Tag Archives: Koreatown

Mike Hakim, Zillionaire Carpetbagging Developer From Beverly Hills, Tried To Sell His Soul To Eric Garcetti But — Most Unkindest Cut Of All! — No Matter How He Begged And Pleaded Eric Garcetti Wasn’t Buying Cause Brenda Arianpour’s Soul Was Way Cuter — Too Bad So Sad Mike Hakim!

I wrote last month about an interesting incident in which Eric Garcetti asked Mike Russell of the Wilshire Center BID to arrange for a tame zillionaire1 to speak at the joint Garcetti/Wesson press conference announcing the star-crossed Koreatown homeless shelter which was, at that time, being proposed by Wesson. Mike Hakim, Beverly Hills zillionaire and proponent of a universally reviled K-Town skyscraper, volunteered but Mike Russell and Eric Garcetti went with Beverly Hills zillionairette Brenda Arianpour instead.

Well, the other day I got a whole new set of emails from Mr. Mike Russell,2 which you can read all of right here on the Archive. And amongst these were some that told the rest of the story. It seems that after Mike Hakim volunteered, while Mike Russell and Eric Garcetti’s communications staff were busy fluffing Brenda Arianpour for her big day, no one bothered to tell Mike Hakim that his contributions were unwanted.

Finally, days later, like the little sad clown he tries so hard not to be, he emailed Mike Russell reminding him that he was willing to speak. Mike Russell, never one to waste an opportunity, told Mike Hakim that Eric Garcetti liked Brenda Arianpour better, even though mostly Mike Russell chose her, and then had the nerve to tell Mike Hakim that the Mayor still wanted him to show up and act like he supported the whole thing.

The record doesn’t show that Mike Hakim responded, but day of he regained some of his highly compromised personal dignity and said he couldn’t make it because traffic. And that, friends, is the whole tragedy laid out for your sympathy. Don’t ever think those zillionaire developers from Beverly Hills have it easy. Their lives are harder than yours in ways you can’t even imagine until you’ve earned or inherited your first zillion.

Turn the page, as always, for transcriptions of everything.
Continue reading Mike Hakim, Zillionaire Carpetbagging Developer From Beverly Hills, Tried To Sell His Soul To Eric Garcetti But — Most Unkindest Cut Of All! — No Matter How He Begged And Pleaded Eric Garcetti Wasn’t Buying Cause Brenda Arianpour’s Soul Was Way Cuter — Too Bad So Sad Mike Hakim!

Share

How Herb Wesson Arranged For His Constituents To Pack A Council File With Phony Astroturf Letters Supporting His K-Town Homeless Shelter — And The Letters Were Written By Herb Wesson’s Assistant Chief Deputy Andrew Westall

One of the important topics we study here is the function of business improvement districts as lobbyists, not least as tools that the City uses to lobby itself in order to create the illusion of popular support for its initiatives. We recently saw an excellent example of this trope when Eric Garcetti used the Wilshire Center BID to supply a speaker putatively from the community to support his and Herb Wesson’s proposed Koreatown homeless shelter.

And it seems that Eric Garcetti was not the only LA Politician engaged in astroturfing support for this project. Just yesterday I obtained a huge trove of emails from the Byzantine Latino Quarter BID along Pico Blvd. The most interesting item in there1 is a May 15, 2018 email from Herb Wesson’s field deputy Cairo Rodriguez to Moises Gomez, BLQ BID director, asking him to submit a letter supporting the shelter.

But the most amazing, unexpected part of Cairo Rodriguez’s appeal is that it came with a letter of support attached, just waiting for the blanks to be filled in. See here for the original DOCX file, and here for a PDF, and there’s a transcription after the break. This is so peculiar, isn’t it? Obviously Herb Wesson’s not trying to convince himself to vote for the shelter, and he doesn’t have to convince his colleagues, because they’ll vote for anything he supports in his own district, so what’s the point of these letters? So strange.

According to the metadata this faked-up letter of support was written by Andrew Westall, one of Herb Wesson’s senior staff members. And a glimpse at Council File 18-0392 shows that a lot of copies of this astroturf letter were in fact submitted by a lot of different organizations on letterhead, with signatures.2 There are links to samples after the break.
Continue reading How Herb Wesson Arranged For His Constituents To Pack A Council File With Phony Astroturf Letters Supporting His K-Town Homeless Shelter — And The Letters Were Written By Herb Wesson’s Assistant Chief Deputy Andrew Westall

Share

An Interesting Example From Wilshire Center Showing How Eric Garcetti Used The BID To Supply A Tame Businessperson To Speak For Herb Wesson’s Proposed K-Town Homeless Shelter — Revealing At Least One Of The Ways In Which The City Of Los Angeles Relies On BIDs To Manufacture An Appearance Of Community Support For Its Projects — Did I Mention The City Told The BID A Week Before They Told The News Media And Asked The BID To Keep Quiet About It?!

It’s been clear for a long time now that one of the uses that the City gets out of BIDs is to encourage them to lobby it, thus creating an appearance of community support for projects that the City intended to do all along. It’s easy to see the results of this process at any City Council meeting where a bunch of BIDdies line up to speak in favor of random proposal X that they don’t have any organic reason for caring about.

However, it’s not so easy to see the lead-up to the lobbying events. Obviously City officials are reluctant to release the evidence, and perhaps the BIDdies are as well.1 That’s why today’s documents are so very interesting! The emails I’m presenting are part of a larger release from the Wilshire Center BID, and you can get the original MBOX file or PDFs if you prefer here on Archive.Org.

The story is about the by-now famous homeless shelter proposed for Koreatown by CD10 repster Herb Wesson. The world found out about this project on May 2, 2018 at a joint press conference held by Wesson and Eric Garcetti, as Gale Holland explains in this characteristically excellent story in the Times.2

But amazingly, City staffers told the BID about the proposal on April 26, a full week before anyone else knew. BID board members were asked to keep quiet about it and also to propose a businessperson to speak at the May 2 press conference in support of the shelter. Real Estate zillionaire Mike Hakim volunteered himself to speak at BID director Mike Russell’s request but was, it seems, ignored by everyone, no doubt due to his shady, universally hated skyscraper project in Koreatown.

Instead, Mike Russell nominated Greenbridge Investments flunky Brenda Arianpour, a real estate zillionaire whom Russell misrepresented as a small business owner. After thorough vetting by Garcetti’s communications flacks, Arianpour was chosen to speak in favor of the project. Although not, of course, to speak in her own unscrutinized words. Garcetti’s flacks were sure to discuss “talking points” with her in advance.

The emails by which this was arranged are linked to and transcribed below.
Continue reading An Interesting Example From Wilshire Center Showing How Eric Garcetti Used The BID To Supply A Tame Businessperson To Speak For Herb Wesson’s Proposed K-Town Homeless Shelter — Revealing At Least One Of The Ways In Which The City Of Los Angeles Relies On BIDs To Manufacture An Appearance Of Community Support For Its Projects — Did I Mention The City Told The BID A Week Before They Told The News Media And Asked The BID To Keep Quiet About It?!

Share

Scumbag Cat-Kicking Koreatown Slumlord So Pleased With On-Demand CD13 Homeless Encampment Clean-Up That He Offers Commendations And Free Lunches for Staff, Campaign Contributions for Mitch O’Farrell

Dear kitty-cat,  TAKE THAT, YOU HOMELESS P.O.S.!!! Sincerely, Mitch O'Farrell and your friends at CD13.
Dear kitty-cat, TAKE THAT, YOU HOMELESS P.O.S.!!! Sincerely, Mitch O’Farrell and your friends at CD13.
I wrote some time ago about how CD13 staffer Aram Taslagyan organized an on-demand homeless encampment clean-up at the behest of scumbag cat-kicking Koreatown slumlord Bryan Kim, who needed it done really really fast because he had some kind of inspection forthcoming. Well, yesterday,1 I managed to get copies of some new emails between Bryan Kim and various CD13 staffies on the subject.2 In particular, on March 27, 2016, Bryan Kim wrote to CD13 District Director Marisol Rodriguez3 under the subject Recognizing Aram Taslagyan, stating e.g. that4

Aram did a great job demonstrating professional excellence and swiftly took comprehensive action to utilize his alliance with other groups such as LAPD, Sherrif, groups among others. I applaud his great effort for taking care (completely clearing all homeless encampment issues.

And what are Bryan Kim’s hopes for the future?

As of 4 days later there has still been no recurrence of them revisiting on Vermont and Marathon.

We hope to continue vigilant and collective efforts as I am in contact with Braille, LACC, local and community patrons to closely monitor any future outbreak, for which I will let Aram and lapd know.

Because as everyone who’s involved with “quality of life” knows, both homeless people and zombies arrive in “outbreaks.” Let’s hope we don’t have any more! And what is he asking Marisol Rodriguez to do?
Continue reading Scumbag Cat-Kicking Koreatown Slumlord So Pleased With On-Demand CD13 Homeless Encampment Clean-Up That He Offers Commendations And Free Lunches for Staff, Campaign Contributions for Mitch O’Farrell

Share

CD13 Staff Organizes On-Demand Homeless Encampment Cleanup for Benefit of Bryan Kim of “Scumbag” Cat-Kicking Koreatown Slumlords Kim and Casey, Subsequently Personally Invite Him to Support LAMC 56.11 in Council

CD13 gleefully kicking "frustrating" homeless people out of your neighborhood since 2013.
Mitch O’Farrell and his staff: gleefully kicking “frustrating” homeless people out of your neighborhood since 2013.
How does the City of Los Angeles decide which homeless encampments to target for cleanup? How do they decide when to target them? Well, if these two email chains from City Council District 13 about encampment-breaking on Vermont Avenue and Marathon Street in Koreatown are any indication (one and two) they target them when non-homeless people call CD13 and tell them to clean out the homeless people.1 And what do they get out of targeting them? Well, they’re politically savvy enough to turn down free lunches offered in exchange for their dirty work, but they will accept an offer of bused-in political supporters to astroturf the public comments section of a Council meeting. First let’s look at the players involved.

Bryan Kim is a partner in Koreatown based property management company Kim and Casey, which doesn’t seem to have a website.2 They do, however, have a Yelp page. This is notable for having uniformly one star reviews, which include comments like:3

They would tell me I was picky about the filth they’d promised to clean up before I moved in but never took care of it. They wouldn’t accept responsibility and blamed everyone and everything else until they were legally forced to take control of the growing sludge and cesspool that had been forming for I don’t know how many weeks .

Aram Taslagyan: "Hi Bryan, [the homeless encampment that was interfering with your pending property inspection] is all clean now. ... Please let me know if it starts up again at any level.
Aram Taslagyan: “Hi Bryan, [the homeless encampment that was interfering with your pending property inspection] is all clean now. … Please let me know if it starts up again at any level.

Or, even more colorfully:

I had my sink drain burst and when I asked them to fix it they said “NO”. The reason they gave me was that I had a bathroom sink to use and I dint really need the one in my kitchen. … What kind of management company is this? Also, one day as I was looking out my window, I saw one of the three guys who were walking the property from Kim and Casey Kick my neighbors cat at he was walking down the path way. It was the middle aged guy of the three that were walking the property. I don’t know his name and don’t care to know such a scumbag.

So that’s Bryan Kim according to Yelp; K-Town slumlord and associate of cat-kickers if not a cat-kicker himself. The other correspondent is CD13 field deputy Aram Taslagyan, whose bio you can read for yourself. The whole thing evidently began with a disconnected phone call from Kim to CD13 intern Sean Starkey, which resulted in this email:
Continue reading CD13 Staff Organizes On-Demand Homeless Encampment Cleanup for Benefit of Bryan Kim of “Scumbag” Cat-Kicking Koreatown Slumlords Kim and Casey, Subsequently Personally Invite Him to Support LAMC 56.11 in Council

Share