Tag Archives: John Walker

Vicki Nussbaum To Replace Dr. John Walker Ph.D. As Zeck Dreck Of The Studio City BID! — This Despite Fact That Sarah Besley Finds Her Weirdo Lonerism “Concerning”! — Guess Sarah Besley Ain’t Running Everything After All! — Oh And The Board Evidently Decided To Hire Vicki Nussbaum At Their Infamous Closed Session On September 17! — You Know, The One Where Dr. John Walker Ph.D. Said There Was Going To Be Nothing To Report Out! — Guess Dr. John Walker’s Credibility Is Completely Shot To Hell Cause Hiring A Damn Staffer Certainly Counts As Action Taken!

Oh Lord, see, Dr. John Walker, Ph.D., zeck dreck of the infamous Studio City BID, decided at some point that he was going to handle all my CPRA requests his own self instead of having their IT consultant do it like they had done in the past. And the evidence shows strongly that despite having a Ph.D., Dr. John Walker actually can’t carry out a keyword search of his own email. That’s one of the reasons why what was previously a steady flow of interesting material from this creepy little BID has dried to a painfully extracted trickle. But, as I have said, occasionally something interesting gets through!

Anyway, you’ll recall that Dr. John Walker Ph.D. is leaving the BID’s employ, and the two main candidates to replace him are the reprehensible Taylor Bazley and the equally reprehensible Vicki Nussbaum. Originally I thought Vicki Nussbaum didn’t get the job cause she started interviewing in June and they still didn’t seem to have hired her. But just today I received this email from La Nussbaum to BID Pressy Tony Richman making it clear that in fact she has been hired as Dr. John Ph.D.’s replacement:1

From: Vicki Nussbaum <vicki.carr.nussbaum@gmail.com>
Subject: Checking in
Date: September 21, 2018 at 7:40 AM
To: Tony RICHMAN <latonyr@gmail.com>

Tony,

Checking to see how the Board meeting went Monday and if we are official.

Take care,
Vicki

Continue reading Vicki Nussbaum To Replace Dr. John Walker Ph.D. As Zeck Dreck Of The Studio City BID! — This Despite Fact That Sarah Besley Finds Her Weirdo Lonerism “Concerning”! — Guess Sarah Besley Ain’t Running Everything After All! — Oh And The Board Evidently Decided To Hire Vicki Nussbaum At Their Infamous Closed Session On September 17! — You Know, The One Where Dr. John Walker Ph.D. Said There Was Going To Be Nothing To Report Out! — Guess Dr. John Walker’s Credibility Is Completely Shot To Hell Cause Hiring A Damn Staffer Certainly Counts As Action Taken!

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Vicki Nussbaum Applied In June 2018 For John Walker’s Job At The Studio City BID — The BID Asked Kerry Morrison’s Opinion On Vicki Nussbaum Cause Why Not? — Kerry Morrison Doesn’t Know Vicki Nussbaum — Ben Besley Found This Fact “Telling” — Sarah Besley Told Hubbie Ben Besley That Vicki Nussbaum Didn’t “Participate In The BID Community” — Sarah Besley Found This “Concerning” — Ben Besley Is On The Hiring Committee — Vicki Nussbaum Interviewed In June — But Seems Like She Didn’t Get The Job Cause They Interviewed Taylor Bazley In September — Seems Like Sarah Besley Did A Hatchet Job On Vicki Nussbaum — Sad If True — But There Are No Innocents In BIDlandia

The short version of the backstory is that the Studio City BID is hiring a replacement for its executive director, Dr. John Walker Ph.D. You can read the details and see a copy of the job announcement here in yesterday’s post. Yesterday we talked about applicant Taylor Bazley. Today’s topic is Ms. Vicki Nussbaum. Here’s what I know about Vicki Nussbaum. She was the director of the Village at Sherman Oaks BID at least since January 2016 and likely earlier than that.1 More recently she was appointed executive director of the Century City BID.2 So she’s been around BIDlandia for at least three years if not more.

Oh, and I also know that she applied for Dr. John Walker’s job and not only that but just a few days after the job announcement was published Dr. Walker Ph.D. offered her an in-person interview!3 The interview was set for July 11, 2018, and I have no reason to suspect that it didn’t come off exactly as planned. Of course we know they didn’t hire her right then because in early September they interviewed Taylor Bazley.

And BID Board member Ben Besley is on the hiring committee. And he claims to be married to Sarah McPherson Besley, well-known for the fact that she used to work for Kerry Morrison in Hollywood where she was famous for hating Peruvians and hating overpasses. Don’t know which she hates worse. Anyway, for reasons that aren’t yet clear, Sarah Besley went and asked Kerry Morrison about Vicki Nussbaum and Kerry Morrison didn’t know her. And Sarah Besley didn’t know her either. And … oh, heck, why not let Ben Besley tell it. In this stunning little email chain he says:

I also got some interesting feedback, or telling lack of feedback, on Vicki from my wife Sarah, who used to Chair the Los Angeles BID Consortium. Sarah doesn’t know Vicki and neither does her former manager Kerry Morrison. This is telling of someone who is now managing multiple BIDs. Sarah thought it was concerning that she hasn’t been participating in the “BID community” over her the course of her career.

How’s that for hard core, friends? If you don’t know Kerry Morrison and Sarah Besley you don’t get the job! It wasn’t listed as a necessary attribute,4 but man, it sure freaking turned out to be. Pretty tragic for Vicki Nussbaum, I think, cause obviously she had no idea this was a job requirement. At least the publication of this vital information makes it clear for all future applicants! You gotta kiss up to Kerry Morrison and Sarah Besley if you wanna be a BID zeck dreck! Anyway, turn the page for transcriptions of all the emails arranging for Vicki Nussbaum’s seemingly fruitless visit to the damn Studio City BID!
Continue reading Vicki Nussbaum Applied In June 2018 For John Walker’s Job At The Studio City BID — The BID Asked Kerry Morrison’s Opinion On Vicki Nussbaum Cause Why Not? — Kerry Morrison Doesn’t Know Vicki Nussbaum — Ben Besley Found This Fact “Telling” — Sarah Besley Told Hubbie Ben Besley That Vicki Nussbaum Didn’t “Participate In The BID Community” — Sarah Besley Found This “Concerning” — Ben Besley Is On The Hiring Committee — Vicki Nussbaum Interviewed In June — But Seems Like She Didn’t Get The Job Cause They Interviewed Taylor Bazley In September — Seems Like Sarah Besley Did A Hatchet Job On Vicki Nussbaum — Sad If True — But There Are No Innocents In BIDlandia

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Emmy Winning Studio City BID Zeck Dreck Dr. John Walker Ph.D. Is Quitting — Mike Bonin Field Deputy Taylor Bazley Applied For His Job — Listed Shadowy Venice Beach BID Boss Tara Devine As A Reference — John Walker Told Hiring Committee What A Loser Tara Devine Is And Maybe Her Recommendation Wasn’t Valuable — And She Wasn’t Returning Their Calls Anyway — Plus Kerry Morrison Was All Like Taylor Who?!?! —It Seems That The Position Is Still Unfilled — Except That These BIDdies Violate The Brown Act Constantly So They May Well Have Filled It In Secret

Right now there is no BID more interesting to me in the entire City of Los Angeles than the Studio City BID. I mean, I dropped by one of their furtive little meetings last month and one of their directors, famously angry clown Matthew Dunn, was so rattled by my presence that he stormed out of his own meeting.1 And then they committed such an astonishing series of so very flagrant violations of the Brown Act that I was forced to send them a demand letter asking them to pinky swear that they’d never do it again.

And man, when it comes to his CPRAiatic duties, SCBID zeck dreck Dr. John Walker Ph.D.2 is a freaking pain in that thing that writers often resort to mentioning pains in for metaphorical purposes, but once in a while a few items trickle through the border wall as they did yesterday when he, or at least his pocky little minion Damian Gatto, sent over a few righteous goodies! And amongst these was this announcement from June 2018 in which the Studio City BID gave notice to the BID Consortium that it was hiring a replacement for Emmy-winning Zeck Dreck Dr. John Walker!! There is a transcription of this remarkable document after the break.

And then the applications started rolling in! The first applicant I have information about was evidently Ms. Vicki Nussbaum, who used to be the executive director of the Sherman Oaks BID and may still be for all I know, but is at least also the executive director of the Century City BID.3 You’ll hear more about this lady’s application quite soon, but not today.4

And the next applicant that I know anything about is our old friend Taylor Freaking Bazley! That’s right, Mike Bonin’s creepy little field deputy for Venice, deeply implicated in the horror show that is the Venice Beach BID, is out looking for another job! Do his friends at CD11 know about this?! Probably not, because he obviously isn’t using them as references! You can read everything I know in this September 12, 2018 email from SCBID Board member Ben Besley5 to John Walker, Board president Tony Richman, and fellow hiring committee members Barry Wise and Dean Cutler.

Here’s the story in brief, and you will find detailed discussion and transcriptions of all relevant emails after the break! About a month ago Taylor Bazley interviewed for the job. After his interview he sent a sycophantic thanks-friend! email to Board president Tony Richman about how the committee’s shit smelled like roses and so on.6 Also, he seems to have given shadowy BID president Tara Devine’s name as a reference. The hiring committee evidently found it difficult to get in touch with Tara Devine. Finally, Ben Besley got an email from admin@venicebeachbid.com, a well-known pseudonym of Ms. Tara Devine, splaining that Tara Devine was too busy to talk to him right now but maybe later!

Then John Walker weighed in with a story about how TD was being investigated for not spending BID money properly and also how the SCBID didn’t hire her to be their renewal consultant because she charged too damn much. He closed this defamational little missive with the defamer’s favorite excuse: “This is not meant to sway your investigation but I think you should be aware of some history.” So yeah, just another example of how the Los Angeles BID world is like one big seething daisy chain but without the sex.7 Turn the page for transcriptions of all relevant material!
Continue reading Emmy Winning Studio City BID Zeck Dreck Dr. John Walker Ph.D. Is Quitting — Mike Bonin Field Deputy Taylor Bazley Applied For His Job — Listed Shadowy Venice Beach BID Boss Tara Devine As A Reference — John Walker Told Hiring Committee What A Loser Tara Devine Is And Maybe Her Recommendation Wasn’t Valuable — And She Wasn’t Returning Their Calls Anyway — Plus Kerry Morrison Was All Like Taylor Who?!?! —It Seems That The Position Is Still Unfilled — Except That These BIDdies Violate The Brown Act Constantly So They May Well Have Filled It In Secret

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Latest Episode In The Brown Act Enforcement Project Targets Studio City BID For Three Violations — Most Importantly They Require An ID And Permission From The BID To Attend Meetings — Also They Totally Screwed Up Closed Session Requirements — And Also They Deliberate Via Email Just Like The Byzantine BIDdies — So I Fired Off Another Demand Letter — Now We Wait Thirty Days To See If They Capitulate!

Last week I attended my first meeting of the Studio City BID‘s board of directors, and what a fiasco, friends! Aggressively clueless board member Matthew Dunn walking out because I was filming him and so on. But I put off telling you about the most interesting parts! Which is why I’ve gathered you all here this morning! You see, the BID violated the Brown Act in two very serious ways at the meeting.

First of all, the BID holds its meetings inside CBS Studio Center,1 It not only requires an ID to get in there and the registration of one’s name and an image of one’s driver’s license, but also convincing a hostile security guard who thinks BID meetings aren’t open to the public and some other problems. All together these are, of course, violations of the Brown Act at §54953.3, which states unequivocally that:

A member of the public shall not be required, as a condition to attendance at a meeting of a legislative body of a local agency, to register his or her name, to provide other information, to complete a questionnaire, or otherwise to fulfill any condition precedent to his or her attendance.

We’ve seen exactly this kind of thing with BIDs around the City, who hold their meetings in so-called secure buildings, where IDs are required by the property owners rather than the BID itself. E.g. in October 2014, the very same month I founded this blog, Kerry Morrison and her Central Hollywood Coalition were guilty of this. More recently, in April I reported the South Park BID to the LA County DA for violating this exact provision. The universal excuse seems to be that it’s legal for the property owner to require ID, just not the BID.

Of course, the plain language of the statute shows that that argument is entirely fallacious. The law doesn’t say anything about who’s not allowed to require ID, so therefore no one is allowed to require ID. And because, as you know, I haven’t gotten much if any satisfaction from the LA County DA on Brown Act violations, I have decided to take matters into my own hands and use the provisions in the law which allow private citizens to enforce it.

I kicked off this project last month with a demand to the Byzantine Latino Quarter BID which was entirely successful, at least so far, in that the BID caved entirely and unconditionally agreed never ever ever to violate the law again. And the Studio City ID and name registration requirement is a perfect test case for the enforcement of §54953.3. Thus did I fire off this demand letter to BID secretary Gilbert Stayner yesterday afternoon, making Studio City the honored second participant in my private Brown Act enforcement project. They have thirty days to capitulate, and if they don’t, we’re off to Superior Court!2

And Brown Act violations are like cockroaches in the usual cliched sense, and this case is no exception to that rule. The BID also seriously messed up its closed session, which of course I added to the demand, and there was a little problem in May 2018 involving them deliberating via email, which I also added. The first of these is highly technical and the second is fairly repetitious, so I put all the details after the damn break!
Continue reading Latest Episode In The Brown Act Enforcement Project Targets Studio City BID For Three Violations — Most Importantly They Require An ID And Permission From The BID To Attend Meetings — Also They Totally Screwed Up Closed Session Requirements — And Also They Deliberate Via Email Just Like The Byzantine BIDdies — So I Fired Off Another Demand Letter — Now We Wait Thirty Days To See If They Capitulate!

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Studio City BID Board Meeting Spectacular! — Legally Captured On Video For Your Amusement And Edification! — Board Member And Angry Clown Matthew Dunn Flips Out At Being Filmed! — Throws Tantrum! — Storms Out! — Like A Whiny Damn Baby! — This Is The Kind Of Person The City Of Los Angeles Entrusts Its Public Funds To! — Pedantically Incompetent Flunky Damian Gatto Almost Violates The Brown Act! — Saved At Last Moment By Emmy-Winning Zeck Dreck John Walker! — A Fun Time For All! — Or At Least For Me!

Oh for goodness sake, friends! Day before yesterday I took an astonishingly complex combination of public transit routes out to the the wild and untamed-by-rule-of-law hinterlands of Studio City to attend my very first meeting of the board of directors of the Studio City BID. And Lord, what a scene! What a raving conglomeration of angry white men! I have a serious topic to write about with respect to this meeting, but there are some things I have to take care of first, so it’ll have to wait. Thus, tonight, you get a lighthearted highlights slash bloopers reel of some of the oh so crazy antics of these oh so crazy folks.

When I first arrived in the meeting room1 there were board packets at every seat at the table. Board packets everywhere! Additionally, incompetently pedantic flunky Damien Gatto was shuffling self-importantly about the place so I asked him to see a copy of the packet. Now, I don’t tend to ask BIDdies for any favors, because what’s the point? And this request for a board packet to look at was not asking for a favor. The Brown Act at §54957.5 requires any materials distributed to the board for a meeting to be made available to the audience immediately.2

Evidently pedantically incompetent flunky Damian Gatto never heard about this, though, because, says he, he’s only going to give me the minutes and the agenda, and not the financials cause, says he, they’re secret. So I said “why” and he said, in a performative demonstration of his pedantry, his incompetence, “because we don’t have to, that’s why.” Hmmm. Gotta love the intense commitment to public service evinced by this pocky little sucker on the public tit, eh?

Anyway, he then stumbled off to his lair where, I am guessing, he was set straight by Emmy-award-winning zeck dreck John Walker,3 because when he came back with the goodies they did, lo and behold and so on, include the top secret financials. You can read that toppest secretest board packet, complete with the ultra-toppest ultra-secretest financials that spotty little minion Damian Gatto did not want you to see by clicking right here!

Now, that’s all interesting, I’m sure, but by now it’s not news that these rampaging BIDdies don’t have the first clue how the Brown Act works.4 This little incident, though, was far, far from being the weirdest, lunatic-est, most-signifying-of-a-delusional-level-of-cluelessness-est, incident at this meeting. Those honoraria go to the bizarre little hissy pitched by board member Matthew Dunn who, it seems, doesn’t like to have his picture taken5 even though the right to record meetings is explicitly guaranteed by the Brown Act.6 Turn the page for details, links, and, of course, a transcription!
Continue reading Studio City BID Board Meeting Spectacular! — Legally Captured On Video For Your Amusement And Edification! — Board Member And Angry Clown Matthew Dunn Flips Out At Being Filmed! — Throws Tantrum! — Storms Out! — Like A Whiny Damn Baby! — This Is The Kind Of Person The City Of Los Angeles Entrusts Its Public Funds To! — Pedantically Incompetent Flunky Damian Gatto Almost Violates The Brown Act! — Saved At Last Moment By Emmy-Winning Zeck Dreck John Walker! — A Fun Time For All! — Or At Least For Me!

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Tara Devine Accuses Rita Moreno Of Harboring Prejudice Against The Venice Beach BID And Of Badmouthing Her And Her Damn BID To Property Owners — And Of Being Too Dumb To Understand BIDs And Of Not Being Able To Read — Rita Moreno Accuses Tara Devine Of Badmouthing The City To Property Owners — Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?! — Oh, And More On Tara Devine’s September 26, 2017 Surgery, The Swiss Army Knife Of Excuses For Nonperformance Of Contractual And Statutory Obligations

As you no doubt recall, in April 2017 I was forced by the weirdo intransigence of Ms. Tara Devine to file a writ petition against the Venice Beach BID because they could not, would not, comply with the damn public records act for essentially years on end. And in June Tara Devine started handing over records, with more handed over in July. She’s evidently producing a batch a month even though she promised more, because just the other day I got a set of 284 emails between her and the City of Los Angeles, and I published them as usual on Archive.Org for your edification and pleasure.1

And there is a lot of good stuff in this set, but first a little more background. You will, of course, recall that the Venice Beach BID, despite being funded by the City starting in January 2017, didn’t even have a Board meeting until January 2018 and didn’t begin providing services until many months after that. This series of egregious failures led to a great deal of tension between the BIDdies and the City. So much so that in May 2018 the BIDdies got called on the carpet at City Hall and were also forced, much against their will, to refund all the money they’d collected for 2017.

And it seems that, obviously at least in hindsight, these serious consequences in 2018 arose from a great deal of tension between the City and the BID in 2017. The text for today’s sermon is a series of emails from October of that year between Tara Devine and Rita Moreno of the City Clerk which demonstrates exactly that.

It all started when Rita Moreno asked Tara Devine why the BID didn’t even have a working phone, which was forcing the City to field the outpouring of complaints from property owners who had paid a ton of money but were receiving nothing for it. Tara Devine, as is her angry and unprofessional little wont, flipped out on Rita Moreno, and the whole vitriolic exchange with links and transcriptions is right after the break!
Continue reading Tara Devine Accuses Rita Moreno Of Harboring Prejudice Against The Venice Beach BID And Of Badmouthing Her And Her Damn BID To Property Owners — And Of Being Too Dumb To Understand BIDs And Of Not Being Able To Read — Rita Moreno Accuses Tara Devine Of Badmouthing The City To Property Owners — Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?! — Oh, And More On Tara Devine’s September 26, 2017 Surgery, The Swiss Army Knife Of Excuses For Nonperformance Of Contractual And Statutory Obligations

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In December 2016 Carol Schatz Arranged For Lobbyist Laura Mecoy To Ghostwrite Anti Street Vending Talking Points For Studio City Neighborhood Council Representative Barry Johnson, Who Was Appearing Before The Public Works Committee To Give A CIS — Although Potentially Illegally — Demonstrating Infiltration Of Neighborhood Councils By The Zillionaire Power Elite And Their Lobbyists And Minions To A Hitherto Unsuspected Degree

At least since 2015 a vast coalition of business improvement districts along with the Schatzian nightmare horror show known as the Central City Association have been fighting, clawing, hissing, and paying lots and lots and lots of money to counter any inclination our pusillanimous City Council might have towards creating even minimal legal space for street vendors to ply their life-affirming trade in the City of Los Angeles.

As part of this conspiracy, and even though the CCA essentially does nothing but lobby the City of Los Angeles, the BIDdies and their minions and allies hired a bunch of outside lobbyists to help fight their weirdo battle. One of these ringers was Laura Mecoy, who hooked them up with the LA Times editorial board and then had some trouble getting paid by the BIDdies for her work.

And all of a sudden, here’s Laura Mecoy again! Very recently I received a copy of this fascinating email chain, and here’s what it reveals!1 It seems that on December 8, 2016, Rita Villa of the Studio City Neighborhood Council got in touch with Carol Schatz about an upcoming hearing of a Council committee at which street vending would be discussed.2 They were evidently trying to coordinate on who was going to attend the meeting to make sure the fascist viewpoint was heard.

Villa mentioned that our old friend Mr. John Walker of the Studio City BID couldn’t make it, and some other names about were bandied. Eventually Rita Villa arranged for Barry Johnson to attend, and Carol Schatz asked lobbyists Laura Mecoy and Fred Muir to write some talking points for Barry Johnson, which Laura Mecoy cheerfully did!

And there’s nothing at all interesting in the talking points.3 It’s the same old “one-size-does-not-fit-all we-respectfully-request-opt-in-please” jive-ass crapola that we’re used to out of these people. The interest in this episode is entirely in the effort that Carol Schatz and her hired lobbyists are putting into shaping the narrative coming out of the mouth of someone who’s putatively speaking for a neighborhood council.
Continue reading In December 2016 Carol Schatz Arranged For Lobbyist Laura Mecoy To Ghostwrite Anti Street Vending Talking Points For Studio City Neighborhood Council Representative Barry Johnson, Who Was Appearing Before The Public Works Committee To Give A CIS — Although Potentially Illegally — Demonstrating Infiltration Of Neighborhood Councils By The Zillionaire Power Elite And Their Lobbyists And Minions To A Hitherto Unsuspected Degree

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President & CEO Tara Huckabee Devine Quoted A Renewal Consulting Price Of $49,000 To The Studio City BID — John Walker Complained — She Lowered It To $36,000, Proving That Her Original BID Was Based On Nothing At All — So Why Didn’t South Park Or Venice Get A Price Break? — Accounting Is Easy When You’re Playing With Other People’s Money — And Why Would None Of Her References Return John Walker’s Phone Calls? — Nothing Good To Say Don’t Say Anything, Perhaps?

I reported a couple days ago on interactions between Studio City BID Executive Boss Dude John Walker and thoroughly disgraced BID consultant and former engineer Ed Henning concerning the BID’s impending renewal, for which Ed Henning is the BID consultant. Well, it turns out that before hiring Ed Henning, John Walker conversed with and ultimately solicited a proposal from everyone’s favorite shadowy BID consultant, the inimitable Ms. President & CEO Tara Huckabee Devine!

And of course, these conversations took place via email! And of course I asked John Walker for copies! And of course he handed them right over!1 And of course I published them all over on Archive.Org for your edification and enjoyment! So basically, here’s what happened.

After some introductory chit-chat, President & CEO Tara Devine sent John Walker a proposal for renewal services, quoting a price of $49,000 max. John Walker was all like this is too damn much money! And in response President Tara Devine sent another proposal, and now the price was only $36,000. How is it possible to have an actual proposal for services where the price can be dropped by more than 26% just because a client complained?

If the bid could be slashed to that extent, it must have been a piece of blue sky to begin with, which means it was more than likely to have been a piece of blue sky after the price drop. That this is so is strongly suggested by the fact that Ed Henning is willing to handle the renewal for no more than $18,900, which is right around half of what Tara Devine wanted.

Of course, the real questions that Tara Devine’s jumping bean figures suggests are first, why did the South Park BID pay her around $80,000 for their renewal, and second, how freaking much money did the Venice Beach Property Owners’s Association pay her to establish their Satanic BID-by-the-sea?

“Why” questions like the first are notoriously hard to answer, but I’m going to bet that, despite President Tara Devine’s pig-headed turned-up-to-eleven intransigence with respect to public records, the second is going to be revealed soon enough.2 Anyway, turn the page for links to the emails, some transcriptions, and the usual good humored bad attitude!
Continue reading President & CEO Tara Huckabee Devine Quoted A Renewal Consulting Price Of $49,000 To The Studio City BID — John Walker Complained — She Lowered It To $36,000, Proving That Her Original BID Was Based On Nothing At All — So Why Didn’t South Park Or Venice Get A Price Break? — Accounting Is Easy When You’re Playing With Other People’s Money — And Why Would None Of Her References Return John Walker’s Phone Calls? — Nothing Good To Say Don’t Say Anything, Perhaps?

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Emails Between Studio City BID Director John Walker And Disgraced BID Consultant Slash Civil Engineer Ed Henning Shed Some Newish Light On The BID Renewal Process — E.G. Lawsuits Against BIDs Have Greatly Complicated Matters But Ed Henning Is “In constant touch with the attorneys defending the City BIDs” — The Agreement Between Henning And The BID Sheds A Lot Of Light On The Still-Unresolved Question Of Whether BID Consultancy Is Lobbying

As I mentioned the other day, I recently received a huge set of emails from the Studio City BID.1 This is an interesting time to be looking at their correspondence, because the SCBID is set to renew in January 2020, so the process is just now getting started. And although I haven’t had time yet to prep the whole multiGB release for publication, I did get this set of emails between John Walker and Ed Henning ready, along with all the attachments.

Ed Henning, you may recall, is a civil engineer and popular BID consultant. He recently handled the San Pedro BID‘s renewal. He did the engineering report for the South Los Angeles Industrial Tract BID in 2015, the South Park BID in 2017, and, most famously, for the Venice Beach BID establishment in 2016. His work on that last project was so shoddy that it led to a Venice resident filing a complaint against Ed Henning with the California Board for Professional Engineers.2

And, as it turns out, he is also handling the entire renewal for the SCBID, at an estimated total cost of no more than $18,900.3 And although John Walker’s email conversation with Ed Henning was only tangentially responsive to my CPRA request,4 I got a really good set of records.

The emails contain discussions of Ed Henning’s fees, of the various tasks to be completed in the renewal process, of the wisdom of the SCBID’s adding more territory to their BID, of how various lawsuits against BIDs in Los Angeles have complicated the renewal process and of how Ed Henning is being coached by the defense attorneys in those cases on how to modify his Management District Plans and Engineer’s Reports to withstand challenges, and so on.

This is invaluable information for students of the BID consulting process. Turn the page for links, transcriptions, and discussion!
Continue reading Emails Between Studio City BID Director John Walker And Disgraced BID Consultant Slash Civil Engineer Ed Henning Shed Some Newish Light On The BID Renewal Process — E.G. Lawsuits Against BIDs Have Greatly Complicated Matters But Ed Henning Is “In constant touch with the attorneys defending the City BIDs” — The Agreement Between Henning And The BID Sheds A Lot Of Light On The Still-Unresolved Question Of Whether BID Consultancy Is Lobbying

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John Walker Of The Studio City BID Asked Rita Moreno Of The Clerk’s Office For Advice On A CPRA Request I Made And She Gave Him A Detailed, Thoughtful, Largely Correct Response Despite The Fact That Doing So Directly Contradicts Her Boss, The Mendacious Ms. Holly Wolcott, Who Has Asserted Time And Again That “the Clerk’s office [does not] have the authority to control/direct the records management practices of … BIDs”

In the great and good1 City of Los Angeles, business improvement districts are overseen by the City Clerk‘s office. They have a whole subsection of their website about BIDs; how to form one, what they are, and so on. And not only that, but as part of their oversight process, each BID signs a contract with the City Clerk’s office. These are all about the same as one another, and if you want to look at one, here’s a link to the Studio City BID’s contract.2

And, like every one of these contracts between the City and its BIDs, this one contains, in Section 16.3, the following fairly unequivocal requirement: “… Corporation and the Board of Directors are also subject to and must comply with the California Public Records Act.” Finally, buried deep down in this website, they have published a stunning little item called the Service Operations Summary, which purports to explain the City’s role in relation to its BIDs.

In particular, in Section 5, this document claims that:3 “THE [CLERK’S] OFFICE PROVIDES CONTINUOUS CONTRACT COMPLIANCE ASSISTANCE. Staff monitors the use of revenue in order to ensure that assessments paid by district members are used appropriately and in accordance with contractual, budgetary, statutory and City regulations and procedures.”

Now, it’s a tragic aspect of the CPRA that the only remedy for noncompliance that the legislature has seen fit to provide is a lawsuit. However, it seems at least plausible from the foregoing that if a BID is not complying with the CPRA, it’s the duty of the office of the Clerk to ensure that they do comply with it. Acting on this theory, and hoping to avoid a bunch of damn lawsuits,4 once upon a time in 2016 I tried to get Ms. Holly Wolcott to mediate between me and uppity non-CPRA-compliant BIDs.

But she, almost certainly acting on the advice of rogue deputy city attorney Michael Joseph Dundas, denied that the City had any power whatsoever to compel BIDs to comply with the law, despite what the above-quoted Service Operations Summary claimed. Despite the fact that the City has a contract with each BID and the contract requires CPRA compliance. And she didn’t just deny it, she denied it vehemently:, stating in an email to me5 that:“…the Clerk’s office [does not] have the authority to control/direct the records management practices of the various BIDs which are entities wholly separate from the City.”

Anyway, a couple weeks ago, I sent a CPRA request to the Studio City BID, asking for a bunch of stuff. When the material showed up yesterday, I found an exchange between John Walker and Rita Moreno, a City Clerk staffer in charge of many aspects of BIDs, discussing my request. Basically he was all like do we have to do it because expensive and time-consuming. And she was all like … well, turn the page to read all the emails and see exactly what she was all like, but suffice it to say she was all like DIRECTING him to do it because of the law. That is, she was doing precisely what her boss, the famous Ms. Holly Wolcott, said that the City would never do and didn’t even have the power to do.
Continue reading John Walker Of The Studio City BID Asked Rita Moreno Of The Clerk’s Office For Advice On A CPRA Request I Made And She Gave Him A Detailed, Thoughtful, Largely Correct Response Despite The Fact That Doing So Directly Contradicts Her Boss, The Mendacious Ms. Holly Wolcott, Who Has Asserted Time And Again That “the Clerk’s office [does not] have the authority to control/direct the records management practices of … BIDs”

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