The release of the HPOA’s quarterly newsletter is always an interesting time here at MK.org secret headquarters. On the one hand we’re always aghast at the latest stupidity, cupidity, mental rigidity, and white privilegidity on display. On the other hand, we always end up with a bunch of topics about which to write. The Summer 2015 issue is no exception.
As every regular reader of this blog knows by now, the HPOA is hysterically opposed to the legalization of street vending in Los Angeles. They’ve entered into conspiracies with the abhorrent Central City Association to subvert the democratic process through astroturfing and mendacity. And, according to Kerry Morrison, writing in the newsletter:
Before an ordinance is drafted, the CLA [Chief Legislative Analyst] staff presided over a series of public hearings to gain input from the community. Staff representing both BIDs, along with board members, attended each of these hearings and expressed the concerns of the business community. However, members of the business community were outnumbered easily 10:1 at these hearings.
Hollywood board member Alyssa Van Breene and staffer Devin Strecker attended the first meeting on May 28 in Boyle Heights. When they tried to share their concerns the audience booed. Though there were no boos or hissing at the second hearing on June 11 in Van Nuys, the audience was unruly and disrespectful to those testifying against the ordinance or speaking on behalf of small business.
Now, Kerry is well-known for her bluenosed Mrs. Grundyism, and we’ve grown somewhat accustomed to it, but this is really over the top, even for her. Let’s restate this in human language, shall we?
Kerry Morrison runs an organization that’s not just paying these people1 to oppose street-vending, but is also involved in arresting, kidnapping, humiliating, and robbing street vendors in Hollywood. She is essentially the kingpin of a violent revanchist gang of thugs, the BID patrol, and street vendors are among her henchmen’s favored targets.
So Kerry sends paid agents to a public meeting where citizens gather to express their personal political views. Maybe Devin Strecker, Alyssa Van Breene, and the rest of them are sincerely opposed to legalized street vending, but if so, it’s a mere coincidence, as they’re being paid big bank to oppose it, and being paid by an organization that’s proven repeatedly that it’s willing to use violence against street vendors.
Now, civility,2 respect, and whatever the opposite of “unruly” is, are fundamentally relations among equals. Strangers treat one another, ideally, with civility, respect, and ruliness because in our society people are assumed to be equals until their bad behavior proves them otherwise. Once someone is exposed as an asshole,3 and take it from us, the HPOA’s staff and board are so exposed, there’s no call whatsoever to be ruly, to be civil, to show respect in one’s dealings with them. That’s for dupes and victims. The HPOA has no claim whatsoever to any civility. They use violence on street vendors and they want the supporters of street vendors to be nice to them? Why?
It did occur to us that perhaps Kerry’s point is that the unruly, uncivil, disrespectful supporters of the street vendors don’t really “know” that Devin and Alyssa are lying flacks for the thuggish HPOA. Maybe they’re supposed to be accorded the respect that’s due to strangers because the supporters don’t have any solid evidence that they’re flacking for a violent gang. We abandoned that theory, though, as insulting to Kerry’s intelligence. Surely a grownup understands that if people treat you in a way that’s justified by your behavior it only makes you look like a whiny baby to argue that they didn’t really know that they were justified.
- Probably Alyssa Van Breene, being a board member, isn’t being paid by the HPOA, which makes it even worse that she’s such a flack.
- Civility is one of Kerry Morrison’s obsessions. Just, e.g., see 2014-15-WORK-PLAN-FINAL-VERSION1-1 for enough examples to make sane people collapse twitching and puking in the gutter. Despite her obsessive fixation on civility, she seems, at least from the phenomenological evidence, to have given little if any thought to what the word means.
- We have not the time, the space, nor the inclination to define the word “asshole” here. Fortunately this has been done by an actual professor of philosophy in a fine piece of work which we heartily recommend to anyone who wants a deeper understanding of the semantics of this essential word: Assholes: A Theory. Aaron James. Doubleday. 2012.
Initial image of Kerry Morrison is ©2015 MichaelKohlhaas.org. The group picture of Devin, Alyssa, and Kerry is from the above-linked-to newsletter and appears here under a fair use claim. Or maybe a public records claim. Or maybe it’s public domain? Anyway there ’tis, friends. Image of Alyssa Van Breene is from a screenshot of this page as seen on July 1, 2015, and appears here supported by the same reasoning as the previously discussed image.