Tag Archives: Bureau of Street Services

The Hollywood Property Owners’ Alliance In Cahoots With CD13 Is Removing Ficus Trees From Hollywood — Why Has The City Of Los Angeles Ceded Its Duty To Care For Our Trees To A Bunch Of Nihilistic Zillionaires Who Don’t Even Live In Hollywood?

The Hollywood Property Owners’ Alliance, which runs the major Hollywood BID, has a long and troubled relationship with the City of Los Angeles and tree regulations. For instance, remember when that billboard company illegally cut down all those trees in Silver Lake in 2016 and the whole City flipped out even to the extent of revenge vandalism? This crisis somehow catapulted Mitch O’Farrell and David Ryu into a rare moment of sanity and they initiated CF 15-0467-S4, in which they asked for report-backs from the City Attorney and the Bureau of Street Services on how to prevent future rogue tree removals.

And the Bureau of Street Services came in with a pretty strong set of recommendations, which included requiring before-and-after photos of tree maintenance done by private parties as well as requiring the presence of City tree surgeons. Well, as you may recall, the BID absolutely flipped out over this in their characteristically privileged manner, which included typically unsubstantiated claims of their unparalleled arboreal competence and even featured archetypal BID genius Mark Echevarria of Musso & Frank giggling like a six-fingered chucklehead cause he never heard of tree surgeons.1

And over the last two years the issue of the wanton destruction of our City’s trees has not died down. In fact it’s getting worse and worse. For a good overview see this fine article by Alissa Walker in Curbed LA. The unwarranted removal of trees has emerged as a significant social justice issue with serious ecological ramifications. And political action can save trees. But political action is impossible if the City sneaks around and removes trees covertly.

And of course, the City’s favorite way to sneak around and do anything covertly is to palm it off onto the damn BIDs.2 Thus it was no surprise to discover a newly released email conversation between Marisol Rodriguez and Dan Halden of Mitch O’Farrell’s staff and Kerry Morrison and Rich Sarian of the HPOA which shows that the BID is in fact involved in secret tree destruction in Hollywood with the advice and consent of CD13.

It’s pretty clear that these actions are shady. It’s plausible that they’re illegal. Turn the page for transcriptions of as much of the record as we have available.
Continue reading The Hollywood Property Owners’ Alliance In Cahoots With CD13 Is Removing Ficus Trees From Hollywood — Why Has The City Of Los Angeles Ceded Its Duty To Care For Our Trees To A Bunch Of Nihilistic Zillionaires Who Don’t Even Live In Hollywood?

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The Los Angeles City Council Has Been So Busy Conspiring With BIDs And Carol Schatz To Continue To Arrest Street Vendors In Zillionaire-Occupied Neighborhoods That They Couldn’t Bother To Acknowledge SB-946, The Sanity In Street Vending Bill, Which Would Nullify Their Satanic Scheming — But Now That It Looks Like It’ll Pass They Finally Noticed It — And Introduced A Motion Asking City Staff To Figure Out What It Would Mean For Their Hateful Ordinance — Short Answer: Nothing Good For The Zillionaires

As you’re probably aware, the City of Los Angeles has been grinding away for more than four years now at developing an ordinance regulating street vending, and you can track the tortured permutations in CF 13-1493. When the whole thing started in 2013 it seemed like José Huizar and Curren Price, who kicked off the process, actually intended to develop a sane ordinance to regulate vending in Los Angeles.

But after four bitter years of exceedingly expensive lobbying, racist rhetoric, and generalized hatred and lies by Carol Schatz and BIDs, the whole thing turned into the unholy mess that we’re living with today, with e.g. Councilmembers directing the LAPD to enforce inapplicable laws on an arbitrary targeted basis at the whim of such enemies of civil society as Kerry Morrison of the Hollywood Freaking Property Owners’ Alliance.

This crazed race-to-the-bottom showed no signs of abating, with, e.g., the Bureau of Street Services weighing in just the other day with yet another unhinged series of suggestions on how the proposed ordinance could be made even more anti-human. And it’s this kind of bizarrely laser-focused insistence on punishment, torture, and incarceration of street vendors, who are one of the cultural treasures of this City, that led state senator Ricardo Lara to introduce SB-946, which would impose very strict limitations on how cities can regulate street vending.

Lara’s comments on the bill make it pretty clear that it’s substantially aimed at cutting through the money-obscured fog of the Los Angeles City Council’s inability to pass any kind of law at all while, somehow, continuing to arrest vendors, confiscate their equipment, and so on. But like the Ancient Mariner, who wouldn’t look behind him for fear of seeing the demons hunting him, the City Council has not uttered the teensiest peep about Lara’s bill.

This silence is certainly uncharacteristic of our Councillors, who will famously take a position on everything from nuclear weapons to freaking garage door openers. However, a couple days ago they finally decided to notice the existence of Lara’s bill. They’re so entrapped by various constituencies, though, that they found themselves unable either to support or oppose Lara’s bill.

Instead Huizar and Price introduced a motion asking the Chief Legislative Analyst to figure out what the passage of Lara’s bill, which seems increasingly likely to happen, would mean for the City’s increasingly unworkable collection of carve-outs masquerading as legislation. What’s amazing about this motion, as I said, is not its content, but its very existence. You can, however, read a transcription after the break.
Continue reading The Los Angeles City Council Has Been So Busy Conspiring With BIDs And Carol Schatz To Continue To Arrest Street Vendors In Zillionaire-Occupied Neighborhoods That They Couldn’t Bother To Acknowledge SB-946, The Sanity In Street Vending Bill, Which Would Nullify Their Satanic Scheming — But Now That It Looks Like It’ll Pass They Finally Noticed It — And Introduced A Motion Asking City Staff To Figure Out What It Would Mean For Their Hateful Ordinance — Short Answer: Nothing Good For The Zillionaires

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Bureau Of Street Services Chief Investigator Gary Harris Reports Back To City Council On Proposed Street Vending Ordinance — The City Must Retain The Ability To Confiscate Carts Without Hearings Or Appeals — The City Must Background-Check Vendors Near Schools In Case They’re Sex Criminals — Ricardo Lara’s Sanity In Street Vending Bill Can’t Pass Soon Enough — Cause There Is No Sanity To Be Found In The Los Angeles Lawmakers’ Discussion Of Street Vending

Even though it’s looking reasonably likely that Ricardo Lara’s deeply excellent sanity in street vending bill, SB 946, will become law when the legislature reconvenes very soon, the City of Los Angeles is still grinding away at developing its own regulation.1

This whole mess, which we have been tracking forever through every last weirdo permutation, is memorialized in Council File CF 13-1493. And this is just a short note to announce that tonight Gary Harris, the chief investigator of the Bureau of Street Services, filed his report-back announcing what his department would like to see added to the law.

And its as unhinged as any of the other unhinged contributions to this discussion over the years. First of all, Gary Harris argues that the City must reserve the right to confiscate the equipment of unlicensed vendors without hearings and without appeals and, it appears, without benefit of the United States Constitution.2 Even weirder, he wants to use LAMC 56.11 as authority to confiscate carts.

This is of course the infamous anti-homeless personal property confiscation measure. It’s written to allow the confiscation of unattended personal property, which obviously doesn’t apply to street vendors’ equipment. Additionally, a federal court has already suspended enforcement of LAMC 56.11 in Skid Row, and it’s pretty clear that the only reason enforcement hasn’t been suspended City-wide is that no one has asked a court to do it. LAMC 56.11 is itself unenforceable and is hardly a tool to be basing a sustainable street vending policy on.

Second, Gary Harris wants to require background checks for vendors that vend near schools to make sure they’re not perverts or sex criminals. It all just really makes me wonder what City, what universe, these people are living in. Here’s the deal, Mr. Gary Harris. There are already vendors vending near schools. There are already unlicensed vendors.

And maybe some of them are perverts and sex criminals. But there are certainly not vast crews of sex criminals who are not now vending but will start vending when the City passes a law, if it ever does. That’s just kooky. Whether there is a law or not the number of perverts and sex criminals selling raspados near schools will not change. There’s no crisis now, so there’s no need to prevent a notional future crisis.

Turn the page for some more commentary along with a transcription of Gary Harris’s report-back.
Continue reading Bureau Of Street Services Chief Investigator Gary Harris Reports Back To City Council On Proposed Street Vending Ordinance — The City Must Retain The Ability To Confiscate Carts Without Hearings Or Appeals — The City Must Background-Check Vendors Near Schools In Case They’re Sex Criminals — Ricardo Lara’s Sanity In Street Vending Bill Can’t Pass Soon Enough — Cause There Is No Sanity To Be Found In The Los Angeles Lawmakers’ Discussion Of Street Vending

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Business Improvement Districts As A Force For White Supremacy in Twenty-First Century Los Angeles

This is the most obvious and least dangerous form in which white supremacy expresses itself.
This is the most obvious and least dangerous form in which white supremacy expresses itself.
My colleagues and I spill a lot of metaphorical ink referring to business improvement districts and their Boards of Directors as white supremacists, and we certainly stand by that position. However, it’s recently come to my attention that not everyone in our audience is familiar with the literal meaning of the phrase. Evidently it strikes some people as a generic, semantically empty insult, or else they’re confused by the fact that the phrase refers to at least two fairly distinct ideologies. Thus I thought it would be useful to explain in detail why BIDs are in a very literal sense white supremacist organizations.

First let’s get the definitions straight. As always, our friends at Wikipedia give us a good starting place. Their article on white supremacy tells us that the phrase has two principal meanings. The salient one for our purposes is that white supremacy is:

…a political ideology that perpetuates and maintains the social, political, historical and/or industrial domination by white people

It’s crucial to note that there’s nothing inherently racist about this kind of white supremacy.1 Now, the history of the racial segregation of real estate in Los Angeles is well-known, and Hollywood was at the forefront of it from the early years of the last century. What’s not so well understood is how racially segregated the commercial real estate market was. In fact2 it was certainly more segregated than residential real estate, since white people owned much of the commercial real estate even in areas of the City where nonwhites were allowed to own houses.3
Continue reading Business Improvement Districts As A Force For White Supremacy in Twenty-First Century Los Angeles

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CD13 Staff Organizes On-Demand Homeless Encampment Cleanup for Benefit of Bryan Kim of “Scumbag” Cat-Kicking Koreatown Slumlords Kim and Casey, Subsequently Personally Invite Him to Support LAMC 56.11 in Council

CD13 gleefully kicking "frustrating" homeless people out of your neighborhood since 2013.
Mitch O’Farrell and his staff: gleefully kicking “frustrating” homeless people out of your neighborhood since 2013.
How does the City of Los Angeles decide which homeless encampments to target for cleanup? How do they decide when to target them? Well, if these two email chains from City Council District 13 about encampment-breaking on Vermont Avenue and Marathon Street in Koreatown are any indication (one and two) they target them when non-homeless people call CD13 and tell them to clean out the homeless people.1 And what do they get out of targeting them? Well, they’re politically savvy enough to turn down free lunches offered in exchange for their dirty work, but they will accept an offer of bused-in political supporters to astroturf the public comments section of a Council meeting. First let’s look at the players involved.

Bryan Kim is a partner in Koreatown based property management company Kim and Casey, which doesn’t seem to have a website.2 They do, however, have a Yelp page. This is notable for having uniformly one star reviews, which include comments like:3

They would tell me I was picky about the filth they’d promised to clean up before I moved in but never took care of it. They wouldn’t accept responsibility and blamed everyone and everything else until they were legally forced to take control of the growing sludge and cesspool that had been forming for I don’t know how many weeks .

Aram Taslagyan: "Hi Bryan, [the homeless encampment that was interfering with your pending property inspection] is all clean now. ... Please let me know if it starts up again at any level.
Aram Taslagyan: “Hi Bryan, [the homeless encampment that was interfering with your pending property inspection] is all clean now. … Please let me know if it starts up again at any level.

Or, even more colorfully:

I had my sink drain burst and when I asked them to fix it they said “NO”. The reason they gave me was that I had a bathroom sink to use and I dint really need the one in my kitchen. … What kind of management company is this? Also, one day as I was looking out my window, I saw one of the three guys who were walking the property from Kim and Casey Kick my neighbors cat at he was walking down the path way. It was the middle aged guy of the three that were walking the property. I don’t know his name and don’t care to know such a scumbag.

So that’s Bryan Kim according to Yelp; K-Town slumlord and associate of cat-kickers if not a cat-kicker himself. The other correspondent is CD13 field deputy Aram Taslagyan, whose bio you can read for yourself. The whole thing evidently began with a disconnected phone call from Kim to CD13 intern Sean Starkey, which resulted in this email:
Continue reading CD13 Staff Organizes On-Demand Homeless Encampment Cleanup for Benefit of Bryan Kim of “Scumbag” Cat-Kicking Koreatown Slumlords Kim and Casey, Subsequently Personally Invite Him to Support LAMC 56.11 in Council

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Many, Many New Emails from CD13 About Homeless Encampments, From CD4 About the Food Coalition, and From South Park BID About Street Vending

An image attached to one of many CD13 emails discussing breaking up homeless encampments on Melrose, Vermont, Alvarado, Beverly, and some adjacent streets.
An image attached to one of many CD13 emails discussing breaking up homeless encampments on Melrose, Vermont, Alvarado, Beverly, and some adjacent streets.
Today I’m just announcing three new collections of emails, all of which can be found (for now) exclusively in our Archive.org collections. First we have emails to and from CD13 about homeless encampments on Vermont Avenue, Melrose, Beverly, Alvarado, and some adjacent streets. The Council District was involved with breaking up these encampments in March 2016 and these emails document the process. They also contain a lot of fodder for future requests, since some of them list specific document numbers for Bureau of Street Services and also Sanitation Department orders and reports. It’s almost as if no one at CD13 was aware that breaking up homeless encampments puts federal money in jeopardy.
Continue reading Many, Many New Emails from CD13 About Homeless Encampments, From CD4 About the Food Coalition, and From South Park BID About Street Vending

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Tree-Trimming Ordinance Revisions Scheduled for Public Works Committee on Monday, June 27 at 1 p.m. Jessica Lall of the South Park BID Files First Opposition. Our Letter Appears Here and You Can Send a Copy if you Want!

We have a lot of really pretty trees in Los Angeles.  Let's not let the BIDs prevent us from taking good care of them for our children just because they're too fricking cheap to pay for a permit.
We have a lot of really pretty trees in Los Angeles. Let’s not let the BIDs prevent us from taking good care of them for our children just because they’re too fricking cheap to pay for a permit.
Last week I reported that the Bureau of Street Services’s response to O’Farrell and Ryu’s motion on tree-trimming was set to face some opposition from business improvement districts. Well, tonight, Jessica Lall of the Southpark BID, who seems generally sane, but evidently is not, has fired the first shot across the bow of the proposal in the form of a letter to the Committee. You can read it. It’s the usual bogus anti-government whining about layers of bureacracy and don’t impede the private sector and blah-de-blah-blah-blah. Anyway, I fired off my own letter to the committee, which you can read after the break, but, more importantly, which you can download here in Microsoft Word format so you can send a copy of your own. I know it seems bogus to sane people that a bunch of cookie-cutter letters would have an effect on our Councilmembers, but it seems that, in fact, they do. The necessary email addresses are:

councilmember.buscaino@lacity.org
councilmember.martinez@lacity.org
councilmember.huizar@lacity.org
councilmember.price@lacity.org
councilmember.ofarrell@lacity.org
councilmember.ryu@lacity.org
Continue reading Tree-Trimming Ordinance Revisions Scheduled for Public Works Committee on Monday, June 27 at 1 p.m. Jessica Lall of the South Park BID Files First Opposition. Our Letter Appears Here and You Can Send a Copy if you Want!

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HPOA to Oppose O’Farrell/Ryu Motion on Tree-Trimming. Kerry Morrison: This is Overkill. John Tronson: I’m Having a Fundraiser for Mitch; I will Talk to Him. Mark Echevarria: What the Fuck is a Tree Surgeon?! Hurr Hurr Hurr

The Hollywood Property Owners Alliance supports laws that prioritize the view on the right over the view on the left.
The Hollywood Property Owners Alliance supports laws that prioritize the view on the right over the view on the left.
Maybe you remember in January when Outfront Media illegally, immorally, and with reckless disregard, vandalized a bunch of trees in Silver Lake. Well, that’s smack in the heartland of Mitch O’Farrell world, so the CM and his compatriot David Ryu introduced a motion directing the Bureau of Street Services to figure out how to prevent this kind of horror in the future (the full council file CF 15-0467-S4 is here). It’s a little off-topic, but nevertheless interesting, to note that Outfront is a client of megalobbyist Veronica Perez, at whom Silver Lake residents directed a lot of justified rage on Facebook and elsewhere about this issue in March.

Well, in April, BSS came back with a list of proposed amendments to the City tree-trimming ordinance, and they mean to put some teeth into it, and as we know, our old friends the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance just hate to have to follow any laws at all since, they think, laws are what criminals break and we’re not criminals.

HPOA staffies Kerry Morrison and Matthew Severson, who propound the views of their masters with a level of passion that only the paid flunkies of zillionaires seem to be able to muster, frame it as a matter of more misdirected and incompetent government regulation. Real-estate zillionaire, BFF of Kerry Morrison, and revealed plagiarist John Tronson is gonna talk to Mitch about it at the fundraiser next week. Mark Echevarria, boss of Los Angeles spiritual/cultural nexus Musso & Frank, proves that you don’t have to be a genius to run a holy site by chuckling over the fact that he’s never heard of tree surgeons. It’s just yet another display of ignorance, privilege, and conspiracy to bribe public officials; business as usual at the HPOA. You can watch the whole thing here, see a complete transcription after the break, and turn the page for line-by-line commentary.
Continue reading HPOA to Oppose O’Farrell/Ryu Motion on Tree-Trimming. Kerry Morrison: This is Overkill. John Tronson: I’m Having a Fundraiser for Mitch; I will Talk to Him. Mark Echevarria: What the Fuck is a Tree Surgeon?! Hurr Hurr Hurr

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