Well, I have been chronicling my troubles with the so-called Larchmont Village BID for at least six months now, starting with their stubborn recalcitrance in releasing records having to do with their accursed signal box art contest, to, more recently, my six month long battle to get a copy of their bylaws out of them, to my eight month struggle to get them to notify me of their damnable meetings as required by the Brown Act at §54954.1, to their appearance in a reprehensible series of emails between City employee Rita Moreno, a BID analyst with the City Clerk’s Neighborhood and Business Improvement District Division, nominally tasked with overseeing BIDs but, in actuality, engaged in enabling their misbehavior and lawlessness.
The thing about those emails was that, along with a bunch of other criminal BIDs, the Larchmont Village BID didn’t post its agendas on its website, even though the Brown Act at §54954.2(a)(1) requires it to do so. And Rita Moreno, rather than telling the lawless BIDs that they were breaking the freaking law, handed out gold stars to the ones who were following it.
Well, that’s where the situation stood until 4:48 p.m. this evening, when I received an email from some entity calling itself firstname.lastname@example.org. Attached to this anomalous little missive was the agenda for a BID meeting on Tuesday, May 2. Thus, for whatever reason, just one day after my scathing post calling out the City for not enforcing its laws, its contracts, against these serial South Central Hollywood outlaws, they change their ways. How’s that for activist journalism?! Anyway, there’s tons of interesting stuff to say about this situation that’s a lot more nerdish than that, and you can turn the page if you’re interested.
First of all, let’s consider the email address from whence the missive came. Note first the domain name, which is larchmontvillagebid.com. You can see from the WHOIS record that this domain was purchased on February 25, 2013, by Heather Duffy Boylston.1 This is consistent with the first recorded Wayback Machine capture of their website on August 9, 2013. And that’s exactly how the website looked at the time of its most recent capture, on October 3, 2016. In fact, although you’ll have to take my word for it, that’s exactly how it looked until yesterday. But today it looks quite different. In fact, I would guess that they’re about to start complying with the Brown Act by posting agendas on the site. Which is good news indeed!
What’s more interesting, though, is the fact that the email itself came from that domain. Previously, like up until yesterday also, these LVBIDdies all used their regular work emails for BID business:
- email@example.com — Heather Duffy Boylston
- firstname.lastname@example.org — Tom Kneafsey
- email@example.com — Erin Dolan
So maybe they’re switching over to larchmontvillagebid.com addresses now because they’re trying to be more professional, or perhaps it’s related to a recent California Supreme Court decision that communications via private accounts are still public records if they have to do with public business. This decision was bruited about by the BIDs recently, so these particular BIDdies almost certainly know about it.
The next interesting aspect of this email address is that the username is “office.” I’ve previously mentioned this trope, of agencies subject to CPRA making dedicated email addresses for their CPRA transactions and hiding behind their fake usernames for…well, I’m not sure why. I’ve also mentioned before that it’s a little futile, as the law requires them2 to reveal the name of the person responsible for denying requests, if they ever do.
And anyway, anonymity is hard, friends! Note the metadata of the Word document that they sent me. An image appears somewhere near this sentence, or if you prefer text, here is a text version.3 See how the metadata reveals that this document was in fact written by Heather Duffy Boylston, just minutes before she sent it to me. The fact that she seems to have written the thing just for me personally suggests that they haven’t necessarily decided to follow the law, but that they’re just going to create the impression that they’re following the law.4 It also suggests that Heather Duffy Boylston used an anonymous email address to send it to me because…I don’t know why. Perhaps she doesn’t know that her people, her own tribe, identify anonymity with sinister intent. Or perhaps she does know it and her intent actually is sinister.
However, the most interesting things about this document are not in the metadata but in the data itself. Scope out item III:
III. Reports to the Board
a. Brown Act review
b. Nominate Gina St. Aubin to the Board
c. Nominate new secretary
d. Website update
e. New tenant update
f. Trees/Sidewalks update/recommendations from Tree Case Mgmt.
g. Review and vote on amendments to bylaws
Note the three items in blue!! Someone’s going to brief the BIDdies on the Brown Act, which they sorely need. Is it too ridiculous to speculate, based on the timing, that my post from yesterday, calling out the City for its hypocrisy in not enforcing the law against these backwater gangsters, had something to do with the switchover? Also, they’re going to update their freaking website. Can it be that they’re going to start posting notice of their meetings? I’m thinking so.
And, finally, they’re evidently going to revise their bylaws. As these bylaws explicitly violate the Brown Act by letting the Board of Directors make spooky decisions at a distance,5 dare I speculate that that’s what they’re going to change? Well, if so, I proclaim victory!! Hell, I proclaim victory either way, cause proclamations are cheap!! And stay tuned for the news about what goes on over there in South Central Hollywood on Tuesday morning!
Image of Heather Duffy Boylston started its life on her damnable Twitter feed and ended up here, modified beyond both recognition and the power of her puny copyright to follow, in such a state that it is now ©2017 MichaelKohlhaas.Org.
- I really wonder why none of these people spring for WHOIS privacy. My registrar charges $4 per year for it. It’s a small price to pay for not being mocked on the open internet, and in Larchmont Village it’ll buy you about 32% of a small coffee. What do you want to bet this changes like really soon? Stay tuned and I’ll let you know. Writing a script to check it every day.
- At §6253(1).
- The text version has significantly more information in it, e.g. it reveals that Duffy Boylston uses a Macintosh, but that’s neither here nor there.
- That’s OK, though. That’s one of the genius things about the law. It doesn’t matter why you follow it as long as you follow it. It’s all we can ask of one another.
- Hat tip: Albert Einstein.