Tag Archives: Downtown Los Angeles

Miranda Paster, Subverter Of Arts District BID Alternatives: Some Of What $3000 Bought The BIDs of Los Angeles Over The Years And How She Got Temporarily “Bumped” Due To Allegations Of Conflict Of Interest

I can't find any usable pictures of Miranda Paster, so here's another picture of Holly Wolcott!
I can’t find any usable pictures of Miranda Paster, so here’s another picture of Holly Wolcott!
Miranda Paster is the director of the LA City Clerk’s Neighborhood and Business Improvement Division (NABID), which administers the City’s BID program. Her job description (updated in February 2014) includes among her duties presenting at the conferences of the International Downtown Association:1 …deliver formal presentations, including analyses and recommendations, to the City Council and its Committees and International Downtown Association Conferences…

The story begins in 2011,2 when BIDs gave Miranda Paster $3000 to attend the IDA’s 2011 annual conference in Charlotte, North Carolina. Take a look at this collection of emails and records of payments from 2011. These show that less than two weeks before the conference started, Paster was scrambling to get the money together to attend, but that she already had a commitment from the BIDs to pay $3000 (a log of the actual payments is included there). It seems that in 2011, Paster’s attendance at this conference was a new thing for her, as the financing was arranged in such a hurry. I’m guessing that at this point presenting at this conference was not yet part of Paster’s official duties. It’s a rare bureaucracy indeed which will not pay its employees’ expenses to carry out their duties. So the BIDs paid, buying at least a sense of obligation.

Unfortunately, IDA records of the 2011 conference don’t seem to show what Paster did there, but by the 2012 conference, held in Minneapolis, she was a panelist. This is interesting in itself. The panel, moderated by Rena Leddy, now of the Fashion District BID but then of Progressive Urban Management Associates, or PUMA,3 was entitled How Cities Encourage BIDs: Trends and Challenges.4 Here is a copy of a Power Point summary of the session, which is astonishing in its own right.5

Now, you may not be familiar with the story of the destruction and resurrection of the Arts District BID. It began in 2011 when Yuval Bar-Zemer of Linear City development initiated a campaign against the BID based on the theory that BID assessments used for marketing campaigns didn’t benefit assessed property owners in any way allowed under state law.6 A court case ensued, and in May 2013 Superior Court judge Robert O’Brien ordered the BID to dissolve.
Continue reading Miranda Paster, Subverter Of Arts District BID Alternatives: Some Of What $3000 Bought The BIDs of Los Angeles Over The Years And How She Got Temporarily “Bumped” Due To Allegations Of Conflict Of Interest

LAPD to Illegally Incarcerated Michael Brown Protesters: “Your [College] Degrees Don’t Matter Here.” “I Guess No Instagram Or Twitter Tonight.” “You Wanted To Play The Game — This Is How WE Play The Game.” Selection of Documents From Amha v. Los Angeles Available

Different protest, same shit.
Different protest, same shit.
I’m reporting on the progress of Chua v. Los Angeles (to the best of my legally limited ability) for this blog. The recently filed joint discovery plan in that case mentioned a number of other pending civil suits against the City of Los Angeles arising out of the same set of Michael Brown / Ferguson protests Downtown in 2014. One of these, Amha v. City of LA, caught my eye, so I downloaded a few of the briefs from PACER. I don’t have time to analyze these, but I’m putting them in a directory here, also available through the menu structure above to some extent. I’ll be updating it as new stuff is filed, and may write on it if the mood strikes me. Meanwhile, after the break, see some of the horrid stuff the LAPD did and said to this poor lady after arresting her when she was walking past a protest on her way home from the gym, as alleged in the initial complaint.
Continue reading LAPD to Illegally Incarcerated Michael Brown Protesters: “Your [College] Degrees Don’t Matter Here.” “I Guess No Instagram Or Twitter Tonight.” “You Wanted To Play The Game — This Is How WE Play The Game.” Selection of Documents From Amha v. Los Angeles Available

South Park BID Minutes 2012-2016

south_park_bid_screenshotFor no particular reason I asked for (and promptly received—hat-tip to Jessica Lall and Laronnia Jupiter for their law-abidingness and transparency!) 4 point something years worth of minutes of South Park BID minutes. I just now put them up on archive.org and there are direct links after the break. I’m not putting them in the directory structure as (a) I’m not hosting them locally and (b) I just got this stuff out of curiosity and it’s not that closely related to our actual mission (I mean, it might turn out to be, we’ll see…after all, Tanner Blackman, amirite?)
Continue reading South Park BID Minutes 2012-2016

The Paranoid Prophecies of Downtown Russell Brown, July 2010 Edition

Downtown Russell Brown stumping for Jose Huizar.
Downtown Russell Brown stumping for Jose Huizar.
Our fateful faithful correspondent recently completed a magnanimously opalesque tour de farce of historicalisticism concerning a wildly successful 2010 plot by a bunch of bitchy BIDsies along with then-councildude Eric Garcetti, le petit ami chéri de toutes les dames mignonnes des BIDs, to ruthlessly destroy a perfectly reasonable proposal from the City Ethics Commission to make it easier to figure out who’s supposed to register as a lobbyist. Well, as part of his research he ended up transcribing not just the nonsense spewed by best-BIDdie-buddies Garcetti and Morrison, but a bunch of other tangential nonsense as well. Some of it’s fascinating in its own right, and we’re planning to write about it from time to time, starting this evening with a pluperfect portion of paranoia from Downtown L.A.’s own pallidly prophetic Russ Brown himself!

Historically-minded observers of the Downtown Los Angeles politico-sociologico-ethnomethodologico-cultural scene will remember Mr. Brown as the erstwhile boss-boy of the Historic Downtown BID, ignominiously forced out of his BIDship by the Board for reasons that surely aren’t being stated, and then ignominiously reinstalled two weeks later when Jose Huizar pitched a fit for reasons that surely also aren’t being stated and then… well, you get the idea. These days he’s doing something with neighborhood councils and remains the subject of artful advocacy blog Step Down Russ Brown which, though currently dormant, may any day rise, like Lazarus, from its pallet to scourge yet again the corridors and crannies of Downtown zillionaire-dom. Enough of that, though. Turn the page for the quotes!
Continue reading The Paranoid Prophecies of Downtown Russell Brown, July 2010 Edition

Hollywood Media District BID’s Shocking Conspiracy to Violate Lavan Injunction on Willoughby Avenue Abetted by Highest Levels of LA City Government

Homeless encampment on Cole Avenue south of Willoughby Avenue
Homeless encampment on Cole Avenue south of Willoughby Avenue in November, 2014
We have written before about the January 2015 conspiracy comprising indefatigably feckless dudebro Steven Whiddon and various city officials, including LA City Council District 13 field deputy Dan Halden, to (probably illegally, certainly immorally) use the threat of powerwashing sidewalks outside of the Public Storage building at the corner of Willoughby and Cole as a means of removing homeless people and their possessions, in violation of both human decency and the Lavan injunction. Today we have an email chain from November 2014 which illuminates the origins of the conspiracy and also demonstrates that LA City Council District 4 operatives as well were involved in the furtherance of these misdeeds.

Indefatigably feckless dudebro Steven Whiddon, wearing his sunglasses after the manner of his tribe.
The face of conspiracy: Indefatigably feckless dudebro Steven Whiddon, wearing his sunglasses after the manner of his tribe.

We join the sordid story on November 6, 2014, when someone named Marvin Cruz emailed Universal Protective Services security wallah John Irigoyen, CC-ing hmd.acevedo@yahoo.com, sgt.m4te@yahoo.com, and someone named Damien Reed, stating somewhat obscurely that:

There is alot [sic] of trash dumping here accross [sic] from 832 cole( public storage side). Also multiple 647I’s that block the aide [sic] walk. Can u [sic] contact HBT for the trash and maybe also lapd to come andtake [sic] contact with the idas.

Subseqently Captain John forwarded this report at 1:05 p.m. on November 7th to Steven Whiddon with the message “here is what you requested” prepended. A little over an hour later the conspiracy began to take shape.
Continue reading Hollywood Media District BID’s Shocking Conspiracy to Violate Lavan Injunction on Willoughby Avenue Abetted by Highest Levels of LA City Government

Walking Around with Fante and Bukowski

walking.around.with.fante.and.bukowski.coverWalking Around with Fante and Bukowski is a new collection of essays by Patricio Maya, published by Grady Miller Books. If you’re interested in the literature and culture of Los Angeles you will certainly find something in here that will interest you. Although there’s not much in here that aligns explicitly with the subject matter of MK.org, there is plenty of relevant background material for the student of abusive political power in Los Angeles.

In the title essay, Maya recounts a journey he took following Arturo Bandini’s epic journey to Long Beach in search of Vera Rifkin. One of Maya’s themes here is what he calls “the tenuous dimension between books and reality”:

You walk downtown or on Wilshire, half stoned, asking yourself if here was where Nathanael West ate, if there was where William Saroyan brawled, if Bandini slept here, if Bukowski drank there. It is a kind of derangement. But there are worse ways to spend time when you are 19 years old.

Of course, if the BIDs had had their way it would have been where Nathanael West was arrested, where William Saroyan was arrested, and where Bandini was arrested. That’s the last I’ll say about that, read on.
Continue reading Walking Around with Fante and Bukowski