By REECE PASCOE
Although Peoples City Council Los Angeles (PCC) sounds like it might be an official city organization, it is not. It is an actions-oriented coalition of social and climate justice organizations from all over Los Angeles. According to its website click here “PCC emerged in the absence of definitive City action to protect the most vulnerable – the unhoused and tenants.”
The unofficial PCC leader is Ricci Sergienko, who self identifies as anti-fascist. Growing up in western Massachusetts, his mom worked two jobs and dad was a welder. When he was 18, he moved to Santa Monica to attend Santa Monica College and lived with his uncle.
His uncle had worked with Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers. When his uncle passed away, Ricci failed classes at SMC.
Subsequently, he enrolled at Compton college and went on to graduate from Southwestern Law School in 2018 with a concentration in entertainment and media law.
PCC it is one entity under a giant umbrella of groups, such as the Sunrise Movement, People’s Budget LA, Black Lives Matter and LA Communication Network, which have common goals.
These organization go about achieving their ideals in their own manner that they deem to be the most effective. The goals are roughly the same i.e., racial justice, environmental justice, and income equality.
Sergienko is associated with the Sunrise Movement LA click here which is focused to “advance intersectional climate justice solutions in the Greater Los Angeles Area, building an army of young people to stop climate change.”
The Peoples Budget LA, is coalition led by Black Lives Matter LA click here. The pivotal point of the Peoples Budget LA is to defund the police and the reallocation of the Los Angeles City yearly budget. If one goes to website and fills out a survey, the meta data shows that people want a budget focused on universal aid and crisis management, not police spending.
The LA police budget has been about $1.76 billion over the past couple of years. The main problem with The Peoples’ website survey is that only people who take it mostly have the same political leanings, so it doesn’t have an accurate assessment of what direction most Los Angeles residents want the government to go.
Sergienko and L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, have been targeting each other on twitter. The PCC leader has been mentioned in Villanueva’s political campaign. Sergienko consistently tweets about members of the police department and the city council, and recently got in some hot water for doxing the sheriff’s address.
But Sergienko most recently has been protesting the mayoral candidate’s race. In March the L.A. Times wrote that protestors were stopped and “candidates explained their plans without being shouted down by hecklers pretending to be activists.” But the L.A. Times had it wrong because PCC is an activist organization.
The PCC had a GoFundMe page in April 2020 to help pay for parking tickets that were given during a car protest. The fund, which has now been shut down, raised more than $2.5 million.
PCC donated a half a million to BLM. It donated $100,000 to National Lawyers Guild, and the LA Community Action Network, which “organizes people to fight back against oppression.” The money also financed masks, goggles, gloves and helmets. That left about $2 million for bail, medical costs and legal fees.
The National Lawyers Guild click here is a collection of lawyers focused on their own law expertise, like environmental justice committee, housing and homeless committee, and other specialized hot topics. The NLG is the legal side of these organizations which keep the lawyers on retainer.
Almost all these organizations are 501(c)4, which is not tax deductible. But the legal side, the National Lawyers Guild is a 501(c)3 and donations are tax deductible.
If one donates to an organization to advance a cause one believes in that is not tax deductible, that organization can then donate to the NLG, which is. That money is used to post bail and handle legal proceedings.
During the 2020 “summer of love,” Kamila Harris donated to the Minnesota freedom fund. Some said she was bailing rioters out of jail, but more likely, it was tax write off through NLG.
The PCC was in the news on June 3, when members were protesting the Sheriff, and then Kevin DeLeon at Olivera Street in downtown L.A. It was rumored one could make $400 by just participating in a protest.
This author could not confirm this, but PCC still has just under $2 million from its GoFundMe effort and that does not include money that could have been donated though other means.
Paying $400 a person for a protest is not out the realm of possibility. “Our organizers serve as medics, legal observers and bodies in protests,” the website notes. “We continue to evolve to meet the needs of our comrades.”
John Steinbeck wrote in his book “Dubious Battle” about communist activists and that the true mission is not really the people they claim to represent, but rather their long-term plans for revolution, in which strong class feelings are stirred up.