Archive for LAFLA

Footage and Coverage of LA CAN Press Conference on LAPD Lawsuit

Posted in press coverage with tags , , , , , , , on March 12, 2014 by Cangress
Yesterday morning in front of LAPD Headquarters the Los Angeles Community Action Network announced our lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles, LAPD, and the Central City East Association because of their coordinated efforts to silence LA CAN, prevent us from exercising our first amendment rights, and their malicious acts that resulted in the wrongful prosecution of one of LA CAN’s longest term organizers, Deborah Burton.
Click HERE (or on the photo to the left) to read the Los Angeles Times article covering the announcement.

This lawsuit is a result of years of unfair and unjust targeting of LA CAN staff and members by LAPD, a long history of retaliation against us for fiercely and loudly opposing LAPD’s racist Safer Cities Initiative in Skid Row, and, more recently, their efforts to even more blatantly favor the Downtown business community’s position by stifling our right to protest and manufacturing charges against our staff.Through all of the attempts to criminalize us and silence us, LA CAN leaders and members remain unified and strong.  We will continue to organize, continue to protest when needed, and we are hopeful the federal courts will uphold our constitutional rights and direct the City and LAPD to change their tactics, since all efforts at engaging with City officials to stop the years of harassment have failed.

Click HERE to read the official LA CAN Press Conference Statement in its entirety.

Click HERE to view the press packet, which includes the Press Release and a copy of the lawsuit, as well as a few key photos and emails from LAPD Officer Shannon Paulson to employees of the Central City East Association. These documents only scratch the surface of the coordinated effort to prevent LA CAN from exercising our constitutional rights.

Additional Coverage:
Equal Voice, “Los Angeles Group Files Civil Rights Suit Against Police”
Annenberg TV News, “Activist Sues City of LA”

Photos: LA CAN Announces Lawsuit Against City and LAPD

Posted in photos, press coverage with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 11, 2014 by Cangress

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LA CAN and Partners Join Efforts to Ensure Organizations can continue to work to Prevent Unfair Business Practices

Posted in legal with tags , , , , on January 28, 2014 by Cangress

Organizations like LA CAN have the ability to sue private entities (like landlords) for unfair or illegal business practices (like the 28 day shuffle). It’s important for LA CAN to be able to do this because we represent the community and can get broader relief (like an injunction against raising rents or relocation money for displaced tenants). If we stand by and do nothing we are harming our mission. However, when LA CAN organizes against unfair business practices, it costs us money in resources—like staff time for organizing tenants. The unfair business practices law presently allows us to get damages (money) for those lost resources. A recent example is the Huntington hotel case where we were able to win injunctive relief and settled for relocation money for our members who were displaced.

There is a case in the Court of Appeals where a biotech company is claiming that an animal rights organization should not be able to sue them under the unfair business practices law. They want the court to make it harder for organizations to be able to sue under this law and recover damages for lost resources. Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles wrote a brief on behalf of LA CAN to tell the court that organizations like LA CAN should continue to be able to sue under this law and should not make it more difficult to recover lost resources. Several public interest law firms around the state joined in the brief. This will hopefully help the animal rights organization with their case.

For more info, read THIS Animal Legal Defense Fund Blog post.


What the Hell: So Jaywalking tickets are fine as long as they go to poor, predominantly Black, people in Downtown Los Angeles.

Posted in civil rights, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on December 21, 2013 by Cangress

I’m taking this opportunity to call foul! The recent “firestorm” about jaywalking tickets,0,6633088.story#axzz2nyPUszgU in downtown would be laughable if not for the obvious…poor and homeless people of color have been targeted for the same offense (allegedly stepping off the curb after the light starts blinking); handcuffed and detained for inordinate periods of time; and ticketed over and over again on the same streets, for nearly eight years.

Since the launch of the Safer Cities Initiative in 2006 the LAPD has written as many as 1,000 tickets (mostly jaywalking) per month in Downtown Los Angeles. The majority of those tickets have been given to poor, homeless and disabled residents living within the rapidly gentrified boundaries of the city’s center. To put it in perspective that is 1,000 tickets, per month, given to a population of 12,000 – 15,000 people.

Ironically, this is not a new situation. There have been numerous studies and reports done; residents have lobbied the LAPD, the Police Commission, Mayor Villaraigosa, Department of Justice and numerous other duty-bearers; there have been numerous public actions and protests to decry the discriminatory actions  but the complaints fell on deaf ears.

The jaywalking tickets reached such outlandish proportions that it led to the development of the LA CAN Citation Defense Clinic. Week in and week out lawyers from the Los Angeles Legal Aid Foundation and large downtown law firms provided legal representation for residents in downtown to fight against a system that was clearly tantamount to the creation of a debtors prison. But it wasn’t just large firms that responded to this obvious targeting of poor people. Carol Sobel, Gary Blasi, John Raphling and many other lawyers and students brought their resources to bear to stop the ticketing. Research was done; numerous meetings with the City Attorney’s Office happened; meetings with judges in charge of Metropolitan Court happened and plenty of press releases went out…but never the type of FIRESTORM (editorials and such) that we are being bombarded with today.

So, why is that?

The only thing different  is the socio-economic status and race of those (few people) whose privilege is suddenly challenged.

Could it simply be implicit bias? Or, is it institutional and structural racism on full display before our eyes. Is it really the media’s way of saying that poor and homeless people should only be spoken of during holiday dinners served by celebrities? Or, in the case of Downtown poorest residents, Black and Brown residents, are you saying that their humanity simply doesn’t matter?

Rest assure, the FEW tickets given to privileged newcomers in Downtown Los Angeles pale in comparison to the 10’s of thousands DOCUMENTED tickets given to poor Downtowner’s. And, if this outcry is truly about injustice you would feel  duty-bound to lift the injustice in its entirety. You would say, “what’s bad for the goose is bad for the gander!”

There is plenty of EMPIRICAL data, if you so choose to search. You can start right on our blog and that will lead to the United Nations (yes, they had something to say about this) and numerous reports and publications. We look forward to reading fair and balanced coverage of an issue that has crippled many in our community; oftentimes leaving them without Driver’s Licenses; with outstanding arrest warrants because they can’t afford to pay multiple tickets; and, short circuiting their ability to take a step forward.





Posted in press release with tags , , , on November 15, 2013 by Cangress

LOS ANGELES, CA (November 15, 2013) — The Honorable Richard Rico of the Los Angeles Superior Court approved a $1.5 million settlement of a lawsuit brought against the owners of the Huntington Hotel in downtown Los Angeles today. The lawsuit was brought by the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles (LAFLA) and Steptoe & Johnson LLP, on behalf of three individual tenants and the Los Angeles Community Action Network, a community based organization. The lawsuit was based on the unlawful displacement of at least 60 tenants living in a historical building downtown, in the throes of gentrification.  The tenants alleged that after an ownership change, they were subjected to illegal rent increases, discrimination, harassment and retaliation as the owner attempted to force them out while circumventing statutory tenant protections.  All of the individual plaintiffs represented by LAFLA were elderly and/or persons with disabilities. Many became homeless after leaving the Huntington.

The $1.5 million settlement includes monetary relief for individual plaintiffs’ emotional distress and statutory damages, for LA CAN’s lost resources, a relocation fund for other displaced Huntington tenants, and attorneys’ fees and costs. “It is very difficult to put a monetary value on the cost of being rendered homeless, like so many tenants were,” stated Barbara Schultz, attorney for the plaintiffs. “But at least individual plaintiffs can now afford to improve their living situation, and other displaced tenants are eligible for the pool of relocation funds.”

During the course of the litigation, filed December 2011, the plaintiffs won three preliminary injunctions, based on the legal rental amounts of the units, disability and source of income discrimination, and the right of one individual tenant to return to her unit after an unlawful eviction. “The Huntington Hotel tenants endured some of the worst conditions in the City for years, and then got illegally pushed out as the conditions finally improved. The settlement creates a means to compensate dozens of tenants for this harm, though the City and other regulators must do more upfront to prevent these things from happening at all,” said Becky Dennison, Co-Executive Director of LA CAN.

LAFLA will be honoring Steptoe & Johnson LLP at their Access to Justice Dinner on December 3, 2013 for their laudable pro bono assistance on this case. Find more information at:


Barbara Schultz, Esq. – Legal Aid Foundation of Law Angeles 213.640.3826
John Swenson, Esq.- Steptoe & Johnson LLP 213.439.9424
Becky Dennison – Los Angeles Community Action Network 213.840.4664


The December 2012/January 2013 Community Connection is NOW AVAILABLE!

Posted in community connection with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 18, 2012 by Cangress

Dec12 Jan13 CC Cover

Click on the Photo above to read the December 2012/January 2013.

You can also view a high resolution PDF version HERE.


LA CAN and Play Fair Farmers Field on KNBC4

Posted in AEG, civic participation, human & civil rights, press coverage with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 3, 2012 by Cangress