The History of Sidewalk Obstruction Enforcement in Los Angeles (Part 1)

Jacob Kuhrts, 19th century LA councilman and either noble freedom fighter or monumentally self-righteous asshole, you decide.
Jacob Kuhrts, 19th century LA councilman and either noble freedom fighter or monumentally self-righteous asshole, you decide.
This is the first in an occasional series of posts examining various episodes from the rich and disturbing history of the criminalization of sidewalk use in Los Angeles. As we shall see, the sidewalks of our city have been a site of contention for well over a century.

We begin in January 1887 when, according to the Los Angeles Times,

There has been great complaint about the abominable fashion in which the sidewalks—especially at street corners—are blocked up by loafers and by thoughtless citizens; and the police have been ordered to enforce the ordinances and abate this nuisance.1

Even then, evidently, maybe especially then, an order to “enforce the ordinances” had a subtext. Ensuing events show that Officer Little didn’t understand these unspoken aspects:
Continue reading The History of Sidewalk Obstruction Enforcement in Los Angeles (Part 1)

BID Patrollies Arrest Black Man for Any Random Thing that Pops Into Their Heads

BID patrollies preparing to arrest a man for blocking the sidewalk even though he is evidently not blocking the sidewalk.  Someone would later alter the charge to conform to reality.
BID patrollies preparing to arrest a man for blocking the sidewalk even though it is manifestly evident that he is not blocking the sidewalk. Someone would later alter the charge to conform to reality.
Watch the first minute of this video and see, in 2010, some BID Patrollies confront and accuse a man of “blocking the sidewalk”:

Officer: OK, so do me that favor and just get up and go somewhere cause you’re blocking the sidewalk.

Man: Not blocking the sidewalk, people got places to walk right past me.

Officer: You’re blocking the sidewalk.

Man: I’m not blocking nothing.

And you can see from the video that the man is not, in fact, blocking the sidewalk. But, unsurprisingly, the BID patrollies arrest him anyway.
Continue reading BID Patrollies Arrest Black Man for Any Random Thing that Pops Into Their Heads

They Have Sown the Wind, and They Shall Reap the Whirlwind

The prophet Hosea explaining to Business Improvement Districts in Hollywood that the Lord is not so happy with their shenanigans
The prophet Hosea explaining unto Business Improvement Districts in Hollywood that the Lord is not pleased with their shenanigans
Today’s text, brothers and sisters, as we begin to return to action after celebrating the birth of our Lord and savior, is Hosea 8:1-7:

…[T]hey have transgressed my covenant, and trespassed against my law. Hollywood shall cry unto me, My God, we know thee. Hollywood hath cast off the thing that is good: the enemy shall pursue him. They have set up kings, but not by me: they have made princes, and I knew it not: of their silver and their gold have they made them idols, that they may be cut off… For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind…


Image of Hosea by Duccio di Buoninsegna is in the public domain and available via Wikimedia here.

First Batch of BID Patrol Videos Available

LAPD officer tases prone, unresisting man on Hollywood Blvd. on December 17, 2009.
LAPD officer tases prone, unresisting man on Hollywood Blvd. on December 17, 2009 while the crowd of onlookers, many of them also sworn officers, do and say nothing about it.
Today I uploaded 14 videos obtained from the HPOA under the California Public Records Act. You can see them here or via the drop-down menu structure or here. There are more videos to follow, although probably not immediately.

No one here has had time to watch these thoroughly yet. If you see something we should write about please drop a line. Meanwhile, in this video from December 2009, you can see an LAPD officer calmly and deliberately use his taser on a prone, unresisting man (at 6:40), contrary to both human decency and LAPD policy (see §573 Use of Non-Lethal Control Devices). The victim’s last words before he’s tased? “I ain’t doing nothing.” And he ain’t, either.

What Publicity Can Do

Business Improvement Districts crushing Hollywood under their golden heel, the oppression protected, enabled, and obscured by heavy thunderclouds.
Business Improvement Districts crushing Hollywood under their golden heel, their oppression protected, enabled, and obscured by heavy thunderclouds representing secrecy, regulatory capture, and impotent, sycophantic politicians.
Louis Brandeis famously stated that “Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman. And publicity has already played an important part in the struggle against the Money Trust.”1

We here at MK.org find that these words are as true now as they were 101 years ago. You will recall that we recently received a treasure trove of emails pursuant to a Public Records Act request to the HPOA. In these documents we’ve uncovered two very interesting remarks by Steve Seyler, most exalted pooh-bah of BID security.
Continue reading What Publicity Can Do

U.S. Army Veteran Complains About BID Patrol’s Reckless Firearms Behavior. Steve Seyler Dismisses Fears as “a tad over emotional.” Investigation Ongoing?

The BID patrol officer discussed in this post, his hand clearly on his gun.
The anonymous BID patrol officer discussed in this post, his hand clearly on his gun. Click and zoom to see more clearly.
On October 23, 2014, an Army veteran wrote to Devin Strecker of the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance, among others, the following words:

This morning on my way to work, I was standing waiting to cross the street when I look over and see the gentleman on the left in the picture attached, grasping his weapon as if to draw his fire arm all while chatting away with the gentleman on the right. As I continued to wait to cross the street, I noticed the gentleman on the left start to pull out actually draw his weapon about 4-5 inches out of his holster. All the while standing chatting with his partner. I am ex army infantry, when we even had our hand TOUCHING our holstered weapon, there better had been a life threatening reason to even touch our holstered weapon.

Continue reading U.S. Army Veteran Complains About BID Patrol’s Reckless Firearms Behavior. Steve Seyler Dismisses Fears as “a tad over emotional.” Investigation Ongoing?

Law Is Our Father and Mother, Whom We Will Not Dishonour

Thomas Carlyle in the act of weeping for the Hollywood Media District BID because they won't listen, they just won't listen...
Thomas Carlyle in the act of weeping for the Hollywood Media District BID because they won’t listen, they just won’t listen
These words Thomas Carlyle, in his great history of the French revolution, put into the mouths of a vast mob of sans-culottes, on their way to plant a Tree of Liberty in the Jardin des Tuileries.1 Even those maligned symbols of mob rule and terror realized that the law is the only salvation of a free people. How then do the members of the Board of Directors of the Hollywood Media District BID, a group to whom has been granted every privilege that law can devise, come to dishonour2 it so?

But enough nonsense. We have a story to tell you about the Hollywood Media District BID!
Continue reading Law Is Our Father and Mother, Whom We Will Not Dishonour

October 1, 2014 through November 12, 2014 Emails between A/I and HPOA

How email works...in Italian
How email works…in Italian!
While my literarily profligate colleagues lounge around MK.org secret headquarters drinking cheap wine and writing reams of nonsense about the antic shenanigans of the HPOA I, at least, am working hard to provide actual documentary evidence to you, dear reader. I am pleased to announce the availability of the first fruits of a recent Public Records request to HPOA, faithfully fulfilled by the ever-helpful Kerry Morrison. This set of documents consists of all disclosable emails between HPOA and A/I for the dates October 1, 2014 through November 12, 2014.

They are available through the menu structure in the header, or here, or from our static file storage either as a 7.7 MB zip archive or as individual PDFs. There is more to come.


Image by Massimo Barbieri, released under the CC BY-SA 3.0 and available via Wikimedia.

Zillionaire HMD BID Board Member Varet Funded Hate-Spewing Muses of Spree Killer Anders Behring Breivik

Norwegian racist Spree Killer Anders Behring Breivik: Three degrees of separation from the Hollywood Media District BID
Norwegian racist Spree Killer Anders Behring Breivik: Three degrees of separation from the Hollywood Media District BID
As we previously discussed, the Hollywood Media District BID recently expanded the size of its board of directors in order to include Joseph Varet, who told the assembled worthies that he wanted to be on the board “to contribute my own non-profit/for-profit board experience to just contribute towards further…uh…developing the district in a positive and sustainable way.” We don’t know about you, but, to paraphrase Hanns Johst, “Wenn ich überzeugt und nachhaltige höre … entsichere ich meinen Browning!”1

Joseph didn’t go into details about his “own non-profit/for-profit board experience” but, as you may have guessed, have we got some details for you!
Continue reading Zillionaire HMD BID Board Member Varet Funded Hate-Spewing Muses of Spree Killer Anders Behring Breivik

New Glossary Page

Sometimes a little shift in perspective can reveal unsuspected patterns in the world
Sometimes a small shift in perspective can reveal unsuspected patterns in the world
By request I’ve added a new page to the header which explains the various players in the game we’re covering along with some common acronyms for them. It’s hard to sort these things out, God knows, but I hope this will help. Please email or leave a comment if you’d like me to define more terms.


Image via Wikimedia Foundation and released under CC BY-SA 3.0.