There was one small problem, though. The ordinance, as do all of these little slabs of class warfare, bans:
…the parking of vehicles that are in excess of 22 feet in length or over seven feet in height, during the hours of 2:00 am and 6.00 am…
There are two main reasons why I am not a professional journalist. The first is that on career day at Venice High way back in the 1970s, those of us who ventured east to the venerated southwest corner of First and Spring found, well…never mind what we found,2 discretion prevents me from discussing it, but it sure didn’t make me want to join the ranks despite the fact that the paper was more than a decade into its renaissance under the sainted guidance of Otis Chandler himself. And the second reason is that I have never, ever, in my entire life been able to understand the inverted pyramid — or maybe I understand it and I just have no freaking idea what’s most newsworthy in any given story. This interpretation is borne out by the fact that I’m starting this evening’s tale off with a bunch of half-invented, half-remembered, half-plagiarized, nonsense about my high school career day.3
For instance, does the inverted pyramid suggest that we next analyze the founding principles of BIDs? I have no idea. But the locus classicus of BIDs, their founding text, which is to say the California Streets and Highways Code at §36601(e), tells us that amongst the benefits provided by BIDs are crime reduction, business attraction, business retention, economic growth, and new investments. Note the conspicuous absence from this list of parking ticket fixing for zillionaire BID stakeholders. However, despite the fact that parking violation fines are a major social justice issue in Los Angeles and yet another example of covert regressive taxation, apparently a major use that zillionaires, that is to say those for whom the fine attached to a parking violation is not a significant fraction of their annual income, have found for their BIDs is to serve as a vehicle for interfering on their behalf with the normal statutory operation of the City’s parking enforcement apparatus.
We saw this, e.g., last year when Ms. Kerry Morrison, outraged4 by the fact that her good friend and stakeholder, zillionaire white real estate capitalist running dog lackey Evan Kaizer, was ticketed on Hollywood Boulevard for meter-feeding, fired off an email to LADOT honcho-ette Seleta Reynolds, putatively asking for an explanation but really, as everyone could see, providing an opening for the whole thing to go away. It doesn’t seem to have happened that the ticket got fixed, but that particular toys-from-pram episode ended up interbreeding with a sort of free-floating generalized zillionaire rage over vibrant urban spaces,5 eventually begetting a conceptual exploration, fueled by outraged privilege, of the possibility of using this state-law-mandated meter-feeding prohibition to attack the very existence of food trucks.
Did you even know that the members of our esteemed City Council all send one another and various other people gifts in the putative holiday season? Well they do, and evidently it’s just another thing that the pretty people do when they’re all drinking, thinking that they got it made.7
The City Ethics Commission requires City officials to keep track of these presents, and so, in response to a CPRA request, I received these records from Chad Molnar the other day, despite his claim that fulfilling my more substantial requests would make CD11 constituents suffer. Perhaps he sent these items along because they aren’t likely to make the constituents, who thrive in darkness and secrecy and evidently include outlaw BID proponents Mark Sokol and Carl Lambert, suffer too much, because they have very little content. However, what they do have is fairly amusing. You can get them:
See here and here for the background to this post.
Dear Councilmember O’Farrell,
As you may already be aware, the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance is presently holding a competition to choose artwork to adorn signal boxes in the Hollywood Entertainment District, which they contract with the City of Los Angeles to administer. As you know, the L.A. Department of Transportation requires your approval for this project to move forward. I am writing to ask you to withhold your consent from the HPOA’s plan pending a revision of their stated rules which, regardless of the intent, have the effect of significantly lowering the chance that Latino artists working in some of our most vibrant local traditions will be chosen for this honor.
The problem is that the BID’s stated requirements for submissions include the proviso that “NO Cartoon Images or Graffiti work of any kind will be considered.”1 Graffiti art and cartoon styles are associated in L.A. with Latino, especially Mexican-American artists. Work by Los Angeles artists in these genres has brought world renown, not just to the artists themselves, but to our City. Thus it’s hard to understand why it’s not good enough to appear on the signal boxes of Hollywood. The mystery only deepens when one considers that the HPOA’s requirements also state that “Text Art” will be given full consideration, as if Graffiti art were not also “Text Art.” Continue reading An Open Letter to Mitch O’Farrell Regarding Signal Box Art in the Hollywood Entertainment District→
We reported a couple weeks ago that the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance had put out a request for artists to submit works to adorn local signal boxes that explicitly excluded graffiti art and cartoon art. This despite, perhaps, given the BID’s vicious white supremacism, because of the fact that graffiti and cartoon art styles are a cornerstone of indigenous Angeleno/Latino culture. Well, if you live in the area, you may have noticed that the Sunset & Vine BID, controlled by the Central Hollywood Coalition, the HPOA’s not-quite-so-evil twin sister, recently put up artwork on ten signal boxes in their district. Their call for artists incorporated the same restriction as the current HPOA one: “No Cartoon Images or Graffiti work of any kind will be considered.”
Last month we reported on a fascinating situation wherein Hollywood Property Owners Alliance Board member Evan Kaizer didn’t understand the parking laws of the City he purports to be a citizen of, got himself a ticket on Hollywood Boulevard, and instead of just sucking it up and trying, in the future, to follow the freaking parking laws like everyone else he got Kerry Morrison to email freaking Seleta Reynolds, top turtle over at the Los Angeles Department of Transportation2 hinting around that NO FAIR!!
Well, the ticket didn’t get fixed,3 but Kerry Morrison, being the politically adept Machiavellianess that she is, began the process of straw-into-gold spinning for which she’s (justly?) famous when she asked Bruce Gillman, LADOT Communications Boss, about why didn’t food trucks, which, for some reason that we’re sure is clear to her and her theraputic team, she hates with a hatred that surpasseth understanding, get bunches of tickets for parking in the same place all day cause that’s also NO FAIR!!4 That all went down in March, but in his inimitably dogged manner, our faithful correspondent has continued to investigate, and he’s turned up a couple more emails on the subject. In particular, on June 20, 2016, a mere five days ago, Bruce Gillman wrote to Kerry Morrison, saying:
FYI: Regarding the issue of citing food trucks more often, or `escalating fines’ for repeat offender, the LAMC and CA CVC would have to be amended, as they limit citations for vehicles to one ticket per offense, per day. Looping in our Chief and Deputy Chief of Parking Enforcement: Greg Savelli and Brian Hale respectively.
What would you do if you got a parking ticket for feeding the meter on Hollywood Boulevard? Pay it? Complain about it to your friends? Yell at the parking enforcement person? Not if you’re Evan Kaizer, President and CEO of the Sieroty Company! In that case you get your personal lobbyist and shill, Kerry Morrison, to email the freaking chief executive of LADOT, Seleta Reynolds, to complain on your behalf,5 hinting in her most inimitable manner that NO FAIR!!!!
Hi Seleta — it’s been awhile, [sic] but I thought I’d go straight to the top to find out who I can talk to for some information I can share with our community.
We recently moved into the middle of Hollywood Blvd — into a retail storefront. I hope you can stop by and see us sometime! We call this the “mid-BID”6 — and it’s the section of the Boulevard that still suffers from the doldrums.7
That said, we have a lot of meetings in our office, and in the past several of weeks, [sic] we’ve had a couple of people get tickets for parking at a meter beyond the two hour timeframe. In these two cases, the person ran out to put a few more quarters in the meter to buy some time, and when they went out, there was a ticket for violating the two hour time. (So, it was not an expired meter.)8
Well, the big news here is not that zillionaires don’t know that meter feeding is illegal. Even a lot of non-zillionaires don’t know.9 The big news is not even that zillionaires are too cheap to park around back on Schrader or Cherokee for $10 like everyone else who’s going to hang around the Boulevard for more than two hours or that they’re too cheap to get their zillionaires’ club, the HPOA, to freaking validate parking for them. The big news is not even that Kerry Morrison somehow thinks it’s OK to involve the freaking General Manager of the freaking Los Angeles Freaking Department of Transportation in a freaking PARKING TICKET problem; zillionaires naturally think their problems are so sensitive and important that they can only be handled by the boss.
The big news, friends, is that Seleta Reynolds actually did handle the complaint. She instructed her subordinate, Bruce Gillman, to write to Kerry and smooth the ruffled feathers and so on. The tickets didn’t get fixed, and we suppose that marks some progress for this formerly corrupt city of ours, but emails were exchanged for over a month on the subject. How many parking ticket complaints made by non-zillionaires get that kind of sustained attention, we wonder. From now on, we’re writing to Seleta with all our parking ticket woes, and we encourage you to do the same, fellow Angelenos. Here’s her contact information:
Well, here is a bunch of emails, which we obtained from the Los Angeles City Attorney using the California Public Records Act, between BID employees Smilin’ Joe Mariani and Kerry Morrison and various people that work for the City of Los Angeles. We join the story when Joe writes to Gary Benjamin, who is eyeglass-fashionista Councilguy Mitch O’Farrell’s something-or-another for what-passes-for-planning-at-200-Spring-Street. It seems the boys met up in early September 2014 at an HPOA “Streetscape2 Committee” meeting, giving Joe a pretext to renew the big ask:
Great seeing you today at the Streetscape Committee meeting. As I mentioned, if you can please follow up with GSD3 and ask when our lease will be ready for the Cherokee space we would appreciate it [sic]. According to our vendor we are supposed to be off the Selma parking lot by the end of September, so the sooner we can move in the better.
So the BID needs some space and they’re going to lease it from the city. So far, so good. After all, they’re a public agency created by the city to do the city’s work. On September 9, 2014, Gary responds, saying he’ll check into it. On September 23, 2014, Gary announces that there’s a little problem. Says Gary:
I have some bad news regarding the prospect of getting the lease in a timely manner. I checked in with the General Services Department (GSD) a couple weeks back and they said they were still not authorized to issue the lease, despite the approved Council motion.4 This seemed ridiculous to us, as the language of the motion came from Rene Sagles5 and he assured us the motion would be sufficient. GSD staffers were aware of the motion as it moved through the ITGS6 Committee, and yet they raised no red flags. In the last week, I’ve been in further communication with GSD, the City Attorney’s office and Rene Sagles. Apparently, DOT have not been following City standards regarding lease of space for some time now. Recently the City Attorney took note of this issue and has forced them to undergo a more rigorous public solicitation RFP process. Your lease process has dragged on for so long because of a lack of communication between DOT and GSD and a general uncertainty among the bureaus about how to proceed.
I now have Melody McCormick of GSD working with DOT and the City Attorney to draft a new “sole source” motion that will explain why the normal RFP process was not followed and why the HPOA should get this lease. They have told me they can have the motion ready by the end of the week. We will work to waive it from ITGS committee and get it approved at Council next week ideally. Then the City Attorney will need to draft the lease. It will still be another month, at the earliest, until the lease will be issued. I’m really sorry about all this confusion and for losing time pushing forward a motion that was insufficient.