According to an extremely useful guide prepared by then-City-Attorney Rockard Delgadillo, in the context of the Brown Act a majority means a majority of a quorum. That is, the minimum number of members that can actually act on a motion. The DLANC has a 24 member board, and a quorum is 13. Hence these six members using email “…to discuss, deliberate, or take action on any item of business that is within the subject matter jurisdiction of…” DLANC is not a violation; a violation would require seven members to have been in on the discussion.
And similarly, the other one of Ms. Blair Besten’s bosses whose name has come up a lot recently, that is to say furtive hereditary imperialist downtown zillionaire Michael Delijani, has also availed himself of Blair Besten’s probably-illegally-exercised2 skills at relationship building with CD14 repster3 José Huizar. Just see here for six pages of blathering between Blair Besten and various CD14 staffers about a meeting she’s trying to arrange between the CM and the Delijani.
Michael Delijani has also been involved in some exceedingly shady-if-as-yet-unindicted activities in relation to the deep corruption in the office of the LA County Assessor as personified by former assessor, now jailbird, John Noguez. The details are too involved to discuss here, but essentially Noguez reduced zillionaires’ property tax bills in exchange for campaign contributions, and a bunch of the deals were made at fundraising events for Noguez at Michael Delijani’s house. Delijani himself gave Noguez more than $20,000, and you can draw your own conclusions from that.
A business improvement district (BID) in Los Angeles4 is a geographical area in which the owners of commercial property are assessed an additional fee for various services that aren’t provided by the City. These fees are collected either by the City of L.A. via direct billing5 or, more usually, by the County of Los Angeles as an add-on to property tax bills.
The state law authorizing BIDs requires each BID to be administered by a property owners’ association (POA).6 In the normal course of things these organizations are conjured up by the City at the time the BID is established, although sometimes previously existing nonprofits will end up as a POA. One example of this is the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, which serves as POA for the East Hollywood BID, although it predates its existence.
Recall that I’ve been tracking the hysterical, irrational opposition of LA’s business improvement districts to the ongoing process of legalizing (some aspects of) street vending in the City since the Spring of 2015. A truly astonishing level of bitching and moaning in 2015 stalled out the whole process for most of 2016 because, I believe, everyone was too freaking sick of the whining and the carefully orchestrated lying on any number of occasions and the City just needed a rest. Until the November election of Donald Trump and his subsequent threats to deport essentially anyone, U.S. citizen or not, who’d ever smiled while thinking of eating a taco spurred the Council into action on at least the small part (small but in no way insignificant) of the plan to decriminalize illegal street vending so that, no matter how much trouble the zillionaires might cause the heladeros, at least they wouldn’t be subject to arrest and subsequent deportation. That bit seemed urgent enough to pass Council outright, and even the anti-vending forces of the zillionaire elite seemed to realize that they were just going to be exposed as the nasty little mean creeps that they are if they fought back on this particular issue. However, the Council put off acting on an actual legalization framework until later.
But recall, as I reported in January, the instructions for the report-back were altered from the original, and quite sensible,8 request for
A process to create special vending districts to be initiated by Council, the Board of Public Works, or petition (with signatures from 20 percent of property owners or businesses in the proposed district), based on legitimate public health, safety and welfare concerns that are unique to specific neighborhoods with special circumstances.
to a request for language
Providing the City Council the ability to opt out of certain streets by Council action.
One of the purposes of these reports is to keep the City updated on what the BID plans to do during the new year. In particular, at §36650(b)(2) the law states:
The report shall be filed with the clerk and shall refer to the property and business improvement district by name, specify the fiscal year to which the report applies, and, with respect to that fiscal year, shall contain all of the following information: … The improvements, maintenance, and activities to be provided for that fiscal year.
So for instance, the Media District’s plan explains what they’re going to do about cleaning and security, which are two of the core functions of BIDs. Here’s part of their statement on cleaning:
Other expenditures anticipated include tree trimming, purchase of additional trash receptacle, and other similar projects to beautify the District in accordance with the approved Management District Plan.
And part of their statement on security:
Safe Committee meetings address a full range of issues: loitering, public urination, drinking in public, prostitution, vandalism, graffiti, and quality of life issues.
And none of this is really a secret. For instance, here are more than 30 pages of emails from Kerry Morrison to various coreligionists extolling the virtues of Christian love for one’s City, praying for one’s City, serving one’s City as a “Christ Follower,” and whatnot. And there’s a long and vital tradition of this kind of thing in Christianity, to be sure. E.g. compare Paul’s letter to the Hebrews 11:9-10 on how Abraham’s faith led him to leave his home and live like a stranger for the sake of finding the City of God:
By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
A few weeks ago, Rory Carroll published an excellent article in The Guardian on how the City of Los Angeles has used gang injunctions as a tool of gentrification in Venice. Of course, this is not news to anyone who’s been paying attention since the injunction began in 2000. Even at the time it seemed clear that the injunction was a response to the wave of gentrification that began in Venice in the late 1980s and underwent unprecedented acceleration through the 1990s. Of course, everyone who’s smelting gold out of the housing stock of Oakwood in a blast furnace fueled by the burning bodies and lives of the poor people, the dark-skinned people, fed into the hopper by the LAPD, denies this every which way.
And these arguments have been repeated so often I have nightmares about them. “The cops would never ever do such a thing.” “There’s no conspiracy to chase out darkies.”4 And so on and on and on. But Venice’s own muse of slavering psychopathy, the very king of the gentrifiers, the universally acknowledged whitest man in Venice, Mark Ryavec himself, has distilled all of them, every last threadbare tin-foil-hat characterization, into one bitter pithy little ball. As Rory Carroll puts it:
For Mark Ryavec, head of the Venice Stakeholders Association, the notion that police act as gentrification agents is “a bunch of radical bullshit”.
The text for this morning’s sermon, brothers and sisters, is from the Gospel of Thomas:6
Listen! A sower went out to sow. He filled his hand and cast the seed. Some fell on the road; the birds came and ate the seed. Others fell on the rock, sprouted, and dried up. And others fell on the thorns, which choked them and insects ate them. And others fell on the fertile ground of freaking Tony Hoover, founder of freaking Red Line Tours, and multiplied a freaking zillionfold into a veritable magic freaking beanstalk of crazy.
Well, the disciples of Jesus also didn’t get what he was talking about, so I guess I shouldn’t feel bad about having to fill in some backstory.
See, last week, according to the Beverly Press, Councilmoppet Mitch O’Farrell announced that he and now-retired-from-his-position-as-clean-government-poster-boy-but-still-active-as-Councilmember-more’s-the-freaking-pity David Ryu of CD4 had introduced a motion in Council to put an end to what they claim to see as the desperate, wanton, willful, and ongoing destruction of what passes for the quality of life of people who actually live in Hollywood by tour bus operators on the Boulevard, mostly between Orange and Vine. It’s something about how they try to hand you flyers and ask you where you’re from even though you are obviously from Los Angeles.7
Well, if you’ve been paying attention to this blog at all, you will immediately suspect that (a) neither Mitch O’Farrell nor David Ryu give the first flying fuck about tour buses on Hollywood Boulevard and (b) they are channeling the concerns of that master covert lobbyist and famously blue-nosed Mrs. Grundy whose nom de Hollywood is Ms. Kerry Morrison.8 Kerry Morrison is, as is her wont, concerned about what she calls “civility on the public right of way” and the rest of us call “killing off or at least arresting everyone who scares her or doesn’t have a lot of money.”
I have not yet had time to track down records pertaining to the current incarnation of Kerry Morrison’s obsession with tour buses.9 But the story in the paper reminded me that I had a bunch of unprocessed material from the City Attorney from 2012 on this very subject. So I put that all together and put it up on the Archive (as well as locally if you prefer), where you can read it at will. It concerns a so-called “Tour Bus Working Group,” put together by Kerry Morrison and including the usual representatives of the City and the Hollywood zillionaire elite.
In an editorial in this morning’s Times about the Venice Beach BID it is stated:
Even during the day, when the municipal code against sitting, lying or sleeping on a sidewalk or street is enforceable, the BID ambassadors would be required to call the police or city employees to enforce it, according to the city attorney’s office.
Of course, in the ordinary meaning of the word “enforce” this is demonstrably not true. In Hollywood, the BID Patrol, operated by Andrews International Security on behalf of the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance which manages two local BIDs, arrests people for violating the despicable LAMC 41.18(d) on an exceedingly regular basis. They handcuff them and either forcibly transport them in a private vehicle to the police station or else wait on-scene for LAPD to arrive to complete the arrest process.
This might charitably be interpreted as waiting for the police to enforce the law in the sense that the LAPD has to issue citations. But the difference to the arrested person, who is handcuffed, forced into a private car or made to sit or lie shackled on the sidewalk until the cops show up to cite them out, is nonexistent. If that’s what Mike Feuer’s office meant by what they apparently said to the Times Editorial Board then shame on them for being so disingenuous. If they meant something else, it wasn’t true. And shame too on the Editorial Board for not investigating that easily refuted claim.
UPDATE: I just received this email, sent yesterday by Rob Wilcox at the City Attorney’s office to Carla Hall at the L.A. Times, stating explicitly that:
Only peace officers or authorized city employees could enforce that section of the ordinance [LAMC 41.18(d)]. BID employees would not be able to enforce.
He doesn’t give a reason, but his statement is demonstrably untrue. I wonder what he meant by it? State law requires police to accept custody of anyone who’s arrested by a private person, and allows private persons to make arrests for any violation of the criminal law.
After the break you will find links to actual BID Patrol arrest reports from 2015 for violations of LAMC 41.18(d).12 Also, here is a horrific video showing what one of these BID Patrol arrests looks like in reality rather than in the delusional fantasy world evidently inhabited by the City Attorney and the LA Times Editorial Board. Here’s a representative sample from one of the reports:
A short time later, we observed MARLOW place his belongings on the ground then lay on the sidewalk. We made contact with MARLOW and informed him he was in violation of 41.18 (d) LAMC- Sitting on public sidewalk. MARLOW refused to comply with our request to stand up and became verbally confrontational with BID officers. MARLOW proceeded to stand up and walk in and out of traffic on Hollywood Blvd. MARLOW also walked away and returned 3 times and was verbally confrontational towards BID Officers. We waited for additional units and FB2 and ED-30 arrived on scene. MARLOW was pulled to the ground by BID Officers in order to safely handcuff him.
And here’s another one:
We then contacted the subjects (one later identified S/ Mull) that were physically blocking the sidewalk with his property and bicycle sidewalk, a violation of 41.18 (d) LAMC- (Blocking, Sitting, Sleeping on the Sidewalk). The subjects admitted that they were not supposed to block the sidewalk per prior BID officers warnings from the past.
We advised S/ Mull that we were placing him under “Private Person’s Arrest”, per 837 Penal Code – (Private Person’s Arrest – Authority To Arrest / see attached form) for 41.18 (d) Los Angeles Municipal Code – (Sitting/lying/sleeping on sidewalk). Mull was immediately handcuffed (adjusted / doubled locked) for his safety and comfort, as per policy.
We then escorted Mull to our patrol vehicle and was seated on the rear passengers side. He was seat belted (adjusted / secured) for his safety and comfort, as per policy.
We then transported him to the Hollywood and Highland substation, per 847 PC. When then met with LAPD Officers Lawrence and Gonzalez (6FB1) for a citation release.