Tag Archives: City Council

Lying Zillionaires Lie About Street Food In Hollywood — Hollywood Property Owners’ Alliance And Hollywood Chamber Of Commerce Submit Doctored Anti-Vendor Photos And Mendacious Letter To City Council — Oppose Street Food Because Hotdoguero Putatively Under The Influence Of Marijuana While Cooking — As If The Kitchens Of Every Ritzy Restaurant On The Boulevard Weren’t Hotbeds Of Cocaine Abuse, Rape, And Sadistic Brutality — The Three Central Back Of The House Traditions Of The Fine Dining Industry

I’ve been covering the dishonest, fever-pitched, chainsaw-screech opposition of the business improvement districts of Los Angeles to this City’s miraculous, one-of-a-kind, irreplaceable street vendors since the Spring of 2015. And they will lie, they will pay their minions to lie, they will whine, and so on. And the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce is no better. E.g. its so-called CEO, Leron Gubler, recently wrote a racist screed to the LA City Council claiming that the value of Hollywood Boulevard as a world-class tourist attraction was being depleted due to too many “third world bazaar” type people selling yummy food on the sidewalks.1

And, as you no doubt know, all of this nonsense had the effect of dragging out the City’s attempts at legalizing vending for years, leading State Senator Ricardo Lara to introduce a bill forbidding cities in California from banning vending. This was signed into law by Jerry Brown in September and immediately moved the Los Angeles street vending debate into a different dimension. Lara’s bill prohibits restricting vending on the basis of anything other than objective health, welfare, and safety concerns. And the City is working on a regulatory system that putatively complies with these new limitations.

So the BIDdies have retrenched, given up on banning vendors in most parts of the City, and, in a bizarre Satanic inversion of Jesus’s cleansing of the temple, are concentrating on keeping a very few of their high and holy places, like Hollywood Boulevard, safe for the moneychangers by preventing infestations of the wrong kind of people selling cheap and yummy food2 in a “third world bazaar” type atmosphere. This is as opposed to the expensive and crappy food that the BIDdies prefer to be sold to tourists in Hollywood.3

And to do this, of course, they’re now required to argue that they’re motivated solely by objective health, welfare, and safety concerns rather than the real reasons, chief among which is their unhinged racism. Which brings us to November 27, 2018, when Leron Gubler submitted yet another letter to the Council File, accompanied by some photos supplied by the Hollywood Property Owners’ Alliance, pushing the theory that vending on Hollywood Boulevard is unhealthy, unsafe, and contributes to illfare,4 and so should be banned.
Continue reading Lying Zillionaires Lie About Street Food In Hollywood — Hollywood Property Owners’ Alliance And Hollywood Chamber Of Commerce Submit Doctored Anti-Vendor Photos And Mendacious Letter To City Council — Oppose Street Food Because Hotdoguero Putatively Under The Influence Of Marijuana While Cooking — As If The Kitchens Of Every Ritzy Restaurant On The Boulevard Weren’t Hotbeds Of Cocaine Abuse, Rape, And Sadistic Brutality — The Three Central Back Of The House Traditions Of The Fine Dining Industry

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City Attorney Submits Proposed Street Vending Ordinance To Council — Mostly Kicks Can Down Road To 2020 By Instructing Rec and Parks And BSS To Write Regulations For Council Approval — But Does Include Hard-Coded Ban Of Vending At Venice Beach, Pueblo De Los Angeles, And Within 500 Feet Of Walk Of Fame, Dodger Stadium, Hollywood Bowl, Coliseum, Staples Center On Event Days

September 2018 — A taquera Oaxaqueña plies her trade on Vermont Avenue north of Slauson.
In September Jerry Brown signed into law Ricardo Lara’s monumental SB 946, basically invalidating all municipal bans on street vending in California. One week later the Los Angeles City Council instructed the City Attorney to draft a compliant ordinance. And yesterday the City Attorney’s drafts1 hit the Council File. You can read the drafts for yourself:

These also came with a report from the City Attorney.

The main difference between the drafts seems to be that in the first version the Bureau of Street Services will be responsible for licensing vendors and enforcement won’t start until 2020. In the second version the City will choose a private contractor to administer the program. There may be other differences that I didn’t notice.

In neither case is it possible to tell right now what legalized street vending will look like in Los Angeles. Both drafts require Recreation and Parks and the Bureau of Street Services to draw up detailed regulations for vending in parks and on the streets respectively, and what these will look like is almost completely undetermined by the language of the ordinances. Although, if the earlier-announced positions of Rec and Parks and of BSS are going to be implemented, we’re in for another long ugly fight which will probably include more lawsuits.

Despite the inchoate character of these drafts, though, it seems that there are some prohibitions which the City Attorney feels are too important to be left up to the vagaries of the administrative rule-making process. These are as listed in the headline, and as transcribed and discussed below after the break.
Continue reading City Attorney Submits Proposed Street Vending Ordinance To Council — Mostly Kicks Can Down Road To 2020 By Instructing Rec and Parks And BSS To Write Regulations For Council Approval — But Does Include Hard-Coded Ban Of Vending At Venice Beach, Pueblo De Los Angeles, And Within 500 Feet Of Walk Of Fame, Dodger Stadium, Hollywood Bowl, Coliseum, Staples Center On Event Days

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City Council Continues Its Long Slide Into Delusion With Respect To Street Vending Regulation As Rec And Parks Files Proposed Rules — Banning Vendors Within 250 Feet Of Playgrounds, Bathrooms, Buildings — Within 500 Feet Of Senior Centers — Which Would Keep Them Altogether Out Of Most Parks In Los Angeles — This Is Obviously Not “Narrowly Tailored To Meet Safety, Health, And Welfare Concerns” — The City Is Begging For Yet Another Lawsuit

In September Jerry Brown effectively ended almost a decade’s worth of lunatic zillionaire opposition to street vending in Los Angeles when he signed into law Ricardo Lara’s monumental SB-946, which puts really strict limits on what municipalities can do to regulate vendors. In particular the law explicitly forbids cities to ban street vending anywhere other than for reasons “[d]irectly related to objective health, safety, or welfare concerns.”

And briefly it appeared that the City Council was going to try seriously to meet the challenge of developing compliant regulations But then things, as they often will do over at 200 N. Spring Street, rapidly devolved into fractious fractionated factionalism, with each Councilmember rushing about adding ad hoc restrictions, limitations, and so on at the mere behest of any zillionaire with $700 to kick into the old officeholder account. And yesterday this trend went on, worsened, and weirded up with the opening of supplementary Council File CF 13-1493-S6, which has to do with regulating vending in City parks.

The new law allows cities to regulate street vending in parks to some extent, and this council file is a response to that permission. It’s very sparse right now, having only started yesterday, and contains only a set of regulations proposed by Rec and Parks, a recommendation that the Council adopt them, and some kind of cover sheet. Now, Lara’s bill does allow cities to regulate vending in parks slightly more broadly than in general. In particular it allows regulation to protect “the scenic and natural character of the park” and some similar considerations. However, regulations must still be narrowly tailored to address these concerns.

But the restrictions in RAP’s proposal are anything but narrowly tailored, and there’s no plausible way they address the kinds of concerns that the law allows. For instance they contain a blanket ban on vending “within 250 feet of any building, recreation center, bathroom, structure or playground” and “within 500 feet of any school site, camp, youth activity center or senior center located on park property” and within “25 feet of any park fountain, statue, monument, or art installation.” Think of the parks you’re familiar with in Los Angeles. How many of them have any part that’s more than 250 feet from a building or a bathroom or a playground? If adopted, these regulations will constitute a de facto ban on vending in parks, which obviously isn’t consistent with the law.

It’s going to be interesting in some kind of abstract lookie-loo way to watch the City try to explain how a blanket prohibition from selling sliced mango within 250 feet of a bathroom is “[d]irectly related to objective health, safety, or welfare concerns,” how selling a taco within 500 feet of a senior center is “[d]irectly related to objective health, safety, or welfare concerns,” and so on. It’s also going to be interesting to watch the lawsuits that are sure to be filed if the City adopts this nonsense and ever tries to enforce it. It would be more interesting, of course, to watch the City government behaving like mature lawmakers. That, though, is never going to happen, so we have to take our enjoyment where we can.

And turn the page for a transcription of the so-called time, place, and manner regulations being proposed by RAP. I only quoted the worst ones above, but the rest of them are also not good, and therefore worth reading.
Continue reading City Council Continues Its Long Slide Into Delusion With Respect To Street Vending Regulation As Rec And Parks Files Proposed Rules — Banning Vendors Within 250 Feet Of Playgrounds, Bathrooms, Buildings — Within 500 Feet Of Senior Centers — Which Would Keep Them Altogether Out Of Most Parks In Los Angeles — This Is Obviously Not “Narrowly Tailored To Meet Safety, Health, And Welfare Concerns” — The City Is Begging For Yet Another Lawsuit

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Herb Wesson Has Evidently Completely Lost His Shit Due To City Hall Gadflies — He Introduced A Motion In Council Today To Amend Rules To Allow For Escalating Penalties For Disrupting Council Meetings — Just Like In Grade School — Almost Certainly A Violation Of The Brown Act And The State Constitution — But Herb Wesson Hasn’t Let That Stop Him In The Past So Why Would He Worry Now?

UPDATE 2: This malcriado piece of crap has now received a CF number. It is CF 16-1104-S1. Subscribe and track, friends.

UPDATE: Emily Alpert-Reyes and David Zahniser, following up on my work,1 have published an excellent article in the Times on this very matter.

Herb Wesson, our putatively esteemed City Council president, is infamous for his inability to maintain his dignity in the face of criticism. He’s arranged for the City Attorney to trump up charges against Wayne Spindler, the guy with the puppets. He’s tried to instigate violence to cause the ejection of Armando Herman, the guy who makes faces. Wesson has spent years now tweaking Council rules to thwart members of the public who hurt his delicate feelings during public comment. His minion Mitch Englander, of course, is no better. The two of them even tried to amend the LAMC last year to make it easier to have putatively disruptive commenters arrested, although that particular unconstitutional abortion seems to have withered and died.

So it was shocking but not surprising to find this steaming little heap of a motion in today’s transmission from the City Clerk, wherein Wesson, seconded by Englander and a bunch of other folks who failed civics class, seeks to amend Council rules to allow ever-lengthening penalties for people who have been ejected from public meetings for disruption. If someone’s ejected from one meeting they’re ejected from all meetings for that day. The next time they’re banned for three days, and so on. You can read the entire text after the break.

The problem is that this rule almost certainly violates the state constitution, which guarantees via the Brown Act the right to attend and comment at public meetings. One can’t really be deprived of constitutional rights without due process, so Herb Wesson’s unilateral decision that one is being disruptive at one meeting can’t sensibly be enough to get one banned from other meetings. If this rule goes into effect it’ll give Herb Wesson the unilateral power to ban commenters from meeting for six days.

Of course there’s no principled distinction between six days and two weeks, between two weeks and a month, between a month and a year, between a year and forever. Obviously Herb Wesson doesn’t have the unilateral power to ban someone from public meetings forever, so he can’t do it for six days either. The Brown Act explicitly gives legislative bodies the power to clear the room for disruption, so obviously also the power to eject disruptive individuals.2 But there’s no law that allows the City Council to bar people from attending a different meeting because they allegedly disrupted an earlier meeting.

The state constitution, on the other hand, explicitly gives them the right to attend the later meeting. Now, of course, I’m not a lawyer, and I’m just shooting off my mouth about this, but you’ll see, I am correct. Turn the page for a transcription of the motion.
Continue reading Herb Wesson Has Evidently Completely Lost His Shit Due To City Hall Gadflies — He Introduced A Motion In Council Today To Amend Rules To Allow For Escalating Penalties For Disrupting Council Meetings — Just Like In Grade School — Almost Certainly A Violation Of The Brown Act And The State Constitution — But Herb Wesson Hasn’t Let That Stop Him In The Past So Why Would He Worry Now?

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Jose Huizar, David Ryu, and Paul Koretz Introduce Motion In Council Ordering City Clerk To Report Back On How To Hire Everyone Counts To Run Online Voting Pilot In Ten Neighborhood Council Elections In 2019

Background: You can read my previous stories on the Skid Row Neighborhood Council formation effort and also see Jason McGahan’s article in the Weekly and Gale Holland’s article in the Times for more mainstream perspectives.

This is the very shortest of notes to announce that on Thursday esteemed councilcreeps Huizar, Ryu, and Koretz introduced a motion in Council ordering the City Clerk to report back in 60 days about the feasibility of hiring discredited election software vendor Everyone Counts to run an online voting pilot program in 2019 to be used in ten neighborhood council elections. The associated council file is CF 1022-S3.

Of course you will recall how the morally bankrupt Jose Huizar forced through a last-minute ordinance allowing online voting to be used in last year’s Skid Row Neighborhood Council subdivision election for the sole purpose of stealing the election. This is famously now the subject of a monumental lawsuit.

Since then responsibility for administering NC elections has been removed from the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment and given to the Clerk’s office. The Clerk, famously, has way higher standards for election security than DONE, so it’s disconcerting to see City Council ordering them to continue to deal with the shady and discredited Everyone Counts. Anyway, turn the page for the complete text of the motion. This one definitely bears watching.
Continue reading Jose Huizar, David Ryu, and Paul Koretz Introduce Motion In Council Ordering City Clerk To Report Back On How To Hire Everyone Counts To Run Online Voting Pilot In Ten Neighborhood Council Elections In 2019

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The Venice Beach BID Annual Planning Report Provides An Opportunity For Mike Bonin To Unilaterally Remove Properties From The BID Or Reduce Their Assessments To Zero — This Could Happen This Month If Mike Bonin Will Do It!— No Zoning Change Required Even!— Maybe Some Constituent Pressure Will Convince Bonin To Use This Power?


Business improvement districts in California are required by the Property and Business Improvement District Law of 1994 at §36650 to submit an annual planning report to the City every year. The reports must subsequently be approved by the City Council.

One function of these reports is to explain how the BID will spend its money in the coming year, but they have another important purpose. According to the statute:

The report may propose changes, including, but not limited to, the boundaries of the property and business improvement district or any benefit zones within the district, the basis and method of levying the assessments, and any changes in the classification of property, including any categories of business, if a classification is used.

In other words BIDs are allowed to remove properties entirely or reduce their assessments, presumably all the way to zero if they so choose, merely by stating that they’ll do so in their annual planning report.

Now, the Venice Beach BID approved their APR at their April 13, 2018 meeting and submitted it to the City on April 30. They didn’t propose any changes in boundaries or assessment methods. But it turns out that, according to the law, they don’t have the final say. The statute says at §36650(c) that:

The city council may approve the report as filed by the owners’ association or may modify any particular contained in the report and approve it as modified.

So that means that not only can the BID use the APR to remove properties or to reduce their assessments even down to zero, but the City Council can do that also, even without the BID’s approval. And the way things work in the City of Los Angeles, that means that Mike Bonin himself can make the changes. There’s no way his colleagues are going to oppose him on a matter that affects only his district. Read on to see how this might actually lead to properties being removed from the BID this year!
Continue reading The Venice Beach BID Annual Planning Report Provides An Opportunity For Mike Bonin To Unilaterally Remove Properties From The BID Or Reduce Their Assessments To Zero — This Could Happen This Month If Mike Bonin Will Do It!— No Zoning Change Required Even!— Maybe Some Constituent Pressure Will Convince Bonin To Use This Power?

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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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Herb Wesson Introduces Motion In Council This Morning Decrying Donald Trump’s Use Of The Digital Divide To Disenfranchise “Low-Income And Immigrant Communities” While Never Even Mentioning How He And His Demonic Cronies Used Online Voting Against The Skid Row Neighborhood Council To Do The Same Freaking Thing

UPDATE JANUARY 31, 2018: This morning the motion that’s the subject of this post was assigned to Council File CF 18-0002-S8 if you want to track it.

A few days ago, Herb Wesson and his brain-dead gang-of-fifteen cronies at 200 N Spring Street introduced a motion to outlaw civil rights violations in Los Angeles, all without mentioning their dark and bloody work disenfranchising the Skid Row Neighborhood Council formation effort in opposition to everyone’s civil rights. One of the main techniques they used in this nightmarish project was online voting, introduced at the last minute in the face of explicit testimony that electronic politics disenfranchises people who can’t afford computers.

Well, not that anyone who’s paying attention expects consistency out of the Fifteen Lords and Ladies of our City, but when their hypocrisy reaches a certain feverishly hysterical pitch I find there’s nothing for it but to speak up. You see, evidently the Census Bureau in 2020 is going to use online response forms for the first time ever.

And for some reason, the badness of this, the fact of the digital divide and the role it might play in helping the government to erase the presence of the poor, the immigrant, is not lost on our City Council president, Herb Wesson, in this case. That’s why, it appears, that he and Gil Cedillo introduced a motion this morning (transcription after the break) positioning the City to oppose the Census Bureau’s intention to use this new electronic form to ask respondents about citizenship. In particular, saith Herb Wesson:

WHEREAS , the 2020 Census is the first Census that will be performed primarily electronically, which creates additional barriers for low-income and immigrant communities …

So it’s on the record now. Herb Wesson and Gil Cedillo are opposed to using online political forms because they tend to oppress low-income and immigrant communities. Unless, of course, it’s necessary to oppress low-income and immigrant communities at the behest of local zillionaires and campaign donors. Then they’re all for it. Turn the page for the complete text of the motion.
Continue reading Herb Wesson Introduces Motion In Council This Morning Decrying Donald Trump’s Use Of The Digital Divide To Disenfranchise “Low-Income And Immigrant Communities” While Never Even Mentioning How He And His Demonic Cronies Used Online Voting Against The Skid Row Neighborhood Council To Do The Same Freaking Thing

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Los Angeles Ethics Commissioners Fail To Understand Their Powers And Duties Under The City Charter And Thereby Inadvertently (??) Set The Stage For Exempting Nearly All 501(c)(3) Tax Exempt Organizations In Los Angeles From The Municipal Lobbying Ordinance

It seems like forever now, although it’s only been two years, that the Los Angeles Ethics Commission has been discussing proposed changes to the Municipal Lobbying Ordinance (MLO). At this point I just don’t have it in me to summarize the discussion any more, although you can find links to most of my posts on the subject in this post on the penultimate phase of the matter.

At the Commission’s meeting on Tuesday, which you can watch in its entirety right here (or here on Archive.Org if you prefer), there were only two matters left to settle. One was the issue of detailed reporting of contacts between lobbyists and City Officials. I hope to write on what happened with that later on. The other, and the subject of today’s post, had to do with exemptions from the MLO for 501(c)(3) nonprofits. You can watch the whole discussion beginning here. These organizations enjoy some exemptions now by virtue of LAMC §48.03(E,F). You can read the statute for yourself, but essentially it exempts 501(c)(3)s1 which have “… the purpose of representing the interests of indigent persons and whose primary purpose is to provide direct services to those persons…”

As they are wont to do, the staff, in the persons of Director of Policy Arman Tarzi and Mark Low, head of the lobbying program, provided the Commission with a detailed set of recommendations. There were four different options given that had to do with nonprofits, which you can read in the proposal. Of these, three were developed by staff and the fourth2 was provided by nonprofits and proposed to exempt all nonprofits, no matter what they do, which have gross annual receipts of under $2.5 Million.

Never content to leave well enough alone, these hyperorganized nonprofits presented the Commission with a so-called “Option 5,” which they circulated at the meeting. This option proposed to modify LAMC §48.03(E) to exempt from the MLO:

E. Any organization exempt from federal taxation pursuant to Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code that:
1. Provides assistance, such as food, clothing, shelter, child care, health, legal, vocational, relief, educational, and other similar assistance to disadvantaged people for free or at a significantly below-market rate; OR
2. Has gross receipts of less than $2.5 million.
This exemption also applies to the organization’s employees and board members while engaged in official duties. This exemption does not apply when an organization is seeking funding, property, or a permit from the City on its own behalf.

Continue reading Los Angeles Ethics Commissioners Fail To Understand Their Powers And Duties Under The City Charter And Thereby Inadvertently (??) Set The Stage For Exempting Nearly All 501(c)(3) Tax Exempt Organizations In Los Angeles From The Municipal Lobbying Ordinance

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Department Of Neighborhood Empowerment Recommends That Online Voting In Future Neighborhood Council Elections Be Optional

Background: You can read my previous stories on the Skid Row Neighborhood Council formation effort and also see Jason McGahan’s article in the Weekly and Gale Holland’s article in the Times for more mainstream perspectives.

Yesterday the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment submitted a report on online voting in neighborhood council elections to the Los Angeles City Council’s Health, Education, and Neighborhood Councils Committee.1 Here’s a link to the report, but be careful as it’s a massive PDF. After the great injustice and great pain caused by José Huizar and DONE by imposing online voting on the Skid Row Neighborhood Council effort one might think that DONE would have displayed some consciousness of the damage they’d created.

But that didn’t happen. In an unfortunately characteristic display of block-headed indifference to both morality and reality, the sole lesson DONE seems to have learned is that online voting increases voter participation:

The potential of online voting and voter registration to engage more stakeholders in Neighborhood Council elections was clear in the 2016 pilot as noted in the January 17, 2017 report and confirmed in the subdivision election for Skid Row Neighborhood Council this year where 1,388 votes were cast online out of a total of 1,592.

It’s disgusting indeed that they don’t even mention the fact that online voting increases participation among non-homeless people while actively decreasing it among the homeless, even though they are well aware of this fact. And their recommendation to the City Council, which will almost surely be adopted verbatim? It’s that online voting should not be imposed on any other neighborhood councils but that they be allowed to opt into it if they so choose:

[DONE recommends that Council i]nstruct the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment and Office of the City Clerk to make online voting an option available for the Neighborhood Councils whose online voting platforms are already built out …

Additionally, they recommend that neighborhood council terms be extended in order to match the new Los Angeles city election schedule. Turn the page for a transcription of the summary of the report
Continue reading Department Of Neighborhood Empowerment Recommends That Online Voting In Future Neighborhood Council Elections Be Optional

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