We’ve written previously about John Tronson, who, for whatever reason, is no longer president of the Hollywood Entertainment District BID Board of Directors, and his disingenuous, self-serving, mendacious contention that the state of California has no need for the saintly Senator Carol Liu‘s recently introduced SB608, the Right to Rest Act. According to Tronson:
You know, I mean, it, the, the, the reality, the LAPD or the BID Patrol, nobody is gonna ask anybody to move who’s just resting for a couple minutes cause they need to rest. This is just another vehicle to, you know, allow permanent, facilitate, the living on the sidewalk.
We’ve written before about the BIDs’ and the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce’s sinister plot to turn Hollywood into a sundown town by discouraging black and brown people from coming here at night. We’ve also written about the Hollywood Entertainment District BID’s soulless opposition to the saintly Senator Carol Liu’s Right to Rest Act, which would prevent the BID Patrol from harassing and arresting homeless people for violating the vile LAMC 41.18(d), which makes it a misdemeanor to sit on the sidewalk for any purpose other than watching a parade. What we discovered recently from a fine article by Renee Lewis which appeared yesterday on Al Jazeera America is that the two issues are linked via the despicable League of California Cities.
Lewis quotes various activists to the effect that “[t]he homeless are not the first marginalized group targeted by the League in its over 100-year history” and “[t]he League has supported sundown towns, Jim Crow laws, Chinese exclusion and Japanese internment.” And it’s true. E.g., look at the LA Times1 on February 16, 1942, where Richard Graves, executive secretary of the League is quoted as saying:
The most obvious advantage to be gained by enactment of such ordinances [including evacuation of Japanese-Americans] is protection of the civilian population…
As you may already know, in 2013, a baying, pitchfork-and-torch wielding, mob of Hollywood business owners and a few residents flipped the fuck out about the Greater West Hollywood Food Coalition and tried to get the city of Los Angeles to outlaw the free sharing of food in public. In order to better understand the mindset of these people you may read this set of 2013 emails to/from Council District 13 on the matter. O’Farrell, as willing a servant of the power elite as his predecessor Eric, not only opined that the GWHFC had to go, but instructed his staff to boast about his attacks on common decency “via press or social media.”
The main theme of these mobbies is their own fear but, as Robin DiAngelo has sagely noted, “whites often confuse comfort with safety.” For instance, read Alexander Polinsky, son of Paula Greenfield, prime mover of the George Harrison memorial tree in Griffith Park, as he trembles in fear of “scary psychotic homeless that terrorize us…the worst kind of people, people we worked hard to avoid by buying nice homes and paying taxes.” Polinsky is even terrified of GWHFC’s fairly saintly organizer, Ted Landreth, who, according to Polinsky, “…likes to tell people he was a marine, implying that he is able to kill and be tough instead of actually being compassionate…”
Or see how Rick Howard, COO and VP of Occidental Entertainment, member of the board of directors of the Hollywood Media District BID, and master of delusio-inflammatory rhetoric, blamed the Food Coalition for a 2013 stabbing murder on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He warns all and sundry that obviously there will be many more murders if the feeding is allowed to continue:
Notably, not even the recent murder of a young woman on the Walk of Fame was sufficient to shake our local Council representatives into action, which is all the more disturbing since it is now known that the assailant formerly worked at the feeding program. … Was it not a matter of time before such a tragic event such as this took place? Must it happen again before someone acts?1
Not one for whom a rhetorical trope readily loses the freshness of its first bloom, Rick tells O’Farrell et al. in another email that
[the homeless] wander our streets and defecate, urinate, vomit, discard used hypodermic needles and condoms, set fire to trash bins, break into cars, harass and assault people—and now, as you know, one of the food line’s volunteers recently murdered a young woman over a dollar.
Now, Berkeley is far, far off our beat, and, deep down, despite the divers desperate, damp dreams of our local Hollywood BIDs about the gentility and grace of our silicon-addled red-headed stepchildren to the north, we generally find ourselves unable to give even the teensiest shit about what shenanigans they get up to north of Pacoima. However, this case requires comment, shedding some light as it does on the ultimate source of the lies with which we who cover the BIDs are habitually showered.
According to Andrews International:
[B]udgetary constraints leave local police little choice but to focus primarily on reactive enforcement, [but] CAPS officers have the resources and support to actually serve as agents of change in the community. In partnership with law enforcement and assisted by community interest groups, social services agencies, and local businesses, CAPS officers focus on bridge building and problem solving.
Note that “CAPS officers” are how Andrews International refers to BID Patrollies when they’re trying to bullshit their way into more work like they do for the HPOA. And just look at the BID Patrol guy to your right, serving as an agent of change in the community, building bridges, solving problems!
And they’re not just flipping off one another back in BID Patrol secret headquarters during their weirdo macho team-building rituals, they’re out on the street, arresting people for things that aren’t crimes in sane places, like drinking beer on the street, and flipping off their victims, too. Continue reading Andrews International BID Patrol: Welcome to Hollywood, Now Fuck You!→
We have written before about the BIDs’ hysterical, dishonest opposition to City Councilman José Huizar‘s proposal to legalize street vending. We’ve discussed the fact that many of the BID board members who oppose this law are themselves criminals, although not the kind who get prosecuted for their dirty deeds. We’ve written about how their froth-mouth rage at this relatively small move in the direction of sanity puts them in opposition to democracy itself. But we haven’t yet written about the very human cost of continuing to outlaw street vending in Los Angeles. Continue reading Don’t Incarcerate the Ice Cream Man→
We have written before about the January 2015 conspiracy comprising indefatigably feckless dudebro Steven Whiddon and various city officials, including LA City Council District 13 field deputy Dan Halden, to (probably illegally, certainly immorally) use the threat of powerwashing sidewalks outside of the Public Storage building at the corner of Willoughby and Cole as a means of removing homeless people and their possessions, in violation of both human decency and the Lavan injunction. Today we have an email chain from November 2014 which illuminates the origins of the conspiracy and also demonstrates that LA City Council District 4 operatives as well were involved in the furtherance of these misdeeds.
We join the sordid story on November 6, 2014, when someone named Marvin Cruz emailed Universal Protective Services security wallah John Irigoyen, CC-ing email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, and someone named Damien Reed, stating somewhat obscurely that:
There is alot [sic] of trash dumping here accross [sic] from 832 cole( public storage side). Also multiple 647I’s that block the aide [sic] walk. Can u [sic] contact HBT for the trash and maybe also lapd to come andtake [sic] contact with the idas.
The late Lee Atwater, erstwhile bought-and-souled Robert Johnson of the Republican party, in a rare moment of lucidity, once explained how white politicians enforced and maintained white supremacy in the United States in the last half of the Twentieth Century:
You start out in 1954 by saying, ‘Nigger, nigger, nigger.’ By 1968 you can’t say ‘nigger’ — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites.
And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I’m not saying that. But I’m saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, ‘We want to cut this,’ is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than ‘Nigger, nigger.’1
From 1865 through nineteen-fifty-something, politicians and demagogues, e.g. Nathan Bedford Forrest, founder of the first incarnation of white businessman’s social group the Ku Klux Klan and Woodrow Wilson, erstwhile president of white supremacist organization Harvard University, could just use the magical incantation of “nigger, nigger, nigger,” and their will would be done.
But, as Lee points out, things started to get more complicated. Instead of saying “nigger,” white supremacists had to talk about states’ rights, and, later taxation. This was the essence of Richard Nixon’s so-called Southern Strategy, which got him elected in 1968 using those precise codewords which his audience heard as “nigger, nigger, nigger,” the same Southern Strategy that a star-struck Lee Atwater is glorifying to the heavens as he breathlessly describes its genius.
In his magisterial work, The Half Has Never Been Told, Cornell historian Edward A. Baptist makes an overwhelmingly convincing argument that the growth of the economy of the United States until 1865 is essentially the growth of technology1 for the efficient extraction of money from dark-skinned bodies.
It’s trivial to extrapolate his arguments past the end of slavery, through the Jim Crow system which supported the South’s cotton economy until the 1960s and beyond, and into the present day. The modern death-star economy of the United States, Baptist shows, was built with the labor of black bodies and fertilized with black blood. The white real-estate zillionaires who make up the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance, therefore, would have none of their wealth, none of their resources, if it weren’t for the torture and murder of black people which nourished the roots of American capital over the last half millenium.
According to Baptist:
Thus enslavers extracted a massive rise in cotton productivity from the 1790s to 1860. While planter-entrepreneurs did not publish their method for making cotton-picking as efficient as possible in a textbook or an agricultural journal, they created practices, attitudes, and material goods—whips, slates, pens, paper, and the cotton plant itself—that made up the method’s interlocking cogs. White overseers also played an important role, and not just as the ones who often put this system of violent labor rationalization into hour-by-hour practice. They probably invented many of the practices of accounting and torture as they carried their slates and bullwhips ever west and south.2
Amongst the emails between Andrews International Security and the HPOA recently obtained by our correspondent, we find a document entitled ANDREWS INTERNATIONAL BID HOMELESS PERSON DIRECTIVE. You can download a copy here or find an embedded copy after the break. There is much of interest in this document, but today we’re looking at the following bit:
If a BID Officer observes a person who, because of their homelessness commits one of the following misdemeanors:
Obstructing passage on sidewalks
Living or sleeping in a vehicle
Loitering in a restroom
Use of facilities, e.g., sleeping on a bus bench for other than intended purpose
Public nudity as is necessary to carry on the daily necessities of life
Building a structure in a park or public right-of-way
Trespass on or in public or private property
The Officer may offer such individual(s) the option of going to an available shelter in the surrounding Hollywood community as an alternative to arrest. If the homeless person accepts the offer of assistance, no arrest shall take place and arrangements shall be made to transport the homeless person to the shelter.
Pass over the dyslexic parrot-like legalese. Pass over the semiliterate, unparseable sentences. Pass over the absolutely unintelligible yet still horrific phrase “sleeping on a bus bench for other than intended purpose.” Consider for now just the fact that in June 2014, five months before the date on this document, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals found LA’s law against sleeping in vehicles to be unconstitutional.