Tag Archives: Figueroa Street

This Is What Feral Bureaucracy Looks Like — My Epic Journey To The Dept Of Alcoholic Beverage Control To Inspect Records — How I Got Illegally Asked For ID — How I Got Menaced By Gun-Carrying Super Special Agent In Charge Gerry Sanchez — Who By The Way Is A Liar — How I Got Told To Show Some Respect — How ABC Tried To Extort Me Into Paying For Copies — How They Paid Secondary Special Sub-Agent In Charge Maggie Phillips $114.48 To Watch Me Photograph Four Dollars Worth Of Records With My Phone

Good day, friends, and welcome to the backstory of a post I have not written yet. You see, on Thursday1 I rode various buses and trains up to 888 S. Figueroa Street to visit the office of the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control for the limited purpose of inspecting some records. Here before you is the story of the inspection, and although I will certainly be writing the story told by the records themselves, today is not the day for that. You can look at them here on Archive.Org, though, and they are certainly worth your time.

It all started on October 26 when I emailed PublicRecords@abc.ca.gov with my request. On November 14, an amazingly prompt 18 days later, Stephanie Eastwood (stephanie.eastwood@abc.ca.gov), who is some kind of ABC CPRA specialist, told me that there were 152 pages of responsive records and that I had to go to an ABC office to look at them. It may be worth looking at her email, if only to note that she doesn’t sign her last name, a fact which will become interesting later in the story.

I told her that LA Metro was closest and that I would need to use my scanner. I also pointed out that they could just give me exported electronic copies for free, which is required by the CPRA.2
Then she ignored me for a couple weeks3 and, when she responded, her email contained the remarkable claim that ABC’s email system was so old that it “does not use electronic files.” She also told me that according to most high and mighty special agent in charge Gerry Sanchez, there was no “secure area” at LA Metro to use my scanner but that if I went to the Long Beach office I could scan.

However, Long Beach is too far from me, both geographically and emotionally, so I told her LA Metro was best and I would just take pix with my phone. Then she said OK, I could come in on December 4.4 I told her that I couldn’t, that I had to work, and that I would be in on December 6 at 10 a.m. and could she confirm? Note that the CPRA explicitly states that records must be available during office hours for inspection.5

After more nudging, Stephanie Eastwood finally got back to me on December 4, informing me that I couldn’t come in on December 6 because ABC-agent-to-the-stars in charge Gerry Sanchez wasn’t available and I would have to come in on December 13 instead.6 I told her7 that I had to work on the 13th. I also pointed out, again, that the law required records to be available during office hours, not at the random convenience of SSAC Gerry Sanchez, superstar.8 It only took her five hours to concede to that one,9 which is how I found myself at the ABC LA Metro office at 10 a.m. on Thursday. And here my troubles began.
Continue reading This Is What Feral Bureaucracy Looks Like — My Epic Journey To The Dept Of Alcoholic Beverage Control To Inspect Records — How I Got Illegally Asked For ID — How I Got Menaced By Gun-Carrying Super Special Agent In Charge Gerry Sanchez — Who By The Way Is A Liar — How I Got Told To Show Some Respect — How ABC Tried To Extort Me Into Paying For Copies — How They Paid Secondary Special Sub-Agent In Charge Maggie Phillips $114.48 To Watch Me Photograph Four Dollars Worth Of Records With My Phone

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As Previously Reported — On May 15, 2018 Bill Cody, The World’s Oldest Field Deputy, Told Jesse Rosas And The Highland Park Business Improvement District That Gil Cedillo Had Hired Barrio Planners To Help Displaced Small Businesses — But Newly Obtained Emails Reveal That On May 20, 2018 Bill Cody Emailed Barrio Planners And Asked Them To Help The Businesses — Bill Cody, We Wouldn’t Want To Accuse You Of Having Lied On May 15, Friend — Probably It Seemed True While You Were Saying It — And Then You Kinda Made It Be True Later — So It’s Kinda OK I Guess

Anyone who’s paying attention to Los Angeles politics recently knows about the hipster apocalypse presently unfolding in Highland Park. I had occasion yesterday morning to walk south on Figueroa Street this morning from Avenue 61 to Avenue 501 and it’s basically like hipster Jim Crow, with businesses duplicated on every block and divided starkly along racial lines. A hipster tonsorial salon2 next to a Latino barber, hipster clothing next to work shoes or ropas segundas, hipster cold-press juice bars next to stands selling jugos naturales, and so on.

Weirdest of all is the situation with coffee places. Over and over and over again one sees a hipster coffee place full of tattooed young white people right next to a panaderia full of brown people. Both places serve coffee and baked goods and yet somehow there’s evidently no way that one place can satisfy both crowds. It makes absolutely no sense to me, probably not to any sane people.3 These coffee places, three or four to the block, are a stark and clear symbol of the holocaust that so-called legacy businesses along Figueroa Street are undergoing and which those along York Boulevard have already undergone baby gone.

And because hipster-serving establishments charge prices that are many times the prices the older businesses can sustain, they can afford rents high enough to drive the older places out of business. And the landlords are thrilled by this, of course, because they pocket the extra money with extra outlay of neither capital nor labor on their part. It’s a zillionaire’s wet dream.4 And it’s also not a mystery. It’s well-covered in the press. Rents go up and very soon after the vultures start feathering their nests.

And because it’s not a mystery, and because it’s a subject of deep import to many constituents in CD1, it’s entirely fitting and proper that residents would share their concern with their Council staffers and entirely fitting and proper that said Council staffers would respond. And we have already seen that something like this happened with the world’s oldest field deputy, Bill Cody, the crankiest and most bellicose flunky ever to rep Gil Cedillo or, for that matter, any other Councilmember in the entire damn history of Los Angeles.

At the May 15 meeting of the North Figueroa Association, which is the property owners’ association for the infamous Highland Park BID, he was questioned pretty intensely by Jesse Rosas about this very issue and responded in a rather mealy-mouthed fashion by claiming that his boss, Gil Cedillo, was taking care of it by hiring some kind of a firm, known as Barrio Planners, that presumably knows how to take care of such things:

And I’m always worried about that. Oh, one more thing. We have Barrio Planners, who’s been helping a lot of the local businesses to try to find placement for some of the ones who, um, … a couple of properties have changed situations and … I have been working with all those businesses, I [unintelligible] them together with Barrio Planners, they’ll work on that issue, we pay them to do that. So, we’re very, very concerned about that and we’ve been working tirelessly on that issue.

And since that day, more than five months ago at this point, my compatriots and I have been trying to figure out exactly what the heck Bill Freaking Cody was talking about. And because the CPRA mill grinds slowly we didn’t get much action for quite a while, but because the CPRA mill does grind, CD1 finally handed over some emails. You can read all of them here on Archive.Org, and turn the page for selections that reveal that despite the good game talked by Bill Cody, the Council District’s intervention via Barrio Planners on behalf of these threatened businesses seems to have been quite minimal and therefore the subject of wild overhyping by Bill Cody when e.g. he claims that they have “been working tirelessly on that issue.”
Continue reading As Previously Reported — On May 15, 2018 Bill Cody, The World’s Oldest Field Deputy, Told Jesse Rosas And The Highland Park Business Improvement District That Gil Cedillo Had Hired Barrio Planners To Help Displaced Small Businesses — But Newly Obtained Emails Reveal That On May 20, 2018 Bill Cody Emailed Barrio Planners And Asked Them To Help The Businesses — Bill Cody, We Wouldn’t Want To Accuse You Of Having Lied On May 15, Friend — Probably It Seemed True While You Were Saying It — And Then You Kinda Made It Be True Later — So It’s Kinda OK I Guess

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Highland Park BID Accused Of Promoting Gentrification By Among Other Things Asking The City To Enforce Anti-Mural Laws And Selectively Promoting White-Serving Businesses — Board Of Directors Spy On Activists’ Facebook Comments — All Of Which Sheds Some Light On The Exceedly Underappreciated Facts That (A) Property-Based BIDs Do Not In Any Way Represent Businesses — They Represent Property Owners And Only Property Owners and (B) The City Is More Complicit In Gentrification Than Anyone Will Admit

One purpose of this post is to announce the availability of a bunch of emails from the Highland Park BID from 2017 and early 2018. The Highland Park BID is a new client1 of mine, and thus far they, in the person of their executive director Misty Iwatsu, have been exceedingly cooperative, for which I thank them very much.

There’s a lot of interesting material in there,2 and I’ll be writing about at least a few more items over the coming weeks, but most interesting of all, I think, is some material from November 2017 about antigentrification activists in Highland Park and their understanding of the BID’s role in social cleansing for the sake of financial gain.3

This story provides an excellent example of what pernicious gentrification looks like in Los Angeles, how it is covertly but significantly supported by the City government, and how property-based BIDs do not care a whit about the interests of business owners per se. They only care about the interests of the owners of commercial property who, in this City at least, are predominately white. Turn the page for all the details!
Continue reading Highland Park BID Accused Of Promoting Gentrification By Among Other Things Asking The City To Enforce Anti-Mural Laws And Selectively Promoting White-Serving Businesses — Board Of Directors Spy On Activists’ Facebook Comments — All Of Which Sheds Some Light On The Exceedly Underappreciated Facts That (A) Property-Based BIDs Do Not In Any Way Represent Businesses — They Represent Property Owners And Only Property Owners and (B) The City Is More Complicit In Gentrification Than Anyone Will Admit

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