Tag Archives: LA Community Action Network

Skid Row Neighborhood Council Tentatively Rejected In Face Of DTLA Neighborhood Council Shenaniganistic Opposition. High-Powered Lobbyist, Criminal Conspirator, And Smoke-Filled Room Denizen Estela Lopez Apparently Uses Or Will Use California Public Records Act To Subvert Democratic Outcome

General Jeff Page in front of the Skid Row City Limits Mural.
According to the incomparable Gale Holland, writing in the L.A. Times, the initial balloting shows that the Skid Row Neighborhood Council has been defeated by a slim 62 vote margin. The NC election was the subject of extensive and disgusting opposition on Facebook and elsewhere.1 The fix was in, though, as the City Council voted a few weeks ago to allow online voting in this NC election only, according to Gale Holland. In a striking performative demonstration of the digital divide, the traditional paper ballots were 183 to 19 in favor of the SRNC, whereas online ballots were 807 to 581 against.
Screenshot of moronic facebook rants against the Skid Row NC accusing, among other stupidity, the LA Community Action Network of being part of a criminal conspiracy.

The NC proponents also suspect that the Downtown LA Neighborhood Council misused city funds to campaign against the election.2 Anyway, evidently a challenge is planned based on these considerations. The Department of Neighborhood Empowerment, overseer of the City’s neighborhood councils, is notorious for the number, length, and vituperativity of its appeals, so this process promises to be, at least, interesting.

And the other side is gearing up for policy-wonk-based battles as well. It seems that Estela Lopez herself, voodoo queen of the ongoing criminal conspiracy known as the Central City East Association, made a CPRA request to Grayce Liu of the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment in January on the subject of the SRNC, evidently to gather materials for the witch’s brew of revanchist zillionaire subversionism that’s presently bubbling, boiling, toiling, and troubling in her hellish cauldron out there on Crocker Street. Turn the page for a transcription and some discussion.
Continue reading Skid Row Neighborhood Council Tentatively Rejected In Face Of DTLA Neighborhood Council Shenaniganistic Opposition. High-Powered Lobbyist, Criminal Conspirator, And Smoke-Filled Room Denizen Estela Lopez Apparently Uses Or Will Use California Public Records Act To Subvert Democratic Outcome

Huge News: LA Community Action Network Lawsuit Against Central City East Association and City Of LA Poised To Settle, CCEA Agrees To Specific, Extensive Restrictions On Homeless Property Confiscation, Will Pay $25,000 To LAFLA In Damages, Legal Fees, And Costs. City Of LA Settlement Expected To Go To City Council Soon, LAMC 56.11 Enforcement Likely To Be Severely Attenuated

News of a settlement in the momentous lawsuit brought by the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles on behalf of the Los Angeles Community Action Network, the LA Catholic Worker, and a number of individuals over the confiscation of homeless people’s property by BID and by City, has been rumbling around PACER for about one year now. Well, yesterday evening, the first concrete details of the ongoing settlement process arrived. The parties filed a joint report indicating that concrete terms had been reached with both CCEA and the City of Los Angeles. The City of LA part still has to be approved by City Council, but according to the document, this is likely to happen within 45 days.

On the other hand, amazingly, the proposed agreement between the CCEA and the plaintiffs has actually been filed! It must still be approved by Judge Philip Gutierrez, but it strikes me as extraordinarily unlikely that it would not be. The agreement severely restricts the circumstances under which the BID can confiscate property. The terms of this part of the settlement make it seem very likely that the City will agree to severe restrictions in its enforcement of LAMC 56.11, the property confiscation ordinance, at least on Skid Row. CCEA will also pay LAFLA $25,000 for damages, fees, and costs. Turn the page for some details of what the CCEA has agreed to.
Continue reading Huge News: LA Community Action Network Lawsuit Against Central City East Association and City Of LA Poised To Settle, CCEA Agrees To Specific, Extensive Restrictions On Homeless Property Confiscation, Will Pay $25,000 To LAFLA In Damages, Legal Fees, And Costs. City Of LA Settlement Expected To Go To City Council Soon, LAMC 56.11 Enforcement Likely To Be Severely Attenuated

Historic Core BID Executive Directrix Blair Besten Nominated For Measure HHH Citizens’ Oversight Committee, Opposed By Skid Row Organizers, Service Providers, and Sane People Everywhere

Blair Besten, Executive Directrix of the Historic Core BID, all decked out in her patented EZ-clutch pearl necklace.
L.A. voters recently approved Measure HHH, which will fund homeless services via the sale of $1.2 billion in bonds. Last December the City Council approved the creation of a citizens’ oversight committee to monitor the expenditure of this vast sum of money. That committee consists of seven people, three appointed by the Council and four appointed by the Mayor. The Mayor doesn’t seem to have nominated anyone yet, but last Friday the Council, in CF 16-1060-S1, nominated their three. The only weirdo in the bunch is Blair Besten, executive directrix of the Historic Core BID downtown.

Of course, anyone who follows the bad BIDness propagated by our City’s business improvement districts knows this is a bad, bad idea for any number of reasons. It was therefore heartening to see, tonight, explicit opposition to Blair Besten’s appointment coming from a coalition of Skid Row organizations and service providers. Their eloquent and well-argued letter hit the Council file mere moments ago. You can read the whole thing after the break if you don’t like PDFs. Now, I have to say that I agree with their reasoning, and from the point of view of sound public policy, I completely agree that her appointment is a terrible idea. However, for for purely selfish reasons I kind of hope she makes it on, because the potential for chaos is high. Note that this is up for a vote TOMORROW.
Continue reading Historic Core BID Executive Directrix Blair Besten Nominated For Measure HHH Citizens’ Oversight Committee, Opposed By Skid Row Organizers, Service Providers, and Sane People Everywhere

Evidently a Settlement Has Been Finalized in LA Catholic Worker, LA CAN v. City of LA, Central City East Association

According to a document filed mere moments ago with the court, all parties to LA Catholic Worker and LA CAN v. City of LA, CCEA have agreed on a settlement. The terms of the settlement have not yet been announced, but they will be going to the LA City Council for approval “in the near future.” If you’re PDF-averse you can read salient selections after the break.
Continue reading Evidently a Settlement Has Been Finalized in LA Catholic Worker, LA CAN v. City of LA, Central City East Association

169 Signatures on Petition Opposing Venice Beach BID Placed into Council File Today

You can look down on Venice but Venice will never look down on you.  Venezia mi ama e io amo Venezia.
You can look down on Venice but Venice will never look down on you. Venezia mi ama e io amo Venezia.
As tragic as the demise of Venice has been to watch over the last five years or so, it turns out that she still has some life in her. If anyone had asked me five years ago which neighborhood of Los Angeles might successfully oppose a BID, I would have said Venice without even having to think about it. But the last half-decade, what with sociopathic techbros of both sexes in possession of orders of magnitude more money than sense buying every sliver of land in sight and thereby running the prices up into the stratosphere even as they’re hogging the waves with their irremediably Barneyfied GoPro equipped styrofoam surfboards, zillionaires remodeling the canals into a nightmare AirBnB horror show, stupid fucking restaurants that…evidently leave me speechless, all this had driven me into what I thought was an inescapable well of cynical despair with respect to the fate of this dearest of all areas of our City.

Well, tonight the Clerk’s office placed a petition with 169 signatures of Venice residents opposing the formation of a BID there and, just like that, my hope in Venice is restored! They oppose it articulately, wisely, and for all the right reasons, too:

We, the undersigned, oppose the establishment of a Venice Beach Business Improvement District (BID). We believe in public control of public resources and oppose the privatization of those resources. We support renters’ rights, both for residential and commercial renters, and oppose taxation without representation. BIDs impose taxes that renters often pay, but which landlords decide upon. BID private security forces have a track record of infringing on the rights of our lowest-income neighbors, especially those people who are unhoused. We oppose private security fources controlled exclusively by commercial and industrial interests when their impact will affect the entire community, especially those disenfranchised from BID governance.

And it’s worth reading the cover sheet, too, which is signed by a number of right-thinking organizations and lays out a spot-on general anti-BID theory in the highly specific context of opposing this BID. You can read it here and there’s a transcription after the break:
Continue reading 169 Signatures on Petition Opposing Venice Beach BID Placed into Council File Today

Settlement Almost Finalized in LA Catholic Worker, LA CAN v. City of LA, Central City East Association

California-centralRecall that, towards the end of March of this year, the parties to this case began making noises about a potential settlement. This evening, all parties to the suit, begun in 2014, filed a Joint Progress Report on the Status of Potential Settlement. They evidently reached a tentative agreement on April 5, and, according to this status report:

The parties have been diligently working to draft the final terms and language of the settlement agreement and to obtain approval from all parties to finalize the agreement.

The parties remain confident that they will be able to reach final agreement on all matters and will be able to obtain approval from all parties to settle this matter in its entirety.

They promise to update the court on the status of this settlement on July 26, 2016.

A Trip to City Archives Yields Fascinating Historical Material Including 2003 HPOA Stakeholder Rebellion Over Shady and Neurotic Behavior by Tronson and Morrison During Security Provider Bidding Process

The view from Ramirez Street.  The entrance to the Archives is by the loading dock in the mid-right area of the image.
The view from Ramirez Street. The entrance to the Archives is by the loading dock in the mid-right area of the image.
A recent trip to the lovely City Archives on Ramirez Street, my absolute favorite of all city agencies,1 yielded up a bunch of really interesting stuff from 2001–2003. So much so that I started a new page for it. It took me three hours to look through two boxes of BID records (out of more than 400), so I’m sure there will be much more of this stuff to come. There’s a list of some highlights after the break, but check it!

In 2003 the BID’s expiring security contract with Burke Security, the predecessor of Andrews International, was put out for bids. Aaron Epstein, yes, the same one whose nuclear bomb of a lawsuit established the subjection of BIDs to both the Brown Act and the California Public Records Act, thereby making this blog possible, and a large group of his fellow Hollywood BID stakeholders2 sent a letter to then-mayor James Hahn complaining that they:

believe[d] that the District’s board of directors and executive director have not conducted a fully open and competitive process to ensure that property owners receive the finest security service for the lowest competitive price (the current two year contract exceeds $2 million). Moreover, we believe that the board and executive director have failed to be objective in the process and have allowed the contractor, Burke Security, to function in ways that do not provide the maximum benefits to the property owners and merchants.

Even in 2003 the BIDs had captured the regulatory function of the City Clerk's office to the point where they were warning Kerry Morrison that people were scrutinizing her sketchy behavior rather than using the power of the purse to make her be not so shady.  The fox wasn't guarding the henhouse--the lunatics were (and are) running the asylum.
Even in 2003 the BIDs had captured the regulatory function of the City Clerk’s office to the point where they were warning Kerry Morrison that people were scrutinizing her sketchy behavior rather than using the power of the purse to make her be not so shady. The fox wasn’t guarding the henhouse–the lunatics were (and are) running the asylum.

If you read the letter you’ll see that they’re talking about practices that are still retained by the current BID Patrol: custodial arrests rather than observe-and-report, unseeming over-coziness with the staff of the HPOA, and so on.3 The copy I obtained came with a couple of handwritten notes4 from a Clerk’s office employee suggesting that they warn Kerry Morrison that people were watching so she should follow the rules. This, obviously, is not the kind of behavior one would expect from a regulatory agency. Why didn’t they tell Kerry Morrison to follow the rules because the law required her to?
Continue reading A Trip to City Archives Yields Fascinating Historical Material Including 2003 HPOA Stakeholder Rebellion Over Shady and Neurotic Behavior by Tronson and Morrison During Security Provider Bidding Process

LA Catholic Worker et al. v. CCEA, City of L.A. et al. Trial Postponed Till October 4, 2016 Due to Discovery Delays

California-centralOver the last few days, but for some reason just hitting PACER today, the parties in the LA Catholic Worker and LA Community Action Network v. the Central City East Association and the City of LA filed a joint stipulation to continue the various scheduled dates in the case due to what’s turned out to be an incredibly grueling discovery process in the case. This is not the first time the trial date has been postponed for this reason. Here is the judge’s order granting the continuance until October 4, 2016.

LACW/LACAN Lawsuit: Settlement Conference Scheduled for April 5, 2016; Hearing on Discovery-Related Contempt Continued Until May 4, 2016

California-centralAccording to an order that just hit PACER, the parties in the LA Catholic Worker and LA Community Action Network suit against the Central City East Association and the City of Los Angeles are meeting on April 5 to discuss settling the case. You may recall that a hearing on an application for contempt was already set for that date. According to Magistrate Judge Andrew J. Wisterich, who’s handling discovery matters in the case, and whose order postponed the hearing:

The court has been informed that a settlement conference has been scheduled for April 5, 2016, at 9:30 a.m. To allow the parties to devote their full attention to exploring the possibility of settlement, the hearing is continued to May 4, 2016, at 11:00 a.m.

That’s all we know!

City Ordered to Pay Plaintiffs’ Attorneys $38,818.49 in Fees and to Comply with Discovery; Additional Hearing Set for April 5, 2016

California-centralOn Monday, March 21, 2016, there was a hearing on the plaintiffs’ application to have the City of Los Angeles held in contempt for its failure to comply with discovery orders in the ongoing lawsuit against the City and the CCEA over the illegal confiscation of the property of homeless people. Recall that the plaintiffs asked the Judge to award them more than $40,000 in fees and to declare that the City was at fault as a punitive measure.

Well, the order resulting from that hearing just hit PACER, and the plaintiffs got some but not all of what they asked for. In particular, they were awarded $38,818.49 in fees. Judgement on the rest of the plaintiffs’ requests was deferred. There will be another hearing on April 5, 2016, at 10:30 a.m. in in Courtroom 690 of the Roybal Building, presumably after which the rest of the matters will be decided. According to the order, by 48 hours in advance of the hearing,

The City is directed to complete its production, serve supplemental responses to the requests for production, respond in writing to the questions asked in plaintiffs’ March 15, 2016 letter from Myers to Whitaker, serve a complete and detailed privilege log, file and serve a report describing the status of its compliance with this and other court orders, and pay the sanctions awarded by this order…

And there are more selections after the break.
Continue reading City Ordered to Pay Plaintiffs’ Attorneys $38,818.49 in Fees and to Comply with Discovery; Additional Hearing Set for April 5, 2016