Tag Archives: Fashion District BID

110 New Emails Between The City of LA And The East Hollywood BID Reveal Essentially Nothing About Anything, As Do The BID’s Bylaws — Also A Bunch Of Advertising Slash Branding Bullshit From The Fashion District Is Easy To Mock But Not So Informative After All

Ah, friends, just another desultory announcement of yet another batch of public records obtained from our friends at the BIDs, the meaning of none of which is yet clear, but we don’t let that worry us here in MK-dot-Org-landia. Everything happens for a reason, as they say, and I’m sure all this junk is no exception and some day it will prove to comprise crucially important pieces in puzzles whose very existence is as yet undiscerned. But for now I’m just announcing its existence, and do with it what you will. Anyway, here’s what I got:

  • Emails between the East Hollywood BID and the City of LA — March 2017 through July 2017. There are 110 emails here, attachments are attached to the emails, it’s amazing how empty of content this batch is. About 84% of them consist of Nicole Shahenian trying to get people to use her new email at ehbid.org. I don’t know for sure but I’d bet money that she made this switch because of my CPRA requests. Also, Aram Taslagyan’s replacement as CD13 East Hollywood field deputy introduces himself herein, but I already forgot his name.

And turn the page for the rest of the junk and more random commentary!
Continue reading 110 New Emails Between The City of LA And The East Hollywood BID Reveal Essentially Nothing About Anything, As Do The BID’s Bylaws — Also A Bunch Of Advertising Slash Branding Bullshit From The Fashion District Is Easy To Mock But Not So Informative After All

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In Which I Present A General Argument That BID Consultancy Is Lobbying Activity In Order To Simplify And Regularize The Process Of Reporting BID Consultants To The Ethics Commission For Failure To Register

It’s a long term project of mine to turn in as many BID consultants as possible to the City Ethics Commission for failing to register as lobbyists. So far, though, I’ve only managed to report Tara Devine for her work on the Venice Beach BID because the work is so involved. Such a report has two essential components:

  1. An argument that BID consultancy satisfies the definition of lobbying activity found in the the Municipal Lobbying Ordinance at LAMC §48.02.
  2. An argument that a specific BID consultant was paid for sufficiently many hours over sufficiently few months to trigger the registration requirement found in the MLO at LAMC §48.07(A).

It occurred to me recently that the first argument will be the same for all BID consultants, and that therefore it would be possible to streamline the reporting process by writing it up in a generic format that would apply to any given BID consultant. So that’s what I did, and you can read the result here. I will be using this to make a number of complaints against BID consultants in the near future, which I will report on here.

Meanwhile, if you have no idea what I’m talking about, you can find explanations of everything after the break, along with a fairly detailed summary of the argument that BID consultancy qualifies as lobbying under the MLO.
Continue reading In Which I Present A General Argument That BID Consultancy Is Lobbying Activity In Order To Simplify And Regularize The Process Of Reporting BID Consultants To The Ethics Commission For Failure To Register

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Annals Of Gentrification Porn — Bad: The Fashion District Closed Off A Street Downtown To Have A Freaking Dinner Party — Worse: They Hired Professionals To Make A Short Pornographic Video Of It — Worst Of All: This Evidently Seems Normal To Them (?)

Just when you think it can’t get any weirder out there in BIDlandia, well … it does! You may recall last month’s revelation that the Fashion District BID paid some Berkeleyites almost $20,000 to study Santee Alley and report that, inter alia, Latinos are confused by lobster rolls. Well, in a similar yet far stranger vein, just the other day, the incomparable Rena Leddy1 sent me a video, paid for and produced by the BID, of a dinner party they had in the street last October.

The whole thing is not only deeply disturbing, it’s also embedded below the break for your edification if not your enjoyment.2 I put it below to calm the autoplay, which I can’t figure out how to eliminate. If you want to download it it’s available at Archive.Org as well.

And really, after you watch it, if you have any freaking idea at all why putatively mature adults would think it was a good idea to make a video like this, please let me know. It’s not just pornographic, it’s transparently so. I suppose it’s OK to be a self-satisfied narcissistic idiot, but why in the world does anyone want to announce to the world that they’re a self-satisfied narcissistic idiot? Seriously, this is why the Fashion District needs to get the homeless out of Downtown? So they can hold more zillionaire black masses like this one? Never gonna understand…
Continue reading Annals Of Gentrification Porn — Bad: The Fashion District Closed Off A Street Downtown To Have A Freaking Dinner Party — Worse: They Hired Professionals To Make A Short Pornographic Video Of It — Worst Of All: This Evidently Seems Normal To Them (?)

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Fashion District BID Bylaws From 2003 Anticipate Los Angeles City Attorney Advising BID On Their Brown Act Obligations, Suggesting That Holly Wolcott’s Stance Against Requiring BIDs To Follow The Law Is A Recent Development

I’ve been collecting copies of bylaws from the property owners’ associations that run BIDs for a while now, and some interesting stuff has turned up. Most egregiously we have the cases of Brown Act violations actually written into the bylaws of the Larchmont Village BID and essentially the same problem with the Melrose Avenue BID. Well, the other day, Rena Leddy, executive directrix of the Fashion District BID, was kind enough to send me a copy of her BID’s bylaws, last amended in 2003, and very interesting they are, indeed!

For one thing, these bylaws reveal that, unlike every other BID that I know of, the property owners in the Fashion District elect their Board of Directors by direct weighted vote.1 Most BIDs seem to be run by self-perpetuating boards, in which the directors choose their successors without any input from anyone else. This is interesting, and may save the FDBID from the kind of stagnation and undue staff influence that one finds in so many of our local BIDs.2

Most interesting, though, are the two places in these bylaws where it appears that the BID didn’t know whether or not their rules would violate the Brown Act, so they wrote language stating that the rules only applied pending determinations of their legality by the City Attorney of Los Angeles. This contradicts the stance currently taken by City Clerk Holly Wolcott, who insists that BIDs are beyond the City’s power to control due to their status as private corporations. She refuses even to tell BIDs to perform explicit requirements of their contract. How strange, then, to see evidence that in 2003 the City Attorney of Los Angeles was making decisions about whether or not the Fashion District BID’s bylaws were Brown-Act-compliant.
Continue reading Fashion District BID Bylaws From 2003 Anticipate Los Angeles City Attorney Advising BID On Their Brown Act Obligations, Suggesting That Holly Wolcott’s Stance Against Requiring BIDs To Follow The Law Is A Recent Development

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$19,000 Fashion District “Repositioning” Report On Santee Alley Claims Latinos Will Be Confused By Grilled Cheese And Lobster Rolls But Will “Resonate With” Bacon Dogs, Sports On Flat-Screen TVs, Soccer Promotions, Arcade Games, And Dance Floors — Ultimate Goal Is To “Soften” Santee Alley Experience To Attract Neo-Hipster Authenticity-Seeking Urban Tourists

It seems that last year the Fashion District BID hired some outfit from Berkeley known as MJB Consulting to study the so-called “repositioning” of Santee Alley. Here’s a copy of MJB’s proposal offering to do the work for $19,000. And here is a copy of the report they produced. And what a piece of work it is, friends.

Unfortunately the sheer weirdness of this document is probably beyond my power to describe, so I’m going to end up quoting a lot of it. But the stuff in the headline is all in the report, and so much more besides. It’s 25 pages of deep crazy, centered around the socioeconomic interplay between blue-collar Latinos and an imaginary social group called “neo-hipsters.” The methodology is based on “psychographics,” which was made up by Mr. MJB himself, Mike Berne. It is, according to Mike Berne:

In contrast to demographics, which characterizes customers largely in quantitative terms (e.g. household income, home value, etc.), psychographics considers them qualitatively as well, based on their lifestyles, their sensibilities and their aspirations. A classic example is the perceived difference between those who shop at Wal-Mart and those who prefer Target (or “Tar-zhay”).

That’s social science, friends, and you can’t argue with science! And neo-hipsters? Glad you asked!

“Neo-hipster” is a term coined by MJB Consulting, referring to a specific psychographic segment. … The major data-mining outfits, like Claritas and ESRI, have developed frameworks for delineating different psychographic segments – PRIZM and Tapestry, respectively — but MJB Consulting, feeling that those schemes do not adequately reflect the nuances of urban consumers, has devised its own for such markets, in which the “neo-hipster” figures prominently.

And, with this vocabulary firmly in hand, including the prominent figuration of the “neo-hipster,” the report commences a freaking deep dive off the freaking deep end. In short, even though it’s counterintuitive, Santee Alley should continue trying to serve blue collar Latinos. Blue collar Latinos will only be confused by fancy food like grilled cheese and lobster rolls because they have high unemployment and large families and they like bacon dogs.

In some sense, I guess, it’s superficially1 heartening not to see the kind of casual anti-Latino sentiment that pervades the Hollywood BIDs, to the point of their hatred of Latino-influenced art genres and surreal anti-Peruvianism. These people want to keep their Latino customers, I guess.

On the other hand, the sheer number and variety of the stereotypes at work here are deeply disconcerting. Ultimately, it’s yet another manifestation of the cluelessness of the white supremacists who run the BIDs of Los Angeles. As you’ll see below, they only want to keep the Latinos because they can’t figure out how to get the neo-hipsters to move in.

Here are some more examples: blue collar Latinos will be happy if Santee Alley installs dance floors, soccer promotions, flat-screen TVs running sports, and so on. The ultimate goal seems to be to attract “neo-hipsters” to Santee Alley by promoting the blue collar Latinos as an authentic part of a “cultural tourism” experience, although they’re evidently a little scary so will need to be “softened.” Santee Alley as zoo, Latino customers as exhibits, neo-hipsters as patrons. Think I’m kidding? Turn the page for actual quotes.
Continue reading $19,000 Fashion District “Repositioning” Report On Santee Alley Claims Latinos Will Be Confused By Grilled Cheese And Lobster Rolls But Will “Resonate With” Bacon Dogs, Sports On Flat-Screen TVs, Soccer Promotions, Arcade Games, And Dance Floors — Ultimate Goal Is To “Soften” Santee Alley Experience To Attract Neo-Hipster Authenticity-Seeking Urban Tourists

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New And Semi-New Fashion District BID Documents: Minutes, Agendas, Board Packets, A Small Batch Of Emails

This is just a short post to formally announce some records from the Fashion District. Some have been available for a while, others I just uploaded tonight, but I haven’t posted about the existence of any of them yet. If you want some background noise while you’re reading, check out this video featuring Ariana Gomez and Kent Smith of the Fashion District blathering on about God knows what kind of BIDolatry.1

I will be writing in great detail about some of this material in the very near future, but I just wanted to get some links up as soon as possible:
Continue reading New And Semi-New Fashion District BID Documents: Minutes, Agendas, Board Packets, A Small Batch Of Emails

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On March 20, 2017 Fashion District BID Exec Direc Rena Leddy and CCEA Exec Direc Estela Lopez Had A Conference Call With Unregistered-As-A-Lobbyist Liner LLP Partner Rockard Delgadillo To Discuss The Skid Row Neighborhood Council

The first part of the quote in Rockard Delgadillo’s mouth is from 2006 when he was hypocritically suing Rockstar Games, makers of Grand Theft Auto, for some Easter egg porn. Now he’s producing and starring in zillionaire porn. Just goes to show… The text in the box is from a poem by Charles Bukowski.
Background: You can read my previous stories on the Skid Row Neighborhood Council formation effort and also see Jason McGahan’s article in the Weekly and Gale Holland’s article in the Times for more mainstream perspectives.

You will certainly, if you’ve been following the issue, recall the fact that the zillionaire-sponsored effort to subvert by any means necessary the Skid Row Neighborhood Council formation effort was in full bloom by early 2017. And the Downtown BIDs were deeply involved in the whole mishegoss. In January, Blair “I don’t know nothin’ ’bout no Brown Act compliance” Besten of the Historic Core BID, Estela Lopez of the Downtown Industrial District, and furtive hereditary downtown zillionaire Michael Delijani were meeting with their sorry little Councilboy, encouraging him to ignore both law and decency in his effort to stop the SRNC.

By March, as we’ve seen, the zillionaires had formed an anonymous Delaware LLC known as United DTLA and hired walking morality-free-zone and former Los Angeles City Attorney Rockard Delgadillo to lobby the City against the SRNC. March 20, 2017 was a milestone day in the campaign. On this day, Fashion District BID executive directrix Rena Leddy began sending out emails to the property owners in her district to rally them against the SRNC. She sent this one out at 11:44 a.m.. At 12:24 p.m. she sent this one out, complete with a copy of Rockard Delgadillo’s infamous letter to the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment, which is the locus classicus of the arguments which ultimately prevailed over the SRNC.

Rena Leddy’s calendar entries for March 20, 2017, showing 11 a.m. conference call with Estela Lopez and Rockard Delgadillo. Click to enlarge.

And today, thanks to the fruits of a Public Records Act request for the 2017 appointment calendars of everyone in the Fashion District BID,1 I’m able to extend our knowledge of the events of that fateful day back 45 more minutes to 11 a.m. Take a look at Rena Leddy’s appointments for March 20, 2017. See that at 11 a.m. she had a conference call with Rockard Delgadillo and Estela Lopez for a “Skid Row Neighborhood Council update.” And, as we’ve seen, right after this, Rena Leddy commenced to rallying her troops against the SRNC.
Continue reading On March 20, 2017 Fashion District BID Exec Direc Rena Leddy and CCEA Exec Direc Estela Lopez Had A Conference Call With Unregistered-As-A-Lobbyist Liner LLP Partner Rockard Delgadillo To Discuss The Skid Row Neighborhood Council

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Newly Obtained Documents Reveal That The Hollywood Media District BID Is Paying Urban Place Consulting $1,550.35 More Than The Fashion District BID Is Paying For Renewal Services Because UPC Is Billing Assistants At 20% More! Jeff Briggs Supplies Unredacted UPC Labor Matrix Without Requiring A Freaking Demand Letter! Aaron Aulenta Isn’t As Much Of A “Tech Dinosaur” As Previously Claimed!

You may recall that as part of my long term project to turn as many BID consultants as possible in to the City Ethics Commission for unregistered lobbying, I’ve been trying to track down consulting contracts and other such evidence. I obtained a lot of excellent information from the San Pedro Historic Waterfront BID and, after a prolonged struggle, chronicled in excessive detail here, I obtained an unredacted copy of Urban Place Consulting’s contract with the Fashion District BID.

In the course of that whole mishegoss I had to overcome FDBID executive directrix Rena Leddy’s ultimately untenable position that the so-called “labor matrix,” a chart which detailed how much time UPC meant to spend on each aspect of the BID renewal process and how much they were to be paid for it,1 was a trade secret. Among the many cogent arguments we used2 was the evident fact that labor costs couldn’t possibly be trade secrets because UPC would of necessity have to share them with prospective clients before a contract was signed. This was a purely logical argument, but now, thanks to a huge trove of records shared with me this evening by the Media District BID and relating to their renewal process, also being handled by UPC, I have definitive proof.
Continue reading Newly Obtained Documents Reveal That The Hollywood Media District BID Is Paying Urban Place Consulting $1,550.35 More Than The Fashion District BID Is Paying For Renewal Services Because UPC Is Billing Assistants At 20% More! Jeff Briggs Supplies Unredacted UPC Labor Matrix Without Requiring A Freaking Demand Letter! Aaron Aulenta Isn’t As Much Of A “Tech Dinosaur” As Previously Claimed!

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New MK.Org Coffee Mug Honoring Leron Gubler And The Hollywood Chamber Of Commerce For Being Extra Super Duper Law Abiding, Also Tons Of New Fashion District BID Emails

My recent post about the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and its lobbying disclosure activity was so popular, or at least the picture that accompanied the post was so popular, that, effectively although not actually by popular demand, we here at MK.Org created yet another souvenir gift mug, an accessory with which you too can tell the world that you’re opposed to bad BIDness in Los Angeles and also is very handy for the drinking of coffee and other hot beverages! We here at MK.Org feel that this item has the potential to outsell our current bestselling item, the Blair Besten anti-CPRA award mug. Help us make that dream come true, friends!

Turn the page for link to newly obtained emails from the Fashion District.
Continue reading New MK.Org Coffee Mug Honoring Leron Gubler And The Hollywood Chamber Of Commerce For Being Extra Super Duper Law Abiding, Also Tons Of New Fashion District BID Emails

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Why Are BIDs In Los Angeles Allowed To Pay For Their Renewal Out Of Current Assessments? It Seems To Be Some Kind Of Pernicious Circular Reasoning And May Well Violate The Law

I’m presently working on a number of fairly involved projects which relate to the establishment and renewal processes for BIDs. There’ll be more news on that later, but, tangentially, in the course of my research I’ve noticed that BIDs that are up for renewal tend to state the fact in their Annual Planning Reports (“APRs”). Just for instance, here’s the Fashion District’s 2017 APR. In there, on page 3, you can see BID renewal under the heading “Management/City Fees (Zones 1-9): $487,795.00 (10.67%).”

It’s only recently that I’ve come to understand the importance of these APRs. First of all, BIDs in California are required by State law to produce them. According to the Streets and Highways Code at §36650(a):

The owners’ association shall cause to be prepared a report for each fiscal year, except the first year, for which assessments are to be levied and collected to pay the costs of the improvements, maintenance, and activities described in the report.

In the laconic dialect of the law, this seems to say that assessments are to be spent on “improvements, maintenance, and activities” if and only if they are listed in the APR. This is one reason these APRs are essential to understanding the operations of BIDs. They’re explicitly forbidden from spending money on matters not listed in the APR and they’re explicitly required to carry out matters that are listed. This is possibly part of the reason why the City exercises hyperspecific control over the content of APRs even as they categorically refuse to exercise any control whatsoever even over overt malfeasance by BIDs.

And elsewhere in the law, specifically at §36622(k)(2), we find a statement of the infamous “special benefits” requirement for property-based BIDs:

In a property-based district, the proportionate special benefit derived by each identified parcel shall be determined exclusively in relationship to the entirety of the capital cost of a public improvement, the maintenance and operation expenses of a public improvement, or the cost of the activities. An assessment shall not be imposed on any parcel that exceeds the reasonable cost of the proportional special benefit conferred on that parcel. Only special benefits are assessable …

So BIDs are required to spend money on activities listed in the APR and all money they spend must be spent on special benefits to the property owners. Therefore the presence of BID renewal as a fundable activity in the APR implies that BID renewal in itself must be a special benefit to the property owners.
Continue reading Why Are BIDs In Los Angeles Allowed To Pay For Their Renewal Out Of Current Assessments? It Seems To Be Some Kind Of Pernicious Circular Reasoning And May Well Violate The Law

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