Wednesday, April 27, 2016

L.A. City Hall Is In VIOLATION of Hon. Dean D. Pregerson's FEDERAL ORDER Regarding City Council's CENSORSHIP of The Public (READ APRIL 2016 DRAFT LAWSUIT)

APRIL 26, 2016: First Draft/Notes by @ZumaDogg regarding Public Comment during L.A. City meetings (#LAPD Commission/#LA City Council). This is a work in progress, that I will be updating/adding to, in preparation of a document, to be presented to Hon. Judge Dean D. Pregerson: 

To: Mike Feuer, Los Angeles City Attorney's Office 

Fr: "Zuma Dogg" 

Re: Public Comment During LAPD Commission & City Council Meetings

Dt: April 26, 2016

Dear L.A. City Attorney's Office,

My name is, "Zuma Dogg." On August 08, 2013, I won a Federal ruling, by Hon Judge Dean D. Pregerson, regarding public comment at the Los Angeles City Council meetings. The ruling (declaratory relief) explains what is allowed during public forum meetings, such as Police/City Council meetings, during public comment time. HERE is an excerpt from the ruling: – UNITED STATES/CALIFORNIA/FEDERAL/COURT: FEDERAL RULING (AUGUST 08, 2013) – Zuma Dogg vs Los Angeles City Council: “It is unconstitutional to restrict speakers from making personal attacks in City Council meetings; it chills speech critical of elected officials, which is speech at the heart of the First Amendment. In one of the largest cities in the world, it is to be expected that some inhabitants will sometimes use language that does not conform to conventions of civility and decorum, including offensive language and swear-words. As an elected official, a City Council member will be the subject of personal attacks in such language. It is asking much of City Council members, who have given themselves to public service, to tolerate profanities and personal attacks, but that is what is required by the First Amendment. While the City Council has a right to keep its meetings on topic and moving forward, it cannot sacrifice political speech to a formula of civility. Dogg “may be a gadfly to those with views contrary to [their] own, but First Amendment jurisprudence is clear that the way to oppose offensive speech is by more speech, not censorship, enforced silence or eviction from legitimately occupied public space.” Gathright v. City of 18 Portland, Or., 439 F.3d 573, 578 (9th Cir. 2006). The city that silences a critic will injure itself as much as it injures the critic, for the gadfly’s task is to stir into life the massive beast of the city, to “rouse each and every one of you, to persuade and reproach you all day long.” (‪#‎PLATO, Five Dialogues, Hackett, 23 2d Ed., Trans. G.M.A. Grube, 35 (Apology).) 24 The court GRANTS summary judgment to Plaintiffs on the as-applied challenge to the Rules of Decorum.” (Entire ruling embedded at bottom of this page.)

Since this ruling, I haven't been attending LAPD/Council meetings; but I made a return, Friday, April 1, 2016, to deliver my respects to Councilman Bill Rosendahl, during general public comment time, at the Council meeting. Since that meeting, I've attended every city council meeting (nine meetings, as of April 22, 2016); along with one LAPD Commission meeting, on April 26, 2016.

OVERALL, it is my belief that both meetings (LAPD/Council) are in massive violation of Pregerson's Federal ruling. 

I am currently going through audio/video of all of the council meetings, and LAPD Commission meetings, over past two months; and pulling examples, hopefully for a judge to review. LINK TO L.A. City Council meeting video archives of all meetings described below: (Specific links/audio will also be provided, below.)

Some issues of concern are: 

# OVERALL PUBLIC COMMENT TIME CUT and General Public Comment time cut in half; from two minutes to one minute: In response to Hon. Dean D. Pregerson's Federal ruling, regarding L.A. City Council and public comment time (what is allowed/not allowed), City Council retaliated by cutting overall public comment time, for each meeting, from seven minutes to five minutes. And general public comment time was cut in half; from two minutes to one minute. 

Five minutes is a fixed and arbitrary number. Some agendas have an abundance of items, compared to other days. A floating number of total minutes, for each meeting, based on the number of items (in a percentage, which may have to be determined by the judge) is a more rational and reasonable method of determining overall minutes allowed, by members of the public. It is extremely restrictive, and is indeed a form of censorship; in having to choose between 30-50 (or more) agenda items. 

Though it may be unreasonable to expect council to have to endure fifty Zuma Dogg public comments, per meeting; it is also unreasonable and restrictive for Mr. Dogg (or any member of the public) to have to chose between so many important municipal issues, that will have an effect and impact on myself (and others who I care about).
While the city has paid presentations (non-agenda items/non city business=paid infomercial for people getting the presentation) during all council meetings -- adding an extra one to two hours to each and every meeting -- they then say that they only have time for one minute for general public comment. 


Wednesday, April 20, 2016, council had time for lengthy comments on how much they love the 80's band, Oingo Boingo, during the, "Oingo Boingo Day," presentation (See video of Koretz/O'Ferrel/Huizar: It was beyond superfluous. This was only one of three presentations, this meeting. Here's Mitch O'Ferrell's lengthy comments about his memories of Oingo Boingo:

Additionally, city councilmembers respond to public comment speakers, with more than fifty words, as limited by Brown Act; and speak for more than the three minutes, allotted for councilmembers, per comment. Then, they claim there is only time for members of the public to speak for one minute. 

Members of the public have to take off the whole morning, into the afternoon to attend the meetings. Transportation and parking expenses must be considered, too. Then to have to sit through hours of presentations; to only have a minute of time to speak on complex issues of the city is unreasonable. I, Zuma Dogg, am known to be a most efficient public comment speaker (based on my radio DJ background, probably). 

I can say, it not only disenfranchising, to only have a minute to speak; you really can't tell the story and offer a solution in a reasonable fashion, with only a minute. Even Zuma Dogg gets flustered and feels rushed. It unreasonable to expect a member of the public to be able to present a compelling comment in that short period of time. 


General Public Comment is an agenda item; and all the other agenda items allow for two minutes of public comment time. Why should general public comment time be shorter and more restrictive? LAPD meetings allow two minutes. LAUSD/Board of Supervisors allow three minutes. INSTRUCT COUNCIL TO RETURN GENERAL PUBLIC COMMENT TO TWO MINUTES.

#PRESENTATIONS: As mentioned above are paid presentations. Not agenda business. The agenda says the meetings start at 10:15 am. To have an hour, or sometimes two hours, of presentations, during the city council meetings is more than a member of the public, to give public comment should be forced to endure. It's irrational and unreasonable. Members of the public, who must sit in chambers, waiting; can't have food/drinks brought to them, as councilmembers do; and don't have a private room, in back, to hang out and listen to the meeting, like a VIP room -- and the public speakers get burnt out and irritated (which is often times reflected in the comments by the speakers); and many people leave before they get to comment. 

Council weaves in and out of the meeting (agenda items/city business), for presentations. INSTRUCT COUNCIL TO MOVE PRESENTATIONS TO END OF THE MEETINGS, AFTER ALL AGENDA ITEMS ARE COMPLETED. Sometimes, council loses a quorum, before all agenda items have been called; due to lengthy presentations, beforehand. 

# OFF TOPIC: Being called, "off topic," when not, as a form of censorship: The presiding officer/attorney is not expected to have all the specific knowledge/information that all the gadflies are presenting. Just because the city attorney or council president doesn't think a speaker is on topic, does not mean they are not. I didn't understand the correlations my geometry teacher was making, but they weren't off topic. It's too short a trigger being pulled, too often; and the judge has already called this, "censorship of the public." ENGLANDER CALLING ZUMA DOGG OFF TOPIC (AUDIO):

# RESPONSE TO SPEAKER QUESTIONS: Being interrupted by City Attorney/Presiding Officer, when recognized speaker (public comment speaker) asks questions. If the Brown Act allows for a fifty word (or less) response to a speaker's public comment, then of course, the speaker may ask questions, a loud, during their comment. The council/commission may choose to not respond; but, to interrupt and say they are not allowed to ask questions -- and then to cut the rest of their time is a violation of the ruling. Perhaps, the speaker is using rhetorical questions, to make a point, as their form of free speech expression. Again, the board does not have to respond; and speaker should not be interrupted and cut off, for asking questions. 

See April 26, 2016 LAPD Commission meeting video: Speaker Tut Hayes, during public comment time on Item 4.) Zuma Dogg responds, by reminding the commission of the Federal ruling; and clarifying it, for them. See Item 5 for Zuma Dogg public comment. 



# ADDRESSING COUNCIL MEMBERS, DIRECTLY, DURING RECOGNIZED PUBLIC COMMENT: Council Pro-Tempe Mitchell Englander, upon my first public comment he presided over, said, "Our first speaker is Zuma Dogg. And before we begin, I'd like to remind the speakers that they are not allowed to address the councilmembers, directly." THIS IS A DIRECT VIOLATION OF THE RULING, and was the heart of the lawsuit matter.
During this same warning, by Englander; he says, "Speakers must stick to ITEMS under City Council purview." It was GENERAL public comment, specifically for NON AGENDA ITEMS. 
To say speaker must stick to items, during general public comment time, is irrational and confusing for the speaker. A speaker could say, "I think council is doing a poor enough job, overall, that you should all resign, in the name of public safety, you have done such a bad job." That is a general comment, that is allowed, yet not an item.
And, for Mr. Englander to flagrantly make this statement, before Mr. Dogg's comment, may be seen as a poke in the eye to Judge Pregerson, as well. 

During Mr. Dogg's comment, Englander interrupts the recognized speaker (Dogg), to say, "Don’t yell." "Don't yell," is too subjective and vague. Englander's interruption of, "Don't yell," does not indicate to Mr. Dogg, that he is yelling. The vagueness may be interpreted as a preemptive warning not to begin yelling. Even if Dogg's speaking volume were in some kind of free speech violation; Englander needed to say, "you are yelling in violation of (ordinance/law) and stop yelling." AUDIO OF THIS INCIDENT:

# INTERRUPTED FOR SINGING: Cyndi Lauper Star on Hollywood Walk Of Fame: To let people know who Cyndi Lauper is, and the song she is best known for, for her star on Hollywood Walk Of Fame (that needed council approval); Mr. Dogg began singing, "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun," at which time Council President Herb Wesson interrupted Mr. Dogg and said that was enough, even though Mr. Dogg had not even gotten to the hook, yet. (I know this may seem trivial, but it's not to Zuma Dogg. This REALLY is annoying and it all chips away at the nerves of the speaker.) VIDEO:

# Mental Illness Item 26: Zuma Dogg called off topic. Though he was outraged; and his delivery of comment was expressive, of this outrage; he was at no time off topic. Mr. Dogg is someone who was damaged by the city; in a way that affected his income; causing his homelessness; and eventual disability medical diagnosis, regarding mental health issues, that Mr. Dogg correlates to city policy; as he sat through years of council meetings, watching their policies that result in the homelessness that causes mental illness. (Council was making correlation between homelessness and mental illness, which is why I mentioned it, here.) Mr. Dogg stops speaking on the buzzer, and exits the podium area. He is then ejected for the rest of the meeting, losing remaining public comment time (general public comment.) IT MUST BE NOTED that during this council meeting, at some point, the audio of council president and city attorney was not audible in chambers. Mr. Dogg could not hear any of what was being heard on the audio feed. He was taking instruction/direction from the LAPD sergeant at arms, who is seen moving the mic, back and forth; and was looking at the clock that was still ticking, throughout the entire comment, and was not stopped, at any time. Additionally, Ms. Martinez makes audible mention that this is the reason they need this mental health item passed, in reference to Mr. Dogg. This may be interpreted as slander, since Ms. Martinez is not a mental health expert or medical doctor. And, given Ms. Martinez's comment; Mr. Dogg is ready to accept a portion of the money, for this program.

 VIDEO: See Zuma Dogg Public Comment, following Councilman Busciano speech (CLICK ITEM 26): Click ITEM 26. Mr. Dogg comment begins at 2:57:30 (you can foward to start of comment). HERE IS AUDIO (cued to item): Also note, though may not be easily visible; Councilman Paul Krekorian, who does not preside over the meetings, in any way, interrupts Mr. Dogg, during his comment time. Mr. Krekorian was extremely disruptive to the recognized speaker. INSTRUCT KREKORAIN NOT TO VIOLATE FEDERAL LAW and do not disrupt the L.A. City Council meetings. 

# DENIM DAY: Many speakers called off topic and cut off. See Item 30/Denim Day:

# STEPPING ON SPEAKERS WITH, "THANK YOU!": Council President Herb Wesson has a regular habit of thanking speaker Zuma Dogg, while there is still time on the clock. Please instruct Mr. Wesson to wait until the buzzer sounds, before thanking the speaker. It is during the final seconds, when Mr. Dogg has most momentum and is making final points -- many times the points council wants the public to hear, least. It's a form of censorship. Speaker should be able to finish their sentence, upon the buzzer, as well, before any, "thank you, thank you, thank you" on the part of Wesson. 

# SPEECH VOLUME: A public speaker does not lose constitutional rights, just because of the city's cheap mic/sound system. Actually, the mic seems to accommodate the speakers', just fine. I don't hear distortion/feedback. It comes off as an excuse/way to interrupt speaker, when they have momentum=a form of censorship.

#RULE 93 (See full Rule 93 (scroll to page 24): Additionally, City Council is in violation of Rule 93 that states, "Cameras shall be operated so that they are focused only on the officially recognized speaker, and on any visually displayed information being shown. No 'reaction' shots will be permitted." 
Council (as aired in chambers and on City TV 35) runs a long shot of the public comment speakers, while council gets close ups. Rule 93 says camera must be focused on recognized speaker. When public comment speaker is speaking, at the podium, during their recognized time; they are the recognized speaker. A long shot of the chambers is a violation of Rule 93. Additionally, with a long shot of the chamber, no visual information (such as graph or picture) that is being displayed can be seen by viewers. When the council president or city attorney interrupts the recognized public comment speaker; the camera cuts to a close-up ('reaction' shot) of the president's/city attorney's reaction. This, too, is a violation. Have Council President instruct TV 35 camera operator to give same camera shots, as the councilmembers/city attorney.  VIDEO OF ZUMA DOGG on RULE 93 (General Public Comment of April 13, 2016 Council Meeting). SEE CAMERA SHOT AND HEAR Mr. Dogg's EXPLANATION: 


I would like to schedule a meeting with City Attorney Mike Feuer (or the appropriate city attorney) to discuss the resolution of these matters. 

Zuma Dogg


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