Tag Archives: BID Establishment

Proposed West Adams BID Would Run From La Brea To Genesee — Favorable Polling So Far Dominated By CIM Group — Bizarre Questionnaire Reveals Racist Conceptions Of Safety Underlying The Felt Need For A BID — Just Bad News All Round

It was just revealed a few weeks ago that New City America, a BID consultancy helmed by noted legal scholar1 and raging psychopath Marco Li Mandri, has been planning a business improvement district for West Adams in concert with co-conspirators CIM Group. And yesterday I finally managed to lay my hands on a little more specific information. This all comes from this 11 page packet, handed out at the most recent meeting of the proposed BID’s steering committee.

Of the most immediate import is this map of the proposed district. For the first time we know that, at least at the end of October 2018 it was planned to run along West Adams from La Brea to Genesee. There’s also this summary showing that, again as of October 2018, the property owners were polling at 39% in favor of BID establishment. Don’t forget, though, that per the Property and Business Improvement District Act at §36621(a) they’re not counting individual property owners, but weighting them by assessments to be paid.2 This document is also essential because it exposes a long list of hitherto unknown LLCs that CIM uses to own its various properties.

If that sounds high, well, it’s not surprising. See this list of parcels in the proposed BID sorted by whether the owners are in favor or not. See that Catherine Randall, who is VP in charge of some damn crapola at CIM group, is the designated representative for a full 33 parcels. Sadly, without more information than I’ve been able to gather, I’m not able to determine what percent of the voting power this will give CIM group. But it’s going to be high. They’re the largest single owner in the proposed district.3 The only thing we can be sure of is that they hold less than 39% of the total square footage.

And the last important bit of documentation to be found here is this copy of a questionnaire that Marco Li Mandri sent out to the property owners. This one has a tally of the responses to the various questions, which is also interesting. The City of LA requires this kind of polling before they’ll get behind a BID establishment process, but you can see from this instance that there is no kind of quality control at all. Just for freaking instance, the very first question asks “In terms of security and public safety, do you feel that West Adams District is…? (a) safe and orderly (b) Relatively safe, may suffer from unsafe image (c) Unsafe

This, friends, is a highly problematic question. Most of the the things that are wrong with business improvement districts are somehow reflected in this question. It is … well, turn the page for some discussion…
Continue reading Proposed West Adams BID Would Run From La Brea To Genesee — Favorable Polling So Far Dominated By CIM Group — Bizarre Questionnaire Reveals Racist Conceptions Of Safety Underlying The Felt Need For A BID — Just Bad News All Round

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West Adams BID Is In The Pipeline — Management District Plan May Be Submitted To City As Early As January — Backed By Thuggish Outlaw Real Estate Trump-Buddies CIM Group — Who Are Developing At Least Three Properties In The Area — Clearly BID Will Support, Enhance Gentrification — Pressure For Which Is Created By Culver City Adjacency And Tech Boom

West Adams is famous for many things, its signature Victorian architecture, having been the legendary home of many famous African-Americans in the 20th Century, center of black gay culture in Los Angeles, and so much besides. But none of that really matters in these latter days. Ultimately the fate of West Adams will be determined solely by the fact that it’s really close to Culver City but the rent is a lot lower at the very moment when Tech Bro World, having been priced out of Venice, is expanding in that very direction.

Which is why, in case you missed it, the thuggish Trump-buddy real estate zillionaires who call themselves CIM Group have been buying properties all over the neigborhood, developing live/work multi-use monstrosities and and hotels and God knows what-all. CIM Group is famous for its outlaw behavior, what with illegally chasing tenants out of rent-stabilized buildings, and illegally AirBnBing buildings that don’t have occupancy permits, and violating the terms of their building permits, and other such shenanigans.1

And CIM Group is also famous for its support of business improvement districts in neighborhoods where it’s parking its considerable capital. Just for one instance, there’s perennial Hollywood Entertainment District BID Boardie Monica Yamada, vice president for incomprehensible nonsense at CIM. And earlier this month I first learned that BID consultants New City America2 were working on setting up a BID in West Adams and, more recently, that CIM Group seems to be the main proponent.

In particular, CIM groupies Catherine Randall and Geffen Kuba3 seem to be walking point. These facts, and not much more, come from some recently obtained emails relating to the BID formation process. First see this conversation between Marco Li Mandri and Wesson staffer Kimani Black. There’s also this short note from Shirley Zawadski to the City Clerk letting them know that the formation process is underway.

According to Li Mandri the plan is to have the engineer’s report and the management district plan in to the Clerk’s office by the middle of January. I don’t know if they have gone to petitions yet. The BID is expected to raise $370,000 in its first year of operation. Turn the page for links to and transcriptions of the emails on which the story is based.
Continue reading West Adams BID Is In The Pipeline — Management District Plan May Be Submitted To City As Early As January — Backed By Thuggish Outlaw Real Estate Trump-Buddies CIM Group — Who Are Developing At Least Three Properties In The Area — Clearly BID Will Support, Enhance Gentrification — Pressure For Which Is Created By Culver City Adjacency And Tech Boom

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Echo Park BID Formation Process Rolls On, With Economic Development Committee Just Yesterday, At Behest Of CD13 Rep Mitch O’Freaking Farrell, Recommending Allocation Of God Only Knows How Much Money To Civitas To Complete The Establishment Process

It’s been almost two years now since our esteemed City Council breathed new life into the inchoate Echo Park BID in May 2016 in response to a letter from the Echo Park Chamber of Commerce, who is apparently the BID proponent group for this mishegas. Well, that infusion of cash into its zombie veins apparently wasn’t enough to send it lurching off into what passes for the civic life of this fair but wounded City of ours.

Thus, evidently, CD13 rep Mitch O’Freaking Farrell found it necessary a few weeks ago to move in Council that the BID formation contract with Civitas Advisors, who’s acting as the BID consultant,1 be extended.2 Yesterday, the Economic Development Committee approved3 Mitchie’s motion and sent a report to the full Council for their sadly inevitable approval.

The original Echo Park BID formation materials are collected in CF 10-0154 and for all this contract extension voodoo they started a supplemental, which is at CF 10-0154-S1. Turn the page for a transcription of O’Farrell’s motion from February 27 as well as of an interesting selection from the Committee’s report which sheds some light on where things stand.

Continue reading Echo Park BID Formation Process Rolls On, With Economic Development Committee Just Yesterday, At Behest Of CD13 Rep Mitch O’Freaking Farrell, Recommending Allocation Of God Only Knows How Much Money To Civitas To Complete The Establishment Process

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San Pedro BID Renewal Petition Drive Materials Available Including Blank Petitions And Information Sheets

This is just a quick note to announce the availability of a first batch of renewal materials from the San Pedro Historic Waterfront BID. They’re available here on Archive.Org. These are from the petition phase, where property owners holding $1 more than 50% of the total assessed value have to petition City Council to renew their BID. I’m collecting material like this as part of a long-term project to send out countermailings when BIDs send out mailings in favor of establishment or renewal. They uniformly send blank petitions on which the only choice is to vote yes. See this sample, for instance.1

I think it would be reasonable, effective, and entertaining to send out petitions on which the only choice was no. Of course, the way the petition phase of BID renewal/establishment is structured, not voting is the same as voting no, but nevertheless, it would be politically valuable to see that property owners have a choice. In order to carry out this plan, it will also be necessary to have quick access to natively formatted copies of the mailing lists that the BIDs use. They have historically been exceedingly reluctant to give up this information.

You may, e.g., recall the fact that it took me five months of nagging Miranda Paster at the City Clerk’s office to get her to give me the mailing list for Venice Beach.2 In that case as in every other case where I’ve actually managed to obtain mailing lists, it came too late to be useful. But at some point, and this is the main reason this is a long term project, I will have convinced the BIDdies3 that they have to hand over mailing lists promptly so that they’re still politically useful.

Naturally, when sending out alt-petition forms, it will be necessary to send out alt-propaganda. Just take a look at the San Pedro BID’s info sheet that they sent out along with the petitions. Count the lies. Imagine an alt-petition that not only invites property owners to vote no on the BID but also informs them what their money’s really being spent for like, e.g., to to keep criminals from getting arrested because they can’t put out their own damn dumpster fires!

Every BID wastes its money on exactly that kind of nonsense, never publicized. This kind of campaign probably won’t stop any BIDs, but it may well increase the protest rate, which would be interesting indeed! And turn the page for links to all the items with a little bit of commentary.
Continue reading San Pedro BID Renewal Petition Drive Materials Available Including Blank Petitions And Information Sheets

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Urban Place Consulting Charged Palisades BID 62% Less For Establishment Than They Are Charging Fashion District For Renewal, $21K vs. $55K. The Resulting Linear Model Suggests That Each Additional Parcel Adds Around $18 To The Price Of BID Consultancy, But Comparison With San Pedro Casts Some Doubt On Accuracy

This chain of emails from December 2015 reveals that the Pacific Palisades Business Improvement District paid Urban Place Consulting $21,000 for guiding the establishment process and an additional $4,000 to the consulting engineer.1 This is yet another piece of the BID consultancy puzzle that I’ve been trying to decipher since it became clear that almost certainly BID consulting qualified as lobbying under the Municipal Lobbying Ordinance and that almost all of the qualified consultants were breaking the law by not being registered with the City Ethics Commission like, e.g., Tara Devine.2

And this small piece of evidence is especially valuable given the fact that by now it’s essentially impossible to coax records out of the Palisades BID. They’ve even hired a lawyer specifically to thwart my requests, as if the bred-in-the-bone intransigence3 of PPBID ED Laurie Sale, which presumably they’ve already paid for, weren’t enough in itself.

In particular, because we already knew that Urban Place was charging the Fashion District $55,000 for renewal consulting and because it’s the first time we’ve known the rates that a single consultant is charging two different BIDs, it’s possible for the first time to attempt to model UPC’s fee structure. The gory details are available after the break, but the upshot it’s possible to estimate that UPC’s baseline fee for establishing/renewing an ideal BID with zero parcels in it is about $19,583 and that each additional parcel adds a little more than $18 to the cost of establishing/renewing the BID.
Continue reading Urban Place Consulting Charged Palisades BID 62% Less For Establishment Than They Are Charging Fashion District For Renewal, $21K vs. $55K. The Resulting Linear Model Suggests That Each Additional Parcel Adds Around $18 To The Price Of BID Consultancy, But Comparison With San Pedro Casts Some Doubt On Accuracy

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