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…
This morning, CD13 Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell introduced a resolution seeking to impose restrictions on parking oversized vehicles in a semi-industrialized sliver of the Hollywood Media District BID located roughly between Cole Avenue and Vine Street west to east and Santa Monica Boulevard and Melrose Avenue north to south. There is a never-ending flow of these seemingly innocuous items in the agendas of our esteemed Council, but I just happen to know an awful lot about the backstory to this one, which is anything but innocuous, actually, and is the subject of today’s post.
The Media District BID is particularly attractive to people living in RVs because it’s industrialized, so no night-time neighbors to annoy, and it’s close to the center of Hollywood. Especially on Lillian Way and its cross streets, Romaine, Willoughby, and Waring, there has been a thriving but quiet community of RV-dwellers for years on end. But the Media District BID hates it. They just can’t deal with it. For instance, see this email chain from March 2015 where Hollywood cop Julie Nony discusses how to get rid of them with erstwhile Media District BID director Steven Whiddon and a bunch of overprivileged proprietors who don’t understand the concept of public space. But, probably not surprisingly, Steven Whiddon was unable to orchestrate any lasting action.
Those are actual quotes in the headline. They come from this email chain between bunches of people in the Media District BID, LAPD Hollywood Division Senior Lead Officer Julie Nony, and Dan Halden of CD13. Here’s more of the context, but you’ll have to read the whole thing to believe it. Chie Kobayashi, of yet another incomprehensible new media post-production outfit on Lillian Way between Santa Monica Blvd. and Melrose, wrote to Julie to complain in detail about homeless people. Julie wrote back:
We really need to get every business on the same page so this doesn’t continue to happen. It might seem strange and ugly at first but if you are new to the area and don’t know how things operate, this can get really out of hand. I will be out for the rest of the week, so I can not personally be there. Please call our front desk number if you should need to have a police unit come out (213-972-2971/2972/2973).
And of course call the B.I.D. first to see if they can handle it. The homeless are a lot like kids in a way. If we warn them and there is no follow through (like we did with the encampment) then they will test us and do what they can get away with. I would like to have a meeting with you, Vince Clothing, Red Studios, Milk, School PD, B.I.D., Vine Street Elementary and your neighbors just north of you. And whoever else you can think of. Lets [sic] all get together and share in the responsibility of keeping this area clean. Thank you!
We’re not sure where to start with this. We might note that it’s probably true that if kids get warned and there’s no follow through then they’ll test limits. But it’s not true because they’re kids, it’s true because they’re human. The instinct for testing limits is responsible for all human progress and is necessary for human survival.1 We might note that if your methods seem “strange and ugly at first…if you are new to the area” then there’s a reasonable chance that they are in fact strange and ugly. And their methods are very strange and very ugly. We’re not even new to the area and we think they’re strange and ugly. Some of us have grandparents who moved to Hollywood in 1908. Some of us have spent more than half a century in and around Hollywood. And yet we think the methods Julie’s talking about are strange and ugly.