Category Archives: Fashion District BID

My California Public Records Act Lawsuit Against The Fashion District BID Is Now Fully Briefed In Anticipation Of The Trial — Which Will Take Place On Wednesday June 26, 2019 At 9:30 AM At The Stanley Mosk Courthouse Department 86 — Get Copies Of Everything Here — And Maybe I’ll See You There!

Recall that last August I was forced by the unhinged intransigence of the Fashion District BID to file a petition asking a judge to force them to comply with the California Public Records Act. Things are moving towards the end, and the trial will take place on Wednesday, June 26, 2019 at 9:30 AM at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse in Department 86 before Judge Mitchell Beckloff. It looks to be a barn burner, friends, because these BIDdies are really, really angry.

And the way these trials work is that sixty days before trial my lawyer, the incomparable Abenicio Cisneros, files a so-called opening brief, which lays out the case, only outlined in the initial petition, in full detail with all the evidence, argument, and citations to relevant cases. Then thirty days before the opposition files their reply brief, in full detail with all the obstructionist bullshit for which they’re famous. Finally, fifteen days before, we file a reply to the reply and that’s that.

All that briefing is done now, and below find links to everything. There’s a lot of it, and I’m not going to comment on any of it to avoid jinxes, but I will note that the Fashion District’s reply, written by one or both of Bradley & Gmelich galaxy-brains Barry Bradley and Carol Humiston, is an extraordinarily careless piece of work. They consistently misspell the names of cases they’re citing and in one especially egregious case they not only get the name of the case completely wrong, but they get the year wrong too.1

This would be inconsequential if the case weren’t central to everyone’s arguments in this trial and if it weren’t a key component of their argument that the case was decided after I made the requests at issue here. In fact the case was decided before the requests. It’s really unbelievable that seasoned putative professionals made this kind of error, but it seems that they did. Anyway, I hope to see you at the trial, and I’ll be happy to buy you lunch when it’s over if you want to hang out!
Continue reading My California Public Records Act Lawsuit Against The Fashion District BID Is Now Fully Briefed In Anticipation Of The Trial — Which Will Take Place On Wednesday June 26, 2019 At 9:30 AM At The Stanley Mosk Courthouse Department 86 — Get Copies Of Everything Here — And Maybe I’ll See You There!

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Exceedingly Strong Trial Brief Filed In My CPRA Suit Against The Fashion District BID — The BID’s Reply Is Due In 30 Days — Trial Set For June 26, 2019 At 9:30 AM — Department 86 — Stanley Mosk Courthouse

It’s been a while since I wrote about the lawsuit that I was forced to file in August 2018 by the unhinged intransigence of the Fashion District BID, pursued by them in line with the unhinged intransigence of their soon-to-be-disbarred attorney, the world’s angriest CPRA lawyer, Ms. Carol Ann Humiston, in order to enforce my rights to read their damn emails. But time rolls on and the trial, scheduled for June 26, 2019 at 9:30 a.m. in Department 86 of the Stanley Mosk Courthouse, is rapidly approaching.

Thus did my attorneys, Abenicio Cisneros and Karl Olson, file the trial brief with the court on Friday. The arguments are overwhelmingly powerful, and you can read substantial excerpts after the break. If I were the Fashion District after reading this I’d be ready to settle up and settle up quick. But they’re clearly on some kind of a mission with an axe to grind and a point to prove and I certainly don’t expect them to start acting sensible at this point. After all, it’s not their own money they’re squandering on Ms. Humiston’s exorbitant fees.1

As I said, you can read the specifics in the excerpts below, but there are two main general issues at stake. First is the fact that the BID relies heavily on the so-called catch-all exemption to the CPRA, found at section 6255(a), which allows agencies to withhold records when they can show “that on the facts of the particular case the public interest served by not disclosing the record clearly outweighs the public interest served by disclosure of the record.” The key thing here is that they have to make a showing of public interest in withholding the record.

This is hard enough to do in general, and the BID hasn’t even made an attempt, but our argument is that in the City of Los Angeles such a showing is even more difficult to pull off because (a) the BID is deeply involved in attempts to influence municipal legislation and (b) the Municipal Lobbying Ordinance at LAMC §48.01 establishes an extraordinarily high public interest in disclosure of information about attempts to influence:

The citizens of the City of Los Angeles have a right to know the identity of interests which attempt to influence decisions of City government, as well as the means employed by those interests.

Complete public disclosure of the full range of activities by and financing of lobbyists and those who employ their services is essential to the maintenance of citizen confidence in the integrity of local government.

The argument is essentially that the BID can’t even show that there’s any significant public interest in withholding the records they withheld, but given that the subject of these records concerns the means they employ to attempt to influence municipal decisions, they really especially can’t meet this extra-high local bar.

The other main argument is against some nonsense that the BID just made up in their reply to my petition. Many of the emails they refused to turn over are in the possession of their board members Linda Becker and Mark Chatoff. They wouldn’t even search for these because it’s Carol Humiston’s opinion that board members aren’t subject to the CPRA.

You can read the technical details below, but basically our argument is that the law that makes BIDs subject to the CPRA, which is Streets and Highways Code §36612, explicitly makes the owners’ associations subject. It makes no sense as a matter of law and as of a matter of common sense that a corporation could be subject to the CPRA while its board members were not subject. A corporation only does anything through the actions of the people who run it. And that’s the quick and dirty summary. As I keep saying, read on for the excerpts!
Continue reading Exceedingly Strong Trial Brief Filed In My CPRA Suit Against The Fashion District BID — The BID’s Reply Is Due In 30 Days — Trial Set For June 26, 2019 At 9:30 AM — Department 86 — Stanley Mosk Courthouse

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Fashion District BID Lawsuit — Motion Filed To Compel BID To Explain Just What The Heck They Were Talking About When They Claimed All Those Exemptions — Carol Humiston Says “No Way — You Can’t Make Us Tell You” — Hearing Scheduled For November 16 At 9:30 AM

In August I had to file suit against the Fashion District BID to compel them to comply with the California Public Records Act. One of the main issues in the suit is a bunch of various really implausible exemption claims by FDBID executive director Rena Leddy. Now, it’s well understood that the burden of proving that an exemption claim allows a record to be withheld lies entirely on the withholding agency. The CPRA says explicitly at §6255(a) that:

The agency shall justify withholding any record by demonstrating that the record in question is exempt under express provisions of this chapter or that on the facts of the particular case the public interest served by not disclosing the record clearly outweighs the public interest served by disclosure of the record.

At the time that Leddy denied my requests I asked her to justify her decisions to withhold but she refused to do so even though the law clearly requires it.1 But it sure is hard to dispute the BID’s exemption claims if no one knows what the heck they’re basing them on and they won’t explain. My lawyer asked Carol Humiston, the world’s angriest CPRA lawyer, if she’d mind listing all the withheld records and explaining why the BID withheld them.2 You can read his email here.

But Humiston, who’s not only the angriest but also pretty much tied for first place as the most obstructionist,3 wasn’t having it. Here’s what she had to say for herself in this email here:

I have considered your request for a “Vaughn Index,” which of course in
[sic] a Federal procedure, and I do not believe it is either necessary or appropriate at this time. I know of nothing that requires the BID to produce such an index. Once you have filed your brief in support of the Writ, the Court and I will have a better understanding of the issues you are raising and the appropriate course to take.

So we filed a motion asking the judge to compel the BID to produce a list of all withheld emails. This motion will be heard on November 16, 2018 at the trial setting conference at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse in Department 86 before the Honorable Amy Hogue. There’s a transcription of the motion after the break.
Continue reading Fashion District BID Lawsuit — Motion Filed To Compel BID To Explain Just What The Heck They Were Talking About When They Claimed All Those Exemptions — Carol Humiston Says “No Way — You Can’t Make Us Tell You” — Hearing Scheduled For November 16 At 9:30 AM

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Fashion District BID Files Timely Response To My Writ Petition — Denies Everything — World’s Angriest CPRA Lawyer Carol Humiston Handling Matters For Them — Trial Setting Conference On November 16, 2018 At 9:30 AM In Department 86 — Stanley Mosk Courthouse

So you’ll remember possibly that in August I was forced by their unhinged intransigence to file a writ petition against the Fashion Freaking District BID asking a judge to boss them about until they began to comply with their statutorily mandated duties under the California Public Records Act. Well, it seems they’re not going to go quietly into that good night, so they went out and hired themselves the world’s angriest CPRA lawyer, which is to say Carol Freaking Humiston of Bradley & Freaking Gmelich, and she went and filed a timely response to my petition.

And you can read the damn thing by clicking here if you want to. But I have to say, as much as I enjoy reading legal pleadings of all varieties and subject matters, these replies leave me cold. Take a look and you’ll see. They deny everything, but they don’t even say what they’re denying. It’s all like “As to the allegations in paragraph 17, we deny the first three, state that the fourth and the ninth require no response insofar as they assert legal conclusions, and the fifth through the seventh, even if true, do not allege a violation. Insofar as we fail to deny, thus far do we admit.”
Continue reading Fashion District BID Files Timely Response To My Writ Petition — Denies Everything — World’s Angriest CPRA Lawyer Carol Humiston Handling Matters For Them — Trial Setting Conference On November 16, 2018 At 9:30 AM In Department 86 — Stanley Mosk Courthouse

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Fashion District BID Sued In Order To Enforce Compliance With The Public Records Act — Noted CPRA Attorney Karl Olsen Co-Counsels With Abenicio Cisneros To See That Justice Is Done In This Egregious Attempt To Withhold Information About, Among Other Crucial Matters, The BID’s Role In Torpedoing The Skid Row Neighborhood Council — Novel Legal Issues Raised Regarding The Effect Of The Municipal Lobbying Ordinance On CPRA Exemptions In Los Angeles

On August 15, 2018, faced with Rena Leddy’s unhinged intransigence and chronic disregard of the law, I was forced to file a petition asking a judge to require the Fashion District BID to comply with the California Public Records Act. Most of the petitions I’ve filed recently have had only to do with BIDs ignoring my requests altogether1 but this one raises interesting and possibly novel issues of how exemptions to the CPRA are to be interpreted in general and in Los Angeles in particular. I’m represented by Abenicio Cisneros and Karl Olson.2

There are four classes of records at issue in this petition. Those are:3

  • Emails between the FDBID and either the South Park BID or DLANC
  • Emails in the possession of BID Board president Mark Chatoff
  • Emails between the BID and Urban Place Consulting
  • Emails in the possession of BID renewal committee chair Linda Becker

Rena Leddy claimed either that such records didn’t exist or that, if they did, the BID could withhold them on the basis of the so-called deliberative process exemption.4 In each of the four cases either there’s independent evidence that responsive records exist or else it defies belief that no records exist. For instance it is not plausible at all that Linda Becker, chair of the BID’s renewal committee, does not possess a single email relevant to the conduct of the BID’s business.5

Thus the petition focuses on debunking the exemption claims as it’s going to be hard for the BID to argue that no records exist. Turn the page for some details and some transcribed excerpts!
Continue reading Fashion District BID Sued In Order To Enforce Compliance With The Public Records Act — Noted CPRA Attorney Karl Olsen Co-Counsels With Abenicio Cisneros To See That Justice Is Done In This Egregious Attempt To Withhold Information About, Among Other Crucial Matters, The BID’s Role In Torpedoing The Skid Row Neighborhood Council — Novel Legal Issues Raised Regarding The Effect Of The Municipal Lobbying Ordinance On CPRA Exemptions In Los Angeles

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José Huizar Told A Bunch Of Zillionaires At The Fashion District BID Annual Meeting That It Is “Unfortunate” That BID Security Guards Are Not Allowed To Steal Homeless People’s Property — Evidently José Huizar Thinks The City Of Los Angeles Has Not Yet Paid Carol Sobel Enough Money

Last Thursday the Fashion District BID held its annual meeting. You may recall that Assemblymember Miguel Santiago gave a reprehensible little speech to kick things off, but CD14 repster José Huizar was the keynote speaker. You can watch his whole speech here, but the parts I’m specifically interested in tonight are his remarks about homeless encampments and, especially, his discussion with some guy whose name I didn’t get on the same subject. Of course there are transcriptions of all this poppycock after the break, as usual.

About homeless encampments, well, it was the usual jive. We’re going to build a lot of shelters and housing and of course, once we have enough shelters and housing we can start arresting the homeless again, so that’s good!1 Unsurprisingly, though, things got more interesting during the questions. An unnamed guy asked José Huizar about the homeless fires problem.2 After some chit-chat, the questioner asked José Huizar who, exactly, was allowed to remove the property of homeless people from the sidewalk. In response José Huizar said:

The police department. Not the fire department, the police department. They don’t give that right to the BIDs, unfortunately. But the LAPD can remove it if it is blocking the right of way.

What is the guy thinking? Is he thinking that the City and the BIDs haven’t been sued enough by Carol Sobel, LAFLA, and the National Lawyers Guild? There is a really good reason that only police are allowed to remove the property of homeless people, and that is because society endows sworn officers with extraordinary powers to take actions that would be and should be absolutely illegal for anyone else to do. Like kill people,3 or kidnap them,4 or take their stuff off the sidewalk, which is theft when anyone but an officer does it. This is why BID officers aren’t allowed to remove people’s property, because they’re just ordinary people and it would be stealing. Does he think it’s “unfortunate” that ordinary people can’t steal stuff? Maybe he also thinks it’s “unfortunate” that BID officers can’t kidnap and kill homeless people like the police are allowed to do.5 Bizarre.

And ironically, he’s speaking to the Fashion District, which famously was sued in Federal Court in 2015 for conspiring with the City to illegally confiscate the property of street vendors.6 The Fashion District is right next door to the Downtown Industrial District BID, also in José Huizar’s district, sued in Federal Court in 2014 for the very thing that José Huizar is lamenting the impossibility of here. The City ended up paying half a million dollars to LAFLA because the BID Patrol can’t keep its grubby hands off other people’s stuff and José Huizar thinks this is unfortunate? It’s not his money, of course, but still…

And, as usual, turn the page for transcriptions of the relevant remarks and a little more mockery!
Continue reading José Huizar Told A Bunch Of Zillionaires At The Fashion District BID Annual Meeting That It Is “Unfortunate” That BID Security Guards Are Not Allowed To Steal Homeless People’s Property — Evidently José Huizar Thinks The City Of Los Angeles Has Not Yet Paid Carol Sobel Enough Money

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Video Of Fashion District BID May 24, 2018 Annual Meeting Now Available Featuring Special Guest Stars Miguel Santiago, José Huizar, And Bryan Eck — Introduced By Chunk-Headed Yobbo Zillionaire And Em Freaking Cee Mark Chatoff — The Crap These People Say When They Think They’re Surrounded By Friends Is — Well, Just Watch It If You Have The Stomach

Look, kids, I know you appreciate what I do to provide you all with the freshest possible news about our fair City’s business improvement districts, but I don’t think anyone who doesn’t go to meetings with me really truly understands the pain involved.1 Or at least that’s how I felt after sixty freaking five minutes2 of the Fashion District BID‘s annual stakeholder extravaganza this morning. But I made it out alive and now you can watch the whole thing on YouTube or here on Archive.Org if you prefer.

José Huizar was the headliner, but there was a surprise appearance by Assemblymember Miguel Santiago which was very revealing, and a long spiel from City planner Bryan Eck, which was too technical for me to follow, but I am sure is of great interest to those who’re interested in that stuff. Huizar’s talk was loaded with his usual weirdo revelations, and I’m going to have to wait till Saturday to write about it because I surely don’t have time right now.

Miguel Santiago had a lot to say about the legislature’s current BID-endorsed effort to gut protections against the abuse of conservatorship, which BIDdies all over the state are salivating over as it will make it so everybody with a uniform, up to and including parking enforcement officers, will be able to take homeless people into custody and lock them up somewhere far, far away from here, for e.g. smelling funny or scaring the nice shiny customers or whatever. Of course, the City Council is all over this issue as well.

He had the nerve to thank the freaking Fashion District BID for their “advocacy around the issue of homelessness..”3 He also mentioned offhandedly that, as part of last year’s BID-induced gutting of AB-1479, which would have amended the California Public Records Act in a number of excellent ways, the Fashion District BID had phoned his office for help and he had helped them. Which is despicable in any number of ways, although not surprising.

As I said, I don’t have time to do justice to most of this material tonight, but if you turn the page, you’ll find links to the various speakers and a transcription of Miguel Santiago’s reprehensible little spiel.
Continue reading Video Of Fashion District BID May 24, 2018 Annual Meeting Now Available Featuring Special Guest Stars Miguel Santiago, José Huizar, And Bryan Eck — Introduced By Chunk-Headed Yobbo Zillionaire And Em Freaking Cee Mark Chatoff — The Crap These People Say When They Think They’re Surrounded By Friends Is — Well, Just Watch It If You Have The Stomach

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Central City Association Announces That Hearings On Sidewalk Vending Will Begin Again Soon — Habitual Criminal Marie Rumsey Pens CCALA-Approved Talking Points For Zillionaire Flunkies — Mean-As-A-Damn-Snake BID-Mistress Rena Leddy Distributes These To The BID Consortium — This All Happened On March 29, 2018 And Already I Have The Goods For You!

This is just a quick note to publish a quite important item that I obtained this afternoon. Here’s the background: for three years now, the Central City Association, in conspiracy with most of the BIDs in the City, has been fighting against sane sidewalk vending regulations in Los Angeles.

When Donald Trump was elected in 2016 and his hysterical delusionary rants about deporting everyone he could get his bloody hands on became suddenly a lot less delusionary, our usually stupidly inactive City Council rose momentarily to the occasion and voted to decriminalize street vending immediately because no one1 gets deported for administrative violations.

Soon after that, zillionaires and their BID flunkies pretty much gutted the whole thing by prevailing on their Councilpets to grant themselves the power to opt any given neighborhood out of the whole legal vending system, whatever it might turn out to be.

The resulting proposal, for it’s not anywhere near becoming a law quite yet, is so embarrassingly ad hoc and transparently zillionaire-serving that State Senator Ricardo Lara boldly took it upon himself to cut the knot by proposing a sweeping law, SB 946, that would severely limit Cities’ regulatory power over sidewalk vending. Predictably, this has driven the BIDdies and the CCALA into a frenzy of potentially thwarted white privilege, hating as they do any public policy that might give poor people, especially nonwhite poor people, any measure of self-determination, self-expression, and human dignity.

The breaking news is that, according to the CCALA, City Council is going to resume discussions of this issue very soon. Here is a March 29, 2018 email from Fashion District BID Executive Directrix Rena Leddy to the BID Consortium announcing this development and also distributing as an attachment an item entitled Sidewalk Vending Speaking Points March 2018, penned by noted scofflaw Marie Rumsey.

The CCALA’s proposals are brutal, as expected. They call for vendors to have their goods confiscated if they’re operating without a permit, to obtain permission from the property or business owners adjacent to them,2 and to not only have to pay fees to the City but also to BIDs themselves, which is ultra-weird.

It’s an all-too-rare occasion for us to get hold of this kind of stuff in such a timely manner, however, so that alone makes it exciting. There are transcriptions of everything after the break. Start thinking of counterarguments, because if CCALA is correct3 and the hearings start up again, every sane truth-telling voice will be needed.
Continue reading Central City Association Announces That Hearings On Sidewalk Vending Will Begin Again Soon — Habitual Criminal Marie Rumsey Pens CCALA-Approved Talking Points For Zillionaire Flunkies — Mean-As-A-Damn-Snake BID-Mistress Rena Leddy Distributes These To The BID Consortium — This All Happened On March 29, 2018 And Already I Have The Goods For You!

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How Kerry Freaking Morrison Found Out About Senator Ricardo Lara’s Street Vending Bill In January 2018 And Told No-Epithet-Yet Suzanne Holley, Chardonnay-Swilling Scarf Monster Rena Leddy, And Batty Little Fusspot Blair Besten All About It And Suzanne Freaking Holley Went And Told Carol Freaking Schatz, The Zillion Dollar Woman, Who Subsequently Swore A Solemn Oath To Destroy SB 946

Just another quick note from all them DCBID emails I’ve been dining out on for weeks now. It’s inconsequential in one sense, but on the other hand, it illuminates how information spreads among the zillionaire flunkies who run this City’s BIDs. Here is the original email chain, and I’m just going to lay it on you without commentary. Or without much, anyway.

On January 31, 2018, the incomparable Emily Alpert Reyes emailed Kerry Freaking Morrison thusly:

From: Alpert, Emily mailto:Emily.Alpert@latimes.com
Sent: Wednesday, January 31, 2018 9:23 AM
To: Kerry Morrison <Kerry@hollvwoodbid.org>

Subject: State bill on street vending

Hi Kerry — I hope all is well! I was curious for your thoughts on this state bill that would override local regulations on vending:

http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180SB946&search_keywords=vendor

I’m at ■■■-■■■-■■■■. Thanks!

Emily

Did Kerry Morrison answer her? Well, I don’t know, but I will say that Emily Alpert Reyes published a fine article on Lara’s bill on February 2, and Kerry Morrison is not quoted in it. In any case, we do know that Kerry Morrison read the email because …. turn the page if you want to find out!
Continue reading How Kerry Freaking Morrison Found Out About Senator Ricardo Lara’s Street Vending Bill In January 2018 And Told No-Epithet-Yet Suzanne Holley, Chardonnay-Swilling Scarf Monster Rena Leddy, And Batty Little Fusspot Blair Besten All About It And Suzanne Freaking Holley Went And Told Carol Freaking Schatz, The Zillion Dollar Woman, Who Subsequently Swore A Solemn Oath To Destroy SB 946

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Pardon Me, Would You Have Any Grey Poupon? Wildly Inappropriate Hilarity At FDBID Board Meeting About Burn Treatment For BID Security Guards Reveals Not Only That Zillionaires Don’t Care A Whit About The Well-Being Of The 99.9% But Also That They Actually Are Perversely Obsessed With Mustard Varieties — BID Operations Director Randall Tampa Admits That The Point Of Arrests Of Homeless People Is To Harass Them Rather Than To Enforce The Law, Asks Property Owners To Tell Tenants They Won’t Even Have To Testify In Court If They Report The Homeless


Well, yesterday I was blessed1 to attend a meeting of the good old Fashion District BID, and you might even have noticed that I uploaded video2 and wrote a long and hilarious3 post about it. But these meetings are so rich in a weirdly Freudian way that there’s a neverending fount of subjects bubbling up from each and every one, and yesterday’s was no exception.

For instance, watch and listen here as unexpectedly professional Director of Operations Randall Tampa informs the BIDdies whose minion he is about an elderly disheveled white arsonist loose in the district.4 At one point, it seems, the arsonist lit a dumpster fire and BID security were the first on the scene. I’ll let Randall Tampa take it from here:

And in one case [the fire location] was a twenty yard rollup that was under a building. And our safety team smelled it, got there, saw it. And they wheeled the trash bin out. And they actually burned their hands. But the fire department got there, put it out, told them to put mustard on their hands. I guess that’s the new cure for minor burns.

And turn the page for some discussion, another episode from the meeting, and a complete transcription of Randall Tampa’s remarks.
Continue reading Pardon Me, Would You Have Any Grey Poupon? Wildly Inappropriate Hilarity At FDBID Board Meeting About Burn Treatment For BID Security Guards Reveals Not Only That Zillionaires Don’t Care A Whit About The Well-Being Of The 99.9% But Also That They Actually Are Perversely Obsessed With Mustard Varieties — BID Operations Director Randall Tampa Admits That The Point Of Arrests Of Homeless People Is To Harass Them Rather Than To Enforce The Law, Asks Property Owners To Tell Tenants They Won’t Even Have To Testify In Court If They Report The Homeless

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