- Our Brown Act enforcement project uses the private attorney general provisions of the law to encourage business improvement districts to follow the law. On receipt of a demand letter the offending BID has the option to avoid a lawsuit by unconditionally commit to following the law in the future. Here are the BIDs involved to date:
- Our investigation and subsequent report on Brown Act violations by the Los Feliz Village BID led to their informal admonishment by the Public Integrity Division of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
- Our investigation into violations by former Mitch O’Farrell aide Marie Rumsey of the City’s post-employment restrictions on lobbying seems to have led to an investigation by the Ethics Commission ending in her admission of guilt in a proposed stipulation and an agreement to pay $7,125 in fines. We were so pleased by this development that we issued a commemorative coffee mug, which would make a perfect gift for freelance civic investigators and other interested parties!
- Our investigation and subsequent petition to the Police Commission led to renewed Commission oversight of BID security after a 16 year inadvertent hiatus. Here is an email from the Police Commission to all BIDs explaining the registration requirement. Among other things, this development makes possible LAPD investigation of complaints against BID security, like e.g. in this horrific case. This also took a lot of unqualified security guards off the streets of Los Angeles. For instance, it recently came to light that at least one BID had 30% of its patrol officers fail to pass the newly required background check.
- Our scrutiny of the two HPOA BIDs led to an over 70% reduction in arrests by the BID Patrol in 2015 as compared to 2014. Note that we’d previously thought this was only around 40% due to some unclear evidence. This effect accelerated in 2016 and 2017 to the point where the BID Patrol arrested only 131 people in 2017, almost a 90% reduction from 2014, their last unscrutinized year.
- Our inquiries led to the September 2015 reopening of Selma Park to the general public after 8 years of illegitimate closure by the HPOA. See here for more detail.
- Our scrutiny, and perhaps even our mockery, led in December 2014 to Steve Seyler adopting a newly professional style in his reports to the Joint Security Committee, dropping for good his habitual nasty mocking tone.
Business Improvement Districts in Los Angeles — Satan, Your Kingdom Must Come Down!