Category Archives: Business Improvement Districts

Yet Another Example Of City Of LA Indifference To Illegal BID Shenanigans: City Clerk BID Analyst Rita Moreno Hands Out (Literal) Gold Stars To BIDs For Minimal Brown Act Compliance But Doesn’t Do Or Even Say Anything To BIDs Who Are Not Only In Violation Of The Law But Have Been Flouting It For Years On End

Yesterday evening, BID-lawyer-to-the-stars Jeffrey Charles Briggs passed along almost 200 emails between Media District BID executive director Lisa Schechter and various people at the City of Los Angeles. These are available en masse at Archive.Org. As always, there’s a lot of chaff in there and a few super-interesting things.1 Perhaps today’s story is an example of the latter.

It began on February 28, when Rita Moreno, newly of the Neighborhood and Business Improvement Division of the City Clerk’s office, the unit that’s meant to oversee the operations of BIDs and make sure that they follow the law and stuff, emailed a bunch of BIDdies to introduce herself and note that only a few of them had their meeting times posted on their websites. Of course, the Brown Act explicitly requires BIDs to notice their meetings on their websites,2 but that’s actually not why Rita was on about this. She was just trying to find out when they met so that she could attend. In fact, it’s not even clear that Rita Moreno knew about the Brown Act requirement.

However, the very next day, our old friend Lisa Schechter of the Hollywood Media District BID, who is not generally known for her law-abiding behavior but who has by now been educated by years of our intense scrutiny to the point where, I hope, she’s beginning to realize that it’s just easier to follow the law,3 wrote back to Rita Moreno, fishing for praise from this unlikely authority figure:

Dear Rita:

Just to reiterate, all of our meetings are posted in accordance with the Brown Act (Committee as well as Board) – Further you have been placed on our automatic distribution list which triggers and [sic] email directly to you for all of our meetings. If you should require any further information please do not hesitate to contact myself or our operations manager, Jim Omahen.

And, a couple hours later, Rita Moreno replied:

Yes…you got a star


And if you’re new to BID studies, you’re probably wondering why this puerile exchange is not just idiotic, sycophantic, and moronic, but also deeply offensive and discouraging to anyone who cares about the rule of law in Los Angeles. Well, read on!
Continue reading Yet Another Example Of City Of LA Indifference To Illegal BID Shenanigans: City Clerk BID Analyst Rita Moreno Hands Out (Literal) Gold Stars To BIDs For Minimal Brown Act Compliance But Doesn’t Do Or Even Say Anything To BIDs Who Are Not Only In Violation Of The Law But Have Been Flouting It For Years On End

The San Pedro BID Is Paying BID Consultant Edward Henning Only $20,000 To Handle Their Impending Renewal. This Is 64% Less Than The Fashion District Will Pay Urban Place Consulting And 75% Less Than The South Park BID Will Pay Tara Devine. Why The Huge Variation In Compensation For A Job Whose Elements Are Delineated By The City?

You may recall that Edward Henning is an engineer who works with a number of BID consultants on BID establishment and renewal, writing the engineer’s reports required by Streets and Highways Code §36622(n). I’ve previously reported, e.g., that he seems to get paid about $9,000 for writing these things.1 Well, TIL that Ed Henning is also a BID consultant his own self!

The story begins with Lorena Parker, executive director of the San Pedro Historic Waterfront BID, sending me the contract that Ed Henning and her BID signed for consulting services, along with some ancillary information:

These materials are also available on the Archive, which is useful because of OCR and so forth. And that’s today’s goodies. Turn the page for discussion!
Continue reading The San Pedro BID Is Paying BID Consultant Edward Henning Only $20,000 To Handle Their Impending Renewal. This Is 64% Less Than The Fashion District Will Pay Urban Place Consulting And 75% Less Than The South Park BID Will Pay Tara Devine. Why The Huge Variation In Compensation For A Job Whose Elements Are Delineated By The City?

Saturday Morning Document Dump! Skid Row Neighborhood Council Conspiracy, Beaucoup De Bylaws, Form 990s Galore, Emails, Emails, Emails, And More, More, More! Larchmont Village, Fashion District, Figueroa Corridor, North Hollywood!

So much new material to announce!

  • Emails from Fashion District BID about Skid Row Neighborhood Council — This is clearly the most important item I have to announce today so I’m putting it first. If you’re interested at all in how the Downtown zillionaire elite crushed the SRNC formation effort you’ll want to read this stuff. There is what appears to be new evidence about the identities of the people behind the infamous United Downtown LA front group that hired Rocky Delgadillo to write a demand letter to City Council over the SRNC, although there’s still no smoking gun. I will be writing more about this material, but it may take a few days, and I wanted to get it before you as quickly as possible.
  • Figueroa Corridor BID emails — Between the BID and the City of LA, also USC, also Securitas. Various time ranges.
  • North Hollywood BID emails — City of LA and their security provider. Various date ranges.
  • Figueroa Corridor BID tax forms — From 2013 through 2015. It’s interesting to learn here that the Figueroa Corridor BID has been “IN THE PROCESS OF DEVELOPING A CONFLICT OF INTEREST POLICY, WHISTLEBLOWER POLICY, AND DOCUMENT RETENTION AND DESTRUCTION POLICY.” at least since 2013, with no sign of actually producing anything. Ah, sigh.
  • North Hollywood BID tax forms — From 2013 through 2015. It’s interesting to learn here that this BID and the Figueroa Corridor BID, both of which are administered by our old friends at Urban Place Consulting, turns in copypasta from the FCBID on their tax forms. Just for instance, they too have been “IN THE PROCESS OF DEVELOPING A CONFLICT OF INTEREST POLICY, WHISTLEBLOWER POLICY, AND DOCUMENT RETENTION AND DESTRUCTION POLICY.” at least since 2013, with no sign of actually producing anything.

And turn the page for beaucoup de bylaws and some interesting preliminary material on the privatization of public space in the San Fernando Valley. Most interestingly, there is a very rare appearance of some new material from the outlaw stronghold known to the world as the Larchmont Village BID!
Continue reading Saturday Morning Document Dump! Skid Row Neighborhood Council Conspiracy, Beaucoup De Bylaws, Form 990s Galore, Emails, Emails, Emails, And More, More, More! Larchmont Village, Fashion District, Figueroa Corridor, North Hollywood!

Oh For God’s Sake, People, Have Some Freaking Courtesy And Some Taste: East Hollywood BID Pays An Actual Consultant Actual Money To Suggest “Rebranding” East Hollywood As … Wait For It … EHO!?! EaHO?!!? EEEEEE-Ho!!!

Jeff Zarrinnam wondering why Las Vegas never thought to re-freaking-brand themselves as LaVey.
Occasionally people in my position find that actual factual matters are weirder than we could have even imagined. It’s hard to make fun of people whose publicly revealed antics are not only stranger than fiction but stranger even than satire. The great Mark Russell used to call this kind of material “rip and read.”1
An actual image from the EHBID’s “brainstorming” session with Counterintuity.. cause it ain’t “brainstorming” unless there is colored markers and oversized sheets of paper taped to the freaking wall!

So yesterday, courtesy of the ever-courtly but but not always ever lawful Nicole Shahenian, EHBID ED, all the materials for this afternoon’s East Hollywood BID meeting arrived via email. And there to my wondering eyes did appear the following greasy little slabs of marketitation:2

Continue reading Oh For God’s Sake, People, Have Some Freaking Courtesy And Some Taste: East Hollywood BID Pays An Actual Consultant Actual Money To Suggest “Rebranding” East Hollywood As … Wait For It … EHO!?! EaHO?!!? EEEEEE-Ho!!!

Kosmont Invoices For Gateway To LA BID Reveal How Much Time It Takes To Get A BID Renewed, And It Doesn’t Look Good For BID Consultants, Like Tara Devine, Like Urban Place Consulting, That Are Not Registered As Lobbyists With The City

Larry Kosmont handled the Gateway to LA BID’s 2014-5 renewal and was, very properly, registered as a lobbyist while doing so.
You may recall that the Los Angeles Municipal Lobbying Ordinance requires qualified lobbyists to register with the City Ethics Commission and also disclose a bunch of interesting information about their clients and their income. Also, the process of establishing or renewing a BID is fairly complex, and most property owners’ associations1 hire a consultant to guide them through the process. These consultants are regulated and recommended by the City Clerk’s office.

The process of getting a BID established or renewed, it turns out, looks an awful lot like the definition of lobbying activity to be found at LAMC §48.02, which is essentially preparing information and discussing it with City officials as part of influencing the passage of municipal legislation. The law requires anyone who’s paid for thirty or more hours of this over three consecutive months to register as a lobbyist, and it’s generally extremely hard to prove that someone’s met this criterion. You may, e.g., recall that earlier this year, in order to make a reasonably convincing case that Venice Beach BID consultant Tara Devine had passed this threshold, I spent months piecing together more than a hundred pages of evidence regarding her BID consultancy work.

But recently it’s occurred to me that these consultants have contracts with the BIDs they service, and that at least in the case of BID renewals, the contracts will be accessible via the Public Records Act.2 The contracts will contain some information about how much time the consultants spend on the project, and thus should be useful as evidence in reporting consultants to the Ethics Commission for lobbying without a license.

The project started to produce results at the end of February, when the incomparable Laurie Hughes of the Gateway to LA BID supplied me with her BID’s contracts with Larry Kosmont, who was handling the renewal process.3 Well, late last week, Laurie Hughes gave me an absolutely essential set of documents, consisting of detailed monthly invoices from Kosmont to the BID during the 15+ month renewal process. These are fascinating,4 containing as they do detailed inventories of every individual task involved in the renewal process broken down into fifteen minute billing increments. Turn the page for more descriptions, discussion, and speculations.
Continue reading Kosmont Invoices For Gateway To LA BID Reveal How Much Time It Takes To Get A BID Renewed, And It Doesn’t Look Good For BID Consultants, Like Tara Devine, Like Urban Place Consulting, That Are Not Registered As Lobbyists With The City

We Applaud Randall Tampa’s (Weirdly) Professional Reaction To Ongoing Police Commission Registration Of BID Patrol Officers — He Thinks It’s A Good Thing For All The Right Reasons! (And 500+ More Emails From The Fashion District BID Courtesy Of Also-Highly-Professional Exec Direc Rena Masten Leddy!)

Here’s a brief summary of the background: Late last year, on the basis of my complaint to the Police Commission, the City of LA resumed enforcement of LAMC 52.34 against BID security forces.1 Since then I’ve been tracking the progress of this massive project via various CPRA requests. In November 2016 the Police Commission informed all BIDs of the registration requirement. In December 2017 the Police Commission told the BIDs to quit whining and comply with the law.

Meanwhile, the latest piece of evidence in the ongoing saga of the registration of BID Patrols with the Police Commission comes from a huge release of emails by the Fashion District BID2 These span the time from July 1, 2016 through January 31, 2017 and are mostly between BID staff and the City of Los Angeles.3

There is an awful lot to write about here, but today I just want to highlight this interesting December 2016 email from FDBID operations director Randall Tampa to Eugene Shin, who’s the Police Commission investigator who’s handling the registration project. Randall Tampa sees the bigger picture here. It’s not a loss for BIDs who want to be free of any kind of oversight by the City, but a win for higher quality governance for everyone in Los Angeles:

I totally agree and support the police commission (and you) in your efforts to assure that only qualified personnel are patrolling the streets of Los Angeles.

In his email, Randall Tampa explicitly relates this opinion to his own experience as a police officer, proving yet again that people with experience in matters usually are much saner and have much more robust insights into how to regulate them. Most of the BIDs in our fair City are run by a bunch of cop-loving wannabes4 who are essentially see City governance as some kind of bizarre role-playing game, like Zillionaires versus Homeless, or whatever, rather than as an arena where wisdom and experience are far more essential than zillionaire-itude.

True, the Fashion District BID is presently having the stuffing sued out of it in federal court for its malfeasance and illegal conspiracies with the LAPD, and rightly so. They will lose this suit if there’s justice in the world, and be forced to pay endless amounts of money, but while they’re losing that suit, while they’re criminally conspiring with the cops, at least they’re putting up a professional front. At least they’re not a fricking embarrassment to themselves and others. (Turn the page for a complete transcription of Randall Tampa’s email and some musings on the nature of evil and frontery.)
Continue reading We Applaud Randall Tampa’s (Weirdly) Professional Reaction To Ongoing Police Commission Registration Of BID Patrol Officers — He Thinks It’s A Good Thing For All The Right Reasons! (And 500+ More Emails From The Fashion District BID Courtesy Of Also-Highly-Professional Exec Direc Rena Masten Leddy!)

Don Duckworth, Executive Director Of The Westchester BID, Doesn’t Like Negative Obstacle-Creating Problem-Looking-For City Clerk BID Analyst Rick Scott One Little Bit, Asks Miranda Paster To Replace Him With Far More Congenial Bicycling BID Buddy Eugene Van Cise To Benefit Everybody’s Life (And That’s Just One Of 300+ Emails Now Available!)

Just yesterday, Mr. Don Duckworth of the Westchester Town Center BID sent me a big steaming heap of emails, comprising the BID’s correspondence with the City of Los Angeles for 2016.1 I am here to tell you, there is a ton of good stuff in there! This is very, very exciting! I will be writing about items from this release for a good while to come, and the City Ethics Commission is going to be hearing about a whole lot of it as well! But this evening, in addition to this general announcement that the material is available, I want to share a gossipy little item from January 2016, which has its locus classicus right here in this email from Don Duckworth to Miranda Paster.

It seems that WTCBID Boss Man Duckworth wasn’t too happy with BID Analyst Rick Scott, felt that he “approaches me and our work in administering the Westchester Town Center BID in a very negative manner.” In fact, sez Le Duckworth, “[i]t’s as if he’s looking for problems or obstacles to create that interfere with a constructive work flow.” Not only that, but, according to the Donald, “[h]e doesn’t approach our work with recommended solutions for mutual gain or a sense of team work.”

And what’s Don Duckworth’s recommended solution to this negativity and problem-slash-obstacle-seeking behaviour? Why, “[i]f it is possible to request a BID Analyst transfer to Eugene, I would like to do so.” Of course, “Eugene” is Eugene Van Cise, famous in these parts for having ridden his bike around the Gateway to LA BID inspecting their litter. No wonder Don Duckworth likes him better than Rick Scott who, as far as we know, does not do two-wheeled litter inspections of his BIDs. So turn the page for some speculation on why Donald Duckworth is so down on Rick Scott, for a transcription of the email if you’re PDF-aversive, and for a link to Miranda Paster’s reply!
Continue reading Don Duckworth, Executive Director Of The Westchester BID, Doesn’t Like Negative Obstacle-Creating Problem-Looking-For City Clerk BID Analyst Rick Scott One Little Bit, Asks Miranda Paster To Replace Him With Far More Congenial Bicycling BID Buddy Eugene Van Cise To Benefit Everybody’s Life (And That’s Just One Of 300+ Emails Now Available!)

300-Ish Pages of Estela Lopez’s Emails From The Last Few Months, Including Discussions Of Homelessness, Skid Row NC, Why The Freaking LAPD Doesn’t Bust More Protest Marches Like BIDs Want Them To, Operation Clean Streets, The California Public Records Act, And So On And On And On…

I just recently received a few hundred pages of emails from Estela Lopez, voodoo queen of the Central City East Association, and they are available on Archive.Org and also directly from static storage. Most of it is the unmitigatedly tedious bullshit with which these BIDdies fill their lives and their inboxes, but, as usual, there are a few interesting items. I already wrote the other day about Estela Lopez’s aggressive foray into CPRAlandia, and here are a few other items that are worth looking at individually:

And turn the page for two more examples, and to learn why, which I bet you didn’t even know that they were doing, the LAPD was praying for rain in January!
Continue reading 300-Ish Pages of Estela Lopez’s Emails From The Last Few Months, Including Discussions Of Homelessness, Skid Row NC, Why The Freaking LAPD Doesn’t Bust More Protest Marches Like BIDs Want Them To, Operation Clean Streets, The California Public Records Act, And So On And On And On…

February 2, 2017 Email From Eugene Shin Of The LA Police Commission To Nicole Shahenian Of The East Hollywood BID Confirms Continued Progress Of BID Patrol Registration Project But Leaves Unanswered Question Of Whether Or Not The EHBID Has A BID Patrol

You may recall that late last year, on the basis of my complaint to the Police Commission, the City of LA resumed enforcement of LAMC 52.34 against BID security forces.1 Since then it’s been possible to track the progress of this massive project via various CPRA requests. So in November 2016 the Police Commission informed all BIDs of the registration requirement and, at the same time, told them that their BID patrollies would be subject to arrest if they didn’t submit. In December 2017 the Police Commission told the BIDs to quit whining about it because the law is the law.

Well, just yesterday, as part of a larger release of records from the East Hollywood BID, I discovered a February 2017 email from Eugene Shin to Nicole Shahenian. Eugene Shin, as you may recall, is the Police Commission investigator that’s heading up the registration project. Nicole Shahenian is the Executive Director of the East Hollywood BID. The email confirms that not only is registration still ongoing, but that the Police Commission is pursuing it fairly aggressively. Turn the page for a transcription and some discussion.
Continue reading February 2, 2017 Email From Eugene Shin Of The LA Police Commission To Nicole Shahenian Of The East Hollywood BID Confirms Continued Progress Of BID Patrol Registration Project But Leaves Unanswered Question Of Whether Or Not The EHBID Has A BID Patrol

Simple Error In Propositional Logic Defeats Evil, Illegal Anti-RV Scheming of Mitch O’Farrell, Mike Bonin, and the Hollywood Media District BID But It’s Probably Irrelevant In The Real World Anyway

The sign, located on Lillian Way between Santa Monica Blvd and Melrose, says “and” but it was meant to say “or.” Does this matter in the real world? Probably not.
Last summer, Mitch O’Farrell, at the illegal request of Media District ED Lisa Schechter, supported by anti-RV-crusader-on-steroids Mike Bonin, introduced the despicable Council File 16-0967, seeking to ban oversized vehicle parking in the Media District BID. Of course, the thing passed, because this kind of thing always passes, and the ordinance was approved, and up went the signs.

There was one small problem, though. The ordinance, as do all of these little slabs of class warfare, bans:

…the parking of vehicles that are in excess of 22 feet in length or over seven feet in height, during the hours of 2:00 am and 6.00 am…

For some reason, despite what the ordinance actually passed by City Council says, it is still legal to park things like this in most of the Hollywood Media District.

But the signs, when they went up, said something different.1 They banned vehicles that are in excess of 22 feet in length AND over seven feet in height. See the problem? At first I wondered if this were nothing more than an uncharacteristically lapse into honesty by the class warriors at the BID. Perhaps, I thought, they wanted to keep it legal to live in limousines, even if RVs were to be banned, banned, banned.
Continue reading Simple Error In Propositional Logic Defeats Evil, Illegal Anti-RV Scheming of Mitch O’Farrell, Mike Bonin, and the Hollywood Media District BID But It’s Probably Irrelevant In The Real World Anyway