The HCNNC Formation Committee is desperate for you to believe the many lies they are telling about the HCNC subdivision application
Make no mistake: the group that is promoting the subdivision of the Historic Cultural Neighborhood Council (HCHC) is desperate to consolidate political power in Chinatown. This effort is being spearheaded by Angelica Lopez Moyes (read more about Ms. Moyes here), although there is reason to believe that she is being controlled by others in this effort. The intent of the effort is to negate as much political power as possible in Victor Heights, El Pueblo de Los Angeles, and Solano Canyon and consolidate it in Chinatown. In the process, Little Tokyo and the Arts District will be cut away from the remainder of the subdivision and left to go their own way, even though those two caucuses will retain the name of the original neighborhood council (NC), which is (intentionally and confusingly) HCNC.
It is important that everyone understands the extent of the lies that are being told by the subdivision committee about the current state of the HCNC as well as the level of support that actually exists — apart from Chinatown — for its ill-conceived and fraudulent effort. It is also important that everyone understands the extent of the collusion that exists between the subdivision committee and the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment, a City-chartered entity that is known by its acronym, DONE, particularly in the person of Mike Fong.
Why the subdivision committee must lie about what they are attempting to do, because it's all about consolidating political power in Chinatown and away from the other caucuses (but they don't want you to know that)
The subdivision committee does not have wide support among residents in the HCNC beyond Chinatown, which is being manipulated by only a few people. As an example, many residents of Cathay Manor signed in support of the proposed subdivision; yet, at a public meeting held by the Board of Neighborhood Commissioners (BONC) on Monday, 12 May 2018, Don Toy, HCNC board member as Resident from Victor Heights stated on the record that many of those Cathay Manor residents signed in support of the subdivision not only without their knowing what they were signing, but because they had been told to do so (presumably by him or his underlings). This is not a matter of opinion; Don Toy spoke on the record. The reason that so many Cathay Manor residents did not know what they were signing is that many of them speak only Chinese, and the subdivision application was written in English and never translated into any other language.
Any criticism of the subdivision process is characterized as 'misinformation'.
The subdivision committee would have you believe that they, alone, know what is best for all stakeholders in the HCNC. Their characterization of the HCNC in general, and of the Solano Canyon caucus in particular, is that those in opposition are not in step with the times; it is only they who are in a position to dictate what 'in step' means. Here is an example of the subdivision committee's tactic of obfuscation:
As with other campaigns, not everyone agrees. Groups and corporations that oppose the subdivision proposal, and claim to speak for entire communities such as Solano Canyon, do so while ignoring the petition signatories [sic] and letters of support from both Solano Canyon groups and residents.
It is true; not everyone agrees, much to the dismay of the subdivision committee. There are several perversions of the truth in this statement, however. First, no one is presuming to speak for an entire community, such as Solano Canyon. And the notion that anyone who opposes the ill-conceived and fraudulent subdivision application is ignoring the implied 'many signatures of support as well as letters of support' is frivolous and ludicrous on its face.
The fact is that, in the entire historic Solano Canyon community — which is not the same as the area within the Solano Canyon boundary as defined by the HCNC — there were exactly two signatures of support from residents, one of which was subsequently rescinded. As for letters of support, in order to make that point, the subdivision committee has had to resort to utter falsehood. The committee claimed, for example, that Cathedral supported the subdivision proposal. The fact is that, while the subdivision committee scheduled a meeting with Cathedral, the President of Cathedral said in an email that no such support was extant. Another word for a falsehood such as this is a lie.
This is another point that must be clarified:
Stakeholders of neighborhood councils include not only residents, but also business owners, employees, property owners, and organization members. All voices should be valued, not one over the other.
That statement is correct on its face. The problem is that the subdivision committee made the conscious decision to rely primarily on the 'business owners, employees, property owners, and organization members' almost entirely, because they knew that, except for Chinatown residents, they would not, for the most part, be able to convince residents of other neighborhood caucuses to join their cause. As a result, there are clusters of signatures of support from businesses and organizations, but few from actual residents.
The subdivision committee likes to point to 'signatures of support from Solano'. This is a red herring. The historic Solano Canyon community in no way matches the HCNC boundary that is labeled 'Solano Canyon'. For the subdivision committee to assert that there is substantial support from Solano Canyon residents is disingenuous at best; they will not admit that the residential community that is the historic Solano Canyon has been neither the recipient of outreach nor the source of broad-based support. Many of the signature that are referred to come from addresses on Cottage Home or Savoy Street — an area that is not, and never has been, a part of historic Solano Canyon.
All ellegations of fraud have been investigated by DONE and found to be without merit.
This statement requires clarification. The fact is that the allegations of fraud describe actions on the part of the subdivision committee that have routinely been accommodated or facilitated by DONE; in other words, the fraud has been perpetrated by the subdivision committee and DONE, in collusion with each other. DONE is part-and-parcel of the fraud. To suggest that DONE should be the entity to investigate such allegations of fraud is a bit like saying that the fox should be let loose in the hen house to discover whether anything is wrong. That statement by the subdivision committee is absurd on its face.
The concept of Chinatown forming its own neighborhood council has been promoted by those in opposition. We have never shared that opinion, and neither have our supporters as a whole — including business owners and community leaders from El Pueblo, Victor Heights, and Solano Canyon.
This incredible statement must be called out for what it is: a lie. Ms. Moyes, the primary architect (at least, on the surface) of the subdivision committee, explicitly stated that the intent of the subdivision was exactly to form an independent Chinatown NC. Although it is difficult to read, take a look at this published statement by Ms. Moyes:
This is the text of the above image, transcribed for clarity:
CHINATOWN AS A NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCIL
"With the City of Los Angeles Department of Neighborhood Empowerment (DONE) now accepting subdivision petitions for Neighborhood Councils, a group has gathered in Chinatown to organize a campaign to separate from the Historic Cultural Neighborhood Council (HCNC), and form its own Council [emphasis added]. HCNC currently includes Chinatown, Little Tokyo, Arts District, El Pueblo, Chinatown [mentioned twice], Solano Canyon and Victor Heights. Petitioners advocate that local neighborhoods have their own unique cultural and socioeconomic needs, and would be better served by a more specific council. The application is due 1/15. For more info email firstname.lastname@example.org."
Can there be any interpretation of the above statement other than it is the clear original intent of the subdivision committee, headed by Ms. Moyes, to create a stand-alone NC for Chinatown? Why does Ms. Moyes find it necessary to lie about this when it is so obvious?
The proposed bylaws of the subdivision committee have been gerrymandered to concentrate as much political power as possible in Chinatown and away from other caucuses.
Ms. Moyes freely admitted in an email to Mike Fong, her co-conspirator at DONE, that she altered the bylaws for the proposed subdivision. Interestingly, there are now two versions of the proposed bylaws: one of the official City website and another that Ms. Moyes now professes to be the bylaws that she wants to be adopted.
The difference is a section that was added by Ms. Moyes that effectively limits the HCNC board members who may serve on a new board if the subdivision application were to pass. Among the HCNC board members who will become ineligible for the new board is Don Toy, a polarizing figure in Chinatown whose elimination from the new board Ms. Moyes has used to her advantage in her effort to secure support from Chinatown ('Don Toy will not be able to be on the new board').
The outreach that was conducted by the subdivision committee is a complete fraud
The subdivision committee claims that:
We have conducted outreach throughout the existing neighborhood council in numerous way including going door-to-door and participating in community meetings.
Once again, it is necessary to expose this lie for what it is. No one in Solano Canyon has come forward to say that anyone from the subdivision committee visited their door; and one 'community meeting' that was posited for the Los Angeles Theatre Academy (LATA), a partnership with the Department of Recreation and Parks located at 929 Academy Road in Solano Canyon, simply did not hapen. The artistic director of LATA is Alejandra Flores. You can read her letter refuting the subdivision committee's lie here. The subdivision committee claimed in its application that 'Posting Site #4' was at LATA. The letter of rebuttal is scathing in its denunciation of this lie.
This information is blatantly and patently false ... since there was never any contact made at LATA by anyone who represented him- or herself as a representative of the subdivision formation committee.
One must ask: why has the subdivision committee found it necessary to lie to blatantly and so often about its activities? Ms. Moyes and her ilk appear to be desperate to ram this ill-conceived and fraudulent subdivision application through the process, with the collusion and support of DONE.
Finally, the subdivision committee distorts the truth with this statement:
The formation committee has been extremely forthcoming, including in our response to Public Records Act requests for all communication with DONE staff, going above what was legally required, in the interest of transparency.
Here are the facts: the author has made multiple California Public Records Act requests (CA PRA requests) for information that include correspondence between Ms. Moyes and various agencies, including DONE, BONC, the HCNC, the Echo Park Neighborhood Council (EPNC), and between Ms. Moyes and numerous individuals who serve in official capacities. On more than one occasion, Ms. Moyes' response has been that she is under no legal obligation to disclose anything she has written unless it was in her capacity as a board member of the HCNC.
Ms. Moyes, of course, is completely wrong on this point. Ms. Moyes is obligated, under the CA PRA, to reveal any and all correspondence of which she is the author, in any capacity, with any entity that is subject to the CA PRA. But we should, by now, be cognizant of the fact that Ms. Moyes' goal is not to be forthcoming, but rather to obfuscate, obscure, distort the facts, and outright lie to secure the passage of her ill-conceived and altogether fraudulent subdivision application.
The ill-conceived and fraudulent HCNC subdivision application must not pass; rather, it should be rejected altogether by the City Council.
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.