Remember this editorial in the L.A. Times about the Venice Beach BID? I posted on it a couple weeks ago because whoever wrote it1 took City Attorney spokesman Rob Wilcox at his unsupported and unsupportable word that BID security somehow wasn’t allowed to arrest people for sitting on the sidewalk in violation of the despicable LAMC 41.18(d). Well, anyway, evidently “Two-gun” Kerry Morrison of the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance read an editorial with the same title but, perhaps because her copy of the paper comes from Bizarro World, radically different content. The one I read said, quite sensibly:
We’re glad that property owners around Venice Beach care about their community and that they’re willing to pay extra to improve the neighborhood. But when it comes to the homeless, they must decide whether they want to be part of the solution or part of the problem. If the ambassadors are going to constitute a de facto private security force, their job should not be to hassle the homeless in an effort to move them pointlessly from corner to corner or to push them out of the neighborhood so that they become another jurisdiction’s problem.
So watch and listen here to HPOA Executive Director Ms. Kerry Morrison’s cri de coeur about how UNFAIR this is to her and her heavily armed BID Patrol buddies!! Or if you prefer, as always, there’s a transcription after the break. And she said:
There was a very concerning editorial in the L.A. Times two weeks ago. … And what’s concerning about it is that it kind of suggests that when BIDs get involved in addressing homeless issues that it’s basically a harassment mindset.
The editorial says that IF the proposed Venice Beach BID Patrol is going to constitute a private security force, THEN they shouldn’t “hassle the homeless.” It didn’t say that BID Patrols per se hassle the homeless.2 So if this statement “concerns” Kerry Morrison, is it because she thinks it’s not true? But it’s a conditional statement. What does it mean to disagree with it? As far as I can see, to disagree with this statement commits one to supporting the claim that if the Venice BID Patrol is going to constitute a de facto private security force, then their job SHOULD be to hassle the homeless.3 Of course, Kerry Morrison’s actions support the idea that she believes that the BID Patrol should hassle the homeless, both in individual cases and also in a larger statistical sense. But I didn’t think she’d admit to it out loud in public. Probably she didn’t realize what she was saying. This has happened before.
In any case, the editorial didn’t mention Kerry Morrison’s BIDs, it didn’t mention Hollywood at all. It did mention the hated, feared, and thuggish Downtown Industrial District BID, presently having the stuffing kicked out of it in federal court for doing far worse than hassling the homeless.4 Maybe Kerry Morrison is aware that with respect to the behavior that got the Downtown Industrial District sued, her BIDs do the same things and worse, so that the only reason they’re not being sued is that no one but MK.org seems to have noticed what they’re up to. This would explain her disproportionate anger as well as her subconscious awareness, hitherto only tacitly acknowledged, that the ideas in this editorial might have everything to do with her or her BIDs.5
And why do I say it’s disproportionate? Well, see first how she diagnoses the problem:“…somebody is operating with some misinformation at the L.A. Times.” And what is the truth as she sees it? “I would argue we save lives out here, we don’t harass lives.” So she’s reacting to stuff that actually wasn’t even in the editorial. And what does she propose to do about it? Maybe write a letter to the editor like most people do in this situation?6 No, not that. Perhaps her little taste of power last year, when Carol Schatz arranged for Kerry Morrison and some others to actually go meet with the L.A. Times editorial board and set their little knee-jerk-ivory-tower-liberal-media heads spinning with the business community’s party line on street vending in Los Angeles, resulting in this fairly insipid piece of tightrope walking on the subject, perhaps that little taste went to her head. And what is she going to say to set them straight? Well, thus spake Kerry Morrison:“…we should try to meet with the L.A. Times to point out all the things we do. I would argue we save lives out here, we don’t harass lives.” Of course you do, Kerry Morrison. Just ask that guy whose picture appears somewhere near this sentence how grateful he is that your BID Patrolsies are saving his life by jumping on him four at a time and handcuffing him rather than harassing his life!
The other thing, just from a media standpoint. There was a very concerning editorial in the L.A. Times two weeks ago. The Venice BID, the City has turned back the election that was undertaken to approve the ordinance to set up the Venice BID. And apparently the City Council stopped the testimony for and against perhaps prematurely and the City Attorney opined that the ordinance to establish the BID needed to be rescinded or … rescinded, I guess. And the Venice BID formation committee is going to have to redo their election. But what happened, there was an editorial in the L.A. Times in the next day or so. And…I don’t know, did we include it in this packet? And what’s concerning about it is that it kind of suggests that when BIDs get involved in addressing homeless issues that it’s basically a harassment mindset. And I have been…kind of sit on, or think about whether we should try to meet with the L.A. Times to point out all the things we do. I would argue we save lives out here, we don’t harass lives. So, did talk with the security committee about it yesterday, and they kind of felt that we should be a bit proactive about this. So somebody is operating with some misinformation at the L.A. Times.
Image of Kerry Morrison drawing lines on a map is ©2016 MichaelKohlhaas.org. Picture of guy getting his life saved by the BID Patrol is a public record.
- It’s not so hard to figure out who wrote it, but I appreciate the long tradition of editorial anonymity, so I don’t want to mess with it here.
- They do, but the editorial doesn’t say that they do.
- I hate to get technical, but…actually I don’t hate it, but I’m self-aware enough to put it in a footnote. The original statement is of the form “If P then Q.” The negation of this is “P and not Q.”
- If you’re confused by the fact that the complaint names the Central City East Association, you’re not alone. Every BID has a non-profit “owners association” that contracts with the City to administer the BID. Often they’re named approximately the same thing as the BID itself. Like e.g. the Venice Beach BID, if and when it gets going, will be run by the Venice Beach Property Owners Association. Sometimes, though, the two entities have unrelated names. This is the case with the Central City East Association, which is the property owners association that runs the Downtown Industrial District BID.
- Although, of course, if the shoe fits and so forth. Tangentially, I’m always looking for at least slightly tied-to-reality explanations for her imaginary audience syndrome. I will say, however, that my exposure to Cowgirl Carol Schatz, be it ever so minimal, has convinced me that Kerry Morrison’s case isn’t that bad relatively speaking.
- I don’t know if you’ve been keeping track, but the L.A. Times didn’t publish a single letter to the editor in response to this editorial. I wrote one, so I know they got at least one. They usually publish my anti-BID letters, but not this time. My best guess is that they didn’t receive anything usable on the other side of the issue so they decided not to run anything. That’s my non-tinfoil-hat best guess, anyway.