Category Archives: Business Improvement Districts

How I Reported BID Engineer Ed Henning To The California Board For Professional Engineers For Incompetence, Negligence, Self-Plagiarism, And All-Round Not Doing His Damn Job

Here’s a quick summary of the background. BID formations are required by the Property and Business Improvement District Law of 1994 to be supported by a report prepared by a licensed engineer.1 Engineer Ed Henning wrote the report for the ill-born Venice Beach BID.2 The California Board for Professional Engineers regulates the engineering profession and can investigate allegations of incompetence or negligence. Ed Henning wrote the engineer’s report for the Venice Beach BID and did an awful, negligent, incompetent job of it.

A complaint was made against Henning but was rejected by the Board without being read because they claimed that writing BID reports didn’t constitute the practice of engineering. After a great deal of discussion with BPELSG executive officer Ric Moore, he agreed that in the future his office would not dismiss such complaints unread.

Well, given this assurance it seemed worthwhile to me to spend time writing another complaint against Henning, whose work is universally acknowledged to be ultra-shabby,3 And that’s just what I did! You can grab a copy of the whole thing right here on Archive.Org, and turn the page for selections and little bit of discussion!
Continue reading How I Reported BID Engineer Ed Henning To The California Board For Professional Engineers For Incompetence, Negligence, Self-Plagiarism, And All-Round Not Doing His Damn Job

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What Is Donald Duckworth Spending The Melrose BID’s Money On Besides $6,000 A Month On His Own Damn Self? — Believe It Or Not He Seems To Spend Almost $10,000 Per Month On Public Relations And Paying Freelance Bloggers To Write What Passes As Content For What Passes As The BID’s Blog

Turn over a rock and don’t be surprised that crawlie lil creatures wiggle out, friends! As you probably recall, BIDdological freak show specimen Donald Duckworth in his guise as zeck dreck of the Melrose Avenue BID, stopped responding to my requests for public records early last year. So I lawyered up and filed a petition and now not only, I will deign to predict, is his BID gonna be on the hook for beaucoup de bucks but he actually started handing over goodies! One of these provides the text of today’s sermon, which is this list of transactions of the MBID from 2013 through this June organized by payee.

And lord, there’s a lot of weird stuff in there. For instance, note that in April and July 2017 Duckworth paid Hollywood Superlawyer and world famous Jeffrey Charles Briggs $1,000, presumably to ask his advice about the CPRA requests he had stopped responding to. Maybe Jeffrey Charles advised him to ignore me? Expensive advice, Mr. Superlawyer! Or maybe El Duckworth ignored his lawyer’s advice? Expensive mistake, Mr. Duckworth!1

And of course there’s a lot of normal stuff in there, like their security guard and their clean-up crew, and so on. But what really stands out is the money the BID is spending on social media content and blogging and public relations. Not only is the amount of money astonishing, many thousands of dollars per month, but the idiotic nonsense the BID is paying for is even more astonishing.

This cannot possibly be what all these property owners think they’re paying extra property tax for, which is no doubt related to why they’re fomenting revolution lately. It makes no sense at all. It’s much more likely that Donald Duckworth, having cut himself a piece of cake to the tune of $6,000 per month to run the damn BID part time has to blow the rest of the money on something to justify his existence and he doesn’t care what it is because it’s not his money. Turn the page for examples and payments. Sheesh!
Continue reading What Is Donald Duckworth Spending The Melrose BID’s Money On Besides $6,000 A Month On His Own Damn Self? — Believe It Or Not He Seems To Spend Almost $10,000 Per Month On Public Relations And Paying Freelance Bloggers To Write What Passes As Content For What Passes As The BID’s Blog

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The Hollywood Property Owners’ Alliance In Cahoots With CD13 Is Removing Ficus Trees From Hollywood — Why Has The City Of Los Angeles Ceded Its Duty To Care For Our Trees To A Bunch Of Nihilistic Zillionaires Who Don’t Even Live In Hollywood?

The Hollywood Property Owners’ Alliance, which runs the major Hollywood BID, has a long and troubled relationship with the City of Los Angeles and tree regulations. For instance, remember when that billboard company illegally cut down all those trees in Silver Lake in 2016 and the whole City flipped out even to the extent of revenge vandalism? This crisis somehow catapulted Mitch O’Farrell and David Ryu into a rare moment of sanity and they initiated CF 15-0467-S4, in which they asked for report-backs from the City Attorney and the Bureau of Street Services on how to prevent future rogue tree removals.

And the Bureau of Street Services came in with a pretty strong set of recommendations, which included requiring before-and-after photos of tree maintenance done by private parties as well as requiring the presence of City tree surgeons. Well, as you may recall, the BID absolutely flipped out over this in their characteristically privileged manner, which included typically unsubstantiated claims of their unparalleled arboreal competence and even featured archetypal BID genius Mark Echevarria of Musso & Frank giggling like a six-fingered chucklehead cause he never heard of tree surgeons.1

And over the last two years the issue of the wanton destruction of our City’s trees has not died down. In fact it’s getting worse and worse. For a good overview see this fine article by Alissa Walker in Curbed LA. The unwarranted removal of trees has emerged as a significant social justice issue with serious ecological ramifications. And political action can save trees. But political action is impossible if the City sneaks around and removes trees covertly.

And of course, the City’s favorite way to sneak around and do anything covertly is to palm it off onto the damn BIDs.2 Thus it was no surprise to discover a newly released email conversation between Marisol Rodriguez and Dan Halden of Mitch O’Farrell’s staff and Kerry Morrison and Rich Sarian of the HPOA which shows that the BID is in fact involved in secret tree destruction in Hollywood with the advice and consent of CD13.

It’s pretty clear that these actions are shady. It’s plausible that they’re illegal. Turn the page for transcriptions of as much of the record as we have available.
Continue reading The Hollywood Property Owners’ Alliance In Cahoots With CD13 Is Removing Ficus Trees From Hollywood — Why Has The City Of Los Angeles Ceded Its Duty To Care For Our Trees To A Bunch Of Nihilistic Zillionaires Who Don’t Even Live In Hollywood?

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Kerry Morrison To Leave Hollywood Property Owners’ Alliance In February 2019 To Spend More Time Advocating For More Zillionaire Friendly Homeless Incarceration Laws

Kerry Morrison, founding director of the Hollywood Property Owners’ Alliance, which administers the Hollywood Entertainment District BID in Hollywood, announced that she’s leaving that position effective February 2019 in order to focus on making it easier for cops to lock up homeless people against their will.

Although she has no background or training in mental health, law, or human decency, and although she has spent the last twenty years being paid to organize tens of thousands of punitive arrests of homeless people and other human beings, she has somehow managed to have herself accepted as a compassionate expert in mental health care issues and presumably whatever she does next will have to do with that inexplicable perception. Perhaps Morrison, oft compared to Leni Riefenstahl, will expand her hobby of making homeless exploitation flicks into a career.

Kerry Morrison, as you probably know, has been one of the untiring forces behind the social destruction of Hollywood over the last two decades. There is literally nothing she’s done that’s improved life for human beings and non-zillionaires in that most beset of the spiritual centers of Los Angeles. Nevertheless, it’s fitting, as they say, to give the Devil her due, or to give Satan her salute. Turn the page for what passes in these parts as kind words about Ms. Kerry Morrison.
Continue reading Kerry Morrison To Leave Hollywood Property Owners’ Alliance In February 2019 To Spend More Time Advocating For More Zillionaire Friendly Homeless Incarceration Laws

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How I Went To The Westchester Town Center BID Meeting Yesterday And Everyone Was So Freaking Nice — The Cops Explained How They Shoo The Wrong Kind Of People Out Of Westchester — And Everyone Smiled — The Trash Lady Explained How If Homeless People Sleep In Alleys Just Privatize Alleys — And Everyone Smiled — Bonus Question: Did You Know Criminals Rent Bird Scooters So They Can Scope Out Break-In Targets More Efficiently? — Zillionaires Think It’s True So It Must Be True!

Here’s how we got to this place. You will recall that, due to the unhinged intransigence of Donald Duckworth, zeck dreck of the Westchester Town Center BID, I was unwillingly forced to file a writ petition against his masters to get them to take their obligations under the California Public Records Act seriously just for one damn time. And I learned from the agenda for yesterday’s meeting that they were poised to hire the world’s angriest CPRA lawyer, Carol F. Humiston,1 to defend their case.2

Well, the doings of La Humiston interest me no end, as why shouldn’t they? So I hopped aboard the good old 115 east on Manchester out to Sepulveda right into the heart of occupied territory, attended the meeting, and, as per usual, filmed the whole thing and you can watch it here on YouTube or if you prefer free-as-in-freedom here on Archive.Org. And the Humiston episode turned out to be utterly anticlimactic. You can watch all very few seconds of it right here.

Basically El Duckworth just said that he and Karen Dial, hereditary president for life of the BID, had interviewed the ballistical barrister and they wanted to hire her.3 Then there was a motion and a second and the usual unanimity carried the day. Oh, snore. But the trip was by no means wasted! In fact, this BID turned out to be even more interesting than I expected it to be even accounting for the extreme level of interest that attends any situation with which Don Duckworth, the pirate king of BIDlandia, associates himself.4

As usual, the main points are summarized in the headline, and turn the page for all the details, links in to the video, and transcriptions that you could ever possibly desire!
Continue reading How I Went To The Westchester Town Center BID Meeting Yesterday And Everyone Was So Freaking Nice — The Cops Explained How They Shoo The Wrong Kind Of People Out Of Westchester — And Everyone Smiled — The Trash Lady Explained How If Homeless People Sleep In Alleys Just Privatize Alleys — And Everyone Smiled — Bonus Question: Did You Know Criminals Rent Bird Scooters So They Can Scope Out Break-In Targets More Efficiently? — Zillionaires Think It’s True So It Must Be True!

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Open Rebellion In The Melrose BID! Duckworth On The Defensive!! Refuses To Give Board Email Addresses To Property Owners!!! Even Though He Already Gave Them To Me!!!! And Don’t Forget He And He Alone Got The Damn BID Sued!!!!! And For This They Are Paying Him $72,000 Per Year To Work 20 Hours Per Week???!?

Sadly, for he is one of the most satirogenic figures in all of BIDlandia, we have not heard much from pirate king Donald Duckworth around these parts lately except, of course, for the fact that he, complacently steeped in his outlaw ways, forced me to file a pair of writ petitions against two of his baby BIDs because he, complacently steeped in his unhinged arrogance, flat-out and unaccountably refuses to comply with his statutory obligations under the California Public Records Act1 even though, if the past is prologue,2 it’s very likely to cost his BIDs a lot of damn money that they can probably ill afford to waste.

But regardless of Cap’n Donald’s law-flouting noncompliance it is occasionally possible to obtain records, or at least emails, involving him by the simple expedient of getting them from the other side of the correspondence.3 And recently a friend of this blog got a small pile of emails between Mr. Don Duckworth and Los Angeles City Clerk staff, and you can read the whole set here on Archive.Org.4 And there’s pretty much interesting stuff in there, but tonight I’m focusing on just three items.

June 9, 2018 email from Don Duckworth to Laura Aflalo about record inspection — Melrose property owners Laura Aflalo and Richard Jebejian want to come inspect records. Don Duckworth says sure you can but why would you want to, isn’t it a waste of your time?

June 9, 2018 emails between Duckworth and Aflalo about her questions about BID operation — Like why do the BID bylaws violate the Brown Act? And why can’t she have the Board members’ email addresses? And why won’t Don Duckworth just answer the damn questions?!

June 9, 2018 Duckworth to Aflalo with a detailed breakdown of how he spends the BID’s money — It’s detailed and evasive at the same time, a Duckworthian superpower, evidently.

And turn the page for some commentary, some mockery, and some highly selected transcriptions of at least the first two items. The third is going to have to wait till another time because it’s getting late around here!
Continue reading Open Rebellion In The Melrose BID! Duckworth On The Defensive!! Refuses To Give Board Email Addresses To Property Owners!!! Even Though He Already Gave Them To Me!!!! And Don’t Forget He And He Alone Got The Damn BID Sued!!!!! And For This They Are Paying Him $72,000 Per Year To Work 20 Hours Per Week???!?

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Newly Published Emails From Westwood Village BID Reveal Lobbyists’ Interest In Westwood Neighborhood Council Subdivision Process — BID Zeck Dreck Andrew Thomas’s Clueless Ideas About Role Of BIDs In Civic Life — Michael Skiles Gets Cast As The Savior Of His People And Finds That, In His Opinion Anyway, The Role Really Suits Him! — Oh, P.S.! In His Crack-Headed Zealous Attempt To Obstruct My Free Inspection Of Records Andrew Thomas Ends Up Costing The BID $4.50 Per Page For Me To Obtain Copies For Free

I published a first batch of emails from the Westwood Village BID last month, and they’re available here on Archive.Org. As you’ll recall, Andrew Thomas, duly following the nonsensical instructions of the BID’s lawyer, the ballistical barrister of Burbank and anger-management poster child, that is to say Ms. Carol F. Humiston,1 insisted on printing out 90% of these emails, crossing out about one email address per page to justify his unsupportable foolishness, and then proposing to charge me $0.10 per page for copies of the paper.

Of course, they can’t prevent one from inspecting for free,2 and thus, because I now understand the issues involved in the whole Westwood Forward debacle far better as a result of reading the records I already obtained,3 and could therefore benefit greatly from additional review of this material, I zipped out to the Village yesterday morning to look through the goodies yet again!

And although in June, when we first began this quiet slow motion struggle, Andrew Thomas, in clear violation of the law, forbade me from photographing records, evidently Ms. Carol Humiston has cleared that up in his minionesque little mind, and so now, while he and his security guard are sitting there burning $125 per hour watching me inspect, I am able to copy the records for free.4

And that’s exactly what I did yesterday morning, and I came away with 44 pages of exceedingly interesting material, which you can peruse here on Archive.Org. It’s all good stuff, and I’ll be writing about all of it eventually, but today there are three especially interesting subjects to cover. They’re outlined in the headline, of course, and turn the page for the gory-glory details!
Continue reading Newly Published Emails From Westwood Village BID Reveal Lobbyists’ Interest In Westwood Neighborhood Council Subdivision Process — BID Zeck Dreck Andrew Thomas’s Clueless Ideas About Role Of BIDs In Civic Life — Michael Skiles Gets Cast As The Savior Of His People And Finds That, In His Opinion Anyway, The Role Really Suits Him! — Oh, P.S.! In His Crack-Headed Zealous Attempt To Obstruct My Free Inspection Of Records Andrew Thomas Ends Up Costing The BID $4.50 Per Page For Me To Obtain Copies For Free

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Mike Hakim, Zillionaire Carpetbagging Developer From Beverly Hills, Tried To Sell His Soul To Eric Garcetti But — Most Unkindest Cut Of All! — No Matter How He Begged And Pleaded Eric Garcetti Wasn’t Buying Cause Brenda Arianpour’s Soul Was Way Cuter — Too Bad So Sad Mike Hakim!

I wrote last month about an interesting incident in which Eric Garcetti asked Mike Russell of the Wilshire Center BID to arrange for a tame zillionaire1 to speak at the joint Garcetti/Wesson press conference announcing the star-crossed Koreatown homeless shelter which was, at that time, being proposed by Wesson. Mike Hakim, Beverly Hills zillionaire and proponent of a universally reviled K-Town skyscraper, volunteered but Mike Russell and Eric Garcetti went with Beverly Hills zillionairette Brenda Arianpour instead.

Well, the other day I got a whole new set of emails from Mr. Mike Russell,2 which you can read all of right here on the Archive. And amongst these were some that told the rest of the story. It seems that after Mike Hakim volunteered, while Mike Russell and Eric Garcetti’s communications staff were busy fluffing Brenda Arianpour for her big day, no one bothered to tell Mike Hakim that his contributions were unwanted.

Finally, days later, like the little sad clown he tries so hard not to be, he emailed Mike Russell reminding him that he was willing to speak. Mike Russell, never one to waste an opportunity, told Mike Hakim that Eric Garcetti liked Brenda Arianpour better, even though mostly Mike Russell chose her, and then had the nerve to tell Mike Hakim that the Mayor still wanted him to show up and act like he supported the whole thing.

The record doesn’t show that Mike Hakim responded, but day of he regained some of his highly compromised personal dignity and said he couldn’t make it because traffic. And that, friends, is the whole tragedy laid out for your sympathy. Don’t ever think those zillionaire developers from Beverly Hills have it easy. Their lives are harder than yours in ways you can’t even imagine until you’ve earned or inherited your first zillion.

Turn the page, as always, for transcriptions of everything.
Continue reading Mike Hakim, Zillionaire Carpetbagging Developer From Beverly Hills, Tried To Sell His Soul To Eric Garcetti But — Most Unkindest Cut Of All! — No Matter How He Begged And Pleaded Eric Garcetti Wasn’t Buying Cause Brenda Arianpour’s Soul Was Way Cuter — Too Bad So Sad Mike Hakim!

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Psychopathic Rageball George Yu Of The Chinatown BID Admits On Camera That He Broke The Law By Using BID Personnel To Preemptively Displace Homeless People Outside His BID Boundaries — Less Importantly Years Later He’s Still Whining About The Chinatown Walmart Fiasco As He Lambastes Outsiders From Alhambra For Daring To Have An Opinion — And In More Aggro Yu-ian Weirdness, Admonishes Public Commenters To Keep It Short And Cut The “Bullshit”

I’m sure you read about my big adventure yesterday when I went up north to film the Chinatown BID’s meeting and criminal ringleader George Yu got so salty that I wouldn’t tell him who I was that he flipped out to an extraordinary degree, screamed at me and then banned me for life from his weirdo fiefdom, the Far East Plaza.

But that’s not all that happened at the meeting. It turns out that George Yu is not merely a psychopathic rageball but he also runs his meetings like some kind of free association fest, like he’s on the couch and the audience is his analyst. And the most revealing, peculiar, unbelievable stuff came pouring forth from George Yu, self-betrayal oozing from his every pore, as they say.

So for instance, he admitted that he sent his BID crew to clean up something to do with homeless people at Sunset and Beaudry which, it seems, is not in his BID. Watch and listen here: You’ll see background photos on the screen. We worked with [unintelligible]. Yes, it’s at Sunset and Beaudry. No, it’s technically not Chinatown. But if those… If the [unintelligible] people there are staying at Sunset and Beaudry and then venture into Chinatown it’s a whole nother story. Our residents walk past this site daily. We couldn’t stand it. We cleaned it up.

Of course, it’s explicitly against state law for BIDs to spend money, which includes expending labor, on anything outside their boundaries. Just take a look at the Property and Business Improvement District Law at §36625(a)(6), which states unequivocally that: The revenue from the levy of assessments within a district shall not be used to provide improvements, maintenance, or activities outside the district …1
Continue reading Psychopathic Rageball George Yu Of The Chinatown BID Admits On Camera That He Broke The Law By Using BID Personnel To Preemptively Displace Homeless People Outside His BID Boundaries — Less Importantly Years Later He’s Still Whining About The Chinatown Walmart Fiasco As He Lambastes Outsiders From Alhambra For Daring To Have An Opinion — And In More Aggro Yu-ian Weirdness, Admonishes Public Commenters To Keep It Short And Cut The “Bullshit”

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How I Recorded Today’s Chinatown BID Meeting — And Got Screamed At By Criminal Ringleader And Big Poopy-Pants Whiny-Baby George Freaking Yu Cause I Wouldn’t Submit To His Weirdo Thuggish Demands — Then He Had His Weirdo Thuggish Security Guard Ban Me From The Far East Plaza Even Though I Didn’t Do Anything — Except Refuse To Bow To His Weirdo Thuggish Demands, That Is

Well, it’s always interesting to visit a new BID for the first time, and today’s journey out to Chinatown was certainly no exception. The BID meets in the Far East Plaza upstairs1 so up I went. They tried to get me to sign in, but I just ignored them because that’s illegal, innit?2 I did record the meeting, and you can watch the whole thing if you want here on YouTube and also here on Archive.Org if Google gives you the willies.3

There was a lot to write about at that meeting, but the most interesting thing4 was the fact that George Yu, just like that lady from the Arts District last month, decided he was going to confront me about recording his meeting, so he came over, just like she did, and stuck his face right in the camera, just like she did, and proceeded to embarrass himself in his anger and his shame, just like she did. Watch the whole frickin’ episode right here.

Now, a lot of other interesting stuff happened at this meeting, but I’m going to have to put off writing about it, because the very most interesting thing that happened today happened right after the meeting. As you’re probably aware, Howlin’ Rays does not actually define the the Far East Plaza, which also has some nice restaurants that are NOT overrun by zombie hipster hordes. And since the BID meeting was right at lunch time I thought I’d eat a banh mi and some pho before hopping the good old 45 southbound back to reality.

But after I ordered and before most of my food came,5 a security guard came busting into the restaurant and told me that the Far East Plaza was private property and that the owner didn’t want me there any more and that I would have to leave. Did I mention I recorded him too? Watch it here on YouTube or here on Archive.Org.6

I’ve been through a lot of crazy stuff when exercising my constitutional right to film BIDs,7 but this is right up there with the very craziest, which was the time I got screamed at for being possessed because I filmed meetings. Also, while George Yu’s argument makes some kind of sense theoretically, there are aspects to the situation that make it plausible that he can’t actually ban me from the property without some kind of reason. Turn the page for my amateur speculations on the matter!
Continue reading How I Recorded Today’s Chinatown BID Meeting — And Got Screamed At By Criminal Ringleader And Big Poopy-Pants Whiny-Baby George Freaking Yu Cause I Wouldn’t Submit To His Weirdo Thuggish Demands — Then He Had His Weirdo Thuggish Security Guard Ban Me From The Far East Plaza Even Though I Didn’t Do Anything — Except Refuse To Bow To His Weirdo Thuggish Demands, That Is

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