Thu05282015

Last updateMon, 25 May 2015 2pm

LOS ANGELES Thursday, May 28th 2015 3:02

WAGE RAISE RAGE

  • WHO WE ARE-Nearly half of Los Angeles just gave itself a raise. Following a wave of state and local minimum-wage bills and initiatives, Los Angeles became one of the largest cities to dramatically raise its hourly base pay and join Seattle to hit the magic $15-an-hour demand pushed by labor and community groups nationwide. The City Council…
  • ​City Snookered by Westfield Billionaires

    Jack Humphreville
    LA WATCHDOG-In March of 2014, the Herb Wesson led City Council and Mayor Eric Garcetti approved a 25 year, $48 million giveaway to help the $28.5 billion Westfield Corporation finance its $250 million development, The Village at Westfield Topanga. (Photo) But this subsidy championed by Councilman Bob Blumenfield was hardly necessary as The Village…
  • Slick With Denial: ‘Self-Regulation’ and the Latest Oil Spill

    Judith Lewis Mernit
    HISTORY LESSONS IGNORED-On Wednesday, May 20, the day after a Santa Barbara County fire inspector discovered a stream of contaminated crude oil flowing onto a pristine segment of the Southern California coast, a group of researchers published a study linking the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill to a mass die-off of bottlenose dolphins. The 46…
  • Scaremongering about the Patriot Act Sunset

    Jameel Jaffer
    FALSE CLAIMS EXPOSED-In a last-ditch effort to scare lawmakers into preserving unpopular and much-abused surveillance authorities, the Senate Republican leadership and some intelligence officials are warning that allowing Section 215 of the Patriot Act to sunset would compromise national security. (One particularly crass example from Senator…
  • Still the Land of the Free, and the Home of the Brave

    Ken Alpern
    ALPERN AT LARGE-It's been another year and another successful Flag Placement at the West Los Angeles National Cemetery. Crawling out of bed in the morning on a holiday weekend to show up bright and early for a show of American patriotism and respect to our veterans and fallen heroes, the region and nation saw yet again how the Boy Scouts, Girl…
  • Retaliation: VA Police Target Veterans

    Robert L. Rosebrock
    LOS ANGELES – Recently, I was interviewed by John Ismay, an Iraqi War Veteran who is the “Veterans and Military Issues Reporter” for Southern California Public Radio. We met at the Los Angeles VA to discuss the never-ending misappropriation of land at this largest VA in the nation, within our nation’s capital for homeless Veterans. We were…
  • City Controller’s Grandstanding DWP Audit is the Real Waste of Ratepayer Dollars

    Dennis Zine
    JUST THE FACTS-City Controller Ron Galperin’s Grandstanding DWP Audit results were finally released. Unfortunately, the conclusion and political spin that came afterwards from the controller was misleading. Here are the FACTS: The DWP’s Joint Training Institute and Joint Safety Institute are administered by DWP managers and representatives of the…
  • A Place Where ‘Special Interest’ is NOT a Dirty Word

    Denyse Selesnick
    MY TURN-We need to have a new word to differentiate the villainous “Special Interest” that everyone is always complaining about and the “Special Interest” that almost all of politicians and civic and social activists have adopted as a cause. It is impossible to have passion about multiple issues. I know I have mentioned this before, but it seems…
  • Alert! America’s Small Businesses are Being Screwed by Big Business

    Robert Reich
    THE ECONOMY-Can it be that America’s small businesses are finally waking up to the fact they’re being screwed by big businesses? For years, small-business groups such as the National Federation of Independent Businesses have lined up behind big businesses lobbies. (Photo: small businesses in Studio City) They’ve contributed to the same Republican…

 

  • Can Strawberries Help Fight Cancer?

    Christian Cristiano
    WELLNESS-There have been a number of studies over the years that could show evidence of strawberries fighting off cancer. Tong Chen lead a study…
  • Study: The Best Way to Quit Smoking … Bet On It

    Francie Diep
    WELLNESS-Oftentimes, money speaks louder than words. Apparently, that aphorism applies to cigarettes too. A new study finds that money incentives…
  • Exercise Can Help Anxiety … Here’s How

    Christian Cristiano
    WELLNESS-Statistics show that over 3 million American adults suffer from anxiety and there is no evidence that number will be declining any time…




ICYMI-Amy Schumer shows Dave her vagina

Remembering Ann Meara: 1929-2015

The Star Spangled Banner … like you’ve never heard it before

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

A Charter School Plays the Race Card

MAILANDER ON LA - For bloggers, the first message pitch sent by a politician or a special interest organization typically comes in the form of a "cease and desist" letter.

In Los Angeles, an attorney has sent another peculiar "Cease and Desist" letter to a blogger--this one on behalf of a controversial Latino-centric charter school.  And its community has followed up with claims that the "anti-Mexican...hate speech" of several years ago is fueling gossip about the school's operations today. The letter the MayorSam blog received from an attorney representing Academia Semillas del Pueblo on LA's Eastside exhibits a new level of audacity in demonstrating how a para-government organization might like to stifle ordinary inquiry into the way a highly politicized public organization conducts business--using a relatively new tool, a claim of "tortious interference" and playing that claim against far broader First Amendment concerns.

And all of this is over a "community based social enterprise" program--a program involving the franchising of food service operations to local food service providers--in which the school recently discovered that "one of our required permits may no longer be active."

The attorney in question, Salomon Zavala, representing the academy as General Counsel, may have only offered a list of highly opinionated comments at the site that he finds hostile--and significantly, he does not document point-for-point how the blog's comments are wrong, only insisting that they are "patently libelous" and also "evidence your tortious interference."

This last claim is particularly odd--but also part of the new legal landscape.  Tortious interference famously entered case law when a man in the early eighteenth century shot at ducks on the pond that a neighbor had built to attract the ducks.  Its purpose is to protect the ability of individuals and businesses to enter and maintain contracts without undue interference, typically from outside competitors.  

But it is ordinarily very difficult--and some would say tortuous--to apply "tortious interference" to a media entity, even one that often plays as fast and loose as MayorSam--which I've called "LA's only tabloid" in the past--without first raising a stalwart First Amendment defense.

Nearly a decade ago, Zavala himself was on the board of the Berkeley La Raza Law Journal, a Latino-progressive legal review, while a law student at Boalt.  As general counsel for Semillas Sociedad Civil, he lends counsel to the Academia, long thought by local conservatives to be far more than a place where difference is celebrated; rather it is seen by many conservatives as a place where Anglo American values and traditions are even actively called into question.

Many conservatives conversely believe that it is Academia Semillas that is practicing reverse racism, playing race cards to discourage more extensive media inquiry.

Indeed, Zavala's letter is especially odd and perchance clumsy, because Cease and Desist letters are often prompts to broader media inquiry; and recently, Academia Semillas has escaped serious sustained media inquiry by politically unaffiliated mainstream media, though it has been a constant concern of right-leaning radio and bloggers since a dust-up with some right-wing radio jocks in 2005.

Absent mainstream-media level resources, para-government organizations often perceive that bloggers are easy to intimidate; but that is not necessarily the case in all instances--as Zavala found out when Mayor Sam’s Johnson simply published his Cease and Desist letter and boldly exclaimed "Bring It On!" in assigning a title to his next piece.

The claims that Johnson has been making for years about Academia portray the school not merely as a place where ethnicity simply matters but as a decidedly Latino-titling organization that exhibits a near-paranoid distrust of common operational inquiry.  

That the school has at last responded, not with statistics or evidence contrary to many of Johnson's claims, but with a menacing Cease and Desist letter, is not promising.  

This letter in particular can easily be read as a disturbing attempt to harass a blogger, and indeed MayorSam editor Michael Higby alerted several people in local media when the blog received Zavala's letter.

By then, Johnson had already defiantly published Zavala's Cease and Desist letter.  He also later published another menacing letter from Semillas Community Schools Executive Director Marcus Aguilar to the Semillas community claiming that "[t]hese recent attacks against Semillas del Pueblo are generally anti-Mexican and based on the hate-speech directed against our community since 2006."

The MayorSam blog doesn't seem too worried about the threats of Zavala, Aguilar and the school.  In the words of a noteworthy east coast editor who was instrumental in bringing down Mayor Marion Barry: "If you're in this business and you're not getting sued, you're not really in this business."

(Joseph Mailander is a writer, an LA observer and a contributor to CityWatch. He is also the author of The Plasma of Terror. Mailander blogs at street-hassle.blogspot.com.)
-cw

Tags: Joseph Mailander, Mailander LA, Salomon Zavala, Academia Semillas del Pueblo, charter schools, Los Angeles,  MayorSam, Mayor Sam blog, blogs, bloggers







CityWatch
Vol 10 Issue 48
Pub: June 15, 2012

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