Tag Archives: Emails

Last Year Gavin Newsom Vetoed Assemblymember Todd Gloria’s Absolutely Essential Email Retention Bill — But Gloria Reintroduced It The Other Day And It Looks Like The Fight Is On Again! — The Los Angeles Sunshine Coalition Submitted A Letter In Support And You — Being Sane — Should Submit One As Well! — The Idiotic And Dishonest Letters Of Opposition Are Already Rolling In!

Perhaps you remember last year’s Assembly Bill AB1184, introduced by government transparency hero Representative Todd Gloria, dishonestly opposed by a bunch of mendacious business improvement districts and other shills with a lot to hide, and ignominiously vetoed by California Governor Gavin Newsom at the behest of lobbyists hired by the bad BIDdies and their enablers? Well, Gloria reintroduced it this year, and here we go again!

The new number is AB2093, and perhaps this time the forces of good and right will be able to overcome the nonsensical objections and get this baby passed. The Los Angeles Sunshine Coalition submitted a letter in support today, and you and/or your organizations can submit one as well! Send to Raquel Mason via email at raquel.mason@asm.ca.gov.

It’s expected to go to committee in March so it’s not urgent, but it’s also not not urgent, so don’t dilly-dally! And read on for a transcription of the letter sent by the LASC. Oh, and also! The dishonest opposition has already begun. Behold an idiotic form letter of opposition sent by some random special district somewhere north of Pacoima. Too dumb to analyze, but maybe worth a glance?
Continue reading Last Year Gavin Newsom Vetoed Assemblymember Todd Gloria’s Absolutely Essential Email Retention Bill — But Gloria Reintroduced It The Other Day And It Looks Like The Fight Is On Again! — The Los Angeles Sunshine Coalition Submitted A Letter In Support And You — Being Sane — Should Submit One As Well! — The Idiotic And Dishonest Letters Of Opposition Are Already Rolling In!

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The Charter School Industry Famously Wants To Shut Down Schools That Don’t Measure Up To Various Putatively Objective Standards — Part Of Their Narrative Of Government Inefficiency — Lack Of Incentives To Excel — The Usual Nonsense — And — Apparently To Demonstrate Ideological Consistency Or Something — Each Year The California Charter School Association Picks A Few Charter Schools And Publicly Advocates For Their Closure — In 2017 They Targeted Lou Dantzler Elementary School — A Co-Located South LA School Run By White Savior Charter Conspiracy The Inner City Education Foundation — But ICEF Unilaterally Closed The School Rather Than Undergo The Humiliation Of CCSA Openly Calling For Its Closure — Never Mentioned In The Discussion — The Trauma And Disruption In The Students’ Lives Caused By The High-Level Politicking Of These Charter School Geniuses — It’s Almost As If That Kids First Nonsense Is Nothing More Than Empty Sloganeering

One argument we see over and over and over again from school privatizers is that charter schools are more effective than public schools because public schools are not accountable for their performance. Because their funding, their very existence, are guaranteed by the government they have no incentive to improve.

That last sentence, by the way, reads very easily even without an explicit statement of what it is, according to privatizer propaganda, that the public schools don’t have an incentive to improve. Which is a sign of how thoroughly public discourse about public schools has been shaped by the charter school industry.

There’s no satisfying answer to this question of what public schools need to improve, at least not one that satisfies anyone who sees children, students, as actual human beings, of fully equal value to every one of the disrupting grifters corruptly siphoning off billions in public funds meant to educate these kids.

Privatizers try to make this narrative hang together by using vague nouns like “outcomes,” “results,” “accountability.” What is it that public schools need to be accountable for improving? Outcomes and results! But the story doesn’t really work, not to the extent that they need it to work, without there being some concrete, some superficially objective,1 way to measure this putative non-improvance.

The technical details of the actual metrics don’t matter much since all that’s needed to serve the purpose is a bunch of numbers. You can read about them here online if you want to but feel free not to as they’re all lies and also quite boring. And the flip side of this narrative is that charter schools are nimble2 and run like businesses3 unlike the public schools they’re out to destroy. To really underscore this last point it turns out to be politically expedient for charter proponents to once in a while toss one of their schools off the sleigh to be devoured by the hungry wolves that follow.

Which is exactly what the mainline charter conspiracy does in California. The California Charter School Association, premiere privatizer lobbying conspiracy, has a program called Public Calls for Non-Renewal whose sole purpose is to pick off a few schools each year that miss their benchmarks and publicly, that is in front of the authorizing entities, advocate against their targets being renewed. They openly justify this program, this process with an appeal to nothing more than its political expedience for their movement:

We applaud the many charter schools that are among the highest-performing schools in the state. However, we believe that a small number of chronically underperforming charter schools threatens the overall success of the broader charter school movement.

And this is a really disconcerting position to be taken by people who will not for an instant shut up about how they put kids first, how they’re the most overwhelmingly efficient educators in history, how they are the only ones who can save children from the horrors of government incompetence. This kind of realpolitik calculus is fine4 when all the parties involved are adults, are responsible and able to look after their own interests. But real human children are gravely harmed when their schools close down.
Continue reading The Charter School Industry Famously Wants To Shut Down Schools That Don’t Measure Up To Various Putatively Objective Standards — Part Of Their Narrative Of Government Inefficiency — Lack Of Incentives To Excel — The Usual Nonsense — And — Apparently To Demonstrate Ideological Consistency Or Something — Each Year The California Charter School Association Picks A Few Charter Schools And Publicly Advocates For Their Closure — In 2017 They Targeted Lou Dantzler Elementary School — A Co-Located South LA School Run By White Savior Charter Conspiracy The Inner City Education Foundation — But ICEF Unilaterally Closed The School Rather Than Undergo The Humiliation Of CCSA Openly Calling For Its Closure — Never Mentioned In The Discussion — The Trauma And Disruption In The Students’ Lives Caused By The High-Level Politicking Of These Charter School Geniuses — It’s Almost As If That Kids First Nonsense Is Nothing More Than Empty Sloganeering

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When Protesters Shut Down Extera Charter Schools’ March 2019 Board Meeting They Criticized Extera For Taking Money From Privatizing Walton/Broad Front Group Great Public Schools Now – And Doctor Jim Kennedy Tacitly Accepted The Validity Of Their Criticism By Mumbling Non-Denials About How Extera Had Not Yet Accepted Any GPSN Money – But Emails Obtained Via The CPRA And Published Here Show That Even While Kennedy Was Mumbling His Mumbles – Even Then – Extera Was Actively Seeking GPSN’s Money – With The Active Support Of CCSA – To Support Their Expansion Into The Montebello Unified School District – In Other Words Precisely The Kind Of Colonial Charterism Opposed By The Protesters – Showing The Utter Dishonesty Of Kennedy’s Claims

So you probably heard about how activists from Centro CSO and the United Teachers of Los Angeles and Eastside Padres Unidos Contra la Privatizacion protested vigorously and shut down the March 19, 2019 meeting of the Extera Charter Conspiracy Board of Directors to express their opposition to Extera’s colonial co-location at Eastman Avenue Elementary School in Boyle Heights.

And one of the key exchanges was between a protester, whose name I don’t know, and self-proclaimed doctor and supreme Extera commander Jim Kennedy, and you can watch it here.1 The backstory is that Corri Ravare had been talking previously about how Extera was getting some money from famous Walton/Broad privatizing front organization Great Public Schools Now, which, as the protester notes, is extraordinarily revealing with respect to which team Extera plays for.2

The protester called Dr. Jim Kennedy out on this and he denied that they had taken any money from GPSN: “At this point we have not …” But the truth, as the protester said, is that Corri Ravare had already “said we pretty much have the money.” And the problem with this? Well, clearly, it is that “Great Public Schools Now have declared themselves an enemy of public education. Those are the people we have to work against because they are selling out our public schools to Eli Broad and the Walton Foundation.”

She’s absolutely right about that, of course, and Doctor Jim Kennedy seems to understand that, or at least to realize that Extera’s association with GPSN doesn’t look so good. No doubt this is why he went on to tell her straight out that “[Extera has] not yet accepted that money.” But, as you may already have guessed, Doctor JK is being extraordinarily deceptive here with his mumbled half-denials. In fact Extera had been actively pursuing money from GPSN since December 2018, four months before the date of this meeting.
Continue reading When Protesters Shut Down Extera Charter Schools’ March 2019 Board Meeting They Criticized Extera For Taking Money From Privatizing Walton/Broad Front Group Great Public Schools Now – And Doctor Jim Kennedy Tacitly Accepted The Validity Of Their Criticism By Mumbling Non-Denials About How Extera Had Not Yet Accepted Any GPSN Money – But Emails Obtained Via The CPRA And Published Here Show That Even While Kennedy Was Mumbling His Mumbles – Even Then – Extera Was Actively Seeking GPSN’s Money – With The Active Support Of CCSA – To Support Their Expansion Into The Montebello Unified School District – In Other Words Precisely The Kind Of Colonial Charterism Opposed By The Protesters – Showing The Utter Dishonesty Of Kennedy’s Claims

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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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Even Though Gavin Newsom — At The Behest Of A Bunch Of Bad BIDdies With Dark And Bloody Secrets To Keep — Vetoed Todd Gloria’s Essential Email Retention Bill — The Question Of Whether Existing Law Already Requires Local Agencies To Retain Emails For Two Years Is Potentially Up Before The California Supreme Court — The Electronic Frontier Foundation And A Host Of Other Government Transparency Advocates Urge The Court To Accept The Case And Find That The Law Does In Fact Prohibit These Book Burners From Destroying Public Records — Here’s A Copy Of The Amicus Letter — And A Little Assorted Ranting Of My Own On This Essential Topic

As you may know, email retention policies among public agencies in California are a mess, with agencies claiming, however implausibly, that they automatically delete emails very rapidly, sometimes even immediately on receipt. This would seem to run afoul of the law at Government Code §34090, which states pretty clearly that cities are not to delete public records less than two years old. And the California Public Records Act at §6252(g) explicitly defines the phrase “public records” to include emails.

But cities and other local agencies such as business improvement districts along with their legal minions have cooked up amongst themselves a theory that emails aren’t covered by §34090 unless they make some kind of specific effort to retain them, like for instance printing them out and putting them in a drawer. This is the kind of theory, very popular among CPRA-subject agencies, that no one actually believes is valid. It’s only meant to hold up in court long enough for the agency to avoid sanctions for flouting the law.

And this year Assemblymember Todd Gloria tried to strangle this nonsense in its metaphorical crib with his AB-1184, which would have clarified that agencies are required to retain emails for two years just like every other kind of record. But agencies lobbied hard against this bill, pushing the narrative that retaining emails for two years would cost too much money. The bill passed the legislature anyway, but our feckless governor vetoed it and essentially let the agencies write his idiotic veto message.

That such a law is essential is not only obvious in theory, but the incredibly dishonest behavior of various local agencies shows how important it is in our very specific practical context.1 So for instance, here behold the entire Board of Directors of the entire Fashion District BID swearing under oath no less that they delete all BID-related emails on receipt and that’s why they don’t ever produce them in response to CPRA requests. And the judge believed them, although he admitted that the whole story was implausible. But no evidence controverted it.
Continue reading Even Though Gavin Newsom — At The Behest Of A Bunch Of Bad BIDdies With Dark And Bloody Secrets To Keep — Vetoed Todd Gloria’s Essential Email Retention Bill — The Question Of Whether Existing Law Already Requires Local Agencies To Retain Emails For Two Years Is Potentially Up Before The California Supreme Court — The Electronic Frontier Foundation And A Host Of Other Government Transparency Advocates Urge The Court To Accept The Case And Find That The Law Does In Fact Prohibit These Book Burners From Destroying Public Records — Here’s A Copy Of The Amicus Letter — And A Little Assorted Ranting Of My Own On This Essential Topic

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My Public Records Act Lawsuit Against The City Of Los Angeles — CD11 In Particular — Is Settled — The City Handed Over The Records And Will Pay My Attorney $12K For Her Trouble — Gotta Wonder Why They Think This Is Better Than Just Complying With The Law

Maybe you remember that in June of this year I was forced by the unhinged intransigence of various CD11 staffers with respect to compliance with the public records act, with the able assistance of the incomparable Anna von Herrmann, to file suit against the City of Los Angeles. The issue was over emails mostly involving planters illegally placed on the public sidewalks of Venice by the usual Klown Kar Krew of psychopathic housedwellers, aided and abetted in their absolute flouting of the law by various CD11 staff members.

And unlike e.g. the Venice Beach BID, at least the City of Los Angeles knows when they’re beat and they started handing over records immediately. And although I still have some issues with the City’s compliance, especially over the formats in which they choose to produce emails, this wasn’t the time to fight those battles, and they do at least know when they’re beat.

A lot of the material they produced in response to this suit was quite important. Not least e.g. was this story about how former and not-really-well-missed Bonin staffie Taylor Bazley not only abetted angry housedwellers in another crazed anti-homeless hostile landscaping project but even discouraged them from planting trees because, spake Bazley, homeless people like shade.

And just recently the settlement agreement was finalized, and you can get your copy here. As is the way with such material it’s really not that interesting. But there is one really interesting bit and that is that the City of Los Angeles agreed to pay von Herrmann $12,665 for her labors.
Continue reading My Public Records Act Lawsuit Against The City Of Los Angeles — CD11 In Particular — Is Settled — The City Handed Over The Records And Will Pay My Attorney $12K For Her Trouble — Gotta Wonder Why They Think This Is Better Than Just Complying With The Law

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Mike Bonin Has Recently Produced Hundreds Of Megabytes Of Emails In Response To My Public Records Suit Against His Office — Here Are Links To All Of Them — Along With Some Well-Deserved Mockery And A Transcription Of A Housedweller Rant By Venice Physician Melvin Scheer — Slightly Unique In That It Explicitly Links The Olympics With Homeless Displacement — And Possibly With Mass Slaughter — “Mexico City Style”

In June of this year I was forced to file yet another lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles to enforce my rights under the California Public Records Act in the face of their habitual reflexive intransigence, this time against CD11 over emails having to do with those goddamned planters. Well, as I have already reported, the City caved immediately and began handing over records.

And just recently I got another set of goodies from them with a little bit of interesting stuff in it, so I thought it was time to catch you all up on the story, provide links to the goodies, and mock and shame yet another unhinged homeless-hating housedweller, this one seemingly promoting Mexico City style mass killings by the Olympics Committee.1

Let’s start with the links. These are all the emails at issue in this suit that I’ve received so far. They’re not in any kind of order, and, as usual, the City has engaged in its usual passive aggressive scrambling, crooked scanning, chronological disordering, and so on, so, by design, they’re pretty much impossible to sort through and understand globally. But they’re still worth reading, of course! There’s a lot of material here, downloadable via bittorrent if that’s the way your pleasure tends, or by straight links:
Continue reading Mike Bonin Has Recently Produced Hundreds Of Megabytes Of Emails In Response To My Public Records Suit Against His Office — Here Are Links To All Of Them — Along With Some Well-Deserved Mockery And A Transcription Of A Housedweller Rant By Venice Physician Melvin Scheer — Slightly Unique In That It Explicitly Links The Olympics With Homeless Displacement — And Possibly With Mass Slaughter — “Mexico City Style”

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City Of Los Angeles Sued Yet Again To Enforce Compliance With The Public Records Act — This Time It’s Over CD14’s Obstinate Refusal To Produce Emails Between Staffer Joella Hopkins And Various City Officials — Mostly Having To Do With Homeless Issues — CD14 Commo Deputy Isaiah Calvin Risibly Claimed That Dozens If Not Hundreds Of Emails Were Exempt As Attorney Client Privileged — But I Obtained Some Of These From Other Sources And — He’s Lying — Or Confused — Or Both — But That Doesn’t Matter Under The Law — Hence This Petition

This is just a very quick note to announce that due to CD14’s well-known and weirdly intransigent refusal to comply with even the most minimal mandates of the California Public Records Act I have been forced to file a writ petition against these outlaw City officials seeking to enforce my constitutional right to read their damn emails.

On December 30, 2018 I asked Paul Habib and some other Huizar staffies for “emails between joella.hopkins@lacity.org or ari.simon@lacity.org and at least one of 34490@lapd.online or 32511@lapd.online or gita.oneill@lacity.org or kurt.knecht@lacity.org.” Note that the two police there are Marc Reina and Deon Joseph respectively. They hummed, hemmed, hawed, and noped and eventually produced 62 pages of ludicrously incomplete emails. For instance, they produced the first page of a 14 page thread about Night on Broadway but not the other 13 pages. And crazy stuff like that.

And they claimed, possibly due to the inclusion of Deputy City Attorneys Gita O’Neill and Kurt Knecht in my request, that they had withheld some material under the attorney/client privilege. But you know, and this is good CPRA practice, when possible I like to hit up as many agencies as possible for the same or overlapping material. It’s the best way not only to get complete sets of stuff but also to check whether responses are honest. And, sadly, often they are not.
Continue reading City Of Los Angeles Sued Yet Again To Enforce Compliance With The Public Records Act — This Time It’s Over CD14’s Obstinate Refusal To Produce Emails Between Staffer Joella Hopkins And Various City Officials — Mostly Having To Do With Homeless Issues — CD14 Commo Deputy Isaiah Calvin Risibly Claimed That Dozens If Not Hundreds Of Emails Were Exempt As Attorney Client Privileged — But I Obtained Some Of These From Other Sources And — He’s Lying — Or Confused — Or Both — But That Doesn’t Matter Under The Law — Hence This Petition

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Council District 8 Rep Marqueece Harris-Dawson Has A Private Gmail Account That He Uses To Conduct City Business — And His Chief Of Staff Solomon Rivera Uses City Resources To Arrange For Harris-Dawson To Purchase Rams Tickets — Straight From Joe Furin — The General Manager Of The Coliseum — And A Bunch Of Other Interesting Emails From CD8!

Council District 8 representative Marqueece Harris-Dawson has a private Gmail account at mharrisdawson@gmail.com that he uses to conduct official business. In this practice he is, sadly, not at all alone. Earlier investigations have revealed that at least four other City Councilmembers and one high-ranking LAPD officer use private email addresses in this way:

Mitch O’Farrell
David Ryu
Gil Cedillo
Greig Smith
Cory Palka

I learned about this from this June 2016 email conversation between Harris-Dawson’s chief of staff Solomon Rivera, his senior field deputy for Baldwin Hills and surrounding areas Dina Andrews,1 and Harris-Dawson himself at the Gmail address. This email, by the way, is part of a small but juicy set I got today from Rivera. You can browse the whole thing here on Archive.Org.

The subject matter of this particular email isn’t that interesting.2 It has to do with former actor Bennett Liss trying to get Harris-Dawson to be interviewed for a documentary directed by Liss’s son about how to cure homelessness by selling the backs of freeway signs for advertising.3 But what is of the utmost interest, of course, is that Andrews doesn’t use an lacity.org email address to communicate with Harris-Dawson. Instead she uses his Gmail address.

The use of private email addresses by public officials is a shameful and secretive practice, and ought to be, if it isn’t already, illegal. Fortunately the 2017 California Supreme Court opinion in City of San Jose v. Superior Court held that such emails were public records, no matter what kind of account they’re in or device they’re on,4 but in order to apply that holding it’s necessary to find the accounts in the first place. I have found a bunch of them, but it’s painful and time-consuming work.

Bunches of creepy Trumpian fascists are rightly and regularly criticized in the national press for exactly the same practice, and yet, at least so far, this is a complete nonstory in Los Angeles.5 And this is far from the only interesting item in this set. Just for instance, there’s a conversation between Rivera and Joe Furin, general manager of the Coliseum, and Sherry Caldwell, the Coliseum’s director of ticketing, trying to arrange for a pair of Rams tickets for Harris-Dawson to purchase at $255 each. Oh, and after all the talk, Harris-Dawson doesn’t even end up wanting the tickets!
Continue reading Council District 8 Rep Marqueece Harris-Dawson Has A Private Gmail Account That He Uses To Conduct City Business — And His Chief Of Staff Solomon Rivera Uses City Resources To Arrange For Harris-Dawson To Purchase Rams Tickets — Straight From Joe Furin — The General Manager Of The Coliseum — And A Bunch Of Other Interesting Emails From CD8!

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Interim Councilmember Greig Smith Has A Private Email Address — Conducts City Business Through It — citycouncilguy@yahoo.com — For Instance — Among Other Pretty Sleazy Things — Uses It To Communicate With Lobbyists At Englander Knabe & Allen — Founded By Harvey Englander — Uncle Of Smith’s Predecessor And Protege Mitch Englander — Like A Whole Trump Family Incestuous Secret Email Vibe Going On Out There In The Damn Valley Innit?!

With yesterday’s revelations that Betsy De Vos and seven other members of the Trump administration are being investigated by the House Oversight Committee for their illegal, unethical, appalling, and hypocritical use of private email addresses to conduct public business I thought it was a good time to catch you all up on the state of my investigation into private email use by our own local City Council folks, precisely none of whom are being investigated by anyone for this specific transgression.1

Previously I discovered and revealed that Mitch O’Farrell, David Ryu, and Gil Cedillo all have privately controlled email accounts through which they conduct City business. Jose Huizar also does this, but I didn’t break that story, the FBI did.2 And today, thanks to a huge set of emails I recently received from the ever-courtly Colin Sweeney, director of communications over at CD12, I can, for the first time of which I am aware, break the news that the name of Sweeney’s current boss, the infamous Greig Smith, belongs right smack on that list as well.

The email address in question is citycouncilguy@yahoo.com. The set linked to above only contained a few examples of Smith’s use of this email address to conduct City business, but then I only picked them up by accident. Thanks, as we know, to the monumental 2017 opinion in City of San Jose v. Superior Court, these emails are public records in themselves. Of course I have a request in already for the rest of them, but I imagine it could be a long process. Or maybe not, we’ll certainly see! Read on for links to the emails along with some commentary.
Continue reading Interim Councilmember Greig Smith Has A Private Email Address — Conducts City Business Through It — citycouncilguy@yahoo.com — For Instance — Among Other Pretty Sleazy Things — Uses It To Communicate With Lobbyists At Englander Knabe & Allen — Founded By Harvey Englander — Uncle Of Smith’s Predecessor And Protege Mitch Englander — Like A Whole Trump Family Incestuous Secret Email Vibe Going On Out There In The Damn Valley Innit?!

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