Documents, Documents, Documents! Emails From Wilshire Center And The Media District, Brentwood Village BID Meeting Minutes, East Hollywood BID By-Vendor Transactions

Mister Mike from Wilshire Center wins the semi-annual MK.Org Transparency in BIDitude Prize for handing over more than 250MB of emails in mbox format via filesharing! We love you, the people of Los Angeles love you, Mr. Mike!!
Just a quick note to link to huge piles of records I’ve received over the last few days. These include:

And you can turn the page for some comments on each of these sets of goodies.
Continue reading Documents, Documents, Documents! Emails From Wilshire Center And The Media District, Brentwood Village BID Meeting Minutes, East Hollywood BID By-Vendor Transactions

Share

Is There Such A Thing As An Honest Lobbyist? Probably Not, But Nevertheless, Larry Kosmont Handled The Gateway To LA BID’s Recent Renewal And Registered With The Ethics Commission To Do So, Casting Further Doubt On Any Theory That Implies That Shadowy BID Consultant Tara Devine Was Not Also Required To Register

We’ve been discussing BID consultants a lot recently because of shadowy BID consultant Tara Devine and the fact that it looks so much like BID consultancy satisfies the LAMC’s definition of lobbying that it’s very likely that she broke the laws requiring registration, causing me, in the throes of a well-developed sense of civic duty, to report her transgressions to the Ethics Commission and then again to report some associated transgressions to Mike Feuer. What will come of these matters no one can now know, of course, but one aspect that troubled me slightly is the apparent novelty of the charges. That is, all the BID consultants I knew of at the time weren’t registered. This doesn’t mean they don’t have to register. After all, consider what happened with BID security and the Police Commission as a result of our reporting. But nevertheless, one never wants to be the first to make an argument if it’s possible to avoid it.

So imagine my pleasure in discovering that, first, the famous Gateway to LA BID, one of Mike Bonin’s babies out there by the Airport in CD11, renewed for 10 years in 2015, and they used a BID consultant named Larry Kosmont to handle the process for them. And second, that Larry Kosmont was not only registered as a lobbyist during this process, but that he specifically, explicitly, disclosed his work for the Gateway BID to the City and specifically, explicitly listed the City Clerk as one of the City offices he’d lobbied in furtherance of the renewal project. This is going to make it a lot harder for Tara Devine and her defenders, if any she has by now, to argue that it never occurred to anyone that BID consultants were lobbyists and therefore subject to registration. Turn the page for links to all relevant documents!
Continue reading Is There Such A Thing As An Honest Lobbyist? Probably Not, But Nevertheless, Larry Kosmont Handled The Gateway To LA BID’s Recent Renewal And Registered With The Ethics Commission To Do So, Casting Further Doubt On Any Theory That Implies That Shadowy BID Consultant Tara Devine Was Not Also Required To Register

Share

OK, Estela Lopez Doesn’t Like Paul Solomon And Yuval Bar-Zemer, We Get That. But (A) Are We In Freaking Junior High School? And (B) Why Is This Any Of Miranda Paster’s Freaking Business?? And (C) Why Is Miranda Paster Soliciting Defamatory Statements About Property Owners And Passing Them Around To Random BID Directors, E.G. Freaking Laurie Hughes??!

Friend, you gotta just click to enlarge because it’s only possible to minimize this issue so much and still have it make sense!
If I have learned anything about L.A. BIDs in my many years of deeply immersive anti-BID scholarship, it’s that they are run by a bunch of freaking short-sighted intellectually impaired amateurish morons, made mean and stupid by their wealth, who hire mean and stupid people to do their mean and stupid bidding and that the City government of Los Angeles, which thrives and grows fat on mean and short-sighted zillionaire stupidity, likes it this way.

And the story I’m here to tell you this morning certainly does not contradict that narrative, but it adds a surreal tinge of unprofessional immature junior-high-schoolistic tattle-tale-ing that I really haven’t seen before. In short, a guy named Paul Solomon bought some property in the Gateway to LA BID. Executive Directrix Laurie Hughes, thinking she recognized his name, asked Miranda Paster for the scoop on him. Miranda Paster emailed freaking Estela Lopez for more info. Estela Lopez, evidently still smarting from the whole Arts District debacle, which put her out of a job in 2013, flipped the fuck out, defamed Paul Solomon every which way, and Miranda Paster facilitated, solicited, and encouraged the whole mess. You can read the entire email chain here. And you can turn the page for an introduction to the cast and crew, a discussion of the issues, and, of course, a transcription of the salient bits of the PDF.
Continue reading OK, Estela Lopez Doesn’t Like Paul Solomon And Yuval Bar-Zemer, We Get That. But (A) Are We In Freaking Junior High School? And (B) Why Is This Any Of Miranda Paster’s Freaking Business?? And (C) Why Is Miranda Paster Soliciting Defamatory Statements About Property Owners And Passing Them Around To Random BID Directors, E.G. Freaking Laurie Hughes??!

Share

Kerry Morrison, Selma Park, Joseph Goebbels, The Los Angeles Times, The Big Lie, And Lots Of Little Lies As Well!

Kerry Morrison dreams in German.
BACKGROUND: Recall, if you will, that this L.A. Times editorial kicked off a somewhat misguided firestorm of opposition to Mitch O’Farrell’s recent Council motion 16-1456 seeking to develop a legal tool for banning adults without children from playgrounds in parks in the City of Los Angeles.

Well, I don’t know how I missed it, but in January of this year, notre principale raison d’écrire, the famous Ms. Kerry Morrison, in response to this now also-famous L.A. Times editorial, penned a characteristically mendacious little missive to the local paper in support of anti-creep-crusading Councildude Mitch O’Farrell’s universally reviled initiative to ban adults in playgrounds in the City of Los Angeles.

Amazingly, every sentence in this letter is a lie. Here it is, see if you can spot them all. And after the break, I’ll deconstruct this peculiar little symptom of the acute Morrisonitis now endemic in what Ms. Kerry and her weirdo minions are pleased, for reasons known only to them, to refer to as “our little hamlet.”


To the editor: Constituents have contacted O’Farrell regarding the downward spiral of the only pocket park and playground in the heart of Hollywood. Families who live in our densely populated neighborhood used to enjoy the space. Now this tiny park has become a permanent encampment during the hours it is open.

Going there one day last week, I counted more than 20 people lying around the park. The grassy area was covered with sleeping bags and all the benches were taken. The adjacent playground was empty, despite being separated by a fence. This tiny park can no longer be used by families and organizations that could benefit from open space.

I applaud O’Farrell’s efforts to meet the needs of the neighborhood. This is what leaders do.

Kerry Morrison, Hollywood

Continue reading Kerry Morrison, Selma Park, Joseph Goebbels, The Los Angeles Times, The Big Lie, And Lots Of Little Lies As Well!

Share

How Ethics Commission President Jessica Levinson Postponed Discussion Of Revisions To Enforcement Regulations Until April 2017 Mostly At The Behest Of Lobbying Firms And Why She Was Absolutely Right To Do So

Ethics Commission President Jessica Levinson, with whose actions we do not always agree but with whose reasoning we always do, which matters a great deal more.
One of the essential items on the agenda of last Tuesday’s meeting of the City Ethics Commission was a wide-ranging set of proposals from Enforcement staff for revisions to the CEC’s enforcement regulations. These are the laws and policies which guide the enforcement process. The proposals were emailed to interested parties only a few days in advance of the meeting, evidently leaving everyone feeling kind of blindsided,1 especially because they appeared with a recommendation from staff that they be adopted right then.

So at the actual meeting, when the item came up for discussion, Commission President Jessica Levinson made fairly convincing noises to the effect that the matter should be postponed until April. More interestingly, though, she mentioned almost in passing that she’d received a number of written public comments asking the Commission to table the matter. Well, one of my favorite bits of the Brown Act, §54957.5(a), states unequivocally that:2

any … writings, when distributed to all, or a majority of all, of the members of a legislative body of a local agency by any person in connection with a matter subject to discussion or consideration at an open meeting of the body, are disclosable public records under the California Public Records Act … and shall be made available upon request without delay.

As one might expect, the Ethics Commission is absolutely the best of all City agencies at following this law. They keep a big plastic box at the back of the room during meetings which contains every possible piece of paper necessary for compliance. So as soon as President Levinson3 mentioned that there were written comments, and as soon as it became clear that all the Commissioners had copies, I zipped back to look in the box. How disappointing to find nothing of the sort in there! But the story has a happy ending, never fear, and turn the page to learn the details.
Continue reading How Ethics Commission President Jessica Levinson Postponed Discussion Of Revisions To Enforcement Regulations Until April 2017 Mostly At The Behest Of Lobbying Firms And Why She Was Absolutely Right To Do So

Share

That Time In 2016 When Miranda Paster Forced The East Hollywood BID To Comply With Its Contract By Withholding $220,000 From Them Because They Hadn’t Sent In Their Quarterly Newsletters For Four Frickin’ Years. Nicole Shahenian: “Your Fault For Not Asking Sooner, Miranda!!!”

Nicole Shahenian explaining how just because you sign a contract doesn’t mean there oughta be consequences for not doing what it says, especially if you’re understaffed, whether or not the contract says you’re responsible for not being understaffed!!
OK, where to start? Well, how about with the contract that the East Hollywood BID signed with the City of Los Angeles?1 Right there on pages two and three, in section 2.6(B), it says:

Corporation shall maintain an ongoing liaison relationship with the community. Corporation’s responsibilities encompass the following areas:

B. Newsletters. Corporation shall prepare a District newsletter to be produced on a quarterly basis, at a minimum, and shall distribute this newsletter to all assessed property owners in the District. Corporation may, at Corporation’s option, provide the newsletter by standard mail or electronic transmission. The newsletter will be designed to facilitate and maximize the exchange of information between Corporation, City, and the members ofthe District. Each issue of the newsletter shall be submitted in duplicate to the City Clerk for reference.

So this explains why BID Analyst and City Clerk staffer Eugene Van Cise wrote to Nicole Shahenian, executive director of the East Hollywood BID, one fine day in May 2016:

Nicole,
I have invoices for $387.30, $72,291.74 and 146,852.71. Miranda has rejected payment because of our records indicate that we have not received the following newsletters:
2012: All 4 quarters.
2013: All 4 quarters.
2014: 1st & 2nd quarters.
2015: All 4 quarters.
2016: 1st quarter.
If you have these available, you may email them to me.
Please contact me if you should have any questions.

Add it up, friend! That’s almost $220,000 that Miranda Paster was holding back from the BID because they had failed to perform a clause in their contract for four years straight. This is quite a contrast to what Holly Wolcott told me in March of that year to the effect that the City had no power to make BIDs comply with CPRA even though compliance with CPRA is also a requirement in their contract.

Really, I’m beginning to think she was just lying to me because no one wants to comply with CPRA, but everyone wants freaking newsletters (?!) And why was Miranda Paster all of a sudden looking four years into the past for instances of noncompliance? Well, we will probably never know, but we can at least follow the rest of this story! Read on for a painfully detailed recounting (not to mention copies of the damned newsletters)!
Continue reading That Time In 2016 When Miranda Paster Forced The East Hollywood BID To Comply With Its Contract By Withholding $220,000 From Them Because They Hadn’t Sent In Their Quarterly Newsletters For Four Frickin’ Years. Nicole Shahenian: “Your Fault For Not Asking Sooner, Miranda!!!”

Share

Open Letter To Holly Wolcott and Miranda Paster Concerning Tara Devine’s Misleading Everyone With Her Discredited “Zoning Not Use” Theory

Holly Wolcott in her bully pulpit, explaining it all to you!
Here’s a letter I sent this morning to Holly Wolcott and Miranda Paster about Tara Devine misleading everyone with respect to the question of whether commercial properties were necessarily included in the Venice Beach BID. There’s a transcription after the break, as always, for the PDF averse.

This is a fairly serious matter, and actually illegal if it turns out to be the case that Tara Devine was required to register as a lobbyist last year, as I have alleged that she was. The point is that since the Clerk’s office is supposed to oversee BIDs, they ought to oversee BID consultants as well, and since both honesty and integrity are explicit criteria for qualifying as a BID consultant perhaps these two ought to look into whether Tara Devine is actually qualified. Turn the page for a transcription.
Continue reading Open Letter To Holly Wolcott and Miranda Paster Concerning Tara Devine’s Misleading Everyone With Her Discredited “Zoning Not Use” Theory

Share

How I Reported Shadowy BID Consultant Tara Devine To Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer For Knowingly And Fraudently Deceiving Mike Bonin With Regard To A Material Fact Pertinent To The Establishment Of The Star-Crossed Venice Beach BID

“I’ll be damned if I’m ever going to say, ‘It’s not my job,’” Feuer told the Times editorial board. We like that attitude. All L.A. residents should.
If you want to skip the explaining and go straight to the complaint, here it is.

Friends, take a look at the exceedingly fascinating LAMC § 48.04(B). This lovely little slab of ethicalliciousness illegalizes any occasion when a lobbyist might:

Fraudulently deceive or attempt to deceive any City official with regard to any material fact pertinent to any pending or proposed municipal legislation.

And of course, you recall what a lobbyist is, it’s a technical term in this setting.1 Lobbyists are defined in LAMC §48.02 to be:

any individual who is compensated to spend 30 or more hours in any consecutive three-month period engaged in lobbying activities which include at least one direct communication with a City official or employee, conducted either personally or through agents, for the purpose of attempting to influence municipal legislation on behalf of any person.

Well, as you may recall, I spent the last two months assembling a highly detailed argument that Tara Devine met this definition. If that’s right, and I certainly think that it is, she’s also forbidden from fraudulently deceiving Mike Bonin, e.g., about material facts in regard to the formation of the Venice Beach BID which, as I’m sure you know, requires legislation for the BID to be brought into existence.

The argument is that she got everyone to believe that it was required under state law to include commercially zoned properties in the BID, even though not only is this not true, not only did she know it was not true, but her having convinced everyone of this led to more properties being in the BID, which increased the amount of money under the control of her clients, the Venice Beach Property Owners Association. If you’re still interested enough to follow me into the weeds, turn the page!
Continue reading How I Reported Shadowy BID Consultant Tara Devine To Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer For Knowingly And Fraudently Deceiving Mike Bonin With Regard To A Material Fact Pertinent To The Establishment Of The Star-Crossed Venice Beach BID

Share

Lunada Bay Boys Lawsuit Will Not Be A Class Action! Judge Otero Files Order Denying Motion For Class Certification. But, Says Otero, The Experts Are Mostly But Not Totally Expert Enough!

Pretty, pretty Palos Verdes…but no class at all!
For background take a look at this excellent article from the Times on this lawsuit. Also see here to download all pleadings in this case.

Perhaps you recall that yesterday’s scheduled hearing on the plaintiffs’ motion to have their lawsuit against the putative Lunada Bay Boys certified as a class action was cancelled by the Judge on the grounds that he would be able to rule without hearing oral arguments. Well, this morning his order denying class certification hit PACER. I can tell you right now that his reasoning with respect to the conclusion that this case cannot proceed as a class action is completely beyond my ability to interpret sensibly, so you’ll have to figure that part of it out yourself.

The introduction to the order strikes me as pretty skeptical of the plaintiffs’ claims generally, and even a little sarcastic. For instance, in what must be for the plaintiffs a particularly disconcerting example of judicial humor, Otero begins his summary of the facts with the following pun: “Riding the wave of the Point Break remake, Plaintiffs initiated this putative class action lawsuit…” It can’t be pleasant to read insinuations from the judge that one’s lawsuit was essentially a movie tie-in! There are excerpts after the break.

Otero also responded to ongoing debate over plaintiffs’ expert witnesses by saying that the economist Philip King is certainly expert enough, but that his method of arriving at an estimate of $50,000,000 in damages is nonsense.1 It seems to be that King will be allowed to testify but not testify to damages. Also, Otero says that the plaintiffs’ other expert, Peter Neushul,2 is certainly expert enough to testify about surfing in Southern California. Anyway, after the break, find some excerpts from the less technical parts of the order.
Continue reading Lunada Bay Boys Lawsuit Will Not Be A Class Action! Judge Otero Files Order Denying Motion For Class Certification. But, Says Otero, The Experts Are Mostly But Not Totally Expert Enough!

Share

New Documents: Los Feliz Village BID Mailing List, Larchmont Village BID Tax Returns, Wilshire Center BID Tax Returns, Transactions, Bylaws

Los Feliz used to be a normal place, and maybe someday it will be again!
Just a quick note to announce a bunch of new materials. Most importantly, the Los Feliz Village BID, in the person of BID boss Rafik Ghazarian, sent me an Excel spreadsheet with mailing addresses for everyone in the BID. Given the months-long, dentaloextractivist-level dramatics created by the City of Los Angeles in the persons of asylum-running lunatics Miranda Paster and Holly Wolcott over e.g. the Venice Beach BID mailing list and the SLAIT BID mailing list,1 this is a surprising and welcome development. It’s especially laudable given that the Los Feliz Village BID has been the target of at least one significant attempt to destroy it, and, given that it’s a merchant-based BID, and thus required to renew each year, will certainly be so yet again.

I also have tax returns from the creepy little apartheid stronghold in South Central Hollywood known to the world as the Larchmont Village BID, as well as a bunch of assorted jive-ass nonsense from Mr. Mike out in Wilshire Center. Turn the page for links and descriptions.
Continue reading New Documents: Los Feliz Village BID Mailing List, Larchmont Village BID Tax Returns, Wilshire Center BID Tax Returns, Transactions, Bylaws

Share