Unconfirmed But Highly Plausible Report that Venice Beach BID is Repealed and Process Must Start From Scratch!!

How does Holly Wolcott know in advance how the City Council is going to vote?  Inquiring minds wanna know.
How does Holly Wolcott know in advance how the City Council is going to vote? Inquiring minds wanna know.

NOTE: This is apparently true, and Yo! Venice has the story along with a statement from Mike Bonin.

According to a Facebook post by Abbott Kinney,

BREAKING NEWS Re: the proposed Venice BID – Because the City shut off public comment, they gotta START THE WHOLE PROCESS OVER. Via City Clerk Holly Wolcott:

“The Ordinance of Establishment was adopted in Council last week. However, in light of concerns relative to the public hearing and to ensure all speakers are heard, we plan to repeal this ordinance and start the process over. This will mean a new Ordinance of Intention and a public hearing approximately 45 days from when the new ballots and packages are mailed. I do not have an actual date at this time.”1

This report is consistent with LAFLA’s objections to the process, and if true, is a major victory for anti-BID forces. Although I don’t know for sure I would bet it’s unprecedented in the history of BIDs in Los Angeles. The moral is decidedly NOT that the City made a sporadic mistake in this particular BID formation process. The moral is in fact that the City makes mistakes, breaks the law, cuts corners, all the freaking time, but generally no one is watching so their errors have no consequences. The moral is that if people watch closely they will find fatal errors in all of the City’s shenanigans.

The same is true for BIDs. They can barely open their mouths without saying something racist, they can barely run a meeting or email a Council member without breaking the law.2 They’re not used to scrutiny, and even their reactions to scrutiny just end up sinking them deeper into their morass. So the real moral is: SCRUTINIZE!

And, if you didn’t spot it, if this quote is accurate, then Holly Wolcott actually admitted that something illegal is going on over at City Hall. Turn the page for details.
Continue reading Unconfirmed But Highly Plausible Report that Venice Beach BID is Repealed and Process Must Start From Scratch!!

Crime Does Pay At City Hall: Anti-RV Resolution Introduced In Council This Morning At Behest of Media District BID Director Lisa Schechter, Acting in Apparent Violation of Her Post-Employment Lobbying Ban

RVs on Lillian Way between Santa Monica Blvd and Melrose Avenue
RVs on Lillian Way between Santa Monica Blvd and Melrose Avenue
This morning, CD13 Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell introduced a resolution seeking to impose restrictions on parking oversized vehicles in a semi-industrialized sliver of the Hollywood Media District BID located roughly between Cole Avenue and Vine Street west to east and Santa Monica Boulevard and Melrose Avenue north to south. There is a never-ending flow of these seemingly innocuous items in the agendas of our esteemed Council, but I just happen to know an awful lot about the backstory to this one, which is anything but innocuous, actually, and is the subject of today’s post.

The Media District BID is particularly attractive to people living in RVs because it’s industrialized, so no night-time neighbors to annoy, and it’s close to the center of Hollywood. Especially on Lillian Way and its cross streets, Romaine, Willoughby, and Waring, there has been a thriving but quiet community of RV-dwellers for years on end. But the Media District BID hates it. They just can’t deal with it. For instance, see this email chain from March 2015 where Hollywood cop Julie Nony discusses how to get rid of them with erstwhile Media District BID director Steven Whiddon and a bunch of overprivileged proprietors who don’t understand the concept of public space. But, probably not surprisingly, Steven Whiddon was unable to orchestrate any lasting action.

RVs on Lillian Way between Santa Monica Blvd and Melrose Avenue
RVs on Lillian Way between Santa Monica Blvd and Melrose Avenue

So enter Lisa Schechter, employed by erstwhile CD4 rep Tom LaBonge until June 30, 2015. Sometime between then and October 2015 she was hired by the Media District to replace the departed but unlamented Whiddon. Very soon after that, in fact on November 5, 2015, Schechter and current Media District Board President Laurie Goldman met with O’Farrell’s Hollywood Field Deputy, Daniel Halden. Dan was kind enough to supply me with a copy of his notes from that meeting, wherein (on the second page) one can read the portentous words: “Oversized vehicles Resolution — MAP.” There’s no question that this meeting between Halden, Goldman, and Schechter, is the genesis of the resolution introduced this morning by Mitch O’Farrell.
Continue reading Crime Does Pay At City Hall: Anti-RV Resolution Introduced In Council This Morning At Behest of Media District BID Director Lisa Schechter, Acting in Apparent Violation of Her Post-Employment Lobbying Ban

Try to Give A Shadowy BID Consultant An Even Break, End Up Looking Like A Dupe

All signs indicate that, despite the evidence of this picture, we haven't seen the back of shadowy BID consultant Tara Devine yet, friends!
All signs indicate that, despite the evidence of this picture, we haven’t seen the back of shadowy BID consultant Tara Devine (or whatever her name is) yet, friends!
Just the other day we wrote a detailed analysis of shadowy BID consultant Tara Devine’s hot mess of a public comment at last Tuesday’s City Council hearing on the establishment of that revanchist-zillionaire-instigated nightmare zombie horror show known as the Venice Beach Business Improvement District. In that essay, because we are fair, because we are balanced, because we love the truth, we noted in response to Tara Devine’s claim that her name was indeed Tara Devine that:

“We here at MK.org are as fair and as balanced as any other fair and balanced news source. When our subjects say something true, we don’t hesitate to showcase it. As far as we’ve been able to determine, her name is, in fact, Tara Devine.”

Well, long-time readers of this blog will recall that our faithful correspondent has lately been poking around in the City Ethics Commission‘s databases1 and, besides coming up with this fascinating evidence against illegal-hotelier and BID Proponent Carl Lambert, found this unexpected item about shadowy BID consultant Tara…er…Teresa Devine. That’s right, friends, you read it here first. We tried to pay some respect to a liar by acknowledging that at least she didn’t lie about her name. And then it turned out that her name is actually Teresa rather than Tara and, therefore, that she did lie about it.
Continue reading Try to Give A Shadowy BID Consultant An Even Break, End Up Looking Like A Dupe

Carl Lambert Donated The Legal Maximum of $1400 To Eric Garcetti Just One Week After Feuer Filed Complaint Against Him For Running An Illegal Hotel and Legal Max of $700 to Mike Bonin in the Midst of a Flurry of Pro-BID Activity By City Staff

At all times relevant hereto, Lambert was acting as the agent, assignee, partner, joint venturer, alter ego, representative, co-schemer, co-conspirator...and in committing the wrongful acts and omissions allege, was acting within the course and scope of that agency, assignment, partnership, joint venture, alter ego relationship, representation, scheme, conspiracy, or employment.
At all times relevant hereto, Lambert was acting as the agent, assignee, partner, joint venturer, alter ego, representative, co-schemer, co-conspirator…and in committing the wrongful acts and omissions allege, was acting within the course and scope of that agency, assignment, partnership, joint venture, alter ego relationship, representation, scheme, conspiracy, or employment.

CORRECTION: Carl Lambert’s donation to Garcetti was in June 2015 whereas the lawsuit was filed in June 2016. I’ve struck through any claims that relied on my inadvertent misreading of the relevant document and added a few words, which are underlined. We stand by our claims about the timing of Lambert’s donations to Bonin. Thanks to Gonzo Rock for pointing this out.

Carl Lambert is presently famous for two main reasons. First that Mike Feuer is suing the shit out of him because he’s a sneaky lying illegal hotel proprietor and second that he’s a vocal proponent of the Venice Beach Business Improvement District, which was approved in Council last week during a chaotic and emotional process, itself of dubious legality. Newly discovered evidence1 shows that Lambert has tried to ease his strait and narrow path through some of these thorny matters by…wait for it…giving money to politicians.

First of all, see the City Ethics Commission’s donation records for Lambert. Note that on June 24, 2015 he donated $1,400 to Eric Garcetti’s reelection campaign, which is the maximum donation allowed. Does the date sound familiar? It ought to. It was exactly one week before, on June 17, 2015, that Mike Feuer filed a complaint against Lambert for running an illegal hotel. It goes to show that good old F. Scott was on to something when he wrote about zillionaires that “They are different from you and me.” I don’t think that most non-zillionaires, on finding out that the City Attorney has just filed a damning complaint against them, would turn around and give $1,400 to the Mayor.

And it’s not just like Lambert did this all the time and the timing was coincidental. First of all, he also gave Garcetti money in 2013, when he was actually running, but he only gave him $200. Secondly, Lambert has only ever given $3,500 total to Los Angeles politicians in his life.2 This one-time, week-after-the-complaint-got-filed donation of $1,400 represents 40% of Lambert’s life-time donation total. Also note that Garcetti isn’t running for election again until 2017, so it’s not like he was actively fundraising in June of 2015.

And as if that wasn’t enough, on December 8, 2015, he turned around and gave $700 to Mike Bonin, also the legal maximum. That’s 20% of Lambert’s lifetime total right there, and Bonin also isn’t running until 2017. And as I’ve demonstrated recently, this was right in the midst of a flurry of VBBID activity, when having inspired $700 worth of warm fuzzies in Bonin’s heart couldn’t have hurt anything:
Continue reading Carl Lambert Donated The Legal Maximum of $1400 To Eric Garcetti Just One Week After Feuer Filed Complaint Against Him For Running An Illegal Hotel and Legal Max of $700 to Mike Bonin in the Midst of a Flurry of Pro-BID Activity By City Staff

Now Available: Miranda Paster’s Weekly Reports to Holly Wolcott on the Activities of the Neighborhood And Business Improvement District Section of the City Clerk’s Office

city_clerk_logoI’m pleased to announce the availability of 30 months of weekly reports from Miranda Paster in her capacity as head of the Neighborhood & Business Improvement District Section of the Los Angeles City Clerk to City Clerk Holly Wolcott. These are available through this page in the menu structure or directly from here. Finally, they are available at Archive.Org. They are full of fascinating information.

In particular, they show that as early as the week of September 30, 2014 the Clerk’s staff was meeting with Venice Beach BID Proponents. The Clerk’s staff also met with VBBID proponents on August 17, 2015 If you look at the weeks surrounding that date you’ll see that they were meeting with Tara Devine on a weekly basis even that early, not to mention the fact that they met with CD11 staff on January 13, 2015 about the BID and Mike Bonin himself in February of 2015. I’ve requested records relating to that meeting from everyone in sight, but don’t have super high hopes anything more will turn up. This rounds out the story of this set of handwritten notes by someone at CD11 of that very meeting. And there is a lot more stuff in these reports, some of it quite shocking.
Continue reading Now Available: Miranda Paster’s Weekly Reports to Holly Wolcott on the Activities of the Neighborhood And Business Improvement District Section of the City Clerk’s Office

First Amendment Coalition Sues City of Los Angeles Over Tom LaBonge’s Illegal Records Destruction, Alleges Possible Felony Records Destruction, Eric Garcetti Still Not Held To Account For Similar Crimes

Current CD4 representative David Ryu, whose termed-out predecessor Tom LaBonge ordered the destruction of public records, leading to both an FAC lawsuit and a council motion to prevent this kind of thing in the future.
Current CD4 representative David Ryu, whose termed-out predecessor Tom LaBonge ordered the destruction of public records, leading to both an FAC lawsuit and a council motion to prevent this kind of thing in the future.
In January 2016 the Los Feliz Ledger broke the story that termed-out CD4 Councilmember Tom LaBonge had ordered the destruction of public records prior to his leaving office on June 30, 2015. Emily Alpert Reyes, writing in the Los Angeles Times reported on Thursday that the First Amendment Coalition had filed suit against the City of Los Angeles, claiming, among other things, that the destruction of this material either violated the California Public Records Act or else the fairly draconian Government Code section 6200. Thanks to FAC director Peter Scheer I have a copy of the petition to share with you, and you can read some further commentary after the break.
Continue reading First Amendment Coalition Sues City of Los Angeles Over Tom LaBonge’s Illegal Records Destruction, Alleges Possible Felony Records Destruction, Eric Garcetti Still Not Held To Account For Similar Crimes

Evidently CD11 Staff Is Telling Concerned Constituents That BID Patrol Security Guards Cannot Touch People At All. That They Cannot Do Anything That You Or I Could Not Do. The Second Claim Unfortunately Is True. The First Is False. We Have Proof.

One of over three hundred people arrested, shackled, and physically transported by the Hollywood BID Patrol in 2015.
One of over three hundred people arrested, shackled, and physically transported by the Hollywood BID Patrol in 2015.
According to a recent post on Facebook, Mike Bonin’s Venice Field Deputy Taylor Bazley is telling concerned constituents that1 they [the BID Patrol] cannot touch people at all. He said “They can not do anything that you or I could not do. They just alert police. That’s all.”

The second claim, that BID security cannot do anything that any private person can’t do, is true, but it doesn’t make the point that Taylor Bazley wants it to make. California has one of the most weirdly expansive citizens’ arrest statutes (PC 837 et seq.) in the known universe. A lawyer of my acquaintance once said2 that it essentially authorizes fricking Batman. So actually, you yourself can physically restrain people with handcuffs if they e.g. sit on the sidewalk in your presence.3

Sorry, Taylor.  You're cute, but you're wrong.
Sorry, Taylor. You’re cute, but you’re wrong.

But Taylor Bazley’s attributed claim that BID security can’t arrest people is just wrong. The Hollywood BID Patrol, run by Andrews International Security, has made physical custodial arrests of far more than 10,000 people since they began their work here in 2007. In 2013 they made more than 1% of the arrests in the entire City of Los Angeles. You can watch videos of their arrests, read arrest reports and daily logs, and even look at photos of the people they’ve arrested:
Continue reading Evidently CD11 Staff Is Telling Concerned Constituents That BID Patrol Security Guards Cannot Touch People At All. That They Cannot Do Anything That You Or I Could Not Do. The Second Claim Unfortunately Is True. The First Is False. We Have Proof.

Shadowy BID Consultant Tara Devine Slithers Out From Her Habitual Under-The-Rock Lair And Spews Toxic Lies About Venice Beach BID Before Los Angeles City Council

Shadowy BID Consultant Tara Devine seeping toxic waste from every pore at the August 23, 2016 meeting of the Los Angeles City Council.
Shadowy BID Consultant Tara Devine seeping toxic waste from every pore at the August 23, 2016 meeting of the Los Angeles City Council.
Shadowy BID consultant Tara Devine, of shadowy BID consultantcy Devine Associates, slithered up out of the depths in which she habitually dwells to make a rare public appearance before the Los Angeles City Council on August 23, 2016, pleading for the Councilmembers to give life to the stitched-up-out-of-corpse-parts monster known as the Venice Beach BID which she’s been nurturing in her subterranean lair for many months now.

Even though the victory of her cause was a foregone conclusion, the dramaturgical conventions of the ritual ceremony that’s habitually performed in the John Ferraro Council Chambers in place of genuine democratic debate require that she pretend to be making reasoned arguments. She could as easily have recited the alphabet, assuming she is able to recite the alphabet, without affecting the success of her cause, but instead she chose to make checkable statements, all of which, as it happens, were lies. You can watch her whole little song-and-dance here and, as always, there’s a complete transcription after the break.
Continue reading Shadowy BID Consultant Tara Devine Slithers Out From Her Habitual Under-The-Rock Lair And Spews Toxic Lies About Venice Beach BID Before Los Angeles City Council

City of Los Angeles Will Not (At This Time, Anyway) Oppose Class Action Certification in Chua v. City of LA

California-centralSee this article from the LA Times and our previous posts on the subject for the background to this post. All of the filings can be found here.

Last month the plaintiffs in Chua v. City of Los Angeles filed a ton of material asking for the case to be certified as a class action. Today the defendant, the City of Los Angeles, filed a notice of non-opposition to that request. They’re doing it for the most altruistic reasons ever:

…in order to conserve party and Court resources, Defendants hereby state that they do not oppose Plaintiffs’ Motion for Class Certification … at this time.

And what have they given up through their kind-hearted and selfless concern for the resources of the court? Well, pretty much nothing:

Since discovery has not yet commenced, Defendants reserve the right to seek decertification of the classes certified (in whole or in part) should discovery reveal that certification is not appropriate.

Obviously these are bog-standard opening moves in a federal class action suit, but they strike me1 as amusing, so I’m sharing with you, lucky reader!
Continue reading City of Los Angeles Will Not (At This Time, Anyway) Oppose Class Action Certification in Chua v. City of LA

Why Is Brentwood Off-Message For Pro-BID People?! Despite Universal Claims of City Neutrality, Miranda Paster, LA City Clerk BID Honcho, Doctors Up CD11 “Messaging” On Venice Beach BID, Advises “Wouldn’t Mention Brentwood.”

David Graham-Caso, CD11 Director of Communications.
David Graham-Caso, CD11 Director of Communications.
I’ve written before about how everyone from the City that’s involved in the BID formation process not only denies that they actually are involved but also hushes up every possible aspect of their involvement. But once in a while the veil drops and we can see clearly what’s going on at 200 N. Spring Street with respect to the City’s pro-BID activism.

Today’s story begins with a newly obtained email chain between CD11 staffer Debbie Dyner Harris and Venice walk-street resident Martha Hertzberg. Hertzberg is relentless and articulate in her questioning of Dyner Harris’s poorly argued assertions about the lack of a public component to the BID approval process, the damage that BIDs do to neighborhoods, and so on. Please read it, because it’s excellent, but too far off-topic for me to discuss at length. While you’re reading it, consider the interesting fact that, according to CD 11 Communications Director David Graham-Caso, Mike Bonin characterized Hertzberg’s position as based on a “…misunderstanding of the BID…”1 although it’s clear from the actual emails that it’s Dyner Harris and, by extension, all of CD11 that are the ones who either misunderstand the very nature of BIDs in Los Angeles or else are lying about what they’re up to.
Continue reading Why Is Brentwood Off-Message For Pro-BID People?! Despite Universal Claims of City Neutrality, Miranda Paster, LA City Clerk BID Honcho, Doctors Up CD11 “Messaging” On Venice Beach BID, Advises “Wouldn’t Mention Brentwood.”