Well, Council is finally poised to approve the settlement terms. The matter is on the books as Council File 16-1449, and is scheduled for a closed session on Monday, June 5 at 2 p.m. in Room 1010 of City Hall at the Budget and Finance Committee. As is required by the Brown Act there will be an opportunity for public comment before the closed session. My feeling is that this is a fait accompli and not worth my time to attend, but you should certainly decide for yourself about that.
But in preparation for mocking the arrogant rich white supremacists who turned out at every meeting about the SRNC to bumble their whiny way through their idiotic decontextualized lies about “outreach” and “voter participation” and “united Downtown” and fucking “inadequate notification,” I listened to a recording of the March 22 meeting of the Rules and Elections Committee, which sickened me to the point that I lost any taste for making jokes about any of this.1 Huizar’s behavior is not funny, and I’m in no state of mind to make fun.2 He is a horrible person.3
In particular, here’s what I learned. Much of this information has been published before, but as far as I can tell, not all of it has:
Huizar decided to change the rules for the SRNC formation election to allow online voting. The change took place merely two weeks before voting began, even though he almost certainly had his mind made up weeks if not months earlier. If he had implemented the decision when he had made it at least there would have been time for the SRNC proponents to address this dispositive change in the rules.
He did this in the face of explicit testimony that online voting would disadvantage homeless people, who have extremely limited internet access. Even worse, he knew that the online voting system to be used by the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment would preregister more than 1000 DLANC and HCNC voters from 2016, thereby overwhelming any online voters that the SRNC-FC might manage to register in two weeks and thus dooming any SRNC-FC online registration effort to irrelevance.
Huizar made this change unilaterally. It’s true that it was passed by the Rules and Elections Committee and then by the full Council, but if you listen to the recording.4 You will hear Huizar reading out his proposal and Herb Wesson pronouncing it adopted with neither discussion nor a vote.
Huizar ignored all the warnings he heard against allowing online voting with respect to the SRNC, but he took them all into account for other NC elections by stating explicitly that SRNC would be the only election to use online voting until further notice. This proves yet again that as far as the City of Los Angeles is concerned, rules do not apply to poor people. They’re not usually this overt about it, though.
Somehow Huizar allowed multiple polling locations distributed widely in both space and time. He did this in the face of Grayce Liu’s explicit statement that one polling place open for four hours is absolutely standard in NC elections. Again, Huizar unilaterally changed the rules for Skid Row.
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:
News of a settlement in the momentous lawsuit brought by the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles on behalf of the Los Angeles Community Action Network, the LA Catholic Worker, and a number of individuals over the confiscation of homeless people’s property by BID and by City, has been rumbling around PACER for about one year now. Well, yesterday evening, the first concrete details of the ongoing settlement process arrived. The parties filed a joint report indicating that concrete terms had been reached with both CCEA and the City of Los Angeles. The City of LA part still has to be approved by City Council, but according to the document, this is likely to happen within 45 days.
Well, since the first of the year, I have been obsessively checking the contract search tab of the City Clerk’s Council File Management System for any sign of an agreement between the City and the Venice Beach Property Owners Association, as that criminal conspiracy between Carl Lambert and his unindicted co-conspirators Mark Sokol and Steve Heumann is known to the world, for the administration of the Venice Beach BID. The CFMS1 is an essential tool, but its built-in search engine is freaking horrible, and it seems even horribler2 when searching contracts. So the fact that no contract popped up day after day after day didn’t exactly fill me with confidence in the theory that no such contract existed.
But today, after two freaking months with no sign of it, I finally emailed the ever-helpful3 Shannon Hoppes to ask if there was a contract or not. She answered quickly and told me that there was not yet any such thing. Well, hope springs and so on. Into my head sprang joyous visions of Carl Lambert and his infernal BID-buddies Mark Sokol and Steve Heumann being so overwhelmed with the furor and pushback called into being by their infernal BID that they took their BID-ball and went home. They are being sued, their shadowy BID consultant, the Divine Ms. Tara Devine, has as shaky a grasp on the law and also on the truth and also on basic human decency as her freaking clients, and maybe the pressure was all just too much for them, mused I.
Remember this editorial in the L.A. Times about the Venice Beach BID? I posted on it a couple weeks ago because whoever wrote it1 took City Attorney spokesman Rob Wilcox at his unsupported and unsupportable word that BID security somehow wasn’t allowed to arrest people for sitting on the sidewalk in violation of the despicable LAMC 41.18(d). Well, anyway, evidently “Two-gun” Kerry Morrison of the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance read an editorial with the same title but, perhaps because her copy of the paper comes from Bizarro World, radically different content. The one I read said, quite sensibly:
We’re glad that property owners around Venice Beach care about their community and that they’re willing to pay extra to improve the neighborhood. But when it comes to the homeless, they must decide whether they want to be part of the solution or part of the problem. If the ambassadors are going to constitute a de facto private security force, their job should not be to hassle the homeless in an effort to move them pointlessly from corner to corner or to push them out of the neighborhood so that they become another jurisdiction’s problem.
So watch and listen here to HPOA Executive Director Ms. Kerry Morrison’s cri de coeur about how UNFAIR this is to her and her heavily armed BID Patrol buddies!! Or if you prefer, as always, there’s a transcription after the break. And she said:
Just a quick post this fine Saturday morning before heading off to Canter’s for breakfast. I’ve been quietly uploading stuff to Archive.Org over the last few weeks, and there’s gotten to be quite a bit of unannounced material over there:
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 1994.1 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→
Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell
200 N Spring St #450
Los Angeles CA 90012
Dear Councilmember O’Farrell,
I am writing to you regarding plans that the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance and the Los Angeles Police Department are making to extend the patrol hours of the Andrews International BID Patrol in the Hollywood Entertainment District until 4 a.m. In particular, I heard at the last HPOA board meeting that you were considering funding all or part of this program from your discretionary money. If this report is accurate, I hope that you will ultimately decide not to fund an expansion of BID Patrol hours in Hollywood. Here are a number of reasons why I think your funding this project would be a bad idea:
1. Regardless of the intention, it looks like a way to evade Police Commission oversight of law enforcement in Hollywood: This expansion of the BID Patrol’s operations is apparently being planned at the request of Hollywood Divison’s Commanding Officer Peter Zarcone. If it’s implemented it will therefore create a City-funded group of quasi-police assembled at the City’s request who are not subject to any kind of civilian oversight or control. I understand that in some technical sense the BID Patrol aren’t police, but this plan makes that seem even more like a distinction without a difference than it already does. Continue reading An Open Letter to Mitch O’Farrell Regarding Plans to Fund Andrews International BID Patrol Operations in Hollywood→
A collaborative denunciation of Business Improvement Districts in Hollywood