Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Open Letter to Cincinnati's Zoo CEO - Shooting a Gorilla

Gorilla Harambe, Protecting Child Before Getting Shot
The Cincinnati Zoo shot and killed a 17 year old gorilla named Harambi. The parents of a three year old, let a child fall into his pen. The father has been reported as a convicted felon.

After the crowds went hysterical, zoo officials made a decision to shoot the gorilla. Pictures, especially from stories in the United Kingdom, show that the gorilla was protecting and nurturing the child - something that the toddler's own parents seem to have failed to do.

Anyways, once again, it shows the reason why we don't need bureaucrats running our country. The CEO shamelessly self-promotes himself as follows: Thane Maynor is "internationally known for his innovation and dedication to wildlife preservation, research and education." Innovation and dedication to wildlife now means putting a bullet into creatures' heads.

I wrote an open letter to the CEO. (Thanks to ceoemail.com for providing the email address.)

from:Paul Cook pcook.reinvented@gmail.com
date:Tue, May 31, 2016 at 12:33 PM
subject:Re: Outrage at the shooting of the gorilla

Dear Mr. Maynard:

I'm writing to let you know I can't believe you shot that gorilla. Violence isn't the first resort, and now the world's lost a beautiful creature.

Those parents were negligent in letting their child escape into the gorilla's enclosure. I believe whoever is responsible for that decision should resign.

This is really a horrific event, and you and your zoo should be ashamed of itself in failing in its duties to take care of these animals. I question your judgment and competence.


Paul Cook

Even though this has to do with a zoo, a bureaucrat deciding to shoot a gorilla, and parents who can't be responsible for their own children - I think it just goes to show everything wrong with this country. If George Orwell wrote Shooting an Elephant, I really should write an article on Shooting a Gorilla. 

Monday, May 30, 2016

How Laws Are Made By Corporations Behind Closed Doors (In Baldwin Park and Nationally)

This video clip shows you how corporations make law in closed doors with politicians. What happens is that the corporations pay for the politicians to come to information sessions or conferences at fancy resorts at hotels. There, it looks like the corporations tell the politicians what they want and what the politicians will get in return. The agreements are made. Then when the politicians get back home, they go through the sham process of passing the laws.

Doesn't this sound this sound familiar to my case against Mayor Lozano, Council Member Pacheco, & Council Member Garcia against Greg Tuttle? In that case, Tuttle stayed at the same four star resort as these council members and Mayor to see what they were up to. The hosts were corporate sponsors. As a result, the three of them voted to sue Tuttle and take revenge for him to see what they were up to. Why?

Because they were being bought off by corporations to make law in the City of Baldwin Park. They get their kickbacks. These local and small-minded and greedy politicians didn't want to get caught.

In the end, we get taxed more. Residents don't get services. The corrupt get richer. We get poorer. This is what local and perhaps national democracy has turned into.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Setbacks - Losing Attorney's Fees Hearing and Court of Appeals Dismissal

Copyright Idinsight
So, last week, didn't bring the best news. In Tuttle's case, the Pomona Court gave me no money for winning because it said the case was over and that it couldn't decide such issues anymore. (That's not what the law says, though.) Sad, I put in over 100 hours into that case.

Then, in my public records act case, the court said that I wasn't getting any money too. Then it said I was only worth $175 an hour, half of what my hourly rate was originally. (I believe this happened because I kept asking the judge to issue more orders against the City of Baldwin Park, which it did.) In life, the messenger does get shot. Sad, I put a few hundred hours into that case too.

Then in my Mayor case, even though the Supreme Court ordered the Court of Appeals to review an issue in my case, the Court of Appeals just threw the case out. (I found out that puzzling, because that was an order from the highest court of our state.) Anyways, we filmed the Mayor bragging about how he got away with his crime at the council meeting. So, that's good.

Then the City Attorney, even though the motion has already been heard, filed a sanctions motion against me (even though he has no legal right to it). (A sanctions motion is that Tafoya is asking the court to fine me, even though it was the City who failed to obey the court orders to release records. How does this make any sense?) He didn't even tell me. I found out by searching the court website. This is I believe the sixth or seventh sanctions motion against me by Tafoya and the City.

Well, this is how it is to be litigator. You win. You don't get paid. And in general, people seem to be able to do whatever they want.

I was a bit frustrated and tired at first. But, then I realized, I should be grateful. Grateful? How can you be grateful when everything is going wrong?

I was reminded by a verse in Scripture that states, "Don't worry about anything, but in all your prayers ask God for what you need, always asking him with a thankful heart."

Well, thankful for what? When I was a rebellious teen, I would say, "I'm not thankful for anything." Now, that's a bad attitude to have.

I've been reading a book called Originals, in which the author says that the most creative people that are changing our world have a series of setbacks. And what makes them so creative, is that they don't give into it. Those setbacks teach them.

I was talking to one of my mentors about it. And we both were stunned that the Supreme Court granted my writ to even order my case transferred to the Court of Appeals. And I told him, "Remember when I was asking you about how to file an extraordinary writ two years ago? I finally learned how to to do it." I grinned, widely too.

He said, "You've come a long way in two years."

I said, "Well one of things I learned is that you have to fail a few times and learn from it to get it right. You're not going to get there on your first try."

"That's right. The first one is fifty times harder than the rest."

And so when I remembered those experiences of failure, I realized it was those lessons that taught me drafting, perseverance, and the skills I have now.

To be honest, even though the Court of Appeals rejected my Mayor case,  I was grateful that I had a chance to write another petition to the Supreme Court. I thought, Here's another opportunity to have another conversation with them. And even though I didn't enjoy working until midnight for three days (or maybe I did enjoy it), it brought me joy that I was going to enter into another dialogue with the justices.

I mean, how many instances can you really have a talk with the Supreme Court? Not many. But when the Court of Appeals rejects your case, as per the order of the Supreme Court, you have a chance to be heard. And that's actually - awesome.

Regarding the attorney's fees that was rejected, well, I filed a petition in the Court of Appeals on Friday. It's been transferred to Division 3. And that brings me joy too. Why?

Well, I've appeared now before Division 1, 2, 3, 4, & 5. There are 8 divisions in the Court of Appeals. I'd like now to appear in 6, 7, & 8; so that they all know what's happening in this City and what we've all suffered through. I'd like to have the chance to tell them that corruption is stealing the future of our youth and why. I'd like to tell them that our country can fall into ruin, unless the courts take these problems seriously and restore justices and ethics into our system and profession. And I don't get to do that, unless I have these kind of setbacks.

And what about not getting paid? Well, my boxing friend gave me a book called The Domino Diaries, in which the author goes to Cuba during the Cold War. He wants to go there because he's fascinated by the Cuban boxers, who have the reputation of rejecting million dollar American contracts for the love of their country, for the love of being a socialist society. According to him, these Cuban boxers fight for one reason only: The love of fighting.

Well, I'm going to have to tell these judges, that I was really Cuban in another life. Because if I'm doing all this without getting paid, I'm not in it for the money. I'm in it for this: The love of the fight. And as the Koreans say, "Fight on!"

Friday, May 13, 2016

On the Firing of the Head Boxing Coach - Two Year Anniversary

Two years ago, between May 9th to May 22nd, Mayor Manuel Lozano, Council Member Ricardo Pacheco, Council Member Monica Garcia, Chief of Police Michael Taylor, and Parks and Recreation Director Manuel Carrillo suspended and fired former head boxing coach, Julian Casas, after he worked for the City for 20 years at $8.40 an hour. Besides reminding everyone of the anniversary, this post is also about what I've learned since then and what's progressed.

The main lessons I learned are: 1) The worst thing a government can do against the people is divide a community; & 2) Corruption, in government, robs the future from our youth. But before discussing that, let's talk about what happened two years ago.

In December of 2013 (about two and a half years ago), Carrillo wanted to shut down our boxing club, even though the City run boxing club had a long and proud history. It's probably the only thing the City of Baldwin Park could be proud of; as this is a City blighted by corruption and poverty. Individuals on average make $13,000 a year here and half of all the girls will get pregnant before the age of 18.

The boxing club had enough. So, we protested. And after protesting, the boxing club hours were returned.

But there was the problem of the boxing coach's wages. Carrillo, making over $200,000 a year, was paying these boxing coaches $8.40 an hour. Carrillo kept stating that there was no money in the budget.

After complaining long enough, Carrillo gave Julian a raise of 40 cents an hour, to $8.80 an hour.

So, we investigated what was going on in the City. The reason that the Mayor and Council Members liked Carrillo so much was that Carrillo was running a sham non-profit corporation, which was a shell corporation being used to launder money, meaning that he was stealing the taxpayer money and putting it in his hands and the hands of his friends.

We sued. After suing, Carillo ordered the police to investigate both Julian and me for child abuse. They found nothing. They searched twice. (Incidentally, the police were also forced to draft up a false incident report recently against Greg Tuttle as well, recently. Some things never change.)

So, they forced one of the boxing participants and his mother, (who at the time was 17 years old) to file a complaint against Julian and me. It was later also revealed that the mother was rewarded for filing such charges.

We all had a dinner during the children's Easter break. We celebrated Passover. Julian brought the participant home around 11:00PM, even though it was a Friday. For it, we were accused of an inappropriate relationship with a minor. No criminal charges were ever filed because we didn't commit a crime. Also, this was done on everyone's free time - not work time.

Nonetheless, Carrillo and Taylor and the Mayor fired Julian. I remember when the news was announced, I felt sick to my stomach and couldn't eat. Julian probably made no money being a head boxing coach because he spent all of it on supplies for the poverty stricken high school participants.

After firing Julian, Carrillo doubled the pay of the boxing coaches to $15 to $16 an hour. Carrillo, first, hired a known criminal to become the head boxing coach. It's also been discovered that Carrillo knew the boxing coach had a violent record and taught that criminal how to expunge it to escape detection by the City's human administration system.

But I still caught it and pointed it out. Then, Carrillo hired a the youngest boxing coach, Luis Rosales to be head boxing coach, most likely so he could unduly influence him. (Luis's performance, as a manager, has been less than standard.)

The newspapers wouldn't take the story, of someone who worked for the City for 20 years, being fired for complaining about corruption. So, shortly after, I leafleted at the park. I wanted people to know what happened.

There, under the orders of Mark Harvey, five officers arrested me. At the jail, a woman officer strip searched me. I spent about four hours in the city jail. (By the way, I have no criminal history; I don't even have a traffic citation against my name.)

After I left the city jail, I saw the mayor at the restaurant Julian asked me to meet him. I asked him how he liked arresting me. He took a few steps away and said, "Stay away from me."

Then, the Mayor, ordered the City Attorney, Robert Nacionales-Tafoya to file a temporary restraining order against me. At that hearing, I won. Had I have lost, the Mayor would have tried to complain against me to the State Bar and have my license taken away, all for telling the truth and telling the the court the truth.

I was lucky to be able to have the attorney, Carol Sobel, sue on my behalf. Julian wasn't as lucky. No lawyer wanted a case, where the damages weren't going to be high because Julian was only making $8.80 an hour when he was fired.

Nonetheless, I pressed on, still representing Julian in court, for the cases we filed against the City. Since then, I've been able to convince the court to issue four judgments against the City, and three orders to release records. The City still has not complied. The Court of Appeals has stated I was right: Carrillo was and is running a sham non-profit.

What this story is, is a story of rampant corruption in the Los Angeles region. The entire affair has destroyed a youth community, who are really poor. The boxing gym has become a regimented and unfriendly and unwelcoming enviornment because of all that has happened. The story reveals the heart of the people running this City.

George Orwell and Winston Churchill both said that the worst thing a government can do is re-write a history. I believe that's the second worst thing.

The worst thing people in power can do is destroy a community. And, believe me, whether it's dislocating an entire race from their property or destroying a boxing gym. Without the human relationships that a community provides, people are doomed to live without the necessary connections required to grow and be valued. In some ways, community is more important for a person, than the food and water he or she drinks.

Also, the entire affair has shown me the net effect of what happens when government steals from us. (This is essentially what corruption is.) When government does so, it's basically stealing from the future of our youth.

It all starts when those in charge, are possessed with the sin of envy and greed and anger. But instead of wanting to work or be productive, they want the easy money. Really, they want what other people have worked for, but don't want to pay for it. And to get it, they use their power to tax to take it from us. Then, they use sham corporations to filter it back to themselves. So they don't have to work, but we do.

In the end, it corrodes an environment, where people are not rewarded for working or creating. And instead of spending the resources collected to help our city, those in charge, are pilfering it for themselves. It results in youth, who are not equipped to be competitive in a modern workforce.

Essentially, the Mayor and his associates, are taking all the people's resources to enrich themselves at our cost. A very few people get wealthier, and we (and our future generations), the masses, get poorer.

That's the real lessons of what happened in Baldwin Park's boxing gym.

Friday, May 6, 2016

I Filed a Petition with the California Supreme Court and Improving Your Performance

Image of the California Supreme Court
Yesterday, I filed Julian Casas' Supreme Court Petition in San Francisco.  This blog post is on how a petition for review works, the issues in this case, and what I think has helped improve my performance.

A Petition for Review asks California's Supreme Court to look into a case that an appellate court (or intermediate court) already ruled on.

That means you can't file directly with the Supreme Court. You have to have an opinion or order from the Appellate Court first. And you can't file at the Appellate Court, until you finish your case at the trial court. So, some cases take years, even up to 10 years, before getting filed at the Supreme Court.

Generally speaking, of all the briefs filed with the Supreme Court, only 1% to 1.5% are granted review, in which the court will write a full opinion on the issue. In 2014, there were 59 opinions written (excluding death penalty cases, which have an automatic right of appeal). There were 4,134 petitions for review filed. So, 59 cases, divided by 4,134 petitions for review, equals 1.4%. The odds are really, really low that I'll get a review on this case.

But, with that said, there are two facts that make me hopeful. The first one, is that the high court granted me an order against the Mayor just last week. High Court Keeps My Case Alive Against the Mayor That's even harder to get than a Petition for Review. And so, that means the justices are familiar with the players and the problems in the City of Baldwin Park. The second factor is that the Court of Appeals already sent part of the file to the Supreme Court before I filed the petition. In other words, I believe the Court of Appeals flagged to the Supreme Court, that This Case against Baldwin Park has some major issues.

Here are the issues being asked in This Petition. When the Mayor or Council Member or the Parks and Recreation Director get caught for doing something really illegal, should the City pay for their defense fees and damages? Like, what about money laundering? Or sexual harassment? Or filing frivolous temporary restraining orders against their critics? And these attorney's fees in Baldwin Park are becoming outrageous, totaling in the millions now, since I've been litigating against them. (There are other issues too, but that's the main question being posed to the High Court.)

(I'm going to write a fuller article on the topic of corruption soon, and explain why I believe we're moving into our Second Dark Ages because of problems like these. The Dark Ages was the first, recorded and prolong period of time in Western History where human civilization didn't advance, and some argue, even regressed. I believe we're moving into that too, now, sadly because of how overbearing government is becoming, especially in Baldwin Park and other corrupt cities all over Southern California.)

But even so, I'm hopeful that the Court will give Julian's petition a serious read.

I've been asked how I was able to write a petition that the Court granted review in. It's been awhile, since I've given some learning instructions. But here it is.

You can't let failure stop you. The Book of Wisdom says, "The [righteous] may trip seven times, but they will get up again." So, the question is how do you get back up? Failure, certainly, can feel fatal - though it rarely ever is.

This is an example from my life. Filing a Petition for Review is a lot of work. You only have 10 days, including the time to mail it to San Francisco, to write your Petition. You know that the odds are overwhelmingly against you at 99%. So, how do you get one reveiwed?

How many Supreme Court filings did I have before I got my first order? Two. I failed twice on that. And before those failures, on another case, I filed two other filings that had a low chance of getting a review. So, in total, I filed four failed petitions, and all of them were a lot of work. I would estimate anywhere between fourty to two hundred hours. And when you spend that kind of time, without making any money on it, it can feel disappointing.

But practice makes perfect. And after each failure, I received feedback. I thought it through. I ran through my head what I needed to do better for the next one. (And I guess I knew of this process, because it's the same process I went through to get published - both in fiction and academia.)

Finally, I kept telling myself, as long as you're learning something, you're working on something you care about, and you're getting better at the art of persuasian, you're going to keep going and trying. No matter how many times, you get a No.

So, in my view, those core beliefs: to keep fighting and to keep hope alive, kept me going. It's all part of the journey in finding yourself - no matter what field you're in.

(Let's keep our fingers crossed.)