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Thursday, October 14, 2021

Was Mark Ridley-Thomas On Your Corruption Bingo Card?

By Daniel Guss

@TheGussReport - Shame, shame, shame if you are a follower of Southern California politics and didn't have Los Angeles City Councilmember Mark Ridley-Thomas (MRT) on your corruption bingo card.   Yesterday, he and a former university dean were indicted for what amounts to the following.

One of MRT's sons, Sebastian Ridley-Thomas (SRT), who had no legitimate reason for being elected to public office other than emanating from the genes of his father and mother, Avis Ridley-Thomas, allegedly got all "hands across America" with women when he was in the California State Assembly and had to skedaddle so investigations into his haranguing proclivities could be dismissed as politically unnecessary.

Mark Ridley-Thomas, Sebastian Ridley-Thomas 
Photo credit: ABC7

The media swallowed hook line and stinker SRT's claim that his abrupt resignation was due to "medical reasons."

Like many coddled, layabout children of politicians, SRT's daddy had to come to his rescue to get him a job that MRT apparently felt his son couldn't get -- or wasn't qualified to legitimately earn on his own -- and went over the top by allegedly buying him a professorship at the University of Southern California (USC).

Daddy Ridley-Thomas also allegedly bought Offspring Ridley-Thomas a USC graduate school admission and a full scholarship, too.

Think about that for a moment.   Mark Ridley-Thomas allegedly bought his kid a scholarship.  What bowl of Apple Jacks were those kids fed growing up where nobody seems to have raised the notion of accomplishment over entitlement?

You know, the type of bull-shiite that Mark Ridley-Thomas and all politicians spew day and night.

According to the indictment, all MRT had to do in exchange (i.e. a quid pro quo) was funnel your tax dollars and mine back to USC in a twisted amalgam of non-profits, nepotism and looking the other way.  But it was apparently so aggressively ill-conceived that even USC couldn't ignore it and appears to have ratted out the wrong-doers to the feds itself. 

What is it about USC that makes it a magnet for wealthy, powerful parents who think their kids aren't smart enough to get in on their own but that can be purchased from a cashier, as though the degree is a Prada bag that you carry around town?  Here's looking at you, Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli.

On that note, USC continues to refuse to say whether Gianna "Gigi" Caruso, daughter of bazillionaire and a Chairman of the USC Board of Trustees Rick Caruso, earned her way into the school.  The last time this column asked, the school dodged the question and described Ms. Caruso in a way that was nothing short of shameful.

Make of that what you will.   

Rick Caruso, Gigi Caruso, Tina Caruso 
Photo Credit: Unknown

By the way, are we still allowed to say "chairman?"  USC does.

To be fair, we shall assume that the bikini entrepreneur (and gal pal of the Loughlin/Giannulli children) earned her way into USC through exceptional grades, test scores and community service.  It's just that the school and papa bear have refused to say that she did, let alone provide the specifics.

Mr. Caruso might very well make an excellent successor to uber-failure Eric Garcetti, perhaps in the tradition of Richard Riordan, the only stellar alcalde L.A. has had in the past several decades and maybe the best ever. If he decides to run, the Los Angeles Times should ask about Gigi's admission into USC.  

But don't bank on it.

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A year ago, the Los Angeles Times endorsed Mark Ridley-Thomas to return to LA City Council despite knowing full-well about the alleged crimes for which he and a former USC dean were indicted yesterday, writing: 

"He has made questionable ethical decisions, most notably when he funneled $100,000 from a campaign fund to USC, which then hired his son as professor."

Hey, thanks for that, LA Times. Imagine what a clear-eyed endorsement of a capable, accomplished community activist and attorney named Grace Yoo, who doesn't have the stink of scandal emanating from her pores, could have done.

But misapplied power and cronyism are hard habits to break. 

The Times also repeatedly endorsed Mitch Englander, who currently brushes his teeth in a federal prison in Arizona.  It also gave us the thumbs-up for Jose Huizar, who could someday become his neighbor, not to mention some other familiar names who this column will ruminate on a bit further down.   And the Times has repeatedly endorsed others who have comprehensively failed us, like Mayor Eric Garcetti, former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and former L.A. City Council president Herb Wesson.

But there's nothing that the Times loves doing more than floating the notion of layabout political offspring (like Sebastian Ridley-Thomas and Justin Wesson) running to succeed their parents rather than encouraging fresh names with better ideas.  

Huzzahs! Everyone gets a trophy, everyone gets to walk in their parents' footsteps just because they're special.

Everyone except the kids who earned those spots in school. 

Everyone except the candidates for office who would have worked diligently and with integrity to improve L.A.

Note to the LA Times:  You can't manufacture the Kennedys. Even the Kennedys weren't what the media wanted us to believe that they were.  And neither are these locals.

If Los Angeles is going to be a glutton for felons, failures and flunky children of corrupt-o-crats, it is the Times' job to keep us from falling off that cliff rather than giving us a shove.

Thanks again, El Segundo Times.

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And finally, this column has chosen the top five politicians (or political hangers-on) who it thinks might be indicted next. We'll keep that on the note pad over here by the morning lime water. But here's a hint: Methinks some will be for bankruptcy fraud, wire fraud, tax evasion, forgery and/or voter registration fraud. Okay, okay or bribery, but we assume you already knew that.

Tell your friends to follow me on The Twitters @TheGussReport.

(Daniel Guss, MBA, was runner-up for the 2020 Los Angeles Press Club journalism award for Best Online Political Commentary and has contributed to CityWatch, KFI AM-640, iHeartMedia, 790-KABC, Cumulus Media, Huffington Post, Los Angeles Daily News, Los Angeles Magazine, Movieline Magazine, Emmy Magazine, Los Angeles Business Journal, Pasadena Star-News, Los Angeles Downtown News, and the Los Angeles Times in its Sports, Opinion and Entertainment sections and Sunday Magazine, among other publishers.)

Presently using mi amigo Scott's sign-in until our new Mayor Sam 2.0 tech matters are ironed out.

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Tuesday, October 12, 2021

LA Times Silent on Nury Martinez' COVID Hypocrisy, Censorship

By Daniel Guss


@TheGussReport - It was clear early on that when LA City Council chose Nury Martinez to succeed the perpetually self-dealing Herb Wesson as its president, she was disinclined to do the one thing that Wesson did well: Lead.  



(Photo: LA City Council President Nury Martinez pontificates about masking, but needs practice on proper usage, though she did have time to get her name printed on hers.)

While Wesson led through intimidation, it ultimately led to his getting trounced by Holly Mitchell in his subsequent run to become an LA County Supervisor. Martinez' brand of leadership was quickly identified as faulty, as well.


As I wrote in this column at that time:


"Gadfly Patricia McAllister had just about enough with Nury's failure to embrace responsibility, letting it rip with this take: 'I want to say that Ms. Martinez, you brought your mother and everybody here and we gave you a good welcome. You're not woman enough to be up on that podium? (Ryu) is not the president. . . If you want to be with the boys, you got to do your job, okay? You're supposed to be at that podium, ma'am. . . Now you be a woman and stand-up for women and do your job. . . Now you wanna run with the boys, you gotta be like the boys, okay. . . Now you wanna get that kind of respect, you be like the boys. Get that skirt off, put some pants on and do your job.'" 

McAllister made a valid if abrasively colorful point: Being LA City Council president means leadership, including running meetings, agenda management and drinking up criticism rather than being thin-skinned and just embracing the "historic!" title of the first Latina in that role.  Pat Russell was LA's first female Council president from 1983-87.  (Is it still okay for us to use the word "female?")

So let's look closer at Martinez' recent and ongoing heavy-handedness with censorship.


She is now armed with a COVID requirement for most indoor places in LA but continues to use the pandemic to silence the public, especially her critics, who want to attend Council meetings.


Over the past several weeks, Council's in-person meetings have resumed in LA City Hall's John Ferraro Chambers. But "in-person" in this instance means only maskless City Councilmembers and their staff.


Martinez continues to exclude the public from attending in-person, masked or not, even with proof of vaccination and has refused to respond to requests to explain her policy.


Why do you suppose that is?


Most Councilmembers have been maskless at their recent meetings, bellowing within feet of one another, and not just during their turn to speak. Why isn't the public allowed to attend those same meetings maskless, provided they have proof of vaccination?


Maskless Mike Bonin

Maskless Kevin DeLeon

Maskless Paul Koretz

Maskless Mitch O'Farrell

Maskless Mark Ridley-Thomas and Maskless Paul Krekorian

Maskless Gil Cedillo


Maskless Bob Blumenfield

It is because barring even the vaccinated public lets Martinez censor criticism by forcing everyone to attend via Zoom where she and those she assigns can exert control with the push of a button, even though she and her colleagues richly deserve the criticism which is an inherent part of a politician's life.  


In fact, criticizing politicians is an inherently American tradition.


Her unwillingness to face and absorb criticism is another example of Martinez' failed leadership. She and Deputy City Attorney Strefan Fauble pick and choose whose phone numbers get called to speak during Council meetings and at their smaller Committee meetings. 


Strefan Fauble

More importantly, either they or their designees choose which phone numbers do not get chosen to participate.


Further, Fauble, City Hall's School-Marm-in-Residence, feigns not knowing which item the chosen speaker is addressing and consistently talks over callers who are on-topic in order to eat away at their precious one minute to speak. He also randomly disconnects their calls rather than letting people who might not have his law school polish make their own points in their own ways.


That's what we call punching down at the little guy.  


Then there's the retaliation. 


Fauble, who has a forthcoming complaint to the State Bar of California for, among other things, threatening to have this columnist arrested for simply attempting to use his duly issued LAPD press pass at a Council meeting, also drags his feet on responding to public records requests endeavoring to determine which callers called-in first to meetings so they can be compared to callers he allowed to speak who did not call-in as early.


Perhaps Mr. Fauble forgot about a certain 1st Amendment lesson while at the University of Texas Law School. Or perhaps he didn't and feels he has free reign to violate others' rights.


What Fauble doesn't forget to do is continue to maliciously expose this columnist's personal data in public records requests for the umpteenth time. Cue the next claim and lawsuit.


That leads us to the question of the day: Why hasn't the LA Times pointed out Martinez' ongoing censorship by refusing to allow the public to attend Council meetings? That's what its news reporters like David Zahniser, Dakota Smith and Emily Alpert Reyes should have reported months ago.


And why hasn't the El Segundo Times Editorial Board called for Martinez' attendance ban to end so constituents and community stakeholders have the same direct access to the meetings enjoyed by Martinez, her 14 Council colleagues, Fauble and their minions?


That is, after all, the point of a news organization.  


Where are you on this, LA Times? Isn't that "the type of journalism" that you promise when pleading for the public to spend 99-cents for an introductory subscription?


If the Times doesn't give a rat's petard about the public, why should the public feel any better about subscribing to the Times? 


(Presently using mi amigo Scott's sign-in until our new Mayor Sam 2.0 tech matters are ironed out)


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Wednesday, October 06, 2021

Mike Feuer's Flunky Gets Warning Letter from State Bar of California

By Daniel Guss

@TheGussReport - Lest anyone think that Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer isn't a corrupt and retaliatory jerkoff (who also wants to be your next Mayor) this column proffers that his nefarious actions trickle down to a wide swath of his taxpayer-funded staff, which also happens to be the largest "law firm," so to speak, in California.



In the coming weeks, this column will lay out a series of ways that Feuer's Flunkies harass, interfere and retaliate against government critics, including the one who writes this column.  But for today, let's reintroduce you to one of his henchmen, Deputy City Attorney Jonathan Peralta Bislig of La Palma.


Mr. Bislig's self-published old photo is used here for journalistic fair use purposes, which should be no problem given his history of malicious misuse of others' non-public data, which the California Attorney General's office is now exploring as a possible crime.  More on that in the coming weeks.

In 2020, this columnist successfully sued the LAPD for its threats, harassment and interference with his reporting on City Hall corruption and the abusive nepotism of then-LA City Council president Herb Wesson; his wife's falsification of her educational qualifications to land a $250,000 gig replacing a PhD at the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) and; dozens of instances of his son's alleged voter fraud in order to falsely establish residency for a possible run for office and; LA City Councilmember Curren Price and; their pal Mitch Englander, who now cools his jets in federal prison in Arizona; not to mention Mayor Eric Garcetti's alleged cover-up of fire inspection corruption at the LAFD and; the LAPD's refusal to turn over Computer Assisted Dispatch Records pertaining to an alleged domestic violence incident at Garcetti's home and; the LAPD's insistence that patrol car computer screenshots of information pertaining to the assassination attempt on two LASD deputies wasn't from their patrol car despite painfully obvious proof that it was.

And so on, and so forth.

Mr. Price, if you recall, was the subject of this column's exploration into his bigamy and alleged fraud and perjury.  While the L.A. Times' Dakota Smith gave him a platform to vociferously deny that he was a bigamist in order to secure his re-election against an upstart candidate, Price simultaneously hired an Orange County divorce attorney named Sven Buncher, who helped the genteel Mr. Price finally divorce his first wife years after marrying his second wife, the well-established City Hall real estate insider Del Richardson Price.

Neither Smith nor the Times' other City Hall water carriers, Emily Alpert Reyes and David Zahniser, told you the rest of that story, did they?

Anyhoo, while the court ordered the City of LA pay this columnist about $2,000 for the LAPD's abuses, the check that LA City Controller Ron Galperin sent to me was for $10,836, with the lion's share paid to specifically compensate this column for Bislig's malicious misconduct, which required a judge to order his malicious handiwork undone which Bislig repeatedly promised to do, but never actually did.

Now, after a lengthy investigation, the State Bar of California issued a warning letter to Bislig, which will disappear from his file in three years if he wises up and behaves himself.

That warning letter isn't public, but this column has a letter from the State Bar confirming its existence.

Fast-forward to a few weeks ago when Mr. Bislig got bent out of shape when this columnist raised his reprimand as a logical reason to distrust his rulings at the uber-mundane LA Police Permit Review Panel, where he had been assigned to call balls and strikes on behalf of the City government.

Panel Chair, attorney Ryan Duckett of the law firm Nixon Peabody, illegally tried to prevent that fact from being raised and Bislig later went on an email rant in response to a media inquiry asking when the duo will undo the illegal votes they allowed due to the fact that another Panelist's appointment expired months earlier, which Bislig failed to stop at that earlier time.

Correcting mistakes, rather than covering them up, is important for all governments to do, but especially during the FBI's ongoing investigation into LA City Hall's corruption cancer.

Bislig childishly took exception with my referring to his State Bar warning letter as "punishment."  Word-parsing to hide misconduct may fly in a legal brief, but not in the real world, let alone in this column.

Now remember, Bislig's boss, Mr. Feuer, had his office raided by the FBI about a year ago and is allegedly being investigated by the State Bar of California himself, so the fish really does rot from the head.  

Like boss, like flunky, as it were.

Sit with that for a spell.   Feuer was raided by the FBI, is allegedly being investigated by the State Bar of California.....and still has the cajones to run for Mayor.

Unfortunately for Bislig, his attempt to silence criticism and media inquiries by using City resources (e.g. his City-owned email account) to censor and suppress relevant, on-topic discussion of his State Bar reprimand also appears to be a violation of LA City Ethics codes, for which an Ethics complaint - and a new State Bar complaint - are underway.

Of course, that's not the entire story.  

There appears to be a larger "pattern and practice" of retaliation by Feuer's office against this column, and this time, it won't likely be litigated in the shallow pond of small claims.

Stay tuned.

(Presently using mi amigo Scott's sign-in until our new Mayor Sam 2.0 tech matters are ironed out.)

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Monday, October 04, 2021

Paul Krekorian - Did LA Budget Boss Skip Home Renovation Rules?

By Daniel Guss

@TheGussReport - Congratulations to Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Krekorian and his pharmacist wife Tamar on the recent $2.54 million sale of their magnificent Studio City home in a walkable nook of the highly desirable neighborhood.   




An examination of publicly available records suggests that the duo may have side-stepped Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety (LADBS) rules for home renovations which may have required permits that could cost several thousand dollars each.

The Krekorian listing includes text and staged photos on the real estate website RedFin that claim and show extensive and seemingly recent renovations in the kitchen and master bathroom. But LADBS records show no permits issued since 2005 for the kitchen and 2011 for the bathrooms.


According to one prospective buyer who claims to have toured the Krekorians' stunning abode, when asked whether the renovations were permitted, someone in the sellers' camp allegedly acknowledged that, at minimum, the kitchen was brand new and un-permitted.





If the Krekorians' kitchen hasn't been renovated since 2005, it is in rather remarkable condition after more than sixteen years of belonging to a family of five.  And the magnificent windows would require a permit, as well, but one is not on file.

A City Hall legislator wrapping up his final term, Krekorian, 61, Chairs City Council's all-powerful Budget and Finance Committee.   What's next for the Councilmember from the Valley is unknown, as he was suspended from practicing law by the State Bar of California due to failure to pay Bar dues and not completing mandatory continuing legal education (MCLE).

The Krekorians purchased the home for $699,000 in September 2011 but was reportedly heavily refinanced to more than $2 million prior to the sale.  Former neighbors speak well of them.

Since Mr. Krekorian and some of his top staffers did not respond to multiple requests regarding this matter, this column has reached out to LADBS and Ethics for further info. The buyer does not appear to have moved in yet.

UPDATE:  48 HOURS LATER, MR. KREKORIAN WAS CHALLENGED TO STAND UP AT THE NEXT LA CITY COUNCIL MEETING AND DENY HE MADE UN-PERMITTED RENOVATIONS ON HIS HOME.  HE SAID NOTHING.  NOR HAS HE DEMANDED A RETRACTION.

(Follow me on The Twitters @TheGussReport.   Using mi amigo Scott's sign-in for the time-being.)



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Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Mayor Sam 2.0


By Daniel Guss

@TheGussReport –    “Surprise, surprise, surprise,” as Gomer Pyle used to say.

A group of local political corruption watchers gathered in the shadows of Dodger Stadium a few hours before Game 1 of a recent Trolley Dodger World Series run.  After an hour or three of grub and grousing, some of us decided that if, a year or so before the next local election, life in Los Angeles was no better, let alone worse, we would join forces and report on those problems and their purveyors with unflinching directness.

Without artificial deadlines.

Without artificial word counts.

And without pressure to side-step truthful but uncomfortable stories.

By all reasonable measures, quality of life in Los Angeles, both at the the county and city levels, has never been worse.   Leadership and trust in our elected politicians has never been lower.  That goes double for Sacramento and triple for Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and the Nury Martinez-led Los Angeles City Council.

And then there’s the question of why much of the local media parrots what the LA Times, aka The Nanny-State P.R. Agency d’El Segundo, puts out there.

The hash we sling shall be served cold with heaping hot sides of humor and sarcasm, here where L.A. political blogging started, Mayor Sam.

As our late great founder Michael Higby might have quoted, "let me be perfectly clear," our governments love to torture corruption watchers by hiding documents, ignoring public meeting laws and so on in what can be described as death by a thousand cuts in response to sincerely held civic concerns.

Touché is our reply. 

If we find a Mayor, Councilmember, County Supervisor or their corrupt-o-crat cronies and protectorates fail to respond to things like mundane public records requests, we may sue and report on it, but we may also post such requests as well as the lame excuses they give for not producing those records and explain what's behind their shell game.

And just because we post something, that may not be the end of the story. 

Mayor Sam 2.0 is going to have a rolling dialogue with L.A. because that’s another thing our political set loves doing: dragging things out until the concerned parties give up and go away.

We say nay-nay. 

We have a lot of catching up to do and prisoners shall not be taken.  

Let the madness begin.

(Of course, we do need to get me a sign-in of my own, but in the meanwhile, mi amigo Scott's shall suffice.  You are invited to follow me on The Twitters @TheGussReport.)  

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Monday, September 27, 2021

Please Rise for the "Pledge of Allegiance (presented by Kevin Alexander Leon)" and our Bloggin Return

Its the Dawn of Bloggin Renewal at Mayor Sam!! 
With thanks to the CD-9 Native Kevin Alexander Leon, now absentee CD-14 Clowncilperson on a Mayoral Vanity Quest Kevin de Leon, for his classic redition of the Pledge of Allegiance, the Mayor Sam Blog is back!! In the very near future, we will be presenting a NEW Bloggin Commentary from a well-known Local Political Observer. Stay Connected!! Scott Johnson.

 

Monday, April 19, 2021

We"re Back!!

After a much too long hiatus, the Mayor Sam Blog is back, to the consternation of those who have taken advantage of the near absence of discerning, truthful and objective political reporting in the City of Los Angeles ……., and beyond.
Memo to "MEAT": The Mayor Sam Bloggin Archives are forever, in noting Michael "MEAT" Trujillo's past/current association with CD-15 City Councilman (and 2022 Mayoral Candidate)  Joe Buscaino's Political Aspirations.

** Blogger's Notes: With a blessed nod to our late Blog Creator/Friend Michael Higby up above, its time to once again, multi-task mind, fingers (with the help of Spoll-Check) and reconnect with the cyber-masses, in the spirit of promoting an unconditionally ………, free dialog. In an Intolerant Era of Woke Fascism, where cancelling those who espouse inconvenient viewpoints of truth, has become common place, yesterday, today and every day beyond, is time to embrace once again,  something called ……….., Freedom of Speech. If Michael was with us today, he would be moved to action, in espousing, promoting and standing up for our constitutional right of free expression, especially for those he disagree with. Mayor Sam was at its expressive best when the likes of "Chief Parker", Zuma Dogg, Joe Barrett, Petra, Joseph Mailander, and others, were unconditionally allowed to post their commentary …….., with anonymous comments from our cyber-audience (those were the days)!!. Thus, with no apologies to the likes of "MEAT", Brian Van Riper, Broken Deal Cedillo, the LA China Watch Times Legacy Media Stenographers of Record (in El Segundo) and other assorted political miscreants, its time to cancel out Woke Supremacy ……….., with a renewed commitment to the blogging truth----Scott Johnson. 
Once upon a time (2011) in Council District 15, a beloved San Pedro Native Son, turned LAPD Officer, became City Councilman Average Joe Buscaino, thanks to an alleged informal and official duo of young upstart campaign operatives, Michael "MEAT" Trujillo and Brian Van Riper, respectively. 
Ten years later, the now CD-15 Average Politico, is seeking to become Mayor Buscaino in 2022 and who has allegedly once again, reunited in the forlorn hope of making this a reality? The same duo ……., with added political baggage. 
Trujillo, who's political resume includes work for the failed 2008 Hillary Clinton Campaign, being the Designated Driver for an Ex Failed Mayor (Tony Villar) and being responsible for the IBEW-financed Measure B Campaign Meltdown, has the potential to become a liability for Buscaino's Mayoral Campaign, considering his controversial role in the 2011 CD-14 Campaign of Indicted Ex. Councilman Jose Huizar. 
Sources tell Mayor Sam that Trujillo was the Media Frontperson for the Buscaino Campaign's intiatal rounds of Media Events.
The Brian Van Riper's "Method Servicing" of shielding the identities of those paid by the failed Christy Smith for Congress Campaign ………, contrary to Federal Elections Commission rules?
Van Riper's  Method Campaign Services, is taken to task in a RedState Exclusive by Jennifer Oliver O'Connell, for its role in potential Federal Elections Commission Reporting Violations, via its work for the failed Christy Smith for Congress Campaign.
In addition, Method Campaign Services was also played a major role in the controversial 2017 CD-1 City Councilman Gil "Broken Deal Cedillo's" Re-election Campaign, that was outed for accepting Contributions from Ex. President Donald Trump Mega Donar Geoff Palmer, as noted below----S.J.
From Comrade Bernie: "I’m proud to support ’s campaign for reelection to the City Council. He knows that working people built Los Angeles, and he fights every day to make sure their voices are heard over the concerns of the wealthy and the powerful (NAUGHT!! As noted below)".







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