Tag Archives: Lisa Schechter

Yet Another Example Of City Of LA Indifference To Illegal BID Shenanigans: City Clerk BID Analyst Rita Moreno Hands Out (Literal) Gold Stars To BIDs For Minimal Brown Act Compliance But Doesn’t Do Or Even Say Anything To BIDs Who Are Not Only In Violation Of The Law But Have Been Flouting It For Years On End

Yesterday evening, BID-lawyer-to-the-stars Jeffrey Charles Briggs passed along almost 200 emails between Media District BID executive director Lisa Schechter and various people at the City of Los Angeles. These are available en masse at Archive.Org. As always, there’s a lot of chaff in there and a few super-interesting things.1 Perhaps today’s story is an example of the latter.

It began on February 28, when Rita Moreno, newly of the Neighborhood and Business Improvement Division of the City Clerk’s office, the unit that’s meant to oversee the operations of BIDs and make sure that they follow the law and stuff, emailed a bunch of BIDdies to introduce herself and note that only a few of them had their meeting times posted on their websites. Of course, the Brown Act explicitly requires BIDs to notice their meetings on their websites,2 but that’s actually not why Rita was on about this. She was just trying to find out when they met so that she could attend. In fact, it’s not even clear that Rita Moreno knew about the Brown Act requirement.

However, the very next day, our old friend Lisa Schechter of the Hollywood Media District BID, who is not generally known for her law-abiding behavior but who has by now been educated by years of our intense scrutiny to the point where, I hope, she’s beginning to realize that it’s just easier to follow the law,3 wrote back to Rita Moreno, fishing for praise from this unlikely authority figure:

Dear Rita:

Just to reiterate, all of our meetings are posted in accordance with the Brown Act (Committee as well as Board) – Further you have been placed on our automatic distribution list which triggers and [sic] email directly to you for all of our meetings. If you should require any further information please do not hesitate to contact myself or our operations manager, Jim Omahen.

And, a couple hours later, Rita Moreno replied:

Yes…you got a star


And if you’re new to BID studies, you’re probably wondering why this puerile exchange is not just idiotic, sycophantic, and moronic, but also deeply offensive and discouraging to anyone who cares about the rule of law in Los Angeles. Well, read on!
Continue reading Yet Another Example Of City Of LA Indifference To Illegal BID Shenanigans: City Clerk BID Analyst Rita Moreno Hands Out (Literal) Gold Stars To BIDs For Minimal Brown Act Compliance But Doesn’t Do Or Even Say Anything To BIDs Who Are Not Only In Violation Of The Law But Have Been Flouting It For Years On End

A Case Study In Towing The Zillionaire’s Car — Ticket Fixing in the Hollywood Media District BID. Or: How LADOT Dances Willingly To The Tune Called By Those Who Pay The Piper. Or: “HELP…. Stakeholders are asking why???”

If you don’t like what the street signs say you can just knock them down and ignore them, friend.
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,1 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.2

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, outraged3 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,4 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.

See why I’m not a professional journalist? Here we are at the fourth “graf5 and I haven’t even started the actual story. Here’s the short version: Some zillionairess didn’t know how to read parking signs and got her car towed. Lisa Schechter, chief directico-executrix of the Hollywood Media District BID, emailed a bunch of functionaries and things got done and done fast in a way they will never get done for non-zillionaires! Details and emails after the break!
Continue reading A Case Study In Towing The Zillionaire’s Car — Ticket Fixing in the Hollywood Media District BID. Or: How LADOT Dances Willingly To The Tune Called By Those Who Pay The Piper. Or: “HELP…. Stakeholders are asking why???”

Latest Entry in LAMC 49.5.5(A) Project: Hollywood Media District BID Seems To Have Paid LAPD Hollywood Division SLO Eddie Guerra $400 In Exchange For Homeless Encampment Cleanups (Ostensibly As A Charitable Donation), But Why Was The Check Made Out To Him Personally?

Eddie Guerra, kicking ass and taking checks from the Media District BID, $400 at a time.
How much does a private nonprofit organization have to pay an LAPD officer in exchange for him running off some homeless people who are having a barbecue on the sidewalk and scaring the neighborhood zillionaires? Newly received evidence suggests that the going rate is $200 per running-off incident.

It has been more than two months since the last entry in our ongoing LAMC 49.5.5(A) project, in which we report various City employees to the Ethics Commission in an attempt to discover exactly what the most fascinating ordinance ever,1 LAMC 49.5.5(A), actually prohibits. It’s high time for another report, and this is it. First, recall what the law actually says:

City officials, agency employees, appointees awaiting confirmation by the City Council, and candidates for elected City office shall not misuse or attempt to misuse their positions or prospective positions to create or attempt to create a private advantage or disadvantage, financial or otherwise, for any person.

Our story begins with a six-month long email chain between Hollywood Division Senior Lead Officer Eddie Guerra and a number of people associated with the Media District BID about scary sidewalk-barbecuing homeless people:
Continue reading Latest Entry in LAMC 49.5.5(A) Project: Hollywood Media District BID Seems To Have Paid LAPD Hollywood Division SLO Eddie Guerra $400 In Exchange For Homeless Encampment Cleanups (Ostensibly As A Charitable Donation), But Why Was The Check Made Out To Him Personally?

The Year-Long Saga Of How It Is My Fault That Devin Strecker Was Forced By Kerry Morrison’s Scorched-Earth Anti-CPRA Policies To Tell Lisa Schechter That The Hollywood Property Owners Alliance Did Not Use Dropbox Even Though Everyone Else In The Entire Freaking Universe Uses It

It is all my fault that Devin Strecker is no longer allowed to use Dropbox at work!
Oh dear friends, what a long story I have to tell you this afternoon! And I hope it will repay (or more than) your attention.1 It’s all about how Kerry Morrison is willing to make her job and the jobs of her minions progressively more impossible for absolutely no better reason than to thwart my research. I’ve written about various stages in this process before, and here’s a brief timeline:

  • March 2016 — Kerry Morrison amends HPOA document retention policy to require destruction of emails after 90 days unless intentionally kept, unilaterally, retroactively, and illegally redefines emails as not subject to CPRA.
  • June 2016 — Kerry Morrison rewrites contract with Andrews International so that A/I work product is no longer the property of the HPOA and therefore, she wrongly thinks, is no longer subject to CPRA.

And I just recently acquired an October 2016 email from Devin Strecker to Lisa Schechter of the Media District BID2 which shows yet another dimension of this phenomenon: Devin Strecker has to tell Lisa Schechter that he is not allowed to click on a link because the HPOA does not use freaking Dropbox.

A demonstration of the HPOA’s forthcoming records retention policy: everything that can’t be stored in human memory will be recorded in the form of knotted strings, presently unreadable by anyone on earth. Take *that*, CPRA users!
Of course, he is not allowed to use Dropbox because of yet another policy instituted by Kerry Morrison to thwart my inquiries, although it’s really not clear what effect this is supposed to have.3 If this trend continues, she will eventually have all HPOA communication carried out by trained mnemonists who will memorize her messages and recite them in person to the recipients to avoid creating disclosable records. If data must be recorded in tangible form she will only record it by quipu, using the original Inca encoding methods which, conveniently, no one alive today is able to understand. The history of this no-Dropbox policy commences in November 2015, and you can read all about it after the break in excruciating detail, amply documented.
Continue reading The Year-Long Saga Of How It Is My Fault That Devin Strecker Was Forced By Kerry Morrison’s Scorched-Earth Anti-CPRA Policies To Tell Lisa Schechter That The Hollywood Property Owners Alliance Did Not Use Dropbox Even Though Everyone Else In The Entire Freaking Universe Uses It

New Documents: StreetPlus Proposal And Contract With SLAIT BID For Security Services, 2016 Emails Between Lisa Schechter And Kerry Morrison/Devin Strecker

StreetPlus seems to be taking over the BID security business from Universal Protection Service at a fairly rapid rate, so it’s beginning to seem worthwhile to collect records about them.
Today I have two new sets of documents to announce. First, the South Los Angeles Industrial District BID recently dropped Universal Protection Service1 as its security provider and hired StreetPlus to replace them. This seems to be a trend amongst our LA BIDs, probably encouraged by the fact that unlike UPS and Andrews International, StreetPlus specializes in BID security rather than security in general.

Other recent switchovers are the Downtown Center BID, the Historic Core BID, and both South Park I and II. Also the HPOA switched its cleaning contract to StreetPlus last year. This company is turning out to be a crucial player in the LA BID game, so I’ll be focusing some attention on them from now on. The first fruits of this are the 2016 proposal and resulting contract between StreetPlus and the SLAIT BID. There are some ancillary materials included there as well. This material is not only intrinsically interesting, but it has a lot to tell us about security in other BIDs. There’s some discussion and some more links after the break.

Also, I have 29 emails between Lisa Schechter of the Hollywood Media District BID and Kerry Morrison/Devin Strecker of the HPOA. These are mostly negatively interesting for their extreme lack of content. I’m guessing this is due to them switching as much of their communication as possible to phone calls and other off-the-record media. This, in turn, demonstrates, I’m still guessing, the feeling that my constant CPRA requests have engendered amongst local BIDs that they are operating in a minefield.

Well, good. They are. And the fact that they laid these mines themselves with their arrogance, disrespect for the law, and generalized idiocy, but still for some reason manage to act surprised at the negative consequences of stepping on the mines speaks volumes of their assumptions of privilege and delusions of immunity. There are, however, a few positively interesting items, and there are links and discussion after the break.
Continue reading New Documents: StreetPlus Proposal And Contract With SLAIT BID For Security Services, 2016 Emails Between Lisa Schechter And Kerry Morrison/Devin Strecker

Miranda Paster Whitewashed Homelessness Out Of The Hollywood Media District BID’s 2017 Annual Planning Report, Thereby Unilaterally Altering The BID’s Proposed Activities And Yet Again Putting The Lie To Holly Wolcott’s Often-Used But Thoroughly Discredited Excuse That The City Of LA Has No Control Over BIDs

Los Angeles City Clerk Holly Wolcott interpreting the Property and Business Improvement Law of 1994.
One of the many interesting documents contained in the yield of a recent CPRA request to the Hollywood Media District BID is their 2017 Annual Planning Report, the final revised version of which was filed by executive director Lisa Schechter with the City Clerk’s office on December 14, 2016.1 The annual submission of these reports is required by §36650 of the California Streets and Highways Code, part of the Property and Business Improvement District Law of 1994, which regulates the establishment and governance of BIDs in California.

One of the purposes of these reports is to keep the City updated on what the BID plans to do during the new year. In particular, at §36650(b)(2) the law states:

The report shall be filed with the clerk and shall refer to the property and business improvement district by name, specify the fiscal year to which the report applies, and, with respect to that fiscal year, shall contain all of the following information: … The improvements, maintenance, and activities to be provided for that fiscal year.

So for instance, the Media District’s plan explains what they’re going to do about cleaning and security, which are two of the core functions of BIDs. Here’s part of their statement on cleaning:

Other expenditures anticipated include tree trimming, purchase of additional trash receptacle, and other similar projects to beautify the District in accordance with the approved Management District Plan.

And part of their statement on security:

Safe Committee meetings address a full range of issues: loitering, public urination, drinking in public, prostitution, vandalism, graffiti, and quality of life issues.

Continue reading Miranda Paster Whitewashed Homelessness Out Of The Hollywood Media District BID’s 2017 Annual Planning Report, Thereby Unilaterally Altering The BID’s Proposed Activities And Yet Again Putting The Lie To Holly Wolcott’s Often-Used But Thoroughly Discredited Excuse That The City Of LA Has No Control Over BIDs

Almost 1200 Media District Emails Available, More On The Way

Downed stop sign at Santa Monica Blvd and McCadden Place reported to the City of LA via email by Lisa Schechter.
The other day I uploaded a bunch of new documents from the Hollywood Media District BID which did not, unfortunately, include the many, many emails I received in response to the same request. At the time I didn’t know how to convert .eml files to PDF in batch1 but I have since learned!2 Unfortunately I don’t yet know how to extract attachments en masse, so I’ve published the PDFs without attachments. I’m still working on a solution, but if you need copies of any, feel free to get in touch. Meanwhile, here are links to the goodies:

I have quite a backlog of these eml files, so expect to see more of these big document dumps in the near future.3 I will be writing about individual conversations, I hope as early as tomorrow. Stay tuned!
Continue reading Almost 1200 Media District Emails Available, More On The Way

Bunches of New Media District BID Documents And More Evidence Of This Blog’s Popularity Among City of LA Employees

Photograph of busted light in the Media District taken by Media District BID Executive Director and preconviction malfeasant Lisa Schechter.
This is just a quick announcement of some new documents from the Hollywood Media District BID. We have the BID’s 2014 and 2015 tax returns as well as minutes from all Board and Committee meetings from February through December 2016. I also got a ton of emails from Laurie Goldman and Lisa Schechter to and from the City of L.A. They’re not ready to make available yet, though. The Media District BID, alone among all BIDs of whom I request records,1 provides emails to me in native .eml format. This is absolutely ideal for my own research for a number of reasons, but it does create some obstacles in distribution.2 Hence I’ll be making those emails available as necessary and will put them all on the Archive if I ever manage to get a batch eml to PDF converter working properly.3

Anyway, you can find the new material:

And turn the page for a quirky little item showing our eternal popularity amongst City of LA employees!
Continue reading Bunches of New Media District BID Documents And More Evidence Of This Blog’s Popularity Among City of LA Employees

David Ryu’s Staff Evidently Considered and Rejected Lisa Schechter’s and Media District BID’s (Illegal, Unethical) Plea For A Council Motion Regarding Oversize Vehicle Parking In February 2016

Lisa Schechter in February 2016, right around the time that David Ryu's staff was quite sensibly deciding to ignore her illegal and unethical lobbying to ban RV's in the Media District.
Lisa Schechter in February 2016, right around the time that David Ryu’s staff was quite sensibly deciding to ignore her illegal and unethical lobbying to attack homeless people by banning RVs in the Media District.
Recall that in August 2016, Mitch O’Farrell and Mike Bonin introduced a motion in Council to attack the homeless by prohibiting RVs from parking overnight in the Media District BID. This was as a result of lobbying by Lisa Schechter, now executive directrix of the Hollywood Media District BID, but formerly Tom LaBonge’s high muckety-muck for something or another. The full story is here. At the time I wondered why David Ryu hadn’t seconded the motion, given that (a) Schechter had lobbied him heavily to do so, and (b) a significant part of the Media District BID is in CD4:

[His non-involvement] suggests the possibility that Ryu isn’t as invested in pleasing these BIDdies as O’Farrell is. Or maybe he’s sitting it out because his staff has made him aware that Schechter’s up to something sneaky.

Well, I recently obtained emails from CD4 that bear on the matter. These are heavily redacted, but interestingly, as is sometimes the case, the redactions themselves tell part of the story.
Continue reading David Ryu’s Staff Evidently Considered and Rejected Lisa Schechter’s and Media District BID’s (Illegal, Unethical) Plea For A Council Motion Regarding Oversize Vehicle Parking In February 2016

Crime Does Pay At City Hall: Anti-RV Resolution Introduced In Council This Morning At Behest of Media District BID Director Lisa Schechter, Acting in Apparent Violation of Her Post-Employment Lobbying Ban

RVs on Lillian Way between Santa Monica Blvd and Melrose Avenue
RVs on Lillian Way between Santa Monica Blvd and Melrose Avenue
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.

RVs on Lillian Way between Santa Monica Blvd and Melrose Avenue
RVs on Lillian Way between Santa Monica Blvd and Melrose Avenue

So enter Lisa Schechter, employed by erstwhile CD4 rep Tom LaBonge until June 30, 2015. Sometime between then and October 2015 she was hired by the Media District to replace the departed but unlamented Whiddon. Very soon after that, in fact on November 5, 2015, Schechter and current Media District Board President Laurie Goldman met with O’Farrell’s Hollywood Field Deputy, Daniel Halden. Dan was kind enough to supply me with a copy of his notes from that meeting, wherein (on the second page) one can read the portentous words: “Oversized vehicles Resolution — MAP.” There’s no question that this meeting between Halden, Goldman, and Schechter, is the genesis of the resolution introduced this morning by Mitch O’Farrell.
Continue reading Crime Does Pay At City Hall: Anti-RV Resolution Introduced In Council This Morning At Behest of Media District BID Director Lisa Schechter, Acting in Apparent Violation of Her Post-Employment Lobbying Ban