Category Archives: Los Angeles City Council

The Venice Beach BID Annual Planning Report Provides An Opportunity For Mike Bonin To Unilaterally Remove Properties From The BID Or Reduce Their Assessments To Zero — This Could Happen This Month If Mike Bonin Will Do It!— No Zoning Change Required Even!— Maybe Some Constituent Pressure Will Convince Bonin To Use This Power?


Business improvement districts in California are required by the Property and Business Improvement District Law of 1994 at §36650 to submit an annual planning report to the City every year. The reports must subsequently be approved by the City Council.

One function of these reports is to explain how the BID will spend its money in the coming year, but they have another important purpose. According to the statute:

The report may propose changes, including, but not limited to, the boundaries of the property and business improvement district or any benefit zones within the district, the basis and method of levying the assessments, and any changes in the classification of property, including any categories of business, if a classification is used.

In other words BIDs are allowed to remove properties entirely or reduce their assessments, presumably all the way to zero if they so choose, merely by stating that they’ll do so in their annual planning report.

Now, the Venice Beach BID approved their APR at their April 13, 2018 meeting and submitted it to the City on April 30. They didn’t propose any changes in boundaries or assessment methods. But it turns out that, according to the law, they don’t have the final say. The statute says at §36650(c) that:

The city council may approve the report as filed by the owners’ association or may modify any particular contained in the report and approve it as modified.

So that means that not only can the BID use the APR to remove properties or to reduce their assessments even down to zero, but the City Council can do that also, even without the BID’s approval. And the way things work in the City of Los Angeles, that means that Mike Bonin himself can make the changes. There’s no way his colleagues are going to oppose him on a matter that affects only his district. Read on to see how this might actually lead to properties being removed from the BID this year!
Continue reading The Venice Beach BID Annual Planning Report Provides An Opportunity For Mike Bonin To Unilaterally Remove Properties From The BID Or Reduce Their Assessments To Zero — This Could Happen This Month If Mike Bonin Will Do It!— No Zoning Change Required Even!— Maybe Some Constituent Pressure Will Convince Bonin To Use This Power?

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A Motion In City Council Asks The HHH Citizens’ Oversight Committee To Recommend Ways To Speed Up Development Of Housing For The Homeless, Creating An Unacknowledged But Not Unexpected Conflict Of Interest For Members Kerry Morrison And Blair Besten, Whose Salaries Are Paid By Real Estate Developers For The Express Purpose Of Advocating For Their Interests With The City

In November 2016 the voters of Los Angeles approved Measure HHH, which provided a huge amount of funding for housing homeless people. The measure also created a Citizens’ Oversight Committee, putatively for the purpose of making sure the money was well-spent. Subsequently, Eric Garcetti appointed Hollywood BIDdie and famous mayoral pookie-pie Kerry Morrison and some other people to the Committee and the City Council appointed Downtown BIDdie and famous José Huizar pookie-pie Blair Besten to the Committee.

These appointments meant that 2 of 7 committee members work for business improvement districts,1 which was bad enough in itself given that one of the main purposes of BIDs is to banish the homeless from their districts and to basically waste public money in the form of their assessments while doing that. But on Wednesday matters got immeasurably worse.

What happened is that Marqueece Harris-Dawson and Mitchell Englander introduced a motion proposing to expand the remit of the CoC to include making

comprehensive recommendations to the Homelessness and Poverty Committee regarding changes to the permanent supportive housing process and funding structure to enable a more expedited delivery of homeless housing.

That is, the Committee is now charged with weakening the funding process and the permitting and building approval process for projects that will help house the homeless. This sounds superficially like a good thing, but there’s at least one huge problem with it. Blair Besten’s employers, Kerry Morrison’s employers, are huge commercial property owners and developers and weakened processes are their bread and butter. They know exactly how to turn weakened processes into strengthened profit margins.

At least some of them, e.g. Ruben Islas, make immense amounts of money from building and owning housing for the homeless. Blair Besten has lobbied the City intensively on relaxing zoning codes and on granting psychotically expansive tax breaks to such developers. This new proposal, therefore, would grant Blair Besten and Kerry Morrison the power to make recommendations directly to City Council on issues that they are already paid by developers and property owners to lobby the City over.
Continue reading A Motion In City Council Asks The HHH Citizens’ Oversight Committee To Recommend Ways To Speed Up Development Of Housing For The Homeless, Creating An Unacknowledged But Not Unexpected Conflict Of Interest For Members Kerry Morrison And Blair Besten, Whose Salaries Are Paid By Real Estate Developers For The Express Purpose Of Advocating For Their Interests With The City

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Leron Gubler Of The Hollywood Chamber Of Commerce Wrote To The City Council To Tell Them That Legal Street Vending Is Causing Hollywood Boulevard To Be “Compared To A Third World Bazaar” — And Because He’s A Racist Fucking Moron He Takes It For Granted That That’s A Bad Thing


ACTION NOTE: Carol Schatz told us that City Council was going to be taking up street vending again soon, and she was correct. It’s scheduled for the Economic Development Committee on April 16 at 2 p.m. in City Hall room 340, which is the Ferraro Council Chamber. Obviously they’re expecting a crowd.

Business Improvement Districts and other white supremacist zillionaire flunkies like various chambers of commerce and the Central City Association have spent the last three years fighting against legalized street vending in Los Angeles because they’re a bunch of puritanical racists. Ordinarily, though, they have the sense to hide their puritanical racism behind a thin screen of concern for slightly more acceptable issues like civic order, the rule of law, public health, whatever.

However, a couple days ago, Leron Gubler of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce let the mask slip just for a moment. He sent this letter, a transcription of which is after the break, to City Council to oppose legalizing street vending.1 And in it he stated:

The Chamber and the Hollywood Entertainment District BID continue to be inundated with complaints from our property owners and visitors on Hollywood Boulevard about the increase in sidewalk vendors over the past year. The street, especially at night, is being compared to a third world bazaar.

It’s not even a dog whistle. He’s explicitly complaining that there are too many unruly darkies on Hollywood Blvd., because who else is found in a “third world bazaar”? These people2 don’t seem to have the first clue that they don’t own Hollywood Blvd., they don’t own this City. And this is not the first time they’ve complained about nonwhite people taking over Hollywood Blvd.

Their visions for Hollywood Blvd., for Los Angeles, are no more important or valid than anyone else’s, no matter what the color of their skin or whether or not they have a zillion bucks in the bank. Most of Los Angeles likes street vending. Most of Los Angeles likes unruly darkies. We are unruly darkies here. Without unruly darkies there would be no Los Angeles. Our City would be just like freaking Hancock Park or San Marino. Most of Los Angeles likes what vending does for our streets, our neighborhoods, our humanity. If these BIDdies don’t like it, why don’t they move back to America or Palos Verdes or wherever they came from?
Continue reading Leron Gubler Of The Hollywood Chamber Of Commerce Wrote To The City Council To Tell Them That Legal Street Vending Is Causing Hollywood Boulevard To Be “Compared To A Third World Bazaar” — And Because He’s A Racist Fucking Moron He Takes It For Granted That That’s A Bad Thing

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Echo Park BID Formation Process Rolls On, With Economic Development Committee Just Yesterday, At Behest Of CD13 Rep Mitch O’Freaking Farrell, Recommending Allocation Of God Only Knows How Much Money To Civitas To Complete The Establishment Process

It’s been almost two years now since our esteemed City Council breathed new life into the inchoate Echo Park BID in May 2016 in response to a letter from the Echo Park Chamber of Commerce, who is apparently the BID proponent group for this mishegas. Well, that infusion of cash into its zombie veins apparently wasn’t enough to send it lurching off into what passes for the civic life of this fair but wounded City of ours.

Thus, evidently, CD13 rep Mitch O’Freaking Farrell found it necessary a few weeks ago to move in Council that the BID formation contract with Civitas Advisors, who’s acting as the BID consultant,1 be extended.2 Yesterday, the Economic Development Committee approved3 Mitchie’s motion and sent a report to the full Council for their sadly inevitable approval.

The original Echo Park BID formation materials are collected in CF 10-0154 and for all this contract extension voodoo they started a supplemental, which is at CF 10-0154-S1. Turn the page for a transcription of O’Farrell’s motion from February 27 as well as of an interesting selection from the Committee’s report which sheds some light on where things stand.

Continue reading Echo Park BID Formation Process Rolls On, With Economic Development Committee Just Yesterday, At Behest Of CD13 Rep Mitch O’Freaking Farrell, Recommending Allocation Of God Only Knows How Much Money To Civitas To Complete The Establishment Process

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Buscaino Staffer And Erstwhile CD9 Candidate David Anthony Roberts Doesn’t Just Expedite The Usual City Permits And Similar Chump-Change Jive For His San Pedro Zillionaire BID Buddies, He Also Sends Them His Resume And Hits Them Up For A Job Using His Official City of Los Angeles Email Address, All While Running An Eponymous Freaking Lobbying Firm As A Side Gig

In the high and far off times, O best beloved, there was a candidate for Los Angeles City Council District 9, endorsed by the L.A. Times in 2013 and a favorite of both Bernard Parks and Jan Perry. Well, nothing works out like one expects in this mean old world and in these latter days our hero, whose name, by the way, is David Anthony Roberts, rather than having his own council district to do with as he might please, is instead some kind of high mückety-mücklischer poo-bah type guy in Joe Buscaino‘s employ over at CD 15.

And of course, if you’re going to be on Joe Buscaino’s staff you’re going to spend a lot of time working with the San Pedro Historic Waterfront BID. It goes with the territory. If the BID or its constituent conspirators need to get criminal trash-dumping charges fixed or maybe if they need to get criminal dog-grooming charges fixed or, I don’t know, need some bodies weighted down and dumped into the deeps off Terminal 26 or something, CD15 staff are gonna get a call or an email from Lorena Parker, San Pedro BIDdie extraordinaire. And, just because it goes with the job and stuff, sometimes the staffie under the gun is going to be David Anthony Roberts.
Continue reading Buscaino Staffer And Erstwhile CD9 Candidate David Anthony Roberts Doesn’t Just Expedite The Usual City Permits And Similar Chump-Change Jive For His San Pedro Zillionaire BID Buddies, He Also Sends Them His Resume And Hits Them Up For A Job Using His Official City of Los Angeles Email Address, All While Running An Eponymous Freaking Lobbying Firm As A Side Gig

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Tamales Nos Cuidan: Social Cleansing, Kerry Morrison, Donald Trump, And The Battle For Legal Street Vending In Los Angeles And Beyond

Tamalera on Hoover Street, South Los Angeles, January 2018.
Recently, a little after 7 a.m. on a fine cool Los Angeles Winter morning, I found myself on Hoover Street a little South of Vernon. If you know the area, or areas like it, you won’t be surprised to hear that at that time of day there were tamaleras everywhere. At major intersections, of course, and also near schools, selling tamales y champurrado for breakfast. You can see a picture somewhere near this sentence that I took while waiting my turn in line.

The whole scene is entirely social. There are grandmothers buying a dozen at a time to take home, people on their ways to work buying two or three for breakfast, maybe for lunch too, and schoolkids buying singles to eat while they walk.1 The tamalera creates a little bubble of warm sociability around her, momentarily protecting those inside from the chill of the foggy damp onshore flow.

This doesn’t happen only on the streets of South Los Angeles, of course. Last month Gustavo Arellano published a lovely article in the New Yorker entitled The Comfort of Tamales At The End Of 2017 about the significant social role of this ancient food2 in Mexican-American culture. And you can feel that sociability strongly while waiting in line to buy tamales on an L.A. street in the morning.

But as you’re probably aware, it’s looking more and more likely that the City Council, despite their generally supportive pro-vendor rhetoric, is going to allow business interests and property owners to veto street vending on a highly localized basis for essentially no rational reason at all. One of the most random exclusionary zones recommended in the November 2017 report of the Chief Legislative Analyst is anywhere within 500 feet of Hollywood Boulevard.
Continue reading Tamales Nos Cuidan: Social Cleansing, Kerry Morrison, Donald Trump, And The Battle For Legal Street Vending In Los Angeles And Beyond

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Report From Yesterday’s Historic Core BID Annual Meeting: Huizar Announces Council’s Support For Revision To State Definition Of “Gravely Disabled” But Is Unwilling To Say Explicitly That The Goal Is To Make It Easier To Lock Up Homeless People — BID Board Member Ed Rosenthal Misses The Point And Asks If This Will Make It Easier To Lock Up Homeless People


Well, well, well! The Historic Core BID, third weirdest of the minor Downtown BIDs and the exclusive demesne of batty little fusspot queen Blair Besten,1 held its Annual Meeting yesterday in the crown jewel of Michael Delijani’s Broadway empire, the Los Angeles Theatre. The local zillionaires were blessed by the heavens opening and, well, maybe not the angels of God descending,2 but at least they got José Huizar in all his freaking Councilmanic3 glory.

Of course I taped the whole damn thing, and you can watch it here.4 There are a lot of interesting episodes here, not least these slavering remarks from the meanest woman in BIDlandia, President Tara Devine, who’s handling the Historic Core BID’s ongoing renewal.

Oh, and remember that adenoidal twerp who told the SRNC proponents that they needed to get an education? Well, it turns out that that adenoidal twerp has a name, although I can’t recall it right now and I can’t freaking be bothered to look, but here he is at yesterday’s meeting spewing yet another load of his characteristically adenoidal twerpery all over José Huizar’s new suit.5

However, the very most interestingest bit was José Huizar’s announcement that he and his colleagues had just dropped a motion allowing the City to seek to have the Lanterman Act6 amended so that the the definition of “gravely disabled”7 includes refusing medical services. The whole mess can be found in CF 18-0002-S11.8 You can watch Jose Huizar talking about it and also there’s a transcription and some more snarky discussion after the break.
Continue reading Report From Yesterday’s Historic Core BID Annual Meeting: Huizar Announces Council’s Support For Revision To State Definition Of “Gravely Disabled” But Is Unwilling To Say Explicitly That The Goal Is To Make It Easier To Lock Up Homeless People — BID Board Member Ed Rosenthal Misses The Point And Asks If This Will Make It Easier To Lock Up Homeless People

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Wesson, Cedillo, and Martinez Introduce Motion Instructing City Attorney To Write A Civil Rights Law Prohibiting Various Kinds Of Discrimination And Establishing A Commission To Enforce It — Demonstrating Yet Again How Our City Council Members Are Liars Even When Every Word Out Of Their Mendacious Mouths Is True

This is just a quick note to call attention to this motion, introduced in Council this morning by Herb Wesson, Gil Cedillo, and Nury Martinez (there’s a transcription of the PDF after the break). The motion, which has been assigned CF 18-0086, instructs the City Attorney with assistance from some other offices to draft a new civil rights law. The proposed law has two main parts.

First, it would prohibit “discrimination, prejudice, intolerance and bigotry that results in denial of equal treatment of any individual” and would do this by banning discrimination based on:

  • race
  • color
  • ethnicity
  • creed
  • age
  • national origin
  • citizenship status or perceived status
  • gender
  • gender identity or expression
  • sexual orientation or perceived orientation
  • disability
  • marital status
  • partnership status
  • employment status
  • source of income

in the areas of

  • employment
  • housing
  • medical services
  • businesses
  • other establishments1

Second, it would establish a new commission, to be called the Civil and Human Rights Commission, which would enforce the law. Now, I am completely opposed to all these kinds of discrimination, and, as you might have guessed, I’m completely in favor of establishing any kind of new venue for me to complain about BIDs to.2 However, as is so often the case with our City Council, things are probably not exactly what they seem to be on the surface.
Continue reading Wesson, Cedillo, and Martinez Introduce Motion Instructing City Attorney To Write A Civil Rights Law Prohibiting Various Kinds Of Discrimination And Establishing A Commission To Enforce It — Demonstrating Yet Again How Our City Council Members Are Liars Even When Every Word Out Of Their Mendacious Mouths Is True

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CD9 Rep Curren Price Requires Developers Of South LA Honda Dealership To Contribute $50,000 Towards Consultant Fees For The Formation Of A New Business Improvement District As Condition Of Approving Development Agreement

Alleged bigamist and CD9 rep Curren Price to developers: Want to build a car dealership? Gimme $50,000 to pay for another damn business improvement district!
Maybe you’ve heard about the impending move of Honda of Downtown Los Angeles to a gigantic new five story building on Martin Luther King Blvd. at Hoover. Building projects of this size don’t happen in Los Angeles without a lot of involvement of the relevant Council District, which in this case is CD9, repped by Alleged bigamist Curren Price.1 The various negotiations and agreements are typically formalized in a development agreement between the City and the developer, and this is no exception. You can read the whole thing here, although it’s a heavyweight 35MB PDF download, so click with care.

And one of the typical elements of these development agreements is a statement of the public benefits that are expected to result from the project. These typically include financial contributions to this or that cause favored by the Councilmember, introduced by the phrase “Additionally, as consideration for this Agreement, Developer agrees to provide the following…” In this case, there are two of these (found on page 7 of the agreement, here’s a PDF of just the relevant page, also find a transcription after the break).

The first is $100,000 for present and future employees of Honda of DTLA to attend LA Trade Tech.2 The other contribution to the putative public benefit is $50,000 to pay a BID consultant for the formation of a new business improvement district in CD9. CD9 presently has three BIDs, which are the Figueroa Corridor BID, the Central Avenue Historic District BID, and the shadowy South Los Angeles Industrial Tract BID, so this would make a fourth.

Originally I thought that this new dealership would be located in the Figueroa Corridor BID, but a glance at their map reveals that the north side of MLK is the BID’s southern boundary, which is why, I suppose, that a new BID is necessary. Anyway, there’s no real moral to this story, although I admit it’s pretty jarring to see the formation of yet another damn BID pitched as a public benefit.

That principle, however, is even written into the Property and Business Improvement District Act of 1994, specifically e.g. at §36601(e), which claims implausibly that ” Property and business improvement districts formed throughout this state have conferred special benefits upon properties and businesses within their districts and have made those properties and businesses more useful…” so I guess it’s no surprise that Curren Price thinks BIDs are good. Anyway, it is always useful to have more information about how and why the LA City government forms new BIDs and pays its BID consultants. Turn the page for a transcription of the relevant parts of the development agreement.
Continue reading CD9 Rep Curren Price Requires Developers Of South LA Honda Dealership To Contribute $50,000 Towards Consultant Fees For The Formation Of A New Business Improvement District As Condition Of Approving Development Agreement

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Department Of Neighborhood Empowerment Recommends That Online Voting In Future Neighborhood Council Elections Be Optional

Background: You can read my previous stories on the Skid Row Neighborhood Council formation effort and also see Jason McGahan’s article in the Weekly and Gale Holland’s article in the Times for more mainstream perspectives.

Yesterday the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment submitted a report on online voting in neighborhood council elections to the Los Angeles City Council’s Health, Education, and Neighborhood Councils Committee.1 Here’s a link to the report, but be careful as it’s a massive PDF. After the great injustice and great pain caused by José Huizar and DONE by imposing online voting on the Skid Row Neighborhood Council effort one might think that DONE would have displayed some consciousness of the damage they’d created.

But that didn’t happen. In an unfortunately characteristic display of block-headed indifference to both morality and reality, the sole lesson DONE seems to have learned is that online voting increases voter participation:

The potential of online voting and voter registration to engage more stakeholders in Neighborhood Council elections was clear in the 2016 pilot as noted in the January 17, 2017 report and confirmed in the subdivision election for Skid Row Neighborhood Council this year where 1,388 votes were cast online out of a total of 1,592.

It’s disgusting indeed that they don’t even mention the fact that online voting increases participation among non-homeless people while actively decreasing it among the homeless, even though they are well aware of this fact. And their recommendation to the City Council, which will almost surely be adopted verbatim? It’s that online voting should not be imposed on any other neighborhood councils but that they be allowed to opt into it if they so choose:

[DONE recommends that Council i]nstruct the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment and Office of the City Clerk to make online voting an option available for the Neighborhood Councils whose online voting platforms are already built out …

Additionally, they recommend that neighborhood council terms be extended in order to match the new Los Angeles city election schedule. Turn the page for a transcription of the summary of the report
Continue reading Department Of Neighborhood Empowerment Recommends That Online Voting In Future Neighborhood Council Elections Be Optional

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