You may recall that one of the major issues raised in the Skid Row Neighborhood Council Formation Committee’s appeal to the Board of Neighborhood Commissioners over probably illegal, certainly immoral, shenanigans in the horrifically shady campaign against the SRNC was the question of whether DLANC had illegally opposed formation by sending out emails via its Mailchimp account. The turning point, though, was when the opposition convinced CD14 repster José Huizar to allow online voting at the last minute and to automatically register all people who’d voted in the last DLANC election.
The fact that Huizar decided to allow online voting meant that contact information for all the automatically registered voters suddenly became very valuable. I haven’t uncovered any new information on the Mailchimp front, but one of the emails from yesterday’s release of records from the Downtown Center BID reveals that on April 3, just three days before the hotly contested election, then-DLANC-Board-member Jacob Douglas van Horn,1 sent DLANC’s copy of the registered voter list to a rogues’ gallery of anti-SRNC conspirators. Here is the email and here’s what it says:
Attached is a spreadsheet with the list of pre-registered voters from the last election. All of these people have already been sent a login and pin by DONE. For many it is ending up in their spam email box. Please every take a few minutes to look over this list. If you know anyone on the list please follow up with them and make sure they have voted.
This is just a short note to announce two massive sets of emails that I’ve obtained over the last couple weeks. There’s so much material here that it’s taken an unusual amount of time to get it processed and published. I will be writing about this material over the next few weeks. There’s so much, and it’s so rich, that it’s going to take me a while to get it all sorted out, so I thought it’d be best to make it available to you right away:
Downtown Santa Monica BID — Emails between the City of Santa Monica and the Downtown Santa Monica BID from January 1 through September 8, 2017.
Well, this morning bright and early I hopped the good old 704 eastbound to the good old Red Line to good old Pershing Square Station and beat it on up to the HCBID where I was allowed, under the too-close-for-civility observation of a bunch of weirdo BIDdies and one DLANCkie old yank in his clanky old tank,1 to sit in the freaking dark on a freaking bench2 and look at a freaking bunch of emails. You’ll be hearing much, much more about this surreal episode in both the near and the distant futures,3 and the purpose of tonight’s episode is just to get before you one of the essential pieces of evidence that turned up in the partial yield.
I just recently received a few hundred pages of emails from Estela Lopez, voodoo queen of the Central City East Association, and they are available on Archive.Org and also directly from static storage. Most of it is the unmitigatedly tedious bullshit with which these BIDdies fill their lives and their inboxes, but, as usual, there are a few interesting items. I already wrote the other day about Estela Lopez’s aggressive foray into CPRAlandia, and here are a few other items that are worth looking at individually:
Perhaps you remember the long and winding narrative of how I spent almost half of last year trying to get the City Clerk’s office to cough up mailing addresses for the property owners in the Venice Beach BID, which they finally did do. There is a reasonable summary with links right here. Today I can reveal a little behind-the-scenes episode in that story.
A few weeks ago, in the middle of about a thousand pages of emails that the City Clerk’s office finally handed over, only about six months after I asked for them, I found this little gem of an email chain. Most of it is me hassling various Clerk staffies for the list of addresses, but right in the middle of it all, there’s an interlude between Holly Wolcott and Deputy City Attorney Mike Dundas, who’s evidently some kind of CPRA specialist over there in City Hall East.4
This is just a quick announcement of some interesting new collections of records, with minimal commentary. First of all, there’s a collection of emails between City Attorney spokesman5 Rob Wilcox and various L.A. Times Reporters. You can get the whole batch here:
Also I have a full set of reports6 from the Bureau of Sanitation on the cleanups of three homeless encampments on March 22, 2016. It took almost three months for them to hand over this material, which won’t surprise anyone who’s been following my recent interactions with them. This is likewise available from:
I don’t presently have much to say about the sanitation reports. At this point I’m collecting as much material as possible in order to (a) figure out what kind of material is available so that I’ll be able to make focused, effective requests in the future, (b) learn what kinds of arguments they make against handing over records so that I can make focused, effective counterarguments against them, and (c) understand all the players in the HE7 game and the roles they’re playing. I hope to be able to synthesize all of this at some point, but meanwhile I want to make the records available because I know smarter people than I are also reading them.
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
DISCLAIMER: I’m not a lawyer. But I’m friends with some lawyers. More than zero of them did not laugh out loud at the idea you’re about to read. That’s all I got.
Business improvement districts in California are made possible by the Property & Business Improvement District Law of 1994.12 It’s worth reading, or at least skimming through, because there’s gold in them thar hills! For instance, consider Section 36670(a)(1), which states:
36670.(a) Any district established or extended pursuant to the provisions of this part … may be disestablished by resolution by the city council in either of the following circumstances:
(1) If the city council finds there has been misappropriation of funds, malfeasance, or a violation of law in connection with the management of the district, it shall notice a hearing on disestablishment.
Do you see the potential in that statement? The fact that it’s a tool for laying waste the BIDs of Los Angeles like so many Philistines? It’s a little hard to understand statutes, but here’s a clue: when they say “shall” they mean “must,” not “can.” Now turn the page to find out why this little statute, if not more powerful than Doug Henning and his sparkly rainbow suspenders as pictured above, is possibly as effective a BID repellent but much, much more emotionally satisfying than mere poofsly-woofsly magical annihilation. Continue reading How to Destroy a Business Improvement District in California: A Theory→
I’m formally initiating coverage of the Central City East Association with some video of yesterday’s meeting of the Board of Directors at CCEA headquarters at 725 S. Crocker Street. You can find Part 1 and also Part 2. Note that the record is not complete because the Board went into closed session and I couldn’t stick around to see them reconvene. Part I consists entirely of CD14 representative Jose Huizar policy director Martin Schlageter talking about homeless issues in the BID’s territory and then, most interesting of all, taking questions from the Board members. The level of micromanagement is astonishing. We hope to write on some of the details later, but check some representative Q&A after the break. Part 2 is mostly taken up by a representative from the Runyon Group seeking CCEA support for entitlements for their ROW DTLA project (this project was formerly known as Alameda Square). Someone here will be writing on this soon in some detail. Continue reading Video of Yesterday’s Central City East Association Meeting Now Available→
We have written before about the BIDs’ hysterical, dishonest opposition to City Councilman José Huizar‘s proposal to legalize street vending. We’ve discussed the fact that many of the BID board members who oppose this law are themselves criminals, although not the kind who get prosecuted for their dirty deeds. We’ve written about how their froth-mouth rage at this relatively small move in the direction of sanity puts them in opposition to democracy itself. But we haven’t yet written about the very human cost of continuing to outlaw street vending in Los Angeles. Continue reading Don’t Incarcerate the Ice Cream Man→
Business Improvement Districts in Los Angeles — Satan, Your Kingdom Must Come Down!