Unfortunately, there’s very little of specific interest here, although not nothing, and the interest is most certainly not nothing. Most importantly, there’s yet more circumstantial evidence that the VBBID engaged in systematic and egregious violations of the Brown Act during 2017. On a more personal level, but still interesting for the insight they yield into the weirdo mindset of BID executive director Tara Devine, there are records here demonstrating the radically different modes of address she uses depending on which email account she’s using to communicate.
It’s also interesting that the ultimately successful bidder for the BID’s security contract, Allied Universal, hired Los Angeles superlobbyists Cerrell to influence the BID’s choicemaking process. Unfortunately the emails contain just enough information to show that this happened while remaining silent on why it happened or how it played out in the selection process. Hopefully further research will shed light on these issues.
Yesterday I took a little trip South on Flower Street to the dark horse Death Star of downtown, the South Park BID, to look over some public records that they’ve been holding out on since January 2017 and only coughed up because my lawyer can beat up their lawyer.1 I found a hot mess of, among many, many problems, bizarrely damaged emails printed to PDF in random order with unintelligible OCR, missing attachments, purposely scrambled pages, and misnamed and poorly divided files. It’s going to take quite a while to put this nonsense into any kind of useful state,2 but I know a lot of my readers are wondering what’s up with shadowy BID consultant Tara Devine,3 so I thought I’d get the information concerning her up as fast as possible, even though it’s not yet in an ideal format.
The documents on Archive.Org — This is four gigantic PDF spools of emails and (hallelujah!) a bunch of invoices. They’re almost unusable, but single word search at least works. Phrase search not so much. The invoices are the really essential item, though, and are linked-to directly and described in the next line.
Ask anybody who’s making bank off BIDs. Ask the BID Consortium. Ask the freaking State Legislature, who has incorporated their findings in the freaking Streets and Highways Code at Section 36601(e)(1). Every zillionaire in the state of California and every zillionaire lackey legislator at every level will tell you that the flipping RAND Corporation Report on BIDs proves that they’re better for the health, wealth, and eternal salvation for the people of the Golden State than the the forthcoming resurrection of Jesus, Mary, and all 12 of the apostles.1 And yet when it comes to finding out who’s behind creating them, everybody lies, everybody hides.
Here’s the story. The City creates BIDs. This is no secret. When Aaron Epstein changed the world with his lawsuit the court found that yes, the City of Los Angeles created its BIDs. Read through the records from the years of work Jackie Goldberg dedicated in the 1990s to forming a BID in Hollywood. And yet if you ask anyone at the City for any records to do with the preformation of a BID, they will trot out their official story, which is a lie, that BIDs are formed by a spontaneous movement of property owners.2 This is what Laura McLennan, Mike Bonin’s Deputy Chief of Staff, told me this morning after I asked her for a copy of the list of property owners in the forthcoming Venice Beach BID. She also told me that CD11 didn’t have the list and that I should ask the City Clerk.
I don’t know if that was meant as bitter sarcasm or was just a symptom of ignorance (although I’d hope that someone as intimately involved with the VBBID formation process as Bonin’s senior staff must be would not suffer from the requisite level of ignorance), but actually I’d already asked the Clerk yesterday, been denied at multiple levels, and that’s why I was asking CD11.3 Staff members of the division that oversees BIDs told me that they didn’t have the list, that they didn’t have anything to do with the list, that the list didn’t have anything to do with the City, and that I could ask the shadowy private consultant who’s running the private side of the process, Tara Devine, for the list. I did ask Devine, even though it was obviously a waste of time to ask someone like Devine for anything she wasn’t obligated to provide by law. And it was a waste of time. Continue reading If BIDs Are Such A Good Good Thing For The City Then Why Is Everyone Involved In Their Creation So Darned Secretive?→
Business Improvement Districts in Los Angeles — Satan, Your Kingdom Must Come Down!