Recall that I’ve been tracking the hysterical, irrational opposition of LA’s business improvement districts to the ongoing process of legalizing (some aspects of) street vending in the City since the Spring of 2015. A truly astonishing level of bitching and moaning in 2015 stalled out the whole process for most of 2016 because, I believe, everyone was too freaking sick of the whining and the carefully orchestrated lying on any number of occasions and the City just needed a rest. Until the November election of Donald Trump and his subsequent threats to deport essentially anyone, U.S. citizen or not, who’d ever smiled while thinking of eating a taco spurred the Council into action on at least the small part (small but in no way insignificant) of the plan to decriminalize illegal street vending so that, no matter how much trouble the zillionaires might cause the heladeros, at least they wouldn’t be subject to arrest and subsequent deportation. That bit seemed urgent enough to pass Council outright, and even the anti-vending forces of the zillionaire elite seemed to realize that they were just going to be exposed as the nasty little mean creeps that they are if they fought back on this particular issue. However, the Council put off acting on an actual legalization framework until later.
But recall, as I reported in January, the instructions for the report-back were altered from the original, and quite sensible,1 request for
A process to create special vending districts to be initiated by Council, the Board of Public Works, or petition (with signatures from 20 percent of property owners or businesses in the proposed district), based on legitimate public health, safety and welfare concerns that are unique to specific neighborhoods with special circumstances.
to a request for language
Providing the City Council the ability to opt out of certain streets by Council action.
Bylaws of the Palisades BID — Given how damned much trouble it is to coax thing one out of the PPBID and given that they’re evidently willing to spend thousands of dollars fighting my requests rather than just complying with them, it’s always a pleasant surprise to get anything at all out of these people. Of course, these are really the bylaws of the property owners’ association which administers the Palisades BID. Unlike seemingly every other BID in Los Angeles, these people named their POA the same thing as their BID, which makes the confusion even more complete than it usually is. This is probably because something else was already called the Pacific Palisades Property Owners Association.
Of course, from that minute at 5:00 a.m. on February 6, 2017, that the Los Angeles Times, house organ of this city’s zillionaire political elite, endorsed his opponent, damn hippy upstart bike rider Joe Bray-Ali, Council District 1 incumbent Gil Cedillo was effectively thrown under the bus. But just like in every western movie ever made, it’s not the shot that knocks the hero off his horse that hurts,1 but rather the subsequent nibblings of a thousand attack-ducks that really ends the guy’s career.2
Which is why it’s so interesting to note that on the very same day that the Times announced that incumbent Cedillo no longer enjoyed the support of L.A.’s zillionaires and was thus fair game for the death by a thousand nibbles, Mr. Attack Duck himself, CD13 scheduler Dave Cano, smelt the way the wind blew, jumped on the anti-Gil train and donated $125 to Joe Bray-Ali. And does any one at all think that council staff donate money to non-incumbents without the permission of their bosses? It’s never going to happen in a zillion years.
When last we peeked into the Minutes of the Board of Directors of the Pacific Palisades BID, we learned that they were all sitting around up there in Northwest Zillionaireville quaking in their super-pricy boots over the influx of gang members from urban Santa Monica. Today, well, there’s the serious matter of street vending to discuss, of course, but first, take a look at the minutes from January 4, 2017, where we learn about this:
Homeless issue – One person is a problem on Via de la Paz lately. He is a 300 lb., male black man with a nasty temper. Officer Moore recommends signing a “Trespass Arrest Authorization” form which was handed out.
Got it? He weights three hundred pounds.1 He’s black. And not only that, he is both male and a man. This is a truly frightening situation! I’m wondering if their trespass authorization form has a place to put the weight of trespassers that the cops are authorized to arrest? The standard form does not, but the LAPD is famous for deploying multiple helicopters to fly against the homeless in the Palisades. Are they going to refuse them a custom anti-homeless trespass form? Especially if they’re being overrun by a horde of three hundred distinct pounds of angry homeless black male man?
I mean, I know you can never be too rich or too thin, but that the Palisadesians are extra-scared of this man because “he is a 300 lb., male black man…” is somewhat unexpected, even though 300 lb. people can certainly “pose to be dangerous.” I would have thought that fear of the homeless would be measured more by the individual than by the pound, but I’m wrong again. Certainly this is why I can’t afford to live in the Palisades amongst the jittery little psychopathic self-interested zillionaire theorists of homelessness. My priorities are obviously really confused.
I don’t usually report on local politics unless there’s some kind of connection to business improvement districts, but the incomparable David Zahniser’s article in this morning’s Times announcing that the CD1 election appears more strongly than ever to be heading to a runoff was much too much for me to let pass uncommented. In particular, this little piece of characteristically Zahniserian deadpannitude must be quoted and quoted over again:
The campaign between Cedillo and Bray-Ali has been tense at times. On election night, Cedillo said his lead showed that voters were rejecting his rival’s “trendy, hippy, hipster proposal and agenda.”
On Friday, Cedillo said he regrets making those remarks. “I should not have referred to his campaign … as a hipster campaign or candidacy,” he said.
In January 2017 I obtained a December 1, 2016 email from Police Commission investigator Eugene Shin confirming that the registration process was ongoing. In that email Officer Shin hinted that he’d received a bunch of complaints about the new registration policy from BIDs. This, in turn, suggests that he or someone had sent an earlier communication about registration. I do not yet have copies of any of the complaints, bitching, and moaning, although I’m certainly working on getting them. However, just yesterday, as part of a significant email release from the FCBID1 I received this November 29, 2016 email from Eugene Shin to all the BIDs, announcing that their security guards would have to register. This seems to be what caused the firestorm of unhappiness hinted at in the December 1 email.
There is a full transcription of this fascinating document after the break, and it’s well worth reading. But the most interesting bit of all is this threat, with which Eugene Shin ends his missive:
Failure to register and obtain the permits may result in criminal charges being filed against the security company and citations or arrests of their security officers.
In response to years of ongoing public outcry and fervent pleading, we have finally set up a MichaelKohlhaas.Org store at CafePress. Right now, there are only three products, but they are doozies, friends! If you’re viewing the desktop version of this blog, you can also get to our store through the “Merch” menu up on the top bar, and otherwise go to this dedicated page. We here at the blog are all extremely excited about this new project. The three coffee mugs are pictured here, and also I’m going to describe and link to each of them separately.
First of all we have the Besten Show Award Prize Mug. The executive directrix of the Historic Core BID, third weirdest of the minor downtown BIDs, Blair Besten, is famous for her passive-aggressive, active-aggressive, rageball-acting-out antics in the face of what everyone in the universe except, for some reason her, understands are perfectly normal CPRA requests. Take a look at the actual email which clinched the award for her! Here, after I asked her a few simple questions about a pending request, one that’s been pending for two months now: (a) was there any news on it, (b) had she finished collecting the responsive material into one place, and (c) how much data in bytes was responsive? She answered with, in pertinent part, the following queries:
Please clarify what you mean by “collecting” and what you mean by “data?”
You may recall that in January 2016, Semhar Girmay Amha filed a suit in federal court against the City of Los Angeles for their illegal detention and surreally flagrant verbal abuse of her after the 2014 Michael Brown protests downtown. Here is my original article on the subject and all the interesting paper filed in the case is also available.