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Gang Members, Seeking Respite From The Seething Urban Hell That Is Present-Day Santa Monica, Pour Over Northern Border Into Pacific Palisades, Bringing Crime, Fear, Misery — LAPD Unleashes Helicopters Against Palisades Homeless — The Last Days Are At Hand! Build That Wall, Mr. Bonin!

You probably thought that this place was nothing more than a colony of self-satisfied zillionaires and their floofly little dogs, just strolling around on the bluffs in their $1,400 Jimmy Choos, but it turns out that it’s a seething urban hell, generating crime wave after crime wave in the Palisades. Build that wall, Mr. Bonin!
OK, remember after the Venice Beach BID was approved for the second time and Mike Bonin gave a meandering, semi-sensical, victory speech, pronouncing definitively that he

…acknowledge[d] that there have been issues and problems with BIDs in other areas. But there have also been BIDs that have been very successful and have been great partners in solving homelessness. In Pacific Palisades we have a BID that has actually worked with the Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness and has helped get people housed.

Combine this statement, just begging to be fact-checked, with the fact that Mike Bonin’s weirdo staff is engaged in a criminal conspiracy to violate the California Public Records Act, thereby bringing the legally authorized investigations of brave citizen journalists into the shady shenanigans of CD11 to a grinding halt, and how could I resist asking Mike Bonin’s darling Pacific Palisades BID for a bunch of public records?

Well, last night, PPBID executive directrix Laurie Sale, in addition to coming at me all salty with a bunch of copypasta lawyerese about how she wasn’t handing over anything unless God and the FBI told her she had to,1 also provided me with a year’s worth of agendas and minutes from her according-to-Mike-Bonin-exemplary little BID out there to the northwest of reality in zillionaireville. Of course I put it up on Archive.Org immediately. And there’s some fine craziness in there, friends.

Greetings homeless neighbors! On behalf of the Palisades BID I would like to announce that we are from the LAPD and we are here to help the old amongst you, especially those whose health has deteriorated!

First of all, with respect to the homeless population of the Palisades, which according to Mike Bonin this BID’s handling of is a pattern of enlightened BIDolatry, take a look here at the Minutes from February 3, 2016, where we read, in the words of Laurie Sale her own self, that:

Older homeless are receptive to services as their health deteriorates. On the enforcement front, Michael Moore will be here soon to attest to the fact that they’ve gotten a lot more support from LAPD. Have provided more air support and foot support and they’ve mapped out all of the encampments. The signage has helped and allowed them to go in and get people off of the bluffs. Currently have a count of approximately eighty (80) homeless in the area but no market
[sic] increase.

Continue reading Gang Members, Seeking Respite From The Seething Urban Hell That Is Present-Day Santa Monica, Pour Over Northern Border Into Pacific Palisades, Bringing Crime, Fear, Misery — LAPD Unleashes Helicopters Against Palisades Homeless — The Last Days Are At Hand! Build That Wall, Mr. Bonin!

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Mike Bonin’s Gift Journals 2013-2015: All The Pretty People They’re All Drinking, Thinking That They’ve Got It Made / Exchanging All Precious Gifts, But You Better Take Your “Basket with Locally Made Pickles, Honey, Kale Chips,” You Better Pawn It Babe

More gifts to Mike Bonin, prominently displayed in his City Hall office on Wednesday, October 12, 2016.
More gifts to Mike Bonin, prominently displayed in his City Hall office on Wednesday, October 12, 2016.
Did you even know that the members of our esteemed City Council all send one another and various other people gifts in the putative holiday season? Well they do, and evidently it’s just another thing that the pretty people do when they’re all drinking, thinking that they got it made.1

The City Ethics Commission requires City officials to keep track of these presents, and so, in response to a CPRA request, I received these records from Chad Molnar the other day, despite his claim that fulfilling my more substantial requests would make CD11 constituents suffer. Perhaps he sent these items along because they aren’t likely to make the constituents, who thrive in darkness and secrecy and evidently include outlaw BID proponents Mark Sokol and Carl Lambert, suffer too much, because they have very little content. However, what they do have is fairly amusing. You can get them:

Another purpose of this post is to announce the reorganization of the menu structure, which was getting a little top-heavy. Also, the inauguration of our new CD11 Page, which doesn’t have much on it now, but it will soon, I hope. Turn the page for direct links to the gift journals along with a little bit of relatively restrained mockery.
Continue reading Mike Bonin’s Gift Journals 2013-2015: All The Pretty People They’re All Drinking, Thinking That They’ve Got It Made / Exchanging All Precious Gifts, But You Better Take Your “Basket with Locally Made Pickles, Honey, Kale Chips,” You Better Pawn It Babe

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Unrealized 1995 Proposal to Turn Hollywood Boulevard Into Literal, Actual Amusement Park Shows, We Guess, that No One Loves Hollywood for Herself and Also, However Bad the BIDs Are, Things Could Always Have Been Worse

Evidently some Disney theme park somewhere east of San Bernardino actually has a through-the-looking-glass replica of a Hollywood Boulevard that might have been real right here in the most real neighborhood in the most real city in the world.
Evidently some Disney theme park somewhere east of San Bernardino actually has a through-the-looking-glass replica of a Hollywood Boulevard that might have been real right here in the most real neighborhood in the most real city in the world. Except, look! Unlike the real Hollywood Boulevard this fake one has benches, because they don’t have a BID destroying every possible thing that might give aid and comfort to anyone.
Amongst the files that our faithful correspondent recently open-sesame-ed out in literal troves from the Ali-Baba-esque locality on Ramirez Street known to the world as the City Archives and Record Center was a most interesting, most singular fax to Councilwoman Jackie Goldberg from a serial candidate for every random political office in California and generally all-round attention-seeking loony named Steve Mozena, self-styled “Chair of HOLLYWOODLAND.” On the handwritten fax cover sheet1 Steve declaims:
I'm Martin Sheen and I "like the idea of  'Hollywoodland.'"
I’m Martin Sheen and I “like the idea of ‘Hollywoodland.'”

Jackie, I’m looking for support for my project. Martin Sheen and Slyvester [sic] Stallone like the idea of “Hollywoodland” Let’s see if we can work together and make this a reality. Steve

Go ahead! Read it! You know you want to! Turn the page now to find out what this is that we’re gonna make a reality! And also what does it have to do with the BIDs…
Continue reading Unrealized 1995 Proposal to Turn Hollywood Boulevard Into Literal, Actual Amusement Park Shows, We Guess, that No One Loves Hollywood for Herself and Also, However Bad the BIDs Are, Things Could Always Have Been Worse

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John Tronson in Van Nuys: Money doesn’t talk, it swears1

John Tronson at the Joint Security Committee meeting on April 9, 2015, giving a performative demonstration via mouth-closure that he’s not, at the moment the picture was taken, lying.
The city of Los Angeles has been holding public hearings to gather input on possible frameworks for legalizing street vending. Yesterday we began discussing the June 11 meeting in Van Nuys by considering Kerry Morrison’s statement. Today we move on to John Tronson. You can listen to his statement here or after the break, where a transcription is also available. Audio of the entire meeting is available here. We’re just going to look at John’s statement one piece at a time.

Good evening. My name is John Tronson. I’m a member of the Hollywood Entertainment District, which is a property-owner based business improvement district in Hollywood.

All these people start off by saying something true. It’s meant to lull your suspicions. Don’t let it.

Some people think that because they pay taxes with their own money, the taxes they pay are still their own money after they’re paid. If they start taking this idea too seriously they’re likely to wake up one morning to find a bunch of people wearing this badge while knocking down their door with a battering ram.

We spend three and a half million dollars a year of our own money to clean the streets of Hollywood, to trim the trees, to provide additional public safety and paint out graffiti.

The way a property-based BID works is this: If the majority of the property owners in a district agree, the city adds an extra assessment to their property tax, keeps some part of the money raised for administrative overhead, and distributes the rest back to the BID to spend on specific kinds of services in the district. There are two important points to remember. First, a BID can be established over the objection of individual property owners. Only a majority need approve. Second, once a BID is established, the assessment is no longer voluntary. It is compulsory. Non-payment is punishable by the full range of state action2 up to and including violent confiscation of property. In other words, this assessment, once paid, is a tax. After all, income tax might be considered voluntary in this same sense. The Sixteenth Amendment to the Constitution was put in place by elected representatives, so in a way, the people to be taxed consented to the taxation. But now that it’s in place, income tax is no longer voluntary, just as BID assessments are no longer voluntary. This is consistent with the standard definition:

Al Capone, yet another guy who confused "taxes" with "his own money" and had to have the distinction explained to him in a fairly forceful manner.
Al Capone, yet another guy who confused “taxes” with “his own money” and had to have the distinction explained to him in a fairly forceful manner.

Tax: A compulsory contribution to the support of government, levied on persons, property, income, commodities, transactions, etc., now at fixed rates, mostly proportional to the amount on which the contribution is levied.3

Now, everyone who pays taxes has, at one point or another, thought of that money as still their own. But really, it’s not. Try telling a cop not to give you a ticket because you pay their salary with your “own money.” Try telling a professor at UCLA they have to give your kid an A+ because it’s your “own money” that supports them. It’s a losing argument. Taxes, once paid, belong to the public, not to the people who paid them. BID assessments are taxes. BID assessments are public money. Now, as to John’s statement about what they do with that public money, it’s true as far as it goes. That’s not all they spend the money on, but they do spend it on that. We won’t argue. Onward!
Continue reading John Tronson in Van Nuys: Money doesn’t talk, it swears1

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Kerry Morrison in Van Nuys: Where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison / Where the executioner’s face is always well hidden1

Tailgunner Kerry Morrison giving a performative demonstration of effective methods for keeping public meetings respectful, civil, and orderly.
As you probably know, the city of Los Angeles has been holding public hearings to gather input on possible frameworks for legalizing street vending. We’ve written before about the May 28 meeting in Boyle heights: once, twice, and thrice. Now, at last, we take up the June 11 meeting in Van Nuys. We’re starting things off with our old friend, Ms. Kerry Morrison. You can listen to her statement here or read a transcription after the break. We’ve also written about Kerry’s description of the meetings at the Joint Security Committee in July:

there were a series of four hearings that the chief administrative office staff held on the… the sidewalk vending ordinance. … It’s just this kind of amorphous set of hearings, which were completely dysfunctional, disrespectful, and almost, um, resembled a circus.

In the same meeting, Kerry explained that she wasn’t putting up with this, not for a second, and told everyone what she’d done about it:

So actually, Carol Schatz and I wrote a letter to Herb Wesson, the president of the city council after that meeting saying this is, this is really not being, you know, well-handled, there’s no security, it’s intimidating to people, there are people who did not want to testify. So the subsequent two hearings were, um, maybe a little bit more well-behaved.

As Ronald Reagan said in 1970, "If it takes a bloodbath to silence the demonstrators let's get it over with."   The lyrics are cruder than Kerry Morrison's,  but the tune's the same.1
As Ronald Reagan said in 1970, “If it takes a bloodbath to silence the demonstrators let’s get it over with.”
The lyrics are cruder than Kerry Morrison’s, but the tune’s the same.2

Well, we put our fearless correspondent on the case and he went out and got us a copy of this letter. As is usual with Kerry when she’s writing in this genre, outraged-with-veneer-of-politesse-and-diplomacy white supremacism, the letter manages to combine utterly competent, even stylish, syntax with semantics that wouldn’t have been out of place in a 1970-era Ronald Reagan psychotic fever dream about students running wild in the streets of Berkeley. Read on for details and more!
Continue reading Kerry Morrison in Van Nuys: Where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison / Where the executioner’s face is always well hidden1

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