Tag Archives: Gil Cedillo

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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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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How Downtown Neighborhood Prosecutor Tia Strozier — And LAPD Officer Elizabeth Ortega — And CD1 Council Staffer Ricardo Flores — And Albert Torres of Rec And Parks Police — And A Bunch Of Other Housedwelling City Officials — Used The Full Force Of The Municipal Power Entrusted To Them For Legitimate Purposes To Target Unhoused Chinatown Resident Theo Henderson — Just Because Unhinged Racist Psychopathic Rageball — And Director Of The Chinatown Business Improvement District — George Yu — Asked Them To

So yesterday I went all over the damn City fetching public records from various agencies and told the story in this Twitter thread. And one of my stops was at the City Attorney’s office in City Hall East where I was menaced by a cop and subjected to extensive elevator therapy and then no one knew where the records were so I had to leave and then come back and finally I got them! And now you can get them too, right here on Archive.Org!

What I asked for here were emails to and from Tia Strozier, who is a newly appointed neighborhood prosecutor in Downtown Los Angeles. In that role, despite the mendacious utopian rhetoric of her lying boss Mike Feuer, she mostly works as an abject minion to business improvement districts and other zillionaire-facing organizations, her main job being to direct the full majesty of the law against whoever the zillionares desire, mostly homeless human beings who happen to live within the effective range of the considerable legal weaponry at her disposal.

One such person is Theo Henderson, a resident of Chinatown who, for reasons best known to the imaginary psychiatrist of unhinged racist1 psychopathic rageball and Chinatown BID kingpin George Yu, found himself squarely in the crosshairs of Yu’s rage. So much so, in fact, that activist residents of Chinatown rallied around Henderson, among other things, starting a Facebook group to discuss his plight.

And the story that these newly-obtained emails tell about George Yu, Tia Strozier, and the toxic misuse of municipal power, is not a pretty story. It shows Strozier marshalling her resources, convening meetings with Yu, other BIDdies, LAPD officer Elizabeth Ortega and other cops, City officials from Recreation and Parks, Ricardo Flores from CD1 representative Gil Cedillo‘s office, and so on, to discuss how to persecute Henderson.

And perhaps the most offensive part of this offensive, possibly unlawful, series of events is Strozier’s weaponization of the language of compassion, so common and yet still so appalling, among anti-homeless forces in Los Angeles, evinced here in her repeated insistence that she’s arranging for “outreach” for Henderson when it’s clear from the context that what she means by “outreach” is ultimately forcible removal from Chinatown, his neighborhood, where he lives. Anyway, read on for links, transcriptions, and so on!
Continue reading How Downtown Neighborhood Prosecutor Tia Strozier — And LAPD Officer Elizabeth Ortega — And CD1 Council Staffer Ricardo Flores — And Albert Torres of Rec And Parks Police — And A Bunch Of Other Housedwelling City Officials — Used The Full Force Of The Municipal Power Entrusted To Them For Legitimate Purposes To Target Unhoused Chinatown Resident Theo Henderson — Just Because Unhinged Racist Psychopathic Rageball — And Director Of The Chinatown Business Improvement District — George Yu — Asked Them To

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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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News About My CPRA Suit Against The City Of Los Angeles Concerning Emails Between CD1 And LAPD — The City Has Abandoned Its Exemption Claims And Provided More Than 200 Pages Of Records — Which Is Good News On The Prevailing Party Front — And At Least One Of The Newly Released Emails Is Exceedingly Important — Not To Mention Appalling — Shows Gil Cedillo’s Deputy District Director Jose Rodriguez Calling In A Homeless Encampment Sweep — In February 2019 — At The Explicit Behest Of Sociopathic Developer Trammell Crow — Because The Mere Presence Of Displaceable Homeless Human Beings Was Interfering With A Project Schedule — Senior Vice President And Failed Screen Actor Alex Valente Has A Lot To Answer For — As Does Gil Freaking Cedillo — And Jose Rodriguez — And Everyone Else Involved In This Abuse Of Municipal Power

There are two parts to today’s story. First, recall that last month I was forced by the arbitrary, pointless, and utterly inscrutable intransigence of Gil Cedillo‘s Senior Policy Deputy Mel Ilomin to file yet another writ petition against the City of Los Angeles seeking to enforce compliance with the California Public Records Act. And I have some excellent news about this, which is that yesterday the City completely abandoned its indefensible exemption claims and produced more than 200 pages of material responsive to the request at issue. It came to me in two PDFs, which you can get copies of here:

CPRA emails part 1.pdf

CPRA emails part 2.pdf

You might recall that Ilomin, completely backstopped by ought-to-know-better Deputy City Attorney Strefan Fauble, had claimed that every single one of these emails was exempt due to that putative deliberative process nonsense that the City of Los Angeles loves so well. And I won’t belabor the details, but if you read through the yield, you’ll see that this exemption claim was entirely unfounded, indefensible, just utter nonsense. For instance, a nontrivial number of these emails are widely published announcements that there will be mobile showers available on various dates at Lincoln Park which, whatever the hell they may be, aren’t exempt from production under any theory acceptable to even the marginally sane.

And there’s some other reasonably interesting material in there, about some of which I might write at some point. But there is also one exceedingly important record, which is this February 2019 email conversation between Cedillo’s Deputy District Director Jose Rodriguez and a long list of LAPD officers, LAHSA staffers, and others, scheduling a sweep of homeless encampments along Llewellyn Street in Chinatown for the explicitly stated reason that they were impeding construction on a huge housing development owned by the Trammell Crow Company, done at the request of Trammell Crow’s senior vice president Alex Valente.

Now, you might recall an instance where an encampment was swept for no better reason than that Eric Garcetti was making a political appearance in the area later. This incident was reported in the Los Angeles Times and evoked the following quasi-denial from Garcetti’s spokesman Alex Comisar, who said it did “not reflect the mayor’s approach to interacting with Angelenos experiencing homelessness.” And this same tired implausible story of utter compassion is told by everyone involved with homelessness no matter how messed up their motives actually are. Our City officials, just ask them, do not use the vast municipal power entrusted to them to fuck up the lives of the unhoused for petty stupid venal purposes.

Even, no doubt, Gil Cedillo will tell you what a goddamned humanitarian he is on these lines. And yet when we look at what he does, what they all do, well, here is Cedillo’s staff arranging for homeless human beings to be displaced from their community just because some sociopathic zillionaire didn’t want his damned construction project to be held up. And the sweep did take place. In fact, on the very next day, February 26, 2019, as reported by Joanna Swan on Twitter, because that’s where the City’s priorities are, what their actions are, no matter what their empty words might suggest. Read a transcription below, and if you haven’t done so already, look into Services Not Sweeps.
Continue reading News About My CPRA Suit Against The City Of Los Angeles Concerning Emails Between CD1 And LAPD — The City Has Abandoned Its Exemption Claims And Provided More Than 200 Pages Of Records — Which Is Good News On The Prevailing Party Front — And At Least One Of The Newly Released Emails Is Exceedingly Important — Not To Mention Appalling — Shows Gil Cedillo’s Deputy District Director Jose Rodriguez Calling In A Homeless Encampment Sweep — In February 2019 — At The Explicit Behest Of Sociopathic Developer Trammell Crow — Because The Mere Presence Of Displaceable Homeless Human Beings Was Interfering With A Project Schedule — Senior Vice President And Failed Screen Actor Alex Valente Has A Lot To Answer For — As Does Gil Freaking Cedillo — And Jose Rodriguez — And Everyone Else Involved In This Abuse Of Municipal Power

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City Of Los Angeles Sued Yet Again To Enforce Compliance With The Public Records Act — This Time It’s Over CD1’s Obstinate Refusal To Produce Emails Between Staffer Jose Rodriguez And Two LAPD Officers About Homeless Encampments In CD1 — On The Advice Of The City Attorney Cedillo Staffer Mel Ilomin Claimed A Series Of Bogus And Ever-Shifting Exemptions — But I Got Two Responsive Records From LAPD — Which Show The Utter Implausibility Of The Exemption Claims

As you know, one of my long-term projects is using the public records act to understand how and why the City of Los Angeles schedules sweeps of homeless encampments and related enforcement actions. Emails between Council offices and either LAPD or LA Sanitation have been essential in this effort. For instance, a monumental recent email release from LAPD revealed a number of essential facts.

First, that CD11 staffer Taylor Bazley, despite official denials, had been complicit in the illegal placement of anti-homeless planters in Venice. This revelation led, in turn, to my filing a complaint against a list of LAPD officers with the Internal Affairs Division and a complaint with the Ethics Commission against Bazley. These same emails revealed that CD11 itself had been illegally withholding incredibly important records in the face of a number of my pending CPRA requests, which led to my filing another writ petition against the City seeking to compel the release of those materials.

And also, there among these 1,200 pages of stuff, were a couple emails between CD1 staffer Jose Rodriguez and a couple of police officers, Arturo Siguenas and Ruben Arellano, about homeless encampments and sweep scheduling at an encampment on Avenue 61 between Figueroa Street and Piedmont Avenue, one block to the North. Here’s the first one and also the second one. These emails in themselves are fairly innocuous, but since other emails in the release had turned out to be so very consequential, and since CD1 is a particular interest of mine although not, so far, with respect to homelessness, the importance of tracing this thread further was quite clear.

Thus I sent a request for all emails between Rodriguez and these two officers from between January 1, 2018 and April 30, 2019, the day before the date of the request:1
Continue reading City Of Los Angeles Sued Yet Again To Enforce Compliance With The Public Records Act — This Time It’s Over CD1’s Obstinate Refusal To Produce Emails Between Staffer Jose Rodriguez And Two LAPD Officers About Homeless Encampments In CD1 — On The Advice Of The City Attorney Cedillo Staffer Mel Ilomin Claimed A Series Of Bogus And Ever-Shifting Exemptions — But I Got Two Responsive Records From LAPD — Which Show The Utter Implausibility Of The Exemption Claims

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Hollywood LAPD Captain-To-The-Freaking-Stars Cory Palka Uses A Personal Email Address For Official Department Business — cpalka@me.com — Here Are A Bunch Of Emails From That Account — How He Got A Blue Check For His Twitter — Police Protective League Collective Bargaining Demands — His Notes From A Workshop By Cop Cult Leader Dave Anderson — FBI Security Notes On 2018 Oscars — Which Comes With A Freaking “Intelligence Products Customer Satisfaction Survey” — I Swear I Am Not Making That Up — Notes On How To Spin Drop In Hollywood Hills Burglary Arrests — Blame Homeless Encampments Of Course — Oh! — And A Cory Palka Trivia Quiz! — Twenty-Two Pages Of It!

One of my long-running projects is identifying Los Angeles City officials who’re using private email accounts to conduct public business and, per the transcendentally monumental 2017 opinion in City of San Jose v. Superior Court, obtaining copies via the California Public Records Act. So far I’ve learned that Mitch O’Farrell does this, as do both David Ryu and Gil Cedillo as well. I also have some suggestive but not conclusory evidence that Eric Garcetti uses ericgarcetti@gmail.com for public business, and I am continuing to investigate.

And today I have another account to reveal, along with a set of emails. The account is cpalka@me.com, belonging to LAPD Hollywood Division Captain Cory Palka, famous for, among other things, following any number of white nationalists and Trumpistas with his blue-checked LAPD Twitter as well as sharing a warped racist sense of humor with a bunch of white supremacist BIDdies. You can browse and download the release on Archive.Org and read on for some selected gems!
Continue reading Hollywood LAPD Captain-To-The-Freaking-Stars Cory Palka Uses A Personal Email Address For Official Department Business — cpalka@me.com — Here Are A Bunch Of Emails From That Account — How He Got A Blue Check For His Twitter — Police Protective League Collective Bargaining Demands — His Notes From A Workshop By Cop Cult Leader Dave Anderson — FBI Security Notes On 2018 Oscars — Which Comes With A Freaking “Intelligence Products Customer Satisfaction Survey” — I Swear I Am Not Making That Up — Notes On How To Spin Drop In Hollywood Hills Burglary Arrests — Blame Homeless Encampments Of Course — Oh! — And A Cory Palka Trivia Quiz! — Twenty-Two Pages Of It!

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Ever Wonder If You Are Blocked By Your Councilmember On The Twitter?! — We Have The Answer! — Also City Attorney! — Also The Mayor! — But Nury Martinez — And Herb Wesson — And Mike Bonin — And Mitch O’Farrell — They Won’t Even Answer The Damn Requests — Oh, Almost Forgot To Say! — Deputy City Attorney And Insufferable Rich Boy Strefan Fauble Wants To Be Sure You Know — Mike Feuer Isn’t Muting Any Twitter Users But If He Were — The List Would Be Exempt From Release Under The CPRA! — Yeah Right, Strefan Fauble! — Stick To Art Collecting And Leave The CPRA Lawyering To Others!

For about two months now I’ve been looking into the practice of Twitter users being blocked or muted by official City of Los Angeles accounts. I’m still gathering evidence, but yesterday it came out that Police Commission president Steve Soboroff blocks a bunch of users who’ve never even interacted with him, so I thought it’d be timely to write up the information I have so far. This issue is of special interest in these latter days given that in 2018 a federal judge ruled that it is unconstitutional for Donald Trump to block users on Twitter.

What I can offer you today, friends, is Twitter block/mute information for eleven of the fifteen council districts, the City Attorney, the Mayor, and a small selection of official LAPD accounts.1 There’s also an interesting line of hypothetical bullshit from deputy city attorney Strefan Fauble2 about some pretty technical claims about CPRA exemptionism,3 but that, being übernerdlich, is way at the end of the post.

Most of the accounts blocked are porn or spam, but Jose Huizar and David Ryu are notable exceptions. Both reps block accounts that are obviously controlled by actual individual people. Huizar’s list is by far the most extensive, and includes wildly inappropriate blocks like @oscartaracena and @BHJesse.

My research on this question is ongoing, mostly hindered by the City of LA’s familiar foot-dragging CPRA methodology. Turn the page for a tabular summary of the results I have so far along with a brief discussion of how Strefan Fauble is still on his CPRA bullshit.
Continue reading Ever Wonder If You Are Blocked By Your Councilmember On The Twitter?! — We Have The Answer! — Also City Attorney! — Also The Mayor! — But Nury Martinez — And Herb Wesson — And Mike Bonin — And Mitch O’Farrell — They Won’t Even Answer The Damn Requests — Oh, Almost Forgot To Say! — Deputy City Attorney And Insufferable Rich Boy Strefan Fauble Wants To Be Sure You Know — Mike Feuer Isn’t Muting Any Twitter Users But If He Were — The List Would Be Exempt From Release Under The CPRA! — Yeah Right, Strefan Fauble! — Stick To Art Collecting And Leave The CPRA Lawyering To Others!

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July 1, 2013 — Gil Cedillo’s First Day In Office — Ultra-Corrupt Lobbyist Morrie Goldman Needed A Favor Right Away — Senior Staffer Arturo Chavez Was All Like — None Of Our Office Machines Are Even Working Yet But For You Morrie Anything! — Setting The Tone For The Rest Of Cedillo’s Term

Been six weeks or so since last I wrote about selections from this stinking heap consisting of 242 PDF pages of problematic ethical situations involving Gil Cedillo’s senior staff advisor Arturo Chavez and a rampaging gang of corrupt lobbyists. And first among these corrupt rampagers is Mister Corruption himself, Morrie Freaking Goldman. Talked of in FBI offices alongside Jose Huizar, buddy of Gil Cedillo.

And today we have a small story of a single day in the CD1-repping life of Gil Cedillo. But not just any day. It was the first day of the rest of Cedillo’s term. July 1, 2013. The fax wasn’t even working yet.1 But the influence machine was working, and that’s how Morrie Goldman came to leave a message for Arturo Chavez on July 1, 2013 asking for a favor and later following up by email: “Did you get my message re: 1111 Wilshire CUB hearing?”

And these 1111 Wilshire people didn’t just parachute in out of nowhere. They were heavily invested in the CD1 race that Cedillo ultimately won. At first they weren’t interested in Cedillo at all, but rather his opponent, Jose Gardea. As Ed Reyes’s chief of staff Gardea was doubtless the establishment candidate and presumptive heir of the moment, which is doubtless why two separate anonymous LLCs named after 1111 Wilshire gave Gardea a total of $2,100 in the 2013 CD1 campaign.

But at some point they evidently realized that they’d better hedge their bets, so in June of 2013 they gave Cedillo $700 as well. And that, children, is doubtless why Morrie Goldman had Arturo Chavez’s phone number on the first day of Gil Cedillo’s term. And doubtless why Arturo Chavez answered Goldman’s demands. And told him that yes, Cedillo was writing a letter, and yes, he could pick it up in the morning.

And that, friends, is what $700 buys you from Gil Cedillo, and that, friends, is how Gil Cedillo and his senior staff spent their first day at 200 N. Spring Street. And every other day since then, looks like. Turn the page for a transcription of the entire email conversation and please, take a look at the whole spool because there are doubtless unmined gems lurking in there!
Continue reading July 1, 2013 — Gil Cedillo’s First Day In Office — Ultra-Corrupt Lobbyist Morrie Goldman Needed A Favor Right Away — Senior Staffer Arturo Chavez Was All Like — None Of Our Office Machines Are Even Working Yet But For You Morrie Anything! — Setting The Tone For The Rest Of Cedillo’s Term

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In April 2017 Cedillo Minion Bill Cody Told Yami Duarte Of The Department Of Cultural Affairs About CD1’s Plans For That Frank Romero Mural — And She Told Cody That There Were Also Plans For A Mural By Zender On The Same Wall — And The Procedure In That Case Was To Present Both Murals To The Cultural Affairs Commission At A Public Hearing — And He Told Duarte That Cedillo Wouldn’t Want To Do It That Way — It Seems That Rules And Procedures Are For Other People In Cedillo’s And Cody’s CD1 — Especially If They Interfere With Cody’s Mad Thirst For Vengeance

Last week I wrote about how CD1 staffer Bill Cody used his position with the City to revenge himself against Highland Park community art activists Brenda Perez and Yaya Castillo by trying to get City funding pulled from a mural because a compatriot of theirs, muralist John Zender, was involved in the project. That happened in June 2018, and the backstory is well-summarized in that post, so I won’t repeat it here. The very short version is that Bill Cody was pushing a mural by Frank Romero of Los Four at least in part to silence community agitation at the destruction of a mural by Zender at the behest of the reprehensible Highland Park Business Improvement District.

Well, it turns out that in April 2018, when Cody was beginning the process of organizing Frank Romero’s new pro-Olympics mural, there was also a project by Zender proposed for the same City-owned wall. It turns out that the Cultural Affairs Commission, which must approve murals on City property,1 has a process in place to resolve just this kind of situation. Which they would have to have, of course, because the City property belongs to everyone. If more than one artist wants to put a mural somewhere there has to be a fair method of choosing.

Accordingly, Yami Duarte of the Department of Cultural Affairs told Bill Cody that all murals on City property must be approved by the CAC and that the DCA “Director is apprised that there may be another mural proposal for the same location by artist Mr. John Zender Estrada, and recommends that both projects be presented side by side to the Commission.” By the way, I don’t think that it has been previously reported that Zender had plans for a mural where Romero’s mural was going to be painted. The story is told in this brief email conversation, of which there is a complete transcription after the break.2

But, as we’ve seen, Cody really had it in for Zender, so he wasn’t having that. And he wasn’t owning his not having it either, as he attributed his unwillingness to follow the rules and let the CAC decide which mural ought to be placed on the wall to Gil Cedillo.3 Thus spake Bill Cody: “I do not think the Councilmember will want to do it that way and I think we should have a conversation about this.” Of course, the vengeful Cody doesn’t want to do anything any way that might result in some democratically empowered body such as the CAC choosing something other than what he had planned, which is keeping Zender’s work off walls in Highland Park. And of course he invokes Cedillo, the source of his power.

Cody evidently had his way with the mural, although the details are still unknown. For whatever reason Romero’s mural didn’t come up before the CAC until its January 9, 2019 meeting. Take a look at the agenda for yourself and notice that there’s nothing at all about Zender on there. And that’s the story. Sure, it’s more low key than all that lurid nonsense about Cody punishing constituents for attacking his office on Facebook, but it’s just as corrosive of democratic principles. So turn the page for a transcription and also to take a look at how the Department of Cultural Affairs thinks it’s somehow appropriate to redact the name and email address of City staffer Rebeca Guerrero.4 I asked them why, but they declined to respond.
Continue reading In April 2017 Cedillo Minion Bill Cody Told Yami Duarte Of The Department Of Cultural Affairs About CD1’s Plans For That Frank Romero Mural — And She Told Cody That There Were Also Plans For A Mural By Zender On The Same Wall — And The Procedure In That Case Was To Present Both Murals To The Cultural Affairs Commission At A Public Hearing — And He Told Duarte That Cedillo Wouldn’t Want To Do It That Way — It Seems That Rules And Procedures Are For Other People In Cedillo’s And Cody’s CD1 — Especially If They Interfere With Cody’s Mad Thirst For Vengeance

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