It’s been a while since I wrote about psychopathic rageball George Yu, the criminal boss of the Klown Kar Krew Konspiracy known as the Chinatown Business Improvement District. Last we heard about the guy he was incurring significant liability for his BID by failing to show up at his damn trial, and screaming at a bunch of people at a meeting funded on his behalf by the City of Los Angeles, and conspiring with Deputy City Attorney Tia Strozier, who really ought to be ashamed of herself but is not, against Chinatown resident Theo Henderson.
But Jake, even though it is Chinatown, we aren’t about to forget it. So I thought I’d spend a little of this precious weekend covering a couple interesting items from this set of Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Prosecutor Tia Strozier’s emails about Chinatown. One is from George Yu to some guy named Peter about crime in Chinatown. The sky is falling, the apocalypse is upon us, “the City outside Los Angeles is functionally and irreversibly broken” and crime in Chinatown is, according to Yu, who is evidently living in his own worst nightmare, higher than crime across the street in El Pueblo.
But, says this casually unhinged racist, funded by the City of Los angeles to the tune of more than $1.3 million per year in BID assessments,1 “I assure you none of the suspects were Chinese or have ever lived in our community.” Great analysis, George Yu! You’re worth every damn penny of that public tax money the City hands over to you every year to run your weirdo little kingdom out there in North Central Yu-ville!
And it’s not just money that the City of Los Angeles pays to George Yu, they also pay their respects which, as such things are handled here in irreversibly-broken-world, are measured out in units of influence, the ears of those empowered to act, and so on. And as for what Yu does with these units, well, we’re all familiar with the unreasoning hatred that BIDdies of all stripes, from those who are still able to maintain the mask of sanity to those who, like Yu, are decompensating at an ever increasing pace, have for street vendors.
Yu not only rants and raves about street vendors, he even hired an elite lobbyist to rant and rave at Gil Cedillo about them. And when the City of Los Angeles was finally forced out of its decades of dithering with respect to the issue by the passage of Ricardo Lara’s monumental sanity in street vending bill, Yu somehow, like many of his zillionaire BID-buddies around the City, managed to cadge a probably illegal no vending zone covering most though not all of his demesne.
But it’s never enough for Yu, is it? Which is why it’s not especially surprising to learn that in February 2019 Yu was emailing Strozier about street vendors, using them as evidence for his violence-justifying delusional narrative of irreversible decay:
As you know there are numerous issues which I will keep you posted on and we can address on a reasonable as needed basis. I fully realize watching our City deteriorate over the years that we’re no longer in Camelot but the daily activities are truly deplorable. … I am extremely concerned on [sic] the now legal vendors with the open flame and unsecured propane tanks. There 4 [sic] per intersection and they block egress from Plazas and other private property.
And before I tell you how Tia Strozier replied, let me just give you a little background on this damnable neighborhood prosecutor program in which she’s employed. This is some crapola pushed by grand crapolameister City Attorney Mike Feuer, and you can read his propaganda about it here. It’s putatively meant to give ordinary people access to prosecutors to deal with what these folks love to call nuisance crimes.2
And like any other means of wielding the coercive power of the state, whatever it was meant to be, this program has by now turned into yet another means by which local zillionaires can direct force against human beings who they perceive to be obstructing the cash flow. But, you know, Mike Feuer is a politician. He’s not going to cop to that on one of his web pages. Instead, says Feuer, “Prosecutors are plugged-in to the unique challenges and frustrations faced, are accessible, responsive and ready to assist you.” And, as importantly, says Feuer, “Neighborhood Prosecutors cannot provide legal advice to the public.”
And at least in my personal experience as a (non-zillionaire) member of the public, that assertion is true. Like maybe you remember this time a few years ago when some Hollywood BID Patrol fash jumped on a homeless man in a pile, handcuffed him, and then arrested him for battery for touching one of them while they were all piled on top of him, which is not an exaggeration. The whole thing is on video.
And at that time the local neighborhood prosecutor was this one dude who calls himself Steve Houchin.3 He used to come to every single Hollywood BID security meeting and sit around hobnobbing with the zillionaires and, you know, not giving them legal advice, but also not arresting them for hiring armed thugs to behave this way. And I was pretty sure he’d seen the movie, but I sent it to him again just in case and asked him if he could give me some advice as if I too were a zillionaire about how I could randomly jump on homeless people and then have them arrested for touching me while I was jumping on them.
And he ignored me and ignored me and ignored me until I wrote to his supervisor and then he answered me and told me that he couldn’t provide legal advice to the public. So, you know, with all this in mind, let’s take a look at Tia Strozier’s answer to George Yu’s unhinged hatred of street vendors. She said:
With regard to the open flame issue, I would suggest keeping an eye out for how far the flames may spread. The code sections dealing with flames on sidewalks are very specific. With regard to blocking the street, there may be something there. Make sure to document the obstructions.
And friends, this sure looks like legal advice to me. But you don’t have to take my word for it! And you shouldn’t anyway because obviously I am not a lawyer! But because giving legal advice without being a lawyer is a crime in many places, there’s actually a legal definition of what constitutes legal advice. In particular, the Wiki tells us that legal advice is:
… the giving of a professional or formal opinion regarding the substance or procedure of the law in relation to a particular factual situation. The provision of legal advice will often involve analyzing a set of facts and advising a person to take a specific course of action based on the applicable law.
In other words, Yu gave Strozier some facts. Strozier opined on how the law applied to the facts and then advised Yu to take some action. So that’s the big reveal in this post, the exclusive scoop broken, friends! Mike Feuer, an elected official of the City of Los Angeles, said something that may be true for you, may be true for me, but is decidedly untrue for zillionaires. And that’s enough for one Saturday, folks. After all, I have to get to work on my Pulitzer speech!
Image of casually unhinged racist George Yu is ©2019 MichaelKohlhaas.Org and wouldn’t you like to know who laid the damn groundwork for it?!
- It was more than $1.3 million in 2011. It has surely gone up since then but I can’t be sure since Yu will not comply with the damn Public Records Act.
- Obviously there’s a huge amount of analysis needed to articulate the semantics of the word nuisance in this context. No time today for that, but you probably understand it all too well already.
- He has transitioned out of the neighborhood prosecutoring game and is now providing CPRA advice to neighborhood councils, which might well be the only assignment in the entire City Attorney world that’s more thankless than neighborhood prosecutry. They’re probably trying to get him to quit. Will keep an eye on the situation.