Tag Archives: Hollywood Media District BID

It Appears That East Hollywood BID Director Nicole Shahenian Lied To Los Angeles City Clerk Holly Wolcott About The Circumstances Of The Preparation Of The EHBID’s 2015 Annual Planning Report And, As Shahenian Was A Registered Lobbyist At The Time, Thereby Violated LAMC 48.04(B)

Nicole Shahenian, you got some splainin’ to do!
The background to this post is unavoidably technical and lengthy. If you’re already familiar with the Annual Planning Report process for BIDs as mandated by Streets and Highways Code §36650, you may want to skip directly to the report I submitted to the City Ethics Commission this morning.

One requirement that the Property and Business Improvement District Law places on BIDs, found at §36650, is the submission of annual planning reports (“APRs”) to the City Council:

The owners’ association shall cause to be prepared a report for each fiscal year, except the first year, for which assessments are to be levied and collected to pay the costs of the improvements, maintenance, and activities described in the report. … The report shall be filed with the clerk … The city council may approve the report as filed by the owners’ association or may modify any particular contained in the report and approve it as modified.

And it seems that the BID isn’t allowed to spend money on stuff that’s not discussed in the APR, so it’s not a trivial matter.

The way this piece of code plays out in Los Angeles is that, first, a BID director submits the APR to the Clerk along with a formulaic cover letter. For instance, here is the one submitted by Nicole Shahenian on December 30, 2014 to accompany the East Hollywood BID’s APR for 2015. This is essentially the same letter submitted by all BIDs:

Dear Ms. Wolcott:
As required by the Property and Business Improvement District Law of 1994, California Streets and Highways Code Section 36650, the Board of Directors of the East Hollywood Business Improvement District has caused this East Hollywood Business Improvement District Annual Planning Report to be prepared at its meeting of December 29, 2014.

And don’t forget that state law requires the City Council to adopt the report either with or without modifications. In Los Angeles this part of the process is initiated by the Clerk sending another form letter to City Council, recommending that they adopt the BID’s APR. It’s my impression that the Clerk doesn’t recommend modifications to the report at this stage. These seem to be handled by Miranda Paster before the APR is submitted to Council, as in this example involving the Media District BID. Anyway, take a look at Holly Wolcott’s January 14, 2015 recommendation to City Council with respect to the East Hollywood BID’s APR. Like every such document, this states:

The attached Annual Planning Report, which was approved by the District’s Board at their meeting on December 29, 2014, complies with the requirements of the State Law and reports that programs will continue, as outlined in the Management District Plan adopted by the District property owners.

And it goes on from there to recommend:

That the City Council:

  1. FIND that the attached Annual Planning Report for the East Hollywood Property Business Improvement District’s 2015 fiscal year complies with the requirements of the State Law.
  2. ADOPT the attached Annual Planning Report for the East Hollywood Property Business Improvement District’s 2015 fiscal year, pursuant to the State Law.


But there are a number of problems with this story. First, it appears that the East Hollywood BID Board of Directors did not actually meet on December 29, 2014. In fact, it appears that they did not meet at all in December 2014. Of course, it’s notoriously difficult to prove a negative, but I’m going to give it a go.
Continue reading It Appears That East Hollywood BID Director Nicole Shahenian Lied To Los Angeles City Clerk Holly Wolcott About The Circumstances Of The Preparation Of The EHBID’s 2015 Annual Planning Report And, As Shahenian Was A Registered Lobbyist At The Time, Thereby Violated LAMC 48.04(B)

More Than Two Months After Its Business Improvement District Came Into Being, The Venice Beach Property Owners’ Association Has Not Yet Signed An Administration Contract With The City Of Los Angeles, But A Comparison With Other Recent BID Establishments Suggests That This May Not Mean Much

Carl Lambert, officer of the Venice Beach Property Owners Association, as he might have appeared on the cover of the late lamented Berkeley Barb which, given the parallel tragedies which have befallen both Berkeley and Venice, is kind of appropriate in a way sorta kinda..
Well, since the first of the year, I have been obsessively checking the contract search tab of the City Clerk’s Council File Management System for any sign of an agreement between the City and the Venice Beach Property Owners Association, as that criminal conspiracy between Carl Lambert and his unindicted co-conspirators Mark Sokol and Steve Heumann is known to the world, for the administration of the Venice Beach BID. The CFMS1 is an essential tool, but its built-in search engine is freaking horrible, and it seems even horribler2 when searching contracts. So the fact that no contract popped up day after day after day didn’t exactly fill me with confidence in the theory that no such contract existed.

But today, after two freaking months with no sign of it, I finally emailed the ever-helpful3 Shannon Hoppes to ask if there was a contract or not. She answered quickly and told me that there was not yet any such thing. Well, hope springs and so on. Into my head sprang joyous visions of Carl Lambert and his infernal BID-buddies Mark Sokol and Steve Heumann being so overwhelmed with the furor and pushback called into being by their infernal BID that they took their BID-ball and went home. They are being sued, their shadowy BID consultant, the Divine Ms. Tara Devine, has as shaky a grasp on the law and also on the truth and also on basic human decency as her freaking clients, and maybe the pressure was all just too much for them, mused I.

But it also occurred to me that maybe it didn’t mean anything, and it was just runna-the-mill incompetence and sloth. So I decided to check out other recent BID establishments and compare. What I found proves that, while there has been a longer than average delay between the establishment of the VBBID and the signing of the contract, it’s not an outlier, nor is it the longest such lag time among property-based BIDs established in the last few years. Thus while this at-least-two-month delay between the BID establishment may yet turn out to be a sign of good things to come with respect to this BID, for now it’s not possible to draw any conclusions at all about it. Turn the page for the technical details.
Continue reading More Than Two Months After Its Business Improvement District Came Into Being, The Venice Beach Property Owners’ Association Has Not Yet Signed An Administration Contract With The City Of Los Angeles, But A Comparison With Other Recent BID Establishments Suggests That This May Not Mean Much

Latest Entry in LAMC 49.5.5(A) Project: Hollywood Media District BID Seems To Have Paid LAPD Hollywood Division SLO Eddie Guerra $400 In Exchange For Homeless Encampment Cleanups (Ostensibly As A Charitable Donation), But Why Was The Check Made Out To Him Personally?

Eddie Guerra, kicking ass and taking checks from the Media District BID, $400 at a time.
How much does a private nonprofit organization have to pay an LAPD officer in exchange for him running off some homeless people who are having a barbecue on the sidewalk and scaring the neighborhood zillionaires? Newly received evidence suggests that the going rate is $200 per running-off incident.

It has been more than two months since the last entry in our ongoing LAMC 49.5.5(A) project, in which we report various City employees to the Ethics Commission in an attempt to discover exactly what the most fascinating ordinance ever,1 LAMC 49.5.5(A), actually prohibits. It’s high time for another report, and this is it. First, recall what the law actually says:

City officials, agency employees, appointees awaiting confirmation by the City Council, and candidates for elected City office shall not misuse or attempt to misuse their positions or prospective positions to create or attempt to create a private advantage or disadvantage, financial or otherwise, for any person.

Our story begins with a six-month long email chain between Hollywood Division Senior Lead Officer Eddie Guerra and a number of people associated with the Media District BID about scary sidewalk-barbecuing homeless people:
Continue reading Latest Entry in LAMC 49.5.5(A) Project: Hollywood Media District BID Seems To Have Paid LAPD Hollywood Division SLO Eddie Guerra $400 In Exchange For Homeless Encampment Cleanups (Ostensibly As A Charitable Donation), But Why Was The Check Made Out To Him Personally?

The Year-Long Saga Of How It Is My Fault That Devin Strecker Was Forced By Kerry Morrison’s Scorched-Earth Anti-CPRA Policies To Tell Lisa Schechter That The Hollywood Property Owners Alliance Did Not Use Dropbox Even Though Everyone Else In The Entire Freaking Universe Uses It

It is all my fault that Devin Strecker is no longer allowed to use Dropbox at work!
Oh dear friends, what a long story I have to tell you this afternoon! And I hope it will repay (or more than) your attention.1 It’s all about how Kerry Morrison is willing to make her job and the jobs of her minions progressively more impossible for absolutely no better reason than to thwart my research. I’ve written about various stages in this process before, and here’s a brief timeline:

  • March 2016 — Kerry Morrison amends HPOA document retention policy to require destruction of emails after 90 days unless intentionally kept, unilaterally, retroactively, and illegally redefines emails as not subject to CPRA.
  • June 2016 — Kerry Morrison rewrites contract with Andrews International so that A/I work product is no longer the property of the HPOA and therefore, she wrongly thinks, is no longer subject to CPRA.

And I just recently acquired an October 2016 email from Devin Strecker to Lisa Schechter of the Media District BID2 which shows yet another dimension of this phenomenon: Devin Strecker has to tell Lisa Schechter that he is not allowed to click on a link because the HPOA does not use freaking Dropbox.

A demonstration of the HPOA’s forthcoming records retention policy: everything that can’t be stored in human memory will be recorded in the form of knotted strings, presently unreadable by anyone on earth. Take *that*, CPRA users!
Of course, he is not allowed to use Dropbox because of yet another policy instituted by Kerry Morrison to thwart my inquiries, although it’s really not clear what effect this is supposed to have.3 If this trend continues, she will eventually have all HPOA communication carried out by trained mnemonists who will memorize her messages and recite them in person to the recipients to avoid creating disclosable records. If data must be recorded in tangible form she will only record it by quipu, using the original Inca encoding methods which, conveniently, no one alive today is able to understand. The history of this no-Dropbox policy commences in November 2015, and you can read all about it after the break in excruciating detail, amply documented.
Continue reading The Year-Long Saga Of How It Is My Fault That Devin Strecker Was Forced By Kerry Morrison’s Scorched-Earth Anti-CPRA Policies To Tell Lisa Schechter That The Hollywood Property Owners Alliance Did Not Use Dropbox Even Though Everyone Else In The Entire Freaking Universe Uses It

New Documents: StreetPlus Proposal And Contract With SLAIT BID For Security Services, 2016 Emails Between Lisa Schechter And Kerry Morrison/Devin Strecker

StreetPlus seems to be taking over the BID security business from Universal Protection Service at a fairly rapid rate, so it’s beginning to seem worthwhile to collect records about them.
Today I have two new sets of documents to announce. First, the South Los Angeles Industrial District BID recently dropped Universal Protection Service1 as its security provider and hired StreetPlus to replace them. This seems to be a trend amongst our LA BIDs, probably encouraged by the fact that unlike UPS and Andrews International, StreetPlus specializes in BID security rather than security in general.

Other recent switchovers are the Downtown Center BID, the Historic Core BID, and both South Park I and II. Also the HPOA switched its cleaning contract to StreetPlus last year. This company is turning out to be a crucial player in the LA BID game, so I’ll be focusing some attention on them from now on. The first fruits of this are the 2016 proposal and resulting contract between StreetPlus and the SLAIT BID. There are some ancillary materials included there as well. This material is not only intrinsically interesting, but it has a lot to tell us about security in other BIDs. There’s some discussion and some more links after the break.

Also, I have 29 emails between Lisa Schechter of the Hollywood Media District BID and Kerry Morrison/Devin Strecker of the HPOA. These are mostly negatively interesting for their extreme lack of content. I’m guessing this is due to them switching as much of their communication as possible to phone calls and other off-the-record media. This, in turn, demonstrates, I’m still guessing, the feeling that my constant CPRA requests have engendered amongst local BIDs that they are operating in a minefield.

Well, good. They are. And the fact that they laid these mines themselves with their arrogance, disrespect for the law, and generalized idiocy, but still for some reason manage to act surprised at the negative consequences of stepping on the mines speaks volumes of their assumptions of privilege and delusions of immunity. There are, however, a few positively interesting items, and there are links and discussion after the break.
Continue reading New Documents: StreetPlus Proposal And Contract With SLAIT BID For Security Services, 2016 Emails Between Lisa Schechter And Kerry Morrison/Devin Strecker

Miranda Paster Whitewashed Homelessness Out Of The Hollywood Media District BID’s 2017 Annual Planning Report, Thereby Unilaterally Altering The BID’s Proposed Activities And Yet Again Putting The Lie To Holly Wolcott’s Often-Used But Thoroughly Discredited Excuse That The City Of LA Has No Control Over BIDs

Los Angeles City Clerk Holly Wolcott interpreting the Property and Business Improvement Law of 1994.
One of the many interesting documents contained in the yield of a recent CPRA request to the Hollywood Media District BID is their 2017 Annual Planning Report, the final revised version of which was filed by executive director Lisa Schechter with the City Clerk’s office on December 14, 2016.1 The annual submission of these reports is required by §36650 of the California Streets and Highways Code, part of the Property and Business Improvement District Law of 1994, which regulates the establishment and governance of BIDs in California.

One of the purposes of these reports is to keep the City updated on what the BID plans to do during the new year. In particular, at §36650(b)(2) the law states:

The report shall be filed with the clerk and shall refer to the property and business improvement district by name, specify the fiscal year to which the report applies, and, with respect to that fiscal year, shall contain all of the following information: … The improvements, maintenance, and activities to be provided for that fiscal year.

So for instance, the Media District’s plan explains what they’re going to do about cleaning and security, which are two of the core functions of BIDs. Here’s part of their statement on cleaning:

Other expenditures anticipated include tree trimming, purchase of additional trash receptacle, and other similar projects to beautify the District in accordance with the approved Management District Plan.

And part of their statement on security:

Safe Committee meetings address a full range of issues: loitering, public urination, drinking in public, prostitution, vandalism, graffiti, and quality of life issues.

Continue reading Miranda Paster Whitewashed Homelessness Out Of The Hollywood Media District BID’s 2017 Annual Planning Report, Thereby Unilaterally Altering The BID’s Proposed Activities And Yet Again Putting The Lie To Holly Wolcott’s Often-Used But Thoroughly Discredited Excuse That The City Of LA Has No Control Over BIDs

Almost 1200 Media District Emails Available, More On The Way

Downed stop sign at Santa Monica Blvd and McCadden Place reported to the City of LA via email by Lisa Schechter.
The other day I uploaded a bunch of new documents from the Hollywood Media District BID which did not, unfortunately, include the many, many emails I received in response to the same request. At the time I didn’t know how to convert .eml files to PDF in batch1 but I have since learned!2 Unfortunately I don’t yet know how to extract attachments en masse, so I’ve published the PDFs without attachments. I’m still working on a solution, but if you need copies of any, feel free to get in touch. Meanwhile, here are links to the goodies:

I have quite a backlog of these eml files, so expect to see more of these big document dumps in the near future.3 I will be writing about individual conversations, I hope as early as tomorrow. Stay tuned!
Continue reading Almost 1200 Media District Emails Available, More On The Way

Bunches of New Media District BID Documents And More Evidence Of This Blog’s Popularity Among City of LA Employees

Photograph of busted light in the Media District taken by Media District BID Executive Director and preconviction malfeasant Lisa Schechter.
This is just a quick announcement of some new documents from the Hollywood Media District BID. We have the BID’s 2014 and 2015 tax returns as well as minutes from all Board and Committee meetings from February through December 2016. I also got a ton of emails from Laurie Goldman and Lisa Schechter to and from the City of L.A. They’re not ready to make available yet, though. The Media District BID, alone among all BIDs of whom I request records,1 provides emails to me in native .eml format. This is absolutely ideal for my own research for a number of reasons, but it does create some obstacles in distribution.2 Hence I’ll be making those emails available as necessary and will put them all on the Archive if I ever manage to get a batch eml to PDF converter working properly.3

Anyway, you can find the new material:

And turn the page for a quirky little item showing our eternal popularity amongst City of LA employees!
Continue reading Bunches of New Media District BID Documents And More Evidence Of This Blog’s Popularity Among City of LA Employees

Kerry Morrison’s Fallibility Exposed Publicly By Park La Brea News As Greater West Hollywood Food Coalition Move To Hollywood Salvation Army Is Finalized But She (Almost) Keeps Stiff Upper Lip. Mitch O’Farrell, On The Other Hand, Still Doesn’t Get This Whole “Free Country” Thing…

444px-salvation_army_world_war_i_posterAt least since February 2016, the Greater West Hollywood Food Coalition has been publicly discussing a move away from its long-time ground zero at Sycamore and Romaine. Of course, Ms. Kerry Morrison does not like this one bit and, in her rage,1 in May, went off in a tizzy crying to Salvation Army Board member Hank Hilty, whose family owns the Northeast corner of Third and Fairfax,2 and to the Salvation Army Southern California chief-directorate-for-something-or-another in Long Beach, saying something like “Hey fellow zillionaires! We don’t like this so can you please put a stop to it?”

And just watch her little speech on the matter from May. See how her affect just screams competence, omnipotence, every-kind-of-cence-but-common-sense? Well, according to the Park La Brea News, the Food Coalition’s move is a done deal and they will start serving meals there on January 1st. So much for Kerry Morrison’s back-channel-zillionaire-solidarity methodology. But does she just admit that she’s been trying to stop this development for almost a year now and has failed utterly? Nope! She’s quoted right in the article, speaking as if from her metaphorical dais, that imaginary place of calm, controlled, power. Also sprach die Königin von Hollywood:

“[The GWHFC and Salvation Army] don’t perceive it will be much of a net increase of people coming to Hollywood, but we will have to see. I don’t necessarily buy that,” Morrison said. “The concern is not about the meal program, it’s what happens before and afterwards. When you are embarking on a project like this that is not self-contained, it is going to have implications for the surrounding neighborhood. We definitely will be watching. We will be tracking to see if there is any increase [in homeless people coming to Hollywood]. If we are 60 days into it and there is no impact, then we are golden.”

The tacit assumption here is that anyone cares whether or not she is “golden.” In fact, if anyone at all cared, she would have been able to stop the whole thing in January, when she first started tracking it, or in May, when she first started whining about it in public. But she couldn’t, so why would she be able to now? She’s putting up a good front, but she’s putting up a front.

And that’s not all! Note how she says that ” We definitely will be watching. We will be tracking to see if there is any increase [in homeless people coming to Hollywood].” Well, she’s talking about the BID Patrol watching, obviously, and that presents an interesting legal problem for her. Also, recall that CD13 Councildude and Darth Four-Eyes Mitch O’Farrell has been trying to get the Food Coalition shut down since about 20 minutes after he took office in 2013. He has something silly to say about the whole thing too. Read on, friends, for details!
Continue reading Kerry Morrison’s Fallibility Exposed Publicly By Park La Brea News As Greater West Hollywood Food Coalition Move To Hollywood Salvation Army Is Finalized But She (Almost) Keeps Stiff Upper Lip. Mitch O’Farrell, On The Other Hand, Still Doesn’t Get This Whole “Free Country” Thing…

Lots of New Documents: CD5 Food Coalition Emails, CD13 HPOA Emails, Carol Schatz and Mike Feuer Material, 2016 Quarterly Reports From A Bunch Of BIDs

The subterranean archives at MK.org are filling up fast!
The subterranean archives at MK.org are filling up fast!
Just a quick post this fine Saturday morning before heading off to Canter’s for breakfast. I’ve been quietly uploading stuff to Archive.Org over the last few weeks, and there’s gotten to be quite a bit of unannounced material over there:

And turn the page for material to do with Carol Schatz, Mike Feuer, and a bunch of highly assorted quarterly BID reports from the first half of 2016.
Continue reading Lots of New Documents: CD5 Food Coalition Emails, CD13 HPOA Emails, Carol Schatz and Mike Feuer Material, 2016 Quarterly Reports From A Bunch Of BIDs