Tag Archives: Jeffrey Charles Briggs

Pacific Palisades BID Poised To Spend Almost 3% Of 2017 Assessments Fighting My CPRA Requests. Is This Really The Best Use Of Property Owner’s Money?? Also, Rick Lemmo’s Vow To Thwart Me By Proceeding “According To The Strictest Rules Of Law” May Reveal Hitherto Unsuspected Paradox In CPRA!!

Another Rick in the wall, part 97: Rick Lemmo, who is Rick Caruso’s senior VP for some kind of nonsensical crap, explains the zillionaire’s view of law-abiding high finance.
For a brief moment this morning, I was worried that it’s a bad thing that my coverage of the Pacific Palisades BID, initiated mainly because of a confluence of my interest in CD11 and the fact that the criminal intransigence of Mike Bonin’s staff has made it essentially impossible for me to get records directly from them, is tending fairly unexpectedly towards the navel-gaze, self-reference, point-is-to-understand-the-world, nerdview rather than towards the outward-looking, the-point-is-to-change-it focus which is somewhat of an ideal around here. That anxiety took me about 35 seconds to get over, so we’re going meta again this morning sans apologia.1

In any case, whatever her manifold faults as a CPRA client may be, Laurie Sale, executive directrix of the Palisades BID, is at least a reliable source of minutes and agendas. You may recall that she was previously kind enough to send me the PPBID’s 2016 minutes and agendas, and this weekend she sent me the 2017 minutes and agendas through February. There’s some interesting stuff in there, primarily about street vending, which I will write on quite soon. The minutes also suggest that CD11 field deputy Sharon Shapiro2 is an actual member of the PPBID’s Board of Directors. I’ll be looking into this, not least because it’s reminiscent of Debbie Dyner Harris’s ill-fated attempt to nab a voting seat for CD11 on the Board of the Venice Beach Property Owners Association, which was slapped down ignominiously by City Attorney Mike Feuer as a conflict of interest.

But never mind that for now. The text for today’s sermon is this little slab of nonsense, found in the BID’s minutes for February 1, 2017:

BID received requests for public records – copies of meeting minutes, agenda, emails back and forth within the City, etc. from a gentleman who is requesting this from many BIDs. Elliot made a motion to retain attorney not to exceed $4,000. Rick seconded, all approved, motion carried. In the event that this person wants copies made, then we need to request payment. Rick motioned: “we don’t want to make it difficult for him, but to rather provide him every access to public records according to the strictest rules of law so that it doesn’t provide any financial detriment to the property owners of our business improvement district.” Susan seconded. Unanimously approved, motion carries.

Continue reading Pacific Palisades BID Poised To Spend Almost 3% Of 2017 Assessments Fighting My CPRA Requests. Is This Really The Best Use Of Property Owner’s Money?? Also, Rick Lemmo’s Vow To Thwart Me By Proceeding “According To The Strictest Rules Of Law” May Reveal Hitherto Unsuspected Paradox In CPRA!!

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)

Documents, Documents, Documents! Emails From Wilshire Center And The Media District, Brentwood Village BID Meeting Minutes, East Hollywood BID By-Vendor Transactions

Mister Mike from Wilshire Center wins the semi-annual MK.Org Transparency in BIDitude Prize for handing over more than 250MB of emails in mbox format via filesharing! We love you, the people of Los Angeles love you, Mr. Mike!!
Just a quick note to link to huge piles of records I’ve received over the last few days. These include:

And you can turn the page for some comments on each of these sets of goodies.
Continue reading Documents, Documents, Documents! Emails From Wilshire Center And The Media District, Brentwood Village BID Meeting Minutes, East Hollywood BID By-Vendor Transactions

Almost 200 Emails Between the City Of LA And the East Hollywood BID. Also, Lunada Bay Boys Hearing Tomorrow And Also Ethics Commission Meeting!

Dwarf bottlebrush plant from some plans that the East Hollywood BID exchanged with a bunch of lackeys at the City of LA in preparation for planting them along Vermont Avenue, most likely to thwart the homeless in some manner.
Tonight I had the pleasure of receiving from self-proclaimed active member of the revitalized Hollywood community1 Jeffrey Charles Briggs almost 200 emails between the East Hollywood Business Improvement District and various far-too-friendly folks at the City of Los Angeles. For now these are available here on Archive.Org. They’re PDFs, but they’re that super-PDF-format that one can make with genuine Adobe software that embeds attachments right in there with clickable links.2 I have only been able to give these a cursory look-over, but I can already see a few crucial items. I’ll be writing on these matters as soon as I possibly can, but if you want a preview of one of them take a look at this juicy little number.

And tomorrow is a huge day at the Civic Center. In the morning there is a hearing in the Lunada Bay Boys case, featuring Palos Verdes Peninsula zillionaire surf-localism-thuggery at its most flamboyantly weird. In the afternoon there is an essential meeting of the Ethics Commission. Turn the page for times, locations, and brief descriptions. Perhaps I’ll see you there!
Continue reading Almost 200 Emails Between the City Of LA And the East Hollywood BID. Also, Lunada Bay Boys Hearing Tomorrow And Also Ethics Commission Meeting!

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

Crucial Breakthrough In Anti-BID CPRA Pragmatics From City Clerk: Miranda Paster Accepts My Argument And Thereby Releases Mailing List For South Los Angeles Industrial Tract BID!

Standard Plating at 826 E 62nd Street in the South Los Angeles Industrial Tract BID.
Standard Plating at 826 E 62nd Street in the South Los Angeles Industrial Tract BID.
One of the primary problems faced by anti-BID activists is that it is next to impossible to find out how to get in touch with the property owners involved in the BID. It’s politically necessary to do so because as matters stand now they are the only people who can get rid of a BID, so we have to be able to send them propaganda.1 This problem was crucial in the (ongoing) struggle against the Venice Beach BID,2 with both the City and CD11 claiming that the mailing list was not a public record. I chipped away and chipped away at this and finally, a couple months ago, Miranda Paster accepted my arguments and handed over the list.

For technical reasons, though, that victory was not applicable to BIDs in general.3 You can read the details in the above-linked-to post. So the next step is to find a way to get a mailing list for any BID. This is still ongoing, but today another one of my intermediate, more restricted, strategies was successful. It’s based on this June 15, 2015 report from Miranda Paster to Holly Wolcott.4 The crucial bit is the statement that:

On June 18, 2015, staff mailed out notice of public hearing and ballot packages for the renewal of the South Los Angeles Industrial Tract and Granada Hills Business Improvement District and notice of public meeting and public hearing for the renewal of the Los Angeles Tourism Marketing District.

Recall that for months, Miranda Paster put me off the mailing list for the Venice Beach BID by claiming that it was the property of shadowy BID consultant Tara Devine and not, therefore, a public record. Thus the success of these requests hinges on the precise definition of what a public record is, and for that and subsequent discussion, you have to turn the page.
Continue reading Crucial Breakthrough In Anti-BID CPRA Pragmatics From City Clerk: Miranda Paster Accepts My Argument And Thereby Releases Mailing List For South Los Angeles Industrial Tract BID!

Do You Have What It Takes To Be A BID Consultant For The City Of Los Angeles? Honesty? Integrity? Freaking LIKEABILITY?!??!

Shadowy BID consultant Teresa "Tara" Devine has what it takes!  She is evidently 15% likeable, honest, and infested with what passes for integrity in BID consultancy circles.
Shadowy BID consultant Teresa “Tara” Devine has what it takes! She is evidently 15% likeable, honest, and infested with what passes for integrity in BID consultancy circles.
If you follow BIDs in Los Angeles you will know that the process for creating a new one is so fraught with weirdo technicalities that when a Councilmember wants to form one in their district, not only do they have to get together a bullshit astroturf front group made up of major campaign contributors, but they also have to hire a consultant to guide the BAFG through the labyrinth. Of course, this is anything but an adversarial process, and success is pre-ordained. However, if the requirements imposed by the State of California are not adhered to somewhat scrupulously, the new BID will be vulnerable to challenges by non-mainstream anti-BID malcontents.1 Thus the City has an interest in making sure that these consultants are competent.2

It turns out that they take this interest seriously enough that the City Clerk maintains a list of qualified BID consultants. I recently obtained a copy from 2010. There are some old friends on there, e.g. Donald Duckworth, who you might recognize from 2014 as the initial consultant on Mike Bonin’s Venice Beach BID project, since replaced by the shadowy ringlet-tossing Tara Devine. The famed Susan Levi is also on that list. But all things must pass away, and the list will eventually need to be renewed. Thus it seems that in August 2015 the Clerk put out a request for qualifications seeking new qualified consultants to put on the list.3 So now it is possible to tell exactly what skills you need to develop if you want to be a shadowy BID consultant too!
Continue reading Do You Have What It Takes To Be A BID Consultant For The City Of Los Angeles? Honesty? Integrity? Freaking LIKEABILITY?!??!

More Media District BID Documents Now Available

Captain John Irigoyen is watching you, so watch yourself!
Captain John Irigoyen is watching you, so watch yourself!
I have a few new documents from the Media District BID. First of all, the Board meeting minutes through August of 2015 are here. Minutes from various committee meetings in 2015 are here, and minutes from one very special executive committee meeting are here.

We’re also inaugurating a project to identify all the Media District security guards by name and image, parallel to the one we’re doing for the Andrews International BID Patrol. I’ve started a page for this project. There’s not much there now other than a list of all the current green shirts by name, but I hope to add more in the future.

Read on for a little bit of what passes for metadata analysis around here.
Continue reading More Media District BID Documents Now Available

Breaking News Flash! Indefatigably Feckless Dude-Bro Steven Whiddon Out as Media District BID Exec Direc!

Indefatigably feckless dudebro Steven Whiddon and erstwhile exec direc of the media district BID.  He's off the bus for as yet undetermined reasons.
Indefatigably feckless dudebro Steven Whiddon and erstwhile exec direc of the media district BID. He’s off the bus for as yet undetermined reasons.
California politics is a tough way to make a living. We play hardball out here on the coast! If you can’t hit major league pitching you gotta leave the bright lights big city and head back in bowed-down shame to Santa Monica or West Hollywood or some other no-count small town.

Our faithful correspondent was just informed this morning by none other than BID mouthpiece Jeffrey Charles Briggs that “Steven [Whiddon] is no longer with the BID.” JCB didn’t say why it was that Mr. Whiddon didn’t even last a year in his new job. How did the BID go from shelling out way, WAY too much money for new computers for Steven in October 2014 to him being “no longer with the BID” in September 2015? Perhaps it was his tin-eared insensitivity to the subtly expressed desires of his board. Perhaps it was his general all-round dude-bro-itude. Perhaps it was reckless disregard of both law and decency. Perhap it was his crazed and imprudent spending habits. Perhaps, though, as rumor has it…(we always put the unsubstantiated juicy stuff after the break, don’t you know?)
Continue reading Breaking News Flash! Indefatigably Feckless Dude-Bro Steven Whiddon Out as Media District BID Exec Direc!

Property Owner and Unwilling Media District BID Member Toni Werk Wonders Where Her $12,000 Went. We Have the Answer!

Media District BID property owner Toni Werk's parcel at 6065 Melrose Avenue. She's paid over $12,000 into the BID for this piece of land. Where has it all gone? (Image via Google Street View).
On October 7, 2014, Hollywood Media District BID property owner Toni Werk wrote to Jim Omahen, HMD operations director, about her parcel at 6065 Melrose Avenue. The gist of her complaint is this:

For the more than $12,000 that I have contributed to the BID, I, or my tenant, have not received one word of promotion in your newsletter. During business hours, my tenant says he has seen your bike patrol only a few times. And during after hours, there is no one staying on our property to phone your Security Patrol if there is an issue. As I originally did not want to participate in the bid [
sic], and I voted no against it again, I have been forced to pay a tax that has not been any benefit to me or my tenant.

Indefatigably feckless dudebro Steven Whiddon running over that long list of MBA jargon in his mind, because it WILL be on the test!
Indefatigably feckless dudebro Steven Whiddon running over that long list of MBA jargon in his mind, because it WILL be on the test!

Jim, rightfully, forwarded this complaint on to his boss, the jolly but rather knuckle-headed Steven Whiddon, who replied, in characteristically evasive1 fashion, replied:

I am happy to report that Captain John Iragoyan [
sic] and myself [sic] completed a site visit of your property 6065 Melrose Avenue. We spoke with your leasee, [sic] Tom Pena about the issues you stated in the email below. We made sure he understands we are here to serve and has all of our contact information. He understands that he can contact us at any time to assist with the issues below. …

Thank you again for reaching out to us.2

Notice how Steven doesn’t mention the money at all. Read on to see just where DID that $12,000 go…
Continue reading Property Owner and Unwilling Media District BID Member Toni Werk Wonders Where Her $12,000 Went. We Have the Answer!