We’ve been working with a group of folks working on tools for identifying police officers in real time, mostly by making and following up on CPRA requests to local police agencies for their rosters, which then go into various databases, including NN35007‘s fabulous Twitter bot @WhosThatCop.
We always ask for name, rank, numbers of various kinds, gender, and race, all of which are useful for identifying officers on the street. Most of the 40 or so agencies I sent requests to initially responded promptly and in material compliance with the law, but of course not all of them, so we’ve had to start filing lawsuits.
Continue reading Four New CPRA Petitions Filed In Support Of The Los Angeles County Police Rosters Project
In 2020 I learned that the office of the Los Angeles Chief Legislative Analyst prepares briefing notes in advance of Council Committee meetings and distributes them to all the members. Of course I immediately requested copies of all of them. After more than three months of nonresponsiveness CLA executive officer Karen Kalfayan told me that (A) my request was burdensome as there were too many records involved but that that didn’t matter because (B) all the records were exempt on the (fairly bogus) deliberative process theory.
My god, though, imagine what’s in these briefing notes! You know our corrupt and foolish CMs don’t do any research before those committee meetings. Half the time they don’t even seem to know what’s going on. Somebody has to talk some sense to them so they can drop a few marginally salient comments from time to time during the meeting, and maybe these notes are where the sense-talking happens. Or maybe they’re just a bunch of boring blather, but either way, clearly we need to see them.
Continue reading Los Angeles Sunshine Coalition Files An Absolute Banger Of A Suit Against The City Of Los Angeles Over Their Bogus Deliberative Process Exemption Claim With Respect To Briefing Notes Prepped By The Chief Legislative Analyst And Distributed To Council Committee Members In Advance Of Meetings
The Chinatown Business Improvement District, run by locally sourced fascist George Yu, has never been easy to get public records out of. In fact, I’ve never managed to get any! In 2018 Katherine MacNenny and I sued the BID for noncompliance. George Yu never participated in the case, and in California CPRA writs don’t issue by default, so we had to argue the whole thing to the judge and then, after we won, had to get an order authorizing the sheriff to seize $75K in fees from the BID’s bank. At one point the judge even issued an order for Yu’s arrest, but he changed his mind. We got the money but we never got the records.
Well, in January 2022, ably repped by Tasha Hill, we had to sue him again over some other records. This time Yu dodged service for six months, but two intrepid volunteers from Chinatown Community for Equitable Development, tracked down Yu at his house and served him. The trial is set for February 26, 2022. This time Yu apparently intended to defend the case because he hired corporate hack CPRA lawyer Christina Cameron, name partner of corporate hack law firm Devaney, Pate, Morris, and Cameron to represent him.
But whatever Yu intended he hasn’t followed through on it. In fact, according to a motion by Yu’s lawyers heard on November 3, 2022, Yu has stopped communicating with them entirely, forcing them to ask the judge to allow them to fire him as a client. According to a letter Cameron sent Yu in September:
Continue reading The Lawyers Repping The Chinatown BID In Our Current CPRA Suit Against Them Asked The Judge To Let Them Quit Because George Yu Won’t Answer Their Phone Calls — And The Judge Said Yes So Yu Is Now Unrepresented
The California Public Records Act at section 6253 tells us that “[p]ublic records are open to inspection at all times during the office hours of the state or local agency.” In order to understand laws it’s important to read the definitions. At section 6252 the CPRA tells us that
“Local agency” includes a county; city, whether general law or chartered; city and county; school district; municipal corporation; district; political subdivision; or any board, commission or agency thereof.
So the City of Los Angeles is clearly a local agency by this definition. Arguably its various commissions, boards, or subdivisions are also local agencies by this definition. And that’s the position that CoLA itself takes. That, e.g. City Council is a local agency, but Council Committees are distinct local agencies, as are, e.g. LADWP, LAPD, etc. Why, you might well ask, does this matter at all? Well, it matters due to section 6253(c), which states that:
Each agency, upon a request for a copy of records, shall, within 10 days from receipt of the request, determine whether the request, in whole or in part, seeks copies of disclosable public records in the possession of the agency and shall promptly notify the person making the request of the determination and the reasons therefor.
Continue reading The City of Los Angeles Should Be A Single Agency With Respect To The California Public Records Act Because Right Now The City Denies That They Are Which Obviates A Key Clause Of The Law