Tag Archives: Recreation and Parks

The Hitherto Unrevealed Origin Story of the Illegal Selma Park “Kids-Only” Restrictions: How Kerry Morrison’s Irrational Hatred Of Homeless Feeding Programs Led Her To Lie About Everything And Then Lock The Public Out Of Selma Park

Kerry Morrison freaking hates well-fed homeless people, which is why she orders her BID Patrol bullies to spy on feeding programs like this one and why she will use lies and subterfuge to destroy public access to a park for everyone just so homeless people can’t eat there.
My colleagues and I have spilled a great deal of metaphorical ink explaining exactly how Kerry Morrison hung up fake kids-only signs in Selma Park in 2007, thereby stealing 8 years of access from the people of Los Angeles, and the issue has taken on some renewed currency by virtue of her newly revealed conspiracy with Mitch O’Farrell regarding restrictions on playground use in City parks. But until fairly recently we didn’t really know why she’d done it.1 Well, it turns out that the explanation was lurking in her BID’s 2006 First Quarter report to the Clerk’s office, wherein we read:

HED staff and the security team continue to monitor the situation in Selma Park, where a Saturday feeding program for homeless individuals has overtaken a park intended for neighborhood children. Attempts will be made to organize the families to prevail upon the council office to declare the entire park a “children’s only” playground.

Now, where in the world, I wonder, did Kerry Morrison get the idea that Selma Park was “intended for neighborhood children”?
Continue reading The Hitherto Unrevealed Origin Story of the Illegal Selma Park “Kids-Only” Restrictions: How Kerry Morrison’s Irrational Hatred Of Homeless Feeding Programs Led Her To Lie About Everything And Then Lock The Public Out Of Selma Park

Mitch O’Farrell Deserves Any Amount Of Bad Press For Sucking Up To Kerry Morrison About Kids And Adults In Playgrounds But The Recent L.A. Times Editorial And Subsequent Internet Freakout Criticizing Him Are Kind Of Off Base

Mitch O’Farrell in a strip-mall somewhere yelling about something.
Our work on Selma Park has been getting a lot of action over the last couple days since the L.A. Times published this editorial criticizing a recent motion of O’Farrell’s. The Times puts it thus:

City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell has proposed barring adults unaccompanied by children from entering playgrounds. It’s an effort, he said, to keep city parks “free of creepy activity.” Who wouldn’t want to ban creepy activity or creepy people from playgrounds?

This editorial prompted a massive ongoing freakout on Reddit, followed by O’Farrell’s feckless denial on Twitter and moving from there to a blog post by the incomparable Lenore Skenazy, then on to Slate, and then everywhere. And the way the Times describes the issue is certainly frightening:

But what O’Farrell is proposing goes far beyond targeting worrisome activities that, in most cases, are already outlawed. It would bar any adult from sitting on a bench, exercising or otherwise enjoying public space near
[a] playground unless he or she brought a child along. Is this really necessary?

One of the legitimate, Recreation and Parks Commission approved, signs at Selma Park stating that use of the playground is restricted to children and caregivers. The sign cites LAMC 83.44 and Penal Code section 653g, neither of which actually exists.

According to the Times, Mitch O’Farrell proposed this motion because Hollywood residents complained about drug dealers in some park. But Mitch O’Farrell is famous for confusing Kerry Morrison and her dimwit BID buddies with residents of Hollywood. He thinks they’re his constituents even though none of them live in Hollywood. He’s made this error with respect to tour bus regulation, and also street characters, and also Hollywood nightclubs. In each of these cases, “Hollywood residents” has turned out to be code for “Kerry Morrison.”

So even though I don’t yet have documentary evidence to back it up, my best guess is that this story about Hollywood residents complaining about a park is O’Farrell-speak for something like the following chain of events: Kerry Morrison and her armed flunky Steve Seyler bitched and moaned about the HPOA’s illegal signs being removed from Selma Park.1 O’Farrell then probably asked the City Attorney how to ban grownups from the park again. Probably the City Attorney told him at that point that it wasn’t possible, because it’s not, and probably it also came up at this point that the City’s official signs banning adults without kids from actual demarcated playgrounds were really outdated, given that neither LAMC 83.44 nor Penal Code section 653g actually exist.

Of course, not only is it certainly illegal to cite people for violating repealed laws, but it’s almost certainly illegal for the City to post signs threatening to cite people for violating them in order to keep them out of places that they legally have the right to be. So Kerry Morrison and Mitch O’Farrell, faced with the possibility of the removal of even the official signs,2 settled, I’m thinking, on the very motion that is currently undergoing two minutes hate from the Internet.

And the motion the Internet is hating on is a scary thing indeed. But it’s not the motion O’Farrell actually made. In its entirety the real motion says:3
Continue reading Mitch O’Farrell Deserves Any Amount Of Bad Press For Sucking Up To Kerry Morrison About Kids And Adults In Playgrounds But The Recent L.A. Times Editorial And Subsequent Internet Freakout Criticizing Him Are Kind Of Off Base

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

New Documents About Selma Park From the HPOA, New Document Storage System

An official BID Patrol photo of the Selma Park playground on April 27, 2011, entitled SELMA PARK VANDALISM.  Because everyone knows that drawing on a playground with freaking chalk is vandalism.  Fucking savages.
An official BID Patrol photo of the Selma Park playground on April 27, 2011, entitled SELMA PARK VANDALISM. Because everyone knows that drawing on a playground with freaking chalk is vandalism. Fucking savages.
First of all, I reorganized our documents. I think the new system will make it easier for you to find things. I know it’ll make it easier for me to add new material, and I have a lot of stuff coming in soon. The “Document” menu in the header now leads to a link and an iframe pointing at this page, which is just a raw files and directory set-up. For now I’m only allowing http access, but I might set up ftp access in the future. In any case, have at it! The only problem left unsolved is how to host the 15+ gigs of photos I have on hand. I’m working on a solution involving dropbox, since archive.org has turned out to be pretty slow for that many images and Flickr seems complicated for bulk uploads and metadata editing. I could be wrong about this, though. More news soon. Second, there’s a bunch of new stuff about Selma Park. Read on for details.
Continue reading New Documents About Selma Park From the HPOA, New Document Storage System

Selma Park Once Again Free and Open to the Public After Seven Long Years!! How Will Hollywood Ever Be Made Whole?

The open gates of Selma Park once again welcome all people into their loving embrace as God and the Department of Recreation and Parks intended.
The open gates of Selma Park, shimmering in the miraculous light of the golden hour in lovely Los Angeles, once again welcome all people into their loving embrace as God and the Department of Recreation and Parks intended.
A little more than two weeks ago, we reported that, despite the fact that someone, probably the HPOA, had posted a bunch of signs to the contrary, Selma Park, at the corner of Selma Avenue and Schrader Blvd., was, according to the LA City Recreation and Parks Commission, actually open to all people, including adults without children in their care. At the time he received this information from RAP, our correspondent told the commission about the signs and the arrests and asked if they could remove the signs. He never heard back, but when walking by this afternoon, he was pleased to note that the signs were gone. So, he tells us, he sat in the park for an hour reading and also took some pictures!
Before and after picture of the area to the right of gate.  Note unfaded paint beneath former location of sign in most recent (right-hand) picture.
Before and after picture of the area to the right of gate. Note unfaded paint beneath former location of sign in most recent (right-hand) picture. Click to enlarge.
Now, this is a very good thing. And we look forward to many fine hours eating lunch in the park and playing checkers on the super-cool built-in tile boards on the picnic tables.

“But,” as the man said, “let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream.” There are four issues left unresolved here:
Continue reading Selma Park Once Again Free and Open to the Public After Seven Long Years!! How Will Hollywood Ever Be Made Whole?

Since 2008 Hollywood BID Patrol Has Used Arrests, Move-Along Orders to Enforce Strict Children-Only Rule at Hollywood’s Selma Park in Direct Contradiction to Explicitly Stated LA Rec and Parks Policy

One of three mysterious signs at Selma Park which appear to restrict the park's use to children and caregivers only, even though the LA Recreation and Parks Department has stated explicitly that Selma Park is open to the general public except for the playground.
One of three mysterious signs at Selma Park which appear to restrict the park’s use to children and caregivers only, even though the LA Recreation and Parks Department has stated explicitly that Selma Park is open to the general public except for the playground.
The Andrews International BID Patrol has been arresting people without children and ordering people without children out of Selma Park in Hollywood at least since 2008, as shown by their very own reports to the Joint Security Committee. They justify these actions by claiming that Selma Park is “for children and parents only.” And indeed, there are three signs in the general park area which state this as policy.1 We wondered how this park had come to be off-limits to all the citizens of Hollywood and so directed our faithful correspondent to find out. His first stop was the May 2008 BID Patrol Report, wherein it is stated that:

On 05-31-08, we participated in ‘Family Day at Selma Park’. The park had been a hostile environment for children as certain people used the space for sleeping, urinating in public, and drug and alcohol abuse. We attempted to address this problem along with Kerry Morrison and her staff, Council 13 staff, LAPD, and the City Attorney’s Office. As a result, signs were made signifying that the park would now be only available for people with children. We hung the signs and began enforcement. For several months we have been advising violators and asking them to leave the park.

One of the legitimate, Recreation and Parks Commission approved, signs at Selma Park stating that use of the playground is restricted to children and caregivers.
One of the legitimate, Recreation and Parks Commission approved, signs at Selma Park stating that use of the playground is restricted to children and caregivers.

This, of course, is a typical destroy-the-village-in-order-to-save-it tactic of the HPOA. They can’t just kick homeless people out of the park, so they kick everyone out of the park except people with children. Christ, they’d probably privatize the entire city if they could, just so they could arrest homeless people for being in it. Anyway, we thought we’d find out what the Department of Recreation and Parks had to say about this. Imagine our surprise when our correspondent received a letter from the RAP Commissioners stating explicitly that

“Selma Park is a pocket park that is open to the general public, and is not limited exclusively to only children. The existing signage at Selma Park which indicates that adults without children are prohibited from the restricted area was installed for the designated children’s play area only.”

Well, our first thought was that maybe RAP didn’t control every aspect of the park. Perhaps the other agencies mentioned in the BID Patrol report also had the power to exclude all but children and caregivers from Selma Park. However, on turning to the City Charter, we find, right there in §590(a)(1), that: The Department of Recreation and Parks shall have the power and duty to establish, construct, maintain, operate and control, wherever located all parks of the City of Los Angeles. That’s pretty unequivocal. RAP is the boss of the parks and if they say a park is open to the general public then it’s open to the general public.
Continue reading Since 2008 Hollywood BID Patrol Has Used Arrests, Move-Along Orders to Enforce Strict Children-Only Rule at Hollywood’s Selma Park in Direct Contradiction to Explicitly Stated LA Rec and Parks Policy