Tag Archives: Gary Benjamin

Ever-Delusional BID’s Targeting of Homeless Alcohol Use, Impunitizing Scofflaw Liquor Dealers, Denial of Laws of Nature, Continues, with Complicity, Connivance of City Attorney’s Office, Apace

Pla-Boy Liquors at the corner of Yucca Street and Wilcox Avenue, as it appeared on July 30, 2015.
Pla-Boy Liquors at the corner of Yucca Street and Wilcox Avenue, as it appeared on July 30, 2015. On that date, 200 ml bottles of Crystal Palace vodka were on sale for $2.43, which is 22¢ cheaper than in 2014 according to Kerry Morrison.

Today’s post concerns a series of emails between Kerry Morrison and two Hollywood Neighborhood Prosecutors in 2014. These are part of a larger set of emails which we published some time ago. The BID, of course, is paranoiacally hyperphobic about drinking in public by the homeless, even as they celebrate, revel in, and sing hosanna in the highest to the use, misuse, abuse, of alcohol, even in public, when done by the non-homeless population of Hollywood. That’s not news. What is news is the weirdly obsessive length that newly-appointed-in-2014 Hollywood Neighborhood Prosecutor Jackie Lawson turned out to be willing to go to to accomodate Kerry Morrison’s paranoid hyperphobias. There’s a lot of background here, so please bear with us.
Andre Quintero, who preceded Jackie Lawson as the Hollywood Neighborhood Prosecutor and is now, amongst other things, the mayor of El Monte.  Either he's not so prone to BID-bootlicking as his successor or he has the sense not to do it in writing.
Andre Quintero, who preceded Jackie Lawson as the Hollywood Neighborhood Prosecutor and is now, amongst other things, the mayor of El Monte. Either he’s not so prone to BID-bootlicking and dereliction of duty as is his successor or else he has the sense not to do it in writing. He’s that’s-for-damn-sure not popular with his city council out there in the Far East, though.

The documented part of our story begins on January 28, 2014,1 with an email from Kerry Morrison to then-Hollywood-Neighborhood-Prosecutor Andre Quintero, inviting him to a BID-sponsored summit meeting the purported motive for which was “[t]o reduce the incidence of daytime public drunkenness in the Hollywood Entertainment Disctrict and Sunset & Vine BID.” In particular, Kerry calls Andre’s attention to item 4, asking that he “maybe … could be prepared to share some background on” “…laws governing alcohol sales and alcohol use.” Note well that there’s no word out of Andre regarding any of this. And the rest of the agenda is worth reading, but there’s nothing there, really, beyond the usual paranoid ravings about panhandlers and public inebriation with which we’re so familiar.

Things began to take an interesting turn in March, though. That’s when Kerry Morrison, unconstrained by any Institutional Review Board, by any ethical guidelines for the use of human subjects, by any standards, professional or amateur, by any method, scientific or humane, by any laws, human or divine, written or unwritten, criminal or civil, announced yet another experiment in the social-laboratory-for-the-criminalization-of-homelessness gestalt-slash-weltanschauung that the HPOA has overlain upon our beloved Hollywood in its 20 years of madcap malcriado misrule.2
Continue reading Ever-Delusional BID’s Targeting of Homeless Alcohol Use, Impunitizing Scofflaw Liquor Dealers, Denial of Laws of Nature, Continues, with Complicity, Connivance of City Attorney’s Office, Apace

Series of Emails between City of LA and HPOA Regarding Sweetheart Lease Deal Illustrates Incestuously Corrupt, Whiningly Entitled, and Marginally Literate Nature of Day-to-Day Business-as-Usual in the BID

Joe Mariani, all smiling and everything...  beautiful!
Joe Mariani, right up front, smilin’, man…ahh, beautiful!
Well, here is a bunch of emails, which we obtained from the Los Angeles City Attorney using the California Public Records Act, between BID employees Smilin’ Joe Mariani and Kerry Morrison and various people that work for the City of Los Angeles. We join the story when Joe writes to Gary Benjamin, who is eyeglass-fashionista Councilguy Mitch O’Farrell’s something-or-another for what-passes-for-planning-at-200-Spring-Street. It seems the boys met up in early September 2014 at an HPOA “Streetscape2 Committee” meeting, giving Joe a pretext to renew the big ask:
CD13 employee Gary Benjamin, who "enjoys...good urbanism."
CD13 employee Gary Benjamin, who “enjoys…good urbanism.”


Great seeing you today at the Streetscape Committee meeting. As I mentioned, if you can please follow up with GSD3 and ask when our lease will be ready for the Cherokee space we would appreciate it
[sic]. According to our vendor we are supposed to be off the Selma parking lot by the end of September, so the sooner we can move in the better.

So the BID needs some space and they’re going to lease it from the city. So far, so good. After all, they’re a public agency created by the city to do the city’s work. On September 9, 2014, Gary responds, saying he’ll check into it. On September 23, 2014, Gary announces that there’s a little problem. Says Gary:

Joe,

I have some bad news regarding the prospect of getting the lease in a timely manner. I checked in with the General Services Department (GSD) a couple weeks back and they said they were still not authorized to issue the lease, despite the approved Council motion.4 This seemed ridiculous to us, as the language of the motion came from Rene Sagles5 and he assured us the motion would be sufficient. GSD staffers were aware of the motion as it moved through the ITGS6 Committee, and yet they raised no red flags. In the last week, I’ve been in further communication with GSD, the City Attorney’s office and Rene Sagles. Apparently, DOT have not been following City standards regarding lease of space for some time now. Recently the City Attorney took note of this issue and has forced them to undergo a more rigorous public solicitation RFP process. Your lease process has dragged on for so long because of a lack of communication between DOT and GSD and a general uncertainty among the bureaus about how to proceed.

I now have Melody McCormick of GSD working with DOT and the City Attorney to draft a new “sole source” motion that will explain why the normal RFP process was not followed and why the HPOA should get this lease. They have told me they can have the motion ready by the end of the week. We will work to waive it from ITGS committee and get it approved at Council next week ideally. Then the City Attorney will need to draft the lease. It will still be another month, at the earliest, until the lease will be issued. I’m really sorry about all this confusion and for losing time pushing forward a motion that was insufficient.

So the HPOA’s trying to lease some property from the City. A Council motion to allow and expedite this was written by a senior analyst in the LA Department of Transportation and passed by the Council. This wasn’t sufficient because of a City Attorney crackdown on bad leasing practices in the DOT. So CD13 is going to get another Council motion ready, waive the normal committee process, and so on. Everyone’s bending over backwards for the HPOA here, and Gary even adopts an apologetic and conciliatory tone. What more does the HPOA want? Quite a lot, it turns out.
Continue reading Series of Emails between City of LA and HPOA Regarding Sweetheart Lease Deal Illustrates Incestuously Corrupt, Whiningly Entitled, and Marginally Literate Nature of Day-to-Day Business-as-Usual in the BID