Larchmont Village BID Fails To Answer My CPRA Petition By Deadline — What Can It Mean?

As you may recall, I was recently forced to file a petition against the Larchmont Village BID because they just won’t respond to California Public Records Act requests at all. The pleadings are collected here on Archive.Org, although there’s presently not much there. The BID was served on April 4, and they had 30 days to respond. For reasons known only to them they actually failed to file any kind of answer whatsoever.

I guess in an ordinary suit their failure to respond would mean that I just win automatically, but it turns out that the California Code of Civil Procedure at §1088 doesn’t allow a writ of mandate to issue by default. Anyway, the BID did finally decide to discuss it, it seems, as they held a closed session last Thursday, May 24, 2018, and the petition was the only item on the agenda. More news as I have it, of course.
Continue reading Larchmont Village BID Fails To Answer My CPRA Petition By Deadline — What Can It Mean?

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Last Friday, May 18, Devine And Heumann Got Called On The Carpet At City Hall To Get Yelled At By Wolcott, Hoppes, Moreno, Bazley, And Possibly Molnar! — We Have A Copy Of The Refund Affadavit Letter Being Sent To VBBID Property Owners! — As Of This Wednesday, May 23, Tara Devine Still Hadn’t Submitted The Freaking Annual Planning Report — Moreno Coming At Her All Salty! — And Rightly So!

A bunch of new documents for you this morning, friends! You can look through the whole pile of them here on Archive.Org, and read on for some selected gems!

First of all, recall that the Venice Beach BID is being required by the City to refund most of the money collected from property owners in 2017 because they were too damn arrogant and/or incompetent to actually do anything other than pay themselves salaries with the almost two million dollars the City handed over to them.1

You can read this copy of the letter to property owners along with instructions for filling out the necessary affadavit. This was scheduled to be sent out on May 11. What’s more interesting, though, is this email exchange from May 8 between Tara Devine and Rita Moreno about when this letter was to be sent. First Rita Moreno emailed Tara Devine at 3:20 p.m. and said:

Hi Tara,

For your information, attached is the notice and instructions that will be mailed out on Friday. Also included will be the actual Affidavit and the return envelope.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Rita

A mere seven minutes later2 the shadowy one fired off this intemperate reply:

Thank you. To clarify, we want to sit down before anything is mailed . It is important that we understand the entire process.

I’m working now to schedule something as early as possible next week. (Monday is launch, so it can’t be Monday.)

Amazingly, Tara Devine does not seem to understand that she’s not in charge of this situation. She and her BIDdies out in Venice have messed up far, far beyond what’s acceptable to the City, and it takes an awful lot to get to that point. She does not have the leverage to set terms. Which is essentially what Rita Moreno said to her in reply.

Turn the page to read that reply as well as the story of Tara Devine and Steve Heumann’s May 18 meeting at City Hall with a bunch of angry City officials and the story of how as of this Wednesday, May 23, Tara Devine still hasn’t gotten that damn annual planning report in!
Continue reading Last Friday, May 18, Devine And Heumann Got Called On The Carpet At City Hall To Get Yelled At By Wolcott, Hoppes, Moreno, Bazley, And Possibly Molnar! — We Have A Copy Of The Refund Affadavit Letter Being Sent To VBBID Property Owners! — As Of This Wednesday, May 23, Tara Devine Still Hadn’t Submitted The Freaking Annual Planning Report — Moreno Coming At Her All Salty! — And Rightly So!

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Video Of Fashion District BID May 24, 2018 Annual Meeting Now Available Featuring Special Guest Stars Miguel Santiago, José Huizar, And Bryan Eck — Introduced By Chunk-Headed Yobbo Zillionaire And Em Freaking Cee Mark Chatoff — The Crap These People Say When They Think They’re Surrounded By Friends Is — Well, Just Watch It If You Have The Stomach

Look, kids, I know you appreciate what I do to provide you all with the freshest possible news about our fair City’s business improvement districts, but I don’t think anyone who doesn’t go to meetings with me really truly understands the pain involved.1 Or at least that’s how I felt after sixty freaking five minutes2 of the Fashion District BID‘s annual stakeholder extravaganza this morning. But I made it out alive and now you can watch the whole thing on YouTube or here on Archive.Org if you prefer.

José Huizar was the headliner, but there was a surprise appearance by Assemblymember Miguel Santiago which was very revealing, and a long spiel from City planner Bryan Eck, which was too technical for me to follow, but I am sure is of great interest to those who’re interested in that stuff. Huizar’s talk was loaded with his usual weirdo revelations, and I’m going to have to wait till Saturday to write about it because I surely don’t have time right now.

Miguel Santiago had a lot to say about the legislature’s current BID-endorsed effort to gut protections against the abuse of conservatorship, which BIDdies all over the state are salivating over as it will make it so everybody with a uniform, up to and including parking enforcement officers, will be able to take homeless people into custody and lock them up somewhere far, far away from here, for e.g. smelling funny or scaring the nice shiny customers or whatever. Of course, the City Council is all over this issue as well.

He had the nerve to thank the freaking Fashion District BID for their “advocacy around the issue of homelessness..”3 He also mentioned offhandedly that, as part of last year’s BID-induced gutting of AB-1479, which would have amended the California Public Records Act in a number of excellent ways, the Fashion District BID had phoned his office for help and he had helped them. Which is despicable in any number of ways, although not surprising.

As I said, I don’t have time to do justice to most of this material tonight, but if you turn the page, you’ll find links to the various speakers and a transcription of Miguel Santiago’s reprehensible little spiel.
Continue reading Video Of Fashion District BID May 24, 2018 Annual Meeting Now Available Featuring Special Guest Stars Miguel Santiago, José Huizar, And Bryan Eck — Introduced By Chunk-Headed Yobbo Zillionaire And Em Freaking Cee Mark Chatoff — The Crap These People Say When They Think They’re Surrounded By Friends Is — Well, Just Watch It If You Have The Stomach

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At Last Tuesday’s North Figueroa Association Meeting Jesse Rosas Wanted To Talk About Small Businesses Being Gentrified Out Of Existence In Highland Park — NFA Board Führer Tom Wilson And Bill Cody, The World’s Oldest Field Deputy, Kept Trying To Get Him To Shut Up — Probably Because They Didn’t Want To Talk About It On Camera — And Gil Cedillo Has Hired An Urban Planning Firm To Help Relocate Businesses Out Of Highland Park

If you’re following the situation in Highland Park these days you’ll know that one big issue is with commercial landlords jacking up their tenants’ rents by as much as 300% in some cases just because they can. This drives out familiar businesses to make room for even more hot yoga studios or whatever. And of course, this kind of thing doesn’t just happen by itself. There are actually people making a living arranging it.

And it’s well known that business improvement districts represent the interests of commercial property owners, like these rent-jacking landlords.1 So it wouldn’t be big news that BIDs were in on these conspiracies as well. And thus it was no surprise to discover, when I visited the North Figueroa Association last week, to discover that the plight of the small businesses along Figueroa was a hot topic of discussion.

Well, let me qualify that. It was a hot topic of discussion for Jesse Rosas, a local businessman,2 but, probably because they were hyper-aware of my camera,3 BID boss Tom Wilson and Bill Freaking Cody, the world’s oldest field deputy, kept interrupting him and trying to shush him up. They eventually did get him to stop talking, but not before he managed to mention the words they all dread so very much, to wit: commercial rent control.4

Oh, and not before BIDdenführer Tom Wilson made one of the most ludicrously false statements to which, over the long and illustrious course of my entire BIDdological career, I have been privileged to serve as witness: “we’re here to talk about security and trash.” The only sane response to that is “Yeah, right, Tom Freaking Wilson!!” Watch the conversation for yourself and there’s a transcription and discussion of a few details after the break.
Continue reading At Last Tuesday’s North Figueroa Association Meeting Jesse Rosas Wanted To Talk About Small Businesses Being Gentrified Out Of Existence In Highland Park — NFA Board Führer Tom Wilson And Bill Cody, The World’s Oldest Field Deputy, Kept Trying To Get Him To Shut Up — Probably Because They Didn’t Want To Talk About It On Camera — And Gil Cedillo Has Hired An Urban Planning Firm To Help Relocate Businesses Out Of Highland Park

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How Out Of Touch With Actual Human Reality Is The North Figueroa Association? — They Consider Street Vendors To Be Like Drug Dealers, Prostitutes, And Flashers — They Actually Explicitly Overtly Budget Money Each Year To Dispose Of Inventory Confiscated From Street Vendors — Which Is The Same Thing That The Fashion District BID Got Sued For In Federal Court In 2015 — Is The Highland Park BID Next? — Let’s Freaking Hope So!

As you may know, I recently visited the North Figueroa Association as part of my ongoing attempt to understand just what the heck the zillionaires of Los Angeles are thinking.1 Well, I didn’t figure it out this time, but my reception by the NFA was so freaking bizarro that I thought I’d better spend a little more time looking into the background of this shadowy gang of zillionaire culture warriors.

If you ever want to understand what a given business improvement district is up to, the first thing you should look at is the management district plan. This document is required by the Property and Business Improvement Law of 1994, specifically at §36622, and must contain a sufficiently detailed description of everything the BID proposes to spend money on. The easiest way to locate these is via the City Clerk’s map of L.A. BIDs. Each BID’s description contains a link to its MDP. Here’s the Highland Park BID’s MDP.

In this interesting2 document we find a list of the kinds of things that the BID means to spend its security money on: The presence of the Security Program is intended to deter such illegal activities as drug dealing, public urination, indecent exposure, trespassing, drinking in public, prostitution, illegal panhandling, illegal vending, and illegal dumping.

Now of course, sane human beings understand that street vending is not like these other things. Sure, it’s illegal,3 but nevertheless it’s part of the human fabric of Los Angeles and the laws against it are selectively enforced only at the mere whim of zillionaires. There are street vendors everywhere in this City where there aren’t BIDs and no one, not even the cops, seems to be upset. Normal people are thrilled!

It’s really hard to imagine a serious, sane, socialized human being who doesn’t understand that people selling fresh fruit or tacos cooked to order on a street corner are very different from crack dealers, creepers who expose their genitalia to children, or people who shit on the sidewalk.4 It’s quite strange that the NFA doesn’t get this. But they really, really don’t. Read on for details!
Continue reading How Out Of Touch With Actual Human Reality Is The North Figueroa Association? — They Consider Street Vendors To Be Like Drug Dealers, Prostitutes, And Flashers — They Actually Explicitly Overtly Budget Money Each Year To Dispose Of Inventory Confiscated From Street Vendors — Which Is The Same Thing That The Fashion District BID Got Sued For In Federal Court In 2015 — Is The Highland Park BID Next? — Let’s Freaking Hope So!

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How I Videotaped Yesterday’s North Figueroa Association Board Meeting And Got Screamed At By Functionally Illiterate CD1 Field Deputy Bill Freaking Cody — Who, By The Way, Is So Dumb He Thinks White Supremacists Have To Be White — And Board Members Started Undressing To Prove They Were “People Of Color”! — Oh, And Hipster Restaurateur Icon James Bygrave Quit The Board

So yeah, the headline pretty much says it all. I filmed yesterday’s meeting of the North Figueroa Association and got yelled at by a toadie.1 You can watch the video:

They didn’t make quorum, so the meeting was short. The third most interesting part was the report by the world’s oldest field deputy, the toadlike toadie Mr. Bill Freaking Cody, which you can watch beginning here. In particular, Bill Cody notes that CD1 will be holding “an overall design meeting for Highland Park, probably the first week of August.” He lists the groups that will be invited and, big surprise, none of the local arts activism groups are included.

The second most interesting occurrence was Board President Tom Wilson’s announcement that James Bygrave, hipster restaurateur and member of the Highland Park BID’s super-exclusive Facebook stalking committee, is resigning from the Board. Bye James!

And like one of our idols,2we have saved the best for last!” Turn the page for all the news concerning el gran mamón Bill Cody’s rage-rant about how unlike all other BIDs in Los Angeles the members of the Highland Park BID Board of Directors are largely people of color which, it seems, was a response to a recent post of mine that he either didn’t read carefully or wasn’t capable of understanding.3 Read on, friends!
Continue reading How I Videotaped Yesterday’s North Figueroa Association Board Meeting And Got Screamed At By Functionally Illiterate CD1 Field Deputy Bill Freaking Cody — Who, By The Way, Is So Dumb He Thinks White Supremacists Have To Be White — And Board Members Started Undressing To Prove They Were “People Of Color”! — Oh, And Hipster Restaurateur Icon James Bygrave Quit The Board

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Additional Confirmation That This Blog Was Instrumental In The Resumption Of City-Wide Registration Of BID Patrol Officers With The LAPD Comes From A Whiny Little Email From Anti-SRNC Conspirator George Yu Of The Chinatown BID To Rita Moreno Of The City Clerk’s Office

You may recall that in 2016 our work here at MK.Org led to the City of Los Angeles resuming enforcement of a law that had been ignored for more than 15 years which requires security guards, including BID security, who operate on public streets to register with the Police Commission and thus be subject to some public oversight.

In December 2017 I got powerful independent confirmation that the City’s renewed enforcement was due to the work of this blog when Greg Foster, security honcho for the downtown criminal conspiracy known as the Central City East Association, stated in an open and public meeting that such was the case.

And yesterday I received a copy of this June 2017 email from Chinatown BID boss George Yu to City BID analyst Rita Moreno bitching and moaning about the requirement and thereby providing even more confirmation. In fact George Yu sent Rita Moreno a link to this very blog!1 And he introduced the link with the following statement: “Please see link below on what lead up to this.” How’s that for confirmation?!

This was part of a massive dump of material that was obtained from the City Clerk via the California Public Records Act and subsequently shared with me. I’ll be writing about the rest of the material from time to time, and of course there’s a transcription of the entire exchange after the break along with some inconsequential commentary. Why not take a peek, friend?!
Continue reading Additional Confirmation That This Blog Was Instrumental In The Resumption Of City-Wide Registration Of BID Patrol Officers With The LAPD Comes From A Whiny Little Email From Anti-SRNC Conspirator George Yu Of The Chinatown BID To Rita Moreno Of The City Clerk’s Office

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Mike Bonin Told Taylor Bazley To Ask Rita Moreno If It Was Possible To Remove “A Specific Affordable Housing Development From The BID” — Rita Moreno Wrongly Told Him It Was Not Possible And Cited Tara Freaking Devine In Support Of Her Incorrect Theory — Yet Again The City Of Los Angeles Cedes Its Lawful Authority To BIDdies For Nefarious Reasons Of Its Own

Remember at the end of the hearing at which the City Council established the Venice Beach BID in November 2016 CD11 repster Mike Bonin told the audience that he was going to help get residential-use properties out of the BID. Listen to him here, and here’s what he said:

And I would just say one final thing to those who talked about the fact that they have properties that are zoned commercial but are used as residential. As I said when I met with
[unintelligible] recently, I am happy to help those folks get their properties rezoned as residential properties.

Bonin reneged on that promise, and since then he’s been parroting Tara Devine’s mendacious theory that there’s no way for commercially zoned properties to be removed from a BID even though the PBID law very clearly states otherwise.1 It empowers the City Council to lower assessments and/or to remove properties from a BID for any reason or no reason at all.2

Mike Bonin is so committed at this point to hewing to Tara Devine’s bizarre interpretation of the law that he even lets her respond to press inquiries on the matter using his name. And the City Clerk, Ms. Holly Wolcott, is also all-in on this theory, even though it’s provably wrong, wrong, wrong. So presumably her staff in the Clerk’s office are also true believers.

Thus it was not much of a surprise to learn from this January 2018 email exchange between CD11 Venice field deputy Taylor Bazley and City Clerk BID honcho Rita Moreno that Bonin was still obsessed with finding legal support, no matter how shaky and wrong it might be, for never ever removing any property from the BID ever.3

The short version is that Taylor Bazley wrote to Rita Moreno and was all can we remove a particular affordable housing project from the BID?! And Rita Moreno, who is evidently not even worried about getting popped for the unlawful practice of law, was all no way Taylor!! Properties can’t be removed from the BID for any reason whatsoever until the end of the BID!!

And to support her position she quoted a bunch of wrong-headed contradictory nonsense from Tara Devine! Anyway, there’s a transcription of the email thread and some commentary after the break, so read on, friends!!
Continue reading Mike Bonin Told Taylor Bazley To Ask Rita Moreno If It Was Possible To Remove “A Specific Affordable Housing Development From The BID” — Rita Moreno Wrongly Told Him It Was Not Possible And Cited Tara Freaking Devine In Support Of Her Incorrect Theory — Yet Again The City Of Los Angeles Cedes Its Lawful Authority To BIDdies For Nefarious Reasons Of Its Own

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Steve Hudson, Deputy Director Of The California Coastal Commission, Reports Back On Whether The Venice Beach BID Falls Into Coastal Commission Jurisdiction — Short Answer Is Not Right Now But Maybe In The Future — Surprising No One, Steve Hudson’s Report Shows Tara Devine Is A Damned Liar


Recall that on April 11, Venice Beach BID opposition activist Margaret Molloy spoke before the California Coastal Commission, urging them to conceptualize the formation of the BID and the BID’s activities as development under the Coastal Act. Her argument was sufficiently convincing that commissioner Effie Turnbull Sanders directed Commission staff to report back on whether the BID fell within the Commission’s jurisdiction.

And at the Commission’s May 11, 2018 meeting, Deputy Director Steve Hudson did just that. You can watch his entire presentation here on YouTube, and, as always, there’s a complete transcription after the break. Mostly the guy, who’d evidently talked to boss BIDdie Tara Devine at great length, parroted BID propaganda about how they’re just going to clean sidewalks and not hire security guards, but just so-called safety ambassadors who are going to mostly give directions to tourists and so forth.

Given that the BID hasn’t actually even started doing anything, it’s pretty hard right now to expose these bogus claims as the blatant self-serving lies that they obviously are, but eventually we’ll be able to. And here’s just one example of the Tara-Devinean parrotry if you don’t feel like reading the whole speech below. In a weirdly contemptuous display of Kool Aid drinking, Steve Hudson, perhaps inadvertently, revealed much about the utter inhuman contempt that Tara Devine and her nightmare employers on the BID board have for our homeless brothers and sisters in Venice. Note that the transcribed laughter is quite real. Listen for yourself:

I spoke with the president of the nonprofit association. She indicated that these security guards and police do not target homeless or any segment of the population. They’re there to provide information, so for instance if they saw a crime occurring or, the example they gave me is if someone was urinating in a doorway they would ask them to stop and direct them to the appropriate facilities. Ah ha ha ha ha. So it would not be an operation intended to target or displace the homeless.

Continue reading Steve Hudson, Deputy Director Of The California Coastal Commission, Reports Back On Whether The Venice Beach BID Falls Into Coastal Commission Jurisdiction — Short Answer Is Not Right Now But Maybe In The Future — Surprising No One, Steve Hudson’s Report Shows Tara Devine Is A Damned Liar

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The Venice Beach BID Annual Planning Report Provides An Opportunity For Mike Bonin To Unilaterally Remove Properties From The BID Or Reduce Their Assessments To Zero — This Could Happen This Month If Mike Bonin Will Do It!— No Zoning Change Required Even!— Maybe Some Constituent Pressure Will Convince Bonin To Use This Power?


Business improvement districts in California are required by the Property and Business Improvement District Law of 1994 at §36650 to submit an annual planning report to the City every year. The reports must subsequently be approved by the City Council.

One function of these reports is to explain how the BID will spend its money in the coming year, but they have another important purpose. According to the statute:

The report may propose changes, including, but not limited to, the boundaries of the property and business improvement district or any benefit zones within the district, the basis and method of levying the assessments, and any changes in the classification of property, including any categories of business, if a classification is used.

In other words BIDs are allowed to remove properties entirely or reduce their assessments, presumably all the way to zero if they so choose, merely by stating that they’ll do so in their annual planning report.

Now, the Venice Beach BID approved their APR at their April 13, 2018 meeting and submitted it to the City on April 30. They didn’t propose any changes in boundaries or assessment methods. But it turns out that, according to the law, they don’t have the final say. The statute says at §36650(c) that:

The city council may approve the report as filed by the owners’ association or may modify any particular contained in the report and approve it as modified.

So that means that not only can the BID use the APR to remove properties or to reduce their assessments even down to zero, but the City Council can do that also, even without the BID’s approval. And the way things work in the City of Los Angeles, that means that Mike Bonin himself can make the changes. There’s no way his colleagues are going to oppose him on a matter that affects only his district. Read on to see how this might actually lead to properties being removed from the BID this year!
Continue reading The Venice Beach BID Annual Planning Report Provides An Opportunity For Mike Bonin To Unilaterally Remove Properties From The BID Or Reduce Their Assessments To Zero — This Could Happen This Month If Mike Bonin Will Do It!— No Zoning Change Required Even!— Maybe Some Constituent Pressure Will Convince Bonin To Use This Power?

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Business Improvement Districts in Los Angeles — Satan, Your Kingdom Must Come Down!