Thursday, March 31, 2016

Court of Appeals Results - the Good and the Bad

So, yesterday, I received the Court of Appeals results. The issue Julian Casas presented to the court was whether the city could pay for the legal defense fees of the sham non-profit the Baldwin Park Community Center Corporation the BPCCC. There was good and bad news, but in short, apparently, the Court of Appeals does say that the City can run an alter-ego non-profit as part of city business.

Before I begin to explain the issue, I want to take some time to explain the purpose of an alter-ego non-profit corporation. Alter-egos are generally used to launder money or cheat share holders. Enron did this by having an alter-ego corporation of Enron. So, it was able to transfer all losses to the sham corporation, which made Enron's profits look good, which made shareholders want to buy more shares. In the case of the BPCCC, Casas and I are alleging that the City is using it to collect money in the form of bribes from private businesses. It's then laundered out by buying Walmart gift cards at a sham Christmas event, where those gift cards are unaccounted for.

The good news about the opinion is that the Court of Appeals made a finding that Baldwin Park is running a sham non-profit corporation. What it actually states in footnote 6 is, "Although Tafoya has conceded that BPCCC is an alter ego of the city of Baldwin Park, we note but do not address the liability implications that may arise in tort or other areas of law if BPCCC’s corporate entity is disregarded. (See Hub City Solid Waste Services, Inc. v. City of Compton (2010) 186 Cal.App.4th 1114, 1122.)" That means Baldwin Park is indeed running a non-profit corporation, in which it's not meant to be run.

Another piece of good news is that the court found that there were sufficient ethical problems to trigger court review. In other words, the court had to take a seriously look at Tafoya representing the BPCCC.

Baldwin Park tried to argue that Julian didn't ever have a prior relationship with Robert N.-Tafoya, so he had no right to ask for N.-Tafoya to be kicked off. (This rule generally applies when the attorney knows private information regarding an individual and that turns adverse against him; in that type of case, the attorney usually can't have an adverse relationship with a prior client because he knows too much about that client.) But the court stated, it could address the issue because it wanted to secure the "integrity of the judicial process". In other words, the court recognized something didn't look right here, in this type of attorney representation and wanted to ensure the fair play of justice for the courts and both parties.

The court, however, refused to say that the City couldn't pay the BPCCC's attorney's fees. (Right now, the question of attorney's fees is on the minds of several concerned citizens. Like, is the City paying for attorney's to file frivolous restraining orders against him? Did the City pay Tafoya to defend the Mayor in the small claims case? The City also doesn't want to release attorney's fees as to how much it's been paying attorneys. It appears that these small cities hire these small law firms to be City Attorney - instead of hiring a permanent one, like Pasadena or Los Angeles - and this in turn, we fear invites corruption as these attorney firms are charging outrageous rates - which we believe trickle back to the politicians.)

I certainly appreciate that the Court of Appeals took the issue seriously and listened intently on our issues. I do feel a bit disappointed, it didn't go as far as I wanted it to. But I understand that there are other considerations that the court had and the concerns of long term ramifications.

Well, where next? I talked to the client. He gave me the green light to file the case in the California Supreme Court. It's rare that the Supreme Court takes up such cases, but hey, there's always hope. So, as they say, it's not over, until the fat man sings.

You can read the unpublished opinion here: Unpublished Casas Opinion

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Open Letter to Texas and California Governors - Take Back Mayor Lozano, Council Member Pacheco, and Council Member Garcia

The Unlawful Mayor Manuel Lozano
Last Known Residence: Brownsville, Texas
Dear Governor Abbott and Governor Brown:

I'm Paul Cook, attorney-activist in the San Gabriel Valley of Los Angeles County. I understand Governor Abbott, that you took Toyota from California to Texas. And, from what I know too, you tried to get the Sirachi Company from us too. Well, if you're going to take our babies, will you also take our waste bath water too?

California has received Texan waste in the form of three politicians, named Mayor Manuel Lozano, Council Member Raquel "Monica" Garcia, and Ricardo Pacheco. There last known residence was Texas, though it's very possible that they're also all undocumented aliens. Lozano, Garcia, and Pacheco all somehow moved from Texas and became public officials in Baldwin Park, California.

I'm not sure how they did this, as old newspaper archives and database searches reveal that Lozano may have been caught smuggling nearly 500 pounds of marijuana across the Tex-Mex border. Ricardo Pacheco looks like he's an undocumented sex offender in Texas. And, Raquel "Monica" Garcia has a pattern of committing property theft in Texas.

Ricardo Pacheco
Now, the three of them, have tried to seek a temporary and permanent restraining order against a hardworking, local, senior citizen, small business owner in our city named Greg Tuttle to shut him up and punish him for taking part in our democratic process. This is because Tuttle discovered that they were staying at exclusive resorts and engaging in fine dining on other people's money. The topic was covered by the LA Times in an article titled: "Baldwin Park officials lose battle for restraining orders against critics," published March 21, 2016.

I would hope that perhaps, you can take these three back. We can't vote them out because it's looking more and more like they've committed voter fraud in a precinct called 28A of our city. We don't want them, and certainly don't need them, as they are a blight to our city and democracy. Perhaps, you can send a few of your reputable Texas rangers to process them in Texas.

Raquel "Monica" Garcia
In any event, thank you for your time and attention to the matter.

Cheers,

Paul Cook

Visiting Scholar at UCLA School of Law (2015-2016)
Go Bruins!

My blog: The Legal Lens <http://www.alchemistcook.blogspot.com>

Monday, March 28, 2016

Do We Really Need City Politicians? - Opinion Editorial

The typical corrupt politician
Recently, because of everything I've been seeing in local politics, it makes me wonder if we really need city politicians, like mayors and council members. On March 26, 2016, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune published a story on how the politicians and directors of the City of Industry spent a quarter of a million dollars on hotel rooms, meals, and massages. How City of Industry spent $284K on city credit cards: Meals, massages and pricey hotel rooms In another related story, on March 4, 2016, the Los Angeles County District Attorney Office dismissed charges against the three City Council Members of Irwindale (another neighboring city of Baldwin Park), whom spent nearly a quarter of a million dollars on a trip to New York, wining and dining at Manhattan's finest. L.A. County D.A.'s corruption case against three Irwindale officials is dismissed (The Council Member Breceda in the photo looks like he got away with murder.) In the City of Baldwin Park, as we recently saw, on Waste Management money, the City Council Members stayed at the exclusive Fess Parker in Santa Barbara and ate at the finest Steak Houses in Santa Barbara. Do we really need local politicians? I'm starting to think we don't.

The main purpose of a city is to provide services for the local population that a centralized service could provide for better than any individual could. President Obama restated that sentiment at the end of his State of the Union Address by quoting former President, Abraham Lincoln, who said "[G]overnment should do for people only what they cannot do better by themselves, and no more.” Really, governments should provide services that are necessary that none of us could do alone, such as raising an army to fight foreign invaders; having an independent justice system; and perhaps prosecuting big corporations or local government entities (such as some that are polluting an entire city, like the problem at Porter Ranch), which would be nearly an impossible for an individual to do. But those centralized type of services are good for the federal government to provide for us; so what is it that cities are doing for us?

It's arguable that cities provide contracted trash collection services and a police force and perhaps parks. But even then, do we really need cities to provide this for us? And another question, what are they really providing for us?

The answer to that question is raising taxes, license fees, and the taking of our property. In short, they're stealing from us.

In the City of Baldwin Park, the city towed away thousands of vehicles, to generate $1.2 M in profits for a year. That's the stealing of property. Those cars didn't belong to the city council members or mayor. After being laundered in four bank accounts, the city officials and the contractor all took their cut.

The City of Baldwin Park is also notorious for redevelopment. They've been in the practice of condemning private property to buy it cheap, resell it to their cronies, and to make a profit of it. What that means, is that private landowners lost money in the homes they've been investing in for years; so, that the politicians could take their land and make money from it.

Another thing they're really good at doing, is wasting millions of dollars on attorney's fees to shut up critics like local business owner Greg Tuttle and a local attorney like myself. None of these are legitimate city services. So, why do we need city officials? I don't think we do.

And their behavior in stealing that money for themselves on lavish trips and meals is harming us. There's no such thing as a free lunch, meaning we're paying for them to go to New York, San Francisco, or Santa Barbara from the money they collected from us in taxes. If we weren't taxed that money, we could either use it to spend it on clothes, food, or cars for ourselves, which would in turn stimulate the economy and jobs. Or, we could use it to start our own businesses. In short, crippling taxes (which keep going up because these people need to keep stealing for themselves), stifles the growth of economy.

To be sure, there's an argument that someone needs to clean our streets (which isn't happening in Baldwin Park) and bust gang bangers and violent criminals. To answer those concerns, I believe the resident should chose the trash service it wants to use. Crime is a more complex issue, and I'm not prepared to answer that question yet, but that doesn't mean an answer doesn't exist.

In the meantime, I hope all of you could see we have a festering and growing cancerous problem in the San Gabriel Valley. These local politicians think they're above the law and have run amok. Things need to change. We don't need them anymore. In Kiwi talk, we'd say: "They've been made redundant."

Friday, March 25, 2016

A Time to Shine - On Getting Noticed

El Monte Chief of Police - David Reynoso
Copyright, El Monte Examiner
I live in Los Angeles County, and when I lived in the City of Los Angeles (and attended school there), I met a number of people who wanted to be seen or noticed. Everyone, in LA wants to be a star. People from time to time ask me how to get into the papers; which isn't as important as the bigger question I want to answer: How do you get noticed?

And to start off answering that question, I want to acknowledge someone I noticed - and that's Chief of El Monte Police Department - David Reynoso. So why am I recognizing him?

Well, because he appeared to tell the truth in court. Now, that might not seem like a big deal, but you have to understand the backstory as to why it was important - at least for me.

I had to go to trial to defend my client, Greg Tuttle, against Mayor Manuel Lozano, Council Member Ricardo Pacheco, and Council Member Raquel Monica Garcia from obtaining a restraining order against him. The LA Times version of the story is here: Baldwin Park officials lose battle for restraining orders against critics It's clear from the court ruling that these politicians were doing this to my client because they wanted to punish him for investigating their dirty business dealings. And if they were able to obtain a restraining order, they won. Either Tuttle had to stay away from them for a few years or be arrested if he was ever near them.

In order to get their restraining orders, the attorney - Jimmy Gutierrez and the politicians - all agreed to get their story straight and sully the reputation of a hardworking, business person. They alleged he was a violent stalker, which for the record is not true.

(As an aside commentary, you see how an evil organization operates - it needs everyone to agree that they'll all lie for each other to protect each other because they're all stealing from us to enrich themselves. Then, when you figure out what they're doing - they try to label you a "gadfly, conspiracy theorist or radical - to discredit you. And when you still have the credibility to levy accusations against those running the organization - and they get caught - they admit to the Nuremberg or Nazi Defense - I was only following orders (more on that later).)

Well - we had to go to trial because the purpose of a trial is to get to the truth. And to get to the truth, we needed witnesses to appear. And three witnesses just decided they were above the law, and weren't going to appear, even though the court ordered them to do so: Teri Muse, Waste Management Consultant; Michael Taylor, Baldwin Park Chief of Police; and Mayor Manuel Lozano - who was one of the petitioners seeking a restraining order. But Lozano did submit a declaration, defaming the reputation of my client, but failed to appear; so he wouldn't be questioned on those allegations.

The Chief of El Monte Police - David Reynoso - a witness to one of the incidents decided to appear. And that meant a lot. He didn't try to dodge service. He didn't let his title or position go to his head. Furthermore, he knew all of the parties involved in Tuttle's lawsuit because he used to work for Baldwin Park. But, even then, he knew he had a duty to the court. And he was going to serve that duty. And his appearance was felt in court. (It was disgusting to see the other side constantly question him on what he was going to say - which we never did. I could hear Reynoso, however saying, "I'm here to tell the truth and that's all."

I argued to the court that during the alleged violent incident, a Chief of Police - Reynoso was present, who is also here today. He could make an off duty arrest. If Tuttle was actually violent, couldn't Reynoso have effectuated an off duty arrest against Tuttle or at least drafted an incident report.

At that point, Pacheco's fat cheeks were turning as red a tomato.

That's because when one person says, "Hey, I don't care what you people all agreed to do. It's not right. And I don't agree." It just shatters the entire plans and lies that the evil organization hatched.

So, I wrote to the City Manager of Baldwin Park this week. And I write the same to you. Don't go along with the evil scheming ideas that people try to force you into. Say No. So, just because your boss tells you to do something (the Nazi Defense), doesn't mean you have to do it. It wasn't a defense when they were asked to kill Jews, and it's not a defense when someone asks you to do something that violates your conscience.

Sure, there are consequences. Sure, you may be fired. But you know - at the end of the day - you have to live with yourself, and the future will remember you for what you did and who you were.

I understand that it's scary when someone says they're going to take away your paycheck if you don't do the evil deed or help with the cover up. I get that. But, whatever the price, it's too cheap to buy your dignity and character.

And what does this all have to do with shining like a star? Simple. In life, we all do our business as usual and make the decisions that we do, believing nobody really notices or sees.

But somehow, someway, when you don't expect it, the time comes - where the pressure and the environment comes upon you - and the next thing you know, you're on the world stage. And either your character is prepared for it, or it isn't. Only one of two things happen then: you either shine or be shamed.

And I believe, the moment that tests who you are happens in everyone's life, and sometimes it happens multiple times. We all know now the Chief's character shone through that day. I hope in the future, yours will too.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

My First Appearance at the Court of Appeals

On Friday, March 18, 2016, I made my first appearance in the Court of Appeals of California, Second District, Division Four, for Julian Casas, the petitioner, in case Casas v. City of Baldwin Park. It was a baptism by fire -  or maybe a more apt term - trial by fire.

In this entry, I'm going to explain the appeals process, the issue in the case, and my experience, orally arguing in front of the Court of Appeals for the first time.

When you appeal a case, you're basically asking the higher court to say that the lower court (also known as the trial court) is wrong and that the decision in the case needs to be reversed. It's a mountain of work to get in front of the Court of Appeals. To have this case heard before the Court of Appeals, the client and I paid with blood and tears.

After working for the City of Baldwin Park for 20 years as a boxing coach, Julian Casas was fired by Manuel Carrillo Jr. and Chief Michael Taylor for bringing this case to court. (At the time Julian was fired, Julian was making $8.80 an hour. To teach me a lesson, Carrillo increased the pay after firing Julian to $16 an hour, and hired an incompetent boxing coach, who worked for the City for two years, to be head boxing coach. The saddest thing is that the incompetent boxing coach threw us all under the bus, so that he could get double the pay, without any regard that we sacrificed ourselves for his pay increase.)

I was retaliated against just as fiercely as Julian, but I also ended up being luckier. Remember; I was arrested, jailed, and strip searched because of this case. Then, the City Attorney tried to get a restraining order against me, and after the City officials and directors obtained one, they were going to try to get me disbarred as an attorney; so, I could lose my livelihood, and no longer practice law.

I mention all of this; so, that you the readers know how much blood we spilled to get this case heard in front of the Court of Appeals; so that we could plead our case to the three justices. That's not including the hundreds of hours of research and work needed to go into the case, to get it to oral argument. If I put in 300 hours (it could've been more), that would cost the client over $100,000. If Julian was working full time, at his $8.80 an hour, 40 hours for 52 weeks, and saved up all that money without spending a cent on it or paying taxes on his salary, he'd have to work for close to nine years to pay that amount, without me taking on the case for free. (That's to give you a perspective as to why these type of cases never make it this far.)

In this appeal, we are arguing that the person who fired Julian, Manuel Carrillo, was operating a sham non-profit corporation called the Baldwin Park Community Center Corporation (BPCCC). Our allegation is that Carrillo was taking bribes through the sham non-profit to hide the tracks of those who were giving those bribes and then taking it back tax free. (That's what money laundering is.)

Carrillo was also taking city money in the city bank account and laundering it, to himself. This is not why non-profits exist. (So, now you could see why Lozano and Carrillo and all his goons hurt us so much; if they're caught doing this - they could go to jail - like Robert Rizzo of Bell did.)

While the case was in the process of going to trial, a big problem arose. The city spent our taxpayer money to hire the City Attorney Robert Nacionales-Tafoya to defend Manny Carrillo and his sham non-profit. And in doing so, Manny Carrillo didn't have to pay his own attorney's fees, which gave him a get-out-of-jail free card, even though he was caught with his hand in the cookie jar.

On multiple occasions, I explained to Tafoya that he could not represent Manny Carrillo or the BPCCC. Tafoya agreed, but then decided he was going to do it anyways. (Not surprising, after he forged my signature in this case to get a strategic advantage, another cost of suffering I had to pay to get this case in front of the Court of Appeals.)

I filed the motion to kick him off from represent Carrillo. The judge denied my motion. I appealed the case both on the normal path and the emergency path.

The issue before the court is landmark case in California. The reason is, it asks the Court to intervene and tell the City, it cannot pay attorney's fees for a sham corporation that is cheating the taxpayer. The City's argument is that it can spend other people's money anyways it wants. And that's the big issue before the Court of Appeals.

If we don't win this, I think it's a tragic blow for the citizens. It basically means, if the Carrillos and Rizzos of the world want to steal from us, not only can they, but they won't be held accountable for it because we'll pay for their expensive legal defense fees to get them off the crime or civil lawsuit. Doesn't there seem to be something wrong with that?

Although cases involving attorney representation are generally heard on the emergency track, the Court of Appeals decided to wait and see what would happen, because (most likely) of the complexity and controversy of the case. When it knew the City would be stubborn about it's position, it had no choice but to ask for full briefing, and then call us in for oral argument. At that point, the City replaced Tafoya with the law firm of Albright, Yee, and Schmit.

Although I originally asked for 15 minutes of time, I spent somewhere between thirty and fifty hours preparing for the case. After understanding how complicated the issues actually were, I had to ask the court for the maximum time of 30 minutes. The court granted it.

I dressed in my best suit and tie. Security patted me down before walking into the sacred chambers. I signed in. I sat in the attorney section. I remember not knowing what to expect, even though people told me what to expect, and that in itself created a dread in me.

I thought to myself, Wow, I'm finally here. I've been wanting to be here for so long. But now that I'm here, I'm nervous and anxious. What's going to happen? There was no tentative decision - meaning the justices most likely didn't make up their mind on whom should win. But I knew, to win, I needed to convince two of the three judge panel, that the City shouldn't pay our money to defend Carrillo.

I was looking around, and I remember how stately and royal the entire chambers looked. I felt like I was in the king's hall of justice. And behind the podium, from a noticeable distance, there were four green chairs - that were so huge and grand and stately - they looked more like thrones than chairs to me.

The bailiff announced the decorum rules. He announced the justices' arrival. We all stood up. We all sat back down. They took their seats.

They called the first case. Then they called the second one, which was our case.

I approached the podium and said, "May it please the court, Paul Cook, counselor at law for Petitioner Julian Casas. First, I'd like to thank the court for letting me argue for the first time in the Court of Appeals. I'm honored to be in the Second District of the Court of Appeals of California, Division Four."

Then, I started my argument.

I won't go into much detail about it, not because I can't, but I felt like what happened in the chambers generally should stay there because there was such a sacredness about the place, the conversation, and the ceremony. The tape for oral argument could be ordered because in the United States, we believe in a transparent court system. So, it's not that I can't tell you what happened; it's just that I feel like it was a consecrated moment in time and place for me, especially it being the first time I argued in front of the justices of the Court of Appeals.

In general, I presented my arguments. The justices ask me tough questions. I answered them to the best of my ability.

The City then made it's arguments. It was asked tough questions. It answered to the best of its ability.

Then, I was given a chance to respond to the arguments the City made. After I was done, I bowed to the three justices and thanked them. I think the entire affair took close to an hour.

I walked out of the chambers, feeling like I had crossed through a sacred rite of a sort of Baptism by Fire or Trial by Fire. It was both intense and purifying. But, I felt tired and just wanted to go home. (Only three days ago, I had another trial for Greg Tuttle, whom two council members and Mayor were trying to get a permanent restraining order against.)

I drove home. Still in my suit, I saw my mother. I hugged her, and I said, "I think I did well."

She said, "Oh, that's so good."

I replied, "Hey mom, where's Jeh Pan [my cat named Trial]."

"Oh, he's somewhere in the garden. Why not get changed and look for him. So what happens next with your case?"

"I don't know exactly. Just wait and see."


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Challenge of Fighting Back Against Government - Opinion

Yesterday, I defended my client, Greg Tuttle (local business owner and activist) against three lawsuits that Mayor Manuel Lozano, Council Member Ricardo Pacheco, and Council Member Raquel "Monica" Garcia filed to stop him from speaking out against them or looking into their business. Judge Bruce Marrs dismissed their lawsuits, saying, (in a great quote I might add), "In a small town, people take things personally." In other words, the government shouldn't file such stupid lawsuits when they're offended. You can read all about it here, in which the Tribune does a good job in summarizing what happened.
Judge denies Baldwin Park councilmembers’ requests for restraining orders against local businessman

You the reader, read that, and go, Oh, the lawyer and his activist won. Good on them. It's difficult to win such a trial. I'm writing this piece to let you know how it feels to have public officials, government officials, pick on you. It's bullying at its worst.

Imagine if you're Greg Tuttle. You're a local small business owner, working 10-12 hours a day. He rebuilds German engines; he works hard (believe me, the proof is in his sandpaper, gritty hands). He has a family and grandchildren; he pays taxes to the federal, state, and local government; and he's active in politics. He spends a good part of 20 to 30 years to build his business.

Then, one day, because the greedy Mayor and Council Members come along and decide they want to pass a law to steal his land; so, they can pay for it really cheap, resell it to developers, and get a kickback from it. This happened to him in the latter part of 2005-2010. Folks, this is called stealing. Why should people who are in public office be able to take your property just because they want it? (Tell them all to get a real job.)

Tuttle was able to fight them back with lawsuits and journalism and stop them from taking his business. But since then, he's been on a mission to expose these crooks because that's what he believes they are. (And, I would agree - from my own independent research.)

Fast forward to January of 2016. We're all getting closer to the heart of darkness, meaning, the corruption and evil that is at the heart of Baldwin Park is coming out. We're getting closer to finding the smoking guns to these politician's acceptance of bribes, scandals, and the coverup of it all.

So, one thing Tuttle figured out to do, is see who these people are wining and dining with. He goes to Santa Barbara and spots the vendors that are involved in buying the votes of our public officials.

So, what do they do? The very same thing they did to me, when I was catching and have caught on to the Mayor's bankruptcy scandal. File a lawsuit to block you from coming near them.

Imagine, if you were to receive a lawsuit today. A man (not usually a lady), shows up to your door and hands you papers and says, "You've been served." How would you feel? Would you know what to do? Now, imagine that it's from the Mayor or Council Member of your city.

After getting over being upset, you're going to feel at some point, it's impossible to take on the situation because they have so much money of other people's money to spend against you. You either have to pony up thousands of dollars to hire a lawyer or fold, and tell the politicians, you give up speaking out against them or researching them. I certainly felt that way, when the Mayor and his lawyer Robert N.-Tafoya filed a frivolous temporary restraining order (TRO) against me.

So, when Tuttle got sued to shut up, I remembered exactly what it felt like and said I gotta try to fight this. I had to put aside my business as usual (which I have too) and fight one of the dirtiest battles of my life.

Only, in round two of citizens versus politicians, (round one was the Mayor v. Me) the public officials got dirtier. First, they don't even tell us that there was going to be hearing on the (TRO), which blocked us from telling our side of the story. Second, they hired a lawyer that, in our view, misrepresented facts and law to the court. Third, after Council Member Pacheco figures out that we're not going to let them roll over us, the politicians decide to triple their force against us by having two more public officials file temporary restraining orders. The argument being, if two more people put their name behind it, my client must be crazy, dangerous, and mentally unstable.

Then, we entered into a battle of having witnesses at court. For us, we needed to call witnesses to testify what really happened. We served the witnesses properly. The witnesses claimed, through their lawyers, they didn't have to show up because they never received such documents. The two people who were most vocal about this were Teri Muse, consultant for Waste Management, and Chief Michael Taylor. (Not all witnesses were unduly influenced, former Captain of Baldwin Park, now Chief of El Monte - decided to show and stated repeatedly, "I'm here to tell the truth.")

You would think, in America, people have the right to have the truth be told. But when the three politicians can vote to fire these two people, you can see the leverage they have against these witnesses.

This takes time. I would estimate that it took about 10 hours to fight the battle of getting our witnesses. The other side was dirty. They scheduled hearings on days, I couldn't attend court; so, that the witnesses we needed couldn't show up to the hearings, mainly Teri Muse and Chief Michael Taylor. (Mayor Manuel Lozano refused to show up to his own trial, even though he was properly given notice.)

Once, again, if you're Tuttle, you would feel overwhelmed. Why keep fighting? (In my own battle with the City, you can read about the blog, they (mainly Manuel Carrillo Jr.) fired my friend Julian Casas, who worked as the children's boxing coach for the City for 20 years to teach me a lesson; not to mention, they jailed, arrested, strip searched me, and also sued me too.)

We were lucky though. The court decided it had enough, and the court rebuked the public officials of Baldwin Park for not even having their own witnesses - Mayor Lozano appear. Raquel Monica Garcia finally appeared when the court said, "She better be here."

People, these are the same politicians, whom are claiming that their lives are threatened. They're the ones claiming they need immediate court and police intervention to stop one local business owner. Don't they have the time to show up to their own hearing?

In any event, after hours and hours of preparation by me (the lawyer), we were able to have a full trial - which I found surprisingly entertaining and worthwhile. At one point, I made the judge laugh by saying, "Your honor, when the three [Lozano, Garcia, and Pacheco] have title to the Fess Parker Hotel, then they can exclude my client from being there."

I also told the court, at one point, "Your honor, these people need to grow up. They're public officials. They need to be able to take criticism. If they don't like it, they can step down from office. No one is forcing them to be there."

The court found:
1. That exposing council members for fraud, bribery, and corruption is a legitimate business purpose.
2. Stalking was not repetitive as it happened within a five month period.
3. There was no evidence of violence or credible threat. 4. Public officials have a lessened expectation of privacy.

It held:
1. The TRO was dissolved.
2. All restraining orders were denied.

I'm writing all this, to tell you, there needs to be solution to this problem, and it's generally this: if public officials want to do this, they have to be made to pay for it personally from their own bank account.

For those of you, who feel overwhelmed by retaliation from people working in government, I tell you fight on by telling the truth, exposing them, and pressing on through the suffering and hardship. As Freddy Roach said, "It ain't easy." But as you're witnessing, "You can win."

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Washington Post Writes About My Case Today

Eugene Volokh, First Amendment, Scholar, wrote an article on my client today. It's titled: Politician seeks restraining order against critic who called her ‘political prostitute’ and ‘honey’

You can read it here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2016/03/15/politician-seeks-restraining-order-against-critic-who-called-her-political-prostitute-and-honey/

Well, update, I won the case against Mayor Manuel Lozano, Council Member Ricardo Pacheco, and Council Member Raquel "Monica" Garcia.

I'm sure the Washington Post and San Gabriel Valley Tribune will have more to say on it. Victory for the people!





Thursday, March 10, 2016

Baldwin Park Councilmember Ricardo Pacheco Retaliates Against Senior Citizens (Tuttle's Friends)

Unlawful
Council Member Ricardo Pacheco
Yesterday, Greg S. Tuttle, local business owner and activist, opposed the three temporary restraining orders against him by Mayor Manuel Lozano, Council Member Ricardo Pacheco, and Council Member Raquel "Monica" Garcia. In response, Council Member Ricardo Pacheco ordered John Rios and Mr. Luna, age 73 and 76 respectively, to also appear in court. Both Rios and Luna weren't witnesses to any of the allegations that the Mayor and Council Members are making against Tuttle, but they are Tuttle's friends and are quite vocal at the City Council meetings against the three.

(The backstory of this restraining order can be read here: Local Business Owner Defeats Mayor Lozano and Council Member's Temporary Restraining Order)

Nonetheless, Mr. Luna was in the hospital yesterday because of heart problems. He asked the attorney on record, Jimmy Gutierrez that he couldn't appear, but Gutierrez said it didn't matter that he was sick. He still had to come to court.

Additionally, I received an emergency notice of a hearing to cancel the judicial orders to have the witnesses, Teri Muse and Chief Michael Taylor, appear. Unlike Rios and Luna, Muse was a witness to the allegations that took place in Santa Barbara. Michael Taylor is being summoned because he can testify about Pacheco's character and his recent violent outbursts against people.

Tuttle believes that this was done in retaliation against him for opposing the temporary restraining orders and prevailing against Garcia and Lozano. He says, "They decided to drag my friends into it, who have nothing to do with the case."

It appears that Pacheco is caught between a rock and a hard place, because the merits of his case are falling apart, but he can't admit that it was unlawful for him to file a temporary restraining order against a citizen and local business owner.

To that, I just wanted to say, this is taxpayer money you're wasting and you shouldn't be spending it on unlawful lawsuits. You're not the King of Baldwin Park. If you can't handle people criticizing you publicly or exposing you, then you need to step down as a public official. Simple as that. 

Thomas Jefferson was right: "When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. . . ."

Monday, March 7, 2016

Open Letter to Mayor Manuel Lozano

The Real Manuel Lozano
March 5, 2016
From: Paul Cook
To: Manuel Lozano

Re: Complaint on First Amendment Retaliation and Wasting Taxpayer Money

Dear Alleged Mayor Lozano:

Will you please stop picking on citizen's that pay taxes in the City with frivolous temporary restraining orders? If you remember in Lozano v. Cook and Cook v. Lozano, the court warned you to stop filing frivolous restraining orders. I had to defeat you then and I defeated you now. 

Currently, I've never met a person as unique as you. You have an amazing ability to not be able to learn from your previous mistakes. Unfortunately, your misconduct and pettiness and bullying are costing the taxpayer of the City and the court's time to review your meritless filings.

So, please respect the rights of the citizens and stop your bullying. We know that you don't have much to be proud of recently, but that's no reason to take it out on hardworking and productive members of society. Thank you.

Cheers,

Paul Cook

Visiting Scholar at UCLA School of Law (2015-2016)
Go Bruins!

My blog: The Legal Lens <http://www.alchemistcook.blogspot.com>

Friday, March 4, 2016

Local Business Owner Defeats Mayor Lozano and Council Member's Temporary Restraining Order

Mayor Manuel Lozano Sued in Small Claims
(Copyright of the San Gabriel Valley Tribune)
Local business owner and activist, Greg Tuttle, defeated Mayor Manuel Lozano and Council Member Raquel Monica Garcia of Baldwin Park, both of whom sought emergency temporary restraining orders (TROs) against him.

Lozano sought the emergency restraining order because he said that when Tuttle drove by his house with signs for "Vote for Baca" in his truck, it was like a "drive-by" feeling for him. (Drive bys, are where gang members drive by your house and then discharge shots at you.) Lozano also found that Mr. Tuttle's statements were hostile because Tuttle said he was going to "'expose' Councilman Pacheco."

Raquel Monica Garcia on the left.
(Copyright of the San Gabriel Valley Tribune)
Because of all this, Lozano claimed his life was in danger and that he was entitled to a free The Mayor of Baldwin Park Files a Restraining Order Against Me
filing fee on taxpayer money. (This is the second meritless TRO that Lozano filed against a citizen of his city.)

Raquel Garcia, also known as "Monica" Garcia said her life was threatened because Tuttle has called her a "political prostitute" and "Honey". Without any evidence, she claims that he posted comments about her on an anonymous speech forum, called Topix.com. According to her, even though she has no proof, Tuttle allegedly stated that Monica has "sex with [her] dog . . ." and that she opens her legs.

Tuttle denied making any such allegations.

The attorney on record was Jimmy Gutierrez. Gutierrez only sought the temporary restraining orders after Tuttle asked for a judge to hear his case against Pacheco, instead of a commissioner.

Afterwards, Gutierrez served Tuttle a few hours before with the new restraining order, hoping that he could get two more restraining orders to punish Tuttle for fighting the original restraining order, issued against him by Pacheco. Gutierrez was hoping it'd be heard without a hearing in the commissioner's chamber, resulting in two more automatic TROs. This would have resulted in three TROs against Tuttle.

Tuttle countered though. Although Gutierrez didn't give him the case numbers of the new TRO applications, (which one needs to file a disqualification motion), his attorney went to the filing window and found out what they were. (Cook believes that Gutierrez was purposely not giving the numbers, so that he could get two more TROs heard without a hearing.) So, Cook made two more motions to make sure a judge heard the two TRO applications, blocking the commissioner hearing it in chambers.

The court assigned the cases to Judge Blade in Department A. Judge Blade ruled that although Tuttle's emergency order to reopen the case against him by Pacheco was denied, he also denied Lozano and Garcia's TROs against him, stating there was insufficient evidence to issue them. Furthermore, the court stated that a hearing for all three TROs would be heard in Department A on March 15th, 2016.

The court ordered that everyone served with a subpoena as a witness had to appear. Councilwoman Raquel Moncia Garcia, Councilman Ricardo Pacheco, Lenet Pacheco, Chief Michael Taylor, and Waste Management Consultant refused to appear in court today, even though they were ordered by subpoenas to do so.

Teri Muse's lawyer appeared shocked that the judge stated that she had to appear for the March 15 hearing. Muse's lawyer threatened Cook at one point with sanctions if he didn't withdraw the subpoena. Cook told him: "Do what you gotta do."

Gutierrez claimed that nobody had to appear because they were improperly served because papers were just left for them at the City Council Chambers. John Rios, the one who served them, said he served all parties properly at the City Council Meeting.

One witness, who no longer works for Baldwin Park, did appear, and that was the Chief of Police of El Monte: David Reynoso. Cook, the attorney for Tuttle, told the judge, "If a Chief of Police could appear, the other witnesses could also appear." The court agreed and stated, "If subpoenas are issued, they have to come."

Tuttle found it puzzling that two council members and the Mayor are alleging they're in fear of their lives and need an emergency restraining order from the court but won't even bother to show up to testify against him.

When asked about today, Tuttle said, "This is what they [The Council Members and Mayor] do when you speak out against them. They bully you. But I showed them, I'm not going to take it."

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Defeating a Temporary Restraining Order - Strategy Lessons in Slaying a Dragon

Unknown Copyright
Illustration of Knight Fighting Dragon
All activists need to know lessons in strategy when taking on a dragon - in this case, the Council Members and Mayor of Baldwin Park. This lesson is a case study on Pacheco v. Tuttle. Lesson One - Bear the Truth.

First, we have to analyze Pacheco and the City's strategy. Pacheco hired an outside lawyer, Jimmy Gutierrez (not Tafoya), this time to represent him. Gutierrez told the court that Pacheco and his wife, Lenet (suspicious name) feared for their lives; so, issue a temporary restraining order, without Tuttle presenting his side of the story.

If you're the activist, you have to be prepared for such things to happen. Sit down. Take a step back. What's happening? (If you don't know, I've been through this whole entire fiasco myself. Read it here: me: Baldwin Park Mayor Files Restraining Order Against)

What's happening is that Pacheco is using taxpayer money to file a frivolous lawsuit. What that means, is basically, the enemy has basically unlimited funds to defeat you. And, you the poor activist, can't afford to hire a lawyer. And if you could, why would you? You wouldn't get a benefit out of helping the public interest. This is called attrition.

Pacheco is also doing this in response to Tuttle spotting him at the fancy Santa Barbara restaurant Lucky's Steakhouse, where he met Waste Management and other vendors. Pacheco is hence nervous that Tuttle is close to catching him with his hand in the cookie jar. Thus, he has to stop him by intimidation and a court order. If he can't stop him, he has to slow him down. But the problem Pacheco has is that the facts are against him, because Tuttle's done nothing wrong. So what does he do?

He knows that he has no other choice but to lie. But lying in court is a crime. Furthermore, as Mayor Lozano learned, if Tuttle showed up to fight him in court, the truth would come out. That's why the Proverbs stated, "The first person to speak in court always seems right until his opponent begins to question him." So, Pacheco eliminated his opponent to speak in court by feigning that his life was in danger; therefore, not giving him notice that a restraining order would be served.

But the City isn't so clever to come up with this. In 1603, King James I imprisoned Sir Walter Raleigh, the founder of the State of Virginia (named after the Virgin Queen Elizabeth I), on grounds of treason. He fabricated documents. Filed them with the court. Raleigh asked to confront his accuser face to face, but since he couldn't, the court found him guilty and beheaded him. The accuser was have found to lie. Hence, in criminal cases, we the American people, have right to confront our accuser, with the Confrontation Clause in the Sixth Amendment of the Constitution.

So, what does the poor activist do? Going up against unlimited resources and people in power, who are willing to lie, cheat, and steal to get their way. Well, bring your accusers to court.

Well how do you that in civil TRO hearing? I summoned them to appear as witnesses by official stamp of our court clerk. I summoned a number of other witnesses that were present for these alleged stalking charges, such as Chief Michael Taylor, Chief David Reynoso (El Monte), Teri Muse (Waste Management Consultant), Lenet Pacheco, Ricardo Pacheco, and Council Member Raquel Monica Garcia. (These people are not innocent; they have all benefited from this Pacheco-Lozano type of misconduct.)

All of a sudden, it's a different tune. All these people are saving that service is improper. They're all saying they won't show up. And I tell them all the same thing: "If you don't show up, we will be seeking a contempt order against you."

Who do these people think they are? I mean, come on: if the court calls them to come, they must come. Period. They're not above the law. But that's how things are in Baldwin Park.

If it's so life threatening for the Pachecos, then, they can appear in court, and explain how Greg Tuttle is such a life threatening menace in their life, instead of wasting our taxpayer money, and hiding behind an attorney to do all the dirty work.

Speaking of that, always discover the truth about your opponent. An attorney willing to file frivolous TROs has a special type of character. And these are the type of attorneys that really need to be held accountable because they perpetuate and foster the corroding justice system we have now.

It's been discovered that Jimmy Gutierrez has a number of convictions and one driving under the influence (DUI). I wonder if these convictions have been self-reported as required by law for attorneys. Who knows? More investigation is needed.

And does anyone know a person who goes officially by the name of Jimmy? Seems to be a red flag that someone is running away from previous identities. Need more investigation. (But the lesson here, is know who you're dealing with. And yes, attorneys being paid on city money to file frivolous TROs are a matter of public concern.) To live in civil society, we need a functioning justice system that is not becoming corrupted by these types of filing. See my article on Fall of Rome.

So - that's the ninja-lawyering lesson for the day. Figure out how to bear witness in court. Stars only shine at night. Hope that helps all you activists out there.


Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Newspaper Writes on How a Council Member Files Frivolous Temporary Restraining Order Against Local Business Owner

The Real Baldwin Park Council Member,
Ricardo Pacheco
Well, the local newspaper the San Gabriel Valley Tribune writes about how our egomaniac of a Council Member is filing lawsuits to harass senior citizen, small business owners in the City of Baldwin Park.

Article starts off by stating, "Baldwin Park City Councilman Ricardo Pacheco has obtained a temporary restraining order against a local businessman who he claims followed him and other council members to a conference in Santa Barbara in January."

Read more about it here: Baldwin Park councilman obtains temporary restraining order against local businessman