If you’re following the situation in Highland Park these days you’ll know that one big issue is with commercial landlords jacking up their tenants’ rents by as much as 300% in some cases just because they can. This drives out familiar businesses to make room for even more hot yoga studios or whatever. And of course, this kind of thing doesn’t just happen by itself. There are actually people making a living arranging it.
And it’s well known that business improvement districts represent the interests of commercial property owners, like these rent-jacking landlords. So it wouldn’t be big news that BIDs were in on these conspiracies as well. And thus it was no surprise to discover, when I visited the North Figueroa Association last week, to discover that the plight of the small businesses along Figueroa was a hot topic of discussion.
Well, let me qualify that. It was a hot topic of discussion for Jesse Rosas, a local businessman, but, probably because they were hyper-aware of my camera, BID boss Tom Wilson and Bill Freaking Cody, the world’s oldest field deputy, kept interrupting him and trying to shush him up. They eventually did get him to stop talking, but not before he managed to mention the words they all dread so very much, to wit: commercial rent control.
Oh, and not before BIDdenführer Tom Wilson made one of the most ludicrously false statements to which, over the long and illustrious course of my entire BIDdological career, I have been privileged to serve as witness: “we’re here to talk about security and trash.” The only sane response to that is “Yeah, right, Tom Freaking Wilson!!” Watch the conversation for yourself and there’s a transcription and discussion of a few details after the break.
Continue reading At Last Tuesday’s North Figueroa Association Meeting Jesse Rosas Wanted To Talk About Small Businesses Being Gentrified Out Of Existence In Highland Park — NFA Board Führer Tom Wilson And Bill Cody, The World’s Oldest Field Deputy, Kept Trying To Get Him To Shut Up — Probably Because They Didn’t Want To Talk About It On Camera — And Gil Cedillo Has Hired An Urban Planning Firm To Help Relocate Businesses Out Of Highland Park
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 client 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, 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.
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
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, 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
UPDATE JANUARY 31, 2018: This morning the motion that’s the subject of this post was assigned to Council File CF 18-0002-S8 if you want to track it.
A few days ago, Herb Wesson and his brain-dead gang-of-fifteen cronies at 200 N Spring Street introduced a motion to outlaw civil rights violations in Los Angeles, all without mentioning their dark and bloody work disenfranchising the Skid Row Neighborhood Council formation effort in opposition to everyone’s civil rights. One of the main techniques they used in this nightmarish project was online voting, introduced at the last minute in the face of explicit testimony that electronic politics disenfranchises people who can’t afford computers.
Well, not that anyone who’s paying attention expects consistency out of the Fifteen Lords and Ladies of our City, but when their hypocrisy reaches a certain feverishly hysterical pitch I find there’s nothing for it but to speak up. You see, evidently the Census Bureau in 2020 is going to use online response forms for the first time ever.
And for some reason, the badness of this, the fact of the digital divide and the role it might play in helping the government to erase the presence of the poor, the immigrant, is not lost on our City Council president, Herb Wesson, in this case. That’s why, it appears, that he and Gil Cedillo introduced a motion this morning (transcription after the break) positioning the City to oppose the Census Bureau’s intention to use this new electronic form to ask respondents about citizenship. In particular, saith Herb Wesson:
WHEREAS , the 2020 Census is the first Census that will be performed primarily electronically, which creates additional barriers for low-income and immigrant communities …
So it’s on the record now. Herb Wesson and Gil Cedillo are opposed to using online political forms because they tend to oppress low-income and immigrant communities. Unless, of course, it’s necessary to oppress low-income and immigrant communities at the behest of local zillionaires and campaign donors. Then they’re all for it. Turn the page for the complete text of the motion.
Continue reading Herb Wesson Introduces Motion In Council This Morning Decrying Donald Trump’s Use Of The Digital Divide To Disenfranchise “Low-Income And Immigrant Communities” While Never Even Mentioning How He And His Demonic Cronies Used Online Voting Against The Skid Row Neighborhood Council To Do The Same Freaking Thing
This is just a quick note to call attention to this motion, introduced in Council this morning by Herb Wesson, Gil Cedillo, and Nury Martinez (there’s a transcription of the PDF after the break). The motion, which has been assigned CF 18-0086, instructs the City Attorney with assistance from some other offices to draft a new civil rights law. The proposed law has two main parts.
First, it would prohibit “discrimination, prejudice, intolerance and bigotry that results in denial of equal treatment of any individual” and would do this by banning discrimination based on:
- national origin
- citizenship status or perceived status
- gender identity or expression
- sexual orientation or perceived orientation
- marital status
- partnership status
- employment status
- source of income
in the areas of
- medical services
- other establishments
Second, it would establish a new commission, to be called the Civil and Human Rights Commission, which would enforce the law. Now, I am completely opposed to all these kinds of discrimination, and, as you might have guessed, I’m completely in favor of establishing any kind of new venue for me to complain about BIDs to. However, as is so often the case with our City Council, things are probably not exactly what they seem to be on the surface.
Continue reading Wesson, Cedillo, and Martinez Introduce Motion Instructing City Attorney To Write A Civil Rights Law Prohibiting Various Kinds Of Discrimination And Establishing A Commission To Enforce It — Demonstrating Yet Again How Our City Council Members Are Liars Even When Every Word Out Of Their Mendacious Mouths Is True
This is just a short (very late, sorry) report on the progress of the Cedillo/Harris-Dawson motion (found in CF 17-0454) to extend the same protections against arbitrary evictions granted to tenants in buildings covered by the Rent Stabilization Ordinance to all tenants in the City. The motion was heard by the Housing Committee at its June 21 meeting. A report was approved (transcription after the break) and sent to the full Council, where it is on the calendar for June 28. The motion instructs HCIDLA to report back to the Council on the feasibility of preparing an ordinance. It looks like it’s headed for passage, and it looks like Cedillo is pushing it hard, but there’s a lot to be done before we have a law in place.
Anyway, I downloaded the audio of the meeting from the City and put it up on Archive.Org if you’re interested. This item starts at 1:28:58. It’s definitely worth a listen. Both Cedillo and Harris-Dawson are actually willing to argue with the opposing comment-makers, which is refreshing behavior from our Council, and they don’t seem willing to compromise about this ordinance, which bodes well for its success. In particular, Gil Cedillo repeatedly makes the point that it makes no sense at all to have one level of protection for poorer tenants in RSO buildings and another, weaker level for tenants in non-RSO buildings.
Meanwhile, it’s instructive to listen to the opposing public comments, if only to understand the class rage and the sense of entitlement of the property-owning classes in Los Angeles. They’re so used to getting their way that they don’t seem to even feel like their arguments have to make sense. Just for instance, listen to this comment by Valley landlord and former bandleader Horace Heidt, Jr. (transcription after the break). His argument seems to be that if they’re required to have reasons for evicting tenants, the construction of new units will halt completely. It’s not the worst comment, it’s not the meanest comment, but it’s unique in that he makes no attempt whatsoever to connect the two propositions. Why would this happen? Being a zillionaire, it seems, means never having to explain what the heck you’re talking about.
Continue reading Housing Committee Hears Cedillo/Harris-Dawson Just Cause Eviction Motion, Public Comments From Opposition Continue To Make No Damn Sense Whatsoever, Motion Scheduled For Full Council On June 28
This story is way off my beat, but it’s interesting and I haven’t seen it covered anywhere else, so I thought I’d write a short note about it. On April 19, Gil Cedillo and Marqueece Harris-Dawson initiated Council File 17-0454 with this motion, which instructs HCIDLA to recommend to the Council an ordinance which would prohibit landlords from evicting tenants in units NOT subject to the Rent Stabilization Ordinance without “just cause.”
Just cause would be defined as it is in the RSO, which at §151.09 gives a list of 14 allowable reasons for eviction. Laws like this are being adopted throughout the Bay Area, and the motion instructs HCIDLA to ask cities up there how they’re doing it.
This ordinance won’t solve everything, and of course there are some loopholes, most notably in paragraph 10, which essentially duplicates the much-abused, much-reviled Ellis Act, allowing evictions in case the owner is going to demolish the structure or remove it from the rental market. But nothing’s perfect, and a law like this would be far, far better than nothing. It will be interesting to see what kind of pushback the zillionaires apply. My guess is that it’s too politically harmful for them to come out explicitly against it, so they’ll support it and rely on loopholes and an always-sympathetic City government to be sure that it won’t actually apply to them at all.
Turn the page for the complete text of the motion.
Continue reading Gil Cedillo and Marqueece Harris-Dawson Introduce Measure To Prohibit Evictions Of Renters In Non-Stabilized Units Except For Just Cause As Defined In The RSO
UPDATE: ON APRIL 27 AT 3:10 PM THE LOS ANGELES TIMES RESCINDED ITS ENDORSEMENT OF JOE BRAY-ALI.
Yesterday I reported on a story, broken by Laist.com, about CD1 candidate Joe Bray-Ali’s nasty comment history on racist Reddit clone Voat.Com. Of course, CD13 councilboy Mitch O’Farrell famously endorsed Joe Bray-Ali over O’Farrell’s incumbent Gil Cedillo. As of last night, according to the L.A. Times article on the matter, councilboy Mitch … well, let’s let the incomparable Dakota Smith tell it:
Councilman Mitch O’Farrell endorsed Bray-Ali earlier this month. A spokesman for O’Farrell said the councilman stands by his endorsement, noting that Bray-Ali has apologized for the online comments.
So, this morning at 10:47 a.m., just 22 minutes before I am writing these words, in another of the complete and utter about-faces for which he is known, Mitch O’Farrell sent out an email to his campaign mailing list withdrawing his support of Bray-Ali. This confirms a prediction the staff of this blog made yesterday.
And as much as it pains me to say so, this is the right thing for Mitch O’Farrell to have done. Furthermore, it sure is nice to see Mr. Mitch dancing to the tune we’re calling. And we didn’t even have to pay the damned piper….yet!
Turn the page for a complete transcription of Mitch’s dear Joe letter.
Continue reading O’Farrell Withdraws Support From Joe Bray-Ali Over Creepy Racist Internet Comments Just Like We Predicted Last Night That He Would!!
NOTE: YOU READ IT HERE FIRST — I PREDICT THAT EITHER BRAY-ALI WILL WITHDRAW FROM THE RACE OR ELSE MITCH AND THE LA TIMES WILL WITHDRAW THEIR ENDORSEMENTS OF JOE BRAY-ALI OVER THIS ISSUE.
UPDATE: AT 10:47 A.M. ON APRIL 27, MITCH O’FARRELL WITHDREW HIS ENDORSEMENT!
UPDATE 2: ON APRIL 27 AT 3:10 PM THE LOS ANGELES TIMES RESCINDED ITS ENDORSEMENT OF JOE BRAY-ALI.
Today Laist.com revealed that Council District 1 candidate Joe Bray-Ali has a history of posting weirdly offensive pernicious nonsense on exceedingly disgusting alt-right website Voat.Com, which seems to be some kind of refuge for people who manage to pull off the unexpectedly possible trick of getting kicked off Reddit for being too despicable. You should read the article for the details, and I’ve summarized them in the picture that appears somewhere near this sentence. The guy says nasty racist, fat-shaming, transphobic, sexist, stuff, although the bare fact that he’s participating in forums called things like /v/Niggers as if they were somehow normal, somehow mainstream, is in many ways worse than anything he says there. I I speculated last month that this campaign was only going to get weirder, but I had no idea how right I would turn out to be.
This is a really bad turn of events for fecklessly idiotic Councilboy Mitch O’Farrell who famously endorsed Bray-Ali over his colleague Gil Cedillo. He also, for whatever reason, has allowed his staff to give money to Bray-Ali. O’Farrell, of course, is famous for having introduced a Council motion seeking essentially to outlaw racism, homophobia, transphobia, and so on in Los Angeles. His motion states, in pertinent part, that:
Continue reading How Surreal Can LA Politics Get?! Joe Bray-Ali, Favored Candidate Of Councilboy Mitch O’Farrell, Himself Working Feverishly To Outlaw Racism And Stuff In Los Angeles, Is Exposed As A Crypto-Racist Fat-Shaming Homo-Transo-Phobo-Creep On The Internet!
This is just a super-quick note to provide you with a copy of an email that Mitch O’Farrell sent out this morning from his email@example.com email account doubling down on his recent endorsement of upstart hippy bike-rider CD1 candidate Joe Bray-Ali, who is benefitting mightily, it seems, from the under-the-bus-throwing behavior to which his opponent, incumbent Gil Cedillo, has been subjected by the zillionaire elite of Los Angeles.
It’s a rather remarkable document, and I suspect that many if not all of the readers of this blog have neglected to subscribe to Mitch’s campaign email list, so I thought I’d better make it available. If you don’t like PDFs, there’s a transcription, as always, after the break.
Continue reading Councilboy Mitch Doubles Down On Endorsement Of Joe Bray-Ali, Uses His Own 2017 Campaign Email Account To Send Out Email Blast To His Campaign List, Thereby Violating Spirit Of Muncipal Ethics Laws Rather Than Letter