Tag Archives: CPRA 6255

Zillionaire Beverly Hills Developers Fig Crossing LLC Pledge Informally Not To Destroy Highland Park’s Beloved Tenochtitlan Mural — They Sent A Letter Apparently To The Historic HLP Neighborhood Council To This Effect — NC President Stephanie Maynetto-Jackson Seems To Have Shared This Letter With Some Folks But Refused To Share It With Others — Which If True Is An Outright Violation Of The California Public Records Act — We Have A Copy Of The Letter Though Because Gil Cedillo Got His Hands On It At Some Point — And Whatever His Other Flaws At Least His Staff Was Ultra-Compliant With The CPRA In This Particular Case

Tenochtitlan, The Wall That Speaks is one of the many murals in Highland Park threatened by gentrification. And HLP heroine Brenda Perez of Restorative Justice for the Arts organized a blessing ceremony, which took place last Sunday,1 to call attention to the peril into which the mural was tossed by Fig Crossing LLC’s recent purchase of the building.

The attention must have rattled the zillionaire Beverly Hills developers because the Thursday before the ceremony2 they had sent Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council President Stephanie Maynetto-Jackson a letter stating that they did not intend to destroy the mural after all.

Apparently Maynetto-Jackson shared this letter with at least one member of the public because it popped up here and there on social media and eventually made its way via the world’s oldest field deputy and famous CD1 attack toad Bill Cody to Gil Cedillo’s Instagram.

And as word spread, well, other people wanted to take a look at this letter as well. So it came to pass that Perez asked Maynetto-Jackson for a copy but Maynetto-Jackson told her sorry, no, it’s confidential, you can’t see it.

Now, it’s a common misconception about the California Public Records Act that there’s some kind of formal process required to make a request for records. This is totally wrong. All that’s required is that a member of the public ask someone who has control over the records to let them take a look at them.

That’s a request under the law and the public official is required to respond accordingly. In particular, according to §6255(a), if they’re not going to give access to the record they must cite an actual exemption from the CPRA that authorizes them to withhold it. And as you may have guessed, “confidential” is not one of these.3

So yeah, it sure looks like Stephanie Maynetto-Jackson broke the law by refusing to hand over the letter. And meanwhile, it’s nice to have an informal non-binding promise from the zillionaire developers not to mess up the mural, but an actual contract, something with some teeth, is necessary. Let’s see what develops, shall we?


Image of Stephanie Maynetto-Jackson is ©2020 MichaelKohlhaas.Org and then of course there’s one in every crowd.

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The AIDS Healthcare Foundation Filed A Public Records Suit Against The City Of Los Angeles In September 2019 – And Even Though The City Only Very Rarely Contests These CPRA Petitions They Are Contesting This One – Not Sure Why Though Given That AHF Asked For Fifteen Categories Of Records And The City’s Sole Defense Is Apparently That The California Supreme Court Said That Records In One Of Those Categories Are Exempt Under Certain Circumstances – Which Don’t Even Obviously Apply Here

This is just a short post to update you on the AIDS Healthcare Foundation‘s pending California Public Records Act petition against the City of Los Angeles. The petition was filed in September, and you can read about it some detail here. The short version is that the City put out a request for proposals for some housing stuff. AHF’s response was rejected. Subsequently AHF submitted a CPRA request asking for fifteen distinct categories of records related to the RFP process.1

One part of the request was for the other responses to the RFP. The others had to do with communications regarding the RFP, names, resumes, and conflicts of interests of the people who scored the responses, and so on. And the City denied the request with a characteristically terse non-sequitur, stating that: “[it] is our policy not to disclose materials related to competing bids while the contracting process is still ongoing.”

The City of Los Angeles, you may recall, fights very, very few CPRA petitions filed against it. Between 2016 and early 2019 they settled nine out of at least ten cases.2 I myself have filed eight cases against the City since last year and they’ve settled three of them, agreed to settle three others, and two are just beginning. But they’re not settling this one, or at least they’re buying some time before they do settle.3

And therefore on Monday, January 6, 2020, the City filed this answer to the petition. Answers in civil litigation can be notoriously devoid of content, and this one’s pretty much in line with that trend, what with the “to the extent that anything the petitioner said makes any sense respondent the City of Los Angeles denies it” and other such circumlocutions. But Bethelwel Wilson, the Deputy City Attorney who’s staffing the case, did include a couple fragments of substantial argument. In the first place, quoth Wilson:
Continue reading The AIDS Healthcare Foundation Filed A Public Records Suit Against The City Of Los Angeles In September 2019 – And Even Though The City Only Very Rarely Contests These CPRA Petitions They Are Contesting This One – Not Sure Why Though Given That AHF Asked For Fifteen Categories Of Records And The City’s Sole Defense Is Apparently That The California Supreme Court Said That Records In One Of Those Categories Are Exempt Under Certain Circumstances – Which Don’t Even Obviously Apply Here

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City Of Los Angeles Sued To Enforce Compliance With The California Public Records Act – I Asked The City Attorney For A Bunch Of Nuisance Abatement Demand Letters – Which Everybody Knows Are A Major Tool Of Gentrification – And Although The Lawsuits Filed By The City Are Public – It Is Impossible To Understand The Scope Of The Problem Without Seeing The Demand Letters – Since Surely Many If Not Most Of These Cases Don’t End Up In Court – But Deputy City Attorney Bethelwel Wilson Was All Like Naaaah! – So I Was All Like You’ve Been Served!

It occurred to me that maybe you might want a link to the petition right away without having to read through this whole damn blog post to get to it at the end. If so, here is a link to the petition!

The Office of the City Attorney of Los Angeles has a thing called the Citywide Nuisance Abatement Program, or CNAP,1 in which they use various civil laws to have tenants or property owners declared nuisances and evicted, required to put up security cameras and allow LAPD warrantless access to them, or other such conditions.

Often allegations of gang activity are involved. So just for instance, there’s this case against the Chesapeake Apartments on Obama Blvd between La Brea and Crenshaw. Or this smaller scale one against a woman with a house near 52nd and Vermont. Or this against a small apartment building near 56th and Western.

Most famously this year the City Attorney has been relentlessly pursuing such an action against Slauson and Crenshaw Ventures LLC, owned by the late Nipsey Hussle and his partner David Gross. The allegations against Hussle and Gross’s property seemed unsupported by evidence, though, and this is apparently not unusual.

This program and others like it have long been understood as part of the gentrification machine, particularly pernicious in Los Angeles. That is, the City can drive out tenants in rent stabilized apartments, or force property owners to install cameras and give LAPD unfettered access to them, or impose various other conditions to serve their ends. This lets landlords raise rents or forces residents to become essentially LAPD informants.
Continue reading City Of Los Angeles Sued To Enforce Compliance With The California Public Records Act – I Asked The City Attorney For A Bunch Of Nuisance Abatement Demand Letters – Which Everybody Knows Are A Major Tool Of Gentrification – And Although The Lawsuits Filed By The City Are Public – It Is Impossible To Understand The Scope Of The Problem Without Seeing The Demand Letters – Since Surely Many If Not Most Of These Cases Don’t End Up In Court – But Deputy City Attorney Bethelwel Wilson Was All Like Naaaah! – So I Was All Like You’ve Been Served!

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City Of Los Angeles Sued Yet Again To Enforce Compliance With The California Public Records Act – This Time Over Emails Concerning Various Matters Of Public Concern – Garcetti/Repenning/Morrison Conspiracy Against Selma Park – Wesson Corruption – Huizar Corruption – Less Than Two Weeks After Filing They Already Conceded Fault And Are Producing Documents – This Is No Way To Run A Damn City

I’m a little late in writing this up, but on December 9, with the able assistance of Abenicio Cisneros and Joseph Wangler I filed yet another petition under the California Public Records Act seeking to compel the City to follow the damn law and hand over a bunch of records I had asked for ever so long ago. And as they often will do, they actually started handing them over immediately, although I haven’t gotten the most interesting ones yet.

The petition covers three major requests,1 unrelated other than by the fact that they were all made to the City’s Information Technology Agency. These are the folks to file CPRA requests for emails with if you want MBOX format, which ultimately is the best way to get emails.2 ITA is also the sole source for emails in the accounts of former City employees. Here’s a link to the very interesting petition, worth reading for many reasons and also containing every last detail of the requests at issue, described more briefly below.

First is a request I first made in 20163 for emails having to do with Eric Garcetti when he was repping CD13, his staffers Heather Repenning and Helen Leung, and their conspiracy with Kerry Morrison, then-commander of the Hollywood Entertainment District BID, to illegally exclude homeless people from Selma Park in Hollywood.
Continue reading City Of Los Angeles Sued Yet Again To Enforce Compliance With The California Public Records Act – This Time Over Emails Concerning Various Matters Of Public Concern – Garcetti/Repenning/Morrison Conspiracy Against Selma Park – Wesson Corruption – Huizar Corruption – Less Than Two Weeks After Filing They Already Conceded Fault And Are Producing Documents – This Is No Way To Run A Damn City

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Interesting Public Records Suit Filed Against The City Of Los Angeles — By La Brea Willoughby Coalition — Concerning The Much Abused Exemption For Draft Materials — Which Really Needs To Be Cancelled — And The City Of LA’s Absolutely Phoned-In Boilerplate Reply — Ridiculous!

I just learned of an interesting public records suit filed in September 2019 by Venskus & Associates for the La Brea Willoughby Coalition against the City of Los Angeles. They’re fighting upzoning around the Purple Line extension, which I don’t understand enough to comment on. But irrespective of the merits1 of their cause the City of Los Angeles has repeatedly violated their right to due process in appeals and pretty much, as the City will do, every possible other arena.

And that extends to some requests for records that the Coalition made of the City for materials having to do with the Purple Line Transit Neighborhood Plan. And the City eventually produced more than 2000 pages of the wrong stuff, which is a favorite tactic of theirs. They also didn’t claim any exemptions. After almost a year of debate, during which the City finally did claim that some of the material sought was exempt, the Coalition brought this suit. You can read the petition and the City’s ridiculously inapropos reply on Archive.Org.

According to the petition the City wouldn’t produce some of the requested material because it contained drafts of the City’s upzoning policies. The City claimed, according to the petition, that:

[t]hese drafts represent preliminary ideas and thoughts related to the policy initiative and do not reflect that [sic] final policy direction provided by City management or the City’s decision makers. Producing such documents would create the real risk of the public being misinformed as to the components of the policy initiative. Through the release of various documents and through numerous public workshops, the public has been provided with staff’s initial recommendations related to this policy initiative and an opportunity to provide input on them. This process will continue until such time that staff finalizes its recommendations to the City’s decision makers.

Which is all fine and dandy, even if true, but these kinds of qualitative theories of why an agency might prefer not to release records are not enough under the CPRA to justify not releasing them. The law is very clear2 that an “agency shall justify withholding any record by demonstrating that the record in question is exempt under express provisions of this chapter”.

There’s also a so-called “catch all” exemption, found in the same sentence, that allows agencies to withhold records if “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.” Finally, there is an exemption, found at §6254(a), which allows agencies to withhold draft material with the same kind of public interest weighing test required by §6255(a),
Continue reading Interesting Public Records Suit Filed Against The City Of Los Angeles — By La Brea Willoughby Coalition — Concerning The Much Abused Exemption For Draft Materials — Which Really Needs To Be Cancelled — And The City Of LA’s Absolutely Phoned-In Boilerplate Reply — Ridiculous!

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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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This Is Not An Instant Replay! — In Fact It Is For Real A Whole New Lawsuit Against The City Of Los Angeles For Failure To Comply With The Public Records Act — And This One’s Against CD14 Just Like The One From Two Weeks Ago — Looking For Emails Between Richelle Huizar And City Staff — More Isaiah Calvin Nonsense — Claims It Is Clearly In The Public Interest To Withhold Her Emails — Maybe A Certain Segment Of The Public I Could Believe — That Segment Consisting Only Of Richelle And Jose Huizar — But The Rest Of Us Need To Read These Damn Emails! — And — You Know — I Am Betting That We Will!

Maybe you recall that about two weeks ago I was forced by the weirdly intransigent refusal of CD14 rep Jose Huizar’s staff to comply with even the most minimal requirements of the California Public Records Act into filing a petition in Los Angeles County Superior Court pleading with a judge to hang these blockheads by their toes in Grand Park until they freaking handed over the goods.

And because egregious, shameless, absolutely appalling noncompliance is a pattern and practice of these jokers over at CD14 well, today I was forced for the same reasons but a different request, to file yet another writ petition. You can get a copy here, written by the dogged and able Doug Ecks, who’s also handling my previous petition against Huizar’s office and who successfully handled a similar matter against Gil Cedillo earlier this summer.

Here I was seeking about three years of emails between Richelle Huizar and CD14 staff including Jose Huizar. Richelle Huizar was long seen as Jose Huizar’s anointed heir to the CD14 dynasty, but in the wake of his fairly super-sized legal problems she made the probably wise decision to withdraw from the race. And she wasn’t likely to be mere bycatch, either. Her position as a fundraiser for JH’s former high school was at the very center of the scandal.

So given her years-long embroilment in the ongoings at City Hall, and given the fact that everyone does everything by email these days, I thought it would be illuminating to take a look at these records. But alas, it was not to be. Jose Huizar staffer Isaiah Calvin eventually handed over a pathetic 51 pages of material, insanely redacted, obviously exceedingly, ludicrously incomplete.
Continue reading This Is Not An Instant Replay! — In Fact It Is For Real A Whole New Lawsuit Against The City Of Los Angeles For Failure To Comply With The Public Records Act — And This One’s Against CD14 Just Like The One From Two Weeks Ago — Looking For Emails Between Richelle Huizar And City Staff — More Isaiah Calvin Nonsense — Claims It Is Clearly In The Public Interest To Withhold Her Emails — Maybe A Certain Segment Of The Public I Could Believe — That Segment Consisting Only Of Richelle And Jose Huizar — But The Rest Of Us Need To Read These Damn Emails! — And — You Know — I Am Betting That We Will!

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The Story Of A Request For Emails From LAPD — And All The Ridiculous Reasons They Propounded For Not Producing — And How They Then Produced!

On January 13, 2019 I asked the Los Angeles Police Department for emails between CD13 staffer Dan Halden and any LAPD employee from January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2018. Yesterday, eight months later, they produced emails from October and November 2018 with the promise of more to come. How we got to this point is the subject of today’s post.1 Here’s what the request said exactly:

Per my rights under the California Public Records Act, please provide all correspondence between anyone who works in the Los Angeles Police Department AND daniel.halden@lacity.org, for the time period of January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2018. Correspondence is defined as all emails, texts or other communications.

To be honest, when I made this request in January 2019 I was expecting LAPD to refuse to produce the records on technical grounds,2 And on January 18, 2019 they did exactly that. They gave two separate and mutually contradictory reasons for refusing to produce.

First they told me that “[y[our request does not describe the records sought clearly enough to permit my staff to determine whether any responsive documents exist.” This claim is based on the CPRA at §6253(b), which requires of requests that they “reasonably [describe] an identifiable record or records”. LAPD’s second reason for refusing to produce was that it would be too much work:

A search of email communications and correspondence for “anyone who works in the Department” would be unduly burdensome for the Department as interpreted in the “public interest” provision of section 6255 of the Act, and would require a separate search of each individual email account of approximately 14,400 Department email accounts.

Continue reading The Story Of A Request For Emails From LAPD — And All The Ridiculous Reasons They Propounded For Not Producing — And How They Then Produced!

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Keith Yanov — Formerly General Counsel For Green Dot Charter Schools — Has “Transitioned To Private Practice” — Which Means He Quit Or Was Fired — And Given That It Was Almost Certainly His Decision To Follow The Law And Release That Massive Set Of Emails To Me In June — Revealing The Appalling Inner Workings Of The California Charter School Association — The World-Shaking Magnitude Of Which Is Still Only Barely Known — I would Venture A Guess That The Latter Is Not Impossible — Firing Someone For Following The Law Certainly Wouldn’t Be Out Of Character Over There At Green Dot — Or Any Of These Charter School Criminal Conspiracies For That Matter


It turns out that Yanov is still representing Green Dot in the matter discussed in this post. More details on Twitter:




On June 28, 2019, via the California Public Records Act, I received a massive set of emails1 from Green Dot Charter Schools. The release includes thousands of emails between Green Dot CEO Cristina de Jesus and various elite Los Angeles Area charter school thought leaders2 and their propaganda unit over at the California Charter School Association. And the staffer I had been dealing with for the few months prior to the release was Green Dot general counsel Keith Yanov.

Who was, as you can see by the fact that he actually handed over the records, very reasonable about the whole process. Take a look, if you’re interested, at the actual email in which he sent me the material. Yeah, true, it’s got some copypasta legalese, but he actually gave over, and as long as they do that I don’t care what kind of legalicious word salad they serve up as a side dish.

And then things really blew up, as you may already know. Howard Blume of the Los Angeles Times published two separate articles based on this material, the first one and the second one. The material revealed that Austin Beutner was letting the CCSA write his speeches for him and Nick Melvoin was letting them write actual board resolutions and also slipping them confidential info from LAUSD’s general counsel at the very same time that CCSA was suing LAUSD.
Continue reading Keith Yanov — Formerly General Counsel For Green Dot Charter Schools — Has “Transitioned To Private Practice” — Which Means He Quit Or Was Fired — And Given That It Was Almost Certainly His Decision To Follow The Law And Release That Massive Set Of Emails To Me In June — Revealing The Appalling Inner Workings Of The California Charter School Association — The World-Shaking Magnitude Of Which Is Still Only Barely Known — I would Venture A Guess That The Latter Is Not Impossible — Firing Someone For Following The Law Certainly Wouldn’t Be Out Of Character Over There At Green Dot — Or Any Of These Charter School Criminal Conspiracies For That Matter

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City Of Los Angeles Sued To Enforce Compliance With The California Public Records Act — In Particular CD11 Has Ignored My Requests For Months On End — Has Blown Through Their Self-Imposed Deadlines — And Are Likely Doing So To Hide Their Complicity In Planter-Placing In Venice — I Am Seeking Emails Between CD11 Staff And Angry Housedwellers — Twitter Blocks And Mutes — And Constituent Communications Done Via The “Romulus” Platform — Read The Masterful Petition Here! — And Confusion To Our Enemies!

Everybody knows about those damn planters in Venice, but we’re just beginning to learn the depth of the City’s complicity with the angry housedwelling planter-placers. And fairly recently I obtained some emails that proved that Mike Bonin’s staff, if not Bonin himself, have been very complicit indeed, which led me to file a complaint with the City Ethics Commission against one of them, Taylor Bazley.1

I obtained those emails by accident, in response to a request to the LAPD that I made for a fairly different reason, but I have actually been trying to get planter-related stuff from CD11 at least since December 2018 and have been completely, utterly, thoroughly, and even literally ignored by Mike Bonin’s staff since then. They have not produced a single record in response to my requests.

And, as you surely know by now, the legislature has left the people of California only one remedy to enforce their rights under this law, and that is to file a petition asking a judge to order the neglectful ones to get it together and comply. So that, this very day, is what I did with our friends at CD11. You can get a copy here, powerfully written by the incomparable Anna von Herrman, and there’s a transcription below.

Basically there are three classes of requests. First I asked for emails between CD11 staff and various suspects in the planter-placing and other anti-homeless psychopathy with some names culled from especially angry NextDoor comments. These included both Mark Ryavec and George Francisco.

Next, as part of a series I was working on at the time, I asked for a list of all official CD11 Twitter accounts and also lists of users blocked or muted by those accounts. And finally, I asked for data from CD11’s use of the so-called Romulus Constituent Services software, which someone had told me Bonin used to talk to people outside of more predictable channels like email.

This last request Krista Kline, Mike Bonin’s deputy chief of staff in charge of something shady, refused to fulfill, claiming that it was “overly voluminous,” and the others she initially promised to produce records in response to but then did not.2 All of this material is of great, practically incalculable, public interest with respect to not only the planters but also for understanding how the City decides which encampments to sweep, and many other things besides. So stay tuned for updates on events, and read some lengthy selections from the petition below.
Continue reading City Of Los Angeles Sued To Enforce Compliance With The California Public Records Act — In Particular CD11 Has Ignored My Requests For Months On End — Has Blown Through Their Self-Imposed Deadlines — And Are Likely Doing So To Hide Their Complicity In Planter-Placing In Venice — I Am Seeking Emails Between CD11 Staff And Angry Housedwellers — Twitter Blocks And Mutes — And Constituent Communications Done Via The “Romulus” Platform — Read The Masterful Petition Here! — And Confusion To Our Enemies!

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