Tag Archives: CPRA 6254(a)

How I Finally — For Only The Second Freaking Time Ever — Got Advance Notice Of Some Homeless Encampment Sweeps From LA Sanitation Via The Public Records Act After Three Long Years Of Fighting With Them About It — And How They Told Me That I Couldn’t Look At The Next Day’s Schedule But Only Today’s — So I Showed Up At The Public Works Building This Morning At 7 AM And Eventually Did Get To See The Schedule — Which Is A Huge Breakthrough! — But It Also Became Clear That They Have Not Been Fully Honest In Their Claim That The Schedules Aren’t Produced In Advance — So The Next Phase Is To Get The Next Day’s Schedules Each Afternoon

I have been trying to use the California Public Records Act to get advance notice of homeless encampment sweeps for three years now. After a few months of arguing with LA Sanitation, in 2016 I actually managed to get a schedule one day in advance. I went out and filmed the whole thing, but then the City went back into full metal obstructionism and refused to hand over another advance schedule.

So I’ve been pushing them on it since then without making much progress. I did, however, get them to agree in principal that some of the records containing advance info about scheduled sweeps was not exempt from production. However, and frustratingly, this did not lead to my actually gaining access to schedules in advance. But in June of this year a lawyer, Michael Risher, agreed to help me out, and he evidently acted as a catalyst.

He wrote them a demand letter and they dragged their feet and dragged their feet but eventually did make various concessions, although still did not produce. One thing led to another, and we came to the conclusion that I would need to go to the Public Works Building in person and demand to see the schedule. I gave Sanitation notice that I would show up this morning at 7 am to look at today’s confirmation sheet.1 I showed up as promised, and after about 15 minutes of confusion with the guard, she let me go upstairs.
Continue reading How I Finally — For Only The Second Freaking Time Ever — Got Advance Notice Of Some Homeless Encampment Sweeps From LA Sanitation Via The Public Records Act After Three Long Years Of Fighting With Them About It — And How They Told Me That I Couldn’t Look At The Next Day’s Schedule But Only Today’s — So I Showed Up At The Public Works Building This Morning At 7 AM And Eventually Did Get To See The Schedule — Which Is A Huge Breakthrough! — But It Also Became Clear That They Have Not Been Fully Honest In Their Claim That The Schedules Aren’t Produced In Advance — So The Next Phase Is To Get The Next Day’s Schedules Each Afternoon

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Huge Release Of City Of Los Angeles Homeless Encampment Sweep Scheduling Emails Reveals Crucial Steps Of Planning Process — Including Scouting Reports — Time Estimates — Daily Schedules — Notice Posting — Obtained From LAHSA — This Is Essential And Fundamental Primary Source Material For Understanding The Encampment Sweep Scheduling Process — And Another Incremental Step Toward The Years-Long Struggle To Make Sweep Schedules Public

One of the most egregious ways in which the City of Los Angeles terrorizes and oppresses homeless human beings is with so-called encampment sweeps, in which City officials, guarded by police, swoop in and confiscate and dispose of people’s possessions, including in many cases life-essential materials such as medicine, official papers, tools, tents, bicycles, and so on.

This appalling practice has inspired a long chain of successful federal lawsuits against the City, the most recent one of which1 was filed on July 18, 2019.2 Human rights activists, for instance to name just a couple Streetwatch and Services Not Sweeps, have been trying for years to get advance notice of sweeps for many purposes, not least among which are monitoring and outreach to the victims.

Since 2016 I have also been trying to get the City to cough up advance notice via the California Public Records Act. I had one early success, thus proving that the concept at least could work, but since then the City has mostly ignored me. And even on one occasion worse than ignored me, they illegally denied me entry into the Public Works Building, thus preventing me from seeing advance schedules.3 I wrote about my progress a couple more times, once in October 2016 and again in November of that year. There haven’t been enough new developments since then for a post,4 until today, that is.

One of the key strategies in public records activism is making requests for the same materials from every possible agency that might hold records. This increases the odds of getting a complete set of responsive material in the face of obstruction.5 I have been working on getting access to sweep scheduling materials through LA Sanitation, who has ignored me since 2017, through LAPD, which is slightly better but still routinely takes up to a year to produce material, through various Council offices, the office of the Mayor, and so on.

But for some reason it never occurred to me before May 2019 to request records from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, which is also deeply implicated in the process of planning and carrying out sweeps. But request them then I did, and last week they released about 5% of a promised 16GB6 collection of emails between LAHSA operatives involved with sweeps and various complicit parties at the City of Los Angeles, and you can get your copies here on Archive.Org.
Continue reading Huge Release Of City Of Los Angeles Homeless Encampment Sweep Scheduling Emails Reveals Crucial Steps Of Planning Process — Including Scouting Reports — Time Estimates — Daily Schedules — Notice Posting — Obtained From LAHSA — This Is Essential And Fundamental Primary Source Material For Understanding The Encampment Sweep Scheduling Process — And Another Incremental Step Toward The Years-Long Struggle To Make Sweep Schedules Public

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An Unforced Error By Self-Proclaimed Hollywood Superlawyer Jeffrey Charles Briggs Provides Unique Insight Into The Thoroughly Cynical, Thoroughly Bogus Nature Of BIDs’ Use Of The Deliberative Process Exemption To The California Public Records Act — They Even Used It In One Case To Cover Up A Blatant Brown Act Violation

One of the biggest flaws in California’s Public Records Act is that the various local agencies that constitute our government are trusted to search their own records, decide without oversight what’s responsive to requests and, worst of all, decide what’s exempt from production. My general feeling about BIDs and record searches is that they purposely don’t find everything, about their exemption claims that they’re mostly lying.

Unfortunately, without a lawsuit, it’s not realistically possible to get a look at records for which they’ve claimed exemptions.1 Hence it’s not usually possible to check how closely this feeling corresponds to reality. However, due to an interesting confluence of events, I recently obtained a number of emails between various people at the Hollywood Media District BID for which their lawyer, Jeffrey Charles Briggs,2 had claimed exemptions, thus making it possible to compare his claims with the actual records. Unsurprisingly the exemption claims turned out to be 99\frac{44}{100}\% pure and unadulterated nonsense. You can find the emails and some analysis after the break, but first I’m going to ramble on a little about some tangentially related issues.

Like many policies, this default assumption of honesty on the part of local agencies no doubt works when it works, but when it comes to the BIDs of Los Angeles, who are staffed, for the most part, with the most unscrupulous bunch of pusillanimous chiselers ever to engorge their bloated reeking tummies at the public piggie trough, it doesn’t work at all.3 They lie, they confabulate, they delude themselves and others, and generally display utter and overweening contempt for the rule of law.4

And nowhere does their misbehavior reach a more fevered pitch than in the use of the so-called “deliberative process” exemption to the CPRA. In short, this is an exemption that courts have built up out of the “catch-all” exemption to CPRA, found at §6255(a), which says:
Continue reading An Unforced Error By Self-Proclaimed Hollywood Superlawyer Jeffrey Charles Briggs Provides Unique Insight Into The Thoroughly Cynical, Thoroughly Bogus Nature Of BIDs’ Use Of The Deliberative Process Exemption To The California Public Records Act — They Even Used It In One Case To Cover Up A Blatant Brown Act Violation

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A Potential Solution To A Perennial Problem At The Nexus Of Los Angeles Business Improvement Districts, The Municipal Lobbying Ordinance, And A Few Widely Abused Exemptions To The California Public Records Act

The life-cycle of a request for documents under the California Public Records Act goes like this: A member of the public asks to see records held by some agency. The agency has ten days1 to respond with a determination which states whether the agency has any such records and, if so, when the agency will be ready to hand them over.2 In general agencies are required to produce all requested records.

However, CPRA lists certain classes of records which are exempt from production. Some of these so-called exemptions are weirdly specific, e.g. at §6253.5 we read:

…statewide, county, city, and district initiative, referendum, and recall petitions … and all memoranda prepared by the county elections officials in the examination of the petitions indicating which registered voters have signed particular petitions shall not be deemed to be public records…

One of the two most important sections of CPRA with respect to exemptions is found at §6254, which consists of innumerable sections, each listing an exemption or a broad class of exemptions. And as completely in favor of absolute government transparency as I am, it’s clear that at least some of these are absolutely justified. For instance, §6254(r) exempts:

Records of Native American graves, cemeteries, and sacred places and records of Native American places, features, and objects … maintained by, or in the possession of, the Native American Heritage Commission, another state agency, or a local agency.

And there are sections which exempt such things as reports on vulnerabilities to terrorism, library circulation records, certain financial data that people are required by law to submit, and so on. These are mostly noncontroversial. Others, however, are much less defensible, at least as applied.
Continue reading A Potential Solution To A Perennial Problem At The Nexus Of Los Angeles Business Improvement Districts, The Municipal Lobbying Ordinance, And A Few Widely Abused Exemptions To The California Public Records Act

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