Tag Archives: Los Angeles Unified School District

Has The Los Angeles Unified School District Turned Against BIDs? — At Its May 8, 2018 The School Board Voted Against A Staff Recommendation To Support Seven Renewals — On The Grounds That The Money Would Be Better Used For — Gasp!! — Educating Students

It’s well-known that the City of Los Angeles always votes its property in favor of BID formation. In fact, an ordinance passed in 1996 directs the Clerk to vote yes on both petitions and ballots unless the City Council specifically directs otherwise. And to my knowledge, the same has been true of the Los Angeles Unified School District. There have been signs, albeit not dispositive, of some LAUSD discontent with the policy, e.g. the probably intentional voiding of all petitions, but no open rebellion that I’m aware of.

And BIDs are evidently used to taking LAUSD petitions and ballots for granted. For instance, the Byzantine Latino Quarter BID is currently in the process of renewing.1 And I just received a huge release of emails about the renewal from BLQBID director Moises Gomez, which you can look at here on Archive.Org. It’s clear from the discussion that Don Duckworth and Moises Gomez were counting the LAUSD petitions as already-hatched chickens2 but, amazingly, it was not to be.

In April 2018 LAUSD staff prepared a report recommending that the Board sign petitions approving seven BIDs in Los Angeles. But at its May 8, 2018 meeting, the LAUSD Board voted down the staff proposal, and, according to staffer Yekaterina Boyajian, writing in an email to Moises Gomez on May 21, this is how it went down:

The proposal for the District to sign these petitions in support of the BIDs was not approved. The Board expressed the desire to support the BID petitions, and staff spoke to the positive relationships schools have with existing BIDs, but the Board felt that they could not justify supporting the expenditure of public education funds for purposes other than education in a time when the District is facing historic budget deficits.

It wasn’t just the BLQ BID that got its hopes dashed, either. The other BIDs whose petitions were rejected were the Arts District, the Fashion District, the Hollywood Entertainment District, the Hollywood Media District, the Lincoln Heights Benefit District, and the Melrose BID. Quite a distinguished list, eh?

And turn the page for a detailed explanation of the BLQ BID’s evolving thinking about these LAUSD petitions between February and May 2018, along with the usual links to and transcriptions of any number of really interesting emails!
Continue reading Has The Los Angeles Unified School District Turned Against BIDs? — At Its May 8, 2018 The School Board Voted Against A Staff Recommendation To Support Seven Renewals — On The Grounds That The Money Would Be Better Used For — Gasp!! — Educating Students

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The Los Angeles Unified School District Evidently Voids All Its BID Establishment Petitions By Adding A Limiting Clause — They Seem To Add The Same Clause To Their Actual Ballots But Evidently It Does Not Void Them — It’s Not Clear What’s Going On Here But Probably Something Is

I recently received almost a thousand pages of emails between the Los Angeles City Clerk‘s office and correspondents at various BIDs. You can obtain the whole pile here on Archive.Org. Among these was this interesting little exchange between Clerk staffie Dennis Rader and notorious outlaw BID consultant Aaron Aulenta of Urban Place Consulting.

This post is dedicated to exploring the issues raised by this email. It’s unavoidably technical, so you may want to skip it. On the other hand, at least I’m not going to call anyone nasty names, which I know will please a certain perennially disgruntled audience segment. Boring or not, though, it touches on essential and little-explored issues of BIDology. The exchange began on May 7, 2018, when Aaron Aulenta emailed Dennis Rader:

I know you’re probably swamped at the moment with the ballot mail-out this week, but I had a quick lausd question. Do you know if they returned a petition for either Hollywood or Fashion without hand writing in the ‘approval conditioned upon’ phrase? In other words, did they return a petition that was officially counted?

Continue reading The Los Angeles Unified School District Evidently Voids All Its BID Establishment Petitions By Adding A Limiting Clause — They Seem To Add The Same Clause To Their Actual Ballots But Evidently It Does Not Void Them — It’s Not Clear What’s Going On Here But Probably Something Is

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A Crucial Open Question in Anti-BID Theory: Where Does the City Clerk Get the Authority to Sign Pro-BID Petitions Before the BID is Approved? Arts District BID Episode From 2013 Highlights City’s Hypocrisy On This Issue and Collusion With Carol Schatz

Holly Wolcott, Clerk of the City of Los Angeles, in June 2015.
Holly Wolcott, Clerk of the City of Los Angeles, in June 2015.
UPDATE: This problem is now solved. Let’s work on fixing things!

Roughly, the process for creating a new BID goes like this: Some property owners hire a consultant who collects petitions in favor of the BID. When petitions adding up to more than 50% of the total assessments in the proposed district are on hand, they’re submitted to the City Clerk, who then takes the matter to City Council.1 One interesting aspect of this is that City-owned parcels in the proposed district are voted in exactly the same way that privately owned parcels are. That the City always votes in favor of BIDs is well-known, although see below for an episode where the City actually opposed a BID proposal.2 In fact, part of the consultant’s job seems to be to gerrymander as much City-owned property into the BID as possible so as to minimize the requisite number of agreeable private owners. The City Clerk, currently Holly Wolcott, is somehow authorized to sign petitions on the City’s behalf for City-owned parcels.

But the petitions must be signed before City Council can pass an ordinance of intention to form the BID. For instance, in the case of the proposed Venice Beach BID, consultant Tara Devine submitted the signed petitions to the Clerk before June 24, 2016. City Council passed the Ordinance of Intention on July 1, 2016. But see these pro-BID petitions for City parcels, signed by Holly Wolcott on June 15, more than a week before Council voted to authorize the BID process. Of course the City always favors BID formation, but where does the Clerk derive the authority to sign these? It can’t be from the Council vote, which happens afterwards. There must be a law or a rule or something authorizing this. I haven’t been able to find it yet, although I’m sure it exists.
Continue reading A Crucial Open Question in Anti-BID Theory: Where Does the City Clerk Get the Authority to Sign Pro-BID Petitions Before the BID is Approved? Arts District BID Episode From 2013 Highlights City’s Hypocrisy On This Issue and Collusion With Carol Schatz

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A 2013 Arrest for Violating PC 653b at Selma Park Further Confirms Ongoing Pattern of Civil Rights Violations by Andrews International BID Patrol

BID Patrol Officer Islas in 2014.
BID Patrol Officer George Islas (badge number 128) in 2014.
Long-time readers of this blog will recall that in 2007 the HPOA, by hook and by crook, put up signs in Selma Park in Hollywood (illegally) declaring it off-limits to adults unaccompanied by children. Subsequently, the Andrews International BID Patrol spent the next eight years falsely arresting people and shooing them out of the park on the basis of these unauthorized signs, until we got them taken down by the City in September 2015. Subsequently, Kerry Morrison told a friend of this blog that “A/I says that after looking into this, it is unlikely that any arrests ever were made by A/I in Selma Park with specific regard to the signs and penal code section you recite (as opposed to public urination, drinking, and other reasons)…” Today, in the form of an actual A/I arrest report from July 2013, we have more evidence that, even though Kerry is almost certainly telling the truth about what she was told by A/I, what she was told by A/I is not the truth.
Continue reading A 2013 Arrest for Violating PC 653b at Selma Park Further Confirms Ongoing Pattern of Civil Rights Violations by Andrews International BID Patrol

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Update on Selma Park Situation: Kerry Morrison Makes Crucial Admission Against Interest, Andrews International Misleads Regarding Past Actions, Records Requests from LAUSD and Neighborhood Council Still Pending

Selma Park in April, 2007, after it became a target of the BID but before they opened fire.  We have no hard evidence yet, but we'd say that this photo of a man dancing happily in the park was intended to depict the kind of thing that must be STOPPED!
BID Patrol surveillance photo of Selma Park in April, 2007, after it became a target of the BID but before they opened fire. We have no hard evidence yet, but we’d say that this photo of a man dancing happily in the park was intended to depict the kind of thing that must be STOPPED!
Long-time readers of this blog will recall that in late 2007 the HPOA put signs up in Selma Park in Hollywood which stated ominiously:

Children’s Play Area Only
Adults Not Accompanying Children Prohibited
Sec 653b, subdivision a, CA Penal Code

We discovered in September 2015 that these signs were placed illegally, informed the LA Recreation and Parks Commission, and they were removed within 14 days of our communication with RAP. Read here for more background.
Close-up of former sign in Selma Park falsely claiming it to be a "Children's Play Area Only."
Close-up of former sign in Selma Park falsely claiming it to be a “Children’s Play Area Only.”

Our correspondent, Mike has made and continues to make innumerable requests for public records in order to help us sort out exactly what happened in that park. Today we’re going to update you on some requests that did not result in the production of records, but whose outcomes yielded interesting information nevertheless.

First, on November 16, 2015, Kerry told our correspondent that “A/I says that after looking into this, it is unlikely that any arrests ever were made by A/I in Selma Park with specific regard to the signs and penal code section you recite (as opposed to public urination, drinking, and other reasons)…” While we have no doubts at all that that’s what A/I (Andrews International) told Kerry Morrison, who on all evidence is a scrupulously honest person, their statement is flat-out not true, which to us indicates consciousness of guilt on their part. The details follow after the break.

Furthermore, in that same response, Kerry Morrison admitted that she has no records proving that the elements of the statute cited were ever met for anyone arrested for being in that park without children. If this is accurate, and we have no reason to doubt that it is, then even if the BID had had some authority for placing the signs, which they did not, any arrests made by the BID in the park for violating PC 653b(a) were false arrests. The explanation of this is a little wonkish, and can be found after the break.
Continue reading Update on Selma Park Situation: Kerry Morrison Makes Crucial Admission Against Interest, Andrews International Misleads Regarding Past Actions, Records Requests from LAUSD and Neighborhood Council Still Pending

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