Tag Archives: Kurt Knecht

Everyone Knows That LAMC 41.18(d) Outlaws Sitting Or Lying On A Sidewalk Or Street — At Least If You’re Homeless — But Did You Know That It’s Also Illegal Even To Stand Or Walk In An Alley? — At Least If You’re Homeless — Downtown Neighborhood Prosecutor Kurt Knecht Explains The Whole Thing To The LAPD — Who Aren’t Just Abstractly Interested In Legal Principles That Can’t Be Weaponized — And Clearly This One Can

One of the most shameful sections in the entire Los Angeles Municipal Code is the reprehensible LAMC 41.18(d), which says in its sinister understated way that “No person shall sit, lie or sleep in or upon any street, sidewalk or other public way.” The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in its monumental Jones decision, has called this “one of the most restrictive municipal laws regulating public spaces in the United States” because, unlike laws passed by sane people, it doesn’t even require blocking anything for a violation. Just sitting, lying, or sleeping.1

As you can imagine if you don’t already know, this law is certainly never enforced against anyone who’s not homeless. We’ve seen, e.g., how Hurricane Kerry Morrison, killer queen of the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance, can confess publicly to violating it with no consequences. There are many, many such instances. But maybe you’ve noticed the loophole? You can be sure that, as many homeless people as the LAPD’s able to arrest for violating LAMC 41.18(d), there are surely far, far too many who get away unarrested because they’re standing or walking. As long, that is, as they’re not sleepwalking or sleepstanding. Then they can still be arrested.

This is an important unsolved problem in the criminalization of homelessness, at least from the point of view of the criminalizers. That is to say, how can they illegalize not just most, but actually all positions that a homeless body can be in? They have evidently had their finest legal minds working on it, and it turns out that Downtown neighborhood prosecutor Kurt Knecht, has come up with a legal theory on which homeless people can be arrested for standing or walking as well as sitting or lying as long as they’re doing it in an alley that’s open to cars. It’s only a partial solution, to be sure, but it seems to be a new addition to the criminalization toolkit.

The context is found in this September 2017 email from Knecht to LAPD captains Marc Reina and Timothy Harrelson about a homeless encampment in an alley in the 700 block of South Hill Street:2
Continue reading Everyone Knows That LAMC 41.18(d) Outlaws Sitting Or Lying On A Sidewalk Or Street — At Least If You’re Homeless — But Did You Know That It’s Also Illegal Even To Stand Or Walk In An Alley? — At Least If You’re Homeless — Downtown Neighborhood Prosecutor Kurt Knecht Explains The Whole Thing To The LAPD — Who Aren’t Just Abstractly Interested In Legal Principles That Can’t Be Weaponized — And Clearly This One Can

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Psychopathic Rageball George Yu Of The Chinatown BID Admits On Camera That He Broke The Law By Using BID Personnel To Preemptively Displace Homeless People Outside His BID Boundaries — Less Importantly Years Later He’s Still Whining About The Chinatown Walmart Fiasco As He Lambastes Outsiders From Alhambra For Daring To Have An Opinion — And In More Aggro Yu-ian Weirdness, Admonishes Public Commenters To Keep It Short And Cut The “Bullshit”

I’m sure you read about my big adventure yesterday when I went up north to film the Chinatown BID’s meeting and criminal ringleader George Yu got so salty that I wouldn’t tell him who I was that he flipped out to an extraordinary degree, screamed at me and then banned me for life from his weirdo fiefdom, the Far East Plaza.

But that’s not all that happened at the meeting. It turns out that George Yu is not merely a psychopathic rageball but he also runs his meetings like some kind of free association fest, like he’s on the couch and the audience is his analyst. And the most revealing, peculiar, unbelievable stuff came pouring forth from George Yu, self-betrayal oozing from his every pore, as they say.

So for instance, he admitted that he sent his BID crew to clean up something to do with homeless people at Sunset and Beaudry which, it seems, is not in his BID. Watch and listen here: You’ll see background photos on the screen. We worked with [unintelligible]. Yes, it’s at Sunset and Beaudry. No, it’s technically not Chinatown. But if those… If the [unintelligible] people there are staying at Sunset and Beaudry and then venture into Chinatown it’s a whole nother story. Our residents walk past this site daily. We couldn’t stand it. We cleaned it up.

Of course, it’s explicitly against state law for BIDs to spend money, which includes expending labor, on anything outside their boundaries. Just take a look at the Property and Business Improvement District Law at §36625(a)(6), which states unequivocally that: The revenue from the levy of assessments within a district shall not be used to provide improvements, maintenance, or activities outside the district …1
Continue reading Psychopathic Rageball George Yu Of The Chinatown BID Admits On Camera That He Broke The Law By Using BID Personnel To Preemptively Displace Homeless People Outside His BID Boundaries — Less Importantly Years Later He’s Still Whining About The Chinatown Walmart Fiasco As He Lambastes Outsiders From Alhambra For Daring To Have An Opinion — And In More Aggro Yu-ian Weirdness, Admonishes Public Commenters To Keep It Short And Cut The “Bullshit”

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