Tag Archives: Pete White

Kerry Morrison’s Ruinously Expensive Obsessions With Homeless Outreach And Guns Cause Severe Cutbacks In BID Patrol Service Even As Expenditures Go Up, Up, Up — HPOA/CHC Books Cooked In 2015 To Obscure This Trend — Time For An Intervention!

Kerry Morrison at the Central Hollywood Coalition board meeting on November 8, 2016.
Kerry Morrison at the Central Hollywood Coalition board meeting on November 8, 2016.
Watch and listen here1 to an interminable discussion at last Tuesday’s meeting of the Board of Directors of the Central Hollywood Coalition2 about how to pay the increasing cost of the armed BID Patrol while, at the same time, maintaining or expanding dedicated “homeless outreach” services, also provided by Andrews International. In particular, staff is asking the board to approve a 5% increase in the A/I budget for next year to cover salary increases and so on.

Here are some numbers. A/I pays its BID Patrol officers $31.50 an hour.3 Almost certainly the BID is paying A/I significantly more than that. Also note that base pay for A/I unarmed officers is $13 per hour. In other words, armed officers cost about 2.5 times as much as unarmed officers. If A/I’s markup to the BID is a percentage of its HR costs then this ratio will hold constant regardless of what the BID is actually paying.4 Now, most BIDs in the City of Los Angeles do not have armed security. In fact, as far as I can tell, the two HPOA BIDs run by Kerry Morrison are the only BIDs that do.5 We have written before about Kerry Morrison’s disturbing and utterly disproportionate love of guns, and that’s probably enough to explain her insistence on armed security despite the high cost.6 And the cost is very high. According to the Sunset & Vine BID’s 2015 independent audit, the BID paid $805,608 for security out of total annual expenditures of $1,542,735.7

And what do they get for that? It’s explained in this exchange from last week‘s meeting.8 It’s essentially four dedicated officers per fourteen hour day, backed up by officers from the Hollywood Entertainment District, with slightly less on Sundays. Assuming 8 hour days, and not adjusting for Sundays, this is 11,648 hours per year.9 Dividing this into the 2015 security expenditure yields a rate of $69.16. The 2013 contract between A/I and the HPOA gives the markup rate as 82% for BID patrol officers and 55% for supervisors, so this is roughly consistent with a base hourly rate of $31.50.10
Continue reading Kerry Morrison’s Ruinously Expensive Obsessions With Homeless Outreach And Guns Cause Severe Cutbacks In BID Patrol Service Even As Expenditures Go Up, Up, Up — HPOA/CHC Books Cooked In 2015 To Obscure This Trend — Time For An Intervention!

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City of Los Angeles to Pay Almost a Million Dollars, Half to Carol Sobel, in Lavan Case and also Pete White and Hamid Khan v. City of LA

Carol Sobel (on right) is making a good living forcing the City of Los Angeles to pay for its nasty addiction to tormenting the homeless.  Have they hit bottom yet?  It doesn't look like it.
Carol Sobel (on right) is making a good living forcing the City of Los Angeles to pay for its nasty addiction to tormenting the homeless. Have they hit bottom yet? It doesn’t look like it.
According to an excellent article in yesterday’s Times by the incomparable Emily Alpert Reyes, the City Council agreed to pay out $947,000 in settlements in two cases brought by civil rights lawyer Carol Sobel. The article didn’t have much detail on either the cases or where the money was going, so I thought I’d fill some of it in here.

The first case is Lavan v. City of Los Angeles. I reported last December that this case seemed to be nearing settlement, and there was more news on this in March. Well, yesterday the Council approved Motion 16-0397, which authorizes the payment of $322,000 to Carol Sobel in legal fees and $500,000 for other purposes which aren’t clear from the motion. Nothing has hit PACER yet, so I don’t know how to get the rest of the story, but you’ll see it here as soon as I get some. You may want to subscribe to the Council file to keep up to date.

The second case is really interesting, and I haven’t written on it before. Evidently, in 2005 the Central City East Association began sponsoring tours of Skid Row for “…public officials, law enforcement, members of the judiciary, students, academics, local business owners, social service providers, and the media” so they can “…see for themselves and learn about the challenges, not through a windshield, but from the experience of walking through [Skid Row] and interacting with social service representatives, police, residents and business owners.”1 (Here is the 9th Circuit opinion on which this summary is based).
Continue reading City of Los Angeles to Pay Almost a Million Dollars, Half to Carol Sobel, in Lavan Case and also Pete White and Hamid Khan v. City of LA

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A Trip to City Archives Yields Fascinating Historical Material Including 2003 HPOA Stakeholder Rebellion Over Shady and Neurotic Behavior by Tronson and Morrison During Security Provider Bidding Process

The view from Ramirez Street.  The entrance to the Archives is by the loading dock in the mid-right area of the image.
The view from Ramirez Street. The entrance to the Archives is by the loading dock in the mid-right area of the image.
A recent trip to the lovely City Archives on Ramirez Street, my absolute favorite of all city agencies,1 yielded up a bunch of really interesting stuff from 2001–2003. So much so that I started a new page for it. It took me three hours to look through two boxes of BID records (out of more than 400), so I’m sure there will be much more of this stuff to come. There’s a list of some highlights after the break, but check it!

In 2003 the BID’s expiring security contract with Burke Security, the predecessor of Andrews International, was put out for bids. Aaron Epstein, yes, the same one whose nuclear bomb of a lawsuit established the subjection of BIDs to both the Brown Act and the California Public Records Act, thereby making this blog possible, and a large group of his fellow Hollywood BID stakeholders2 sent a letter to then-mayor James Hahn complaining that they:

believe[d] that the District’s board of directors and executive director have not conducted a fully open and competitive process to ensure that property owners receive the finest security service for the lowest competitive price (the current two year contract exceeds $2 million). Moreover, we believe that the board and executive director have failed to be objective in the process and have allowed the contractor, Burke Security, to function in ways that do not provide the maximum benefits to the property owners and merchants.

Even in 2003 the BIDs had captured the regulatory function of the City Clerk's office to the point where they were warning Kerry Morrison that people were scrutinizing her sketchy behavior rather than using the power of the purse to make her be not so shady.  The fox wasn't guarding the henhouse--the lunatics were (and are) running the asylum.
Even in 2003 the BIDs had captured the regulatory function of the City Clerk’s office to the point where they were warning Kerry Morrison that people were scrutinizing her sketchy behavior rather than using the power of the purse to make her be not so shady. The fox wasn’t guarding the henhouse–the lunatics were (and are) running the asylum.

If you read the letter you’ll see that they’re talking about practices that are still retained by the current BID Patrol: custodial arrests rather than observe-and-report, unseeming over-coziness with the staff of the HPOA, and so on.3 The copy I obtained came with a couple of handwritten notes4 from a Clerk’s office employee suggesting that they warn Kerry Morrison that people were watching so she should follow the rules. This, obviously, is not the kind of behavior one would expect from a regulatory agency. Why didn’t they tell Kerry Morrison to follow the rules because the law required her to?
Continue reading A Trip to City Archives Yields Fascinating Historical Material Including 2003 HPOA Stakeholder Rebellion Over Shady and Neurotic Behavior by Tronson and Morrison During Security Provider Bidding Process

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Stop LAPD Spying Coalition and National Lawyers Guild LA File Suit Against City of LA Over Egregious LAPD CPRA Violations–Court Papers Available Here

The logo of the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition
The logo of the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition
On December 22, 2015, the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition and the hyperactive-in-a-good-way National Lawyers Guild LA filed suit in LA Superior Court against the City of Los Angeles because of egregious violations of the California Public Records Act. According to Pete White of the LA Community Action Network, the LAPD needs to “…know they need to—at a minimum—follow the laws…they tell us we need to follow.” I got copies of everything that’s been filed to date and put it all in a directory here. There’s not so much, but the initial complaint is a monster, weighing in at 180 pages. Most of that is exhibits, including a lengthy U.S. Senate report on Homeland Security funding of and involvement in domestic police spying operations and a copy of a “Special Order” authorizing an ongoing LAPD spying program and a bunch of other documents. The LAPD stuff starts on page 125 of the PDF. I’ll separate and post the various documents individually when I have time. Anyway, the petition has an excellent introduction outlining the public’s interest in the records that the group is seeking and a very tidy summary of what I know from personal experience is the maddening stubborn inactivity of the LAPD in the face of the transcendently clear mandate of the CPRA to respond to requests within 10 days. My only quibble is that I wish they’d also mentioned the LAPD’s absolute and illegal refusal to provide copies of records that they hold in electronic formats, e.g. email, in those electronic formats rather than printing them out on paper and redacting them with a marker. But they know the law and its ways better than I, so I’ll hush up about it.
Continue reading Stop LAPD Spying Coalition and National Lawyers Guild LA File Suit Against City of LA Over Egregious LAPD CPRA Violations–Court Papers Available Here

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