Archive for the organizing Category

Chief Beck Reappointment: LA CAN Opposition Testimony

Posted in LAPD, Media Advisory, organizing with tags , , , on August 12, 2014 by Cangress

As the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners stand poised to reappoint Chief Charlie Beck community residents, members of the rank and file and social organizations stand poised to reject the same. After guest appearances by MARÍA ELENA DURAZO Executive Secretary-Treasurer Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO and Councilmember Tom Labonge (both showering Beck with praise and votes of confidence) other voices, mostly in opposition, rendering their votes of no confidence.

Here is a sample of LA CAN testimony:

“Horse trading, sexting, nepotism, saving racist and abusive employees, lying on camera, bribery…and so on and so forth define Chief Beck’s leadership. It sounds like an episode of 90210, TMZ, or Dallas but alas, once again, its #MyLAPD.

Leadership is defined  by doing what’s right even when its unpopular; not by doing what’s wrong just because it is popular.

To retain Chief Beck simply legitimizes illegal behavior, not bad behavior, illegal behavior and reinforces the idea and culture that the rank and file are above any obligation to follow rules or the rule of law. It’s exactly that mentality/reality which fuels profiling, extreme use-of-force, Rampart Scandals, Consent Decrees, social rebellion and huge, never ending, lawsuit payouts.

In reality Beck has proven his inability to lead this department; that he can never be ready for prime time; and,  that he remains entrenched in Darryl Gates Era “good ole boyism!” That his style of leadership leads to internal  and external turmoil.

In reality this moment has nothing to do with Beck but everything to do with you (commissioners) as the face and voice of the public. Your “Yes” vote means that you co-sign the steadfast decline to darker days; that your leadership is about something other than the needs of Angelenos; that this system is a mockery.

Beck, real leadership insists that you withdraw your name for consideration. Commissioners, leadership demands you resign your post if Beck is reappointed.

UNACCEPTABLE: Councilmember Huizar creates a Pershing Square Task Force that doesn’t include any low-income residents

Posted in human & civil rights, organizing with tags , , , , , , on August 28, 2013 by Cangress

LA CAN at Pershing Square promoting the Share the Wealth Platform and making sure that the park remains public and open to EVERYONE.

This week 14th District City Councilmember José Huizar created a Pershing Square Task Force without any representation of low-income Downtown residents, who have utilized Pershing Square for decades. Rather than creating a body that is representative of the broad diversity of Downtown, Huizar chose to create a 21-member Task Force of “stakeholders” that draws nearly exclusively from the business and developer community (and a few others from law enforcement and other city departments).

Huizar had this to say: “We have a huge task ahead of us, but it’s an open one.” It’s hard to believe that the task of creating a long-term plan for the park will be open when those in charge of creating the plan exclude the voice of a significant segment of Downtown – low-income and homeless residents.  LA CAN members had requested directly of Huizar’s staff to be included on this task force, as Pershing Square represents limited open space that has been a resource for both low-income and higher income downtowners.

The composition of this task force is unacceptable. As part of promoting our Share the Wealth Platform, LA CAN has been working for months to ensure that Pershing Square remains open to NOT just the so-called “New Downtowners”, but ALL Downtown residents. Huizar is relatively new to representing all of Downtown, but by now he should know that he is supposed to know that he represents all of the community’s residents – not just developers who are intent on gentrifying the neighborhood.

Members of the task force are:
Kevin Regan, Recreation and Parks.
Mathew Rudnick, Department of Cultural Affairs.
Nick Maricich, Planning Department.
Captain Horace Frank, LAPD.
Mike Arnold, Los Angeles Homeless Service Authority.
Amy Yeager, Pershing Square Advisory Board.
Dawn Eastin, Downtown News.
Blair Besten, Historic Downtown BID.
Sean Krajewski,  Blue Cow Restaurant GM.
Carol Schatz, CCA, Downtown BID.
Peklar Pilavjian, St. Vincent’s Jewelry Center.
Karen Hathaway, LA Athletic Club.
Siobhan Talbot, Brookfield.
Jeffery Fish, Pershing Square Building.
Chris Rising, Rising Realty.
Robert Hanasab, City National Building.
Brian Glodney, Gensler.
Rick Poulos, NBBJ.
Katherine Perez-Estolano, USC.
Melani Smith, Melendrez Design Partners.
Gail Goldberg, ULI.


Standing on the side of human rights, standing beside the hunger strikers in CA’s prisons.

Posted in organizing, politics, women's issues with tags , , , on August 3, 2013 by Cangress

Standing w/ the CA Prisons Hunger Strikers and their demands…standing for human rights! from Nicholas Dahmann on Vimeo.

We say no to human rights violations in all forms. It is not enough to rise up and protest conditions that happen afar (though that is necessary as well) without first lifting a finger to the egregious violations happening a stones throw away. The demands for humanity coming from behind the walls of California’s state prisons need to be heard and acted upon by all.

The demands are clear and need your support now!

The Pelican Bay Five Core Demands:

1. Eliminate group punishments and administrative abuse.

2. Abolish the debriefing policy and modify active/inactive gang status criteria.

3. Comply with the recommendations of the US Commission on Safety and Abuse in America’s Prisons and end long-term solitary confinement.

4. Provide adequate and nutritious food.

5. Create and expand constructive programming.

Deborah Burton Not Guilty on All Charges!

Posted in civil rights, human & civil rights, LAPD, organizing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 12, 2013 by Cangress

Jurors reported afterward that they did not find Estela Lopez of the CCEA or LAPD Lieutenant Shannon Paulson to be credible witnesses

We hope July 11 ends the years of targeted efforts by the LAPD and LA’s City Attorney to criminalize organizing, dissent and public protest by LA CAN and dozens of other organizations across Los Angeles.  We know the tactic of criminalizing political movements goes well into our history and well beyond Los Angeles – but yesterday marked a key victory in preventing these attacks on those working for justice.

Yesterday afternoon, a jury found Deborah Burton not guilty on 8 charges of assault and battery, including the “lesser charges” the City Attorney was able to include in the jury instructions.  These unjust charges stemmed from a legal protest of the Central City East Association’s public safety walk in June 2011.  Charges were filed in August 2012 and Deborah has shouldered this burden on behalf of LA CAN and the social justice movement in Los Angeles since then.  She stood strong and firm, and truth and justice prevailed!

LA CAN is proud to have Deborah as a long time member and organizer – she continues to demonstrate on a daily basis what commitment, dedication, compassion and bravery look like as she works to defend and promote human rights in Downtown and South LA.  We thank all of our members, staff, Board, community partners, and others who supported us leading up to and during this case.  We express deepest gratitude to John Raphling, who defended Deborah and continues to provide much needed legal representation to community organizers and activists in Los Angeles.

We are all Deborah Burton!  And we are all NOT GUILTY!

group picture after verdict

See community partner’s perspective at NESRI’s blog HERE.

Visit past blog posts for more information on this case – such as HERE and HERE.

LA Times Editorial Supports SB 283 – A Bill to Restore Food Stamp Access to People with Certain Drug Offenses Supported by LA CAN and More than 100 Other Organizations

Posted in food access, health access, human & civil rights, organizing, press coverage, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on July 2, 2013 by Cangress

LA CAN, Hunger Action LA, California Hunger Action Coalition, and more than 100 organizations have been working diligently all spring to ensure that SB 283 is passed.  We are pleased to see the LA Times agrees:,0,4750480.story

After Dozens of Human Rights Defenders Shut Out by Public Officials Yesterday, Unjust Trial of Deborah Burton Started Today

Posted in civil rights, human & civil rights, LAPD, organizing, photos, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on June 27, 2013 by Cangress

On Tuesday morning, June 25, dozens of human rights defenders gathered in front of LAPD Headquarters in the early hours to again demand that Police Commissioners investigate the evidence submitted in the case against LA CAN organizer Deborah Burton, and later to deliver signed petitions to the City Attorney to demand he drop this case.


(see past blog posts for more details: and

LAPD officers refused to let the large majority of our group into the Commission hearing room, though there were many empty chairs.  LAPD then lined the door to City Hall East and refused to let people in the public building to make a request to deliver the petitions to the City Attorney’s office.


Though City officials who could have intervened to stop these ridiculous and unsubstantiated charges from going forward did nothing but hide from the truth, Deborah and all of her supporters stood confident and tall this morning as trial proceedings begin.  We know the truth is on our side, but we also too deeply understand the criminal in-justice system’s impacts on people of color.  We remain hopeful that justice will prevail.

Contact to help with court support.  Below, Frank Stoltze of KPCC interviews Deborah about the case.


Victory for Homeless People and Those Who Believe in Civil Rights for ALL — Two Court Decisions Deny City’s Ongoing Attempts to Seize Property

Posted in civil rights, human & civil rights, LAPD, organizing with tags , , , , , , , on June 26, 2013 by Cangress

Last Monday, June 17, US District Judge Gutierrez denied the City of LA’s application to modify the preliminary injunction he issued in June 2011.  Among many findings in his ruling, the denial stated,

“However, as the City has not shown a change in law or fact that would warrant modifying the language of the injunction, the Court is not persuaded that the alternate proposed modification is appropriate. Further, Defendant has submitted no evidence of a problem with individuals failing to move their property during a noticed cleaning operation.”

The LAPD and the City Attorney, with loud and public urging by the business community, have inexplicably been fighting this injunction since it was issued – failing at every level.  This Monday, June 24, the Supreme Court denied hearing their appeal, allowing the injunction to stand.  We are pleased to see the City’s unjust efforts continue to be denied by the courts.

LA CAN hopes the City, and especially our new City Attorney, will stop these wasteful and mean-spirited attempts to assert that homeless people simply don’t have the same constitutional rights as those who are housed.  Instead of fighting injunctions protecting people’s most basic rights, the City should focus on housing and public health solutions that have been proven effective.

LA CAN members will continue their organizing efforts to promote the human right to housing while also protecting homeless people’s rights until there is housing for all.  We will also work to end the Safer Cities Initiative, which criminalizes homelessness and poverty in Skid Row and was the original source of the illegal property destruction.

Read the LA Times coverage here:,0,7106702.story

Homeless Bill of Rights Passes the CA Assembly Judiciary Committee!

Posted in civil rights, organizing, photos, video with tags , , , , , , on April 24, 2013 by Cangress

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Dozens of homeless individuals, organizers, and advocates were on hand on April 23 as the Homeless Bill of Rights and Fairness Act (also known as Assembly Bill 5, or AB 5) passed out of the Judiciary Committee of the California State Assembly with at 7-2 vote.

LA CAN sent a delegation up the Sacramento to make sure the voices of Skid Row residents were heard on this important legislation. Amongst other things, the Homeless Bill of Rights would protect homeless people’s right to use public space and engage in life-sustaining activities such as sleeping and resting. It would also create hygiene centers for people who don’t have access to bathroom or basic hygiene needs and protect homeless peoples’ right to personal property and belongings.

However, contrary to many reports (including the ABC 7 clip posted above), AB 5 would not permit anyone, homeless or not, to harass people on the streets or maliciously block sidewalks. Nor would it allow people to urinate and defecate publicly or allow homeless people to harm or interfere with local businesses’ operations.

AB 5 is not about creating special rights. Rather, it is about ensuring equal rights for homeless individuals.


The successful Judiciary Committee vote marked a win for a growing movement. However, we still have a lot of work ahead.  AB 5 now heads to the Assembly Committee on Appropriations, and then, hopefully, to the full assembly by late Spring/early Summer. For more information or to get involved, visit

Coverage of the Judiciary Committee Vote on AB5:

Associated Press – “Bill says homeless have right to be on the street
LA Weekly – “Homeless rights Act Says Homeless Can Sleep Outdoors Without Arrest
Sacramento Bee – “Updated homeless ‘bill of rights’ passes CA legislative committee
San Francisco Examiner – “S.F. lawmaker’s ‘homeless bill of rights’ passes state Assembly committee
San Francisco Gate – “Scaled-down homeless rights law advances

Diverse City-wide Coalition Holds Press Conference to Defeat Community Care Facilities Ordinance

Posted in civil rights, organizing, Uncategorized, URGENT ACTION with tags , , , , on January 16, 2013 by Cangress

More than 100 organizations from across the City of Los Angeles were joined by numerous faith-based leaders last week to urge City Councilmembers to vote NO on the revised Community Care Facilities Ordinance, which would increase segregation and homelessness in Los Angeles.  The Coalition believes in healthy, safe and diverse communities and that shared housing is a crucial component in ensuring this goal throughout all of the City.  For more information, visit

View Daily News coverage of the press conference here.

Guess Who Went to CCA Mayoral Candidate Breakfast?

Posted in organizing, politics, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on November 1, 2012 by Cangress


The Central City Association (CCA) has enjoyed years of unchallenged privilege in deciding the fate of Downtown Los Angeles. Gentrification, mass incarceration and outright banishment to ensure massive profits are but a few tools promoted by CCA and used at the expense of longtime low-income residents of Downtown.  Additionally, because they pump massive resources into the Los Angeles political infrastructure, they usually face little to no resistance while they roll out their visions.

While LA CAN does not enjoy a bottomless pit of financial resources like the CCA, we make up for it with people power, resilience, resistance and community-based innovation.  We have successfully pushed back against the CCA’s vision for Downtown for 10 years, including efforts to ensure that low-income housing is preserved and increased, and that everyone’s civil rights are upheld.

We continued this battle yesterday when we showed up to promote our Share the Wealth vision for Downtown and also insist that Mayoral Candidate Garcetti meet with low-income community members, instead of only listening to the CCA’s ideas for Downtown LA.  The CCA’s “Downtown 2020” plan is racist, classist and exclusionary – focusing on more criminalization and calling for no more affordable housing in Downtown.  Alternatively, LA CAN’s Share the Wealth platform ensures that Downtown is for everyone and that long-time low-income Downtown residents are included in all plans and decisions.

We will present our Share the Wealth vision to Councilmember Garcetti at our upcoming breakfast meeting with him.

LA CAN members posted up at the back door so that all CCA attendees saw and heard our message

…meanwhile, out front…

Residents held a community-based  breakfast complete with street theater and healthy food options.

Returning to the rear exit…

After CCA and BID security made several unsuccessful attempts to remove us from spaces near the back exit…

…Deborah Burton and other LA CAN members held their ground and secured a commitment for a breakfast forum with our community and Councilmember Garcetti.