Tag Archives: Homeless Encampments

More Detail On Mitch O’Farrell’s April 2020 Coronavirus Exposure — Which Happened Because He Insisted On Meeting In Person With Angry Psychopathic Housedwellers In Echo Park — But Still Wouldn’t Talk To The Unhoused Community — And If You Read As Many CD13 Emails As I Do — You’re Aware That O’Farrell Rarely Commits Himself In Writing — Or His Staff Is A Bunch Of Lying CPRA Violators And Withholds What He Writes — I’m Pretty Sure Both Are True — But When He’s In Fear For His Own Life — It Seems More Real To Him Somehow — And Now The Dude Cannot Shut Up — But Quizzes Juan Fregoso About Where The Guy Who Tested Positive Was Standing — And How Close Did He Get — And What Color Shirt Was He Wearing? — It’s Pretty Clear That O’Farrell Saves His Deepest — His Most Sincere — Concern For Himself Only — But Then His Damn Voting Record Already Told Us That

A couple weeks ago I reported that in April 2020, smack in the middle of a pandemic no less, Los Angeles City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell had an in-person meeting with a bunch of unhinged housedwellers about how much they hated having to look at unhoused people living in Echo Park. And this all was going on at the same time that both O’Farrell and his staff were, despite their pleas and letters, refusing to meet with the unhoused people themselves, refusing to meet with activists who were organizing them, refusing to discuss public health with anyone, and refusing even to discuss the reasons for his refusal.

And not only that but O’Farrell was exposed to coronavirus at his meeting with these angry housedwellers. And by now it seems pretty ironic that actually they were the ones spreading disease. You may recall that in their list of demands to O’Farrell, one of the housedwellers’ reasons for demanding the eviction of the Echo Park homeless encampment was the threat to their health created by its presence: “[t]here is a high risk due to human waste and illegal drug waste, which is a haven for an epidemic of Cholera, dysentery,hepatitis A & E, typhus, and even leprosy.”1

The bare fact of the exposure was all I knew of when I wrote that earlier post. But since then CD13 has produced a little more material, all of which you can find here on Archive.Org,2 and among this stuff is an email conversation in which O’Farrell quizzes his nightmare field deputy Juan Fregoso about who had it, where he was standing, was he likely to have transmitted it, and so on.3 It’s the kind of thing you might expect from a guy like Mitch O’Farrell, and there’s a transcript below. There’s no big news here, no breakthrough explanations of the characteristic feckless idiocy with which O’Farrell conducts all his public business.

But if you read as many of these City staff emails as I do you’ll recognize that O’Farrell is being weirdly talkative here. It’s so rare to get anything in writing out of CD13 that’s actually from the Councilmember. Either O’Farrell is consciously not putting things in writing or his staff is way, way overclaiming exemptions to withhold all of it.4 There’s certainly plenty of evidence that they do that. And of course if you’re the wrong kind of constituent he doesn’t have a single word for you nor a single moment in which to speak it. But here he is, in fear for his life,5 and all of a sudden he’s got plenty to say.
Continue reading More Detail On Mitch O’Farrell’s April 2020 Coronavirus Exposure — Which Happened Because He Insisted On Meeting In Person With Angry Psychopathic Housedwellers In Echo Park — But Still Wouldn’t Talk To The Unhoused Community — And If You Read As Many CD13 Emails As I Do — You’re Aware That O’Farrell Rarely Commits Himself In Writing — Or His Staff Is A Bunch Of Lying CPRA Violators And Withholds What He Writes — I’m Pretty Sure Both Are True — But When He’s In Fear For His Own Life — It Seems More Real To Him Somehow — And Now The Dude Cannot Shut Up — But Quizzes Juan Fregoso About Where The Guy Who Tested Positive Was Standing — And How Close Did He Get — And What Color Shirt Was He Wearing? — It’s Pretty Clear That O’Farrell Saves His Deepest — His Most Sincere — Concern For Himself Only — But Then His Damn Voting Record Already Told Us That

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Homeless Residents Of Echo Park And Their Supporters Tried And Tried And Tried To Meet With Mitch O’Farrell Earlier This Year — To Discuss Essential Human Needs — Like Bathrooms — And Not Being Killed By Police — And Hygiene Supplies — And Other Equally Important Matters — But Mitch O’Farrell Wouldn’t Meet With Them — Or Direct His Staff To Meet — Meanwhile Both He And His Staff Met Repeatedly With Psychopathic Echo Park Housedwellers — To Discuss Their Idiotic Concerns — Like How Unpleasant It Is To See Homeless People — And Property Values — And Freaking Cholera — And How They Could Fuck Up The Lives Of The Unhoused Even More Than Usual — And Sometimes Just To Drop Off Gifts — Like Care Packages — And This Led To The Damn Housedwellers Exposing O’Farrell — And His Appalling Field Deputy Juan Fregoso — To COVID-19 In April 2020 — Which — Given That Cholera Business — Is A Level Of Irony Rarely Seen In Actual Reality

In January 2020 the unhoused residents of Echo Park came together to protest their displacement by an ongoing series of sweeps ordered by CD13 Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell. They wrote O’Farrell an exceedingly reasonable letter explaining their precarious situation, the dangers to which his sweeps exposed them, a number of proposals for assuaging the1 so-called concerns of the local housedwellers, and, for our purpose most crucially, a request to meet with him to discuss the burgeoning crisis.

This letter and the protests that inspired it turned out to be the beginning of an ongoing and still-active resistance movement in the Park, the story of which is ably told by Liam Fitzpatrick in Knock LA. This movement has merged seamlessly with the ongoing rebellion against police violence, as seen e.g. yesterday in a massive protest against LAPD and the City’s attacks on the unhoused residents, which culminated in a march to O’Farrell’s office, a series of really moving speeches calling out his weaponized incompetence, and an impressive display of art.

And over these six months of unrest, O’Farrell has repeatedly ignored the activists’ requests to meet, to discuss, to find solutions. According to Streetwatch LA, a group deeply involved in organizing the campaign, the only in-person contact O’Farrell’s office made with any of the activists consisted of O’Farrell’s absolutely despicable field deputy Juan Fregoso meeting with one resident of the Park and aggressively suggesting that the guy enter a shelter while continuing to ignore reasonable requests from these constituents for serious meetings to discuss policy.2

The City of Los Angeles is famous for using encampment sweeps and other violent tactics against unhoused residents in response to complaints, which are characteristically both deeply sociopathic and astonishingly trivial, from unhinged local housedwellers, and the Echo Park sweeps which catalyzed the protests are not an exception. I recently received a small but significant set of emails from CD13 on the subject which suggest that this particular round of violence was seeded by complaints in late 2019 from residents of Parkview Living, which is some kind of retirement home across the street from the Park.

The emails are heavily redacted, by the way, in accordance with a newly-adopted and highly illegal CD13 policy of hiding the identities of psychopathic anti-homeless constituents in order to encourage them to continue to freely express their psychopathic anti-homeless rage. Nevertheless it’s still possible to figure out what’s going on. The housedwellers are worried, as usual, about having to look at unhoused residents as well as the effect of a visible encampment on their property values. Not so much about the well-being, the health, or even the very lives of the unhoused residents.

Even more upsetting given his refusal to even talk to the actual unhoused residents is the fact that O’Farrell and his staff met repeatedly with these angry hypersensitive housedwellers to assuage their wounded sensibilities and to promise, accurately, to step up enforcement against the suffering residents of the Park. O’Farrell explicitly encouraged the Parkview housedwellers to bring their concerns to the media, presumably to bolster the appearance of public support for his violent encampment sweeps.

Fregoso, on the other hand, apparently validated their weird self-pity by telling them falsely that the City had in fact singled them out by specifically allowing encampments near Parkview, probably with the same goal.3 In addition to meetings O’Farrell and his staff apparently dropped by in person to give gifts to Parkview residents. Which foolishness, ironically, led to O’Farrell and Fregoso being exposed to COVID-19 in April 2020.
Continue reading Homeless Residents Of Echo Park And Their Supporters Tried And Tried And Tried To Meet With Mitch O’Farrell Earlier This Year — To Discuss Essential Human Needs — Like Bathrooms — And Not Being Killed By Police — And Hygiene Supplies — And Other Equally Important Matters — But Mitch O’Farrell Wouldn’t Meet With Them — Or Direct His Staff To Meet — Meanwhile Both He And His Staff Met Repeatedly With Psychopathic Echo Park Housedwellers — To Discuss Their Idiotic Concerns — Like How Unpleasant It Is To See Homeless People — And Property Values — And Freaking Cholera — And How They Could Fuck Up The Lives Of The Unhoused Even More Than Usual — And Sometimes Just To Drop Off Gifts — Like Care Packages — And This Led To The Damn Housedwellers Exposing O’Farrell — And His Appalling Field Deputy Juan Fregoso — To COVID-19 In April 2020 — Which — Given That Cholera Business — Is A Level Of Irony Rarely Seen In Actual Reality

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Donald Trump Is Poised To Forcibly Relocate Homeless Human Beings – Move Them Into Concentration Camps To Please His Bloodthirsty Constituents – Meanwhile A Newly Obtained Email Shows That Mike Bonin Does The Same Sort Of Thing – Arranging For An Encampment Sweep Across The Street From The St. Joseph Center On Hampton Avenue For No Better Reason Than To Placate Housedwelling Psychopaths – He’s Willing To Sic The LAPD On The Unhoused For No Better Reason Than That It Suits His Political Goals – Keep This In Mind The Next Time Bonin Flips Out And Compares Advocates For The Rights Of Homeless Human Beings To Donald Trump

In this troubled time, perhaps to be known to future history as the early days of fully formed American fascism, sane people have legitimate reasons to worry about the President of the United States adding homeless human beings to the already too-long list of people he’s willing to intern in camps, torture, and kill in order to further his political purposes.1

Meanwhile our local politicians keep up their characteristically hypocritical performance of opposition to Trump and empathy towards the unhoused2 while continuing to call down sweeps on their encampments, displacing them, endangering them, occasionally killing them. Endangering, sacrificing, just as Donald Trump does, the lives of actual human beings for no better reason than to please their bloodthirsty constituents, who demand visible action in lieu of actual solutions.

Of course, that’s not how these politicians frame their activities. They go on and on and on about how police-attended encampment sweeps are necessary to help homeless residents, to disincentivize them from living on the street and encourage them to accept shelter, et cetera. But that’s not a reason the City of Los Angeles has sweeps, not at all. And whatever all the reasons might be, political expedience is certainly one of them.

Just for instance, take a look at this December 2017 email from Taylor Bazley, formerly on CD11 repster Mike Bonin’s staff, to LAPD senior lead Adrian Maxwell, asking him to “focus resources” a homeless encampment on Hampton Avenue in Venice. Bazley was communicating Bonin’s concerns which had nothing to do with helping the inhabitants in any way at all. No, Bazley’s stated reason for focusing resources on this “particularly disadvantageous” encampment were that:

… across the street is the primary homeless serving organization for the SPA (St. Joseph Center) – people will think that the encampment is due to the organization and the Councilmember is concerned that this will make projects we all want to move forward, more difficult with an already skeptical neighborhood.

Continue reading Donald Trump Is Poised To Forcibly Relocate Homeless Human Beings – Move Them Into Concentration Camps To Please His Bloodthirsty Constituents – Meanwhile A Newly Obtained Email Shows That Mike Bonin Does The Same Sort Of Thing – Arranging For An Encampment Sweep Across The Street From The St. Joseph Center On Hampton Avenue For No Better Reason Than To Placate Housedwelling Psychopaths – He’s Willing To Sic The LAPD On The Unhoused For No Better Reason Than That It Suits His Political Goals – Keep This In Mind The Next Time Bonin Flips Out And Compares Advocates For The Rights Of Homeless Human Beings To Donald Trump

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Psychopathic Trump-Loving Housedwelling Dog Walker Gabriel Aronson Of Venice — Recommends The Best Way To Deter Homeless Encampments And Rats — Military Grade Acoustic Weapons — Ultrasonic Pain Guns — Developed For The Israeli Army — This Is Not An Exaggeration — This Is Literally What This Person Is Advocating On NextDoor — Uncontradicted By His Audience

Of course everyone knows that NextDoor is 4Chan for housedwelling psychopaths. They get one another so damn revved up about how much their housedwelling selves are suffering because homeless human beings exist that they think it’s normal and OK to talk about firebombing them or shooting them with anti-tank weapons.

And these are seemingly normal people. They have jobs. They own businesses. They appear to be respectable. They must be exposed. And sometimes it’s useful to mock them as well as expose their violent ideas, maybe humiliate them, mess with their Google search results so their friends and co-workers can see how dangerous, how violent they are.

But sometimes their own words are so obviously insane, so completely outside the boundaries of civilized humanity, that it’s only necessary to quote. Behold a NextDoor thread started by a guy named Gabriel Aronson, who owns a Venice pet care business called The Tranquil Dog. He’s advocating on NextDoor for the use of military grade acoustic weapons against homeless human beings.

And these days this is not an anomaly. As Pete White of LA CAN has said: “The current wave of online rhetoric advocating violence and dehumanizing houseless people is much more than ‘good people online simply venting.’ This is a declaration of war.” And also see how not one person criticizes Aronson. Instead they worry about whether these acoustic weapons will also harm dogs or disturb their housedwelling neighbors.1 Here’s how Aronson kicked off the discussion:
Continue reading Psychopathic Trump-Loving Housedwelling Dog Walker Gabriel Aronson Of Venice — Recommends The Best Way To Deter Homeless Encampments And Rats — Military Grade Acoustic Weapons — Ultrasonic Pain Guns — Developed For The Israeli Army — This Is Not An Exaggeration — This Is Literally What This Person Is Advocating On NextDoor — Uncontradicted By His Audience

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

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

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

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

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Emails From The Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office Reveal The Existence Of Pilot Programs To Handle Homeless Encampments — Known As Operation Please Follow The Rules — (Not Making That Up) — That Literally Condition Provision Of Social Services On Taking Tents Down During The Day — Featuring The Direct Participation And Complicity Of Private Social Service Providers — Cornerstone And The People Concern — In This Project — Actually Agreeing To Withhold Services From Noncompliant Homeless People — And To Tell LAPD Who’s Compliant And Who’s Not — So That LAPD Can Arrest Noncompliers — And These People Wonder Why Everyone Lies To Them — Why Nobody Trusts Them — It’s Pretty Obvious Why

Services Not Sweeps is a coalition of dozens of Los Angeles area community organizations who are working for, among other things, the removal of LAPD from all City street cleaning initiatives. There are many reasons for excluding law enforcement officers from encampment cleanups. Police arrest people or do worse to them. The threat they represent, the linking of that threat with the service providers present, cannot help but discourage homeless residents from cooperating in the cleaning process, from taking advantage of the offered services.

Arresting people who are already suffering by being forced to live on the streets destroys any trust the arrestees, their families, their neighbors, might have had in the good intentions of the system. It destroys what might be left of their dignity. It is a bad, bad thing. These encampment sweep teams include not only LAPD, but LA Sanitation workers and other City officials, and the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority is tasked with pre-sweep outreach. Outreach, at least ideally, consists of offering various social services to the encampment residents and, in theory, helping them take advantage of whatever help is available to them.

And I wasn’t previously aware of this fact, but it turns out that at least sometimes the City invites private social services organizations to be part of the encampment sweep process. Two such groups are Cornerstone and The People Concern. These organizations’ websites, well, they hit all the right notes. E.g Cornerstone talks up “clients develop[ing] trusting relationships with counselors” and TPC is all about “build[ing] self-sufficiency, restor[ing] dignity and help[ing] our vulnerable neighbors become contributing members of the community”.

But these laudable ideals are belied by the fact that at least on some occasions both of these groups have been complicit in pilot programs, organized by the City Attorney’s office, that attempt to coerce people living in encampments into taking their tents down during the day by actually “making services dependent on following this rule” and, with the blessing of the LAPD, immunizing them from arrest if they complied by taking down tents when told to do so.

These programs were evidently started because, in the thoroughly idiotic and offensive words of Assistant City Attorney Tamar Galatzan, “everyone was getting frustrated that the homeless people were telling outreach one thing and LAPD another”. And in its inimitably totalitarian style the City Attorney seems to have called these programs “Operation Please Follow The Rules”.

It’s certainly difficult enough to gain the trust of people who, forced by circumstances beyond their control to live in encampments on public sidewalks, have seen their lives devalued by society, have been repeatedly abused and betrayed, criminalized and infantilized. And yet without gaining their trust it’s impossible to help anyone, no matter what their housing circumstance.

It’s easy to see what the City gets from the complicity of these private agencies, but it’s impossible for me to understand what the agencies get from it. Which is why I don’t explain these stories, I just tell them. And this one is told through a bunch of emails I got recently from the City Attorney’s office. Read on for details and transcriptions!
Continue reading Emails From The Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office Reveal The Existence Of Pilot Programs To Handle Homeless Encampments — Known As Operation Please Follow The Rules — (Not Making That Up) — That Literally Condition Provision Of Social Services On Taking Tents Down During The Day — Featuring The Direct Participation And Complicity Of Private Social Service Providers — Cornerstone And The People Concern — In This Project — Actually Agreeing To Withhold Services From Noncompliant Homeless People — And To Tell LAPD Who’s Compliant And Who’s Not — So That LAPD Can Arrest Noncompliers — And These People Wonder Why Everyone Lies To Them — Why Nobody Trusts Them — It’s Pretty Obvious Why

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Public Records Newly Obtained From LAHSA Shed Some Light On Homeless Encampment Cleanup Process — And LAHSA’s Role In It — Including Training Powerpoint By LAHSA Administrator Matthew Tenchavez — Organizational Chart Of LAHSA Outreach Personnel — And More Than 8K Entries From The Encampment Tracking Database — Showing Very Specific Information About Each Encampment Worked In 2019

I recently received a small but crucial set of records from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority relating to that organization’s role in the process of homeless encampment sweeps. LAHSA outreach workers are required to contact encampment residents and offer them services before LA City Sanitation and the LAPD come in and throw away all their stuff.

These records shed some light on the practical aspects of that requirement. How they’re organized across Los Angeles County, who the outreach workers are, how LAHSA characterizes the controlling policies in its training materials, and so on. These documents provide essential but fairly technical information about local government’s response to the crisis of homelessness. There’s nothing lurid here, just a mass of crucial details. You can browse through them here on Archive.Org and here are links, descriptions, and some samples of this material:

★ Org chart for LAHSA encampment outreach workers — XLSXPDF — LAHSA is a joint powers authority rather than a department of the City of Los Angeles. It therefore operates across the entire county, which they have divided into Service Planning Areas, or SPAs. This chart gives names and funding sources for outreach workers and supervisors for each SPA. The XLSX file is the original and I also exported it as a PDF for utility.

★ 2019 encampment tracker entries — XLSX — This is a crucial document.1 It contains short descriptions of almost 9,000 encampment outreach instances, including date, location, names of LAHSA outreach workers, number of residents, and brief notes from the outreach staff. Here’s a sample of what’s in there, click to enlarge:

★ CSLA Training Powerpoint — PDF — This is a powerpoint presentation prepared by LAHSA administrator Matthew Tenchavez about the Clean Streets Los Angeles program, which is one of at least two City of LA encampment sweeping initiatives. This is essential information for understanding how LAHSA sees its role in the process, the rules they believe they are meant to follow, and so on. It also explains various software tools used in planning encampment sweeps, with some screenshots. If PDFs aren’t convenient, I have images of the 11 pages below.
Continue reading Public Records Newly Obtained From LAHSA Shed Some Light On Homeless Encampment Cleanup Process — And LAHSA’s Role In It — Including Training Powerpoint By LAHSA Administrator Matthew Tenchavez — Organizational Chart Of LAHSA Outreach Personnel — And More Than 8K Entries From The Encampment Tracking Database — Showing Very Specific Information About Each Encampment Worked In 2019

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The True History Of The Frederick Passageway Anti-Homeless Hostile Landscaping Project — Guided By Angry Self-Proclaimed Lawyer And Housedweller Saul Janson — And Revanchist Housedwelling Coffee Confectioner Allison Altschuler — And Housedwelling Zillionaire NBC News Producer Richard Adams — (Not The Guy With The Damn Bunnies But A Different One) — And Famous But Shockingly Untalented Cartoonist Rick Detorie — Assisted At Every Stage By Freaky Little Lying Former CD11 Field Deputy Taylor Bazley — Who Explicitly Told Jansen To Exclude Shade Trees Because Homeless People Like Sitting Under Them — And Told Altschuler To Collect Bullshit CYA Letters From Neighbors In Case The City Got Sued — All Of This Done At The Express Orders Of Little Man Behind The Curtain Mike Bonin — Revealed In Emails Released In Response To My CPRA Lawsuit Against CD11 — And This Is Just The Start Of The Releases, Friends!

I’ve been spending some time looking into the ways in which City Council offices materially support housedweller aggression against homeless residents of Los Angeles, including especially by facilitating illegal hostile architecture. Venice is one of the main theaters in which this drama is currently being performed, what with the proliferation of illegal planters and other, more idiosyncratic projects like for instance the Frederick Passageway, just west of the Penmar Golf Course. So naturally I’m spending a great deal of time sending requests to CD11 under the California Public Records Act.

And for a long time they completely ignored me, but then, by pure good fortune, in response to a request to LAPD, I received a stunning and unexpected email conversation between (now former) CD11 field deputy Taylor Bazley and various worthies proving conclusively that, despite many, many explicit denials from Mike Bonin’s flacks that there was any coordination at all between Bonin’s office and the outlaw planter-placers, Bazley was in fact directly involved in the process, even to the extent of calling in a sweep of a homeless encampment specifically so that illegal planters could be placed.

This discovery magnified the importance of the emails I’d requested from CD11 to the point where we all put on our hustle-hats and filed a petition splickety splat! And, as it turns out the City is wont to do, they pretty quickly started handing over records.1 You can take a look at the first batch here on Archive.Org. And these are all interesting, certainly, but the most interesting of all is this spool of emails between Taylor Bazley and various folks about the Frederick Passageway. There are two threads to the conversation here.

First there’s Bazley coordinating with angry housedwellers to ruin this public passageway by planting crap all over it to thwart the efforts of homeless human beings to survive, mostly because the housedwellers find them unaesthetic. Some of the identities of these housedwellers are known. For instance, there is ringleader Saul C. Janson, who claims to be some kind of lawyer. You can reach Saul at sacoja@aol.com and his phone number seems to be (310) 452-7978.

There is also self-proclaimed coffee confectioner Allison Altschuler, who can be contacted at allisonaltschuler@gmail.com. And shockingly untalented and shockingly well-known cartoonist Rick Detorie, who you can email at rdetorie@yahoo.com. Last but never ever ever least is zillionaire NBC news producer Richard Adams. Get in touch with Adams at Richard.Adams@nbcuni.com or via phone at his office, (818) 684-2873, or, for that more direct and personal touch, on his cell at (818) 391-7508.

Bazley spends months, years, encouraging them. He suggests places they can find funding for their aggressive anti-human project. Listens sympathetically to their crazed rants. Really gets into the details of hostile landscaping, e.g. suggesting that they avoid shade trees because the homeless will enjoy sitting under them. Accompanies them in person to City offices to help them obtain permits. Helps them collect astroturf letters of support for submission to the Bureau of Engineering, telling them they don’t have to be sincere or even have much content as the only purpose is ass-covering in the event that someone sues the City.

And so on, all done in the inimitably sycophantic and cynical Bazleyian manner. This material is an important addition to the history of anti-homeless landscaping in Venice. To date we didn’t really know who was behind the appropriation and destruction of this public street, and we certainly did not know the extent to which Bazley and CD11 were involved in coordinating it.2

But in addition to that conversation, which is new and important but at the same time fairly predictable, familiar in tone and content if not in specifics, there are also a bunch of emails between Bazley, Mike Bonin himself, who repeatedly orders Bazley to cater to the whims of the housedwellers, and Debbie Dyner Harris, at that time a district director for Bonin, also ordering Bazley to please get to work and please please the housedwellers.

This is a side of the process we very rarely get to see. Councilmembers either only send very few emails or else their offices routinely and illegally withhold them. And these few emails are terse. The staff knows what to do, they don’t need to be told explicitly. Records, after all, will end up on the Internet. Best, then, not to generate any. This material, while actually less sensational than the other, is equally if not more important for shining light on the internal processes of Bonin’s office.

Another fact, revealed for the first time by these newly released records, is that the housedwellers were looking to this project not just as a way to exclude some unaesthetic human beings by installing plants on a public street. They were actually looking to literally privatize the street by annexing parts of it and adjoining them to their lots, thereby increasing their property values. This unexpected but ultimately not surprising development demonstrates in a pretty stark way that most if not all anti-homeless housedweller rage is actually about money.

Usually, possibly, the financial gains from hostile architecture are framed as about how aesthetics and perceptions of homeless neighbors affect property values but, at least in this case, it’s about actual annexation of publicly owned land. Thus spake Taylor Bazley: “a lot of the adjacent property owners are looking to assume ten more feet of property through the process of street vacation.” Taylor doesn’t go along with this plan, but not because he sees anything wrong with it. It’s just, he assures his boss, that it takes too long.

But as much as is revealed by these emails, one of the central mysteries remains unexplained. You’ll see, if you read on to the transcripts below, that the complaints that initiated the multi-year process of installing hostile landscaping on the Frederick Passageway are so stupid as to be incoherent. Saul Janson is angry, e.g., that the homeless people in the encampment laugh, eat food from takeout containers, own cell phones, and so on. He compares homeless people’s possessions to cancer, saying that their “stuff metastasizes daily”>.

He thinks single women are more particularly vulnerable to the unspecified predations of the homeless than, I guess, men and non-single women? The man is a slime-oozing braindead ball of enraged emotional putrefaction, certainly no one to be taken seriously. Oh, I forgot to mention! Janson and his neighbors “are mostly caring and socially responsible people.” Just ask them! If he weren’t a housedweller the best he could hope for out of City officials would be to be ignored. The worst would involve throwing away his tent or his insulin, tasing him, jailing him, 5150ing him into oblivion, leaving him to die on the pavement in the rain.

But none of that happens here. Instead of mocking and ignoring him, Bonin writes to Bazley and Dyner Harris to tell them to take care of the guy’s concerns. We’ve seen this exact phenomenon in CD13, as well as in CD11 with a whole different Klown Kar Krew, so it’s not isolated. What I don’t understand, what I despair of understanding, is why Councilmembers are so solicitous of these housedwellers. They’re not necessarily big donors. For instance, according to the Ethics Commission, none of Janson, Altschuler, or Adams have ever given a penny to Bonin.3

They’re not influential, they’re not going to sway an election. And yet the CMs listen to them, sweep encampments, disrupt lives, at their request. Maybe it’s because they’re asking for something the CMs want to do anyway and so provide political cover? I legitimately don’t get it and nothing in these emails gives even a clue. Perhaps some day this premiere open question will be solved! Meanwhile, read on for transcribed selections with some commentary and links!
Continue reading The True History Of The Frederick Passageway Anti-Homeless Hostile Landscaping Project — Guided By Angry Self-Proclaimed Lawyer And Housedweller Saul Janson — And Revanchist Housedwelling Coffee Confectioner Allison Altschuler — And Housedwelling Zillionaire NBC News Producer Richard Adams — (Not The Guy With The Damn Bunnies But A Different One) — And Famous But Shockingly Untalented Cartoonist Rick Detorie — Assisted At Every Stage By Freaky Little Lying Former CD11 Field Deputy Taylor Bazley — Who Explicitly Told Jansen To Exclude Shade Trees Because Homeless People Like Sitting Under Them — And Told Altschuler To Collect Bullshit CYA Letters From Neighbors In Case The City Got Sued — All Of This Done At The Express Orders Of Little Man Behind The Curtain Mike Bonin — Revealed In Emails Released In Response To My CPRA Lawsuit Against CD11 — And This Is Just The Start Of The Releases, Friends!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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