Walking Around with Fante and Bukowski

walking.around.with.fante.and.bukowski.coverWalking Around with Fante and Bukowski is a new collection of essays by Patricio Maya, published by Grady Miller Books. If you’re interested in the literature and culture of Los Angeles you will certainly find something in here that will interest you. Although there’s not much in here that aligns explicitly with the subject matter of MK.org, there is plenty of relevant background material for the student of abusive political power in Los Angeles.

In the title essay, Maya recounts a journey he took following Arturo Bandini’s epic journey to Long Beach in search of Vera Rifkin. One of Maya’s themes here is what he calls “the tenuous dimension between books and reality”:

You walk downtown or on Wilshire, half stoned, asking yourself if here was where Nathanael West ate, if there was where William Saroyan brawled, if Bandini slept here, if Bukowski drank there. It is a kind of derangement. But there are worse ways to spend time when you are 19 years old.

Of course, if the BIDs had had their way it would have been where Nathanael West was arrested, where William Saroyan was arrested, and where Bandini was arrested. That’s the last I’ll say about that, read on.
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Kerry Morrison: Hollywood Businesses too Feeble to Survive Free Market Without Municipally Enforced Draconian Anticompetitive Pinko Racist Regulatory Capture

Street vendor in Manhattan destroying the prosperity of the city, laying waste to the comfort and privilege of rich white people, and generally ruining EVERYTHING!!
Street vendor in Manhattan destroying the prosperity of the city, laying waste to the comfort and privilege of rich white people, and generally ruining EVERYTHING! And now the city of Los Angeles intends to forcibly convert Hollywood into a cultural and economic wasteland like New York City by allowing such miscreants to operate with impunity on our streets. “Not on our watch,” say BIDs.
Street food is one of the signature pleasures of the great cosmopolitan cities of the world. Practically alone amongst its peers, though, Los Angeles forbids vending on its public rights of way. This is because there are really no bounds to the willingness of the economic elites of this city to prohibit anything that normal human beings enjoy if by doing so they can stick a dagger in the neck of the poor. They will certainly destroy the village in order to save it.
Hollywood BIDs destroying the city of Los Angeles in order to save it from its own misguided sense of sanity
Representative of the Hollywood BIDs metaphorically destroying the city of Los Angeles in order to save it from perceived (albeit delusionally) unintended consequences of an all-too-rare outburst of sanity with regard to its street-vending policy.

Case in point: the City Council recently began to discuss legalizing street vending in Los Angeles. Sane people everywhere rejoice at this attempt to allow civilization to flourish and also bring an estimated half-billion dollars worth of economic activity out of the shadows and onto the bottom line. There’s a hot dog in the public manger, though.

The BIDs and their minions have leapt into coordinated action! They are in a cyclonic tizzy, explaining fast and loud how the unintended consequences of the sane and harmless choice to legalize street vending will ruin everything. It will e.g. impoverish small businesses, encourage crime, cause the unauthorized commercial use of public trash cans, cause the unauthorized non-use of public trash cans, provide increased funding to criminal street gangs, encourage armed robbery, cause diseases, and even more stuff too weird to list here. Think we’re exaggerating? Read on!
Continue reading Kerry Morrison: Hollywood Businesses too Feeble to Survive Free Market Without Municipally Enforced Draconian Anticompetitive Pinko Racist Regulatory Capture

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The History of Sidewalk Obstruction Enforcement in Los Angeles (Part 1)

Jacob Kuhrts, 19th century LA councilman and either noble freedom fighter or monumentally self-righteous asshole, you decide.
Jacob Kuhrts, 19th century LA councilman and either noble freedom fighter or monumentally self-righteous asshole, you decide.
This is the first in an occasional series of posts examining various episodes from the rich and disturbing history of the criminalization of sidewalk use in Los Angeles. As we shall see, the sidewalks of our city have been a site of contention for well over a century.

We begin in January 1887 when, according to the Los Angeles Times,

There has been great complaint about the abominable fashion in which the sidewalks—especially at street corners—are blocked up by loafers and by thoughtless citizens; and the police have been ordered to enforce the ordinances and abate this nuisance.1

Even then, evidently, maybe especially then, an order to “enforce the ordinances” had a subtext. Ensuing events show that Officer Little didn’t understand these unspoken aspects:
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BID Patrollies Arrest Black Man for Any Random Thing that Pops Into Their Heads

BID patrollies preparing to arrest a man for blocking the sidewalk even though he is evidently not blocking the sidewalk.  Someone would later alter the charge to conform to reality.
BID patrollies preparing to arrest a man for blocking the sidewalk even though it is manifestly evident that he is not blocking the sidewalk. Someone would later alter the charge to conform to reality.
Watch the first minute of this video and see, in 2010, some BID Patrollies confront and accuse a man of “blocking the sidewalk”:

Officer: OK, so do me that favor and just get up and go somewhere cause you’re blocking the sidewalk.

Man: Not blocking the sidewalk, people got places to walk right past me.

Officer: You’re blocking the sidewalk.

Man: I’m not blocking nothing.

And you can see from the video that the man is not, in fact, blocking the sidewalk. But, unsurprisingly, the BID patrollies arrest him anyway.
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They Have Sown the Wind, and They Shall Reap the Whirlwind

The prophet Hosea explaining to Business Improvement Districts in Hollywood that the Lord is not so happy with their shenanigans
The prophet Hosea explaining unto Business Improvement Districts in Hollywood that the Lord is not pleased with their shenanigans
Today’s text, brothers and sisters, as we begin to return to action after celebrating the birth of our Lord and savior, is Hosea 8:1-7:

…[T]hey have transgressed my covenant, and trespassed against my law. Hollywood shall cry unto me, My God, we know thee. Hollywood hath cast off the thing that is good: the enemy shall pursue him. They have set up kings, but not by me: they have made princes, and I knew it not: of their silver and their gold have they made them idols, that they may be cut off… For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind…


Image of Hosea by Duccio di Buoninsegna is in the public domain and available via Wikimedia here.

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First Batch of BID Patrol Videos Available

LAPD officer tases prone, unresisting man on Hollywood Blvd. on December 17, 2009.
LAPD officer tases prone, unresisting man on Hollywood Blvd. on December 17, 2009 while the crowd of onlookers, many of them also sworn officers, do and say nothing about it.
Today I uploaded 14 videos obtained from the HPOA under the California Public Records Act. You can see them here or via the drop-down menu structure or here. There are more videos to follow, although probably not immediately.

No one here has had time to watch these thoroughly yet. If you see something we should write about please drop a line. Meanwhile, in this video from December 2009, you can see an LAPD officer calmly and deliberately use his taser on a prone, unresisting man (at 6:40), contrary to both human decency and LAPD policy (see §573 Use of Non-Lethal Control Devices). The victim’s last words before he’s tased? “I ain’t doing nothing.” And he ain’t, either.

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What Publicity Can Do

Business Improvement Districts crushing Hollywood under their golden heel, the oppression protected, enabled, and obscured by heavy thunderclouds.
Business Improvement Districts crushing Hollywood under their golden heel, their oppression protected, enabled, and obscured by heavy thunderclouds representing secrecy, regulatory capture, and impotent, sycophantic politicians.
Louis Brandeis famously stated that “Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman. And publicity has already played an important part in the struggle against the Money Trust.”1

We here at MK.org find that these words are as true now as they were 101 years ago. You will recall that we recently received a treasure trove of emails pursuant to a Public Records Act request to the HPOA. In these documents we’ve uncovered two very interesting remarks by Steve Seyler, most exalted pooh-bah of BID security.
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U.S. Army Veteran Complains About BID Patrol’s Reckless Firearms Behavior. Steve Seyler Dismisses Fears as “a tad over emotional.” Investigation Ongoing?

The BID patrol officer discussed in this post, his hand clearly on his gun.
The anonymous BID patrol officer discussed in this post, his hand clearly on his gun. Click and zoom to see more clearly.
On October 23, 2014, an Army veteran wrote to Devin Strecker of the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance, among others, the following words:

This morning on my way to work, I was standing waiting to cross the street when I look over and see the gentleman on the left in the picture attached, grasping his weapon as if to draw his fire arm all while chatting away with the gentleman on the right. As I continued to wait to cross the street, I noticed the gentleman on the left start to pull out actually draw his weapon about 4-5 inches out of his holster. All the while standing chatting with his partner. I am ex army infantry, when we even had our hand TOUCHING our holstered weapon, there better had been a life threatening reason to even touch our holstered weapon.

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Law Is Our Father and Mother, Whom We Will Not Dishonour

Thomas Carlyle in the act of weeping for the Hollywood Media District BID because they won't listen, they just won't listen...
Thomas Carlyle in the act of weeping for the Hollywood Media District BID because they won’t listen, they just won’t listen
These words Thomas Carlyle, in his great history of the French revolution, put into the mouths of a vast mob of sans-culottes, on their way to plant a Tree of Liberty in the Jardin des Tuileries.1 Even those maligned symbols of mob rule and terror realized that the law is the only salvation of a free people. How then do the members of the Board of Directors of the Hollywood Media District BID, a group to whom has been granted every privilege that law can devise, come to dishonour2 it so?

But enough nonsense. We have a story to tell you about the Hollywood Media District BID!
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October 1, 2014 through November 12, 2014 Emails between A/I and HPOA

How email works...in Italian
How email works…in Italian!
While my literarily profligate colleagues lounge around MK.org secret headquarters drinking cheap wine and writing reams of nonsense about the antic shenanigans of the HPOA I, at least, am working hard to provide actual documentary evidence to you, dear reader. I am pleased to announce the availability of the first fruits of a recent Public Records request to HPOA, faithfully fulfilled by the ever-helpful Kerry Morrison. This set of documents consists of all disclosable emails between HPOA and A/I for the dates October 1, 2014 through November 12, 2014.

They are available through the menu structure in the header, or here, or from our static file storage either as a 7.7 MB zip archive or as individual PDFs. There is more to come.


Image by Massimo Barbieri, released under the CC BY-SA 3.0 and available via Wikimedia.

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