Tag Archives: Form 700

The Checkered History Of Streets And Highways Code §36612 — How The California Court Of Appeals Made BIDs Cry By Holding That They Were Subject To The Brown Act And The Public Records Act — And How Bad BIDmother Jackie Goldberg Soothed Their Hurt Feelings By Passing A Law Stating That They Weren’t Public Officials — Is It Constitutional? — It Hasn’t Been Adjudicated So Who Knows?!

The only reason that this blog even exists is that business improvement districts in California are subject to the California Public Records Act. And the first part of the story of how this came to be is fairly well known. In 1998 Hollywood property owner Aaron Epstein wanted to attend meetings of the Hollywood Property Owners’ Alliance1 and Kerry Morrison, who then as now would willingly brook no interference in her proprietary demesne, told him to go pound sand.

Instead of slapping the silica, though, Epstein filed suit against the BID, and the process culminated in the lovely holding, in Epstein v. Hollywood Entertainment District BID, that BIDs2 were subject to the Brown Act and the CPRA. This ushered anti-BID activists into a paradise from which we are unlikely to be expelled. Kerry Morrison didn’t take this outcome with any grace whatsoever and has been pissing and moaning about it from the outset all the way to the present day.

But that opinion isn’t the only authority that subjects BIDs to transparency laws. There is also the famous §36612 of the PBID Law of 1994, which states in no uncertain terms that BIDs are subject to both the Brown Act and the CPRA.3 It also states explicitly (and ominously) that BID board members and staff are not public officials. Obviously this section was added by the legislature after the Epstein ruling, but I never took the time to investigate the history.

Until now, that is. And what an obvious-after-the-fact surprise it was to find that the bill that added that section was written by none other than Jackie Goldberg, who as CD13 Councilmember during the formation of the Hollywood Entertainment District BID was known to have a great deal of blood on her hands already.4 But by March 2001, when Epstein was finally decided, Goldberg was in the Assembly, so naturally it was to her that the BIDdies, emotionally traumatized by the court’s decision,5 went running for comfort.

And in response to their pleas Goldberg introduced AB 1021 (2001) to coat the bitter pill of Epstein with some soothing syrup and to codify these changes in §36612 of the PBID law even while acknowledging that the legislature wasn’t going to be able to change the court’s holding 6 And I recently obtained a copy of the bill analysis prepared at the time for the Assembly’s Committee on Local Government to help them understand what they were voting for.7 Therein are laid out not only the provisions of the new law, but the complaints of the BIDdies, so the connection is perfectly clear.

The main concessions to the BIDdie agenda found in the code section are the explicit statement that BIDs are private corporations and that neither BID boards nor staff can be considered public officials for any reason. This last bit is tied in to the BIDs’ fear that board members might be subject to California’s political reform act and to Government Code §1090 and therefore to various ethics restrictions and financial disclosure requirements, although it’s not really clear to me that the language has that effect. I’m no kind of expert, though.

Another sop to the BIDdies provided here by Goldberg was the authorization of 10 year renewals. Previously BIDs could only renew for up to five years. In any case, turn the page for more detail, more non-expert discussion and, as always, a transcription of the document.
Continue reading The Checkered History Of Streets And Highways Code §36612 — How The California Court Of Appeals Made BIDs Cry By Holding That They Were Subject To The Brown Act And The Public Records Act — And How Bad BIDmother Jackie Goldberg Soothed Their Hurt Feelings By Passing A Law Stating That They Weren’t Public Officials — Is It Constitutional? — It Hasn’t Been Adjudicated So Who Knows?!

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Worst-Of-The-Bunch Ethics Commission Veep Serena Oberstein, Who’s Paid $87,500 Annually By Her 501(c)(3) Employer Vision To Learn, Both Of Whom Were Poised To Reap Benefit From Version Of Municipal Lobbying Ordinance Revision Pushed Hard By Serena Oberstein, Suspiciously Neglected To Mention This Fact In Any Of The Literally Zillions Of Public Forums Held On The Matter

It hasn’t even been two weeks since the Los Angeles Ethics Commission put our City’s Municipal Lobbying Ordinance in danger of being made meaningless, primarily at the instigation of worst-of-the-bunch Commission Veep Serena Oberstein, with respect to 501(c)(3) nonprofits, so it’s not surprising that all the ramifications of their misfeasance have not yet been completely understood. Along those lines, therefore, here’s another episode from the ethical Twilight Zone in which at least some members of the Commission seem to dwell in these latter days.

You see, Serena Oberstein is not just the City’s most corrupt Ethics Commissioner, what with her sub rosa agenda-pushing for her nonprofit buddies Shyaam Subramanian1 and Nancy Berlin, amongst others, not to mention her refusal to agendize a perfectly reasonable request that her Commission disclose their ex parte communications,2 she’s also the Chief Operating Officer of some Westside do-gooder outfit called Vision to Learn.

And while I had some inchoate notion that her involvement with 501(c)(3) nonprofits might explain at least some of her motivations in the recent fiasco, whereby mostly at Serena Oberstein’s instigation, the Commission ended up recommending to the Council that all 501(c)(3)s with gross annual revenues under $2 million be exempt from registration as lobbyists, I hadn’t taken the time to investigate. But recently it occurred to me to look at Vision to Learn’s3 Form 990s to see how the modifications pushed by Serena Oberstein would affect her employer.4 I published the last few years here on Archive.Org, or you can go directly to the PDFs here:

So take a look at the evidence yourself, or turn the page to see what I found!
Continue reading Worst-Of-The-Bunch Ethics Commission Veep Serena Oberstein, Who’s Paid $87,500 Annually By Her 501(c)(3) Employer Vision To Learn, Both Of Whom Were Poised To Reap Benefit From Version Of Municipal Lobbying Ordinance Revision Pushed Hard By Serena Oberstein, Suspiciously Neglected To Mention This Fact In Any Of The Literally Zillions Of Public Forums Held On The Matter

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Between 2014 and 2015 Confirmation Hearings, Ethics Commissioner Ana Dahan Dropped Mention of NBCUniversal Lobbying And Campaign Funding Work From Her Résumé

Los Angeles City Ethics Commissioner Ana Dahan on August 9, 2016.
Los Angeles City Ethics Commissioner Ana Dahan on August 9, 2016.
A few days ago I wrote about Ethics Commissioner Ana Dahan’s day job at NBCUniversal’s so-called Legal & Governmental Affairs Unit, which turns out to be their lobbying department. The point was that it’s hard to see how she can create at least the appearance of impartiality in regulating lobbyists when she works for a bunch of lobbyists and employers thereof.

In any case, it turns out that Commissioners have to be confirmed by the City Council, and that creates a Council File (CF 14-1464). Dahan was appointed by Eric Garcetti in 2014 to fill a vacancy, and then again in 2015 for a full term. Thus she had two confirmation hearings just one year apart, and she made an interesting change in her résumé between the two.
Continue reading Between 2014 and 2015 Confirmation Hearings, Ethics Commissioner Ana Dahan Dropped Mention of NBCUniversal Lobbying And Campaign Funding Work From Her Résumé

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Lots of Documents, and Not of the Usual Sort!

Dorothy Day, founder of the Catholic Worker Movement, 99 years ago in 1916.   Her truth, like that of John Brown, goes marching on in Los Angeles in 2015.
Dorothy Day, founder of the Catholic Worker Movement, 99 years ago in 1916. Her truth, like that of John Brown, goes marching on in Los Angeles in 2015.
Today I’m pleased to announce the availability of a bunch more documents, some of them really interesting, and none of them of the sort we’ve usually featured here. First of all we are adding the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority to our list of scrutinizees, albeit in a fairly desultory manner. Documents we obtain will be available from the usual menus above, and here is a link to that page. We kick things off with a couple years worth of form 700s from the Commissioners and the Executive Director. For almost certainly nefarious reasons, the city of Los Angeles, unlike other more enlightened cities in California, does not require BID board members or high-level employees to file financial disclosures (although this may be changing soon, fingers crossed!), so obtaining these forms was the only way to get any insight into Kerry Morrison’s finances insofar as they relate to her work for the HPOA. And now, like Jesus Christ hisself, we have saved the best for last, so the good stuff is after the break!
Continue reading Lots of Documents, and Not of the Usual Sort!

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Hollywood Area BIDs Get all Jeansy-Creamsy Over Multiplying Starbuckses, Garcetti Grins All the Way to the Bank

Eric Garcetti, thinking about his Starbucks stock and smiling upon the machinations of the city's BIDs
Eric Garcetti, thinking about his Starbucks stock and smiling down upon the machinational shenanigans of the city’s BIDs
There’s no question that the BIDs love them some Starbucks. Even the Sunset-Vine “Baby BID” loves its Starbucks. Heck, even the Hollywood Media District, the most thuggish of the Hollywood area BIDs, was caught loving up Starbucks in its macho, cowboy-faced manner on August 6, 2014.

But why do they love Starbucks so much? What is in it for them? It can’t be the coffee. Not even the BID folks are that depraved.

Never fear! We are going, inspired by the creative example of our Hollywood area business improvement districts, to explain it all to you!
Continue reading Hollywood Area BIDs Get all Jeansy-Creamsy Over Multiplying Starbuckses, Garcetti Grins All the Way to the Bank

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