On October 7, 2014, Hollywood Media District BID property owner Toni Werk wrote to Jim Omahen, HMD operations director, about her parcel at 6065 Melrose Avenue. The gist of her complaint is this:
For the more than $12,000 that I have contributed to the BID, I, or my tenant, have not received one word of promotion in your newsletter. During business hours, my tenant says he has seen your bike patrol only a few times. And during after hours, there is no one staying on our property to phone your Security Patrol if there is an issue. As I originally did not want to participate in the bid [sic], and I voted no against it again, I have been forced to pay a tax that has not been any benefit to me or my tenant.
Jim, rightfully, forwarded this complaint on to his boss, the jolly but rather knuckle-headed Steven Whiddon, who replied, in characteristically evasive1 fashion, replied:
I am happy to report that Captain John Iragoyan [sic] and myself [sic] completed a site visit of your property 6065 Melrose Avenue. We spoke with your leasee, [sic] Tom Pena about the issues you stated in the email below. We made sure he understands we are here to serve and has all of our contact information. He understands that he can contact us at any time to assist with the issues below. …
I am pleased-ish to announce the appearance of about 150 unsorted emails to and from the Media District BID in October and November 2014. These are available from our static storage either as individual PDFs or as a single zipped archive. I’m sorry the dates don’t match the numbering, but this is how they came to me and I have neither the time nor the heart to sort them. There’s some interesting stuff here and some chaff. I’m sure my colleagues will be analyzing some of the hidden gems in days to come, but I didn’t want our avid readers to have to wait until that happens to see the fruits of this public records request. Happy voyeurism!
While flipping about in old issues of the L.A. Times, we came upon the enlightening 1924 advert you see to the right, luring buyers for the famous Hollywoodland development, from which we inherited not only the iconic sign but the famous racist attitudes, it seems. See what it says?
…to the “Old Timer” of Los Angeles! You…..who have seen the fine residential districts of Los Angeles despoiled by metropolitan development—must realize now that Los Angeles is destined soon to be a city of millons.
Protect your family by procuring at today’s prices a home place in the Hills of Hollywoodland—secured by fixed and natural restrictions against the inroads of metropolitanism and yet within twenty-five minutes of Seventh & Broadway.
Today is Your best opportunity. Are you going to sit idly by and let the March of Progress pass unheeded?
We have previously noted that the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance arrests an awful goddamned lot of people for drinking in public. Furthermore, they maintain an utterly schizophrenic attitude about public drinking, arresting the homeless while not arresting the non-homeless for this most natural of human activities. We have suggested that the BID could solve this problem by merely ceasing to enforce this ridiculous law, but our finely crafted arguments have thus far been ignored, making us feel much as the habitually bad-rapped King Canute must have done when dealing with that whole wave thing.
But we’re not discouraged! We live to serve! We have more unsolicited advice for the HPOA. Even though we think their focus on Hollywood’s putative public drinking problem borders on either the delusional or the deliberate employment of the good old Große Lüge for the usual unsavory and genocidal purposes, we do understand that their livelihoods depend on keeping the arrest rates high. We figure that it’s at least plausible that they don’t want to stop arresting people because they’ll be out of a job if they do. As Albert Einstein1 used to say, “it is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!”
First we need a little background on how the HPOA sees the purpose of the BID Patrol. According to executive directrix Kerry Morrison (in an email to our tireless correspondent which was almost certainly written, given its exquisitely lawyeresque quasi-literate lack of concrete content, by Minneapolitan Jeffrey Charles Briggs, the HPOA’s attorney for such matters) “they make citizen arrests with respect to conduct LAPD is empowered to cite but lacks resources or the command decision to do so.” The semantics is clear though the syntax is muddy. The BID Patrol arrests people that the LAPD could arrest but just doesn’t for some reason. The point, of course, is that the BID Patrol gets to be selective about who they arrest, wielding California’s overflowing cornucopia of stupid misdemeanors like a bloody scythe in the fields of Hollywood and thereby, they seem to think, discouraging homeless people from hanging out in the BID. This sentiment was stated even more clearly than Jeff Briggs (or Kerry Morrison, whoever it was) could bring themself to do by an anonymous BID Officer, who once chortled in both his joy2 and in range of a video camera that “You don’t challenge the BID officers. The BID officers have the authority to arrest you. What we do is blessed by the staff at Hollywood Division. We’re helping them out.
Now, we’re almost to the suggestion, which is based on the at-least-plausible theory that when trying to solve drug consumption problems it’s more effective to attack the supply side rather than the demand side. The BIDs have made some minor moves in this direction, evinced e.g. by an article in their Spring 2014 newsletter in which Kerry Morrison claims that “two owners of area liquor stores … are working with us to minimize sales to our homeless neighbors who suffer from alcohol addiction.” But, vide Canute again, this is never gonna happen. You can’t stop suppliers from fulfilling a demand by asking them nicely. That money’s not going to be left on the table. The BID knows this when it comes to the homeless. They could ask them nicely to leave, but they, reasonably given their goals, don’t bother. Instead they just fucking arrest them. It turns out, and now we’re at the point finally, that they could be doing the same thing to the liquor store owners and employees although, for whatever reasons, they choose not to. Read on for details! Continue reading HPOA Chooses Not to Arrest Law-Flouting Liquor Dealers, Proving its Selective Enforcement Intended to Eliminate Homeless Rather than Cut Hollywood Crime→
I am pleased to announce the availability of about 4GB of images, obtained from the HPOA under the California Public Records Act. The main archive page is here. You can see a listing of the files for individual download here. I rot13-ed the filenames to protect people’s privacy somewhat.1 You can get the whole batch via bittorrent which, as always, is most efficient if you want local copies of these pictures. I’ll be organizing these into thematic PDF flip-books and publishing them at the Archive and on Amazon over the next couple weeks, but as it may be a while I thought I’d make the raw images available now.
If you don’t know what rot13 is you need to get your internet user’s license renewed post haste!
We’ve written previously about John Tronson, who, for whatever reason, is no longer president of the Hollywood Entertainment District BID Board of Directors, and his disingenuous, self-serving, mendacious contention that the state of California has no need for the saintly Senator Carol Liu‘s recently introduced SB608, the Right to Rest Act. According to Tronson:
You know, I mean, it, the, the, the reality, the LAPD or the BID Patrol, nobody is gonna ask anybody to move who’s just resting for a couple minutes cause they need to rest. This is just another vehicle to, you know, allow permanent, facilitate, the living on the sidewalk.
LAPD Hollywood Division Captain Peter Zarcone, who seems like a pretty decent guy even if he does look a little “like he had been disinterred for the express purpose of making people uneasy,”1 turned out to be the voice of what passes for ethical standards at the Joint Security Meeting on April 9, 2015. Here’s the story.
The JSC was, as usual, blethering on about how nightclubs are ruining everything and had pretty much agreed that the problem was lack of enforcement of the terms of liquor licenses. The issue is that type 47 licenses, which require a bona fide food service establishment, are being used as type 48 licenses, which do not require food to be served. See here for a description of the various types of California liquor licenses allowed.
The JSC agrees that there are just too many liquor licenses. In fact, listen here as John Tronson accuses one of his fellow zillionaires, possibly Argentinian impresario-about-town Adolfo Suaya of “What’s on Third,” possibly someone whose name we didn’t catch, of mucking everything up by getting “6 liquor licenses for every building he owns” (transcript after the break).
And just now, on April 3, 2015, the LA Board of Building and Safety Commissioners slapped an “ORDER TO COMPLY” on the window of the Sunset/Gordon building which states:
An investigation of various complaints received by the Department has revealed that the subject apartment building is being used as a hotel without the required permits and Certificate of Occupancy.
Therefore, you are hereby ordered to stop the unapproved use and occupancy as a hotel on or before April 10, 2015.
We’ve written before about the BIDs’ and the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce’s sinister plot to turn Hollywood into a sundown town by discouraging black and brown people from coming here at night. We’ve also written about the Hollywood Entertainment District BID’s soulless opposition to the saintly Senator Carol Liu’s Right to Rest Act, which would prevent the BID Patrol from harassing and arresting homeless people for violating the vile LAMC 41.18(d), which makes it a misdemeanor to sit on the sidewalk for any purpose other than watching a parade. What we discovered recently from a fine article by Renee Lewis which appeared yesterday on Al Jazeera America is that the two issues are linked via the despicable League of California Cities.
Lewis quotes various activists to the effect that “[t]he homeless are not the first marginalized group targeted by the League in its over 100-year history” and “[t]he League has supported sundown towns, Jim Crow laws, Chinese exclusion and Japanese internment.” And it’s true. E.g., look at the LA Times1 on February 16, 1942, where Richard Graves, executive secretary of the League is quoted as saying:
The most obvious advantage to be gained by enactment of such ordinances [including evacuation of Japanese-Americans] is protection of the civilian population…
As you may already know, in 2013, a baying, pitchfork-and-torch wielding, mob of Hollywood business owners and a few residents flipped the fuck out about the Greater West Hollywood Food Coalition and tried to get the city of Los Angeles to outlaw the free sharing of food in public. In order to better understand the mindset of these people you may read this set of 2013 emails to/from Council District 13 on the matter. O’Farrell, as willing a servant of the power elite as his predecessor Eric, not only opined that the GWHFC had to go, but instructed his staff to boast about his attacks on common decency “via press or social media.”
The main theme of these mobbies is their own fear but, as Robin DiAngelo has sagely noted, “whites often confuse comfort with safety.” For instance, read Alexander Polinsky, son of Paula Greenfield, prime mover of the George Harrison memorial tree in Griffith Park, as he trembles in fear of “scary psychotic homeless that terrorize us…the worst kind of people, people we worked hard to avoid by buying nice homes and paying taxes.” Polinsky is even terrified of GWHFC’s fairly saintly organizer, Ted Landreth, who, according to Polinsky, “…likes to tell people he was a marine, implying that he is able to kill and be tough instead of actually being compassionate…”
Or see how Rick Howard, COO and VP of Occidental Entertainment, member of the board of directors of the Hollywood Media District BID, and master of delusio-inflammatory rhetoric, blamed the Food Coalition for a 2013 stabbing murder on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He warns all and sundry that obviously there will be many more murders if the feeding is allowed to continue:
Notably, not even the recent murder of a young woman on the Walk of Fame was sufficient to shake our local Council representatives into action, which is all the more disturbing since it is now known that the assailant formerly worked at the feeding program. … Was it not a matter of time before such a tragic event such as this took place? Must it happen again before someone acts?1
Not one for whom a rhetorical trope readily loses the freshness of its first bloom, Rick tells O’Farrell et al. in another email that
[the homeless] wander our streets and defecate, urinate, vomit, discard used hypodermic needles and condoms, set fire to trash bins, break into cars, harass and assault people—and now, as you know, one of the food line’s volunteers recently murdered a young woman over a dollar.