Category Archives: Los Angeles City Government

The Highland Park Heroines At Restorative Justice For The Arts Have Started A Petition Asking Gil Cedillo To Get Rid Of Bill Cody, The World’s Oldest Field Deputy, Because Of Him Being A Bully And A Harasser — Sign It Today, Friends!

Bill Freaking Cody, where to start? I mean, you’ve read about how the guy yells at everyone, about how the guy’s an inveterate enabler of white supremacy, how he and his BID buddies Facebook-stalk local activists, and so on.

Now read about how the guy allegedly harasses women in Highland Park, the very women he’s supposed to be helping his boss, Gil Cedillo, serve as a representative of Los Angeles City Government. In fact, do more than read about it, sign a Change.Org petition asking Gil Cedillo to fire the guy! This petition was started by two of the unsung Heroes of this City, the founders of Restorative Justice for the Arts. And turn the page for some excerpts.
Continue reading The Highland Park Heroines At Restorative Justice For The Arts Have Started A Petition Asking Gil Cedillo To Get Rid Of Bill Cody, The World’s Oldest Field Deputy, Because Of Him Being A Bully And A Harasser — Sign It Today, Friends!

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How Herb Wesson Arranged For His Constituents To Pack A Council File With Phony Astroturf Letters Supporting His K-Town Homeless Shelter — And The Letters Were Written By Herb Wesson’s Assistant Chief Deputy Andrew Westall

One of the important topics we study here is the function of business improvement districts as lobbyists, not least as tools that the City uses to lobby itself in order to create the illusion of popular support for its initiatives. We recently saw an excellent example of this trope when Eric Garcetti used the Wilshire Center BID to supply a speaker putatively from the community to support his and Herb Wesson’s proposed Koreatown homeless shelter.

And it seems that Eric Garcetti was not the only LA Politician engaged in astroturfing support for this project. Just yesterday I obtained a huge trove of emails from the Byzantine Latino Quarter BID along Pico Blvd. The most interesting item in there1 is a May 15, 2018 email from Herb Wesson’s field deputy Cairo Rodriguez to Moises Gomez, BLQ BID director, asking him to submit a letter supporting the shelter.

But the most amazing, unexpected part of Cairo Rodriguez’s appeal is that it came with a letter of support attached, just waiting for the blanks to be filled in. See here for the original DOCX file, and here for a PDF, and there’s a transcription after the break. This is so peculiar, isn’t it? Obviously Herb Wesson’s not trying to convince himself to vote for the shelter, and he doesn’t have to convince his colleagues, because they’ll vote for anything he supports in his own district, so what’s the point of these letters? So strange.

According to the metadata this faked-up letter of support was written by Andrew Westall, one of Herb Wesson’s senior staff members. And a glimpse at Council File 18-0392 shows that a lot of copies of this astroturf letter were in fact submitted by a lot of different organizations on letterhead, with signatures.2 There are links to samples after the break.
Continue reading How Herb Wesson Arranged For His Constituents To Pack A Council File With Phony Astroturf Letters Supporting His K-Town Homeless Shelter — And The Letters Were Written By Herb Wesson’s Assistant Chief Deputy Andrew Westall

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The Los Angeles Unified School District Evidently Voids All Its BID Establishment Petitions By Adding A Limiting Clause — They Seem To Add The Same Clause To Their Actual Ballots But Evidently It Does Not Void Them — It’s Not Clear What’s Going On Here But Probably Something Is

I recently received almost a thousand pages of emails between the Los Angeles City Clerk‘s office and correspondents at various BIDs. You can obtain the whole pile here on Archive.Org. Among these was this interesting little exchange between Clerk staffie Dennis Rader and notorious outlaw BID consultant Aaron Aulenta of Urban Place Consulting.

This post is dedicated to exploring the issues raised by this email. It’s unavoidably technical, so you may want to skip it. On the other hand, at least I’m not going to call anyone nasty names, which I know will please a certain perennially disgruntled audience segment. Boring or not, though, it touches on essential and little-explored issues of BIDology. The exchange began on May 7, 2018, when Aaron Aulenta emailed Dennis Rader:

I know you’re probably swamped at the moment with the ballot mail-out this week, but I had a quick lausd question. Do you know if they returned a petition for either Hollywood or Fashion without hand writing in the ‘approval conditioned upon’ phrase? In other words, did they return a petition that was officially counted?

Continue reading The Los Angeles Unified School District Evidently Voids All Its BID Establishment Petitions By Adding A Limiting Clause — They Seem To Add The Same Clause To Their Actual Ballots But Evidently It Does Not Void Them — It’s Not Clear What’s Going On Here But Probably Something Is

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How Andrew Thomas, The Famous-For-Dressing-Like-A-Child-Molester Exec-Direc Of The Westwood Village BID, Conspired With Michael Skiles To Hold The North Westwood NC Subdivision Election On A Weekday — And How The City Clerk Ruled Out Multiple Election Days Due To Security Concerns — Which The City Government Probably Gleefully Intended For The Skid Row Subdivision Election

You may recall that I recently received a moderately sized set of public records from the Westwood Village BID, some of which I wrote about the other day. You can look at the whole collection here on Archive.Org,1 and one of these is the text for today’s sermon, a conversation amongst Michael Skiles, Grayce Liu of the Department Of Neighborhood Empowerment, and Lisa Chapman, president of the Westwood Neighborhood Council.

There’s a transcription and more commentary after the break, of course, but here’s a brief summary of what went on. Lisa Chapman wrote to Grayce Liu telling her that she heard Michael Skiles say that Westwood Forward did not choose the date of the election, which was not on a weekend as NC elections usually are. Grayce Liu wrote back in her inimitably condescending manner saying some nonsense that sane people can barely credit.

Michael Skiles wrote to Grayce Liu thanking her in his inimitably sycophantic manner and explaining that weekday elections were agreed on by him and Andrew Freaking Thomas, who sane people want to know why is this guy involved at all? What, we all want to know, do BIDs have to do with making detailed decisions like this about NC matters?

Then, the absolute kicker, Grayce Liu wrote back to Michael Skiles stating that the City Clerk forbade subdivision elections to be spread out over multiple days “because of voter security issues.” Of course, this is horrific and shocking given that for the Skid Row NC subdivision election Grayce Liu herself allowed putative pop-up polls to take place on multiple days in multiple locations including restricted access buildings emphatically NOT open to the public. And now no one at the City can actually audit the votes cast in that election, which suggests strongly that there were very serious, as yet undiscovered, “voter security issues,” which no one at the City cares about.

But of course, “voter security issues” are going to be cosmically important in elections like this Westwood one, where zillionaires and their financial interests fall on both sides of the question. In a case like Westwood, because zillionares disagree, every vote truly does count, so the most secure practices must be followed by the City, and the City recognizes this. In a case like Skid Row, where the zillionaires were unified on one side, voter security would have just gotten in the way of stealing the election. Anyway, read on for the details.
Continue reading How Andrew Thomas, The Famous-For-Dressing-Like-A-Child-Molester Exec-Direc Of The Westwood Village BID, Conspired With Michael Skiles To Hold The North Westwood NC Subdivision Election On A Weekday — And How The City Clerk Ruled Out Multiple Election Days Due To Security Concerns — Which The City Government Probably Gleefully Intended For The Skid Row Subdivision Election

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How Carol Schatz’s Former Event Planner Joella Hopkins Relies On Her Life-Long Experience Of Watching WWE Wrestling With Her Dad To Inform José Huizar’s Homelessness Policies — Which Essentially Amount To Using HHH Money To Build Housing So The LAPD Can Start Arresting Every Homeless Person In Sight Again — Cause Cops Aren’t Mental Health Workers, After All, They Are Arresters!

José Huizar was scheduled to speak at yesterday’s South Park BID board of directors meeting, so off I went to record the goings-on for history’s sake. The entire video is here on YouTube and Huizar starts here. His remarks were even more devoid of content than usual, although I’ll have something to say about them soon.1

The CM was, however, late to the meeting, leaving his brand-new Downtown District Director, Carol Schatz’s former event planner, the one and only Joella Hopkins, CSEP, CMP, MBA, to extemporize for a surprisingly long time, starting here. As always there’s a transcription after the break.

The focus at first was on homelessness. In particular on the usual story about how essential it is for the City to build enough housing so that the LAPD can start arresting every homeless person in sight. She then moved on to what she characterized as “a rise, a more blatant rise in public safety issues with transients or mentally ill assaulting our residents on the street.” And while Joella Hopkins’s remarks are usually weird, her remarks here were even weirder than usual.

Of course, this “rise in public safety issues” is a favorite narrative of our City’s zillionaire elite when it comes to repressing the homeless of Los Angeles. Usually they don’t bother with evidence, but Joella Hopkins, to her credit, her shame, something, did at least try to support the claim, seemingly justifying it with this cryptic remark: “… if you guys are on social media …”
Continue reading How Carol Schatz’s Former Event Planner Joella Hopkins Relies On Her Life-Long Experience Of Watching WWE Wrestling With Her Dad To Inform José Huizar’s Homelessness Policies — Which Essentially Amount To Using HHH Money To Build Housing So The LAPD Can Start Arresting Every Homeless Person In Sight Again — Cause Cops Aren’t Mental Health Workers, After All, They Are Arresters!

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One Outcome Of The Unholy Alliance Between North Westwood Neighborhood Council Subdivision Advocate Michael Skiles And Dresses-Like-A-Child-Molester Biddy-Boy Andrew Thomas Was That Skiles Changed The Bylaws To Give Zillionaires Even More Representation Just Cause Thomas Asked Him To — Which Might Be The Kind Of Thing That Andrew Thomas Wants To Cover Up Via His Myriad Surreal CPRA Violations — Although That Relies On Dubious Assumption That The Guy Feels Shame

Maybe you heard about the movement to subdivide the Westwood Neighborhood Council and form the North Westwood Neighborhood Council. This subdivision was led by UCLA students calling themselves Westwood Forward, with incipient philosopher Michael Skiles, whose academic specialty is, of all things, action theory, at the helm. The City held an election in May and the subdivision was approved.

However, unlike the heartrending pain created by the sinister schemings of zillionaires in Skid Row and environs last year, the local Westwood zillionaires were all eleventy jillion percent in favor of this particular subdivision. The reason seems to be a widely shared perception that students will be much more in favor of building more residential megaplexes and handing out more liquor licenses than the mostly über-füddy-düddy single family house dwellers on the regular Westwood NC have proved to be over the last few decades.1

Knowing all this, it occurred to me in March 2018 that the Westwood Village BID might be involved in this whole subdivision thing and, with that in mind, I fired off a CPRA request to them asking for the goodies. After many painful months of lawyers, recriminations, stupidity, frustration, and whatever,2 Andrew Thomas, the BID’s executive director, who, incidentally, dresses surprisingly like a child molester,3 finally coughed up some small percentage of the records to which I’m entitled.

Check out the whole collection here on Archive.Org. In particular, though, for tonight’s sermon, take a look at this little gem (of which there is a transcription after the break), which reveals Andrew Thomas as the puppet master pulling the strings that make Michael Skiles dance. And the tune he’s dancing to is, you’ll not be surprised to learn, all about more seats for zillionaires on the new neighborhood council’s board of directors. And Michael Skiles not only dances to the tune, but he dances like he likes dancing! He’ll go far in academia, friends.
Continue reading One Outcome Of The Unholy Alliance Between North Westwood Neighborhood Council Subdivision Advocate Michael Skiles And Dresses-Like-A-Child-Molester Biddy-Boy Andrew Thomas Was That Skiles Changed The Bylaws To Give Zillionaires Even More Representation Just Cause Thomas Asked Him To — Which Might Be The Kind Of Thing That Andrew Thomas Wants To Cover Up Via His Myriad Surreal CPRA Violations — Although That Relies On Dubious Assumption That The Guy Feels Shame

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An Interesting Example From Wilshire Center Showing How Eric Garcetti Used The BID To Supply A Tame Businessperson To Speak For Herb Wesson’s Proposed K-Town Homeless Shelter — Revealing At Least One Of The Ways In Which The City Of Los Angeles Relies On BIDs To Manufacture An Appearance Of Community Support For Its Projects — Did I Mention The City Told The BID A Week Before They Told The News Media And Asked The BID To Keep Quiet About It?!

It’s been clear for a long time now that one of the uses that the City gets out of BIDs is to encourage them to lobby it, thus creating an appearance of community support for projects that the City intended to do all along. It’s easy to see the results of this process at any City Council meeting where a bunch of BIDdies line up to speak in favor of random proposal X that they don’t have any organic reason for caring about.

However, it’s not so easy to see the lead-up to the lobbying events. Obviously City officials are reluctant to release the evidence, and perhaps the BIDdies are as well.1 That’s why today’s documents are so very interesting! The emails I’m presenting are part of a larger release from the Wilshire Center BID, and you can get the original MBOX file or PDFs if you prefer here on Archive.Org.

The story is about the by-now famous homeless shelter proposed for Koreatown by CD10 repster Herb Wesson. The world found out about this project on May 2, 2018 at a joint press conference held by Wesson and Eric Garcetti, as Gale Holland explains in this characteristically excellent story in the Times.2

But amazingly, City staffers told the BID about the proposal on April 26, a full week before anyone else knew. BID board members were asked to keep quiet about it and also to propose a businessperson to speak at the May 2 press conference in support of the shelter. Real Estate zillionaire Mike Hakim volunteered himself to speak at BID director Mike Russell’s request but was, it seems, ignored by everyone, no doubt due to his shady, universally hated skyscraper project in Koreatown.

Instead, Mike Russell nominated Greenbridge Investments flunky Brenda Arianpour, a real estate zillionaire whom Russell misrepresented as a small business owner. After thorough vetting by Garcetti’s communications flacks, Arianpour was chosen to speak in favor of the project. Although not, of course, to speak in her own unscrutinized words. Garcetti’s flacks were sure to discuss “talking points” with her in advance.

The emails by which this was arranged are linked to and transcribed below.
Continue reading An Interesting Example From Wilshire Center Showing How Eric Garcetti Used The BID To Supply A Tame Businessperson To Speak For Herb Wesson’s Proposed K-Town Homeless Shelter — Revealing At Least One Of The Ways In Which The City Of Los Angeles Relies On BIDs To Manufacture An Appearance Of Community Support For Its Projects — Did I Mention The City Told The BID A Week Before They Told The News Media And Asked The BID To Keep Quiet About It?!

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In 2016 Mike Bonin Promised To Rezone Properties To Remove Them From The BID — Which He Never Did — Now He’s Rezoning Properties In The Palisades For Nefarious Reasons Of His Own — Venice Beach BID Ballots Available! — Showing Spoiled And Late Ballots As Well! — Five Years Worth Of Weekly Clerk Reports On BIDs!

This is just a short note to announce various random records that have come into my possession over the last few days. First of all, due to the brilliant work of an intrepid CPRA warrior,1 at last we have access to the complete set of ballots used in the Venice Beach BID formation process. You can get a PDF spool of all of these right here on Archive.Org.2 It’s interesting to see that the City didn’t redact these ballots at all, not even the signatures. Compare these with the petitions, which they released in 2016.

Also today I’m announcing NBID reports from 2013 on, obtained by a brave citizen of Los Angeles and subsequently made available to me. We’ve seen some of this material before, but only through 2016. There is a ton of interesting material here, and I’ll be writing on it from time to time in the future. Meanwhile, here’s a sample of what these Clerk BIDdies were up to during the week of May 29, 2018:

Processed Venice Beach refund affidavits; Performed ownership and mailing address updates for the three upcoming PBID renewal mail outs of Melrose, BLQ-Pico and Historic Core; Researched and processed returned mail ballots for the 3 PBID renewals currently out to ballot of Arts District, Fashion District and Hollywood Entertainment District and some for the finalized Tarzana PBID election that were recently returned; Compiled BID Application wish list for the meeting with Systems.

And finally, you will recall that after the November 2016 hearing at which the Venice Beach BID was established Mike Bonin promised the world to BID opponents, or at least this:

As I said when I met with you folks recently, I am happy to help those folks get their properties rezoned as residential properties. And I’m happy to meet with those folks and would even be willing to initiate a zone change from my end to make it a little less expensive and more helpful.

It’s been almost two years now, and Mike Bonin has broken his promise. No one in Venice is getting rezoned. But it’s not because Mike Bonin can’t rezone. Just take a look at this motion introduced today in Council by Mike Bonin. In it he directs City staff to rezone some neighborhood in the Palisades because of some zillionaire hillside house voodoo.

And this motion is explicitly inspired by a bunch of similar rezoning in Laurel Canyon and elsewhere so it’s just a service that councilpets provide to their zillionaire constituents. So, people of Venice, are you wondering why Mike Bonin couldn’t get your properties rezoned like he promised he would? Well, it’s not because he can’t. It’s because he won’t. Turn the page for a transcription of this dire little slab of you-know-what.
Continue reading In 2016 Mike Bonin Promised To Rezone Properties To Remove Them From The BID — Which He Never Did — Now He’s Rezoning Properties In The Palisades For Nefarious Reasons Of His Own — Venice Beach BID Ballots Available! — Showing Spoiled And Late Ballots As Well! — Five Years Worth Of Weekly Clerk Reports On BIDs!

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Little Tokyo BID Sued To Enforce Compliance With California Public Records Act — And To Put An End To Their “secrecy, obstruction, and lawlessness”

This time not by me but by the intrepid Katherine McNenny. It’s the same old story, though. As you may remember, the Little Tokyo BID was chin-deep in the anti-SRNC conspiracy coordinated by the Voodoo queen of Skid Row herself, Ms. Estela Lopez. Thus it was natural for Katherine McNenny, one of the SRNC proponents, to try to discover more about the BID’s role using the California Public Records Act.

Ellen Endo, BID president and chief apologist, wasn’t having it, though. It took her almost a year to even respond, and even then she didn’t respond appropriately.1 Even worse than not responding, at no time did she produce any records. She still hasn’t. As we’ve all come to learn, most tragically, our esteemed legislature has left citizens in this position with no recourse but to file a petition in Superior Court, and that’s just what Katherine McNenny did!

Here’s a link to the petition itself, which is well worth reading for many reasons, not least of which is its stirring defense of the very weighty public interest in seeing fair play in the SRNC election process. Selections of this latest triumph by the incomparable Abenicio Cisneros are transcribed after the break, and you might keep an eye on this page on Archive.Org for future developments. If you don’t have time for all that deep dive jive, though, just read this one stunning paragraph:

In denying access to the requested records, the BID has obscured its role in a matter of public significance. The residents of Skid Row labored and organized to create a local governing body for the purpose of better coordinating with City government to meet the needs of some of Los Angeles’ most imperiled and dispossessed residents. The formation of the SRNC was opposed by United DTLA, a secretive organization employing a prominent-and no doubt expensive-lobbyist, which apparently enjoyed funding and in-kind support by Respondent and other Business Improvement Districts. Petitioner, after obtaining glimpses of Respondent’s involvement, lawfully requested records which, if disclosed, will throw into the full light of day the nature and scope of Respondent’s efforts to defeat Skid Row residents’ hopes for a neighborhood council of their own. When faced with this exposure, Respondent refused access and opted instead for secrecy, obstruction, and lawlessness. Respondent neglected every obligation imposed by the CPRA and refused to provide even a single record, in clear violation of the law.

Continue reading Little Tokyo BID Sued To Enforce Compliance With California Public Records Act — And To Put An End To Their “secrecy, obstruction, and lawlessness”

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You Know Those Proclamations From The City Of Los Angeles That Hyperconnected Zillionaires Like Laurie Goldman All Hang On Their Office Walls? — Well, Here’s How You Get One! — Have Your Minions Ask The Mayor’s Staff — Be Sure To Call Him MEG Cause That’s What The In-Crowd Calls Him! — And Two Days Later Go Pick Up The Proclamation! — Did I Mention Your Minions Have To Write The Damn Thing? — Don’t Have Any Minions? — No Proclamation For You!!

The proclamations! You’ve probably seen them hanging on the walls of people’s offices, they’re in famous restaurants, like e.g. Musso and Frank has one, The Pantry has one, and so on. Here’s a nice picture of one. Well, here I am, hanging around this City more or less continuously since 1963 and I never knew, never even wondered, where or they came from or why.1 Amazingly, though, in a set of records recently handed over by the Media District BID,2 all was revealed!

Here’s the process, at least as it pertains to the office of the Mayor. First, have your minion email Yolanda Flores at y.flores@lacity.org. She’s actually his staffie in charge of proclamations! Don’t forget to refer to her boss as MEG, which is evidently what the cool kids call him! After she gives you the nod, have your minion write the damn proclamation! That’s it, you can pick it up next Thursday!

Does it seem too simple? Don’t believe it’s that easy? Can’t credit that actual3 grownups call the guy MEG with a straight face? Want to read the genuine one-and-only proclamation that unreconstructed criminal Lisa Schechter of the Media District BID wrote for former president Laurie Goldman that was subsequently issued by MEG? See the emails by means of which the whole mishegoss was arranged? Well, what are you waiting for?! Turn the damn page!!
Continue reading You Know Those Proclamations From The City Of Los Angeles That Hyperconnected Zillionaires Like Laurie Goldman All Hang On Their Office Walls? — Well, Here’s How You Get One! — Have Your Minions Ask The Mayor’s Staff — Be Sure To Call Him MEG Cause That’s What The In-Crowd Calls Him! — And Two Days Later Go Pick Up The Proclamation! — Did I Mention Your Minions Have To Write The Damn Thing? — Don’t Have Any Minions? — No Proclamation For You!!

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