Friday, April 22, 2016

There's no sunshine till she's gone - White House War on Press

2016 Reporters Without Borders' (RSF) World Press Freedom Index: There is still room for improvement in the country of the First Amendment.

Rancho Santa Margarita, CA -  Last month, the US Justice Department (DOJ) welcomed individuals from around the government and members of the public to the Great Hall of the Robert F. Kennedy building to kickoff Sunshine Week 2016, and to summarize our view of the event, we published a piece titled:   Cognitive Dissonant 2016 Sunshine Week Celebration

There's no sunshine till she's gone:  forget the DOJ's Cognitive Dissonant Sunshine Week 

Serving as keynote speaker at the event was the Acting Associate Attorney General Stuart Delery, who also serves as the Department’s Chief Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Officer. 

2016 DOJ's Celebration of 50th Anniversary of FOIA Passage - Sunshine Week

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the FOIA’s passage, the Department of Justice debuted a special video tribute to the law. The video details the history of the law, how FOIA administration and processing has changed over the last 50 years, and how the FOIA has served as the foundation for the open government our founding fathers envisioned. 
In the aforementioned piece, we highlighted some of the bad news:   
Unfortunately, there is widespread agreement throughout the political spectrum, that the Obama Administration by any objective measure has been the least transparent:  From the far left Huffinton Post's review of the AP study in the piece titled:   Obama Administration Has Gone To Unprecedented Lengths To Thwart Journalists, Report Finds to the Wall Street Journal's opinion piece:  The Least Transparent Administration.  How Team Obama stymies freedom of information requests. to the piece titled:  It Took a FOIA Lawsuit to Uncover How the Obama Administration Killed FOIA Reform

The California FOIA

We can also add California Attorney General's War on People She Disagrees With, or as The Wall Street Journal might put it:  "Kamala Harris has been a hero of the left’s campaign to use donor disclosure as a tool of political intimidation. Since 2013 the California Attorney General has been demanding that nonprofits provide unredacted donor names if they want to solicit donations in the state. On Thursday a federal court declared her disclosure requirement an unconstitutional burden on First Amendment rights." Read more:

In trying to determine the role The California Law Revision Commission' s (CLRC) Brian Hebert was playing in trying to silence a homeowners' association (HOA) advocate, a FOIA request was filed.  An what do you know?  The CLRC produced records before and after the period in question.  The reason given was Hilary Clintonesque: a third party system-malfunction destroyed all the records requested.

Orange County, California - Judicial Misconduct Tracker 

Looking  into homeowners association litigation used in collections scams or as an enforcement mechanism to silence homeowners,  we also saw that justice dispensed by the courts is not served equally. Specifically to HOAs, we saw judges like the Honorable John  Flynn who through cognitive bias or willful ignorance, allow HOA boards to claim they are not subject to local, state or even federal jurisdiction.  We also saw sentences for vehicular manslaughter differ  significantly as a function of demographics.  So, we thought that a Judicial Misconduct Tracker was necessary. 

As we filed FOIA requests, willing to pay anything the court deemed was necessary, General Counsel for the Superior Court of California County of Orange Jeff Wertheimer, quickly responded to my request and was gracious enough to treat my request pursuant to California Rules of Court Rule 10.500.  His response was in essence:  Yes we  do have no bananas:

Obama's War on Whistleblowers  

Not to mention President Obama's War on Whistleblowers as NPR's Sam Sanders has reported:
"[Obama's] Justice Department has cracked down on reporters in an effort to prevent leaks; it also set a new record for withholding access to government files under the Freedom of Information Act (despite calling for a "new era of openness" on his first day in office); and photojournalists in 2013 from several major news organizations chastised the Obama administration for denying their 'right to photograph or videotape the President while he is performing his official duties,' instead relying on official photos shot by White House photographers."I

2016 Reporters Without Borders' (RSF) World Press Freedom Index

Now comes the 2016 Reporters Without Borders' (RSF) World Press Freedom Index, condemning the state of the US freedom of the press. According to RSF,
In January 2015, the Department of Justice (DOJ) stopped its harassment of New York Times’ journalist James Risen. The DOJ had tried for years to force him to reveal his sources for the book he published on the CIA, State of War, and threatened jail time if he refused. 
 All journalism-related charges in the case against former Vanity Fair and Guardian contributor, now The Intercept contributor Barrett Brown were dropped in March 2014; he is no longer in jail for his activities as a journalist


RSF concludes its report on the poor state of freedom of information in the US with the following: 
The main cause for concern for RSF continues to be the current administration’s obsessive control of information, which manifests itself through the war on whistleblowers and journalists’ sources, as well as the lack of government transparency, which reporters have continually criticized. The Obama administration has prosecuted more whistleblowers under the Espionage Act than all previous administrations combined. Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA operative, was convicted solely on the basis of metadata in January 2015 of disclosing classified information to James Risen and is now serving a 3.5 year prison sentencie.
And according to Delphine Halgand, RSF’s US Director, the US presidential election has also been cause for concern. Since the primaries began last summer, journalists have seen their access to campaign events regularly restricted by candidates from both political parties and have been insulted and even bullied on social media. RSF is also still troubled by the arrest of journalists during #Blacklivesmatter protests in Baltimore and Minneapolis. “There is still room for improvement in the country of the First Amendment,” 


Rancho Santa Margarita, CA - I spoke to Public Affairs Spokesperson Gwen Vieau September 24, 2012  with a request for information about allegations of judicial misconduct in the Orange County California Small Claims Court System.

Coto de Caza, CA – while most pundits speculated over what the Supreme Court would do about the individual mandate included in the ObamaCare legislation, most also warned not to read too much into the Justices’ line of questioning.  Most of the pundits were right on the latter, wrong on the fate of the individual mandate.

When You Have the CLRC on your side, Who needs Lobbyists? 

According to its website, the California Law Revision Commission (CLRC) has the responsibility for the continuing substantive review of California statutory and decisional law. The Commission assists the Legislature in keeping the law up to date by:

California Law Revision Commission’s Brian Hebert’s Trough 

The mad dash to pass pork barrel legislation

In a scathing letter to the California Law Revision Commission ominously titled The Temple of Blame and Wholesale Titleholder Disenfranchisement, arbitrator and author D. Vanitzian questions the motives for the mad rush to “pass pork-barrel project, as she refers to the Statutory Clarification and Simplification of CID Law. 

Statutory Clarification and Simplification of CID Law. Request for Public Comment. The California Law Revision Commission seeks public comment on a ... 

Homeowners Associations: California Law Revision Commission's ... I am also against the California Law Revision Commission's interference with ..... Clarification and Simplification of CID Law (Discussion of Issues)." ... 

RCBA Online News and Notes: California Law Revision Commission Agenda MCLE: The California Law Revision Commission is a State Bar of California Approved ... Statutory Clarification and Simplification of CID Law [Study H-855] ...

Gone Delusional Real Estate Hunting- As Bob Hunt might say, SB528 was not controversial and there are no real estate problems!
According to Bob Hunt, director of the California Association of Realtors, ?SB528 was not controversial and it didn?t receive a lot of attention, But it?s a good law, and that?s good news, how refreshing?, as described in the Orange County Register?s...

Most Frequent HOA Complaints?: Dues Increases and CC&R Changes ? WSJ
So the number of people that lived in associations and complained about them is 69/75 = 92%. This is in stark contrast to Community Association Institute's (CAI) claim that 95% of the people living in associations love them

SB-528 and the HOA Volunteer Fallacy- Another wholly useless piece of UNENFORCEABLE feel-good legislation used to justify the Senate's paychecks and pension plans
While fully emerged in partisan politics and bickering about the 2007 budget, according to the Associated Press, ?California lawmakers on Tuesday August 21, 2007 ended one of the state's longest budget stalemates in 30 years, agreeing to a $145 billion...

So THIS is what the Senate calls an "Open Meeting." How many Open Meetings have THEY been to? Obviously not many. ROTFLMAO!

We just had a constructive, and at times very heated, conversation with Orange County’s Deputy District Attorney, Susan Schroeder regarding the tragic accident that occurred March 12, 2006 at the intersection of North Hampton Place and Lexington Way...
Audacity of CZ Irrationality
Coto de Caza, CA - I have notified the CZ master Association and Keystone of my intention to file complaints with the Small Claims Court against the CZ Master association board of directors/Keystone for 1) Failure to comply with inspection of records request 2) for interfering with the normal operations of the CotoBuzz Journal.

Coto de Caza's Declaration of Independence, July 4, 2012

The Coto de Caza Board of directors meeting held, appropriately on July 13, 2006, provided yet more evidence of the involution of the safety committee:


In covering public safety in the community for the last six years, I have learned that the GRUP Syndrome aka Michael Jackson’s Syndrome – where adults refuse to grow up, is not only alive and well in Coto de Caza, but is also thriving.

Coto de Caza Traffic Citations – Trading Places- We have often referred to the GRUP, Peter Pan and even Michael Jackson Syndrome – where adults refuse to grow up - and usually associated with  traffic citations.  This time is no different.  Looking at snap shots of citations throughout 2008:

Public Safety Data Indicates GRUPs Continue to be an Issue in Coto de Caza- Coto de Caza, CA - The latest public safety data from the Orange County Sheriff's department shows the crime  rate in Coto de Caza continues an upward trend that started at the end of December of 2007 and reached a peak by March of 2008.

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