All posts by Mike

An Interesting Example From Wilshire Center Showing How Eric Garcetti Used The BID To Supply A Tame Businessperson To Speak For Herb Wesson’s Proposed K-Town Homeless Shelter — Revealing At Least One Of The Ways In Which The City Of Los Angeles Relies On BIDs To Manufacture An Appearance Of Community Support For Its Projects — Did I Mention The City Told The BID A Week Before They Told The News Media And Asked The BID To Keep Quiet About It?!

It’s been clear for a long time now that one of the uses that the City gets out of BIDs is to encourage them to lobby it, thus creating an appearance of community support for projects that the City intended to do all along. It’s easy to see the results of this process at any City Council meeting where a bunch of BIDdies line up to speak in favor of random proposal X that they don’t have any organic reason for caring about.

However, it’s not so easy to see the lead-up to the lobbying events. Obviously City officials are reluctant to release the evidence, and perhaps the BIDdies are as well.1 That’s why today’s documents are so very interesting! The emails I’m presenting are part of a larger release from the Wilshire Center BID, and you can get the original MBOX file or PDFs if you prefer here on Archive.Org.

The story is about the by-now famous homeless shelter proposed for Koreatown by CD10 repster Herb Wesson. The world found out about this project on May 2, 2018 at a joint press conference held by Wesson and Eric Garcetti, as Gale Holland explains in this characteristically excellent story in the Times.2

But amazingly, City staffers told the BID about the proposal on April 26, a full week before anyone else knew. BID board members were asked to keep quiet about it and also to propose a businessperson to speak at the May 2 press conference in support of the shelter. Real Estate zillionaire Mike Hakim volunteered himself to speak at BID director Mike Russell’s request but was, it seems, ignored by everyone, no doubt due to his shady, universally hated skyscraper project in Koreatown.

Instead, Mike Russell nominated Greenbridge Investments flunky Brenda Arianpour, a real estate zillionaire whom Russell misrepresented as a small business owner. After thorough vetting by Garcetti’s communications flacks, Arianpour was chosen to speak in favor of the project. Although not, of course, to speak in her own unscrutinized words. Garcetti’s flacks were sure to discuss “talking points” with her in advance.

The emails by which this was arranged are linked to and transcribed below.
Continue reading An Interesting Example From Wilshire Center Showing How Eric Garcetti Used The BID To Supply A Tame Businessperson To Speak For Herb Wesson’s Proposed K-Town Homeless Shelter — Revealing At Least One Of The Ways In Which The City Of Los Angeles Relies On BIDs To Manufacture An Appearance Of Community Support For Its Projects — Did I Mention The City Told The BID A Week Before They Told The News Media And Asked The BID To Keep Quiet About It?!

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Ricardo Lara’s Sanity In Street Vending Bill, SB-946, Passes Assembly Committee On Local Government 6 To 1 In Favor, Heading For Full Assembly Now — Lone No Vote Provided By Clinically Insane North San Diego County Repster Randy Voepel

On Wednesday Ricardo Lara’s brilliant street vending regulation bill, SB 946, was approved by the Assembly Committee on Local Government with a 6 to 1 vote after only a very few gentle amendments. It’s now heading for the full Assembly, where it certainly looks like it’ll pass easily.

For obvious reasons, most of my coverage of the opposition to this bill has focused on our local Los Angeles BIDdies, so for a change this morning, I thought I’d introduce you to Randy Voepel, the dimwit 71st district repster and lone vote against SB 946. Hailing from the the methamphetamine capital of the world, this joker believes more batshit crazy nutcasery before breakfast than sane people can scoff at in an entire lifetime. Turn the page for more details than you actually want to read!
Continue reading Ricardo Lara’s Sanity In Street Vending Bill, SB-946, Passes Assembly Committee On Local Government 6 To 1 In Favor, Heading For Full Assembly Now — Lone No Vote Provided By Clinically Insane North San Diego County Repster Randy Voepel

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2016 Lawsuit Filed By LAPD Critic Patti Beers Against The City Of Los Angeles, Charlie Beck, And Assorted Other Cops, Has Settled In Its Entirety — However, The Terms Of The Settlement Are Not Yet Known

This is just the quickest of notes to announce that mere moments ago radical videographer Patti Beers, who sued the City and a bunch of cops in 2016 over their abuse of her during the 2014 protests about Michael Brown and Ferguson, MO, announced that she’d settled all her claims and the City’s going to pay her an as-yet-undisclosed amount of money, some of which will no doubt go to her attorney, the renowned and heroic Morgan Ricketts.

You can read some details in my earlier post on the suit and you can read the notice of settlement, just filed on PACER about ten minutes ago, right here. Note that this settlement leaves the ongoing associated class action suit known as Chua v. City of LA untouched as far as I can see. That one’s scheduled for trial in November 2018. This one’s over. Also, turn the page for a transcription of the notice of settlement.
Continue reading 2016 Lawsuit Filed By LAPD Critic Patti Beers Against The City Of Los Angeles, Charlie Beck, And Assorted Other Cops, Has Settled In Its Entirety — However, The Terms Of The Settlement Are Not Yet Known

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Highland Park Mural Controversy Covered In LA Magazine! — City Staffer Felicia Filer Confirms In Print For The First Time That The Highland Park BID AKA The North Figueroa Association Complained About The Mural And Removed It! — Congrats All Around To Fearless And Revolutionary HLP Art Activists Who Are Working Tirelessly To Publicize And Repair The Damage Done By This Damnable BID!

Yesterday LA Magazine published an excellent and comprehensive story about the Highland Park mural controversy. The single most important element of this singularly important article is the fact that for the first time the City of Los Angeles, in the person of Cultural Affairs staffer Felicia Filer, acknowledged that the Highland Park BID was in fact behind the illegal, immoral removal of John Zender Estrada‘s masterpiece of a mural:

Felicia Filer, public art director at the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs, says a member of the Highland Park Business Improvement District (BID) filed a complaint with the city and was granted permission to paint over the wall. It was not registered with the department. “I do not know why the BID person took that action as the wall has been used as a graffiti yard since 1993,” Filer wrote in email.

This confirms already-believable allegations against the damnable BID by local art activists, including Restorative Justice for the Arts and Mando Medina, who have been the subject of exceedingly creepy surveillance and stalking by both BID board members and ick-stick City staffer Bill Cody, the world’s oldest field deputy.1

So please read the article, and turn the page for another excerpt, featuring a quote from Brenda Perez, an incomparable hero of this City as well as being one of the motivating forces behind Restorative Justice for the Arts.
Continue reading Highland Park Mural Controversy Covered In LA Magazine! — City Staffer Felicia Filer Confirms In Print For The First Time That The Highland Park BID AKA The North Figueroa Association Complained About The Mural And Removed It! — Congrats All Around To Fearless And Revolutionary HLP Art Activists Who Are Working Tirelessly To Publicize And Repair The Damage Done By This Damnable BID!

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In 2016 Mike Bonin Promised To Rezone Properties To Remove Them From The BID — Which He Never Did — Now He’s Rezoning Properties In The Palisades For Nefarious Reasons Of His Own — Venice Beach BID Ballots Available! — Showing Spoiled And Late Ballots As Well! — Five Years Worth Of Weekly Clerk Reports On BIDs!

This is just a short note to announce various random records that have come into my possession over the last few days. First of all, due to the brilliant work of an intrepid CPRA warrior,1 at last we have access to the complete set of ballots used in the Venice Beach BID formation process. You can get a PDF spool of all of these right here on Archive.Org.2 It’s interesting to see that the City didn’t redact these ballots at all, not even the signatures. Compare these with the petitions, which they released in 2016.

Also today I’m announcing NBID reports from 2013 on, obtained by a brave citizen of Los Angeles and subsequently made available to me. We’ve seen some of this material before, but only through 2016. There is a ton of interesting material here, and I’ll be writing on it from time to time in the future. Meanwhile, here’s a sample of what these Clerk BIDdies were up to during the week of May 29, 2018:

Processed Venice Beach refund affidavits; Performed ownership and mailing address updates for the three upcoming PBID renewal mail outs of Melrose, BLQ-Pico and Historic Core; Researched and processed returned mail ballots for the 3 PBID renewals currently out to ballot of Arts District, Fashion District and Hollywood Entertainment District and some for the finalized Tarzana PBID election that were recently returned; Compiled BID Application wish list for the meeting with Systems.

And finally, you will recall that after the November 2016 hearing at which the Venice Beach BID was established Mike Bonin promised the world to BID opponents, or at least this:

As I said when I met with you folks recently, I am happy to help those folks get their properties rezoned as residential properties. And I’m happy to meet with those folks and would even be willing to initiate a zone change from my end to make it a little less expensive and more helpful.

It’s been almost two years now, and Mike Bonin has broken his promise. No one in Venice is getting rezoned. But it’s not because Mike Bonin can’t rezone. Just take a look at this motion introduced today in Council by Mike Bonin. In it he directs City staff to rezone some neighborhood in the Palisades because of some zillionaire hillside house voodoo.

And this motion is explicitly inspired by a bunch of similar rezoning in Laurel Canyon and elsewhere so it’s just a service that councilpets provide to their zillionaire constituents. So, people of Venice, are you wondering why Mike Bonin couldn’t get your properties rezoned like he promised he would? Well, it’s not because he can’t. It’s because he won’t. Turn the page for a transcription of this dire little slab of you-know-what.
Continue reading In 2016 Mike Bonin Promised To Rezone Properties To Remove Them From The BID — Which He Never Did — Now He’s Rezoning Properties In The Palisades For Nefarious Reasons Of His Own — Venice Beach BID Ballots Available! — Showing Spoiled And Late Ballots As Well! — Five Years Worth Of Weekly Clerk Reports On BIDs!

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Two-Fer Tuesday: Westchester Town Center BID And Melrose BID Both Sued To Enforce Compliance With The California Public Records Act

Remember Don Duckworth? Big bad BID boss of both the Melrose BID and the Westchester Town Center BID?? We haven’t heard from Mr. Duckworth here on the blog in a long old time even though he is quite an interesting character, what with his BID analyst switcheroos and his kooky Brown-Act-flouting bylaws and that whole Calabasas episode and so forth.

His absence from my literary life has not, however, been by choice.1 The fact is that circa last June the guy just decided to stop responding to my CPRA requests altogether. No records, no answers, no nothing from Don Duckworth. Hence no joyously mocking blog posts and so on. Well, friends, that’s about to change, and change big-time!

You see, my lawyer, the incomparable Anna von Herrmann, recently filed two petitions, one for each of Duckworth’s BIDs, to compel compliance with the CPRA. You can find them here on Archive.Org on pages which I will update if/when the cases generate more paper:

Melrose BID petition
Westchester Town Center BID petition

And turn the page for some excerpts from the Melrose petition! And a little more commentary!!
Continue reading Two-Fer Tuesday: Westchester Town Center BID And Melrose BID Both Sued To Enforce Compliance With The California Public Records Act

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Venice Beach BID Public Records Are Pouring In Due To Our Writ Petition — Responses To Security RFP From Allied Universal, Street Plus, HELPER 2000 — AUS Proposal Has Incredibly Detailed Information On BID Patrol Training, Organization — Executed Contract Between BID And Allied — And If You Know The CPRA You Know That This Development Means They’ve Already Lost The Damn Case — And We, De Natch, Have Therefore Already Won It!

If you’ve been following my attempts to get public records out of the Venice Beach BID via the CPRA you’ll remember that Tara Devine’s sheer bloody-minded obstructionism led finally after more than a year of saint-like patience on my part to my being forced against my will to file a writ petition against the ornery BIDdies to compel compliance. Well, amazingly, it seems possible that the BIDdies aren’t going to litigate,1 and one of the major indicators is that they have already started handing over documents!2

And here’s what we have! First there’s the executed contract between Allied Universal and the BID for security services along with some flyers for their job fairs. Second, there are three proposals to provide BID security, found here on Archive.Org, from Streetplus, from HELPER 2000, and, of course, the successful proposal from Allied Universal.

This last item is absolutely the most important prize torn from the vaults of the zillionaire elite in this particular raid. It contains really detailed information about the operations of the Venice BID Patrol, their training, their hiring and retention practices, how they see their mission, what kinds of records they keep, their relations with property owners and the BID board and staff, and so on. It’s long, but it’s essential. Turn the page for some transcribed selections and commentary.
Continue reading Venice Beach BID Public Records Are Pouring In Due To Our Writ Petition — Responses To Security RFP From Allied Universal, Street Plus, HELPER 2000 — AUS Proposal Has Incredibly Detailed Information On BID Patrol Training, Organization — Executed Contract Between BID And Allied — And If You Know The CPRA You Know That This Development Means They’ve Already Lost The Damn Case — And We, De Natch, Have Therefore Already Won It!

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Venice Beach BID Board Unilaterally Raises Everyone’s Property Taxes By 5% In The Face Of Universal Opposition — The BID Spends About 10% Of Its Annual Income On Lawyers — And About 10% On Tara Freaking Devine — George “Demonic Goatee” Francisco And Taylor “Smartest Guy In Room Cause UCLA” Bazley Spent What Seemed Like The Whole Damn Meeting Cooing Icky-Sticky Satanic Incantations In Each Others’ Ears

Last Wednesday the Venice Beach BID board of directors met. I was able to attend and record video of the entire dark and bloody ritual, which you can watch either on YouTube or else on Archive.Org depending on which way your pleasure tends.1

Anyway, the most sinister part was the fact that the board voted to raise assessments 5% for next year. You can watch the actual vote here — it was five to one, with useful idiot and legitimacy-lender Connie Brooks voting against despite Mark Sokol’s unsuccessful attempt to bully her into abstaining.2 This from a BID which didn’t start operations until far more than a year after it was created and did so little its first year that the City forced it to refund everyone’s money.

As late as March 2018 the City was still having to threaten this BID with disestablishment due to its inability to meet even the most basic terms of its contract. These are the people who are boosting everyone’s taxes by 5% next year. And what do they need that money for given that they have not actually done anything with all the money they’ve already bled out of the people of Venice?
Continue reading Venice Beach BID Board Unilaterally Raises Everyone’s Property Taxes By 5% In The Face Of Universal Opposition — The BID Spends About 10% Of Its Annual Income On Lawyers — And About 10% On Tara Freaking Devine — George “Demonic Goatee” Francisco And Taylor “Smartest Guy In Room Cause UCLA” Bazley Spent What Seemed Like The Whole Damn Meeting Cooing Icky-Sticky Satanic Incantations In Each Others’ Ears

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SB-946, Ricardo Lara’s Sanity In Street Vending Bill, Was Amended Yesterday In The Assembly To Allow Cities To Prohibit Vending Near Farmers’ Markets, Swap Meets, A Little More In Parks Than Before, And On Sidewalks Where There Is A Valid Temporary Use Permit — But Its Heart Is Intact And It’s Scheduled For The Assembly’s Local Government Committee On June 20

You probably recall that I’m tracking Ricardo Lara’s street vending regulation bill, SB-946. In short, the bill would prohibit local jurisdictions in California from regulating street vending except in a very minimal, sane way. Obviously this bill faces tons of exceedingly high-powered opposition from Los Angeles zillionaires.

For reasons known only to themselves and their 90210-based therapists, these powerful political players hate sidewalk vendors to the point where it seems acceptable to arrest them, chain them, confiscate and waste their wares and equipment, and so on. They compare them to drug dealers and prostitutes and are seemingly unable to comprehend the economic value brought to our City by these entrepreneurs, let alone the social value.

And it’s often the case that what makes the zillionaires unhappy makes the state legislature unhappy. These people have essentially endless political juice. We saw a heartbreaking example of this last year with the saintly Rob Bonta‘s AB-1479. This bill proposed much-needed improvements to the California Public Records Act and was curbstomped and gutted by our local zillionaires and their satanic minions with the assistance of slimy little BIDdie-boy Miguel Santiago, who will be running for Jose Huizar’s seat in 2020 and thus has every incentive to please the Downtown power elite at the expense of the human population of California.

So watching Lara’s essential bill make its way through the legislature since it was introduced at the end of January has been an anxiety-inducing process. It passed the Senate intact in early May and made its way to the Assembly. It’s been hovering around the edges of the Local Government Committee without any action until yesterday, when it was amended by Lara and put on the committee’s schedule for Wednesday, June 20.

And thankfully the amendments were exceedingly minimal. You can compare the new language here, and there’s a transcription after the break. All that happened, though, is that the current version will allow cities to prohibit vending near certified farmers’ markets, near permitted swap meets, in parks for a few new reasons, and on sidewalks with a valid temporary use permit. The most important facets of the bill are still blessedly intact, including the amnesty provisions. Fingers crossed for the 20th, friends! You can find your reps here and write to them about it.
Continue reading SB-946, Ricardo Lara’s Sanity In Street Vending Bill, Was Amended Yesterday In The Assembly To Allow Cities To Prohibit Vending Near Farmers’ Markets, Swap Meets, A Little More In Parks Than Before, And On Sidewalks Where There Is A Valid Temporary Use Permit — But Its Heart Is Intact And It’s Scheduled For The Assembly’s Local Government Committee On June 20

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I Don’t Need To Read BIDs The Riot Act — I Just Read ‘Em The Brown Act — Cause They Sure Ain’t Reading It For Themselves — This Week It’s The Venice Beach BID Revising Everything At The Last Minute Just Cause I Told ‘Em To!

We’ve seen over and over and over again that for the life of them the business improvement districts of Los Angeles just cannot follow the damn Brown Act. There was that time in February when the South Park BID messed up their agenda and then revised it cause I said to, and then there was that other time when the South Parkies messed up their teleconferencing methodology and now they don’t even offer teleconferencing any more cause I pointed out their violation.

And then there was the Los Feliz Village BID episode where they illegally discussed tee shirts and got admonished by the DA, and the East Hollywood BID teleconferencing episode, and South Park again, checking IDs illegally, and Sunset-Vine checking IDs illegally, and the damn Central City East Association, which cannot even stick to their agenda, which is illegal.

And a favorite topic of conversation around the campfire here at MK Dot Org secret headquarters is why it is that the BIDs, who have all the money and all the lawyers that anyone who was inclined to follow the law might need to allow them to do so, nevertheless can’t get this simple thing right. Over and over and over again they violate the Brown Act. We don’t have any definitive answers for you,1 but maybe it’s comforting to know we’re talking about it?

And this very morning, friends, the Venice Beach BID became the latest to join this illustrious roster. Turn the page for the lurid details!
Continue reading I Don’t Need To Read BIDs The Riot Act — I Just Read ‘Em The Brown Act — Cause They Sure Ain’t Reading It For Themselves — This Week It’s The Venice Beach BID Revising Everything At The Last Minute Just Cause I Told ‘Em To!

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