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…
Recall that I’ve been tracking the hysterical, irrational opposition of LA’s business improvement districts to the ongoing process of legalizing (some aspects of) street vending in the City since the Spring of 2015. A truly astonishing level of bitching and moaning in 2015 stalled out the whole process for most of 2016 because, I believe, everyone was too freaking sick of the whining and the carefully orchestrated lying on any number of occasions and the City just needed a rest. Until the November election of Donald Trump and his subsequent threats to deport essentially anyone, U.S. citizen or not, who’d ever smiled while thinking of eating a taco spurred the Council into action on at least the small part (small but in no way insignificant) of the plan to decriminalize illegal street vending so that, no matter how much trouble the zillionaires might cause the heladeros, at least they wouldn’t be subject to arrest and subsequent deportation. That bit seemed urgent enough to pass Council outright, and even the anti-vending forces of the zillionaire elite seemed to realize that they were just going to be exposed as the nasty little mean creeps that they are if they fought back on this particular issue. However, the Council put off acting on an actual legalization framework until later.
But recall, as I reported in January, the instructions for the report-back were altered from the original, and quite sensible,1 request for
A process to create special vending districts to be initiated by Council, the Board of Public Works, or petition (with signatures from 20 percent of property owners or businesses in the proposed district), based on legitimate public health, safety and welfare concerns that are unique to specific neighborhoods with special circumstances.
to a request for language
Providing the City Council the ability to opt out of certain streets by Council action.
Of course, from that minute at 5:00 a.m. on February 6, 2017, that the Los Angeles Times, house organ of this city’s zillionaire political elite, endorsed his opponent, damn hippy upstart bike rider Joe Bray-Ali, Council District 1 incumbent Gil Cedillo was effectively thrown under the bus. But just like in every western movie ever made, it’s not the shot that knocks the hero off his horse that hurts,1 but rather the subsequent nibblings of a thousand attack-ducks that really ends the guy’s career.2
Which is why it’s so interesting to note that on the very same day that the Times announced that incumbent Cedillo no longer enjoyed the support of L.A.’s zillionaires and was thus fair game for the death by a thousand nibbles, Mr. Attack Duck himself, CD13 scheduler Dave Cano, smelt the way the wind blew, jumped on the anti-Gil train and donated $125 to Joe Bray-Ali. And does any one at all think that council staff donate money to non-incumbents without the permission of their bosses? It’s never going to happen in a zillion years.
This turns out to be a huge problem for a number of unrelated reasons. First and most simply, the CCEA is a nonprofit 501(c)(6) organization. Unlike the more famous 501(c)(3) organizations, 501(c)(6) groups are allowed to engage in lobbying, but it’s unclear whether they’re allowed to support candidates for office.1 However, irrespective of any restrictions on donations, there are very clear reporting requirements.
Take a look at the CCEA’s 2015 tax form. In particular, take a look at question 3 of part IV, found on page 3 of the form. It asks unambiguously:
Did the organization engage in direct or indirect political campaign activities on behalf of or in opposition to candidates for public office?
And, as you can see in the image that appears somewhere near this paragraph, the CCEA unambiguously stated that they did not. It’s hard to imagine a less ambiguous form of direct political campaign activities than giving actual money, amirite? Hence I turned them in to the IRS and also to the Franchise Tax Board for this lacuna. Stay tuned in case anything happens!
Well, I don’t know how I missed it, but in January of this year, notre principale raison d’écrire, the famous Ms. Kerry Morrison, in response to this now also-famous L.A. Times editorial, penned a characteristically mendacious little missive to the local paper in support of anti-creep-crusading Councildude Mitch O’Farrell’s universally reviled initiative to ban adults in playgrounds in the City of Los Angeles.
Amazingly, every sentence in this letter is a lie. Here it is, see if you can spot them all. And after the break, I’ll deconstruct this peculiar little symptom of the acute Morrisonitis now endemic in what Ms. Kerry and her weirdo minions are pleased, for reasons known only to them, to refer to as “our little hamlet.”
To the editor: Constituents have contacted O’Farrell regarding the downward spiral of the only pocket park and playground in the heart of Hollywood. Families who live in our densely populated neighborhood used to enjoy the space. Now this tiny park has become a permanent encampment during the hours it is open.
Going there one day last week, I counted more than 20 people lying around the park. The grassy area was covered with sleeping bags and all the benches were taken. The adjacent playground was empty, despite being separated by a fence. This tiny park can no longer be used by families and organizations that could benefit from open space.
I applaud O’Farrell’s efforts to meet the needs of the neighborhood. This is what leaders do.
So just tonight the Palms Neighborhood Council filed yet another Community Impact Statement opposing Mitch O’Farrell’s Kerry-Morrison-behested anti-playground motion. And like the Eagle Rock NC and the Lincoln Heights NC and the Los Feliz NC before them, they’ve made a well-reasoned and articulate argument:
This measure would penalize lawful park users and would result in discriminatory enforcement. Such a ban improperly assumes that adult park users in a children’s playground area are there solely for nefarious purposes and seeks to ban lawful conduct. Simply being present in a park and enjoying the surroundings is not illegal. There are already criminal laws on the books to address any improper conduct in these areas.
This is an old story, and a sad one. Here’s how it goes: Kerry Morrison whispers sweet nothings in the receptive ear of CD13 field deputy Dan Halden at one of their monthly breakfast meetings. Dan, who for some reason thinks Kerry and her minions are Mitch’s constituents, passes the whisper on to “his boss.”1 Mitch O’Farrell, no doubt contemplating the oodles and scads of money trickling down to him from the heavy-laden coffers of Ms. and Mr. Kerry Morrison, mutters to himself something like “That sounds good! No need to run that by anyone sane! Kerry Morrison and her money would never lead me astray!!”
But once in a while sane people are paying attention, and then all those reasons that seemed so compelling in the back room suddenly start to look a little — and then a whole freaking lot — crazy. This happens all the time.2 And it’s beginning to happen again with this whole playground thing. If you subscribe to the Council file , you will have been notified last night that the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council voted unanimously to oppose Mitch and Kerry’s motion (full text after the break if you’re PDF-averse).