Tag Archives: Katie Kiefer

South Park BID Employment Policy Forbids Its Staff From Revealing Their Salaries — These People Are Being Paid With Public Funds — So It’s Not Only Not Desirable To Keep Their Salaries Secret — It’s Actually Not Possible — Therefore We Are Going To Reveal Them All To You In This Post! — Every Last Freaking South Parkie Salary! — With Bonuses! — The Teaser Is That Josh Kreger — Who Is Director Of Quasi-Legal Real Estate Crapola Or Some Such Nonsense — Gets More Than $100,000 Per Year — You’d Think With That Kinda Money He Could Afford A Damn Razor!

Tonight I am presenting a new BIDdological source document for your analytical pleasure. It is the 2018 Employee Manual of the South Park Stakeholders Group which, as you may well know, is the designated property owners’ association for the South Park BID. Anyway, take a look. It’s full of the usual inconsequential nonsense for the most part, but still, this little bit caught my eye:

SALARY CONFIDENTIALITY

It is customary to maintain confidentiality regarding salary and compensation. Because so many different factors have been taken into consideration in determining your salary, it would be difficult to accurately compare your salary with those of fellow employees. Salary discussions and salary review questions should be limited to your supervisor, the Executive Director or President.

But this kind of thing is just silly when it comes to agencies, like the BID, that are subject to the Public Records Act. Obviously paying people creates records and obviously those records are public so obviously the salaries of people employed by agencies subject to the CPRA cannot be kept secret. This is why a website like Transparent California can exist.

Of course, Transparent California sets out to learn the salaries of public employees in California. On the other hand, our goal is to learn everything possible about the City’s BIDs. Sometimes we ask for salary information specifically, but other times it just turns up. You will, of course, remember the monumental release of SPBID Board member Bob Buente’s emails. Well right in there, unasked-for and just waiting to be discovered, was this little gem of an email conversation between Ellen Salome Riotto and the various members of the BID’s executive committee.1

The subject is Staff bonuses and the purpose is for the executive committee to approve them for December 2017. The BID seems to give each staffie 5% of their annual salary as a bonus and so, in order to have an informed discussion of the bonuses it’s necessary for the committee and Ellen Salome Riotto to discuss their salaries. And that’s how we know what they are, regardless of the SALARY CONFIDENTIALITY clause in the Employee Handbook. You know you wanna know what they are! Just turn the page and all will be revealed!
Continue reading South Park BID Employment Policy Forbids Its Staff From Revealing Their Salaries — These People Are Being Paid With Public Funds — So It’s Not Only Not Desirable To Keep Their Salaries Secret — It’s Actually Not Possible — Therefore We Are Going To Reveal Them All To You In This Post! — Every Last Freaking South Parkie Salary! — With Bonuses! — The Teaser Is That Josh Kreger — Who Is Director Of Quasi-Legal Real Estate Crapola Or Some Such Nonsense — Gets More Than $100,000 Per Year — You’d Think With That Kinda Money He Could Afford A Damn Razor!

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The South Park BID Failed To Even Negotiate Let Alone Execute A Contract With Tara Devine For Handling Their 2017 Renewal — They Didn’t Even Realize There Was No Contract Until My CPRA Request Called Their Attention To It — At Which Point Bob Buente Suggested Fraudulently Executing A Back-Dated Contract — But Worried This Would Haunt The Board If “we’re deposed because Tara does something nefarious” — Ellen Riotto — Who Has More Common Sense Than The Average Zeck Dreck — Advised Against It

So in 2017, back when I was trying to understand Tara Devine’s BID consultancy work for the South Park BID, I sent the Parkies a CPRA request for her contract.1 At the time, twisted little minion Katie Kiefer, who quit the BID earlier this year and is now working for shockingly rapey CD14 repster José Huizar, kept telling me that the BID didn’t have any records responsive to my request. I found this impossible to believe, that putatively competent zillionaire business types would hire someone to do a job for which they’d be paid in the high five figures and not have a written contract explaining what they were expected to do.

It didn’t seem plausible2 so I assumed Katie Kiefer was playing word games with me, which was exactly the kind of crapola she was pulling at the time, all under the baleful influence of Carol Humiston, the world’s angriest CPRA lawyer, along with the rest of her 2017 Parkie buddies. You can read the whole correspondence here on Archive.Org if you’re interested.3 But now, thanks to the recent release of Bob Buente’s emails, a hyper-Aladdinesque trove of wonders provided to me by the ever-helpful Ellen Salome Riotto, current zeck dreck of the Parkers, the truth has come out and can now be explained!

I made my original request for Tara Devine’s contract on July 12, 2017. On July 13, 2017 the Parkies, hiding as usual behind their sinister masks, told me that there was no contract. And here’s where things get interesting! The next day, on July 14, 2017, Ellen Riotto emailed her executive committee and asked them if there even was a contract:

From: Ellen Riotto <ellen@southpark.la>
To: Robin Bieker <robin@biekerco.com>, “Sjordan@legends.net” <Sjordan@legends.net>, “daniel@jadeent.com” <daniel@jadeent.com>, “bbuente@1010dev.org” <bbuente@1010dev.org>, “JLall@ccala.org” <JLall@ccala.org>
Subject: Devine Strategies Contract approval

All,

Per the CA Public Records Act, we’ve been asked to disclose our contract with Tara. The only record we have on file is her proposal, attached. We do not have a final signed contract. We looked through meeting mins to see if we could track down a board vote to approve the proposal, but were unsuccessful. Do you recall if this decision was made by the executive committee?

Thanks

Ellen

The attached proposal she mentions in the email is available here. Also note that if she were following the law she would have asked these BIDdies if they had the records before she told me that they did not, but there’s not much to be done about that. And with that simple request, things really went off the rails!
Continue reading The South Park BID Failed To Even Negotiate Let Alone Execute A Contract With Tara Devine For Handling Their 2017 Renewal — They Didn’t Even Realize There Was No Contract Until My CPRA Request Called Their Attention To It — At Which Point Bob Buente Suggested Fraudulently Executing A Back-Dated Contract — But Worried This Would Haunt The Board If “we’re deposed because Tara does something nefarious” — Ellen Riotto — Who Has More Common Sense Than The Average Zeck Dreck — Advised Against It

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How Is South Park BIDdie And Famously Manic Minion Katie Kiefer Just Like Richard Nixon? Well, We Won’t Have Either Of Them To Kick Around Any More — Not Sure Where Nixon’s At But Katie Kiefer’s Off To Work For José Huizar In CD14 — Did I Mention That I Recorded This Morning’s South Park BID Meeting? Well I Did!

This is just a short note to announce the availability of video of this morning’s meeting of the South Park BID‘s board of directors. There’s a lot going on here, and I have at least a few detailed posts to write about this material over the next few days, but I just wanted to provide links so you can see for yourself, and also to announce a stunning piece of news about the SPBID’s director of operations Katie Kiefer.

She is leaving the BID to go work for the prince of darkness himself, Mr. José Huizar, over at 200 N. Spring Street. This makes her the latest BIDdie to move over to Huizar’s office, the last known instance being Mr. Ari Simon, late of the Historic Core BID, batty little fusspot Blair Besten’s weirdo empire on Broadway.

Here are links to the video, and turn the page for a transcription of bad BIDdie Ellen Riotto’s announcement to the board:

Continue reading How Is South Park BIDdie And Famously Manic Minion Katie Kiefer Just Like Richard Nixon? Well, We Won’t Have Either Of Them To Kick Around Any More — Not Sure Where Nixon’s At But Katie Kiefer’s Off To Work For José Huizar In CD14 — Did I Mention That I Recorded This Morning’s South Park BID Meeting? Well I Did!

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Even Funnier The Second Time Around! Ellen Riotto And/Or Manic Minion Katie Kiefer Of The South Park BID Continue To Follow Open-Sourced Wiki-Legal Advice From Internet Randoms At Your Favorite Blog Evers!!

It seems like forever ago by now, but maybe you recall that in February the South Parkers sent around an agenda announcing a closed session that was so freaking out of compliance with the Brown Act that I could not, despite mom’s best advice, keep my mouth shut. Thus I emailed the Parkies and hilarity and agenda revisions ensued!

Well, these Southies have another meeting coming up this very Thursday, and imagine my joy when I received a copy of the agenda! And imagine my horror when I noticed the bit about teleconferencing! Here’s what it said:

CONFERENCE DIAL-IN :
If you cannot join the meeting physically but wish to join via phone, meeting dial-in details:
Conference number: 857 – 216-3930
Conference PIN: 45426

Please notify Katie Kiefer. Director of Operations, at least 48-hours in advance if you will be dialing in. Contact her via email, Katie@SouthPark.LA, or by phone, (213) 663-1120.

We’ve been through this crapola before with the East Hollywood BID. The plain fact is that the Brown Act forbids teleconferencing unless it’s happening from a teleconference location where members of the public can go to participate. You can read all about it in §54953(b). It’s just not OK to assume that all members of the public who wish to participate have phones.

Also, the Brown Act at §54953.3 forbids local agencies1 to require members of the public to identify themselves as a condition of attending the meeting. This made me pretty sure that the BID’s requiring would-be teleconferencers to register their names with Ellen Riotto’s manic minion Katie Kiefer was another violation.

So anyway, usually I would just wait around for the BIDdies to actually break the damn law and then turn them in to the Public Integrity Division of the Los Angeles County District Attorney like I did with the Los Felizites and more recently with the Central City East Association. But it was so entertaining the last time I warned them and they actually took my advice that I thought I’d give that another try.

So I sent them an email saying essentially hey friends you’re about to break the law again! And what do you know? A couple hours later they sent me an email2 saying essentially hey friend, you’re right! We’ll change everything! And then a couple-few days later, that is, this morning, they sent out a revised agenda stating definitively that:

NOTE: Teleconferencing into this meeting will not be enabled.

So woo-freaking-hoo, amirite?! Turn the page for transcriptions of the emails.
Continue reading Even Funnier The Second Time Around! Ellen Riotto And/Or Manic Minion Katie Kiefer Of The South Park BID Continue To Follow Open-Sourced Wiki-Legal Advice From Internet Randoms At Your Favorite Blog Evers!!

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Ahahahaha And LOL!!! Ellen Riotto Of The South Park BID Is Now Taking Sensitive Legal Advice From Internet Randoms At This Blog!!!

The Brown Act contains many wonderful treasures, but one of the wonderfullest is to be found at §54954.1, which states unambiguously that:

Any person may request that a copy of the agenda, or a copy of all the documents constituting the agenda packet, of any meeting of a legislative body be mailed to that person. … Upon receipt of the written request, the legislative body or its designee shall cause the requested materials to be mailed at the time the agenda is posted pursuant to Section 54954.2 and 54956 or upon distribution to all, or a majority of all, of the members of a legislative body, whichever occurs first.

I ask many of my BID friends to send me these notifications and their agenda packets. It really seems to piss most of them off.1 I don’t feel bad for asking BIDs to comply with the law, though. After all, it’s voluntary on their part and they’re making an awful damn lot of money out of it.

So anyway, our friends at the South Park BID are reasonably cooperative about complying with the law. They invited me to sign up for their public mailing list, which I did. It’s an open question as to whether this is compliance, since the law requires notifications to be sent at the time that the board receives them, but this presently seems too minor to quibble over. On the other hand they spout an awful lot of spam through that account, and clearly I shouldn’t be required to sort through the junk just to be able to receive notifications that they’re legally mandated to send. Again, though, this is an argument for another day.

However, it turns out that the South Park BID does distribute packets to its board of directors in advance of the meetings and also that those are not available via the public mailing list. I only found out about this recently, so I wrote to the BID boss ladies and asked them to send them goodies my way!

After some nonsense with them interrogating me mercilessly about which email address I wanted the board packets sent to,2 we got all the details ironed out. And after that, my friends, it must follow, as the night the day, that I ended up sending Ellen Riotto some of my sage legal advice and, amazingly, she ended up taking it!3 Read on for the details and a bunch of emails!
Continue reading Ahahahaha And LOL!!! Ellen Riotto Of The South Park BID Is Now Taking Sensitive Legal Advice From Internet Randoms At This Blog!!!

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Massive Document Dump Concerning Shadowy BID Consultant Tara Devine — What Has She Been Up To Since Destroying Venice Beach And How She Is Probably In Way More Trouble Than Anyone Thought With Respect To Not Having Registered As A Lobbyist

Yesterday I took a little trip South on Flower Street to the dark horse Death Star of downtown, the South Park BID, to look over some public records that they’ve been holding out on since January 2017 and only coughed up because my lawyer can beat up their lawyer.1 I found a hot mess of, among many, many problems, bizarrely damaged emails printed to PDF in random order with unintelligible OCR, missing attachments, purposely scrambled pages, and misnamed and poorly divided files. It’s going to take quite a while to put this nonsense into any kind of useful state,2 but I know a lot of my readers are wondering what’s up with shadowy BID consultant Tara Devine,3 so I thought I’d get the information concerning her up as fast as possible, even though it’s not yet in an ideal format.

That’s the big news, and you can turn the page if you’re in the mood for more detail and discussion. Note, though, that I’ll be posting about this material again once I get it revised into a more useful form.
Continue reading Massive Document Dump Concerning Shadowy BID Consultant Tara Devine — What Has She Been Up To Since Destroying Venice Beach And How She Is Probably In Way More Trouble Than Anyone Thought With Respect To Not Having Registered As A Lobbyist

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A Potential Solution To A Perennial Problem At The Nexus Of Los Angeles Business Improvement Districts, The Municipal Lobbying Ordinance, And A Few Widely Abused Exemptions To The California Public Records Act

The life-cycle of a request for documents under the California Public Records Act goes like this: A member of the public asks to see records held by some agency. The agency has ten days1 to respond with a determination which states whether the agency has any such records and, if so, when the agency will be ready to hand them over.2 In general agencies are required to produce all requested records.

However, CPRA lists certain classes of records which are exempt from production. Some of these so-called exemptions are weirdly specific, e.g. at §6253.5 we read:

…statewide, county, city, and district initiative, referendum, and recall petitions … and all memoranda prepared by the county elections officials in the examination of the petitions indicating which registered voters have signed particular petitions shall not be deemed to be public records…

One of the two most important sections of CPRA with respect to exemptions is found at §6254, which consists of innumerable sections, each listing an exemption or a broad class of exemptions. And as completely in favor of absolute government transparency as I am, it’s clear that at least some of these are absolutely justified. For instance, §6254(r) exempts:

Records of Native American graves, cemeteries, and sacred places and records of Native American places, features, and objects … maintained by, or in the possession of, the Native American Heritage Commission, another state agency, or a local agency.

And there are sections which exempt such things as reports on vulnerabilities to terrorism, library circulation records, certain financial data that people are required by law to submit, and so on. These are mostly noncontroversial. Others, however, are much less defensible, at least as applied.
Continue reading A Potential Solution To A Perennial Problem At The Nexus Of Los Angeles Business Improvement Districts, The Municipal Lobbying Ordinance, And A Few Widely Abused Exemptions To The California Public Records Act

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The Hollywood Chamber Of Commerce Amended Its Lobbying Registration Form in April 2017 And The Only Change Was The Date They Qualified — More Interesting, Though, Is The Fact That They Consider Their Pro-Establishment Advocacy For Jeff Zarrinnam’s Inchoate Hollywood-Western And Route 66 BIDs To Be Lobbying Activity

It’s well-known that the Municipal Lobbying Ordinance requires lobbyists of all stripes to register with the City Ethics Commission. The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce is no exception to the rule.1 They are also required to amend their registration forms if there are any material changes in the information provided.2

And as you know if you follow this blog, I find everything to do with lobbyists in Los Angeles fascinating, and thus I haunt the Ethics Commission’s lobbying pages, poring over the alphabetical lists of individual lobbyists and of lobbyist firms and employers to see if anything’s changed or if something is newly interesting.

And lo! Last night I noticed that our old friends, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, had amended their registration form on April 28. Here are the two forms:

Well, I stared and stared and stared at those two forms just trying to figure out what had changed. Eventually I noticed that the original form had January 31, 2017 as the date they’d qualified as a lobbying entity3 whereas the amended version had January 1, 2017 as the day of qualifying.

One of the Hollywood Chamber’s registration forms superimposed on the other with 38% opacity so that it’s clear that the only difference is in the qualifying date. Click to enlarge, of course.

There’s a lot of information on the forms, though, and I didn’t feel confident that the difference I’d noticed was in fact the only difference. I wasn’t sure what do to until this morning, when it occurred to me that if I put both pages into the GIMP, superimposed one on top of the other, and then faded the opacity up and down I’d be able to notice what changed.4 And it turns out that in fact, it’s correct that the only change was the date of the Hollywood Chamber’s qualifying as a lobbyist.

Which leads irresistibly to the question of why Leron Gubler and/or Nicole Shahenian, who are the Hollywood Chamber’s two registered lobbyists, felt the need to make this tiny change. Read on for speculations and some other chit-chat about the fact that Leron Gubler lists the establishment of the Hollywood Western and the Route 66 BIDs as issues the Chamber is lobbying for this year.
Continue reading The Hollywood Chamber Of Commerce Amended Its Lobbying Registration Form in April 2017 And The Only Change Was The Date They Qualified — More Interesting, Though, Is The Fact That They Consider Their Pro-Establishment Advocacy For Jeff Zarrinnam’s Inchoate Hollywood-Western And Route 66 BIDs To Be Lobbying Activity

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The Fascinating Story Of How It Took Three Months And A Demand Letter From An Attorney To Get Rena Leddy To Disclose That The Fashion District BID Is Paying Steve Gibson Of Urban Place Consulting $215 Per Hour For BID Renewal Consulting, Which Is Less Than Larry Kosmont Gets But More Than Ed Henning

Late last year it occurred to me that BID consultants, who help BIDs with the City processes necessary to establish or renew a BID, are essentially engaging in lobbying activity as defined in the Municipal Lobbying Ordinance at LAMC §48.02 and yet none of them1 seemed to be registered with the Ethics Commission as required by LAMC §48.07(A).

I then spent months piecing together over 100 pages of evidence to show that BID consultant Tara Devine had violated this law. Subsequently it occurred to me that the contracts that the consultants sign with BIDs would provide essential evidence that they’d been acting as lobbyists, so I determined to request these from many renewing BIDs. This led me to the discovery, thanks to the incomparable Laurie Hughes of the Gateway to LA BID, that GTLA’s BID consultant, Larry Kosmont, actually was registered as a lobbyist and had disclosed his BID consultancy as lobbying in his required reporting. The San Pedro BID is also up for renewal, and has recently released a fairly complete set of BID renewal records.

This brings us to the Fashion District. On February 21, 2017 I emailed Rena Leddy to request, among other material:

… all records associated with the renewal process, including but not limited to communications between the BID and the consultant and/or the engineer, contracts with and invoices from the consultant or the engineer, materials prepared by the consultant or the engineer for the renewal process, databases and mailing lists prepared or used by the consultant or the engineer, and also any communications between the consultant and the engineer that aren’t already responsive to the first part of this request.

The story of what happened after that stretched out over three months and generated many many megabytes of discussion. Read on for a (far too) detailed and exceedingly well-documented narrative recounting, complete with a happy, happy ending!
Continue reading The Fascinating Story Of How It Took Three Months And A Demand Letter From An Attorney To Get Rena Leddy To Disclose That The Fashion District BID Is Paying Steve Gibson Of Urban Place Consulting $215 Per Hour For BID Renewal Consulting, Which Is Less Than Larry Kosmont Gets But More Than Ed Henning

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Kosmont Invoices For Gateway To LA BID Reveal How Much Time It Takes To Get A BID Renewed, And It Doesn’t Look Good For BID Consultants, Like Tara Devine, Like Urban Place Consulting, That Are Not Registered As Lobbyists With The City

Larry Kosmont handled the Gateway to LA BID’s 2014-5 renewal and was, very properly, registered as a lobbyist while doing so.
You may recall that the Los Angeles Municipal Lobbying Ordinance requires qualified lobbyists to register with the City Ethics Commission and also disclose a bunch of interesting information about their clients and their income. Also, the process of establishing or renewing a BID is fairly complex, and most property owners’ associations1 hire a consultant to guide them through the process. These consultants are regulated and recommended by the City Clerk’s office.

The process of getting a BID established or renewed, it turns out, looks an awful lot like the definition of lobbying activity to be found at LAMC §48.02, which is essentially preparing information and discussing it with City officials as part of influencing the passage of municipal legislation. The law requires anyone who’s paid for thirty or more hours of this over three consecutive months to register as a lobbyist, and it’s generally extremely hard to prove that someone’s met this criterion. You may, e.g., recall that earlier this year, in order to make a reasonably convincing case that Venice Beach BID consultant Tara Devine had passed this threshold, I spent months piecing together more than a hundred pages of evidence regarding her BID consultancy work.

But recently it’s occurred to me that these consultants have contracts with the BIDs they service, and that at least in the case of BID renewals, the contracts will be accessible via the Public Records Act.2 The contracts will contain some information about how much time the consultants spend on the project, and thus should be useful as evidence in reporting consultants to the Ethics Commission for lobbying without a license.

The project started to produce results at the end of February, when the incomparable Laurie Hughes of the Gateway to LA BID supplied me with her BID’s contracts with Larry Kosmont, who was handling the renewal process.3 Well, late last week, Laurie Hughes gave me an absolutely essential set of documents, consisting of detailed monthly invoices from Kosmont to the BID during the 15+ month renewal process. These are fascinating,4 containing as they do detailed inventories of every individual task involved in the renewal process broken down into fifteen minute billing increments. Turn the page for more descriptions, discussion, and speculations.
Continue reading Kosmont Invoices For Gateway To LA BID Reveal How Much Time It Takes To Get A BID Renewed, And It Doesn’t Look Good For BID Consultants, Like Tara Devine, Like Urban Place Consulting, That Are Not Registered As Lobbyists With The City

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