Monica Yamada and the Hollywood Vicinage

We ♥ James Madison!
We James Madison!

The 6th amendment guarantees the right to “by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed.” This was the result of a compromise away from a right to trial in “the vicinage” where the crime was committed, fought for by James Madison but ultimately compromised in order to allow the constitution to be ratified.

According to Sanjay K. Chhablani of Syracuse University,


The importance of having the jury be drawn from the geographic area in which the crime was committed can be traced back several centuries to the time when jury trials were first held. In those days, jurors were asked not just to ascertain facts as presented by the sovereign, but to bring their own personal knowledge of the crime and the defendant. This personal knowledge would have been lacking in jurors who did not reside in the geographic locale in which the crime was committed and so the right to a jury trial came to be inexorably linked to the right to have the jurors drawn from the vicinage of the crime.

For much the same reason, state and local officials are required to live in the districts that they represent. If you don’t live in a place, you don’t know enough about it to exercise power over its residents. There is, obviously, no such requirement for BID members or their hired gunsels. They just have to own property in their districts. They don’t have to walk the streets, they don’t have to live with the rules they make or be subject to the henchmen they pay to patrol the area and harass, threaten, and arrest its residents. They don’t have to know anything about anything. This is one reason why they’re such a blight. They’re like Strangelovian generals moving pieces around on their map without any way to relate their actions to what’s going on in the actual world they’re affecting. This is horrid and unamerican and, unfortunately, not illegal in any way.

Monica Yamada
Monica Yamada in the act of not knowing where Ivar Avenue is

What does this have to do with Monica Yamada? You can see her in the clip at the end of this post reporting to the Hollywood Property Owners Association meeting on October 16, 2014, about a building, “the Hollywood Spa,” on “North Vine Street” that had become some kind of pebble in the shoe of the BID security patrols and was discussed at the Joint Security Committee meeting on October 9, 2014. She mentioned it at that meeting and was corrected by the mostly-quite-sensible and always-kind Kerry Morrison, who pointed out that the building was on Ivar Avenue, not Vine Street (note that Kerry told our indefatigable reporter at the October 16 meeting that she walks all over Hollywood because it helps her see what’s going on; this is commendable!)
Hollywood Spa Building on Ivar Avenue
Hollywood Spa Building on Ivar Avenue

The correction didn’t stick, though, and by the time Monica reported to the HPOA, it had become Vine Street again. It’s hard to remember isolated facts, isn’t it? Most people remember stuff that’s a part of their daily lives and forget stuff that has no context or connection to reality for them. Like Hollywood for the HPOA. It’s a colony, not a place, good only for the extraction of cash, not for living in. It may seem like a minor thing that Monica doesn’t know where this building is. It’s not. People who have as much power as these BID folks do ought to know the place over which they exercise the power. They ought to know it deep in their spirits, not just in their wallets. It’s a fundamental principle of freedom. Here’s the clip:

Chhablani quote from Reframing the Fair Cross-Section Requirement (J. Const. Law Vol. 13 No. 4 pp.931-76 2010-11). Picture of James Madison from the public domain.

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