Fashion District BID Executive Director Kent Smith’s Complete July 2015 Emails Now Available. FDBID Managing Director Rena Leddy Wins MK.org Excellence in BID Transparency Award!

Rena Leddy headshot
Rena Leddy, Managing Director of the Fashion District BID and MK.org CPRA Hero of the Fricking Year!!
Just this morning I received, via Dropbox, every one of Kent Smith’s emails for the month of July 2015. You can see all 1098 of them on the archive. Most of it’s dismal mass-blasted junk, of course, but even a lot of that is interesting. E.g. search in there for CCA (Central City Association) to see bunches of their bulletins, like this one, advertising special guests Jessica Borek and Matt Rodriguez. Unfortunately there’s probably no way to find out what was said there, but at least we know it happened.
Yet another smoking gun, as if it weren't clear enough that Marie Rumsey is a big-time lawbreaker.
Yet another smoking gun, as if it weren’t clear enough that Marie Rumsey is a big-time lawbreaker.

The most amazing thing about this document dump is the formatting. They’re PDFs, which often is a bad sign for emails, although these are text-based1 so they can be searched reasonably effectively. Too many agencies think somehow that a scanned PDF of a printed email satisfies CPRA’s requirement that electronic documents be produced in native formats. These PDFs are on a level I’ve never seen before, though. First of all, the links are live, including the links to remote images. Also the links to attachments are live and the attachments are embedded in the PDFs. For instance, look at this email about anti-street-vending strategies from Marie Rumsey to various people. It has an actual schedule of actual meetings with Councilmembers that CCA set up for street vending opponents attached, and you can click on it and read it! Or here it is if you’re lazy. This is the real deal! Look at the properties in that last item and see that Marie Rumsey spent 2015 breaking the revolving door ordinance to an even greater extent than anyone here imagined. Also take a look at this email from Jessica Borek to the gang which comes with a copy of a Power Point thing by Jessica Borek about the Coalition to Save Small Business strategy as well as a marked-up copy of ELACC’s proposed framework. This is the real deal, friends! It’s what CPRA was actually meant to yield.
Continue reading Fashion District BID Executive Director Kent Smith’s Complete July 2015 Emails Now Available. FDBID Managing Director Rena Leddy Wins MK.org Excellence in BID Transparency Award!

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Federal Lawsuit Filed Today by LA Community Action Network, LA Catholic Worker, Four Homeless Plaintiffs, Against City of LA and Three Named LAPD Officers Over Property Confiscations, Wrongful Arrests, Endangerment of Life

California-centralA lawsuit filed today in Federal Court on behalf of the Los Angeles Community Action Network, LA Catholic Worker, and four homeless plaintiffs charges the City of Los Angeles along with LAPD officers Andrew Mathes, Sgt. Hamer, and Sgt. Richter1 of endangering the lives of the plaintiffs by wrongfully arresting them and by wrongfully confiscating and destroying their property, including medicine, blankets, tents, and other items necessary to the support of life. The plaintiffs’ attorneys are Carol Sobel and associates, Fernando Gaytan and Shayla Myers of the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, and Paul Hoffman and Catherine Sweetser. The inimitable Gale Holland has an excellent write-up in the Times but, as usual, it doesn’t include a link to the actual court filings, which is where I can help. The suit isn’t particularly on our BID-beat, but I’m going to get all the filings anyway, so I might as well make them available here. There are some excerpts after the break.
Continue reading Federal Lawsuit Filed Today by LA Community Action Network, LA Catholic Worker, Four Homeless Plaintiffs, Against City of LA and Three Named LAPD Officers Over Property Confiscations, Wrongful Arrests, Endangerment of Life

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Analysis of Public Urination Arrest Reports Reveals BID Patrol Ignorance of Meaning of Word “Public,” Illuminates Importance of Rule of Law in a Free Society

Public urine in Hollywood belongs in a public restroom.  But what counts as public?
Public urine in Hollywood belongs in a public restroom. But what counts as public?
While poking around BID Patrol arrest reports recently obtained from the HPOA by our faithful correspondent, we noticed a weird, repetitive quirk in the ones relating to LAMC 41.47.2, which forbids public urination. The arresting security guards uniformly either ask their victim if he or she knew of the existence of public restrooms close by or else they note in their report that there were public restrooms close by. Now, whenever one finds this kind of textual consistency in police reports it’s possible to be sure of two things. First, there’s some element of the crime that they’re trying to make sure is definitely established. Second, that they’re probably lying. In this case, it was hard to see what element might be related to the proximity of public restrooms. The law doesn’t mention them, and is not subtle in the least:

No person shall urinate or defecate in or upon any public street, sidewalk, alley, plaza, beach, park, public building or other publicly maintained facility or place, or in any place open to the public or exposed to public view, except when using a urinal, toilet or commode located in a restroom, or when using a portable or temporary toilet or other facility designed for the sanitary disposal of human waste and which is enclosed from public view.

But a little googling revealed the explanation, among other interesting things. First, public urination wasn’t against the law in the city of Los Angeles until 2003. We’re guessing that there was no pressing need to make it so because vagrancy laws could be used against public urinators as desired until they were definitively destroyed in 1983.1 So maybe outlawing public urination wasn’t as urgent as, e.g., squashing drinking beer in the park (which was outlawed in LA only in 1983) and also, the LA Times suggested that previously public urinators were charged with littering, but that the City Attorney decided that that was bogus. In any case, the Council file on the matter shows, surprisingly, that it took more than four years to get the prohibition passed into law. There doesn’t seem to have been any public discussion of the matter before it passed, either, although it may be just that the online materials from that long ago are fragmentary.

Second, the LA Times article quoted the objections of members of the Los Angeles Community Action Network and other homeless advocates to a law which criminalized essential bodily functions of the homeless, and in response, after the law was passed, according to the Times, “Council members pledged that people would be prosecuted only in cases when there is a public toilet nearby that they failed to use.” So this is why, no doubt, the BID Patrol feels that it has to note the locations of nearby “public” restrooms in its arrest reports. Their weirdo interpretation of the meaning of “public” also shows why it’s necessary to put things like the “public restrooms available” pledge in the law itself. Actually, once the law is passed, it doesn’t matter what Councilmembers say they meant it to mean, it only matters what it says. This is how the rule of law works in a free society. Also, isn’t it very suspicious but unfortunately not surprising that they put the fuzzy-wuzzy warmsy-hugsy interpretation of the law in the paper but not in the statute books?

And that’s not the worst thing about this nonsense. Even if the City Council intended the law to be enforced this way, even if the freaking Mayor ordered the LAPD only to enforce the law this way, none of that would reign in the BID Patrol. They are essentially beyond the control of public policy and beholden only to the written letter of the law.2 As we’ve discussed before, according to LAPD Commander Andrew Smith, if a citizen’s arrest is made, the LAPD must accept custody of the arrestee even if the arrest was made contrary to public policy.

We look at some specific examples after the break, and also provide links to all mentions of the words “public” and “restroom” in both the 2007 and the 2013 BID Patrol arrest reports so you can see for yourself what’s going on.
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2008 Selma Park Arrest Reports (and more) Now Available

BID Patrol officer Robert E. Reyes (badge #117, on left) illegally arrested a man in Selma Park in 2008.
BID Patrol officer Robert E. Reyes (badge #117, on left) illegally arrested a man in Selma Park in 2008.

We’ve been writing for 6 months now about how the HPOA put up phony signs in Selma Park in Hollywood (illegally) declaring it off-limits to adults unaccompanied by children and how the BID Patrol spent the next eight years falsely arresting people and ejecting them from the park, until we got the signs taken down by the City in September 2015. Kerry Morrison told our faithful correspondent that “A/I says that after looking into this, it is unlikely that any arrests ever were made by A/I in Selma Park with specific regard to the signs and penal code section you recite (as opposed to public urination, drinking, and other reasons)…”
Man arrested in 2008 for being in Selma Park without a child.
Man arrested in 2008 for being in Selma Park without a child.

Well, we’ve been receiving the BID Patrol’s arrest reports and daily activity logs for a while now, and recently we obtained the complete 2008 set (arrests here and daily logs here). We’ve known that Kerry’s claim was wrong for a while now (e.g. see here) and the 2008 materials provide even more evidence that she was misled by Andrews International1regarding their course of conduct in illegally arresting multiple people in the park over the years.

Note that none, not one, of the following people appears on the list of cases originating at Selma Park that our correspondent obtained from the City Attorney’s office. Keep that in mind while you read the arrest reports. They didn’t even have enough of a case to be referred for prosecution. Read on for specifics.
Continue reading 2008 Selma Park Arrest Reports (and more) Now Available

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Stop LAPD Spying CPRA Case Trial Setting Conference Continued Until April 7, 2016

slsc.logoPlaintiff Stop LAPD Spying Coalition and respondent City of Los Angeles agreed in a stipulation filed with LA County Superior Court on March 3, 2016, to continue the trial setting conference, originally scheduled for March 7, 2016, until April 7, 2016. The reasons given in the order (with attendant whereases) include:

WHEREAS, after filing of the complaint, the Respondent has produced two sets of responsive documents to Petitioners and continues to search for responsive documents;

WHEREAS, the parties are engaged in ongoing informal discussions about further production…

It’s my impression that if filing a suit encourages the respondent to cough up the goodies then they’re still on the hook for the court costs and attorney’s fees. So it’s fitting and proper that the City is producing documents and talking to the plaintiffs, but they would have saved everyone a lot of time and trouble but just following the law in the first place.

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BID Patrol Prosecution/Arrest Ratio Very Low as Shown by Top Arrestees 2007-2013: From 44 Frequently Arrested People with 1144 Arrests, 407 Brought to City Attorney, Only 185 Actually Prosecuted

Mike Feuer's office evidently exercises more prosecutorial discretion than average, at least when it comes to the BID Patrol, which may not be saying much...
Mike Feuer’s office evidently exercises more prosecutorial discretion than average, at least when it comes to the BID Patrol, which may not be saying much…
I recently obtained a 2013 list of people most arrested by the BID Patrol beginning in 2007. Since Kerry Morrison has told me1 that neither the HPOA nor Andrews International tracks outcomes of arrests made by the BID Patrol, I asked the City Attorney to run a report on all cases involving these people sent to them for prosecution.2 I subsequently tallied up the arrests and the referrals for the time period by hand3 and it turns out that the vast majority of cases involving BID Patrol arrests are not even referred for prosecution, and among those that are, over half are rejected. The data is incomplete and subject to some interpretation, but it appears that less than 20% of these cases are actually prosecuted.4 In particular, there are 1144 arrests of these 44 people between 2007 and 2013. Of these, no more than 407 (35.6%) were referred for prosecution. Of those cases, 222 were rejected for various reasons and the rest seem to have been prosecuted.

This is an astonishingly low rate if one thinks that the purpose of arresting people is to stop them from breaking the law, and it’s harmful both to the people arrested and to society at large. The incomparable Alexandra Napatoff, writing about misdemeanor convictions (although her argument is as strong regarding the arrests themselves, and even more so if the conviction rate is so very low), puts it like this;

Because the misdemeanor world is so large, its cultural disregard for evidence and innocence has pervasive ripple effects, not the least of which is the cynical lesson in civics that it teaches millions of Americans every year. In these ways, the misdemeanor process has become an influential gateway, sweeping up innocent as well as guilty on a massive scale and fundamentally shaping not only the ways we produce criminal convictions but also who is likely to sustain them.
Continue reading BID Patrol Prosecution/Arrest Ratio Very Low as Shown by Top Arrestees 2007-2013: From 44 Frequently Arrested People with 1144 Arrests, 407 Brought to City Attorney, Only 185 Actually Prosecuted

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Zarcone Transferred from Hollywood to 77th Street Division, Late-Night BID Patrol Hours Torpedoed. Steve Seyler: “It Sort of Took us Off Our Mission…”

Steve Seyler at the March 8, 2016 CHC Board meeting, announcing that there will be no late-night BID Patrol.
Steve Seyler at the March 8, 2016 CHC Board meeting, announcing that there will be no late-night BID Patrol.

Recall that, at its Board meeting on February 18, 2016, the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance spent over 40 minutes discussing LAPD’s request to have the BID Patrol work until 4 a.m. on weekends. Andrews International VP Bill Farrar recounted a meeting with CD13 representative Mitch O’Farrell, claiming that the CM was eager to cover the costs. This led me to write to O’Farrell opposing this plan. Now, at the Central Hollywood Coalition Board meeting that took place on Tuesday, March 8, Steve Seyler and Kerry Morrison announced that, not only are the plans to extend the BID Patrol’s hours cancelled, but Peter Zarcone, formerly CO of LAPD’s Hollywood Division, has been transferred to 77th Street.
Continue reading Zarcone Transferred from Hollywood to 77th Street Division, Late-Night BID Patrol Hours Torpedoed. Steve Seyler: “It Sort of Took us Off Our Mission…”

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In 2007 the BID Patrol Steered Homeless Sidewalk Sleepers to Selma Park to Avoid Arrest Until December 19 When the Signs Were Up

Selma Park from the side of freedom; the inside.  Or, as Woody had it: As I went walking I saw a sign there And on the sign it said "No Trespassing." But on the other side it didn't say nothing, That side was made for you and me.
Selma Park from the side of freedom; the inside:

As I went walking I saw a sign there
And on the sign it said “No Trespassing.”
But on the other side it didn’t say nothing,
That side was made for you and me.

Late last week I obtained copies of the BID Patrol’s 2007 arrest reports and daily logs, and they shed some interesting light on the early days of the whole Selma Park fiasco. First of all, Footbeat 2’s log for December 19, 2007 reveals that the BID’s fake signs went up on or before that day:

1345/1355
EXTRA PATROL: 6765 SELMA AVE; SELMA PARK. CHECKED LOCATION FOR VIOLATORS OF NEW SIGNS POSTED PROHIBITING ADULTS WITHOUT CHILDREN AT PARK. NOTE 3 (H) MALES IN PARK IN VIOLATION AND ADVISED RE: NEW POSTED SIGNS. SUSPECTS DEPARTED WITHOUT INCIDENT.

Interestingly, this was foreshadowed as early as September, 2007. For instance, we find in the Footbeat 4 log for September 27, 2007 that OFFICERS CONTACTED SEVERAL HOMELESS RE: ISSUES IN THE PARK AND SURROUNDING AREA. WE ADVISED THE SUBJECTS RE: THE POSSIBILITY OF THE PARK BEING FOR CHILDREN ONLY. (END 1830 HOURS).

But the really unexpected fact I found in this material is that before the signs went up the BID Patrol actually encouraged homeless people to sleep in the park rather than on the sidewalk, where they were subject to arrest for violating LAMC 41.18(d). Now, this would certainly make sense in a sane world, since it was (and is) legal to sleep in the park, but not on the sidewalk. However, given the bitching and moaning that the BID put up about park-sleeping and the illegal lengths they went to to get the park declared off-limits to humans, I can’t help but suspect some kind of narrative-creating subterfuge here. It seems quite shady to intentionally fill the park up with homeless sleepers and then use the large numbers of homeless sleepers as a reason to get the park closed against them. It’s just another example of zillionaire ethics, I guess. See after the break for the evidence.
Continue reading In 2007 the BID Patrol Steered Homeless Sidewalk Sleepers to Selma Park to Avoid Arrest Until December 19 When the Signs Were Up

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February 5, 2003: The Very First Known Public Records Act Ever Received by the HPOA and Kerry Morrison was Already Offended

Kerry Morrison on February 18, 2016, the 13th anniversary of her receipt of an offensive letter from a lawyer regarding the very first known CPRA request to the HPOA.
Kerry Morrison on February 18, 2016, the 13th anniversary of her receipt of an “offensive” letter from a lawyer regarding the very first known CPRA request to the HPOA.
Electronic versions of the HPOA Board of Directors minutes from 1996 through 2006 haven’t been retained by the HPOA, so while waiting on physical copies1 to publish here, I’m taking advantage of good old section 6253(a) of CPRA,2 which tells us that:

Public records are open to inspection at all times during the office hours of the state or local agency and every person has a right to inspect any public record, except as hereafter provided.

Consequently, last Thursday I went over to HPOA secret headquarters on Hollywood Boulevard to read through this material, something I plan to make a regular habit of doing.
Justice Walter Croskey wrote the landmark 2001 opinion in Epstein v. Hollywood Entertainment District BID.
Justice Walter Croskey wrote the landmark 2001 opinion in Epstein v. Hollywood Entertainment District BID.
And there is much fascinating material there, not least of which is the complete unfolding in real time of Aaron Epstein’s epic lawsuit against the HPOA. This ended, of course, in a landmark 2001 decision by the Second District of the California Court of Appeal making BIDs subject to both the Brown Act and CPRA. That story is woven through years and years worth of minutes, so it must wait for the copies to arrive. However, I was able to photograph3 a description of the very first CPRA request known to have been received by the HPOA (on February 5, 2003).

Read on for what it said:
Continue reading February 5, 2003: The Very First Known Public Records Act Ever Received by the HPOA and Kerry Morrison was Already Offended

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Downtown Center BID PR Materials from Macy + Associates, Hollywood BID Patrol 2007 Arrest Reports and Daily Logs

Screenshot from 2016-03-04 19:25:18Well, getting records out of the Downtown Center BID is like pulling teeth from a fricking hippopotamus,1 but after almost four months and one exceedingly detailed complaint to the Los Angeles City Clerk about their general bloody-minded uncooperative stonewalling, they have released a bunch of records relating to their public relations firm, Macy + Associates.2 You can find this material here on the Archive. Note that they’re, as usual, mercilessly and certainly illegally redacted. I’m working on this, but I don’t expect any results quickly.

Also, the big prize, obtained yesterday, is 2007 arrest reports and daily activity logs from the Andrews International BID Patrol. These are also on the Archive:

There are almost certainly significantly many arrest reports missing, and some details on this may be found after the break if you’re interested.
Continue reading Downtown Center BID PR Materials from Macy + Associates, Hollywood BID Patrol 2007 Arrest Reports and Daily Logs

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