- January 2017 Emails between the East Hollywood BID and the City of LA — Mostly the usual jive nonsense. Some further interesting and somewhat unexpected interest in his local BIDs on the part of CD4 Councilmember David Ryu. I hope to write something about this in the future.
- Gateway to LA BID by-vendor transaction reports — I requested these of ED Laurie Hughes primarily to further my research into the GTLA’s recent BID renewal process. This is notable not least because their BID Consultant, Larry Kosmont, registered with the City as a lobbyist on the basis of his renewal work. As we have seen, not every BID consultant does this.
Continue reading New Documents: January 2017 Emails Between East Hollywood BID and City of LA, Also Gateway To LA BID By-Vendor Reports
Tonight I had the pleasure of receiving from self-proclaimed active member of the revitalized Hollywood community1 Jeffrey Charles Briggs almost 200 emails between the East Hollywood Business Improvement District and various far-too-friendly folks at the City of Los Angeles. For now these are available here on Archive.Org. They’re PDFs, but they’re that super-PDF-format that one can make with genuine Adobe software that embeds attachments right in there with clickable links.2 I have only been able to give these a cursory look-over, but I can already see a few crucial items. I’ll be writing on these matters as soon as I possibly can, but if you want a preview of one of them take a look at this juicy little number.
And tomorrow is a huge day at the Civic Center.
In the morning there is a hearing in the Lunada Bay Boys case, featuring Palos Verdes Peninsula zillionaire surf-localism-thuggery at its most flamboyantly weird. In the afternoon there is an essential meeting of the Ethics Commission. Turn the page for times, locations, and brief descriptions. Perhaps I’ll see you there!
Continue reading Almost 200 Emails Between the City Of LA And the East Hollywood BID. Also,
Lunada Bay Boys Hearing Tomorrow And Also Ethics Commission Meeting!
BACKGROUND: Recall, if you will, that this L.A. Times editorial kicked off a somewhat misguided firestorm of opposition to Mitch O’Farrell’s recent Council motion 16-1456 seeking to develop a legal tool for banning adults without children from playgrounds in parks in the City of Los Angeles.
So just tonight the Palms Neighborhood Council filed yet another Community Impact Statement opposing Mitch O’Farrell’s Kerry-Morrison-behested anti-playground motion. And like the Eagle Rock NC and the Lincoln Heights NC and the Los Feliz NC before them, they’ve made a well-reasoned and articulate argument:
This measure would penalize lawful park users and would result in discriminatory enforcement. Such a ban improperly assumes that adult park users in a children’s playground area are there solely for nefarious purposes and seeks to ban lawful conduct. Simply being present in a park and enjoying the surroundings is not illegal. There are already criminal laws on the books to address any improper conduct in these areas.
Again, as with all of the others with the minor exception of Los Feliz,1 this statement was adopted unanimously, leaving Mitch continuing to flounder around in the pool of shit into which he impulsively flung himself just because Kerry Morrison said it would please her to watch him jump. And there is one thing about the Palms Neighborhood Council which makes tonight’s Community Impact Statement marginally more impactful than the others. You see, Mr. Nicholas Greif is not only the chair of the Palms NC Executive Board and therefore part of the unanimous majority that approved the CIS, but he is also David Ryu’s director of Policy and Legislation.
Continue reading Cracks Show In LA City Council Unanimity (At Least On Staff Level) As David Ryu’s Director Of Policy, Nicholas Greif, Comes Out Publicly Against Mitch O’Farrell’s Moronic Playground Motion
A super-short note to announce the availability of two years worth of minutes and agendas from the Wilshire Center BID Board of Directors. These are available both via Archive.Org and also in local static storage. These are interesting for the usual reasons, e.g. understanding connections between BIDs and City agencies, what BIDs are up to with respect to public policy, and so forth. And, as usual, there’s also some weirdness to mock, although, sadly, nothing even approaching the real-estate-agents-on-acid weirdness of the Pacific Palisades BID. For instance, in the October 2015 minutes we read:
The question of why homelessness is worsening was discussed. Early release of criminals, mental illness, and service resistant individuals are some of the major reasons. By using a nurturing approach, more of the homeless may be helped. Getting to know individuals, helping out by giving socks, asking if they would like help, are some of the ways the LAPD is breaking through.
The principle of charity leads me to assume that these are the kind of socks one wears on one’s feet rather than the kind one might expect the LAPD to be handing out to the homeless if one were to consider their long, long history of violence.
By July 2016 we have learned that the BID is working with its Council Offices, but they don’t know how to spell David Ryu’s name and they seem to think Herb Wesson’s name is Justin:1
The BID will continue to work closely with the LAPD and the Council Offices, CD4 (Councilman David Ru) and CD10 (Justin Wesson) to help mitigate problems in our area.
Finally, if you’re interested in extreme CPRA geekery, turn the page for a brief discussion of how the WCBID violated the law by exporting these minutes from Microsoft Word as PDFs, sending me only the PDFs, and then refusing2 to send me the Word documents.
Continue reading Minutes and Agendas From Wilshire Center BID 2015-2016, In Which We Learn, e.g., That The LAPD Is Attempting To Mitigate Homelessness Amongst Mentally Ill Criminals By Being “Nurturing” and “Helping Out By Giving Socks”
Long-time readers of this blog will recall that the locus classicus of operational BID policies in the City of Los Angeles is to be found in Council File 96-1972, which is too old to have actual documents online, but I scanned and published a number of them last year.1 Therein may be found the City’s BID Policy and Implementation Guidelines, which are meant to provide an L.A.-specific implementation of the Property and Business Improvement Law of 1994.
Chapter 2 of that law describes the process for establishment and renewal of a BID,2 and it’s remarkable how tentative, how conditional the process is. It’s well-known by this point that in order for a BID to be formed it’s necessary that property owners representing more than 50% of the assessed value be in favor.3 It’s necessary, but it by no means sufficient. Section 36625(a) very clearly leaves the question of formation up to the Council:
If the city council, following the public hearing, decides to establish a proposed property and business improvement district, the city council shall adopt a resolution of formation…
The only mandatory requirement with respect to BID establishment in the whole Chapter is found in Section 36623(b), which says that if owners holding 50% or more of the assessed value are opposed to the BID, not only can it not be formed, but no further attempts can be made to form it for a year.
And the discretionary nature of the process is reflected in the City’s BID Policy and Implementation Guidelines as well. Therein it states:4
The City Council can proceed with the BID if the protest is less than 50%. However, BID proponents are cautioned that they should not expect a favorable vote from the City Council with a significant number of protests.
From the context it’s clear that the policy means that there is some threshold of protest less than 50% with respect to which the Council will not establish the proposed BID even though the Property and BID Act would allow them to do so.
Thus the question arises as to what this threshold is. Well, it turns out that an episode early last year involving the Los Feliz Village BID sheds some light on this question.5 The short answer is that business owners6 representing 16.95% of the assessed value protested, an unprecedented number,7 and yet City Council renewed the BID unanimously. Turn the page for a detailed recounting of the tragic details!
Continue reading What Does The City Of Los Angeles Consider “A Significant Number Of Protests” Against BID Formation Or Renewal? A Tragic Lesson From A Failed 2016 Attempt To Disestablish The Los Feliz Village BID
I spent about three hours yesterday in City Hall and at the LAPD Discovery office scanning stuff. There are thousands of pages of stuff here, some of it quite important. It will take a long time to go through it and write about the highlights, so I thought I’d put it up on the Archive in (very, very) raw form immediately. Here’s what we have today:
- More emails from 2015 between Peter Zarcone and the HPOA — What happened is that the first time I made a request for this material, the LAPD IT department somehow missed a number of responsive documents. I could tell that they did because of automatically generated out-of-office responses that they did provide the first time around. However, the emails which had triggered those responses weren’t included, which was evident from the dates. They accepted this argument and reran the search. Consequently many but not all of these documents have already been published, but I have not yet had time to sort out the duplicates. As I said, I want to make the material available immediately.
- Emails between Tara Devine and the LA City Clerk’s Office — Here are thousands of pages of emails between Tara Devine and various people in the LA City Clerk’s office. Some of these have been previously published but most of them have not. Interestingly, although most of the material is about the Venice Beach BID, there is also a bunch of stuff about the South Park II BID1 renewal, which Tara Devine was also the consultant for. I will be writing about much of this material, but here’s the raw stuff. Drop me a note if you spot anything that seems especially pressing.
Continue reading New Documents: More Emails Between Tara Devine and the L.A. City Clerk’s Office, More Emails Between LAPD Captain Peter Zarcone and the HPOA, A Bunch of CPRA Requests to L.A. Sanitation
I reported briefly last week on the whole to-do about the City’s wanton approval of a Frank Gehry megaplex at 8150 Sunset and, more recently, on the extremely weird fact that the Council’s PLUM1 Committee forwarded proposed historic-cultural designation of the Lytton Savings building on to the full Council without a recommendation, even though CD4 Councilmember David Ryu explicitly favors the designation. This is just a brief update with links to more documents.
First, Marisa Tomei2 wrote a stirring letter to the City Council urging them to preserve the building. Don’t forget, the hearing is tomorrow! There’s an excerpt after the break, as always, if you’re PDF-averse. Also, the Coalition to Preserve LA recently reported that Fix the City had sued LA over 8150 Sunset. It turns out that there were two other suits filed at about the same time, making a total of three suits so far over this one project. The City Council is going into closed session tomorrow to discuss all three of them. Turn the page for links to the petitions (and Tomei’s letter).
Continue reading Marisa Tomei Implores City Council To Grant Historic-Cultural Status To Lytton Savings Building, 8150 Sunset Subject Of Not One, Not Two, But Three (So Far!) Lawsuits Against The City of Los Angeles (Plus A Special Bonus Lawsuit Against West Hollywood!)
Oh, the irony! Here’s the deal. It’s well known that Los Angeles City Council members never vote against land use matters in one another’s districts. This allows them to guarantee their campaign donors that they’ll be able to get their projects approved. The principle is called “deference” — they defer to one another with respect to their districts. This corrupt system is the basis for a lawsuit against the City by some Valley residents. In their pleadings they quote Councilman David Ryu’s disconcertingly honest explanation of how it works:
Councilmember David Ryu has described the Vote Trading Pact as one of “respect” for other Councilmember’s Council Projects and in return he expects the same “respect” for his Council Projects.
“For someone to come in at the tail end and to disagree with my recommendation after meetings with the community on dozens of occasions and with other city departments and after I have involved stakeholders,” doesn’t make sense, he said. “I might make a decision…and my colleagues respect it. Even if they might disagree with my decision, they abide by it because they were not there during those community meetings.” Los Feliz Ledger September 1, 2016
The next piece of today’s puzzle has to do with the proposed Frank Gehry megaplex at 8150 Sunset Blvd., recently approved by the LA City Council over vigorous opposition from everyone who’s not being paid to support it. Part of the problem with the building is that it’s on the site of a beautiful modernist bank building.1 The Los Angeles Conservancy has filed suit against the City in an attempt to force them to preserve the building.2 and they’re also pushing for the bank’s designation as a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural monument. This tactic seems to be supported both by people who want to save the bank and by people who want to stop the 8150 Sunset project.
Continue reading Is This The End Of “Deference” In The LA City Council? PLUM Committee Submits Historic Bank Designation To Council “Without Recommendation” Even Though David Ryu Explicitly Supports It
Recall that in August 2016, Mitch O’Farrell and Mike Bonin introduced a motion in Council to attack the homeless by prohibiting RVs from parking overnight in the Media District BID. This was as a result of lobbying by Lisa Schechter, now executive directrix of the Hollywood Media District BID, but formerly Tom LaBonge’s high muckety-muck for something or another. The full story is here. At the time I wondered why David Ryu hadn’t seconded the motion, given that (a) Schechter had lobbied him heavily to do so, and (b) a significant part of the Media District BID is in CD4:
[His non-involvement] suggests the possibility that Ryu isn’t as invested in pleasing these BIDdies as O’Farrell is. Or maybe he’s sitting it out because his staff has made him aware that Schechter’s up to something sneaky.
Well, I recently obtained emails from CD4 that bear on the matter. These are heavily redacted, but interestingly, as is sometimes the case, the redactions themselves tell part of the story.
Continue reading David Ryu’s Staff Evidently Considered and Rejected Lisa Schechter’s and Media District BID’s (Illegal, Unethical) Plea For A Council Motion Regarding Oversize Vehicle Parking In February 2016
The text for this morning’s sermon, brothers and sisters, is from the Gospel of Thomas:1
Listen! A sower went out to sow. He filled his hand and cast the seed. Some fell on the road; the birds came and ate the seed. Others fell on the rock, sprouted, and dried up. And others fell on the thorns, which choked them and insects ate them. And others fell on the fertile ground of freaking Tony Hoover, founder of freaking Red Line Tours, and multiplied a freaking zillionfold into a veritable magic freaking beanstalk of crazy.
Well, the disciples of Jesus also didn’t get what he was talking about, so I guess I shouldn’t feel bad about having to fill in some backstory.
See, last week, according to the Beverly Press, Councilmoppet Mitch O’Farrell announced that he and now-retired-from-his-position-as-clean-government-poster-boy-but-still-active-as-Councilmember-more’s-the-freaking-pity David Ryu of CD4 had introduced a motion in Council to put an end to what they claim to see as the desperate, wanton, willful, and ongoing destruction of what passes for the quality of life of people who actually live in Hollywood by tour bus operators on the Boulevard, mostly between Orange and Vine. It’s something about how they try to hand you flyers and ask you where you’re from even though you are obviously from Los Angeles.2
Well, if you’ve been paying attention to this blog at all, you will immediately suspect that (a) neither Mitch O’Farrell nor David Ryu give the first flying fuck about tour buses on Hollywood Boulevard and (b) they are channeling the concerns of that master covert lobbyist and famously blue-nosed Mrs. Grundy whose nom de Hollywood is Ms. Kerry Morrison.3 Kerry Morrison is, as is her wont, concerned about what she calls “civility on the public right of way” and the rest of us call “killing off or at least arresting everyone who scares her or doesn’t have a lot of money.”
I have not yet had time to track down records pertaining to the current incarnation of Kerry Morrison’s obsession with tour buses.4 But the story in the paper reminded me that I had a bunch of unprocessed material from the City Attorney from 2012 on this very subject. So I put that all together and put it up on the Archive (as well as locally if you prefer), where you can read it at will. It concerns a so-called “Tour Bus Working Group,” put together by Kerry Morrison and including the usual representatives of the City and the Hollywood zillionaire elite.
It’s mostly not that interesting, although there is evidence there that Kerry Morrison has been obsessed with tour buses for the entire twenty years that she’s been the Hollywood BID-boss.5 It culminated in November 2012 with a report to Eric Garcetti and Tom LaBonge about what should be done about tour buses6 and an ordinance addressing a tiny part of her concerns, written, of course, by LaBonge and Garcetti. However, there is one shining gem of craziness, written by Tony Hoover, self-proclaimed “founder” of Red Line Tours. That, I have to discuss in detail!
Continue reading Department Of Deja Voodoo! Tour Bus Wars Redux! Also, How Kerry Morrison Sowed Crazy Beans Which Fell On The Fertile Ground Of What Passes For The Mind Of Tony Hoover, Delusional Founder of Red Line Tours, And Grew Into A Mighty Sequoia Of Insanity!