For background on this story, see:
If you agree that First UMC Los Angeles should do what I’m asking them to do, email them at:
or, telephone or fax them:
For background on this story, see:
If you agree that First UMC Los Angeles should do what I’m asking them to do, email them at:
or, telephone or fax them:
How I’m Voting (or would vote if I lived in your district)
Governor – No recommendation. Edmund G. “Jerry” Brown’s father—Edmund G. “Pat” Brown, sr.–said it all during Jerry’s first stint as Governor when he said that he (Pat Brown) had been a better Governor. When your own father says something like that when you’re still in office nothing more needs to be said, other than his years in office since then, from Mayor of Oakland to Attorney General, to now back in office of Governor have simply demonstrated that he continues to be more hype than anything else.
When he got elected Secretary of State in 1970 he promptly transferred one employee out of every division into the press department, which produced at least one news release every day for four years to prove that the Secretary of State was a wunderkind when in fact everything else the office was supposed to do slowed to a crawl. On substance, he fought against the right of poor people to run for office all the way to the Supreme Court and lost 9-0 in Lubin v Panish, then ignored the ruling the next day and threw Peace & Freedom Party candidates off the ballot for not paying the filing fees that had just been declared facially unconstitutional.
Lieutenant Governor – Gavin Newsom
An outstanding public servant.
Secretary of State – Alex Padilla
Alex is my Arleta homie and I have high hopes that he’ll bring some sanity back to an ultra-partisan (when it comes to unconstitutional policies designed to screw third parties) elections division and to correct the dysfunction of the office due to Debra Bowen’s mental melt down.
Controller – Betty Yee
Thankfully, she beat John Perez in the primary and will go on to run this critical office fairly and efficiently.
Treasurer – John Chiang
If he runs the Treasurer’s office like he ran the Controller’s office, we’ve got nothing to worry about.
Attorney General – grudgingly, vote for Kamala Harris
Since coming into office she’s been a major disappointment to many California civil rights groups. It’s next to impossible to get the time of day from her, especially when it came to the issue of training police on hate crimes (already part of the law). However, the office is too important to trust Republicans with.
State Bd. Of Equalization – Jerome Horton
An outstanding public servant.
Insurance Commissioner – Dave Jones
The best guy in state government and hopefully Proposition 45 will pass and give him authority to shoot down health insurance rate increases.
Superintendent of Public Instruction – Tom Torlakson
Again, an outstanding public servant.
United States Congress (House & Senate) – vote Democratic
I agree with the Democrats on most issues and with the Republicans on a very limited few issues (I’m a Peace & Freedom Party member)….but really critical issues like a woman’s reproductive rights and LGBT equality will be severely endangered if the Republicans control both houses of Congress, let alone what it will do if there is a vacancy on the Supreme Court.
The sole exception in California is the 44th District where I support Peace & Freedom Party candidate Adam Shbeita against Janice Hahn, primarily because of Shbeita’s strong support for Palestinian rights…and in spite of the efforts of Kevin Akin’s family (they control Shbeita’s website and delayed its implementation to the point where its effect became negligible) to subvert and sabotage his campaign (Kevin is a convert to Judaism and his family, especially his Senatorial Aide son, support right-wing Zionist policies that make Netanyahu look like a moderate).
26th District – Sandra Fluke
In two different songs [Subterranian Homesick Blues and It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)], Bob Dylan sings, and teaches, that “Money doesn’t talk, it swears.” There is a reason why right-wing money-man William Bloomfield has given over $1,000,000 to Ben Allen against Sandra Fluke and the bottom line is, that money swears to high hell.
53rd District – Sandra Mendoza (see also: http://janbtucker.com/blog/2014/03/04/shame-on-labor-miguel-j-santiago/)
The Hollywood Forever cemetery is located in the 53rd District and Miguel Santiago is outgoing (and disgraced) Assembly Member John Perez’s Chief of Staff for the District. He has refused to take any action over the fact that the cemetery is subject to a Federal seizure order following the conviction and jailing of its owners for massive frauds against poor people (there is a nearly Half-Billion Dollar restitution order in effect). Santiago probably refuses to get involved because his boss’s boyfriend, brother and son of the owners jailed by the feds, is the operator of the cemetery and made massive campaign contributions to John Perez controlled committees (that have helped fund Santiago’s campaign).
As if that’s not bad enough, here’s a statement by a prominent Chicana artista about the exploitation at Hollywood Forever of the Chicano/a community through such events as Dia de los Muertos:
The general consensus within my circle is that Hollywood Forever Dia de los Muertos is solely a money making event. There is little or no sense of embracing the true meaning of the tradition nor does it speak to or represent the Mexican/Chicano community. This is evident by the sheer number of non Mexican/Chicano participants. The high costs of attending and participating speaks to who it is geared to draw. I personally refuse to be part of this event and I know of many people who boycott it every year. I hope this information is helpful. – Linda Gamboa
Hollywood Forever Dia de los Muertos
Celebrates 15 years in 2014
Entrance fee: $20 per person – Children 8 & under + Seniors free until 4 pm
$50 non-refundable fee for altars
Vendor fee (according to artisans in my social circle) went for $1,700 in 2013. I have heard the fee may be as high as $3,000 per booth this year. I do not know this for fact but it wouldn’t surprise me.
– Vendors are given 5 amps of 110v power but are charged $120 for 20 amps
– Vendors are not allowed to sell t-shirts of any kind due to Hollywood Forever selling their own
– No sharing of booths
– The selling of T-shirts is denied by vendors because Hollywood Forever has their own for sale (this came from a past vendor)
– This year Hollywood Forever anticipates 10,000+ visitors
Altars are built on top of existing grave sites of persons belonging to non Chicano/Mexican heritage. I find this practice to be in poor taste and disrespectful to the families who have loved ones resting in its grounds.
64th District – Mike Gipson
Mike’s running against Prophet Walker and my blog on his being a dead beat dad tells all: http://janbtucker.com/blog/2014/10/24/awards-in-the-black-community-3-bad-picks/
LOS ANGELES COUNTY
Assessor – Jeffrey Prang
I explain some of the issues in this office at http://janbtucker.com/blog/2013/10/17/behind-the-scenes-people-v-noguez/ At some point I want to have that conversation with Jeff, especially about the role of Mehdi Bolour in backing John Noguez.
Sheriff – Jim McDonnell
District 3 – Sheila Kuehl
Aside from the fact that Sheila Kuehl is a trailblazer for women and the LGBT community, the slick attacks by Bobby Shriver’s campaign flunkies are frequently invented out of thin air and despicable. One leaflet I just happened to find sitting on a Starbuck’s table in Marina Del Rey was laughable (when like me, you’ve got a degree in Political Science and understand how the government actually works). In essence, a woman goes for help to Sheila while she’s in the State Senate and has no authority whatsoever to remedy the issue she’s complaining about, then blames her for not being able to doing anything. She goes to Shriver who does have authority over the issue and then thanks him for doing what he has the power to do??????
Adding insult to injury the leaflet had no union printing label, probably the first time in history that a member of the Kennedy family produced a campaign leaflet without a valid “union bug.” Disgraceful.
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court
Goodwin Liu – YES
Mariano-Florentino Cuellar – YES
Kathryn Mickle Werdegar – YES
Associate Justice Court of Appeals, 2nd District
Frances Rothschild – YES
Nora M. Manella – NO
Statewide Ballot Measures
Proposition 1: Water Bond: NO– The bottom line on this measure is who do you trust. Assembly member Wes Chesbro who signed the opposition or Jerry Brown who rammed the measure through the legislature. Chesbro is one of the few legislators I have absolute confidence in. In fact before he got elected to the legislature he’d been known on occasion to back some local Peace & Freedom Party candidates. Brown I wouldn’t trust for anything.
Proposition 2: Rainy Day Fund NO– Jan Goodman’s analysis: “I think it makes sense to spend money when you have it, especially on schools and public services. The legislature can always decide not to spend all the money available without tying the hands of the legislature by artificially limiting spending. This is one of those things conservatives love to do. It REQUIRES money to be put away for debt reduction. In itself, it is not a bad idea to pay down debt, or to put money aside for the next down cycle. But when it is REQUIRED, it means no matter what condition schools are in, or healthcare, or human services. This will mean more mandatory cuts for schools. If cuts are necessary, they can be made in Prisons or other places, not schools- again!”
Proposition 45 : Health Rates YES– Jan Goodman’s analysis: “expands insurance commissioner’s authority over health insurance rates. The ads on tv are paid for by the insurance companies that don’t like what a liberal commissioner like Dave Jones will do to keep rates down.The health insurers are spending over $37 Million to run deceptive and false TV and radio commercials to mislead voters about Proposition 45. Don’t believe what they are trying to sell. (See below, which describes the LIES these guys are telling. Just ask yourself the question, When was the last time health insurance companies spent $37 million in ads to HELP YOU AND PEOPLE LIKE US?”
Proposition 46: Malpractice and Testing – YES–increases the cap on pain and suffering in medical malpractice cases which are currently set at $250,000. Here’s a real life example of why this limit is absurd:
Sept 2012 – xxxxxx of LA, CA is referred to Podiatrist xxxxxx on Sepulveda in LA – near Lax (Airport Podiatry) due to pains in his baby toe. Referral made by his primary doctor – xxxxx of xxxxxx medical on Slauson (also part of xxxxx Corp)
October, 2012, Dr. xxxxx supposedly cuts out an ingrown toe nail – toe did not heal
Jan, 2013 – xxxxx recommends cutting off half of toe to get rid of part of the bone – he thinks the bone is the issue.
February – xxxx is referred to see a vascular doctor xxxxxx of Marina Del Rey because of lack of blood flow in foot. Tests reveal that he has peripheral vascular disease in the lower extremities and needs to have an angiogram and angioplasty to correct. After learning this, xxxx tells xxxx that he under estimated his age and just expected for his toe to heal in a couple of weeks. He then recommends going ahead with amputating half of the toe to get rid of the bone to stop pain in toe.
March 7, 2013, xxxx amputates half of toe in his office. Only gives xxxx a few Tylenol for pain. When this wore off xxxx called and requested more pain pills and xxxx refused even though he was in excruciating pain. xxxx had to go to primary doctor to get pain pills.
The toe did not heal, even though xxxx was going to see xxxx once a week and he would cut away dead skin – which would send the pain to high levels –unbearable levels all over again. xxxx asked xxxx was his bone sticking out because there was something exposed and xxxx assured him it was not bone!
April 2013, xxxx had an angiogram and angioplasty performed on the right leg which improved his blood flow and the doctor (xxxxx of Marina del Rey) felt that it should help xxxx toe heal. He also commented on the fact that the toe was open and usually amputations are covered with skin.
May 2013, primary doctor looked at toe and said that it was open and should have skin covering it. He referred xxxx to a second podiatrist for another opinion. xxxxx felt that he could see bone also
About June 2013, xxxx saw xxxx of Torrance. xxxxx immediately looked at toe as said – this bone is exposed and is most likely infected. He said that when you amputate you cover the area with skin to protect it. He recommended removing the rest of the toe immediately to stop the infection and prevent gangrene from setting in.
xxxx went back to primary doctor who then recommended for xxxx to see an infectious disease doctor, xxxx of Inglewood.
Sept 2013, xxxx Saw xxxx. Her first response was that the bone is exposed and is most likely infected. She said the same as doctor xxxx (primary) and xxxx in that when you amputate you must cover the area with skin to protect it. She recommended taking a sample of the bone to see the degree of infection but she needed to get approval. She ordered many test for xxxx.
xxxx went back to xxxx in the meantime for his routine visit and shared with him what xxxx said about testing the bone. xxxx said, oh no, I can fix that. He immediately took the piece of bone that was exposed out of xxxxx’s foot right there in the office! Even though he had maintained all along that there was no bone exposed. xxxx had asked him on more than one occasion.
xxxx also told xxxx that he was healing just fine and that it was going to just take time, but under no circumstances should he allow anyone to remove his toe. He assured xxxx that he was healing.
He kept maintaining that xxxx was on track until March of 2014 when he finally said, well, I don’t know. Perhaps you should go back and see your vascular doctor!
xxxx was then referred back to xxxx who recommended removing the toe immediately because you could see that gangrene had set in and was spreading. In June of 2014, the toe was removed, but the gangrene had begun to spread to the foot and other toes. On July 12, 2014 xxxx lost 2/3rds of his right foot and was in the hospital for almost two months fighting infection. xxxx was released from skilled nursing home on August 23, 2014. During the six week period, he was back and forth between hospital stays and skilled nursing.
Proposition 47: Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act, Criminal Penalties YES – Jan Goodman’s analysis: “stop wasting prison space on low-level nonviolent crimes. Prop 47 will not only focus prison spending on violent and serious offenses but will also spend money for alternatives for non-serious, nonviolent crime. The money saved will be used to support programs in K-12 schools, victim services, and mental health and drug treatment. Prop 47 changes low-level nonviolent crimes from felonies to misdemeanors.”
Proposition 48: Gaming Referendum: YES – Non Native Americans should have very little say in whether Native Americans get to steal back some of the wealth that we ripped off from them, like, the whole freaking continent.
Los Angeles County Proposition P, Torrance T & U: Yes
GET READY FOR 2016–Jan B. Tucker for Vice President
I’ve run for everything at one time or another from assembly to president but one office I’ve missed is Vice President. There are three people likely to run in 2016 for President and I’d love to be their running mate because they’re all outstanding candidates:
Sedinam Kinamo Christin Moyowasifza-Curry
Here’s what YOU can do to help. Re-register immediately if not sooner in California as Peace & Freedom Party (if outside the state contact me and we’ll strategize about what party works best). In late 2015/early 2016 I’m going to need you to run for Peace & Freedom Party Central Committee in the primary election so we control a bloc of delegates at the party convention that can help get a great candidate nominated for President and me nominated for Vice President.
The reason Oya Kali called me an Agent
In the Spring of 2013, my friend and comrade James Simmons approached me and asked me if I would be involved in an effort to hold Mischa Culton, who calls himself General T.A.C.O. (Taking All Capitalsts Out) accountable for alleged crimes against members of his own organization, the Black Riders Liberation Party (BRLP), and others in the Black and Brown community. This was not the first time I had heard about T.A.C.O.’s alleged crimes against Black people; I had heard them years earlier. And this was not the first time that James had approached me about some form of accountability for T.A.C.O. in 2013, but this time it looked like something was actually going to come of it. He told me that he and Dedon Kamathi were in the process of interviewing people who told them of the crimes that T.A.C.O. had committed; these people were finally speaking on it and allowing themselves to be audio recorded and were answering questions, and giving the names of others who could corroborate their stories. My answer to James at the time was to let me know when he was ready, and I would be a part of it.
When James was finally ready, what I became a part of was the Afrikan Peoples’ Liberation Tribunal (APLT), which met over Memorial Day weekend 2014, at the Watts Labor Community Action Center on Central Avenue. I joined with James, Jitu Sadiki, Dedon Kamathi and Billion GODSun to hold this public event where testimony was given in person and via audio tape by former members of the Black Riders Liberation Party and one married couple that operates a business in South Los Angeles. In excruciating detail, those in attendance heard how T.A.C.O. had stolen merchandise from this business, sold it and kept the money; how he attempted to use some of it to entice former members back into the organization; and how some of those former members later came to the business and apologized saying that they did not know what T.A.C.O. had planned and/or they had no parts in it.
Attendees heard how a former member who is HIV positive was told that she would become part of T.A.C.O.’s “family” (as in wife) so he could use her as a biological weapon for “niggas he didn’t like.”
Attendees heard how members of the organization would, either by T.A.C.O. himself or under his direction, beat and torture other members of the organization as a form of discipline known as “DP.” They told us how members, under T.A.C.O.’s “orders” or under T.A.C.O. himself, would be:
Attendees were also told that T.A.C.O. was never, ever, DP-ed.
Witnesses who testified told us later that what was revealed at the Tribunal was not the worst, there was more, and those allegations are part of an on-going investigation.
What the attendees at the Tribunal did not hear about was how T.A.C.O. and other members of the BRLP had taken over a Chicana sister’s home; a recruit into what T.A.C.O. had wanted to develop into the Brown Riders Liberation Party. This Chicana was jumped on for criticizing T.A.C.O. for using monies donated to the BRLP for their programs as his personal cigarette and marijuana stash; she would later be jumped on and beaten for criticizing T.A.C.O.’s plans to keep the Brown Riders under his leadership and not under the leadership of any Chicano/Mexicano people. This sista was beaten so badly she suffered a broken sternum; she feared for her life to the point that she asked comrades from other political movements to help her leave the state of California. All she took was her backpack, her cell phone and the clothes on her back. She left everything else behind in the apartment that T.A.C.O. and the BRLP had taken over and destroyed, never paying or helping to pay any rent or utilities or buy food.
The attendees at the Tribunal did not hear about this Chicana sista’s experience for two reasons: 1) at the time of the tribunal we were unable to locate her, and 2) we felt the people she told this information to would be seen as simply spreading something they had heard but not personally witnessed. After the Tribunal, we located one person who says it was he who took the Chicana sista to the hospital after the last beating and he was the one who helped to get her out of the State of California.
Prior to the Tribunal, T.A.C.O. was informed that we would rather meet with him about these allegations than have a Tribunal; he was informed that if he refused to meet the Tribunal would be called and that he was welcomed to tell his side of the story at that time. In fact, T.A.C.O.’s presence at the Tribunal was eagerly awaited so that we would be able to once and for all put all of the “rumors” to rest and move on. That did not happen. T.A.C.O. engaged in a campaign of name-calling and threats and refused to show his face at the Tribunal. He has also recruited others into his name-calling campaign like Oya Kali, a young Black woman with her own disturbing history here in Los Angeles and who currently resides in the Bay Area, riding hard for T.A.C.O..
It is at this point that I must be honest about the real reason why I decided to participate in the Afrikan Peoples’ Liberation Tribunal. That reason has nothing to do with such lofty purposes as “Black people exercising self-determination in their communities,” or, “alternatives to calling in the state/law enforcement in our affairs.”
No. My reason is more personal and it is more vain.
I decided to participate in the Tribunal because I was embarrassed and ashamed.
Approximately 6-7 years ago, the BRLP was targeted by the LAPD and T.A.C.O., along with two other members, were arrested. A federal agent had entrapped them into attempting to purchase an assault weapon to be used against the police. When this happened, I was approached by Bilal Ali who asked me to help with a media campaign in support of the BRLP. I accepted the request. I approached a sista I knew who worked at one of the Black newspapers. This sista is my colleague in media but I have never known her to be political. Certainly not nationalist or radical in her politics. We didn’t run in the same social or political circles. We were (and still are) simply colleagues in journalism. When I approached her with the story idea about the Black Riders Liberation Party she said to me, “is that that group that be beatin’ up women?”
I was surprised. And I was embarrassed.
I was surprised that she had heard the same “rumors” that I had.
I was embarrassed because there I was, attempting to solicit help and support for T.A.C.O., when I should have known this nigga wasn’t shit.
People I had known for years and greatly respected for their work in my community told me about T.A.C.O., and instead of believing them on the strength of that, I told myself they were “rumors.” As a journalist, fact-checking is paramount. No newspaper or news organization, Black/ethnic or mainstream, would or could or should move forward on anything without verification and confirmation. But I should have known the people that I trusted any other day of the week were telling the truth and that T.A.C.O. wasn’t shit.
James did provide me with the phone numbers of two of the sistas who would eventually testify against T.A.C.O.. At the time I reached out to them we played a brief game of phone tag and I did not hear back from them. I decided that perhaps it was not for me to verify their accusations.
I should have tried harder to contact those sistas.
When my colleague who didn’t/doesn’t run in my circles told me of the “rumors” I had heard for years; when people I know and respect had told me these same things at the same time, I should have done like my colleague did – I should have basically said “hell naw I ain’t helping that piece of shit muthafucka.”
I was embarrassed for even coming to her, another Black woman, with the request.
And so, I became a part of the Tribunal as a way to atone (I hope) for dropping the ball 6-7 years ago.
Throughout this entire process, my comrades and I have been called CointelPro, agents, feds, cops, pigs, etc., because we dared to question what a pseudo revolutionary leader does in “his” organization which is said to exist for Black Power and Black Liberation.
You gaht damm right we gon question that shit. All day err day.
And then today, I was called these names again. I was called these names by Oya Kali who said that not only was I “slandering” T.A.C.O.’s name, but I should be (instead) attacking JR Valrey for the assassination of Malcolm Shabazz.
JR Valrey, a grassroots journalist in Oakland/SF, first put me in touch with Kevin Weston who hired me to cover the trial of Johannes Mehserle for the murder of Oscar Grant. I always let people know of that hook-up. I give credit where credit is due. This past September, I was honored, by both the San Francisco Bayview Newspaper where JR is an editor and by the Block Report Radio Show that he founded, with an award during Black Media Appreciation Night, an event JR founded. When it comes to Black Media, few ride harder than JR.
But I have also heard “rumors” about JR. Many, many “rumors.” About Malcolm Shabazz. About Chauncey Bailey. About various organizations that JR has either been apart of or around. What is the difference? For one, neither I nor my comrades in the APLT live in Oakland, CA. We are not there in the same community where JR is. If there is beef in Oakland with/about JR, then people in Oakland need to address that, not us down here in Los Angeles. We ain’t Tribunals R Us. We ain’t taking no show on no road. Secondly we, specifically my comrades James, Dedon and Jitu, were approached by former members of the Black Riders Liberation Party; my comrades were told something needed to be done; their help was requested. The answer to that request was the Afrikan Peoples’ Liberation Tribunal.
If the people who live in Oakland/SF feel that strongly about JR, they should do what we did down here in LA – gather witnesses, statements and evidence, ask him to meet with them about it, and if he refuses, call a Tribunal. That way, all sides can air out all of their concerns at one time, in one space, the community can make up its own mind and it can be over with.
But some folks, like Oya Kali and T.A.C.O., would rather “Facebook fight” and call names from the safety of a computer screen.
This is the reason I was called a “key operative,” a Fed, on the government payroll and an agent on October 27, 2014.
I could have ignored this, as many suggested I do.
I could have written a ratchet ass, cuss word-filled retort because that’s what Oya Kali understands best (it was suggested I do that as a first draft, then cross it out and write the real piece).
I decided to take this seriously because calling people Feds and agents are very, very serious charges. People have been killed by the use of those words. This is nothing to play with, to take lightly, or to carelessly utter.
With that said, let me make it perfectly crystal clear that I, Thandisizwe Chimurenga, do not now, nor have I ever worked with or for the police, the sheriffs, the highway patrol, the FBI or any other local/state/federal law enforcement agency against my people.
And I will not do so in the future.
But that’s easy to say on Facebook, so here’s what else I say. What T.A.C.O. should have said if he were the revolutionary he purports to be.
Bring me before a Tribunal of Afrikan people in the community, with your evidence, with your witnesses, and let’s do tha damn thang.
People who are sincere and serious don’t run FROM Peoples’ Tribunals, the way T.A.C.O. ran from Los Angeles to Oakland. People who are sincere and serious run TO them.
I got arthritis in botha my knees so, I cain’t really run. But call a Tribunal on me and watch how fast I can get there.
You go run and tell that and then get back to me.
You know how to find me.
I generally give Eric Garcetti high marks for his administration of Los Angeles. He’s been very slow to respond to most of my communications and I’m still holding my breath over commitments he made to me and to organizations I represent to get our support in the last election, but I understand that everybody has different priorities and we have to wait our turn in line. However, his recent response to a communication over the minimum wage and enforcement of labor laws in the City has me scratching my head.
Uh, okay. Like, I said that “I have brought these practices to the attention of the State Labor Commissioner and the Police Commission who have failed to take any enforcement action….” For those not familiar with the terminology, the “State Labor Commissioner” and the “Division of Labor Standards Enforcement” are one and the same thing. So I already told Eric I reported the violations…..should I keep reporting the same thing to the same agency that didn’t have the courtesy to respond to the report? Doing the same thing over and over without getting a result is one definition of insanity.
So the issue really is, as I’ve explained once already, the Police Commission doesn’t currently have enforcement authority but it should have enforcement authority over violations of the Labor Code and its own Municipal Code to take action against companies that endanger and steal from their own employees, or the City can exercise tunnel vision and pretend that the violations aren’t happening in plain view. To see just how open and brazen these violations are, check out:
While ripping off his employees’ tips, ignoring safety laws, and failing to pay judgment and tax liens against United Valet Parking, its owner, Kenny Sabet, manages to live in luxury:
I have high hopes that the Mayor and Los Angeles City Council have the gumption to prove that they are not limousine Liberals and actually want to put some teeth into the laws that prevent businesses from operating as sweat shops in Los Angeles. They need to enact laws like the ones that I’ve proposed to them.
Thursday October 16, 2014 I was privileged to attend the National Action Network’s Los Angeles Chapter awards event featuring Rev. Al Sharpton in which 100 people received recognition, ranging from “Movers & Shakers” to the under 30 leadership crowd. For the most part, the award recipients were exemplary individuals but as is the case any time an organization sets an arbitrary number of award slots to fill some mistakes are going to be made when people lack historical memory of past transgressions.
Of the outstanding public figures honored (in my book anyway) I noted LA NAN’s leaders, Pastor K.W. Tulloss and my friend Najee Ali, along with Rep. Karen Bass, Assembly Member Isadore Hall, Jan Perry, Magic Johnson, and Jerome Horton. At the other end of the spectrum, i.e. those with seriously questionable pasts and presents, include Sam Watson, Martin Ludlow, and Prophet Walker.
The introduction of Sam Watson noted his close association with Al Haymon, who has his advocates and a long line of detractors, including myself [see: http://janbtucker.com/blog/2014/06/09/boxing-a-conspiracy-in-restraint-of-trade/ and http://janbtucker.com/blog/2014/07/11/boxing-enforce-strengthen-regulatory-laws/]. Boxing Voice noted some time ago that:
The face most aligned with Al Haymon is his right hand man, Sam Watson. Most people mistake Sam Watson for Al Haymon, well because he’s the guy that’s always on television with his sons behind the fighters as they step in the ring. ThaBoxingVoice.com caught up with Watson and he stated there is no takeover, it’s just business.
“Nothing bad about it (signing fighters) all. We want to give fighters the opportunities to fight. We’re not taking a lot of money from them. We just want to see big fights. We love to see them get the opportunity. He (Haymon) lives for them getting the best opportunities. We don’t drag our fighters overseas. We keep them m New York and Chicago, DC. We believe in the fighters ever since our first fighter Vernon Forrest,” explained Watson. [http://thaboxingvoice.com/al-haymon-good-gor-boxers-good-for-boxing/24798]
As I noted in my piece on Al Haymon/Sam Watson’s perceived efforts to monopolize American boxing, their alleged business practices resulted in litigation all over the country including what had been predicted to be an imminent filing of an arbitration proceeding concerning boxer Abner Mares. While the camp of Mares’ former manager is said to be entirely closed lipped about the matter—probably due to some kind of confidentiality clause in a settlement—sources close enough to Haymon and Watson to be in the know think it cost at least six figures to shut the case down before discovery procedures and depositions exposed their purportedly sordid actions.
This weekend I expect to come into possession of around 3,000 photographs of people going in and out of the reclusive Al Haymon’s Las Vegas office. If you (my readers) can assist me in identifying the comers and goers from Haymon’s operation, let me know and I’ll get you a DVD of them. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to request a copy.
Martin and the Prophet
Martin Ludlow—who’s basically a nice guy and “son of a preacher man” as the old song goes—was a rising star in Los Angeles Labor and the Democratic Party. I knew him when he did an outstanding job as political director for the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor when I was the delegate for the Newspaper Guild Local 69 and local First Vice President. Keeping on with the analogy to the Dusty Springfield song, Martin couldn’t keep his dick in his pants when he got elected as Los Angeles City Council Member:
The only one who could ever reach me
Was the son of a preacher man
The only boy who could ever teach me
Was the son of a preacher man
Yes he was, he was
Ooh, yes he was
Being good isn’t always easy
No matter how hard I try
When he started sweet-talkin’ to me
He’d come and tell me everything is all right
He’d kiss and tell me everything is all right
Can I get away again tonight?
During his campaign for city council it came out that:
Martin, along with then Service Employees International Union Local 99 leader Janett Humphries, eventually went to prison due to an investigation by FBI Special Agent Sam Mayrose [http://www.justice.gov/usao/cac/Pressroom/pr2006/028.html]. An FBI agent I knew at the time tried to hook me up with Mayrose for background at the time of the investigation but neither of us really had time. It was unfortunate because my local of the Newspaper Guild represented the employees of SEIU Local 99 against Local 99’s tyrannical management, so I knew where a lot of other bodies were buried that the FBI never did go after or uncover.
So what does Prophet Walker have in common with Martin? Both are convicted felons and both have been (and Walker apparently still is) dead beat dads.
What really disgusts me about dead beat dads who run for office is that they go around raising hundreds of thousands of dollars to promote themselves while their children and their baby mamas have to struggle to make ends meet. According to Walker’s campaign disclosure statements, by October 18 he’d raised over $500,000.00. As recently as October 16 Walker personally took a “reimbursement” from his campaign treasury of $1,923.50—money that ought to have been paid directly to pay off his child support arrears [sounds like we need a law to allow the garnishment of dead beat dad’s political campaign funds]. On July 2, 2014 his campaign paid him $569.60 for “CANDIDATE TRAVEL, LODGING AND MEALS” (and another $419.86 on September 22 and there are other ongoing expenditures throughout his campaign for varying amounts). How about his campaign paying for his child’s travel, lodging and meals instead?
Another infuriating expenditure is for money he spent on campaign expenses from Home Depot, the most anti-union company in America [see http://janbtucker.com/blog/2014/03/04/shame-on-labor-miguel-j-santiago/]. Home Depot isn’t the only politically incorrect transgression either: he reports multiple payments to Valero, the right wing anti-environmental oil company that sponsored Proposition 23 in 2010 in an effort to suspend California’s efforts to combat global warming!
As if the aggregate amount Walker’s spending and what he’s spending money on isn’t shocking enough, guess where he’s getting his money? First of all he reports on his Statement of Economic Interests that he’s employed as a construction engineer and superintendent by Morley Builders, Inc., a heavyweight in the industry that boasts of its clients ATT, Cedars Sinai, Anschutz Entertainment Group, Bank of America and many, many others. You’d think that with an income like that, along with the fact that his past reported residences have included such Ritzy areas as Playa Vista and Studio City [click for a Google street view of the digs that the County said Walker was living at when they went after him for child support https://email@example.com,-118.3844643,3a,75y,93.7h,90t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1s3bKMnHvGrj5baMs2Ad1KQQ!2e0], that Walker wouldn’t need to hide from his child support obligations; but an email that has been making its way around the internet by a woman who says she’s Walker’s baby mama claims otherwise:
“As the mother of Prophet Walker’s child, I feel compelled to set the record straight about him. Voters in the 64th district deserve to know the truth. The reality is, Prophet Walker is not who he says he is. He was not raised in Watts nor does he have any real, tangible connection to the residents he is trying to represent. Prophet Walker fabricated much of his past and has portrayed himself as a victim, while displaying complete disregard to the real victims he caused serious harm to, including myself and my daughter.
Prophet Walker does not pay child support, and in fact he has refused to pay the money he owes. Prophet is trying to deceive voters into thinking he is a good father, but the truth is, he is quite the opposite. Instead of participating in his daughters life, Prophet only started to be involved when it became clear that it would benefit his political career. Prophet Walker is a liar and a man I have learned to distrust and disrespect. He’s willing to do or say anything to get elected. Prophet Walker is unfit to serve in elected office.”
— Karen Lockhart
Getting back to who’s contributing to Walker’s campaign, I found some really sordid creatures in the mix. Two of his contributors are part of a family of associates of the Jerusalem Network of the Israeli Mafia. As soon as I receive a copy I’ll update this blog with details of a lawsuit recently filed against one of the family members which, amongst other things, claims that:
Incidentally, the Jerusalem Network was also behind a South Central arms distribution network foisting automatic weapons, C-4 explosives, and hand grenades that then Rep. Diane E. Watson helped to run out of the hood.
Most insidious however is a contribution from Metropolitan Theaters Corporation CEO and former Southern California Democratic Party Chairman Bruce Corwin, whose company busted union organizing efforts, allowed rampant sexual harassment in his then-South Central located Film Processing Company of virtually every single female employee (including covering up a rape of an employee by the plant manager), and which chemically poisoned 65 out of 66 workers who were tested. For details, see http://janbtucker.com/blog/2010/11/11/andy-furillo-a-courageous-reporter/ and http://janbtucker.com/blog/2010/12/23/holding-my-breath/.
64th Assembly District voters have a choice to make. With contributors like that, can they trust Prophet Walker to propose and vote on laws that deal with sexual harassment, worker safety and environmental safety? With his own record of the County of Los Angeles having to go after him for child support, do you expect him to protect women and children from dead beat dads?
Of course these are rhetorical questions, but they’re precisely why I formulated and have pushed for years the following proposed legislation:
Proposed Amendment to Family Code: An amendment to add Section 3655 to the Family Code
Section 3655. Aiding and abetting child support evasion.
(a) Every person who harbors, conceals or aids a party who is obligated to pay child support or who has been ordered to pay child support by any court, in any way that would enable the party to conceal assets, income, or other
means of payment of support from the court and/or the custodial parent to whom the support is to be paid, with the intent that said principal may avoid payment of an appropriate amount of child support, having knowledge that said party is subject to a child support obligation, is guilty of a misdemeanor.
(b) A custodial parent who is owed child support has a right of action against any person who violates subsection (a) to be brought in an appropriate civil court for three times the amount of actual damages according to proof, or $5,000.00, whichever amount is greater and for reasonable attorney fees, costs of the action, and costs of investigation if an investigation is performed by any person licensed under Chapter 11.5 (commencing with Section 7512) of
Division 3 of the Business and Professions Code or his or her employees.
When you vote in this election, think long and hard about who’s likely to propose and vote for a law like that to put teeth into child support collection statutes…and who’s not.
LULAC Loses Case Against Luevanos, the Editor and the NLLAC
LULAC sued the NLLAC, the Editor, Angel Luevano, Argentina Luevano and Jan Tucker in the federal court in San Francisco, California in October 2013. In September of this year, last month, the federal court issued orders that the cases against the Luevanos, the NLLAC and the Editor be dismissed.
The attorney for defendants has already filed for attorney’s fees in the case and might amount to sums in excess of $30,000.00. The Luevanos were granted permission to sue LULAC under the California SLAPP law for filing frivolous lawsuits. There could be additional litigation for damages resulting from the frivolous lawsuit. The attorney for LULAC in California was complaining to the court that the Editor (of Voice of the Mainland) was trying to ruin LULAC’s reputation.
The LULAC complaint had 87 allegations where all defendants were thrown into the mix and made 87 allegations against all the defendants without differentiating between who did what, against who, when it was said and what was the damage in each case. The lawsuit ran over 157 pages long. NLLAC and the Editor was represented by Ligia Parmenter out of San Rafael, California. LULAC was represented by the same stupid LULAC attorney who wrote the Luevanos in 2010 to cease and desist regarding LULAC matters, a total pendejo by the name of Xavier R. Baeza from Fremont, California. In his cease and desist letter to the Luevanos, he threatened the Luevanos that when talking to children in classroom presentations that the Luevanos could not make use of the word LULAC, that they could not put the word ex-LULAC anything next to their names.
Angel Luevano was the State Director of LULAC in 2010 when he was sacked by Rosales and Vera. Argentina Luevano was the VP for the Farwest when she was sacked from LULAC by Rosa and Luis. The court decision is 13 pages long. It is wordy enough and significant enough that it got cited by Leagle a sourcing of important cases that add weight to significant case law:
Court decisions from the federal district courts are not normally cited for case law sourcing. Being cited is an honor in legal circles.
My Commentary – Jan B Tucker
My name was thrown into this lawsuit by the League of United Latin American Citizens and it’s lawyers to retaliate against me for blogging about them:
Having been a process server since 1973 and a private investigator since 1979 I’ve been involved in litigation for a long time. 999 times out of a 1,000 the right legal response to a lawsuit is to file some kind of response to it no matter how frivolous it is.
The allegations against me were SO FRIVOLOUS and stupid this became only the second time in my life that I didn’t bother to respond. LULAC’s attorneys tried to serve me repeatedly, usually incompetently. For example: serving the Complaint without the Summons and later waiting to properly serve me until months after the mandatory deadline for serving me had passed.
Effectively admitting that LULAC had no evidence against me whatsoever, they eventually dismissed the case against me, apparently thinking that this would save them from an inevitable malicious prosecution and abuse of process suit. They will now have to bone up on the laws of those torts in California, because I’m not finished with them…..
The Judge’s Decision
LEAGUE OF UNITED LATIN AMERICAN CITIZENS INC. v. NATIONAL LEAGUE OF LATIN AMERICAN CITIZENS Case No. 13-cv-04725-JSC
United States District Court, N.D. California.
September 11, 2014.
Argentina Davila-Luevano, Individually, Defendant, represented by Ligia M Melendez Parmenter, Parmenter Law Offices.
ORDER RE: MOTIONS TO DISMISS Re: Dkt. Nos. 28, 29, 30, 31
JACQUELINE SCOTT CORLEY, Magistrate Judge.
This trademark infringement/fraud action arises out of a dispute involving the membership of Plaintiff League of United Latin American Citizens Inc. (“LULAC”). LULAC alleges that after the individual defendants were expelled from LULAC they continued to hold themselves out as members of LULAC and created a rival organization which intentionally infringes on LULAC’s trademarks. Now pending before the Court are the motions of Defendants National League of Latin American Citizens (“NLLAC”) and Bernardo Eureste to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, and of individual Defendants Argentina and Angel Luevano to dismiss for failure to state a claim and to strike pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure section 425.16, the anti-Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation statute. Following oral argument on August 14, 2014, NLLAC sought to file an additional declaration in support of its motion. The Court gave NLLAC permission to do so, and ruled that Plaintiff could submit additional evidence and argument in opposition, but it declined to do so. (Dkt. No. 43.) After carefully considering the parties’ written submissions and oral argument the Court GRANTS the motions to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction and GRANTS the Luevanos’ motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim with leave to amend.
ALLEGATIONS OF THE COMPLAINT
LULAC is a Texas nonprofit and “the largest and oldest Latino membership based organization in the United States.” (Dkt. No. 1 ¶ 9.) It “asserts its advocacy by various means, including but not limited to civil rights, voter rights and other types of litigation.” (Id. ¶ 22.) It owns several federally protected trademarks. (Id. ¶¶ 10, 11, 12 and Exhs. 1-4.) LULAC “permanently removed” Defendants Bernardo Eureste, Angel Luevano and Argentina Luevano as LULAC members in 2011 for violations of LULAC’s constitution, protocol and by-laws. (Id. ¶¶ 15-17, 20.) After they were so removed, the individual defendants incorporated Defendant NLLAC in the state of Nevada. (Id. ¶ 14-18.)
The Luevanos subsequently filed a lawsuit in California state court seeking to overturn their expulsion. (Id. at ¶¶ 20-21.) Defendant Eureste “publicly supported” the Luevanos’ efforts. (Id. at ¶ 20.) They also “have begun promoting the creation of `NLLAC’ and continue to hold themselves out as members of LULAC, California and continue to fraudulently raise money and advocate using the LULAC marks for their own personal gain.” (Id. ¶ 23.) NLLAC attempts to take LULAC’s members by adopting LULAC’s slogan: “continuing the legacy of 1929.” (Id. \ ¶ 2.) “NLLAC has also adopted similar aspects of Plaintiff’s Constitution and By-Laws as its own including its membership/council structure.” (Id.)
Plaintiff makes federal claims for trademark infringement and false designation of origin, as well as state law claims for common law trademark, unfair competition, fraud, conversion and abuse of process. The Complaint does not distinguish among the defendants in each count; instead, each count appears to be pled indiscriminately against “defendants.”
A. The Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction
Defendants NLLAC and Eureste move to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. The plaintiff bears the burden of proving that personal jurisdiction is appropriate. Love v. Assoc. Newspapers, Ltd., 611 F.3d 601, 608 (9th Cir. 2010). “Where, as here, a motion to dismiss is based on written materials rather than an evidentiary hearing, the plaintiff need only make a prima facie showing of jurisdictional facts. Uncontroverted allegations in the complaint must be taken as true, and conflicts over statements contained in affidavits must be resolved in” the plaintiff’s favor. Id.
Since there is no applicable federal statute governing personal jurisdiction here, California law applies. California’s jurisdictional statute “is coextensive with federal due process requirements.” Id. at 609. Under those due process requirements, personal jurisdiction may be based upon either “general” or “specific” jurisdiction. Schwarzenegger v. Fred Martin Motor Co., 374 F.3d 797, 801 (9th Cir. 2004).
1. General Jurisdiction
“For general jurisdiction to exist over a nonresident defendant . . ., the defendant must engage in `continuous and systematic general business contacts,’ that `approximate physical presence’ in the forum state. This is an exacting standard, as it should be, because a finding of general jurisdiction permits a defendant to be haled into court in the forum state to answer for any of its activities anywhere in the world.” Id. (citations omitted).
Plaintiff does not appear to allege and, in any event, has not come close to making a prima facie showing, that either Eureste or NLLAC is subject to general jurisdiction in California. No evidence, or even allegation in the Complaint or Plaintiff’s opposition, contradicts Eureste’s affidavits. He attests that he lives in Texas and has never so much as visited California. His alleged internet blog, “Voice of the Mainland,” is insufficient to confer general jurisdiction in California. See Shymatta v. Papillon, 2011 WL 1542145, at *3 (D. Idaho April 21, 2011) (“The few district courts to have considered blogs specifically have found them insufficient to establish general personal jurisdiction.”).
As NLLAC’s President, Eureste also attests that NLLAC does not own any real or personal property in California, does not have a registered agent for service of process, nor any bank accounts or even telephone numbers in California. Again, nothing in the record contradicts this evidence. That NLLAC is an alleged “national” organization is of no moment. Having “national” in the title of an entity’s name does not constitute the “continuous and systematic general business contacts,” that “approximate physical presence” in the forum state.
2. Specific Jurisdiction
Even if there is no general jurisdiction, a court may have specific jurisdiction of a defendant. Specific jurisdiction exists if three prongs are satisfied:
1) The non-resident defendant must purposefully direct his activities or consummate some transaction with the forum or resident thereof; or perform some act by which he purposefully avails himself of the privilege of conducting activities in the forum, thereby invoking the benefits and protections of its laws; (2) the claim must be one which arises out of or relates to the defendant’s forum-related activities; and (3) the exercise of jurisdiction must comport with fair play and substantial justice, i.e. it must be reasonable.
Schwarzenegger, 374 F.3d at 802. The plaintiff has the burden of proving the first two prongs; if it does so, the defendant must demonstrate that the court’s exercise of personal jurisdiction would be unreasonable. Id.
Under the first prong, the court engages in either a “purposeful direction” or a “purposeful availment” analysis. Id. Purposeful availment is generally employed in contract cases. Under that analysis, a “showing that a defendant purposefully availed himself of the privilege of doing business in a forum state typically consists of evidence of the defendant’s actions in the forum, such as executing or performing a contract there. By taking such actions, a defendant `purposefully avails itself of the privilege of conducting activities within the forum State, thus invoking the benefits and protections of its laws.’ In return for these `benefits and protections,’ a defendant must—as a quid pro quo—`submit to the burdens of litigation in that forum.'” Id.
Tort cases, in contrast, employ the “purposeful direction” analysis. Id. Under that analysis the trial court “inquire[s] whether a defendant `purposefully direct[s] his activities’ at the forum state, applying an `effects’ test that focuses on the forum in which the defendant’s actions were felt, whether or not the actions themselves occurred within the forum.” Yahoo! Inc. v. La Ligue Contre Le Racisme, 433 F.3d 1199, 1206 (9th Cir. 2006) (en banc). The “effects” test requires that “the defendant allegedly must have (1) committed an intentional act, (2) expressly aimed at the forum state, (3) causing harm that the defendant knows is likely to be suffered in the forum state.” Brayton Purcell LLP v. Recordon & Recordon, 606 F.3d 1124, 1128 (9th Cir. 2010).
Defendants NLLAC and Eureste move to dismiss on the ground that they have not “purposefully availed” themselves of the privilege of conducting activities in California, that is, that they have invoked the benefits and protections of California law. (See, e.g., Dkt. No. 29 at 7.) The problem with this argument, however, is that, as explained above, “purposeful availment” is the analysis applied to contract claims, not tort claims as are made in this case. The Court will nonetheless endeavor to engage in the appropriate purposeful direction analysis with the “effects” test.
Plaintiff contends that Eureste is subject to the jurisdiction of this Court notwithstanding that he has never stepped foot in California because “his connection to NLLAC is quite extensive and jurisdiction can be found by viewing the URL from the Nevada Secretary of state which is offered as Exhibit 3.” (Dkt. No. 32 at 5.) Exhibit 3 is a print out from SilverFlume, “Nevada’s Business Portal,” and identifies information about NLLAC, including its registered agent in Las Vegas, Nevada, and that it is registered as a Nevada corporation. It also identifies Eureste as holding several NLLAC offices and having a Texas address. The exhibit, however, says nothing about how Eureste in his individual capacity committed an intentional act directed at California from which Plaintiff’s claims arise. See Brayton Purcell LLP, 606 F.3d at 1128.
Plaintiff also asserts that Eureste’s blog, “Voice of the Mainland,” reveals his “obsession with causing harm to Plaintiff. He writes about LULAC constantly and cannot seem to get over the fact that he was expelled from” LULAC. (Dkt. No. 32 at 5.) Again, there is no explanation as to how this allegation—which does not appear in the Complaint nor in a declaration—constitutes an intentional act directed at California, especially since LULAC is a Texas corporation headquartered outside of California. The record is also unclear as to whether Plaintiff is accusing Eureste of engaging in trademark infringement through his blog; there is no such allegation in the Complaint and, of course, simply writing about another entity is not trademark infringement. But to the extent Plaintiff contends that Eureste’s blog activity somehow makes him subject to jurisdiction in California, his contention is contrary to the law. See Cybersell, Inc. v. Cybersell, Inc., 130 F.3d 414, 418-20 (9th Cir. 1997) (holding that operation of passive website that did nothing to encourage forum residents to access its cite was not sufficient to confer specific jurisdiction); Shymatta, 2011 WL 1542145 at *4-5 (holding that the fact that a website was accessible in Idaho does not constitute an intentional act aimed at Idaho sufficient to confer specific jurisdiction). Eureste’s alleged blog attack on Plaintiff’s counsel is similarly insufficient. First, it is not alleged in the Complaint. Second, even if it was, it is not the basis for any of Plaintiff’s claims; Eureste cannot have infringed Plaintiff’s trademarks by criticizing Plaintiff’s counsel on the internet. Thus, even if the internet criticism of counsel is the “intentional act” directed at California, it does not meet the second prong of the effects test—that the claim arise from conduct directed at California.
Next, Plaintiff makes the conclusory allegation that Eureste “was instrumental in expanding Defendant NLLAC into California.” (Dkt. No. 32 at 6.) It explains that Eureste provided “guidance and advice in the Luevanos’ suit against Plaintiff in 2006 and 2010″ and “has shown an interest in the 2006 and 2010 lawsuits filed by Defendant Angel Luevano.” (Id. at 7.) Plaintiff cites no case, however, and the Court is not aware of any, that suggests that taking an interest in a California lawsuit is sufficient to confer jurisdiction in California over claims for trademark infringement and fraud, among others. Plaintiff also attaches to its opposition what is purported to be a print-out from Eureste’s blog in which he advises that NLLAC has already assigned a state director for California. That NLLAC has a California state director, however, does not mean that Eureste is an individual engaged in conduct that subjects him to lawsuit in California; indeed, this is just a different version of Plaintiff’s argument that because NLLAC is a national organization, Eureste, as its director, must as an individual be subject to jurisdiction in every state. Again, Plaintiff does not cite any caselaw to support its expansive theory of personal jurisdiction. Nor does Plaintiff offer any declarations in opposition to Eureste’s motion or ask for jurisdictional discovery. As Plaintiff has not met its burden of establishing personal jurisdiction over Eureste, his motion to dismiss is granted.
Plaintiff’s trademark infringement claims allege that NLLAC’s name and its “use of the slogan `continuing the legacy of 1929′” is likely to confuse consumers that NLLAC is affiliated with LULAC. (Dkt. No. 1 ¶ 27.) NLLAC responds that it is not subject to suit here because it does not have any contacts with California. With respect to NLLAC’s conduct in or directed at California, the Complaint alleges that defendant Angel Luevano was the NLLAC California director, which supports an inference that NLLAC was operating in California. (Dkt. No. 1 at ¶ 16.) In support of its motion to dismiss, however, NLLAC offers the declarations of its President, Bernard Eureste.1 He attests that NLLAC does not conduct any activities in California, and specifically denies that defendant Angel Luevano took the office of NLLAC California director; instead, he declares that NLLAC “has no officers or directors of any kind in the state of California.” (Dkt. No. 44.) The question, then, is whether Plaintiff has submitted evidence sufficient to contradict NLLAC’s declarations; if so, those conflicts must be resolved in Plaintiff’s favor. See Love, 611 F.3d at 608.
Plaintiff has submitted a purported blurb from what Plaintiff alleges is Eureste’s blog “Voice of the Mainland.” (Dkt. No. 32-1.) The entry is titled: “NLLAC Looking for State Directors & Councils.” Farther down it states that NLLAC “is looking for leaders who would assume the role of interim state director of the respective state of residence of the volunteer, one state director per state.” Following the link to the state director application the web entry states: “California has been assigned” as well as the “Vice President for the Far West.” Id.
The first question is whether the web page is admissible. On the one hand, Plaintiff does not authenticate the web page by declaration or otherwise. NLLAC, however, does not dispute that it made the web posting through its President, Eureste. There is also a hearsay issue. “Screen shots of internet web pages are not usually admissible to prove the truth of statements contained therein.” Ponds v. Veterans Medical Research Foundation, 2013 WL 607847, at *3 n.1 (S.D. Cal. Feb. 15, 2013); see also Bauman v. DaimlerChrylser AG, 2005 WL 3157472, at *10 n.5 (N.D. Cal. Nov. 22, 2005) (noting that web pages provided only unauthenticated hearsay). The blog statement—NLLAC has filled its interim California director—is being offered for the truth; however, the statement was made by NLLAC, a party opponent, and therefore an exception to the hearsay rule applies. See Fed. R. Evid. 801(d)(2)(A).
The next question is whether the fact that NLLAC filled its interim California state director position in October 2011 is sufficient to confer personal jurisdiction over NLLAC for Plaintiff’s trademark claims. It is not. Plaintiff must show that NLLAC (1) committed an intentional act, (2) expressly aimed at California, (3) causing harm that NLLAC knows is likely to be suffered in California. See Brayton Purcell LLP, 606 F.3d at 1128. For this trademark case, that intentional act would be using the NLLAC mark and the confusingly similar slogan in California. But Eureste attests that NLLAC has not conducted any activities in California and Plaintiff does not offer any evidence to refute that assertion. NLLAC could have filled an interim state director position and then, for whatever reason, not conducted any activities in California. Thus, while the Court must resolve any disputes in the evidence against NLLAC, on the present record there is no dispute with regard to NLLAC’s use of its mark in (or specifically directed at) California.
Plaintiff’s insistence that the Luevanos held themselves out as LULAC officers after they had been terminated from LULAC is insufficient to confer personal jurisdiction over NLLAC. The relevant conduct is NLLAC’s. Despite the nearly hundred pages of attachments to the Complaint, and the further attachments to Plaintiff’s opposition, there is nothing in the evidentiary record that contradicts the evidence that NLLAC has not operated in California; in other words, it has not used the mark in California and therefore Plaintiff’s trademark claims do not arise from an intentional act directed at California. As Plaintiff has not met its burden of establishing personal jurisdiction of NLLAC, its motion, too, must be granted.
B. The Luevanos’ Motion to Strike
California’s anti-SLAPP statute provides “for the early dismissal of unmeritorious claims filed to interfere with the valid exercise of the constitutional rights of freedom of speech and petition for the redress of grievances.” Greater Los Angeles Agency on Deafness, Inc. v. Cable News Network, Inc., 742 F.3d 414, 421 (9th Cir. 2014) (quoting Club Members for an Honest Election v. Sierra Club, 45 Cal.4th 309 (2008)). To determine whether a claim should be stricken, the Court engages in a two-step analysis. First, the Court determines whether the defendants (here, the Luevanos) have made a prima facie showing that their challenged actions arise from conduct in furtherance of the exercise of their right to free speech. Id. at 422. If this prima facie showing is made, the burden moves to Plaintiff to establish “by competent evidence, a probability that it will prevail on [the challenged] claims.” Id.
The Luevanos appear to contend that each and every “count” arises from protected activity and are all therefore covered by the SLAPP statute. Not so. The anti-SLAPP statute does not apply to federal claims in federal court. See Garcia v. Allstate, Bulletin Displays, LLC, 448 F.Supp.2d 1172, 1180 (C.D. Cal. 2006). Nor have the Luevanos established that the unfair competition and fraud claims arise from protected speech, in part because, as is discussed below, it is difficult to discern from the Complaint precisely what conduct Plaintiff challenges. Should Plaintiff’s amended complaint reveal that the counts are indeed covered by the anti-SLAPP statute, the Luevanos may renew their anti-SLAPP motion as to those counts.
The result is different for the abuse of process count. Plaintiff alleges that the Luevanos filed a lawsuit challenging their removal from LULAC without a basis to do so. (Dkt. No. 1 ¶ 72.) Claims based on “communicative conduct such as the filing, funding, and prosecution of a civil action” are covered by the anti-SLAPP statute. Rusheen v. Cohen, 37 Cal.4th 1048, 1056 (2005). Thus, the claim for abuse of process is covered by the anti-SLAPP statute. See Flores v. Emerich & Fike, 385 Fed.Appx. 728, 732 (9th Cir. June 29, 2010) (unpublished) (citing Siam v. Kizilbash, 130 Cal.App.4th 1563, 1570 (2005)); see also Smith v. Fireside Thrift Co., 2007 WL 2729329 * 3 (N.D. Cal. Sept. 18, 2007) (holding that abuse of process claim arising from defendant having filed suit against plaintiff, failing to serve plaintiff, and then filing false proof of service was communicative conduct covered by the anti-SLAPP statute). Plaintiff therefore bears the burden of demonstrating “that the complaint is legally sufficient and supported by a prima facie showing of facts to sustain a favorable judgment if the evidence submitted by the plaintiff is credited.” Metabolife Intern., Inc. v. Wornick, 264 F.3d 832, 840 (9th Cir. 2001) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).
To prevail on a California state law claim for abuse of process, a litigant must establish that the defendant “(1) contemplated an ulterior motive in using the process, and (2) committed a willful act in the use of the process not proper in the regular conduct of the proceedings.” Rusheen, 37 Cal. 4th at 1057. Plaintiff’s opposition does not even attempt to explain how these elements are satisfied, or even likely to be satisfied; instead, Plaintiff merely argues that the Luevanos’ lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice and no appeal was filed. Losing a lawsuit is not the standard for an abuse of process claim; if it were, nearly every lawsuit would spawn a follow-up lawsuit for abuse of process. As Plaintiff has not made a prima facie showing of facts sufficient to support judgment in its favor on the abuse of process claim, the anti-SLAPP motion to strike the claim must be granted.
C. The Luevanos’ Motion to Dismiss
The Luevano defendants also move to dismiss the entire Complaint against them for failure to state a claim. A motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) challenges the sufficiency of the complaint where the action fails to allege “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged. The plausibility standard is not akin to a `probability requirement,’ but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (internal citations omitted). Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2), a party is required to only make “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, in order to give the defendant fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (internal citations and quotations omitted).
For purposes of ruling on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the court “accept[s] factual allegations in the complaint as true and construe[s] the pleadings in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party.” Manzarek v. St. Paul Fire & Marine Ins. Co., 519 F.3d 1025, 1031 (9th Cir. 2008). However, even under the liberal pleading standard of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2), “a plaintiff’s obligation to provide the grounds of his entitlement to relief requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (internal citations and quotations omitted). “Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief . . . [is] a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679.
The Complaint fails to state a claim because it is replete with conclusory allegations and does not distinguish among defendants. Plaintiff fails to identify which defendant is sued under which count and for which conduct; instead, each count merely discusses “defendants'” conduct. Such generic allegations deprive each defendant “a fair and meaningful opportunity to defend itself.” Powell v. Residential Mortg. Capital, 2010 WL 2133011, at *3 (N.D. Cal. May 24, 2010).
The Complaint also lacks sufficient factual allegations to give rise to a plausible inference of liability as to each defendant. For example, Plaintiff alleges that the individual defendants, without authorization from Plaintiff LULAC, continued to use the LULAC mark even after they had been removed from the organization. (Dkt. No. 1 ¶ 23.) The Complaint then refers to Exhibits 7 and 8 of the Complaint. Exhibit 7 appears to be a blog post referring to the incorporation of “Texas LULAC.” (Id. at 39.) It mentions several officers of Texas LULAC, but none is either Luevano defendant. It does recount how the Luevanos were removed from their positions with LULAC, but it is not obvious how such a statement would constitute trademark infringement by the Luevanos. Exhibit 8 is an email that does not appear to be to or from either Luevano defendant and, again, is discussing Texas LULAC. Thus, it is unclear how Exhibits 7 or 8 fit into Plaintiff’s theory of liability by the Luevanos.
Plaintiff also attached to the Complaint unidentified exhibits that involve an entity entitled “the California LULAC Institute” with which the Luevanos appear to have been involved, but the exhibits appear to be dated from 2009 and 2010—before the Luevanos were removed from LULAC. In sum, the Complaint does not adequately explain what the Luevanos did that Plaintiff contends was unlawful.
The fraud claim fails for the additional reason that it does not meet the heightened pleading standard of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 9(b). The Complaint appears to refer to several different fraudulent schemes, but Plaintiff fails to plead the required “time, place and specific content of the false representations as well as the identities of the parties to the misrepresentation.” Edwards v. Marin Park, Inc., 356 F.3d 1058, 1066 (9th Cir. 2004) (internal citation and quotation marks omitted). For example, Plaintiff alleges that “Defendants” created at least three non-profit corporations to collect funds for LULAC, and that “Defendants” misappropriated the funds for their own purpose. (Dkt. No. 1 ¶ 57.) What non-profit corporations? What did each named defendant do to raise the funds? When did they raise the funds? What did they say that was a misrepresentation? Plaintiff also refers to a fraud against the Oakland Airport Hilton (id. ¶ 58), but as the Hilton is not a plaintiff it is unclear why “Defendants” allegedly defrauding the Hilton is a claim that may be brought by Plaintiff. And Plaintiff refers to “Defendants” engaging in a solicitation of funds through the California LULAC Institute for the Spring 2010 California State LULAC Convention, but that there has never been an accounting. (Id. 59.) What is the fraud here, who was defrauded, and when?
Accordingly, the remaining claims against the Luevanos shall be dismissed with leave to amend. The amended complaint shall specify which defendant is sued under each count, and make factual allegations as to the conduct of each defendant relevant to each specific count. For the fraud claim, Plaintiff must also satisfy the heightened pleading requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 9(b).
Plaintiff bears the burden of proving personal jurisdiction. It has not done so as to Defendants NLLAC and Eureste; accordingly, their motions to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction are GRANTED. As the Luevano defendants have met their burden of proving that the abuse of process claim is covered by the anti-SLAPP statute, and Plaintiff has not submitted facts, or even argument, sufficient to sustain judgment in its favor on that claim, the motion to strike the abuse of process claim is also GRANTED. The remaining claims against the Luevanos are dismissed for failure to state a claim. Plaintiff may file an amended complaint within 20 days of this Order. Failure to file a timely amended complaint will mean the claims are dismissed with prejudice. As explained at oral argument, following the filing of the amended complaint, the case will be stayed to enable the remaining parties to engage in court-sponsored mediation. A further case management conference is scheduled for December 11, 2014 at 1:30 p.m.
The case is referred to the Court’s ADR program for a mediation to take place within 90 days. This Order disposes of Docket Nos. 28, 29, 30 and 31.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
1. Following the hearing on August 21, 2014, Defendants asked for permission to file a supplemental declaration in support of their motion. The Court granted the request, and gave Plaintiff the opportunity to file a response, including any additional evidence. (Dkt. No. 43.) Plaintiff chose not to file anything further.
Small world story: In response to the below request to the reading public for information, somebody forwarded me some very intriguing internet links of other blogs and news postings about allegedly corrupt practices purportedly committed by a couple of the law firms listed below. One of those blog links — if it can be believed (I haven’t researched that enough yet to make credibility decisions) — ties both of those law firms to a certain other set of lawyers one of whom, just by chance, I’ve investigated in the past.
Turns out that the guy I’ve run across before carried on an adulterous affair but never did leave his wife for the other woman. I had him under surveillance. Not that I’m opposed to adulterous affairs as a matter of principle; been there, done that. It’s just a part of how I make a living.
Anyway, keep the tips coming. When you start down the yellow brick road on one of these cases, you never can tell where it will lead…
I’m working on an article for CounterPunch Magazine on Native American Tribal Trust litigation and how these lawsuits have been handled by non-profits such as the Native American Rights Fund as opposed to various groups of private lawyers.
I’m eager to get in touch with anybody who has information on any of the following people, tribes or institutions. Note that inclusion on the list doesn’t mean that they have done anything wrong; some of the people listed may be potential victims. Note also that some of these names may be very common so do not impute anything adverse just because somebody’s name might be in the list because of its commonality. If you know anything or know anybody who might know anything about these folks, bad, good, or otherwise, please e-mail me at:
or, use the feedback form at the bottom of this posting.
You may specify that your identity is to be considered confidential. As a journalist I am immune from court contempt proceedings. If you want to blow the whistle on corruption of any sort, I will protect your anonymity to the best of my ability.
Aside from my role as a private investigator which gives my sources a certain degree of protection under Section 7539(a) of the California Business & Professions Code, I also am protected by the immunity conferred by the California Constitution Article I, Section 2(b) and California Evidence Code Section 1070. I am a card carrying member of the Pacific Media Workers Guild Local 39521. I formerly served as the First Vice President of Newspaper Guild Local 39069 under presidents Gary North and Joe Segura. I am criminal justice and legal affairs columnist for CounterPunch Magazine as well as the operator of this Detective’s Diary blog.
Tribes That Have Entered into Settlement Agreements of Tribal Trust Cases
1. Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Reservation
2. Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians
3. Blackfeet Tribe of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation
4. Bois Forte Band of Chippewa
5. Cachil Dehe Band of Wintun Indians of the Colusa Rancheria
6. Chippewa Cree Tribe of the Rocky Boy’s Reservation
7. Coeur d’Alene Tribe
8. Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes
9. Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians
10. Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation
11. Confederated Tribes of the Goshute Reservation
12. Crow Creek Sioux Tribe
13. Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma
14. Hualapai Indian Tribe
15. Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska
16. Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians of Arizona
17. Kickapoo Tribe of Kansas
18. Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians
19. Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians
20. Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe
21. Lower Brule Sioux Tribe
22. Makah Indian Tribe of the Makah Reservation
23. Mescalero Apache Tribe
24. Minnesota Chippewa Tribe
25. Nez Perce Tribe
26. Nooksack Indian Tribe
27. Northern Cheyenne Tribe of Indians
28. Omaha Tribe of Nebraska
29. Passamaquoddy Tribe of Maine
30. Pawnee Nation
31. Prairie Band of Potawatomi Nation
32. Pueblo of Zia
33. Quechan Tribe of the Fort Yuma Reservation
34. Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians
35. Rincon Luiseño Band of Indians
36. Rosebud Sioux Tribe
37. Round Valley Indian Tribes
38. Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community
39. Santee Sioux Tribe of Nebraska
40. Sault Ste. Marie Tribe
41. Shoshone-Bannock Tribes of the Fort Hall Reservation
42. Soboba Band of Luiseno Indians
43. Spirit Lake Dakotah Nation
44. Spokane Tribe of Indians
45. Standing Rock Sioux Tribe
46. Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians
47. Summit Lake Paiute Tribe
48. Swinomish Indian Tribal Community
49. Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone Indians
50. Tohono O’odham Nation
51. Tulalip Tribes
52. Tule River Indian Tribe
53. Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation
54. Ute Mountain Ute Tribe
55. Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska
56. Qawalangin Tribe of Unalaska
57. Tlingit & Haida Tribes of Alaska
58. Northwestern Band of Shoshone Indians
59. Hoopa Valley Tribe
60. Ak-Chin Indian Community
61. Oglala Sioux Tribe
62. Yoruk Tribe
63. Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe
64. Paiute-Shoshone Indians of the Bishop Community of the Bishop Colony
65. Seminole Nation of Oklahoma
66. Otoe-Missouria Tribe of Oklahoma
67. Samish Indian Nation
68. Tonkawa Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma
69. Yakama Nation
70. Miami Tribe of Oklahoma
71. Navajo Nation
Individuals and law firms:
1. Gregory Andrew Yates, Esq.
2. Patricia A. Marks, Esq.
3. Luis G. Harbottle
4. Engstrom, Lipscomb & Lack
5. Girardi & Keese
6. Andrew L. Sandler, Esq.
7. BuckleySandler LLP
8. Mario Gonzalez, Esq.
9. Maurice Johnson, Esq.
10. Native American Rights Fund
In the private investigative world, the Archie Bunkers of the world accuse me of being anti-police and a Communist Pinko Meathead. On the left, I get accused of being everything from a CIA/FBI operative to a Zionist agent for Mossad by one faction and accused of not even being Jewish at the same time by another faction. Here’s a chart detailing the latest wacky accusations being circulated all over creation about me. They are really rather amusing….and, as it happens, some of the half-truths circulated about me turn out to have some very serious revelations about Kevin D. Akin of the California Peace & Freedom Party…..
Usable links from the chart: