Saturday, April 30, 2016

The High Court Keeps My Case Alive Against the Mayor Alive

After coming home yesterday, I opened my mail from the California Supreme Court, which had the San Francisco postmark on it. I was sure, that it was a rejection from the high court. But; no!

The High Court granted review and shot it back down to the Court of Appeals. I was thrilled to read the good news. Like I said, in my last post about the Mayor - it ain't over until I get the Mayor to sing. Here's my post on it: I Sued Mayor Lozano Again in the Supreme Court of California

I can tell you, (I keep getting the numbers wrong), but it's no easy task to get a review by our state supreme court. It's not a right (like in the Court of Appeals), meaning they reject almost all of them: Easily over 97%. But my little filing got a review.

What case is this about? The LA Times did a story on it. A BALDWIN PARK GADFLY THE MAYOR WOULD LOVE TO SWAT AWAY

After the Mayor filed a meritless temporary restraining order on me, and I won, I took him to small claims court to sue him for malicious prosecution. Cases originating out of small claims court are not appealable. So, I had to take up a writ, which is a request for extraordinary relief, in which almost 98% of all get denied. Still, knowing the odds, I applied for a writ to the appellate division, then to the Court of Appeals, and finally to the Supreme Court. All were denied.

But after the Mayor was bad again, and sued for another TRO against my client Tuttle, I let the Supreme Court know. And this time, I think they had enough of the Mayor's naughty ways.

So, it's alive again! So, what's next?

Well, the Court of Appeals will see, considering the new facts, whether it'll grant review. If it does, then it'll order briefing  and the case is alive and well! If it doesn't, then, we'll have to take it up with the Supreme Court again.

Well, Mayor, looks like I snagged and reeled you back in. As we used to say at work, "You gotta feed the kitty." And I do have a hungry cat named Trial, and looks like he wants you to feed him.

Mayor Outside Small Claims Court
Hope He Returns

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

On Becoming a Lawyer as an Artist - A Note

Lobster / Cat - by Picasso
(One of my favorite paintings)
After passing the bar, back in May of 2013, I came to Cabo. I'll never forget what it felt like to run across the wet sand beach, with the crashing waves, and the sunset in the background - flaring the sky, in hues of purple, orange, and red, like a painter's palette. That run made me feel as free, as free as the wild horses on the planes are, when they run, run, run. Nothing could make you feel more alive.

Now, that I'm back, I have a new feeling. I'm convinced there's something very magical, powerful, and freeing about the Mexican, Baja Peninsula. No wonder why Steinbeck took his story, The Pearl, from La Pax, Baja, Mexico. 

On this trip, I must say, I felt like a spirit came upon me, my muse, and demanded that I create art. I had this experience thrice, now. 

The first time was a very sacred moment for me. The second time, I was in a train, going through the Taiga, the Siberian forest, where the the white birch trees extended endlessly, through the horizon. Their leaves looked like flakes of gold and shards of ruby and topazes. During the Siberian autumn, the dying light casted a ghostly shadow on the white birch trees, reminding you, that you were also in a holy place between earth and the phantom plane. And while reading, that spirit came upon me, calling me to write too.

Now, that muse has come again. But this time, it feels like there's an energy beneath my feet, a sort of magic carpet, that's telling me we're off on some great journey into distant and undiscovered lands. I don't know what's there, or who I'll be meeting. I only know, I don't have a choice but to see where it takes me. 

I don't know why, but the fleeting glimmers I have of the future give me an overwhelming sense of excitement and discovery. I wonder, if this is how Columbus or Walter Raleigh felt, after sailing for ages, when they saw the speck of dot on the horizon, the harbinger that a new world awaited him.

It's on this trip, I feel called to be an artist. And by artist, I don't mean the conventional type you're thinking up in your head. I'm not called to buy a French beret, sit on a Parisian street, and start painting with oil on canvas (though I know how to paint with oils). 

I guess, I knew I was headed for that journey, when my brother asked me, "Aren't you afraid of what those Baldwin Park City Council thugs will do to you for always writing about them?"

And I said, "Not really. Because I know whatever happens, I've done my part, and my work will live on, even if I'm no longer around."

Without realizing it then, you know when you're becoming an artist, when you know that you have confidence that your work is an entity separate from you and has its own life. And in my last conversation with professor, I told him about my oral argument at the Court of Appeals. I said, "I think we're changing the practice of law, professor." And I really believe we are, by employing new techniques, themes, ideas, and visions.

Then that feeling came again. While in Cabo, as I was writing my Petition for Review to the Supreme Court, I felt like it was much different than the previous briefs I wrote before. I looked at it, and thought, This piece is different, and it's expressing something larger than Baldwin Park, larger than me, larger than any brief I wrote before. Then I understood what it was expressing: It was a collective vision that we've created, for living in a better world.

I woke up in the last few days, feeling a sense of malaise - which means a sense of having a tortured spirit. I need to do more writing, I thought. So, I started writing a law review article for my Visiting Scholar Program, and it was like a spirit took hold of me and punched the words onto my word processor for me, like I was in some trance-like (but elated) state of being.

I looked at my work, and thought, Oh, this is very different too. This, too, is a piece that's trying to communicate something that needs to be said now and in ages passed.

And, I'm writing this as a record. I feel like this journey is and has been forging and transforming my soul, like burning carbon changes iron into steel. The entire character of the metal transforms.

I came across this quote by Noble Laureate, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who said, "For a country to have a great writer is like having a second government. That is why no regime has ever loved great writers, only minor ones."

Do you know why great writers are like second governments? Because they're trying to create a new kingdom, a better world, for all of us to live in with their words. They want their friends, family, and even those who they don't know - to become citizens of a noble kingdom - a place they could be at peace at, a place they could be proud to call home.

It dawned on me, on this trip. Revolutionaries and artists are the same. They have a vision for the world. And they want everyone to know about it.

I've heard it said that lawyer are to be problem solver or advisor or writers or professionals. I never heard it said, but firmly believe that truly great lawyers should think of themselves as artists. We'll never create bridges or buildings or new technologies, but we should attempt to be architects of law, having words as tools, attempting to create new monuments within our existing system of law. And the same should be true, for whatever profession you are in. 

No wonder why James Joyce said, “Welcome, O life! I go to encounter for the millionth time the reality of experience and to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race.”

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

What I'm Reading in Cabo, Mexico - On Einstein and Markopolos

One thing, I do, when I take a break in a foreign land is read. I feel like the business of my life in Los Angeles doesn't really allow for that.

And it's good because I sense my life's become richer by reading these books. And it makes me realize how important the development of the printing press was. It also makes me sad to realize that most of my friends no longer read, and people who don't read are almost no different than the illiterate. If that's true, then we have to realize that America is quickly becoming an illiterate society, totally depended now on social media and YouTube for its information.

On this trip, I've read books that I've really enjoyed. The first one was Harry Markopolos' book No One Would Listen. It's an autobiography about how a financial analyst figured out that Bernie Madoff, the largest crook in history (stealing $65 billion), was running a Ponzi scheme, also known as robbing Peter-to-pay-Paul scheme. Markopolos notified the SEC for about 8 years on what Madoff was doing.

It may just seems like numbers, but one has to put it in perspective. Bernie Madoff stole more money than the entire wealth of 37 countries. Link here. Technically, $65 billion dollars, if was for sale, could buy you the island nation of Madagascar, which is bigger than the State of California and smaller than the State of Texas. That's a lot of money, he stole. Imagine if you had $65 billion in the bank, the balance would read: $65,000,000,000.00.

My insight in reading the book, is that even though the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC: the police officers of Wall Street) was also at fault for losing $65 billion of wealth, only one person was fired. Markopolos says half of the employees should've been fired. At that price, the SEC would have to lose $130 trillion, before we achieved that. By the way, America is currently estimated to be worth about $16 trillion. So according to that logic, the SEC could lose all our money, and not everyone would be fired. That's government for you.

Another book I'm reading is on the collected essays of Albert Einstein. I wish I could say I understood all the physics that he talks about, but I can't. What I do understand about his essays is how Einstein had a unique ability to get into the heads of dead scientists and reenact what they were thinking. Before coming to his paper on relativity, he outlines the foundation of physics and how the geniuses of the past came to their discoveries: from Kepler to Newton to Maxwell to Bohr.

In general, what made all of these geniuses incredible, was that the tools and data to achieve there results had to be constructed for their vision to be achieved. In other words, their thoughts, dreams, and imaginations were beyond the technological limits of their time. So, they made time fit into their thoughts, dreams, and visions; instead of let them die.

Think Frank Lloyd Wright, the architect. To create the building in the picture I included below, he had to create his own tools and experimental versions of support. In short, his vision came before the engineering was available to support the structure, but that didn't stop Wright from achieving the vision he had in his head. Likewise, especially for Kepler, these geniuses needed to build their own tools and capture a set of data that was beyond their grasp for their time, and after overcoming those obstacles, were they able to leave their impact on mankind.

In any event, Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, famous defender of the Right to Free Speech and Right to Privacy, said that it was important for the lawyer to take time off - to string and restring the bow of his mind. Well, I guess that's what I'm doing now, and I think whatever profession you're in - it's important to sharpen your mind with rest.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Video Update from Paul Cook from Cabo, Mexico


video

"We're changing the way that law is practiced, and it feels like a magic carpet is underneath my feet - flying and zooming into exotic and undiscovered lands." - Paul Cook

Friday, April 22, 2016

Advice on Taking a Break in a Foreign Land

A Lotus Flower
Picked a Rare One Once in Darwin, Australia
I was going to write on my legal updates, and I will. There are many of them. Although I'm still here, my brother just flew back home, and it made me realize that I should take that time to write on travel again and how it's important that people get away and reflect on life.

We were in Cabo together, (to get there go South of Los Angeles, until you hit the end of the Mexican Baja Peninsula), and it appears that it's becoming an annual excursion. Everyday took on a de ja vu routine.

Woke up. Ate a great Mexican breakfast -usually consisting of fried pork skin, chicharron. Then we'd take a nap and get ready for the beach.

We went to the beach for six straight days, where we'd bring Mexican chips and guacamole and drinks and just relax. Then we'd come home. Nap. And then eat dinner. And then we'd do our own thing.

Scott watched movies. I read.

We didn't really do much and see much. We just enjoyed our time. But why I'm writing this, is that I think these times are helpful for both of us. We often chatted at breakfast and at the beach.

The first time I brought Scott here, he was afraid of the unknown - the dirt roads, the wild dogs that run in packs, and the hippies at our hostel. But, I think, he came to realize that even in the hustle and bustle of life, it was good to meet these hippies.

We met one named Kari. And Scott really took to her. She was 79 but didn't look at day over 50. Her mission in life was to preserve manta rays - which are large and harmless stingrays that are famous in the waters down here. She's doing everything she can to alert people to the harm they receive from commercial dive boats and the fishing boats. Scott really liked that she was on a mission.

And over breakfast, he kept saying he needed to come back and have another break. Last year, we had a talk about life and what's important. And a year later, it became clear that talk sank in. Now, he's asking himself a lot about how he should be spending his time. I thought that was good.

For me, I'm asking myself the same questions. More specifically though, the questions usually center on how to bring change into a dying and corroding world.

I'm not sure. I'm just thinking and thinking about it, while the calm and warm and salty Mexican breeze glides over my skin.

In any event, we both agree, that taking a break from life, somewhere reclusive helps give perspective on it. Remember, (unless you believe in karma), you only live once. Make the best of it.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Spring Break in Cabo, Mexico

I took a short trip with my brother to Cabo San Lucas. All we do is eat, rest, read, and go to the beach. It's a short holiday.

But I need a spring break too. And I think, some times you just have to get away from it all.

Since I have a lot of legal updates, I'll be letting everyone know "what's on top," as they used to say in New Zealand in a few days.

Friday, April 8, 2016

I Sued Mayor Lozano Again in the Supreme Court of California

Mayor Lozano Getting Told Off
For Not Getting a Contract Through
I sued Mayor Manuel Lozano again in the Supreme Court of California. Either I'm one of those angry do-it-yourself litigants, or I might get the high court to grant review.

Why'd I sue? Because, Lozano, after being warned to stop attacking citizens, who talk back to him, (which he did to me and failed), attacked another citizen by suing the citizen again for another temporary restraining order and lost again.

Originally, I sued Mayor Lozano in small claims court for a claim called malicious prosecution, which punishes people who go around filing frivolous lawsuits against people just to bully them. And that's what Lozano did. And, even though I lost, the story made it to the front page of the LA Times. Great Read

Well, after losing, I then filed a type of appeal to the appellate division, then to the Court of Appeals, and finally to the State Supreme Court. I believe the Supreme Court gave it a serious consideration, as it ordered up the appellate record, voted on it, and denied granting me review. (So - it's over, right?)

It's not over until Mayor sings, is what I say. After the Mayor lost his restraining order case against Tuttle, I immediately sought a special petition to tell the court - hey - reopen up the case. My argument was simple. Since the Supreme Court didn't grant review the first time, it not only gave the Mayor license to sue citizens of their right to criticize public officials, but the court gave two other council members that right too. And unless, these people are held accountable, they'll do it again. The Supreme Court filed my petition on April 4, 2016.

Well, at the City Council meeting on April 6, 2016, I heard the Mayor was a panicky mess. At special council meeting, he said, that the City had to pay to defend This Case because he has no money. (Again, why does the taxpayer have to pay to defend the Mayor's evil deed?)

Apparently, he was so angry, he started bringing up my client's divorce case at public comments period and said that if Tuttle didn't stop criticizing him, he was going to expose Tuttle's divorce history.

The Mayor also kicked out another protester from the City Council meeting.

A number of informants said he wasn't in a good mood, to receive the message: I sued him again. Well, that's what he gets for being bad again. I mean, besides James Butt of Inglewood (word on the street is that Mayor Butt and Lozano are friends), what mayor goes around suing his own citizens?

As the old saying goes, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try, try again."


Monday, April 4, 2016

Reply of the Year to the City Attorney

Photo of the City Attorney, Robert Nacionales-Tafoya after
losing to me for the Mayor Manuel Lozano's Restraining
Order hearing
After defeating the City Attorney Robert Nacionales-Tafoya four times in Casas 1, (and many more losses in other cases), today, Tafoya asked me to withdraw my attorney's fees or he'll ask the court to fine me.

Here was my response to him:

Mr. Tafoya: I'll be happy to withdraw my attorney's fee motion, if you return all the money you took from Baldwin Park since you started working for it. Thank you.

Cheers,

Paul Cook

The nerve of some sore losers, jeez. Hope this brings you a smile today. =)



Why the City Shouldn't Have to Pay the Legal Fees to Defend Crooked Politicians and Their Directors?

Manuel Carrillo aka Manuel Carrillo Jr.
Baldwin Park's Crooked Parks and Recreation Director
Last week, the Court of Appeals came down with a ruling that stated that the City could pay the attorney's fees of a sham non-profit corporation because it was the same entity (or in other words an alter-ego) of the City. You can read a simplified version of the opinion here: Court of Appeals Results - the Good and the Bad. The City's payment of unlimited defense funds for crooks promotes greed, corruption, the rotting of democracy, and harm to those who are trying to do the right thing.

For those of you who don't know, for years, the boxers have been complaining that the Directors of Parks and Recreation (photo below), has been running an alter-ego non-profit corporation. In simple English that means, he's taken over a fake corporation, which he says does good for the world, to really steal money from the city bank account and take in bribe money. Then at the end of the year, he redistributes everything back to himself in the form of Walmart Gift Cards.

For speaking out, Carrillo fired Julian Casas, head boxing coach. He worked there for 20 years. He also punished Julian by giving him a 40 cent an hour raise after 14 years.

Against me, the lawyer who sued for more information regarding this sham corporation, I was arrested, jailed, strip-searched, and had a temporary restraining order filed against me. Manny Carrillo and Mayor Manuel Lozano wanted us, to shut up, and let them steal all the money they could.

So, Julian gets a 40 cent an hour raise, but Carrillo and Lozano take expensive fine dining trips on taxpayer money all over the world. That's our money.

Before, I go on. I want you to make a mental list of everything you can't stand about government. Maybe, it's the burdensome student loans you have. Maybe, it's that you don't get paid enough with your social security. Whatever it is, the cause of all our problems, comes from the Carrillos, Lozanos, and Robert Rizzos of the world stealing our money. When they steal our money to wine and dine on, it forces them to give us less (usually in the form of services) and then, to support their lavish and excessive lifestyle, they have to take more from us (whether that be in the raising of taxes, the taking of vehicles of the undocumented immigrants, or the stealing of our property.)

Civil and criminal prosecution is a good stop to all this, meaning it's good to throw the thieves into prison (like Robert Rizzo) or it's good to sue them so they have to pay back the taxpayer when they steal money from us. But Carrillos, Rizzos, and Lozanos of the world hate accountability. So what do they do?

Well, they ask for the City to pay their defense fees, even though they've been caught. And did Carrillo, Rizzo, and Lozano all ask for this. I think so. The question is why should we pay for their lawyers and the damages that result from their theft when they're guilty of ripping us off?

And that's exactly the question that took about two years to arrive at the Court of Appeals. The Court, although it wisely decided that Carrillo was indeed running a fake non-profit corporation, found that Cities can pay the attorney's fees for this type of business.

The law needs to change because us paying for Carrillo or Rizzo or Lozano's defense fees leads to them not paying personally for the bad act that they've committed. And we all need to be held personally accountable.

Furthermore, because these crooks could keep getting away from accountability, they keep trying to steal from us. Look at Carrillo. He laundered money this Christmas through the City general fund this year. He's also trying to start another sham non-profit. And on top of all that, I hear he's trying to rehire the same criminal (who he gave advice to to hide his record) to work with children again.

Look at Lozano. The small claims court said we couldn't hold him accountable for filing a frivolous lawsuit against me; so, he does it again to a small business owner - only six months later.

So we labor away, and they steal away. At the very least, the law should allow us to recover what they've taken - when they've been caught. Vladmir Putin once said, "Thieves must sit in prison." Seems right to me, because after being caught, the Carrillos, Rizzos, and Lozanos of the world just try again.