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
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 .
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.
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:
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.