Tag Archives: 2015 Street Vending Lawsuit

José Huizar Told A Bunch Of Zillionaires At The Fashion District BID Annual Meeting That It Is “Unfortunate” That BID Security Guards Are Not Allowed To Steal Homeless People’s Property — Evidently José Huizar Thinks The City Of Los Angeles Has Not Yet Paid Carol Sobel Enough Money

Last Thursday the Fashion District BID held its annual meeting. You may recall that Assemblymember Miguel Santiago gave a reprehensible little speech to kick things off, but CD14 repster José Huizar was the keynote speaker. You can watch his whole speech here, but the parts I’m specifically interested in tonight are his remarks about homeless encampments and, especially, his discussion with some guy whose name I didn’t get on the same subject. Of course there are transcriptions of all this poppycock after the break, as usual.

About homeless encampments, well, it was the usual jive. We’re going to build a lot of shelters and housing and of course, once we have enough shelters and housing we can start arresting the homeless again, so that’s good!1 Unsurprisingly, though, things got more interesting during the questions. An unnamed guy asked José Huizar about the homeless fires problem.2 After some chit-chat, the questioner asked José Huizar who, exactly, was allowed to remove the property of homeless people from the sidewalk. In response José Huizar said:

The police department. Not the fire department, the police department. They don’t give that right to the BIDs, unfortunately. But the LAPD can remove it if it is blocking the right of way.

What is the guy thinking? Is he thinking that the City and the BIDs haven’t been sued enough by Carol Sobel, LAFLA, and the National Lawyers Guild? There is a really good reason that only police are allowed to remove the property of homeless people, and that is because society endows sworn officers with extraordinary powers to take actions that would be and should be absolutely illegal for anyone else to do. Like kill people,3 or kidnap them,4 or take their stuff off the sidewalk, which is theft when anyone but an officer does it. This is why BID officers aren’t allowed to remove people’s property, because they’re just ordinary people and it would be stealing. Does he think it’s “unfortunate” that ordinary people can’t steal stuff? Maybe he also thinks it’s “unfortunate” that BID officers can’t kidnap and kill homeless people like the police are allowed to do.5 Bizarre.

And ironically, he’s speaking to the Fashion District, which famously was sued in Federal Court in 2015 for conspiring with the City to illegally confiscate the property of street vendors.6 The Fashion District is right next door to the Downtown Industrial District BID, also in José Huizar’s district, sued in Federal Court in 2014 for the very thing that José Huizar is lamenting the impossibility of here. The City ended up paying half a million dollars to LAFLA because the BID Patrol can’t keep its grubby hands off other people’s stuff and José Huizar thinks this is unfortunate? It’s not his money, of course, but still…

And, as usual, turn the page for transcriptions of the relevant remarks and a little more mockery!
Continue reading José Huizar Told A Bunch Of Zillionaires At The Fashion District BID Annual Meeting That It Is “Unfortunate” That BID Security Guards Are Not Allowed To Steal Homeless People’s Property — Evidently José Huizar Thinks The City Of Los Angeles Has Not Yet Paid Carol Sobel Enough Money

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How Out Of Touch With Actual Human Reality Is The North Figueroa Association? — They Consider Street Vendors To Be Like Drug Dealers, Prostitutes, And Flashers — They Actually Explicitly Overtly Budget Money Each Year To Dispose Of Inventory Confiscated From Street Vendors — Which Is The Same Thing That The Fashion District BID Got Sued For In Federal Court In 2015 — Is The Highland Park BID Next? — Let’s Freaking Hope So!

As you may know, I recently visited the North Figueroa Association as part of my ongoing attempt to understand just what the heck the zillionaires of Los Angeles are thinking.1 Well, I didn’t figure it out this time, but my reception by the NFA was so freaking bizarro that I thought I’d better spend a little more time looking into the background of this shadowy gang of zillionaire culture warriors.

If you ever want to understand what a given business improvement district is up to, the first thing you should look at is the management district plan. This document is required by the Property and Business Improvement Law of 1994, specifically at §36622, and must contain a sufficiently detailed description of everything the BID proposes to spend money on. The easiest way to locate these is via the City Clerk’s map of L.A. BIDs. Each BID’s description contains a link to its MDP. Here’s the Highland Park BID’s MDP.

In this interesting2 document we find a list of the kinds of things that the BID means to spend its security money on: The presence of the Security Program is intended to deter such illegal activities as drug dealing, public urination, indecent exposure, trespassing, drinking in public, prostitution, illegal panhandling, illegal vending, and illegal dumping.

Now of course, sane human beings understand that street vending is not like these other things. Sure, it’s illegal,3 but nevertheless it’s part of the human fabric of Los Angeles and the laws against it are selectively enforced only at the mere whim of zillionaires. There are street vendors everywhere in this City where there aren’t BIDs and no one, not even the cops, seems to be upset. Normal people are thrilled!

It’s really hard to imagine a serious, sane, socialized human being who doesn’t understand that people selling fresh fruit or tacos cooked to order on a street corner are very different from crack dealers, creepers who expose their genitalia to children, or people who shit on the sidewalk.4 It’s quite strange that the NFA doesn’t get this. But they really, really don’t. Read on for details!
Continue reading How Out Of Touch With Actual Human Reality Is The North Figueroa Association? — They Consider Street Vendors To Be Like Drug Dealers, Prostitutes, And Flashers — They Actually Explicitly Overtly Budget Money Each Year To Dispose Of Inventory Confiscated From Street Vendors — Which Is The Same Thing That The Fashion District BID Got Sued For In Federal Court In 2015 — Is The Highland Park BID Next? — Let’s Freaking Hope So!

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Street Vending Lawsuit Teetering On Brink Of Settlement: Check Cut By City And Plaintiffs Have Signed Release But Defendants Have Not Yet Signed — Carol Sobel Anticipates Dismissal Within Two Weeks

You can read up on the background in this 2015 LA times story and also in our multiple stories on the subject. Most of the paper filed in the case is available here.

About five weeks ago a pending settlement was announced in the monumental street vending case brought by brave local civil rights attorneys on behalf of a number of street vendors against the diabolical forces of the City of Los Angeles and the Fashion District BID.

Well, nothing moves fast in Federal Court, so it’s no surprise that it’s taken this long to even get a hint of what’s happening behind the scenes. However, finally, yesterday afternoon plaintiffs’ attorney Carol Sobel filed a status report (transcription of this PDF after the break) with the court stating that things are moving along, that the City has cut a check for the settlement amount, presumably $150,000 as previously announced, and that the plaintiffs have signed the release. The defendants have not yet signed, but she anticipates that everything will be finished and the case will be dismissed within two weeks.1
Continue reading Street Vending Lawsuit Teetering On Brink Of Settlement: Check Cut By City And Plaintiffs Have Signed Release But Defendants Have Not Yet Signed — Carol Sobel Anticipates Dismissal Within Two Weeks

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City Of Los Angeles Poised To Spend $150,000 To Settle Street Vending Lawsuit Over Englander’s Opposition, Pending Only Garcetti’s Signature, Which It Seems Will Settle It For The Fashion District BID As Well

You can read up on the background in this 2015 LA times story and also in our multiple stories on the subject. Most of the paper filed in the case is available here.

Towards the end of September the parties to this monumental lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles and the Fashion District BID filed papers with the court announcing that a settlement was in the works and asking that the calendar be put on hold.

Today and yesterday a few things happened with respect to this process. Today the parties filed a status report with the court announcing that the settlement process was on track but they needed until December 30 to work out the details. This was closely followed by an order from Judge André Birotte extending the time as requested.

More interestingly, though, yesterday the City Council went into closed session to discuss the terms of the settlement.1 They passed this motion authorizing the expenditure of $150,000 to fund the settlement, at least some of which is going, with good cause, straight to Carol Sobel. Interestingly, and the reason’s not clear, Mitch Englander voted against the motion.

It’s also interesting that the motion was put forth by Paul Krekorian and seconded by Paul Koretz. It’s my unscientific impression that in the ordinary course of events this would have been moved by José Huizar, since the events which precipitated the case happened in his district. Who knows what’s going on? Maybe it’s because Krekorian and Koretz are on the committee which gave its preliminary approval to the motion? Anyway, the whole matter is in Garcetti’s hands now, and he has until December 18 to sign off. There’s a transcription of the motion after the break.
Continue reading City Of Los Angeles Poised To Spend $150,000 To Settle Street Vending Lawsuit Over Englander’s Opposition, Pending Only Garcetti’s Signature, Which It Seems Will Settle It For The Fashion District BID As Well

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Tentative Settlement Reached In Street Vending Lawsuit Against Fashion District BID And City Of Los Angeles

You can read up on the background in this 2015 LA times story and also in our multiple stories on the subject. Most of the paper filed in the case is available here.

The monumental lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles and the Fashion District BID for their abominable treatment of street vendors was set for trial in January. However, papers filed with the court yesterday announce that the plaintiffs have reached a settlement with the City and as soon as it’s approved, a process which can take many months for it to work its way through Committees and Council, they will drop the case against both the City and the BID. Hence they asked Judge Beverly Reid O’Connell to put the calendar on hold until the settlement is approved.

Today Virginia Phillips, Chief Judge of the local federal district, issued an order vacating the schedule in anticipation of this settlement. You can read the joint notice of pending settlement that inspired the order, and, as always, there’s a transcript of both documents after the break.
Continue reading Tentative Settlement Reached In Street Vending Lawsuit Against Fashion District BID And City Of Los Angeles

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Donald Trump’s Election Inspires City of Los Angeles To Finally Move Forward With Long-Delayed Street Vending Legalization Despite BIDs’ Irrational Opposition. Street Vendors To Pay BIDs An Operations Fee. BIDs To Get Effective Veto Power Over Vending Within Their Boundaries.

Aren't you glad I didn't put a picture of freaking Donald Trump here?!  Not that Joe Buscaino is less ethically challenged, but at least his hair is prettier...
Aren’t you glad I didn’t put a picture of freaking Donald Trump here?! Not that Joe Buscaino is less ethically challenged, but at least his hair is prettier…
I know the headline sounds like a joke, but it’s not. The L.A. Times reported on it this morning, although their article, as is their wont, did not mention business improvement districts at all, and, at least briefly, I thought they were kidding. But this is the Los Angeles City Council we’re talking about, and they were not. Huizar and Price first made a motion to legalize street vending in November 2013, three years ago, and, over the last three years we have been subjected to an endless stream of hysterical, mendacious, probably illegal, lobbying by the BIDs and their ideological allies against the very idea. They even managed to get the Times itself to accept their misbegotten point of view as somehow legitimate. In response to this outpouring of unregistered lobbying behavior,1 the City Council essentially responded by ignoring the issue,2 as you can see from the council file, which has no official City action since October 2015, until yesterday, when Curren Price and Joe Buscaino slapped this little number on the table. It’s a letter, which does indeed refer, albeit obliquely, to Darth Cheeto himself:3

Despite the undeniable division and polarization that exists in our country right now, there is one common characteristic that is shared by Americans of every gender, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, immigration status and political party: our entrepreneurial spirit. We value the notion that everyone deserves the opportunity to start a small business, on a level playing field, with failure or success determined by our own talent, hard work, and perseverance. At an early age. we teach our children concepts like overhead, profit, and loss by encouraging them to sell Girl Scout Cookies, candy bars, and lemonade. Yet, if they sell any of those on a public sidewalk in Los Angeles, they are committing a crime of the same seriousness as drunk driving.

They go on to urge the Council to go ahead and legalize street vending because otherwise Trump has already won, and I can’t say that I disagree:

Recent talks about changes to our nation’s immigration policy, including threats to deport millions of undocumented immigrants – starting with those with criminal records – has created significant fear amongst our immigrant communities. Continuing to impose criminal misdemeanor penalties for vending disproportionately affects, and unfairly punishes, undocumented immigrants, and could potentially put them at risk for deportation.

Furthermore, Buscaino and Price claim that:

The core question the Council must answer is whether sidewalk vending poses a threat so grave to public health, safety, and welfare that it is worth continuing to expend limited police and prosecutorial resources enforcing a citywide ban.

Which is also reasonable, but read a little deeper in the letter and you can see the fingerprints of the BIDs all over the damned thing. And, as usual, their input makes a lie of the whole thing. The BIDs’ version, which is the version that will be passed, is going to require the same amount if not more of our “limited police and prosecutorial resources” to enforce.
Continue reading Donald Trump’s Election Inspires City of Los Angeles To Finally Move Forward With Long-Delayed Street Vending Legalization Despite BIDs’ Irrational Opposition. Street Vendors To Pay BIDs An Operations Fee. BIDs To Get Effective Veto Power Over Vending Within Their Boundaries.

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Street Vending Lawsuit Trial Date Set For January 30, 2018, Fashion District BID Finally Sets Out Preliminary Position On Allegations

This kind of thing really has to stop soon.  This man was arrested and handcuffed in Hollywood and his ice cream set out to melt by the Andrews International BID Patrol, but the LAPD does the same and worse, as mostly likely does the Fashion District BID's rent-a-cops.
This kind of thing really has to stop soon. This man was arrested and handcuffed in Hollywood and his ice cream set out to melt by the Andrews International BID Patrol, but the LAPD does the same and worse, as mostly likely does the Fashion District BID’s rent-a-cops.

You can read up on the background in this 2015 LA times story and also in our multiple stories on the subject. Most of the paper filed in the case is available here.

A number of new documents have been filed in the National Lawyers’ Guild’s suit against the City of Los Angeles and the Fashion District business improvement district for their disgraceful treatment of street vendors. Here’s a list, followed by my usual uninformed commentary:

  • Joint Rule 26(f) report — This is a surprisingly interesting document. It’s evidently required by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(f), which regulates pretrial discovery agreements. For our purposes, though, it also seems to require that all the parties lay out their views of the case. This is especially interesting with respect to the Fashion District, which, even though it did answer the complaint, did so in a completely vacuous manner. There’s some substance here, and I discuss it after the break.
  • Court Order re: Scheduling Conference — Here Judge O’Connell cancels a settlement conference that was to be held Monday, orders that the parties complete the dispute resolution process by December 4, 2017, and file a joint report on it within 7 days of its conclusion.
  • Court Order re: Alternative Dispute Resolution — This order declares that the Alternative Dispute Resolution will be handled by the Magistrate Judge assigned to the case.
  • Order for Civil Jury Trial With relevant dates — This is an order for a trial, to take place on January 30, 2018, and other relevant dates.

Continue reading Street Vending Lawsuit Trial Date Set For January 30, 2018, Fashion District BID Finally Sets Out Preliminary Position On Allegations

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The Suit Goes On: Judge Beverly Reid O’Connell Files (Moderately Sarcastic) Order Denying City Of LA’s Motion To Dismiss Street Vending Lawsuit

Federal Judge Beverly Reid O'Connell, in whose court the NLG's street vending case is being heard.
Federal Judge Beverly Reid O’Connell, in whose court the NLG’s street vending case is being heard.
This is just a quick note to memorialize the fact that, after the City of Los Angeles filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit against it and the Fashion District BID brought by a number of downtown street vendors, tonight Judge Beverly Reid O’Connell filed a 16 page order denying everything, which of course means that the case will go on.1 The standard for denying a motion to dismiss is essentially that the plaintiff “…pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” The Judge found that they had, so the case will go on. Recall also that there was a hearing on the City’s motion scheduled for Monday, November 21. O’Connell canceled this hearing because “the Court deems this matter appropriate for resolution without oral argument of counsel.” That’s gotta hurt.

Briefly, one of the arguments raised by the City of LA is that the vendors’ organization, the Unión Popular de Vendedores Ambulantes, lacks standing to sue.2 More on this and some quotated snark after the break.
Continue reading The Suit Goes On: Judge Beverly Reid O’Connell Files (Moderately Sarcastic) Order Denying City Of LA’s Motion To Dismiss Street Vending Lawsuit

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Street Vendors Reply To City of LA’s Motions To Strike And To Dismiss, Also Important Records From Department Of Sanitation, Including The City’s Standard Operating Procedure For Cleaning Up Homeless Encampments

The Fashion District, September 2016.
The Fashion District, September 2016.
Good evening, Friends! I haven’t had time to write much recently and I won’t have time for another day or two because the latest installment in the MK.Org LAMC 49.5.5 project is turning out to be more complex than I’d anticipated. I expect to have it done with by the end of this week. This is just a short interim post to announce some new records.

First, you may recall that a couple weeks ago the City of LA filed a couple of motions in the street vending lawsuit. These were:

Tonight the plaintiffs filed their responses to these motions:

And turn the page for some material from the Department of Sanitation relating to homeless encampment cleanups. Most importantly, there is the City-Attorney-approved Standard Operating Procedure manual for cleanups. This is stunning, essential information.
Continue reading Street Vendors Reply To City of LA’s Motions To Strike And To Dismiss, Also Important Records From Department Of Sanitation, Including The City’s Standard Operating Procedure For Cleaning Up Homeless Encampments

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Street Vending Lawsuit Settlement Talks Seem To Have Failed, Trial Seems To Be Gonna Happen, Fashion District BID Files Response To Complaint Consisting Of All Syntax, No Semantics

California-centralWhen last I wrote about the street vending lawsuit against the Fashion District BID and the City of Los Angeles, the parties were getting extension after extension based on their mutual representations that settlement talks were proceeding apace. Well, that’s all over with. In fact, at this point I feel like my amateurism has led me down the with-good-intentions-paved garden path like the cat i’ th’ adage and actually no one ever really thought anyone was going to settle, but this is just some ceremony that’s habitually performed for the first year of a federal lawsuit, and now that they have it over with they’re going to get down to tacky brass knuckles. I have no idea, but I do know that recently the following items have been filed on PACER:
Continue reading Street Vending Lawsuit Settlement Talks Seem To Have Failed, Trial Seems To Be Gonna Happen, Fashion District BID Files Response To Complaint Consisting Of All Syntax, No Semantics

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