Tag Archives: Berkeley

In September 2018 — After The Release Of That Damning UC Berkeley Law Report On Nefarious BID Activity — Suzanne Holley Of The Nefariously Active Downtown Center BID Got In Touch With Assemblymember Miguel Santiago’s Office — And Was All Like Obviously This Report Is Wrong — And Biased — And Stupid — And Puerile — And Delusional — But Nevertheless We Are Worried That Some Unhinged Legislator May Try To Enact Legislation Based On It — Therefore Can Your Boss Commit To Helping Us Avoid This Fate — And The Staff Of Miguel Santiago — Who Never Met A Zillionaire Whose Interests He Wouldn’t Bootlickingly Pander To — Was All Like “Sure BIDdies! We Will Protect You From Any Potential Legislation!”

Perhaps you recall that in 2018 a group of dedicated and accomplished students at the UC Berkeley Law School’s Policy Advocacy Clinic released a blockbuster report on the criminalization of homelessness by business improvement districts in California, a copy of which can be obtained here. You should definitely read this. It’s one of the indispensable texts of contemporary radical BIDdology.

One of the report’s major points is that it is probably illegal under existing state law for BIDs, which are publicly funded entities, to use those public funds for lobbying for anti-homeless legislation. And, the report goes on to say, if it’s not illegal now it certainly ought to be, so they call for legislation to regulate BIDs with respect to advocacy.

As you might expect from a report from an institution at the level of UC Berkeley, the arguments are powerful, convincing, and intensely well-supported by extensive evidence1 and if our local BIDdies had or have any brains at all, or at least any of that sentience-independent primordial reptilian survival sense on which rich dumb mean people rely so heavily, the irrefutable arguments in this report would have, ought to have, made them extremely nervous.

Of course BIDs, like the zillionaires they serve, don’t look to arguments and their refutation to protect their survival, preferring instead to guard themselves with the weaponized raw political power that they’ve gathered around themselves like armor. And that this is an accurate picture is revealed by some recently obtained emails2 between Suzanne Holley of the Downtown Center BID and the staff of Downtown Los Angeles Assemblymember Miguel Santiago.

The BIDdies were worried that legislators might actually take the report’s recommendations seriously and start trying to rein them in with laws, so they wrote to Santiago asking for protection from any potential legislation inspired by the report, even though none had yet been introduced. But irrespective of that Santiago, long-time asshole buddy of our Downtown BIDS3 or at least his staff, was all over that. Yes, they said, yes, yes, yes, BIDdies! We will save you from any future legislation!
Continue reading In September 2018 — After The Release Of That Damning UC Berkeley Law Report On Nefarious BID Activity — Suzanne Holley Of The Nefariously Active Downtown Center BID Got In Touch With Assemblymember Miguel Santiago’s Office — And Was All Like Obviously This Report Is Wrong — And Biased — And Stupid — And Puerile — And Delusional — But Nevertheless We Are Worried That Some Unhinged Legislator May Try To Enact Legislation Based On It — Therefore Can Your Boss Commit To Helping Us Avoid This Fate — And The Staff Of Miguel Santiago — Who Never Met A Zillionaire Whose Interests He Wouldn’t Bootlickingly Pander To — Was All Like “Sure BIDdies! We Will Protect You From Any Potential Legislation!”

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Long Beach Police Department (Partially) Fulfills Experimental CPRA Request in 142 Days

This is what I miss the most about Long Beach.
This is what I miss the most about Long Beach.
Long-time readers of this blog will recall that, due to the stunning reluctance of the LAPD to comply with the simple mandates of the California Public Records Act (which has led to at least one lawsuit against them, filed by the heroic Stop LAPD Spying Coalition), I’m running an experiment in which I requested 100 emails to and from BIDs from each of three California police departments (which comes to an end with this latest development).

The SFPD was the only one to actually comply with the law but the Berkeley PD didn’t do so badly. This morning I finally received a (partial) response to my request to the Long Beach PD, and you can read the yield here. There’s nothing really that interesting here; just more homelessness and back-slapping.
Continue reading Long Beach Police Department (Partially) Fulfills Experimental CPRA Request in 142 Days

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Berkeley Police Department Fulfills Experimental CPRA Request in 59 Days

Anymore, the astonishing beauty of the city of Berkeley is only skin deep.
Anymore, the astonishing beauty of the city of Berkeley is only skin deep.
Long-time readers of this blog will recall that, due to the stunning reluctance of the LAPD to comply with the simple mandates of the California Public Records Act, I’m running an experiment in which I requested 100 emails to and from BIDs from each of three California police departments. The SFPD was the clear winner here, supplying me with the goods in a mere 23 days. Late last week the city of Berkeley weighed in with two sets of emails (one and two). Most of the content isn’t especially interesting if you don’t know the dramatis personae; it’s the same old song about the homeless, about behaviors, about activities, about protecting investments, and so on and on and on. I did spot one interesting episode, which I discuss after the break. Also, I will note that the Long Beach PD still has not fulfilled my request (although they are discussing it with me), and of course the LAPD ignores everyone and they’re still being sued because of that. Is it a coincidence that the two cities that follow the law have municipal sunshine ordinances while the two that do not lack such laws? I doubt it very much.
Continue reading Berkeley Police Department Fulfills Experimental CPRA Request in 59 Days

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Don’t Challenge the BID Officers. Don’t Challenge Our Authority Next Time. All I Did Was Sit the Fuck Down! Do You All See What’s Going on in Your Goddamn City?

A veteran of a foreign war in the process of getting arrested on Hollywood Blvd. by power-hungry BID Patrol officers, putting the lie to John Tronson's disingenuous, self-serving, mendacious contention that "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. "
A veteran of a foreign war in the process of getting arrested on Hollywood Blvd. by power-hungry BID Patrol officers, putting the lie to John Tronson’s disingenuous, self-serving, mendacious contention that “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. “
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.

John Tronson at the Joint Security Committee meeting on April 9, 2015, a guy who will lie about how LAMC 41.18(d) is enforced by the BID Patrol. Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus, as the judge will instruct Tronson’s jury at the time when all accounts are settled.

He’s talking, of course, about the despicable LAMC 41.18(d), which prohibits sitting on sidewalks in the absence of a parade and which the Right to Rest Act is meant to send to a well-deserved oblivion. But, you know, perhaps we’re being too harsh on John Tronson. Perhaps it’s really true that the BID Patrol will not arrest people just for sitting on the sidewalk. We mean, the evidence seems to suggest that, on the one hand, they will arrest homeless black people for it but, to be sure, they will not arrest non-homeless, non-black people for it. Today’s series of videos reveals that sometimes, even when the citation reads LAMC 41.18(d), the real charge is contempt of cop.
Continue reading Don’t Challenge the BID Officers. Don’t Challenge Our Authority Next Time. All I Did Was Sit the Fuck Down! Do You All See What’s Going on in Your Goddamn City?

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The BID Itself Incites to Violence: the Mendacity of John Tronson, John Caner, and Everyone Else Who Runs a BID

Berkeley BID Patrol officer giving a performative demonstration of Homer’s maxim that “the blade itself incites to violence.”
The Downtown Berkeley Association is the shell corporation that runs the Downtown Berkeley BID, founded in 2011. By now you’ve probably seen the video, filmed by a brave citizen journalist, of a Berkeley BID Patrol officer1 punching a homeless man over and over and over again because he felt “disrespected” by him. The story made the international press.

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.

Berkeleyside has a good summary of the background. Two Berkeley BID Patrollies confronted two homeless men and then, after some shouting, one of the BID Patrollies lost his shit and punched one of the homeless men repeatedly. The whole thing was caught on video, although the truth didn’t come out until the homeless men had been arrested, charged with assault and, that fall-back catch-all bullshit charge, criminal threats, and pled out, even though they were transparently, evidently, innocent. This kind of thing happens every day. What’s more interesting is the Berkeley BID’s spin on this hateful miscarriage of justice.
Continue reading The BID Itself Incites to Violence: the Mendacity of John Tronson, John Caner, and Everyone Else Who Runs a BID

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