All posts by Mike

Please Join The Staff Of This Blog In A Moment Of Silence For Blair Besten, Who Was Forced Against Her Will To Follow A Law. Let’s Hope The Damage To Her Self Respect, Her Reputation, Her Emotional Stability, And Her Employability Is Not Permanent.

Maybe you’re familiar with §54954.1 of the Brown Act, which requires BIDs1 to notify anyone in advance of their meetings and send them agendas and other materials at the same time this material is distributed to the BID’s board.2 Another crucial bit is found at §54954.2(a)(1), which requires posting of agendas on BIDs’ websites.3

And it will be no surprise to anyone who reads this blog to discover that Blair Besten and her weirdo criminal conspiracy, the Historic Core BID, have consistently ignored these two requirements since time immemorial. Of course, no shock. Many members of the BID’s board of directors are criminals. Blair Besten herself breaks the law with relish and impunity.

So I asked Blair Besten in May to inform me of the BID’s meetings. She ignored me for the May meeting. I asked her yet again.4 She ignored me again. A little bird told me that they had a meeting scheduled for tomorrow, June 29, so I walked by the BID office yesterday, where they had partially complied with the law by posting an agenda in the window. Too much!
Continue reading Please Join The Staff Of This Blog In A Moment Of Silence For Blair Besten, Who Was Forced Against Her Will To Follow A Law. Let’s Hope The Damage To Her Self Respect, Her Reputation, Her Emotional Stability, And Her Employability Is Not Permanent.

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New Brief Filed By Lunada Bay Boys Plaintiffs: Basis Of Jalian Johnston Deposition Scheduling Freakout Is That He’s Too Busy With Work To Be Deposed Until August, Depo Properly Noticed And Scheduled By Plaintiffs For June 30 Anyway, Judge Oliver Asked To Sanction Jalian Johnston If He Doesn’t Show Up

For background take a look at this excellent article from the Times on this lawsuit. Also see here to download all pleadings in this case.

Perhaps you remember that just a couple days ago the Honorable Rozella Oliver, magistrate judge in the Lunada Bay Boys surf thuggery case, told the parties to quit their damnable antics and get defendant Jalian “Alan” Johnston’s deposition scheduled. At that time, she also told the parties that they’d better get together once more and try to figure this out on their own.1

Well, they met yesterday, and nothing got settled, so today plaintiffs’ counsel Lisa Pooley filed a letter brief with the court (transcription after the break, as always), explaining why they have been unable to schedule dude’s depo. It seems that, despite his intensely projected workshy go-with-flow SoCal surflospher image, Jalian Johnston is working too much to allow him to schedule a deposition.2

After weeks of back and forth, the plaintiffs have thrown their hands up in despair and asked the judge to impose sanctions if Jalian Johnston doesn’t make it to his properly noticed and scheduled deposition on Friday, June 30. You can read the painful details in the transcription after the break, but it’s much too stupid for me to summarize for you.
Continue reading New Brief Filed By Lunada Bay Boys Plaintiffs: Basis Of Jalian Johnston Deposition Scheduling Freakout Is That He’s Too Busy With Work To Be Deposed Until August, Depo Properly Noticed And Scheduled By Plaintiffs For June 30 Anyway, Judge Oliver Asked To Sanction Jalian Johnston If He Doesn’t Show Up

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Lunada Bay Boys Parties Still Getting Fussy Over Scheduling Of Jalian Johnston Deposition, Magistrate Judge Oliver Says Work It Out By This Friday Or Else Write “I Will Not Be An Asshole” 5000 Times On The Board Everybody Has To File Five Page Briefs Explaining Why They Can’t Schedule The Damn Depo Like Grownups

For background take a look at this excellent article from the Times on this lawsuit. Also see here to download all pleadings in this case.

Recall that as of ten days ago the parties in the Lunada Bay Boys surf-thuggery case found themselves unable to schedule defendant Alan “Jalian” Johnston’s deposition. Well, this afternoon, Magistrate Judge Rozella Oliver filed a minute order reporting that they still have not been able to schedule the deposition (as always, there’s a transcription after the break). Furthermore, she orders them to get their damn act together and have it scheduled by Friday, June 30 or else everyone has to write five page briefs explaining what they did to try to come to terms with one another. This is, I think, the judicial equivalent of the babies getting fussy and scratching at themselves until mom makes them put their mittens on.

Jalian Johnston, of course, is more than just a non-member of the County’s most famous nonexistent surf local nongang. He is also a make-believe poor boy who “likes to live as if he were penniless,” and, additionally, a dedicated crafter who sells his world-famous crafts at local souvenir shops. He is also the proud possessor of a Zonker-Harris-esque surflosophy, proudly propounded in that linked-to article which, also interestingly, turns out to essentially subvert a crucial element of the defense of the case:
Continue reading Lunada Bay Boys Parties Still Getting Fussy Over Scheduling Of Jalian Johnston Deposition, Magistrate Judge Oliver Says Work It Out By This Friday Or Else Write “I Will Not Be An Asshole” 5000 Times On The Board Everybody Has To File Five Page Briefs Explaining Why They Can’t Schedule The Damn Depo Like Grownups

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In August 2016 Lorena Parker Of The San Pedro Historic Waterfront BID Interceded With Joe Buscaino’s Staff To Try To Fix Pending Criminal Charges Against Property Owners, Probably Including BID Board President Eric Eisenberg, Stemming From Ongoing Unsanitary Dumpster Conditions, Which Seems Not Only Unethical, But Also Like An Illegal Use Of Assessment Funds

In July 2016, San Pedro Historic Waterfront BID executive directrix Lorena Parker contacted CD15 staffers Ryan Ferguson and Jacob Haik1 apparently in an attempt to have them fix pending citations and criminal charges against local property owners, possibly including BID board president Eric Eisenberg, stemming from sanitation violations involving dumpsters. You can read the details in this email chain (as always, there’s a transcription after the break).2 This episode quite possibly involves the dumpster next to the Cabrillo Hotel, the filthy state of which has been obsessively3 chronicled by Bruce Ecker at The Renaissance Dump website.

We here at MK.Org have discussed at length the much-violated requirement that business improvement districts only spend their money on activities that are approved by the City Council at the time the BIDs are established.4 These preapproved activities are enshrined in the so-called Management District Plan. The San Pedro BID’s MDP can be found here (Careful — huge PDF download). You can read it over and over again and you will find no mention whatsoever of paying Lorena Parker a salary so that she can try to get Joe Buscaino’s staff to try to make criminal charges go away.

And why would anyone think this is OK? Aside from the fact that having Lorena Parker act as a fixer isn’t listed in the MDP, there’s the simple fact that if people have criminal charges pending against them based on the unsanitary state of their dumpsters, they ought not to be seeking intercession to halt the proceedings. Instead, they ought to clean up their damn dumpsters. This is citizenship 101.5 And the elected officials of the City ought to be enforcing the City’s laws for the benefit of its citizens, rather than meeting with zillionaires in an attempt to subvert them.
Continue reading In August 2016 Lorena Parker Of The San Pedro Historic Waterfront BID Interceded With Joe Buscaino’s Staff To Try To Fix Pending Criminal Charges Against Property Owners, Probably Including BID Board President Eric Eisenberg, Stemming From Ongoing Unsanitary Dumpster Conditions, Which Seems Not Only Unethical, But Also Like An Illegal Use Of Assessment Funds

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Housing Committee Hears Cedillo/Harris-Dawson Just Cause Eviction Motion, Public Comments From Opposition Continue To Make No Damn Sense Whatsoever, Motion Scheduled For Full Council On June 28

This is just a short (very late, sorry) report on the progress of the Cedillo/Harris-Dawson motion (found in CF 17-0454) to extend the same protections against arbitrary evictions granted to tenants in buildings covered by the Rent Stabilization Ordinance to all tenants in the City. The motion was heard by the Housing Committee at its June 21 meeting. A report was approved (transcription after the break) and sent to the full Council, where it is on the calendar for June 28.1 The motion instructs HCIDLA to report back to the Council on the feasibility of preparing an ordinance. It looks like it’s headed for passage, and it looks like Cedillo is pushing it hard, but there’s a lot to be done before we have a law in place.

Anyway, I downloaded the audio of the meeting from the City and put it up on Archive.Org if you’re interested. This item starts at 1:28:58.2 It’s definitely worth a listen. Both Cedillo and Harris-Dawson are actually willing to argue with the opposing comment-makers, which is refreshing behavior from our Council, and they don’t seem willing to compromise about this ordinance, which bodes well for its success.3 In particular, Gil Cedillo repeatedly makes the point that it makes no sense at all to have one level of protection for poorer tenants in RSO buildings and another, weaker level for tenants in non-RSO buildings.

Meanwhile, it’s instructive to listen to the opposing public comments, if only to understand the class rage and the sense of entitlement of the property-owning classes in Los Angeles. They’re so used to getting their way that they don’t seem to even feel like their arguments have to make sense. Just for instance, listen to this comment by Valley landlord and former bandleader Horace Heidt, Jr. (transcription after the break). His argument seems to be that if they’re required to have reasons for evicting tenants, the construction of new units will halt completely. It’s not the worst comment, it’s not the meanest comment, but it’s unique in that he makes no attempt whatsoever to connect the two propositions. Why would this happen? Being a zillionaire, it seems, means never having to explain what the heck you’re talking about.
Continue reading Housing Committee Hears Cedillo/Harris-Dawson Just Cause Eviction Motion, Public Comments From Opposition Continue To Make No Damn Sense Whatsoever, Motion Scheduled For Full Council On June 28

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Why Is The City Of Los Angeles Paying More Than Six Million Dollars To Registered Lobbying Firm Liner LLP, Recently Famous For Violating The Municipal Lobbying Ordinance In The Course Of Helping To Sink The Skid Row Neighborhood Council?

Powerhouse zillionaire litigation and lobbying firm Liner LLP has come up a lot around here recently, mostly due to the fact that shady anonymous Delaware-registered probably-a-front-for-Capital-Foresight shell corporation United DTLA hired Liner, and specifically ethically challenged non-lobbyist Liner partner Rockard Delgadillo, to violate a bunch of laws in the course of convincing1 suprisingly humanlike CD14 repster Jose Huizar to change up all the rules at the last minute in a truly shameless yet tragically successful effort to torpedo the recent Skid Row Neighborhood Council formation effort.

So what a surprise it was to see Liner LLP come up in yesterday’s crop of automated emails from the City Clerk,2 specifically here in Council File 17-0648. It turns out that Liner has been acting as outside defense counsel for the City in the recently settled DWP class action lawsuit. According to this letter from DWP to the City Council they have blown through the original allocation of $4,800,000 and need another $1,622,200 to finish the job. To do this they evidently need the Council to adopt this amendment to the contract, and the issue is on the calendar for June 30.
Continue reading Why Is The City Of Los Angeles Paying More Than Six Million Dollars To Registered Lobbying Firm Liner LLP, Recently Famous For Violating The Municipal Lobbying Ordinance In The Course Of Helping To Sink The Skid Row Neighborhood Council?

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First The San Pedro BID Hated The Car Show. Then The San Pedro BID Loved The Car Show. Then The San Pedro BID Lobbied The City On The Car Show’s Behalf. But To Keep The BID’s Love The Car Show Had To Agree To Typically Coded Typically Racist Cultural Conditions: No Hip Hop. No Rap Music.

Once upon a time in 2016 an organization called Hot Import Nights was going to host a car show in Downtown San Pedro. This would seem to be a natural fit, since San Pedro is nestled between such motorhead meccas as Torrance and Gardena and Carson and Long Beach, famed hot spots of both formal and informal Southern California car culture due not in small part to the feverish and innovative automotive, aerospace, and marine manufacturing activities centered in the subregion for more than a century at this point.

But if there’s a BID in the woodpile they’re going to have an opinion, either puritanical, stupid, or both, on any proposed activities within their jurisdiction, whether it’s any of their concern or not. And it’s well-known to those who know it well that Downtown San Pedro is cursed by being chronically subject to the tender mercies of the San Pedro Historic Waterfront BID. And thus it is no surprise that the BID weighed in on the car show. And it’s no surprise that they hated it. It’s exactly the kind of thing that knee-jerk puritanical real estate minions will hate.

But what is a surprise is that they changed their little minds and came to love it. They loved it so darn much that they signed an MOU with it and agreed to lobby the City on its behalf. But there’s no such thing as a free lunch and white supremacy will exact payment for any favors it bestows. In exchange for the BID’s aid and comfort, the car show had to agree not to play any rap music or hip hop at their event, and a bunch of other, as weird but possibly less racist, conditions as well.

This unreasoned, or at least publicly unreasoned, hatred for all things insufficiently caucasian, is for whatever reason, a signature element of BIDolatry in the City of Los Angeles. Over the years we’ve uncovered, e.g., the fact that the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance really, really hates Chicano-associated art genres as well as music that attracts dark-skinned patrons. The freaking HPOA even hates Peruvians if they seem like they’re getting too comfy in Hollywood.

These weird, crypto-racist attitudes are not just the province of our frenemies at the HPOA. They are evidently shared by BIDs all over the City. Thus it’s really no surprise to find that the San Pedro BIDdies are a bunch of cultural crypto-racists as well. But, as always, it’s still surprising, still disconcerting, to see the details figured plain as though upon a lighted screen. Turn the page for the story in detail with extensive documentation!
Continue reading First The San Pedro BID Hated The Car Show. Then The San Pedro BID Loved The Car Show. Then The San Pedro BID Lobbied The City On The Car Show’s Behalf. But To Keep The BID’s Love The Car Show Had To Agree To Typically Coded Typically Racist Cultural Conditions: No Hip Hop. No Rap Music.

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Emails First Published Here Used As Source In LA Weekly Story On Skid Row Neighborhood Council, Just Published Today!

Hot off the presses! How the Skid Row Neighborhood Council was Defeated by Jason McGahan published mere hours ago in the L.A. Weekly. Tells the same sad story you’ve been reading here, there, and everywhere, but with an actual discussion of the reprehensible involvement of Scott Gray, Capital Foresight, Liner Law, Rocky Delgadillo, and the rest of the zillionaire Klown Kar Krew.1 It’s a rare experience for me to read an article in a newspaper where I understand the subject thoroughly and not see any errors at all.2 This is a fine piece of work. Read it!

This story is in no way about us, but we’re thrilled to have been able to help.
Continue reading Emails First Published Here Used As Source In LA Weekly Story On Skid Row Neighborhood Council, Just Published Today!

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A Potential Solution To A Perennial Problem At The Nexus Of Los Angeles Business Improvement Districts, The Municipal Lobbying Ordinance, And A Few Widely Abused Exemptions To The California Public Records Act

The life-cycle of a request for documents under the California Public Records Act goes like this: A member of the public asks to see records held by some agency. The agency has ten days1 to respond with a determination which states whether the agency has any such records and, if so, when the agency will be ready to hand them over.2 In general agencies are required to produce all requested records.

However, CPRA lists certain classes of records which are exempt from production. Some of these so-called exemptions are weirdly specific, e.g. at §6253.5 we read:

…statewide, county, city, and district initiative, referendum, and recall petitions … and all memoranda prepared by the county elections officials in the examination of the petitions indicating which registered voters have signed particular petitions shall not be deemed to be public records…

One of the two most important sections of CPRA with respect to exemptions is found at §6254, which consists of innumerable sections, each listing an exemption or a broad class of exemptions. And as completely in favor of absolute government transparency as I am, it’s clear that at least some of these are absolutely justified. For instance, §6254(r) exempts:

Records of Native American graves, cemeteries, and sacred places and records of Native American places, features, and objects … maintained by, or in the possession of, the Native American Heritage Commission, another state agency, or a local agency.

And there are sections which exempt such things as reports on vulnerabilities to terrorism, library circulation records, certain financial data that people are required by law to submit, and so on. These are mostly noncontroversial. Others, however, are much less defensible, at least as applied.
Continue reading A Potential Solution To A Perennial Problem At The Nexus Of Los Angeles Business Improvement Districts, The Municipal Lobbying Ordinance, And A Few Widely Abused Exemptions To The California Public Records Act

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Hundreds Of Emails Between Melrose BID And The City Of LA Include (1) Definitive Proof That Executive Director Don Duckworth Violated The Municipal Lobbying Ordinance In 2013 But Unfortunately The Statute Of Limitations Has Effectively Run And (2) More Brown-Act-Violating Bylaws That No One At The Clerk’s Office, For Shame, Seems To Have Even Noticed

Donald Duckworth, who runs both the Westchester Town Center BID and the Melrose BID, is slow but, it seems, pretty steady about fulfilling my incessant CPRA requests. And thus, just yesterday I received from him four jumbo-sized mbox files just chock-full of gooey email goodness! This batch comprises 2016 emails between the City of LA and the Melrose BID, and can be found in various useful formats here on Archive.Org.

I will be writing about various items in this document dump soon enough,1 but today I just want to focus on a couple of interesting items, supplied to me as attachments to some of these emails and cleaned up a little for ease of reading.2 Here’s the short version, and you can find details and the usual ranting mockery after the break:

  • Melrose BID Formation Project Hourly Charge Breakdown — Don Duckworth not only runs the Melrose BID, he was also the consultant who oversaw its establishment, for which he seems to have been paid $80,000 by the City. This is a detailed breakdown of his hours and charges over the course of the project formation. If you’ve been following my ongoing project, aimed at turning in BID consultants for not registering as lobbyists,3 you’ll recognize how astonishing and how important this document is. Unfortunately Don Duckworth’s work on this project wound down in the Summer of 2013, which means that the four year statute of limitations for violations of the Municipal Lobbying Ordinance has essentially run out. The document will be endlessly useful, though, in estimating time spent by consultants on their other projects.
  • Melrose Business Improvement Association bylaws — The Melrose Business Improvement Association is the property owners’ association that administers the Melrose BID. These are their bylaws. I discovered recently that the freaking Larchmont Village BID had bylaws that directly contradicted the Brown Act. Now it turns out that the Melrose BID has precisely the same problem. It’s possible that Larchmont Village changed their ways, but so far, anyway, there’s no reason to suspect that Melrose has done.

Continue reading Hundreds Of Emails Between Melrose BID And The City Of LA Include (1) Definitive Proof That Executive Director Don Duckworth Violated The Municipal Lobbying Ordinance In 2013 But Unfortunately The Statute Of Limitations Has Effectively Run And (2) More Brown-Act-Violating Bylaws That No One At The Clerk’s Office, For Shame, Seems To Have Even Noticed

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