Tag Archives: Government Code 54960.2

The Accelerated Schools Issue A Complete — Utter — Abject Capitulation To My Demand That They Stop Violating The Damn Brown Act By Illegally Requiring People To Sign In As A Condition Of Attendance — They Unconditionally Commit Never To Do It Any More Ever Again — And Wayne K. Strumpfer — Their Lying Ideologue Of A Lawyer — Asserts That They Were Only Ever Making People Sign In Because It Prevents School Shootings — Which Sounds Not Only Implausible To Me But Actually Moronic — But Probably That’s Only Because I’m Not A Galaxy Brain Privatizing Charter Genius Like Strumpfer And His Clients

In October 2019, as you may recall, the infamous white savior rogue charter conspiracy known as The Accelerated Schools held a board meeting at which they committed three distinct and shocking violations of California’s quintessential government transparency law, the Brown Act. One of the most appalling of this series of thoroughly appalling transgressions was their requirement that members of the public sign their names to a sheet in order to enter the public meeting.

This, of course, is explicitly forbidden by the Brown Act at §54953.3.1 TAS attempted to excuse this outlawry by claiming that they weren’t requiring a signature to attend the meeting, but just to enter the school grounds on which the meeting was being held. This is nonsense, of course, but nevertheless typical of the kind of empty technical loopholes that arrogant privileged zillionaires and their minions seem to believe are all it takes for them to evade their legal obligations.2

And so on December 18, 2019, in accordance with the procedures mandated by the Brown Act,3 I sent them a letter demanding that they unconditionally commit never to ever require people to sign in to attend their meetings and informing them that if they didn’t completely obey me within 30 days I was going to file a petition asking a judge to (metaphorically) slap some damn sense into them.

And lo! Just yesterday, TAS’s metaphorically mobbed up lawyer Wayne K. Strumpfer of privatizing powerhouse law firm Young Minney & Corr, who’s basically a liar and enabler of outlawry but evidently knows a losing position when his clients manage to back themselves into one, sent me a letter utterly and abjectly capitulating to my demand!

But before he got around to the utter abjection Dr. Strumpfer went on and on and on explaining to me that The Accelerated Schools actually did nothing wrong, that I pretty much made everything up, that his clients only acted according to the very highest motivations, and that requiring people to sign in to attend meetings is how TAS prevents school shootings! And I guess that that’s working because as far as I know they haven’t had any.

On that subject, it’s interesting that Strumpfer doesn’t say a word about the fact that TAS chooses to have its meetings on school grounds during school hours when schoolchildren are present even after parents have been pleading with the board literally for years to have meetings in the evening so that working people have a chance to attend. One might think that having meetings at times when no kids were around would be a more effective way to protect the kids than having people sign a piece of paper, but admittedly I know nothing whatsoever about whatever kind of eleven dimensional galaxy brain hypercrapola in which these TAS people and their shyster lawyer have earned an average of 2.7 Ph.Ds each.4

In any case Dr. Wayne finally gets around to the actual point, which is that they don’t want to get sued by me so dammit, they concede everything! The only actual concrete effect of this concession5 is that if they ever require people to sign in to their meetings I can sue them without giving them notice or even asking them to stop. Which I totally will do, by the way! So that’s a little victory over the satanic minions of privatization. Read on for a complete transcription of Wayne K. Strumpfer’s jittery little surrender letter!
Continue reading The Accelerated Schools Issue A Complete — Utter — Abject Capitulation To My Demand That They Stop Violating The Damn Brown Act By Illegally Requiring People To Sign In As A Condition Of Attendance — They Unconditionally Commit Never To Do It Any More Ever Again — And Wayne K. Strumpfer — Their Lying Ideologue Of A Lawyer — Asserts That They Were Only Ever Making People Sign In Because It Prevents School Shootings — Which Sounds Not Only Implausible To Me But Actually Moronic — But Probably That’s Only Because I’m Not A Galaxy Brain Privatizing Charter Genius Like Strumpfer And His Clients

Share

Another Day – Another Demand – Again To The Accelerated Schools – Again Over A Brown Act Violation – But This Is More Serious Because I Am Insisting That They Go Back And Have A Do-Over – But Do It Legally This Time – Or – As Always With Such Matters – Face The Seething Wrath Of The Los Angeles County Superior Court!

Of course you remember The Accelerated Schools! That white savior charter conspiracy out in the 90037? And how a couple days ago we served them with a lawsuit seeking to compel their compliance with the California Public Records Act? And yesterday I sent them a letter demanding that they unconditionally commit to never any more requiring members of the public sign in to their damn meetings, that practice being totally and utterly illegal under the Brown Act?

And maybe you recall also how that whole sign-in thing was not the only Brown Act violating practice that these privatizers habitually indulge in? In fact, on October 24, 2019 they violated the law by holding two distinct secret meetings, neither of which was agendized and for neither of which they allowed public comment. So since evidently this is what we’re doing around here this week, today I sent them yet another demand letter regarding these grave violations of the law.

As with yesterday’s letter, today’s includes a demand that they unconditionally cease, desist, never do no more again, and so on, these violations. But also there’s a demand that they rescind these illegal decisions, reconvene the meetings, and do them over again legally. This would require them to announce whatever it is they’re going to consider, allow public comment, and then vote in public. This is an aspect of the Brown Act that I have not used before, so it will be interesting to see what happens! And, as always, read on for a transcription of the letter.
Continue reading Another Day – Another Demand – Again To The Accelerated Schools – Again Over A Brown Act Violation – But This Is More Serious Because I Am Insisting That They Go Back And Have A Do-Over – But Do It Legally This Time – Or – As Always With Such Matters – Face The Seething Wrath Of The Los Angeles County Superior Court!

Share

The Latest Episode In My Newly Revived Brown Act Enforcement Project – A Demand Letter To The Accelerated Schools Insisting That They Unconditionally Commit To Cease – And Desist – And Give A Hard Pass To – And Cut It The Heck Out With – Their Completely Illegal Practice Of Requiring Members Of The Public To Sign A Damn List Before Attending Their Board Meetings – Now They Have 30 Days To Surrender Unconditionally Or Else Face A Heaping Dollop Of Judicial Wrath! – To Be Served Up – If Necessary Of Course – By My Crack Team Of Litigation Specialists!

You might remember that in October that that white savior charter conspiracy, incidentally just yesterday served with a lawsuit seeking to enforce the California Public Records Act, known as The Accelerated Schools went and violated the Brown Act by requiring members of the public to sign in as a condition of attending their abortive board meeting, which was cut short by then-president Juli Quinn, acting impulsively in a fit of petulant rage at the insubordination1 of the audience.

Requiring people to sign in is forbidden by the Brown Act at § 54953.3 And you might also remember that one of the remedies for violations provided by the act2 is that a member of the public write to the violators requesting an unconditional commitment never in the future to violate the law in that particular manner.3 If they capitulate in the specified manner then there are extra consequences if they break their promise later. And if they don’t capitulate I get to sue them.

And finally, maybe you remember that last year I was sending a lot of these demand letters to business improvement districts. Priorities and lack of capacity forced me to lay that project aside for a while4 but it turns out, fortunately, that I have the resources to hold the tender toesies of some of these egregiously violating charter schools to the proverbial-ish flames, and thus, if you’re wondering, is the subject of this evening’s post this very letter right here, sent this very day to The Accelerated Schools, demanding that they stop with their nonsensical sign-in requirements. Now they have 30 days to give in or else!

The letter is transcribed below, but before we go there I just want to point out one important thing that was too qualitative to make it into the demand but is nevertheless really crucial. Here you can watch video of the incident which precipitated my demand. This is an employee of The Accelerated Schools telling me that I wasn’t required to sign my name to attend the meeting but rather was required to sign my name to enter the campus on which the meeting was held.
Continue reading The Latest Episode In My Newly Revived Brown Act Enforcement Project – A Demand Letter To The Accelerated Schools Insisting That They Unconditionally Commit To Cease – And Desist – And Give A Hard Pass To – And Cut It The Heck Out With – Their Completely Illegal Practice Of Requiring Members Of The Public To Sign A Damn List Before Attending Their Board Meetings – Now They Have 30 Days To Surrender Unconditionally Or Else Face A Heaping Dollop Of Judicial Wrath! – To Be Served Up – If Necessary Of Course – By My Crack Team Of Litigation Specialists!

Share

Latest And Most Ambitious Episode In Our Brown Act Enforcement Project Targets South Park BID For Three Violations — Requiring Sign-In To Attend Meeting — Voting By Email — And Most Egregious Of All — Maintaining A Standing Committee Which Meets Only In Secret — Never Posts Agendas — Never Announces Meetings To Public — Votes By Email Regularly — This Is About The Worst Ongoing Brown Act Violation I Have Ever Seen Among BIDs!

For a few months now I’ve been running a project aimed at getting the BIDs of Los Angeles to comply with the Brown Act. This certainly ought to be the job of the City of Los Angeles, but they have completely abdicated all responsibility, so it seems to be more or less just up to me. The system relies on §54960.2 of the Brown Act, which allows any interested party, such as me, to allege that a BID1 violated the Brown Act and demand that they cease and desist from violating it in the future.

The BID then has the choice of issuing an unconditional commitment not to repeat the alleged violations2 within 30 days of the letter or else face a lawsuit. I’ve done four of these since August, the first three resulting in complete and utter capitulation by the BIDs involved, and the fourth I just sent out yesterday morning to the South Park BID. Here’s a list of the old ones:

Now, the South Park BID has had its problems in the past complying with the Brown Act, but on the other hand, Ellen Salome Riotto has been relatively willing to learn from her mistakes. Usually I just drop her a line and she fixes the problem.3 However, I recently learned of two new violations which are far, far too serious to be left to the kind of informal mole whackery in which I’ve so far been willing to engage. These are the subject of this demand letter which I sent yesterday morning to the BID.

The letter alleges violations of three sections of the Brown Act. The first is that they required me to sign in to a meeting in April. I’ve written about this incident before and they seem to have stopped doing it, but it’s worth including here to get them to formally commit not to doing it any more. The second violation is that in November the BID Board actually voted on an item via email at the instigation of Ellen Salome Riotto. This is so freaking illegal, so freaking contrary to the very essence of the Brown Act, that I’m utterly astonished that it happened. And yet it does seem to be a genuine error rather than malfeasance.

The sad irony is that Ellen Salome Riotto explicitly arranged this illegal vote in order to avoid violating the Brown Act’s mandates about teleconferencing. And that she seemed to think that it would be OK because it was justified by the BID’s bylaws, as if state law could be nullified by some two-bit corporation unilaterally announcing that they weren’t subject to it. The whole situation would be tragic if these careless, ignorant people weren’t granted so much public trust.

And the final violation is just stunning in its scope and its audacity. The Brown Act clearly states that committees must also follow open meeting requirements.4 The South Park BID, however, has an executive committee which doesn’t post agendas, meets in secret, and discusses, deliberates, and takes action via email, by phone, and at their secret meetings. It’d be easier to list the parts of the Brown Act that this doesn’t violate!

Secret actions by a public agency like the BID are untenable. This is how democracy dies, so I can’t allow it to continue. And in this case Ellen Salome Riotto has ignored my questions about the violations. Hence the necessity of the demand letter. Turn the page for transcriptions, links to the evidence and code sections, and maybe even some more of my moralistic ranting!
Continue reading Latest And Most Ambitious Episode In Our Brown Act Enforcement Project Targets South Park BID For Three Violations — Requiring Sign-In To Attend Meeting — Voting By Email — And Most Egregious Of All — Maintaining A Standing Committee Which Meets Only In Secret — Never Posts Agendas — Never Announces Meetings To Public — Votes By Email Regularly — This Is About The Worst Ongoing Brown Act Violation I Have Ever Seen Among BIDs!

Share

Latest Episode In The Brown Act Enforcement Project Targets Pacific Palisades BID For Secret Email Meeting Violation — They Do This Kind Of Thing All The Time But They’re So Incredibly Slow To Respond To CPRA Requests That I’ve Never Caught Them Within The Nine Month Enforcement Window — Until Now! — Smarmy Caruso Puppet And Self-Proclaimed Board Member Rick Lemmo Channels Donald Trump Even As He Aids And Abets Brown Act Violations — Typical! — Sad!

Yesterday morning the Pacific Palisades BID became the third lucky winner in our ongoing Brown Act enforcement project, following in the hallowed footsteps of the Byzantine Latino Quarter BID and the Studio City BID after them. I sent the BIDdies this demand letter, based as usual on the Brown Act at §54960.2, which gives civic outlaws like the Palisades BIDdies the chance to avoid getting sued back to the Stone Age by issuing an unconditional commitment never to break the same law again no more.

The Byzantinios caved and issued such a letter, and the Studio Citizens did too, at least with respect to three out of the four violations of which I accused them.1 And there’s a reasonable chance that the Palisadesean BIDdies will cave as well, in the fierce face of my ferociously convincing rhetoric. But maybe they won’t, cause BID boss Elliot Zorensky is a stone cold psychopath whose anger, it seems, has so far overmastered his prudence that he will cheerfully drown his own metaphorical babies merely in the hope of splashing some metaphorical bathwater on the metaphorical silken neckties of his quite literal enemies. Hard core, yes. Sustainable? Certainly not.

And of course, to faithful readers of this blog the fact that the Palisadeseans have violated the Brown Act won’t even seem like news. They are locally famous for scoffing in the face of the Brown Act. There was that time in January 2016 when they went and held a vote by email, and that other time in April 2016 when they went and held a vote over the telephone, and that other other time in April 2016 when Sue Pascoe of the Palisades News had the damn nerve to tell Laurie Sale that the Brown Act required them to post their damn agendas where people could see them and Laurie Sale flipped out and cried on Rick Scott’s shoulder all night long.

But the problem with all those episodes in relation to the enforcement project is that good old §54960.2 requires one to start the legal process with a demand letter sent within nine months of the violation. I made my first CPRA request of the PPBID in January 2017 but because they’re a bunch of law-flouting privilege monkeys, they didn’t hand over many if any records until July 2018,2 so that the Brown Act enforcement deadlines for all those 2016 violations were past before I even learned of them.

However, in that steaming heap of records that Elliot Zorensky handed over to me in July3 there was a crucial exchange of emails between Board members that adds up to a big fat violation of the Brown Act at §54952.2(b)(1), which says:

A majority of the members of a legislative body shall not, outside a meeting authorized by this chapter, use a series of communications of any kind, directly or through intermediaries, to discuss, deliberate, or take action on any item of business that is within the subject matter jurisdiction of the legislative body.

And not only that, but the conversation took place in May 2018, so we are well within the nine month deadline. And it’s that conversation, the details of which are interesting in themselves and are to be found after the break, that forms the basis of today’s demand letter. The BID now has thirty days to respond or else we’re going to court, and you will read all about it here if you want to!
Continue reading Latest Episode In The Brown Act Enforcement Project Targets Pacific Palisades BID For Secret Email Meeting Violation — They Do This Kind Of Thing All The Time But They’re So Incredibly Slow To Respond To CPRA Requests That I’ve Never Caught Them Within The Nine Month Enforcement Window — Until Now! — Smarmy Caruso Puppet And Self-Proclaimed Board Member Rick Lemmo Channels Donald Trump Even As He Aids And Abets Brown Act Violations — Typical! — Sad!

Share

Studio City BID Issues Dishonest And Combative But Mostly (Although Not Entirely) Submissive Response To My Brown Act Demand Letter — BID President Tony Richman Signs His Name To A Bunch Of Ill-Tempered Truculent Lies Probably Written By Ill-Tempered Truculent BID Lawyer Carol Humiston — Does That Make Tony Richman An Ill-Tempered Truculent Liar Also? — Maybe — But Also Maybe Just A Patsy

A few weeks ago I sent the Studio City BID a Brown Act demand letter insisting that they stop breaking the law in four specific ways. According to the Brown Act at §54960.2 the BID can avoid litigation by responding to such a demand with an unconditional commitment to refrain from violating the specific statutory sections in the future. And on Monday, October 15, the SCBID Board met and decided to do just that.

And amazingly enough, the next day, this letter showed up in my inbox! So they weren’t just blowing smoke, it seems. The BID hired Bradley & Gmelich to represent them, which definitely means Carol Freaking Humiston, the world’s angriest Brown Act attorney, almost certainly wrote the letter. And it is written in her inimitable style,1 which essentially consists of variations on the following narrative in six acts:

  1. You’re wrong about what the law says.
  2. Because you’re stupid.
  3. Nothing in the law requires us to do what you demand.
  4. You thought it did because you’re wrong and stupid.
  5. So shut up.
  6. We’re complying with your demand.

The four issues I raised in the letter were first that IDs were required to attend the Board meeting, second that the Board didn’t adequately describe the subject of its closed session, third that the Board didn’t reconvene in open session after the closed session, and fourth that a majority of the Board members had at one time discussed a matter via email instead of in public.

The BID’s response letter was overflowing with a lot of sound and fury2 and belligerent bluster but essentially contained adequate unconditional commitments never ever to do three out of the four. The third item, though, on reconvening in open session, for some reason they declined to commit not to violate. With respect to that, well, I’m studying my options and stay tuned for updates.

For more details about the contents of the letter, the usual amateur analysis, and a modicum of mockery, turn the damn page!
Continue reading Studio City BID Issues Dishonest And Combative But Mostly (Although Not Entirely) Submissive Response To My Brown Act Demand Letter — BID President Tony Richman Signs His Name To A Bunch Of Ill-Tempered Truculent Lies Probably Written By Ill-Tempered Truculent BID Lawyer Carol Humiston — Does That Make Tony Richman An Ill-Tempered Truculent Liar Also? — Maybe — But Also Maybe Just A Patsy

Share

Studio City BID Holds Special Board Meeting — Capitulates To Demand Letter — Votes 7 to 1 To Issue Unconditional Commitment To Stop Violating The Freaking Brown Act — Hires Bradley & Freaking Gmelich At $400 Per Hour To Advise And Write Response For Them — Ben Besley Reads The Motion Like A Robot — Michael Sitkin Then Proceeds To Violate The Brown Act In A Whole New Way — Watch For New Demand Letter Coming Soonish!

Ah, the Studio City Business Improvement District! As you may recall, a few weeks ago I sent them a demand letter insisting that they stop violating the damn Brown Act by requiring ID to get into their meetings, by not describing their closed session business adequately, by failing to reconvene in open session after a closed session, and by discussing issues by email outside of an open meeting. You can read the actual letter here if you are so inclined.

This project is based on the Brown Act at §54960.2, which allows the BID to avoid litigation by issuing an unconditional commitment never again to violate the particular sections of the law in contention.1 One of the interesting aspects of this section is that it requires the BID to approve the sending of the letter in an open session of a publicly noticed meeting,2 and that’s just what the BID did yesterday! You can watch a video of the whole meeting, all eleven minutes of it, here on YouTube or if you prefer here on Archive.Org.

I don’t have an actual letter from the BID in hand yet, so I’m going to refrain from commenting on or speculating about what it’s going to contain. You can watch Ben Besley make the motion here and he goes on to describe what the letter will be about. Also watch Mike Sitkin ask for clarification and then watch as Dr. John Walker Ph.D. explains everything exactly wrong!

This bit is worth transcribing, and you can find not only that, but a bunch of other interesting stuff after the break! Not least is the episode where after the Board votes to commit to not violating the Brown Act in those specific ways in the future, they go ahead and violate it in a whole new way! Gonna send them another letter quite soon! After I have this one in the bag, that is.
Continue reading Studio City BID Holds Special Board Meeting — Capitulates To Demand Letter — Votes 7 to 1 To Issue Unconditional Commitment To Stop Violating The Freaking Brown Act — Hires Bradley & Freaking Gmelich At $400 Per Hour To Advise And Write Response For Them — Ben Besley Reads The Motion Like A Robot — Michael Sitkin Then Proceeds To Violate The Brown Act In A Whole New Way — Watch For New Demand Letter Coming Soonish!

Share

Latest Episode In The Brown Act Enforcement Project Targets Studio City BID For Three Violations — Most Importantly They Require An ID And Permission From The BID To Attend Meetings — Also They Totally Screwed Up Closed Session Requirements — And Also They Deliberate Via Email Just Like The Byzantine BIDdies — So I Fired Off Another Demand Letter — Now We Wait Thirty Days To See If They Capitulate!

Last week I attended my first meeting of the Studio City BID‘s board of directors, and what a fiasco, friends! Aggressively clueless board member Matthew Dunn walking out because I was filming him and so on. But I put off telling you about the most interesting parts! Which is why I’ve gathered you all here this morning! You see, the BID violated the Brown Act in two very serious ways at the meeting.

First of all, the BID holds its meetings inside CBS Studio Center,1 It not only requires an ID to get in there and the registration of one’s name and an image of one’s driver’s license, but also convincing a hostile security guard who thinks BID meetings aren’t open to the public and some other problems. All together these are, of course, violations of the Brown Act at §54953.3, which states unequivocally that:

A member of the public shall not be required, as a condition to attendance at a meeting of a legislative body of a local agency, to register his or her name, to provide other information, to complete a questionnaire, or otherwise to fulfill any condition precedent to his or her attendance.

We’ve seen exactly this kind of thing with BIDs around the City, who hold their meetings in so-called secure buildings, where IDs are required by the property owners rather than the BID itself. E.g. in October 2014, the very same month I founded this blog, Kerry Morrison and her Central Hollywood Coalition were guilty of this. More recently, in April I reported the South Park BID to the LA County DA for violating this exact provision. The universal excuse seems to be that it’s legal for the property owner to require ID, just not the BID.

Of course, the plain language of the statute shows that that argument is entirely fallacious. The law doesn’t say anything about who’s not allowed to require ID, so therefore no one is allowed to require ID. And because, as you know, I haven’t gotten much if any satisfaction from the LA County DA on Brown Act violations, I have decided to take matters into my own hands and use the provisions in the law which allow private citizens to enforce it.

I kicked off this project last month with a demand to the Byzantine Latino Quarter BID which was entirely successful, at least so far, in that the BID caved entirely and unconditionally agreed never ever ever to violate the law again. And the Studio City ID and name registration requirement is a perfect test case for the enforcement of §54953.3. Thus did I fire off this demand letter to BID secretary Gilbert Stayner yesterday afternoon, making Studio City the honored second participant in my private Brown Act enforcement project. They have thirty days to capitulate, and if they don’t, we’re off to Superior Court!2

And Brown Act violations are like cockroaches in the usual cliched sense, and this case is no exception to that rule. The BID also seriously messed up its closed session, which of course I added to the demand, and there was a little problem in May 2018 involving them deliberating via email, which I also added. The first of these is highly technical and the second is fairly repetitious, so I put all the details after the damn break!
Continue reading Latest Episode In The Brown Act Enforcement Project Targets Studio City BID For Three Violations — Most Importantly They Require An ID And Permission From The BID To Attend Meetings — Also They Totally Screwed Up Closed Session Requirements — And Also They Deliberate Via Email Just Like The Byzantine BIDdies — So I Fired Off Another Demand Letter — Now We Wait Thirty Days To See If They Capitulate!

Share

Remember That Time In February When The Central City East Association Violated The Brown Act By Voting On An Item That Wasn’t On The Agenda? — Well Now Their Lawyer Lied About It To The District Attorney — And Estela Lopez Retroactively Edited The Minutes From February — Which Is The Kind Of People The City Contracts With To Run Their BIDs — And That’s Why The District Attorney Isn’t Prosecuting Them

OK, in February of this year Estela Lopez introduced a motion at the Central City East Association Board meeting that wasn’t on the agenda. This is a violation of the Brown Act at §54954.2(a)(3), which states unequivocally that: “No action or discussion shall be undertaken on any item not appearing on the posted agenda.” Naturally I turned them in to the District Attorney immediately. And you might think that because the whole mishegoss was captured on actual video the DA might actually do something about it.

But you’d be wrong. It seems that the willingness of the CCEA’s lawyer to lie to the face of a deputy DA and Estela Lopez’s willingness to alter the minutes of the meeting months after the fact is enough to escape from any consequences of this violation. This kind of outcome is precisely why I found it necessary to start my own Brown Act enforcement program.

And because I have this new capability, of private Brown Act enforcement, on August 20, 2018, having heard nothing for six months, I sent an email to Alan Yochelson, who runs the DA’s Brown Act enforcement program, asking him what was up with my complaint and telling him that I would take action myself if the DA wasn’t going to do so.

On August 21, 2018 he emailed me back and said that he hadn’t decided yet but he would let me know in seven days, on August 28. Yochelson ended up talking to CCEA’s lawyer, who I think would have been Don Steier, but I don’t know for sure. The lawyer seems to have told Yochelson that he immediately pointed out the violation to the Board and they immediately revoked their illegal action.

Estela Lopez definitely edited the February minutes on August 23, which now confirm the lawyer’s version. The trouble with the story is that, as I said, I have the whole meeting on video and nothing like this happened at that meeting. In any case, these conversations between Yochelson and CCEA ended up with the DA’s office declining to take action, as explained in this determination letter, sent out on Monday.

Of course I still have the option to take action privately, and I’m in the process of evaluating that option. The section I’d use, §54960.2 allows nine months after the violation, which is November 22, 2018, to initiate the process. Watch this space for further developments, and turn the page for a more detailed narrative along with links to and transcriptions of all the evidence.
Continue reading Remember That Time In February When The Central City East Association Violated The Brown Act By Voting On An Item That Wasn’t On The Agenda? — Well Now Their Lawyer Lied About It To The District Attorney — And Estela Lopez Retroactively Edited The Minutes From February — Which Is The Kind Of People The City Contracts With To Run Their BIDs — And That’s Why The District Attorney Isn’t Prosecuting Them

Share

Kicking Off Our New Brown Act Enforcement Project With A Demand Letter To The Byzantine Latino Quarter BID Insisting That Their Advisory Board Of Directors Stop Discussing Public Business In Secret Via Email — With A Writ Petition To Follow If They Won’t Unconditionally Commit To Following The Damn Law In The Future

Long-time readers of this blog will recall that one of our constant themes has been the exposure of an unrelenting series of violations of the Brown Act by the various BIDs of Los Angeles. I started the blog in October 2014 and that very month caught the Sunset Vine BID and its dear leader, Ms. Kerry Morrison, requiring IDs in order to attend meetings, which is a violation of §54953.3.

Since then it’s just been one damn thing after another, what with the South Park BIDdies refusing to share documents considered by their board at a meeting, or requiring meeting attendees to sign in, or their teleconferencing fiasco, or the Venice Beach BID’s deficient agenda descriptions, or the Central City East Association‘s discussing and voting on matters that were not agendized, or the East Hollywood BID‘s teleconferencing violations, and those aren’t even the worst of the bunch.

One of the most important prohibitions imposed by the Brown Act is found at §54952.2(b), which states that “[a] majority of the members of a legislative body shall not, outside a meeting authorized by this chapter, use a series of communications of any kind, directly or through intermediaries, to discuss, deliberate, or take action on any item of business that is within the subject matter jurisdiction of the legislative body.”

In the past we have seen shameless, egregious violations of this section, e.g. the Pacific Palisades BID in 2016, or also by the Central City East Association as part of their relentlessly immoral, illegal campaign against the formation of a Skid Row Neighborhood Council, and by the Los Feliz Village BID, whose violation of §54952.2(b) was bad enough that it actually earned them a written rebuke from the Public Integrity Division of the Los Angeles County District Attorney.

That last outcome has been an anomaly, though. Despite my having filed multiple reports against BIDs for serious violations of the Brown Act, the District Attorney has, to date, ignored all of them but the Los Feliz one.1 But the legislature, oh wise and omniscient!, has determined that Brown Act enforcement is too important to be left only up to the whims of County District Attorneys. They’ve also allowed for private citizens to enforce the law as well!

So this time, when I discovered dispositive evidence that the Byzantine Latino Quarter BID had violated §54952.2(b) of the Brown Act on at least two occasions earlier this year by discussing BID business in private via email I decided that I would take matters into my own hands rather than relying on the County DA to handle the violation. And the violations are really extreme and also somewhat lurid. One involves BID board member and Greek Orthodox priest Father John Bakas arguing against homeless shelters on the grounds that homeless people are dangerous and incorrigible, e.g.

Of course, it took some time and effort to study the law, get professional advice, and generally prepare an infrastructure for the private prosecution of such violations. Now that it’s all set up, it’s not just good for this one violation, but will work for all future violations that come to my attention. Thus it is with a great deal of pride that I announce an ongoing project to force the BIDs of Los Angeles to stop violating the Brown Act by prosecuting them myself if necessary! Turn the page for the legal theories involved and the specific details of the BLQBID’s violations!
Continue reading Kicking Off Our New Brown Act Enforcement Project With A Demand Letter To The Byzantine Latino Quarter BID Insisting That Their Advisory Board Of Directors Stop Discussing Public Business In Secret Via Email — With A Writ Petition To Follow If They Won’t Unconditionally Commit To Following The Damn Law In The Future

Share