Tag Archives: Eric Garcetti

You Know Those Proclamations From The City Of Los Angeles That Hyperconnected Zillionaires Like Laurie Goldman All Hang On Their Office Walls? — Well, Here’s How You Get One! — Have Your Minions Ask The Mayor’s Staff — Be Sure To Call Him MEG Cause That’s What The In-Crowd Calls Him! — And Two Days Later Go Pick Up The Proclamation! — Did I Mention Your Minions Have To Write The Damn Thing? — Don’t Have Any Minions? — No Proclamation For You!!

The proclamations! You’ve probably seen them hanging on the walls of people’s offices, they’re in famous restaurants, like e.g. Musso and Frank has one, The Pantry has one, and so on. Here’s a nice picture of one. Well, here I am, hanging around this City more or less continuously since 1963 and I never knew, never even wondered, where or they came from or why.1 Amazingly, though, in a set of records recently handed over by the Media District BID,2 all was revealed!

Here’s the process, at least as it pertains to the office of the Mayor. First, have your minion email Yolanda Flores at y.flores@lacity.org. She’s actually his staffie in charge of proclamations! Don’t forget to refer to her boss as MEG, which is evidently what the cool kids call him! After she gives you the nod, have your minion write the damn proclamation! That’s it, you can pick it up next Thursday!

Does it seem too simple? Don’t believe it’s that easy? Can’t credit that actual3 grownups call the guy MEG with a straight face? Want to read the genuine one-and-only proclamation that unreconstructed criminal Lisa Schechter of the Media District BID wrote for former president Laurie Goldman that was subsequently issued by MEG? See the emails by means of which the whole mishegoss was arranged? Well, what are you waiting for?! Turn the damn page!!
Continue reading You Know Those Proclamations From The City Of Los Angeles That Hyperconnected Zillionaires Like Laurie Goldman All Hang On Their Office Walls? — Well, Here’s How You Get One! — Have Your Minions Ask The Mayor’s Staff — Be Sure To Call Him MEG Cause That’s What The In-Crowd Calls Him! — And Two Days Later Go Pick Up The Proclamation! — Did I Mention Your Minions Have To Write The Damn Thing? — Don’t Have Any Minions? — No Proclamation For You!!

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A Motion In City Council Asks The HHH Citizens’ Oversight Committee To Recommend Ways To Speed Up Development Of Housing For The Homeless, Creating An Unacknowledged But Not Unexpected Conflict Of Interest For Members Kerry Morrison And Blair Besten, Whose Salaries Are Paid By Real Estate Developers For The Express Purpose Of Advocating For Their Interests With The City

In November 2016 the voters of Los Angeles approved Measure HHH, which provided a huge amount of funding for housing homeless people. The measure also created a Citizens’ Oversight Committee, putatively for the purpose of making sure the money was well-spent. Subsequently, Eric Garcetti appointed Hollywood BIDdie and famous mayoral pookie-pie Kerry Morrison and some other people to the Committee and the City Council appointed Downtown BIDdie and famous José Huizar pookie-pie Blair Besten to the Committee.

These appointments meant that 2 of 7 committee members work for business improvement districts,1 which was bad enough in itself given that one of the main purposes of BIDs is to banish the homeless from their districts and to basically waste public money in the form of their assessments while doing that. But on Wednesday matters got immeasurably worse.

What happened is that Marqueece Harris-Dawson and Mitchell Englander introduced a motion proposing to expand the remit of the CoC to include making

comprehensive recommendations to the Homelessness and Poverty Committee regarding changes to the permanent supportive housing process and funding structure to enable a more expedited delivery of homeless housing.

That is, the Committee is now charged with weakening the funding process and the permitting and building approval process for projects that will help house the homeless. This sounds superficially like a good thing, but there’s at least one huge problem with it. Blair Besten’s employers, Kerry Morrison’s employers, are huge commercial property owners and developers and weakened processes are their bread and butter. They know exactly how to turn weakened processes into strengthened profit margins.

At least some of them, e.g. Ruben Islas, make immense amounts of money from building and owning housing for the homeless. Blair Besten has lobbied the City intensively on relaxing zoning codes and on granting psychotically expansive tax breaks to such developers. This new proposal, therefore, would grant Blair Besten and Kerry Morrison the power to make recommendations directly to City Council on issues that they are already paid by developers and property owners to lobby the City over.
Continue reading A Motion In City Council Asks The HHH Citizens’ Oversight Committee To Recommend Ways To Speed Up Development Of Housing For The Homeless, Creating An Unacknowledged But Not Unexpected Conflict Of Interest For Members Kerry Morrison And Blair Besten, Whose Salaries Are Paid By Real Estate Developers For The Express Purpose Of Advocating For Their Interests With The City

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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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More Hollywood Media District CPRA Exemption Claims Exposed By Court Order As Unmitigated Mendacity — E.G. Laurie Goldman’s City Hall Gossip-Mongering Chittery-Chat To Fellow Board Members Ferris Wehbe And David Freaking Bass About Michael Weinstein, Eric Garcetti, And Little Mitchie O’Farrell Could Not Be Considered Part Of A Deliberative Process Anywhere Outside Of The Feverishly Dizzying Intellect Of Self-Proclaimed Hollywood Superlawyer Jeffrey Charles Briggs

A couple weeks ago I wrote about an email that self-proclaimed Hollywood superlawyer Jeffrey Charles Briggs had released to me in response to a CPRA request but later claimed that it was exempt from release as a result of his having solemnly intoned the words “deliberative process” three times while standing on his hands naked at a crossroads at midnight on the Summer Solstice, which is about the level to which the CPRA has descended in this fair City in these latter days.

I mentioned at that point that he and his infernal client, the Hollywood Media District Property Owners Association, had been ordered by the Hon. Mary Strobel to hand over a whole passel of other emails which they’d claimed were exempt for various reasons.1 So finally I received these emails from le super-avocat de Hollywood lui-même, and now you can read them too!

For extra behind-the-scenes CPRA thrills, compare them to Jeffrey Charles Briggs’s summaries and aggressively hallucinated exemption claims in the declaration and log he filed with the court. And turn the page for a detailed analysis in a couple of cases of just how deeply, arrogantly nonsensical these exemption claims are revealed to be once we can compare them with the actual emails.
Continue reading More Hollywood Media District CPRA Exemption Claims Exposed By Court Order As Unmitigated Mendacity — E.G. Laurie Goldman’s City Hall Gossip-Mongering Chittery-Chat To Fellow Board Members Ferris Wehbe And David Freaking Bass About Michael Weinstein, Eric Garcetti, And Little Mitchie O’Farrell Could Not Be Considered Part Of A Deliberative Process Anywhere Outside Of The Feverishly Dizzying Intellect Of Self-Proclaimed Hollywood Superlawyer Jeffrey Charles Briggs

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Los Angeles Ethics Commissioners Fail To Understand Their Powers And Duties Under The City Charter And Thereby Inadvertently (??) Set The Stage For Exempting Nearly All 501(c)(3) Tax Exempt Organizations In Los Angeles From The Municipal Lobbying Ordinance

It seems like forever now, although it’s only been two years, that the Los Angeles Ethics Commission has been discussing proposed changes to the Municipal Lobbying Ordinance (MLO). At this point I just don’t have it in me to summarize the discussion any more, although you can find links to most of my posts on the subject in this post on the penultimate phase of the matter.

At the Commission’s meeting on Tuesday, which you can watch in its entirety right here (or here on Archive.Org if you prefer), there were only two matters left to settle. One was the issue of detailed reporting of contacts between lobbyists and City Officials. I hope to write on what happened with that later on. The other, and the subject of today’s post, had to do with exemptions from the MLO for 501(c)(3) nonprofits. You can watch the whole discussion beginning here. These organizations enjoy some exemptions now by virtue of LAMC §48.03(E,F). You can read the statute for yourself, but essentially it exempts 501(c)(3)s1 which have “… the purpose of representing the interests of indigent persons and whose primary purpose is to provide direct services to those persons…”

As they are wont to do, the staff, in the persons of Director of Policy Arman Tarzi and Mark Low, head of the lobbying program, provided the Commission with a detailed set of recommendations. There were four different options given that had to do with nonprofits, which you can read in the proposal. Of these, three were developed by staff and the fourth2 was provided by nonprofits and proposed to exempt all nonprofits, no matter what they do, which have gross annual receipts of under $2.5 Million.

Never content to leave well enough alone, these hyperorganized nonprofits presented the Commission with a so-called “Option 5,” which they circulated at the meeting. This option proposed to modify LAMC §48.03(E) to exempt from the MLO:

E. Any organization exempt from federal taxation pursuant to Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code that:
1. Provides assistance, such as food, clothing, shelter, child care, health, legal, vocational, relief, educational, and other similar assistance to disadvantaged people for free or at a significantly below-market rate; OR
2. Has gross receipts of less than $2.5 million.
This exemption also applies to the organization’s employees and board members while engaged in official duties. This exemption does not apply when an organization is seeking funding, property, or a permit from the City on its own behalf.

Continue reading Los Angeles Ethics Commissioners Fail To Understand Their Powers And Duties Under The City Charter And Thereby Inadvertently (??) Set The Stage For Exempting Nearly All 501(c)(3) Tax Exempt Organizations In Los Angeles From The Municipal Lobbying Ordinance

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City Of Los Angeles Poised To Spend $150,000 To Settle Street Vending Lawsuit Over Englander’s Opposition, Pending Only Garcetti’s Signature, Which It Seems Will Settle It For The Fashion District BID As Well

You can read up on the background in this 2015 LA times story and also in our multiple stories on the subject. Most of the paper filed in the case is available here.

Towards the end of September the parties to this monumental lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles and the Fashion District BID filed papers with the court announcing that a settlement was in the works and asking that the calendar be put on hold.

Today and yesterday a few things happened with respect to this process. Today the parties filed a status report with the court announcing that the settlement process was on track but they needed until December 30 to work out the details. This was closely followed by an order from Judge André Birotte extending the time as requested.

More interestingly, though, yesterday the City Council went into closed session to discuss the terms of the settlement.1 They passed this motion authorizing the expenditure of $150,000 to fund the settlement, at least some of which is going, with good cause, straight to Carol Sobel. Interestingly, and the reason’s not clear, Mitch Englander voted against the motion.

It’s also interesting that the motion was put forth by Paul Krekorian and seconded by Paul Koretz. It’s my unscientific impression that in the ordinary course of events this would have been moved by José Huizar, since the events which precipitated the case happened in his district. Who knows what’s going on? Maybe it’s because Krekorian and Koretz are on the committee which gave its preliminary approval to the motion? Anyway, the whole matter is in Garcetti’s hands now, and he has until December 18 to sign off. There’s a transcription of the motion after the break.
Continue reading City Of Los Angeles Poised To Spend $150,000 To Settle Street Vending Lawsuit Over Englander’s Opposition, Pending Only Garcetti’s Signature, Which It Seems Will Settle It For The Fashion District BID As Well

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In Defense Of A Change To A Compensation-Based Threshold For Lobbying Registration In Los Angeles

I wrote yesterday about a troubling meeting of the Ethics Commission concerning revisions to the Municipal Lobbying Ordinance. The proposals are still very much in flux, and timely public comments are not only essential for swaying the wavering commissioners in the right direction, but the commissioners, no matter their other flaws, do seem to read them, so they’re likely to be effective if submitted over the next couple of months.1

I had planned to write a letter to the Commission about all the issues together and publish it here as well, but the more I think about it the more I have to say. Thus I thought it would be much easier for everyone if I wrote about one issue at a time and then edited the posts down into a single letter to the Commission. Also, maybe you’ll find some of my ideas useful in framing your own letters, which should be sent to ethics.policy@lacity.org.

This post, then, is the first installment of that project, and the subject is the proposed change from a time-based registration requirement to a compensation-based requirement. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you’re surely not alone. Turn the page for an introduction to the issue and arguments in favor of making the change.
Continue reading In Defense Of A Change To A Compensation-Based Threshold For Lobbying Registration In Los Angeles

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Ethics Commission Releases List Of Far-Reaching, Much-Needed, Proposed Updates To Municipal Lobbying Ordinance, To Be Discussed Further At August 15 Meeting

On Friday the City Ethics Commission released a list of proposed updates to the Municipal Lobbying Ordinance. This is scheduled for discussion at the Commission’s upcoming August 15 meeting. These are extraordinarily far-reaching and much welcome proposals, and you’ll find a list with commentary after the break. Just for instance, though, they’re proposing to alter the definition of a lobbyist to make it easier to decide when they’re required to register, to require disclosure of specific City employees lobbied, to require disclosure of positions taken on lobbied issues, and so on.

First though, let me just outline the slightly unusual procedure by which government ethics laws are changed in the City of Los Angeles. Unlike most laws, which are proposed, amended, and passed or defeated by the City Council, ethics laws are proposed by the Ethics Commission. Once the Commission finalizes its proposal, it’s sent to the City Council, which has the right to adopt the proposal or reject the proposal, but they are specifically forbidden from altering the proposal.

Of course, something like this complex procedure is necessary, because it wouldn’t be safe to allow the City Council, the main agency reined in by ethics laws, to rewrite them on their own initiative. They’d very soon be meaningless. However, it seems to make the laws extraordinarily difficult to change in substantive ways. For instance, the Ethics Commission sent up a set of proposals fairly similar to the current set in 2010.

At that time Eric Garcetti was chair of the Rules and Elections committee, where the proposal went first. At the behest of Kerry Morrison, Estela Lopez, and a bunch of other BID staffers, in the midst of a stomach-turning display of flirtatious trivialization, he let the proposal die in committee without even a second hearing. You can read all about this disgraceful episode and even listen to audio of the giggly horribleness of it all. There’s every chance that something very similar will happen this time around. But maybe not, who can say.
Continue reading Ethics Commission Releases List Of Far-Reaching, Much-Needed, Proposed Updates To Municipal Lobbying Ordinance, To Be Discussed Further At August 15 Meeting

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Kerry Morrison/Mitch O’Farrell Vampirical Folie À Deux Begins To Shrivel And Die On Exposure To Light As First Item In The Impending Flood Of Anti-Mitch’s-Playground-Initiative Sentiment Hits Council File In The Form Of Eagle Rock NC’s Unanimous Opposition

If the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council has its way, this park and its playgrounds will remain free and open to adults with or without children in tow.
If you’re following the story you will recall 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. Of course, this motion turned out to be yet another salvo in the ongoing struggle between Kerry Morrison and all sane Angelenos for access to Selma Park, which she convinced her close personal friend and neighbor Eric Garcetti to illegally curtail because of her irrational fear that people might pass out sandwiches to homeless people in the Park once a week.

This is an old story, and a sad one. Here’s how it goes: Kerry Morrison whispers sweet nothings in the receptive ear of CD13 field deputy Dan Halden at one of their monthly breakfast meetings. Dan, who for some reason thinks Kerry and her minions are Mitch’s constituents, passes the whisper on to “his boss.”1 Mitch O’Farrell, no doubt contemplating the oodles and scads of money trickling down to him from the heavy-laden coffers of Ms. and Mr. Kerry Morrison, mutters to himself something like “That sounds good! No need to run that by anyone sane! Kerry Morrison and her money would never lead me astray!!”

But once in a while sane people are paying attention, and then all those reasons that seemed so compelling in the back room suddenly start to look a little — and then a whole freaking lot — crazy. This happens all the time.2 And it’s beginning to happen again with this whole playground thing. If you subscribe to the Council file , you will have been notified last night that the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council voted unanimously to oppose Mitch and Kerry’s motion (full text after the break if you’re PDF-averse).

This is doubtless the first droplet in what we here at MK.Org predict will be a flood of opposition. Sadly, but also hilariously, the opposers don’t actually seem to understand the letter of the proposed law, although they clearly understand the spirit all too well indeed. So let’s settle back and watch the already-at-a-fever-pitch frustration of Mitch and his spokesdude Tony Arranaga grow and grow and grow, as they issue ever-more-tightly-wound explanations until they finally and quietly decide to cut their losses and let the motion die in committee. Stay tuned!
Continue reading Kerry Morrison/Mitch O’Farrell Vampirical Folie À Deux Begins To Shrivel And Die On Exposure To Light As First Item In The Impending Flood Of Anti-Mitch’s-Playground-Initiative Sentiment Hits Council File In The Form Of Eagle Rock NC’s Unanimous Opposition

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The Hitherto Unrevealed Origin Story of the Illegal Selma Park “Kids-Only” Restrictions: How Kerry Morrison’s Irrational Hatred Of Homeless Feeding Programs Led Her To Lie About Everything And Then Lock The Public Out Of Selma Park

Kerry Morrison freaking hates well-fed homeless people, which is why she orders her BID Patrol bullies to spy on feeding programs like this one and why she will use lies and subterfuge to destroy public access to a park for everyone just so homeless people can’t eat there.
My colleagues and I have spilled a great deal of metaphorical ink explaining exactly how Kerry Morrison hung up fake kids-only signs in Selma Park in 2007, thereby stealing 8 years of access from the people of Los Angeles, and the issue has taken on some renewed currency by virtue of her newly revealed conspiracy with Mitch O’Farrell regarding restrictions on playground use in City parks. But until fairly recently we didn’t really know why she’d done it.1 Well, it turns out that the explanation was lurking in her BID’s 2006 First Quarter report to the Clerk’s office, wherein we read:

HED staff and the security team continue to monitor the situation in Selma Park, where a Saturday feeding program for homeless individuals has overtaken a park intended for neighborhood children. Attempts will be made to organize the families to prevail upon the council office to declare the entire park a “children’s only” playground.

Now, where in the world, I wonder, did Kerry Morrison get the idea that Selma Park was “intended for neighborhood children”?
Continue reading The Hitherto Unrevealed Origin Story of the Illegal Selma Park “Kids-Only” Restrictions: How Kerry Morrison’s Irrational Hatred Of Homeless Feeding Programs Led Her To Lie About Everything And Then Lock The Public Out Of Selma Park

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