2020.3

And Tefank’s anxiety about my requests got worse! Just three days after Smith sent me that extension letter Tefank sent a heartbreakingly plaintive email to Smith,4 LAPD Constitutional Cop5 Lizabeth Rhodes, CPRA cops Bryan Lium and Marla Ciuffetelli, and a bunch of deputy city attorneys, including Soraya Kelly, Julie Raffish, Debra Gonzalez, and Carlos de la Guerra:
Continue reading Los Angeles Police Department Inspector General Mark Smith Is Supposed To Investigate LAPD To See That They Comply With The Law — Which Is Pretty Hypocritical Since His Office Intentionally And Egregiously Violates The California Public Records Act — Which Is A Violation Of Requesters’ Constitutional Rights — I Made A Request In September 2020 — His Staffer Julie Buchwald Had The Records Ready By October 2020 — She Messed Around And Didn’t Produce The Records Until April 16 2021 — If Smith Doesn’t Know That Buchwald Is A Liar And An Outlaw Then He’s Incompetent — If He Does Know He’s A Co-Conspirator — Either Way He Has No Business Whatsoever Overseeing Anything Related To Obeying The Law — Especially The Police — He Is A Hypocrite And Ought To Resign Immediately — He Probably Exonerates Every Cop He Investigates To Sooth His Conscience Over His Own Lawbreaking — Even Cops Ought To Refuse To Be Overseen By This Guy — Who At This Point Has Zero Credibility — Did I Mention He Ought To Resign?

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Mark Smith Is LAPD Inspector General — Here Is His Appointment Calendar For January Through March 2020 — And The Harrowing Story Of How I Managed To Obtain These Records Despite Smith’s Lies — And Deliberate Misstatements Of Law — And General Obstructionism — Smith Rehearses Before Police Commission Meetings — And It Looks Like He And The Commission Met With The California DOJ Outside Of A Noticed Public Meeting — Which Of Course Is Against The Law Completely — Smith’s Job Is To Enforce Constitutional Policing — His Compliance With The Public Records Act Is A Fundamental Constitutional Right — In California — How Can He Be Trusted To Protect One Set Of Constitutionally Guaranteed Rights While So Freely Violating Another?

Here are three months of LAPD Inspector General Mark Smith‘s appointment calendars. There’s a lot of interesting information in there, including what sure looks like a Brown Act violation by the Los Angeles Police Commission. And the story of how I obtained these records is also interesting! And is revealed below! But first, here’s a selection of Smith’s calendar entries with some comments on ones that interested me!
Continue reading Mark Smith Is LAPD Inspector General — Here Is His Appointment Calendar For January Through March 2020 — And The Harrowing Story Of How I Managed To Obtain These Records Despite Smith’s Lies — And Deliberate Misstatements Of Law — And General Obstructionism — Smith Rehearses Before Police Commission Meetings — And It Looks Like He And The Commission Met With The California DOJ Outside Of A Noticed Public Meeting — Which Of Course Is Against The Law Completely — Smith’s Job Is To Enforce Constitutional Policing — His Compliance With The Public Records Act Is A Fundamental Constitutional Right — In California — How Can He Be Trusted To Protect One Set Of Constitutionally Guaranteed Rights While So Freely Violating Another?

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Dr. Katie Sobczak Chau — Supreme Commander Of The Gentrifying Charter Conspiracy Known As El Rio Community School — Is Very Unhappy That She Is Required To Comply With The California Public Records Act — And She Seems To Think I’m A Big Meany For Asking For Records — And Maybe I Am A Big Meany But I’m Not The One Who Signed A Contract With LAUSD Agreeing To Comply With The CPRA — And I’d Rather Be A Meany Than A Whiner Who Whines About Having To Live Up To My Own Freely Made Promises — I Mean For The Sake Of Argument Only Of Course — Since I’m Not A Meany — Or At Least Not Because Of My CPRA Requests

All over the State of California local agencies are using the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse to deny the public access to records required by the California Public Records Act. I don’t, therefore, have nearly as much material to write about so in response I’m writing about the lack of records instead, and the various ways agencies deny access. Here are some earlier posts on this topic.

It’s well-known among requesters of public records that agencies don’t just violate the law, they don’t just ignore it or misunderstand it or willfully misinterpret it. They also whine about it constantly, they aggressively mischaracterize requesters to create the impression that the requests are the problem rather than the agency’s noncompliance, and so on.

Such behavior is bad enough when governments do it, but at least in the state of California numerous private corporations, if created by the government to carry out government functions, are also subject to the Public Records Act. These entities, mostly business improvement districts and charter schools, are not only subject to the CPRA by law but also due to contracts they sign with their authorizing governments.

It strikes me as especially egregious when such quasi-private entities whine about their CPRA obligations and gaslight requesters because they voluntarily agreed via contract to comply. This is a brief post to highlight a recent example involving the gentrification-enabling Highland Park charter conspiracy known as El Rio Community School. It’s not the most egregious instance I’ve encountered, but it’s straightforward, so a good illustration.
Continue reading Dr. Katie Sobczak Chau — Supreme Commander Of The Gentrifying Charter Conspiracy Known As El Rio Community School — Is Very Unhappy That She Is Required To Comply With The California Public Records Act — And She Seems To Think I’m A Big Meany For Asking For Records — And Maybe I Am A Big Meany But I’m Not The One Who Signed A Contract With LAUSD Agreeing To Comply With The CPRA — And I’d Rather Be A Meany Than A Whiner Who Whines About Having To Live Up To My Own Freely Made Promises — I Mean For The Sake Of Argument Only Of Course — Since I’m Not A Meany — Or At Least Not Because Of My CPRA Requests

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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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Metaphorically Mobbed-Up Charter School Lawyer Erica Klein Loses Her Mind In Response To My Request For Public Records – The Six Month – So Far! – Saga Revealed Here In All Its Mind-Numbingly Psychotic Detail! – Name Calling! – Lies! – Weirdo Obstructionism! – Legal Threats – And Ultimately Capitulation!


It’s astonishing to me even after more than five years of dedicated CPRA-ology the literal torrents of microaggressions, macroaggressions, evasions, lies, threats of retaliatory litigation, illegal demands for payment, and so on, that public agencies will unleash on unsuspecting citizens who try use the California Public Records Act to understand and influence these putatively public-serving offices, created by popular will to serve the needs of the people of California.

Their nuclear skunk-spray defense tactics are really successful against unsuspecting, unprepared, inexperienced requesters. So occasionally, in furtherance of my goal of empowering Angelenos1 to be able to use the CPRA as the exceedingly powerful tool of activism that it potentially is, I like to tell stories of my own experiences to expose, mock, and troll the bad actors, demystify and defang their tactics, and build solidarity among requesters.2 To remind you that you’re not alone and that when they’re screaming at you, threatening you, insulting you, aggressively billing you for zillions of dollars, you still have a constitutional right to get the damn records at no charge.3

And today, friends, do I have one heck of a story for you! Encompassing in a single episode an extraordinarily broad variety of popular obstruction tactics! With the added attraction of a LOL-U-mad-bro moment in which opposition lawyer Erica Klein, name partner of metaphorically mobbed-up charter law shyster conspiracy Hansberger & Klein, totally lost her already minuscule supply of what apparently passes for cool among the charter law conspiracy circles in which she moves, revealed in an extraordinarily explicit series of batshit psychotic emails!
Continue reading Metaphorically Mobbed-Up Charter School Lawyer Erica Klein Loses Her Mind In Response To My Request For Public Records – The Six Month – So Far! – Saga Revealed Here In All Its Mind-Numbingly Psychotic Detail! – Name Calling! – Lies! – Weirdo Obstructionism! – Legal Threats – And Ultimately Capitulation!

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Tom Waldman – Communications Director For CD2 Repster Paul Krekorian – Our Second Fashiest Councilmember – Has Raised Obstruction Of The California Public Records Act To A New Level – A Level Of Unrelenting – Mindless – Primordial – Paradigm Shifting – Neuron Rewiring – Self-Justifying – Psychopathy – Which Is A Stunning Accomplishment Given The Baseline Level Of Psychopathic Obstructionism That Pervades Every Possible Interaction Between The City Of Los Angeles And The Public Records Act – Here Is Tom Waldman’s Story!

The California Public Records Act gives every person access to official writings because, as the law itself tells us,1 “the Legislature … finds and declares that access to information concerning the conduct of the people’s business is a fundamental and necessary right of every person in this state.” And this isn’t just some random preamble to some random law. It is among the fundamental human rights enumerated in the California Constitution itself,2 which states that:

“The people have the right of access to information concerning the conduct of the people’s business, and, therefore, the meetings of public bodies and the writings of public officials and agencies shall be open to public scrutiny.”

Among the other fundamental rights enumerated in this same article are freedom of the press, of speech, of religion, the right to civilian control of the military, the prohibition of slavery, equal protection, habeas corpus, and so on.3 This right of access to public records, measured both intrinsically and by comparison with the company it keeps, is hugely important. Fundamental.

But nevertheless, the City of Los Angeles4 habitually, consistently ignores its duties under the CPRA, flouts this fundamental right in a way that they’d never think of doing with, e.g., the right to be free of slavery. And they don’t just ignore their duties, don’t just flout the law. They flout it in the stupidest, most arrogant, most flamboyant ways possible.
Continue reading Tom Waldman – Communications Director For CD2 Repster Paul Krekorian – Our Second Fashiest Councilmember – Has Raised Obstruction Of The California Public Records Act To A New Level – A Level Of Unrelenting – Mindless – Primordial – Paradigm Shifting – Neuron Rewiring – Self-Justifying – Psychopathy – Which Is A Stunning Accomplishment Given The Baseline Level Of Psychopathic Obstructionism That Pervades Every Possible Interaction Between The City Of Los Angeles And The Public Records Act – Here Is Tom Waldman’s Story!

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On September 20, 2019 The Aids Healthcare Foundation Filed A California Public Records Act Petition Against The City Of Los Angeles — Just Four Days After Receiving A Characteristically Inadequate Denial From The Office Of The Mayor — This Is A Necessary — And Laudable — And Entirely Appropriate Action — I Can Only Think Of Two Strategies For Encouraging The City To Consistently Comply With The CPRA — One Is For Us To Pass A Local Sunshine Ordinance — And Until That Happens We Have To Sue The Freaking Crap Out Of The City Immediately Every Time They Illegally Withhold Records — Like Freud Said — If They Don’t Pay They Won’t Get Better — So Yay AHF!

Yesterday the Aids Healthcare Foundation held a press conference announcing a lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles for its alleged and exceedingly plausible arbitrary and capricious denial of an AHF homeless housing project. This is an important lawsuit with a a powerful and convincing petition in support of AHF’s laudable efforts to house the unhoused in Los Angeles. It’s been well-covered in the press.

Not quite as well-covered is the fact that in September 2019, as part of the lead-up to that lawsuit, AHF sent a request to HCIDLA for public records related to the bidding process in which their project was rejected. HCIDLA rejected it with a message stating that the Mayor’s Office had the records and that AHF should send it there.1 They did so, and a few days later Garcetti’s office sent them a denial stating “[it] is our policy not to disclose materials related to competing bids while the contracting process is still ongoing.”

Now, the CPRA is very clear on the fundamental fact that unless there is an explicit reason given in the law for withholding a record, that record must be released to anyone who asks for it. This is found at §6255(a), which says that “The agency shall justify withholding any record by demonstrating that the record in question is exempt under express provisions of this chapter or that on the facts of the particular case the public interest served by not disclosing the record clearly outweighs the public interest served by disclosure of the record.”
Continue reading On September 20, 2019 The Aids Healthcare Foundation Filed A California Public Records Act Petition Against The City Of Los Angeles — Just Four Days After Receiving A Characteristically Inadequate Denial From The Office Of The Mayor — This Is A Necessary — And Laudable — And Entirely Appropriate Action — I Can Only Think Of Two Strategies For Encouraging The City To Consistently Comply With The CPRA — One Is For Us To Pass A Local Sunshine Ordinance — And Until That Happens We Have To Sue The Freaking Crap Out Of The City Immediately Every Time They Illegally Withhold Records — Like Freud Said — If They Don’t Pay They Won’t Get Better — So Yay AHF!

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City Of Los Angeles Concedes Defeat In My California Public Records Act Petition Based On Cedillo Staffer Mel Ilomin’s Wildly Unsupportable Exemption Claims — They Settled Up And Paid $4,720 In Fees And Costs — It Seems To Me Personally That It Would Be More Efficient Just To Follow The Damn Law From The Get-Go — Rather Than Paying $5K Every Time Some Council Staffer Feels Like Throwing His Toys From The Pram — But I Am Willing To Admit That I Have Zero Experience In Running Major Cities — So Perhaps This Loss Is A Net Win For The City In Some Inscrutable Way That We Amateurs Have No Hope Of Unscrewing — Concluding With An Unscientific Postscript On What Bethelwel Wilson’s Petulance Reveals About Some Ad Hoc Bullshit CPRA Obstructionism That Mike Dundas Made Up One Time

Recall that in June of this year I was forced by the utterly indefensible intransigence of Gil Cedillo staffer Mel Ilomin, who would persist in his bizarre claims that some emails between his office and LAPD were exempt from production under the California Public Records Act, to file a writ petition seeking to enforce my rights under that hallowed law. And less than a month later the City caved and produced a bunch of emails.

Which, as you may know, makes me the prevailing party which, as you also may know, means that the City must pay my attorney’s fees and the court costs, which they just recently did to the tune of $4,720, and here is a copy of the settlement agreement laying out the terms.1 And one of the tragic aspects of this basically silly little case is that they have not mended their ways in the least. City offices continue to make totally bogus exemption claims for which the only remedy is another suit. And if that’s what the City wants, well, I’m not going to be the one to disappoint them.

Oh, yes, the interesting thing about that settlement!2 So the CPRA imposes various duties on local agencies, local agency being something of a term of art in CPRA-ology3 meaning “entity subject to the CPRA.” Like for instance, when a local agency receives a request, the local agency must respond in ten days.4 And when a local agency once releases some records to any member of the public, then by law the local agency has thenceforth and for all time waived the possibility of claiming exemptions and must therefore release that same record to anyone who asks for it.5
Continue reading City Of Los Angeles Concedes Defeat In My California Public Records Act Petition Based On Cedillo Staffer Mel Ilomin’s Wildly Unsupportable Exemption Claims — They Settled Up And Paid $4,720 In Fees And Costs — It Seems To Me Personally That It Would Be More Efficient Just To Follow The Damn Law From The Get-Go — Rather Than Paying $5K Every Time Some Council Staffer Feels Like Throwing His Toys From The Pram — But I Am Willing To Admit That I Have Zero Experience In Running Major Cities — So Perhaps This Loss Is A Net Win For The City In Some Inscrutable Way That We Amateurs Have No Hope Of Unscrewing — Concluding With An Unscientific Postscript On What Bethelwel Wilson’s Petulance Reveals About Some Ad Hoc Bullshit CPRA Obstructionism That Mike Dundas Made Up One Time

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