Tag Archives: Property and Business Improvement District Law of 1994

How I Reported BID Engineer Ed Henning To The California Board For Professional Engineers For Incompetence, Negligence, Self-Plagiarism, And All-Round Not Doing His Damn Job

Here’s a quick summary of the background. BID formations are required by the Property and Business Improvement District Law of 1994 to be supported by a report prepared by a licensed engineer.1 Engineer Ed Henning wrote the report for the ill-born Venice Beach BID.2 The California Board for Professional Engineers regulates the engineering profession and can investigate allegations of incompetence or negligence. Ed Henning wrote the engineer’s report for the Venice Beach BID and did an awful, negligent, incompetent job of it.

A complaint was made against Henning but was rejected by the Board without being read because they claimed that writing BID reports didn’t constitute the practice of engineering. After a great deal of discussion with BPELSG executive officer Ric Moore, he agreed that in the future his office would not dismiss such complaints unread.

Well, given this assurance it seemed worthwhile to me to spend time writing another complaint against Henning, whose work is universally acknowledged to be ultra-shabby,3 And that’s just what I did! You can grab a copy of the whole thing right here on Archive.Org, and turn the page for selections and little bit of discussion!
Continue reading How I Reported BID Engineer Ed Henning To The California Board For Professional Engineers For Incompetence, Negligence, Self-Plagiarism, And All-Round Not Doing His Damn Job

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Open Rebellion In The Melrose BID! Duckworth On The Defensive!! Refuses To Give Board Email Addresses To Property Owners!!! Even Though He Already Gave Them To Me!!!! And Don’t Forget He And He Alone Got The Damn BID Sued!!!!! And For This They Are Paying Him $72,000 Per Year To Work 20 Hours Per Week???!?

Sadly, for he is one of the most satirogenic figures in all of BIDlandia, we have not heard much from pirate king Donald Duckworth around these parts lately except, of course, for the fact that he, complacently steeped in his outlaw ways, forced me to file a pair of writ petitions against two of his baby BIDs because he, complacently steeped in his unhinged arrogance, flat-out and unaccountably refuses to comply with his statutory obligations under the California Public Records Act1 even though, if the past is prologue,2 it’s very likely to cost his BIDs a lot of damn money that they can probably ill afford to waste.

But regardless of Cap’n Donald’s law-flouting noncompliance it is occasionally possible to obtain records, or at least emails, involving him by the simple expedient of getting them from the other side of the correspondence.3 And recently a friend of this blog got a small pile of emails between Mr. Don Duckworth and Los Angeles City Clerk staff, and you can read the whole set here on Archive.Org.4 And there’s pretty much interesting stuff in there, but tonight I’m focusing on just three items.

June 9, 2018 email from Don Duckworth to Laura Aflalo about record inspection — Melrose property owners Laura Aflalo and Richard Jebejian want to come inspect records. Don Duckworth says sure you can but why would you want to, isn’t it a waste of your time?

June 9, 2018 emails between Duckworth and Aflalo about her questions about BID operation — Like why do the BID bylaws violate the Brown Act? And why can’t she have the Board members’ email addresses? And why won’t Don Duckworth just answer the damn questions?!

June 9, 2018 Duckworth to Aflalo with a detailed breakdown of how he spends the BID’s money — It’s detailed and evasive at the same time, a Duckworthian superpower, evidently.

And turn the page for some commentary, some mockery, and some highly selected transcriptions of at least the first two items. The third is going to have to wait till another time because it’s getting late around here!
Continue reading Open Rebellion In The Melrose BID! Duckworth On The Defensive!! Refuses To Give Board Email Addresses To Property Owners!!! Even Though He Already Gave Them To Me!!!! And Don’t Forget He And He Alone Got The Damn BID Sued!!!!! And For This They Are Paying Him $72,000 Per Year To Work 20 Hours Per Week???!?

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Psychopathic Rageball George Yu Of The Chinatown BID Admits On Camera That He Broke The Law By Using BID Personnel To Preemptively Displace Homeless People Outside His BID Boundaries — Less Importantly Years Later He’s Still Whining About The Chinatown Walmart Fiasco As He Lambastes Outsiders From Alhambra For Daring To Have An Opinion — And In More Aggro Yu-ian Weirdness, Admonishes Public Commenters To Keep It Short And Cut The “Bullshit”

I’m sure you read about my big adventure yesterday when I went up north to film the Chinatown BID’s meeting and criminal ringleader George Yu got so salty that I wouldn’t tell him who I was that he flipped out to an extraordinary degree, screamed at me and then banned me for life from his weirdo fiefdom, the Far East Plaza.

But that’s not all that happened at the meeting. It turns out that George Yu is not merely a psychopathic rageball but he also runs his meetings like some kind of free association fest, like he’s on the couch and the audience is his analyst. And the most revealing, peculiar, unbelievable stuff came pouring forth from George Yu, self-betrayal oozing from his every pore, as they say.

So for instance, he admitted that he sent his BID crew to clean up something to do with homeless people at Sunset and Beaudry which, it seems, is not in his BID. Watch and listen here: You’ll see background photos on the screen. We worked with [unintelligible]. Yes, it’s at Sunset and Beaudry. No, it’s technically not Chinatown. But if those… If the [unintelligible] people there are staying at Sunset and Beaudry and then venture into Chinatown it’s a whole nother story. Our residents walk past this site daily. We couldn’t stand it. We cleaned it up.

Of course, it’s explicitly against state law for BIDs to spend money, which includes expending labor, on anything outside their boundaries. Just take a look at the Property and Business Improvement District Law at §36625(a)(6), which states unequivocally that: The revenue from the levy of assessments within a district shall not be used to provide improvements, maintenance, or activities outside the district …1
Continue reading Psychopathic Rageball George Yu Of The Chinatown BID Admits On Camera That He Broke The Law By Using BID Personnel To Preemptively Displace Homeless People Outside His BID Boundaries — Less Importantly Years Later He’s Still Whining About The Chinatown Walmart Fiasco As He Lambastes Outsiders From Alhambra For Daring To Have An Opinion — And In More Aggro Yu-ian Weirdness, Admonishes Public Commenters To Keep It Short And Cut The “Bullshit”

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Rita Moreno Thinks The “Boundaries Of A BID Must Be Contiguous” — Misty Iwatsu Agrees!! — No! Wait! Rita Moreno Thinks “There’s No Legal Requirement That The Boundaries Be Contiguous”! — Whichever It Is, We Think That Rita Moreno (A) Is Practicing Law Without A License And Ought To Stop It Right Now Cause It’s Illegal And She’s Confusing Everybody And (B) Does Not Know What The Word “Contiguous” Means

OK, I’m sorry, this post is on kind of a technical subject, but I think it’s important and also it reveals a kind of weird off-handed incompetence amongst the City Clerk’s BID analyst staff that I think is worth memorializing. The central issue is whether the Property and Business Improvement District Act of 1994 requires a BID to be in one piece. I’m going to use the technical term “connected” here.1

It’s not just an idle question, either. You may recall that the proposed Hollywood Route 66 BID runs up Santa Monica Blvd. from Vine Street to Hoover Street. The problem is that Vermont Avenue crosses Santa Monica right in the middle of that stretch, and every building that touches Vermont is already included in the East Hollywood BID.

Regardless of what the PBID law has to say about connectedness of BIDs, it’s very, very clear on the fact that BIDs can’t overlap.2 Hence commercial buildings on both Santa Monica and Vermont must be excluded from the Hollywood Route 66 BID, which leaves its territory disconnected. Plausibly, also, the EHBID could cede those buildings to the Route 66 BID, but, interestingly, doing so would leave the EHBID disconnected, so nothing would be gained. Here’s a copy of the map if it’ll be useful.

Thus a correct understanding of what the law allows is essential for the formation of at least that BID, and probably others in the future. And I’m not a lawyer, but I read the whole damn PBID law about a zillion times and the connectivity of a BID is not mentioned in there at all. It’s my not-a-lawyer understanding that if a law doesn’t explicitly forbid something then that something is allowed.

But the famous Rita Moreno of the City Clerk’s Neighborhood and Business Improvement District division didn’t agree with me in 2017! Then she did agree with me in 2018! And Misty Iwatsu spent some time in 2016 babbling on about the matter and thought 2017 Rita Moreno was right! And Rita Moreno didn’t just think, she advised! And it strikes me that her advice looked an awful lot like practicing law without a license, which is illegal in California!3

And of course you want to see details! And primary sources! Turn the page and there they are!!
Continue reading Rita Moreno Thinks The “Boundaries Of A BID Must Be Contiguous” — Misty Iwatsu Agrees!! — No! Wait! Rita Moreno Thinks “There’s No Legal Requirement That The Boundaries Be Contiguous”! — Whichever It Is, We Think That Rita Moreno (A) Is Practicing Law Without A License And Ought To Stop It Right Now Cause It’s Illegal And She’s Confusing Everybody And (B) Does Not Know What The Word “Contiguous” Means

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Two Interesting Protests Against BID Renewals In Hollywood — One By A Civil Engineer Attacking The Constitutional Adequacy Of Ed Henning’s Self-Plagiarized Boilerplate Engineering Report — The Other Somewhat Plausibly Accusing Kerry Morrison Of Complicity In The Payoff Of Transients To Harass Anti-BID Property Owners

You may have noticed that the Property and Business Improvement Law of 1994 makes allowance for property owners in a proposed BID to file “protests,” which must be accounted for by the City during the establishment or renewal process.1 For whatever reason, possibly the mandate that the City make a determination regarding protests received,2 these protests show up in the relevant Council File for all the world to read! And sometimes they are really interesting! Like the two recent doozies I have for your pleasant perusal today!

Setrak Kinian protest — this is against the renewing Hollywood Entertainment District BID, filed by a property owner in the old Sunset & Vine BID — the two BIDs are being unified in their current renewal — and has some essentially kooky but nevertheless fairly explanatory3 allegations against Ms. Kerry Morrison.

For instance, Kinian claims that her BID pays off homeless people to hang around the properties of BID opponents in order to encourage them to support the BID. He also makes the not-completely-implausible claim that one goal of the BID is to force smaller property owners to sell out to larger ones. The Council File for this renewal is CF 14-0855. As always, turn the page for some selected transcriptions and commentary.

Jim McQuiston protest — Against the renewing Hollywood Media District BID. McQuiston is a civil engineer and provides a really detailed4 denunciation of Ed Henning’s characteristically crapola engineer’s report. This is especially interesting to me given that one of my ongoing projects, which is to get the Board for Professional Engineers to take the preparation of engineering reports for BID formations seriously as the practice of civil engineering.5 The Council File for this renewal is CF 12-0963. Also Henning’s report is here. As always, turn the page for selected transcriptions and commentary.
Continue reading Two Interesting Protests Against BID Renewals In Hollywood — One By A Civil Engineer Attacking The Constitutional Adequacy Of Ed Henning’s Self-Plagiarized Boilerplate Engineering Report — The Other Somewhat Plausibly Accusing Kerry Morrison Of Complicity In The Payoff Of Transients To Harass Anti-BID Property Owners

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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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In 2016 The City Of Los Angeles Revised Its Standard BID Administration Contract To Remove Language About Complying With CPRA And The Brown Act — Which Is Yet Another Example Of The City Refusing To Hold BIDs Responsible For Complying With Any Laws Whatsoever — It’s Not Clear What Effect This Will Have On Anything — They Certainly Did It In Response To My Activities, Though, For What That’s Worth

Regular readers of this blog are well aware that business improvement districts in California are subject to the California Public Records Act and to the Brown Act by virtue of the Property and Business Improvement District Law at §36612, which states explicitly that BIDS … shall comply with the Ralph M. Brown Act … at all times when matters within the subject matter of the district are heard, discussed, or deliberated, and with the California Public Records Act … for all records relating to activities of the district.1

Also, maybe you recall that the standard contract that BIDs sign with the City of Los Angeles contains2 a clause basically repeating this requirement. There’s a transcription of this section after the break. So in March 2016, faced with blatant disregard of the CPRA by the Downtown Center BID, I wrote to the City Clerk, Holly Wolcott, asking her to enforce the terms of the City’s contract with this obstructionist BID.

And on March 14, 2016, she wrote back to me, stating pretty clearly that she wasn’t going to make sure that BIDs complied with the Public Records Act. Again, there’s a transcription of her response after the break, but her main argument was that the City wasn’t obligated by the contract to consider whether a given BID was complying with the CPRA.

And I thought that was the end of it, but I just recently discovered that actually, it’s likely that the City took my argument much more seriously than anyone was letting on. So seriously, in fact, that in April 2016 the City Attorney completely rewrote the standard contract between BIDs and the City to eliminate all language about CPRA and the Brown Act!
Continue reading In 2016 The City Of Los Angeles Revised Its Standard BID Administration Contract To Remove Language About Complying With CPRA And The Brown Act — Which Is Yet Another Example Of The City Refusing To Hold BIDs Responsible For Complying With Any Laws Whatsoever — It’s Not Clear What Effect This Will Have On Anything — They Certainly Did It In Response To My Activities, Though, For What That’s Worth

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How Out Of Touch With Actual Human Reality Is The North Figueroa Association? — They Consider Street Vendors To Be Like Drug Dealers, Prostitutes, And Flashers — They Actually Explicitly Overtly Budget Money Each Year To Dispose Of Inventory Confiscated From Street Vendors — Which Is The Same Thing That The Fashion District BID Got Sued For In Federal Court In 2015 — Is The Highland Park BID Next? — Let’s Freaking Hope So!

As you may know, I recently visited the North Figueroa Association as part of my ongoing attempt to understand just what the heck the zillionaires of Los Angeles are thinking.1 Well, I didn’t figure it out this time, but my reception by the NFA was so freaking bizarro that I thought I’d better spend a little more time looking into the background of this shadowy gang of zillionaire culture warriors.

If you ever want to understand what a given business improvement district is up to, the first thing you should look at is the management district plan. This document is required by the Property and Business Improvement Law of 1994, specifically at §36622, and must contain a sufficiently detailed description of everything the BID proposes to spend money on. The easiest way to locate these is via the City Clerk’s map of L.A. BIDs. Each BID’s description contains a link to its MDP. Here’s the Highland Park BID’s MDP.

In this interesting2 document we find a list of the kinds of things that the BID means to spend its security money on: The presence of the Security Program is intended to deter such illegal activities as drug dealing, public urination, indecent exposure, trespassing, drinking in public, prostitution, illegal panhandling, illegal vending, and illegal dumping.

Now of course, sane human beings understand that street vending is not like these other things. Sure, it’s illegal,3 but nevertheless it’s part of the human fabric of Los Angeles and the laws against it are selectively enforced only at the mere whim of zillionaires. There are street vendors everywhere in this City where there aren’t BIDs and no one, not even the cops, seems to be upset. Normal people are thrilled!

It’s really hard to imagine a serious, sane, socialized human being who doesn’t understand that people selling fresh fruit or tacos cooked to order on a street corner are very different from crack dealers, creepers who expose their genitalia to children, or people who shit on the sidewalk.4 It’s quite strange that the NFA doesn’t get this. But they really, really don’t. Read on for details!
Continue reading How Out Of Touch With Actual Human Reality Is The North Figueroa Association? — They Consider Street Vendors To Be Like Drug Dealers, Prostitutes, And Flashers — They Actually Explicitly Overtly Budget Money Each Year To Dispose Of Inventory Confiscated From Street Vendors — Which Is The Same Thing That The Fashion District BID Got Sued For In Federal Court In 2015 — Is The Highland Park BID Next? — Let’s Freaking Hope So!

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City Clerk Holly Wolcott’s New-Found Willingness To Enforce BID Contracts Revealed As The City Of Los Angeles Put The Venice Beach BID On Blast For Contract Violations In March 2018 — Wolcott Threatened A Disestablishment Hearing If Missing Material Weren’t Submitted By Deadline — Tara Devine Was All Not My Fault, Everybody’s Fault But Mine — BID Analyst Rita Moreno Was All Shut It, Tara, Obviously You’re A Liar — On April 30, 2018 Tara Devine Claimed That All The City’s Demands Were Met — Maybe So, Tara, But You’re Still A Liar!

Well, friends, if you’ve been following the saga of the Venice Beach BID for what seems like forever but has only been at least in the most recent iteration about two years, you’ll know all about how BID ED Tara Freaking Devine is not only overpaid as a BID consultant but she’s a liar and a damned liar and a lawbreaker and a damned lawbreaker and it took her and her white supremacist board of directors freaking forever to get their BID up and running.

Now, this kind of behavior on the part of a BID is bad enough, but from the City’s point of view the only really bad part is that the BID started 18 months ago and they’ve been collecting money from the property owners and they’re not spending it on the activities they’re meant to spend it on. Oh yes, and BIDs are also required to submit quarterly reports to the City and, this last by the actual state law regulating BIDs, an annual planning report to the City as well.1

And you surely won’t be surprised to learn that by March 19 of this year the damn BID hadn’t done any of that stuff at all. But what is surprising is that the City of Los Angeles decided to actually enforce their contract and the law. In furtherance of this worthy goal City Clerk Holly Wolcott sent VBBID boss honcho Mark Sokol a zinger of a letter stating that the BID was out of compliance and they had better get their act together quickly or else the City was going to hold a hearing to disestablish the BID per the PBID law at §36670.

Maybe this marks the start of a new policy, where the City of LA will actually encourage or maybe even force BIDs to follow the damn law. They’ve been absolutely unwilling to do this when it comes to CPRA compliance, but more recently have shown some teeth e.g. with respect to the contractual requirement to publish newsletters. Anyway, whatever’s going on there’s a transcription of Wolcott’s letter after the break and, as an extra special bonus, some discussion of some astonishingly whiny emails by Tara Devine about the noncompliance letter.
Continue reading City Clerk Holly Wolcott’s New-Found Willingness To Enforce BID Contracts Revealed As The City Of Los Angeles Put The Venice Beach BID On Blast For Contract Violations In March 2018 — Wolcott Threatened A Disestablishment Hearing If Missing Material Weren’t Submitted By Deadline — Tara Devine Was All Not My Fault, Everybody’s Fault But Mine — BID Analyst Rita Moreno Was All Shut It, Tara, Obviously You’re A Liar — On April 30, 2018 Tara Devine Claimed That All The City’s Demands Were Met — Maybe So, Tara, But You’re Still A Liar!

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BID Consultant John Lambeth Of Civitas Advisors Is Working On Forming The Echo Park BID For The City Of Los Angeles — And The Route 66 BID For That Matter — No One’s Paying Him For Route 66 And The City Won’t Act Promptly Re Echo Park — What’s A Putatively Ethical Consultant To Do? — Refuse To Sign The Damn Contract Until The City Gets Its Act Together!

Good God, could the neverending saga of the inchoate Echo Park BID get even weirder? Since you ask, the answer, of course, is obviously yes. You may recall that very recently Councilbaby Mitch O’Farrell moved that the City give BID consultants Civitas Advisors another heaping beaucoup de bigly bucks to let them continue working on the extraordinarily multiyear process of creating the Echo Park BID.

The City memorialized this effort in Council File 10-0154-S1, created on February 27, 2018 to contain the above-mentioned motion. On April 13, 2018 the full council adopted the motion which, for reasons I won’t even think about pretending to understand, doesn’t seem to require Mayoral concurrence to take effect. So they got the money, they got the BID consultant, what’s the damn problem?

Well, this newly obtained April 17, 2018 email from head Civitas Honcho John Lambeth to Los Angeles City Clerk Holly Wolcott about the progress of the also-pending Route 66 BID1 sheds some light on problems with the BID formation process in Echo Park.2 As always, there’s a transcription and commentary after the break.3
Continue reading BID Consultant John Lambeth Of Civitas Advisors Is Working On Forming The Echo Park BID For The City Of Los Angeles — And The Route 66 BID For That Matter — No One’s Paying Him For Route 66 And The City Won’t Act Promptly Re Echo Park — What’s A Putatively Ethical Consultant To Do? — Refuse To Sign The Damn Contract Until The City Gets Its Act Together!

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