Tag Archives: Hostile Landscaping

The True History Of The Frederick Passageway Anti-Homeless Hostile Landscaping Project — Guided By Angry Self-Proclaimed Lawyer And Housedweller Saul Janson — And Revanchist Housedwelling Coffee Confectioner Allison Altschuler — And Housedwelling Zillionaire NBC News Producer Richard Adams — (Not The Guy With The Damn Bunnies But A Different One) — And Famous But Shockingly Untalented Cartoonist Rick Detorie — Assisted At Every Stage By Freaky Little Lying Former CD11 Field Deputy Taylor Bazley — Who Explicitly Told Jansen To Exclude Shade Trees Because Homeless People Like Sitting Under Them — And Told Altschuler To Collect Bullshit CYA Letters From Neighbors In Case The City Got Sued — All Of This Done At The Express Orders Of Little Man Behind The Curtain Mike Bonin — Revealed In Emails Released In Response To My CPRA Lawsuit Against CD11 — And This Is Just The Start Of The Releases, Friends!

I’ve been spending some time looking into the ways in which City Council offices materially support housedweller aggression against homeless residents of Los Angeles, including especially by facilitating illegal hostile architecture. Venice is one of the main theaters in which this drama is currently being performed, what with the proliferation of illegal planters and other, more idiosyncratic projects like for instance the Frederick Passageway, just west of the Penmar Golf Course. So naturally I’m spending a great deal of time sending requests to CD11 under the California Public Records Act.

And for a long time they completely ignored me, but then, by pure good fortune, in response to a request to LAPD, I received a stunning and unexpected email conversation between (now former) CD11 field deputy Taylor Bazley and various worthies proving conclusively that, despite many, many explicit denials from Mike Bonin’s flacks that there was any coordination at all between Bonin’s office and the outlaw planter-placers, Bazley was in fact directly involved in the process, even to the extent of calling in a sweep of a homeless encampment specifically so that illegal planters could be placed.

This discovery magnified the importance of the emails I’d requested from CD11 to the point where we all put on our hustle-hats and filed a petition splickety splat! And, as it turns out the City is wont to do, they pretty quickly started handing over records.1 You can take a look at the first batch here on Archive.Org. And these are all interesting, certainly, but the most interesting of all is this spool of emails between Taylor Bazley and various folks about the Frederick Passageway. There are two threads to the conversation here.

First there’s Bazley coordinating with angry housedwellers to ruin this public passageway by planting crap all over it to thwart the efforts of homeless human beings to survive, mostly because the housedwellers find them unaesthetic. Some of the identities of these housedwellers are known. For instance, there is ringleader Saul C. Janson, who claims to be some kind of lawyer. You can reach Saul at sacoja@aol.com and his phone number seems to be (310) 452-7978.

There is also self-proclaimed coffee confectioner Allison Altschuler, who can be contacted at allisonaltschuler@gmail.com. And shockingly untalented and shockingly well-known cartoonist Rick Detorie, who you can email at rdetorie@yahoo.com. Last but never ever ever least is zillionaire NBC news producer Richard Adams. Get in touch with Adams at Richard.Adams@nbcuni.com or via phone at his office, (818) 684-2873, or, for that more direct and personal touch, on his cell at (818) 391-7508.

Bazley spends months, years, encouraging them. He suggests places they can find funding for their aggressive anti-human project. Listens sympathetically to their crazed rants. Really gets into the details of hostile landscaping, e.g. suggesting that they avoid shade trees because the homeless will enjoy sitting under them. Accompanies them in person to City offices to help them obtain permits. Helps them collect astroturf letters of support for submission to the Bureau of Engineering, telling them they don’t have to be sincere or even have much content as the only purpose is ass-covering in the event that someone sues the City.

And so on, all done in the inimitably sycophantic and cynical Bazleyian manner. This material is an important addition to the history of anti-homeless landscaping in Venice. To date we didn’t really know who was behind the appropriation and destruction of this public street, and we certainly did not know the extent to which Bazley and CD11 were involved in coordinating it.2

But in addition to that conversation, which is new and important but at the same time fairly predictable, familiar in tone and content if not in specifics, there are also a bunch of emails between Bazley, Mike Bonin himself, who repeatedly orders Bazley to cater to the whims of the housedwellers, and Debbie Dyner Harris, at that time a district director for Bonin, also ordering Bazley to please get to work and please please the housedwellers.

This is a side of the process we very rarely get to see. Councilmembers either only send very few emails or else their offices routinely and illegally withhold them. And these few emails are terse. The staff knows what to do, they don’t need to be told explicitly. Records, after all, will end up on the Internet. Best, then, not to generate any. This material, while actually less sensational than the other, is equally if not more important for shining light on the internal processes of Bonin’s office.

Another fact, revealed for the first time by these newly released records, is that the housedwellers were looking to this project not just as a way to exclude some unaesthetic human beings by installing plants on a public street. They were actually looking to literally privatize the street by annexing parts of it and adjoining them to their lots, thereby increasing their property values. This unexpected but ultimately not surprising development demonstrates in a pretty stark way that most if not all anti-homeless housedweller rage is actually about money.

Usually, possibly, the financial gains from hostile architecture are framed as about how aesthetics and perceptions of homeless neighbors affect property values but, at least in this case, it’s about actual annexation of publicly owned land. Thus spake Taylor Bazley: “a lot of the adjacent property owners are looking to assume ten more feet of property through the process of street vacation.” Taylor doesn’t go along with this plan, but not because he sees anything wrong with it. It’s just, he assures his boss, that it takes too long.

But as much as is revealed by these emails, one of the central mysteries remains unexplained. You’ll see, if you read on to the transcripts below, that the complaints that initiated the multi-year process of installing hostile landscaping on the Frederick Passageway are so stupid as to be incoherent. Saul Janson is angry, e.g., that the homeless people in the encampment laugh, eat food from takeout containers, own cell phones, and so on. He compares homeless people’s possessions to cancer, saying that their “stuff metastasizes daily”>.

He thinks single women are more particularly vulnerable to the unspecified predations of the homeless than, I guess, men and non-single women? The man is a slime-oozing braindead ball of enraged emotional putrefaction, certainly no one to be taken seriously. Oh, I forgot to mention! Janson and his neighbors “are mostly caring and socially responsible people.” Just ask them! If he weren’t a housedweller the best he could hope for out of City officials would be to be ignored. The worst would involve throwing away his tent or his insulin, tasing him, jailing him, 5150ing him into oblivion, leaving him to die on the pavement in the rain.

But none of that happens here. Instead of mocking and ignoring him, Bonin writes to Bazley and Dyner Harris to tell them to take care of the guy’s concerns. We’ve seen this exact phenomenon in CD13, as well as in CD11 with a whole different Klown Kar Krew, so it’s not isolated. What I don’t understand, what I despair of understanding, is why Councilmembers are so solicitous of these housedwellers. They’re not necessarily big donors. For instance, according to the Ethics Commission, none of Janson, Altschuler, or Adams have ever given a penny to Bonin.3

They’re not influential, they’re not going to sway an election. And yet the CMs listen to them, sweep encampments, disrupt lives, at their request. Maybe it’s because they’re asking for something the CMs want to do anyway and so provide political cover? I legitimately don’t get it and nothing in these emails gives even a clue. Perhaps some day this premiere open question will be solved! Meanwhile, read on for transcribed selections with some commentary and links!
Continue reading The True History Of The Frederick Passageway Anti-Homeless Hostile Landscaping Project — Guided By Angry Self-Proclaimed Lawyer And Housedweller Saul Janson — And Revanchist Housedwelling Coffee Confectioner Allison Altschuler — And Housedwelling Zillionaire NBC News Producer Richard Adams — (Not The Guy With The Damn Bunnies But A Different One) — And Famous But Shockingly Untalented Cartoonist Rick Detorie — Assisted At Every Stage By Freaky Little Lying Former CD11 Field Deputy Taylor Bazley — Who Explicitly Told Jansen To Exclude Shade Trees Because Homeless People Like Sitting Under Them — And Told Altschuler To Collect Bullshit CYA Letters From Neighbors In Case The City Got Sued — All Of This Done At The Express Orders Of Little Man Behind The Curtain Mike Bonin — Revealed In Emails Released In Response To My CPRA Lawsuit Against CD11 — And This Is Just The Start Of The Releases, Friends!

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Emails Reveal Breadth Of Support Among City Agencies For Miguel Nelson’s Hostile Landscape Architecture In Skid Row — North Sea — Most Crucially CD14 Supported It — LADOT — Even Department Of Cultural Affairs — However Urban Forestry / Bureau Of Street Services Refused To Support But Also — Sadly — Refused To Oppose

A couple days ago, based on a huge release of emails, I wrote about collusion between the LAPD, LA Sanitation, and property owner Miguel Nelson, which facilitated his installation of the hostile anti-homeless landscaping project known as “North Sea” in Skid Row. It’s axiomatic, of course, that something as controversial and on such a broad scale could never ever in a million years be approved in Los Angeles without the support of the Councilmember in whose district the project situates,in this case that is José Huizar, disgraced CD14 repster.

And yet it seems that no evidence has yet been adduced to support this notion, at least not until now! But it turns out that as part of its investigation into Nelson’s anti-homeless planters, KCRW got copies of all the permits from the City, which I uploaded to Archive.Org for the sake of stable access, and you can get a copy right here. It’s a huge file, more than 400 pages, and as part of the permitting process for such projects it’s required to obtain letters of support from various City departments, among them the Council Office.

So right in there, among the proofs of insurance and detailed diagrams and so on, is an email from erstwhile Huizar staffer Ari Simon to Bureau of Engineering staff supporting the project:

On Wed, Mar 29, 2017 at 2:29 PM, Ari Simon <ari.simon@lacity.org> wrote:

Hi Shay,

Wanted to let you know that at this time, Council District 14 is in support of moving forward with an application for R-permits to do beautification work around the area of 4th / Towne as requested by Miguel Nelson.

As the project moves forward, we ask that BOE adhere to the requests made by BSS, asking that a full plan of what exactly will be planted where is included, that any areas of planting are contained by concrete, and that plans comply with BOE’s determination of a clear and generally straight path of pedestrian travel.

Let me know if you have any further questions.

Warmly,

Ari

Continue reading Emails Reveal Breadth Of Support Among City Agencies For Miguel Nelson’s Hostile Landscape Architecture In Skid Row — North Sea — Most Crucially CD14 Supported It — LADOT — Even Department Of Cultural Affairs — However Urban Forestry / Bureau Of Street Services Refused To Support But Also — Sadly — Refused To Oppose

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Massive Record Release — Including Emails Between Skid Row LAPD, Deputy City Attorneys, Council Staffers, Property Owners — Shows Among Many Other Things Extensive City Collusion In Skid Row Anti-Homeless Landscaping Projects — Like Miguel Nelson’s North Sea Horror Show — Encampment Cleanups Scheduled To Suit Needs Of Property Owners — Photographs, Briefing Documents, Sanitation Cleanup Schedules — And So Much Else It’s Not Possible To List

I recently obtained part of a vast set of records from the LAPD, comprising emails between four officers and a long list of people involved with homeless issues on Skid Row as well as a wide variety of other materials which was attached to the emails. The officers are Marc Reina, Aloaf Walker, Robert Arcos, and Keith Bertonneau. Their correspondents are many, but in particular property owner Miguel Nelson, deputy city attorneys Kurt Knecht and Gita O’Neill, and LA Sanitation staffer Bladimir Campos.

This is an incredibly rich, incredibly complex set of material. The whole thing, or as much as I have so far as I am told there is more to come, is here on Archive.Org. There are many, many enlightening stories to be told from these sources, and I will be posting on some of them over the next few days.1 Also, I hope to publish a list of some of this stuff soon with brief descriptions. But I have extracted one important story for you this evening.

There’s been a lot in the news lately about anti-homeless planters in Venice of one sort or another, installed illegally and passively tolerated or even actively assisted by the City of Los Angeles. But the latest round of weaponized agriculture started last year in Skid Row with the so-called North Sea Project, which also involved giant heavy planters taking up the sidewalk to prevent people from sleeping there.

This North Sea installation was guided mostly by local property owner Miguel Nelson.2 According to KCRW Nelson obtained permits from the City for his hostile landscaping, unlike the copycats in Venice. The purpose of these planters, anti-homeless and pro-gentrification, was widely reported in the international press. Even the SRNC Formation Committee’s own General Jeff weighed in on the anti-human motivation behind these abominations.

But what I haven’t seen reported on anywhere is the astonishing level of City complicity in the installation of these Skid Row planters, which exceeds at least what we know about parallel issues in Venice.3 The evidence shows that the City of Los Angeles conspired with Miguel Nelson to coordinate the installation of sidewalk fencing on the east side of Towne Avenue between Fourth and Fifth streets with an Operation Healthy Streets raid.

Bladimir Campos of LA Sanitation gave Nelson five days advance notice of the cleanup so that he would have time to schedule his fence crew to barricade off the public sidewalk to prevent encampments from returning before he had a chance to install the planters. Note that five days is even more notice than the people living in the encampment got! Further, on the day that the cleanup crew was working Campos instructed his subordinates to give Nelson real-time estimates of their arrival. There’s no reason to suspect that this level of cooperation wasn’t in play through the whole North Sea installation process.

This is in sharp contrast to the City’s refusal, which continues to this day, to give homeless rights advocates advance notice of cleanups so that they can be observed and recorded. Interestingly, the City is expressly forbidden by the California Public Records Act from releasing or refusing to release information based on the purpose it’s to be used for,4 and yet that is exactly what they’ve done in this case by releasing it to be used against homeless people but withholding it from those who would use it to defend their rights.

It’s also in sharp contrast to the City’s stated purpose for Operation Healthy Streets, which like most5 such tools placed in the hands of the City has been weaponized to serve the interests of property owners. The mission at one time seems to have been fairly humane. Nothing to do with clearing out encampments so that property owners can colonize the space with planters:

Operation Healthy Streets (OHS) was implemented in 2012 as a robust homeless community outreach program designed to provide adequate notice and identify high-risk people in need of services and assistance.

As always, turn the page for links to and transcriptions of the actual evidence.
Continue reading Massive Record Release — Including Emails Between Skid Row LAPD, Deputy City Attorneys, Council Staffers, Property Owners — Shows Among Many Other Things Extensive City Collusion In Skid Row Anti-Homeless Landscaping Projects — Like Miguel Nelson’s North Sea Horror Show — Encampment Cleanups Scheduled To Suit Needs Of Property Owners — Photographs, Briefing Documents, Sanitation Cleanup Schedules — And So Much Else It’s Not Possible To List

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Venice Property Owners Have Raised More Than $70,000 To Cover A Pathway Near The Penmar Golf Course With Cactus And Sprinklers — With Full Cooperation Of Mike Bonin’s Office — Which Helped Them Obtain Permits — We Have A Copy Of Secret Nextdoor Dot Com Discussion — Which Provides Insight Into City Of LA Complicity — Not To Mention The Kind Of Hateful Anti-Human Pre-Genocidal Rhetoric That Drives These Projects — Also Reveals Mark Ryavec Asking About Landscape Architects In October 2018 — One Month Before He Helped Arrange For Illegal Palms/Lincoln Planters

There has been a wave of anti-homeless landscape architecture around Los Angeles, mostly involving planters. Some of these projects, like Miguel Nelson’s so-called North Sea thing in Skid Row, are done legally, meaning with permits obtained from the City. Others are completely illegal, like the livestock troughs full of dirt and cactus dumped all over the sidewalks of Palms Blvd. in Venice by despicable anti-homeless vigilante Mark Ryavec and his lynch-mob buddies at Lincoln Hardware.

And recently, a Venice resident, fed up with the attitudes of his or her neighbors, sent me a screenshot of a thread on Nextdoor.com, which seems to function more or less as the Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines of the Los Angeles anti-homeless brigades, wherein another such project is being planned.1 These property owners have raised more than $70,000 on their GoFundMe page to install cactus and sprinklers obstructing most of a block-long public pedestrian path along the west edge of the Penmar Golf Course in order to prevent homeless people from continuing to live there.2

And even though this unfiltered glimpse into the white-hot seething id of homeless-hating planter proponents is interesting enough, like a rampaging flock of crocodiles or something, it’s not the most important aspect of this revelation. The most important thing revealed here is the level of the City’s complicity with this project. According to the organizers, Mike Bonin’s staff helped them obtain permits and also attends their community meetings to help them raise money.

This is in stark contrast to the absolute indifference the City displays when citizens concerned with blatantly illegal antihomeless measures seek help navigating City bureaucracy. Where was Mike Bonin’s office when activists were trying to get the City to enforce its own laws against unpermitted sidewalk-blocking planters? Nowhere, actually. It’s not their problem, it seems. Not their job to enforce those particular laws against those particular perpetrators. After the break you’ll find some quotes about and details of Bonin’s complicity.

But before that, here’s an interesting little episode revealed in this discussion. On October 20, 2018, Mark Ryavec, the Adolf Eichmann of Venice, evidently whipped into some kind of visionary frenzy by all the talk of cactuses, asked one of the organizers: “…who might I contact to get the name and contact info for the landscape architect?” And they told him. And a little over a month later Ryavec and his minions, with the abject complicity of the City of Los Angeles, were replacing homeless human beings with illegal hostile planters at the corner of Palms and Lincoln.
Continue reading Venice Property Owners Have Raised More Than $70,000 To Cover A Pathway Near The Penmar Golf Course With Cactus And Sprinklers — With Full Cooperation Of Mike Bonin’s Office — Which Helped Them Obtain Permits — We Have A Copy Of Secret Nextdoor Dot Com Discussion — Which Provides Insight Into City Of LA Complicity — Not To Mention The Kind Of Hateful Anti-Human Pre-Genocidal Rhetoric That Drives These Projects — Also Reveals Mark Ryavec Asking About Landscape Architects In October 2018 — One Month Before He Helped Arrange For Illegal Palms/Lincoln Planters

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