Category Archives: Business Improvement Districts

South Park BID Communications Director Wallis Locke Was About To Be Fired For Poor Job Performance At The End Of 2017 — Then BID Exec Direc Ellen Riotto Had A Talk With Her — “Improve Or It Is Over!” Spake Ellen Riotto — By April 2018 — Much To Riotto’s Surprise — Locke Had “Stepped Up Her Game” — By December 2018 Riotto Thought Locke’s Work Was As Valuable — If Not More Valuable — Than Planning Director Josh Kreger’s — So She Reduced Kreger’s 2018 Bonus By $750 And Gave It To Locke Instead! — But Kreger Still Makes 43% More Than Locke Annually — How Is That Fair, Ellen Riotto?!

I’ve written before about the South Park BID’s weirdo insistence that its staff members keep their salaries secret even though it’s essentially impossible to do this for publicly funded government agencies like business improvement districts. This information is just all a matter of public record, so we know, e.g., that South Park BID real estate director Josh Kreger makes $100,000 per year, communications director Wallace Locke makes $70,000, operations director Lulu Woldemariam makes $65,000 per year, and executive director Ellen Salome Riotto makes $131,250.

And they also get bonuses! I don’t know what kind of job you have, but I’ve never had a job where they just gave bonuses to everyone. It’s some kind of white collar elite psychodrama that would probably ruin everyone’s time at the Christmas party if they knew what their colleagues were getting. But it turns out that bonuses are all public record too! I am, therefore, pleased to be able to reveal what all these South Park BIDdies got all bonused up with for 2018!

But first there is a crucial backstory! Having to do with BID communications boss Wallis Locke! Who started with the BID in November 2016. And couldn’t be bothered to even show up for work on time! Or respond to emails on time! Or make her freaking green carpet deadlines, whatever the freaking heck those are! You can read all about it right here!

But then her kindly but stern boss lady Ellen Salome Riotto had a little talk with her in December 2017! And she told her to listen up! And fly right! And other cliches like that! Or there wasn’t gonna be a next time! She “made it clear that this would be the very last of this type of conversation, and if her work ethic and attitude is not consistently improved, it’s over.” And it seems that by April 2018 Riotto’s shock treatment had worked! Ellen Riotto told the Board in an email that “she stepped up her game in ways that I frankly didn’t think she was capable of.”

Which brings us up to December 2018, when Ellen Riotto sent an email to BIDdie Warbucks Bob Buente discussing year-end bonuses for the staff. Which evidently, not that I would know, are supposed to be 5% of salary. So that, based on the numbers above, Kreger should have gotten $5,000 and Locke $3,500. But, says Riotto to Buente:

WL’s salary is still lower than where I’d like her to be, based on the competitive landscape in the industry and her specific contributions to the BID. Her bonus should be calculated on her current salary, not on gross annual earnings. That would put her at $3,500. However, Wallis’ contributions are equal in value (if not more valuable) than Josh’s, so my recommendation is to sum their 5%s ($3,500 for WL, $5,000 for Josh = $8,500) and split ($4,250).

And that’s what they did. Oh, ouch! That’s gotta hurt Josh Kreger, wouldn’t you think? His bonus is reduced by 15% and that money passed to Locke, who earns 30% less than him, but his boss thinks her contributions are “equal in value (if not more valuable) than” his. Ouch, ouch, ouch!

If he has any self-respect he’ll quit the damn job after reading about what his boss thinks of him. Stay tuned! And turn the page for a complete transcription of every last detail of Ellen Salome Riotto’s December 2017 email about what a crappy job Wallis Locke had been doing!
Continue reading South Park BID Communications Director Wallis Locke Was About To Be Fired For Poor Job Performance At The End Of 2017 — Then BID Exec Direc Ellen Riotto Had A Talk With Her — “Improve Or It Is Over!” Spake Ellen Riotto — By April 2018 — Much To Riotto’s Surprise — Locke Had “Stepped Up Her Game” — By December 2018 Riotto Thought Locke’s Work Was As Valuable — If Not More Valuable — Than Planning Director Josh Kreger’s — So She Reduced Kreger’s 2018 Bonus By $750 And Gave It To Locke Instead! — But Kreger Still Makes 43% More Than Locke Annually — How Is That Fair, Ellen Riotto?!

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South Park BID Board Member Terry Rubenroit Used Central City Association Chief Jessica Lall’s Name In Vain — While Importuning Deputy City Attorney Gita O’Neill Not To Settle Mitchell V. City Of LA — So Jessica Lall Had To Fire A Thunderbolt Down From Her Heavenly Perch And Smite The Holy Crap Out Of Terry Rubenroit — Who Says She Learned Her Lesson Because She Knows What All These Downtown Zillionaires Know — That It May Be Safe To Ignore Jesus But It’s Not Safe To Ignore Jessica Lall

Of course you’re aware that the City of Los Angeles agreed on March 6, 2019 to settle the monumental civil rights case Mitchell v. Los Angeles brought against it on behalf of homeless people whose property has been seized and destroyed by the police and other agents of the City. Settling was the only prudent course for the City to take because the City, clearly and provably guilty of all they were accused of, was going to lose and lose big if it went to trial.

That this is so has been clear enough to all sane observers at least since 2016 when the federal court issued a preliminary injunction preventing the City from seizing the property of its homeless victims. But of course, in the City of Los Angeles not all the observers are sane, and thus at least since the Summer of 2018 the certified domestic terrorist organization known as the Central City Association of Los Angeles led a concerted lobbying effort to convince the City to take the case to trial rather than settling.

And one of the effects of this campaign and its fairly crazed propaganda was the sorry spectacle of zillionaires and their minions swarming by the tens and dozens to every possible public forum where they could bitch, moan, and piss about how settling Mitchell would cause typhus epidemics, leprosy, locust plagues, an oversupply of crack-smoking prostitutes, and wanton smiting of presumptive unsmitables. The commentary spanned the entire gamut of zillionaire affective styles, all the way from slavering insanity to third generation liberal-inflected psychopathy.

And one of the favored means by which these kings and queens of our City make their displeasure known is by writing to their pet officials and demanding meetings. Just for instance, behold this pallid little number by South Park BID Board member Terry Rubenroit to Deputy City Attorney for the Placation of Rich People WRT Homelessophobia Gita O’Neill. Also be sure to behold the fact that Rubenroit CCed Jessica Lall, who is Eternal Queen of Downtown but not in a good way Carol Schatz’s handpicked successor to the CCALA throne.

And that, friends, was Rubenroit’s first mistake! And her last! Jessica Lall flipped out on her and told her to never ever ever do that again because it messed with the incomprehensible-to-minions-such-as-Rubenroit eleven dimensional chess being played by Lall and her elite peers on the eleventy-first floors of the skyscraping towers of Downtown Los Angeles. And then Rubenroit rolled over and bared her throat in a quantum-level appeasement display! And then Lall accepted her submission! Read on for transcriptions of all of it!
Continue reading South Park BID Board Member Terry Rubenroit Used Central City Association Chief Jessica Lall’s Name In Vain — While Importuning Deputy City Attorney Gita O’Neill Not To Settle Mitchell V. City Of LA — So Jessica Lall Had To Fire A Thunderbolt Down From Her Heavenly Perch And Smite The Holy Crap Out Of Terry Rubenroit — Who Says She Learned Her Lesson Because She Knows What All These Downtown Zillionaires Know — That It May Be Safe To Ignore Jesus But It’s Not Safe To Ignore Jessica Lall

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The FBI Searched José Huizar’s Personal Email Account — And I Asked The South Park BID Board Of Directors For Their Emails To/From That Very Account — And BID Directrix Ellen Salome Riotto Told The Board Members To Talk To Their Lawyers Before Handing Over Responsive Records — Because That’s Exactly How Innocent People Behave

Back in January of this year PACER wizard Seamus Hughes, in a stunning application of the inscrutable sorcery which he alone has mastered, discovered that in February 2017 the FBI had searched one of José Huizar’s personal email accounts, josehuizar@sbcglobal.net, and seized more than 1,400 records. And I immediately thought of my dear friends at the South Park BID, where they’re building all those really really really tall buildings of the very sort that basically require a criminal conspiracy to get built at all.

And so I fired off a little CPRA request to the BIDdies asking them for, amongst other things, their communications with that email account of Huizar’s. And it turned out that none of them would admit to having any, which, of course, is not surprising given the fact that the BID’s lawyer, Carol Ann Humiston, basically advised the Boardies that there would be no consequence to them for lying. But nevertheless the request was not without results, just not direct results.

For, you see, in response to a whole different request, the BID sent over a little slap in the face, which is to say this email from BID Executive Director Ellen Salome Riotto advising the BID Boardies on responding to the earlier request. Basically she told them that because the FBI is investigating their buddy Huizar they should talk to their damn lawyers before sending over any records, which to this legal amateur looks a whole freaking heck of a damn lot like consciousness of guilt. But she can speak for herself better than I could speak for her:
Continue reading The FBI Searched José Huizar’s Personal Email Account — And I Asked The South Park BID Board Of Directors For Their Emails To/From That Very Account — And BID Directrix Ellen Salome Riotto Told The Board Members To Talk To Their Lawyers Before Handing Over Responsive Records — Because That’s Exactly How Innocent People Behave

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Carol Humiston — The World’s Angriest CPRA Lawyer — Counseled The South Park BID To Thwart My CPRA Requests By Violating The Law — And It Is Against The Rules Of The California State Bar For An Attorney To Counsel A Client To Violate The Law — Which Is Why I Filed A Complaint Against Her Yesterday — And Maybe She’ll Get Disbarred — Which Would Be Pretty Appropriate In The Circumstances — Ironically I Only Have Evidence Of This Because The SPBID Was Honest Enough To Release It To Me In Response To A CPRA Request — But As Honest As That Might Be — Doesn’t Make Up For The Fact That SPBID Executive Directrix Ellen Riotto Enthusiastically Adopted Humiston’s Illegal Advice!

Carol Humiston, the world’s angriest CPRA lawyer, advises a bunch of L.A. business improvement districts on how to thwart my CPRA requests. She even held a seminar about me last summer for random BIDs that weren’t even her client to teach them her angry CPRA-thwarting methods. And, you know, I don’t like her methods, and I don’t like her clients, and I don’t like her. But I do like the fact that all people, even Satan-worshipping BIDdies who see violence against homeless people as a sacrament and guns as a masturbation aid, have a right to advice from counsel on how to further their goals within the bounds imposed by the law.

That last clause is essential, though. We do not want lawyers running around telling people that they ought to break the law and then using their special lawyerly powers to show them how to break it more effectively. In return for the powers granted to lawyers by society, they’re required to follow some minimal set of rules. And one of those rules is Rule 1.2.1, which states unequivocally that:

A lawyer shall not counsel a client to engage, or assist a client in conduct that the lawyer knows is criminal, fraudulent, or a violation of any law, rule, or ruling of a tribunal.

But some emails, ironically obtained from the South Park BID in response to a CPRA request, prove that that’s precisely what Carol Humiston has done. She explicitly counseled the South Park BIDdies to engage in conduct that she knew was a violation of the CPRA. And that, friends, is why, just yesterday afternoon, I filed this complaint against her with the California State Bar. You can read the painful details after the break, both of her advice and the sections of the CPRA she advised the South Park BID to violate, including copies of the actual emails in which she gave the advice.
Continue reading Carol Humiston — The World’s Angriest CPRA Lawyer — Counseled The South Park BID To Thwart My CPRA Requests By Violating The Law — And It Is Against The Rules Of The California State Bar For An Attorney To Counsel A Client To Violate The Law — Which Is Why I Filed A Complaint Against Her Yesterday — And Maybe She’ll Get Disbarred — Which Would Be Pretty Appropriate In The Circumstances — Ironically I Only Have Evidence Of This Because The SPBID Was Honest Enough To Release It To Me In Response To A CPRA Request — But As Honest As That Might Be — Doesn’t Make Up For The Fact That SPBID Executive Directrix Ellen Riotto Enthusiastically Adopted Humiston’s Illegal Advice!

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52.4% Of All Arrests In The Entire City Of Los Angeles For Public Urination/Defecation From 2009 Through February 2019 Were Made In Just Six LAPD Reporting Districts In The Hollywood Entertainment District BID — Yet More Proof That Business Improvement Districts Oppress Homeless People Through Selective Enforcement — And More Proof That The Hollywood BID Patrol Is Completely Off The Chain — And Has Been Running A Private Police State For Years — With The City’s Full Blessing And Collusion Of Course

A few weeks ago I learned from some data released by the LAPD that 73% of all arrests for public marijuana use in the entire City of Los Angeles between 2016 and 2018 took place in the Hollywood Entertainment District BID.1 This is obviously a crime much more likely to be committed by homeless people, since they don’t have a private place to smoke marijuana. Here’s what I said then about the BID’s outrageous rate of arresting homeless residents:

The HPOA BID Patrol is famous for its aggressive arrest policies. In 2013 they were responsible for more than 7% of the arrests of homeless people in the entire City of Los Angeles. Their arrest rate has dropped precipitously in the last few years, but it is still unbelievably high. But since 2016 they have refused to provide data on their individual arrests in response to CPRA requests, so it hasn’t been possible to tell who they were arresting and why.2

And it turns out that LAPD will release these spreadsheets pretty quickly, and just recently they released a couple containing all arrests for violating LAMC 41.47.2, which is the public urination law. And a quick analysis reveals a very similar result. That is, there are essentially six LAPD reporting districts in the Hollywood Entertainment District BID. They are 636, 637, 645, 646, 647, and 666. There are 1135 reporting districts in the City, but these six in the BID accounted for 52.4% of all the public urination arrests in the City from 2009 through 2019, a total of 887 arrests out of 1,693.

Contrast this with Skid Row, which is encompassed by 11 reporting districts.3 Between 2009 and 2019 these 11 reporting districts accounted for only 35 arrests for public urination. That is less than 4% of the arrests in the Hollywood Entertainment District. Obviously the difference isn’t due to less public urination in Skid Row, it’s due to extreme differential enforcement. It’s really unlikely that the LAPD on its own would create such a disparity. If the BID patrol isn’t making all these arrests, nevertheless the BID must be the ultimate cause.

It’s worth noting here, by the way, that public urination was not even illegal in Los Angeles until 2003. Even at the time it was opposed by LACAN and others because the intention was obviously to further the criminalization of homelessness. In response, “Council members pledged that people would be prosecuted only in cases when there is a public toilet nearby that they failed to use.” But such pledges aren’t worth the toilet paper that’s smeared with them, and, as everyone who’s paying attention knows, the law has only been used as the anti-homeless weapon it was obviously intended to be.4

And, it turns out, mostly so used by the most toxic BID in the City, the Hollywood Entertainment District BID. Turn the page for some nifty maps showing the relationship of these six reporting districts to the BID boundaries as well as a histogram showing the freakishly uneven distribution. Click the image to enlarge.
Continue reading 52.4% Of All Arrests In The Entire City Of Los Angeles For Public Urination/Defecation From 2009 Through February 2019 Were Made In Just Six LAPD Reporting Districts In The Hollywood Entertainment District BID — Yet More Proof That Business Improvement Districts Oppress Homeless People Through Selective Enforcement — And More Proof That The Hollywood BID Patrol Is Completely Off The Chain — And Has Been Running A Private Police State For Years — With The City’s Full Blessing And Collusion Of Course

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“They’re Saying It’s A Constitutional Right To Have Stuff” — More Performative Insanity From Batty Little Fusspot Blair Besten — The Finest Legal Mind Of Her Generation — As She Explains The Mitchell Injunction To You — From The Point Of View Of A Whiny Entitled Privileged Stupid Person — A Constituency That Doesn’t Get Nearly Enough Attention In Los Angeles — That’s Sarcasm — They’re In Charge Of The Damn Asylum — And Listen To Her Run Her Poormouth About How Her Putatively Underfunded BID Makes Do With Low Budgets By Being More Efficient Than The Fashion District — Which Spends Proportionately Half Of What Besten Spends On Administration — Lie Or Incompetence? — The Perennial Besten Question

It’s been a long while since we here at the blog have heard from Blair Besten, the half-pint Norma Desmond of the Historic Core.1 Well, it’s because, like with El Duckworth, she is so convinced that she is above the law that I haven’t gotten any substantial records out of her infernal BID in ever so long, and without records I will not, I can not, mock.

And of course, as you know, I’m in the process of suing her and her damnable BID to enforce compliance with the Public Records Act. And she’s going to lose, because losing is what she does best. So at some point the records will be rolling in again and the full-time mockery will resume. Until then, though, well, I have always relied on the kindness of strangers, and they are strangely kind to me.

In particular, just recently, unsolicited, was handed to me2 an audio track of an unscheduled appearance made by Ms. Besten at some bullshit meeting conducted at some bullshit Downtown residential bullshit location, having something to do with some bullshit or other. So I made it into a video3 and you can listen here on YouTube and here on Archive.Org, where you can also download it more easily. And of course there’s also a complete transcription after the break!

And best of all, this unexpected bit of Besteniana means that it’s gonna be like the good old days around here what with all the mere mockery unloosed upon the world! Gonna mock around the clock tonight! Turn the page, I’m gonna lay it on you in increments, but before then let’s just spoil the ending and take a look at the single most incomprehensibly lobotomized proclamation proclaimed by Ms. Blair Besten in a long unbroken chain of incomprehensibly lobotomized proclamity!

What, you may ask, does Ms. Blair Besten think that the plaintiffs in the lawsuit Mitchell v. Los Angeles are so freaking wrong about? Why “they’re saying that it’s a constitutional right to have stuff in Skid Row.” If you stop and think about it, Ms. Besten, that’s kind of like, almost, what the Fourteenth Amendment to the constitution is saying with all that jive about “nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”

See the part about property? That’s what grownups call “stuff.” And I don’t see anything about it not being true in Skid Row. In fact, all kinds of people have “stuff” in Skid Row. Like e.g. all those property owners in the Downtown Industrial District BID. Gonna tell them they can’t have stuff there?

And the amendment goes on to say that states may not “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” They seem to have left out the not in Skid Row bit there too. So on Blair Besten’s testimony it’s hard to see why she’s so upset at the prospect of the City settling Mitchell. But she is very upset. Can see how it might get confusing to folks like Besten. And listen, lest you think I’m being pointlessly mean to Blair Besten, please keep in mind that this is not just some kook spouting her theories to the waves on Venice Beach.

She is the head of a major Downtown Business Improvement District, hand-picked by Jose Huizar over the objections of its board of directors to administer its outrageously high $2.2 million budget. She is widely considered by City officials to be some kind of expert on homelessness, to the point where they appointed her to the damn HHH citizens’ oversight committee over the objections of a lot of sane and accomplished people. She’s not just a kook, although she is a kook. She’s a dangerous kook with a lot of power. So yeah, I’m being mean to Blair Besten, but not pointlessly mean. Anyway, read on, friends!
Continue reading “They’re Saying It’s A Constitutional Right To Have Stuff” — More Performative Insanity From Batty Little Fusspot Blair Besten — The Finest Legal Mind Of Her Generation — As She Explains The Mitchell Injunction To You — From The Point Of View Of A Whiny Entitled Privileged Stupid Person — A Constituency That Doesn’t Get Nearly Enough Attention In Los Angeles — That’s Sarcasm — They’re In Charge Of The Damn Asylum — And Listen To Her Run Her Poormouth About How Her Putatively Underfunded BID Makes Do With Low Budgets By Being More Efficient Than The Fashion District — Which Spends Proportionately Half Of What Besten Spends On Administration — Lie Or Incompetence? — The Perennial Besten Question

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Donald “El Duckie” Duckworth — Pirate King Of The Melrose Avenue BID — Takes Himself And His BIDdie Buddies Out To Lunch On The BID’s Dime All The Freaking Time — And Probably Violates The Brown Act While He’s Doing It — Think I’m Exaggerating? — Try $133 For A Committee Meeting At Off Vine — A Restaurant That Is Not In The Melrose BID — So It’s Illegal For The BID To Meet There — And Why The Hell Don’t They Buy Their Own Lunch?!

It’s been a damn month now since last I wrote about BIDological freak show specimen Donald R. Duckworth, the pirate king1 of the Melrose Avenue Business Improvement District. But it’s El Duckie’s own damn fault that he’s not getting the publicity he craves from MK.Org.

For whatever reason, the baleful influence of Carol Humiston, his own mulishly porcine intransigence, something as-yet-unguessed-at, he is chronically unable to comply with the tender mandates of the California Public Records Act. And I can’t very well mock him without public records, the very fuel and the flavor of MK.Org-style mockery.2

But recently I managed to lay hands on an interesting set of goodies, which are all of El Duckie’s requests for reimbursement from Melrose BID coffers for the last few years.3 I originally asked for these because last summer the property owners of Melrose were in open and fiery rebellion against the Duckworthian regime and one of the underlying causes was Duckworth’s irrepressible profligacy.

If you don’t want to or can’t read the PDF, there’s an html conversion at the end of this post.4 And it reveals that Duckworth and his BIDdie buddies, most especially the notorious Weintraub gang, Deny and Sylvia, are indeed basically flinging the property owners’ assessments to the winds like rain.5

Just for instance, on January 19, 2018 the BID bought Duckworth, the Weintraubs, and a couple other BIDdies lunch to the tune of $122.09. Sure, that’s not over the top for lunch for five, but why is the BID buying lunch in the first place? I have to go to work meetings all the damn time and no one buys me lunch. But I, for my part, have to ask an accountant for permission. Donald R. Duckwalk just has to ask Deny Weintraub, and Deny Weintraub is right there at the trough with him.

Or see on November 29, 2017 when The Duckster put in for $75.07 for a “work session” with Kim Sudhalter. Kim Sudhalter is the BID’s social media flunkie, so she already gets paid for the work she does. As does Donald R. Duckandcover. So what was the 75 bucks for? More food for the work session? The usual arrangement, Duckfellow, is to pay for your own food when you’re working.

And there are plenty of these instances, where Duckworth, the Weintraubs, and sometimes an unindicted co-conspirator or two, will go out to lunch at some ritzy place and charge it off to the BID. But the most egregious of these are the ones that are labeled as committee meetings. Because, as we know, the BID is bound by the Brown Act, and the Brown Act has very strict rules about where and how committee meetings can be held. And it’s likely that these violate them.

In particular, on September 1, 2017 Duckworth, the Weintraubs, and Kim Sudhalter spent $133.89 on lunch at a committee meeting at Off Vine, a super-ritz joint near the southeast corner of Vine and Sunset. This is highly problematic, friends, and turn the page to see why!
Continue reading Donald “El Duckie” Duckworth — Pirate King Of The Melrose Avenue BID — Takes Himself And His BIDdie Buddies Out To Lunch On The BID’s Dime All The Freaking Time — And Probably Violates The Brown Act While He’s Doing It — Think I’m Exaggerating? — Try $133 For A Committee Meeting At Off Vine — A Restaurant That Is Not In The Melrose BID — So It’s Illegal For The BID To Meet There — And Why The Hell Don’t They Buy Their Own Lunch?!

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How Ellen Riotto And Wallis Locke Of The South Park BID Conspired With Michael Shilstone Of The Central City Association, Kevin James Of The Board Of Public Works, Lee Zeidman Of Staples Center, And A Bunch Of AEG Worldwide Stooges — Including Shelby Russell — To Encourage People To Call LAPD On Vendors And Hang Up Anti-Vending Signs Around LA Live — With A Generous Special Bonus Helping Of My Steaming Hot Amateur Theories On Why The Damn Signs Are Illegitimate And Will Ultimately Be Mostly Removed If Not Completely

The other day LA Taco tweeted out this picture of a no-vending sign near Staples Center and a lot of people were angry and confused. This is the story of how and why1 those signs appeared recently. The story begins with Ricardo Lara‘s monumental Sanity in Street Vending Bill, passed by the California Legislature last year over the strident objections of zillionaires and their BIDdie minions all over the state. The law essentially legalized street vending everywhere, while leaving some really minimal regulatory powers to cities.

One of the regulatory powers that the law allows is the establishment of no-vending zones. But these can’t be established on a mere whim, or just because people hate vendors. Rather any such restriction must be “directly related to objective health, safety, or welfare concerns.”2 But the City of Los Angeles never met a loophole that it couldn’t stretch into a six lane freeway at the behest of the local zillionaires, and our esteemed Councilmembers jumped all over this one.

They went into an embarrassing frenzy of zillionaire-pleasuring and directed the City Attorney to figure out how to establish no-vending zones everywhere any BID or anyone else with enough influence asked them to. The list ended up including the Hollywood Bowl, the Venice Boardwalk, most of Hollywood Blvd, and, of interest to us today, the area around Staples Center.

Lara’s bill took effect on January 1, 2019, so prior to that, in preparation for what they saw as the impending Vendorgeddon, zillionaires all over the City began preparing for vigorously psychotic enforcement of these last few no-vending zones they’d managed to preserve, at least for now. As I said, today we’re focusing on Staples Center, but I’m sure the same kind of thing is happening in all the putative no-vending zones.

I’ve managed to uncover two distinct phases of the process so far. In early January 2019, Ellen Riotto of the South Park Business Improvement District, in which Staples Center situates, notified businesses in the no-vending zone and encouraged them to call LAPD on vendors. A little later, around January 20, 2019, Lee Zeidman, president of Staples Center and member of the board of directors of the South Park BID, used his considerable political power, focused by his flunky Riotto, to harangue City staff about the need for superexponentially increased anti-vending enforcement along with no-vending signs.

He also threatened to hire private security to enforce anti-vending laws on public streets if the City didn’t start enforcing the law itself. And all this focused power ultimately had its effect with the placement of the signs, as we have seen. I don’t presently know if enforcement was in fact stepped up, but I am continuing to look into the matter. Turn the page for a detailed account along with links to and transcriptions of selections from the relevant emails.
Continue reading How Ellen Riotto And Wallis Locke Of The South Park BID Conspired With Michael Shilstone Of The Central City Association, Kevin James Of The Board Of Public Works, Lee Zeidman Of Staples Center, And A Bunch Of AEG Worldwide Stooges — Including Shelby Russell — To Encourage People To Call LAPD On Vendors And Hang Up Anti-Vending Signs Around LA Live — With A Generous Special Bonus Helping Of My Steaming Hot Amateur Theories On Why The Damn Signs Are Illegitimate And Will Ultimately Be Mostly Removed If Not Completely

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Reefer Madness Is Alive And Well In The Hollywood Entertainment District BID! — Between 2016 and 2018 73% Of All Citations For Public Marijuana Use In the Entire City Of Los Angeles Were In the Hollywood BID — The Venice BID Is A Distant Second Place With 8% — Leaving A Mere 19% — Which Is Only 170 Citations — For The Entire Rest Of The City Of Los Angeles

Even though marijuana use in California was formally legalized recently, it’s still against the law to use it in public per the California Health and Safety Code at §11362.3. And apparently Lolita Lopez, investigative reporter at NBCLA, is doing a story on how this plays out in Los Angeles, because on February 2, 2019 she filed a CPRA request with the City for a list of citations under this law from 2016 to the present. Her request was successful, and a few days later the LAPD handed over this spreadsheet, organized by reporting district.1

And public marijuana use is one of those laws that’s custom-made for differential enforcement against homeless people. Thus it occurred to me to take a look at this data in conjuction with BIDs, which are one of the main engines of differential enforcement in Los Angeles. And the data revealed something really interesting. There were 887 citations in the two years covered by the data. Of these citations, 645 occurred in only 6 reporting districts, which precisely cover the Hollywood Entertainment District BID. Also 71 occurred in two others, which precisely cover the Venice Beach BID. The other 171 were spread out pretty evenly across the whole rest of the City.

This means that 72.7% of all citations for public marijuana use in the entire City of Los Angeles since 2016 were issued in the Hollywood Entertainment District BID. And 8% were issued in the Venice Beach BID. It doesn’t take any kind of fancy statistical analysis to prove that this is a really significant result, almost certainly linked to Kerry Morrison and her BID’s well-known tactic of arresting every homeless person that they can lay their hands on for the most trivial possible matters, such as drinking in public or urinating in public. Evidently now we can add smoking marijuana in public to this list of homeless-criminalizing tactics employed by the BID.

The HPOA BID Patrol is famous for its aggressive arrest policies. In 2013 they were responsible for more than 7% of the arrests of homeless people in the entire City of Los Angeles. Their arrest rate has dropped precipitously in the last few years, but it is still unbelievably high. But since 2016 they have refused to provide data on their individual arrests in response to CPRA requests, so it hasn’t been possible to tell who they were arresting and why.2

However, each arrest that the BID Patrol makes results in some kind of action by the LAPD. And given that the LAPD doesn’t seem to expend much effort in arresting anyone for public marijuana use outside the BID, it’s not unreasonable to assume that these figures are a proxy for the BID’s interest in the differential enforcement of this law. If they’re not making these arrests themselves then the arrests are the result of some BID policy.

The situation in Venice is a little less clear, as the Venice Beach BID only started its security work sometime in 2017, and the Boardwalk is a likely place for the LAPD to practice its own style of selective enforcement without needing a BID to encourage it. But the moral of the story is still very clear. It’s illegal to smoke marijuana in public in Los Angeles, but effectively it’s illegal only if you’re homeless and only if you’re in the Hollywood BID. Turn the page for maps and charts!
Continue reading Reefer Madness Is Alive And Well In The Hollywood Entertainment District BID! — Between 2016 and 2018 73% Of All Citations For Public Marijuana Use In the Entire City Of Los Angeles Were In the Hollywood BID — The Venice BID Is A Distant Second Place With 8% — Leaving A Mere 19% — Which Is Only 170 Citations — For The Entire Rest Of The City Of Los Angeles

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