Tag Archives: Paul Koretz

David Ryu Certainly Seems To Be Yet Another Landlord On The Los Angeles City Council — And Apparently Perfectly Comfortable Voting On Various Tenants’ Rights Issues Without Recusing Himself Or Even Mentioning It — He And His Sister Esther Bought A Four Unit Apartment Building In 2018 — And Immediately Signed It Over To A Shady Entity Called Daejopia LLC — Controlled By Their Brother Joseph — Ryu Acknowledged On His Form 700 That He Owns The Building — Although He Lists It By Parcel Number Rather Than Address — But Denies Receiving Any Rental Income From It — Which Seems Really Highly Unlikely Given That It Appears To Be Fully Occupied — But Maybe He’ll Explain Himself If For Some Unknown Reason It Is True — Did I Mention That Kenneth Yoon — Who Sold The Building To David And Esther Ryu — Turned Around And Gave Ryu An $800 Contribution A Month After The Deal Closed? — And That The Ryus Only Needed To Borrow $460K On What Was Apparently A $840K Transaction?

On Tuesday, March 17, 2020 the Los Angeles City Council considered an emergency ordinance to halt evictions and give renters 24 months to cover missed payments. Or at least that’s what the original motion, introduced by CD11 rep Mike Bonin, called for. During the debate,1 though, various other councilmembers, notably Paul Krekorian, Paul Koretz, and Herb Wesson, argued passionately against the harm that such an ordinance would do to the proverbial mom and pop landlords by giving these deadbeat tenants so damn long to settle up.

Two years is far long, they said. Mom and pops can’t afford to wait, they said. Will increase default rate, said they. They said all kinds of impassioned stuff in favor of reducing repayment time by a murderous 75%. But one of the things they didn’t say was that all three of these councilmembers are themselves landlords. It’s impossible to imagine that they weren’t thinking of their own interests while arguing to amend this motion. I wrote a piece on this a few days ago, the research for which also revealed that they weren’t the only three, by the way.

It turned out that Jose Huizar, Nury Martinez, and Curren Price are also landlords and also voted yes on the change to a 6 month grace period. My method of landlord discovery relied solely on Form 700s, which are annual financial disclosure forms required of elected officials in California. And rental income is a specific category which must be identified as such. For instance, consider the relevant section from Paul Krekorian’s most recent filing.

But it turned out that this method was flawed. Not flawed in the sense of producing false positives. The six that I identified are in fact landlords. Flawed, though, in the sense of producing false negatives based, as it is, on the disclosures being honest.2 And that’s how I missed the fact that CD4 representative David Ryu is also a landlord,3 although it’s certainly not obvious at all from his most recent Form 700. First, take a look at the relevant section:

He lists an assessor’s parcel number rather than an address. I didn’t previously look up the property, though, because he checked off the box indicating that he’d received no rental income. It turns out, though, that skipping this was a huge mistake on my part. I finally did look into the matter and it turns out that I had previously missed everything! Read on for the whole astonishingly sordid story of David Ryu and this property!
Continue reading David Ryu Certainly Seems To Be Yet Another Landlord On The Los Angeles City Council — And Apparently Perfectly Comfortable Voting On Various Tenants’ Rights Issues Without Recusing Himself Or Even Mentioning It — He And His Sister Esther Bought A Four Unit Apartment Building In 2018 — And Immediately Signed It Over To A Shady Entity Called Daejopia LLC — Controlled By Their Brother Joseph — Ryu Acknowledged On His Form 700 That He Owns The Building — Although He Lists It By Parcel Number Rather Than Address — But Denies Receiving Any Rental Income From It — Which Seems Really Highly Unlikely Given That It Appears To Be Fully Occupied — But Maybe He’ll Explain Himself If For Some Unknown Reason It Is True — Did I Mention That Kenneth Yoon — Who Sold The Building To David And Esther Ryu — Turned Around And Gave Ryu An $800 Contribution A Month After The Deal Closed? — And That The Ryus Only Needed To Borrow $460K On What Was Apparently A $840K Transaction?

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Yesterday The Los Angeles City Council Eviscerated A Reasonably Good Eviction Moratorium Motion — On The Insistence Of Paul Krekorian And Herb Wesson — Who Kept Talking Up The Needs Of The So-Called Mom And Pop Landlords — Who In Everyone’s Fantasies About Capitalism On A Human Scale Are Not Insatiable Villainous Psychopaths Like Non Mom And Pop Landlords Are — And Somehow Neither Krekorian Nor Wesson Thought It Was Worth Mentioning That They Themselves Are Mom And Pop Landlords — As Is Paul Koretz — And Nury Martinez — And Curren Price — And Jose Huizar — And Mike Bonin’s Husband — Although Bonin Voted Against Krekorian’s Eviscerating Motion — So At Least There’s That

Yesterday the Los Angeles City Council considered and passed1 a long list of motions intended to alleviate some of the devastating effects of the coronavirus pandemic on our City. One of the most essential of these was CD11 rep Mike Bonin’s motion to stop evictions and ban late rent fees until the end of the emergency declaration and then give renters 24 months to pay missed rent.

The meeting itself was interminable and the public is excluded from City Hall and had to sit out on the front patio under a tent. But fortunately a number of extremely hard-working reporters were on the case, and it’s due to the incomparable Sahra Sulaiman‘s live-tweeting of this episode that I’m able to tell the story I’m telling here.

Sulaiman reported that Paul Krekorian, our second fashiest councilmember, was all about 24 months to repay being far, far too long:

Can’t tell who (Krekorian?) suggests that we are shifting loss bc if we give tenants too much time to pay back, the grace pd may extend beyond their lease and therefore end up being uncollectable. And that we need to consider more options, like applying security deposit to rent.

Krekorian went on to say that:

He acknowledges some folks will never be able to pay it back and that some landlords can absorb that, but others cannot, and that may have other negative consequences.

Got it? Paul Krekorian acknowledges that some landlords can absorb the loss from tenants not paying back rent while other landlords cannot absorb the loss. This is his reason for wanting to cut the repayment period down from 24 months to 6 months.

Hey, did you know that California state law requires public officials like Paul Krekorian to file annual disclosures of their financial interests? Well, it does. They’re called “Form 700s” and here’s Paul Krekorian’s from 2018. And as expected, rental income is income and thus counts as a financial interest to be listed on the form.
Continue reading Yesterday The Los Angeles City Council Eviscerated A Reasonably Good Eviction Moratorium Motion — On The Insistence Of Paul Krekorian And Herb Wesson — Who Kept Talking Up The Needs Of The So-Called Mom And Pop Landlords — Who In Everyone’s Fantasies About Capitalism On A Human Scale Are Not Insatiable Villainous Psychopaths Like Non Mom And Pop Landlords Are — And Somehow Neither Krekorian Nor Wesson Thought It Was Worth Mentioning That They Themselves Are Mom And Pop Landlords — As Is Paul Koretz — And Nury Martinez — And Curren Price — And Jose Huizar — And Mike Bonin’s Husband — Although Bonin Voted Against Krekorian’s Eviscerating Motion — So At Least There’s That

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Remember When Dozens Of Wise – And Sane – And Thoughtful – Advocates For The Rights Of Our Homeless Neighbors Spoke Before The Los Angeles City Council – And Gave Any Number Of Reasons – Based On Facts And Deeply Felt Lived Experience – For Council Not To Renew The Reprehensible LAMC 85.02 – Outlawing Vehicle Dwelling – And Council Renewed It – And Protests Broke Out – And They Cleared The Room – And Had Someone Arrested – And Lied About The Activists Being Paid For Their Commentary – Now Compare And Contrast – Last Week Some Unhinged Lobbyists Wrote An Ultra-Crackpot Letter Against Street Vendors – And Paul Koretz – Without Even Blinking At The Crazed Crapola Submitted By These Kooks – Introduced An Amending Motion Granting All Their Appalling Desires – More Despicably Characteristic Pandering To Zillionaires – When We’re Commenting We’re Commenting For History – Not For The Korrupt Klown Krew Running Things For Their Zillionaire Masters

Maybe you remember how in June and July 2019 the Los Angeles City Council was considering renewing the appalling LAMC 85.02, which makes vehicle dwelling illegal? And dozens of advocates for the rights of the unhoused took time to appear and give public comment urging the Council not to renew the law. They stayed away from work, from family, from the countless obligations and responsibilities that unpaid volunteers have to neglect in order to participate in civic life.

And the City Council ignored their wisdom, their experience, their sincere and deep understanding of the facts, they ignored the fact that not one single public commenter spoke in favor of their wicked ordinance, not one. They voted to renew their reprehensible legal ban on vehicle dwelling and then, when the chamber erupted in protest, the Councilmembers first had the police arrest one member of the public and clear the rest from the room. They then assuaged their own fully justified guilt and shame by telling one another the soothing lie that the protesters were paid for their advocacy? Well, anyway, that’s what happened.

And maybe you also remember that for the last eleventy seven years or so the local zillionaires have been fighting rabidly against street vending in Los Angeles, weaponizing the municipal power they pay so dearly to control through many violent conduits against these helpless workers. Their psychopathic campaign got so out of hand that last year the State Legislature had to step in and pass a law forbidding municipalities from outlawing vending.

But there are some loopholes, or at least some language that can be made by zillionaire lawyers to appear enough like a loophole to serve their purposes for now, and the zillies have been hard at work chipping away at the protections afforded by the law to the vendors, telling blatant lies when it serves their wicked purposes.. And it seems that one of the things away at which they’re determined to chip is food vendors who actually cook on stoves and stuff, and maybe have some chairs for their customers.

If you live in actual real live Los Angeles instead of some kind of collective zillionaire delusion like the Pacific Palisades, which almost certainly doesn’t actually exist in normal reality, this is the kind of thing you see every day, or at least every evening, when they really come out in numbers. Pupusas, tacos, pollo rostizado, churrascos, and so on. This is a ubiquitous style of street food vending. Street vending, even complex setups like these, are an essential part of the cultural fabric of Los Angeles, and are to be celebrated, not outlawed.
Continue reading Remember When Dozens Of Wise – And Sane – And Thoughtful – Advocates For The Rights Of Our Homeless Neighbors Spoke Before The Los Angeles City Council – And Gave Any Number Of Reasons – Based On Facts And Deeply Felt Lived Experience – For Council Not To Renew The Reprehensible LAMC 85.02 – Outlawing Vehicle Dwelling – And Council Renewed It – And Protests Broke Out – And They Cleared The Room – And Had Someone Arrested – And Lied About The Activists Being Paid For Their Commentary – Now Compare And Contrast – Last Week Some Unhinged Lobbyists Wrote An Ultra-Crackpot Letter Against Street Vendors – And Paul Koretz – Without Even Blinking At The Crazed Crapola Submitted By These Kooks – Introduced An Amending Motion Granting All Their Appalling Desires – More Despicably Characteristic Pandering To Zillionaires – When We’re Commenting We’re Commenting For History – Not For The Korrupt Klown Krew Running Things For Their Zillionaire Masters

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Paul Koretz’s Office Does Not Track Constituent Opinions On Issues — Or At Least They Have Not Done So In 2019 — This Is According To David Hersch — Koretz’s Deputy Chief Of Staff — So All That Dutiful Public Comment You’ve Been Submitting To CD5 O Best Beloved? — No One Over There Even Cares — Did You Call Or Email Koretz And Beg Him To Have A Damn Heart And Not Outlaw Vehicle Dwelling? — Your Thoughts Were Not Recorded — Along With The Story Of How I Learned This Tragic Fact — Which Illuminates The Uncaring Arrogance Of The City Of Los Angeles In Responding To Requests For Public Records

I can’t write yet about the City Council’s appalling behavior on Tuesday with respect to outlawing vehicle dwelling by renewing LAMC 85.02. It’s still too raw, and it’s too soon to have related records to publish. Local hero Lexis-Olivier Ray has an essential story on it in L.A. Taco, a story he inadvertently became a participant in when the police illegally forced him, a working journalist, to leave the room.

The day before the vote a lot of folks were calling their Councilmembers, leaving messages, sending emails, and so on, urging their repsters to vote against this abhorrent nonsense, much of it coordinated via Twitter. And to encourage action, @MamaWetzel told us that these calls do matter because there are staffers whose jobs it is to track public opinion on issues via spreadsheets and so on.1 And at that word, spreadsheets, well, my eyes just rolled back in my head with joy because, as you know, a spreadsheet is a public record!

So I immediately asked a few representative council offices for 2019 records used to track constituent opinion on issues, giving spreadsheets as an example but not limiting it just to spreadsheets.2 This, as I said, was on Monday, just a few days ago. In CPRAlandia that’s nothing, no time at all, an eyeblink. So I wasn’t, and still am not, expecting results soon. But despite that, yesterday, July 31, 2019, I did actually get some very interesting news from CD5, who is pretty easy to make requests of, being on NextRequest.

Their designated CPRA responder, David Hersch, initially told me that my request was “overboard, [sic] unduly burdensome and unfocused” because, he claimed, there were too many records responsive and that therefore he wouldn’t process it until I narrowed it down. This is a standard move in the City of Los Angeles and I discuss it in great detail below. I responded, as I typically do, by asking how many records there were and explaining that the request was exceedingly focused.

Hersch responded five hours later by saying that actually there were no records at all and that CD5 didn’t keep track of constituent opinions, or at least had not done so in 2019.3 This is pretty interesting news even apart from the interesting but technical matters regarding CPRA. It’s not like Koretz doesn’t do stuff on the Council. He’s famous for his animal rights work, the importance of which I am not discounting.

For instance, just recently he’s been spending a lot of time saving Billy the Elephant, and there was that vegan food thing from December. This year alone he’s sponsored 80 motions. But all those calls and letters you folks in CD5 have spent the time to send? All that public comment? No one over there is keeping track at all. Paul Koretz has his mind made up, he’s gonna do what he’s gonna do, and ain’t all your tears wash out a word of it.4

And at this point I won’t be surprised if none of them keep track. I will certainly be working on finding out, of course. Which would be an important part of an explanation as to why Los Quince Jefes can sit up on their dais so complacently day after clueless day fiddling with their phones while their computers automatically vote yes on oppression and the City prepares to burn. That’s today’s revelation and today’s rant. Read on for the CPRA wonkery!
Continue reading Paul Koretz’s Office Does Not Track Constituent Opinions On Issues — Or At Least They Have Not Done So In 2019 — This Is According To David Hersch — Koretz’s Deputy Chief Of Staff — So All That Dutiful Public Comment You’ve Been Submitting To CD5 O Best Beloved? — No One Over There Even Cares — Did You Call Or Email Koretz And Beg Him To Have A Damn Heart And Not Outlaw Vehicle Dwelling? — Your Thoughts Were Not Recorded — Along With The Story Of How I Learned This Tragic Fact — Which Illuminates The Uncaring Arrogance Of The City Of Los Angeles In Responding To Requests For Public Records

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The Resurgence Of The Unhinged Grudge Informer — Anonymous CD5 Resident Threatens To Call ICE On Construction Workers Because They Don’t Speak English And The Constant Beeping Of Trucks Drives Her Crazy — And CD5 Staffer Debbie Dyner Harris Doesn’t Say A Critical Word About It — It’s All Normal In Quality-Of-Life-Land — If Our Society Creates And Weaponizes An Institution Like ICE It’s Certainly Not Unexpected That People Would Use It As A Weapon — But Can’t We Rely On Our Public Officials Not To Encourage It — If Only Through Their Invidious Silence?

Tomorrow, July 12, 2019, under the banner of Lights for Liberty, thousands of people across the country and across the world will be participating in vigils at American concentration camps run by ICE, protesting the murderous treatment of the prisoners held there. You can find an event near you here. There are any number of serious reasons to abolish ICE, you can even ask ICE agents about it.

And one of these reasons is that the very existence of this organization, which is empowered to lock people up and torture them on the barest suspicion that they’re somehow violating immigration laws, incites people to use that power to further their personal goals. Under the original Nazis concentration camps were not only a tool of state terror but were used regularly by ordinary people to settle entirely non-political grudges with their neighbors.

The very existence of the capability creates the irresistible urge to use it. The blade itself incites to violence.1 This behavior was so commonplace and so problematic for various reasons that there’s a term for those who engage in it, they’re grudge informers. As Colleen Murphy puts it in her fine book The Conceptual Foundations of Transitional Justice:

The term “grudge informers” refers to individuals who, during periods of conflict or repression, report personal enemies to authorities in order to get rid of them.2

Now, I’m not interested in rehashing the endlessly stupid discussions about the appropriacy of comparisons of ICE concentration camps to Nazi concentration camps nor, obviously, the appropriacy of the term “concentration camp” to refer to them. If it strikes you that there are two legitimate sides to that debate, you can go here and talk about it to your heart’s content.

I am, however, interested in talking about public records. In this case, a set of emails I obtained from the office of Paul Koretz, putatively esteemed CD5 repster, containing the phrase “quality of life.” I’m really interested in the kind of crazy shit that housedwellers gripe about to their council offices, and especially interested in the kind of terrorism that gets conjured up and poured down upon the tender heads of the helpless like so much molten lead from the ramparts as a result of such complaints.

Searches on this phrase seemed like a good way to find more of it, and oh boy, did that ever work out! Just for instance, if you have the heart, or the stomach, really, take a look at this endless series of constituent complaints from folks on Sweetzer Avenue in May of this year, really worked up about some construction noise created by an assuredly villainous outfit known as ETCO Homes.
Continue reading The Resurgence Of The Unhinged Grudge Informer — Anonymous CD5 Resident Threatens To Call ICE On Construction Workers Because They Don’t Speak English And The Constant Beeping Of Trucks Drives Her Crazy — And CD5 Staffer Debbie Dyner Harris Doesn’t Say A Critical Word About It — It’s All Normal In Quality-Of-Life-Land — If Our Society Creates And Weaponizes An Institution Like ICE It’s Certainly Not Unexpected That People Would Use It As A Weapon — But Can’t We Rely On Our Public Officials Not To Encourage It — If Only Through Their Invidious Silence?

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It Turns Out That The Los Angeles Department Of Sanitation — Which Is A Key Player In The Raiding And Destruction Of Homeless Encampments — Will Provide “Community Dumpsters” For Housedweller Groups And Events — At The Behest Of Council Districts — And With A Huge Amount Of Attention And Time Devoted By City Staff — But None Of These Players — Not One — Will Provide Dumpsters For Homeless People Living On The Streets — These Are The Very Same Players Who Use Encampment Trash Accumulation To Justify Death-Dealing Sweeps — And It Is Supremely Ironic That Bladimir Campos — Of LA San — Is Involved In Both Activities

It’s well-known that pretty much the entire response of the City government of Los Angeles to our homelessness crisis is criminalization and its subsequent brutality, implemented at the hands of police and weaponized sanitation workers, driven never by sound policy, morality, or basic human decency, but rather by the incessant hateful complaints of psychopathic genocidal housedwellers.

This policy is manifested most visibly in notoriously savage encampment sweeps, during which tents, medicine, legal papers, and other possessions absolutely necessary for human life, are destroyed by City functionaries and cops. The claim is that sweeps are necessary to keep the streets clean, although the utter cynical falsity of this claim is revealed by two facts.

First, the sweepers often neglect to pick up actual trash while they’re destroying possessions and second, the City refuses to provide people living in encampments with the basic tools they need to keep their homes and neighborhoods clean in the first place, tools enjoyed by every housedweller in the City. Most important among these are trash receptacles and toilets. So crucially needed are toilets and trash cans and so cruel is the City’s refusal to provide them that an entire coalition of activist groups, Services Not Sweeps, exists to demand that the City provide them, among other things.

And not only that, but I recently obtained a big set of emails between staffers in Paul Koretz’s office and Bladimir Campos of LA Sanitation, who’s responsible for, among other things, coordinating encampment sweeps when Council Districts ask him to. I don’t know what excuses the City gives for their refusal to provide trash receptacles to encampments or even if they feel the need to excuse themselves, but one appalling fact I learned from these new emails is that the City actually has a whole system in place to deliver dumpsters to community events and pick them up afterwards.

Like all such perquisites in the City of Los Angeles, these so-called community dumpsters seem to be coordinated through Council offices, and you can read in this conversation and this other conversation exactly how much painstaking effort Koretz staffer Aviv Kleinman and a surprisingly large number of other City officials were willing to put in week after week after week after year after year to make sure that one of these dumpsters was made available by LA San for some community group’s event.

And don’t miss the supremely ironic fact that Kleinman’s correspondent at Sanitation was none other than Bladimir Campos. So not only does the City refuse to provide trash receptacles to people who desperately need them, not only does the City use the entirely predictable consequences that flow from a lack of receptacles, but the City is refusing to provide receptacles when they already have an entire functioning system in place for providing trash receptacles.

Nothing at all needs to be developed, no new funding needs to be put in place. All that has to happen is for City Councilmembers to understand or to be made to understand that the people living in an encampment are of equal value to the people in some other kind of community group with respect to City-provided trash receptacles, no matter what kind of housing situation they’re in. None of which is likely to happen, of course, because our public officials have no shame and no consciences. Read on for transcribed selections.
Continue reading It Turns Out That The Los Angeles Department Of Sanitation — Which Is A Key Player In The Raiding And Destruction Of Homeless Encampments — Will Provide “Community Dumpsters” For Housedweller Groups And Events — At The Behest Of Council Districts — And With A Huge Amount Of Attention And Time Devoted By City Staff — But None Of These Players — Not One — Will Provide Dumpsters For Homeless People Living On The Streets — These Are The Very Same Players Who Use Encampment Trash Accumulation To Justify Death-Dealing Sweeps — And It Is Supremely Ironic That Bladimir Campos — Of LA San — Is Involved In Both Activities

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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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Mitch O’Farrell’s Secret Email Account Yields The First Concrete Evidence I’m Aware Of Concerning Staff-Mediated Back-Room Collusion Between City Council Members — Suggests Brown Act Violations On A Massive Scale — Consistent With Serial Meetings Coordinated Via Council Staff — Contributes To A Theory Of Staged City Council Debates Invariably Ending In Yet Another Unanimous Vote — At Very Least Yields Many Potentially Fruitful Leads For Future CPRA Requests

If you’ve ever attended a meeting of the Los Angeles City Council it’s very likely that you’ve seen one of the fully scripted performances that pass for debate with that body, ending, as always, with a unanimous vote in favor of yet another preordained conclusion. It’s a sickening spectacle, more worthy of a for-show-only parliament of some backwater bargain-bin Ruritanian dictatorship than of the legislators who are putatively leading our great City. This phenomenon is the subject of much discussion here in Los Angeles, and was the basis for at least one sadly ill-fated lawsuit.

If you haven’t seen an example of this spooky kabuki, you can take a look at this August 23, 2016 debate on whether the City should support or oppose some state bill about taxi regulation.1 After the break you’ll find a detailed chronology with links into the video, which will save you a lot of time because the whole thing is more than 30 minutes long and it is mind-numbing. There’s no conceivable way that episodes like this one could happen other than through prior discussion, collusion, and agreement among the Councilmembers. It’s completely implausible that it could be otherwise.

The problem with that, of course, is that prior discussion, collusion, and agreement among Councilmembers are illegal in California. It’s even illegal for Council staffers to discuss things and then report back to their bosses about other CMs’ opinions as reported by their respective staffs. The law mandates real public debates and forbids scripted performances whose conclusions are predetermined in back rooms. In particular, the Brown Act at §54952.2(b)(1) states explicitly 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.

As far as I know there’s never been a successful Brown Act complaint against the City Council on these grounds. Courts will not, I’m under the impression, accept arguments based on the fact that it’s totally obvious what’s going on. Without sufficient proof of out-of-meeting communications no action is possible. And there just has not hitherto been any proof to be found, or none that I know of. But it appears that, buried deep within the recent release of emails from Mitch O’Farrell’s toppest secretest privatest email account, there are some hints of how this coordination might be accomplished.

There’s no proof there of a Brown Act violation, but there’s evidence that in 2013 David Giron, who is Mitch O’Farrell’s legislative director, coordinated with CD5 and CD8 regarding the positions of Paul Koretz and Bernard Parks2 with respect to fracking in Los Angeles and then communicated the intentions of those other CMs to Mitch O’Farrell. This is the kind of thing that the Brown Act forbids if it takes place among the majority of the Council, or even the majority of a Council committee.3

There’s no hint in the evidence that this discussion is any kind of anomaly, so it may be the first piece of the puzzle of how the City Council builds consensus out of view of the public. It certainly gives me hope that the truth will be brought out eventually.4 Take a look at the email exchange here, which is on the surface about Mitch O’Farrell’s position on CF 13-0002-S108, having to do with a State Senate bill on fracking. There are transcriptions and detailed discussion of the issues involved right after the break.
Continue reading Mitch O’Farrell’s Secret Email Account Yields The First Concrete Evidence I’m Aware Of Concerning Staff-Mediated Back-Room Collusion Between City Council Members — Suggests Brown Act Violations On A Massive Scale — Consistent With Serial Meetings Coordinated Via Council Staff — Contributes To A Theory Of Staged City Council Debates Invariably Ending In Yet Another Unanimous Vote — At Very Least Yields Many Potentially Fruitful Leads For Future CPRA Requests

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The City Council Seems To Have Lost Its Grip On Reality With Its Latest Motions On Street Vending — They Want To Keep All Previously Proposed Exclusionary Zones But Change Justification From “Zillionaires Asked For It” To “Objective Health, Safety, Or Welfare Concerns” — And Paul Koretz — Who Evidently Doesn’t Believe That Words Have Meaning — Wants To Exclude A Bunch Of BIDs On The Same Implausible Grounds — This Is Obviously Going To End Up In Court

As you no doubt know, the City of Los Angeles has been arguing about legalizing street vending for years in the face of fiercely unhinged opposition to the very idea from business improvement districts and other organized gangs of zillionaire thugs. But then the whole debate was mooted by a lightning strike from Sacramento in the form of Ricardo Lara’s SB-946, signed into law by Jerry Brown in September, which imposed a set of really stringent restrictions on the form that municipal street vending regulation can take. And not surprisingly, pretty much every dirty trick that the BIDs and their buddies forced into our City’s proposal was banned by Lara’s bill.

In particular, the BIDdies had managed to get the Council to agree that street vending could be banned in any neighborhood in Los Angeles merely because their councilmember asked for it. This serves BIDdies well, of course, because their repsters will do whatever it is that they ask in order to keep the firehose of campaign contributions turned up to eleven. By the end there they’d managed to enshrine such indefensible no-vending zones as Hollywood Boulevard and recommend that BIDs should be able to charge vendors for the privilege of operating on public streets.1

But this nonsense was switched right off by Lara’s bill, which states unequivocally that:

A local authority shall not require a sidewalk vendor to operate within specific parts of the public right-of-way, except when that restriction is directly related to objective health, safety, or welfare concerns.

And right after the bill was signed it appeared as though our esteemed City Council was taking this matter seriously. They passed a motion ordering the City Attorney to draft an ordinance that would comply with Lara’s law. But such sporadic spurts of sanity swiftly scatter around here.

And thus it wasn’t really a surprise to hear renowned bigamist and CD9 repster Curren Price on the radio yesterday talking about how Council would be able to keep all the previously proposed no-vending zones and even add more and the only difference would be, according to super-genius Curren Price, that “now we’re going to have to base them on health, safety, and welfare concerns.”2 And turn the page to read all about the drastically deep dive into the crazy vat revealed by this one little stray comment!
Continue reading The City Council Seems To Have Lost Its Grip On Reality With Its Latest Motions On Street Vending — They Want To Keep All Previously Proposed Exclusionary Zones But Change Justification From “Zillionaires Asked For It” To “Objective Health, Safety, Or Welfare Concerns” — And Paul Koretz — Who Evidently Doesn’t Believe That Words Have Meaning — Wants To Exclude A Bunch Of BIDs On The Same Implausible Grounds — This Is Obviously Going To End Up In Court

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Conscience-Shocking Huizar/Ryu/Koretz Online Voting Pilot Program At Budget And Finance Committee On Monday August 13 — It Was Only Moved Less Than Two Weeks Ago — Unseemly And Uncharacteristic Haste Prevents Neighborhood Councils From Filing Community Impact Statements — Which Is Certainly Intentional

Recall that because Jose Huizar just cannot give up on online voting in neighborhood council elections after he used it to such zillionaire-jeans-creamsing effect in 2017, he, David Ryu, and Paul Koretz introduced a motion on August 2, 2018 ordering the City Clerk to report back on the feasibility of running a 2019 pilot program involving 10 councils.

And now, in a move that adds further layers of weirdo insanity to the whole situation, the motion has been scheduled for consideration this very Monday, August 13, 2018, at 2:00 p.m. at the meeting of the Budget and Finance Committee in City Hall Room 1010. Here’s the agenda. This kind of fast-tracking is virtually unheard of with the City Council. On this schedule it’s extremely unlikely that neighborhood councils, who are of course the most concerned with and knowledgeable about the issue, will have time to meet and file community impact statements. What are Huizar and his creepy co-conspirators trying to hide?

Finally, though, they didn’t manage to sneak it past everyone. Stalwart Los Angeles activist and heroine Laura Velkei, neighborhood councilor and guiding genius behind the essential Department of Neighborhood Empowerment watchdog group DONEwatch, wrote the Council a blistering letter opposing this abortion of a motion.

Turn the page for a transcription of the whole thing, and consider sending your own letter as well. See you Monday, activist friends!
Continue reading Conscience-Shocking Huizar/Ryu/Koretz Online Voting Pilot Program At Budget And Finance Committee On Monday August 13 — It Was Only Moved Less Than Two Weeks Ago — Unseemly And Uncharacteristic Haste Prevents Neighborhood Councils From Filing Community Impact Statements — Which Is Certainly Intentional

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