Tag Archives: Math is Hard

I Just Read One Freaking Time Too Many That 77% Of The Freaking Property Owners In Freaking Venice Were In Freaking Favor Of The Freaking BID So I Had To Write This Article Showing That In Fact Either Only 25.2% Were In Favor Or Else Only 51.8% Were In Favor Depending On How One Counts

Reporters in Los Angeles trying to understand what passes for arithmetic over at the City Clerk's Office.
Reporters in Los Angeles trying to understand what passes for arithmetic over at the City Clerk’s Office.
I just read in this ridiculous article on Patch.Com that 77% of the property owners in Venice voted in favor of the BID. This is some kind of echo chamber meme being passed around the campfires of the journalistic tribes of Los Angeles. Just look at this freaking Google search if you don’t believe me.1 So I just have to point one thing out. Look at the freaking official ballot tabulation, reporters! Of course, Holly Wolcott created it in Excel and then printed it out and scanned it to PDF just to make it especially useless, but you’re journalists. Don’t let that stop you. Count the total number of property owners.2

There are 338 of them. Of these, 85 voted yes, 79 voted no, and 174 didn’t vote. That works out to 25.2% yes, 23.4% no, and 51.5% didn’t vote. That doesn’t look nearly as overwhelming as the figure that’s being bandied about like gospel truth by our lazy LA media. And not only that, but even if you only count the property owners who did vote, which is part of how the Clerk does it, there were 164 total ballots cast, of which 51.8% were yes and 48.2% were no. Also that isn’t very overwhelming.

The locus freaking classicus of the utter, abject confusion of everyone in the mainstream media who is reporting on the Venice Beach BID election.
The locus freaking classicus of the utter, abject confusion of everyone in the mainstream media who is reporting on the Venice Beach BID election.

But where did that 77% figure come from that they’re all repeating like Moses brought it down from Mount Sinai engraved on freaking tablets of stone? Well, it’s right there on the report on the ballots signed by Holly Wolcott. But God forbid that a reporter is going to read about what the figure means.3 In fact, this is 77% of the weighted value, not 77% of the property owners. In other words, the 51.8% of the 164 property owners that voted own 77% of the property. If 20% of the property owners had owned 51% of the weighted value, the BID still would have passed. A majority of property owners is absolutely irrelevant to the BID approval process and the fact that there was a small one here is nothing more than a coincidence. By glossing over this fact and reporting that 77% figure as if it had anything at all to do with a percentage of property owners, these reporters are at best just adding to the confusion and at worst granting even more legitimacy to the deeply undemocratic process by which BIDs are approved. Not helpful, friends.
Continue reading I Just Read One Freaking Time Too Many That 77% Of The Freaking Property Owners In Freaking Venice Were In Freaking Favor Of The Freaking BID So I Had To Write This Article Showing That In Fact Either Only 25.2% Were In Favor Or Else Only 51.8% Were In Favor Depending On How One Counts

LAHSA’s Erroneous Zombie Eleven Percent Increase in City Homeless Population Resurrected in Two Recent Council Motions Despite May 2016 Retraction

Bob Blumenfield, Councilmember from CD3, providing yet another example of how hard it is to find good staff.
Bob Blumenfield, Councilmember from CD3, providing yet another example of how hard it is to find good staff.
Earlier this year LAHSA announced with much fanfare and gnashing of the old dental protrusions that the homeless population of the City of Los Angeles had increased by 11% year over year. Well, in May Eric Garcetti pointed out that math is hard and after a bunch of frantic recalculations as reported in the Times here everyone, Garcetti’s office and LAHSA in the person of E.D. Peter Lynn, settled on a revised figure of about a 5% increase in the City.

But then in June 2016 Hillel Aron used the 11% figure in the L.A. Weekly, although he retracted it promptly when the error was pointed out to him.1 and I thought that would be the end of it. However, this past week brought us two new Council files supplementary to the Homelessness Crisis file. These are CF 15-1138-S12, moved by Curren Price and Marqueece Harris-Dawson and CF 15-1138-S13, moved by Bob Blumenfield and Harris-Dawson again. And both motions (S12 and S13) cite the erroneous 11% figure for some reason. There are some red faces on the fourth floor of 200 N. Spring Street this morning, friends!
Continue reading LAHSA’s Erroneous Zombie Eleven Percent Increase in City Homeless Population Resurrected in Two Recent Council Motions Despite May 2016 Retraction

It Turns Out that LAHSA is Statistically Challenged When it Comes to Counting the Homeless, Not Just LAHSA Commissioner Kerry Morrison. Even Eric Garcetti, LA’s Technocrat, Can’t Count

Peter Lynn, ED of LAHSA: "Math is hard!!"
Peter Lynn, ED of LAHSA: “Math is hard!!”
We have written before about LAHSA Commissioner and BID boss lady Kerry Morrison’s difficulties with statistical analysis, at least when it comes to counting the homeless population of the two BIDs she bosses. There was this little gem, where depending on how one looked at her chart the figure under discussion varied from about 25% to about 145%. And then just the other day she was seen waving about bar graphs and making wild claims about how many new homeless people would be attracted to her BID if Ted Landreth had his way with the Salvation Army. What these two incidents had in common was that they overcounted the homeless population of the BIDs. And this is not unexpected, since Kerry Morrison uses statistics for propaganda purposes only, and it is in her interest, the interest of her zillionaire masters, to overcount whenever possible, as it amplifies the hysterical atmosphere in which these BIDdies thrive.
Although she was much maligned for saying so, Barbie was right!  Math class is, in fact, tough.
Although she was much maligned for saying so, Barbie was right! Math class is, in fact, tough.

But we had hitherto assumed that in her role as public servant she’d bring her best game to bear. If not out of a sense of service and public obligation, then at least out of caution given the level of scrutiny that attaches to LAHSA Commissioners over and above that to which BID bosses are subjected. But, according to a report in this morning’s LA Times, this is evidently not the case. It turns out that the Times and Eric Garcetti found some basic errors in LAHSA’s analysis of its 2016 homeless count. These led LAHSA to greatly overestimate the increase in the County’s homeless population. Of course, overestimates are good for LAHSA, just as they are for the BID. The more homeless people there are, the more money LAHSA gets.1
Continue reading It Turns Out that LAHSA is Statistically Challenged When it Comes to Counting the Homeless, Not Just LAHSA Commissioner Kerry Morrison. Even Eric Garcetti, LA’s Technocrat, Can’t Count

Kerry Morrison: I’m Not a Social Scientist, but I Play One on the Imaginary Television in my Head. Also, HPOA’s Own Survey finds that Hollywood Homeless Drink Significantly Less than General US Population!

Cowgirl Kerry Morrison explains everything about everything to everyone and everybody.
Cowgirl Kerry Morrison explains everything about everything to everyone and everybody.
People often ask us what the hardest thing about writing this blog is. It’s not pestering unwilling politicos for documents the publication of which will, if such a thing were possible, shame them before the world. It’s not attending and filming the public meetings of the BIDs and watching angry white people spitting and hissing at the world they think has done them so very wrong. It’s not thinking of nasty things to say about them. Lord, it’s not even resisting the temptation to say all the very, very nasty things we think of when confronted with them.
A picture of some ostensibly homeless people's tents on Homewood Avenue between Ivar and Vine Street, used by Kerry Morrison to illustrate a recent blog post on homelessness in Hollywood.
A picture of some ostensibly homeless people’s tents on Homewood Avenue between Ivar and Vine Street, used by Kerry Morrison to illustrate a recent blog post on homelessness in Hollywood.

No, none of these. Right at this very moment, the hardest thing about writing this blog is stopping ourselves, all three of us, from running out onto the street, grabbing random people by the collar, and forcing them to read Kerry Morrison’s latest blog post on Hollywood homeless people, to subsequently acknowledge just how completely freaking batshit insane it is, and finally to join us in drinking ourselves rapidly into a stupor sufficiently deep to erase the last traces of this febrile outpouring of dangerous delusions from our long-suffering minds. We’re not doing any of that because we’re writing this essay instead, but we make neither promises nor representations concerning what we might do when we’re done with it.

Anyway, as usual, we’re going to mock this nonsense one piece at a time, with Kerry’s words in blue. The links are Kerry’s.

Full fathom five thy father lies; Of his bones are coral made; Those are pearls that were his eyes; Nothing of him that doth fade, But doth suffer a sea-change Into something rich and strange. Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell: Ding-dong. Hark! now I hear them — Ding-dong, bell.
Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes;
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell:
Ding-dong.
Hark! now I hear them — Ding-dong, bell.

As we inch toward Labor Day, I realize that this summer will be characterized by the one issue that has dominated my attention: the increased evidence of homelessness in our city. Every day has involved phone calls with stakeholders, ad-hoc community meetings, or city and coalition task forces evaluating the factors at work and the solutions in play. So many people have suggested that we are in the midst of a new trend – a sea change of sorts – because what we are seeing does not resemble the face of homelessness five or ten years ago.

We’ll give her the first sentence. It’s even possible that it’s true that complaints about homeless people have dominated her attention. We’ll even give her the tacit condescension of a link to Wiktionary paired with the awkward little “of sorts” surrounding Ariel’s beautiful and much abused notion of a sea change. But pay close attention to her claim that what we are seeing does not resemble the face of homelessness five or ten years ago. Surely we’re going to see some evidence for this!
Continue reading Kerry Morrison: I’m Not a Social Scientist, but I Play One on the Imaginary Television in my Head. Also, HPOA’s Own Survey finds that Hollywood Homeless Drink Significantly Less than General US Population!

There’s a 98.72% Chance that at Least Two People on the HPOA/CHC Boards of Directors are Really, Really Hypocritical

About a week's supply of Bourbon whiskey
About a week’s supply of Bourbon whiskey. The post is about vodka, but we found this picture more attractive.
According to scientists the top 20% of U.S. drinkers drink an average of 6.3 drinks per day.1 At 0.6 ounces of pure alcohol per drink2 that works out to 3.78 ounces all together. At 30 ml per ounce that comes to 113.4 ml of pure alcohol. Steve Seyler’s bête noire is something called Taaka vodka which is, we assume, 80 proof, or 40% alcohol. Thus 113.4 ml is equivalent to \frac{113.4}{0.4}=283.5 ml of actual vodka.

The small bottles that everyone in the BID is so het up about are 200 ml, so we’re talking about \frac{283.5}{200}=1.42 bottles of Taaka. What’s the chance that someone on the Board of directors drinks at this rate and still has the temerity to vote in favor of policies that target homeless people for arrest for doing the same thing that they do every freaking day? It’s pretty high, friends. Details below the fold.
Continue reading There’s a 98.72% Chance that at Least Two People on the HPOA/CHC Boards of Directors are Really, Really Hypocritical

Hollywood Area BIDs Get all Jeansy-Creamsy Over Multiplying Starbuckses, Garcetti Grins All the Way to the Bank

Eric Garcetti, thinking about his Starbucks stock and smiling upon the machinations of the city's BIDs
Eric Garcetti, thinking about his Starbucks stock and smiling down upon the machinational shenanigans of the city’s BIDs
There’s no question that the BIDs love them some Starbucks. Even the Sunset-Vine “Baby BID” loves its Starbucks. Heck, even the Hollywood Media District, the most thuggish of the Hollywood area BIDs, was caught loving up Starbucks in its macho, cowboy-faced manner on August 6, 2014.

But why do they love Starbucks so much? What is in it for them? It can’t be the coffee. Not even the BID folks are that depraved.

Never fear! We are going, inspired by the creative example of our Hollywood area business improvement districts, to explain it all to you!
Continue reading Hollywood Area BIDs Get all Jeansy-Creamsy Over Multiplying Starbuckses, Garcetti Grins All the Way to the Bank