Hot off the presses! How the Skid Row Neighborhood Council was Defeated by Jason McGahan published mere hours ago in the L.A. Weekly. Tells the same sad story you’ve been reading here, there, and everywhere, but with an actual discussion of the reprehensible involvement of Scott Gray, Capital Foresight, Liner Law, Rocky Delgadillo, and the rest of the zillionaire Klown Kar Krew.1 It’s a rare experience for me to read an article in a newspaper where I understand the subject thoroughly and not see any errors at all.2 This is a fine piece of work. Read it!
I submitted evidence of three violations, although there were clearly many others. They tagged her for two of them. She admitted that she’d broken the law, but gave as an exceedingly lame excuse that… well, let the CEC tell it:
Rumsey received inaccurate legal advice from CCA’s former legal counsel and mistakenly believed that she could attempt to influence any City agency except Councilmember O’Farrell’s office.
Because of this and because of her cooperation, CEC staff is recommending leniency:
The maximum administrative penalty for a violation of the City’s post-employment laws is the greater of $5,000 or three times the amount of compensation that was improperly received. Los Angeles City Charter § 706(c)(3). In this case, the two counts against Rumsey result in a maximum penalty of $14,250. We recommend a penalty of $7,125, which is equal to 50 percent of the maximum in this case. We believe the recommended penalty is appropriate, because it takes into consideration the serious nature of the violations while also encouraging cooperation with Ethics Commission investigations and the early resolution of violations.
Earlier this afternoon I spoke with Ernesto Vicencio, who is an LAPD investigator assigned to the Police Commission. He told me that the City Attorney either has sent or will soon send a letter to all Los Angeles Business Improvement Districts informing them that their security patrols are required to register with the Los Angeles Police Commission per LAMC 52.34.
This incredibly welcome development is a direct result of my discovery in the Summer of 2016 that it was likely that BID security registration had inadvertently ceased in 2000 due to an oversight. I don’t believe I mentioned it at the time, but in addition to writing a number of posts on the subject, I also sent a petition to the Police Commission asking them to look into the matter and to conclude that BID security ought in fact to register with them.
According to Officer Vicencio the City Attorney has decided to implement this request.1 This development is hugely important, not least because LAMC 52.34 requires private patrol services to have a procedure for investigating citizen complaints. It also grants the Police Commission a great deal of regulatory power over the activities of security patrols who are required to register.
Which brings us to the second stunning and absolutely unexpected thing that Officer Vicencio told me. You may recall that I recently reported on what seemed like a clear use of excessive force by members of the Andrews International Hollywood BID Patrol. Well, about three weeks ago I submitted a report on this matter to Kerry Morrison of the HPOA and also to the Police Commission, as instructed by the Commission’s executive director, Richard Tefank.
My colleagues and I spill a lot of metaphorical ink referring to business improvement districts and their Boards of Directors as white supremacists, and we certainly stand by that position. However, it’s recently come to my attention that not everyone in our audience is familiar with the literal meaning of the phrase. Evidently it strikes some people as a generic, semantically empty insult, or else they’re confused by the fact that the phrase refers to at least two fairly distinct ideologies. Thus I thought it would be useful to explain in detail why BIDs are in a very literal sense white supremacist organizations.
First let’s get the definitions straight. As always, our friends at Wikipedia give us a good starting place. Their article on white supremacy tells us that the phrase has two principal meanings. The salient one for our purposes is that white supremacy is:
…a political ideology that perpetuates and maintains the social, political, historical and/or industrial domination by white people
This would be unbelievable if the whole thing weren’t captured on video. On November 23, 2015, at least four BID Patrol security guards (Mike Coogle, along with Wissman, Tizano, and Cox) confronted a man who was sitting on the sidewalk in front of the Metro Red Line station at Hollywood and Vine. They talked to him for almost four minutes, during which time he didn’t answer their questions and mostly ignored them. At 3:55 in the video one officer says to another “you want him?” The other says yes, so they grab him and push him over.
Soon all four of them are piled on top of him and trying to put handcuffs on him. Coogle claimed that the man kicked him during this episode, and ultimately they didn’t even arrest him for violating LAMC 41.18(d). Instead they arrested him for battery for kicking Coogle. When LAPD officers Adams (#34837) and Galicia (#41404) showed up and accepted the man into custody with the approval of their supervisor, LAPD Sgt. Chuck Slater. You can read the full story in the arrest report, although it doesn’t answer the main question I have about this incident: How did the LAPD decide to arrest Jones for battery rather than the BID Patrol officers?
DISCLAIMER: I’m not a lawyer. But I’m friends with some lawyers. More than zero of them did not laugh out loud at the idea you’re about to read. That’s all I got.
Business improvement districts in California are made possible by the Property & Business Improvement District Law of 1994.1 It’s worth reading, or at least skimming through, because there’s gold in them thar hills! For instance, consider Section 36670(a)(1), which states:
36670.(a) Any district established or extended pursuant to the provisions of this part … may be disestablished by resolution by the city council in either of the following circumstances:
(1) If the city council finds there has been misappropriation of funds, malfeasance, or a violation of law in connection with the management of the district, it shall notice a hearing on disestablishment.
Do you see the potential in that statement? The fact that it’s a tool for laying waste the BIDs of Los Angeles like so many Philistines? It’s a little hard to understand statutes, but here’s a clue: when they say “shall” they mean “must,” not “can.” Now turn the page to find out why this little statute, if not more powerful than Doug Henning and his sparkly rainbow suspenders as pictured above, is possibly as effective a BID repellent but much, much more emotionally satisfying than mere poofsly-woofsly magical annihilation. Continue reading How to Destroy a Business Improvement District in California: A Theory→
Furthermore, by week 12 of 2015 the BID Patrol had arrested 169 people, compared to only 130 this year. This represents a stunning 23% reduction from 2015’s level. For the sake of comparison, note that by week 12 of 2014 the BID Patrol had already arrested 261 people. Thus 2016’s week 12 total is less than half of the 2014 figure from the same week.
(I apologize in advance for this necessarily data-heavy post, but it’s essential information).
In 20131 the BID Patrol arrested homeless people at more than 57 times the rate that the LAPD did. Furthermore, they were responsible for more than 1% of all arrests made in the entire City of Los Angeles that year even while working only 0.13% of the hours that the LAPD did. Approximately one in fourteen arrests of homeless people in the entire city of Los Angeles that year was made by the BID Patrol.
A little more than two weeks ago, we reported that, despite the fact that someone, probably the HPOA, had posted a bunch of signs to the contrary, Selma Park, at the corner of Selma Avenue and Schrader Blvd., was, according to the LA City Recreation and Parks Commission, actually open to all people, including adults without children in their care. At the time he received this information from RAP, our correspondent told the commission about the signs and the arrests and asked if they could remove the signs. He never heard back, but when walking by this afternoon, he was pleased to note that the signs were gone. So, he tells us, he sat in the park for an hour reading and also took some pictures!
Now, this is a very good thing. And we look forward to many fine hours eating lunch in the park and playing checkers on the super-cool built-in tile boards on the picnic tables.
This blog has two essential purposes: first, to publish public records obtained from the three Hollywood area BIDs we cover and their collaborators and second, to needle employees and supporters of those BIDs. Neither educating nor convincing anyone of anything are huge priorities of ours, and even the public revelation of our two purposes cuts against the grain somewhat. However, it’s recently come to our attention that some of our readers who, so to speak, come upon our work innocently, not involved with the BIDs but just having a general interest in the political life of Los Angeles, may consider our constant comparisons of BIDs with Nazis to be glib, puerile, shallow, offensive, trivializing, and/or so on. Some of the objections expressed have come to seem, after much consideration, to have merit and to deserve a serious response.
To understand our position, it’s essential to imagine what it felt like to inhabit the Third Reich as a non-Jew in the early 1930s, before Nazism was a universal symbol of pure and essential evil. Germany wasn’t yet an international outcast, and non-Jewish Germans, for the most part, didn’t feel like a nation of demons. In many ways they were not. Concentration camps, now considered primarily sites of genocide, were opened by the Nazis in March 1933 immediately after their accession to power. At first they were used for holding political prisoners and criminals and people were actually released from them on occasion. There’s also no particular reason to think that the Nazi government had any concrete plans to exterminate Jews from the earth when they took power in 1933. Continue reading Why We Think it is Fitting to Compare BIDs to Nazis→
A collaborative denunciation of Business Improvement Districts in Hollywood