Kerry Morrison in Van Nuys: Where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison / Where the executioner’s face is always well hidden1

Tailgunner Kerry Morrison giving a performative demonstration of effective methods for keeping public meetings respectful, civil, and orderly.
As you probably know, the city of Los Angeles has been holding public hearings to gather input on possible frameworks for legalizing street vending. We’ve written before about the May 28 meeting in Boyle heights: once, twice, and thrice. Now, at last, we take up the June 11 meeting in Van Nuys. We’re starting things off with our old friend, Ms. Kerry Morrison. You can listen to her statement here or read a transcription after the break. We’ve also written about Kerry’s description of the meetings at the Joint Security Committee in July:

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.

In the same meeting, Kerry explained that she wasn’t putting up with this, not for a second, and told everyone what she’d done about it:

So actually, Carol Schatz and I wrote a letter to Herb Wesson, the president of the city council after that meeting saying this is, this is really not being, you know, well-handled, there’s no security, it’s intimidating to people, there are people who did not want to testify. So the subsequent two hearings were, um, maybe a little bit more well-behaved.

As Ronald Reagan said in 1970, "If it takes a bloodbath to silence the demonstrators let's get it over with."   The lyrics are cruder than Kerry Morrison's,  but the tune's the same.1
As Ronald Reagan said in 1970, “If it takes a bloodbath to silence the demonstrators let’s get it over with.”
The lyrics are cruder than Kerry Morrison’s, but the tune’s the same.2

Well, we put our fearless correspondent on the case and he went out and got us a copy of this letter. As is usual with Kerry when she’s writing in this genre, outraged-with-veneer-of-politesse-and-diplomacy white supremacism, the letter manages to combine utterly competent, even stylish, syntax with semantics that wouldn’t have been out of place in a 1970-era Ronald Reagan psychotic fever dream about students running wild in the streets of Berkeley. Read on for details and more!

You should definitely read the letter yourself, but essentially it says that the audience was mean to Jay Weitzer of Sherman Oaks and Joyce Dyrector of the Cahuenga Pass and could the city council please arrange for more armed thugs at the next meetings to keep the rabble in line?

Now, look here at a few of the people that Kerry Morrison’s BID Patrol arrested, shackled, humiliated, and had jailed and fined in 2011 alone for violating LAMC 42.00(b):
11.4200.b.BID.arrest.201110.4200.b.BID.arrest.201109.4200.b.BID.arrest.201108.4200.b.BID.arrest.201107.4200.b.BID.arrest.201106.4200.b.BID.arrest.201105.4200.b.BID.arrest.201104.4200.b.BID.arrest.201102.4200.b.BID.arrest.201103.4200.b.BID.arrest.201101.4200.b.BID.arrest.2011

The home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison” indeed. These people, arrested at Kerry’s command, chained to the BID Patrol bench on Kerry’s whim, handed over to the LAPD on Kerry’s say-so, jailed and cited and fined at Kerry’s pleasure, are the very people at this meeting in Van Nuys. If not the same people then people in exactly the same circumstances. These are street vendors. Kerry Morrison has street vendors arrested and handcuffed and stuffed in patrol cars and jailed. She does this because she wants to. She chooses to. And then, when she and her zillionaire buddies go before the very people that she spends her time and her budget having arrested in order to argue that she should be allowed to keep arresting them, it’s not enough that she and her friends get to talk, she wants everybody to be freaking nice to them. Seriously. She’s the executioner and she’s evidently a little too used to her face being hidden. But nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad.

Hi guys, I'm Adolf. My network and I have some plans for you people. Let's have a civil conversation about the merits of this plan, shall we?  And if there's any hissing and catcalling, we'll just have to increase security!
Hi guys, I’m Adolf. My network and I have some plans for you people. Let’s have a civil conversation about the merits of this plan, shall we? And if there’s any hissing and catcalling, we’ll just have to increase security!

Look, everyone can see that, regardless of the law, there’s going to continue to be widespread sidewalk vending in Los Angeles. If it’s legalized, maybe food hygiene will improve or maybe it’ll stay the same. It won’t get worse. If it’s legalized, maybe tax compliance will improve or maybe it’ll stay the same. It won’t get worse. If it’s legalized, the only thing that’s guaranteed to change is that sidewalk vendors will no longer be subject to arrest. Kerry Morrison and her co-conspirators aren’t stupid (except possibly Joyce Dyrector, a zombie-NIMBY from Hell,3 who sounds very stupid indeed, but maybe she’s just clever that way). They know that they’re standing up and arguing in favor of their right to continue to arrest, shackle, and jail the very people they’re speaking to. Would Adolf Eichmann expect to have a civil debate at the JDL about potential frameworks for implementing the final solution? Probably no, yes?

Now let’s look closely at a couple of things Kerry said which aren’t exactly entirely completely the whole truth.

  1. My name is Kerry Morrison and I am the…I’m representing two business improvement districts in Hollywood: Sunset and Vine and the Hollywood Entertainment District.
    Well, in one sense, this isn’t the kind of sentence that has a truth value. In fact, considered in isolation it’s really more of a speech act than a statement in that one expects the very utterance of the sentence to be what makes it true. However, taken in context, it’s likely that deception is intended. Perhaps you will recall that at the May 28 meeting, Alssa Van Breene, a member of the board of directors of the Hollywood Entertainment District BID, announced that she was with the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance rather than with the BID. Of course, in itself, this is a small thing, and is arguably even true, but then, in that same meeting, we hear Devin Strecker announce that he’s representing the Central Hollywood Coalition rather than the other BID or the HPOA. At that point we started to suspect that these people were intentionally choosing identifying labels that would create the impression that they weren’t actually all from the same organization. Kerry’s choice here to mention the two BIDs that she runs rather than the HPOA or the CHC, which she also runs but which were mentioned by her minions at the previous meeting, almost certainly at her command, makes it seem very likely to us that she’s also choosing her announced association carefully here in order to enhance the impression that there are bunches of groups in Hollywood who oppose legalized street vending when, as far as we can see, there’s really only one: the HPOA.
  2. And as has been mentioned, we are an area that has extremely, uh, uh, compacted [sic] sidewalk behavior and a lot of things going on.
    OK, what the hell is “compacted sidewalk behavior” and why should anyone care if an area has it or not? Kerry’s on record as opposing anything interesting that might conceivably happen on a sidewalk, e.g. sitting, standing, talking, wearing costumes, making tourists uncomfortable, being uncivil in never-explicitly-defined ways, selling anything, giving money to people, and so on. Now we find out she’s opposed to “compacted sidewalk behavior” as well. If we knew what it was we’d go out and do it, just to be contrary. Please feel free to email us with suggestions.
  3. We also represent many, many small businesses as well.
    We’re sorry to get technical at this point, but it’s moderately important. You see, California allows for three kinds of BIDs. There are property-based BIDs, business-based BIDs, and tourism-based BIDs. Property-based BIDs assess property owners and represent their interests. Since mostly businesses lease and don’t own their locations, businesses aren’t generally represented by property-based BIDs. Business-based BIDs have business owners rather than property owners as their members. We don’t know anything about tourism-based BIDs. The two BIDs administered by Kerry Morrison are property-based, not business-based. The HPOA’s BIDs do NOT represent businesses in Hollywood. In fact they’re probably forbidden from doing so by their contract with the city. They only represent the interests of the property owners. One might think that the interests of property owners and business owners are fairly well-aligned, but they’re not, although it’d take us too far afield to go into that now. We think that Kerry’s mentioning small businesses here as part of a deceptive rhetorical strategy. Everyone loves small businesses. No one loves the people who own the skyscrapers on Hollywood Boulevard. The HPOA, the thuggish Central City Association, and its hired flacks Jessica Borek and Marie Rumsey love to talk about how street vendors are going to destroy small business in Los Angeles, but that’s entirely disingenuous. None of them care about small business at all, not in the least.
  4. It’s a very diverse city with many diverse neighborhoods and Hollywood simply cannot support this kind of activity on its sidewalks.
    The two BIDs that Kerry Morrison runs cover only a tiny fraction of Hollywood which, in its entirety, is roughly bounded by Franklin Avenue to Melrose Avenue, La Brea Avenue to Vermont Avenue. Hollywood can support street vending, and in fact, is full of street vendors even now, in the vast majority not covered by Kerry Morrison’s BIDs. Furthermore, even in the tiny little part of Hollywood that is covered by her two BIDs, there are tens of thousands of residents, as opposed to the roughly 500 property owners in the two BIDs that Kerry speaks for, who may very well welcome street vendors. In fact, when Kerry’s hired gunmen clock out for the evening, the street vendors show up in force, e.g. at the Palladium, all over the place, and the people who actually live in Hollywood, which is few if any of the members of the HPOA, patronize them like mad. Even jittery little psychopath and Sunset-Vine BID Board member Carol Massie recognizes the truth of this. Why can’t Kerry Morrison? ¡Viva los vendedores ambulantes de Hollywood! ¡Abajo con los BIDs! Kerry also gets extra hypocrisy-points for co-opting the word “diverse” here. She, of course, is famous for wanting Hollywood to be diverse with respect to Los Angeles by lacking diversity. She wants to impose a militarily-enforced intolerant regime of what passes for civility in her fevered thoughts on a part of this city historically known for its tolerance. That’s kind of like neighborhood diversity we suppose, since she seems to disapprove of most parts of LA and to think they should all be more like Bel Air or Brentwood or freaking Larchmont, but they’re not, hence an inverted diversity of some sort, but it’s not what’s usually meant, is it?

Kerry Morrison:


Transcription: Good evening. My name is Kerry Morrison and I am the…I’m representing two business improvement districts in Hollywood: Sunset and Vine and the Hollywood Entertainment District. And as has been mentioned, we are an area that has extremely, uh, uh, compacted
[sic] sidewalk behavior and a lot of things going on. We also represent many, many small businesses as well. So you mentioned a third option, a third model that you’re looking at, and that would be for perhaps if a community is desirous of having street vending in their neighborhood, and clearly many are, then there would be a roadmap for them to do that. We would ask that communities such as ours would be able to opt out for, um, or that there would be a way to opt in, but that this should not be something that applies to the entire city. It’s a very diverse city with many diverse neighborhoods and Hollywood simply cannot support this kind of activity on its sidewalks. Thank you.

  1. We’re currently reading The Cambridge companion to Bob Dylan, and consequently listening to a lot of the good old songs. here is a nice performance of the one today’s title comes from.
  2. Reagan actually did say this, despite persistent misattributions to Albert Einstein. You can read all about it in the San Francisco Chronicle, lately owned by Mr. Rosebud, William Randolph Hearst himself.
  3. We’re not exaggerating about Joyce Dyrector’s zombie-NIMBY-from-Hell-itude. Just read here about her reason for opposing a freeway expansion: “I’m very against the catering to people who live so far away from where they work,” said Joyce Dyrector, a television and film writer who lives in the Cahuenga Pass. “They chose to live out there and work downtown, which I think is wrong.” Transportation planners, she said, “are willing to destroy the lives of people who live here.” To call this insane is to be quite understated. Really, live in the Valley and work downtown? REALLY, Joyce?? We haven’t had time to make a clip of her comments at the Van Nuys public meeting, but you can listen to the whole thing here. Joyce’s comments start at about 01:08:05. Cheerio!

Image of well-armed Kerry Morrison is a public record, obtained from the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance via a well-formed request under the California Public Records Act. Image of Ron and Nancy looking mighty like the future of California is in the public domain for the usual U.S. government kinda reasons and we got it via Wikimedia. Images of arrestees are public records as described above. You can get full size versions by request either from us or from Kerry Morrison at kerry@hollywoodbid.org. Tell her we sent ya! Image of Adolf Eichmann must be in the public domain by right of conquest if nothing else and we got it via Wikimedia.

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