John Walker Of The Studio City BID Asked Rita Moreno Of The Clerk’s Office For Advice On A CPRA Request I Made And She Gave Him A Detailed, Thoughtful, Largely Correct Response Despite The Fact That Doing So Directly Contradicts Her Boss, The Mendacious Ms. Holly Wolcott, Who Has Asserted Time And Again That “the Clerk’s office [does not] have the authority to control/direct the records management practices of … BIDs”

In the great and good1 City of Los Angeles, business improvement districts are overseen by the City Clerk‘s office. They have a whole subsection of their website about BIDs; how to form one, what they are, and so on. And not only that, but as part of their oversight process, each BID signs a contract with the City Clerk’s office. These are all about the same as one another, and if you want to look at one, here’s a link to the Studio City BID’s contract.2

And, like every one of these contracts between the City and its BIDs, this one contains, in Section 16.3, the following fairly unequivocal requirement: “… Corporation and the Board of Directors are also subject to and must comply with the California Public Records Act.” Finally, buried deep down in this website, they have published a stunning little item called the Service Operations Summary, which purports to explain the City’s role in relation to its BIDs.

In particular, in Section 5, this document claims that:3 “THE [CLERK’S] OFFICE PROVIDES CONTINUOUS CONTRACT COMPLIANCE ASSISTANCE. Staff monitors the use of revenue in order to ensure that assessments paid by district members are used appropriately and in accordance with contractual, budgetary, statutory and City regulations and procedures.”

Now, it’s a tragic aspect of the CPRA that the only remedy for noncompliance that the legislature has seen fit to provide is a lawsuit. However, it seems at least plausible from the foregoing that if a BID is not complying with the CPRA, it’s the duty of the office of the Clerk to ensure that they do comply with it. Acting on this theory, and hoping to avoid a bunch of damn lawsuits,4 once upon a time in 2016 I tried to get Ms. Holly Wolcott to mediate between me and uppity non-CPRA-compliant BIDs.

But she, almost certainly acting on the advice of rogue deputy city attorney Michael Joseph Dundas, denied that the City had any power whatsoever to compel BIDs to comply with the law, despite what the above-quoted Service Operations Summary claimed. Despite the fact that the City has a contract with each BID and the contract requires CPRA compliance. And she didn’t just deny it, she denied it vehemently:, stating in an email to me5 that:“…the Clerk’s office [does not] have the authority to control/direct the records management practices of the various BIDs which are entities wholly separate from the City.”

Anyway, a couple weeks ago, I sent a CPRA request to the Studio City BID, asking for a bunch of stuff. When the material showed up yesterday, I found an exchange between John Walker and Rita Moreno, a City Clerk staffer in charge of many aspects of BIDs, discussing my request. Basically he was all like do we have to do it because expensive and time-consuming. And she was all like … well, turn the page to read all the emails and see exactly what she was all like, but suffice it to say she was all like DIRECTING him to do it because of the law. That is, she was doing precisely what her boss, the famous Ms. Holly Wolcott, said that the City would never do and didn’t even have the power to do.
Continue reading John Walker Of The Studio City BID Asked Rita Moreno Of The Clerk’s Office For Advice On A CPRA Request I Made And She Gave Him A Detailed, Thoughtful, Largely Correct Response Despite The Fact That Doing So Directly Contradicts Her Boss, The Mendacious Ms. Holly Wolcott, Who Has Asserted Time And Again That “the Clerk’s office [does not] have the authority to control/direct the records management practices of … BIDs”

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Robert Arcos, Candidate For LAPD Chief, Not Only Used To Run With The CRASH Unit Back In The Rampart Scandal Days, But As Of 2015 He Was Still Attending CRASH Alumni Reunions At The Freaking City Club Of Los Angeles

If you’re reading this blog you probably care about Los Angeles. And if you care about Los Angeles you probably know about the Rampart Scandal. And if you know about the Rampart Scandal, you probably know about Community Resources Against Street Hoodlums, better known, of course, in the weirdo heavily-armed-frat-boy culture of the LAPD, as CRASH.

And if you know about all that stuff… well, maybe you still don’t know, because I didn’t, that many CRASH alums have moved on to bigger and better things in the LAPD. For instance, our old friend Peter Zarcone, late of Hollywood Division but now cracking skulls for the man out on 77th Street, was in CRASH. And not only him, but also Deputy Chief Robert “Bobby” Arcos, now running for Chief of the whole damn show, used to run with the CRASHies.

And it’s a legit question, really, how it was that he was a senior lead officer back in the day, and all his subordinates1 were out stealing cocaine and falsifying evidence and beating suspects within an inch of their lives and whatever else it was that they got up to out there in the Rampart Division, and he had no clue that any of this was going on? It kind of sheds a negative light on his leadership ability, does it not?2 Is this the guy we want running the LAPD?

And it’s not even like Bobby Arcos has left the bad old days behind. The inspiration for this post is an email I just received from the LAPD.3 It’s from long-time Zarcone wingman Alex Baez organizing a reunion of CRASH officers to be held in 2015 at the City Club of Los Angeles. Zarcone was invited, and Chief-to-be Arcos was invited as well.

The email is pretty amusing, what with the detailed dress code of the City Club that everyone’s going to have to adhere to, and there’s a transcription after the break as always. But what’s more interesting is why Bobby Arcos thought those bad old days in CRASH were something to get together with friends and drinks and reminisce about. It doesn’t sound much like he’s moved beyond, does it? If I were going to hire him as Chief, I’d want him to come totally clean about what happened back then, what he knew and when he knew it, and so on. And I’d want him to quit going to the damn reunions.
Continue reading Robert Arcos, Candidate For LAPD Chief, Not Only Used To Run With The CRASH Unit Back In The Rampart Scandal Days, But As Of 2015 He Was Still Attending CRASH Alumni Reunions At The Freaking City Club Of Los Angeles

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Highland Park BID Executive Director Misty Iwatsu Wanted To Apply For A Job In Culver City But Thought Culver City Is Part Of Los Angeles — Thank Goodness The Leaders Of Los Angeles Have Chosen To Appoint To Its Positions Of Influence And Power Persons Of Such Deep Wisdom And Knowledge About The Politics, Society, And History Of Our City!

Tonight I have for you another juicy morsel from the recently announced set of emails from the Highland Park BID. Our story begins with this email from the BID Consortium to all of its zombie-like followers who, it seems, include Misty Iwatsu. The email was a listing of job opportunities for the LA BIDdie community, ensubjectified “Announcement:::BID Opportunities” and containing, in pertinent part, the following likely little slab of puckey:

Culver City Arts District BID – Executive Director

The Culver City Arts District is looking to hire a part-time Executive Director to help manage the programs and Board. The position will only be about 20-25 hours a month ($45-50 an hour). They are hoping to find someone that can assist with the business outreach, events, board administration, oversee a marketing consultant and generally keep things humming along. It is fairly low-key – and relatively flexible – though the board is looking for a self-starter with exceptional communication skills that can keep things moving along without a lot of oversight.

Contact: Elaine Gerety Warner (elaine.warner@culvercitv.org)

And friend Misty Iwatsu evidently read that and thought something along the lines of “I’m gonna cut me a slice of that cake!” because, somewhat less than three days later, she sent this cheerful little missive off to City of Los Angeles employed BIDmeisterin Rita Moreno, whom so many of our BIDs rely on for her good sense and relative sanity,1 asking for some job-related info and, in the process, fatally revealing the fact that she thought Culver City was somehow a part of Los Angeles when everybody who’s actually paying attention knows it’s its own damn place, got their own damn mayor, their own damn city council, their own damn muni code. It’s just like a real city, only smaller!

As usual, turn the page for a transcription, more emails, and the usual mockery!
Continue reading Highland Park BID Executive Director Misty Iwatsu Wanted To Apply For A Job In Culver City But Thought Culver City Is Part Of Los Angeles — Thank Goodness The Leaders Of Los Angeles Have Chosen To Appoint To Its Positions Of Influence And Power Persons Of Such Deep Wisdom And Knowledge About The Politics, Society, And History Of Our City!

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Highland Park BID Accused Of Promoting Gentrification By Among Other Things Asking The City To Enforce Anti-Mural Laws And Selectively Promoting White-Serving Businesses — Board Of Directors Spy On Activists’ Facebook Comments — All Of Which Sheds Some Light On The Exceedly Underappreciated Facts That (A) Property-Based BIDs Do Not In Any Way Represent Businesses — They Represent Property Owners And Only Property Owners and (B) The City Is More Complicit In Gentrification Than Anyone Will Admit

One purpose of this post is to announce the availability of a bunch of emails from the Highland Park BID from 2017 and early 2018. The Highland Park BID is a new client1 of mine, and thus far they, in the person of their executive director Misty Iwatsu, have been exceedingly cooperative, for which I thank them very much.

There’s a lot of interesting material in there,2 and I’ll be writing about at least a few more items over the coming weeks, but most interesting of all, I think, is some material from November 2017 about antigentrification activists in Highland Park and their understanding of the BID’s role in social cleansing for the sake of financial gain.3

This story provides an excellent example of what pernicious gentrification looks like in Los Angeles, how it is covertly but significantly supported by the City government, and how property-based BIDs do not care a whit about the interests of business owners per se. They only care about the interests of the owners of commercial property who, in this City at least, are predominately white. Turn the page for all the details!
Continue reading Highland Park BID Accused Of Promoting Gentrification By Among Other Things Asking The City To Enforce Anti-Mural Laws And Selectively Promoting White-Serving Businesses — Board Of Directors Spy On Activists’ Facebook Comments — All Of Which Sheds Some Light On The Exceedly Underappreciated Facts That (A) Property-Based BIDs Do Not In Any Way Represent Businesses — They Represent Property Owners And Only Property Owners and (B) The City Is More Complicit In Gentrification Than Anyone Will Admit

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Letters Of Support For SB 946, Senator Ricardo Lara’s Street Vending Regulation Bill, Begin To Arrive At The Capitol — We Have Copies!

As I’m sure you’re aware, the City of Los Angeles has been trying for years now to develop a framework for legalized sidewalk vending, but the process has been so thoroughly hijacked by the City’s Bad BIDdies that we’re going to be lucky if sidewalk vendors get out of this process merely no worse off than they are now.

Just for instance, if the BIDdies have their way, and if it’s left up to their tame councilpets why would they not, they’re going to have vendors on their knees begging the owner of McDonalds can they please sell pupusas outside her damn store and they will have to pay BIDs for the right to vend inside the BID’s territory. These are merely two of the many, many abominable restrictions that BIDdies would dearly love to impose upon our City’s beloved sidewalk vendors.

Well, seeing the years-long series of episodes of confusion and terror that the City of Los Angeles has been putting itself through with respect to this issue, Senator Ricardo Lara decided that enough was, as they say, enough, and introduced SB 946, which would severely limit the ways in which cities are allowed to regulate street vending. The incomparable Emily Alpert Reyes recently published a fine article on this bill in the Times.

One of the most striking limitations is found in the cartoon above, but they’re all very powerful, very sane requirements, and they would, it turns out, completely gut the anti-vendor, anti-human traps and snares that the BIDdies have so successfully schemed to embed in the City’s proposal. Thus, naturally, the BIDdies are gearing up for a fight.

And we mustn’t underestimate the power that these BIDdies have to torpedo state-level legislation when it threatens their weirdo parochial interests. Last year, e.g., we saw them absolutely destroy a very sane, very modest, improvement to the California Public Records Act, merely because they’re a bunch of damn whiny-babies who can’t or won’t live up to contracts that they themselves signed willingly.

In any case, these battles are fought and won or lost at the state level via letters of support or opposition, which are collected by the bill’s author and are available on request. So the other day I asked Lara’s staff to send them to me, and this afternoon they did! I set up a page on Archive.Org to collect them. As of today, there are only five, and they’re all in support. Expect this to change, and I’ll have copies here as they arrive.

Turn the page for links to all five of them and a transcription of one of them. I’m sure no one will mind if you want to appropriate some of the ideas and/or language for your own letter, which you can send to your legislator(s) after locating them using this web page!
Continue reading Letters Of Support For SB 946, Senator Ricardo Lara’s Street Vending Regulation Bill, Begin To Arrive At The Capitol — We Have Copies!

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Larchmont Village BID Sued To Enforce Compliance With The California Public Records Act

It’s been two-ish years now since I sent my first CPRA request to the kooky little South Central Hollywood gang of white supremacist law-flouting gangster thugs known to the world as the Larchmont Village Business Improvement District.

That first time they ignored me and they ignored me and they ignored me until finally I had to hire a lawyer and pry the goodies out of their creepy grasping fingers by main force. But, as we know, the thug life is a powerful draw, and gangsters get hooked on lawbreaking like a drug. Despite being given every chance by society to reform their outlaw ways, these hardcore BIDdies sadly persisted in their chosen life of crime.

As you may recall, they’ve never managed to comply with the damn Brown Act, despite occasional signals that either they were going to start complying or maybe that the City of Los Angeles was going to force them to comply. And after that one time in 2016 they’ve never managed to comply with the CPRA again. I sent them a few requests in May 2017 which they ignored and ignored and ignored.

And so, as before, I hired a lawyer. And the lawyer filed this petition in Los Angeles County Superior Court. And served the petition on Tom Kneafsey earlier this week. And served a letter to Cap’n Tom along with the petition. I wish there was some way to get these BIDdies to follow the law other than by filing petitions against them but the State Legislature, in its inscrutable wisdom, has made this the only remedy. Sad but true. Stay tuned for more information and turn the page for some excerpts from the petition.
Continue reading Larchmont Village BID Sued To Enforce Compliance With The California Public Records Act

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Judge James Chalfant Issues Final Judgment In Okulick Petition Against The Venice Beach BID — The News Is Not Good, Friends, Even Though It Seemed Last Month Like It Was Going To Be


I created a page on Archive.Org to collect pleadings from the Okulicks’ case, and you can find it right here. Unfortunately right now I only have the original petition and yesterday’s tentative ruling, since adopted as final. This article from the Times is also useful background.

Yesterday afternoon the final hearing in the Okulick’s lawsuit against the Venice Beach BID took place before Judge James C. Chalfant in Department 85 of the Stanley Mosk Courthouse of the Los Angeles County Superior Court. One of the petitioners’ claims was that BIDs don’t give any special benefits to property owners whose parcels are zoned commercial but are used solely as owner-occupied residential.

Last month, it seems, Chalfant agreed with the petitioners, stating in his tentative ruling at that time that:

The Petition for writ of mandate is granted in part. Only the portion of the assessment directed to properties used by their owner exclusively as their residence is unlawful. A writ shall issue directing a refund of that portion of the assessment and Petitioners are entitled to a declaratory judgment to that effect. In all other respects, the Petition is denied.

However, it seems that the respondents, i.e. the City of Los Angeles and the Venice Beach BID, convinced him to hold off on making this ruling final to allow for another round of briefing just on the specific part where he found in favor of the Okulicks. I don’t have copies of those briefs, but yesterday’s hearing consisted of the oral argument surrounding them. Whatever the City of LA put in its brief did the nasty trick, evidently.

By yesterday Chalfant had changed his mind completely, and nothing that the petitioners’ lawyer, the brave, the honorable Geoffrey T. Stover, could say would sway the judge. Turn the page for the money quote from yesterday’s bad news tentative ruling and a little bit of amateur discussion based on notes I took at the hearing.
Continue reading Judge James Chalfant Issues Final Judgment In Okulick Petition Against The Venice Beach BID — The News Is Not Good, Friends, Even Though It Seemed Last Month Like It Was Going To Be

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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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Burbank BID Violated Brown Act In 2016 By Voting To Donate $50,000 To A Political Campaign Without Having Agendized The Matter — Local Activist David Spell Calls For Disestablishment — Burbank City Attorney Forced To Address The Question Of Whether BID Assessments Are Public Funds — Answers With A Resounding “Maybe”!


So it turns out that a major scandal involving a business improvement district has been brewing up in Burbank since September 2016. The short version of the story is that a Burbank BID violated the Brown Act and may have violated State laws forbidding the use of public funds in political campaigns. A local activist, David Spell, turned them in to the LA County DA and the Fair Political Practices Commission.1

In December 2016 the Burbank City Attorney published a fascinating report on the episode,2 which may shine a great deal of light on the legal status of BID assessments as public funds. Furthermore, Spell called for the Burbank City Council to hold a disestablishment hearing as required by Streets and Highways Code §36670(a)(1).3

If this money does turn out to be public, a lot of really interesting consequences would ensue, which is another part of what makes this episode so important. As always when BIDs and the law intersect, the details are unavoidably technical, which is no doubt why the L.A. Times skips over them and also why I’m hiding them below the fold!
Continue reading Burbank BID Violated Brown Act In 2016 By Voting To Donate $50,000 To A Political Campaign Without Having Agendized The Matter — Local Activist David Spell Calls For Disestablishment — Burbank City Attorney Forced To Address The Question Of Whether BID Assessments Are Public Funds — Answers With A Resounding “Maybe”!

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Business Improvement Districts in Los Angeles — Satan, Your Kingdom Must Come Down!