Tag Archives: Curren Price

Bye Bye BIDdies! — City Of Los Angeles Finally Concedes The Street Vending Battle As Curren Price And José Huizar Move In Council Today To Instruct The City Attorney To Draft An Ordinance That’s Consistent With Lara’s Safe Street Vending Act

As you know the City of Los Angeles has been arguing over how to regulate street vending for pretty much forever now, with business improvement districts and chambers of commerce and other such-like weaponized implements of zillionaire-aligned white supremacy using every last bit of their political juice to introduce all kinds of complex conditions like opt-in districts, opt-out districts, permission from business owners, limitations on number of vendors per block, immediate confiscation of equipment, fees paid to BIDs, and on and on and on, all obviously designed for the sole purpose of continuing the wholesale arrest of street vendors.

But as I’m sure you also know just last week governor Jerry Brown signed Ricardo Lara’s Safe Street Vending Bill into law, severely limiting the power of cities to regulate vending. This bill has been working its way through the legislature since January 2018 and was well known to have an excellent chance of becoming law, and obviously voids pretty much every single feature of the City’s proposals, and yet nevertheless the City Council didn’t even start thinking about it officially until August.

But oh, they do have to think about it now. If the City doesn’t have an actual regulatory ordinance in place by January 1, 2019 they won’t have the power to regulate vendors at all. This, I guess, was enough to move them to action, and therefore this morning Councilmembers Curren Price And José Huizar introduced a motion in Council instructing the City Attorney to draft an ordinance that would comply with SB-946. The whole deal is memorialized in Council File 13-1493-S5.

And the BIDdies don’t have any leverage over this ordinance because state law compels all the essential features. This is a huge blow for our City’s business improvement districts and other nasty, selfish opponents of vending, and a huge win for humanity. We’re going to see some snakey creepy nasty rhetoric from the BIDs over this, you wait and see! Turn the page for the complete text of Price and Huizar’s motion.
Continue reading Bye Bye BIDdies! — City Of Los Angeles Finally Concedes The Street Vending Battle As Curren Price And José Huizar Move In Council Today To Instruct The City Attorney To Draft An Ordinance That’s Consistent With Lara’s Safe Street Vending Act

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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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First Known Instance Of Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office Involvement In BID Formation Revealed By Emails Between Rampart Neighborhood Prosecutor Andrew Said And Wilshire Center Director Mike Russell About How To Get A BID In Westlake

It’s well known in the anti-BID community that the City of Los Angeles is fully committed to the completely false story that a BIDs is formed by a spontaneous upswelling of property owners, uninfluenced by the City and completely outside of the City’s power to direct. Of course, as I said, this is a lie, and there’s plenty of evidence that it is a lie. State law not only gives the City the absolute right to determine everything BIDs do with their money but the City is not shy about exercising this right when necessary.

And there are plenty of concrete proofs that it’s actually the City of Los Angeles that creates BIDs. From then-CD13-rep Jackie Goldberg’s tireless efforts to form a BID in Hollywood in the mid 1990s to Eric Garcetti’s and Mitch O’Farrell’s almost decade-long quest to put together a BID in Echo Park to CD9 repster Curren Price’s strongarmed extortion of a South LA car dealership to get seed money for a BID along MLK Blvd. to CD11 rep Mike Bonin’s mendacious little flunky Debbie Dyner Harris’s multi-year involvement with the Venice Beach BID formation effort, the City is the motivating force, I’d venture, for every damn BID we have now and are gonna have in the future.

But every case I know of has involved the local Council District. This isn’t just my imagination, either. It’s reflected in these BID formation guidelines, published by the Los Angeles City Clerk‘s BID office, which state unequivocally that the BID formation process begins when: An individual, or a group of individuals (“proponent group”), or a Councilmember, desires to investigate the possibility of establishing a BID in a given area.

Consequently, what a surprise it was to find a set of emails between Andrew Said, who is neighborhood prosecutor for the Rampart Division, and Mike Russell, director of the Wilshire Center BID, which feature Andrew Said asking for Mr. Mike’s advice on how to start a BID in Westlake. The emails, which are part of a larger set I received yesterday,1 are available here on Archive.Org. Turn the page for transcriptions and some more discussion of what this might mean.
Continue reading First Known Instance Of Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office Involvement In BID Formation Revealed By Emails Between Rampart Neighborhood Prosecutor Andrew Said And Wilshire Center Director Mike Russell About How To Get A BID In Westlake

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CD9 Rep Curren Price Requires Developers Of South LA Honda Dealership To Contribute $50,000 Towards Consultant Fees For The Formation Of A New Business Improvement District As Condition Of Approving Development Agreement

Alleged bigamist and CD9 rep Curren Price to developers: Want to build a car dealership? Gimme $50,000 to pay for another damn business improvement district!
Maybe you’ve heard about the impending move of Honda of Downtown Los Angeles to a gigantic new five story building on Martin Luther King Blvd. at Hoover. Building projects of this size don’t happen in Los Angeles without a lot of involvement of the relevant Council District, which in this case is CD9, repped by Alleged bigamist Curren Price.1 The various negotiations and agreements are typically formalized in a development agreement between the City and the developer, and this is no exception. You can read the whole thing here, although it’s a heavyweight 35MB PDF download, so click with care.

And one of the typical elements of these development agreements is a statement of the public benefits that are expected to result from the project. These typically include financial contributions to this or that cause favored by the Councilmember, introduced by the phrase “Additionally, as consideration for this Agreement, Developer agrees to provide the following…” In this case, there are two of these (found on page 7 of the agreement, here’s a PDF of just the relevant page, also find a transcription after the break).

The first is $100,000 for present and future employees of Honda of DTLA to attend LA Trade Tech.2 The other contribution to the putative public benefit is $50,000 to pay a BID consultant for the formation of a new business improvement district in CD9. CD9 presently has three BIDs, which are the Figueroa Corridor BID, the Central Avenue Historic District BID, and the shadowy South Los Angeles Industrial Tract BID, so this would make a fourth.

Originally I thought that this new dealership would be located in the Figueroa Corridor BID, but a glance at their map reveals that the north side of MLK is the BID’s southern boundary, which is why, I suppose, that a new BID is necessary. Anyway, there’s no real moral to this story, although I admit it’s pretty jarring to see the formation of yet another damn BID pitched as a public benefit.

That principle, however, is even written into the Property and Business Improvement District Act of 1994, specifically e.g. at §36601(e), which claims implausibly that ” Property and business improvement districts formed throughout this state have conferred special benefits upon properties and businesses within their districts and have made those properties and businesses more useful…” so I guess it’s no surprise that Curren Price thinks BIDs are good. Anyway, it is always useful to have more information about how and why the LA City government forms new BIDs and pays its BID consultants. Turn the page for a transcription of the relevant parts of the development agreement.
Continue reading CD9 Rep Curren Price Requires Developers Of South LA Honda Dealership To Contribute $50,000 Towards Consultant Fees For The Formation Of A New Business Improvement District As Condition Of Approving Development Agreement

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Central Avenue Historic BID May Provide Insight Into The Process By Which BIDs Evolved From Whatever They Were Originally Conceived To Be Into Weaponized Shock Troops Of The Zillionaire Real-Estate Power Elite

Sherri Franklin of the Urban Design Center, consultant to the Central Avenue Historic BID, speaks at the November 2, 2016 meeting of the Board of Directors.
Sherri Franklin of the Urban Design Center, consultant to the Central Avenue Historic BID, speaks at the November 2, 2016 meeting of the Board of Directors. I apologize for the crappy image quality. I didn’t plan to film.
After I spent some time looking into the Central Avenue Historic BID in the context of potential political goals for the post-approval Venice Beach BID, I thought it would be interesting to learn more about this newborn BID.1 The meetings are held at CD9’s district office at 4301 S. Central,2 so on a very pleasant evening last Thursday, I took the 210 out of Hollywood to MLK and Crenshaw, where I boarded the 705 to Central and Vernon from whence a couple blocks North on Central to watch the Board of Directors conduct their business.3 The meeting was scheduled to start at 5:30, but that evidently included some preliminaries, because when I got there at about 10 to 64 they hadn’t started yet.

Anyway, take a look at the agenda. You can see that they’re talking about the kind of things that one would expect BIDs to talk about from, e.g., reading the Wikipedia page on BIDs,5 like branding and marketing, cleaning the streets, having Halloween events, and so on. And watch this short clip of the meeting.6 That’s Sherri Franklin of the Urban Design Center, the BID consultant, who also seems to be functioning as executive director, talking about some kind of partnership the BID’s working on with Hollywood Community Housing Corporation involving affordable housing at the corner of Central and Jefferson.7

Allan Muhammad, security director for the Central Avenue Historic District BID.
Allan Muhammad, security director for the Central Avenue Historic District BID.
And then you can watch here as BID security director Allan Muhammad introduces his employees, and then they proceed to hand out sample Halloween bags to everyone in the room. They didn’t once discuss custodial arrests, handcuffs, social engineering, mass relocations, self-aggrandizing 5150 holds, or any of the other hard-edged tactics of which the City’s older and ever so much more dangerous BIDs are so enamored. And even though I only got 15 minutes on tape of the 90 minutes I was there8 they didn’t really have anything objectionable to say even during the parts of the meeting I didn’t record. They talked about parking, they talked about their phone bills, they talked about how it was hard for the BID to patronize local businesses because they mostly only accepted cash.9

Could this be what a BID looks like as BIDs were intended to look? Well, the very question is based on a false assumption. And there were foreshadowings of bad news to come. And on the way home, and for the last few days, it’s got me thinking about what BIDs were meant to be,10how BIDs11 evolve under selective pressure, and how it’s probably inevitable that this BID is going to end up like the worst of the Downtown BIDs, the worst of the Hollywood BIDs. The short version is that BIDs probably started out as helpful tools, but as a wise woman once said, “every tool is a weapon if you hold it right.” So turn the page if you’re still interested…
Continue reading Central Avenue Historic BID May Provide Insight Into The Process By Which BIDs Evolved From Whatever They Were Originally Conceived To Be Into Weaponized Shock Troops Of The Zillionaire Real-Estate Power Elite

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What To Press For After The Venice Beach BID Is Approved

palm_trees_at_venice_beachBecause it will be approved. We know that. But we also know that Mike Bonin might be susceptible to political pressure. He even thought about moving the hearing date, presumably in response to political pressure and cogent criticism. Maybe the same tactics can help improve what’s presently looking like it’ll be yet another version of the worst that this City’s BIDs in Hollywood and Downtown have to offer. So here are some things which might be attainable politically and which might help mitigate some of the worst excesses to which BIDs are prone.

First of all, maybe you remember the recent tumult over the Arts District BID. If not, there’s a1 version of the story here. In short, some property owners got a judge to dissolve the BID, there was a big fuss about getting a new BID formed, and in order to settle the controversy, José Huizar stepped in and brokered a compromise involving the composition of the Board of Directors. As the L.A. Business Journal put it:

City Councilman José Huizar, whose district includes the neighborhood, on Tuesday announced that the Arts District Community Council Los Angeles has agreed to drop its application to create a BID and support an application sponsored by a group called Arts District Los Angeles. The ADLA, in turn, agreed to give Community Council representatives at least four seats on an expanded 23-member board. In addition, the area’s homeowners association will get three additional seats on the board.

If Huizar can negotiate seats on the Arts District BID Board, Mike Bonin can certainly change the composition of the Board of Directors of the Venice Beach BID if he wants to.2 The composition of the Board is a political matter which can be influenced by political tactics. The Arts District dissenters got four seats out of 23, not enough to change things, although by no means an empty victory. A vote, four votes, is not nothing in such a closed-off political entity. Another moral is that the homeowners association got seats on the Board. That is, Huizar got people who live in the BID a voice on the Board. This is also not trivial.

But one of the City’s newest BIDs, the Central Avenue Historic District BID, suggests an even more promising goal, one which would go a long way toward making something not so bad out of the presently horrifying prospect of the VBBID.
Continue reading What To Press For After The Venice Beach BID Is Approved

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Open Letters to Nine Los Angeles City Council Members, Mayor Eric Garcetti, and Controller Ron Galperin Asking Them To Recuse From The Venice Beach BID Formation Process And To Return Tainted Donations

There aren't nearly enough pictures of Ron Galperin on this blog.
There aren’t nearly enough pictures of Ron Galperin on this blog.
You may recall that I’ve been writing about potentially illegal campaign contributions made by Venice Beach BID propenents Mark Sokol and Carl Lambert. That’s the supply side. Tonight I’m hitting up the demand side. Here are PDFs of three letters I sent this evening (all cc-ed to Mike Feuer just in case), and you can read the one to the nine sitting members of the City Council who accepted donations from Sokol and Lambert below. I hope to have a complaint in to the City Ethics Commission by the end of the week.

September 17, 2016

Honorable Los Angeles City Councilmembers Krekorian, Bonin, Harris-Dawson, Huizar, Martinez, Ryu, Price, Cedillo, and Koretz:

I am writing to urge you to recuse yourself from the upcoming vote on the Venice Beach BID ordinance of intention and from all future matters concerning Council File 16-0749.
Continue reading Open Letters to Nine Los Angeles City Council Members, Mayor Eric Garcetti, and Controller Ron Galperin Asking Them To Recuse From The Venice Beach BID Formation Process And To Return Tainted Donations

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Steve Heumann, Carl Lambert, and Mark Sokol Finally Revealed By Debbie Dyner Harris to Constitute Venice Beach Property Owners Association Board Of Directors; Sokol’s Five Figure Campaign Contributions To Nine Of Fourteen Sitting Council Members Raise Ethical, Criminal Issues

Mike Bonin 2013 Campaign ad showing candidate with high-roller campaign contributors Mark Sokol and Carl Lambert.
Mike Bonin 2013 Campaign ad showing candidate with high-roller campaign contributors Mark Sokol and Carl Lambert.
I reported a couple of weeks ago that as late as two months ago, Mike Bonin aide Debbie Dyner Harris had refused to tell Becky Dennison of Venice Community Housing the names of the three members of the Board of Directors of the Venice Beach Property Owners Association. Dyner Harris even sent an email to shadowy BID consultant Tara Devine asking for permission to share the names, which Devine evidently didn’t give, because Dyner Harris didn’t give up the names. Well, I’ve been asking CD11 for the names as well, and after a long three weeks, for whatever reason, Debbie Dyner Harris emailed me this morning and told me that the Board of Directors presently consists of Steve Heumann, Carl Lambert, and Mark Sokol.

Steve Heumann was not a surprise, as his name appears as agent for service of process on the POA’s registration with the State.1 But the other two are of great interest indeed. I recently wrote about how Carl Lambert’s campaign contributions to Mike Bonin and Eric Garcetti probably violated City campaign finance laws, but that argument wouldn’t fly if he weren’t on the Board. Since he is, I’ll be reporting him to the City Ethics Commission in the next few days.

But Mark Sokol’s case is even more fascinating. Recall that the POA has been meeting with the City about the BID at least since September 2014. Well, take a look at all of Sokol’s contributions since then. They add up to $10,750. The output of the City’s database lists each contribution separately, but here are the totals:
Continue reading Steve Heumann, Carl Lambert, and Mark Sokol Finally Revealed By Debbie Dyner Harris to Constitute Venice Beach Property Owners Association Board Of Directors; Sokol’s Five Figure Campaign Contributions To Nine Of Fourteen Sitting Council Members Raise Ethical, Criminal Issues

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LAHSA’s Erroneous Zombie Eleven Percent Increase in City Homeless Population Resurrected in Two Recent Council Motions Despite May 2016 Retraction

Bob Blumenfield, Councilmember from CD3, providing yet another example of how hard it is to find good staff.
Bob Blumenfield, Councilmember from CD3, providing yet another example of how hard it is to find good staff.
Earlier this year LAHSA announced with much fanfare and gnashing of the old dental protrusions that the homeless population of the City of Los Angeles had increased by 11% year over year. Well, in May Eric Garcetti pointed out that math is hard and after a bunch of frantic recalculations as reported in the Times here everyone, Garcetti’s office and LAHSA in the person of E.D. Peter Lynn, settled on a revised figure of about a 5% increase in the City.

But then in June 2016 Hillel Aron used the 11% figure in the L.A. Weekly, although he retracted it promptly when the error was pointed out to him.1 and I thought that would be the end of it. However, this past week brought us two new Council files supplementary to the Homelessness Crisis file. These are CF 15-1138-S12, moved by Curren Price and Marqueece Harris-Dawson and CF 15-1138-S13, moved by Bob Blumenfield and Harris-Dawson again. And both motions (S12 and S13) cite the erroneous 11% figure for some reason. There are some red faces on the fourth floor of 200 N. Spring Street this morning, friends!
Continue reading LAHSA’s Erroneous Zombie Eleven Percent Increase in City Homeless Population Resurrected in Two Recent Council Motions Despite May 2016 Retraction

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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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