Tag Archives: Hollywood Entertainment District

Has The Los Angeles Unified School District Turned Against BIDs? — At Its May 8, 2018 The School Board Voted Against A Staff Recommendation To Support Seven Renewals — On The Grounds That The Money Would Be Better Used For — Gasp!! — Educating Students

It’s well-known that the City of Los Angeles always votes its property in favor of BID formation. In fact, an ordinance passed in 1996 directs the Clerk to vote yes on both petitions and ballots unless the City Council specifically directs otherwise. And to my knowledge, the same has been true of the Los Angeles Unified School District. There have been signs, albeit not dispositive, of some LAUSD discontent with the policy, e.g. the probably intentional voiding of all petitions, but no open rebellion that I’m aware of.

And BIDs are evidently used to taking LAUSD petitions and ballots for granted. For instance, the Byzantine Latino Quarter BID is currently in the process of renewing.1 And I just received a huge release of emails about the renewal from BLQBID director Moises Gomez, which you can look at here on Archive.Org. It’s clear from the discussion that Don Duckworth and Moises Gomez were counting the LAUSD petitions as already-hatched chickens2 but, amazingly, it was not to be.

In April 2018 LAUSD staff prepared a report recommending that the Board sign petitions approving seven BIDs in Los Angeles. But at its May 8, 2018 meeting, the LAUSD Board voted down the staff proposal, and, according to staffer Yekaterina Boyajian, writing in an email to Moises Gomez on May 21, this is how it went down:

The proposal for the District to sign these petitions in support of the BIDs was not approved. The Board expressed the desire to support the BID petitions, and staff spoke to the positive relationships schools have with existing BIDs, but the Board felt that they could not justify supporting the expenditure of public education funds for purposes other than education in a time when the District is facing historic budget deficits.

It wasn’t just the BLQ BID that got its hopes dashed, either. The other BIDs whose petitions were rejected were the Arts District, the Fashion District, the Hollywood Entertainment District, the Hollywood Media District, the Lincoln Heights Benefit District, and the Melrose BID. Quite a distinguished list, eh?

And turn the page for a detailed explanation of the BLQ BID’s evolving thinking about these LAUSD petitions between February and May 2018, along with the usual links to and transcriptions of any number of really interesting emails!
Continue reading Has The Los Angeles Unified School District Turned Against BIDs? — At Its May 8, 2018 The School Board Voted Against A Staff Recommendation To Support Seven Renewals — On The Grounds That The Money Would Be Better Used For — Gasp!! — Educating Students

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Two Interesting Protests Against BID Renewals In Hollywood — One By A Civil Engineer Attacking The Constitutional Adequacy Of Ed Henning’s Self-Plagiarized Boilerplate Engineering Report — The Other Somewhat Plausibly Accusing Kerry Morrison Of Complicity In The Payoff Of Transients To Harass Anti-BID Property Owners

You may have noticed that the Property and Business Improvement Law of 1994 makes allowance for property owners in a proposed BID to file “protests,” which must be accounted for by the City during the establishment or renewal process.1 For whatever reason, possibly the mandate that the City make a determination regarding protests received,2 these protests show up in the relevant Council File for all the world to read! And sometimes they are really interesting! Like the two recent doozies I have for your pleasant perusal today!

Setrak Kinian protest — this is against the renewing Hollywood Entertainment District BID, filed by a property owner in the old Sunset & Vine BID — the two BIDs are being unified in their current renewal — and has some essentially kooky but nevertheless fairly explanatory3 allegations against Ms. Kerry Morrison.

For instance, Kinian claims that her BID pays off homeless people to hang around the properties of BID opponents in order to encourage them to support the BID. He also makes the not-completely-implausible claim that one goal of the BID is to force smaller property owners to sell out to larger ones. The Council File for this renewal is CF 14-0855. As always, turn the page for some selected transcriptions and commentary.

Jim McQuiston protest — Against the renewing Hollywood Media District BID. McQuiston is a civil engineer and provides a really detailed4 denunciation of Ed Henning’s characteristically crapola engineer’s report. This is especially interesting to me given that one of my ongoing projects, which is to get the Board for Professional Engineers to take the preparation of engineering reports for BID formations seriously as the practice of civil engineering.5 The Council File for this renewal is CF 12-0963. Also Henning’s report is here. As always, turn the page for selected transcriptions and commentary.
Continue reading Two Interesting Protests Against BID Renewals In Hollywood — One By A Civil Engineer Attacking The Constitutional Adequacy Of Ed Henning’s Self-Plagiarized Boilerplate Engineering Report — The Other Somewhat Plausibly Accusing Kerry Morrison Of Complicity In The Payoff Of Transients To Harass Anti-BID Property Owners

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Final BID Patrol Arrest Rates For 2016 And 2017 Show Close To 90% Drop From 2014, Which Was Their Last Unscrutinized Year — This Precipitous, Unexplained Decrease Leads Hollywood BIDs To Consider Using Unarmed Security In 2018 Or 2019

I started scrutinizing the three major Hollywood business improvement districts in late 2014, and soon discovered that the so-called BID Patrol, armed security guards employed by Andrews International under contract to the two BIDs managed by the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance, that is to say the Hollywood Entertainment District BID and the Sunset & Vine BID, was responsible for more than one thousand custodial arrests of homeless residents of Hollywood every year.

And these arrests were1 ugly affairs. They involve harmless people, like ice-cream vendors, being handcuffed, forced into SUVs, and chained to a bench, sometimes for hours. There were 2,682 such arrests in 2007, a number of such shocking incomprehensibility that I published a four volume set of photographs of these victims in order to provide some means of visceralizing the sheer incredible magnitude.

So it was a welcome discovery indeed to find out that in 2015, almost certainly as a result of my scrutiny, BID patrol arrests dropped 70%, from 1,057 to 313. Circumstances beyond my control have, maybe you’ve noticed, limited my ability to write about the HPOA, but I recently obtained arrest rate statistics for 2016 and 2017, and they show an even more precipitous drop in arrests in the two HPOA BIDs, with only 152 custodial arrests in 2016 and only 131 in 2017.

Thus from 2015 to 2016 there was a more than 50% reduction, which was an 85.6% reduction from 2014, their last unscrutinized year. This trend continued in 2017. Of course, this huge reduction in arrests did not lead to any corresponding reduction in costs. The HPOA paid roughly the same in 20172 to have 131 homeless people arrested as it did in 2014 to have 1,057 homeless people arrested. I have no doubt whatsoever that this is due to my scrutiny, and I am about as proud of saving these multiple thousands of people the pain, humiliation, and legal troubles consequent on these chickenshit arrests as I am of anything I’ve ever done.
Continue reading Final BID Patrol Arrest Rates For 2016 And 2017 Show Close To 90% Drop From 2014, Which Was Their Last Unscrutinized Year — This Precipitous, Unexplained Decrease Leads Hollywood BIDs To Consider Using Unarmed Security In 2018 Or 2019

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The Hitherto Unrevealed Origin Story of the Illegal Selma Park “Kids-Only” Restrictions: How Kerry Morrison’s Irrational Hatred Of Homeless Feeding Programs Led Her To Lie About Everything And Then Lock The Public Out Of Selma Park

Kerry Morrison freaking hates well-fed homeless people, which is why she orders her BID Patrol bullies to spy on feeding programs like this one and why she will use lies and subterfuge to destroy public access to a park for everyone just so homeless people can’t eat there.
My colleagues and I have spilled a great deal of metaphorical ink explaining exactly how Kerry Morrison hung up fake kids-only signs in Selma Park in 2007, thereby stealing 8 years of access from the people of Los Angeles, and the issue has taken on some renewed currency by virtue of her newly revealed conspiracy with Mitch O’Farrell regarding restrictions on playground use in City parks. But until fairly recently we didn’t really know why she’d done it.1 Well, it turns out that the explanation was lurking in her BID’s 2006 First Quarter report to the Clerk’s office, wherein we read:

HED staff and the security team continue to monitor the situation in Selma Park, where a Saturday feeding program for homeless individuals has overtaken a park intended for neighborhood children. Attempts will be made to organize the families to prevail upon the council office to declare the entire park a “children’s only” playground.

Now, where in the world, I wonder, did Kerry Morrison get the idea that Selma Park was “intended for neighborhood children”?
Continue reading The Hitherto Unrevealed Origin Story of the Illegal Selma Park “Kids-Only” Restrictions: How Kerry Morrison’s Irrational Hatred Of Homeless Feeding Programs Led Her To Lie About Everything And Then Lock The Public Out Of Selma Park

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City of Los Angeles Sued Over 8150 Sunset Blvd, Also Vast Collection Of Stay-Away Orders For Hollywood Entertainment District Arranged By Neighborhood Prosecutor Jackie Lawson And Others

8150 Sunset Blvd. rendering.
8150 Sunset Blvd. rendering.
Although I don’t really have time to cover land use issues here, sometimes they have an intersection, however tenuous, with public records activity. Also, since BIDs are universally in favor of all development, no matter how illegal or stupid it might be, and they talk about it incessantly at their meetings in between planning to deport homeless people to Manzanar or whatever, it seems useful to collect some material on these issues here. One such instance is the stupidly huge development at 8150 Sunset Blvd.,1 recently approved by the LA City Council over the objections of freaking everybody.

So an organization called Fix the City2 sued the City on Thursday3 over various aspects of the 8150 Sunset project.4 I’m going to collect the filings on this case, starting with the verified petition filed Thursday, and you can get them via the menu structure or also:

Also, you may recall that in February 2015 I asked the LAPD for material on stay-away orders for the Hollywood Entertainment District. By October of this year they had not yet even responded to my request, leading to my filing a complaint with LAPD internal affairs over this dereliction of duty. There’s no news on the complaint yet,5 but they did finally send me a bunch of the actual orders. There’s a lot of material here, so for now they’re only available via our Archive.Org collection. I hope to write on this fairly soon, but perhaps you can already see just how vitally important this information is. Turn the page for a few preliminary6 considerations.
Continue reading City of Los Angeles Sued Over 8150 Sunset Blvd, Also Vast Collection Of Stay-Away Orders For Hollywood Entertainment District Arranged By Neighborhood Prosecutor Jackie Lawson And Others

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Kerry Morrison’s Ruinously Expensive Obsessions With Homeless Outreach And Guns Cause Severe Cutbacks In BID Patrol Service Even As Expenditures Go Up, Up, Up — HPOA/CHC Books Cooked In 2015 To Obscure This Trend — Time For An Intervention!

Kerry Morrison at the Central Hollywood Coalition board meeting on November 8, 2016.
Kerry Morrison at the Central Hollywood Coalition board meeting on November 8, 2016.
Watch and listen here1 to an interminable discussion at last Tuesday’s meeting of the Board of Directors of the Central Hollywood Coalition2 about how to pay the increasing cost of the armed BID Patrol while, at the same time, maintaining or expanding dedicated “homeless outreach” services, also provided by Andrews International. In particular, staff is asking the board to approve a 5% increase in the A/I budget for next year to cover salary increases and so on.

Here are some numbers. A/I pays its BID Patrol officers $31.50 an hour.3 Almost certainly the BID is paying A/I significantly more than that. Also note that base pay for A/I unarmed officers is $13 per hour. In other words, armed officers cost about 2.5 times as much as unarmed officers. If A/I’s markup to the BID is a percentage of its HR costs then this ratio will hold constant regardless of what the BID is actually paying.4 Now, most BIDs in the City of Los Angeles do not have armed security. In fact, as far as I can tell, the two HPOA BIDs run by Kerry Morrison are the only BIDs that do.5 We have written before about Kerry Morrison’s disturbing and utterly disproportionate love of guns, and that’s probably enough to explain her insistence on armed security despite the high cost.6 And the cost is very high. According to the Sunset & Vine BID’s 2015 independent audit, the BID paid $805,608 for security out of total annual expenditures of $1,542,735.7

And what do they get for that? It’s explained in this exchange from last week‘s meeting.8 It’s essentially four dedicated officers per fourteen hour day, backed up by officers from the Hollywood Entertainment District, with slightly less on Sundays. Assuming 8 hour days, and not adjusting for Sundays, this is 11,648 hours per year.9 Dividing this into the 2015 security expenditure yields a rate of $69.16. The 2013 contract between A/I and the HPOA gives the markup rate as 82% for BID patrol officers and 55% for supervisors, so this is roughly consistent with a base hourly rate of $31.50.10
Continue reading Kerry Morrison’s Ruinously Expensive Obsessions With Homeless Outreach And Guns Cause Severe Cutbacks In BID Patrol Service Even As Expenditures Go Up, Up, Up — HPOA/CHC Books Cooked In 2015 To Obscure This Trend — Time For An Intervention!

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Huge Document Dump: HPOA Quarterly Reports, DCBID Emails, Central Crime Control Documents

We're out here having fun in the warm California sun!
We’re out here having fun in the warm California sun!
It’s been a while since I’ve announced a pure, old-fashioned document dump, but the records just keep pouring in, and I have loads of them to lay on you this evening. First, from our friends at the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance, we have pretty much all their Quarterly Reports, even going back to the 1990s. I also put these on the Archive:

BIDs are required to send these reports to the City Clerk, who keeps them on file. They contain detailed narratives of the BIDs’ activities and are invaluable for understanding what’s going on. I have a ton of these from other BIDs as well, but they’re not quite ready for prime time. If there’s something you need urgently, though, drop me a line and I will try to fix you up.

Also, courtesy of the much-more-helpful-lately-than-she-has-been-in-the-past Suzanne Holley of the Downtown Center BID we have a massive pile of Central Area Crime Control stuff from the LAPD. This is valuable because getting it out of the LAPD would be practically impossible, and yet here it is. See what Compstat output looks like and much else of interest.

Finally, I have a bunch of emails, and there are details after the break:
Continue reading Huge Document Dump: HPOA Quarterly Reports, DCBID Emails, Central Crime Control Documents

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Federal Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California Shows Up BIDs for the Mewling and Puking Liars they Are

The brave, the stalwart, the wise federal judge Michael W. Fitzgerald of the United States District Court for the Central District of California, kicking ass and taking names.
The brave, the stalwart, the wise federal judge Michael W. Fitzgerald of the United States District Court for the Central District of California, kicking ass and taking names.
Note that formerly Ukrainian first amendment maven and all-round mensch Eugene Volokh has already explained this better than we’re ever going to, so you may want to hop over to there for background. TL;DR is that the city of Inglewood sued Inglewood resident Joseph Teixeira in federal court, claiming that Teixeira’s reuse of their city-produced videos of city council meetings to create weaponized mockery of, among others, Inglewood mayor James Butts violated their copyright in said videos.

Well, Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California (that’s federalese for “Los Angeles”) not only dismissed Inglewood’s case, he terminated it with extreme prejudice. You can read the order here if you wish, and it’s smoking hot. The salient bit for this blog is, according to Volokh, that:

The court held that, under California law (see, e.g., County of Santa Clara v. Superior Court (Cal. Ct. App. 2009)), cities can’t claim copyright in public records. And while the city claims that this provision is trumped by federal copyright law, the court rejected that argument — federal law treats local governments as political subdivisions of the state, and a state has the power to control what its subdivisions do (including which federal rights they claim).

Now, I can hear you all murmuring and wondering out there in internetlandia, saying “sure, Kohlhaas, we hear you, but what does this got to do with the BIDs??!” Well, friends, we’re glad you asked!
Continue reading Federal Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California Shows Up BIDs for the Mewling and Puking Liars they Are

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John Tronson in Van Nuys: Money doesn’t talk, it swears1

John Tronson at the Joint Security Committee meeting on April 9, 2015, giving a performative demonstration via mouth-closure that he’s not, at the moment the picture was taken, lying.
The city of Los Angeles has been holding public hearings to gather input on possible frameworks for legalizing street vending. Yesterday we began discussing the June 11 meeting in Van Nuys by considering Kerry Morrison’s statement. Today we move on to John Tronson. You can listen to his statement here or after the break, where a transcription is also available. Audio of the entire meeting is available here. We’re just going to look at John’s statement one piece at a time.

Good evening. My name is John Tronson. I’m a member of the Hollywood Entertainment District, which is a property-owner based business improvement district in Hollywood.

All these people start off by saying something true. It’s meant to lull your suspicions. Don’t let it.

Some people think that because they pay taxes with their own money, the taxes they pay are still their own money after they’re paid. If they start taking this idea too seriously they’re likely to wake up one morning to find a bunch of people wearing this badge while knocking down their door with a battering ram.

We spend three and a half million dollars a year of our own money to clean the streets of Hollywood, to trim the trees, to provide additional public safety and paint out graffiti.

The way a property-based BID works is this: If the majority of the property owners in a district agree, the city adds an extra assessment to their property tax, keeps some part of the money raised for administrative overhead, and distributes the rest back to the BID to spend on specific kinds of services in the district. There are two important points to remember. First, a BID can be established over the objection of individual property owners. Only a majority need approve. Second, once a BID is established, the assessment is no longer voluntary. It is compulsory. Non-payment is punishable by the full range of state action2 up to and including violent confiscation of property. In other words, this assessment, once paid, is a tax. After all, income tax might be considered voluntary in this same sense. The Sixteenth Amendment to the Constitution was put in place by elected representatives, so in a way, the people to be taxed consented to the taxation. But now that it’s in place, income tax is no longer voluntary, just as BID assessments are no longer voluntary. This is consistent with the standard definition:

Al Capone, yet another guy who confused "taxes" with "his own money" and had to have the distinction explained to him in a fairly forceful manner.
Al Capone, yet another guy who confused “taxes” with “his own money” and had to have the distinction explained to him in a fairly forceful manner.

Tax: A compulsory contribution to the support of government, levied on persons, property, income, commodities, transactions, etc., now at fixed rates, mostly proportional to the amount on which the contribution is levied.3

Now, everyone who pays taxes has, at one point or another, thought of that money as still their own. But really, it’s not. Try telling a cop not to give you a ticket because you pay their salary with your “own money.” Try telling a professor at UCLA they have to give your kid an A+ because it’s your “own money” that supports them. It’s a losing argument. Taxes, once paid, belong to the public, not to the people who paid them. BID assessments are taxes. BID assessments are public money. Now, as to John’s statement about what they do with that public money, it’s true as far as it goes. That’s not all they spend the money on, but they do spend it on that. We won’t argue. Onward!
Continue reading John Tronson in Van Nuys: Money doesn’t talk, it swears1

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