Category Archives: Central City East Association

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…

Huge News: LA Community Action Network Lawsuit Against Central City East Association and City Of LA Poised To Settle, CCEA Agrees To Specific, Extensive Restrictions On Homeless Property Confiscation, Will Pay $25,000 To LAFLA In Damages, Legal Fees, And Costs. City Of LA Settlement Expected To Go To City Council Soon, LAMC 56.11 Enforcement Likely To Be Severely Attenuated

News of a settlement in the momentous lawsuit brought by the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles on behalf of the Los Angeles Community Action Network, the LA Catholic Worker, and a number of individuals over the confiscation of homeless people’s property by BID and by City, has been rumbling around PACER for about one year now. Well, yesterday evening, the first concrete details of the ongoing settlement process arrived. The parties filed a joint report indicating that concrete terms had been reached with both CCEA and the City of Los Angeles. The City of LA part still has to be approved by City Council, but according to the document, this is likely to happen within 45 days.

On the other hand, amazingly, the proposed agreement between the CCEA and the plaintiffs has actually been filed! It must still be approved by Judge Philip Gutierrez, but it strikes me as extraordinarily unlikely that it would not be. The agreement severely restricts the circumstances under which the BID can confiscate property. The terms of this part of the settlement make it seem very likely that the City will agree to severe restrictions in its enforcement of LAMC 56.11, the property confiscation ordinance, at least on Skid Row. CCEA will also pay LAFLA $25,000 for damages, fees, and costs. Turn the page for some details of what the CCEA has agreed to.
Continue reading Huge News: LA Community Action Network Lawsuit Against Central City East Association and City Of LA Poised To Settle, CCEA Agrees To Specific, Extensive Restrictions On Homeless Property Confiscation, Will Pay $25,000 To LAFLA In Damages, Legal Fees, And Costs. City Of LA Settlement Expected To Go To City Council Soon, LAMC 56.11 Enforcement Likely To Be Severely Attenuated

The Story Of How The Central City East Association Evidently Violated City Ethics Laws Restricting Campaign Contributions, Gave Illegally To Mitch O’Farrell and Marqueece Harris-Dawson In 2015, Lied About It On Their Tax Form, And I Turned Them In To The IRS And The Ethics Commission

CCEA: The truth may be out there but it’s not out there on our tax forms.
This story begins with the fact that the Central City East Association, which runs the infamous Downtown Industrial District BID, contributed $700 each to two City Council candidate campaigns in 2015. The money was given to Mitch O’Farrell of CD13 and Marqueece Harris-Dawson of CD8. You can see the record at the City Ethics Commission and also if it’s more convenient, here is a PDF of the same information.

This turns out to be a huge problem for a number of unrelated reasons. First and most simply, the CCEA is a nonprofit 501(c)(6) organization. Unlike the more famous 501(c)(3) organizations, 501(c)(6) groups are allowed to engage in lobbying, but it’s unclear whether they’re allowed to support candidates for office.1 However, irrespective of any restrictions on donations, there are very clear reporting requirements.

Take a look at the CCEA’s 2015 tax form. In particular, take a look at question 3 of part IV, found on page 3 of the form. It asks unambiguously:

Did the organization engage in direct or indirect political campaign activities on behalf of or in opposition to candidates for public office?

And, as you can see in the image that appears somewhere near this paragraph, the CCEA unambiguously stated that they did not. It’s hard to imagine a less ambiguous form of direct political campaign activities than giving actual money, amirite? Hence I turned them in to the IRS and also to the Franchise Tax Board for this lacuna. Stay tuned in case anything happens!

And it turns out that there are some more subtle, but potentially equally serious, problems with these two donations involving various municipal laws. Turn the page for the highly sordid but highly technical details!2
Continue reading The Story Of How The Central City East Association Evidently Violated City Ethics Laws Restricting Campaign Contributions, Gave Illegally To Mitch O’Farrell and Marqueece Harris-Dawson In 2015, Lied About It On Their Tax Form, And I Turned Them In To The IRS And The Ethics Commission

OK, Estela Lopez Doesn’t Like Paul Solomon And Yuval Bar-Zemer, We Get That. But (A) Are We In Freaking Junior High School? And (B) Why Is This Any Of Miranda Paster’s Freaking Business?? And (C) Why Is Miranda Paster Soliciting Defamatory Statements About Property Owners And Passing Them Around To Random BID Directors, E.G. Freaking Laurie Hughes??!

Friend, you gotta just click to enlarge because it’s only possible to minimize this issue so much and still have it make sense!
If I have learned anything about L.A. BIDs in my many years of deeply immersive anti-BID scholarship, it’s that they are run by a bunch of freaking short-sighted intellectually impaired amateurish morons, made mean and stupid by their wealth, who hire mean and stupid people to do their mean and stupid bidding and that the City government of Los Angeles, which thrives and grows fat on mean and short-sighted zillionaire stupidity, likes it this way.

And the story I’m here to tell you this morning certainly does not contradict that narrative, but it adds a surreal tinge of unprofessional immature junior-high-schoolistic tattle-tale-ing that I really haven’t seen before. In short, a guy named Paul Solomon bought some property in the Gateway to LA BID. Executive Directrix Laurie Hughes, thinking she recognized his name, asked Miranda Paster for the scoop on him. Miranda Paster emailed freaking Estela Lopez for more info. Estela Lopez, evidently still smarting from the whole Arts District debacle, which put her out of a job in 2013, flipped the fuck out, defamed Paul Solomon every which way, and Miranda Paster facilitated, solicited, and encouraged the whole mess. You can read the entire email chain here. And you can turn the page for an introduction to the cast and crew, a discussion of the issues, and, of course, a transcription of the salient bits of the PDF.
Continue reading OK, Estela Lopez Doesn’t Like Paul Solomon And Yuval Bar-Zemer, We Get That. But (A) Are We In Freaking Junior High School? And (B) Why Is This Any Of Miranda Paster’s Freaking Business?? And (C) Why Is Miranda Paster Soliciting Defamatory Statements About Property Owners And Passing Them Around To Random BID Directors, E.G. Freaking Laurie Hughes??!

New Documents: Central City East Association Tax Returns 2012-2015, Westchester Town Center BID Agendas and Minutes

Once and future queen of the Central City East Association, Ms. Estela Lopez herself yammering on about something to someone.
I have a couple new sets of documents to announce tonight. First there are tax returns from the Central City East Association from 2014 and 2015, and you can get them:

There’s a little puzzle hidden away in the two new ones. If you can spot it, drop me a line before I write a post on it1 and win a prize! I won’t approve any comments that give it away, though. No spoilers!

Also, in the face of the incredible, probably illegal, intransigence displayed by CD11 Councilmember Mike Bonin and his weirdo staff with respect to CPRA requests, I am making requests of the BIDs in CD11 for emails to/from lacity.org. Most of these are likely to be with Bonin or his staff, which will let us keep track of what’s going on in the District Office even if CD11 just actually won’t answer CPRA requests at all. It might be interesting, it might be useful, but there’s no way to know until we get the goods. The very first installment of this material comes from the Westchester Town Center BID, specifically from its Executive Director Donald Duckworth.2 Just tonight he handed over minutes and agendas from 2016, with a promise of a lot of emails to follow. For now this is only available on Archive.Org.
Continue reading New Documents: Central City East Association Tax Returns 2012-2015, Westchester Town Center BID Agendas and Minutes

Many New Documents: CCEA Emails, Venice Beach BID Emails, Carol Schatz Freakout, Chua v. City of LA

A rare photograph of MK.org secret headquarters and Fortress of Solitude, located in an undisclosed location in the heart of North Central Hollywood.
A rare photograph of MK.org secret headquarters and Fortress of Solitude, located in an undisclosed location in the heart of North Central Hollywood.
Happy Thanksgiving, friends! Today I have an unanalyzed document dump for you. There’s a lot of fabulous material here, and I’ll be writing about much of it over1 the next few days. For now, though, there’s just a bare inventory, which you can find directly after the break.
Continue reading Many New Documents: CCEA Emails, Venice Beach BID Emails, Carol Schatz Freakout, Chua v. City of LA

A Vast Panoply of BID Quarterly Reports

TL;DR BID Quarterly Report: Bitch, moan, self-aggrandize, bitch, moan, self-aggrandize, whine, repeat if necessary.
TL;DR BID Quarterly Report: Bitch, moan, self-aggrandize, bitch, moan, self-aggrandize, whine, repeat if necessary.
As a follow-up to Tuesday’s release of all Hollywood Entertainment District and all Sunset & Vine BID Quarterly Reports I’m pleased to announce today that I have bunches of these reports from other BIDS. Although these collections aren’t (yet) complete, they’re nevertheless essential. You can access them through the menu structure above, and here are links:

These are also available on the Internet Archive, which is useful because you can download them via torrent, they have OCR versions, and so on. Links are after the break.
Continue reading A Vast Panoply of BID Quarterly Reports

CCEA Job Descriptions, Emails, Images and Emails from Richard Bloom’s September 2015 Visit to the Hollywood Entertainment District

Richard Bloom gets the old song-and-dance about the homeless while Steve Seyler looms in the background.
Richard Bloom gets the old song-and-dance about the homeless while Steve Seyler looms in the background.
Tonight I’m just announcing some miscellaneous documents from the Central City East Association and some more detailed information about Assemblyman Richard Bloom’s September 2015 visit to the Hollywood Entertainment District (which my colleagues have previously discussed). On the CCEA side, I have some some emails to and from Fred Faustino, CCEA deputy director of operations. Also I have job descriptions for CCEA Director of Operations and for CCEA Executive Director. This last one is going to come in extremely handy in a major project I’m working on, which I hope to be able to tell you about within the next few months. Turn the page for the HPOA news!
Continue reading CCEA Job Descriptions, Emails, Images and Emails from Richard Bloom’s September 2015 Visit to the Hollywood Entertainment District

Video of Yesterday’s Central City East Association Meeting Now Available

Edward Camarillo at the January 26, 2016 meeting of the CCEA at 725 S. Crocker Street.
Edward Camarillo at the January 26, 2016 meeting of the CCEA at 725 S. Crocker Street.
I’m formally initiating coverage of the Central City East Association with some video of yesterday’s meeting of the Board of Directors at CCEA headquarters at 725 S. Crocker Street. You can find Part 1 and also Part 2. Note that the record is not complete because the Board went into closed session and I couldn’t stick around to see them reconvene. Part I consists entirely of CD14 representative Jose Huizar policy director Martin Schlageter talking about homeless issues in the BID’s territory and then, most interesting of all, taking questions from the Board members. The level of micromanagement is astonishing. We hope to write on some of the details later, but check some representative Q&A after the break. Part 2 is mostly taken up by a representative from the Runyon Group seeking CCEA support for entitlements for their ROW DTLA project (this project was formerly known as Alameda Square). Someone here will be writing on this soon in some detail.
Continue reading Video of Yesterday’s Central City East Association Meeting Now Available

New Emails from CCEA: Raquel K. Beard, Ed Camarillo, Estela Lopez (!), Etc.

Photograph attached to one of the emails I received recently from the CCEA.
Photograph attached to one of the emails I received recently from the CCEA.
Yesterday I got about a hundred pages of emails from CCEA Executive Director Raquel K. Beard. These are from September 1, 2015 through September 8, 2015 and supposedly comprise all nonexempt emails sent or received by anyone at the CCEA during that period. I haven’t read them carefully yet, so there may be undiscovered gems. One interesting thing is that there are a number of emails between Raquel and Estela Lopez. Estela was formerly Executive Director of the CCEA and Raquel was the Managing Director. Raquel left in 2012 to run Downtown Long Beach Associates, which, among other things, seems to manage a BID there.
Continue reading New Emails from CCEA: Raquel K. Beard, Ed Camarillo, Estela Lopez (!), Etc.