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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Outtakes from CD 14 Special Report:CD 14 Chief of Staff Ana Cubas responds to CLARTS Fund request after 90+ Business Days

City Councilman Jose Huizar Chief of Staff Ana Cubas
Nice to know that Councilman Jose Huizar has delegated his Chief of Staff Ana Cubas, the task of responding to The Voice Newspaper's long ago Public Records request for information pertaining to the CD 14 CLARTS Amenities Fund. Below is the email that Cubas recently send to Carlos Morales, some 90+ business days after her February 25, 2010 email.
We should also note that KRLA Talk Show Host had some comments about this story on his Saturday overnight show, which he gave out the number to Huizar's office, so that constituents could call and demand action on this blatant violation of the California Public Records Act.
This sudden remembrance of Morales request for information on the status of the CLARTS Fund (link here to view youtube of former CD 14 Councilman Nick Pacheco discussing the fund), probably has something to do with the Los Angeles Garment and Citizen story on the fund last week, Kevin James comments on Saturday and Mayor Sam's on-going coverage of this controversy.
Another consideration in this sudden response by Cubas, could be to preempt any political capital that CD 14 Candidate Rudy Martinez could get out of this controversy. CD 14 observers were noting that Martinez and former CD 14 Councilman Nick Pacheco, were seen walking and talking the crowd together at the "Third of July" festivities in El Sereno.
Below is Cubas email with comments in bold.
From: Ana Cubas
Date: Mon, Jul 12, 2010 at 5:01 PM
To: Carlos Morales
Dear Carlos:
I would like to respond to your inquiry regarding CLARTS. (after 90+ days?)
As you may be aware, the use of CLARTS funds must be approved by the Los Angeles City Council via an official action such as a motion. (no duh?)
Therefore, it is the Office of the City Clerk that maintains all records of any spending related to CLARTS. (what, not enough staffers to maintain the files?)
We suggest that you contact them directly for this information. The City Clerk maintains these types of files for all City Councilmembers. ( and you don't keep updated documents on file?)
In our office, we rely on online resources available through the City Clerk's Office as our records for any motions introduced by Councilmember Huizar and for any CLARTS-related Council actions. (have you ever used the "print button" on your computer?)
We can produce these records for you at a cost of 10 cents per page. Or, you may view and print out free of charge copies of all actions related to CLARTS on the City Council File Management System (CFMS) website (How come you couldn't state that on Febuary 25, 2010?)
There is a simple search function on the CFMS that will allow you to quickly and easily search for any City Council motion involving CLARTS funding. All of the motions are downloadable as PDF’s from that site. (more waste of verbiage from Cubas)
Please contact me if you would like for us to produce paper copies for you. ( I think we did some 90+ business days ago)
Ana E. Cubas, Chief of Staff Councilmember Jose Huizar, 14th District
200 North Spring St., Room 465Los Angeles, CA 90012
213-473-7014 Phone
213-847-0680 Fax
213-407-5502 Cell (please call Cubas and ask what is so hard about producing Public Records?)
On Tue, Feb 23, 2010 at 1:19 PM,
Carlos Morales <voicepub@gmail.com> wrote:
I am working on an article regarding the CLARTS FUNDS.
I want to make sure the article is accurate and I need this information.
Please provide me a list of expenses for the CLARTS FUNDS for the past 5 YEARS.
I am also requesting all city council motions that has any modifications for the usage of the CLARTS FUNDS.
Please provide the information by FRIDAY FEBRUARY 26th as we are working on a dead line.
Please advise.
Carlos Morales Publisher & Editor THE VOICE NEWSPAPER
Your thoughts..............
Scott Johnson in CD 14
** The "Mulholland Collectivist" at the Griffith Park Wayist, take "liberties" on this post.

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Anonymous Anonymous said:

stonewalling continues? sounds like a lazy journalist to me...the information is there for the taking...much ado about nothing...

July 14, 2010 12:31 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Sounds to me that now we know that huizar has completely lost his backbone - that is if he ever he had one. Sending his Chief of Staff to respond is his cowardly way of saying to the community and to The Voice we are not interested in your 2cents newspaper Carlos. And for you 12:31 of course is "much ado about nothing" since it is probably your salary that is being paid by these funds.

July 14, 2010 1:02 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Noone cares.
Too much CD14

July 14, 2010 2:15 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Huizar is known not to respond or for that matter speak directly to his constituents and always sends his poor staffers who usually are the ones who get slammed for his incompetence. Deflecting the answer to the question and taking so long to respond is just bad. Huizar should be very worried about his re election bid. Gossip around the district is there will be a documentary on how badly the district has deteroriated since Huizar took office

July 14, 2010 2:15 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

What journalist covering City Hall does not know that the City Clerk is the custodian of records and that this information is available online?

July 14, 2010 3:01 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

In a City like Los Angeles, where likely half or more of its citizens DON'T have computer access and many of those who DO have to use public locations like the (now) less accessible L.A. libraries, City employees should not be so callous as to say "download it yourself" as if it's a given that anyone can.

What do they do for the blind? Are public records only required to be accessible to the more affluent and the sighted? No, that's why posting agendas, and the like, online isn't considered to be adequate for meeting announcements, and the like.

Yes, it's true, they CAN ask people to pay for it. But I can GUARANTEE you that if the L.A. Times had made the same request (and not some local throw-away paper), they would NOT have said "find it online, or we're going to charge you for the copies."

Hey, in another couple months - when the re-election campaign goes into full swing - if the Times asks for copies of something, Huizar's staff would PAY someone hard cash to messenger it over, or have staff HAND-DELIVER it in a City car to their reporters, and then ask if they can schedule a face-to-face the EXPLAIN it line by line (so there's no MIS-understanding).

July 14, 2010 3:22 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Everyone should care about politicians avoiding transparency, even if they're not their exact representative. These guys made decisions collectively that affect all of us.

If they're not showing all their cards, so the game stay on the up-and-up, then we all get bamboozled.

July 14, 2010 3:24 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Can I call her cell phone for a date?

July 14, 2010 4:28 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

4:28 PM

Many have..........

July 14, 2010 7:15 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Does she like Modelos?

July 14, 2010 9:51 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

4:28 make sure you ask permission from the councilman - you don't want to give him the impression that she is tooooooo looooooose!

July 14, 2010 9:53 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Why you think they call her Cubas Libres?

July 14, 2010 10:47 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

She's smoking hot. How about a better pic.

July 15, 2010 7:30 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

I'm glad a elected official is not responding to this waste of time request himself. He has many more important issues to deal with and that's what staff is for. This information has always been available online, this whole thing was a waste of time. This is s non-story. Why don't you wait until you have something interesting to report, so we don't get more bored?

July 15, 2010 7:40 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

I hear Ana Cubas plans to run for CD1 against Reyes' Chief of Staff Jose Gardea. Do you think she has a chance? I've spoken to her a few times, but have not been impressed. At all.

July 15, 2010 7:47 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Good lick to both because bigger name i.D candidates are planning to run such as; Gloria Romero, Monica Garcia,Gil Cedillo, and a few more so good luck.

July 15, 2010 8:24 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Let's be honest peeps, the role of C-o-S with most council staffs, and especially Huizar, is one of placating disgruntled constituents who have been burned or neglacted by incompetent field deputies.

They spend most of their day saying "please don't scream, we can fix this" to their boss's voters.

For any one of them to then think "I can take over for the CM once he's termed out" is dumber than dum. The hands-on detail trouble-shooters then being elevated to "big picture" thinkers and legislators is a recipe for major failure. We'd be better off with the merry-go-round of actual legislators from other elected bodies, who at least know somewhat what doing the top job in each district entails.

NOPE, makes no sense. Just because you've gotten faster at loading someone else's guns doesn't mean you know how to aim and shoot fer sh*t.

July 15, 2010 11:52 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

I don't get it. Huizar's Chief of Staff was under no obligation to help this "journalist" find what was right under his nose for three months, but she took time out of her busy day to tell him anyway, and Red Spot concludes, "THE STONEWALLING CONTINUES!" ???

Christ Almighty! No wonder you and your Right-Wing Boyle Heights Dope Squad get nothing accomplished. "Foiled again, boys! Regroup back at the tree house at 13:00 for popsicles."

July 15, 2010 12:37 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Red Spot still thinks there are two sides to this story even though there are not.

July 15, 2010 12:38 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

I will give RS this... He may lack reading comprehension skills, but somehow he always manages to tie one or two blazing hot Latinas into his stories.

July 15, 2010 1:03 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

If there's a coffee maker in Huizar's office I suppose genius Red SPot thinks Cubas should fix Morales a cup of coffee, too, if he demands one. Listen, jerk. Cubas doesn't have to print shit for this goofball. He can look it up and use the "print button" on his own goddamn computer and make his own goddamn cup of coffee.

July 15, 2010 1:31 PM  

Blogger Red Spot in CD 14 said:

The level of disdain and rancor here by the Huizzy Truthers, will no doubt play into the hands of Rudy Martinez come 2011.

July 15, 2010 2:40 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:


July 15, 2010 3:57 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

It would be in the best interest of any "smart" city official or any of his staffers to nip a minor controversy like this in the bud, STAT -- regardless of what's "required" of them -- if there was nothing to hide.

If it's all there and nothing is fishy, then do a data dump on Morales, and let it die down.

Truth is, there's an unwillingness to produce the "anyone can print out" files, because they will only lead to more questions that CD14 staffers don't want to (or maybe can't answer...), to REALLY explain how funds were spent.

Many of the CLARTS entries in Council files are very vague, and really DON'T give the specifics of how money was spent -- other than going into a "fund" Huizar could control with less accountability. They have more to do with showing movement from one non-specific budget line, to another.

They say things EXACTLY like this one:

"I THEREFORE MOVE that $50,000 in the. . . CLARTS Community Amenities Trust Fund. . . be ransferred to the General City Purposes Fund. . . to provide funding for community amenities in Council District Fourteen." -- JOSE HUIZAR

After that, what "community amentities" are anyone's guess, and it's doubtful whether a full-blown forensic accountant could tell which of the "General City Purposes Funds" are being used for what, or even if they are ending up being spent as intended by the people who cut the deal in the first place

Does anyone really think "transfer this into the general fund" is a careful accounting that's available to all?

(I think Nixon's CREEP people might have said something similar about paying the Watergate burglars from their slush funds, under -"misc. campaign staffing.")

July 15, 2010 4:07 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

The Public Records Act requires that the person or agency receiving the request, in this case Huizar's office, give a response within 10 days. The response could be that it will take more time to gather up all the documents.

If the office has the documents they have to give them up. They can't refuse because they don't like the requestor, or the information will be embarassing.

On the other hand, this looks like it was less of an attempt to find the documents and more of an attempt to embarass Huizar. If someone who follows City Hall really wants this information they shouldn't care who it comes from and they should realize that it's the City Clerk that keeps all of these records for the council members who don't employ accountants.

July 15, 2010 4:07 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

3:01-the kind that isn't really a journalist.

"Foiled again, boys! Regroup back at the tree house at 13:00 for popsicles."

Of course, had she printed the items at tax payer expense red spot would have a fit about the use of tax payer resources.

July 15, 2010 4:19 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

The LA Times reporter would of had the good sense to know where to look. Maybe what Ana should have done is written the story for him...then he wouldn't have to be so lazy as to write it himself...

July 15, 2010 4:22 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Since when did The Voice become a member of the press? That rag should be called the run on sentence or the grammatical error.

That is the WORST piece of crap out in any neighborhood.

July 15, 2010 5:12 PM  

Anonymous In the Know said:

If I were the council member I would have provided a small report that said the following:

Fund Created: Date Created in 2004

Fund Income:

FY 03/04 = $xxx,xxx.00
FY 04/05 = $xxx,xxx.00
FY 05/06 = $xxx,xxx.00
FY 06/07 = $xxx,xxx.00
FY 07/08 = $xxx,xxx.00
FY 08/09 = $xxx,xxx.00
FY 09/10 = $xxx,xxx.00
FY 10/11 = $ x,xxx.00

Total Income: $x,xxx,xxx.00

Fund Expenditures:

FY 03/04 = $xxx,xxx.00
FY 04/05 = $xxx,xxx.00
FY 05/06 = $xxx,xxx.00
FY 06/07 = $xxx,xxx.00
FY 07/08 = $xxx,xxx.00
FY 08/09 = $xxx,xxx.00
FY 09/10 = $xxx,xxx.00
FY 10/11 = $ x,xxx.00

Total Expenditures: $ xxx,xxx.00

Fund Balance as of 6/30/10: $ x,xxx,xxx.00

Summary of Motions:

(List of Motions with dollar amounts)

This is what a good council member would have provided, especially if there is nothing to hide.

Directing someone to the spending side of the fund is only half an answer, at best, but TRULY appears like an effort to avoid being accountable for the fund.

It is unfortunate, because SECRECY is what is hurting Antonio and his tickets, and this too will bite Jose in the butt.

Stay tuned for more train wrecks from Jose and Ana....


July 15, 2010 10:23 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

You need to follow up properly with letters/emails in a more timely matter and then take them to court.

The Council office is required to provide requested information within the time limits or give reasons as to why it cannot.

A probono lawyer or some judicial research is warranted to make this happen. This is clearly a violation of the CA PRA if you have properly documented your requests and site the legal references, a court can force CD 14 to comply and award attorney's fees to the prevailing party.

July 18, 2010 8:27 AM  

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