The True Facts About the May 28, 2015, Community Sidewalk Vending Meeting at Boyle Heights City Hall Revealed Here (With Audio) for All to Hear and Judge and Opinionate Upon! Part 2: Devin Strecker

Devin Strecker, Director of Communications and Social Media of the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance.
Devin Strecker, Director of Communications and Social Media of the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance.

If you’re keeping score at home, you’ll recall that earlier we wrote on the May 28, 2015, meeting at Boyle Heights City Hall about street vending, focusing on Hollywood Entertainment District BID board member Alyssa Van Breene’s comments. You will also recall HPOA Executive Directrix Kerry Morrison’s description of the proceedings:

there were a series of four hearings that the chief administrative office staff held on the… the sidewalk vending ordinance. … It’s just this kind of amorphous set of hearings, which were completely dysfunctional, disrespectful, and almost, um, resembled a circus.

Now listen, O citizens of Hollywood, to HPOA staffie Devin Strecker speaking before the same meeting:

Also sprach Devin Strecher:

There’s a transcription after the break if you care to read rather than to listen, and after the break’s where we’re going to separate the wheat from the chaff, which is a valid if cliched metaphor even if, as in this case, there’s no wheat atall.

Hi, my name is Devin Strecker.
Ordinarily this wouldn’t require a comment, but in this case we thought we’d include it as it’s the only true sentence Devin said.

I’m representing the Central Hollywood Coalition, which manages the Sunset and Vine BID covering 44 blocks in Hollywood.
Note in particular that Devin said he was from the CHC instead of the HPOA. At some point in time, as near as we can discern, the HPOA and the CHC were actually separate entities, each contracting with the city to run a BID: the Hollywood Entertainment District BID in the case of the HPOA and the Sunset-Vine BID in the case of the CHC. However, at present, “[i]n addition to managing the Hollywood Entertainment District BID, under contract to the city of Los Angeles, the HPOA has also entered into a service contract with the Central Hollywood Coalition, to manage the day to day operations of the Sunset & Vine BID.” In other words, the CHC has ceased operations and the SVBID is currently run entirely by the HPOA. Not only that, but on the website, onlyinhollywood.org, shared by the two BIDs Devin Strecker is described only “as Director of Communications and Social Media of the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance. Here’s a screenshot for additional proof:
2015.07.31.devin.strecker.bio.from.onlyinhollywood.org
Why then would Devin claim to be from the CHC rather than from the HPOA? Well, see, Alyssa Van Breene spoke immediately before Devin, and she said she represented the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance. It wouldn’t do, you know, to have two people in a row from the HPOA speaking against street vending. It would seem like they’d been, oh, we don’t know, bused in or something, a tactic to which Kerry Morrison is vocally opposed to to the point of contemptuous disdain. Now, it’s possible that this was not deliberate deception on Devin’s part (or on whoever wrote the prepared statement he was reading), but we think it was, actually. Whose idea it was we don’t know…yet.

Josef Stalin, whose followers were (are?) famous for pretending not to know one another when they crowded into public, democratic meetings and took them over by the same kind of coordinated action displayed by the HPOA on May 28, 2015.  Note the ghost of Lenin whispering in Stalin's ear.  The Cyrillic text shows Stalin telling his audience to "PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN!!"
Josef Stalin, whose followers were (are?) famous for pretending not to know one another when they crowded into public, democratic meetings and took them over by the same kind of coordinated action displayed by the HPOA on May 28, 2015. Note the ghost of Lenin whispering in Stalin’s ear. The Cyrillic text shows Stalin telling his audience to “PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN!!

This is an area that’s experiencing…
Here Devin was interrupted by chanting from the audience. This, as far as we can tell, is what Kerry Morrison was talking about when she compared the proceedings to a circus, although perhaps, and there’s some evidence for this, she was talking more about the Van Nuys meeting, to which we have not yet turned our attention. If this were all there was we’d have to call her delusional with impending paranoia but, as we always do, we’ll wait to examine the evidence before leaping at conclusions. We will say that, given that Devin had just misidentified his affiliation in order, we believe, to cover up the fact that he and Alyssa were sockpuppeting for the HPOA and that their appearances at this meeting were not independent of one another, given that, individual people attending the meeting would be justified in being angry. This kind of Stalinist meeting expropriation is deadly to democracy and freedom and should be shunned, mocked, and chanted at whenever it appears. It makes it clear to us that when Kerry complains about the tenor of these meetings, and we’ll have plenty more to say about that (with documents!) that she comes to the court with unclean hands.

This is an area that’s experiencing an economic revival where few restaurants and small retail businesses were five years ago. Things have changed radically.
OMFG, where to start? Five years ago was 2010. Is he serious? There were “few restaurants and small retail businesses” in the Sunset-Vine BID in 2010?!? It’s just crazy. Sure, there were more sleazy bars and pornographers and fewer creepy boutique hotels and exceedingly expensive glitzy glamour meatballs, but there were also more real human restaurants, not to mention the now-closed most loveliest Cat and Fiddle, the late, bemourned, bewailed, and greatly missed Molly’s Hamburgers (sigh….!), the darling dear departed Huston’s Barbecue, and the tragically closed loveliest bastion of civilized literary urbanism Hennessey + Ingalls. Heck, we even had freaking Trader Joe’s in Hollywood in 2010. What’s he on about? Dunno, pay no mind…1

We want to support our small businesses who have taken the risk to invest in Hollywood. With the adoption of an increase in minimum wage recently and the prospect of having vending on every corner on Sunset Boulevard, this is a double whammy threatening their very survival.
We wrote earlier about the free market functioning to allocate resources efficiently subject to democratically agreed-upon distortions to attain public policy goals. Really, the minimum wage is one of these goals. The people of Los Angeles want a minimum wage of $15 per hour and they’ve gotten one. This will probably put an end to some now-viable businesses, but, you know, we’re not sorry. Those businesses aren’t viable, and they certainly have no right to expect government subsidies in the form of anti-human laws just to prop up their doomed existence. One might as well argue that it’s more financially viable to run businesses using slave labor. It probably is, but that’s no reason to legalize slavery. If businesses can’t pay their employees a minimum wage they’re going to go under, and if a minimum wage is enough to drive them under then good riddance, just exactly as if street vendors are enough to drive them under. We don’t make laws to preserve doomed business models. Get a real job, souvenir store owners. “[D]ouble whammy”…pfft!

Further we have concerns about the public safety with respect to food handling and storage.
No, Devin, no, actually, you don’t. You’re just saying that because you’re a minion. We’d bet big money that you actually eat bacon dogs straight off the tray. And if not, just don’t eat the damned food if you “have concerns.” We have concerns about freaking Jack in the Box, so we don’t eat there. It’s just that simple. We don’t try to get the city to outlaw the place. And, when the market realizes, which it will soon if it hasn’t already done, that the land Jack in the Box is sitting on is too valuable for a shitty fast food restaurant and its oversized parking lot, it will allocate it more efficiently, probably into another ghastly boutique hotel and a bunch of overpriced glitzy cocktail bars haunted by so-called “mixologists” and their trendily tattooed camp followers. And we won’t go in those either, but we won’t try to get them outlawed.

That’s enough of that. We’d shake the freaking dust off our feet but we just love our darling Hollywood too much, so we’ll stay and fight with the BID zombies feeding off her corpse. In part 3 we will discuss some of the hopeful voices at the meeting. Meanwhile, here are links to all the clips and the full meeting if you want to hear them:

Alyssa Van Breene:

Nicole Shahenian:

Pro-street-vending speaker who supports his family:

Another pro-street-vending speaker who leads a chant:

Cynthia Anderson-Barker of the National Lawyers Guild:

The whole damn two hour meeting:


Transcription:
Devin Strecker: Hi, my name is Devin Strecker. I’m representing the Central Hollywood Coalition, which manages the Sunset and Vine BID covering 44 blocks in Hollywood. This is an area that’s experiencing…

Moderator [shouting over audience chanting]: Excuse me. Excuse me. Excuse me. I’m gonna ask you to be respectful. We only have about an hour to go through this. If you keep yelling at people and disrespecting then we’re not, we can’t move forward. So I’m asking you, respectfully, to respect everybody’s time.

Devin Strecker: This is an area that’s experiencing an economic revival where few restaurants and small retail businesses were five years ago. Things have changed radically. We want to support our small businesses who have taken the risk to invest in Hollywood. With the adoption of an increase in minimum wage recently and the prospect of having vending on every corner on Sunset Boulevard, this is a double whammy threatening their very survival. Further we have concerns about the public safety with respect to food handling and storage. For these reasons we would ask that Hollywood be exempted from this ordinance if the City Council decides to proceed. There’s already an ordinance in place that allows for the creation of sidewalk vending districts. Perhaps that ordinance should be dusted off and amended to meet the needs of neighborhoods that want sidewalk vending. Thank you.

  1. Maybe some of these businesses are in the HED BID. We don’t know, don’t care either. As we argue above they’re essentially one BID at this point.

Image of Devin Strecker is a public record and appears here either under the doctrine of fair use or because the HPOA is blowing smoke when they assert copyright in it in their unsupportably hostile website terms-of-use. Note that that statement forbids the storing of any of the material on the website in a computer. How, exactly, do they think that a web browser works, one wonders? Here’s how: The browser asks the server for a copy of ALL THE MATERIAL ON THE WEBSITE, stores it in RAM on the client computer, and then renders it in the browser window. Even looking at their website violates their terms of use. Fine. Even worse is the fact that the terms of use state that the pictures are ©2015 by the HPOA but the metadata of the portrait of Devin asserts that it’s ©2014 Gary Leonard. Which is it, guys? Screenshot of Devin Strecker’s bio is from here and is appears here under a fair use claim. Image of Stalin/Lenin poster is public domain because Wikimedian copyright wonks say it is and they know Ukrainian copyright law better than ever we will or care to do.

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