The anti-homeless planters placed all over Venice by hitherto unknown parties have received a great deal of media coverage in the last year, from the Hollywood Reporter to LA Magazine to Capital and Main to KFI radio to Venice Update. There’s no question that these planters are illegal. The Los Angeles Municipal Code at §62.118.2 requires revocable permits for any installations on public sidewalks. Los Angeles Magazine has reported that not only do these planters not have permits, but that the City’s Bureau of Engineering states that they would not issue permits for them.1
And although that Venice Update story names Venice Gauleiter Mark Ryavec as a funding source for the planters at Lincoln and Palms, the other stories are careful either to avoid saying who’s responsible for planter installation or else to state explicitly that no one knows who’s putting them in. It seems obvious that some factions in the City of Los Angeles have been involved in planter installation, though. LA Sanitation’s sweeps of encampments in places targeted for planters seem coordinated with installation, and the LAPD seems always to have representatives present when the sweeps are happening.
And if you’re familiar with the way the City of Los Angeles is run you know that it is actually not possible that projects like these can be implemented, that there could be any kind of coordination between departments, that illegal planters could persist, without at least the passive support of the local Councilmember. In the case of Venice, which is in CD11, that is Mike Bonin. And yet Bonin’s office has consistently denied that it is involved at all.
For instance, in November 2018, KFI reported that “A spokesman for Councilman Mike Bonin, who represents the area, said he was not aware of any city department’s involvement in the placing of the planter boxes.” In May 2018 Bonin staffie Taylor Bazley explicitly told a concerned resident, Adam Smith, that CD11 “certainly [is] not involved” in planter installation. Here you can watch Chief Michel Moore stating that the planters are not an area of LAPD responsibility.
However, an email conversation that I recently obtained from the City via the California Public Records Act shows conclusively that both Bonin’s unnamed spokesperson and his loyal staffie Taylor Bazley were lying when they said CD11 was not involved. Bazley was involved, Mark Ryavec was involved, and LAPD officers James Roberts, James Setzer, Javier Ramirez, and Kristan Delatori were involved.
Michel Moore may not have been lying when he said that LAPD wasn’t responsible for planters, but these emails show that he was at least misinformed or uninformed by his subordinates at Pacific Division. For instance, LAPD Captain James Roberts enlisted Mark Ryavec’s aid in asking Taylor Bazley to authorize LAPD to move homeless people away from an installation site.2 These emails are evidence, therefore, that multiple City offices are working together to violate the law in order to placate angry housedwellers and that at least Mike Bonin’s office is lying about it.
And there’s a lot of other important information here. For instance, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority is required by City protocol to participate in all encampment sweeps in the City. They’re widely touted as playing “a critical role in minimizing any negative health effects in our communities, while also offering our homeless neighbors access to a path out of homelessness.” Bazley, however, in an email to anti-homeless psychopath Mark Ryavec, describes their role quite differently: “LAHSA needs to attempt to demonstrate rendering of services by visiting the site 3 documented times”3 There’s a real contrast between “offering our homeless neighbors access to a path out of homelessness” and “attempt[ing] to demonstrate rendering of services.”
The emails also reveal the identities and email addresses of a number of NIMBY housedwellers from Venice besides Mark Ryavec who are involved in planter installations. Turn the page for a list of these haters as well as transcriptions of all the emails.
☆ Samantha Mehra (email@example.com) — Mehra is a Venice yoga teacher. She has been called a radiant being and a true peaceful warrior. She’s also a sociopathic homeless-human-hating law-breaking planter installer.
☆ Andy Kleinman (firstname.lastname@example.org) — Some kind of zombie tech evangelist at zombie tech evangelist firm Wonder. Very active on zombie tech evangelist Twitter. He’s also a sociopathic homeless-human-hating law-breaking planter installer.
☆ Camey McGilvray (email@example.com) — Another fricking artist. When human beings lived in Venice we were bothered by cockroachs and other normal and familiar vermin but now the place is infested by artists of a certain sort. God help us, each and every one. She’s also a sociopathic homeless-human-hating law-breaking planter installer.
☆ Thanh Tran (firstname.lastname@example.org) — Self-described tiger mom and receiver of stolen property. Very active on white supremacist social hate media NextDoor. She’s also a sociopathic homeless-human-hating law-breaking planter installer.
Transcriptions of the emails about planters:
On 10/23/2018 5:24 PM, Taylor Bazley wrote:
Hi Samantha –
I’m sorry but the authorization process alone takes at absolute minimum two weeks, usually the fastest I can make it happen is 3 weeks, and 4/5 weeks is more standard.
The process for a posted clean up is the request goes in, LASAN responds to do a site evaluation and pings LAHSA, LAHSA needs to attempt to demonstrate rendering of services by visiting the site 3 documented times, they convey back authorization, the interdepartmental team needs to schedule this into their operations (usually the team is only in our council district two or three days a month), and then there needs to be a posting around the area 3 days in advance.
I know some neighbors might post that work will be done in an area at a given time and that has been useful at encouraging people to move at that time but a posted sanitation clean up is sort of a heavy lift that requires weeks notice and is according to the interdepartmental clean up crew’s schedule (which doesn’t usually include weekends).
On Tue, Oct 23, 2018 at 6:26 PM Mark Ryavec <VeniceStakeholders@ca.rr.com> wrote:
Might it be possible for you to lend support in another manner?
The handful of campers have just landed there in the last couple days and a cleaning by Sanitation is not really necessary.
All it appears Captain Roberts is asking for is the council office’s support for the installation of a few planter boxes on the parkway, as we previously have installed, with your support, around the Post Office and along Staples.
With your approval, the LAPD can certainly support the residents in asking the campers to move their belongings by 8 am Saturday morning so the installation can go forward.
The city can save the Sanitation clean up for more deserving locations.
Thank you for your consideration of this suggestion.
From: Taylor Bazley < email@example.com >
Date: 10/23/18 6:32 PM (GMT-08:00)
To: Venice Stakeholders < VeniceStakeholders@ca.rr.com >
Cc: samantha firstname.lastname@example.org . Carlos Torres < email@example.com >. firstname.lastname@example.org . Mike Castillo < email@example.com >. firstname.lastname@example.org , email@example.com , James Roberts <firstname.lastname@example.org>, James Setzer <email@example.com>, Javier Ramirez <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Kristan Delatori <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: Harding Ave./Lincoln Blvd. Beautification Project
If this is permitted then LAPD would be able to support enforcement of your permit – my assumption is that this isn’t permitted. If LAPD feels comfortable with their officers politely asking but not forcibly removing people (again assuming their is no permit) then they could do that but otherwise the way we would force people to leave an area is to fulfill a permit.
From: venicestakeholders ■■■■■■■■■
Sent: Tuesday, October 23, 2018 19:17
To: Taylor Bazley
Cc: Carlos Torres; ■■■■■■■■■ Mike Castillo; ■■■■■■■■■, ■■■■■■■■■, ■■■■■■■■■, James Roberts; James Setzer; Javier Ramirez; Kristan Delatori
Subject: Re: Harding Ave./Lincoln Blvd. Beautification Project
We did not apply for a permit. I would ask that you ask the LAPD to assist the residents in asking the campers to move their stuff so the installation can proceed. My guess is that all be well. If there is any resistance the residents can wait for a formal cleanup.
Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone
On Tuesday, October 23, 2018, 7:30:01 PM PDT, James Setzer <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
Good evening all:
Barring the unforeseen, the LAPD can plan on providing a unit to engage these persons and seek their voluntary compliance.
I’ll confirm unit availability and awareness by the SLO for this effort.
From: Carlos Torres ■■■■■■■■■
Date: Tue, Oct 30, 2018 at 3:01 PM
Subject: Re: Harding Ave./Lincoln Blvd. Beautification Projec
To: Mike Castillo; ■■■■■■■■■, ■■■■■■■■■, ■■■■■■■■■, James Roberts; James Setzer; Javier Ramirez; Kristan Delatori Michael Soliman <email@example.com>, Kevin Lowe <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The situation here is deplorable, is so frustrating to be left out in the cold like this, Our SLO officer Ramirez was in the process of coordinating a day with Sanitation so we could install the planters, we have the planters, we have the plants, we have the people to come and do the labor, all we need is for our officials to come and help us clear the area so we can do the work, !!! Is been 5 months of us residents fighting this battle, is just not fair, we are exahusted, we are frustrated, we feel helpless.
Officer Ramirez what happened? you said you were going to help us. You are not returning our calls or emails when you said we will be ready to proceed this week, we have done our part where are you?
Please Captain James help us residents, is not our fault, we pay taxes, we been patient, we raised our own funds, we have been doing the hard work and will continue, all we need is for our SLO to help us one day to clean that area, we have integrity and we are hoping that our officials do too.
I’m trusting that we will resolve this soon, for everyone’s sake.
I’m sure you don’t want to be bother everyday with this same issue and we are desperate to have a decent life here.
On Tue, Oct 30, 2018 at 4:27 PM, Taylor Bazley <email@example.com> wrote:
Hi UHRC –
I needed some help coordinating a clean up at Harding just West of Lincoln Blvd. in Venice.
On Wed, Oct 31, 2018 at 10:08 AM Mayor UHRC <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
We’ll have the West Bureau HOPE Team address the location. Copying Lt. Emada Tingirides on this email chain.
Chief, CENTCOM Operations
Office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti
o. (213) 978-3107
On Thu, Nov 1, 2018 at 6:44 PM, Taylor Bazley <email@example.com> wrote:
We need a posted clean up as soon as possible. I am already asking LASAN to prioritize the location and it would be helpful to get sooner than later.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org on behalf of Mayor UHRC <email@example.com>
Sent: Friday, November 02, 2018 12:30 PM
To: Taylor Bazley;Emada Tingirides Javier Ramirez;Marco Ramirez;Robert Chellew;Salvador Rosales;Steven Pedersen;Gonzalo Barriga;Monique Contreras;Celina Robles;Brian Buchner
Re: Harding Ave./Lincoln Blvd. Beautification Project
Emada, can you please confirm if West Bureau HOPE visited the location? Also, copying LASAN to ensure coordination between the Council Office, the UHRC, and departments.
Image of Mark Ryavec is ©2019 MichaelKohlhaas.Org and there’s this other Mark Ryavec to contend with too.
- I also have heard this from Bureau of Engineering staff. I was told also that there’s no way the City would ever issue permits for something like this.
- “All it appears Captain Roberts is asking for is the council office’s support for the installation of a few planter boxes on the parkway, as we previously have installed, with your support, around the Post Office and along Staples.
- H/T Adam Smith for calling my attention to this creepy little pronouncement.