This blog is about the ill-conceived and fraudulent application by Angelica Lopez Moyes and her Historical Cultural North Neighborhood Council Formation Committee (HCNNCFC) to subdivide the Historic Cultural Neighborhood Council (HCNC). Yes, the name is confusing and deliberately so, so as to divert attention from the unethical and underhanded actions taken by the formation committee in its attempt to push an incomplete and fraudulent subdivision application through the process.
DONE fails, but no one cares, not even the City's lawyers ...
The Department of Neighborhood Empowerment, commonly referred to by its acronym, DONE, is a City-chartered entity. Employees of DONE are public servants who are required by statute to follow the rules and procedures that have been established for them.
The application for subdivision of a neighborhood council (NC) is governed by the "Plan for a Citywide System of Neighborhood Councils (Plan).” Article III, §2 of the above-named 'Plan' states, in part,
If, at any time during the processes described in this section, DONE determines that an application is incomplete, it shall return the application to the applicants along with a detailed list in writing of the missing components required in a certification application and suggestions on how to incorporate missing components. Applicants whose certification application was determined to be incomplete and returned by DONE may at any time re-submit the application after amending it to meet all the necessary criteria [Emphasis added].
One of the tools that are available to everyone is the California Public Records Act (CA PRA). Requests made under the PRA provide archived public records available for review. In this case, a PRA request was made to DONE to try to determine whether the rules specified by the Plan were being followed.
The subdivision application of the HCNNCFC was woefully-incomplete as of the deadline date of 15 January 2018: the minimum number of signatures of HCNC stakeholders, 200, was not met; the application was replete with half-truths, distortions of the truth, and outright lies; and there was little-to-no outreach to stakeholders in neighborhood caucuses — especially in Victor Heights and Solano Canyon — because the formation committee knew that there was little support in these neighborhood caucuses for its effort to perpetuate its fraud. In fact, there was but a single signature of support from Solano Canyon.
Dereliction of Duty and Collusion by a City entity
Response to the above-referenced CA PRA request demonstrated that, at no time, was the required notification made by DONE. The application was never returned to the formation committee and no letter was written that specified the missing components of the application. Rather, the PRA request revealed that email communication between Ms. Moyes and Mike Fong, Director of Policy and Government Relations for DONE, demonstrated clearly that the pair — Ms. Moyes and Mr. Fong — were communicating 'behind closed doors'; in other words, Mr. Fong — who has political aspirations — was 'working the system' to ensure that Ms. Moyes' subdivision application would be approved. This is a clear dereliction of duty on the part of Mr. Fong. The fact that Mr. Fong and Ms. Moyes were communicating behind closed doors is a demonstration that there was substantial collusion going on between DONE and the formation committee.
The City Attorney's office fails to act
The office of the Los Angeles City Attorney has a division consisting of Deputy City Attorneys whose job it is to advise neighborhood councils. Headed by Supervising Deputy Attorney Darren Martinez, the Deputy City Attorney whose area includes the HCNC is Carmen Hawkins.
Numerous emails were sent to Ms. Hawkins, calling her attention to, and documenting, the numerous breakdowns in the system (the 'Plan') on the part of DONE, especially by Mr. Fong; yet at no time does it appear that the City Attorney's office made any effort to advise DONE on proper procedure or to chastise anyone at DONE for failure to follow procedure. On the contrary: it appears instead that the City Attorney's office was happy to 'turn its head' and allow DONE to run roughshod over the process.
The City's neighborhood council system is badly broken
It will not be possible to fix the broken neighborhood council system in one fell swoop; but is it not reasonable to expect that, bit by bit, the system will be repaired, and that the players, working in the various City-chartered entities, will do their jobs as public servants and at least give the appearance that they care?
About the Author
Lawrence Bouett is a retired research scientist and registered professional engineer who now conducts historical and genealogical research full-time. A ninth-generation Californian, his primary historical research interests are Los Angeles in general and the Stone Quarry Hills in particular. His ancestors arrived in California with Portolá in 1769 and came to Los Angeles from Mission San Gabriel with the pobladores on September 4, 1781.
Lawrence Bouett may be contacted directly here.